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C5 Builds a Wall

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 18, 2018

Image result for woven willow fence

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C5 Says, Build Me A Wall! Permaculture Style

wall 1

With your rather obsessive host, Category5.

I try to do one or two, ridiculous, over the top, excessive projects each year that make people question my sanity. This year is no different. What challenge have I presented for myself this season? I plan on building an impenetrable fence.  Acres and achres of fence. My only building material? Willow Sticks. Oh, And I only have about a month and a half of the right weather to do it in. And…I will have to wait about five years to see the results. No biggy.

Why would I do this to myself? It has been an ongoing, ESSENTIAL problem to solve. A task for the Dark Green Mountain Survival Research Centre. How does one make essential fencing in a time when, post peak industrial empire, store bought, expensive, fencing is no longer available, either because of an abrupt stop to resource and energy input supplies to create such products…or… a slow hollowing out of the economy where you can no longer afford to buy such products… or… of Bank Overlord debt financing  to buy such items dries up or collapses… or… one day you just wake up and say to yourself, “Well, its just stupid to get into umteen thousands of dollars in debt for something that is just going to break down anyhow, while I am spending my life at a job I don’t want to be at to pay for it all”.

Fixing fencing in the spring is an, every year, heavy duty job for any farmer. I have fence repair to do myself… in my ample free time. Snark.

I really am working my way around to talking about solving fencing issues buy growing a LIVING FENCE. Specifically, a WILLOW fence, One where the materials are free and will get stronger over time while other fences get weaker over time. A post apocalyptic WALL. “We Are Going To Build A Wall”. I am going all Trump on your ass this year without spending the gross national product, Permaculture Style. Too bad I cant make the U.S. pay for my wall.

I’m also going all Survival advice from Monty Python, this round.

So, I have an impossible job to do, armed only with a herring.

Well, a herring, loppers, clippers, a hammer and a roof rack on our disposable Honda Civic, to tie all the willow onto from ditches, far and wide (more on turning a small car into a truck another time)

(April 6th) Its spring. At least what passes for spring here. The sun has come out today. I step out of the house, survey the doomstead, take a deep breath and say….

“What a shit hole!”

With the snow gone, everything is brown as nothing is growing yet, I notice every pile of recyclable materials, indistinguishable from garbage piles, everything that didn’t get put away, every good idea that didnt quite work, everything that broke, rotted, rusted or got over grown, all the wasted effort that now needs to be fixed, moved out of the way, torn down, replaced or thrown out.

I begin to throw myself at a project, then go, “Its too fucking cold. I’m going back inside”.

I know I need to psyche myself up. I know I need to go from a winter full stop to hitting the ground running, hoping this isn’t the year I give myself a heart attack  or injure myself badly.

We have gone through the snow season, are about to move into the mud season, followed by the biting bug season and then the too hot to do shit season. The fall is the only really nice season here when it would be nice to be all nature guy but that is also the busy season of harvest and the race to prepare for the next 6 months of cold.

Now, doesn’t going back to nature sound all romantic.

We have interviewed alot of people that wanted to live here. We often heard, “I just want to live a simple life, close to nature, and eat healthy food”.

We roll our eyes and think to ourselves, “Well, that would be nice. Maybe we should move to the city where that idea is appealing, go on camping trips a few times a year and have parks to walk in, while going to trendy, financially successful farmers markets that only work because of the excess wealth.”

Oh, stop being all judgy, Other C5. You had the same romanticism before Mother Nature stuck her strap on up the poop shoot of life.

I hear ya, Other C5.

(April 8th) I cut willow today. Its seems a bit early but its going to be a huge job


(April 9th) Another Day. Another Snow Storm. Good thing MrsC5 moved the car down to the road last night… and that the high, destructive winds hit further north. Its one of the reasons we are doing this. Global Warming doesn’t necessarily mean warm. It means a complete rearrangement of existing weather patterns… and fierce winds, while they do it. We are building wind breaks around the garden. Micro Climates.

So. Why willow, instead of more thorny plants to keep the ninjas out?

One word. Salicylic Acid. OK, thats two words. And Fast… and Free  . FOUR. Four words… Ha, Ah Ah…

(C5 likes FREE. Nothing is free though. Its all sweat equity)

Salicylic Acid is found in Willow Bark. Preppers will know it works like aspirin. I have had to use this in the bush a few times, myself, to solve debilitating headaches. I always seem to forget something essential when heading away from civilization. But that is not why we are planting it. It also acts as a ROOTING HORMONE. This makes it quickly want to throw roots out. Some people will put an aspirin in plant cuttings to trick it into rooting. I don’t have time for that. I just want to drive them deep in the ground and walk away. The other reason, is I find willow growing in ditches everywhere. The road crews have to cut them back often. You can easily identify them, first thing in the spring, by the Pussy Willows. See the photos at the top of the page. That was a test plot I put in before going over seas. Proof it works. Later in the year, you can identify it by spear head shaped leaves.

I also put it in other areas that didn’t work. They had been out competed by other weeds. This was not a fail. It just taught me that I need to weed around it until it is firmly established. We want to do this job, first thing in the spring, while the ground is wet, So I can drive the cuttings at least two feet in the soil,  so the roots have time to establish, with plenty of summer grow time. Also, because this is the time of year when it is in a race to out grow its competition. We “Stressed” the plant by cutting it, and this has put it into over drive, trying to save its own life. Sort of like Adrenalin in humans. You wont make its life easier by waiting for leaves and keeping them on before or after planting. These don’t seem to make it. They are only focusing on leaf growth at this point, not roots and wood growth.

In the years to come, we will then bend them around each other so it becomes like a chain link fence, that you just can’t push trough.


(Not mine. Stolen from alastairheseltine.com)

Clearly, you are not going to see the fence in this article. Instead, we will keep coming back to it in future articles to see how it is doing. If it fails, you get to watch it fail. Thus the Research part of Dark Green Mountain.

Now, before I lose the interest of the Manly Men out there that are getting distracted by wanting to go out and shoot bunnies, this is essential survival training for TEOTWAWKI (thats, The End Of The World As We Know It, for newbies). If you actually want to harvest anything in the garden you planted, first you need to keep the deer out. They can jump 8ft fences, so you want to go higher. The two legged garden thieves are also an issue, especially once people get hungry. This should also be a good way to HIDE a garden. Out of sight, out of mind. And hide yourself, while we are at it. You may be Rambo, but you have got to sleep sometime. If you like sleep, its best to do it in an enclosure others cant get into to catch you sleeping. At the absolute minimum, you can use these barriers to force people to come at you, from a direction you can see them coming. A visual barrier also defeats most snipers… or just Looky Lue’s.

Visual barriers like this are common in other parts of the world. See my article, Sharp and Pointy Things.  https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/survival-advice-from-south-america-part-2-sharp-and-pointy-things/

But, in the Caribbean, its common to see this, for the same purpose.  Its the most common fencing material. Its sort of unsightly to north amerikans, prissy fucks that we are…but it does have the added bonus of that, if you move, you can take your fence with you. Chattel fencing. steel wall

Now, a Palisade seems like a good idea for the apocalypse. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palisade  but it is a ridiculous amount of work, without having an army of people to build it, and it will rot rather fast. I had given this idea some thought but realised it was suicidal to try. Why not let your your palisade grow itself… and grow stronger over time.

Besides, Nothing invites a police raid or mental health evaluation, like building a palisade. A tactical hedge on the other hand, makes you a gardening enthusiast.

Now, for the Technical Tactical Growies out there, instead of the Tactical Tyke Shooters and looters… I mentioned Micro Climates near the top. Besides stopping heavy winds, It will also create summer shade around the edges  for shade loving plants, while reducing summer evaporation. It will also make for happy pollinators and bug loving birdies to add there own squirty fertilizer to the soil. And it should trap some of  the days heat on your garden into the night.

Willow is also good for bank stabilization, terrace building and stopping water erosion. The roots hold the ground together. All issues related to the new weather and rain bombs that have been showing up the last few years. If you are going to get a year of rain in 24 hrs, holding the ground in place is pretty important.

Now, buy the time you read this, its probably too late for you to take on an obsessive build like this. Besides, once it is in…its in. Instead, its not too late to just stick 3 or 4  willow stakes in the ground and just do the permaculture process of Observing. Observe what nature does. What it likes. What it doesnt. Next time you need a trellis stick, you can just walk over and cut yourself one.

(April 15. Still Waiting for the ground to thaw. Melt. Unfreeze. Gathering willow furiously, though)

I have built myself a few Hadrian’s Walls before. Nothing new to me about this build or solving this fencing issue.

hadrians wall 1

hadrians wall 2

5 years later, its getting close to full breakdown. I am in a race to get the willow fence going before it is completely gone. I’ll save you the photos. It looks like shit now (F.Y.I. Recycled electric wire, barbed wire and  recycled clothes line tops the fence about 9 ft.

Then I did an even more obsessive build. The historic Dead Hedge. Real heart attack inspiring job.


DH Before 1


DH Bass Akward 4

This is being taken back even faster and we will do a full report, “The Grateful Dead Hedge, Redux” soon. After good and heated discussions with Permies, we came to the conclusion that the dead hedge was good to use wile getting a Live Hedge going.. The Dead Hedge eventually becomes a Hugal mound that feeds and provides stored moisture for the living hedge

(April 17- Another day, another Franken-Storm. This is a storm stretching, quite literally, from Cuba to Cana’duh. It stretches a quarter of the planet. Its huge. Luckily, we are getting the rainy edge, instead of freezing sleet, further east and north. This should speed up ground thaw so I can start pounding willow stakes into the soil. But this weather gives me the opportunity to stop cutting willow today and do some writing)

I got a note from one of my relatives. It read-

I read your recent post and I have a comment concerning your pussies.  For the last 5 years I’ve become very knowledgeable in bioengineering techniques including live staking which is the foundation for your live fences.  I have used this method on just about every project I’ve worked on over the past 5 years for bank stabilization. I’ve also monitored the success/failure of these techniques, so I know what works and what doesn’t.  You said you are going to start collecting willows in the spring.  Be careful here.  Willows should be harvested in their dormant stage, so you should be collecting them in late winter early spring. You will need to get those willows into the ground as soon as it thaws.  I’m assuming you chose 3′ lengths because that’s how long your hole starter (rebar, dowel, stick) is and you intend to insert 3/4 to 7/8 of the length of willow into the ground.  This will only leave about a few inches (minimum of 2 buds worth) of the willow sticking out of the ground.  The deeper you go, the higher success as the willow tips will reach into the water table.  If you know your groundwater table is shallow then you can aim for more shallow willow insertions. We typically use 2 m long willows. If you want to make sure your willows don’t develop disease, paint the top of the willow (to seal the top cut wound, if you have one) and soak the bottom of the willow in root hormone to promote rooting activity.

Thanks T. I’ll post this a little earlier than intended so that other folks have time to do some test plots. To start, one of the reasons I chose willow was the Salicylic Acid. A rooting hormone. Most sticks you put in the ground will throw leaves and seem to grow…then be dead by fall. No roots. Willow, on the otherhand, will throw roots if left in water. I saw this all the time, back when I used to build bent willow chairs. If your test plots fail, you may try to start the plants in buckets, and toss in some aspirins to speed things up. Same chemical. Willow bark can also be used to trick other plants into rooting. We don’t have long, strait willow here so I work with what I got. Longer will be better, to face weed competition. Willow seems to be very forgiving. I have accidentally planted some upside down and they still grew. But the longer the better and I am doing them as stakes so I can just hammer them into the ground… as deep as possible. Im expecting a certain fail rate. I will have to come in next year and fill in any spaces that did not take. I’ll use longer stakes any place they will face obvious competition.

We will cut this short, because you don’t need to see photos of sticks in the ground, and you may want to go out and cut some before the leaves start. Even if you are a bit late, in warmer climates, go give it a try and observe. Willow is pretty forgiving.

Now, this isn’t supposed to the authoritative post on live fences. It’s just to point you in the right direction. Now you know such a thing exists. You can type, LIVING WILLOW FENCE, into your search engine, go to IMAGES and see lots of different versions… around the world. https://www.ecosia.org/images?q=living+willow+fence   There are lots of ways to do this. England and the rest of Europe have been using hedge rows and live fences forever. In fact, some parts of Hadrian’s Wall are a boarder of hawthorn because the Roman occupiers drove spikes of hawthorn into the ground to defend themselves from… everybody else who didn’t want to be occupied. Sort of like the U.S. Empire Storm Troopers today. A few of the spikes grew and spread. Hawthorn is pretty rare to root though… which is why we are starting with willow. I’ll try to trick some hawthorn into rooting, some other time.

Another version of this is “Hedge Laying”

During WWII, European hedge rows were problematic enough that they built specialized tank attachments to cut through them… since regular tanks could not get through them.

Once this latest storm breaks, its time for me to start hammering in stakes. At least I hope the ground is ready. We’ll see.

(One last afterthought before posting. Willow can also be used to help terrace junk land without rock walls…and help keep rivers or streams in place https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/c5-on-terracing-junk-land-survival-advice-from-pre-inca-south-america-part-13-permaculturepermanent-culture/ )

This is my last, obsessive, Hadrian’s Wall, fence build. Its for all the marbles. Not just my garden. I’m putting up defensive barriers, as time and willow cuttings allow. I’ll soon be too old to build any more fences. I want to get old, watching my palisade grow.

So… get out there and build yourself a tank proof, sniper scuttling, Super Storm resistant wall. Plant like your life and your children’s lives depends on it. Because it does.


Since people have been mentioning the Canada part of DGM, why not have DJ-C5 end this with some Retro Canadiana. Nothing is more Canadian than RUSH. It leaves me thinking of a future of Climate Refugees.

O.K. Well, that was depressing, even for the Dark Green Mountain.

So, lets make this more inspirational.

Two good Holy Grail moments deserves another. Rather good, Survival advice from Monty Python.

I sure could use an anarcho syndicate commune. Or more peasants. Whatever works. I’m leaning towards peasants at the moment.

(Thanks, D.B. for the donation and kind words)

If you would like to give a Tip for services rendered or to support the cause, go here. https://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=MHI6RXIMnpmep-_sLNw_SK10fPfNKw2G24O8SOpLN3cKo-l-imCdw5inPYaBQMkbZFaOnm&country.x=CA&locale.x=CA   All “Tips” go towards material costs for future experiments.








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Published on the Doomstead Diner on April 15, 2018

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The time has come to UNVEIL the Tombstone!  The Stones have been ordered! 😎

It is not just one rock, there are 10 of them that will be pinned together utilizing basalt rebar.  You can see the model at the top of the page in the Feature Photo spot.  I did this model using Google Sketchup.  Great program, EZ to use and FREE!

Many things had to be considered in designing this Tombstone, from the Cemetery Rules to the overall orientation with respect to the SUN☼.  I wanted it to be both an homage to the beauty of mathematics and to the goals of the SUN☼ Foundation.  I also wanted it to have some utility, and not just be a rock.

Image result for 5 platonic solids On the mathematical end, I began with the 5 Platonic Solids, Tetrahedrons, Cubes, Octahedrons, Dodecahedorns and Icosahedrons.  These solid objects all have equal faces and edges, going from 4 faces up to 20.  Those are all that exist or will ever exist.  I couldn't fit them all in reasonably, so I had to pick the ones that worked best in this situation.  Octahedrons got nixed because they don't sit upright on one face.  Icosahedrons got nixed because 20 faces to cut from granite is simply too many, and the face it sits on to pin to another stone too small.  The Cube (which is featured at the top in my original drawing) got nixed in favor of a Rectangular Prism, for reasons I will explain later.  So that left two to include in the monument, the Tetrahedron and the Dodecahedron, 4 faces and 12 faces respectively.  These two rocks sit to either side of the central column on the base stone.

The base stone itself is constrained by cemetary rules to be maximum of 36" X 14", so the sizes of all the other rocks have to fit within that footprint.  There is no restriction on the total height of the Tombstone, which in the end came in quite tall at close to 5'.  I wanted it taller than the typical marker stone which comes in around 30" so it would be easily found by visitors wandering the cemetery, but I didn't expect it to come out THAT tall! lol.  I was shooting for around 40" originally.  But then I had to readjust for making the Stonehenge high enough and I decided to drop in a Sphere as well to represent the Earth.  That took the total height up another foot.

Above the pedestal stone in the center is a rectangular prism with the ratio of height-width at 1.612:1, which is the "Golden Rectangle".  Many things in nature are based on this ratio, spirals in particular such as snail shells and entire galaxies.  Origianally this part was going to be a cube, but I needed to make the whole thing taller for the stonehenge at the top.

Related image To either side of the central stone are the two Platonic Solids I used, the Tetrahedron and the Dodecahedron.  The Granite color here is Gold which represents the SUN☼, and contrasts strongly with the Black Granite used for the Pedestal and Central Stone, representing the Mystery of the Universe and Life.  The faces of these two stones will have different symbols and text engraved on them, although exactly how many faces will be engraved is yet to be determined.  It runs up the cost significantly.  Finding a quarry that had the right color granite and also the necessary equipment to cut complex shapes out of stone was the most difficult part of this project.

On top of the Central stone is a "Hat" which serves as Protection from the elements for the Central Stone beneath it.  I discovered researching the oldest Tombstones with still legible inscriptions that they often have a capstone on top of them that shields the stone with inscriptions from the elements to some degree.  Over a long period of time, this makes a big difference.

After the Hat on the way up the Tombstone comes a truncated sphere, in a Blue Granite.  This stone is meant to represent the Earth.  Like the two Platonic Solids, finding a quarry with this color of granite that had the technical expertiese to cut the stone took some time.  It has to be truncated so you can pin it and bond it to the stone beneath, and so the stones above can be pinned to it.  You don't lose too much here, just Antarctica at the bottom and the Arctic Ocean at the top.  Hopefully, we will be able to engrave the Map of the Earth as it currently exists before more continental drift on the stone as well.  My art people are working on that one.  Should be possible according to Tombstone Tom, my chief Stone Art Director.  Cost on this may be a factor though.

Capping the Sphere is an Octagonal Hat, which serves as the Base for the Stonehenge.  It is an EZ to cut flat slab of the same color (Gold) as the two Platonic Solids, again to represent the SUN☼.  All the top stones are cut from this color of Granite, so you have the impression of the SUN☼ hovering over the Earth.  The Octagon also has a deep engraving of the SUN☼ Logo, which also serves to direct and drain rainwater off the stone.

Image result for stonehenge The next step up is the Stonehenge, composed of 3 flat slabs of Gold Granite, to top the whole thing off with a SUN☼ analogue.  The Stonehenge has two Uprights, which are topped by the final piece, a Hexagonal Hat.  Due to the orientation of the Tombstone on the plot,  if you stand to the Dodecahedron side and sight from there through the 2 uprights, at the Solstice the SUN☼ should be visible precisely at noon Missouri time in the center.  This may be off by a few minutes because the cemetery is not precisely aligned on the North-South axis, it's a couple of degrees off.  But close enough.

To top it all off, the Top Hat for the Stonehenge is a Hexagon, designed to work as a Daily Sundial.  It has 12 Symbolic Engravings which are not the traditional Signs of the Zodiac, but symbols to represent certain concepts.  However, the overall idea is the same, and I positioned the symbols so that at High Noon every day, the shadow of the Gnomon will fall precisely on my Birthday of August 31st. 🙂  However, there is no Gnomon actually permanently installed on the Tombstone because Cemetery Rules say you have to use only Granite, and a Granite Gnomon would be too brittle and break off easily.  So what I did here is to have a hole drilled through this stone in the center where you can insert a wood or metal dowel to serve as a Gnomon when you visit the Tombstone.

There are still more features of this monument and burial arrangement to elucidate, most prominently here all the INSCRIPTIONS!  I doubt at this point I will do all of them as it will drive the price of the Tombstone into orbit with Elon Musk's Tesla.   His Space going EV will probably outlast my Tombstone, although that is hard to predict since over a Million Years of time it could crash into something else flying around in the SUN solar system.  From what I read it also will probably collide with the Earth or Venus in the next million years.  My Tombstone on the other hand is safely esconced here on earth, protected from most meteorites by the atmosphere which burns them up.  So it would take a pretty big one to whack the Tombstone, and it would need to be a pretty direct hit in the location.

An Earthquake won't do much damage other than to probably separate the stones, which is no biggy.  I actually designed this so that each stone could work independently, it doesn't absolutely need to stay together over the centuries (millenia?).  In some respects it would be BETTER  if it breaks into pieces, since then they could be carried off by future tribes of Homo Dinerus to have around the Campfire! 🙂  The Dodecahedron and Tetrahedron will be particularly difficult for any Stone Cutter of the future to duplicate without a really kick ass CNC machine.  A nice prize!

Image result for egyptian pyramids Anyhow, Pharoahs built themselves Pyramids, Ulysses S. Grant has Grant's Tomb, and even Jimi Hendrix has a kick ass monument in his hometown of Seattle.  Why shouldn't I have a cool Tombstone also?  Other Diners of course think I am quite NUTS for embarking on this project, but for me it has been very entertaining project and keeps me bizzy, along with other projects I create for my crippled self like creating a paper bound "Book of the Doomstead Diner" with representative articles from our history chronicling the Collapse of Industrial Civilization.  I am really looking forward to all the stones coming in and getting the thing assembled and then shipped for placement from Washington to Missouri, assuming I can stay above ground long enough for this to get completed.  This will take some time, since it usually takes 4-6 months between the time you order a stone and it gets delivered, and then there is engraving, assembly and shipping time to factor in as well.  So I don't expect the actual construction of the complete Tombstone to occur much before June 2018.

In the first installment of the Tombstone series "Prepping for Death", I covered what I am doing to try to preserve my Intellectual Property  for as long as possible after I buy my ticket to the Great Beyond.  This installment covered the actual physical construction and appearance of the Tombstone that will sit above my decomposing meat package. More or less anyhow until the SUN☼ Goes Red Giant, unless the rocks are carted off by surviving Homo Saps for some purpose like building new dwellings or just because they look cool.  Just about all the surfacing rocks for the Pyramids were carted of over the millenia, when they were built they had a much smoother appearance.

In the next installment of the Tombstone Series, I'll begin covering the Symbology & Text that is to be CARVED IN STONE on the rocks.


A minimalist solar powered chest freezer + passive icebox setup

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 11, 2017

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by Geoffrey Chia, March 2018

Unless you run heavy duty power tools or electric motors or pumps, the home appliances which consume the most electricity are the fridge/freezer and washing machine*. Whereas in the past, 1.5kW (1500W) of solar panels on the roof of a house was considered standard, nowadays 3000 to 7000W are becoming the norm, due to falling prices. A neighbour in a rural area told me he had 25 photovoltaic (PV) panels on his roof (=6000W if each panel is 240W) and after meeting all his domestic electrical needs, he was earning a healthy income exporting electricity to the grid. During the fortnight this January that my friend and I were staying in a caravan on a rural plot, that visiting neighbour was surprised to see how we were meeting all our fridge and freezer needs with a single portable 240W PV system, 400Ah of 12V AGM batteries (=2.4kWh energy storage, assuming 50% DOD) and a 60 litre 12V DC chest freezer.

Here is a very brief videoclip of that setup on youtube and the components are as follows:

  1. Monocrystalline 240W, 12V portable photovoltaic set (two 120W panels which fold together)

  2. Voltage regulator embedded at rear of panel (a relatively inefficient pulse wave modulation box)

  3. Wires going to

  4. Two 200Ah deep cycle lead-acid AGM 12V batteries in parallel (protected against direct sunshine in a very makeshift manner)

  5. Wires going to

  6. Sixty litre chest fridge/freezer – in this case used exclusively as a freezer

  7. Standalone passive cooler box containing ice blocks to chill the perishables


Notes regarding use:

  • The location was around 40 degrees latitude South. Being high summer there were long hours of good sunshine each day and there were only a few half days when it was relatively overcast.

  • During that period, daytime temperatures went above 30 degrees C on several occasions, but was down into the low teens at night

  • With the freezer set at minus 12 degrees C (not the minimum setting), in the day the voltage display was usually around 13+V without load and 12+V with load. At night however the voltage went as low as 11V with load (low voltage cutoff was set at 10.7V)


Notes on efficiency (or lack thereof) with numbers corresponding to the components mentioned above:

  1. Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient (around 18% energy conversion). Polycrystalline and amorphous PVs are less efficient but are also cheaper and may therefore be more cost effective per Watt in situations where the panels are permanently fixed and do not need to be small and portable. Amorphous panels are more shade tolerant.

  2. An MPPT regulator is around 25% more energy efficient than a PWM regulator but is also more expensive and bulkier. Worthwhile investment for the long term.

  3. Shorter length of larger calibre wire will reduce energy loss

  4. Lithium batteries are much lighter, with greater depth of discharge and longer cycle life than lead acid, but remain significantly more expensive. A battery management system to ensure proper balancing of cells is essential. Perhaps even more expensive and much harder to obtain are Nickel Iron (NiFe or Edison) batteries, which despite a number of drawbacks (eg high rate of self discharge) beat all other batteries in terms of longevity (possibly indefinite if care is taken with the electrolyte) and are highly resistant to abuse (excessive charge or discharge). What type you choose depends on your list of priorities. A proper battery box or cupboard is of course required in a more permanent situation.

  5. see (3)

  6. see Notes on the chest freezer below

  7. When starting off, before buying perishables, bottles of water were placed in the freezer. When frozen solid they were then transferred to the cooler box to keep the veggies, fruit and milk cold. Even when mostly melted, so long as some ice remained in a bottle, the temperature in that bottle would still remain around zero degrees C. In practice we replaced each bottle with a fully frozen one when about half of the ice had melted. This would occur sooner rather than later if we drank the cold water and refilled it with ambient temperature water


Notes on the DC chest freezer:

  1. When the icecream was initially stored on the high shelf of the freezer it was mushy, but when placed at the very bottom, it froze well. This indicated to me that the temperature display related to the coldest, lowest part of the freezer

  2. The best way to retain cold in the freezer is to pack it with as many ice blocks / ice packs as possible (in this case we filled plastic bottles with water, which we froze). This will ensure that if inadvertent interruption of electricity occurs (eg low voltage cutout at night), food will remain frozen till electricity resumes (the sun rises or the wind runs your turbine). This strategy of “cold capacitance” will also reduce frequent cycling by the compressor (and hence should increase compressor longevity). Some marine systems incorporate tanks containing brine or glycol within the freezer compartment, the fluid being described as a "eutectic mixture" (a universally adopted misnomer) which performs this function even better.

  3. In climates where it tends to be cooler outdoors than indoors (temperate zones and colder), the most efficient location for a fridge/freezer is outdoors in the shade. The efficiency gain is particularly notable at night when the ambient temperature can fall markedly, hence the compressor will have an easier time working against a smaller temperature gradient.

  4. The chest configuration minimises loss of cold air when opening the lid (little cold air escapes, being denser than hot air).

  5. Probably the most important factor is heavy insulation and in this case I also double bagged the freezer with two external covers.

  6. Camping, caravan and boat fridge/freezers mostly use super efficient Danfoss type compressors, a design which has been refined over decades to cope with being transported and knocked about.

  7. Even though the compressors of domestic AC fridge/freezers have improved in efficiency over the years, running a standard AC appliance off PV will require an inverter which will incur about a 10% energy loss

  8. An acquaintance who bought a domestic AC dedicated chest freezer (hence heavily insulated) and used a thermostat to run it as a fridge only (at perhaps +3 degrees C), promoted it as a low energy method of refrigeration, which it was, even though it required an inverter when running off DC solar panels. However he subsequently argued that his setup was superior to a front opening, less well insulated, double compartment DC fridge/freezer (operating in simultaneous fridge + freezer mode) running off solar PV. His setup may have used less energy (mainly because it was not being used as a freezer) however his argument was spurious because he was comparing apples with oranges. Physics dictates that all other things being equal [if the motors of the AC and DC appliances are of equal efficiency and the appliances have the same configuration (chest only or double compartment only) and have exactly the same insulation and are operated down to the same temperatures in the same mode], then the setup which requires an inverter will inevitably be less efficient due to energy loss by the inverter. You cannot cheat physics.


What will the solar panel and battery requirements be in winter? Probably less than double for each, despite the shorter duration, weaker sunshine in winter, because the ambient temperatures will be much lower (assuming the system is kept outdoors in the shade) and hence the energy requirements by the freezer will be correspondingly less. Optimum angling of panels is particularly important in winter http://www.solarpaneltilt.com/

In subzero locations where sunlight is reflected off a snowy landscape, energy consumption will be a pittance.


