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Responding to collapse, Part 15: shortages of diesel fuel

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Published on The Easiest Person to Fool on November 27 2019

Lake Huron on a rare sunny day in November

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In part 10 of this series I expressed the opinion that supplies of electrical power, diesel fuel and money will be at the heart of many of the troubles that lie ahead as collapse progresses. Especially for those of us living in small remote towns, as I recommend you do. Over the last few posts I've spent a lot of time considering the gradual breakdown of the power grid, the effects that will have, and how we might prepare for them. Today I'll move on to consider what happens when supplies of diesel fuel become problematical.

For a number of solid technical reasons, diesel engines are preferred to gasoline engines for ships, locomotives, heavy trucks, and agricultural equipment. If, like me, you're living in a small remote town, the latter two are of great importance. Essentially everything that gets here comes in a truck that burns diesel fuel. Much of that stuff falls in the "necessities of life" category. Agriculture is an important industry hereabouts, and whether it's organic or conventional, most of the work is done by machines that burn diesel fuel.

I can highly recommend the book "When Trucks Stop Running" by Alice Friedmann, who is also the author of the Energy Skeptic blog. Alice goes into much detail in this book about energy and transportation and just what will be affected when the trucks stop running.

There are a few particular aspects of the subject that I'd like to focus on in this post without recapitulating that whole book. I think it is useful to be aware of the sort of things that can cause supply problems. This will help us anticipate them, and have some advance warning so as not to be caught completely by surprise. When those problems are happening, when things get chaotic and confusing, it is good to have a little more certainty about what is actually going on so you can proceed with whatever action is required. And of course it is useful to have thought about supply issues, and the problems they will cause, and made some preparations so as to be able to do what needs to be done when the time comes.

But first, let's make one thing really clear. For moving heavy loads long distances there simply isn't any viable alternative to the diesel engine and the concentrated energy of diesel fuel.

Gasoline comes close (having about 77% as much energy per gallon as diesel), but all the problems are going to be just as bad for gasoline as diesel, and gasoline engines aren't as good for hauling heavy loads.

In many ways electric motors are even better than diesel engines, but the problem is getting electricity to a mobile electric motor. Batteries are the obvious solution, but the energy density of batteries is very low compared to diesel fuel. So low that battery powered long distance heavy transport just isn't feasible.

Electrified railways where power is supplied by a third rail fail on account of complexity and the difficulty of getting them set up in a nationwide network than could service all the locations currently serviced by roads.

The day may come when we are forced to use wood burning steam locomotives, but the energy density of wood not as good as diesel fuel. And coal is ruled out by concerns about climate change.

Sailing ships can do the job of diesel powered ships, but not as efficiently and we'll turn to them only when there is no alternative.

So we're going to be using diesel powered transportation as long as we can get diesel fuel. And when it is no longer available, we'll have to adapt by getting by with a lot less shipping and more reliance on locally produced goods. This is likely doable in many rural areas, but megacities appear to be unworkable under such conditions.

What might make the supply of diesel "problematical"? As I see it, this can take two forms: shortages and high prices, which are related in complex ways. There is also the issue of EROEI (energy return on energy invested) which is having negative effects on the economy even now when oil is still flowing.

Shortages

Let's look at what could cause shortages first.

Peak Oil enthusiasts traditionally talked about running out of oil in the absolute sense—when there is just nothing more left to pump out of the ground. But it has become clear that long before that happens we will run into problems because the remaining oil is non-conventional—it is in awkward locations and/or is more difficult to get out of the ground. Despite all the talk about renewable energy taking over from oil, in the fifteen or so years that I've been watching, the worldwide consumption of oil has gone up from 85 million barrels a day to around 100 million barrel a day, with much of the increased supply coming from non-conventional sources, primarily fracking in the case of the U.S. But this is clearly not, in the short term at least, leading to any sort of shortages.

Even with lots of reserves—oil in the ground that has already been found and is accessible using current technology—if the wells don't get drilled and/or the oil doesn't get pumped out of them, this can lead to shortages. Thus far it has definitely led to increased reliance on non-conventional oil.

If demand is high, why would we leave oil in the ground? International sanctions, civil unrest, revolution, war and speculation that development projects will prove unprofitable are a few reasons, currently happening in places like Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Venezuela, and Canada's tar sands.

There is a lot of infrastructure between the oil well and the gas/diesel pump. Pipelines, storage facilities, refineries, more pipelines and storage facilities for refined products, railways, tank trucks (which burn diesel fuel themselves) and so forth. Pretty well all of it is quite exposed to both heavy weather and hostile human action.

All that infrastructure needs to be operated and maintained as well, and even if it isn't physically damaged, money and organizational problems in the companies responsible, and things that interfere with the workers getting to work, like strikes, civil unrest or war, can also interrupt oil supplies.

I think we can expect more storms (climate change) and more hostile action (wars, civil unrest, strikes) in the years to come, so it is pretty reasonable to expect that there will be shortages caused by this sort of thing. There is some redundancy in the system, so a single point of failure is unlikely to do much harm, but it pretty realistic that multiple points failures may actually happen. Especially if things get so bad that single point failures aren't attended to in a timely fashion.

Such shortages will be uneven, unsteady and unequal, as I am so fond of saying.

Increasing, and Fluctuating, Fuel Prices

Since almost all shipping is done by companies that are in business to make a profit, the price of fuel can cause supply chain problems just as serious as actual shortages. Prices can be forced up by a number of mechanisms.

The various grades of crude oil yield different proportions of fuel oil (diesel) and gasoline. So the kind of crude that is available can, depending on relative demand for diesel and gasoline, lead to a shortage of one or the other and an increase in its price. Sulfur in diesel fuel causes air pollution and acid rain, and diesel fuel for use on land is required to be low sulfur. Traditionally, marine fuel was allowed to be high sulfur, but regulations are changing shortly and ships will have to start using low sulfur fuel or install filtration equipment on their exhaust stacks. This is likely to cause an increase in the demand for low sulfur diesel fuel and an increase in its price.

The free market is a crude instrument for determining prices and can respond speculatively even to rumours of upcoming shortages.

Again, Peak Oil folks traditionally talked about supply problems causing the price of crude oil to go through the roof, to perhaps several hundred dollar per barrel. Clearly that would have disastrous effects on all industries, causing a classic Peak Oil style economic crash.

They believed this would happen because that the demand for oil is quite inelastic, but it has turned out not to be so. Increasing oil prices have a damping effect on economic activity of most sorts—when the price goes up, it triggers a recession, causing the demand for oil to decrease and preventing the price from increasing as much as it otherwise might. To keep the economy growing nicely, the price of oil needs to stay below about $30 per barrel. For the last few years it has been well above that price, and the economy has had problems. Yes, I know that the financial sector of the economy has continued to grow, but it is not nearly so dependent on energy as the commercial (industrial, wholesale, retail) sector, which has not done nearly so well.

Turning to non-conventional oil to meet demand does hurt the profitability of oil companies. Depending of the particular source, they need to get somewhere between $60 and $100 per barrel to be profitable. There is no such thing anymore as a sweet spot where both the economy and oil companies are happy. I think this will lead to the eventual demise of many oil companies, but in the meantime it leads to volatility of oil prices and discourages oil companies from investing in discovery of new reserves of oil.

EROEI, the energy cost of energy

One characteristic of non-convention al oil is that it takes more energy to get it out of the ground. Its "energy returned on energy invested" (EROEI) is lower. This also applies to many new discoveries of what would still be called conventional oil. In the short term the obvious consequence of this is energy sprawl—fracked wells dotting the countryside, tar sands projects springing up in the bush of northern Alberta, drilling platforms sprouting wherever there is under sea oil and so forth. In the long term, using low EROEI energy sources, be they fossil fuels or renewables, causes a strange malaise in the economy which stifles growth, makes it difficult to raise capital for new projects and eventually even hard to find money to maintain existing infrastructure.

The oil business isn't the only business to be effected by this, but it is certainly one of them.

Problems Caused by Diesel Supply and Price Issues

So there will be shortages and threats of shortages, and increases in the "at the pump" price of diesel fuel. And because capitalistic countries practice rationing by price, the price will be allowed to go up to clamp down on demand.

In Europe and South America this will probably lead to trucking strikes, but here in North America not so much. Instead shipping companies will just become less profitable and eventually go quietly bankrupt, and/or be taken over by other companies who will charge more and provide less in the way of service. Either way, this will lead to temporary interruptions in the supply of many goods, including fuel.

Eventually when the situation becomes serious enough that governments can no longer ignore it or pretend that the market will eventually correct the situation, we may see price controls and real rationing for diesel fuel.

Adapting to Supply Issues

The growth in the practice of "just in time" delivery in recent years leaves us vulnerable to supply chain disruptions. And in less sparsely settled remote areas, which are less profitable for shipping companies to service, such interruptions are even more likely than elsewhere.

The first response must to be abandon just in time delivery and stock locally enough of what is needed to get you through short interruptions. Local distributors will be reluctant to do so because it will hurt their bottom line, so I would suggest that individuals, families, neighbourhoods, group of friends, etc. take the problem in their own hands and stock up on necessities. Stocking up on food is one thing we should be doing right now and I can recommend the book Food Security for the Faint of Heart, by Robin Wheeler, as an excellent primer.

As the situation worsens and some goods become largely unavailable there are basically two ways to adapt: learn to do without, or set up to produce things locally. Which course is taken will be determined by how vital the goods are and how hard they are to produce locally.

I am in a bit of a minority among kollapsniks in that I think the breakdown of supply chains, just like the power grid, will happen gradually, with infrequent, short interruptions at the start, gradually becoming more frequent and longer, until eventually the system can't be relied on at all. And I suspect this will take at the very least a matter of months and more likely quite a few years.

This is fortunate in that it will give people a chance to wake up to the reality of the situation and take steps to adapt before it is too late to do so. Fortunately in areas like the one where I live there is quite a bit of agricultural production that can be diverted for local human use. And when there is no way to ship such goods out of the area, farmers will be more eager to serve local markets. Of course, when diesel fuel is in short supply, they will need help from town folks with harvesting and eventually with planting.

A collapse aware municipal government could be of great help in organizing such things, but unfortunately most local governments are focused on growth and boosting local business, and will be caught by surprise by the sort of thing we are talking about here. This is why I have been urging my readers who live in small towns to develop a network of friends and to make sure it includes some farmers.

Ideally, we'd set up some local co-operative ventures to supply the necessities of life. But things will have to get a fair bit worse than they are right now before there will be much interest in doing so, and before BAU has been weakened enough that is it possible to compete with it.

What follows is my response to a comment on a recent post questioning my idea of a slow collapse.

Fast vs Slow collapse

In the "collapshere" today it seems that the majority of voices are predicting a hard fast collapse and one that is due any day now. That has hardly changed in the last 20 years, and some people, notably KMO of the C-Realm podcast, has thrown up his hands in disgust with the standard Peal Oil narrative.

Of those making strong arguments for a fast collapse, David Korowicz, Ugo Bardi and Gail Tverberg come to mind.

David Korowicz, in his famous essay, talks about a financial crash leading to a supply chain/commercial crash as banks fail and can no longer supply credit. Towards the end of the same essay he acknowledges that there would be different degrees of crash in different countries.

Ugo Bardi talks about the Seneca cliff—how things that take a long time to build fall apart quickly. Fair enough, but the developed world took hundreds of years (from the Renaissance to the present) to build, so a few decades to fall apart seems pretty reasonable to me.

Gail Tverberg talks about the world being so closely networked together, that if one piece quits working, it all will. But she never looks in detail at how this might work, at the real details of how those networks operate.

On the other side of the argument, I favour people like John Michael Greer and Dmitri Orlov. Greer offers the idea that the people who are in power definitely don't want a collapse and have much they can do to prevent or slow down a collapse. Orlov talks about five levels of collapse—financial, commercial, political, social and cultural. And he points out that collapse may stop at any of those levels, there being in many cases nothing to force it all the way to the bottom.

My argument combines both those of Greer and Orlov and adds another element. It isn't just the people in power who don't want a collapse, it's most of the rest of us as well. You might assume that the rest of us have little say in the matter, but I don't believe this is so.

There are a great many people (in infrastructure and supply chain industries, for instance) in positions where they can do something about collapse. Especially if they realize that it is happening and refuse to just let it proceed unimpeded. Much of collapse consists of things that quit working because confidence has been lost in the system.

In many cases they could be kept working if those involved chose to do so. Or failing that, alternatives could be found if people chose to co-operate in doing so.

The availability of credit is a prime example. Currently businesses rely on banks to provide guarantees when they (the businesses) are dealing with people they don't know. But there is no fundamental reason why we have to rely on the existing banks, and no reason businesses couldn't set up alternative arrangements in order to keep functioning.

The thing is to realize what is happening and what can be done to stop it. A lot of people think that managers make things work and working class people are no more than cogs in the machine, but in fact anything a manager "accomplishes" actually gets done by a worker who knows a lot more about what has to be done than his boss.

The other thing is that we are not going into this completely blind. Already there have been financial crashes, large scale grid failures and so forth. I think in the near future we will see partial and temporary supply chain breakdowns and many breakdowns at the retail level of our commercial systems. But people at every level in the system will get wise to these events and skilled at containing the damage and patching things back together again.

Of course the system will get shakier as this goes on and parts of it will be abandoned when they are deemed to be beyond repair. This will lead to areas being cut off from vital supplies and in large population centres there will be no possibility of relying on local supplies. This is as close to a hard fast collapse as I expect to see. But it will still be localized and early in the process there will still be places for those affected to seek refuge and resources to mount relief efforts.

I have already written at length on how this might play out in small towns with the local resources to feed themselves and at a sufficient remove from large centres so as not to be overwhelmed by refugees.

For now that's about all I have to say, although I am sure there will be some comments to spark further thought on my part. Next time we'll talk about money and how we can adapt to the failure of the financial and banking systems.


Links to the rest of this series of posts, Preparing for (Responding to) Collapse:

 

A World on Fire

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Published on The Doomstead Diner December 1, 2019

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Working up the energy for a blog for Sunday Collapse Brunch this week has been tough for a few reasons.  Health wise, I am doing crappy again, but this isn't the only problem.  My main computer is also getting close to death, it was crashing on me about every hour for a few days.  Now it seems to be in a sort of remission.and hasn't crashed since late last night.  So I am risking writing an article and hoping I don't lose it before I have a chance to publish.

Beyond the health issues and technical problems there are other deeper ones ongoing here.  As I peruse the headlines on the Google Search Engine each day there is a new riot occurring in a new city.  The entire continent of South America appears to be on fire now.  Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Brazil…you can bring up Videos now on YouTube that are IRL versions of Children of Men every day.  Then there's Hong Kong, Paris, Barcelona and of course Istanbul & Tehran.  Spin the Globe and plop your finger down  any randm spot at all and you can find an ongoing political collapse.

Meanwhile here in the FSoA and across the Pond in Jolly Old England you have the Kabuki Theater productions of Impeachment and Brexit, which is almost not worth commenting on with so much more havoc ongoing in other nations as we speak, where people are literally being mowed down in the streets.  Here exploding in numbers are the number of Homeless in just about every Big Shity from New York to Chicago to Seattle to Los Angeles.  With that exploding population we are seeing Diseases now we haven't seen in such numbers ince the Middle Ages.  Typhus, Typhoid Fever, Cholera, their all making a comeback in ever increasing numbers.

The above video is just one of hundreds you can Google up these days if you are concerned about this ever growing problem.  Cities and towns all across the country are passing laws that essentially criminalize homelessness, so the current  solution seems to be to put them in jail  Can we really build enough jails to give all these folks 3 Hots and a Cot?  It's notoriously expensive to drop people in jail also, it costs nearly double wnat I live on per year these days, but building Affordable Housing isn't being done much.  There aren't the job programs or  jobs to give these folks something productive to do with their lives.  They are of course disproportionately Black, Brown and Hispanic people, but plenty of poor White Trash out there too.

For the real Street level Homeless in a ramshackle tent under an overpass somewhere, they aren't living,they are waiting to die.  There are levels and degrees of homelessness though, there are people couch surfing if they still have friends or relatives who will take them in; there are people living in RVs and Vans in the Walmart parking lots.  Does anyone have a count or keep statistics on how many people are in this situation?  I susspect it is much larger than the numbers out there sleeping rough.

Still, with all this evidence of Collapse overwhelming the Newz Cycle, there is still also a huge cadre of Amerikans who deny it is occurring, still enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner and still shopping till they drop on Black Friday, although they do it mostly Online now so you don't have those ridiulous scenes at Walmart or Best Buy of fistfights betwen shoppers looking for a great deal on an Iphone.  If they still have a job or get enough Mailbox Money to live comfortably, they simply don't notice all the people who have ALREADY fallen off the cliff.  Now the Clown-in-Chief is floating a plan to cut millions off from their SNAP Card allotment of monthly nourishment.  If that flies, things will not end well.  The problems you see today in Santiago or Bogota will migrate quite rapidly north of the border.

There is no question anymore, COLLAPSE HAS ARRIVED.  It can and will get a lot worse of course.  But there is no  more question for a Collapse Writer anymore of "When will SHTF Day arrive?"  It has already come and gone.  For me, it gets harder all the time to write or even just post Newz Links, because Diners have seen it all and heard it all for years now.  There's nothing really NEW here, it's just a steady increase in the frequency and magnitude of the events.

The same advice as always still applies, get out of the Big Shity and go off grid if you can.  If you can't, plan for a Bugout when your neighborhood deteriorates too much. Form COMMUNITY, get together with friends and relatives you know and trust.  Prep up with Food, Fuel, Generators, Fishing Gear, traps and of course the old standby of Guns & Ammo.

I am out of the bizness of making Nostradamus Predictons of when things will thoroughly unravel in any given neighborhood.  I don't know when it will arrive for you if it hasn't happened to you already.  But it's coming, and it's coming fast.  Everybody Knows.

Thanksgiving Pizza

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Published on The Doomstead Diner November 28, 2019

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Thanksgiving 2019 has ARRIVED, and it's time to itemize what we have to be Thankful for this year.  We can be Thankful for the fact many of us are still alive, although according to Statistics, we are dieing faster every day.  We can be Thankful for the fact that FOOD is still available here in the FSoA at mostly affordable prices even on a SNAP Card budget. We can be Thankful that as of this morning, Planet Earth has not collided with a Planet Killer asteroid.

Beyond that though, we have a good deal MORE not to be Thankful for here on the last Thursday of November 2019.  It's not a great day for Happy Motoring to your relatives for your Turkey Dinner, since a Bomb Cyclone has dumped mega tons of snow in many spots acrss the country.  It's not too good for Albanians who lost everything in their latest Earthquake.  Californicators who have been burned out of their McMansions or just had all the meat in their freezers go bad from lack of the Electric Juice aren't too happy either.

Probably worst of all right now here in the FSoA is the fact we still have an Orange topped CRIMINAL and PATHOLOGICAL LIAR as the Clown-in-Chief running the country, and worse still he still (supposedly, according to polls) has half the J6Ps out there supporting him!  It matters not how many people testify to the actions taken to shake down the Ukrainians to smear Uncle Joe Biden, because that half of the population simply does not CARE that this occurred. Political Corruption is an expected and in many cases desired thing.  "Democracy" is a lie which never existed at all, certainly not in my lifetime.

In prior Thaanksgiving articles over the year, I have gone over some Big Buffets I contributed a dish to, Thanksgiving Dinners I had had with a gaggle of drunken relatives and Thanksgiving Dinners which consited of a Swanson Turkey TV Dinner.  This year I had hoped to have a big communal Dinner with some of my fellow residents of my community, but annoying problems like getting sent to jail or moving out of state got in the way of this idea.  Not me yet, I'm still flying under the radar of the Gestapo, but nevertheless it's another Solo Thanksgiving Day for me.  So I decided to change up for this one, and make a PIZZA for Thanksgiving!  It's an Olive-Mushroom-Zucchini augmented Pizza, and it's quite good.  I'll be having it cold for Breakfast on Black Friday as well, while I shop for deals online at Amazon, Walmart & B&H Photo.  If you want the Recipe and want to listen to me Rant on our latest Collapse Newz, you can watch the Video heading this article.

The Economic-Oil Nexus (EON) Part 1: Why have low oil prices and various economic stimuli over the past several years failed to restore global economic growth?

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on November 24, 2019

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By Geoffrey Chia, November 2019

EONpart1flowchart

I recently listened to a podcast from the "Counterpunch" website on oil and the global economy which I found disappointing. https://store.counterpunch.org/jp-sottile-episode-140/ JP Sottile certainly appeared knowledgeable about the geopolitics of oil in the Middle East but exhibited zero understanding of Peak Oil which he therefore declared to be “garbage”. He asserted that the idea of Peak Oil was a ploy to create “artificial scarcity” to prop up oil prices. He subscribed to the common delusion that current low oil prices disprove Peak Oil and indicate that oil must be abundant and will remain so for the foreseeable future, a completely wrong-headed view. http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2017/07/13/the-economics-of-unconventional-oils-externalities-be-damned/

He repeated the mainstream mantra that there is now a “chronic oil glut”, a completely erroneous way of looking at things. Gross liquid hydrocarbon output may have risen since 2006 but net production of true oil has actually been flat or fallen. http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2019/01/02/how-business-as-usual-has-been-pursued-since-2006-by-escalating-fraud-and-environmental-vandalism/#comment-10693

He also repeated the misleading factoid that the largest oil reserves in the world are in Venezuela, a useful meme to imply that Venezuela's current economic problems are entirely due to their own mismanagement. I cannot say often enough that the only economically valuable sources of oil are high EROEI or “easy oil” sources and low EROEI sources such as Venezuela's vast Orinoco heavy oil deposits are of NO economic value, no matter how much technically recoverable oil they are theoretically supposed to have (if harvested, low EROEI sources actually exhibit NEGATIVE value). This is why China has no interest in Venezuela but is deeply interested in Iran, Iraq (which is moving politically closer to Iran), Russia and the Caspian states which, after the Saudi client state of the US, are the locations with the largest remaining reserves of high EROEI oil. There is NO “break-even” price at which unconventional oils become economically worthwhile, using honest accounting. Low EROEI sources only get harvested on the basis of market fraud and government subsidies/tax breaks and NOT because they can ever generate any profit in a sane market.

Sottile also stated that the “end of oil is on the horizon” because we will transition to electric vehicles powered by renewable energy and because we will voluntarily choose to reduce our carbon emissions. His views mirrored commentary from the “Economist” magazine, flagship propaganda rag of the establishment, in their recent issue regarding the IPO of Saudi Aramco https://www.economist.com/printedition/2019-11-02.

Let us be clear: Firstly there is no prospect we will ever be able to transition en mass from oil powered to electric vehicles to enable ongoing pursuit of “business as usual” or anything resembling “usual”. Such views reflect profound ignorance of the physics and chemistry (especially energy densities) of fuels, of thermodynamics, of energy extraction, conversion, storage and distribution issues and of the life cycle embodied energies of vehicles and transport infrastructure and how they are constructed (themselves requiring liquid hydrocarbon fuels in the process). I invoke yet again the incisive and comprehensive quantitative analyses of Alice Friedemann of http://energyskeptic.com/ who has put paid to those mainstream delusions.

Secondly, although we certainly need to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate against the worst possible climate outcomes, the unfortunate reality is that the Military-Industrial-Corporate-State addiction to oil, massively overwhelms any and all good intentions. Addicts do not “choose” to do things, they are compelled to do things because of circumstances forced upon them. We will ultimately be forced to abandon oil due to the depletion of high EROEI petroleum and because of our failure to plan over the past few decades. Energy descent will not happen calmly and systematically. The window for peaceful change has long gone. Reality will relentlessly drag us yelling, kicking and screaming into a harsh future of poverty and deprivation and many will lash out violently in the process. The Hobbesian war of all against all. We are going Cold Turkey, much as Kurt Vonnegut wrote in in his famous essay back in 2004: http://inthesetimes.com/article/cold_turkey What have human beings learned since then? Absolutely nothing.

To be fair, Sottile seemed to be expressing opinions that he held honestly, no matter how wrong-headed. In that respect it may be inappropriate to lump him in the same category as those lying, malicious global warming deniers or deceitful establishment economic prostitutes, many of whom are touted as academic "experts". One big problem of such “experts” is that of tunnel vision within their microscopic field of choice, their inability to see the big picture. Another problem is that many such pseudo-experts are simply bonkers, especially the amoral Neoclassical Neoliberal Austrian/Chicago Economic School sociopaths such as Hayek and Friedman. Such overblown pseudo-experts (who may even have been awarded the Nobel prize for economics – which is not an actual Nobel prize) promote the vested financial interests of the 0.1%. They are immensely useful idiots, the high priests of Capitalism and hence must be lionised and worshipped by the mainstream media. Their reputations have been vastly inflated by the establishment, far above their woefully limited intellectual capacities, not to mention their woeful lack of moral fibre. Profits above people are the only things which matter, except when giving backhanders to your fellow crony capitalists. We should remember that Adam Smith himself wrote “the theory of moral sentiments” before he wrote “the wealth of nations”. Although he was the original “free market” classical economist, Smith was deeply concerned about ethical regulation and governance to reduce human suffering and enhance well being, unlike the Neoclassical conartists.

There are many other overblown and overrated celebrants, proponents and apologists for the Western Industrial Capitalist system pervading the internet, Jordan Peterson and Steven Pinker being among the most prominent. But hey, if you can cultivate an impressive shock of white hair, carefully coiffed to resemble that of Einstein, then people gotta believe you are real smart, don't they? Notwithstanding such pulchritudinous follicular triumph, genuinely smart people like Richard Wolff and Noam Chomsky have thoroughly and convincingly demolished the platforms of Peterson and Pinker respectively, showing them up to be the mediocre useful idiots they actually are. The fact that Peterson confessed to be an avid fan of Bjorn Lomborg, another absurd pretender, is proof positive he is a microcephalic scientific ignoramus. On the other hand, Peterson is smart enough to know he ain't that smart. After bombastically issuing a public challenge to all comers, he wisely declined to debate Richard Wolff about Marxist economics, knowing he was out of his depth and would be savaged like a sheep by Wolff.