Notes on the caravan electrics:

This was a separate circuit with another 240W PV system (probably overkill) charging a 100Ah house battery which was more than enough for the LED lights, water pump, stereo system and to charge laptop computers, mobile phones and low power handtools (rechargeable drill, circular saw etc). I only checked the voltage of that setup at the beginning and end of the stay (13+V each time).


Final comments:

This article describes short term experience of a minimalist freezer and PV setup located outdoors. However for long term use, despite the inefficiencies, most of us prefer an indoor, front opening, double compartment fridge/freezer setup (ie the standard setup, which we all take for granted) due to convenience. Nevertheless this was a useful proof of concept demonstration of how to minimise energy consumption using minimal equipment, while still meeting modern lifestyle desires. It can be a good backup option if your primary system (the one dependent on 25 PV panels on your roof) fails.

Longer term use of this minimalist system will require better anchoring of the PV panels, better protection of (shorter, larger calibre) wires, a rainproof well ventilated battery box, electrical grounding (by convention, usually to the positive terminal of the battery) and proper fuse protection. If the two 12V batteries are not absolutely identical in all respects, “string” (diode) protection between them is recommended. This setup is not meant for prolonged (several months) storage of frozen food, where the freezer temperature should be minus 18 degrees C or below.

G. Chia, March 2018



During this limited period, I used the “grape stomping” method of washing my clothes in the shower at the end of each day, which also saved water and detergent. A washing machine is not essential for a comfortable lifestyle, although it is great time saving device if you have the electricity available. The activity which requires most physical effort (and prunes the fingers) is wringing the clothes, which can be easily done with an old fashioned manual clothes mangler. This item may be difficult to source these days but is worth the investment. As for an electric tumble dryer, that energy sucking appliance is a pox on our civilisation. Unless you are a traveller in a hurry, you should air dry your clothes with a simple clothesline or rack!

This Week In Doom, April 8, 2018

That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on April 8, 2018

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

 ― Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  

It was a week much like any other week in the Age of Trump. We've been desensitized by the antics of the Tantrumish Manbaby in the White House, and the chaos comes so hard and so fast there is barely time to make sense of it. We saw the full-bore co-optation of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his murder…  the full-bore breakdown and digestion of the retail sector as the Trump Economy takes hold, the end products of digestion to eventually fill those MAGA hats…an on-again, off gain Trade War depending on who you talk to… Trumptantrums re Amazon… dark turns in AI including Killer Robots… and we're drowning in our own crap. Another perfect week.

White Martin

This week saw the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sarah Huckabee Sanders commemorated the occasion by by profaning the memory of the murdered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by reading at few paragraphs of his “mountaintop” speech on Wednesday.

It should be noted that Dr. MLK Jr. was a socialist and a real radical, although his legacy has been sufficiently stripped, sanitized and dry-cleaned for consumption by white America as to be unrecognizable. It is sufficient to remember that even his sharp criticism of the War in Vietnam, which alienated and frightened many of his supporters, was not enough to get him killed.

The estimable Charlie Pierce has it best:

Watching SHS, functioning as the official voice of a president* who started his road to the White House by spreading lies and slander about the first African-American president, reading those words in her dead-eyed Weekend-Anchor-in-Fort-Smith voice was enough to make me feel radically non-non-violent, which really is not the proper way to feel on this solemn occasion.

When King started talking economic issues and organizing Poor People, he moved into that column of those that had to be silenced and removed. The income inequality King decried today operates at crisis levels, unleavened by morality or human decency. One can criticize war with impunity, but risk not one word against Profits. Let's give Pierce the last word:

(King's) whole philosophy was based on breaking unjust laws. His whole career was made up of acts of lawbreaking. That’s who he was. That was his job. That was his mission, and that should be his memory. Non-violence is not the opposite of anger. It never has been. It is the repurposing of anger to constructive purpose, and that constructive purpose was the destruction of systems of oppression. If that’s a profound contradiction then, dammit, this country came into being as a profound contradiction. "How is it," sniped Samuel Johnson, "that we hear the loudest yelps for liberties from the drivers of negroes?" We are a people of contradictions. So was Martin Luther King, Jr. We should make the most of that.

Brick & Mortar Retail Meltdown, March Update

More bad news this week from the retail sector of the American economy, where bricks-and-mortar stores and chains that own them endure economic peristalsis as they are digested by the inexorable forces of automation. The mom and pop stores of youth have been gone ever since they built the mall in the 80s. We're now seeing the medium sized fish that ate the smaller fish turn up in the nets. Wolf Richter reports:

March was a busy month for the brick-and-mortar retail meltdown which kicked off in 2015 and has since picked up speed. We’ve followed this progression from the early days. This year, there was a brutal January, an even more brutal February, and here’s March.

Southeastern Grocers, parent of Winn-Dixie, filed for bankruptcy on March 28. It’s buckling under its debts…Michaels Companies, largest US crafts retailer with about 1,300 stores in the US and Canada, announced on March 22 that it would shutter all its 94 Aaron Brothers framing and art supplies stores… Claire’s Stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 19, suffocating under $1.9 billion in debt… Toys “R” Us filed for liquidation… Bon Ton stores faces liquidation if it cannot find a buyer… Guitar Center is buckling under its debts… Signet Jewelers, whose brands include Kay Jewelers, Zales, and Jared, announced on March 14 that it would close 200 Stores over the next 12 months… Foot Locker, with over 3,300 stores globally, announced on March 2 that it plans to close about 110 stores this year…

And in the centerpiece of hedge-fund vulture capitalism, Eddie Lampert, the billionaire majority shareholder of Sears and Kmart who married the two brands together in 2003, ostensibly to run them but now seemingly stripping them for parts. Under Lampert's management the number of Sears and Kmart stores nationwide has shrunk to 1,207 from high of 5,670, and at least 200,000 Sears and Kmart employees have lost their jobs. He's sold off signature brands like Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard, as well as Lands’ End, Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores, Sears Canada, and Orchard Supply. The sales have generate cash, which Lampert has generously returned to the shareholders.

Guess who owns 60 percent of Sear Holdings stock?

Of course, if you a a wretch who works in the hell-on-earth that is retail sales, you deserve your ignoble fate, unlike those Favored by God, the investor class. How are they doing? The Sears Holdings stock price has slumped to $2 a share, down from a high of $134 per share 11 years ago.  Wolf Richter:

Sears Holdings is reporting ever more horrid quarters. On March 14, it reported results for Q4, ended February 3, which covered the crucial holiday sales period. Revenues plunged 28% year-over-year to 4.4 billion. According to my projections and my beautiful chart, at the rate of declines over the past four years, revenues will drop below zero in 2020, even as CEO and hedge-fund owner Eddie Lampert is still touting “progress” in SEC filings. This thing is cooked and waiting to be carved up.

Some observers think that Sears Holdings is “a total shit show” that is in “secret liquidation” mode. For more, see the Vanity Fair article and profile of Eddie Lambert. Good stuff.

The demise of retail dovetails with the demise of the middle class into poverty as we increasingly struggle to pay for the necessities of life with salaries and savings are eroded by inflation and debasement of the money via debt. It is one sign that collapse is already in progress, and that we are frogs being slowly cooked. It will remain imperceptible to most for a long time until it's not, and then it's going to get ugly.

Trade War? Is there is or is there ain't?

Trump: Trade Wars Are Easy to Win. Also Trump: We Lost the Trade War with China.

Remember who said how easy trade wars are to win? It was the same guy who said we already lost. We're getting killed by Mexico,  We're getting "raped" by China. And recall when he told Justin Trudeau the US was running a trade deficit even though he knew otherwise? Oh, what a great kidder. On Tuesday Trump announced tariffs on Chinese products to the tune of $50 billion that include "robotics, information technology, communication technology and aerospace." China responded  the next day with $50 billion in tariffs on 106 different U.S. products, including cars, chemicals, and ag products including soy. China's selections seemed precisely calibrated to affect Trump country.

Not surprisingly, the market was off 500 points the next day, and another 600 the day after tht, before a rally to close higher as Trump's smoothers and handlers were our whispering sweet nothings in the ears of Real Money about how this was a "negotiation." They woke Wilbur Ross and wheeled him out to defend the moves, saying Trump is a lifelong deal maker" and China's tariffs are not the "first controversy he's gone into," Ross said. "This is not World War III."

We are to be reassured because human beings are not dying. Yet.

But not to worry– Mr. He Alone Can Fix It is on the case, and you should remember he had a book written for him entitled "The Art of the Deal." Just remember that everyone who came before Trump was a moron, but he is a business genius. And a stable genius at that.

Take Bezos, Give the Points

In a series of tweets, The Stable Genius picked a fight with Amazon owner Jeff Bezos because he could. Yes, the guy who bragged that he was "smart" for not paying taxes during a presidential debate and who refuses to release his tax returns, as every major-party candidate since Watergate has done, accused Amazon of somehow gaming the US Postal Service. From all accounts, the Amazon contract is profitable for the USPS, and has to be by law. In most Tweets, Trump refers to the "Amazon Washington Post," although Bezos owns The Washington Post outright.

Trump's contempt is is rooted in the fact that the Post has driven Trump to impotent rage with its persistent reporting of facts about him and his administration. 

Trump took to Twitter Wednesday to attack America’s most trusted brand: “Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt – many jobs being lost!” And, 

Most of the financial sites agree: Donald Trump Will Not Get the Best of Jeff Bezos. Through canny marketing and making the services easy to use,  Bezos has managed to integrate Amazon so thoroughly into the lives of customers that many can’t imagine living without its affordability and convenience. Oh, and lobbying. Virginia Postrel from BloombergView:

In fact, Trump’s irritation isn’t really with Amazon. Rather, he is obsessed with Jeff Bezos, whom he keeps denouncing by name. The guy clearly gets under his skin.

The obvious reason is that Bezos — not Amazon, Mr. President — owns the Washington Post. But Trump’s obsession seems a little too personal to be about the Post alone…

Rather, the very existence of Bezos seems to drive Trump crazy. Trump’s image, to himself and his fans, is that of alpha male — the dominant primate in the room. Simply by going about his business (and largely ignoring Trump), Bezos refutes that claim. He is a far more admired and influential businessman than Trump and, of course, immeasurably richer.

Start with appearance. Trump, who likes his staff to have the right “look,” would never cast a wiry guy who doesn’t hide his lack of hair as a big-time businessman. How can someone only five-foot-nine intimidate people into submission? In Trumpworld, intimidation, not value-creation, is what business is all about.

Bezos also has a sense of humor, often at his own expense, and a famously raucous laugh. Trump is humorless. He certainly doesn’t laugh at himself.

We'll leave consideration of the fine points, such as the probity of a sitting president* using the bully pulpit to damage a private company for pure political gain, as well as direct attacks on the free press and the independent judiciary, to the judgments of history. Which is apparently Bezos' attitude as well. The response from Amazon HQ has been silence. Which will prove to be golden. Amazon shares initially fell but are now trading higher. 

AI: Threat or Menace, Redux

Last week I waxed rhapsodic about Artifical Intelligence. I cited that fact that some Smart People have warned us about the implications. Some scoff and say that macines can never truly be "intelligent" because creativity. To which I reply tht the creativity of artificial intelligence can potentially look very different from that of humans. This week, there's this interview with Sophia, the AI robot that's now a citizen of Saudi Arabia:

Thanks to reader Kim Lambert for this one. And then there's the malign intelligence named "Norman." Meet 'Norman,' the Darkest, Most Disturbed AI the World Has Ever Seen

Housed at MIT Media Lab, a research laboratory that investigates AI and machine learning, Norman's computer brain was allegedly warped by exposure to "the darkest corners of Reddit" during its early training, leaving the AI with "chronic hallucinatory disorder," according to a description published April 1 (yes, April Fools' Day) on the project's website.

MIT Media Lab representatives described the presence of "something fundamentally evil in Norman's architecture that makes his re-training impossible…"

Time to open up another big can of "nothing-to-see-here-citizen," right? And in another light-hearted frolic this week, Elon Musk warns that creation of 'god-like' AI could doom mankind to an eternity of robot dictatorship:

If one company or small group of people manage to develop god-like super intelligence, they could take over the world," Musk said in the film.

He continued: "At least when there is an evil dictator, that human is going to die. But for AI there will be no death, it would live forever and then you would have an immortal dictator from which we could never escape….

We are rapidly heading towards digital superintelligence that far exceeds any human. I think it's very obvious. We have five years. I think digital superintelligence will happen in our lifetime, 100%," Musk said.

And such concerns have informed the consciences of at least some scientists.

'Killer Robot' Lab Faces Boycott from Artificial Intelligence Experts

Nearly 60 AI and robotics experts from almost 30 countries have signed an open letter calling for a boycott against KAIST, a public university in Daejeon, South Korea, that has been reported to be "develop[ing] artificial intelligence technologies to be applied to military weapons, joining the global competition to develop autonomous arms," the open letter said.

To strongly discourage KAIST's new mission, the researchers are boycotting the university until its president makes clear that the center will not develop "autonomous weapons lacking meaningful human control," the letter writers said.

But nothing to worry about since AI is "not creative."

Who's crap? Our crap.

And now we're drowning in our own crap as China has decided that they are going to treat our recycled waste like they treat the US Dollar: "We don't want it."

For decades, China has used recyclables from around the world to supply its manufacturing boom. But this summer it declared that this "foreign waste" includes too many other nonrecyclable materials that are "dirty," even "hazardous." In a filing with the World Trade Organization the country listed 24 kinds of solid wastes it would ban "to protect China's environmental interests and people's health."

The complete ban takes effect Jan. 1, but already some Chinese importers have not had their licenses renewed. That is leaving U.S. recycling companies scrambling to adapt…

For decades, China has sorted through all this and used the recycled goods to propel its manufacturing boom. Now it no longer wants to, so the materials sits here with no place to go.

There is no choice for affected Oregon recyclers but to take all of the recycling to the local landfill. Over a dozen Oregon companies have asked regulators whether they can send recyclable materials to landfills, and that number may grow if they can't find eager buyers elsewhere for our recycled products. So as we slowly cook, we can also enjoy drowning in our own garbage. Just another week in Doom.

banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere, and was active in the Occupy movement. He lives in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary and fully expects to be prominently featured on an enemies list compiled by the current administration.'s Department of Homeland Security.

C5 Walks into a Diner…

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 3, 2018

C5 walks into a diner

Discuss this article at the Doomsteading Table inside the Diner



… Stop Me If You Have Heard This One…


With your Host, Category5.


A funny thing happened to me on the way to the apocalypse.

Stop me if you have heard this one. A disheveled, aging, survivalist in a leather jacket walks into the Doomstead Diner. He puts a tiny little piano on the bar, then whips out a 10 inch pianist…. Buduptup.

That’s right folks. The Dark Green Mountain Survival Research Centre is now being cross posted at The Doomstead Diner. Hey, Mom, I’m almost famous.

To the new folks reading me for the first time, Welcome!

As I go into Season Two, this is a good time to recap who I am, what I am about…..And some of what we will be  building or experimenting with, here at the Dark Green Mountain Survival Research Centre this year. There is a good place to start. No. That is not a spelling error. It’s a quickly disappearing, Canadian spelling. If I had known I would have so many Amerikan readers I might have spelled it the other way. MrsC5 and myself  live on a paid for 110 acre Doomstead in rural Nova Scotia. You can say, it is a place that has already gone into economic collapse… and sort of has been for the last 200 years. This has its pros and its cons.

Lets get straight to the obvious. I am not like the other survivalists. I like my apocalypse Rude, Crude and Irreverent. I am the Dirty Street Punk, Gen-X Version of Survivalism.

More so, I consider most of the survivalist advice out there as completely and utterly useless. I know. I have lived much of it. It is survival advice that can not produce “Actual Survival”. In many cases, it is the complete opposite of survival and almost guaranteed to get you killed.

Thus the beginning of the C5 rules of Survival.

C5 Rule of Survival  #1 – There is no such thing as a Survival Expert. Anyone claiming to be is just trying to sell you something, whether that is a product, service, political, religious, or racial position. TRUST ME on this. I wrote a book about it that you will want to purchase.

C5 Rule of Survival #2 – Never trust anyone that says, “Trust Me”.

(Do your due diligence)

C5 Rule of Survival #3 – Take all the old Survivalist Advice and, pretty much, do the complete opposite…. and your actual chances of surviving goes up substantially.


Now, there is no book to purchase, by the way… but if their was, those first three rules would be on the cover… With me, Buck Naked, under the title, Modern Survivalism, EXPOSED!

There is actually nothing new about that statement. The late Mel Tappan, Survival writer for Guns and Ammo, back in the day, confronted a lot of the things I also challenge. Back in his day, he used to say the problem with Survivalism was too many Doctors and Lawyers. Not enough plumbers and electricians. Nowadays the problem with Survivalism, and even its more moderate offshoot, Preppers, is, too many plumbers and electricians… that all want to be special forces, invincible, super heroes roaming the wasteland, saving us all from evil doers.

The lives of the working class have become so miserable and meaningless that they fantasize about insurgent war and mass murder. This is, historically, how death squads happen. They feed on the most paranoid propaganda fantasies and, over time, it becomes an addiction … that needs even more darker paranoid fantasies to get the same buzz and feeling of that they have special knowledge. That they are special. It is more of an Existential Crisis at the end of empire.


So, let’s try to forget that the last 60 years of Survivalism and Prepping even existed for a moment, shall we.

Let’s wipe the slate clean. Let’s strip everything down to the most basic necessities of life.

And it’s not what you think.

Here are the main things we are facing. We are running out of the most essential resources as the population continues to grow. We have an economy that must always grow exponentially or it will immediately crash. And the crazy, abrupt change in weather patterns around the globe, long predicted, is now happening as we watch. Meanwhile, the Gen Pop, or  general population are going into multiple versions of insanity and denial of reality.

(I sometimes like listening to this, simply for the beat poetry. What can I say. I am a Renaissance Doomer)


So. Let’s start with an easy one.

If you suddenly are let go from your job and a bunch of other people are in the same position, and over time it becomes clear that you aren’t going to have another job again that actually pays enough to live on… FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE…the big question is…

…Where are you going to live?

No biggy. Think it through.

I live in cana’duh so that is no joke. Exposure and hypothermia will kill you faster than hunger or dehydration. Everything starts there. If you have a mortgage, you need to fully understand that your house is not yours. Not in the slightest. Not even a portion of it. Not until you have paid off every last penny…or sold it to some other sucker. Miss a few payments and it’s gone. Let’s not fool ourselves with the idea that if the banks fail, your house is free. They will just sell you and your debt to someone else. 2008 is still fresh in many people’s minds. The 2014-15 commodities crash is still fresh in the minds of Albertans. Greece’s collapse is still ongoing.

Many Millennials will be laughing hysterically at this paragraph and saying to themselves, “… Like I would ever be able to afford a Mortgage. Boomer problems. Shit…”

So that is your first question to answer. Where will I live when I no longer have (enough) money coming in?


I am not going  to actually give you an answer. That is up to you to figure out.

I am just giving you the right question to ask.

I often say, Survivalists and Preppers are really bad at understanding Transitional Phases. It doesn’t fit into their carefully scripted freedom fantasy. They are waiting for some magic event. “Bang! And we are off! Let the apocalypse begin.”

Nothing makes me roll my eyes and think, “Dead Survivalist walking”  more than hearing those, all too common, words, “When the Shit Hits The Fan, I am going to….”. Insert lame survival plan here. If you are not living your survival plan NOW, you simply do not have the working system necessary or enough experience. It’s a full time gig.

Let me rephrase that. It’s a full time gig simply to figure out everything you are doing wrong and how much you suck at simply staying alive. This is called, The Learning Curve. “If the apocalypse had actually arrived, survivors a few years later would have gotten used to a landscape scattered with empty garden-in-a-box kits, overgrown garden patches, and the skeletal remains of preppers who starved to death because the learning curve lasted just that much longer than they did” (John Michael Greer)


So, I created the  C5’s  5Fs  to slim Survivalism and Prepping down to something that is Real, Relational, and Relevant.


C5’s 5F- #1 – Food Storage –

“Because it is Cheap. Because it is Easy. Because your Great Grandparents wouldn’t understand why you didn’t and would be really angry with you” (Chris Martenson). The reason this is #1 is that even your best efforts cannot guarantee that your food systems will work, the weather will cooperate, the forests won’t be stripped clean of animals (which is almost guaranteed) or all your best growing abilities won’t be destroyed by super storms, droughts or fires. Even if you have food production down, that food must still be stored each and every year… with extra in case the next crops fail. I also often say, “Someone may try to kill you a few times in your life (I have survived a few attempts on my life before so I know)… but you have to Eat, Each and Every Day. Often, more than once.” If that seems daunting and expensive, here is all my best advice on how to do it cheaper than your diet today.  https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2018/03/14/season-ii-c5-serves-cock-favored-soup-doomstead-dining-on-survival-food-storage-home-at-the-dark-green-mountain/



C5’s 5F- #2 – Food Production –

Food. IT IS THE ALPHA AND OMEGA OF SURVIVAL. The Beginning and the End. Every thing else is extra. If you do not have that, you really have NOTHING. And You have NO CHANCE. If you were ever wondering what to do with your life, that is it. Right there folks. If that is not enough, figure out how to do it without oil or machinery input or dept financing or a functioning market to buy or sell it. That is your full life’s work right there. If where you live is not conducive to achieving this, or will not sustain food production because of climate conditions, water, population density or climate change, I have a simple answer to solve this dilemma. MOVE. Not when the shit hits the fan. Not as a Bug Out plan. Now. It will take you years of hard work and adjustment. The locals will take many years, if not decades, to accept you. (plus you will probably fail a few times. Doomsteading attempts are like Ex Wives. The first two are practice)

multi use greenhouse 2


C5’s 5F- #3 – Fire wood –

I live in Cana’duh. Heating is not an option. All survival advice is regional. If you live in a warm climate, this may be less important. Without industrial energy inputs, this is your one and only energy source. No wood, no survival. If you do not have this or can not use this where you are, see my very simple answer to solve this dilemma, above. On our return to cana’duh, we learned there had basically been no winter here, other than the occasional, lethal, polar vortexes which are now the new normal, and of course, the Bomb Cyclone on the day I was leaving. I don’t use the term Apocalypse lightly. There was absolutely no snow… then we got hit by 4, count it 4 Nor’easters in less than a month, in March. It has been bleak….followed by periods of really fucking depressingly bleak. I took the first snow opportunity to move some wood by sled. We will do a full article on wood soon… that I will probably just call “C5 gets Wood!”

dog and sled


C5’s 5F- #4 – Fuel Storage – (Short Term)

Nothing extreme here. Fuel has a short shelf life. We rotate ours into our vehicle every six months to keep it fresh. This is simply for interruptions in the fuel delivery system. A buffer. An Edge. Better to learn to live without it. I am a realist here, though. If fuel supplies abruptly shut off, the Vast Majority of the human population will be dead in short order. Energy Transition Will Not and Can Not solve this. Too Little, Too Late. If we had put war time level effort into this back in the 70s, maybe. Now? THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH. This is what this Blog is about. If you take my advice, this gives you a Very Slim chance at survival. Very Slim. If you don’t, you have none. FYI, I don’t plan on using this gas storage to run generators or “Tear around Nam looking for the shit”. It will almost all go into my chainsaw. If an abrupt stop happens, I have about two years till the gas goes bad. I was watching The Walking Dead the other night…and somehow, magically, they are still driving around. Never once have I heard them say, ” So. What are we going to do about the disintegrating TIRES”… and goddess forbid, they ever have to use their windshield wipers. TWO YEARS. This is how long I have to buck up enough firewood to get me through old age. Really. That is my SHTF job #1. For everyone else, you will quickly want to memorize the term, “Rocket Mass Heater” and let your fingers do the walking. People will become less uncomfortable using the term, “Faggot” again, in its historical usage. Look it up…and tremble.  https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/faggot

gas 1

C5’s 5F- #5 – Friends – (Long Term)

The People part of Prepping. Also the single hardest Job. And it has been an almost Full Time Job to achieve this and solve this problem in my life. It’s time for Survivalists to get real and kick the ideology driven idea of  Self Sufficiency to the curb as a masturbatory fluff Fantasy, that can not produce “Actual Survival”. Have you actually ever met a real person that is actually self sufficient? Me neither. If you think you might have, look a little closer and I suspect not.  There is a reason humans have almost always lived in villages. It is a survival system. Full disclosure. I don’t live in a village… and this makes me extremely vulnerable. My main goal in life before I die is to create one. A goal of which I expect to FAIL. I am running out of time. But you never know. I have been known to pull off miracles before. You are reading me, aren’t you? In the mean time, we throw alot of parties, go to others parties and try to think of ways to get like minded people to do stuff together. Building social reliance, social bonds and mutual support networks. Social Capital.


That there is the absolute minimum to survival in a rapidly changing and highly fucked up world, where a mass die off is quickly approaching. It is truly daunting. You now only have two options. Party like it is 1999 (or 2007)… or make a decision that you are going to try to save yourself and others. If you choose the latter, it is NOW time to get busy. Not tomorrow. Not when the Shit Hits The Fan. Now. Yesterday would better.

There is also another way to use the C5’s  F5s when thinking about all the other Vanilla ISIS, Yuppy Scum Survivalists out there that dominate the medium.

That would be to say out loud, “Well, Fucking Fuck the Fucking Fucked Fuckers”.

I am rather proud of myself for that one.

The other would be to say to them, “Go back to playing more Call Of Duty and watch lots of porn and live as happy of a life as long as you can, now…because your ‘Prepping’ can not produce ‘Actual Survival’… and you are quickly becoming a Clear and Present Danger to those of us that are actually trying”.

This is all my best advice, right there, shortened for  modern attention spans. Drop Mic.

Hang on. I dropped the mic. It rolled under the couch. Almost got it……….Got it!

OK, Grass Hoppers. This is my Kung Fu. Pay attention. I really do have other shit to do.

Up top is commentary. Now comes the practical survival advice.

There is an essential product you will have to purchase to stay alive…for when the shit hits the fan. Not a magnesium fire starter. Not a Glock or AR15. Not a Mylar lined poncho so the N.W.O. drones can’t find you.

A ladder. You heard me right. An aluminum extension ladder. The higher quality the better. It’s essential.

No, seriously. Have you EVER heard a survival teacher tell you, “You need an extension ladder or you will die”? Ever?

Can you figure out why? Think it through.

It is because you will have to get up onto your roof and clean the creosote out of your stove pipes… at least once a year. No one is coming to do it for you. If you do not do this, you will have a creosote fire and your house will burn to the ground around you. There is no getting around this eventually happening to you.

If you have lived it, that is Sooooo obvious that it is not even worth stating.

But that is the difference between REAL SURVIVAL TRAINING… and the other crap you read online. I expect A LOT of forest fires. Urban fires. Suburb fires, etc..

If you want REAL SURVIVAL TRAINING… here is a good one. It’s from my online friend, a trusted and reasonable prepper,  Denob. The administrator of the Canadian Preppers Network and IPN.

So, how do I know this. Do you think it comes from a divine prophetic ability? Nope. I was working on a project and left my ladder a little too close to the road. Some crack head redneck local decided to drive off with it. My first realization was that I could no longer get on the roof… and I hadn’t done my chimney clean in the spring like I was supposed to. I quickly made a ladder but it was too heavy for practical use. I am still waiting for a second hand ladder to show up at a garage sale. I suppose another piece of survival advice is, if you already have a ladder in your garage, it should also have a lock and something to attach it to. This is so thieves don’t use it to break into your house by going through any open, second story window.

The other… is that my stove gasket has been hanging down, probably should have been changed 2 years ago, and I have been waiting for spring when I no longer need the stove, to change it out. This means I burned alot of extra wood and had too hot a fire occasionally because there was too much air going in.

I suppose a third is that I had a creosote fire once, Way Back, when I first had to use a wood stove and it was new to me. It’s so common that the local fire chief took out his wood stove and only heats with electricity now. He was traumatized by seeing too many ruined lives.

But I can just hear the push back and comments from the survivalisty tactical tykes out there, when confronted with “The Ladder Factor”. It would be, “Well, you cant fit that in a Bug Out Bag”. No, really. I got that comment once when telling people the #5 purchase preppers should make is a Broad Fork https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadfork  (#1 item being a wood stove). Another would be hearing, “What are you going to do, swing it around in a circle to hit attackers with”. Really. I got that comment when presenting the #3 item. A quality, corded power drill…and a spare. It’s why I don’t and just can’t allow comments on my site. I just want to STRANGLE the fuckers!

It’s for my own mental health.


Sooooo. MrsC5 and myself just came back from 9 months in Peru and 3 months in Barbados. While MrsC5 was volunteering with a Canadian Development agency, I was taking the opportunity to study how others survive with less resources. We had basically burnt out from trying to achieve all that stuff  mentioned above and needed a break to recharge. For the new comers that are just tuning in now, the series started here  https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2017/04/18/survival-advice-from-south-america-part-1-the-arrival/ and you can work out how to read the series in order, yourself, if you wish. There is some epic posts in there.

And what can you expect from us this year at The Dark Green Mountain Survival Research Centre? It’s going to be a busy year.

The sexy stuff  happens later in the year. We have to do some upgrades, stabilization and rust proofing on our shipping container outbuilding while bringing in a second container to be turned into a hurricane proof, fireproof, polar vortex resistant, guest house. The “Research” part of this is, “how cheaply and quickly can we possibly pull this off?” Emphasis on cheap and fast.  It will be used for people staying here. But it is also a back up home if a superstorm turns our main house into match sticks or embers.

As soon as spring hits, I will be in a race to get as much pussy as possible. Pussy willow I mean. I will need at least a thousand 3ft willow cuttings. We will be starting living fences from scratch. Animal and human barriers. Mainly around the garden, since our deer fence is decomposing quickly, but other places as well. While doing that, we will revisit the ancient fencing method of Dead Hedging.

And I will soon try to do an experiment on mobile defensive barriers, and time how fast it takes to build each 8ft mobile section. The idea is to put it in front of vulnerable parts of the house, then as more can be built, the safe zone can be expanded outwards. The big part of this experiment will be to observe just how quickly nature destroys all of our effort and whether it is worth doing on mass. So, it is a multi year experiment.

And we will be revisiting Mythos and Logos Doomstead where they will be teaching us how to render clay from clay-ish soil, the main building block in cob building material. It’s heavy, slow work. I will be doing alot of bitch work while I learn, with you as the beneficiaries. I will be doing this to begin paying them back for saving my ass and tending our doomstead when we were in a bind overseas. I also have to do the same paying back, for a friend I will simply and mysteriously call “S”. She will need some help finishing her mini home and that will give the opportunity to talk about that subject.

We will also continue to work on C5’s F5- #5. The people part of prepping.  I may call this post “50 Shades of Grey. The Ties that Bind- Sexy Adult Parties and Guy on Guy action”. It’s on Community Building or Growing Social Capital. What did you think it was about? Oh, That. Well, whatever gets you UP in the morning. Never mind.

And more. Lots more. There really is a lifetime of work to do here. We will see how much we can get accomplished in between the usual food, firewood, some odd jobs off site since we have no income coming in this year and taking care of repairs (lots of repairs. Nature sure likes to break stuff) . Stay Tuned.

See you, next month


If you would like to give a Tip for services rendered or to support the cause, go here. https://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=MHI6RXIMnpmep-_sLNw_SK10fPfNKw2G24O8SOpLN3cKo-l-imCdw5inPYaBQMkbZFaOnm&country.x=CA&locale.x=CA   All “Tips” go towards material costs for future experiments.

(Thanks for the donations, N.S. and J.D.)







AI– Threat or Menace?

That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on April 2, 2018

“Artificial intelligence will reach human levels by around 2029. Follow that out further to, say, 2045, we will have multiplied the intelligence, the human biological machine intelligence of our civilization a billion-fold.”

—Ray Kurzweil

We came of age imagining New Frontiers, an idyllic time of relative innocence when anything seemed possible: rockets that would travel to the moon like buses,  a permanent space station, and flying cars a la the Jetsons.  It was the go-go 50s and 60s, when an energized Team America sat astride the top of the world, with few limits on dreams and none on ambition. Optimism hung in the air like the scent of roses on a spring morning. 

In the America of the 1950s and 60s, the future was filled to bursting with promise.  A youthful and beloved president set the country a challenge to travel from the earth to the moon in a decade, which we did, though he did not live to see it.

Young people read about ENIAC, the first (room-sized) computer designed to compute artillery tables during WWII (and later used for nukes). Large mainframes followed; in went punchcards, out came reports. Even my high school had one. Science fiction writers, envisioning the future, foresaw robots who would reliably assist humans in a variety of tasks and, of course, adventures. As a boy, I had a toy Robby the Robot, a dutiful servant in the 1956 MGM science fiction film Forbidden Planet. Later on, as I begin to read science fiction, I encountered Isaac Asimov's original three laws of robotics.

Introduced in his 1942 short story "Runaround" and included in I, Robot, The Three Laws are:

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

These laws provided themes for Asimov's robotic-based fiction, and were devoured by young adults. Intended as a safety feature, The Laws could not be bypassed,. This led to interesting plot twists in many of Asimov's robot-focused stories, as robots react in unusual and counter-intuitive ways as a consequence of how the robot applies the Three Laws to a given situation. Other authors working in Asimov's fictional universe adopted them and over time, we seem to have taken them as a given.

They are not. The utopian futures envisioned to earlier writers have given way to Terminator robots, and Skynet, to say nothing of pilotless drones raining relentless death down on wedding parties. We're a long way from Robby the Robot.

The notion of intelligent automata, a non-human intelligence, dates back to ancient times. More recently, computer technology may trace itself to back to Charles Babbage and his Difference Engine, but "artificial intelligence" can be traced back to 1956 and a conference at Dartmouth where the term was coined. Research in the field ebbed and flowed over decades, and has clearly benefited most recently from in increases in computing power. In 1997, when IBM's Deep Blue defeated Russian grandmaster Garry Kasparov, and in 2011, when IBM's Watson won the quiz show "Jeopardy!" by beating reigning champions Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings, a technological Rubicon had been crossed.

It's neither my purpose nor within my ability to trace all of the meaningful developments in AI, but thought it might be useful to consider AI's implications for the future. And yes, I am aware that for much of this discursion I am conflating robotics and AI, but since both rely on vast increases in processing power to be fully realized, keep your rotten vegetables in the bag and bear with me.

“The miraculous has become the norm.” –Jonathan Romney

Sales of manufacturing robots increase each year. According to The International Federation of Robotics, robot sales in 2015 showed a 15% increase over the prior year. The IFR estimates that over 2.5 million industrial robots will be at work in 2019, a growth rate of 12% between 2016 and 2019. Workers have been working side-by-side with robots for decades. My wife's father was a foreman at Ford who worked with robots in the 70s, so robotic work technology is common. But the predicted rate of adoption, coupled with the prospects of driverless fleets, raises the question of what happens to the jobs? And the workers?

No doubt robots increase productivity and competitiveness. This productivity can lead to increased demand and new job opportunities, often in more highly skilled and better-paying jobs. Yet for all this rosy optimism, fear nags. More often, it leads right to profits for the owners and immiseration for the laid off.

Several years ago, author and futurist Ray Kurzweil referred to a point in time known as "the singularity," that point at which machine intelligence exceeds human intelligence. Based on the exponential growth of technology based on Moore's Law (which states that computing processing power doubles approximately every two years), Kurzweil has predicted the singularity will occur by 2045.

“The pace of progress in artificial intelligence is incredibly fast. Unless you have direct exposure to groups like Deepmind, you have no idea how fast—it is growing at a pace close to exponential. The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five-year timeframe. 10 years at most.” —Elon Musk

Several thinkers worth listening to, including the late physicist Stephen Hawking and entrepreneur Elon Musk, warn that the development of AI portends cause for concern.

"The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race," Hawking told the BBC, in response to a question about his new voice recognition system, which uses artificial intelligence to predict intended words. (Hawking had a form of the neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, and communicated using specialized speech software.)

And Hawking isn't alone. Musk told an audience at MIT that AI is humanity's "biggest existential threat." He also once tweeted, "We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes."

Despite these high-profile fears, other researchers argue the rise of conscious machines is a long way off. Says Charlie Ortiz, AI head of a Massachusetts-based software company, "I don't see any reason to think that as machines become more intelligent … which is not going to happen tomorrow — they would want to destroy us or do harm. Lots of work needs to be done before computers are anywhere near that level."

Reassured yet?

“By far, the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it.”              —Eliezer Yudkowsky

“Someone on TV has only to say, ‘Alexa,’ and she lights up. She’s always ready for action, the perfect woman, never says, ‘Not tonight, dear.’” —Sybil Sage

"Alexa, make me a cocktail, willya?" Not quite yet, but perhaps soon, as companies are incorporating AI into their products. From smartphone assistants to driverless cars, Google is positioning itself be a major player in the future of AI. Amazon and Apple have staked out their own strong positions, as the ubiquity of digital assistants like Siri and Alexa makes them ghostly familiars… with access to your personal information, internet search histories, text messages and porn habits. And with Facebook and hundreds of apps hoovering up our personal information for resale to unseen third parties for purposes available only on a need to know basis, and you don't need to know…

… because YOU are the product.

"Machine learning" is a term of art referring to computer systems that learn from data. Time was computers followed instructions and performed computations for data crunching. Today's devices use a set of machine-learning algorithms, collectively referred to as "deep learning," that allow a computer to recognize patterns from massive amounts of data. This is a deep and profound change, the implications of which we have not yet grasped. And if we have not grasped it, how can we control it or appreciate its repercussions?

Recently AI developed its own non-human language. Researchers at the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research training their chatbot “dialog agents” to negotiate, described how the bots made up their own way of communicating.

At one point, the researchers write, they had to tweak one of their models because otherwise the bot-to-bot conversation “led to divergence from human language as the agents developed their own language for negotiating.” They had to use what’s called a fixed supervised model instead.

In other words, the model that allowed two bots to have a conversation—and use machine learning to constantly iterate strategies for that conversation along the way—led to those bots communicating in their own non-human language… the fact that machines will make up their own non-human ways of conversing is an astonishing reminder of just how little we know, even when people are the ones designing these systems.

So Facebook had to pull the plug because in a short period of time, the robots had developed their own language. Not sure about you, but when I envision a future where I attempt a transaction with online chatbots armed not only with a chip full of predictive algorithms, but also in possession of the entire dossier of personal information gleaned from every keystroke I've ever recorded, well, I'm not liking my odds. Here is your "permanent record" made real.

And then the prospect of the Internet of Things (IoT), a galaxy of sensors embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data. This is made possible by more ubiquitous broadband internet is become more widely available, less expensive connection costs, and more devices created with Wi-Fi capabilities and sensors built in.  I already know my phone and TV listen to me; will they next connive against me in concert with the refrigerator and the coffee maker? Encourage the air conditioner to go on strike?

All roads in AI seem to lead to dystopia. Our inability to imagine a more positive future for artificial intelligence may stem from the fact that we've lost faith in ourselves. We're seen the tech companies in action, and they are opaque. And they sell the data mined with impunity to unseen actors. Our morality is defined not by the Church or in civic pride, but by the spreadsheet; our worth found in the lower right-hand corner. Knowing we are cooking the planet, we insist on burning the last few gallons of liquid sunlight left ion the ground to wring the last few dollars of profit. We willingly sacrifice children to the profits of the Slaughter Lobby. We elect louts to lead us, accept sabotage as political business-as-usual, embrace treason as a cost of doing business. Under the circumstances, who would dare possibly envision a happier future?

Who could imagine Asimov's Three Laws emerging from any part of today's debased culture?

banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere, and was active in Occupy. He lives in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary in quiet and richly-deserved obscurity. He will have failed if not prominently featured on an enemies list compiled by the current administration.

Elon Musk Founds the Tobor Company

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on April 1, 2018


Discuss this article at the Science & Technology Table inside the Diner

It was revealed today that Elon Musk is starting a new company which will focus on Robotics and moving Human Consciouness into robotic bodies.  It is called Tobor, which is Robot spelled backwards.

"We are very excited about the future of this company." Elon said.  "We expect to roll out the first models shortly after Goldman Sachs underwrites the IPO for $1T in 2019."  The Stock Market Ticker Code for the new Tobor Company is T8M.  You can buy stock from Ameritrade.com when it is launched.

Numerous Geriatric Billionaires have signed up and put down deposits on the Tobor Model 8 (known as "Tobor the Eight Man"), below is the list  of aging Billionaires who have put down $100M deposits in order to get one of the first of Elon Musk's robotic bodies to shift their consciousness into on SHTF Day.  Here is the current list of investors:


1917: Raymond Perelman

Shahar Azran—WireImage/Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $0.9 (per Wealth-X)

Where From: America

How He Got Rich: Founder and chairman of RGP Holdings

1918: Chang Yun Chung (aka Teo Woon Tiong)

Image result for Chang Yun Chung
Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $1.7

Where From: Singapore

How He Got Rich: Co-founder of Pacific International Lines.

1919: N/A

1920: Aloysio de Andrade Faria

Image result for Aloysio de Andrade Faria
Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $2.4


Where From: Brazil

How He Got Rich: Inherited Banco Real from his father, and chairman of Alfa Bank.

1921: David Consunji

Image result for David Consunji
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Net Worth (in billions): $3.1


Where From: Philippines

How He Got Rich: Founder and chairman of conglomerate DMCI.

1922: Liliane Bettencourt

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $39.5


Where From: France

How She Got Rich: Heir to L’Oréal fortune.

1923: Robert Kuok

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $11.4


Where From: Malaysia

How He Got Rich: Founder of conglomerate Kuok Group.

1924: Henry Sy

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $12.7


Where From: Philippines

How He Got Rich: Founder of conglomerate SMIC.

1925: Serge Dassault


Net Worth (in billions): $16.1


Where From: France

How He Got Rich: Heir to conglomerate GIMD.

1926: Hans Rausing

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $12.5


Where From: Sweden

How He Got Rich: Heir to Tetra Pak.

1927: Samuel Newhouse Jr.

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $12.1


Where From: America

How He Got Rich: Heir, and co-owner, of Advance Publications.

1928: Li Ka-shing

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $31.2


Where From: Hong Kong

How He Got Rich: Chairman of conglomerate CK Hutchison.

1929: Pallonji Mistry

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $14.3


Where From: Ireland, via India

How He Got Rich: Largest shareholder in conglomerate Tata Group.

1930: Warren Buffett


Net Worth (in billions): $75.6


Where From: America

How He Got Rich: Chairman, and largest stockholder, of Berkshire Hathaway.

1931: Rupert Murdoch


Net Worth (in billions): $13.6


Where From: Australia

How He Got Rich: Executive chairman of 21st Century Fox and News Corp.

1932: Donald Bren

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $15.2


Where From: America

How He Got Rich: Chairman of real estate investment firm, Irvine Company.

1933: Sheldon Adelson

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $30.4


Where From: America

How He Got Rich: Founder and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands.

1934: Pauline MacMillan Keinath

Image result for Pauline MacMillan Keinath
Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $6.8


Where From: America

How She Got Rich: Great-granddaughter of the founder of Cargill.

1935: Charles Koch

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $48.3


Where From: America

How He Got Rich: Chairman and chief executive of Koch Industries, which was created by his father.

1936: Amancio Ortega


Net Worth (in billions): $71.3


Where From: Spain

How He Got Rich: Founder and former chairman of Inditex, owner of Zara.

1937: Klaus-Michael Kuehne

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $12.4


Where From: Germany

How He Got Rich: Majority shareholder, and former chief executive, of his grandfather’s transportation firm.

1938: Phil Knight

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $26.2


Where From: America

How He Got Rich: Co-founder of Nike.

1939: Jorge Paulo Lemann

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $29.2


Where From: Brazil

How He Got Rich: Beer magnate and investor who now owns stake in Restaurant Brands International.

1940: Carlos Slim

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $54.5


Where From: Mexico

How He Got Rich: Chairman and chief executive of various holdings, including Grupo Carso.

1941: Stefano Pessina

courtesy of Walgreens Boots Alliance

Net Worth (in billions): $13.9


Where From: Italy

How He Got Rich: Chief executive and vice chairman of Walgreens Boots Alliance.

1942: Michael Bloomberg

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $47.5


Where From: America

How He Got Rich: Founder and chief executive of Bloomberg

1943: Ronald Perelman


Net Worth (in billions): $12.5


Where From: America

How He Got Rich: Son of Raymond Perelman, chairman and chief executive of MacAndrews & Forbes

1944: Larry Ellison

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $52.3


Where From: America

How He Got Rich: Co-founder and chairman of Oracle.

1945: Azim Premji


Net Worth (in billions): $14.9


Where From: India

How He Got Rich: Chairman of Wipro, an IT firm.

1946: Peter Woo

Getty Images

Net Worth (in billions): $10.5


Where From: China

How He Got Rich: Former chairman of Wheelock and Company, and The Wharf Holdings.

1947: Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen

courtesy of LEGO

Net Worth (in billions): $21.1


Where From: Denmark

How He Got Rich: Heir to Lego fortune, and former president and chief executive.

1948: Jim Walton


Net Worth (in billions): $34


Where From: America

How He Got Rich: Heir to Walmart fortune.

1949: Bernard Arnault


Net Worth (in billions): $41.5


Unfortunately for David Rockefeller and Steven Jobs, this new innovation came too late for them. 🙁

  When informed that a new Robot body was fully sexually capable courtesy of technology stolen from the Japanese Sexbot manufacturers, Donald Trump also dropped in his $100M to get one of the first off the production line.  He added another $20M for one of the Options, an exceptionally large Robotic Penis.  Lengths available for the extended Penis vary from 9" to a full 1 foot in length.  Larger version are available on custom order.

The new Penis is designed to instantly jump to an erection when in the presence of an Eastern European or Norwegian model and will maintain a Woody indefinitely, thanks to the PowerWall battery supplied by Tesla to Tobor.  It will also ejaculate quarts of sperm as long as the reservoir inside the Robot is regularly refilled.  A subsidiary company of Tobor, "Sperms-R-Us" will provide refill sperm containers at Low, Low Prices Every Day. You may be able to purchase further discounted sperm containers online from Amazon and Alibaba.  Licensing details are still being worked out.  Do not buy unlicensed Sperm Containers, you may get a bad batch.

Image result for trump stormy

Image result for exploding tesla When asked whether it was possible the new Robotic Penis might EXPLODE like numerous of the Tesla carz, Mr. Musk dismissed this possibility.
"These Batteries are fully tested and well sealed inside the body of the Robot.  There is NO CHANCE these batteres could possibly EXPLODE."

Other younger forward thinking Billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg, the Winklevoss Twins and Elon Musk himself have placed orders for their new Tobor the 8 Man shells for their consciousness, along with numerous aging but not quite geriatric Billionaires yet like Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Crispin Odey and Bill Ackman have also signed up.

Major innovations are being introduced with the new Tobor models.  Carz will no longer be necessary because both of Tobor's legs are manufactured by Mr. Musk's Space X company, and will propel your new Robotic Body on a Ballistic trajectory to land anywhere on Earth in under an hour.  You can also fly straight to Mars without any additional spacecraft necessary.  SpaceX is developing Warp Drive legs that will allow you to travel between Galaxies faster than the Speed of Light.  Elon Musk has predicted these new legs will be available for the 2021 models, and upgrades to older models will be available as well.

The "Heart" of the Tobor Consciouness Container as substitute for the current Meat Package is a miniature Mr. Fusion Reactor invented by Doc Brown back in the 80s, but surpressed by the Big Oil companies so they could keep selling Oil to the sheeple.

Tobors Trekking the Stars will be able to refuel at any  Asteroids or Comets they run into in Interstellar Space.

When asked if the Tobor Company would be producing a madel more affordable for Joe 6-Pack, Elon nodded in the affirmative.  "Definitely.  We have a Tobor the 3-Man already on the drawing board and are tooling up for it now in the new Giga-factory.  Our current estimate for the price of this model is $50K.   It does have some limitations though, it will only be capable of travel within this Solar System.  You will need to upgrade if you want to do Interstellar travel."

Sentiment is high on Wall Street for the launching of the new IPO, which Lloyd Blankfein sees as the Piece de Resistance of his career as CEO with Goldman prior to retirement.  "This is the first $1T IPO EVAH!" Lloyd said at the announcement.  "We'll really sucker the Low Hanging Fruit with this one!"

How to Survive When, NOT IF, Catastrophic Climate Change Makes Earth’s Climate Unsuitable For Humans

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on March 30, 2018


Discuss this article at the Environment Table inside the Diner

How to Survive When, NOT IF, Catastrophic Climate Change Makes Earth's Climate Unsuitable For Humans

By Anthony G. Gelbert

During many periods in human history, some were doing just fine and others lived on the edge of starvation in a constant state of collapse. Abrupt changes in climate, such as that caused in France by a massive Laki volcanic eruption in Iceland in 1783, have resulted in famine induced starvation. In that case, starvation was followed by social upheaval and revolution, instead of collapse. Civilization in Iceland was nearly wiped out with that eruption (over one third of the population was killed), but did not collapse.

For a collapse to occur, the society destroying pressure must last longer than a decade or so. For example, natural climate alterations that produced lengthy droughts caused some ancient starving civilizations to eventually collapse. 

SNIPPET From the March 21, 2016 article, "Ten Civilizations or Nations That Collapsed From Drought", by Jeff Masters:

Drought is the great enemy of human civilization. Drought deprives us of the two things necessary to sustain life–food and water. When the rains stop and the soil dries up, cities die and civilizations collapse, as people abandon lands no longer able to supply them with the food and water they need to live. While the fall of a great empire is usually due to a complex set of causes, drought has often been identified as the primary culprit or a significant contributing factor in a surprising number of such collapses. Drought experts Justin Sheffield and Eric Wood of Princeton, in their 2011 book, Drought, identify more than ten civilizations, cultures and nations that probably collapsed, in part, because of drought. As we mark World Water Day on March 22, we should not grow overconfident that our current global civilization is immune from our old nemesis–particularly in light of the fact that a hotter climate due to global warming will make droughts more intense and impacts more severe. So, presented here is a "top ten" list of drought's great power over some of the mightiest civilizations in world history–presented chronologically.

Collapse #1. The Akkadian Empire in Syria, 2334 BC – 2193 BC.
Collapse #2. The Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt, 4200 years ago.

Collapse #3. The Late Bronze Age (LBA) civilization in the Eastern Mediterranean. About 3200 years ago, the Eastern Mediterranean hosted some of the world’s most advanced civilizations.

Collapse #4. The Maya civilization of 250 – 900 AD in Mexico. Severe drought killed millions of Maya people due to famine and lack of water, and initiated a cascade of internal collapses that destroyed their civilization at the peak of their cultural development, between 750 – 900 AD.

Collapse #5. The Tang Dynasty in China, 700 – 907 AD. At the same time as the Mayan collapse, China was also experiencing the collapse of its ruling empire, the Tang Dynasty. Dynastic changes in China often occurred because of popular uprisings during crop failure and famine associated with drought.

Collapse #6. The Tiwanaku Empire of Bolivia's Lake Titicaca region, 300 – 1000 AD. The Tiwanaku Empire was one of the most important South American civilizations prior to the Inca Empire. After dominating the region for 500 years, the Tiwanaku Empire ended abruptly between 1000 – 1100 AD, following a drying of the region, as measured by ice accumulation in the Quelccaya Ice Cap, Peru.

Collapse #7. The Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) culture in the Southwest U.S. in the 11th – 12th centuries AD. Beginning in 1150 AD, North America experienced a 300-year drought called the Great Drought.

Collapse #8. The Khmer Empire based in Angkor, Cambodia, 802 – 1431 AD. The Khmer Empire ruled Southeast Asia for over 600 years, but was done in by a series of intense decades-long droughts interspersed with intense monsoons in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that, in combination with other factors, contributed to the empire's demise.

Collapse #9. The Ming Dynasty in China, 1368 – 1644 AD. China's Ming Dynasty–one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history–collapsed at a time when the most severe drought in the region in over 4000 years was occurring, according to sediments from Lake Huguang Maar analyzed in a 2007 article in Nature by Yancheva et al.

In this image, we see Kurdish Syrian girls among destroyed buildings in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane on March 22, 2015. Image credit: Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images.

Collapse #10. Modern Syria. Syria's devastating civil war that began in March 2011 has killed over 300,000 people, displaced at least 7.6 million, and created an additional 4.2 million refugees. While the causes of the war are complex, a key contributing factor was the nation's devastating drought that began in 1998. The drought brought Syria's most severe set of crop failures in recorded history, which forced millions of people to migrate from rural areas into cities, where conflict erupted. This drought was almost certainly Syria's worst in the past 500 years (98% chance), and likely the worst for at least the past 900 years (89% chance), according to a 2016 tree ring study by Cook et al., "Spatiotemporal drought variability in the Mediterranean over the last 900 years." Human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases were "a key attributable factor" in the drying up of wintertime precipitation in the Mediterranean region, including Syria, in recent decades, as discussed in a NOAA press release that accompanied a 2011 paper by Hoerling et al., On the Increased Frequency of Mediterranean Drought.

A 2016 paper by drought expert Colin Kelley showed that the influence of human greenhouse gas emissions had made recent drought in the region 2 – 3 times more likely.

Full article with lots of great pictures: https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/ten-civilizations-or-nations-that-collapsed-from-drought.html

As Dr. Jeff Masters evidenced above, extended drought, sometimes alternating with other harsh climate conditions like intense rains, can lead to starvation. Long wars exacerbate the situation, leading directly to collapse.

In addition to the above, there is another climate change based collapse level attack on human civilization, one that is 100% unavoidable now, that has wreaked havoc in the past.

SNIPPET from the March 23, 2018 article, "Humanity has contended with rising seas before — and it didn’t go well for us", by Alxandru Micu:

The Neolithic revolution was the first major transformation humanity had paused — the transition foraging to farming. Spreading out from the Middle East, this wave of change took peoples used to hunt and forage wherever they pleased and tied them down, hoe in hand, to sedentary — but oh so lucrative — farms and fields.

Around 7,600 years ago, however, the revolution paused — no new agricultural settlements seemed to pop up in Southeastern Europe around the time, existing communities declined, and the progress of civilization as a whole came to a standstill. Up until now, we didn’t have any inkling as to why this happened, but new research from the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, the Goethe University in Frankfurt, and the University of Toronto sheds some light on this mysterious period.

According to their findings, this lull in progress was due to an abrupt rise in sea levels in the northern Aegean Sea. Evidence of this event was calcified in the fossils of tiny marine algae preserved in seafloor sediments.

The impact this event had on societal dynamics and overall development during the time highlights the potential economic and social threats posed by sea level rise in the future, the team says. Given that climate-change-associated changes in sea level are virtually unavoidable, the team hopes their findings will help us better prepare for the flooding ahead.

“Approximately 7,600 years ago, the sea level must have risen abruptly in the Mediterranean regions bordering Southeastern Europe. The northern Aegean, the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea recorded an increase of more than one meter. This led to the flooding of low-lying coastal areas that would have been ideal areas for settlement,” says lead author Professor Dr. Jens Herrle.

The evidence supports a link between the two timeouts in the Neolithic revolution and the flooding events. The event 8,400 years ago coincides with archaeological findings suggesting that settlements in low-lying areas were under significant hardship from encroaching seas and other associated climatic changes. The renewed rise just 800 years later likely amplified these communities’ woes, keeping them from making the transition to agriculture.

“The source of this may have been Lake Agassiz in North America. This glacial meltwater lake was enclosed in ice and experienced a massive breach during this period, which emptied an enormous volume of water into the ocean.”

Past fluctuations in sea levels have already had a significant effect on human history during the early days of agriculture, the authors note, warning that it would be unwise to dismiss the challenges it will place in our path in the future.


The article goes on to repeat the overly conservative estimate from the IPCC of a rise by up to "one meter over the next 100 years". That is the same IPCC that predicted the amount of ice depletion we have at present at the poles would not occur until 2070. That is the same IPCC that has NOT figured in the contribution of ice loss from Greenland to global sea level rise in any of the models.

So, if you are a logical person, I recommend you count on 3 to 6 meters, at least, of sea level rise several decades before the end of the century. As Peter Ward says (The Flooded Earth: Our Future In a World Without Ice Caps by Peter D. Ward]) ,over 25% of the world's arable land is near sea level and will be flooded. Most major airports along coastlines will be flooded. Every harbor facility in the world will require a staggering amount of land fill to raise them as the sea level goes up. Most coastal real estate, currently highly assessed in value, will be flooded and become worthless.     