SP in elegant, pensive pose: Sartorially, a pulchritudinous follicular triumph. Intellectually, a sloppy, cringeworthy embarrassment.

JP pontificating on throne: give due credit that he is smart enough to know he ain't that smart. Also remembers to flush after vacating said throne.

As mentioned above, it is not just one idea but many ideas that we need to juggle in our heads simultaneously to try to achieve a proper understanding of our current circumstances. Mathematically and quantitatively this is an impossible task for any single individual, however the Limits to Growth scientists did an admirable job addressing this difficulty by careful computer modelling conducted more than 45 years ago. Their standard model has held up incredibly well with modern day reality. In an effort to subjectively illustrate the dynamic interaction of multiple contemporary factors within a complex framework, I devised this simple 3 dimensional model as a visual aid to understanding: https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-seneca-cliff-explained-as-network.html

I am saying nothing new here which I have not already stated before, but will try to summarise the essentials in a cogent manner, hopefully more clearly than I have previously, this time adding flow charts. I will highlight key concepts and omit less important considerations which might detract and distract from those key concepts. It is impossible to be more comprehensive without writing a multitude of more detailed essays employing graphs and diagrams with appended supportive references (which I have already done previously).

Insert EONflowchart.jpg here

This article, “EON Part1” attempts to answer the apparently simple question: "why have low oil prices and various economic stimuli over the past several years failed to restore global economic growth to the way things were before the crash of 2008/9?"

That question is predicated on certain historical observations noted prior to the world reaching the peak/plateau of conventional oil output in 2006: that high oil prices in the past tended to cause inflation and economic recession, and that low oil prices in the past tended to stimulate productivity and economic growth. I will tackle the answer(s) to that two part question in two parts as well.

Answer to part 1 of the question: Low Oil Prices:

The question itself is flawed in the context of our new post Peak Oil situation because it looks at things in a flawed manner. Confusion reigns supreme because we are attempting to see things through the distorted lens of price. Oil price is a flawed derived variable, subject to all sorts of manipulations and distortions, which I assert is unimportant. I will repeat that. Oil price is unimportant. What is important to consumers, to businesses, to enterprises which provide real services and produce real items of real material value in the real world, is oil affordability. It does not matter if oil is "cheap" now. If my business was destroyed by the Global Financial Crisis in 2009 and I have been unable to build things up again, if my income stream is presently a mere trickle, I cannot now afford to buy significant amounts of that "cheap" oil, certainly nowhere near the amount that used to drive my previous profligate middle class lifestyle. I cannot return to those heady pre-2009 high consumption days. Decimation of the high consumption middle classes has caused destruction of demand, a key concept.

At its most basic, price is a reflection of supply versus demand. Pre Peak Oil, low oil prices were largely a reflection of increasing oil supply and did at that time largely reflect affordability. Post Peak Oil, low oil prices are largely an enduring result of demand destruction and are therefore NOT a reflection of affordability, certainly not by the majority of the population.

It is possible to have low oil prices in the presence of declining oil supply, if the demand and supply are both declining in tandem or especially if demand is destroyed at a greater rate than supply.

The first part of the question posed should therefore NOT be "why have current low oil prices failed to restore economic growth?" but should be rephrased as "why is the questioner still trapped in a pre Peak Oil mindset?"

Also confusing the picture is the interplay between economic/financial policies and oil production, which did not unfold in a manner any sane person could have reasonably anticipated prior to the peak of conventional oil. Sane people could never have predicted the whole scale, open slather rape of the environment to harvest unconventional oils, driven by outright fraud and Ponzi madness to fund scams which hopelessly failed to break even financially, much less produce profits. Yes, this insanity did forestall the net decline in oil supply, but at horrific cost. Foolish suckers like BHP Billiton can attest to that.

We need to clarify and better define confusing terminology: low oil prices and cheap oil do not mean the same thing. “Cheap” oil cannot truly be called “cheap” if it is unaffordable by the majority. Just because the oil price is now low compared to historic highs does not mean oil is cheap. Unconventional oils are in reality very expensive to extract and transport (mostly by diesel vehicles, not by pipeline) but they have been rendered “cheap” by the flood of low interest money loaned to suckers who will ultimately lose their shirts when the unconventional oil scams collapse. Unconventional oils have been subsidised by stupidity. Furthermore these low EROEI expensive oils simply cannot be sold in the market unless price matched to higher EROEI conventional oil, which is truly “cheap” to harvest and transport.

Answer to Part 2 of the question: Low Interest Rates:

But what about the current low interest rates? Surely that should stimulate former bankrupted small business owners, previously crushed by the heavy weight of irredeemable debt, to now borrow heaps of fiat money again from those wonderful banks to resurrect their former businesses back to pre 2009 glory? And if they can do that, surely their former customers, also now in financial dire straits, can also access cheap money from the banks to buy more goods and services from those small businesses, all those activities driving up the national GDP? One response to this scenario is the phrase "once bitten, twice shy". There is nothing to prevent the banks from raising their interest rates without warning once they have snared the borrower in debt.

However the main answer here lies in who is actually being offered the cheap loans. Is it the small business battlers who lost all their assets after 2009, who may now be deemed unacceptable credit risks by the banks, or are those cheap loans mainly going to large corporations who claim to have massive assets (e.g. huge coal or oil deposits) in their glossy brochures? Professor Richard Wolff has stated that it is largely the latter being given the cheap money. And what have those corporations done with that cheap money? They have bought back their own publicly listed shares (an act previously deemed illegal but now permitted in the deregulated economy) resulting in inflation of their share prices, without any reinvestment in real infrastructure and without increasing real productivity. This has been demonstrated by the huge increases in price/earnings ratios of many large companies over the past several years. Share price rises have fuelled a monumental Ponzi stock market, while also funding insane negative value scams such as Shale Oil. Why engage in share buyback? Because CEO salary bonuses are tied to the company share prices. Furthermore those CEOs know their particular industries have no future, so reinvestment is pointless and they may as well take the money and run.

What is the consequence of the former middle class small business owners or employees now relegated to slave wages in Walmart or Costco, not having access to cheap money and not being able to bootstrap themselves back to middle class wealth again? It is the enduring phenomenon of demand destruction: those folks still cannot afford to buy much "cheap oil", which keeps the oil demand low and hence oil prices low. How many such people have been affected? Literally hundreds of millions of formerly high consuming people in the so-called first world countries. A huge proportion of the former middle class of the USA has been reduced to penury. We have seen the destruction of the entire middle classes of the European PIIGS countries, even extending to France as evidenced by the “yellow vest” protests. Retail establishments have been closing and businesses failing at rates never seen before which cannot be explained by the rise of online shopping alone but can be explained by consumption destruction and demand destruction. https://www.businessinsider.com.au/retail-apocalypse-start-of-2019-more-store-closures-all-of-2018-2019-4?op=1&r=US&IR=T

Students see poor economic prospects for themselves and increasing swathes of graduates find themselves eking a living out as baristas or waiters or cleaners while simultaneously being saddled with massive student debts they will never be able to repay. Many from southern Europe have left or are leaving their home countries for (illusory) greener pastures overseas, causing their home countries to lose even more of their future tax base and their working populations e.g. Greece and Spain.

The rising middle class within China, although substantial, has done little to offset this phenomenon. Their construction of high speed electric railways and plans to electrify all their road vehicles has helped and will help to reduce their demand for oil and hence blunt rises in the world oil price. However such measures have not and will not eliminate their absolute need for oil for their industrial economy to function.

To summarise: Current low oil prices are largely the result of destruction of oil demand which was the result of the collapse of millions of businesses, investments and retirement funds around the world, which was the result of the default of irredeemable debt imposed on unwary borrowers by predatory lenders.

Debt defaults were accelerated by the Peaking/Plateauing of net oil production. When net oil production becomes flat, real material growth grinds to a halt and ongoing debts become impossible to service.

Debt entrapment had been facilitated by "financial innovations" such as sub-prime lending, bogus derivatives (e.g. collateralised debt obligations) and bogus assurances (e.g. credit default swaps). Those giant scams were facilitated by the deregulation of the banks e.g. Clinton overturning Glass-Steagall in 1999.

A similar mechanism of predatory lending e.g. German banks offering irredeemable debt to Greece was the underlying basis for the eventual Greek economic collapse, causing penury, decimation of their public services and ongoing enforcement of impoverishment to service their ongoing debt (i.e. austerity). This is literally killing many ordinary Greeks.

We may now well see a gradual increase in demand for oil with the current ongoing low oil prices, which may transiently increase economic output, however that “growth” will undoubtedly be destroyed again by the inevitable subsequent rise in oil prices and ongoing relentless decline in high EROEI sources. Fluctuating oil prices overlying a stuttering contraction of the global economy was a solid prediction of Peak Oil theory more than a decade ago. When economic activities eventually contract to the delivery of only bare subsistence goods and services, when consumers no longer have any discretionary expenditure, there will be a final skyrocketing of oil prices causing rampant hyperinflation which will very likely trigger war(s). That will represent the end game for global industrial civilisation.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

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Published on The Doomstead Diner November 17, 2019

Note:  I meant ARTICHOKE HEARTS, not AVOCADO HEARTS! lol

 

Discuss this Video and Article at the Collapse Wake-Up Call Table inside the Diner

 

We have moved into a new and more intensive phase of Collapse, and this week I got myself back into gear to fullfill my Mission from God to chronicle this shit before I buy my ticket to the Great Beyond.

It has been an intense month in the world of Collapse between the Wildfires in Oz and Sunny California, the Brexit Kabuki still ongoing across the Pond, yet another Shoot-em-Up yesterday in a CA High Shool,  Hong Kong Protesters breaking out the Primitive Weapons to fight the Gestapo utilizing Tear Gas and Water Cannons, and of course our own Clown Show here on Live Reality TV from the Hallowed Halls of CONgress.

My tradition has been to produce a Collapse Meal here on the Doomstead Diner for Sunday Brunch, and over the last 7 years I havent missed too many Sundays,  The last few weeks though I have been engaged in another very important pursuit, online Gaming. lol.  I have been at War almost non-stop for about 3 weeks battling other much younger and healthier Gamers in the virtual world as it might be after SHTF Day arrives in earnest.  I will write more about this latest addiction of mine in an upcoming blog.

Image result for spy vs spyAs for the more Topical subject of the current Impeachment Melodrama is concerned, in this weeks' e[isode of the Collapse Morning Wake-Up call, we have two unlikely Heros who testified in fornt of the CONgress Critters on Wednesday, the career "Civil Servants" Bill Taylor & George Kent.  This is said in revered tones, how these men have selflessly dedicated their lives to the Public Good.  Normally though, when you think of Civil Service Workers, you think of the Clerks at the DMV when you go to get your Driver's License renewed.  Or maybe the Sanitation Engineers who come to pick up your Garbage and take it to the Land of Away at the City Dump.  LOL.  Somehow though, it's hard to think of Ambassadors and CIA Apparatchiks as "Civil Service" Workers.  For one thing, their pay scale is a good deal better, not to mention the perks and all those Frequent Flyer Miles they get!

These guys are the SAME dudes who Dealt Death to Vietnamese Villagers back in the day, but now they are HEROS, because they are outing Trumpovetsky as corrupt!  hahahahahahahaha. It's Spy vs Spy, the Corrupt of the MIC vs the corrupt Mob in the White House!  Mad Magazine has come to life!  Alfred E Newman is POTUS too!

While I engage Ghosts & Zombies in Cyberspace though, the real world occassionally intrudes, and I did find it compelling this week to deal with it and comment on it.  But how can you deal with such a Clusterfuck sober?  So for this week's Sunday Brunch, I give you my recipe for one of my KILLER Bloody Marys, along with a dose of Collapse errata.  Definitely try out the recipe, it will really improve your outlook for the day while you digest the insanity in today's newz cycle..

Responding to Collapse, Part 14: adapting to life without the grid

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Published on The Easiest Person to Fool on October 29, 2019

Late October Sunset over Lake Huron

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I am still on Hiatus, not so much due to being under the weather as due to my new Gaming habit, playing the online, browser based game of Vikings: War of Clans.  For the Doomer and Collapse Prepper & Planner, it's the best game I have found to date which makes you think about your Resources, plan for Zombie Attacks and secure and build your Doomstead.  I have been engaged in a non-stop series of Battles and Competitions over the last couple of weeks as I learned the features of the Game, of which there are many.  When my addicition finally calms down, I'll get back to work writing about all the IRL DOOM currently facing us, most notably this week the EXTREME fire problem in Oz, where the fires have moved from the Bush to the Big Shity of Sydney in New South Wales.  Before we hear from Irv who is standing in again for me this week, here's one of the current Newz Reports.  This and the major danger day isn't until Tuesday! – RE

 

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By Irv Mills

 

This is the last of 4 posts on coping with the decline and demise of the power grid that I promised in Part 11) of this Responding to Collapse series. Last time, with the help of Joe Clarkson, we looked at a typical off grid solar electric system. I would encourage anyone with sufficient financial resources to set up such a system. But even using the most durable equipment produced by BAU (business as usual), and with lots of spare parts in stock, such a system will eventually come to the point where no more use can be eked out of it using locally available "village" level technology and materials.

Before things come to that point, though, such a system can serve two very import uses:

1) allow us to use electrical power for things like lighting, refrigeration, pumping water, communication and entertainment, which will help reduce the initial shock of adapting to post grid life.

2) allow us to use what modern tools and power equipment we have on hand to facilitate the construction of low tech power systems that don't need things semiconductors or fossil fuels, which will be in short supply.

That second use is what I'll be talking about today.

The Context of Collapse

But first I'd like to review the context in which I believe all this will be happening—it has been a while since I've talked about that.

The majority of people in the "collapse sphere" here on the internet are expecting a hard, fast collapse sometime in the next few years. Many of them have been expecting it to happen next year for 15 or 20 years now and others have begun to chuckle at the long string of failed predictions. But my observation is that collapse started back in the 1970s when conventional oil production peaked in the continental United States. It has progressed since then and I expect it will continue, gradually and bumpily—unevenly (geographically), unsteadily (chronologically) and unequally (socially), until BAU can no longer provide us with the necessities of life.

One popular expectation among kollapsniks is that some trigger event will cause a financial crash and that will lead to a breakdown of supply chains that will leave almost everyone cold, hungry and in the dark. This sort of fast collapse makes for great stories with lots of conflict and drama, but in reality a planet is a big place. I can't imagine the degree of co-ordination it would take to make this happen fast and hard, all at once across the whole world. Especially when many of us will be working together to stop it from happening.

So yes, there will a financial crash or, most likely, several crashes over a period of years, but the damage will not be uniform across the whole system. And yes, in some areas, it will be serious enough that the supply chains supporting human life will start to fail. But not completely and not everywhere at once.

Initially governments will still have the wherewithal to mount relief efforts for the worst hit areas. Probably using the military to move fuel, water, food and medical supplies to affected areas, and to set up refugee camps for those who are forced to leave their homes. But as the economy crumbles it will have a weakening effect on governments and their resources will be stretched thin. Already we are seeing a tendency to blame people for whatever plight they find themselves in and to abandon them to their own devices, cutting back on expensive relief efforts. This will no doubt get worse, especially in right wing countries where the social contract is weak and the upper classes rule solely for their own benefit. That would include the USA, in my opinion.

Things will get pretty grim, especially in those camps. Indeed, I suspect that in areas where no help is forthcoming, the majority of people (maybe as many as 80 to 90 percent) aren't going to make it through. This is certainly nothing to cheer about, but I am afraid it is one of the harsh realities of collapse. Another unpleasant reality is that under such circumstances, there will be large numbers of desperate, hungry refugees walking out of the large population centres where food is no longer to be found.

Because collapse is happening unevenly, when you find yourself in difficult circumstances, you can usually find someplace else where things aren't so bad. I have been talking, throughout this series of posts, about doing just that—setting yourself up in a small remote town with local food and energy resources, far enough from large towns and cities so that the majority of refugees travelling on foot are unlikely to make it to your small town. That way, you'll be able to welcome those who do make it, rather than being swamped by them.

And I've been urging people to make their move while there is still time to build a network of acquaintances and friends who can help you cope with the gradual decline of BAU and adapt to its eventual demise. I am not suggesting that such places will be exempt from collapse, but rather that they have the local resources to adapt in ways that large population centres simply can't. A big part of that preparation will include being ready to switch over to subsistence farming when those supply chains finally let you down. And having sufficient food stored to see you through to your first harvest. All within walking distance of where you live.

That is really a subject for another day, but it does have a connection to the eventual demise of the power grid and our response to that demise. Bumpy collapse is hard on continent spanning structures like the grid and will be one of the causes of its demise, along with the faults built into capitalism. But a gradual bumpy collapse does give people a chance to wake up to what is going on.

Long before there is a massive die-off due to supply chain failure, there will be a period (perhaps it has already started) when things are going badly wrong in enough places that anyone who is paying attention will start to get pretty concerned. We saw this happen during and for the years before and after the Global Financial Crisis (approximately 2006 to 2012)—the idea of collapse gained quite a bit of credibility. But then things settled down and interest in collapse waned. I am now seeing interest starting to grow again and I expect this will continue. So finding people to work with on preparations may well become much easier than it is now.

During that period the resources of BAU will still be more or less available and those wise enough to do so will be able to set up some local structures which can step in to replace BAU when the need arises—community gardens and farms, food storage co-ops, energy co-ops and so forth.

I encourage you to pick a town with farmland, ground water and standing timber in good supply. It would also be useful if there are one or more good hydro power resources nearby. There is falling water in abundance here in southern Ontario. Many small towns were once mill towns and still have the remains of a dam and an abandoned mill or generating station which could be refurbished with much less effort than starting from scratch.

I am convinced that there is no need for collapse to take us all the way back to the stone age or even the middle ages. But I am also sure that material consumption and energy use must fall to a sustainable level that can be supported with local, renewable resources.

To stop a fall all the way back to the stone age, we will need to take advantage of some of the legacies of BAU.

BAU's Legacies

One hears a great deal about the negative legacies that BAU is leaving for future generations—climate change, resource depletion, environmental and social disruption—the list goes on. I don't disagree with any of that, but I'd like to point out that there will also be some positive legacies that many people who are thinking about collapse aren't taking into account.

  • The first of these, in my estimation, is the knowledge that mankind has accumulated up to this point, including the scientific method and the change in attitudes that came with the Enlightenment. Immersed as we are in that knowledge, it is hard to appreciate how difficult it was for people in the past to make the discoveries and developments they did, without knowing in advance what was even possible or how to accomplish it. We have an immense advantage over them, in that we know a great deal about the world around us and how things work.
  • Second, there are alive today many skilled and ingenious people, tradesmen and hobbyists, even engineers, who, after industrial civilization grinds to a halt, will be able to do a great deal with its remnants.
  • Thirdly there will be all those remnants, including:

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • durable equipment and tools that will continue working for years or decades after the factories of BAU have gone dark
    • large scale infrastructure such as roads, bridges, tunnels, dams, communications, power, water and sewage systems, factories, housing and other buildings
    • true, many of these will be left in pretty rough shape, but what can't be used as is will still have a great deal of value for the materials that can be salvaged from it
    • initially there will even be some fossil fuels left in local storage, plus materials and spare parts sitting on shelves ready for us to use

It is to be hoped that some of those skilled people will have set up off-grid power systems and things like tool libraries and workshops (maker spaces as they are called these days). We should encourage and support such efforts in every way we can, since they will be of great importance in facilitating the transition to long term, sustainable systems that can be operated, maintained and replaced when necessary with "village technology", local materials and local sources of energy.

Local energy sources

I think it's worth taking a look at what kinds of energy may be available locally and how can they be harnessed.

Fossil fuels

Fossil fuels will no longer be readily available except in the few areas where there are functional oil/gas wells or coal mines. Sure, thinking of climate change, it would be better to keep that carbon in the ground rather that returning more of it to the atmosphere. Still, I wouldn't discourage anyone from making use of such an energy source if it is close at hand, and you can get it out of the ground and convert it into usable forms. The amount of CO2 involved would be tiny compared to what's going into the atmosphere today.

Nuclear Energy

I live only a few miles from a nuclear plant, and I used to work in the switchyards there. The importance of a reliable tie to the grid was firmly impressed on me—without it, nuclear stations cannot operate safely. So nuclear plants will have to be shut down as the grid becomes unreliable. The employees of those plants, who live nearby, have a large incentive to see them shut down and mothballed safely. They will take this into their own hands, regardless of what company executives might want. And I am sure the employees will have the backing of the local community.

It is important to get that shutdown underway as quickly as possible while we still have the resources to do it. I expect spent fuel will be stored locally in dry flasks, which is considerably safer than leaving it in spent fuel ponds.

This leaves us with renewable energy sources—solar, wind, hydro, tidal, and biomas.

Solar Power

Converting solar energy into electricity takes some pretty high tech equipment. Photovoltaics (solar cells) will almost certainly be beyond our ability to produce locally. It is possible to use solar energy to create steam and drive turbines which power electrical generators. But this is really only slightly lower tech than semiconductor solar panels. And because solar energy is intermittent, we'd need some way of storing it, probably batteries. In the quantity needed, batteries are likely beyond village technology.

That leaves us to use heat from the sun directly for water or space heating, cooking, drying crops, or for process heat in cottage industry situations. And to find a way of doing this where the intermittency is not a problem. Glass is needed to make efficient solar collectors, and all but the simplest passive solar installations need electric motors and fans or pumps to move collected solar energy (hot air or water) to where you need it.

Wind Power

Wind power is also intermittent, and largely unpredictable as well, so either you need some way of storing the power or you need to use it in ways that can manage with an intermittent power source. Pumping water into storage containers at a higher level is one traditional example. Wind power has been used for grinding grain as well.

The towers, blades and gearing required as likely to be within the reach of village technology.

Hydro Power

Hydro power is slightly intermittent, but only on a seasonal basis and it is reasonably predictable. It can even be stored in head ponds to smooth out variations in load. It is doable with nineteenth century technology, and even simpler equipment if you use the mechanical power directly rather than generating electricity.

Tidal Power

There are a few location in the world where high tides can, with clever arrangements of dams, be used to drive water wheels or turbines. Tides are also intermittent, but quite predictable.

Biomass

Where I live, this would consist mainly of firewood, which can also be converted into wood gas or charcoal. It is useful for space heating, water heating, process heat, and can be both produced and used with very simple equipment. Of all these energy sources, biomass is the easiest to harness at the individual and family level, without setting up more complex community projects.

Wood gas can fuel internal combustion engines and firewood can fuel steam engines, both of which can power electrical generators. But this is only practical if there is wood left after vital uses like cooking and heating have been taken care of.

It is also vital to keep in mind that biomass is only a renewable resource if we use it at a rate slower than the rate at which it grows. Fortunately, forestry is a well established science and it can guide us in which trees to cut, how many of them, and how many and what type of new trees to plant.

Biogas

This is methane produced during anaerobic composting of manure and other organic materials. It can be useful in many ways, just like natural gas. But a lot of manure is needed to make useful quantities of biogas.

Muscle Power

For most of our history (and prehistory) energy mainly came from human or animal muscles. This has largely gone out of fashion in the industrial world, but I suspect that as collapse progresses, it will once again become the default where mechanical power is needed and nothing else is available.

Harnessing Local Energy Sources

There is a lot that can be done at the individual/family level to conserve energy, to make use of what's available locally, and to get by without electricity. But once you've decided to harness most of the energy sources above, a community effort will be required, especially if they are going to be used to generate electricity.

When talking about harnessing such energy resources, we must always consider whether the energy gathered will justify the energy and manhours used to build the equipment needed to gather it. Without the legacies I described above, I suspect the answer would more often than not be no, but with them, I think there is much that can be done. Remember that during the initial crisis of adapting to grid and supply chain break down in your area there will likely be some off-grid power systems to draw on.

At any rate, there is always the option of using these energy sources directly as heat or mechanical energy when we don't have electrical generating systems set up yet, or when they have failed beyond our capacity to repair. This also saves the inefficiencies involved in converting energy from one form to another, and the trouble of setting up distribution systems. Flour mills and saw mills are excellent examples.

Yes, at the start, the overpowering need will be for food, water and firewood, and a well organized community would divert available manpower to supplying those needs. But electrical equipment can actually make those tasks easier, replacing manhours with kilowatt hours, and doing some things, like lighting and refrigeration that no amount of manpower can do.

When the initial crisis has been overcome, there will be some spare manhours than can be spent on setting up a sustainable power system. I am terribly tempted to go into some specifics of what might be done, but it would have to get pretty technical and would make this post much longer than it should be.

Using Energy Wisely

In parts 11 and 12 of this series I included a list of important uses for electricity and alternatives to use during outages. But this time we're considering the permanent loss of the grid, and instead of coping temporarily with grid outages, we're talking about adapting to that permanent loss, either by generating our own power, by replacing it with other energy alternatives or practicing conservation—using less energy. We should be aware in advance that this will require some changes in the way we live.

Lights

Conservation is pretty simple here—we can do without lights at night, and set up workshops with windows to let in sunlight. But at higher latitudes, winter nights are long and much could be accomplished during them if we had artificial light.

Without electricity, you burn something to make light. Candle wax, kerosene, naphtha and propane are all based on fossil fuels and will not be available for long. Vegetable oil, animal fat, and alcohol will be locally available, but the source in each case is something that could also be used as food. If food is in short supply, lighting will have to suffer. This is one area where biogas could be quite useful.

My beloved mantle lamps will be hard to produce, as those mantles use salts of various elements that are not likely to be available locally to produce that bright white light.