By the way, the latest science indicates that rapid sea level rise will be accompanied by a large increase in volcanic eruptions (which might slow down the heating due to a temporary increase in aerosols), and and increase in earthquaqe activity. The volcanic aerosols, at most, will be a minor speed bump on the way to intolerable climate caos. So, please don't count on volcanic eruptions to 'save us' from global warming hell. That is wishful thinking.

I am not a voice "crying in the wilderness" on this issue. I will provide you some screenshots from the video of a scientist who recently wrote the book, "Waking the Climate Giant". He predicts a continued increase in volcanic activity, now observed in the data, due to terrain bounce from melting land ice and increased pressure on the surrounding seabed, as the the global average temperature increases. It's not the volcanoes that are increasing the heat, it's the greenhouse gases that are causing massive ice melt that, in turn, triggers earthquages and volcanic eruptions. Read his book if you disagree. I just watched the video but I think he is spot on.

On Earth, destructive climate change was not catastrophic before. The difference now it that the entire globe will be impacted. Humans have never lived on a planet with an average temperature of 3° C above pre-industrial. We will pass that mark up a half century before 2100 and continue towards PLUS 4° C and beyond, with no available technological or natural negative feedback mechanism to stop the continued acceleration, not slowing, of the rate of increase in temperature.

Already our atmosphere is being distorted by global warming to the point of pushing the dry subtropical bands on either side of the tropics towards their respective pole, thereby increasind drought conditions in highly populated areas and a large percentage of hitherto arable terrain.

SNIPPET from the February 2, 2016 article, "The mystery of the expanding tropics", by Olive Heffernan

As Earth's dry zones shift rapidly polewards, researchers are scrambling to figure out the cause — and consequences.

One spring day in 2004, Qiang Fu was poring over atmospheric data collected from satellites when he noticed an unusual and seemingly inexplicable pattern. In two belts on either side of the equator, the lower atmosphere was warming more than anywhere else on Earth. Fu, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle, was puzzled.

It wasn't until a year later that he realized what he had discovered: evidence of a rapid expansion of the tropics, the region that encircles Earth's waist like a green belt. The heart of the tropics is lush, but the northern and southern edges are dry. And these parched borders are growing — expanding into the subtropics and pushing them towards the poles.

Tropical forest losses outpace UN estimates

Cities that currently sit just outside the tropics could soon be smack in the middle of the dry tropical edge. That's bad news for places like San Diego, California. “A shift of just one degree of latitude in southern California — that's enough to have a huge impact on those communities in terms of how much rain they will get,” explains climate modeller Thomas Reichler of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Elsewhere, there is evidence that tropical expansion is affecting the ocean. Where the Hadley cell descends, bringing cool air downward, it energizes the ocean and whips up currents to high speeds. This energy powers the upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich waters towards the surface, which feeds some of the world's most productive fisheries. But there are hints that some of these regions are suffering because of shifts in the Hadley cell.

These upwelling zones could move south over time, or get weaker or stronger, depending on what happens to the Hadley cell, says Cook. In any case, it means that fishing communities that rely on these resources will not be able to count on traditional patterns.

On land, biodiversity is also potentially at risk. This is especially true for the climate zones just below the subtropics in South Africa and Australia, on the southern rim of both continents. In southwestern Australia, renowned as one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, flowers bloom during September, when tourists come to marvel at some of the region's 4,000 endemic plant species. But since the late 1970s, rainfall there has dropped by one-quarter. The same is true at South Africa's Cape Floristic Province, another frontier known for its floral beauty. “This is the most concrete evidence we have of tropical expansion,” says Steve Turton, an environmental geographer at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia.

Turton worries that the rate of change will be too rapid for these ecosystems to adapt. “We're talking about rapid expansion that's within half or a third of a human lifetime,” he says. In the worst-case scenario, the subtropics will overtake these ecologically rich outposts and the hotter, drier conditions will take a major toll.


Vermont is already experiencing the economy harming effects of climate change. A Vermonter, concerned about this, wrote about it. He has a right to be.

Watching Nature Collapse March 24th, 2018 by George Harvey

Sometimes it seems the best of everything is passing away.


A few years ago, someone threw a peach pit into shrubbery on the front yard of the house where I live. The tree that sprouted from the peach pit is now bearing fruit. Neighbors have paw-paw trees growing in their yards. But Vermont’s maple sugar industry, and the apple orchards, and the blueberry fields are all suffering. Vermont is fast becoming a place unlike what it has ever been, and it is not an improvement.


Don't look at what he wrote as the "new normal" and just think we can 'adapt' to climate change by growing different crops and so on. This is the leading edge of climate that will soon, much sooner than many think, become intolerable for crop growing. We are not just on a treadmill moving in the wrong direction; our velocity on that deadly treadmill is increasing. Please keep that in mind so you are not lulled into thinking it would be 'nice' to grow palm trees in Burlington. Yes, the fossil fuel industry 🦖 does continue to try to pitch the 'warmer weather good' out of context propaganda happy talk. They'll do anything to keep their profit over people and planet suicide machine going. Stupid is as stupid does.

All these deleterious effects of Catastrophic Climate Change will continually get worse, not for a decade or so, but for over a century.

Temperatures unsuitable for human life are baked in for at least a couple of centuries, even if we stopped the insanity of constantly making things even worse by going on a crash program to stop burning fossil fuels. Yeah, we have to do that. Yeah, if we don't, we are all dead. But, regardless of what we do, it will take a while to catch up to all of us. I write this for those who, though sadly unable to stop the insane suicidal "business model" of the biosphere killing fossil fuel fascists, wish to survive as long as possible.

I wish to stress that, though many confused voices out there do not wish to face this, the one unifying aspect of the present threat to human civilization is Catastrophic Climate Change, NOT lack of fossil fuel based energy.

Have I got your attention? Good.

Then, look at this graphic from the Video, "Waking the Climate Giant", and ask yourself if it reflects our current situation:

The above graphic is already correct in its prediciton. In 2017 (the emissions data was for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016) the greenhouse gas emissions INCREASED. Consequently, there is a very, very high probability that the collapse of our civilization will occur much sooner than we think.

Some humans in different parts of the globe are already well acquainted with living on the edge of collapse. I am absolutely certain that many jungle tribes in Brazil, Ecuador and Peru, RIGHT NOW, live on the edge of starvation in a constant state of collapse, while most of the city dwellers nearby live not much better, but still avoid starvation.

My point in this quixotic exercise in hard truth logic is that the lack of food in the past has eventually triggered revolutions, not collapse of the civilization. It is after the social upheaval, when no solution to the lack of food problem is found, such as is in LONG WARS of aggression or extended harsh climate conditions, that collapse ensues.

People tend to fear other people more than deleterious climate. People can certainly be a threat to your life and stuff, but Catastrophic Climate Change is a much greater threat to everything you hold dear, past, present and future.

Catastrophic Climate Change is worse than a long war of aggression because it will last much longer than a human lifetime.

The climate change problem is intractable, but I believe some WILL beat it for maybe a century or so. For example, there are places near the equator with very high mountains. A world heated plus 4° C by around 2060, despite happy talk by certain wishful thinkers, will kill off most humans. BUT, in high mountains, the tree line will move way up while the temperature becomes temperate, even at the Equator. I stress the equator, though RE will vigorously disagree, because human civilization in a low food environment with over acidified seas (no easy fish or whales or seals to catch = NO ESKIMOS) with poor available sunlight is not a recipe for long term survival, even if the temperature is mild enough to grow crops.

There is a mountain in Ecuador (Chimborazo) about 20,000 feet high that will, because of the horrendously altered atmosphere, get plenty of rain even at high altitudes. There are several other candidates in the HIGH tropics around the world. This will enable the folks living there to grow enough food, thanks to an ABUNDANCE of sunlight all year round, with low tech methods. They just might be able to ride out the fossil fuel burning stupidity that dooms most of human civilization.

The tree line, the highest point on a mountain that trees will grow, varies between 5,000 feet and up to 13,000 feet above sea level. It varies so much mainly because of wind chill, though the length of the summer growing season is important as well. A tree in relatively mild wind conditions can grow all the way up to the maximum recorded tree line altitude at temperature well below freezing (down to minus 40° F =- 40° C  ;D), provided its roots can get enough water.

Trees can have liquid water in their tracheal elements at such low temperatures because of a wonderful combination of two factors. The first is that the 'pumping' mechanism of a tree is more a sucking mechanism than a pumping mechanism. The transpiration of water vapor into the atmosphere at the branch leaf pores creates negative pressure on the water molecules inside the tree (as long as the tracheal elements vacuum is not breached by air intrusion).

Water molecules, as they travel up the inside of tree, aided by capillary action as well as transpiration, can be stretched by as much as negative 25 atmospheres! That is how those Giant Sequoias can move up to a 130 gallons of water a day over a 100 feet vertically.

The second factor is that the water in the tracheal elements, in addition to being thoroughly stretched, is extremely pure. This prevents the crystalization of water around non-water substances that would normally trigger freezing at 0° C. But, when the wind is howling during below freezing temperatures, the wind chill can cause the water in the tree to freeze and eventually kill the tree.

The closer to the equator a high mountain tree is located, the longer it's growing season will be. If the growing season is too short, like in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the tree line is only about 4,500 feet.

SNIPPET from an article about the Tree line:

The elevational limit of such suitable summer conditions varies by latitude. In Mexico, for example, treeline occurs somewhere around 13,000 feet, whereas farther north, in the Tetons, for instance, it occurs lower, at approximately 10,000 feet. Again, it’s a ragged line that may vary by hundreds of feet on any mountain, depending largely on shelter and exposure.

Because the elevational treeline is so closely tied to temperature, many suggest that it could be a particularly sensitive indicator of global climate change. Presumably, rising temperatures would increase the elevation of treeline in any locale, altering forest distribution and potentially ousting rare plant communities – and their inhabitants – that now exist above treeline. Although the specific physiological mechanism of treeline formation is not fully understood, there is growing photographic and other evidence of upward shifts in treelines worldwide.


A PLUS 4° C (and still going up) atmosphere by around 2060 will enable trees to grow at much higher altitudes. For every degree increase in average global temperature, a corresponding increase in humidity of at least 7% to 13% will take place. We will have an atmosphere expanding vertically, but also with increased humidity. This will accelerate warming because water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas, but the good news is that high mountain areas will, in some areas, experience more rain higher up.

As noted at the beginning of this article, humans need water and other adequate growing conditions in order to have a viable civilization.

The Catastrophic Climate Changed world of 2060 will be a stormy place. The over acidified, mostly dead oceans, will be full of giant waves. The winds during storms will be off the charts in comparison to what we experience now. High up in the mountains, some type of barrier will need to be erected to keep the fierce winds from destroying the crops.

Finally, those hardy folks who carve out a life in year-round sunny high mountains will have to deal with UV radiation. It is a fact that, at present, the UV levels at around 10,000 ft. and above are particularly hazardous to humans.

However, with the expanded atmosphere in an overheated planet, this is the one area I see as hopeful for humans and animals living on very high mountains. You see, in said expanded atmosphere of plus 4° C and above, the massive increase in humidity will inhibit UV radiaiton.

Nevertheless. Since the equator alpine areas are infamous for high UV radiation, it would be prudent to plan to plant crops that have high UV tolerant foliage, like tubers. Hopefully, the greatly increased humidity will help protect the High Mountain Human Heroes.


Everyone is exposed to UV radiation from the sun and an increasing number of people are exposed to artificial sources used in industry, commerce and recreation. Emissions from the sun include visible light, heat and UV radiation.

The UV region covers the wavelength range 100-400 nm and is divided into three bands:

UVA (315-400 nm)
UVB (280-315 nm)
UVC (100-280 nm).

As sunlight passes through the atmosphere, all UVC and approximately 90% of UVB radiation is absorbed by ozone, water vapour, oxygen and carbon dioxide. UVA radiation is less affected by the atmosphere. Therefore, the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface is largely composed of UVA with a small UVB component.

Environmental factors that influence the UV level

Sun height—the higher the sun in the sky, the higher the UV radiation level. Thus UV radiation varies with time of day and time of year, with maximum levels occurring when the sun is at its maximum elevation, at around midday (solar noon) during the summer months.

Latitude—the closer the equator, the higher the UV radiation levels.  :(

Cloud cover— UV radiation levels are highest under cloudless skies. Even with cloud cover, UV radiation levels can be high due to the scattering of UV radiation by water molecules and fine particles in the atmosphere. :(

Altitude—at higher altitudes, a thinner atmosphere filters less UV radiation. With every 1000 metres increase in altitude, UV levels increase by 10% to 12%.


What do you think are the chances of human civilization achieving what the following graph says we HAVE TO DO?

There is NO WAY in God's (formerly good) Earth that we can avoid a climate that is almost entirely unsuitable for human life. The above graphic illustrates that. Anyone who thinks that we can do what needs to be done to avoid a PLUS 4° C (and above!) climate that will kill most humans and cause the extinction of thousands of other vertebrate species is engaging in magical thinking.  >:( 

ALL the people near the surface in the tropics will die as crispy critters, period. Those in temperate zones will perish too. Those near the poles who live near the surface will last as long as the food they have lasts. Unless they can maintain some geothermally heated and powered high tech greenhouse CITY that includes PLENTY of crop growing quality light and plenty of water, they will die too.

I might add that those greenhouse giant domes, both near the poles ond on high equatorial mountains, had better be MASSIVELY strong. The storms that will visit them and the wind speeds they will face in a PLUS 4 ° C planet  will make any recent hurricane look like a gentle breeze.

The giant greenhouse domes situated in the high equatorial mountains would have to be something like the U.K. Eden Project Domes, but way up high on a mountain. In England they have an enclosed rainforest in these domes. They need to be ten or twenty times bigger for an equatorial alpine community. If the post collapse alpine community could control the atmospheric pressure in the giant domes, more UV protection is guaranteed and more comfortable living for humans too.



For those still worried about fellow humans trying to kill you for your stuff, remember that high mountains are a natural defense against warlike humans during the initial phases of the Climate Change Caused Collapse. The heat lower down will eliminate any human threat after a couple of decades. 

STOP thinking you are going to live on planet that has the remotest resemblance to the one you have lived in all your life. THAT is WISHFUL THINKING! The LEAST of your problems is going to be worrying about the "zombie" humans getting your stuff.

NOTE: I pose these issues for your discussion. I will not argue the merits of them beyond this comment. If you disagree with anything I said, then you are entitled to be as wrong as you like.  ;D  :D 

C5 serves Cock Favored Soup- Doomstead Dining on Survival Food Storage

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on March 27, 2018


Discuss this article at the Diner Pantry inside the Diner

With this article, the Diner welcome Category5 to to the Pantheon of Diner cross posters.  In this case, C5 is a rank up from the typical cross-poster since he also has become an active participant Inside the Diner on our Kollapsnik Forum as well.

Like me, C5 is also concerned with the FOOD issues and how to eat cheap on the way to full on collapse, and he recently gave us a Shout Out on his blog, Dark Grean Mountain Survival Research Center.  So it's only fair we give him a Shout out back!

C5 is also another Prepper on the Diner with a Doomstead, another Hoser from the Great White North of Canada.  He's a welcome addition to our team of Kollapsnik Bloggers here on the Doomstead Diner.  We look forward to more of his articles in the future.  We also welcome any of his friends from the Permie Community to come join us for a Collapse Meal Inside the Diner on the Forum. Click the links for "Inside the Diner" or the Forum link on the Nav Bar to learn how to join our merry crew of Kollapsniks!

One warning, he is about as long winded as I am so it's a good idea to sit down with the adult beverage of your choice or a nice meal to accompany the reading. -RE





Season II- C5 serves Cock Favored Soup- Doomstead Dining on Survival Food Storage, Home at The Dark Green Mountain


With your host, Catergory5 …and… Some people I don’t have permission to promote… but I am going to do it anyhow. Devious bastard that I am.

I have noticed something by watching the statistics.

Few people read links I put on the page.

Fore those of you who don’t read my links….. You are not going to have much fun this post.

Its an important post or I would not of done it. I really do have other things to do.

Click the links… or it wont make sense. DJ C5 might as well kick this season off with the soundtrack to this fine article, below


We are teaching people how to swim, proverbially.

Periodically, I stumble onto really good survival advice… that others don’t or wont take much interest in because it is just not sexy enough. All the Real Survival Advice that can produce Actual Survival….definitely not sexy. As I have said many times, someone may try to kill you a few times in life… but you have to eat every single day. Often more than once. This should adjust your focus onto what is really important… and know what is just masturbatory fluff.

One of those better series was presented by Re at The Doomstead Diner. “SNAP Card Addendum”.

I’ve unrepentantly stolen a couple things from Re. The first is that I refer to my place as a Doomstead. It was the perfect word. Homestead was the wrong word, bringing to mind imaging of settlers carving something out of the wilderness. Its falsely progressive sounding. A Doomstead is for when society is regressing. Our place is not a farm. That implies it is a business of exploiting land, and selling something. A Doomstead implies the process of buying and selling has gone wonky. A Community implies something hippy or religious utopian. A Doomstead community on the other hand implies that you need each other simply to stay alive  in the midst of a dystopia. And it is definitely not a Bug Out Location. That implies Business As Usual with a last minute escape plan. You know I consider this a Denial Plan. No real Plan at all. A Doomstead implies acceptance and that you have put collapse adaption theory into practice…and boy, did it ever need practice. It took 5 years of full time work to simply be able to say we had Addendaed the shit out of our lives and skills to the point we simply would not die…but we would not like it much. Five years of work meant we simply wouldn’t have distended tummies and sunken eyes, ethiopian style, while freezing to death. Yup. Its a Doomstead. Then we burnt out and went traveling, knowing it was the last chance. Now it is time for more Addenda.

The other thing I stole from Re was the word Addendum. Not commonly used but I am a wordy guy and it is a useful word for what I do here on the Doomstead.

Now I am about to steal Re’s Soup….

Re’s articles, that I am shamelessly stealing are on Cheap Eats. Food that can be afforded by those on Welfare. We don’t have SNAP Cards here in Cana’duh… but the principle is the same. I have been on Welfare before so understand how hard it can be to get enough nutrition. I consider the whole episode as Survival Perspective training.

If you are thinking of checking out at this point because somehow you are just too good for this and it would never happen to you…just stop. Get over yourself… or better still, just stop reading, go back to the other Yuppy Scum Survivalist sites, roll the dice and takes your chances.

This isn’t just about staying fed while poor. Its Survival Training. Wrong word. Its Adapter Training. It will also teach you how to better use products in your food storage. How too stretch it out. How to make it healthier. How to use the absolute cheapest available industrial production food (some of the cheapest food to put in your food storage system) and yet get flavor AND nutrition AND enough calories AND still be comfort food… during a time when you will really need comfort food.

For those with less funds, this is a path to being able to to build your own food storage prepping supplies. Simply put, the only way to get past, hand to mouth eating mixed with periodic hunger, is to lower your food cost… and then focus that money into food storage as a buffer against food or financial interruption.

More important than Re’s actual advice, is that this post should re train you how to think about survival food. How can I “Addendum” my food. How can I make it Better. More nutritious. More “Edible”.

What got me thinking about writing this, is that we just came back from some places with SUBSTANTIALLY higher food costs. We simply could not afford the “Junk” food. Junk is a good word for it. Its barely food. But its cheap… thus North Amerikans eat it and think it is food. I store alot of it in my food storage because it is cheap and shelf stable. Its also grossly underpriced. Its artificially priced. It doesn’t represent actual work…and my subconscious has been SCREAMING at me that it is about to go away… some time very soon. My subconscious has steered me right before.  It pays attention to what my conscious mind might not have all the facts about. And my subconscious has been screaming at me to quickly rebuild my pantry, specifically, the cheap “Junk” food. Like canned soups. A simple doubling of the price would suddenly make many peoples lifestyles drop dramatically. Depression, divorce, homelessness and mis-focused political outrage would follow.

In Barbados, a can of Chunky Soup was going for about 8-10 dollars. A bag of Chips, 12$. A carton of Juice, 7$. Our standard of living dropped dramatically when our food costs more than doubled. It got me thinking of the Arab Spring. A doubling of food costs, shattered the existing order. Syria?  That has all been about climate change, farm abandonment and food cost rise. Suicides buy farmers from India to America. Cheap fuel uncertainty.  Market manipulation and fraud. And who can forget the truly weird weather this year around the globe. Rain at the poles while snowing at the Vatican. There is nothing weird about the weather to me. Its as expected. More to come, and speeding up.

Well, lets just jump in. Remember, you are supposed to go read it. This is where I jumped into Re’s series. It may not SEEM like advice for the apocalypse. But it is the beginning of training in how to Think about food.




What got my attention in this article…is that I had done similar things. It wasn’t just me. Oh good. I chatted with my friend Mythos on the subject since he had also been from the shit. We talked about the cheapest street level food. I always did the meatball sub at Subway as the cheapest source of edible calories. It would turn into a soggy mess if not eaten right away. Re was correct in avoiding tomatoes or sauce. But his insight to cut up a sub, stretching it out into several meals, got my brain going. The sub wasnt the whole meal. Just part of it….And it can be “Addenda” or added to. Add the better things you like. Its just a base. So, I said to Mythos, “The absolute cheapest street food was Wendy’s Chili on the Value Menu.” Mythose jumped in, “Exactly. I would start my day with Wendy’s chili if I was going to put in physical effort that day”. Its when me and Mythos really started to bond because we realized we were from similar backgrounds. The next would be the pizza. Dollar slices weren’t really pizza. Just flavored fresh bread. That makes it perfect to Addendum. We do that at home. We occasionally get the absolute cheapest frozen pizzas when they are on sale for 2.50 to 3.50$. There is almost nothing food like about this product. Its barely edible. A waist of the energy to bake it. Instead, we use it at a cheep base to put other meats, cheeses or vegetables on. The use of the the toaster oven in Re’s article was also good. Way more energy efficient that heating a full stove.  A dollar saved is a dollar earned. Last would be the roasted chicken. When I lived in my van, I could only do this in cold weather since I had no reliable refrigeration. And it was cheaper than roasting a chicken once you factored in roasting cost. It was several meals. A chicken meal or two. A sandwich meal or two. Then several meals of soup once the rest was boiled up. Stone Soup. The real food of the apocalypse. Whatever you have on hand, Addendum’s your food. That is my point here. We do the same with our own chichens today. Its many meals. After the first meal, MrsC5 strips everything off the bones for other stir fries, then starts a soup from the bones to suck every gram of nutrition out of it.

Now, lets move on. This is where it gets really useful. I dare say, exiting. If you are not exited… it means you have never known hunger.




Exited yet? Hopefully you are figuring out where I am going with this. Using your food storage in creative ways you might not of thought of before. But before we get there, here is more.




OK. Hopefully you get it by now. If not, let me spell it out. You can take a single can of the cheapest possible shelf stable food and change it into a meal that can feed many. Alone, you can barely call it food. But if you start to look at it as a base OR a flavoring, everything changes.

Some of you will remember I started to write a book but then decided I suck at writing books so stopped. But in my failed book, I told a story where new people came to my Doomstead at the beginning of a collapse. My character wanted to test them, so I took a single 50c can of condensed cream of mushroom soup, put it on the table and made it clear this was the meal tonight and it was meant to feed the six people around the table. I wanted the new comers to know just how valuable that little can was.

That can was barely enough to feed one person and its nutrition was negligible. So, how is it possible. It was meant to be a sauce or flavoring to make unpalatable food, edible. A 50c can of cream soup was meant to flavor a 1.50 bag of spaghetti or rice. From there, we would “stone soup”, or, Addendum it up to a nutritious meal. Foraged greens, onions from the garden, whatever tiny bit of meet was available, some dried stuff from last year, etc.  The story was supposed to be a food storage teaching tool. One little can of cheap processed food, becomes a big pot of healthy food for several…or just alot of leftovers.

Re took it a bit further though. Even I hadn’t thought about taking a can of Chunky Soup and just turning it into a better soup. Face palm. The simple genius of the idea. The best I had come up with was pouring it over rice, pasta, free bread, wheat berries, greens or potatoes, fresh or instant.

Now, some pups might be unfamiliar with the term “Stone Soup” or the parables from which it comes. No need to waist my effort here. You can look it up here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_Soup

I will say goodnight to Re and The Doomstead Diner at this point. Thanks again. You can find him here. http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/  Their forum section is also a news source I regularly visit though it is a bit hard to find. http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/  Scroll down to the bottom of the page. But I will also leave you with a few more from the SNAP Card Addendum series if you with to continue reading.


This may seem a bit pricey….. but its the proof. By eating cheap, you can then splurge. We do this. Or, you can now start saving food.

And, its also about veggies. Not just cans or meat.


A meal plan


and more






So, REAL SURVIVAL TRAINING is all about food.


It is the Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End. Remember that every time you eat.


We say goodby to Re but the subject is just getting started.

Im quoting…..myself.  “An example, I have used before.- A popular YouTube “prepper expert” put out a video saying, “Sorry. I cant do any more Prepper videos because I cant afford to buy any more guns to show you. I just lost my job. I am about to lose my house (behind him was the big suburban Barbie dream house). I guess they will repossess the truck as well. I cant afford the gas for it anyhow. ”
All I can respond is, “Your survival advice is shit, dude.”

Dude, I could bitch slap you all day about how your Rambo advice is bad, M’kay, or I could try to help you Adapt. Here is how I can best help you adapt to your new found roll of not having the god given privilege you were sure was your birth right.”


https://www.leannebrown.com/   -Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day.


It will direct you to a free PDF file you can store on your computer.

You see, I often say that preppers and survivalists are really bad at Transitional Phases. They are planning for a future event and they just cant wrap their heads around that it has already arrived. It just looks different than the SHTF brochure.

I am quoting once again from one of my old articles because its relevant to this post-

“People complain about the rising cost of food. If you believe that…it is because our society has become totally out of touch with their own food production. Read that line again.

Food will NEVER BE CHEAPER THAN IT IS TODAY. Industrialised food production is INSANELY cheap. Its totally creepy. That they can ship food from across the continent cheaper than you can grow it locally….creepy. No other good word but CREEPY….and fragile. If you have any fantasy that it will be cheaper to grow your own food, just knock that shit right out of you. You cannot compete with , on one hand, multi million dollar (Big bank Financed) industrial mega farms, and on the other hand, exploited small farmers making a couple bucks an hour, always one harvest away from losing their farm. Total exploitation. It’s the problem with capitalism that no one but me talks about. Eventually, all the capital ends up in a few hands while destroying every one else that cant compete with the big boys. Tyranny. That is where we are today. Eventually all capital theoretically ends up in one hand. That is the nature of our competitive system . Trickle Down?…my unwashed ass . You cannot compete with McFoodCorp. Don’t even try. Growing your own food is way more expensive. You don’t do it to save or make money. You do it for FOOD SOVERNTY. You must be willing to pay your local farmers more for food…to keep that food local…and within your grasp as the 2000 mile food chain breaks down.

But while we have it…there is no good reason not to have a stocked pantry…other than being a FAKE prepper.
“FOOD STORAGE- Because its Cheap. Because its Easy. Because your great grandparents wouldn’t understand why you didn’t and would be really angry with you.” (Chris Martenson)
We are talking prepping for poor or under prepared people here. Forget all about specialty prepper food here. No freeze dried #10 cans or MREs or any of that stuff unless you have extra cash to burn. Just buy the usual stuff you usually eat…but buy more of it…when it’s on sale…for a third or half the price. Use what you store. Store what you use. There is no need to traumatise yourself with huge costs. If you just pick up 6 extra cans when you stumble across them half price…it accumulates really fast. Your grocery bill actually goes way down. Here is the good news. Most of the crap food we ship across the continent is prepared in a way that it stores a real long time. Forget all about the Sell By dates. I’m fine eating a 5 year old canned food or rice or pasta.”

So, hear are a few other tips we learned in our travels. Down in Peru, certain food was cheap, cheap, cheap. Produce. Fruits and veggies. This is what happens when you only pay people a few dollars a day for hard labour, in a country with deceptive labour laws and no real safety net. Coming to a deregulated free market capitalist country near you.

And before I get too far, As a bonus, we will send you two more cheap assed shelf storable foods if you order today…..

Ramen noodles… and Corn meal. My mind chose to focus on this in our travels. Let me explain.