If electricity is available, converting it to light is a bit of a challenge. We are in a sense spoiled by today's LED lights, which are highly efficient and long lasting. I've been reading recently that when they fail it is usually not the actual diode that fails, so I suspect ways will be found to refurbish them and keep them going for a long time. But the day will come when we have to go back to various sorts of arc lights and carbon filament incandescent bulbs.

Water

Here is Southern Ontario there is no shortage of good ground water, so I suspect wells with hand or wind driven pumps will be the thing. Friends in Australia and Hawaii tell me about their large outdoor water storage tanks. This looked odd to me and at first I wondered why we don't use such things here, but then I realized that they would freeze solid in the winter. In cold countries indoor cisterns are more practical and can be filled using rainwater, or well water pumped when the wind is blowing.

Electrically driven pumps will no doubt be used where power is available—they save a lot of hand pumping and are easy to control.

Sewage

There are many low tech ways of safely handling sewage. But we'll need to recover and use the plant nutrients and organic matter it contains, so I would think composting toilets will be very popular. I can recommend two books on the subject of composting human waste: The Humanure Handbook, by Joe Jenkins, and The Scoop on Poop, by Dan Chiras.

Food

Food is going to stop arriving regularly at the local supermarkets. To me, it seems that the necessary response would be to switch over to using locally grown food and growing much of it yourself, and to have enough food stored to last you through to the next harvest. There is a lot to say about this subject, but since it's not directly connected to electricity, I leave it for another post.

Cooking

Cooking is largely a matter of heating food, so we'll do it by burning biomass. Preferably in a nice indoor wood burning cookstove. I suspect the demand for those will go through the roof when it becomes more clear how things are going. Fortunately there are alternative that can be made by hand from local materials—mud/brick ovens, rocket stoves, etc. Google will lead you to all kinds of information on these.

Refrigeration

Where winter is sufficiently cold, the obvious solution is to use ice, harvested from frozen bodies of water, and to set up a well insulated icehouse to store that ice through the summer.

Ammonia based refrigeration uses heat as its power input, and should be within the reach of village level technology.

The kind of refrigeration we are all used to uses some variation of freon as its working fluid and electric motors to pump that fluid. I expect that once existing refrigeration equipment has worn out, freon will be too big a challenge to make locally and we will abandon the technology.

Heating

For space heating woodstoves are the obvious solution. As with cookstoves, I think at some point there will be a huge demand for heating stoves. Getting set up to heat with wood before you are forced to do so would be a good idea. If electricity is available, fans can be used to move air around the house and heat it more evenly.

Heating your house with wood takes a lot more wood than cooking. It you don't own a wood lot, you should find someone reliable who specializes in cutting, splitting and delivering firewood.

If you do own a woodlot, you'll likely be doing that for yourself. At some point gasoline won't be available to power chainsaws and you'll have to fall back on more traditional methods. Here is a series of posts on this subject by Category 5, another Canadian kollapsnik and blogger.

C5 Gets Wood:

 

Cooling

I covered this in some detail in part 12 of this series, here.

Communications

A small community which is generating its own electricity should be able to get its landline telephone system working again. Setting up a local broadcast radio station also sounds like a good project to foster community solidarity. And ham radio may be one of the few ways of finding out what is going on in the world. When modern solid state equipment wears out, vacuum tubes should be doable with village technology.

Transportation

Fossil fuel powered vehicles will no doubt be used until supplies of those fuels run out. It would be good to ration those fuels and see that they get used for the most critical purposes for as long as possible. It may be possible to convert some internal combustion engines to using wood gas to extend their usefulness.

Bikes are actually pretty high tech, and will eventually wear out beyond local repair, especially those rubber tires.

Horses and other draught animals will become extremely valuable, and we should do what we can in advance to encourage and support horse breeders.

Water transportation, using lakes, rivers, canals and powered by sail or muscles will grow in importance.

But walking will probably be the default mode of transporation, especially within the local area. And most of us will try to avoid having to make long trips.

Cottage Industry

I'm adding a new category here, because without the factories that now make all the goods we use, we will have to return to making them for ourselves. With modern knowledge, tools, equipment and electrical power, there is a great deal than can be done using local and salvaged materials. Acquiring the skills needed is something all of us should be working at. Pick an area that interests you and learn everything you can about it.

I bake bread and know a fair bit about growing grain and milling it. I make cheese and I know how to milk a cow. I weave wicker baskets and harvest willow that grows locally. As well as being an electrician, I am fairly good at carpentry, plumbing and drywall. These skills and a great many others will be needed and can be learned with some effort, if necessary from books and the internet while it lasts, but ideal from people who already know them.

Many years ago I started working on a degree in electrical engineering, but soon dropped out and apprenticed as an electrician instead. So the electrical parts of what I've been talking about here seem fairly straight forward to me. But I've been thinking recently that a degree in chemical engineering would be damn handy, or at least the equivalent knowledge, with a focus on low tech, small scale applications.

In Conclusion

Back in Part 10 of this series I said, "It seems to me that supplies of electrical power, diesel fuel and money will be at the heart of many of the troubles that lie ahead, so I'll concentrate on those areas." I think we've finally reached the end of the discussion on electrical power. Next time I'll talk about diesel fuel and the supply chains that rely on it.

Responding to Collapse, Part 13: Keeping the Lights on When the Grid Goes Down Forever

gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Joe Clarkson

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Published on The Easiest Person to Fool on October 16, 2019

Discuss this article at the Energy Table inside the Diner

 

Standing in for me this week is Joe Clarkson standing in for Irvine Mills. lol.

Hoping to get some energy back for next Sunday

RE


I'm doing something new this time, which is to publish a post that is almost entirely the work on one of my regular readers and commenters, Joe Clarkson, who lives off-grid on the Big Island of Hawaii. My knowledge of solar electric systems is entirely theoretical and I have always found that in the process of actually building something like this, one learns a great deal that isn't covered in the books. So I am pleased to present this material from someone who can speak with a much greater degree of practical experience than me.

I do have a few comments to make, but I'll save those for the end of the post.

-Irv Mills



Keeping the Lights on When the Grid Goes Down Forever

by Joe Clarkson

As someone who has lived most of my adult life in an off-grid home, I have had a lot of experience in managing the equipment needed to replicate the round-the-clock availability of electricity provided by the grid. That experience has been marked by a few failures but over the long haul our electrical supply has been more reliable than most utilities. That there is far more support available now than there was when I was setting up my first off-grid system back in 1975 (small hydro/diesel) makes living off-grid even easier. And since the rural neighborhood surrounding my home has homes that are all off-grid, I rarely hear the questions that many people asked me in years past, “Why do you live off the grid?” and What’s it like?”

The first question I answered by explaining that land without public utilities, like power and water, is almost always far less expensive than land with them. This is true, but I almost never went on to explain that I didn’t like the feeling of insecurity that came with being dependent on the grid. I have long felt that the grid is vulnerable to any number of disruptions, some of them likely to be permanent, and I wanted to live in a situation where I had more control over my electrical supply. Most people still think that attitude must also come with wearing a tin-foil hat.

The answer to the second question was that living off the grid was mostly like living on it. This is even more true now that solar panels have gotten so inexpensive that it is easy to have an ample supply of electricity. My current house is a sort of “legacy” off-grid home. It started out in 1986 with very little solar capacity (under 800 W), so everything was geared to minimizing the use of electricity. Thirty years ago, our electrical consumption was about 2 kWh per day at most. Now that I have 4 kW of solar PV capacity, we have become more profligate, even with the kids gone, and we use 4-5 kWh per day. A solar installer recently told me that he typically designs off-grid homes for a capacity of 20 kWh per day, just as much as the typical grid-connected home around here uses.

I have lived without electricity during two years serving in the Peace Corps and found it easy to do, albeit on a tropical atoll. This experience gave me a deeper understanding of the place electricity has in the modern world. I won’t be discussing that place here, although that is something that everyone should consider thoroughly before making plans for adapting to collapse. Instead, I will describe my way of replicating a modern household electrical system without the grid and my preparations for keeping it going as long as I can.

I know that if the grid goes down forever and business-as-usual becomes ever-accelerating collapse, it will be impossible to maintain an independent electrical system for the long term. But I would like to keep it going as long as possible, if only to ease the transition from a modern, high-energy life to one that will look a lot like life was here in Hawai‘i before contact with outsiders changed everything. These old bones are not ready for a life of subsistence agriculture and hunting-gathering in service to a feudal lord. That life will eventually come, if not for my wife and me, then for our children and their children, but I hope to make the transition as gradual as possible for all of us. If collapse is rapid, it also just might be the difference between life and death.

Our Home Power System Details

So, what kind of system do we have and how do we intend to keep it going during collapse? Our electrical supply is old-school and typical of many off-grid systems:

  • 4 kW of solar supply (Sixteen 250 W modules with an output of 24 V DC nominal but wired in series-parallel to about 140 V).
  • Two 80-amp MPPT solar charge controllers convert the solar output to 24 VDC for the battery.
  • 900 amp-hour lead-acid battery (12 cells at 2V each)
  • 4 kW inverter (2 Outback FX2024 operating in parallel at 120/240 VAC output)
  • 6 kW Northern Lights diesel generator

 

Inverters with solar charge controllers to the right

 

One half of 4 kW solar PV array.
The other half is on the roof of another building but looks identical.

 

Battery box 
(with concrete block to keep a visiting 4-year-old grandchild out), 
6kW genset, diesel supply in 55-gallon drum.

 

24 V battery
(12 Hawker flooded lead-acid cells, each 900 Ah)

 

24 VDC water pump inside concrete block enclosure

 

Solar hot water system with TV and Ham antennas behind.
80-gallon hot water tank is stainless steel.

 

240 VAC wood splitter runs off the solar electric system.

 

38,000-gallon water tank.
24 feet in diameter X 12 feet high.
Half the tank is underground.

The average solar incidence here in up-country Hamakua is low, only about 2.5 peak sun-hours per day. But with 4 kW of solar array, this is enough to average about 10 kWh per day, more than twice as much as we actually use. This means that we rarely need to use the back-up diesel to charge the batteries. Our average annual use of the generator is about 30-40 hours a year at a maximum charging rate of 2 kW. My estimate is that we use about 10 gallons of diesel a year in the generator.

The appliances serving the home are pretty typical except for refrigeration and water pumping. We have a washer and propane heated dryer, a propane range, propane back up water heater (rarely used since we also have ample solar water heating) the usual compliment of LED lighting and an assortment of communications and entertainment equipment (flat screen TV, a couple of computers, CD player and receiver), clothes iron, vacuum cleaner, bathroom appliances like hair dryer and toothbrushes, all being used at rates that would be typical in a grid connected house. We do power everything from power bars so that we can turn off equipment completely so as to avoid “ghost loads”.

Our refrigeration and water pumping are DC. This was originally for efficiency and power demand reasons, but over the years we have kept these appliances operating directly off the battery as a precaution against inverter failure. If the inverters fail, we can still have water and keep our refrigerator and freezer powered up. We would need to run the generator in the evenings two to three hours for light and for other electrical appliances, but it would save us from having to run the generator more often to keep the fridge cool and to pump water. Now that DC LED light bulbs are available, we may switch back to DC lighting, which would not be too difficult as the lighting load center is separate from the load center for the outlets (our lighting was originally DC).

Our water system is based on two corrugated steel tanks (including metal roofs) with heavy polyethylene liners. A 40,000-gallon main tank is filled with water from our roof and that water is pumped up to a 2,000-gallon tank about 100 feet higher than the house with a 24 VDC Shurflo pump. The little Shurflo pump only moves a couple of gallons per minute, but we only need to turn it on about once or twice a week for a few hours. (We have another piped water system with non-potable water for agriculture and livestock, but a description of that system is outside the scope of this post).

How much of these systems can we keep operating while adapting to collapse? In a collapse situation propane will be impossible to get. The clothes dryer can be abandoned totally to line drying (what we mostly do now), the back-up water heater can be shut down, and the range can be nursed along for a few months to a few years depending on the state of the 125-gallon propane tank at the time of propane delivery failure. For the longer term we have a wood cooking range on a covered lanai. This range would also be a source of hot water once I get the auxiliary water tank installation off my “to do” list.

So, the long-term energy sources for the house and farm are slated to be solar electricity and wood, with solar hot water for as long as the solar hot water modules last (perhaps 15 to 20 years). We have plenty of wood on the property and even have an electric wood splitter powered from the solar system. The wood range has a probable life measured in decades. We have a wood heater for those cool winter days (low 60s), but how to keep the solar system going?

The short answer for most of the power conversion equipment is to have plenty of spares. The inverters can be completely rebuilt with three circuit boards and a cooling fan for each inverter. Those parts are on the shelf. The inverters have been in continuous operation since 2006, so I expect them to need rebuilding in the next few years. The solar charge controllers have an estimated 15 to 20-year life and they are only about 7 years old, so with a spare for each the charge control system can last another 30-35 years. My current crop of solar panels is only about 5 years old, so they should last for a long time yet and I already have their replacements handy, since I bought another set for a second home that probably won’t get built after all. If we do finally build the second home, it will have a duplicate electrical system that can be intertied with our existing system, thereby increasing redundancy.

Here is a table summarizing the power system and the appliances operating from it:

Item

Estimated Life Span (Years)

Method of Repair

If Failure is Unavoidable

Solar PV modules

25-30

Replace with spares

Remove bad modules, rewire and use less electricity

Charge controllers

15-20

Replace with spares

Reconfigure PV to battery charging voltage and manually switch modules on and off (works only with flooded cell batteries)

Inverters

15-20

Rebuild with spare boards

Use DC appliances only or replace with legacy spare inverter (I have a couple of old Trace 2024 inverters in storage)

Battery

Wide variation

Replace with spares? Pick the battery with the longest possible life?

Use no electric equipment except any that can be operated directly off the solar array (DC motors, heaters)

Diesel generator

 

 

 

 

 

 

30

Have plenty of maintenance spares (belts, filters, etc.)

Greatly reduce electricity consumption in cloudy weather

Water pump

10

Replace with spares or rebuild with still-good parts from failed pumps

Haul water with buckets or install eave-level tank or install catchment roof at upper tank.

Corrugated water tanks

30-50

Reinforce weak areas with cables

Use any available vessel for water storage and hand carry water in buckets

Refrigerator

30

None

Evaporative cooling? Night radiation cooling?

Freezer

30

None

No frozen food

Washer

25

None

Hand wash with plunger. Have manual wringer on hand.

Propane dryer

30

None

Line dry everything all the time

Propane range

40

None

Substitute wood and wood range

Solar hot water modules

20

Substitute modules with spares?

Water heating loop in wood range

Stainless steel solar hot water tank

50

Move to wood range location

Batch heat water on stove

Household wiring

50+

Repair with spares

Live without electricity


Battery Considerations

Without an industrial civilization as backstop, the biggest hurdle to keeping a solar system going is the short life of the battery bank. My batteries have been well maintained, but they were three years old when I purchased them 8 years ago. They are nearing the end of their cycle life.

If it cannot be replaced by going to the nearest battery store, the main attribute a battery will need to have is the ability to operate over a large number of daily charge-discharge cycles. There are numerous comparisons of battery cost and cycle life on line. Most of those comparisons result in lithium-ion batteries being the best choice, especially if cost is not a determining factor, just because of their superior cycle life.

 

Many lithium-ion batteries are touted as having up to 10,000 cycles, even with 80% daily discharge. That would result in a life expectancy of 27 years even though they are typically guaranteed for only 10 years. Even though the cell chemistry could last as long as 27 years, my worry is that the sophisticated electronics that manage the charging of each cell in a lithium-ion battery will probably have a life expectancy of less than that.

I have not yet decided on a final battery replacement strategy. Here are some pros and cons for the best main choices (excluding price):

  • Lithium ion: proven long cycle life but delicate to charge and requires sophisticated electronic charge management system.
  • Lead-acid: Very forgiving if well maintained but have the shortest cycle life. It may be possible to store “dry charged” cells for many years before putting them in service.
  • Nickel-iron: Reputed to have a very long life and very forgiving of a simple charging system (similar to lead-acid). Very hard to damage except by using poor water for electrolyte replenishment. I am still not certain that the lifespan of this battery matches its reputation. Manufacturer literature suggests a cycle life between that of a good lead-acid battery and a lithium ion battery.

I am leaning toward lithium ion. I need to confirm the life expectancy of the typical battery management system and any needed protection from a solar charge controller failure.

I am also keeping an eye on the market for flow batteries for the home. These are quite new and have a limited track record, but should have very long life with easily replaceable pumps.

I am also tempted to see if I can craft build a pure-lead-plate battery from roofing lead sheet.

 

Conclusion

This post has covered a lot of expensive equipment, much of which my wife and I have acquired over many years. We feel very fortunate to have been able to do so. When one adds up the cost of a small parcel of decent farmland, a home and the outbuildings and equipment a small farm requires, including the equipment needed to provide electricity, water and heat for the home (including in-ground piping and electrical circuits) and other costs like livestock, fencing, roads, ponds, and land leveling, it becomes obvious that it takes a lot of money to prepare to eventually live without money.

I do know that the one thing that will always have value when adapting to collapse will be the skills it takes to help manage a small off-grid farm. Any person that has the ability to grow and hunt for food, manage livestock, operate energy and water systems and knows which end of a screwdriver to grab, is likely to find a place in a post-industrial-civilization world, even without a lot of money for preparation. I am still learning these skills and I started a long time ago. It’s past time to get started, so I recommend a crash course in practical trade skills to anyone that has few of them. Good luck to us all!



Wind and Hydro Power

Anticipating questions from our readers, I asked Joe about wind and water power. Here is what he had to say, which makes good sense to me. —Irv

I have had a small wind turbine as part of my array of battery charging sources and found it to be more trouble than it was worth. It was a Whisper 1000 and it really needed strong winds to produce much power. It also had a continuing series of mechanical problems, but I kept it going for a couple of years and then threw it away.

I have also had a lot of experience with the larger Bergey 10 kilowatt wind turbine on village power projects. It worked a little better than the Whisper but also required a lot of maintenance. Constant changes of blade leading edge protection tape, furling cable that broke and very high noise levels made it a pain to use. Now that solar modules are so inexpensive, I strongly advise against wind turbines except for large, grid-tied machines for commercial power producers.

Small hydro is another story. If a small stream with a reasonable head is available, small hydro can be a great charging source. I recommend going with a DC alternator to charge batteries and use an inverter for AC power. The small hydro system just substitutes for solar panels as a battery charging source.

If a larger stream is available, enough to generate the maximum power required at the site, then an all AC system can be installed. A load diversion governor is a lot cheaper than a variable geometry turbine. With a load diversion governor, the AC alternator is kept loaded at full output at all times and any unneeded power is electronically shunted to a waste load, typically a water heater element inserted in the penstock or a spa basin.

 

Small hydro is extremely reliable. The only difficult part is getting clean water into the penstock, which means that a lot of attention has to be paid to the intake structure and subsequent settling and screening equipment. Flood conditions put a great deal of force on the intake, so everything in the stream bed has to be very robust. The best small hydro sources are hillside springs, which avoid a lot of the issues with stream sources. Year around streams and springs are relatively rare, but if you have one they are great sources of energy. With enough head, it takes very little water to produce enough energy to power a homestead.

 


Irv again, with thanks to Joe. And now, just a few comments from me.

I agree very strongly with what Joe said in his conclusion about learning practical skills. If your work has you sitting in front of a computer pushing little bits of information around on the screen, and what you do for fun in you off hours never sees you touching a tool, it is time to start learning some of the skills that will be needed when BAU(Business as Usual) is no longer functioning.

Now back to the specifics of off-grid power systems:

One important thing to be clear about is that batteries don't like to be "cycled", that is, to be charged and discharged. Joe touched briefly on this, but I think it is important to emphasize.

Every time a battery is discharged and charged back up (cycled), it wears out a little bit and its capacity to store energy is reduced. The backup batteries that I maintained as an electrician in the power system were kept fully charged and only discharged during outages, and even then not too deeply discharged. They usually lasted for about 15 to 20 years.

In an off grid solar electric system, batteries are cycled fairly deeply on a daily basis. Joe estimates his current batteries will have a lifetime of around 11 years, which sounds about right to me.

The temperature where Joe lives ranges from the 50s to the 70s, Fahrenheit. This is, to say the least, less extreme than the temperatures we experience here in Southern Ontario ( -30° F to around 90° F.) And there are many places not that far north of here that get even colder in the winter. Precipitation around here also comes in various nasty forms in a addition to rain. Such as hail, freezing rain, sleet and snow.

This has some negative effects on solar panels, which are inevitably exposed to the weather, causing them to fail sooner. And of course their output is limited when they are covered in ice or snow.

Batteries function best when their temperature is in the 70s Fahrenheit. That means they need to be in a heated space in the winter. Lead acid and nickel iron batteries also need a well ventilated space due to the hydrogen created during charging and discharging. You probably wouldn't want them in your house due to the fire hazard. Lithium batteries don't given off hydrogen and can withstand more charge/discharge cycles, which is a major plus. But they are more expensive and required more complex charging controls.

I would appreciate hearing from any readers who are running solar electric systems with lead acid or nickel iron batteries in climates with cold winters.

 

I have some experience repairing battery chargers at the component level, but that equipment was built in the 1960s and 70s, used single layer, single sided circuit boards and discreet components rather than integrated circuits. It almost seemed as if it was designed with repair in mind.

 

Joe tells me that more modern equipment is less maintainable at the component level—about the best you can do is change out a whole board or module.

Acknowledging that, it still seems to me that there are quite a few people around who I would call tinkers, but who are currently referred to as "makers", at least some of whom have the knowledge, skills and equipment to salvage and refurbish/repurpose defective equipment when that becomes the only alternative. I think in some cases they will succeed in getting some extra life, maybe a few more decades, out of systems like Joe's. A way to make storage batteries using salvaged materials and a fairly low level of technology would be very helpful.

Finally, as Joe says, a system like his does not come cheap, and I suspect many of my readers will find themselves lacking the financial resources to set up anything close. And yet I've devoted this whole post to the idea, and I would recommend that those who can afford it should go ahead and set up such a system. Why so?

First of all, electricity is very useful and if you could extend it's availability by a few decades, it would be worth quite a bit to do so. In one's own domestic situation electric lighting, refrigeration and water pumping would be worth a lot, along with communications and entertainment.

Secondly, in the years after the grid finally fails us, I would like to think an attempt will be made to switch over to sustainable, "village level" technology and to utilize local energy sources to generate electricity. This transition would be greatly facilitated by off grid power systems of the type Joe describes.

A closer look at this transition and the positive legacies of the industrial world will be the subject of my next post.


Links to the rest of this series of posts, Preparing for (Responding to) Collapse:

 
 

This Week In Doom, October 27: “Get Over It”


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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on October 27, 2019

“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell”  ― Carl Sandburg


Last night, Trump tweeted "…." An ellipsis. Later a message that "Something very big has just happened!" Today, Trump says that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of the Islamic State, has been killed after a U.S. special operations mission targeted him in northwestern Syria. Trump claimed credit, declaring that U.S. forces have brought "the world's No. 1 terrorist leader to justice." 

This latest announcement is part of a diversion to hijack the narrative of the past week, and change the subject from a devastating confirmation of his misdeeds, corruptions and felonies while in office. After several weeks of having both the facts and the law go against #TeamTreason, Trump and his gaggle of dead-enders are reduced to hijacking the narrative, pounding the table and stealing the valor of American servicemen. Because the facts are in, and Trump's impeachment is a certainty.


During this week's closed-door testimony of William Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, the so-called “quid pro quo“ was defined point by point. Taylor illustrated how Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine in the hope of pressuring president Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations into a thoroughly discredited conspiracy theory about the 2016 election, in the hopes of reversing the “Russia did it“ narrative and smearing the candidacy of Joe Biden.  Thus did he effectively bring down the teetering remains of the Trump administration, even though Trumpsuckers and nearly 40% of the population will have never heard of Amb. Taylor or his testimony.

When you can make John Bolton look like the Voice of Restraint, you’ve really gone far afield. Yet here we are. Taylor reported that when Bolton got wind of a meeting with Ukrainian officials at which Gordon Sundland, the US ambassador to the EU, brought up the investigations, he shut it down, and later referred to the scheme as an “drug deal."

The extent to which the House investigation has uncovered one aspect of the criminal Ukraine grift after another stems from actions taken after Trump's first year. When Trump named a government, he put a number of people in place no longer working for a notably high-turnover administration. Names like Tillerson, Mattis, McMaster, even Flynn, Bannon, et all have come and gone. Even the acerbic John Kelly, who replaced the ill-fated Reince Priebus, had to go.  

Trump made repeated attempts to rein in or fire Mueller during the investigation, and was saved from that misconduct only by the refusal of people around him to incriminate themselves (including former  White House counsel Don McGahn; Rob Porter, his staff secretary; and even Corey Lewandowski, who was otherwise eager to punch a female reporter in his zeal to obey Fat Orange. Even Kirstjen Nielsen, executrix of some of the most heinous American human rights violations ever perpetrated on the helpless since the genocide of native peoples, proved neither compliant nor extreme enough.

During the first year to 18 months, rumors leaked to the White House that Trump was chafing at being told "no" so often by his advisers. Reportedly he wanted to “let Trump be Trump,“ and that he was restive at those telling him he couldn’t do something because of the “Law.” Like most petty autocrats, Trump has no use for the law aside from bankruptcy law or stiffing contractors, or for those who traffic in it, (except for pet Attorneys General and hand nominated supreme court judges.)

As a result, during the worst crisis of this “administration,” (which might more properly described as opera bouffe about a bumbling, mid-level mafia crew if the stakes for the rest of us weren't so high) Fat Orange has no staff depth, and makes it up as he goes along.

Trump has run this administration as if it was a reality TV show; this illustrates that he understands the psyche of the average American pretty well, since most people figure if they haven’t seen it on TV, it doesn’t exist. A generation that has either given up on or reading newspapers as they shrink their way to irrelevance, has fewer sources of information. And after three years of multiple-times-a-day confrontation with vulgarity and brazen mendacity, most prefer to tune out rather than have their precious spare time soiled by T-Rex. Yet the law and the courts operate outside of the range of the television cameras and grind away according to the dictates of black letter law. This is where Trump will be up against it, not matter how furiously he pounds his tiny orange fists on the table.

Returning to the testimony of William B. Taylor: NBC News reported Taylor told the committee about the order to withhold military funding to Ukraine:  Taylor said that an unnamed Office of Management and Budget official told him that “the directive had come from the president to the chief of staff to OMB.” This makes clear that the order came from Trump himself. This means Trump can’t claim that he didn’t know what Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was doing and can't simply scapegoat Mulvaney or others for the Ukraine quid pro quo, because it’s clear that people within OMB were well aware that the order came from the top.

What you might call a "smoking howitzer."

For all of this, Trump bet the house on getting a CNN soundbite from Zelensky.

These ass hats were concocting a Q Anon-level fiction to prosecute a conspiracy theory which holds that Ukraine hacked Democrats emails and set up Russia to get blamed for it  during 2016. For this, we are all fortunate that Trump has such a fragile ego, and is so desperate for redress and validation. A better politician would’ve told Democrats and critics to go fuck themselves.

Notice how Barr keeps popping up, Zelig like, in many of the stories. First in Ukraine, then in Italy, chasing down various threads intended to go into the conspiracy theory voodoo doll. Taylor also ratified the fact that Bill Barr is up to his beefy jowls in the entire mess, since the Justice Department has tried to keep this entire crockpot buried, by advising the acting director of national intelligence to not transmit the whistleblower complaint sounding the alarm about it to Congress. I’m not an attorney, but that looks like obstruction of justice to me. Barr would do well to measure for curtains in John Mitchell's old cell.

If you look forward to what comes ahead, it’s pretty clear the Trump (and was left of his team) realize that this is all going to play out in a court of public opinion, everything that Trump has done in terms of propagandized ring this, including his execrable “lynching“ tweet several days after the passing of Elijah Cummings, has been about distracting from the evidence emerging from hearing rooms by casting doubt on the process, discrediting the whistleblower, serial tweeting, and so on. Looks very much like when Trump goes down, Barr is going with him.


"Conservatives who for eight years sowed the dragon's teeth of partisan politics are horrified to discover they have grown an actual dragon."       — Stephen King

Why are Ukraine  and Russia story one story? After the Russia-backed government falls in Kiev, Russia invades and annexes Crimea, which had been part of Ukraine. The world community cries foul. The US and others ultimately sanction Russia for the invasion. the sanctions bite. Putin tries to get them lifted. Think back tom 2016, and recall not on ly the trump Tower phone call organized by Fredo Jr. and attended by Kushner and Russian proxies, but also recall that the only point of interest for #TeamTreason in the Republican party platform was the change relative to Ukraine.

In July 2016, WaPo reported:

The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.

Throughout the campaign, Trump has been dismissive of calls for supporting the Ukraine government as it fights an ongoing Russian-led intervention. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked as a lobbyist for the Russian-backed former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych for more than a decade.

Manafort exited the campaign shortly thereafter, but his work had been done. This change confused many, and was greeted with incongruity by others. But for those who possess memory, the liberal superpower, October, 2019 is when a number of other shoes dropped. 

“All roads lead to Putin.”  ― House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  

On October 18, Trump met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Dems in a Cabinet meeting, ostensibly to talk about Trump’s widely opposed pullout of U.S. forces from northern Syria, clearing the way for Turkey’s bloody attack.. The resultant picture was tweeted by Trump as evidence of Pelosi’s weakness. Pelosi posted the image across the top of her Twitter page. It's been downhill for Trump ever since, at least in the court of legitimate public opinion.

The resultant picture (caricaturized at top) has been subject to as many alternative, self-serving, and contradictory interpretations as Rashomon.

The dramatic official White House photograph shows Pelosi standing and pointing at the seated president across the Cabinet Room table. Although the two are separated by only a few feet, the space illustrated a yawning divide and chronicled in a flash the state of a nation convulsed by impeachment, the prominence of women in politics and the 2020 election.

The reaction to the image, from the top down, also reflected the Rohrschach-type reality that even an image can be narrated in vastly different ways…

The photo shows Pelosi standing, finger pointed at Trump, who is saying something back.

“I think I was excusing myself from the room,” Pelosi said. “At that moment I was probably saying, ‘All roads lead to Putin.”


All of which comes after "Get Over It, " in which: Mick Mulvaney admits, then denies, quid pro quo. The acting White House chief of staff said on Thursday last that the U.S. had withheld nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine to further President Trump’s political interests, effectively confirming a key premise of the impeachment inquiry. Mulvaney later tried to reverse his comments, saying that “there was absolutely no quid pro quo.” Read his conflicting statements. By this time the toothpaste had left the tube. A White House spokesman had not made such a public ass of themselves since Ron Ziegler in 1973 saying that"a prior statement was "inoperative."


It's not opera bouffe without elements of farce. Bringing us to Rudy Giuliani.

3 big reasons why Rudy Giuliani is the weakest link in Trump's inner circle as the Ukraine scandal widens

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of Rudy Giuliani, were arrested on October 10 trying to board an international flight with one-way tickets at Dulles International. They were headed to Vienna, the home of Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, who reported ly has been bankrolling their schemes, which include illegal political donations. Parnas and Fruman, have been indicted on campaign finance charges. They were part of the pressure campaign on Ukraine to investigate President Trump’s political rivals, including Joe Biden.

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York said. Parnas and. Fruman “conspired to circumvent the federal laws against foreign influence by engaging in a scheme to funnel foreign money to candidates for federal and state office,” including by making donations to a pro-Trump super PAC. Read the indictment.

The indictment refers to a “Congressman-1” — identified as former Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas — who was the lucky beneficiary of approximately $3 million that the super PAC spent during the 2018 cycle. The men sought Sessions’s help in removing the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, “at least in part at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials,” according to the indictment.

Parnas and Fruman were arrested on a four-count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records. The men had key roles in Giuliani’s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter.


 

FBI counterintelligence bombshell just landed on Rudy Giuliani’s head

After Rudy announced that he no longer had a lawyer and didn’t need one, yet another person tied to his Ukraine scandal was arrested. This came amid news that Rudy tried to get Donald Trump to take a guy in Pennsylvania and sell him off to Turkey. Now the news has somehow got even worse for Giuliani.

It’s not just that the SDNY is deep into investigating Rudy Giuliani’s criminal finances, which we’ve all known for a few days. It’s that the FBI is also running a counterintelligence probe into Rudy’s international antics, according to a CNN bombshell this afternoon.

This means the Feds aren’t just looking to nail Rudy for having committed financial crimes by taking payoffs from foreign governments and entities. They’re pursuing Rudy for the crimes he committed against the United States, on behalf of the nations that were paying him off.

 

And of course, Trump said he had no idea who Rosencranz and Guildenstern were, nor had he ever met them. Not so much.

Rudy Giuliani was carrying out his Ukraine antics at Trump’s instruction, while Rudy was being bankrolled by Parnas’ hilariously named company Fraud Guarantee. We’re supposed to believe that Trump didn’t know Rudy was relying on Parnas, even though Trump has spent years posing for pictures with Parnas? 

And why Rudy Giuliani and his arrested henchmen were planning to flee to Vienna?

Because that's where the money is. 

Vienna is where wealthy Ukrainian businessman Dmitry Firtash is currently being held under house arrest. Now it all makes perfect sense.

Rudy’s associates weren’t just trying to flee the country because they were trying to avoid arrest. Rudy and his associates were planning to go to Vienna so they could huddle with Firtash, who has long been suspected of being knee deep in the Trump-Rudy criminal conspiracy in Ukraine.

Recently the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, met with a small group of Republicans at Camp David.This after Gen. William McRaven’s Op-Ed:  “Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President”


Had enough yet?

The testimonies of William Taylor, Fiona Hill, and others have confirmed that while official American policy was to encourage democracy in Ukraine to help it fight off Russia, the Trump administration ran a shadow foreign policy team, headed by Rudy Guiliani, and including special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, the Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Trump did not want "to provide any assistance at all" to Ukraine in its struggle against Russia. Trump personally intervened to withhold money that Congress had appropriated for that struggle until Ukraine leaders promised to state publicly that they were opening an investigation into the company for which Joe Biden's son Hunter worked. 

Trump's position that there was "no quid pro quo" is in the shredder. Taylor kept proof in the form of a paper trail: what the young people call, "the receipts." This. Is. Huge. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham tried calling leaks from Taylor's testimony "a coordinated smear campaign from far-left lawmakers and radical unelected bureaucrats waging war on the Constitution," but Taylor's statement was explosive even without hearing what he said behind closed doors. 

Note, though, what Taylor said Trump wanted in exchange for the release of military aid. He didn't demand actual dirt on Hunter Biden (again, there is no evidence that Biden did anything illegal), but rather he wanted a public declaration that Ukraine was investigating the company for which Biden worked. This all came down to getting a soundbite on CNN with which he could compromise the candidacy of a political opponent. An announcement that Ukraine was investigating the company, dumped into the media, would swamp Joe Biden's presidential candidacy. 

This is important. Trump understood that the idea that Ukraine was investigating corruption was the story, not that actual corruption existed or could be foujnd, let alone proved. This is 2016 redux with the story of Clinton's emails, which continually dominated 2016 election coverage, and which we now know was a complete non-story. Trump wanted to skew the public narrative before the 2020 election, and he pressured a foreign government to help him do that. Look for the coming impeachment battle to be waged on television.


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. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

TransAtlantic Kabuki

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Published on The Doomstead Diner October 20, 2019

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Across the Collapse Blogosphere, you'll repeatedly run into the acronym "SHTF".  There's even at least two blogs titled with the acronym,  SHTF Plan  &  SHTF Blog .  I'm sure there are others, but those two make it into the Top 15 of "Survivalist" Blogs.  Here on the Diner on an economic level we often discuss "SHTF Day".  It's the day the ATMs go down or the liquidity dries up in the ovenright interbank lending market or the stock market drops 5000 points in a day, that sort of thing.  Total MAYHEM ensues after such an event of course, which would be a watershed and marker as we move inexorably down the Collapse Highway.  The Stock Market crash of 1929 was such an event, and for those of you interested in comparison of what occured 90 years ago to the week to today, this is a good documentary recently produced (there are of course many of them).

Image result for cats on roller coaster gif A single SHTF Day may or may not occur along the road here, and it may or may not be proximally an economic event, though whatever does set things off for a faster ride down the Roller Coaster Hill has as its underpinning economics.  It might be somebody pitching a Nuke at somebody else they have disagreements with; it may be a 9.0 shaker sending half of Los Angeles into the Pacific Ocean; it might be the entire grid of the FSoA being knocked out by one disgruntled teenage Hacker living in mom's basement, WTF knows there what the trigger might be?

On the Geopolitical level though, this week,for the Anglo-American Empire on both sides of the Pond, this can be described as nothing less than SHTF Week.  Two Kabuki theaters are playing themselves out, one in Parliament in Jolly Old England, the other here in the FSoA in CONgress.  Boris Johnson (BoJo) tried to ramrod his latest tweaks to the Brexit Deal through Parliament, and like Theresa May before him, it got pretty well shot down.  So Parliament is once again swimming in a pool of deep shit, and the coming week before the All Hallow's Eve deadline  to exit the EU stage left should be quite the hoot.  Don't miss the updates on this clusterfuck here Inside the Diner.

Not to be outdone by the Brits, the Clown-in-Chief and his Minions are staging a Clown Show that is non-pareil in Amerikan History, by more measures than even I thought imaginable.  I mean, I've been following the antics of The Donald since I was a Freshman at Columbia and always knew (and repeatedly said here on the Diner) that he was a Train Wreck waiting to happen, and happen it did this week.  It is of course something of a slow-motion train wreck, and this whole Kabuki has numerous acts to follow this week's opening salvo.  El Trumpo had a "meltdown" in his most recent meeting with Pelosicrat, Repugnants are jumping ship all over the place due to his withdrawal of troops from Syria and abandonment of the Kurds, and most entertaining of all, Rudolf the Red-Faced ex-Mayor of the Big Apple is currently under investigation by both the FBI and the SDNY for innumerable transgressions and obviously thoroughly illegal activities with respect to Ukraine-gate.  Beyond THAT, Rudy-Kazooty has now gone DESAPARECIDO, and dropped off the face of the Earth with no appearances on FAUX Newz and no Tweets either, for I think about the last 72 hours!  I have speculated inside the Diner that he may have gone the way of Jimmy Hoffa, although I don't think he is buried under the Astroturf at Giant Stadium.  He may be wearing Cement Galoshes though and doing some Deep Diving at the bottom of the East River. lol.

He may turn up here at some point, but if ever there was a "Smoking Gun" in a corruption investigation, Rudi is IT in this one.  Just as John Mitchell was the Smoking Gun in the original "-gate" conspiracy of Watergate, Giulani is the same kind of lynchpin here, connecting Trumpovetsky to the various other lower level money conduits from Mother Russia into the Trump campaign, and also more than likely his various failing biznesses which need the constant infusion of debt to keep running.  Make no mistake about it, El Trumpo is PWNED by Vlad the Impaler, and when he no longer proves to be an asset but rather a liability, Putin will cut him loose too.

So, as we move forward into the NEXT week of Kabuki here on this side of the pond, the main question for the week is, "Where's Rudi?"

Image result for rudy giuliani missing

Setting the Stone on the Collapse of Industrial Civilization: The Christening

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Published on The Doomstead Diner September 29, 2019

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I've been feeling pretty under the weather for the last couple of weeks, with very low energy to do any writing.  It's unfortunate since there is so MUCH to write about these days in the World of Collapse  The Trumpovetsky Impeachment grows ever more bizzare each day with new revelations, new inquiries, new subpoenas and new comedy.  The Tweeter-in-Chief digs himself an ever deeper hole, and Repugnant Rats are jumping ship all over the place.  At this point impeachment articles are pretty certain to be brought, to be followed by a trial in the Senate.  Whether enough Repugnant Senators will vote his Trumpness out of the Oval Office remains to be seen.  It all depends on public opinion, and whether the 20 or so Senators up for reelection in 2020 consider Orange Julius to be too much of a liability to support anymore.

Starring also this week in the Reality TV show is El Presidente's personal lawyer, Rudolf the Red Faced ex-mayor of the Big Apple.  The videos of Rudi going ballistic in interviews are truly insane and more farcical than any Cold Open tha SNL has ever done.  He is of course now himself under investigation, and his employer isn't even sure he's still his attorney.  Guaranteed, Trumpofsky will attempt to throw

 

 

Rudi under the bus at some point here.

The list of "officials" who have either quit or been fired from their White House jobs keeps growing, and Whistleblowers are growing like Mushrooms on a cool damp morning in Kennett Square, PA.

There's still more action going on across the Pond , where BoJo continues to fight for his political life over the possible (but unlikely) so-called "No Deal" Brexit, which would be a complete economic clusterfuck and turn what's left of the European banking system into mincemeat.  More likely here is a capitulation by BoJo with another "kick-the-can" delay and further negotiations with Brussels, also sure to go nowhere.  Everybody is completely sick of this Kabuki theater, but nobody can come up with a workable compromise solution, because well…THERE ISN'T ONE!  You can't fix Collapse.

There was tons more worth writing about this week, from the Extinction Rebellion global demonstrations to the Blackouts in California affecting the Big Shities of San Francisco and Los Angeles.  This time around the Wildfires have hit in highly populated areas, and PG & E is trying to limit their liability by shutting off the power.  They're already dead broke of course and will get further sued for not keeping up with maintenance on the grid.

Anyhow though these topics all deserve blogs of their own, I don't have the energy to write them right now.  What I did do was produce the video I made a month or so ago on my trip to the lower 48 to plant the SUN Monument on its Eternal Resting Place in the North Greenlawn Cemetery in Springfield, MO.  In this video, you'll find out WHY the SUN Monument exists and what its purpose and rationale is.  It took a terrifically long time to complete and I'm just glad I stayed above ground long enough to get it DONE.  So with that final statement that should last long after the internet goes dark, hopefully whoever survives the maelstrom to come will know something about what went wrong here on Planet Earth and have a signpost with instructions on how NOT to make the same mistakes over again.  You're all invited to the Funeral when I buy my ticket to the Great Beyond.  You can't miss it, nothing else remotely like it in the cemetery.

Collapse is in full swing now, we're on the way down the first big hill on the roller coaster, and we're riding off the rails on the Crazy Train.

OPEN LETTER TO GRETA THUNBERG

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on October 6, 2019

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by Geoffrey Chia, October 2019

Dear Ms Thunberg,

It is with some hesitation I pen this letter. If you ever read this, which is unlikely, it may seem but one more of numerous missives from complete strangers who feel entitled to write to you or about you because of your recent meteoric rise to fame. If you never read this, which is more likely, then what is the point of this letter? Hence I admit I write this more as a catharsis for myself (as has been the case for most of my articles) than as a means of communication. I do however hope and believe this note may also be of some value to others who may chance upon it.

Let me begin by congratulating you on your plain spoken address to the UN climate action summit last month, expressing your contempt for the empty words and meaningless gestures of hypocritical adults who either claim to address climate change but do nothing, or blatantly deny scientific reality to line their own hip pockets. Your powerful words and emotions thoroughly shamed all adults, myself included. I could not hold back the tears from my eyes apprehending your pain and anger while also wondering: what can we do to alleviate the distress of this young person and billions of children around the world like her? How can we offer you realistic hope? My honest answer, as someone who has studied the sciences regarding (un)sustainability for two decades now, is there is little to nothing I can offer. All I can offer you is an apology. If you peruse my articles on the web over the years, you will see that all my efforts to strive for state or national policy change and to fight against the fossil fool fraudsters have amounted to nothing whatsoever. A big fat zero. So why should you bother listening to me, a miserable failure? Perhaps because, quite apart from learning about successes, it may be even more instructional for you to learn from failures. And I am a failure.

You said that Asperger's syndrome was your super power. What a good description. Before your worldwide rise to fame, before today, now that every man, woman and dog tries to sidle up to you and garner a piece of your celebrity, I suspect you experienced social isolation. Your analytical brain enabled you to perceive crucial scientific Truths with crystal clarity, which the unintelligent deluded majority could not or would not see. As a result you found it difficult or impossible to hold meaningful conversations with so-called “normal” people. As someone who experienced the same, I personally found comfort in the words of Krishnamurti:

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society"

and Terence McKenna: "The cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation".

What do those quotes mean? They mean that you, Greta, represent the new improved Humanity version 2.0, I would describe you as a "super-sane" person. More about that later.

At the tender age of fifteen you struck a lonely figure sitting in solitude outside the Swedish Parliament in all weathers, surely pondering why none of your peers comprehended the existential crises that humanity faced, wondering why they did not join you in the most important struggle of our time, at that time. No longer. You have since opened the eyes of your generation and sparked a revolution among the young. I reckon your IQ is far above the 99th percentile for age. You have a logical mind which is receptive to facts and rejects lies: it cuts through bullshit like a hot knife through butter. You schooled yourself in the science of climate change which in recent years has accelerated beyond the worst expectations.

But far more important than your intelligence is your unshakeable moral compass. Stand firm Greta! Hold your ground! Dig your heels in and remain true to your principles! There are no end to the number of odious slimeballs in Right Wingnut Land who would like to destroy you, to see you stumble, to tear you down. You are a strong person Greta, you can stare them down, you can prevail! The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. You will be seen by future generations (if there are any future generations) to be firmly on the right side of history. You will be mentioned in the same breath as icons such as Rosa Parks.

There will be times when it all seems too much, too difficult, too overwhelming for a young girl to bear, especially when you may feel that all the world's expectations rest on your shoulders. You are still a child. It is not your personal responsibility to "save the world", it was the responsibility of older generations who not only abrogated their duty but cynically chose to accelerate the planetary destruction for a paltry few pieces of silver. Nature be damned, indigenous people be damned, minorities be damned, poor people be damned, children be damned. Who gives a shit. You know who I mean: people like Trump, Bolsonaro, Joko Widodo et al. So-called national leaders. It would be a mistake however to think that such individuals are the root cause and the only cause of our problems. They are merely the figureheads and ventriloquist dummies of shadier puppet masters who control the military-industrial-corporate complex: media magnates such as Rupert Murdoch, fossil fools such as Gina Rinehart and the Koch brothers1, Wall Street bankers, Arms manufacturers, the NRA, big Agrichemical businesses…the list goes on. Those nefarious power brokers have installed their political puppets into high office either by direct coups or by perverting the mechanisms of democracy. They have been incredibly effective in their use of propaganda to persuade the reptile brained majority to vote self serving psychopaths into positions of power. Psychopaths who work against the interests of ordinary people in favour of the filthy rich. Hence whether we like it or not, one major cause of our planetary devastation is the appalling gormlessness of the easily manipulated sheeple. To misquote PT Barnum, it turns out that you can actually fool most of the people all of the time2. Hoodwinking the lame brained majority3 is all that is required to pervert democracy. Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, found that out more than a hundred years ago. A tiny percentage of people however can seldom or never be fooled. Super-sane critically thinking people such as yourself.

This brings us to the question of mental health. One Pox News useful idiot of the establishment recently accused you of being mentally ill, when in reality it was he who was without doubt a stark raving mad lunatic. I say this not just as a means of venting my spleen but as a qualified medical practitioner. It is my professional diagnosis regarding that person and those of his ilk. To justify such a comment we need to get back to basic medical definitions, which you will find in my article about the nature of mental health: http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2015/03/21/thinking-about-thinking/ which proves conclusively that your detractor meets the definition of being mentally diseased (having a mindset divorced from reality which is harmful to human wellbeing). You, on the other hand, going by the criteria described in that document, can be described as a super-sane person. You are not “normal” Greta, you are better than normal. And that, as you have already discovered, is to be celebrated. This is not flattery, this is a solid medical diagnosis arrived at by objective analysis of your words and behaviour.

Some Right Wingnut Australian jackasses such as Scott Morrison, Maurice Newman, Alan Jones and Andrew the Dolt have written or spoken complete rubbish and made outrageously unforgivable statements, told utter lies, about you. I refuse to give oxygen to their toxic claptrap by repeating any of it. At best, a jackass like Morrison can be described as a scientifically illiterate, sneering, condescending prick. At worst, a jackass like Andrew the Dolt, cheerleader for the invasion of Iraq, notorious racist and global warming denier can justifiably be described as a disgusting piece of shit, which however I am reluctant to do because that would be a grave insult to disgusting pieces of shit. I would not want to offend shit by comparing it with Andrew the Dolt.

Whether you choose to respond to such execrable scumbags, and how you choose to respond, is for you to decide in consultation with those you trust. I for one cannot abide the egregious lies spouted by self serving psychopaths going unanswered nor entertain the idea of those sanctimonious hypocrites getting away with their bullshit. I have been accused of using “intemperate” language in the past (which I still do), the argument (invariably coming from quisling establishment cowards and fossil fool collaborators) being that my harsh language detracts from the science based messages4. I disagree. We need to use BOTH unassailable logic and relentless denigration of those psychopaths. The science deniers hammer us with nasty invective, all of which is provably false. I do not believe in turning the other cheek, I believe in hammering them back with nasty invective which is all provably true. Withering ridicule to expose the untenable position of those scumbags is the only real weapon we have and I choose to wield it to maximum effect. It is not slander or libel if the accusations you make are demonstrably fact based and by the strictest of dictionary definitions, correct. You, Greta, on the other hand, being in the public spotlight, may prefer to use less caustic language and maintain the laudable poise and mature demeanour you have exhibited so far. I must congratulate you on that.

You are lucky to have enlightened and supportive parents. It will frequently be necessary to retreat into the fold of your family, to shun the spotlights, to gain counsel from those you trust and love and to recharge your batteries. There may be media hounds or even well meaning people incessantly pounding on your door to either provoke you to put a foot wrong or to seek some words of wisdom. Either way, you owe them nothing. You have a right not to respond. You owe it to yourself to have some quiet time to regroup your thoughts and rest your mind. There will be those who try to get you to say or do certain things to serve their own hidden agendas5. They will try to manipulate you with empty flattery and offer all manner of privileges and enticements, even millions of dollars, which they reckon you will not be able to refuse. They think that everybody has their (monetary) price. They will try to corrupt you and shortly thereafter will pounce on you and portray you to the world as a hypocrite. They will try to damage you psychologically. They are the well cashed up hitmen (and women) of the fossil fools and other sordid interests. Do not fall into their traps. Be very careful about what you are offered, especially anything which seems too good to be true. YOU must be the one to decide where, when and what you will say and what you will do, as you have done exceedingly well so far. You must be the architect of your own destiny. Accordingly you may find the following useful: http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2019/06/29/open-letter-to-extinction-rebellion/

Alternatively you may wish to spend most of your time keeping up the pressure on older folks, many of whom are not self serving psychopaths, to fulfil their duties to this planet and to younger generations. That being the case, please keep your expectations low. Much of your psychic anguish at present is because of shattered hopes, dreams and aspirations. Buddhist philosophy informs us that suffering is mainly caused by unfulfilled desires. Anger and depression follow from your expectations of a better future being demolished. It will be impossible for most people in the world to avoid a bleak future no matter what they do. Lowering expectations will go a long way to minimise psychological trauma. If you anticipate a bad outcome, you will be mentally prepared and less traumatised if it does happen. On the other hand you will be pleasantly surprised if it does not.

Be thankful for whatever remaining Nature we have left today (soon to disappear) and take time off to enjoy it. Wildlife watching, hiking through a National Park, sailing on a scenic lake (during our increasingly narrower windows of stable weather): whatever takes your fancy.