My gods! You can still get ramen noodle packs for about a quarter…in spite of inflation. Lets put that in perspective. Canadian pennies are now gone. The nickles arent even worth using any more. Dimes are the new pennies. Dimes and quarters are almost worth throwing out or turning into washers. Washers are more expensive. Yet you can buy a meal for a quarter that will last at least a decade.

But you cant really call it food. Yet this should be the most obvious food to Addenda. It shows it right on the damned package. At least on the good ones that cost more….but taste better. The actual Asian ones. They have more packets in them with oils, garlic paste, dried meats and veggies, etc. But even still, its only supposed to be a base. You addenda vegetables and meats. Duh. That means you can take a product for one measly quarter… and feed at least a couple of people on it, using up leftovers and scraps from the fridge…or foraged greens and meats. Alot of foraged greens or meat is hard to choke down. This is how you make it edible.  It also helps you psychologically transition from a food source you have grown up on…to developing a taiste for foraged foods that that your mind might reject. We developed food burn out in South America. Its a real issue that few in the prepping food storage community talk about. So I ate alot of noodle packs (though they were a lot more expensive in our travels. The real cost of un subsidized shipping and oil. Coming to a continent near you) but I added other food stuffs to it to turn it into a real meal… just like they showed on the packet. Some times I would just put  an egg in to boil as the noodles are cooking to reduce fuel costs. A penny earned.. It has been my experience that noodle packs that are a few years old, take a little longer to cook.

So, lets recap. 25c to 2$ meal that feeds two after addendum with whatever else you have. Can I possibly make food storage any cheaper?

Why, Yes I can, other C5. Yes I can.

Consistently, the single cheapest industrial food to be found in any supermarket, even in Barbados… was corn meal. Now, corn meal doesnt have a very long shelf life. Its for use within a couple years. We have been eating some that is about 3 years old and am surprised with the lack of rancidness. We learn as we do. Things subject to going rancid, like nuts, oils or flower, should really be stored in the freezer or fridge.

The most boring but simple use of corn meal is to breakfast cereal it up like cream of wheat. Yuck. Cream of snot. It will take some serious addendum. But why waist typing time.

Corn bread is the big one. Its been a staple in poorer communities forever. I’ll eat it but I am not a big fan. But it gets way better once you start to addenda it. Add canned or frozen or fresh corn to it. Onions. Greens like spinach, beet tops or the one tolerable wild green, lambs quarters. And left over meat. Ham chunks or bacon. Yum. Now corn bread is something I might get exited about. For 2.50 a bag, I’ll learn to Adapt.

So, that is why this not so very sexy post is important enough that I put all this effort into it.

Psychological prepping….

It is learning to accept that, as things break down, you may have to work labour jobs that pay way less than minimum wage, no matter how skilled and privileged and indispensable you think you are. You think it is bad now, with 70 year olds stocking shelves at walmart? Amerikans got all righteous indignation in the face of their Recession that is not really a Recession. In spite of what you hear from the talking parrot at the top, the economy is not booming. They are just repeating a lie over and over again from the oval tweeting pulpit till people believe it and repeat it. Chocolate rations are not down. They are up 10 grams. So says the ministry of truth. People got in their 2 minutes of hate on the internet and then the poll both. They were ripe to hear, “make merika great again”

And they believe that shit. News flash. Nothing can stop the avalanche. The fundamentals are the same. Same debt based economy. Same resource depletion. Same lowering of  purchasing power. Same shitting where we eat.

So, True story. I was shucking peas in front of the TV while drinking a twelve pack. After a few hours of mindless shucking, I had a bag of peas to put in the freezer. Sure. they were nice, near organic peas but that is not the point. I could have bought the bag of peas in the store for about 5$. Net loss to me? At least 25$, dozens of hours… and a hang over.

MrsC5 took this opportunity to bite. Basic dog psychology. She said, “Well. That is not very good use of your prepping time. Now, is it?”.

I understand what is going on. The female is testing me. She wants to know if I am a submissive. So I shoot her a Han Solo cocky smile and say, “This is psychological prepping. Its not just a job for ‘Brown’ people anymore, Princess. Get used to it”.

Relationship balance restored. She has affirmation that I can be a man when the chips are down. This, subconsciously, makes her feel safe. Just encase you are wondering what is going on.

If you ever wonder about this Blog and its value to “Actual Survival”, Its main purpose is to confront you with the same question….

“Its not just a job for ‘Brown’ people anymore, Princess. Get used to it”



We have covered all of this stuff on food before, though I might have been being sneaky about it.

First we covered Survival Acres 5 part series, The Fallacy of Bugging OUT, to kick the shit out of the idea that their will be food waiting for you, or you can grow what you need in time in the wilderness if you Bug Out. We stomped that idea so thoroughly that the Zombie corpse would never be able to rise from the grave again. https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2017/06/23/c5-presents-the-fallacy-of-bugging-out-part-i-by-survival-acres/

We covered the absolute cheapest store-able food. Wheat Berries. I went to a person that says things that doesn’t represent me or my views in the slightest. But when a person is right… they are right. I think he sees the same in me. https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/c5-presents-the-worlds-most-boring-survival-advice-also-the-best/

I then covered, if you have no money at all, taking advantage of waist food in our system, by getting your class issues dirty.  https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2017/07/21/c5-practical-survival-advice-for-the-poor-when-its-already-too-late-to-prep/

Then I taught you how to get food for a food storage on the cheap. The “Junk” food, corporations sell for almost free. https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/c5-practical-survival-advice-for-the-poor-episode-iii-taming-the-hunter-gatherer-instinct/

Then I showed you what REAL food production would be like without oil and just how busy you will be each and every year. That you Can Not do it on your own. Especially without the knowledge.  https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2017/10/19/tales-from-the-dark-green-valley/

Then I got Naked to show you some work arounds. Self Reinforcing Permaculture food systems that grow whether you are there of not. https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/return-to-the-dark-green-mountain-the-naked-truth/

And now I have brought you Re… to teach you what to do with your cheap, stored food.

I also threw in some posts on animal production but I am no expert in that subject. A rank amateur.

On the general overview of “Dont Starve To Death Club” That is all I got. I have badgered it to death and I will keep badgering it.



IT IS THE ALPHA AND OMEGA OF SURVIVAL. The Beginning and the End. Every thing else is ADDENDUM. If you do not have that, You really have NOTHING. And You have NO CHANCE.


One last unauthorized promotion. All the advice I just gave you is of questionable health benefit. People may trip over their own classicism or food purity self rules. How about I give you some healthier food… and what to do with food storage once industrial food storage is all gone… and food storage is what you now do with food you actually grew…and stored.

For this I turn to FarmGal at Just Another Day On The Farm.

I think I might have accidentally scared away FarmGal. I may have accidentally insulted her with my random Bratty comments. One local friend, I was surprised had been reading my blog. She commented that it was more fun because she knew the writer. Her words. “I am reading along, being challenged….and then Comes that moment when I realized,  he decided it was time to be a Brat.”

Yup. That’s me. Its my most charming quality. But you might take it personally if you didn’t see the quirky smile. That I was just being a brat. If I am really picking a fight, you will know it because I will name names and call that person out.

Farmgal is a top tier prepper. Some people have Fantasy Football teams. If I had a Fantasy Prepper Team, I’d make Farmgal the Captain. Thanks for coming to my apocalypse. You are in charge now….

So. What does a Top Tier Prepper do? Not alot of running around in camo. She grows food. Then she eats food.

Much of her blog posts are her doing recipes. If you look a bit closer… you realize its food she had grown, gathered and stored from the season before. It was time to eat it. Yup. When The Shit Hits The Fan, you are going to need a good cook. That is real power. I pledge my allegiance… to the person that magically provides food. Nothing Magic about it though. That type of thinking about food magically appearing is what has got us into this mess.

You can find Team Captain Farmgal here.



So, if FOOD is the Alpha and the Omega of survival,… it sure seems sexy to me….

True story. I met MrsC5 online. After she contacted me… I read her profile and responded,…

“When I saw that you grow, can and cook your own food, It gave me a bit of wood”.

Survivalist Sexy. Oh Ya, Baby. Give me some sugar.











Bayou Bugout

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on March 25, 2018

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Here on the Diner one of the subjects we often talk about are Bugout Locations to run to when SHTF Day comes to your neighborhood?  The number of good spots out there to try and avoid the worst aspects of the Collapse of Industrial Civilization shrinks by the day, and there are problems that exist with all of them in one form or another.

The most important qualities you want to look for in a Bugout Location are:

1- Low Population Density of Homo Saps

Reason for that is the fewer people currently around living in the neighborhood, the fewer potential Zombies that will be around to harass and threaten you in the aftermath of SHTFD arrives.  Also, the fewer Homo Saps there are to compete for what resources (read that FOOD) are available in the neighborhood the more that is available for YOU to exploit!

2- Remoteness from current High Population Zones

Even if your own neighborhood is relatively low in population density, if you are too close to a Big Shity where the Zombies can walk or bike to easily, you're not going to be much safer than living in suburbia.

3- Local Food availability.

This can be good cropland for farming, but growing crops and raising animals is going to be a magnet for Zombies.  Better is if you are in a location where there are wild food sources that can be hunted, fished and gathered up.

Related image 4-  Water Resource

With water, you can have either TOO LITTLE (droughts) or TOO MUCH (Floods).  Like with Goldilocks & Three Bears, finding a neighborhood where the amount of water available year round is JUST RIGHT gets tougher all the time.  Making it still tougher than that is that many areas alternate between drought and flood at different times of the year, or over different years.  Water is probably the most difficult thing to make a good plan for in choosing your Bugout Location.

5-  Mineral and Energy Resources

Depending on your location, you are going to need a variety of different resources besides just water and food.  You will need material to build shelters with, primrily Wood of course but other materials like Bamboo or Adobe bricks can be used too.  A good source of clay to make ceramics is helpful, and a source of iron ore to make metal tools, particularly axels, hunbs and shodding for wheels and horse shoes.  In the colder neighborhoods, you're going to need some heat source in the winter, which can be wood but if there is still Natural Gas around that burns cleaner.  You can of course make more gas using composting and a Methane Digester also.  Biochar and Wood Gas still another possibility.

Now, despite the fact that a whole lot of the planet has been ravaged already, there actually still ARE places that fit most of these criteria, but they can differ quite a bit in their qualities.  Here on the Diner, we have a few members who are located in fairly remote locations with low populations of Homo Sap, in the Tropical Rainforest of the Pacific Islands, in Canada and in Alaska.  They each have advantages and disadvantages.

In the Rainforest, you don't have to worry too much about heating, it rarely drops below freezing in that neighborhood.  However, with generally warming temperatures globally, unless this trend stops or reverses, such locations will be the first to go above wet bulb temperatures, and cooling the Homo Sap body will become ever more difficult.  No worries about Water availability, they get massive rain events on an almost daily basis.  However, the constant dampness and abundance of water brings with it many problems.  Mold is a problem indoors, and standing water provides breeding grounds for mosquitos which carry all sorts of nasty viruses with them. Malaria, Zika, etc. Then there are a variety of SNAKES like Pythons which can eat into your food supply of Chooks, along with your companion and helper animals, the Dogs and Cats.  They can even grow large enough to eat YOU if you don't dispatch them to the Great Beyond soon enough!

Image result for python eating human

The Great White North of Hoserville has it's own set of advantages and disadvantages.  It's relatively low in population, but not so low there isn't some BAU work available to keep on trucking in the industrial economy until SHTF Day arrives.  Because it's generally pretty cold, you don't have the mold, bugs and diseases you get in the Tropical Rainforest.  There still are good resources up there, but they do have problems now with wildfires and pollution in areas that have been fracked or tar sands extracted.  Areas away from major rivers and mountains and glaciers have depleting aquifers, just like the midwest of the FSoA.

Alaska where I am located also is not perfect and totally insulated from Collapse Dynamics.  Like Hoserville, it's cold so not much problem with bugs, mold or snakes.  Better water availability than most of Canada also, since there are mountains and glaciers everywhere.  Eventually the glaciers may melt off of course, but this will take quite some time if it does occur. Still great resource availability in Alaska in terms of energy and minerals, and the fishing and hunting remains great as well.  Downsides to the Last Great Frontier though are that in most of the state the soil is poor, there are only a few valleys with good soil for farming.  It's also a pretty tough climate to live in without the benefits of modern machinery, although it is possible.  The Inuit, Aleut, Knik, Tlingit and Athabascans proved this for 1000s of years.

Related image

Inuit Mushers circa 1920 who ran the Great Race of Mercy to deliver Diptheria Serum to Nome

And some Industrially raised Homo Saps still do it today running the Iditarod, the Last Great Race on Earth.

Image result for joar ulsom iditarod

Joar Leifseth Ulsom, a Norwegian, winner of the 2018 Iditarod

One neighborhood we do NOT have a Diner living in that might prove to be a good Collapse Survival Location is in the Bayous of Lousiana, and other swamps in other parts of the world.

Image result for canoe in the bayou Bayous are very low population zones for quite a few reasons.  First off, you can only really get around by boat, and it has to be a boat with a very shallow draft like a Canoe.  Second, they are hot, humid, sticky and uncomfortable places to live, although that is not so different from the tropical rainforest.  Also not different from the rainforest in that there are poisonous snakes around, and plenty of diseases carried around by mosquitoes.  Besides that though, you are in little danger from Zombies in such a neighborhood, there just isn't enough Long Pig living around there for Hannibal the Cannibal to come searching for a meal of Liver, Fava Beans and Chianti, even if he has a boat to do it with.  You also have plenty of water around, although for drinking and cooking purposes you'll need to distill it unless you catch it as rainwater.  Plenty of food sources around, endless frogs and fish breed in these places too so there are plenty of them around.  Big Game, you can go for the Alligators which also have excellent skin for making boots.  Just make sure you carry a Big Ass Knife and a .45 Cal Pistol and are ready to go Mano-a-Mano and ready to wrestle out of your weight class if taken by surprise.  The bigger ones come in around 500 lbs, and not even NFL Linemen are usually THAT big.  lol.  Hopefully though, you are wary enough to outwit them, they are not the brightest bulbs in the box.

You will probably need to build your McShack on stilts and build raised walkways around it so you can get around the place without having to jump in the canoe all the time, or if you are really well prepped with a techno gimmick, an Air Boat.  You can run it electric and keep it charged up with your Solar PV setup.  You're definitely going to need an off-grid electric system, those areas don't get wired up.

Image result for airboat in the swamp

An advantage of the Louisiana Bayou for Amerikans is you don't have to leave the country in order to get away from civilization and the possible worst effects of collapse, aka Zombies and rampant violence.  It's centrally located between the East and West Coast, so depending how many hours you will drive you can get there in 2-3 days.  For most of Flyover Country you can get there in under a day.  Also important if you are on a tight budget, buying property in a swamp is CHEAP!  So you can live BAU in say Missouri, but prep up your SHTF Day Bugout Location in the Bayou so it is ready for the day you have to GTFO of Dodge.

Otherwise inside the Lower 48 there really aren't many low population zones that have everything you need to survive and live with a lower energy footprint.  Some spots in the Rockies are OK, but living up IN the Mountains as opposed to just having them surrounding you as a barrier takes a lot of adaptation.  Not to say it can't be done of course, the Swiss did it and so did the Afghanis and the Mayans.

Image result for swiss mountain village

Image result for mayan terrace farming

If you are willing and able to go International, there are of course many more choices still possible, but for most people this isn't practical.  They need some way to make a living if they don't have a pension or investments, and if you move to a poor South American country for instance there's not any more opportunity for you to make a living than there is for the locals.  It would not for instance be a wise idea to move to Venezuela at the moment.  The main thing in any of these international moves though right now is $MONEY$.  You need some sort of portable income stream, for most ex-pats that means a pension.  For younger people particularly those with young children, making such a move is far more problematic.

Beyond that, you generally just do not FIT IN with the natives.  Even if you speak the language fairly well, it will be with a distinct accent.  You probably don't look much like them, to start with your skin is probably a different color.  Then you have the problem that there is a lot of submerged resentment by indigenous people for ex-pats from the colonial powers that move there.  They tolerate them because they bring money into the economy from their pensions, provide employment as Maids and Gardeners and eat at the local restaurants, but once they don't have working money any more to pay these folks, that pent up resentment will EXPLODE.

So overall, wherever you choose to make your collapse hole for SHTF Day, I think the best bet is to stay in a place you know and where you fit in well with the local population.  The most difficult part remains negotiating the time period between now while BAU is still working to some extent in the Western Countries and the post-SHTF Day scenario where JIT delivery has failed, there is no gas at the pumps, no food on the shelves and the lights do not go on when you flick the switch.  Straddling these two worlds is a tough thing to do.  A tough act to balance out.

Image result for straddling two worlds

What are we supposed to do while we wait for the collapse to happen ?

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on March 21, 2018

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It is commonplace for any group of people with similar views to call other people "sheeple", because THEY don't understand what WE understand.  At Doomstead Diner we understand there is an important energy shortage problem coming up.  There is no solution to this problem, because the next best option after fossil fuels is wind turbines, and there are only a few good windy places to put them, and they are an intermittent source at best.  PV and nukes are way behind wind in terms of the ERoEI of the technology. 

So the energy cost of building the wind turbine infrastructure, and upgrading the grid to handle the extra amount of electricity being generated, as well as all the electric cars and trucks and trains and planes is gigantic, and must be done using current energy sources, fossil fuels. And that's on top of keeping everything running in the current world.  The transition should have been started 30 years ago, and now cannot be completed, not even close.   

Ahead lies economic collapse, because without more energy every year, the world's manufacturing base cannot keep growing, and neither can profits, so debts cannot be repaid with interest, and that will lead to an implosion of the financial system, and an end to trade.

So if there is no solution, what are we supposed to do while we wait for the collapse to happen ? 

March in the streets in protest?  We have been doing that for 30 years without effect and we know what will happen – either it will be peaceful and we will be ignored, or it will be violent and we will be confronted with a militarised police force, backed up by the courts and prison system.  If we attempt to outmatch them with guns, they will use the armed forces with drones and hellfire missiles, or even full on aerial bombing and attacks with tanks, like in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria. Then we would be driven into the hills to live in caves and be slowly starved to death, while the sheeple will be herded into FEMA camps and fed on soylent green biscuits, becoming slave labour for the food gardens.

So I'm suggesting the only thing left to do is to try to achieve a lower energy standard of living, like what our future is going to be, and getting some experience while having some independence.  This will require we effectively drop out of the system, and since there is no way to live like this in any first world country, I would suggest you move somewhere else where there is already a low standard of living.  While the system continues, it should be possible to live some kind of existence.  Forget about owning land, big house, motorised transport, internet, education for your kids, and three square meals a day – that will not be possible.

It is likely you will not want to do this, or the wife and kids won't want to, but anything else only helps the current system continue and brings a worse future on the planet.  Fortunately, while the system undergoes its final death throes, you don't have to go to zero all in one go.  This is how I planned it, your ideas may be different.

The places which have the most bearable climate in a low-energy society are tropical islands.  There are basicly two kinds of these islands, coral atolls, which are low-lying, with little water and no good soil, and volcanic islands with good soil and high rainfall, these invariably have rainforest growing on them.  You can usually get to these islands by ships delivering first world materials. Usually you can't buy land, but can lease it fairly easily, especially if it has a house with a garden on it.  No heating needed, water is collected off the roof, sewerage is via septic tank.

Transport is by walking and buses for most people, but I have a car that was imported second-hand from Japan. I give everyone lifts, and they are always very pleased.

Definitely DON'T start by chopping down the forest or removing all vegetation from the soil.  Start with your compost heap, a simple loop of mesh fencing, and then clear your garden area and plant your base crops, bananas, sweet potatoes, paw-paws, and tarot. Most familiar vegetables and fruit won't like the conditions, visit local markets to see what does.  Heavily mulch everything because you don't want the soil washing away in heavy rains. Mulch breaks down very quickly when hot and humid/wet for weeks at a time. Chickens are ideal to have around the house, but must be locked up in snake-proof cages at sundown.  Snake-proof means half-inch mesh, with larger cages needing heavier 3×2" mesh underneath, all held together with C-clips.

They produce eggs, occasional meat, and fertiser, which needs to be collected up fresh and applied daily to the garden.  I feed mine grains to supplement their free ranging diet and to teach them where 'home' is.  If you throw a handful of grains on the ground, rice, millet and sorghum will grow by themselves, but you might want to fence the area off at the start.  Gathering in the forest can add to the fare, but you have to walk a lot, and have books to identify everything, as there will be plenty of poisonous things.

Electricity is very handy, even if it is unreliable – I get black-outs frequently.  It was off for over six weeks after the last cyclone, so having a small gasoline-powered generator as a back-up is worth it. I have computers with a satellite dish on the roof, giving good internet access and a VoIP telephone connection to Australia and beyond.  Another satellite dish and a set-top box brings me more TV channels than I can scan through.

Hospitals are a bit of a challenge, mostly in understanding the doctors.  I used to have a mower to keep the drive edges clear, but it was rusting away and then snapped its drive belt.  I left it until the ambulance refused to drive in during an emergency, and then I had to pay to have someone else do it.  Old age is a challenge itself, definitely be young and fit when you start off.

Alternative suggestions welcome.

Diesel Powerd Murikan Roadkill

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Published on Epiphany Now on March 13, 2018

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I took this picture with my iphone at a truck stop in Utah
It's 2 in the morning and a shape appears on the northern Indiana road in front of me. At 65 mph there are only a couple of seconds to decipher the image and react. It's quickly realized that there are two raccoon on the road, they are moving around, probably picking at some type of food. It's a mystery what they are doing, but in the next second there is a thud thud as the 80,000 pound semi tractor trailer continues on at 65 mph. It seems that racoon should be more intelligent than this. The next several minutes are followed by a lingering melancholy. I've just taken one, maybe two, lives, and senselessly with no premeditation. I've killed directly before, with a 30/30, but I killed intentionally from a tree stand 20 feet up in a tree. I also ate the meat.
As I drive on through the night and contemplate the death of those raccoon, I'm reminded of some things. I begin to ruminate on America, and why I have also unintentionally killed thousands of people.

17 years ago I was on a U.S. Aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Carl Vinson, and planes crashed into the World Trade Centers in N.Y. City. That day changed this country. It changed all of the citizens. It changed me in irrevocable ways, and for different reasons than it changed most. The first Murikan bombs dropped on Afghanistan were from my ship, and I spent a lot of effort directly helping that reality, and I consequently spent even more effort trying to understand why. At the time I was a 21 year old idealist. I should have never enlisted in the military, but I was lost, and wandering, and searching for my own way in the world. I had grown up mostly fatherless, the product of a single mother. That too has gone a long way towards defining who I am now and why I was on that carrier in the first place. Constantly on a quest, searching for something that I defined as the truth. What was the world, and what was I supposed to do with it? I was not interested in money, but money is necessary in society.
I smelled a rat. I smelled a stinkin', no good, putrid, walking dead rat. At the time I couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew that it had something to do with my country, and my navy, and my conscience. Cognitive dissonance grew to lighting and thunder in my own mind. It shook me to insanity, and I ran away from any contribution to those bombs. Consequences be damned! I was 21. That decision has also continued to define me. Shortly after the terrorists attacked we were in Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction as the military moved in. There were no WMD's, that was a lie, as was the effort in Afghanistan. A lot of evidence points towards the U.S. , at a bare minimum, being complicit towards the demise of the towers. The government at least allowed it to happen, and then used that tragedy they allowed to happen to accomplish a goal. Why is our military still in Afghanistan and Iraq? Nobody in Murika talks about the fact that Murika is still at war, and has been since 9/11 of 2001. If forced to think about it “keeping Murika safe from terrorism” will likely be regurgitated all patriotic and programmed meme like.  Well…it's really not correct to call what Murika is doing "war."  It's actually occupation, domination, and usurpation of formerly independent and autonomous nations at drone, bomb, missile, and gunpoint.   
Petroleum is the reason we have been at war for 17 years. More specifically gasoline and diesel is the reason. Petroleum is a limited resource, and that is an irrefutable fact of geology. It's an irrefutable scientific fact. Read that again, slowly, and for comprehension, and try to have a clue about what it means. Murikans are professional delusionists. I knew that we are completely dependent on petroleum before I took a job as a long haul flatbed trucker. Now I KNOW it. Everyday I burn somewhere between 50 and 100 gallons of diesel. Do you know how many truck drivers there are in Murika doing the same? It's somewhere around 4 million. It is just about impossible to buy anything with money that has not been on a truck at a minimum of once. It's more likely that the finished product you buy has been on 4 or 5 or 10 trucks (in many cases thousands..this would be your average car) and probably a ship and a train before you spend your money on it. In order to buy something that has not been on a truck it just about has to be made by human hands, locally, and from raw materials that have been harvested locally from nature.
Just before I took this job as a trucker I was busy learning how to do just that with bamboo. In fact you could have bought a basket from me, made by me, out of bamboo that I grew, harvested, cured, treated, split, and wove all by hand. You'd have to pay around 2 to 300 dollars for it because said item would have represented a minimum of 25 hours in direct artisan labor on my part. That's not counting the time it took to care for the groves, to harvest the cane, to process it, and then to cure it. That's just counting the time it took me to treat the cane with fire, and then to split the cane with a traditional Japanese bamboo splitting blade, and then to weave it. Next to nobody will pay 300 dollars for an artisan bamboo basket grown and crafted by artisan hands locally when they can go buy a plastic (petroleum) bucket from Lowes for $5. I also spent a number of years training in permaculture design. I made money with bamboo and permaculture, but not enough money to support myself in this world, much less a wife and two children.
Split bamboo next to whole canes.