Greta, everyone knows you never sought celebrity and anyone who accuses you of such is simply a duplicitous dirtbag. However celebrity found you. With your new found fame, many folks around the world, especially young people, hang on to your every word. If you decide right now that you have had enough and wish to retreat back into obscurity and the security of your family permanently, nobody can fault you for that. You have already earned your place in history as a major force in the fight for social and environmental justice and human survival on this planet. On the other hand, your talents for critical thinking and articulate, honest speech at this young age suggest that your potential to shape the thoughts and actions of others around the world is huge. You may just be getting started and you yourself may be wondering: where to from here? I cannot advise you regarding that, but allow me to cite the names of some people I consider far wiser, far better and far braver than the miserable failure that I am. If you are able to seek them out for counsel, either to meet in person or to engage in video conversations, that will be to your great advantage. Get them on speed dial! This brief list consists mostly of strong women who can be good role models and mentors for you:

Arundhati Roy – Booker prize winning author and fearless champion of the poor, downtrodden and disenfranchised

Dr Vandana Shiva – scientist and physicist who chose to spend most of her life as an environmental and social justice warrior

Nicole Foss – multidisciplinary expert, especially when explaining the relationships between energy, the economy and finance

Alice Friedemann – Energy expert, especially with regard to EROEI

Abby Martin – fearless journalist exposing the international war crimes of the US empire and their Zionist nuclear armed ally (note: opposing the crimes of the State of Israel is NOT the same as opposing the Israeli people and is certainly NOT the same as being anti-Semitic)

US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard – who has an impeccable public service and military record and is now one of the strongest voices for world peace

Christopher Hedges – fearless journalist exposing the domestic crimes of the US empire (now a defacto Fascist oligarchy/kleptocracy) perpetrated against its own people.

In conclusion I would like to quote Chris Hedges who said, I do not fight Fascists because I think I can win. I fight Fascists because they are Fascists.

 

Footnotes:

  1. David Koch may be dead (and good riddance to him) but his toxic legacy lives on

  2. Using lies to justify the invasion of Iraq “worked”, so what the heck, why not use more lies to justify the bombing of Iran? Only this time, sane people realise it could easily escalate to global thermonuclear war, a far more immediate risk of extinction than global warming. That is certainly the concern of the Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Anyone who denies or downplays this risk is either a profound fool or a despicable mouthpiece of the US chickenshit armchair warmongering Neoconartists (or both): http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2019/07/31/second-open-letter-to-extinction-rebellion/

  3. This majority are kept lame brained by the intentional underfunding of public education, particularly in the USA. On the other hand, being "well" educated is no guarantee of wisdom. Example: earlier this year I had a "discussion" with a Cardiologist from a Northern Queensland city who I used to respect. Always well groomed and well spoken and undoubtedly a good medical practitioner, he turned out to be an abject fool in other matters. Somehow the conversation turned to climate change, to which he stated, "I am not a climate denier but… surely there is some substance to the alternative skeptical views expressed in the media?" (language warning: if someone says they are not a climate denier but…, you can be damned sure they are in fact a climate denier). I then offered to provide him scientific references, including good summaries from John Cook's skeptical science website, utterly demolishing all of the "alternative views" of the climate deniers, however he point blank refused further information. I said that giving credence to the deniers was equivalent to saying, "some people say the earth is round, some say it is flat, therefore giving credence to both sides, we must conclude the earth must be oval". Wrong. The science shows the earth is round (specifically an oblate spheroid) and any other points of view are simply wrong. He then accused me of being an extremist and the "discussion" deteriorated thereafter. That was a perfect example of an educated fool, all the more to be condemned because he had the intellectual capacity to understand the science but utterly rejected the scientific information because it threatened his fossil fueled luxuries.

  4. I am on record as having called former Federal Minister for Industry Ian MacFarlane (another climate science denier) an "impenetrably stupid coal company stooge". I retract not one word of what I wrote. MacFarlane went on to say that he intended to extract every single molecule of coal seam gas from under Australia. After his government jobs he was appointed as chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council, continuing to promote coal and CSG extraction and further inflating his bank balance. Talk about the corrupt revolving door. I was also criticised in the past by some fake environmental activists for my essay "The Brisbane Institute is a Brisbane Prostitute" and once again I retract not one word of what I wrote. http://econintersect.com/pages/opinion/opinion.php?post=201907312355

  5. https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/09/30/veritable-uprising-or-the-faux-real-thing-greta-and-climate-activism-in-a-wilderness-of-projections/

G. Chia, Oct 2019

Setting the Stone on the Collapse of Industrial Civilization

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Published on The Doomstead Diner September 29, 2019

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More than many weeks that I have spent observing the Collapse of Industrial Civilization, this week (and the weeks before too!) have proven to be above and beyond merely awful, they have been downright DISASTEROUS!  The decent into Dante's 7th Circle of HELL began more or less with the latest in Climate Disasters, the FLATTENING of Grand Bahama by Hurricane Dorian, a massive Cat 5 Hurricane that hovered over the islands for a couple of days with sustained winds of 185 MPH.  This place will not be a Tourista Destination again for a very long time, if ever before the planes stop flying there.

Image result for greta thunberg Following up on this climate disaster, we had the further emergence and promotion of Greta of Stockholm, the 16 year old modern Joan of Arc who is battling with the Big Boys on Twitter over Climate Change, including the biggest Twit-Shit blowhard of them all, the Denier-in-Chief, Donalditry Trumpovetsky.  So far, Greta hasn't Blinked, which is of course not unusual for somebody diagnosed as Autistic, which she likely is.  So in the Battle of DSM V Diagnoses on Twitter, so far Greta's Autism is Trumping Donalditry's Megalomania, Narcissism and Misogyny.  Greta clearly has a HUGE promotion machine behind her, but for the Climate folks this is an excellent Propaganda Maneuver.  Nothing sells better than a cute girl in the Ad Biz.  Nobody listens to what your typical academic dweeb Scientist has to say on this subject, but drop a cute autistic 16 year old in front of the UN General Assembly, and everybody all of a sudden takes notice!  Isn't that special?

As big as the Climate action was over the last few weeks though, it pales in comparison to what is going on both in Geopolitics and in Economics, two of the main fronts we focus on here on the Doomstead Diner.  As Sam Mitchell of Collapse Chronicles and I discussed in our recent conversation (which BTW took place quite some time before all this action arose), although longer term the Climate problem is the greater Existential Threat we face here trying to survive on Planet Earth, there are more proximal problems which threaten our existence also percolating, and if we can't resolve them there will be plenty of Dead People filling up the Cemeteries even before the oceans swallow up Miami Beach, Hong Kong, the City of London and Wall Street.

First up on the Geopolitical Hit Parade is the buffoonery ongoing with Brexit across the pond in Jolly Old England.  As it currently looks, BoJo is likely to get a No Confidence vote in Parliament, possibly paving the way for the Socialist  Jeremy Corbin who heads up the Brit Labour Party to ocuppy 10 Downing Street as a Caretaker Prime Minister while they delay Brext still further (aka, Kick-the-Can).  A comparison here would be like Trumpofsky being kicked out and replaced by Pelosi to run the country on this side of the Hurricane filled Atlantic Basin.  Assuming he does get the nod as the new, new PM for a while AND the Eurocrat Globalists in Brussels agree to yet another extension, this gets followed up by another new,New, NEW election in the UK, along with ANOTHER referendum on Brexit.  If you haven't figured this out by now, referendums are quite meaningless.  Once you Check In to a Union like this, you can't Check Out.  Well, you can Check Out, bu you can Never Leave.  It's the Hotel California on the pollitical level.

Nobody in power really gives a Flying Fuck about what the Plebes want or don't want, this is just part of the sham and window dressing of "Democracy", which works OK when there are plenty of resources around and everyone (including the poor) are reasonably well-fed with roofs over their heads.  It doesn't work so great though when the resources run thin and segments of the population start getting cut off from the Bennies of being part of a large political structure like this.  When this occurs, the Rich want to maintain their perks and privilege inside the society, and the Poor want to…SURVIVE.  Poor folks mainly will accept their fate as long as they have full bellies, but once they start going hungry they tend to get a little tired of Marie Antoinette munching on Cake in Versailles while they can't afford the bread at the local bakery.  This level of existential problem hasn't really hit yet in force in the Western Industrial Economies, but is already playing itself out in many of the peripheral countries in Africa, South & Central Amerika and SE Asia.  It will arrive on the shores of OECD countries though in due time.

Crossing back over the pond to the Political Kabuki Theater ongoing with Trumpty-Dumpty here in the FSoA, it's starting to look like the Dumbkopf-in-Chief has at last crossed a Bridge Too Far.  Even his base of foaming at the mouth neo-Nazi supporters have a tough time swallowing the bullshit he was trying to pull off in Ukraine, trying to get some good dirt on his perceived main Political rival of Uncle Joe Biden, who of course also does take time off between his Senior Moments to do a few shady deals, this time involving his son wheeling & dealing in Ukraine.  Uncle Joe is rapidly losing credibility amongst Demodopes who have considered him the most "Electable" candidate and the best Knight in Shining Armor to take on the Black Knight of Trumpovetsky.

Recent polls have Bankster Slayer Elizabeth Warren as the candidate for the Demodopes most popular, particularly in the early primary/caucus states she appears to have Moe Mentum, the 6'11" Power Forward First Round draft choice of all political candidates, it's even more valuable than money, although you do need plenty of FRNs to sprinkle around on the media to keep that momentum up.  It's still up in the air as to how well Liz will do given her quasi "Socialist" agenda, but the further Trupovetsky shoves his foot and leg and penis down his mouth, the greater the probability Liz gains more traction.  The rule with Trumpovetsky is to give him a lot of rope, because he is certain to hang himself with it.  The oncoming parade of witnesses to appear in front of CONgress looks to be the best Kabuki yet this side of the pond, easily rivaling the Brit Brexit show and perhaps surpassing it in hilarity, though that would be hard to do.  Watching a bunch of Eton educated Stiff Upper Lip Brits convulse on the floor of Parliament is a tough act to follow.  lol.

More than all of those late breaking Collapse Storiez though is the ongoing MELTDOWN of the Fed Repo Market.  It is getting some coverage in MSM financial websites, but overall most Amerikans aren't the least bit aware or concerned with this clusterfuck.  I've been writing on this and covering the progress Inside the Diner,  and of all the vectors for Collapse threatening our civilization RIGHT NOW, this one holds the most potential for creating extreme havoc of them all.  Sorry Greta, as important as your issues are, this bullshit is going to hit hard long before we drown under rising Sea Levels.  Here's one response I wrote to one of the Diners trying to explain in a reasonably short post WTF is going on here:

When Da Fed does QE, it doesn't just sprinkle free money around and get nothing in return for it.  They don't make unsecured loans, you have to trade good collateral for the freshly printed FRNs.  What is "good collateral"?  Loans made to credit-worthy customers.  But what happens when there aren't enough credit worthy customers out there to make loans to?  What happens when the collateral they do have is non-performing loans (NPLs)?

What happens is what the BoJ does, which is the CB buys the Bonds issued by Da Goobermint directly.  This finances Goobermint spending, but it doesn't make money for the banks, which are in the bizness of making loans to make money,  If banks aren't making money making loans, how do they make money?  By using the cash they do have speculating in equities.  But what happens when everybody is expecting a stock crash?  They all want to get out of stocks,  but they can't sell them without driving forward the crash.  So they try to take out more short term loans to cover the shortfall in expected earnings.  If everybody is doing this, you get a liquidity crisis, which is what they got at the moment.

Da Fed is TRYING to push more money into the system to ease this crisis, but apparently even $75B/daily isn't enough to do the trick.  If they can't inject more cash into the system, you'll get a liquidity lock-up, which is very Bad Newz  for everybody, right down to J6P.  That's the kind of thing which makes all the ATMs go down at the same time.

For some more detail, Max Keiser's most recent Keiser Report video outlines the problem in more detail (I'm not ripping off Max here, I got my analysis up before he published his.  However, he does flesh it out more completely.):

The BIG QUESTION here of course is precisely WHO is going Tits Up on a financial level, and whoever(s) it is has to be a very big financial institution(s).  Like with Lehman though, we won't know who it is until the traders are walking out of the building leaving their Bloomberg terminals behind, hopefully wiping their hard drives clean and boxing up incriminating evidence to set a Bonfire with in the backyard of the suburban McMansion they occupy on Long Island or Germany or Britain or wherever the fuck this shit is currently centered.

I was asked still another question Inside the Diner asking for some kind pf prediction on what is likely to occur here.  Making these sort of predictions is a dangerous game, but I decided to take a flyer and speculate on this one:

Thanks again RE. This was a good video about repo (until he lost me on bitcoin). The question becomes is a bankruptcy of Deutsche Bank going to bring down the entire dollar fiat money system or just give us a GREAT depression OR the collapse of civilization?? Tell me oh wise one. :icon_scratch:
AJ

That is really on the outside limits of Nostradamus prognostication.  I will do a reach on this, but don't get on my case if I don't have it precisely correct.  I'm not even sure yet that it's Deutche Bank that is getting the run yet.  It might actually be a run on multiple banks.

However, let us look at the case where it is JUST D-Bank getting hit on here.  DB is VERY big, with counter-party relationships with all the other TBTF Banks, aka JP Morgan Chase, Goldman etc.  So if DB goes BK, they're gonna carve up whatever assets they have (not too many I am sure) and divvy them up in some way to keep the counter parties from ALSO going BK.  This is what as known as Financial Cross Contagion.  See David Korowicz for more detail on this phenomenon.

Now, the issue here is that whatever is left in the vault of DB isn't NEAR enough to cover the derivatives they wrote, essentially insurance policies on BKs of various institutions and goobermints.  To make up the shortfall here, SOMEBODY (Da Fed, Da ECB etc) will have to step in and cover those losses, elsewise the capital structure of those banks also collapses.  Then you have your "Great Depression" scenario.  See the collapse of Credite Anstaldt (Austrian Bank) prior to the GD to understand how this works.

I *think* the "smartest guys in the room" are quite aware of this, hell fucking Ben Bernanke made his career on looking at this stuff.  So I do not think they are unprepared for it entirely, but then again it's different now than the financial system in place when the GD Collapse of the banking system went down.  The amounts of notional money and complex financial instruments is much larger, and really NOBODY knows how big they actually are.

So to try and answer your question, it's a fucking SHIT STORM waiting to happen.  If it does cross over to the counter parties, then yes it is the absolute end of this monetary system, and HELL will follow.

And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.
 


RE

Finally to tidy up here, you might be wondering WHY I headed up this article with a snippet from my recent trip down to the Lower 48 to plant the SUN Monument (also my Tombstone) in the middle of Flyover Country in Springfield, MO.  If you are familiar with my Gonzo take on all this shit, you probably grasp that it is a metaphor of Collapse and of Resurrection as well.  While the Civilization around me is collapsing, I too am collapsing.  It was my goal to get this final statement planted for the rest of Eternity before, in the words of Leonard Cohen…

Take one last look at this Sacred Heart

Before it Blows

Everybody Knows

I got it done before I finally have another meeting with the Grim Reaper that he wins instead of me.  That will happen of course, the Reaper always wins in the end.  But he can't destroy my stone tablet, at least not without a decent amount of explosives.

Collapse Chronicles meets the Doomstead Diner

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Published on The Doomstead Diner September 22, 2019

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Sam Mitchell of Collapse Chronicles

Image result for sam mitchell collapse chronicles I know Diner Fans are Chomping at the Bit awating the vids from the SUN Monument Placement Ceremony on it's Eternal Resting Place in the center of Flyover Country, Springfield, Missouri.  However, you will have to wait another week for that, at least.  As usual, other more Time-Sensitive artciles or vids have jumped the queue here, and for this line-cutter it's an interview I did with Sam Mitchell of the YouTube Channel Vlog  COLLAPSE CHRONICLES.  For a change, I am not doing the interview, I am the "Intervieweed".  In this episode, we talk about Economics, Climate Change & Extinction, all pretty popular topics amongst Kollapsniks of course. 🙂

Besides that, except for you Grizzled Veterans of the Diner who already know this stuff, included as a BONUS is the short version History of the Doomstead Diner, how it came to be and WHY it exists at all?  Although some of Sam's listenership on Collapse Chronicles are familiar with the Diner, many are relative Newbies to the Collapse Blogosphere, so this was a great opportunity to reach a new audience for the daily offerings, discussion & debate on the Doomstead Diner.  Our full History is recounted (Cliff Notes Version) during this interview, going all the way back in Mr. Peabody's WAYBAC Machine to my Doomer Beginnings living down in the (former) Tropical Paradise of Brazil in the 1960s.

Image result for greta thunberg We also cover the Collapse Vectors & Outcomes that may evolve over time, as well as whether or not EXTINCTION is the main thing you have to worry about right now?  What are the Proximal Causes?  What is the Timeline?  Will EVERYBODY die?  What does Greta Thunberg think?  Will we all be SAVED by a modern day Joan of Arc?  Or like her 16 year old historical counterpart, will she end up Burned at the Stake?

It's all speculation of course, nobody really can have the answer to these questions,  particularly since this is an Unprecedented Event.  Although there have been numerous Civilization Collapse Events throughout Human Hitory, none has ever been completely GLOBAL in its effects; none has ever had the participation of 7.6B Homo Sap Meat Packages involved simultaneously; and none has placed the Existential Peril of the possible ANNIHILIATION of ALL LIFE ON EARTH as a possible outcome.  Not just "Human Life", but ALL LIFE.  Are we singing the Swan Song for life on Planet Earth, and for all we really KNOW, all the Universe?

Neither Sam nor me (or Greta!) has the answers to these questions, but we do try to frame the questions to make them as accessible as possible to think about.  It's a lot to ponder on, probably the greatest conundrum to face Homo Sap since we dropped down from the trees to overrun & overpopulate the surface of the Earth.  In just a couple of 100 Thousand Years since becoming "Sapient" (as in relatively modern human anatomy), our own Biomass has effectively squashed out innumerable species, as we progressively moved through agriculture, metallurgy, ceramics and ultimately, Industrialization.  Will we now become responsible for our own Extinction as well?  Is there any road out left?  If there is, how many can come through to the other side of the Zero Point?  How Many can be Saved? icon_scratch

 

SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

 

Coming Next Week for Sunday Brunch

(hopefully…)

Placing the SUN Monument

Responding to Collapse, Part 11: coping with power outages, the basics

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Published on The Easiest Person to Fool on August 25, 2019

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Storm moving in off Lake Huron, August 2019

Discuss this article at the Energy Table inside the Diner

 

In my last post I talked about some of the problems with using "for profit" companies to provide infrastructure services and went on to look at how one major part of our infrastructure—the power grid—is likely to gradually fail over the coming years. I ended up looking at the effects of power outages, but ran out of space to cover how you can mitigate those effects and what your community can do to cope when it finally finds itself permanently isolated from the grid. I'll start talking about that today, but it looks like it's going to take three or four posts to cover this subject in the detail it deserves.

If you're following or considering following the suggestions I've been making in this series of posts, you're probably receptive to the idea of making preparations for collapse—possibly quite eager to get at it. The endgame here is the end of industrial civilization, with the grid shut down completely and the wells, mines, farms and factories it supports no longer running. So, you might think it would be a good idea to just dive in right now and go off grid.

In general, though, when preparing for any of the effects of collapse, it is important to remember kollapsniks like me have a pretty bad track record when it comes to attaching dates to our predictions. So the shape of your preparations should be such as to not squander your resources and leave you broke or in debt when the apocalypse doesn't happen a week from Tuesday. Ideally your preparations should enhance your life as BAU (business as usual) continues to gradually wind down, as well as making it possible to get by when BAU is finally gone. Which may be quite a way down the road as yet.

When most people talk about going off grid, they are talking not about doing without electricity but about generating some of their own, in order to maintain a certain level of modernity in their lifestyle. To do this requires access to two things: an energy source or sources and technology that can convert that energy into electricity. It is also helpful to be able to store the electricity you generate if your energy source is intermittent.

Today's consumer society makes energy sources, generating equipment and batteries readily available. This, unfortunately, will involve a significant upfront investment, the electricity you produce is likely to be more expensive than the electricity you can buy from the grid, and you won't have really gained any long term degree of independence from BAU. If you can afford it, this may be one way of setting up to weather power outages with a good degree of comfort and convenience. I suspect, though, that many of my readers are not wealthy enough to spend many thousands of dollars on an off grid power system.

It is probably true that at some point, as grid power increases in cost and decreases in reliability, home generated power becomes a winner. But at that point you'd also like to become much more independent of BAU, so a different approach will be required, and whether you can arrange to have electricity at all without relying on BAU for fuel, equipment or spare parts is a serious question. Which I'll get into in a post just a little way down the road.

But first, let's get back to the issue of coping with power outages. The effects of such outages, especially longer ones, are so far reaching that it is overwhelming to think of coping with them all. So I'll just concentrate on the most immediately impactful: lighting, cooking, refrigeration, food, water, sewage, heating, cooling, communications and transportation. Not necessarily in that order.

I'm going to divide the rest of this into four sections, each of which deals with a different sort of response to the challenge of power outages, roughly speaking in increasing order of expense and personal commitment. The first of those sections will be covered in the rest of this post and the final three in my next few posts.

I am assuming that many of my readers are convinced enough of the inevitability of collapse that they already have or are seriously considering moving to a remote small town and are eager to do some preparation, but they may be limited in their financial resources and practical skills. Sections 1 and 2 will cater to those limits.

1) Short Outages, minimal response

In the case of short outages, you can simply do without for a few hours, and experience little more than minor inconvenience. Indeed, the most important technique I can recommend for coping with any of the effects of collapse is to be ready to cheerfully accept some loss of comfort and convenience.

Around here, minor outages used to last from 2 to 4 hours. Now it's more like 4 to 8 hours, which is almost entirely due to power companies trying to save money on staffing. Most of us have lived through a few of these, especially in rural areas where power is distributed via overhead lines strung on wooden poles. This is, realistically, part of living in an industrial civilization—the cost of eliminating all outages would be too high.

So kick back, read a book and wait for the power to come on. Of course, if the power is still off after sunset that book is going to be hard to read, and it sure would be nice to have a flashlight and/or some candles. A little more thought and you'll soon realize that there are a few things that aren't terribly expensive and which would make short power outages much less of a nuisance.

Even people who don't accept the "collapse narrative" will benefit from some basic preparation of this sort. At this point (August 2019) all the resources of BAU are still available to consumers, so everything you'll need can be had very easily.

Lighting

Flashlights and batteries

In the short run, the lost of electric lighting is one of the main things to prepare for and also one of the easiest. You don't want to be stumbling around in the dark as you do the things you'll want to do to cope with an outage. And once that's out of the way, you're going to find it pretty boring without all the electronic entertainment you're used to. It takes light even to enjoy books and board games. At this basic level, you'll use flashlights and/or candles to provide light.

Flashlights have improved a lot in the last few years. LEDs have replaced incandescent bulbs, increasing battery life and making flashlights much sturdier. These days the best batteries have a shelf life of around 10 years, so that you can leave your flashlight sitting on a shelf for along time and not end up with dead batteries or a corroded mess. And I guess if you plan on using a flashlight a lot, one with rechargeable batteries would be a good idea. One useful variation on that idea is a flashlight with rechargeable batteries and a built in hand cranked generator.

In emergency situations, a flashlight is especially handy when you need to move around in the dark. They also don't present a fire hazard the way candles do.

In the photo on the right are the flashlights found around our house and car, all of which were purchased at Canadian Tire. (Canadian tire is a chain of automotive/hardware/houseware/sports and garden stores here in Canada. If you live outside Canada don't know what you are missing.) At the back is a worklight that takes 4 AA cells and produces a startling amount of light for along time. Comes with a hook to hang it by and magnets in the base to stick to any iron or steel surface. In the middle is a Garrity handcranked flashlight. Thirty seconds of vugorous cranking gives you 3 to 5 minutes of light, depending on how dim you're willing to let it get before cranking it up again. At the front on the left is the Maglite single AAA flashlight that I carry on my keychain. Put out 47 lumens. Second from the left at the front is the Maglite 2 AA flashlight that we keep in the glove box of our car. Puts out 97 lumens. On the front right is a cheap 3 AAA flashlight that only puts out 60 lumens.

Candles and holders, matches and lighter

Candles are good too, especially as a stationary source of illumination. Unfortunately most candles don't come with built in holders and being tall and skinny, don't stand up very well on their own. So it is a good idea to have a few candle holders around the house, sized to fit whatever kind of candle you keep in stock. In the front right of the photo to the right is a tea light, which comes with a built in holder and doesn't take up much space. Useful in emergency bags.

Since candles don't light themselves, you'll need matches or a lighter of some sort. Nobody smokes in our family, so the lighter we have is made for lighting barbeques, but works fine for lighting candles and our woodstove as well. The long nose keeps you hand back a bit from whatever you're trying to light.

Water

Water storage in the cold room at our house

Water is your next most urgent need. And while the municipal water supply or your own pressure system may continue to supply enough water for drinking and washing for a short period, it is wise to have a few gallons of potable water stored away. It is usually recommended that you have one gallon per person per day just for drink and washing.

Water from a chlorinated municipal water supply does not need further treatment when stored in clean, food-grade containers. Non-chlorinated water should be treated with bleach. Add 8 drops of liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite) for every 4 litres (one gallon) of water. More details can be found here and here.

I'm not, by the way suggesting you go out and get a few cases of bottled water in single use 500 ml plastic bottles. First off, if you can't drink your tap water, you're living in the wrong place. Second, bottled water is an expense you should avoid. Third, those bottles are a serious waste problem. If you're strapped for cash, save food grade plastic containers that you would otherwise throw out, wash them and use them to store water. Things like 2 litre beverage bottles, juice bottles, and so forth. And if you can afford a relatively small investment, you can easily get sturdy purpose built water bottles that hold 20 litres (5 gallons) and have a built in spigot. In the photo above there is also a blue 2.5 gallon water container from Canadian Tire that we use when travelling.