A bamboo fence for my wife's garden spot


I was involved in Permaculture and bamboo, and both because I was following my bliss. That bliss was to live a natural life. That bliss was to use my hands to create beauty, and to be a good steward to the natural landscapes that sustain us as biological creatures. That bliss was to pay homage to the actual reality that is the natural processes that occur in nature to make things such as the air we breath, the water we drink, and the soil we grow our food in. That bliss was to treat the Earth as a living entity that, along with the sun, imbues and blesses us all with life. That bliss was an idealistic lie in this world. Alas, idealism does not pay any bills.
Weaving a door for the garden spot fence


Delusional bliss in action


A bamboo door
So what does roadkill have to do with Murika and petroleum and war and an idealistic hippie playing with bamboo and digging permaculture holes? I realized that America is this truck that I now drive for money, and those raccoon are the rest of the world. That is exactly how Murika treats the rest of the world, as well as the natural environment. It's just “collateral damage” (a term coined by the Murikan Military Industrial Complex to describe innocent civilian deaths in war) that is unfortunately necessary to keep us all up in the manner we have become accustomed. Just about nothing, with the exception of nature (and air brakes combined with engine compression brakes), can stop an 80,0000 pound truck at 65 mph. Anything that's in the way becomes roadkill…thud thud. Worse than that actually, because at least the scavenger birds can pick at the roadkill, and occasionally some crazy ass re-wilder may come along and take the roadkill home to eat it. 
Those raccoon may as well be the old me sitting in the road weaving my bamboo basket from bamboo grown in my yard, planting trees, and attempting to make my way in this world as a permaculturists specializing in bamboo. Now I'm at the wheel as well. I'm now a willing participant finally made complicit to the Murikan semi that's making a thud thud out of the rest of the planet…kickin' your brown ass and takin' your brown gas! If only the 21 year old me, getting himself kicked out of the navy on account of his idealism, could see me now! If he could see me he would disown me, or kill me before I could get out of control with complacency, apathy, and what he would see as cowardice while kneeling down before the puppet masters of the system for some pellets of comfortably numb conformity.
Ironically I love this job! I wasn't entirely a product of a single mother. My father was in my life, but minimally. I saw him a couple of times a year when I was a little boy. He was a trucker, but that wasn't why I didn't see him, that's ironically what enabled me to see him. I didn't see him because his second wife hated my mother, and she hated me because I was my mother's son. For a number of years he was under her spell (something he now recognizes), and so I rarely saw him. When I did see him it was to go with him over the road in his semi (and his wife had no idea, hence the afore mentioned irony). Such power fathers have over their children!  It's enough power to make them into truck drivers 30 years later on account of a couple of preteen memories!  Well, that, and a large helping of genetics.  
Deep down I love semi trucks and trailers. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the need I have to be a man, and a father, due to a wife and two of my own boys. My father was a trucker.  He was the only template on being a father I've ever had.  When I finally spent time with him it was to the sound of a diesel engine, and to the smell of diesel, and with the allure of the passing road. I love driving a semi, I love the power, and I love the mechanical accomplishment they represent. But if I'm completely honest, some part of me feels that I have finally grown to a man, and I am now providing money for my family. Men are supposed to provide, and in our society that means money. Yet the plague of cognitive dissonance continues to haunt me with it's furious sound of hypocrisy.
To be constantly going somewhere new, and to have everything I need with me, and to mostly be left alone…these are all things that I love about being a trucker. It's very peaceful to be left alone while listening to music, and my thoughts, as the landscape changes in front of me, as I fulfill my husbandly and fatherly requirement to get money. I never know where I will end up for the night to catch a shower and some sleep. Mostly I stay at truck stops, which are the places our society have created for the trucks to stop so that their human pilots may shower, do laundry, eat, and get coffee and cigarettes. There's also rest areas, company terminals, and occasionally a Walmart parking lot or the parking lot of a shipper or consignee. I imagine that I'm sailing a ship on the black bitumen sea, and I'm the captain. I'm also making twice as much money as I've ever made in my life doing this. I'm making twice as much as I made working as a medic on an ambulance after 8 years of service.
You see, permaculture and bamboo were not paying any bills. They were not presenting the promise of any type of stability for my wife and children. As much as I wanted to live in a world that did not exist…a world morally superior to the one we all inhabit, and a world that aught to exist, it was all just delusional thinking. Idealism made pernicious by business as usual. 
If Murika is the truck that splattered the racoon, than the Corporatocracy is at the wheel, and we're all just unique and individual diesel atoms. Murika is also a delusion, at least as it exist in the minds of most Murikans. The truth is that there are no lines on the map of the world any longer. At least not any lines that matter to the Corporatocracy. All of the inhabitants of this planet, both human and non-human, have no value to the corporate machine beyond the value of their contribution to the continuance of BAU. Business As Usual is business as it always has been. Since the rise of the first civilization the world has been dominated by the hierarchy of man. Man has taken by force using both his mind and his body. For a long time there were proper kingdoms which were ruled by kings. The king ruled by controlling the politics and the military of his kingdom. There were many different kingdoms that existed throughout the world of time and place.
One of my conventional landscape business clients had this pesky weed food growing, so I harvested it


Took it home and fed it to my family.  Bamboo shoots have more protein than any other vegetable
Now, for the first time in the known history of man, there is one kingdom that controls the entirety of the planet, and that is the Corporatocracy which has a capitol in Murika (not to be confused with capital…wait). It has control of the technology we use everyday. It controls the global military as well as the politics that control the global military. It controls all of the people of this world, and those that it does not control it kills wantonly and with no conscience. No one can stop this final rule of the Corporatocracy. The only things that have the potential to stop it are natural disaster and petroleum depletion. This is the reality that greed has formulated. The Corporatocracy's primary objective is profit for the share holders. All of the decisions that are made are made to keep those at the top at the top. They are at the top of a system that works for them, and they will continue perpetuating that system so long as they can because they are greedy and psychopathic.
What about the rest of us? Are we complicit in this unnatural disaster? We all contribute because we all need money to survive. We need money to buy food, shelter, clothing, education, healthcare, safety, stability, comfort, security, entertainment, convenience, and the electronic gadgets we need to participate in SwampBook, KnitTwitter, and all of the rest of the anti-social narcissism that currently defines the majority of the sleep walking wake walkers. There is no escaping the global matrix that controls the planet. At least there is no escape where you succeed and are still left breathing and above ground. To escape in reality, and to do so without contributing to BAU, would have to mean doing so without money. How many people do you know that are living without money? If you spend money then you are spending it on goods and services that are only possible due to this diesel powered Murika. This diesel powered Murika is only possible due to our military and the petroleum our military protects and enables. If you aren't contributing than you'll likely be turned roadkill by the semi trucks that make the American way of life possible.
The last bamboo basket I made before becoming a Trucker

Living At The Height Of Civilization — Staring Into The Abyss

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on March 14, 2018


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Texas has switched back to Daylight Saving Time and I am once again driving to work in the dark. The stars were still out this morning when I left the house in the canyon and began my 28 mile commute to work, the first 20 miles or so I now achieve under eV power. It is now high spring in central Texas, and we have stopped using heat for the most part, but this morning the house was chilly with the clear morning temps of 39F.

I enjoy my coffee, which is fresh ground and liberally doctored with organic half and half. Delicious. My Chevy Volt has seat heaters, and they feel great in the crisp chill, especially on my back, which is still recovering from last Thursday's job of moving the stock tank. Some ibuprofen helps a lot. I remember my friend Artie, who has passed on now.  Artie was an ex-marathon runner who skied his last several years on two artificial hip replacements, with the help of that ubiquitous non-steroidal pain killer. He referred to it as I-Be-Ski-In.

I am at work now and sipping coffee between patients. Yesterday was a tough, busy day, but it looks like today will be easier. Still busy, because it's Spring Break here. I'm hungry, because I was so tired after work I ate a hamburger I picked up before I got home, and crawled into bed and slept until my wife got home around ten pm. I sat up in bed for an hour-and-a half and then passed out again until my normal time to rise, which is 5:45 am. When she came to bed, she brought the dogs, who were happy to lie quietly at our feet until I put them to bed and turned outtthe lights.

I have been blessed to live an easy life, full of abundance. I have a great family, with grown children who are getting along well in life. By all normal measures of success, I have it made,

But the world is definitely going to shit. The handwriting is on the wall for anyone with one eye and half a brain to see.  My country, which has long been blessed with the same kind of luck as me, is now in the death-throes of a dying empire. Led by a morally bankrupt blowhard who has hitched his wagon to the absolute worst of the low-grade fossil fuel barons of industry, every day the downward spiral speeds up.

The modest environmental protections of a generation ago, which never were strong, are being rolled back as completely as the courts will allow. The executive branch of government is now as firmly owned by the corporatocracy as is the legislative branch. The President, whose primary concern is winning the next election (while patting himself continuously on the back for winning the last one), has managed to run off the best of his sorry cabinet picks and bring the worst ones to positions of highest authority.

We have been a nation at war somewhere for many years now, if you can call illegitimate occupations of poor but strategically important nations war. Our wars are really just expensive occupations that drain the treasury of our once financially strong country. They make some greedy rich bastards a little richer, and the rest of us and our children and grandchildren yet unborn, a lot poorer.

At the moment, we are once again on the cusp of a coming World War, which I expect to be partially fought, at least, on American soil. This development will no doubt surprise the general public, which has not experienced such a disaster in modern times, and thinks of wars as unfortunate events, caused by foreign bad guys, that thankfully always happen far away in places they can't quite manage to even pinpoint on a map.

Under-educated but nevertheless highly opinionated, Americans spend a lot of time online these days spouting whatever kind of closely held beliefs they cling to in lieu of facts and reality. Clever politicians and media barons manipulate public opinion seemingly at will. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

The climate, affected by massive CO2 build-up from burning fossil fuels, is rapidly going rogue. The oceans are dying. 150 to 200  species of plant and animal  become extinct each and every day that rolls. We are not immune. Our time is coming. Ironically, the only possible salvation appears to be a systemic collapse of civilization that removes the offending pollution by sending us back to the days of horses and buggies, or maybe human powered pull-carts with wooden wheels. Due to the financialization and hollowing out of the real economy, this is also quite likely to happen some fine day very soon. Unfortunately, it will not stop the climate change on a short timeline. By the time the planet recovers,humans and most living things might well be history.

So….most days I dream of leaving my easy life behind. I fantasize about buying a big sailboat and living out my last days living onboard, Sailing to the islands I love, and then if and when the collapse does come, trying to find some out-of-the-way place far from wars and dying cities, to try to make a go of it in what will truly be a New World.

It's quite the dichotomy, this modern life. So many good things have come my way. So many bad things just over the horizon. And, of course, one can see that those two sides of the coin are completely related. So much of what I enjoy comes at the expense of some poor sod eking out a miserable existence in some shithole country that wasn't a shithole until the corporate barons who run the world turned it into one, in the pursuit of selling me stuff like nice cars with seat heaters, and good coffee.

Certain concerned scientists and poets have long known this was coming. I am blessed and cursed to live on the cusp of a great unraveling. I am literally living on the very brink. I weep for my children.


Nothing is more frustrating to me about the collapse blogosphere than the tendency for ordinary people to sort themselves into political groups based on their good intentions and belief systems.

I have read plenty of good writers who do get it…that collapse isn't avoidable by changing whatever form of government we have, or our enemies have, or our rivals have. Please try to get past that kind of simple-mindedness. I just ain't that simple folks.

The world is run by powerful people who control people, assets, and armies.

America is a failing Republic. It's run completely by rich oligarchs and the politicians they buy, usually before elections, but also after, as has been the case with Trump, who ran as a populist but immediately sold his soul to the highest bidders, post-election.

The Soviet Union  was a Communist state that failed spectacularly in 1989, and now it's controlled by a single despotic strong man, Vladimir Putin, who took over the primary state, Russia,  after the drunk Yeltsin failed to establish a democratic form of government. They still have a legislature and pretend to be a democratic communist/socialist state, but it's a sham. Putin's rivals and challengers end up in prison or have fatal accidents.

Although the systems of government are different, people in both countries are brought up to love their countries without question and the people of both countries, in these desperate times, crave a strong man to take control and solve all their problems.

Russians love Putin, who presides over a completely corrupt kleptocracy. They are mostly ignorant, clueless dumb fucks who are grateful to have heat during the bitter Russian winter, some basic foodstuffs, and  a little vodka to ease their pain.

Americans, increasingly left out of the advances of the digital age due to poor public school educations and the shiftlessness that comes with thinking the world owes them a living, have rallied behind Trump, who is a huckster and a liar who got elected in an election that surprised almost everyone, himself included. Now he is busy auctioning off favors to super-rich American kleptocrats, who call themselves capitalists. The younger generation of pampered digital early adapters dream of a benevolent socialist state that will give them a house and public transportation instead of just a cell phone and a job waiting tables. So….maybe in the US, if BAU persists a few more years, the poles might reverse. Especially if the trailer trash who love Trump all die off from shooting up fentanyl, and the hispanic fast breeders decide to start voting in elections.

It won't matter. Collapse is baked in.

Pick any other country and the story is the same.

Britain is going their own version of Trump populism. Failing.

Most of Europe is socialist. Failing, although they have a few bright spots left.

South Africa flipped from white dominated Right Wing to black dominated Marxist. Failing faster every day.

China was hard core communist, tried to initiate market reforms, turned into a new kind of oligarchy that even now is consolidating under a new strong man. Failing.

Wake up, you idiots. It isn't the form of government. It's declining resources, climate change, hugely wasteful programs of all kinds, and sinister 21st century war machines getting ready to run amok.

Image result for staring into the abyss

The Last Great Race on Earth 2

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on March 11, 2018

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Read Part 1 of this series HERE

Poll: Is Sled Dog Mushing Cruelty to Animals?

☐ Yes

☐ No

Cast your Vote Inside the Diner!

We had a very lively week Inside the Diner with debates on a couple of topics, Animal Rights for Dogs in the Iditarod and Millenials Economic Opportunites and the ability to save for retirement.  I'll save the second topic for a future Blog.

For this one, I am going to paste a few of the arguments that were made about the Iditarod and Sled Dogs in general, as well as a few videos included in the thread regarding Sled Dogs and the Iditarod.  For a complete reading of the whole thread and the opinions expressed visit  the Iditarod Thread Inside the Diner.  You can also vote on your opinion on this debate at the top of the thread.

From Surly

Nice article! I had no idea about the origins of this race. Nor that there was a statue of Balto in Central Park.
Well done.

From Palloy:

Another day another complaint.

The animal rights activists are people who think it is too much to race dogs over 1,000 miles in 8 days – that's 125 miles per day.  Surely it's not too much to query the efficacy of that.  The race has 3 enforced stops, one of 24 hours and 2 of 8 hours. It is not unusual for dogs to be killed when a moose strays onto the "track" and causes a major crash.  They are allowed to continue racing in the dark, lit by battery-powered headlamps.  There are supposed to be veterinarian checks, but results from those are never published.  Since there is great competition to win at all costs, humans are likely to want to ignore their dogs injuries.  It's a recipe for cruelty to occur.

To clean up the event, there could be mandatory rest-ups at all checkpoints (26/27). No racing at night.  More thorough vet checks.  You can imagine what the mushers would say to that – "Leave us alone to do what we want !" 

That may be the correct Libertarian approach, but there are other kinds of people in this world and their opinions count too.

From RE:

You visit with any Musher, and they positively LOVE their dogs.  The dogs wouldn't even be alive at all if it wasn't for the Mushers.  The breeds used almost went extinct until Mushers started breeding them for racing.

You wanna also ban Horse Racing because horses sometimes break their legs in a race and have to be put down?  How about banning breeding cows because we put them down all the time to eat them?  Are you a Vegan?  No.

Not many dogs die on the Iditarod anymore.  The Mushers know what they need to be fed and how hard to push them.  People die periodically running Marathons also.  The dogs are ATHLETES, pushing the limits of canine endurance and speed.  We bred them, we domesticated them.  They are our PARTNERS.

From Knarf:

What you say rings true to me. There are some mushers who are cruel to their dogs, but I would think that most do the best they can to provide the best possible conditions for their beloved dogs. It seems to me that the dogs LOVE to run to pull the sled and the musher and the dogs have strong intimate connection. I think that web site is there to weed out the cruel owners, and therefore it seems one sided. It is very difficult for me to imagine DeeDee Jonrowe being anything other than devoted and kind to her dogs.
  An aside note… Misa went and bought a fairly good pony cart and had the idea of hooking it up to our very big and strong dog, Snowball. Boy was that a comedy of errors!!! :) Snowball had no idea what was going on. I had warned her that the dog would have to be trained from a very young age to pull a cart, but her vivid imagination was too much. :)

  This debate is seems to me to be about human nature in all fields of human activity. Within us all resides the possibility of compassion and care and also cruelty and prejudice ( immature reactions such as revenge, domination, greed, selfishness….). I have no idea on how these combinations develop, or how they mature to produce the outcome. But, it seems very clear that the human race is so complex, it is no wonder that it is unmanageable.

Image result for sled dogs historical

From Golden Oxen:

Same with horses and horse racing would like to add.

Many of these owners and trainers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for a beautiful thoroughbred horse and nurture them with the greatest of love and care to prepare them for the race course.

Some ass holes at a fair track by a cheap claiming horse and drug the shit out of him and bute him up to win a race at a second rate track and the animal rights crowd goes berserk and tries to blame all of racing, all owners and trainers, even try and shut the wonderful horse racing game down entirely.

It's the same with everything with the fucking idiotic control freaks, a few bad apples and the entire bunch have to be outlawed and people who love and adore their horses treated like barbarians.

There is nothing more wonderful than than watching a proud high strung horse prancing on to the track with all his pageantry and colors.

Oh to be at Saratoga right now on a sunny day in August to watch the splendor of the horses and jockeys being paraded around the paddock and marching onto the race track.

The grace, colors, beauty of it all is just breathtaking.

Yet there are those who deem it is their right to ban the Sport of Kings. :icon_scratch: :-\ :emthdown: :emthdown:

From Monsta:

When there's money there's corruption also when it comes to competition some people always want to be the best at any cost. You got to oversee against the unscrupulous operators otherwise their unsavory practices will permeate the whole industry. As much as you hate'em those animal rights activists do keep people honest, on their toes and question the general practices that could easily be taken for granted.

Thing is it isn't just doping one should be concerned about. What you also need to consider is the training that takes place behind the scenes and whether those practices are ethical. On race day are the dogs subjected to commands or/and situations that are detrimental to their welfare? It can sound patronizing and extra but with a few considerations the sport can go on if there a strict rules plus accountability. I don't have a clue about dog racing but with horses it took animal activists to highlight the practice of horse whipping before rules came into place to curb that practice. Another was reducing the difficulty of jumps or turns on certain race tracks as the fatality rates at those points were unacceptably high. That last point does reduce the entertainment factor but then it does safe life of horses. It all goes back to the point I raised in my earlier post that some common features of a sport that participants take for granted aren't all that great for the animals in question.

From Eddie:

It's obvious to me that Palloy doesn't know much about sled dogs, or even about working dogs in general. I understand and agree with his concern for the safety of these animals, but believe he is clearly getting it wrong here. I've never lived in the frozen north, but I've been reading about sled dogs most of my life. These malamutes are a working breed, raised for one purpose, and that is carrying humans and their stuff over land in sub-zero temperatures where nothing and nobody else can go.

They are aggressive dogs that fight a lot, and have the potential to kill each other if not handled exactly right. The people who breed them and work them do understand them and put a lot of time and money into their care and feeding. The art and science of using them to pull sleds takes years to learn, and it's becoming a lost art, as mechanized snow machines make it easy to go most places they can go, as long as the gas holds out and the spark plugs don't get fouled.

PETA is an organization that raises a lot of money from people who don't know much at all about any animals, and the people running the organization, though well intended, frequently do and say things that let me know that they are seriously misguided. I think they've done some good things, but they make the common mistake of anthropomorphizing dogs and wild animals because they come from a place of pure emotion applied without a whole lot of background knowledge and/or common sense.

Did you know that Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose crew of the Endurance were trapped in the Antarctic ice for a year, owed their lives to their sled dogs, who carried them for hundreds of miles and then, when the food ran out, had to be eaten? Every man made it back alive. Do you think those men were cruel and insensitive? I would postulate that they loved and understood their animals in a way that modern people who get their information from Disney movies can't begin to comprehend.

Much more on this topic Inside the Diner of course, and you are welcome to join us and drop in your opinion on the Poll on Sled Dog racing and the Iditarod.

The race still has a many miles left to run, and as I compose this article halfway through the race  it seems to be down to  three sleds, with Joar Leifseth Ulsom a Norwegian battling it out neck & neck with Mitch Seavey, a local Alaskan (transported in from Minnesota) and part of a large family of multi-generational mushers and Nick Petit, another local Alaskan (transported in from Normandy).  Mitch is the Old Man of this bunch at 58.  Boomer vs. GenXers.  lol.  Lead keeps changing all the time.  Here is the GPS mapping of the latest in Standings (as of Saturday):  You can review all the maps since the Iditarod began last Sunday Inside the Diner.

Here are the Bios of the Top 3 Mushers halfway through the race:

Joar Leifseth Ulsom

Bib Number: 33
Hometown: Mo i Rana, NORWAY




Joar Leifseth Ulsom (31) holds the record as the fastest rookie to have ever run the Iditarod, and is one of only two mushers to place top-7 five times in as many Iditarod starts.

The 2013 Iditarod Rookie of the Year is from Mo I Rana in Norway by the Arctic Circle. Joar traveled with his dogs from Norway to Alaska where they currently reside since fall of 2011. He works full-time with his small kennel of dogs and Russian team mates for the GoNorth! Adventure Learning non-profit as part of Team Racing Beringia.

Racing Beringia is an online education program for students in K-12 classrooms around the world to explore the region of Beringia spanning from the Yukon in Canada, across Alaska to Chukotka, Russia (RacingBeringia.com).

Joar and his team have raced throughout Beringia starting with the Yukon Quest in 2012. Setting a new time record for the Nadezhda Hope race in Chukotka (Russia), Joar became the first non-native winner of the “toughest race in Eurasia” in 20 years. He is now a 2-time Nadezhda Hope champion, with a second victory in 2014. Joar and his team also placed 1st in 2012 Chukotka Sprint Championship.

Back in Norway Joar started out as a kid by borrowing his neighbors two house dogs to pull him around on skis. Watching Iditarod movies is what fueled his dreams growing up. In 2007 Joar started mushing and building up his own team. He received a degree from an agricultural college in Norway and worked as a cowboy while he ran the great races of Scandinavia before coming to Alaska. With this sixth Iditarod, the run for Racing Beringia continues in 2018.

Joar is a member of Rana Trekk-og Brukshundklubb and Go North! Adventure Learning. He enjoys hunting, fishing, camping and “the North.”

Nicolas Petit

Bib Number: 46
Hometown: Girdwood, Alaska




Nicolas Petit, 36, grew up in Normandy and always loved animals. He moved to Alaska in 1992 because he “loved sow.” He adopted “Ugly”, a gorgeous Alaskan Mutt, put a harness on him and the adventure began. He traveled all over the state and began racing while working for Jim Lanier. “In 2011, Jim’s hip gave him trouble, so I took his wonderful white dogs to Nome.” He also lived in Girdwood, Alaska, and worked for Dario Daniels, whose training techniques live on through Nic’s calm mushing demeanor. During the last six years, he has run dogs from Raymie Redington and bred a female to his favorite Redington dogs and created a magnificent group of athletes that have proven that they have what it takes to win the Iditarod and any other race out there. He won the Fastest Time from Safety to Nome award last year and was third to finish the race. He says, “The future looks bright for my dog team.” Nic’s partner is Emily Maxwell, who will be a rookie in this year’s Iditarod. Nic lists his hobbies as “just dogs…”!







Mitch Seavey

Bib Number: 13
Hometown: Seward, Alaska


Mitch Seavey, 58, was born in Minnesota and moved with his family to Alaska in 1963. He graduated from high school in Seward and wrestled for Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. He began mushing in 1963. Mitch’s dad, Dan, ran the Iditarod in 1973, so he decided he wanted to run the Iditarod someday. After running eleven Iditarods, Mitch won the race in 2004. In 2008, Mitch was the winner of the All Alaska Sweepstakes, held that year as a commemoration of the original All Alaska Sweepstakes, and then he won the Iditarod again in 2013 and 2017. He says, “Running the Iditarod is a family tradition.” Mitch and Janine are the parents of four boys, three of whom have run the Jr. Iditarod and the Iditarod, Danny, Tyrell and Dallas. The youngest, Conway, is 21 and won the Jr. Iditarod in 2012 & 2014. Mitch says his hobbies are “writing, hunting and whatever the grandkids are up to.”



IMHO, Sled Dog Racing is NOT "cruelty to animals".  Like Draft Horses and Oxen, they are bred to be Helpers for Homo Sap.  They are Work Animals, not pets.  In the modern age, the racing has served to keep the breed alive, and in fact continue to improve it.  Without the racing, the breed would have gone extinct a half century back, and we would have nothing to get around here on the Last Great Frontier in Winter other than Oil powered Snow Machines, which will not work when the Oil goes bye-bye.  There are some abuses in the sport, as with all sports.  Some people want to win at any cost, like Lance Armstrong in Cycling.  But this is not the norm in Mushing.  The people who do it are dedicated to their dogs, and the dogs are bred to run and love to run.  They lead healthier lives than the typical pet dog and get better food too.  It's not a very popular or lucrative sport for anyone but perhaps the Top 10 Mushers, and even there the costs are so high even with the sponsors and endorsements it's mostly only a break even proposition.  Others have a different opinion on this of course.

To conclude this installment of the 2018 Iditarod Chronicles, one more video on the care of the Retired Sled Dogs.  Many more videos available to view Inside the Diner.


Image result for sled dogs historical

Seppalas Dogs: Balto, Togo and Fritz

Seppala and his dogs ran the Last Leg of the Great Race of Mercy, delivering Diptheria Serum to Nome in 1925

The Bumpy Road Down, Part 5: More Trends in Collapse

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Published on The Easiest Person to Fool February 20, 2018

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In my last post I started talking about some of the changes that will happen along the bumpy road down and the forces and trends that will lead to them. (The bumpy road down being the cyclic pattern of crash and partial recovery that I believe will characterize the rest of the age of scarcity). These changes will be forced on us by circumstances and are not necessarily how I'd like to see things turn out.

The trends I covered last time were:

  • our continued reliance on fossil fuels
  • the continuing decline in availability, and surplus energy content, of fossil fuels
  • the damage the FIRE industries (finance, insurance and real estate) will suffer in the next crash, and the effects this will have
  • the increase in authoritarianism, as governments attempt to optimize critical systems and relief efforts during and after the crash


Oscillating overshoot with declining carrying capacity

I've once again included the stepped or "oscillating" decline diagram from previous posts here to make it easier to visualize what I'm talking about. This diagram isn't meant to be precise, certainly not when it comes to the magnitude and duration of the oscillations, which in any case will vary from one part of the world to the next.

The trends I want to talk about today are all interconnected. You can hardly discuss one without referring to the others, and so it is difficult to know where to start. But having touched briefly on a trend toward increased authoritarianism at the end of my last post, I guess I should continue trends in politics.

More Political Trends

Currently there seems to be a trend towards right wing politics in the developed world. I think anyone who extrapolates that out into the long run is making a basic mistake. Where right wing governments have been elected by those looking for change, they will soon prove to be very inept at ruling in an era of degrowth. Following that, there will likely be a swing in the other direction and left wing governments will get elected. Only to prove, in their turn, to be equally inept. Britain seems to be heading in this direction, and perhaps the U.S. as well.

Another trend is the sort of populism that uses other nations, and/or racial, ethnic, religious and sexual minorities at home as scapegoats for whatever problems the majority is facing. This strategy is and will continue to be used by clever politicians to gain support and deflect attention from their own shortcomings. Unfortunately, it leads nowhere since the people being blamed aren't the source of the problem.

During the next crash and following recovery governments will continue to see growth as the best solution to whatever problems they face and will continue to be blind to the limits to growth. Farther down the bumpy road some governments may finally clue in about limits. Others won't, and this will fuel continued growth followed by crashes until we learn to live within those limits.

One thing that seems clear is that eventually we'll be living in smaller groups and the sort of political systems that work best will be very different from what we have now.

Many people who have thought about this assume that we'll return to feudalism. I think that's pretty unlikely. History may seem to repeat itself, but only in loose outline, not in the important details. New situations arise from different circumstances, and so are themselves different. Modern capitalists would never accept the obligations that the feudal aristocracy had to the peasantry. Indeed freeing themselves of those obligations had a lot to do with making capitalism work. And the "99%" (today's peasantry) simply don't accept that the upper classes have any right, divine or otherwise, to rule.

In small enough groups, with sufficient isolation between groups, people seem best suited to primitive communism, with essentially no hierarchy and decision making by consensus. I think many people will end up living in just such situations.

In the end though, there will still be a few areas with sufficient energy resources to support larger and more centralized concentrations of population. It will be interesting to see what new forms of political structure evolve in those situations.

Economic Contraction

For the last couple of decades declining surplus energy has caused contraction of the real economy. Large corporations have responded in various ways to maintain their profits: moving industrial operations to developing countries where wages are lower and regulations less troublesome, automating to reduce the amount of expensive labour required, moving to the financial and information sectors of the economy where energy decline has so far had less effect.

The remaining "good" industrial jobs in developed nations are less likely to be unionized, with longer hours, lower pay, decreased benefits, poorer working conditions and lower safety standards. The large number of people who can't even get one of those jobs have had to move to precarious, part time, low paying jobs in the service industries. Unemployment has increased (despite what official statistics say) and the ranks of the homeless have swelled.

Since workers are also consumers, all this has led to further contraction of the consumer economy. We can certainly expect to see this trend continue and increase sharply during the next crash.

Our globally interconnected economy is a complex thing and that complexity is expensive to maintain. During the crash and the depression that follows it, we'll see trends toward simplification in many different areas driven by a lack of resources to maintain the existing complex systems. I'll be discussing those trends in a moment, but it is important to note that a lot of economic activity is involved in maintaining our current level of complexity and abandoning that complexity will mean even more economic contraction.

At the same time, small, simple communities will prove to have some advantages that aren't currently obvious.


All this economic contraction means that almost all of us will be significantly poorer and we'll have to learn to get by with less. As John Michael Greer says, "LESS: less energy, less stuff, less stimulation." We'll be forced to conserve and will struggle to get by with "just enough". This will be a harshly unpleasant experience for most people.


For the last few decades globalization has been a popular trend, especially among the rich and powerful, who are quick to extol its many supposed advantages. And understandably so, since it has enabled them to maintain their accustomed high standard of living while the economy as a whole contracts.

On the other hand, as I was just saying, sending high paying jobs offshore is a pretty bad idea for consumer economies. And I suspect that in the long run we'll see that it wasn't really all that good for the countries where we sent the work, either.