Our 60 gallon
electric water heater

Another source of water is your water heater which probably holds 40 or 60 gallons of potable water. If it's never been flushed then the water at the bottom, which will come out first, will probably be rusty. The drain valve is also probably very close to the floor, and you likely need a screwdriver or wrench to operate that valve. Best to check this out in advance and make sure you have the required tools and a pan that will fit under the valve to catch the water. In any case it's also a good idea to flush your water tank annually.

Sewage

Safe handling of human waste is an important public health issue. And when you gotta go, you gotta go—it really is an emergency. Even during a short power outage, the odds are that someone in your home will need to use the facilities.

You probably have a flush toilet hooked up to a septic tank and weeping bed or to municipal sewers. The septic tank and weeping bed is likely gravity fed, so it is OK to use the toilet even when the power is off. Municipal sewers may be gravity fed, but it is likely that some parts of town are downhill from the sewage processing plant and rely on electrically powered pumps to make things flow in the right direction. I live in such a location and the town used to show up with a vacuum truck during outages and use it to make sure that our sewers didn't back up. Recently they installed some upgrades, including backup generators for critical sewage pumps. It wouldn't hurt to check into the situation in your town.

Your toilet is good for one flush using the water in its tank. If you've made no other preparations, you need to make the most of that flush, and not waste it when there is nothing more than urine in the bowl. Then you need to be looking for a source of flushing water, which you can just pour into the bowl to make the toilet flush. Many sources of water that you wouldn't want to drink are fine for flushing a toilet. The rusty water from the bottom of your water heater is certainly OK, as is rain water and surface water from streams and ponds. A five gallon (20 litre) bucket is useful to have if you are reduced to scrounging flush water from such sources.

Emergency bucket toilet
with waste bags

People like me, who grew up on farms and have spent some time in the bush, are not above finding a secluded spot outdoors to urinate, and in a pinch even to defecate. Though it is important to realize that feces are a health hazard to other people using the area. This brings us to the idea of emergency toilets which you can put together quickly. Here are several good articles on the subject:
How to create an emergency toilet
Make and use an emergency toilet

Amazon will be glad to sell you a bucket, seat, lid and waste bags, all ready to go. Or you can buy just the seat, lid and waste bags, and supply your own bucket.
Portable Toilet Bucket with Seat and Lid Attachment

I would recommend having one of those emergency bucket toilets on hand. I don't have one because I have a Jenkins style sawdust toilet made up and ready to go for emergency use. These are often called composting toilets, but only because when the bucket gets full you can dump it in your compost pile. The legality of doing that with human waste varies from place to place, so it is best to be discreet.

Food and Cooking

During short outages you can either go hungry for a few hours (it won't kill you) or have some food on hand that can be eaten without cooking.

Refrigeration

Your concern here will be that food in your refrigerator don't spoil and frozen food in your freezer doesn't thaw.

Food in your refrigerator should be OK for up to about 4 hours provided you don't open the door too often and let the cold air out. If you freezer is full, food should be safe in it for about 48 hours, 24 hours if it is half full. If your freezer isn't full, it is a good idea keep some ice in it for increased thermal mass. I use several jugs of water, which freeze after they are put in the freezer. It might also be a good idea to open the door of your refrigerator just once and put in a jug or two of ice from your freezer.

Some good advice on keeping food safe during an emergency can be found here.

Frozen food that still has ice crystals and feels cold is usually safe to refreeze. Frozen food that has thawed out, and food that normally requires refrigeration, and has been above 40 degrees F. for more than 2 hours, should be discarded.

Heating and Cooling

If you've chosen your location carefully, you should be able to get by without air conditioning, and just suffer through the few hottest days in summer. Shade and ventilation will help, as will moving heat generating activities like cooking outdoors. And believe it or not, if you stay out of air conditioned spaces for a few days, you will get used to the heat. Try to take it easy though, until you've adapted.

Here's some good advice on how to stay comfortable and safe during hot weather.

The same careful choice of location will, unfortunately, put you in some pretty cold weather in the winter. If your home is well insulated and well sealed it shouldn't cool things off more than a few degrees during a short outage.

But just in case things get worse than that, here's some good advice on keeping warm in a winter weather emergency. The basic idea is to limit the spaces you're trying to heat, and whenever possible to heat humans, not spaces.

Communications

Handcranked and battery operated radios

You may want to call the power company to let them know about the outage and to contact family and friends to see if they need help. Your cell phone, if it is charged up, will probably work through a short outage as will your land line phone. But if your landline phone is a cordless one, it won't work unless there is power to the base station, so get at least one old fashioned directly wired phone and make sure it works if it is not connected to a power source.

A battery operated radio is also a good idea, for both information and entertainment. The handcranked radio on the left (a Grundig FR-200) in the photo to the right inlcudes a flashlight and receives AM, FM and 2 shortwave bandsworks. It work off 3 AA cells as well as the buildin rechargable battery. Sadly, the quality of the souond is poor, and it doesn;t discriminate between closely adjacent stations very well. The small Sony boom box onthe right takes 6 D cells and works just fine off them or 120VAC. The sound quality is great and it plays cassette tapes and CDs as well as AM and FM radio.

Transportation

Personally, I would advise staying off the roads during a short outage. Traffic lights aren't likely to be working and those who are on the roads may be panicky and not thinking straight. But just in case you do have to go somewhere, it's a good idea to keep your fuel tank at least half full. That's a good idea in any case, really.

Miscellaneous

If you work at home using a computer losing unsaved work in the event of a power outage can be expensive. Of course a laptop with a good battery will allow you to save your work before shutting down. If, like me, you are still using a desktop computer, a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is a really good idea.

When the power comes back on the voltage is likely to be quite low due to heavy loading. This can cause problems for voltage sensitive equipment like motors and electronics. You can do your part to help with this problem by turning off heavy loads such as your electric furnace or baseboard heaters in cold weather or air conditioners in hot weather, and also your water heater, stove and clothes dryer. And to be safe, disconnect sensitive equipment like refrigerators, freezers, computers and televisions.

In Closing

You can make these few, simple preparations even if you're living in an apartment where you can't make big changes to the infrastructure. And it won't cost you very much, either. Everyone should have these basics under control.

But I would guess that along with a few short outages the immediate future holds the possibility of one or more substantially longer outages, which will do much to change our complacent attitudes and render us eager to be more prepared.

In my next post I'll cover a higher level of preparation, still achievable on a tight budget and still relying on BAU for supplies and equipment, but suited to coping with longer and more frequent outages.


Links to the rest of this series of posts, Preparing for (Responding to) Collapse:

Nothing but the Dead & Dying in my Little Alaska Community

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Published on The Doomstead Diner September 15, 2019

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Regular readers of the Diner Forum are well aware of my most recent Jet Setting, Fossil Fuel Burning trip down to the Lower 48 to witness and Christen the SUN Monument on it's Eternal Resting Place in Springfield, MO, where I will join it buried beneath when I have my Final Meeting with the Grim Reaper and buy my Ticket to the Great Beyond.  To date, I have been able to battle him off on all the occasions he has knocked on my front door, but win he will in the bye & bye.  Nobody keeps the Reaper at bay forever, and I weaken still more with each of these battles.  My time left walking the Earth as a corporeal Meat Package grows shorter all the time.

As per the usual on these trips, I shot a good deal of video and fully intended this week to publish one of them on the Placement of the Monument, which took a full 2 years to finally come to fruition after many delays and frustrations along the way.  Unfortunately in many respects though, here in my Low Income Federally Subsidized Tax Credit housing community, we had another incident accompanied by yet another visit from the Alaska State Troopers, along with a few other First Responder types like the EMTs and Fire Department, followed shortly thereafter by the Coroner as well as Animal Control.  About the only agency that did not show up for this one was Child Protective Services, although we get more than our share of visits from them as well here in this community.

Just prior to leaving for the Lower 48 on this latest Adventure, while preparing one of my Food Give-Aways in what I call the "Potlatch Parking Lot" or "Cripple Cart Cafe", I spoke about the non-stop Parade we have here of the various agencies who get 911 calls that there is something amiss ongoing, and shortly thereafter they arrive complete with the sirens and flashing lights.  Due to the nature of this type of socio-economic community,  we experience all the worst aspects of a decaying industrial culture on a far more regular basis than the typical middle or upper middle class suburban McMansion type community.

Subsequent to the Property Manager moving out of that apartment, right before I left for the Great Tombstone Adventure, they did in fact rent this unit to another woman, who I met briefly before leaving.  She seemed nice enough, although I admit to being disappointed that I would lose my additional spot under the carport, which not only expanded the Cripple Cart Cafe but I also could drop my other car under during the winter and keep the snow off of it.  Regularly sweeping snow off of the car during Alaska winters is not fun even if you're healthy, if you're a cripple it's a positive nightmare.

Returning about 10 days later here to the Last Great Frontier in the wee hours of Monday morning, I was thoroughly exhausted from my return trip through TSA, over the jets and through the airports to the Last Great Frontier we go.  So I crashed and slept through most of Monday, not leaving my cave.  Tuesday I did venture outside and ran into a guy entering my neighboring cave and asked him if he was moving in.  He said he was "thinking about it".  If he was just thinking about it, how did he have a key?  The property manager always accompanies prospective tenants.  I didn't know at the time the woman I had met prior to my trip actually had been approved and had rented the apartment.  I didn't really consider this at the time though.

I didn't see any more of this gentleman again, nor did I see the woman who actually had rented the place on Tuesday, but then on Wednesday while I was cooking up some Salmon for lunch with my front door open, a State Trooper showed up at my door (which I leave open during the day to keep the inside smoke level down and let in the fresh air full of smoke from the Alaska Wildfires).  He inquired of me whether I had seen my neighbor who had not been heard from by her boyfriend who apparently works up on the Slope (the North Slope of Alaska, where the Oil is).  I told him I hadn't seen her since returning from my trip, and only saw her once before that before she rented the place.  At this moment another Trooper opens the front door and comes OUT from inside.  He got in through the back door, which had been left open.  He told Trooper 1 (and me standing next to him) the place stunk from Gas and they had a "10-79".  That's the code for a bomb threat.  What I did not know at this time was they also had a 10-54, a possible Dead Body with the likelihood of a 10-56, a Suicide.

I learned quite a bit more through the course of the day as the Police Tape went up in front of my digs and there was a parade of various other members of the State Troopers, specifically Homicide Detectives who spent the next 9 hours or so dusting this abode and collecting evidence.  Although this was an apparent suicide with the gas left on and numerous empty prescription drug bottles and alcohol bottles on the floor, there were some timeline issues here which just did not add up.  I could figure that out and I'm not even a fucking Detective.

Later a friend of hers showed up after they pulled his phone number off her cell phone, and he had apparently spoken to her the day before and she met 2 guys and a woman out shopping and they were over visiting with her.  This is where the timeline is fishy.  When did the cops get the original phone call reporting her missing?  When was her actual tiime of death?  Had rigor mortis set in yet?  I don't have answers to those questions and probably never will, that's what coroners do for a living and unless there's a trial and you go to hear the evidence, you never find out this stuff.

Up at the top of the article, you'll find the first video I shot during the day as  the investigation into this death was beginning.  Below here is the last video, of the corpse being wheeled out of the apartment in a Yellow Body Bag and then into a nicely equipped Medical Examiner's truck, powered of course by oil.

 

So now we get to the real meat of this story, which is WHY?  Why in this tiny little complex of maybe 100 Units do we CONSTANTLY have some nasty shit going down worthy of nightly visits from the local Gestapo?  Although we have *only* had 3 dead people so far since I have been living in this spot (about the last 5 years), we get regular visits from the EMTs for ODs or Seizures related to drug or alcohol abuse.  Among the married folks and those just living with someone else we get regular Domestic Violence problems.  For those with kids, there are regular visits from Child Protective Services on reports of Neglect or Abuse.  For the Old & Disabled (I am one of those), there are regular calls for an ambulance to take them over to the ER for one issue or another.  I fortunately have not yet had to call 911 for that, but I did have one occasion to call 911 and get the EMTs over due to this problem:

I don't have a "Life Alert" amulet swinging from my neck, but most of the time I DO keep my cell phone on my person, so I can call 911.  On this particular occasion I did not, but I was able to reach it fortunately.  Had I not been able to, I very well might have died simply because I don't get visitors (I'm a hermit mostly, or I was then anyhow) and I was just plain STUCK.  I fell backwards on my office chair while editing an article for the Diner and leaning it back too far so over I went.   I couldn't even get into the "baby crawl" position on my knees which at least some of the time I can hoist myself back up to my feet from.  Fortunately I had left my door unlocked, the paramedics were able to get in easily and then hoist me back to my feet and fix the office chair.  I was however laying on the floor there for a good 30 minutes before they arrived contemplating this rather ignominious way to die.  They wanted to take me to hospital, but I was fine and declined the invitation, though I had to sign forms saying I declined their kind offer. lol.

So the reason here that you get all these problems in this type of complex is a combination of the low socio-economics and the general bad health of the people who live in such places, along with MOST IMPORTANT, a lack of money!  It's the lack of money that precipitates the Domestic problems; it's the lack of money which prevents the Old & Disabled from getting the regular assistance they need; it's the lack of money which begets the Domestic Violence as roommates and married argue about money; it's lack of money which begets the drug & alcohol problems as the people try to self-medicate their problems away.  A place like this is the last stop on the road to homelessness, which of course is even worse.

Finally, if you watch the videos you may be put off by my flippant attitude towards all this tragedy.  I know many Kollapsniks are put off because they don't think I'm "serious" enough about the End of Industrial Civilization and the possible Near Term Human Extinction which could follow that, but probably won't.  First of all, as Shakespeare knew well, Comedy & Tragedy are flip sides of the same coin of human existence.  In this case beyond that, I live amongst these people, I don't look at it as an outsider.  This is my little community.  Nobody but the Dead & Dying here.

C5 Vs Hurricane Dorian

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on September 11, 2019

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C5 Vs Hurricane Dorian (Updated)

2B 2 colour

(Updated at the bottom)

To Be or not To Be. That is the Question…..No, Seriously.

I asked myself that question, one stormy evening, tangled in some roots with my head stuck under water. While considering just relaxing and breathing in the water, I said to myself, “This is exactly how my second X-wife expected me to die. There is no way in hell I am going to give her that satisfaction”.

That was the added incentive to push harder, one last time… then I was sucked down the river…..

OK. There might have been alcohol involved.

Dorian is about to hit us dead on… but only as a Category 1.(edit. Just upgraded to Category 2 and they have pulled linesmen off the roads) I thought I would put up a quick post before the internet kicks out.

I only had to do ONE storm prep after strapping everything down. I went out and got beer. In the line up, I said, “Hurricane beer. I am a boy scout. Be prepared. Who knows when you will be open again”.

Fear not. Its for after. I expect some sleep deprivation. All that needs to be done is a shower and a nap. I’m just killing time till the main event.

MrsC5 got an Email from relatives worried about us. She replied, “Seriously? I’m married to the ultimate survivalist guy. We’ll be fine”.

I have faced the severe elements before and am generally awed by the forces of nature. Last time I was being smacked in the face by gale force winds (water really hurts at that speed) I determined, next time, I want a full face helmet. We almost didn’t make it home that day. I determined, next time, a chainsaw is a must. I may tell all these stories… some other time.

Quick tip. I like the combination of a Gortex jacket, UNDER a rubberized jacket, Neither is good enough on its own for supper soakers.

That said, I’ve never had this much infrastructure to worry about before. It’s ruining the buzz a bit. I expect there to be damage.

I’ll try to add more on super storms another time. Maybe in the post game report. I figure I will be busy for a while.

Either way, This sits on the table at the moment, 6 steps from the bed.

2b 4

TTFN.

 

(Update)

We’re fine. That was quite the blow. When we got up in the first light to asses the damage, we were left dumbfounded that there was none. Even things I expected to be torn apart were still right there. Part of it was angles of blow but I think it has more to do with that we have regular big blows up here  so anything that would have got damaged has already blown away. That, and because I am me, so I think about winds long in advance and have covered most of it..

If it had gone up to a Cat-3 (which WILL happen soon enough) the damage would have been heavy. There is nothing new in my mind that I must solve right away, learned from this. I have the same list of things to keep working on… that will only happens as I get around to it and hopefully it is in time. There is only so much I can achieve as one man.

One of our friends near by lost their barn. A home in the region burn down because their generator started a fire. Irony.

75% of Nova Scotia and 80% of PEI lost power.

I was left thinking, “White People Problems”.

Our power and internet was down for 4 days. The solar system covered it quite nicely. No food lost from the fridge or freezer. I’ll get around to cleaning the carbs in our generator one of these years. (facepalm)

It was the lack of internet that was the big problem. We were jonesing. I have become so dependent on the internet in such a short time. It keeps me sane. Who says it’s not addictive. I think it would be easier to face that day when you know the internet will never be on again, than to go through, “Is it on yet….Is it on yet….is it on yet”.

We power watched the first two seasons of ‘A Handmaidens Tale’. I deeply recommend watching that… as a homework assignment. Over the last 6 months, I have been thinking to myself, “I feel like I am living in an episode of The Handmaidens Tale”… yet I had been avoiding watching it. The world has been too serious and I generally like my dystopian sci fi to be a distraction from the world. Not a daily news training manual. If you haven’t watched it, do so.

We lost our corn. No biggy. It was a bad harvest anyhow. We lost the majority of the apples. No biggy. We weren’t doing anything with them this year. It will become a problem for our local deer supply though. Not enough ripening time for them to store up on sugars later into the fall….

But you can see here the issue for the future. Food security issues. Regular storms means crop loss. If you are depending on that for survival….. you better start thinking about it and adjusting what and how you grow now. Bahama is facing NO FOOD HARVEST.

That’s all for now but I will go deeper into that some other time…

And a pleasant distraction from reality.

Tap. Tap. Is this thing on?……No, seriously. Do I have power?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C5’s Shipping Container Home… of Dooooom

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on September 6, 2019

can 5

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C5’s Shipping Container Home… of Dooooom

 

With your (I think I am officially burnt out) Host, Category5.

We are just being hit by a tropical cyclone, here in Nova Scotia, so this is a good time to crash and burn and return to the keyboard for a couple of days. Everything is as battened down as merits. I’ll run out to the container when it really gets downpoury to look for leaks in the mud room, eves troughs and windows. The container, itself,  will have no problems

It’s still not done but I think we can officially unveil this years experiment, here at the Dark Green Mountain Survival RESEARCH Centre. What an expensive, exhausting and wild ride it has been. The dizzying highs. The depressing lows. The creamy middles.

Yes, I dropped off the earth for a while. I wrote and then erased a few articles, that though correct, I decided were not helpfull. I stopped communicating with friends, relatives, allies and other blog sites.(Dont worry. I’m not mad at anyone) I had just reached official burn out on typing. More so, I just had to focus my will entirely on the project at hand. The heat was making the project much more difficult. That was basically a three month heat wave with few days of reprieve. It was the humidity that forced up the (feels like) temps up into the 30’s most days.  Broke 40 one day. As they say, its not the heat. Its the humidity. I’m just not physically acclimatized to those temps.

Lets start with a bonus read. I was saving it for a different article but might as well drop it in here. A new druid catastrophist worth pointing out.  https://abeautifulresistance.org/site/2019/8/12/bloodor-soil-fascism-leftism-and-the-coming-food-crises

Personal blogwise, in spite of pulling back, I reached last years reader counts by mid August.

Now, many of you know I have had a fascination with the use of shipping containers for housing. I’ve written about such things since my first article here and, lets see if I can find  the big article on the subject. Here it is.

https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2018/01/25/shacks-shelters-and-shipping-containers-survival-advice-from-the-caribbean-epsisode-i/

chattel job 2

cleans up well

pay back

I’m using those photos for intellectual perspective. There is a lot yuppy (pretty, expensive and overly complicated, shipping container homes you can ogle on the internet or Youtube. They are trying to turn  shipping containers into a modern McMansion with all the amenities…. but crammed into a small space.

I, on the other hand, was just trying to figure out how to keep things as simple as possible. Basically, a cabin in the woods that was just meant to keep you from dying from exposure. That you wouldn’t freeze to death the first winter. No running water. You would have to haul it. No plumbing. You would have to dump it. No expensive septic system. You would have to compost it. No electrical wiring. You would have to generate and ration it. No refrigeration. You only get refrigeration during the cold months unless you come up with creative, pre-industrial solutions.

Basicly, ALL the lessons I had learned while living in a school bus, which was just a rolling, off grid cabin.

I’m sort of surprised how much this container home reminds me of this simple housing from the Andes.

challenging farm 4 cchallenging farm 6 c

One again, for perspective, thats two homes in a row. The grand parents lived in the back building. A family of four plus a new baby lived in this one. I was invited to visit the bones of this families ancestors, many of whom had died in conflicts to keep and hold this little plot of land on the edge of a precipice.

tough farm 2 c

I shake my head at reading what I wrote, ” that next summers big job for me will be to put up a simple shipping container home as quickly and cheaply as possible.”

I am reminded of two of my C5 Rules.

C5 Rule of Survival- There is a big difference between “Knowing” in the biblical sense and “Knowing” in the porn sense.

and..

C5 Rule of Survival- Any essential survival project will cost twice as much and take three times as long.

It still needs to to be painted and I will still be tinkering up till the winter but at this point, you can get the whole idea and a person would be able to jump right in and live in it as is.

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Dining area view.

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View from the seating area/ hide-a-bed for guests.

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Looks nice and spacious in it’s open concept. FYI. If someone wants a bit of bedroom or changing privacy, the screen can be pulled across. Its made from a couple of recycled closet doors with extra hinges added to turn it into a folding screen.

As you can see, the walls were simply spray foamed. I was going for simple, speed and cost reduction.

In doing so, I can officially say,… This experiment was a FAIL.

In saying it was a fail, what I mean is that I failed in my intention, which was to make housing, fast, simple and CHEAP.

We are into this for about 10 thousand dollars. (canadian dollars adjusted to 2019 dollar value. You can work that out if you are in other countries or reading this at a latter date) And that would be outside of the costs many poorer youngsters could come up with, considering most minimum wage earners cant come up with 500$ for an emergency. Part of the reason for me doing this is that I GET THAT. I really do. If you are struggling just to survive in a “functioning” economy,  surviving or escaping a non functioning economy….. that’s just not available, to those that would be most motivated and dedicated to doing so. They have got you by the short and curlies. They have MADE you a slave. Wage slavery. Keep slaving or die.

That there is 3 thousand dollars of spray foam, for 2 inches, almost doubling the cost of the initial container

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As I mentioned before, this was my “practice container”. The one I observed, experimented with and made mistakes on. My point being, if you live in a cold climate, I see no other option than to use foam. It wont be an option. Condensation on metal would turn it into a mold factory. I’ll explain that latter but lets not ruin the buzz.

Lets continue the tour.

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This is the view from the seat just under the big window. Originally, I intended this container to be a barn. But it seemed a shame to waste this view. Plus we figured out the importance of having other people share the land with us. It was win-win. We need people and people need land.

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It’s nice and private back here for people to do what they wish without worrying about us staring at them.

Now, lets head into the mud room. A better word for it would be, the wet room. To keep moister out of the main room, things that create a lot of moisture are done out here.

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As I mentioned, there is no running water. Water needs to be carried. We are going old school here. I put in a shower stall here simply because I was able to scavenge one. A person could use a solar shower bag or heat the water over the wood stove during the winter, or go real old school and sponge bath. I will probably lend this item from our own emergency back up shower until the occupant works out what washing system they want to go with.

IMG_1131IMG_1135

Pump to get wet. Soap up. Rinse. Repeat as necessary. This uses very little water… which is important if you are hauling water. We will add  roof rain catchment soon. This is suitable for washing or dishes. In the same way, dishes are done in a couple canning pots. Water can be heated on the stove. Afterwards, it is simply carried and dumped down the hill where plants will compost it naturally. These are the very simple systems I used, living in the bus. If an occupant wants to upgrade to more advanced systems, I leave that to them. Example. An outdoor sauna would be a HUGE upgrade to getting warm and clean over the winter. Build if desired. I remember using saunas in the back country fondly. Never been that clean before. Let me explain. Add this to your survival knowledge, Adapters tool kit. The experience bush guys would haul around a tin woodstove as they traveled. They had learned that they could not count on working showers from the company. Too much to go wrong with complex systems. First thing to happen when a camp was set up was the real folky bush types would wander off by the river and whip up a simple shack with some planks for seats, and surround the stove with rocks. At the end of the day, cold, wet and dirty, people would retreat to the sauna to warm their core. They had one of the oldschool, back pack, firefighting water pumps. (My pump shower was just an upgrade to this. I learned it there. First hand KNOWLEDGE that I now share with you. This is my Kung Fu, Grasshoppers) They would spray the stove and heated rocks and this would turn the place into a heated steam bath. Your body would sweat, not just removing dirt but dead skin. Then you would soap up. Then you use the pump to spray off. The real tough folks would jump in the glacial fed river after. No need to though. The pump was good enough.

If you were horrified of the idea of public nakedness (with members of the opposite sex included) you got over it real quick… after a week or two without a shower, dirt, sweat, bug spray, damp and cold. Slipping into the shear luxury of that shack changed my life. It’s one of the reasons I am a lot more comfortable with my bod. I don’t shame easily.

Now, most north amerikaners don’t think of bathing as socializing time. It’s pretty normal in other parts of the world. Its where you got caught up with others days events. It’s a bit vulnerable being around other naked people. You learned social boundaries. You learned the DISCIPLINE of not staring at girls titties. This playes out into the clothed world as well… because I learned to look a woman in the face instead of ogling her cleavage.  They notice. FYI, no one got judgy if someone continued to wear a “bathing” suit or underwear. No one cared.

It only ever got uncomfortable once. This barbiesque bimbet came in and was being overly flirtatious. I think she was only there to show off her perfect tits or get back at daddy in some way. The regulars tried to ignore her. The trust and vulnerability bond was being broken. It would take her a while to earn that trust back.

And that’s the naked truth, from C5.

Wait. I got more on that subject. We’ve had German friends and noticed germans are much more used to this. That includes their kids. Not a big thing. This seemed odd to me because of that heavy Protestant Reformation influenced, proper and uptight german nature. But they seem fine with public nudity. I wonder if it dates back to the Roman occupation. Romans were known for putting in irrigation infrastructure, like bath houses, for  sanitation and health and this was considered bringing civilization to the unwashed barbarian masses.

I think us canadians (and other colonial invaders) inherited this taboo squeamishness from the british…  and I suppose, catholic  spanish farther south. Just guessing.

But this gets me to the next C5 Rule.

C5 Rule of Survival/ Adaptation- Hippies had all the right solutions… for all the wrong reasons.

Yup!

Most of my BEST survival/adapter skills were learned from idealistic, genteel  hippy folks. I was comfortable being around them… even when they might have been uncomfortable being around a less than genteel me. I just like people that are brave enough to throw on a back pack and set themselves adrift into a hostile universe… simply because, anywhere, including death, is better than BAU, Here. I’ve met a lot of real life, Chris McCandless types. I made up the title, “End Of The World People” to describe this type of personality. What I mean by this is,  if the world ends, it’s not going to make much difference to them. They already adjusted their expectations as to what life in a world of diminishing returns would be like. That, and you find them at the ends of the world. You find a lot of them in BC or the west coast, because it was just impossible to get any further away from Europe (or their parents) without getting wet.

I lived in a school bus, for chistmas crotch cooties sake. That should be a dead give away as to who I learned better survivalist advice from.

Look. Who is the better Survivor you want to take advice from. Someone who can survive on a bag of falafel mix and and a bag of weed and thinks sleeping on a couch is luxurious but would prefer a tent and is basically happy with his or her life most of the time….. or some angry right wing death squad enthusiast from the burbs that cant survive without a job and flush toilets, that blames his failure at life on “Lllibrrrals”, said with a snarl.

Somehow, there is a lot of fully indoctrinated hatred against hippy types that I just don’t get.

Sure. They are annoying and judgey at times.

But when I contrast them to the big guys lifting weights, and all these years later are still trying to win the approvals of their Daddies and other men….

Wwwway more annoying and judgey. 10 times the annoying and judgey.

If only they could just see themselves and suddenly realize just how incredibly GAY they are acting………I wouldn’t have to be The Annoying And Judgey person all the time… that I seem to have become.

Lets work that out into a mathematical formula.

Hippies=annoying and judgey x Hippy Haters= annoying and judgey x 10 = Me. The King Fucking Kong of annoying and judgey.

It’s a god damned, self reinforcing feedback loop past it’s tipping point… like the fires and ice melt happening in the arctic.

I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. You have got to be one Cowardly piece of human shit to be threatened by hippies. If you fantasize about, or worse, act out violence against someone that wasn’t even thinking about punching you back, you are fully lacking INTEGRITY. You have a complete lack of personal HONOR.

By Honor, I mean, until recently, any MAN understood one of his primary jobs in life was to champion the week. To give others a helping hand up. To look out for the “little guy”. It’s part of our self defining story. Self sacrifice and service.

Seriously. You only had One Job. How did we fuck that up so badly. It’s a sign of Social Collapse.

Speaking of walking, talking, human shaped fecal matter….

….breaking social taboos and poop related waist disposal…

This is a rather large step up from the waist disposal I used in the bus. This comes from MrsC5 and she has used this system, even living in the city. Even in our home where we have perfectly good drinking water to flush our problems away with. Buduptup. We just moved ours out to the container and will make another. The simplest of composting toilets. I’ll explain.

can, the other can

I’ve seen lots of talk of the horrors of sewage during disasters from preppers. They come up with lots complicated, store bought contraptions with chemicals or plastic bags. They are way over thinking it. Sawdust. Bucket. Toilet seat. After you have done your business, put some sawdust over it and close the lid. The sawdust absorbs odors

As a bonus, its future plant food once it has composted for about three years. It needs a bit longer to cook but the worms and bugs love breaking it down. There is plenty for you to look up on the subject online. The term you are looking up is “Humanure”. Its actually, urine, not poop, that is the real odor producer. I seem to recall Mythos and Logos put forest floor leaves and debris into their composting toilet… but don’t quote me on that.

That’s the tour. Still more to do.

Lets talk about shipping containers. Things I have learned along the way.

Preppers and homesteaders have had an interest in shipping containers for a long time. Preppers, because of the hopes they could bury it as a fallout shelter. That myth is still around in spite of all the failures in doing so. I learned this the hard way. My most monumental FAIL! Its my most embarrassing mistake and will be there to remind me, every time I walk past it. Luckily, it wasn’t a shipping container. I tried to wedge the aluminum cube van we mover here with into the side of a hill to be used as a cold storage. What a huge waist of an aluminum building that would have lasted forever. The pressure of the dirt just crushed it in… from the sides. I learned that land is filled with water… and it flows. The bigger issue would be, water, lack of drying time and abrasive minerals in the soil… it would rust out in no time. Next, there isnt metal  fully surrounding it. The floor is only oiled plywood. Now someone who just cant let go of the idea will say, “Pour concrete” around it”. They miss the logic because of previous investment. If you are going to the trouble of making a concrete, underground  structure… why bother putting and expensive and very handy container inside of it. It seems much smarter to just put the container on top of  the concrete bunker you just made . That way, you hide your hidey hole while still having a perfectly good container to cover the entrance, while storing stuff.

The next big issue was… they are a lot more expensive than I was led to believe. I kept hearing a thousand dollars. Ya, right. Maybe in the 80s. The practice container out there cost us 3700$ (canadian, adjusted to 2012), 700$ for delivery on a roll out truck from 2 hours drive away, 100$ for the two railway ties it was placed on, 300$ for the gravel placed under it to level  the ground and about 150$ extra in excavator time that was already here for another project.

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Ah, the days when we still had money. Every dollar bites now.

Now, this one was a fairly good quality container. We got it from a company that fixes them up, repairing damage, then flips them. This is much better steel than other containers. Wait. I’ll run out to the new container for the info since I noticed its written on it.

I’m back. Nope. It was painted over but the sticker reads “To be repaired with Corten Steel”. These were made to be used over and over while beaten, crunched, dented and repaired. Its much stronger than the, much more expensive, but prettier, single use containers. Those are made with much cheaper steel.

Don’t get me started. That word, right there, is everything wrong with our society and why we are so fucked and why I have so little hope for humanity. “Single use” and “Shipping Container” in the same description. What the fuck is wrong with us. All the ecological destruction, all the strip mining, all the coal fired steel plants and using our atmosphere as a giant toilet, all the wars and murders and suffering for oil, all the toxic chemicals flowing into our waterways, soooo….. let me get this strait, we can ship a bunch of disposable plastic stuff and future toxic electronic E-Waste, from the Other Side of the Planet… ONE TIME…so that we get budget shopping from US Monopolies (even in cana’duh) that destroy small businesses, our own economy, keeping  us forced to drive to wage slave jobs that we hate, while transferring all wealth to a few billionaires that have more wealth and power than any king in history.

Shame we are going to take a perfectly functional, self balancing and regulating, rather rare planet ecology with us.

I said, “Dont get me started” but I did. I better stop before I get onto my next rant about anyone that ever uses the term “The Chinese”… like they are all one big sinister amorphous blob human. I had a lot of assorted asian friends growing up.  OK. Lets get back on track.

During the 2015 commodities crash , as in steel prices dropped into the basement (plus a major shipping empire went bancrupt at the same time because of it) , we did observe container coming onto the market in the 2500$ range. I wish we had grabbed one then. We snoozed. We losed. Its back up in price now.

Now, We did talk to one individual that had got several, much cheaper containers. It’s a bit complicated, which is why we didn’t pursue it. I’ll pass it along for those that have more time than money. This person had friends that worked the docks so he got the call when auctions were happening. He was able to get them in the thousand dollar range. But to do so, he had to rent one of the large roll off trucks… because they needed to be removed right away. That required being a tractor trailer driver. Not helpful to most. If you have the time though, you can make phone calls to find those companies and make those connections to find the times and places and build relationships with a container moving company to see if you can work a deal to move SeaCans as soon as you win a bid. I’m just sharing that if it’s useful and you are willing to jump through all those hoops.

That practice container was in good condition. There is still a few rust spots I need to get to around the doors. (its week spot) Here is a couple shots from Barbados. I’ll add, if you live by the ocean, where salt is in the air, that is going to rust metal faster. You will have to paint and re paint often. Taring the roof would be a big help. I may do that to mine at some point.

rust 1

and here. This one was obviously left on the ground at some point.

rust 2

and this here is a problem area on our own container that I must keep watch of. Water and bacteria accumulate her. Over time, that will work into the paint. We will wash the mold off that occasionally as preventative maintenance.

edge

We were going to paint this container but decided not to. That brown coat was special paint designed to handle sea water… sooo…. we’re just going to stick with that. MrsC5 will track down a can of that stuff for any, grind and touch up spots.

Now, this new container we were able to get for three thousand. But dont count on finding that price. It’s a 9ft high container and they are much more expensive.

white whale 1

I am in total denial that I have to get to this next. I pictured that I would be well into this one by now. I’m soo burnt out on the practice container that isnt finished yet… that I am wondering if I will even get to it next year. We’ll see.

This one is in a lot rougher shape and is going to take a lot more work, grinding out rust, pounding out bends, maybe some welding (a skill that I dont have) then the added expense of a paint job. We only got it for that price because the guy that sold us the previous container had retired but had one last one to get rid of from the lot where it was stored and he accepted MrsC5’s offer of 3000$ in cash. It was the highest we were willing to invest from our retirement funds.

Now lets get back to the practicals of a container and what I have observed from years of just staring at it and living with this beast.

First off, its just a thin metal box so that also means its basically… a solar cooker. In the summer, even with the doors open, its too hot to be in there. Metal is conductive. That means heat radiates into it and holds it there. At night the heat conducts back out. No insulating whatsoever. Its not as big problem in hot countries because they add ventilated shade roofs.

complicated

They are attached on by welding on these.

attached

This secures your roof on…but you can see the problem here. The weld spot changes the metal temper and starts a potential rust spot if you don’t repaint professionally. The roof  metal is the most valuable part. Don’t fuck with it. I put the stove pipe through the side as well as bolting the eaves on from the side, to not disturb the roof.

This is a lesson learned from living in Vans, Camper trailers, a motor home, and eventually, my buses. There were a few. Motor homes rot quickly because of all the little gaps around corners and roof vents. Its almost impossible to keep water out. That was the advantage of the bus that had that glorious, curved steal roof that shed all water. By necessity,  I had to cut some holes to put in a roof vent to let heat out. Every time it was warm inside and cold outside, though… condensation would gather on the vent… and drip down on me. Good thing I didn’t put it above the bed… or a sky roof so I could sleep under the stars. That would have been a disaster.

Which gets back to the shipping container. Its also one big condenser.

If you live in a cool climate, that means, if it is cool outside and heated inside, oxygen and hydrogen will recombine back into water at that metal convection point. Then mold will grow in that water. Good thing I didn’t insulate.

Snark. I did. At least I started.

can 17

I got as far as one wall… then I abrupt stopped. It was clear as day that this was just not going to work at all. The container build promptly went on hold for several years after that. It looked like it was just going to be barn or storage shed again after that. Hard to get happy again after that one.

That might explain why I had mold issues in my bus once I hyper insulated it with pink insulation.

I have learned all the hard lessons for you.

It was still a kick ass storage shed and perfect for storing the winters worth of animal feed. No rat or mouse would ever be digging into here. And its not like it would ever burn down, crush under snow load or blow down in a wind storm. All issues I worry about with the near useless barn next to our house. At some point, it’s got to go. It’s a huge, flying embers magnet. Not great when wild fires are raging around the planet as we speak. Sucks to be right all the time…..well almost.

On hold as it was, I just couldn’t give up on this project though and doom it to the accumulating failed experiments list. Here’s why. In spite of all the delusional science deniers, those fires are coming. Those super storms are coming. People are coming. Hunger is coming.

No embers are blowing into that container. It can handle snow load. Most snow just blows right off it. Its low profile is pretty wind resistant (one of the reasons I didn’t want to ad a roof to be blown off). Its also a good wind break, protecting the main house and solar system.  And hunger means, food production and security requires many hands and eyes. Accepting that, I only really had the option of giving up entirely… or getting back to work and sticking with the original vision.

I chatted with a number of edu’micated preppers back when I was starting this project. One of them rightly pointed out that it would be cheaper to just build a traditional building of the same size. A building needs to breath or it will just be a mold factory….. and, if you are just building a traditional framed house INSIDE the container, whats the point of the container?

Rather good points. Sort of like my description  of why not to bury a shipping container surrounded by concrete.

But my reason was still about the fires and super storms…. and the mice. Let me explain. When living in a cabin on Cortez Island, back in my 20s, I got hired for the day to help tear apart a cottage. First thing that happened while pulling the roof and wall boards out, was I was rained on by moldy insulation… and an equal weight in rat shit. And me without a mask. Plague anyone?  It was a toxic stew. They just loved living in those walls and chew up everything (especially the electrical wiring) while soaking the whole place with piss. They had destroyed the house. But another force was at play. Modern houses only survive if they are being lived in. The moment you don’t keep it heated, the walls mold and rot, as does the wood. If the roof isn’t monitored and maintained, a simple leak starts a cascading collapse of the entire building. Once it starts, you  pretty much, have to rebuild the entire thing. That also happened to my bus when I walked away from it for a winter. I wanted a home that could be left empty for years without it falling apart and be mice or rat free, ready to be re-inhabited.

Either way, I believe we have all that now. We solved the problem with home insulating foam. More so, after living with this container, if you live in a cold climate, I see no other option than to use foam, even if it is only a small layer that’s only purpose is to stop that metal/ heat/ cold convection. Do whatever you want after that. Its the missing link, and unfortunately it’s pricey. A wood stove will suck up any additional moisture in the air. In our home, we have to keep a kettle on the stove just so it doesn’t get too dry in the house over the winter.

Speaking of wood stoves in a container. I learned another lesson the hard way. When I put the first stove in there and fired it… The place slowly filled with smoke and I had to open everything to air it out. I thought there was something wrong with the stove or draft. Silly me. A container is almost air tight. Therefore there was no draft to pull the smoke up the chimney. To keep burning, it would have been pulling air back down the chimney at the same time. Soooo…… you will have to put an air intake hole right next to the stove. And I will put a carbon monoxide alarm in there. There is a reason pot bellied stoves are also referred to as “Hippy Killers”.

A few other “Mistakes” I made during my “Getting through the learning curve”.

It took a few years for the ground to settle and may continue to do so with freeze, thaw cycles. It started to lean a bit. Remember this classic photo? She’s lopsided. I mean the container. Not MrsC5. She is pretty symmetrical. Budupt tup. Not always balanced… but that would be the pot calling the kettle, something or the other.

Walkies doc 2

The issue was corrected with a 2-ton bottle jack and carefully placed boulders.  I deeply recommend the jack.

So. I mentioned I had failed in my goal. I wanted housing cheap, simple and fast. OK. I blew it on the cheap part. It’s double what I had hoped. It wasn’t fast for me…. BUT repeating it, now that all the lessons have been learned, will be much faster.

I’m presenting this idea for the person that has bought some cheap land somewhere and wants a quick structure on it that they can retreat to if necessary. Container. Add door and windows. Add wood stove. Spray foam. Skirt the space underneath. Done. Move on to the next job. It’s technically considered a mobile structure. If anyone asks, its a workshop or shed.

Lessons learned? I think, next build, I will still frame it and add walls over it. This will, of course, increase the cost. I’ll chew that over for a while.

Before I go, lets talk about what I have learned about the foam… besides it being expensive. It is the best insulator by far. It is fine with the stove but I added cement board behind it that wont burn and will add a metal screen/ reflector in-between the stove and cement board. I took a piece of the foam and lit it on fire. As I had been told, It did burn for a bit but put itself out. My guess is that there is some type of fire retardant in it. There is a bit of a crust on the foam after spraying. That is what I was going for. It’s still not as hard as I was hoping for though. So, it will still be necessary to not ding up the walls. Next step is to paint. Paint must be WATER BASED. You MUST NOT USE OIL BASED PAINT as this will cause a chemical reaction that will destroy the entire thing and turn it into a sticky, never setting mess that must all be ripped out. Unfortunately, painting must be done with a paint sprayer. A roller wont work as it will pull right off. Now I need to go buy a spray gun… that I am only ever going to use once. Oh Joy. More consumer waist.

Now the confession. I am pissed at the spray contractor, after all that time and money. There is not a consistent surface over the entire thing. It was sloppy around the windows, and around the back window, it was all bulbousy. At the moment, I am at a loss as to how to fix this… but you know me. Ill work it out. I’ve had to walk away from the whole project for a week just for my temper to cool down. Luckily, I am a stoic fellow who can detach and say, “It is what it is. It will do”. In some ways it has a Flintstones feel… and left to my own devices, I would totally decorate it that way, with the tattered leopard spot curtains, caveman furniture,  change my name to Fred Flintstone and bill it as Fred and Wilma’s Love Shack, then make our money back by renting it out for romantic encounters through AirBnB.

“Bam. Bam…. Bam Bam Bam!

“Hey! You kids. Don’t dings the walls with the head board!”

There is so many places I could go with that…..

I guess its best if I just leave interior decorating to the tastes of the occupants.

Well, I have been working on this post for four days, the storm has long past and i guess I should stop avoiding it and get back to finishing that big steel home.

I hope this helps anyone considering a container home.

 

But wait! There’s more…

 

 

I know it’s a, Hale Mary, Spray and Pray, Long Shot…

But before we start reaching out in other directions, I thought I would start here with my readership base and say…

“O.K. Who wants to live here?” Who wants to test their metal? Who has been thinking to themselves, “I don’t what to stay where I am. I don’t see a future, a livable future here. I cant afford land and a home on my own….And what I really want more than anything else is to live like that. I want to be part of what C5 and MrsC5 are doing”.

Yes. I Understand it’s a long shot. But I know there are other folks like me out there. Its just a question of how to find them.

Now, I understand, 99.9 percent of you are going, “Nooope. Not up to taking on that challenge”. But here is where you can help me out. Someone here might be thinking, “I know somebody that wants this” or, “I know a place to re-post this where the right people would be found”.

I have a little confession to make. Many people that have been reading me for a while will understand I am a long sighted fellow. Ive done many posts where the only reason was to prepare the ground for where all those posts come together.

Two and a half years, 90 articles and 50 thousand views, many more views on other sites, was all to leading up to This One Moment.

 

It was intentional from the very start. It was to find that small handful of people like myself. I exposed myself thoroughly to the world, both the good side and the bad… as a long shot gamble. That it would teach and motivate others was just its second purpose. But this was it’s secret purpose. Sneaky me

We have tried to bring people together here before. We succeeded but in each case they were the wrong people. We had burnt out from talking to hundreds of people and having our hearts broken over and over. It’s one of the reasons we started this blog down in South America. We were taking a break from it all to lick our wounds and formulate a new plan.

I wanted, next attempt, that someone considering the idea, could read all about us and understand exactly WHY we are doing this. Only then can they make an honest decision about if they want to be part of it. Keep in mind though, that we are probably not as interesting in person.

Here is the arrangement. It will cost you a measly 100$ per month rent. I’ll explain why after. Your part of the arrangement is that you are here as a house and animal sitter any time we are away, at which point, you would pay nothing. That could be from over night to a week away, to the two months we plan to be away this winter… or even up to a year if we get some wild plan in our head. You would move into our main house at that point and can take advantage of the amenities. You would manage the solar system, keep the wood stove going so the pipes, food and animals don’t freeze and manage any problems that come up. You would be responsible for any extra electrical costs or internet during these times. You are responsible for your own firewood.

One of the reasons I am doing this is to, sort of, pay it forward. Ive had some rough times in life. Now I am on top of the world. I wanted to set up a situation here, that is everything I would have given anything to find back then, but couldn’t. A piece of land and simple housing, where I could be close to the natural world, but wouldn’t have to work my entire life to pay, simply, for the right to be in that spot.

Back to that 100$ part. The problem with saying free is that people might treat this as if it had no value. We were even warned about presenting the low cost of 100$. This only works if you understand that what I am presenting is priceless, a once in a lifetime opportunity, you will never find something like this again… and Know It.

MrsC5 had said, “I’m only comfortable with this arrangement if the person understands, their responsibility is to pay it forward”.

As in, pay it forward to the next folks we bring in, some other youngster that needs help, or even back to us when we need help, which we will at some point.

It’s not charity. You will have some responsibilities here.

Earn it.

Its best if you don’t think about it in the traditional landlord arrangement. You are not renting the container home. You are more renting access to the 110 acres of land here… and joining a group. A MAG or mutual assistance group. As life gets rougher in the future, that will become more necessary. We watch each others back… and back each others play.

Speaking of which, if you are more comfortable bringing in your own RV, we can facilitate that as well. Same arrangement. Same price. That might even be helpful to bringing in the next person. Any person that has ever tried to rent a place for an RV will know just how valuable what we are offering is. You cant get a tenting spot in a camp ground, surrounded by other people for that price, let alone a quiet place with a view and access to firewood to be cut and garden space and a place to build stuff.

At this point someone may say, “Hey! That”s not fair!” and you have got to work that out before coming here and not be putting that on us. We’ve already had this happen with one couple we invited here. He said, “There is nothing fair about any of this. We live in a (None of your business) and you live on the hill in a house with electricity and running water….”. This left me going, What the fuck! They were talking about us behind our back, complaining about how wrong everything we doing was and encouraging resentments amoungst our social network… against us. There was some serious mental health issues going on there that we missed. I cant let that happen again.

This isnt the place to do everything right. This is the place to have the freedom to experiment with things, do everything wrong… and learn from it. That’s the point of The Dark Green Mountain Survival RESEARCH Centre

This round, we still maintain control for the sake of stewarding the land and keeping it together as a whole. If you have things that you want to experiment with or build. Most times, I am going to say, “Have at’er” even if I think it is going to fail. As long as it doesn’t leave us a mess you abandon and we are stuck cleaning up. Occasionally we may say no because we already know what the land can or cant do from experience or know what will draw us too much “Heat”.

Speaking of which, The main thing I ask here is, “Don’t draw Heat here”. Don’t bring problems here. We are just far enough off the road that most people don’t even know if we are here or not. Lets keep it that way. Lets not give local busybodies or authorities the reason to think something suspicious is going on here and they need to put their foot down.

It has been my intension, from the start, to not go full market price. What I want, more than anything, is that the person can get themselves financialy ahead of the game with whatever employment they are doing. That they are not poreing all their money into rent or mortgage exploitation. I want them to use any savings into things that secure their future and makes them secure…in the face of ecconomic collapse. Food storage. Tools, A reliable, ecconomical vehicle. Animals. Savings. ETC. The more secure they are, the stronger we are as a group.

Now, we have been though this before, reaching out to others and we have been amazed just how much it is like internet dating. It’s exhausting.  It’s a good analogy though. We are dating to explore who we are going to share our lives with. Then there is the emotional highs. “Is this the one?” Then the emotional lows. “I invested al lot of time. Why wont they they return my email?” And the whole rejection thing. Or feeling bad about being the person that has to reject. Its an emotional roller coaster. Sure, you get access to hundreds of people. You also get to experience heart break a hundred times as fast.

As I said, we have faced this before. Don’t freak out if we don’t reply… or not reply fast enough. I hate typing recently and am not looking forward to doing it all again. It takes a lot of my time. In the same way, we will do our best not to lose it and send, “That was rude, you asshat. Fuck you. I hope you die” replies. It may happen. That’s the nature of the internet. It’s easy to be offended because you cant read the persons face and too easy to snap back because there is little chance you will be punched in the face for your reply. It’s the nature of the beast we are all learning to navigate.

Do me a favor though. If you are just an internet shopper, Looky Lew,  with an, “I’ll nibble, please tell me more, I’ll hear your sales pitch”… Please Don’t. We will be exhausted talking to people… to the exact level as building that container home or other projects. In the same way, we are trying to create something from nothing.

Only contact us if you are thinking, “That’s awesome. It’s exactly what I want to do. Lets see if we can make it work. If not, I understand. I wont string you along as well”.

Be warned. We may cyber stock you. We may, maybe, make you jump through some security hoops to check you out. We need to get to know you. We wont tell you exactly where we are.

FWI. Yes, we are in Nova Scotia, Canada, And No, We will not help you Immigrate. Only for Canadians, dual citizens or landed immigrants.  Nothing personal. I know I am read around the world. We are just stretched as to how much we can help.

Lets continue. We are near the North Shore. 10 Min drive to the ocean. About 20 min drive from Tatamagouche. Around two hours to Halifax or Moncton. We are not as out in the bush as it first appears. We found the middle ground in a secret, neglected enclave.

I think it best if I write a better description page that only those interested read, off this blog. That may take a while as we are still busy. It may come accoss as a form letter. Last time, we kept typing the same responses over and over and waisting our time. I hope not to do that this time.

Here is the bad news. There is little in the way of employment here. What there is is usually in the summer, based around cottagers and a trickle of tourism. It’s bad timing in posting this. If you have any Trades skills, there are many old folks that need Handy Man jobs done. I joke, it’s the land of newly weds and nearly deads… but without the newly weds. Before anyone asks, as others have, there is not a lot of great dating options. You would have to reach outside the locals. Still, a number of young British Columbians and Torontonians have been showing up into the area lately that realised they found a secret enclave that isn’t cool but might be cool… in ten years… if they make it so. In spite of that this is about surviving Climate Chaos. The irony being, you will need a reliable vehicle… until that day comes when we all say, “It’s all bicycling from here. I hope we have enough food stored up to get through a winter once we are snowed in”.