During the crash we'll see the breakdown of the financial and organizational mechanisms that support globalization and international trade. There will also be considerable problems with shipping, both due to disorganization and to unreliable the supplies of diesel fuel for trucks and bunker fuel for ships. I'm not predicting an absolute shortage of oil quite this soon, but rather financial and organizational problems with getting it out of the ground, refined and moved to where it is needed.

This will lead to the failure of many international supply chains and governments and industry will be forced to switch critical systems over to more local suppliers. This switchover will be part of what eventually drives a partial recovery of the economy in many localities.

In a contracting economy with collapsing globalization there would seem to be little future for multi-national corporations, and organizations like the World Bank and the IMF. While the crash may bring an end to the so called "development" of the "developing" nations, it will also bring an end to economic imperialism. At the same time, the general public in the developed world, many of whom are already questioning the wisdom of the "race to the bottom" that is globalization, will be even less likely to go along with it, especially when it comes to exporting jobs.

Still, when the upcoming crash bottoms out and the economy begins to recover, there will be renewed demand for things that can only be had from overseas and international trade will recover to some extent.


Impoverished organizations such a governments, multi-national corporations and international standards groups will struggle to maintain today's high degree of centralization and eventually will be forced to break up into smaller entities.

Large federations such as Europe, the US, Canada and Australia will see rising separatism and eventually secession. As will other countries where different ethnic groups have been forced together and/or there is long standing animosity between various localities. If this can be done peacefully it may actually improve conditions for the citizens of the areas involved, who would no longer have to support the federal organization. But no doubt it will just as often involve armed conflict, with all the destruction and suffering that implies.


The cessation of services from the FIRE industries and the resulting breakdown of international (and even national) supply and distribution chains will leave many communities with no choice but to fend for themselves.

One of the biggest challenges at first will be to get people to believe that there really is a problem. Once that is clear, experience has shown that the effectiveness of response from the victims of disasters is remarkable and I think that will be true again in this case. There are a lot of widely accepted myths about how society breaks down during disaster, but that's just what they are: myths. Working together in groups for our mutual benefit is the heart of humanity's success, after all.

Government response will take days or more likely weeks to organize, and in the meantime there is much we can do to help ourselves. Of course it helps to be prepared… (check out these posts from the early days of this blog: 1, 2) and I'll have more to say on that in upcoming posts.

The question then arises whether one would be better off in an urban center or a rural area such as a small town or a farm. Government relief efforts will be focused on the cities where the need will be greatest and the response easiest to organize. But just because of the millions of people involved, that response will be quite challenging.

Rural communities may well be largely neglected by relief efforts. But, especially in agricultural areas, they will find fending for themselves much more manageable.

I live in a rural municipality with a population of less than 12,000 people in an area of over 200 square miles (60 people per sq. mile, more than 10 acres per person). The majority of the land is agricultural, and supply chains are short, walking distance in many cases. Beef, dairy and cash crops are the main agricultural activities at present and they can easily be diverted to feed the local population. Especially if the food would go to waste anyway due to the breakdown of supply chains downstream from the farm.

So I think we're likely to do fairly well until the government gets around to getting in touch with us again, probably sometime after the recovery begins.

In subsequent crashes the population will be significantly reduced and those of us who survive will find ourselves living for the most part in very small communities which are almost entirely relocalized. The kind of economy that works in that situation is very different from what we have today and is concerned with many things other than growth and profit making.


The move toward automation that we've seen in the developed world since the start of the industrial revolution has been driven by high labour costs and the savings to be had by eliminating labour from industrial processes as much as possible. That revolution started and proceeded at greatest speed in Britain where labour rates where the highest, and still hasn't happened in many developing nations where labour is very cheap.

Sadly, the further impoverishment of the working class in Europe and North American will make cheaper labour available locally, rather than having to go offshore. During the upcoming crash, and in the depression following it, impoverished people will have no choice but to work for lower rates and will out compete automated systems, especially when capital to set them up, the cutting edge technology needed to make them work, and the energy to power them are hard to come by. Again, the economic advantages of simplicity will come into play when it is the only alternative, and help drive the recovery after the first crash.

The Food Supply and Overpopulation

In the initial days of the coming crash there will be problems with the distribution systems for food, medical supplies and water treatment chemicals, all of which are being supplied by "just in time" systems with very little inventory at the consumer end of the supply chain. To simplify this discussion, I'll talk primarily about food.

It is often said that there is only a 3 day supply of food on the grocery store shelves. I am sure this is approximately correct. In collapse circles, the assumption is that, if the trucks stop coming, sometime not very far beyond that 3 day horizon we'd be facing starvation. There may be a few, incredibly unlucky, areas where that will be more or less true.

But, depending on the time of year, much more food than that (often more than a year's worth) is stored elsewhere in the food production and distribution system. The problem will be in moving this food around to where it is needed, and in making sure another year's crops get planted and harvested. I think this can be done, much of it through improvisation and co-operation by people in the agricultural and food industries. With some support from various levels of government.

There will be some areas where food is available more or less as normal, some where the supply is tight, and other areas where there is outright famine and some loss of life (though still outstripped by the fecundity of the human race). In many ways that pretty much describes the situation today but supply chain breakdown, and our various degrees of success at coping with it, will make all the existing problems worse during the crash.

But once the initial crash is over, we have a much bigger problem looming ahead, which I think will eventually lead to another, even more serious crash.

With my apologies to my "crunchy" friends, modern agriculture and the systems downstream from it supply us with the cheapest and safest food that mankind has known since we were hunters and gatherers and allows us (so far) to support an ever growing human population.

The problem is that this agriculture is not sustainable. It requires high levels of inputs–primarily energy from fossil fuels, but also pesticides, fertilizers and water for irrigation–mostly from non-renewable sources. And rather than enriching the soil on which it depends, it gradually consumes it, causing erosion from over cultivation and over grazing, salinating the soil where irrigation is used and poisoning the water courses downstream with runoff from fertilizers. We need to develop a suite of sustainable agricultural practices that takes advantage of the best agricultural science can do for us, while the infrastructure that supports that science is still functioning.

The organic industry spends extravagantly to convince us that the problem with our food is pesticide residues and genetically engineered organisms, but the scientific consensus simply does not support this. The organic standards include so called "natural" pesticides that are more toxic than modern synthetic ones, and allow plant breeding techniques (such as mutagenesis) that are far more dangerous than modern genetic engineering. Organic standards could certainly be revised into something sustainable that retains the best of both conventional and organic techniques, but this has become such a political hot potato that it is unlikely to happen.

As I said above, during the upcoming crash one of the main challenges will be to keep people fed. And I have no doubt that this challenge will, for the most part, be successfully met. Diesel fuel will be rationed and sent preferentially to farmers and trucking companies moving agricultural inputs and outputs. Supplies of mineral fertilizers are still sufficient to keep industrial agriculture going. Modern pesticides actually reduce the need for cultivation and improve yields by reducing losses due to pests. It will be possible to divert grains grown for animal feed to feed people during the first year when the crisis is most serious.

Industrial agriculture will actually save the day and continue on to feed the growing population for a while yet. We will continue to make some improvement in techniques and seeds, though with diminishing returns on our efforts.

This will come to an end around mid century with the second bump on the road ahead (starting at point "g" on the graph), when a combination of increasing population, worsening climate, and decreasing availability and increasing prices of energy, irrigation water, fertilizer, pesticides and so forth combine to drastically reduce the output of modern agriculture.

Widespread famine will result, and this, combined with epidemics in populations weakened by hunger, will reduce the planet's human population by at least a factor of two in a period of a very few years. Subsequent bumps as climate change further worsens conditions for farming will further reduce the population, resulting in a bottleneck towards the end of this century. Without powered machinery, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and with drastically reduced water for irrigation, agricultural output will fall off considerably. And our population will fall to match the availability of food. I do think it unlikely that the human race will be wiped out altogether, but our numbers will likely be reduced by a factor of ten or more.

Turning to Violence as a Solution

It is a sad fact that many people, communities and nations, when faced with the sort of challenges I've been talking about here, will respond with violence.

In the remaining years leading up to the next crash, I think it is likely that even the least stable of world leaders (or their military advisors) will remain well aware of the horrific consequences of large scale nuclear war, and will manage to avoid it. As has been the case since the end of WWII, wars will continue to be fought by proxy, involving smaller nations in the developing world, especially where the supply of strategic natural resources are at issue.

War is extremely expensive though and, even without the help of a financial crash, military spending already threatens to bankrupt the U.S. As Dmitry Orlov has suggested, after a financial crash, the U.S. may find it difficult to even get its military personnel home from overseas bases, much less maintain those bases or pursue international military objectives.

But even in the impoverished post-crash world, I expect that border wars, terrorism, riots and violent protests will continue for quite some time yet.

Migration and Refugees

Whether from the ravages of war, climate change or economic contraction many areas of the world, particularly in areas like the Middle East, North Africa and the U.S. southwest, will become less and less livable. People will leave those areas looking for greener pastures and the number of refugees will soon grow past what can be managed even by the richest of nations. This will be a problem for Europe in particular, and more and more borders will be closed to all but a trickle of migrants. Refugees will accumulate in camps and for a while the situation will find an uneasy balance.

As we continue down the bumpy road, though, many nations will lose the ability to police their borders. Refugees will pour through, only to find broken economies that offer them little hope of a livelihood. Famine, disease and conflict will eventually reduce the population to where it can be accommodated in the remaining livable areas. But the ethnic makeup of those areas will have changed significantly due to large scale migrations.

In Conclusion

I've been talking here about some of the changes that will be forced upon us by the circumstances of collapse. I've said very little about what I think we might do if we could face up to the reality of those circumstances and take positive action. That's because I don't think there is much chance that we'll take any such action on a global or even national scale.

It's time now to wrap up this series of posts about the bumpy road down. At some point in the future I intend to do a series about of coping with collapse locally, on the community, family and individual level. I think there is still much than can be done to improve the prospects of those who are willing to try.

The Last Great Race on Earth

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on March 4, 2018

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It's Iditarod Time once again here on the Last Great Frontier!

The Iditarod for those who are not familiar with it is the Dog Sled Race that runs these days from the Matanuska-Susitna River Valley in Alaska up to Nome.  Total length of the course is around 1000 miles, a very long trek for both the Dogs and the Musher.  The race commemorates the Great Race for Mercy in the 1920's, when a Diptheria Epidemic hit Nome and they had to get medicine up there as quick as they could.  They did not have the network of Bush Planes then that we have now, nor did they have Snow Machines.

The most famous dog that pulled this medicine to Nome was Balto, the last lead dog who pulled the sled for the last leg into Nome.  There is a statue of Balto in Central Park in NYC.  It is the Feature Photo for this article at the top of the page.


1925 serum run to Nome

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia












The 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the Great Race of Mercy, was a transport of diphtheria antitoxin by dog sled relay across the U.S. territory of Alaska by 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs 674 miles (1,085 km) in five and a half days, saving the small town of Nome and the surrounding communities from an incipient epidemic.

Both the mushers and their dogs were portrayed as heroes in the newly popular medium of radio, and received headline coverage in newspapers across the United States. Balto, the lead sled dog on the final stretch into Nome, became the most famous canine celebrity of the era after Rin Tin Tin, and his statue is a popular tourist attraction in both New York City's Central Park and downtown Anchorage, Alaska. The publicity also helped spur an inoculation campaign in the U.S. that dramatically reduced the threat of the disease.

The sled dog was the primary means of transportation and communication in subarctic communities around the world, and the race became both the last great hurrah and the most famous event in the history of mushing, before the first aircraft in the 1930s and then the snowmobile in the 1960s drove the dog sled almost into extinction. The resurgence of recreational mushing in Alaska since the 1970s is a direct result of the tremendous popularity of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which honors the history of dog mushing.


Location and geography

Nome lies approximately 2 degrees south of the Arctic Circle, and while greatly diminished from its peak of 20,000 during the gold rush days at the turn of the 20th century, it was still the largest town in northern Alaska in 1925, with 455 Alaska Natives and 975 settlers of European descent.[1] From November to July, the port on the southern shore of the Seward Peninsula of the Bering Sea was icebound and inaccessible by steamship.

The only link to the rest of the world during the winter was the Iditarod Trail, which ran 938 miles (1,510 km) from the port of Seward in the south, across several mountain ranges and the vast Alaska Interior before reaching Nome. The primary source of mail and needed supplies in 1925 was the dog sled, but within a decade, bush pilots would become the dominant method of transportation during the winter months.

Mail from outside the Alaska Territory was transported 420 miles (680 km) by train from the icefree port of Seward to Nenana, and then was transported the 674 miles (1,085 km) from Nenana to Nome by dog sled, which normally took 25 days.

Outbreak and call for help

In the winter of 1924–25, the only doctor in Nome, a town of less than 2,000 people, and the surrounding communities was Curtis Welch, who was supported by four nurses at the 25-bed Maynard Columbus Hospital.[2] Several months earlier,[3] Welch had placed an order for more diphtheria antitoxin after discovering that hospital's entire batch had expired. However, the shipment did not arrive before the port closed for the winter[4][3] and he would not be able to order more until spring.[5]

In December 1924, several days after the last ship left the port, Welch treated a few children for what he first diagnosed as sore throats or tonsillitis, initially dismissing diphtheria since it is extremely contagious and he would have expected to see the same symptoms in their family members or other cases around town.[4] In the next few weeks, as the number of tonsillitis cases grew and four children died whom he had not been able to autopsy, Welch became increasingly concerned about diphtheria.[6]

By mid-January 1925, Welch officially diagnosed the first case of diphtheria in a three-year old boy who died only two weeks after first becoming ill.[4] The following day, when a seven-year old girl presented with the same tell-tale symptoms of diphtheria, Welch attempted to administer some of the expired antitoxin to see if it might still have any effect, but the girl died a few hours later.[7] Realizing that an epidemic was imminent, that same evening, Welch called Mayor George Maynard to arrange an emergency town council meeting.[8] The council immediately implemented a quarantine. The following day, on January 22, 1925, Welch sent radio telegrams to all other major towns in Alaska alerting them of public health risk and he also sent one to the U.S. Public Health Service in Washington, D.C. asking for assistance.[4] His message to the Public Health Service said:

An epidemic of diphtheria is almost inevitable here. Stop. I am in urgent need of one million units of diphtheria antitoxin, stop, mail is only form of transportation. Stop. I have made application to Commissioner of Health of the Territories for antitoxin already. Stop. There are about 3000 (sic) white natives in the district.[4]

Despite the quarantine, there were over 20 confirmed cases of diphtheria and at least 50 more at risk by the end of January. Without antitoxin, it was expected that in the surrounding region's population of around 10,000 people, the mortality rate could be close to 100 percent.[4] A previous influenza pandemic of the so-called "Spanish flu" had hit the area in 1918 and 1919 wiped out about 50 percent of the native population of Nome, and 8 percent of the native population of Alaska. More than 1,000 people died in northwest Alaska, and double that across the state.[3] The majority were Alaska Natives who did not have resistance to either of these diseases.[9]

Problem solving

At the January 24 meeting of the board of health superintendent Mark Summers of the Hammon Consolidated Gold Fields proposed a dogsled relay, using two fast teams. One would start at Nenana and the other at Nome, and they would meet at Nulato. The trip from Nulato to Nome normally took 30 days, although the record was nine.[2] Welch calculated that the serum would only last six days under the brutal conditions of the trail.[2] Summers' employee, the Norwegian Leonhard Seppala, was chosen for the 630-mile (1,014 km) round trip from Nome to Nulato and back. He had previously made the run from Nome to Nulato in a record-breaking four days, won the All-Alaska Sweepstakes three times, and had become something of a legend for his athletic ability and rapport with his Siberian huskies. His lead dog, the 12-year-old Togo,[3] was equally famous for his leadership, intelligence, and ability to sense danger.

Mayor Maynard proposed flying the antitoxin by aircraft. In February 1924, the first winter aircraft flight in Alaska had been conducted between Fairbanks and McGrath by Carl Eielson, who flew a reliable De Havilland DH-4 issued by the U.S. Post Office on 8 experimental trips. The longest flight was only 260 miles (420 km), the worst conditions were −10 °F (−23 °C) which required so much winter clothing that the plane was almost unflyable, and the plane made several crash landings.

The only planes operating in Alaska in 1925 were three vintage Standard J biplanes belonging to Bennet Rodebaugh's Fairbanks Airplane company (later Wien Air Alaska) The aircraft were dismantled for the winter, had open cockpits, and had water-cooled engines that were unreliable in cold weather. Since both pilots were in the contiguous United States, Alaska Delegate Dan Sutherland attempted to get the authorization to use an inexperienced pilot, Roy Darling.

While potentially quicker, the board of health rejected the option and voted unanimously for the dogsled relay. Seppala was notified that evening and immediately started preparations for the trip.

The U.S. Public Health Service had located 1.1 million units of serum in West Coast hospitals which could be shipped to Seattle, and then transported to Alaska.[2] The Alameda would be the next ship north, and would not arrive in Seattle until January 31, and then would take another 6 to 7 days to arrive in Seward. On January 26, 300,000 forgotten units were discovered in Anchorage Railroad Hospital, when the chief of surgery, John Beeson, heard of the need.[2] The supply was wrapped in glass vials, then padded quilts, and finally a metallic cylinder weighing a little more than 20 pounds.[2][3] At Governor Scott Bone's order, it was packed and handed to conductor Frank Knight, who arrived in Nenana on January 27. While not sufficient to defeat the epidemic, the 300,000 units could hold it at bay until the larger shipment arrived.

The temperatures across the Interior were at 20-year lows due to a high pressure system from the Arctic, and in Fairbanks the temperature was −50 °F (−46 °C). A second system was burying the Panhandle, as 25 mph (40 km/h) winds swept snow into 10-foot (3.05 m) drifts. Travel by sea was hazardous, and across the Interior most forms of transportation shut down. In addition, there were limited hours of daylight to fly, due to the polar night.

While the first batch of serum was traveling to Nenana, Governor Bone gave final authorization to the dog relay, but ordered Edward Wetzler, the U.S. Post Office inspector, to arrange a relay of the best drivers and dogs across the Interior. The teams would travel day and night until they handed off the package to Seppala at Nulato.

The decision outraged William Fentress "Wrong Font" Thompson, publisher of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and aircraft advocate, who helped line up the pilot and plane. He used his paper to write scathing editorials.


The mail route from Nenana to Nome spanned 674 miles (1,085 km) in total. It crossed the barren Alaska Interior, following the Tanana River for 137 miles (220 km) to the village Tanana at the junction with the Yukon River, and then following the Yukon for 230 miles (370 km) to Kaltag. The route then passed west 90 miles (140 km) over the Kaltag Portage to Unalakleet on the shore of Norton Sound. The route then continued for 208 miles (335 km) northwest around the southern shore of the Seward Peninsula with no protection from gales and blizzards, including a 42 miles (68 km) stretch across the shifting ice of the Bering Sea.

Wetzler contacted Tom Parson, an agent of the Northern Commercial Company, which contracted to deliver mail between Fairbanks and Unalakleet. Telephone and telegrams turned the drivers back to their assigned roadhouses. The mail carriers held a revered position in the territory, and were the best dog mushers in Alaska. The majority of relay drivers across the Interior were native Athabaskans, direct descendants of the original dog mushers.

The first musher in the relay was "Wild Bill" Shannon, who was handed the 20 pounds (9.1 kg) package at the train station in Nenana on January 27 at 9:00 PM AKST by night. Despite a temperature of −50 °F (−46 °C), Shannon left immediately with his team of 11 inexperienced dogs, led by Blackie. The temperature began to drop, and the team was forced onto the colder ice of the river because the trail had been destroyed by horses.

Despite jogging alongside the sled to keep warm, Shannon developed hypothermia. He reached Minto at 3 AM, with parts of his face black from frostbite.[2] The temperature was −62 °F (−52 °C). After warming the serum by the fire and resting for four hours, Shannon dropped three dogs and left with the remaining 8. The three dogs died shortly after Shannon returned for them, and a fourth may have perished as well.

Image result for alcan highway As a Kollapsnik and adopted Alaskan, I love the Iditarod for a few reasons.  First off, the race is run through one of the last places left on the planet you could do such a thing.  There are no roads through this part of Alaska, although the Start Point has had to be moved persistently northward to avoid the suburban development up here and the road system that goes with that.  In fact, there is very little in terms of road development in Alaska as a whole, once you get off the main drag of the Parks & Glenn Highways, there is pretty much nothing.  Then to get in or out of Alaska, there is in fact only ONE road, the Al-Can.  It only got completely paved over in 1996, and to this day there are sections of it you really don't want to be driving on in bad weather, which is common.  So in the modern age, the communities that Alaska supports are either along the narrow corridor of the 2 highways, or they are supported by the air network of Bush Planes.  The main communities of mostly First Nations people are all along the coast, and they get their diesel to run their generators by sea, but this takes a while.  Back when the Great Race for Mercy occured in the 1920's, it would have taken many weeks to get the medicine to Nome by sea.  So they did it over land, with a chain of Mushers, who got it up there in about a week or so.  There were only 3 available planes that might have been able to make the trip at that time, and no experienced pilots to fly them.  So they went with the dogs and the traditional methods.  They made it, and Balto led them into town.

The next reason I love the Iditarod is because it is one of the last examples left of the cooperation between Homo Sap and the animals we have domesticated as helpers.  Those dogs were the ones that pulled that medicine, they were HEROES.  So were the Mushers who trained them and who drove them to the finish line, IN TIME.  No gas, no diesel, just Humans and Dogs working together over 1000 miles of the toughest terrain and the toughest weather nature can pitch out.

Image result for iditarod

I also love the Iditarod because besides Alaskans, Canadians, Ruskies, Finns, Swedes and Norwegians, basically nobody knows about it or follows it.  Even among the people who live in these places the fans are few.  Mushing is not a lucrative sporting pastime, although a few of the top mushers make enough from endorsements to feed their dogs and train year around.  For everyone below about the Top 10 Mushers, it's a labor of love and it costs them plenty every year to pursue this hobby.

In the past few years there has not been enough snow on the ground in the southern portion of the race to do the traditional start, now in in the Matanuska-Susitna River Valley rather than Seward where the original Great Race for Mercy began.  In fact they had to move the start from Wasilla where the HQ of the Iditarod is up to Willow, because there simply has been too much suburbabn development and road construction around Wasilla to have a good place to start from safe for the mushers and the dogs even in good snow years.  Lately though, even Willow didn't work, so they made a new route that started I think in Fairbanks.

Image result for iditarod The ceremonial start is done come hell or high water (or no snow) down in Anchorage the day before the real race begins.  For two years they shipped snow down from Fairbanks via the Alaska Railroad to lay down on MainStreet in Anchorage so they could run the Ceremonial Start.  Anchorage is the only place in Alaska you will get any media coverage whatsoever or enough spectators to come out and wave at the Mushers and make the event look semi-popular to anyone outside Alaska.  This year, the Ceremonial Start has enough local snow in Anchorage to run the start there without resorting to using fossil fuels to ship snow in, which is nice.  However, overall Alaska has had a very mild winter this year at least in terms of temperatures overall.  Hovering mostly in the 20sF.  However, particularly in the last couple of weeks leading up to the official Race Start today, we have had a few good snowfalls and the trail conditions are very good.

Image result for susan butcher sled dog racer Favorite for this year's race by far is Ken Anderson, but I am rooting for the Berington Twins, Kristy & Anna.  They run separate sleds of course, but I don't care which one wins.  Also it's nice when female mushers win, the race gets more publicity.  Susan Butcher was probably the most famous of the female mushers, and I followed her career even before I moved to Alaska.  Sadly, Susan died of Cancer a few years back.

For the Kollapsnik though, the most important thing about the Iditarod is that the people who run this race with their dogs represent the type of people who can SURVIVE collapse.  They are TOUGH & RESOURCEFUL people.  They aren't QUITTERS like the Nihilists and Misanthropes on Nature Bats Last, Our Finite World and r/collapse. They are athletic and in good physical condition.  They know the terrain, the weather and how to deal with it.  They do use modern industrial produced material now of course to make the sleds lighter and to insulate themselves better from the cold, but I would bet most of them could put together a sled from scratch and hunt down the Caribou, Moose and Bear and make their parkas from those materials.  Many of them live out in the Bush and do subsistence Hunting & Fishing, along with raising their dogs.  Susan Butcher was one like that.

I will follow the Iditarod again this year with great interest.  I will update Inside the Diner as I receive times in email for all the mushers I follow.


A three dimensional collapse overview model

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on February 28, 2017

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The Limits to Growth was published in 1972 by a group of world class scientists using the best mathematical computer modelling available at the time. It projected the future collapse of global industrial civilisation in the 21st century if humanity did not curb its population, consumption and pollution. It was pilloried by many “infinite growth on a finite planet” economists over the decades. 

However, updated data inputs and modern computer modelling in recent years (particularly by Dr Graham Turner of the CSIRO in 2008 and 2014) showed that we are in reality closely tracking the standard model of the LtG, with industrial collapse and mass die-off due sooner rather than later. The future is now.

The LtG looked only at 5 parameters, with global warming being a mere subset of pollution. Dramatic acceleration of ice melt and unprecedented, increasingly frequent, extreme weather events over the past two decades clearly demonstrate that global warming is progressing far faster and far worse than anyone could possibly have imagined back in the 70s. Global warming certainly deserves a separate category for consideration on its own, quite apart from the other manifestations of pollution.

The LtG did not include a specific category looking at the human dynamics of finance, economics and political manoeuvrings, which was fair enough, because it is impossible to mathematically model such capricious irrationality. Economists may beg to differ, however no economic mathematical model has ever been shown to accurately reflect the real world, nor ever consistently predict anything useful (unlike the LtG and other proven science based models), not least because of their hopelessly incomplete and deeply flawed ideological economic assumptions. Garbage in, garbage out. In 2013, the “Nobel-type” prize for economics (properly termed the Bank of Sweden prize) was jointly awarded to different economists who had mathematically modelled diametrically opposing ideas. That was akin to awarding the physics prize to different scientists who “showed” that the universe is both expanding and contracting at the same time.

Despite that, I do advocate that we should include finance, economics and politics in our subjective conceptual framework of collapse mechanics, because financial and economic troubles are triggers for political upheavals which can lead to conflict and the collapse of nation states. Syria is a prime example. This unquantifiable category, despite being subjective and unpredictable, will nevertheless significantly contribute to population die-off, just as any quantifiable category such as global warming or resource depletion or ecosystem destruction can and will cause human die-off. Economic collapse can lead to loss of healthcare, homelessness and starvation. Political madness can trigger global thermonuclear war at any time, causing our extinction.

All the categories contributing to collapse are deeply inter-related and intertwined. This is the basis of systems thinking, which is essential for making realistic judgements about our future and mitigating against the troubles ahead. How can we confer such complex ideas to the general public in a manner which is clear and understandable, yet does not significantly compromise accuracy or detail?

I first alluded to the idea of a 3D collapse overview model during my Griffith University Ecocentre presentation in March 2017

It is a refinement of my older, less complete, 2D model "the three horsemen and one big fat elephant of the apocalypse", originally conceived as a joke, a play on a hackneyed biblical phrase, albeit with serious intent.
When various pundits try to analyse matters relating to sustainability, their biggest deficiency is often blinkered or tunnel vision. They focus on only one issue while ignoring other issues. Most global warming "solutions" advocated by climate activists fit this description. They assume limitless energy availability to deliver huge renewable energy infrastructures and massive carbon sequestration fantasies to enable an approximation of business as usual to support 10 billion people by mid century. 





In reality we are poised to fall off the cliff of net energy availability very soon 1,2 and not even the most optimistic carbon sequestration fantasies (all of which will require colossal energy inputs and none of which are proven) will be able return us to a stable climate unless the total human footprint is also reduced drastically and immediately 3 (which will not happen short of global nuclear war – which in itself will exponentially release greenhouse gases, devastate remaining ecosystems and destroy industrial civilisation and thus our ability to technologically sequester GHGs).

Blinkered views produce flawed pseudo-solutions, which if attempted often exacerbate other problems, or at the very least are a complete waste of time and energy.

Here is a 10 second video-clip, my first attempt to make this 3D model in real life, "doom explained by confectionery abuse"

In my 3D model I have maintained the central position of the total human footprint as the "big fat elephant", to emphasise that if this is not addressed, then nothing is being addressed. Few commentators advocate voluntary energy descent, reduction of consumption or simplification of lifestyles, however those are essential strategies to reduce our footprint. Even fewer talk about population reduction. This 3D model is a far superior way to visualise the predicaments we face, compared with disparate and disconnected one dimensional views or compared with simple mnemonic headings. For example, the three "Es" of energy, economy and environment represent a simplistic and incomplete text list, with no graphical demonstration of the links between each "E".