I think that is enough to get started. Here is how this will work. Just like when I did the contest, I will leave the comments section open. You will send me an E-mail address but when WordPress sends me a notice to say, Accept or Reject comment, I’ll hit the Reject button so no one but me sees that adress. Think of it as the first trust building exercise. If I was to violate that trust, you can tell everyone on the internet that I am a con. I checked recently and so far no one has complained about me. That’s amazing considering how easily people get triggered and use the internet to lash out. Once I get your Email, I will erase it and contact you via  a separate g-mail or MrsC5 might contact you via Yahoo and we can go from there. Tell us plenty about yourself or we might not respond. “Sup. I wanna enter your Can” is just not worth replying to. Remember, Internet dating… “I like long walks on the beach and back rubs…snark… I spend too much time on the computer, please don’t search my browser history, like beer and get through the long winter playing video games.”

What we learned the first time we tried this is that we are not looking for the person with the best credentials. If we are sharing our land, we want to do it with someone we just like and enjoy partying with, when friends come over and the social side of humanity is to be shared and enjoyed.

With Red Green in mind, “I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together”.

I better hit Publish before I lose my nerve… and we will see how this goes. It’s all an Experiment… here at the Dark Green Mountain Survival Research Centre.

If you are receiving this Broadcast, WE… are  The Rebel Alliance.


 

If you enjoyed this article or learned something new… go to the top of the page and hit, Giving Just The Tip. Always good for a chuckle and there is a paypal link. Donations go to roof metal, nails and screws and the occasional odd item worth experimenting with. We don’t have sponsors or sell anything. I’m not collecting your addresses and will never contact you to promote something. I’m just not that tech savvy. I wont spend anything on hookers and blow or stock buy back options. This is pretty much ALL I do. “I only had one job”. This is it.

Bonus read- https://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/why-did-people-build-houses-just-leak-heat-out.html

(edit, a day latter. Darn. I wish I had caught this in time. I’ll add it in anyhow)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock of Ages 2: Travelogue

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Published on The Doomstead Diner September 1, 2019

The Fun of Flying

Discuss this article at the SUN Table inside the Diner

 

Regular readers of the Diner Forum know I am currently out of state from the Last Great Frontier of Alaska on another one of my Cripple Cart Jet-Setting Adventures related to the SUN☼ Monument, which by no coincidence is also my Tombstone.  I'll be writing a full article and producing a video just about that aspect of this trip after I get home, but for today I'll just fill in the readers and viewers with other aspects of this trip I am trying to accomplish.

It's also no coincidence where the Final Resting Place for the rest of Eternity is for the SUN☼ Monument, it's dead center of Flyover Country in the FSoA, Springfield, MO.  This because it's where my few remaining family members live, and it's where my mom died and was buried.  So I bought a plot there for myself after my accident, figuring it wasn't going to be long before I was pushing up daisies myself.

SUN☼ represents everything I have stood for over my time as an observer of Collapse, which goes back basically to 2007 or so.  In 2013, I founded a Non-profit 501c3 corporation to try and fulffil the goals I would like to see achieved, to "Build a Better Tomorrow" for whatever Homo Saps manage to survive the crash of this civilization, and to "Save As Many As You Can" of the creatures (including but not limited to Homo Saps) currently inhabiting the planet.

It has been a slog and slow going with this Mission, and due to my less-than-perfect health (lol), it's unlikely that I can see this project through to completion.  Even if I was in perfect health though, it would be unlikely because rebuilding after this civilization crash will take many generations, so I wanted to leave behind a message that would last as long as possible.  Of all the media you have to work with, none lasts longer than stone.  The oldest writing we have is on stone tablets, so what better place to put down the message and the principles than my Tombstone?  I used the best and hardest Granite I could get, and had the stones carved in China and here for the final engravings.  Of course, it wasn't easy to boil down the millions of words I have written to what I could fit on a Tombstone, but I think I hit the important points.

I'll write more and have more video on the SUN☼ Monument Project after I get back to the Last Great Frontier, but that wasn't the only thing this trip was about.  Since I am living through my own personal form of collapse, I have a lot of things I want to tie up the loose ends on before I buy my ticket to the Great Beyond.  The videos which follow here are a few snippets from the trip so far, negotiating the plane flights with my Cripple Cart, getting my Jeep which has been sitting in a storage unit for 12 years running and gettng a new & improved system for trailering all my stuff while traveling so I am not constantly having crashes and having to jury rig the contraption throughout the traveling, which believe you me gets old very fast. lol.

So this is a travelogue of this adventure, but not like your normal travelogue vids of picturesque places to visit.  About the most picturesque place in this set is the Bates Motel I am staying at, a Motel 6 where Tom Burdett left the light on for me. 🙂  It's all unedited stuff, I don't have time or energy to do any editing or make any title pages or wipes and other transitions right now.  I do think they are kind of fun to watch though, and mostly not too long.

More coming after I get home.

A half empty jet

Touring the Bates Motel

Trying to start a Jeep after 12 years in a storage unit

Creating the new & improved Cripple Cart trailer rig hookup

A well equipped Shop.  Don't Collapse without one.

 

This Week In Doom Sept. 1, 2019: Rat Bastards


That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
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                                                            Anthony Freda

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on September 1, 2019

“This country was born on violenceViolence is as American as cherry pie."  –H. Rap Brown


I awoke this morning to see what news had broken and found this:

10 injured in shooting after high school football game in Alabama

At least 10 teenagers were injured when a shooting broke out after a high school football game in Mobile, Alabama, on Friday night, authorities said. Nine of the victims suffered gunshot wounds.

Well, it's Alabama, and it's FOOTBAW, so thus perhaps reason enough. But I'm old enough to remember going to high school football games without fearing for my life.

"Why are the young people bringing this type of violence to public events?" Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste asked in a news conference Friday. "They're bringing their beefs that they have with each other in their neighborhoods and they're putting other people in harm's way."

Let's not forget the exortations by Trump to do that very thing.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump encouraged a crowd of supporters Monday to "knock the hell" out of anyone who looked like they might throw fruits and vegetables at him, and promised to pay the legal fees for anyone who took him up on his suggestion.

Even though Trump bade his supporters to practice rough justice, some will find it hard to lay the pervasive strain of American violence at his feet. Aside from giving aid and succor to violent white nationalists, and voice to the prion disease that afflicts his most rabid supporters, that is. Back to the news:

At least 5 dead after more than 20 shot as gunman targets random victims in Odessa area

At least five people died after more than 20 people were shot Saturday when a gunman hijacked a postal truck and began shooting randomly in the Odessa area of West Texas, authorities say.

At least three law enforcement officers — a state trooper, an Odessa police officer and a Midland police officer — were among those shot. They were in stable condition Saturday night, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Another weekend, another shooting. Or two. Sandy Hook, Charleston, Orlando, Pittsburgh, El Paso, Dayton, Virginia Beach, and now in Texas. Again.

American history is written in blood. American violence has its roots in the wars of extermination fought against native peoples, chattel  slavery that built the wealth of a planter class (the enforcement for which was enshrined in the Second Amendment), wars against one another expanding the "frontier" (who doesn't love a good western?) and now the endless economic competition of all against all. We have normalized the mass slaughter of our fellow citizens to the extent that weekend mass shootings barely raise an eyebrow. Even though 90 per cent of our fellow citizens (and gun owners) welcome mandatory background checks for gun purchases, the NRA and its hireling legislators (aslosh in laundered rubles) won't allow such a bill to come to a vote.  

Meanwhile, out here in flyover country, where tariffs bite, where soybeans molder in silos, where Joe Sixpack and his wife both work two jobs to make ends meet, where minimum wage doesn't cover the rent anywhere in the country, the stresses mount.


“No small part of this ugly barbarization has been due to sheer physical congestion: a diagnosis now partly confirmed with scientific experiments with rats – for when they are placed in equally congested quarters, they exhibit the same symptoms of stress, alienation, hostility, sexual perversion, parental incompetence, and rabid violence that we now find in the Megalopolis.”

 ― Lewis Mumford,  The City in History


Rats in a box. We all know that under enough stress, rodents turn on one another. We know this because scientists tested and measured this phenomenon, back in the day when the earth was still a sphere and science counted for something. Ethologist John B. Calhoun studied population density and its effects on behavior, and coined the term "behavioral sink" to describe the collapse in behavior which resulted from overcrowding. Over a number of years, Calhoun conducted over-population experiments on Norway rats and mice.

In his 1962 study, Calhoun described the behavior of the rodents:

Many [female rats] were unable to carry pregnancy to full term or to survive delivery of their litters if they did… Among the males the behavior disturbances ranged from sexual deviation to cannibalism and from frenetic overactivity to a pathological withdrawal from which individuals would emerge to eat, drink and move about only when other members of the community were asleep. The social organization of the animals showed equal disruption. …

The common source of these disturbances became most dramatically apparent in the populations of our first series of three experiments, in which we observed the development of what we called a behavioral sink. The animals would crowd together in greatest number in one of the four interconnecting pens in which the colony was maintained…as a result extreme population densities developed in the pen adopted for eating, leaving the others with sparse populations.

… In the experiments in which the behavioral sink developed, infant mortality ran as high as 96 percent among the most disoriented groups in the population.

As the rat population grew to 2200 rodents in what was described as a "rat utopia," they subsequently exhibited abnormal, often destructive behaviors. By the 600th day, the population was on its way to extinction. Calhoun himself saw the fate of the rodent population as a metaphor for the potential fate of man. Now rats aren't people, although as we will see, some people are rats. 



Greta Thunberg, Climate Activist, Arrives in N.Y. With a Message for Trump

Greta Thunberg’s Slow Boat to New York

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, arrived in New York City via an emission-free sailboat trip to dramatize her message for the urgency for state actors to take climate change seriously. She gives a speech next month at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. This at a time when

the Amazon rain forest was on fire; glaciers were calving into the sea; Tropical Storm Dorian was gathering strength in the Caribbean; scientists were trying to artificially inseminate the last two northern white rhinos on earth; there was lead in the water in Newark. The Endangered Species Act had been gutted, and the E.P.A. had announced new protections not for air or water but for marine diesel engines.

Thunberg arrived without the benefit of any official delegation or ceremony. She stepped off her boat and onto a floating dock, climbed a ramp to a stage, and faced rows of news cameras and handheld phones transmitting the arrival of the symbol of global climate resistance. She has been cheered by supporters, fellow climate activists, and mocked by critics. I promised you rats.


Misogyny, meet hypocrisy: Climate deniers go after AOC, Greta Thunberg with sexist attacks

Even though officialdom may have greeted Thunberg with a yawn, the alt-right was certainly paying attention. Climate change does not seem to present as a gendered issue, but leave it to conservatives to inject sexism into their generalized contempt for anything not "blood and soil." This week the right-wing Media Research Center tweeted out a video of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., addressing the need for rapid decarbonization to prevent catastrophic environmental changes. The video, labeled "Shallow Thoughts" and backed by treacly music, is supposed to be read as an indictment of Ocasio-Cortez's intelligence.

Fail. It's clear the Media Research Center doesn't expect its conservative audience to actually listen to what AOC is saying (which is actually cogent, despite the treacle), and instead write her off as an airhead. But AOC is a social media adept, and in a bit of social media jujitsu, tweeted out the video herself, stealing a march on the MRC. And in a nice bit of trolling, thanked MRC for helping spread her message. 

Slate had it thus:

Earlier this week, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted out a warm welcome to Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, who arrived in New York Wednesday for a speech at the United Nations.

Unfortunately, Thunberg was also greeted by a wave of misogynist nastiness, largely coming from allegedly grown men in both Europe and the United States. The attacks on Thunberg were in the same vein as those on Ocasio-Cortez, accusing her of being too stupid to know what she's talking about and denying that her voice is one worth honoring. A writer for the conservative Washington Examiner claimed that Thunberg is a victim of "child abuse" and that her mother "pimps their kid out," explicitly drawing a line between forced sex work and climate activism. 

As usual with the alt-right gaggle of Goebbels cosplayers, it's all about "owning the libs." Uh-huh. AOC and Thunberg both appear to be energized by opposition. But the main reason that climate-change deniers so readily turn to misogyny is that otherwise, they got nuthin'. The scientific evidence is in, and it's black and white: the climate crisis is real, and mostly caused by human activity. Their moral position is even more tenuous, since their options–doing nothing, or increasing greenhouse gas output — will harm not just future generations, but innocents around the world currently enduring extreme weather events like Hurricane Dorian or a burning Amazon.

So right wing trollboys have to rely on personal attacks aimed at environmental activists, dragging the debate away from evidence and into a rat's nest of culture war resentments.


Yet for all of the above, the article that spurred the direction of this week's rats-under-stress rant was this one, just in time for back-to-school.

Instead of school supplies, this year I’m shopping for a bulletproof backpack 

Judi Zirin speaks for an entire generation of American parents, who have to deal with issues that frankly never occurred to previous generations of parents planning back-to-school:

I have always loved the end of summer’s lazy promise of infinite possibility, the late August back to school buzz of limitless potential. Instead of shopping for school supplies and first day of school outfits, though, I’m online looking at Kevlar hoodies and bulletproof backpacks. This year, I’m not worried my kid won’t fit in – I’m praying he won’t be carried out.

After so many school shootings, I’m scared. Scared of what happens when that student who seems a little off or angry or cruel, whose parents don’t notice or take it seriously, whose issues the school is “dealing with”, finds access to a gun. Terrified because I know I can’t protect my child – and the government won’t. Confused because these students need help and not stigma, and it’s oddly the guns who have the stronger lobby.

Perhaps the greatest indictment future generations will level at our own is our unwillingness to protect our own children in the face of an intransigent NRA and its Russian money-trough. Nearly every American industry and product is subject to civil liability as a check on the irresponsibility of manufacturers and sellers—but not the gun industry. Congress made sure of that: when it passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005, they exempted the gun industry from nearly all lawsuits, leaving families of gun violence victims without recourse.

Thus do the NRA and their hirelings insure a steady supply of child human sacrifices to Moloch each year. And Moloch remains hungry.

And we have the nerve to call the human sacrifice of the Mayans and Aztecs barbaric.

 


Short takes:

Here's a summary of doom-related news that moved this week.

Take the land’: President Trump wants a border wall. He wants it black. And he wants it by Election Day.

Trump is so eager to complete hundreds of miles of border fence ahead of the 2020 presidential election that he has directed aides to fast-track billions of dollars’ worth of construction contracts, aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental rules, according to current and former officials involved with the project.

He also has told worried subordinates that he will pardon them of any potential wrongdoing should they have to break laws to get the barriers built quickly, those officials said.

The world in flames

Plants are going extinct up to 350 times faster than the historical norm

Who they Are; they have names, faces, addresses, families…

Steve Schwarzman, a Top Financier of Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, Is a Driving Force Behind Amazon Deforestation

TWO BRAZILIAN FIRMS owned by a top donor to President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are significantly responsible for the ongoing destruction of the Amazon rainforest, carnage that has developed into raging fires that have captivated global attention. 

Brazil Says It Will Reject $22 Million in Amazon Aid Pledged at G7

Because Boisonaro.

2019 to be ‘worst-ever year’ for wildfires in Siberia and ‘only rain can now extinguish flames’

The New Trail of Tears: How climate change is forcing the relocation of species, including our own

In 1830 Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, designed to appropriate to the United States lands occupied by aboriginal Americans… the result of this land grab and ethnic cleansing was the Trail of Tears, a highway of the dispossessed, en route from their homelands to less favorable situations away from the population centers of the European-Americans and their recently created nation. Those with the means self-deported; those who moved late moved in large numbers and suffered terrible losses.

Nearly two centuries later, we face the prospect of forced relocations on a scale that is difficult to fathom. This New Trail of Tears will involve humans on every inhabited continent, and it will impact countless other species as well. This time, the driving force is all humanity, agents of climate change through our greenhouse gas emissions.

Author Brian Stewart notes that sea level rise, coupled with more violent storms powered by the warmer atmosphere, will have a profound impact on coastal areas. The dispossessed will place great stress on the remaining livable space, competition for such livable space will be fierce, and may become extinction traps for some. Note this with certainty:

Barriers to movement, both inadvertent and intentional, can be death sentences to those migrating.

It will be a piquant irony if those who are among the most ardent warriors against the dispossessed today find themselves on the other side of a razor wire fence tomorrow.

World’s largest permafrost river dries to a record low

Indonesia picks site for new capital as Jakarta sinks

Purdue Pharma in talks over multibillion-dollar deal to settle more than 2,000 opioid lawsuits

What sounds equitable at first blush may prove to be a multi-billion dollar dodge on the part of the Sacklers:

The Sackler family, which grew into one of the nation’s wealthiest dynasties through sales of the widely abused painkiller OxyContin, could emerge from a legal settlement under negotiation with its personal fortunes largely intact, according to an analysis reviewed by The Washington Post and people familiar with the discussions.

All the Sacklers want is what any of us would want: to be left alone in our Fortress of Insolence counting our billions.


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. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

This Week in Doom August 26, 2019: The Lyin’ King


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 August 25, 2019

“The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love, and in order to occupy and distract himself without love he gives way to passions and coarse pleasures, and sinks to bestiality in his vices, all from continual lying to other men and to himself.” 
― Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov


Madness occasionally asserts itself on the world stage.

"The Madness of King George" is a stage and film production about Britain's George III, known through history as "the mad king who lost America." George III was king of Great Britain during some of the nation’s most challenging and tumultuous years, including those of the American Revolution. By accounts he was a dutiful, steady monarch who guided Britain through the French revolution and later Napoleon's rise and fall.  In 1788, illness brought on his mental breakdown, but he briefly recovered for a time. His later escalating bouts of insanity led Parliament to pass a Regency Act, by which the fate of the empire devolved to his oldest son, Prince George. This young man was faced with the unenviable position of having to govern according to the increasingly erratic whims of his batty father. It is thought by some that George's erraric behavior had its roots in disease, but this assessment is by no means unanimous.

Do a search for, "the Madness of King Donald" and you'll find a number of articles speculating that the so-called Leader of the Free World appears to be batshit crazy, a speculation not necessarily recent, but brought into sharp relief by statements that the Burnt-umber Buffoon made this week. The record is filled with what appears to be Trumpian signs of cognitive disorder, pre-dementia or even sheer delirium, whether it is the series of incoherent tweets, the ranting and unhinged raving at media briefings, or taking off on rabbit-hole tangents at public rallies to the applause and adoration of his bobblehead followers.

Some might think that such speculation is baldly partisan, and as a nearly-bald partisan I might agree. But the level of barking-mad, batshit-crazy reached a fever pitch this week…

King Lear is one of our most popular exemplars of power and madness. Like Trump, Lear is susceptible to the flattery of daughters, who fawningly profess their love, and Lear rewards them in kind. His youngest daughter, Cordelia, does not play that game, and is disinherited by her erratic and petulant father. They are eventually reconciled, but the peace comes too late in the arc of the story for it to end in anything but tragedy. It is too soon to know whether Lear and Trump equate, but the tragedy that unfolds is more for the American people than a mad king.

The madness of King Donald: is Trump really losing his mind?

So people are actively asking this question. The problem is that those people are not among his ironclad supporters, who still believe every word he says. The fact that Trump's penchant for pathological lying is now under being examined in the context of his sanity is explained away as, "fake news." 

If Rick Reilly’s new book Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump is anything to go by, Trump “cheats like a mafia accountant”.

Among many eye-catching anecdotes, he cites caddies at a New York golf club nicknaming Trump “Pelé”, after the Brazilian soccer legend, because of the president’s habit of kicking his ball out of the rough and up the fairway to win at all costs.

Increasingly, mental health experts have been getting increasingly vocal in crossing that Rubicon known as the "Goldwater Rule," enacted by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 to avoid armchair diagnoses by mental health pros expressing their own political biases in psychiatric terms. This was enacted in the wake of the 1964 presidential campaign between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater, in reaction to a magazine survey of psychiatrists which attempted to question Barry Goldwater’s mental fitness.

[I]t is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement”

Yet for all that,  some are calling for an examination to assess whether Trump is actually losing his mind.



TRUMP DECLARES HIMSELF “KING OF ISRAEL,” THE “SECOND COMING OF GOD

The president is sick of “disloyal” American Jews, who apparently don’t know what’s good for them or how to properly vote. But “Jewish people in Israel love him,” according to the crazed conspiracy theorist Trump quoted on Twitter.

It all started with a classic Trump humblebrag. “Thank you to Wayne Allyn Root for the very nice words,” Trump said before quoting something the evangelical Christian Root had said.

“President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world … and the Jewish people in Israel love him … like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God,” the quote said.

Root, who lives in Las Vegas, says he founded the Republican Jewish Coalition chapter in Nevada. He had also previously been hired by Sheldon Adelson (the casino magnate and a major funder of the RJC and Republican candidates along with Jewish causes,)to write a column for the Las Vegas Review-Journal after buying the newspaper in 2015. Root is also the author of the book “Angry White Male: How the Donald Trump Phenomenon is Changing America,” also published in that year.

Wayne Allyn Root—a self-described “Jew turned evangelical Christian”—is an unhinged conspiracy theorist who believes the 2017 Las Vegas shooting was a “coordinated Muslim terror attack” by ISIS and that George Soros paid actors to stage the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville that included Nazi chants like “Jews will not replace us.”

Quoting Wayne Allyn Root is quite a feat. For the non-initiate, Root has been snout-to-rear end with trump for years. Root, the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2008, announced a devoted (and some moight say slavish) support for the failed businessman nearly as soon as Trump announced he was running in June 2015.

As Charlie Pierce observed,

(The last time "King of the Jews" trended, things did not end well.) 

Trump, incredibly, seems to believe that he’s going to win over Jewish voters by telling them they don’t know what’s good for them. Perhaps he's been influenced by the fact that Jews went for Hillary Clinton. in 2016. 

Biographer Tony Schwartz, who ghost-wrote Trump’s The Art of the Deal puts it, the fact that most of us are “constrained by the truth” gives Trump a “strange advantage” through his complete disregard for it. It certainly works with his supporters, as he polls at a consistent 90 per cent approval among republicans…

Many news organizations have attempted to document the number of trump lies, which by now number over 12,000 such misstatementsDonald Trump has lied an average of 13 times a day since becoming president, one analysis finds. This body of vile work has become a fact-checking chore for journalists and an alternative reality for his supporters. According to a Slate article, one in six Americans believe what he says no matter what he says.

Between the day of his inauguration (Jan. 20, 2017) and Aug. 5, 2019, Trump has made 12,019 statements that were either false or misleading, according to the Washington Post. While that averages out to 13 such statements a day since Trump assumed office, the number has increased recently. Since April 26, when Trump made his 10,000th false or misleading statement, he has averaged 20 such statements every day, or one every 72 minutes.

One example breaking this week was this Pied Piper fantasy: 

Trump said doctors left operating rooms to greet him after mass shootings. Hospitals in Dayton and El Paso say that’s not true.

Speaking to reporters on the White House’s South Lawn on Wednesday, President Trump claimed he was warmly welcomed at hospitals in the wake of recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, and intimated that surgeons had even deserted their patients to meet him.

“The doctors were coming out of the operating rooms,” Trump said. “There were hundreds and hundreds of people all over the floor. You couldn’t even walk on it.”

But the hospitals he visited say that isn’t what happened — and that doctors would never pause surgery to greet the president.


The "Chosen One" says he wanted to give himself the medal of honor but his staff talked him out of it.

“That was a big day, Medal of Honor. Nothing like the Medal of Honor,” he continued. “I wanted one, but they told me I don't qualify, Woody. I said, 'Can I give it to myself anyway?' They said, 'I don't think that's a good idea.'” 💡 

Amid scattered chuckles, Trump concluded: “Great, great people. These are great, great men and women that get congressional Medal of Honor. Thank you, Woody.”

The president’s assessment that he should receive the nation’s highest award for acts of military valor followed his statement earlier Wednesday afternoon that he is “the chosen one” in relation to his administration’s trade conflict with China — a proclamation he turned to the sky to deliver. 

Trump never served in the military and was granted five draft deferments — four for college and one for bone spurs in his heel.


Why does Trump continue to lie, with the lies becoming more baroque and more frequent? Salon offers one theory:

One possible explanation for the increase in the number of Trump's lies is that as the president has continued to lie with relative political impunity, he has grown desensitized to the instinctive reluctance most people feel about saying that which they know to be severely exaggerated or flat-out untrue.

People become inured to lies in the same way they do to perfume or medications. Whatever you may think of him, Trump has been a shatterer of norms, an upender of precedent, a flouter of both law and established procedure. Our collective purchase on reality may just be another norm shattered, There are true believers, those who think his continual gaffes, lies and blunders are part of a grand plan, like the Q-Anon people who believe that Trump and Robert Mueller are collaborating on a plan to take down the "deep state" and the pedo ring being run out of the non-existent basement of Comet Pizza by Hillary Clinton.

Trump's real effect is to exact a massive toll on us all, in terms of time, attention and energy stolen from decent souls obliged to pay attention to rage tweets, helicopter-wash press gaggles, and on-again, off-again policy pronouncements. "Trump fatigue syndrome" is a real thing, and perhaps the point; while most of us find ourselves mentally and spiritually exhausted by the serial idiocy of the Tweeter-in-Chief, and turn away from the news in disgust, the better for his appointed foxes to loot every henhouse.


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. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

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Bill Clinton was first boomer president, followed by Bush, Obama, and Trump. True, neither candidate [...]

Biden and Bernie are members of the Silent Generation. Neither one is a boomer. I think Trump is on [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

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Simplifying the Final Countdown

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

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Singularity of the Dollar

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Collapse Fiction

Useful Links

Technical Journals

Climate change is expected to affect the occurrence of forest pests. This study depicts a method to [...]

The grapevine (Vitis vinifera, L.) has been long since recognized as an ozone-sensitive plant. Ozone [...]

Climate change imposes great challenges on the built heritage sector by increasing the risks of ener [...]

Deterministic–stochastic empirical mode decomposition (EMD) is used to obtain low-frequency (n [...]