Trying to further subdivide, refine or complicate this model is likely to be counter-productive. As it is, this 3D model, a six sided double pyramid with a proliferating tumour at its core, probably represents the limit of complexity which can easily be stored in the average mind as a visual snapshot. It is an easily remembered image which can be conjured up at the dinner table by scribbling on a napkin or by building the actual 3D model with meatballs and skewers, to both entertain and horrify your guests.

Compartmentalising the various intertwined global issues is obviously an artificial approach, but is necessary to help us understand the highly complex dynamics involved. It is necessary in the same way that compartmentalising the study of Medicine into specialties such as Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Neurology, Nephrology etc is an artificial but proven approach to understanding the highly complex mechanisms within the human body. Just as different bodily systems (heart, gut, brain, kidneys etc) directly interact with and influence each and every other system, each component of my 3D model also directly interacts with and influences each and every other component.


R affecting F: every major oil disruption eg 1973, 1979, has always resulted in economic recession. Another R affecting F example: diminishing per capita resources leads to economic hardships, shattered expectations and anger in the population, which leads to the rise of megalomaniacal fascist demagogues, multiplying the risk of global conflict.

R affecting F affecting R, affecting E and P: decline of conventional oil production since it peaked in 2005 has led to desperate harvesting of unconventional oils pushed through by means of political deceit, fraudulent market misrepresentations and financial/economic distortions. This Ponzi scheme will lead to an inevitable market crash dwarfing the sub-prime mortgage scam. It has also led to severe exacerbations of E and P.
R causing C: this is obvious

C affecting R affecting C: as heatwaves worsen, airconditioning use and hence fossil fuel consumption escalate, liberating more GHGs and worsening global warming

Unfortunately with today's advanced state of planetary malaise, most of the feedbacks between components are "positive" or bad self-reinforcing feedbacks. Few are "negative" or good semi-correcting feedbacks. The reader will no doubt be able to think of many other examples of bidirectional feedbacks between components, both positive and negative.

I advocate that each article discussing sustainability (or lack thereof) should be slotted into the part or parts of this 3D model where it belongs, in order to appreciate how comprehensive or incomplete that article may be, and to enable other related discourses to be slotted into adjacent positions, so as to build up a more holistic picture.

As visual animals I believe this is a useful tool to educate ourselves. It can even be used in primary schools as part of their science curriculum (but will no doubt be banned amongst global warming denialist groups or neoclassical/neoliberal economic madrases). Children can make these simple 3D models with toy construction kits or plasticine and sticks. They should probably be discouraged from playing with their food, unlike us adults, who are terrible hypocrites anyway.

Geoffrey Chia, November 2017

TV Dinners and Population Control

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on February 25, 2018

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When I first returned from Brasil in the late 1960's, the first TV Dinners had hit the market here in the FSoA.  According to Google, they were first produced by Swanson in 1953, a few years before I was born.  I don't recall having one in my earliest years, although I probably did consume them in those years, my mom wasn't much into cooking.  These meals were all pre-cooked then frozen, and all you needed to do was throw them in the oven for about 30 minutes, and you had an instant dinner to throw on the folding table in front of the TV to have your dinner.  There were no Microwave ovens back then to heat them up in 5 minutes or less.

Image result for eating tv dinner on tray table in front of tv There wasn't much variety in these meals back in the day, as I recall there were only 3 I ate with any regularity, the Fried Chicken, the Turkey and the Salisbury "Steak" which was really hamburger with gravy over it.  Fried Chicken was by far my favorite, which came with mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes and an Apple Cobbler for desert.  The TV Dinner era coincided with the beginning of the dissolution of family life in Amerika, as your nightly dinner was no longer a family affair.  No prep time necessary, and each person could just throw one in the oven when they returned from work or school.  Instead of being "housewives", women were moving into the workforce to try and raise more money for the family.   Divorces also increased in prevalence during this period, and my family was one of those so mom HAD to go out and work to supplement her alimony payments.  So she didn't cook many dinners in this period, and I did begin to cook for myself quite often, but I also resorted to the EZ TV Dinner as my nightly meal as I watched the latest in the Vietnam War maelstrom on NBC with Chet Huntley & David Brinkley, or on CBS with Walter Cronkite.

Image result for swanson hungry man salisbury steak As time went by, TV Dinners of various types and sizes were produced, Swanson came out with the "Hungry Man" version of their stuff, a full 16 oz (1 pound, .45 kilos) of industrially grown, cooked, frozen and shipped to your local grocery store.  MOAR FOOD!  But basically the same food and the same recipes there.

Then the Microwave Era arrived, and the frozen pre-prepared food market simply EXPLODED. Today, if you walk (or drive a cripple cart like I do), there isn't a dish you could order in a restaurant that hasn't already been prepared, frozen and packaged for sale in one of the freezers at your local food superstore.  You in the mood for Chicken Tikka Masala from Indian Cuisine?  NO PROBLEM!  What kind of Mexican Burrito do you want to Microwave tonight?  Or maybe you would prefer a Chimichanga?  How about General Tso's Chicken, if you don't want to buy it already heated up at the Deli Counter?  LOL.

I'm not even touching the tip of the iceberg here in terms of the variety of the Frozen Foods available in the aisles of my local food superstores, and I live in Alaska in a low population zone.  Regardless of that, I can drive my Cripple Cart down about 3-4 aisles of refrigerators and freezers PACKED with every kind of food prep you can imagine.  Hot Wings from Friday's?  No problem, got 'em. Sliders from White Castle?  Got 'em.  Family size 5 Cheese Lasagna from Stouffers too!  Or you can buy the generic Great Values brand from Walmart which is exactly the same shit but about 30-40% cheaper.

Image result for stouffers family size lasagna Far as the Lasagna is concerned, it's actually not bad as frozen foods go, and lasagna is a major pain in the ass to prepare yourself.  You gotta boil all the noodles first, layer them out in a baking pan, spread on the ricotta, add whatever other ingredients you wanna throw in, etc.  By the time you buy all the ingredients it costs way more than a Stouffer's (or Great Value) Lasagna and you can't taste much difference.  If you are invited to a Pot Luck (Potlatch) Dinner and don't have a lot of time to fix a dish, these are a great choice.  I've even had compliments about how good "my" lasagna was at these gatherings.  lol.  Just nod and thank them for the compliment.  What they don't know won't hurt them (in this case).

The thing I can't figure out is HTF all these different frozen concotions are being bought by the population size around here?  There are hundreds if not thousands of different items. I can't imagine any but the smallest percentage of the population buys most of them.  It's not just the frozen foods either, its all the canned foods too.  All these foods have expiration dates on them, how much do they throw out?  Inquiring minds want to know?  It is in fact plenty of course, as Dumpster Divers around the nation know.  The trick of course is to get to these dumpsters without getting caught and before the food being disposed of goes REALLY bad.  The food stores don't give the stuff away because it would depress the prices they could get for stuff still on the shelf.

Like almost every other Konsumer item these days, food is WAY over-produced in some places where it can be sold to people somewhere else who still have credit flowing in from the system in general.  Alaska still is one such place.  So despite the fact most of it is currently imported, Alaskans can afford to buy the stuff because of both the residual Oil money flowing in as well as of course ever expanding DEBT.  There are however an ever expanding number of Alaskans relying on SNAP Cards to buy this cornucopia of industrially produced food, so how long this all lasts up here is an open question.

Image result for snap card There is a tremendous lack of understanding here in Amerika about the relative cost of food to various populations around the world.  Even for a relatively poor person in Amerika, food comes in as a relatively cheap part of your monthly budget, plus if you are super-poor you get the SNAP Cards to allow you to buy the frozen foods and pretty much whatever else is on the shelves at the local food superstore, including prepared foods from the Deli Counter.  Of course if you do that because the markup on these foods is so high, you'll probably burn up your SNAP Card allotment in the first week, which a decent number of the folks receiving this benny do and I don't have a lot of sympathy for that.  As I have demonstrated numerous times with my SNAP Card Gourmet series of recipes, if you are receiving the typical SNAP Card bennies most states offer, you can easily meet your total nutritional requirements for the month.  Add to that the food boxes numerous charities will hand out and right now here in the FSoA you should be able to stay fed.  If you live out in a rural area with no access to a car for transportation, this can make it difficult even if you have a SNAP Card.  Also, not everyone who applies gets one, and it can take a while to get approved.

This state of affairs is NOT true in most of the world however, and in many places people have to subsist on $2/day, which includes not just their food but a shelter of some kind to sleep under.  They may be raising children also.  As cheap as I can go with creating nutritious meals, there is no way I could feed a family of 4 on $2/day!  Countries in this situation (and there are many, mostly in Africa and Asia) are in constant turmoil and politically unstable for the basic reason the population simply does not have enough to eat!  So you ask, WTF do they keep procreating and having MORE kids if they can't feed the ones they already GOT?

Image result for trojan condoms The reasons here are many.  First off, any form of birth control, even simple condoms are not that accessible, nor are they free.  So if your budget is already stretched just to buy food, there's not a whole lot left over to buy trojans.  Also, many people just don't like wearing a raincoat while they have sex.  More complex forms of birth control like vasectomies and tubal ligation are even more expensive.  They also take trained doctors to do them, and the idea they are always reversible is a canard.  Sometimes reversing it works, other times not.  It all costs MONEY in any event, which is in short supply in most of the world.

Then there is the issue of Old Age security.  In most of the countries with high birth rates, they don't have a state sponsored pension system like Social Security, their children are their only form of security in their dotage years.  The children also have a relatively high mortality rate, if you have 8 of them you ar lucky if 3 survive to adulthood.  So you have as many as possible as an insurance policy, statistically speaking.

Then there is the factor of simple boredom without a whole lot to entertain you other than fucking.  What else do you really have to do that is so appealing?  It's not like you can jump in your car for a drive around town or even go to the movies if you live on $2/day.  So people fuck, and babies are born as a result.  This is not rocket science.

Is there a SOLUTION here?  Of COURSE there is, but it doesn't come at the Birth end of the Birth-Death equation in population expansion.  The problem is not that people are being born too quickly, it's that they are not dying fast enough!

Image result for virus particle Going back in history to the pre-Agricultural, Hunter-Gatherer era, there were NO forms of birth control available, yet the population of Homo Saps did not increase very rapidly.  Why not?  Because the average lifespan was shorter, child mortality was higher and there were other predators out there who kept our numbers in check.  These checks and balances to population size have been removed as time passed, and in the last century the development of various forms of antibiotics even kept in check the smallest of predators of Homo Sap, the bacteria and viruses.  At the same time, there was an explosion in the amount of food available with the "Green Revolution", which used fossil fuels and high-energy fertilizers to increase the agricultural productivity of a given plot of land.  The combined effect of this was to vastly increase the total population size as more people were born and fewer died young.

Now, this problem is self-resolving of course because at some point in the not too distant future the four horsemen of the apocalypse will come in to ride herd on humanity and knock off a significant percentage of the population quite rapidly.  Famine can do this in quite short order, if for instance a disease hit the monoculture crops of soy beans and corn grown through industrial farming in the breadbasket of the midwest FSoA.  Or a still more virulent and antibiotic resistant disease mutates out of the numerous ones floating around out there these days.  I don't see worrying about Homo Sap population as skyrocketing further to 10M or more as a worthwhile concern, it's unlikely to go that far.  There will be a discontinuity in this exponential increase in population, just it is difficult to pinpoint precisely WHEN that discontinuity will occur?

Image result for 4 horsemen of the apocalypse

Now, of course nobody wants to see a Black Death situation with thousands of corpses piling up in the streets and the smell of death all around you.  Can't you smell that smell?  We're getting there with the Opioid Epidemic.

However, trying to dish out death in a slower, more controlled fashion has its own set of intractable problems.  To begin with, who gets to decide who lives and who dies?  Then, what criteria do you use to dish out the death?  Age?  Wealth? Race? IQ?

After that, are the people targeted for Death going to happily show up at the Soylent Green recycling center to be "put to sleep" as they say in the Veterinarian bizness?  In general probably not, so then you have to start forcibly rounding them up.  This was what the Nazis tried to do.  It was a complete mess and didn't work.

So in the end here, you more or less have to reconcile yourself to the way Population Control will come to Homo Saps is the traditional way, through Famine, Disease and War.  It's also likely to come on fairly rapidly as well, Seneca Cliff style.  Precisely when this knockdown of the human population will arrive remains an open question, and how fast "fairly rapidly" means is a relative thing.  It's not going to happen overnight or in a week or even in a year.  But compared to all the centuries it took to climb up this hill, it will be a lot faster skiing down it.

In the meantime, I suggest avoiding the TV Dinners and rather cook your own fresh meats and veggies.  It's not as convenient, but it's healthier and tastier and you'll live longer!  Or if you want to reduce the population size starting with yourself, eat LOTS of TV Dinners!

Why America wants a war with Russia

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on February 23, 2018

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Why America wants a war with Russia
by Palloy
21 Feb 2018

Just recently I saw this innocent question asked on Moon of Alabama's website, and decided to post a reply:

"For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia."

Ever since US Crude Oil production peaked in 1970, the US has known that at some point the oil majors would have their profitability damaged, "assets" downgraded, and borrowing capacity destroyed.  At this point their shares would become worthless and they would be bankrupt. The contagion from this would immediately spread to airlines, transport businesses, plastics manufacture, herbicides and pesticide production and a total implosion of Industrial Civilisation.

In anticipation of increasing Crude Oil imports, Nixon stopped the convertibility of Dollars into Gold, thus making the Dollar entirely fiat, allowing them to print as much of the currency as they needed.

They also began a system of obscuring oil production data, involving the DoE's EIA and the OECD's IEA, by inventing an ever-increasing category of Undiscovered Oilfields in their predictions, and combining Crude Oil and Condensate (from gas fields) into one category (C+C) as if they were the same thing. As well the support of the ethanol-from-corn industry began, even though it was uneconomic.  The Global Warming problem had to be debunked, despite its sound scientific basis.  Energy-intensive manufacturing work was off-shored to cheap labour+energy countries, and Just-in-Time delivery systems were honed.

In 2004 the price of Crude Oil rose from $28 /barrel up to $143 /b in mid-2008. This demonstrated that there is a limit to how much business can pay for oil (around $100 /b). Fracking became marginally economic at these prices, but the frackers never made a profit as over-production meant prices fell to about $60 /b.  The Government encourages this destructive industry despite the fact it doesn't make any money, because the alternative is the end of Industrial Civilisation.

Eventually though, there must come a time when there is not enough oil to power all the cars and trucks, bulldozers, farm tractors, airplanes and ships, as well as manufacture all the wind turbines and solar panels and electric vehicles, as well as the upgraded transmission grid. 

At that point, the game will be up, and it will be time for Plan B – WW3 and a War Economy.  So we need to line up some really big enemies, and develop lots of reasons to hate them.  Thus you see the demonisation of Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela for reasons that don't make sense from a normal perspective.

New York City Has Become So Progressive it Plans to Bite the Hand that Feeds it – the Oil Companies

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Published on From Filmers to Farmers on January 26th, 2018

Discuss this article at the Energy Table inside the Diner
Lady Libertine (with no apologies to Emma Lazarus): "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled energy slaves yearning to exhale CO2 virtually for free, The wretched black gold of your teeming bowels. Send these, the unburned, tempest-tost to me, I fill my lamp beside the charlatan's door" (photos by David Saddler and Robert Byron)
Lady Libertine (with no apologies to Emma Lazarus): "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled energy slaves yearning to exhale CO2 virtually for free, The wretched black gold of your teeming bowels. Send these, the unburned, tempest-tost to me, I fill my lamp beside the charlatan's door" (photos by David Saddler and Robert Byron)

Who would've guessed it? New York City, the harmonious hometown of the chief litigator himself, Donald Trump, is planning to sue. By no means any more courteous or humble than its prodigal son, following divestiture of the $5bn in fossil fuel investments its $189bn pension fund holds, New York City plans to use what are possibly the only ridiculously deep-enough pockets in the entire world capable of ridiculously deepening themselves even further by actually suing five of the largest oil companies. That is, the very oil companies that over the years have enabled New York City to be so jacked up that it's earned the moniker of "the city that never sleeps".

A bit too harsh am I? Perhaps I've failed to realize how concerned New York City is with not simply climate change but also the effects it will have on the plight of others? Let's see about that.

What's first required here is a look at the justification for why New York City believes it deserves "billions of dollars in damages" from the five investor-owned fossil fuel companies it intends to sue: Exxon, BP, ConocoPhillips, Shell, and Chevron. As New York City mayor Bill de Blasio described it in a piece he wrote for The Washington Post,

For decades, Big Oil ravaged our environment. They knew what they were peddling was lethal, but they didn't care. They used the classical [sic?] Big Tobacco playbook of denial, denial, denial, and all the while they did everything to hook society on their lethal product.

From this we get rationale #1 with which New York City is basing its case on, that being the act of equating fossil fuel companies with tobacco pushers. To do so requires a serious stretch of the imagination though, considering that although Big Oil (Exxon, to be exact) came to know about climate change in 1977 and then proceeded to promote climate misinformation, prior to 1977 Big Oil in general would have been your run-of-the-mill profit-driven capitalist enterprise that for at least half a century earlier had done nothing out of the ordinary to get New York City "hooked" on its "lethal product". It of course didn't actually need to, because for the most part New York City voluntarily and giddily did that on its own.

Furthermore, it's a bit rich to compare tobacco to fossil fuels when tobacco is but a frivolous stimulant while fossil fuels are the "life force" that makes industrial monstrosities like New York City "go". Take away a smoker's pack and you may have one seriously irritable, ticked-off, but nonetheless mostly-functionable person. Cut off fossil fuel supplies to New York City and you'll have guns being pulled out at supply-hampered gas stations, grocery store shelves empty in two or three days, inoperable water and sewage systems within two weeks, and yes, even shortages of cigarettes. Shortages of the latter would of course be the least of New York City's problems though, because without fossil fuels New York City would quickly break out into utter pandemonium and would probably wish it had of been nuked to smithereens instead.

Secondly, and although we can put aside the fact that Svante Arrhenius' was (rather obscurely) writing about CO2's contributions towards a greenhouse effect back in 1896, de Blasio's statement that "For decades, Big Oil… knew" is almost as egregious as his comparison to tobacco pushers, seeing how the first cover-to-cover book focusing specifically on climate change appeared back in 1989 (environmentalist Bill McKibben's The End of Nature: Humanity, Climate Change and the Natural World), a book that was undoubtedly sold in fine New York City bookstores.

Any occasion is a good occasion for a parade in New York City! And will you take a look at those colourful balloons full of hot air – adorbale! (photo by United Nations Photo)

Why, may I ask, did it then take 25 years – decades – before New York City decided to take things so seriously that it finally held its first climate change parade, and then four years after that finally decided to sue Big Oil? Might that be because it had to wait before the science had definitively come in, and/or because it was forced to bide its time while climate change's foot soldiers raised enough consciousness? Maybe. But maybe, just maybe, it was also because New York City finally saw its opportunity to undertake what might very well come to be known as the greatest swindle of the (industrial) civilisation. For as Don de Blasio also stated in The Washington Post,

Today, we are saying, "No more." The time is long past due for Big Oil to pay the bill and take full responsibility for the devastation they have wrought. That by itself will be a major step forward, but it isn't enough. We know we have more to do. We are going to stop investing in the fuel of yesterday, so we can have a better tomorrow.

With New York City being one of the largest consumers in the world of fossil fuels per sq/km, what de Blasio's rationale is showing is that New York City has a complete unwillingness to own up to its role in fossil fuel usage as well as a complete lack of contrition. Fully ensconced within the bargaining stage of the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief, what New York City's Don is telling us is not only that it's up to Big Oil to take complete responsibility for all the fossil fuels New York City has burned over the past century (which it used to build up and then maintain its profligate lifestyle), but that New York City bears absolutely no responsibility for eagerly suckling upon the hind front teat of Big Oil, a front teat that from my vantage point looks like it might not actually be much of a teat.

Rationale #2 that New York City intends to draw upon in order to secure its bargain is based upon the recent notion that "renewable" energy can replace fossil fuels, the implication being that at some point in the future New York City (and the rest of industrial civilisation) as we know it can not only be sustained, but righteously sustained. Taking this premise one step further, New York City intends to reap billions of dollars by trying to convince US federal courts that instead of using Big Oil's "fuels of yesterday" yesterday it could have been using what we might as well call Big Renewable's "fuels of tomorrow". Yesterday. Or as de Blasio might as well have put it, "We would have been using clean renewables for the past century, but Big Oil tricked us into using dirty fossil fuels. Shame!"

Whether or not New York City can actually pull off this swindle doesn't interest me in the slightest, while what does interest me is yet another example of New York City's outright skulduggery. Because while Don de Blasio also railed against "an economic system that is harmful to our people" in his Washington Post piece, he had absolutely nothing to say about the Ponzionomic, fractional-reserve banking system that New York City's Wall Street is currently the locus for, and which by being the greatest wealth pump the world has ever seen allows New York City to enjoy a "free ride" on the back(s) of the rest of the world.

I'll once again admit that I'm possibly being a bit too unaccommodating here, and that what I really should be doing is being a bit more patient before New York City and its Don redeem themselves by undertaking the much more than symbolic gesture (and the much more than baby-step divestiture) of kicking Big Oil off the New York Stock Exchange.

How does that saying go again? "When something-something fly"?

No, New York City's finest probably shouldn't try to fly (photo courtesy of Jeff Kyle)

Opportunistic politicians aren't the only skulduggerists getting in on this action though, next in line being the eminent economist Jeffrey Sachs who proclaimed that

There are alternatives to runaway climate change. North America has vast reserves of wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and other zero-carbon energy to power the United States, Canada, and Mexico. New York can go green and electric by midcentury through electric vehicles, electricity-powered public transit, and electric heat pumps for buildings, powered by electricity from wind, solar and hydroelectric power.

Never mind that the notion of wind as a "reserve" is about as ingenious and riveting as passing wind, but as I've pointed out earlier the notion that we can power industrial civilisation as we know it on "renewables" is based upon similar kinds of lies and deceptions that fossil fuel companies and their acolytes have used, and continue to use, in order to promote their fuel of choice. Nonetheless, Sachs also stated – and you're going to have to brace yourself for this one – that

New York hosts Wall Street, the UN and the US media, [and] it will now be the centre of climate action too.

Which, I'll admit, kind of leaves me at a loss for words. Do we all just shoot ourselves now?

If you somehow managed to stick with us, and to round out the triad of skulduggerists, the Third Amigo – the aforementioned environmentalist Bill McKibben – stated in his article "New York City Just Declared War on the Oil Industry", that

New York, for one, isn’t taking it any more.

New York isn't taking it anymore? Riiiiiight.

"I'm mad as hell and I'm – wait, what did you just say? You want to pay me how much? Umm… yeah, okay, on second thought I think I can take it a bit more. This much more!"

Although I have to give McKibben credit for his 2003 book Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age (which as far as I remember was rather excellent), I also can't help but think that McKibben probably should have called it enough after Enough, what with he being one of the most abhorrent examples of what passes off as an environmentalist, which in this case is someone who uses their stature to give legitimacy to obscenities like fossil-fuel-gorging New York City and thus – amongst much else – the very underpinnings of our environmental and climate change crises. To give just one example, McKibben also stated that

New York and most of the world's other great cities aren't viable if the sea keeps rising: they will be destroyed.

Which, if I'm not mistaken, should probably make one think about what exactly we're trying to preserve here: wilderness? Farmland? The "environment"? Humanity's place in it all? Or could it maybe be "great cities"? Because while I of course don't know about you, and although I'm vastly over-simplifying things here, I'm kind of the impression that rather than "New York and most of the world's other great cities [not being] viable if the sea keeps rising", it might actually be that "the seas will most certainly keep rising so long as we have New Yorks and other great cities". Don't try voicing "cynicisms" as such to McKibben though, what with he being of the reductive opinion that

Smart money has been pouring into renewables; dumb money has stuck with fossil fuel[s].

Bill McKibben and Amy Goodman (of Democracy Now!) at New York City's 2014 People's Climate Parade: "Okay, climate change. But do you also have any thoughts on the collapse of industrial civilisation and what it might imply for how we should approach the dilemma of climate change?"; "I wouldn't touch the topic with a 10-foot wind mill"; "Touché!" (photo courtesy of Eino Sierpe)

Because what we're actually dealing with here is by no means smart money vs. dumb money but rather dumb money vs. even dumber money, an equation of which you'll have to forgive me for not being sure if the common denominator is "dumbness" or "money". I'll leave you to try and figure out that one for yourself though, with perhaps a bit of assistance coming to you via our environmentalist Amigo's I-want-to-sound-even-more-ridiculous-than-the-economist-Amigo statement that

New York is different, and that's why its decision signals the start of a real rout. For one thing, of course, it's the center of world finance… [and] its money managers have a well-deserved reputation for excellence.

I tell you, I'm barely dodging these bullets here.

Anyhow, with it now cleared up for us that what the Three Amigos and all their amigoettes are concerned about isn't so much the general effects that climate change will have on us and the planet as a whole, but rather on how it will effect "great cities" and world finance, what the rest of us might find worthy of our time is to ponder over what New York City is going to try and do when it realizes that there's nobody and nothing that it can sue for the collapse of industrial civilisation. (Except God. Perhaps New York City has in fact built up high enough that it can in fact manage to sue God.)

"Roger that. Coincidentally enough we did in fact just learn how to fly, so if the commander in chief is sure we've got the bigger button then we're ready to unload on the Almighty. Awaiting your order" (photo by Iván Lara)

Because while de Blasio also stated that climate change is "perhaps the toughest challenge New York City will face in the coming decades" (I'm presuming one of the unspoken alternatives on the menu is New York City getting nuked to smithereens, something which even former president Barack Obama regarded as a possibility to be concerned about), one "non-perhaps" is that the collapse of industrial civilisation will make New York City increasingly nonviable, and with its influx of tributes perpetually dwindling it might be a good idea to think about what kind of austerity measures New York City will try and impose on the rest of the world in order to try and preserve its "greatness".

Oh yeah, and about that "greatness".

While de Blasio stated that it's his determination to "build a city that is more resilient in the face of rising waters and more powerful storms", what we find here is not only New York City's "great" synonym for resilience – opportunism – but also the delusional idea that New York City as we know it can ever come even close to what the pre-Madison Avenue word-bastardization of "resilience" actually is. Because to grasp the reality behind what New York City tries to pass off as resilience one need look no further than the idiotically described "bomb cyclone" that recently hit it, a storm that not only utterly crippled JFK International Airport and saw thousands of flights cancelled, but after a water main broke in its fourth terminal also saw the luggage of stranded passengers get deluged in a flood of water.

As tellingly described by Slate,

[I]t’s not surprising that the disruption was severe… [A]n airport like JFK… is a finely tuned and highly sensitive operation… There is no slack; its very efficiency makes it vulnerable to disruptions that are both predictable and, given the way the industry chooses to operate, unpreventable… Under pressure to run smoothly, the system overpromised its ability to do so at every turn, transforming one very snowy day into a chain of failures that would ensnare some travelers for an entire week.

Efficiency and a lack of slack are however the diametrical opposite of what "resilience" actually means. With New York City and its various facets similarly having virtually no resilience to speak of, and with it similarly having no more humility that its prodigal son cum commander in chief, it can only be expected that – supposing it doesn't get nuked first – when supplies of the "lethal product" it giddily "hooked" itself on start to dry up that it'll act little differently than a strung out junkie out to pilfer anything not tightly secured to the ground and/or locked away.

Count yourself warned.

In the meantime, and as Don de Blasio began to close off his Washington Post piece,

We know we're going to face opposition. We know powerful interests and cynical people will push back and hard. But we also know New York City has a special responsibility. We are a beacon to the world. People watch us. We didn't choose this battle, but we accept it willingly. We have to get it right and show what can be done.

I'm not sure if by "powerful interests" de Blasio was referring to the Almighty, but nonetheless, yes, New York City truly is a beacon to the world, a beacon of how much a parasite us humans can be on our fellow man.

Show us how one steals from the rich and gives to the rich New York City!

Yes, there's a second person in that photo (photo by Xu Kin)

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