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 Economic Undertow

…Largely left out of the peak oil- and energy discussions is the consumer side of the process. Generally, petroleum analysis focuses on how much we have left; extraction and the rate of extraction. We love talking about how much we have left, it makes our private parts seem that much larger, it reinforces our sense of how clever we are, it also distracts us from how much treasure we’ve already squandered along with what little we have to show for it. As with other critical areas of our society, we set out to get rich first so that we could afford to solve wealth-related problems later. To pursue the highest level of growth we put hundreds of millions of drivers onto the roads circling between gas stations like flying Dutchmen 

This is where the self-driving cars enter the picture, billions of them can motor aimlessly around the clock whether they carry passengers or not and make more growth all by themselves = singularity.

It’s a great pretty stupid plan, I didn’t come up with it.

Recently, there is a little bit more discussion about fuel industry costs as drillers confront the near-certain prospect of bankruptcy as their only product runs out. Customers cannot earn by driving in circles so the fuel industry is funded by the same customers reaching for the plastic…

Read more here.

 Our Finite World

 At the Age of Limits Conference, I gave a talk called Converging Crises (PDF), talking about the crises facing us as we reach energy limits. In this post, I discuss some highlights from a fairly long talk.

A related topic is how our current situation is different from past collapses. John Michael Greer talked about prior collapses, but because both of our talks were late in the conference and because I was leaving to catch a plane, we never had a chance to discuss how “this time is different.” To fill this gap, I have included some comments on this subject at the end of this post.

The first three crises are the basic ones: population growth, resource depletion, and environmental degradation. The other crises are not as basic, but still may act to bring the system down.

Humans have found a series of ways to keep deaths down, each adding more control of external energy.

As humans’ control of energy improved, human population grew and the population of other species fell. . .

Humans are not doing anything “wrong.” Humans are reacting to the same instinct that all species have, namely to make use of available energy to allow more of the species to live to maturity.

 

Read more here.

 The Archdruid Report

Myths, according to the philosopher Sallust, are things that never happened but always are. With a few modifications, the same rule applies to the enduring narratives of every culture, the stories that find a new audience in every generation as long as their parent cultures last. Stories of that stature don’t need to chronicle events that actually took place to have something profoundly relevant to say, and the heroic quest I used last week to frame a satire on the embarrassingly unheroic behavior of many of industrial civilization’s more privileged inmates is no exception to that rule.

That’s true of hero tales generally, of course. The thegns and ceorls who sat spellbound in an Anglo-Saxon meadhall while a scop chanted the deeds of Beowulf to the sound of a six-stringed lyre didn’t have to face the prospect of wrestling with cannibalistic ogres or battling fire-breathing dragons, and were doubtless well aware of that fact. If they believed that terrible creatures of a kind no longer found once existed in the legendary past, why, so do we—the difference in our case is merely that we call our monsters “dinosaurs,” and insist that our paleontologist-storytellers be prepared to show us the bones.

Read more here.
 Kunstler

This is a society in deep danger that doesn’t want to know it. The nostrum of an expanding GDP is just statistical legerdemain performed to satisfy stupid news editors, gull loose money into reckless positions, and bamboozle the voters. If we knew how to act we would bend every effort to prepare for the end of mass motoring, but instead we indulge in fairy tales about the “shale oil miracle” because it offers the comforting false promise that we can drive to WalMart forever (in self-driving cars!). Has it occurred to anyone that we no longer have the capital to repair the vast network of roads, streets, highways, and bridges that all these cars are supposed to run on? Or that the capital will not be there for the installment loans Americans are accustomed to buy their cars with?

The global economy is withering quickly because it was just a manifestation of late-stage cheap oil. Now we’re in early-stage of expensive oil and a lot of things that seemed to work wonderfully well before, don’t work so well now. The conveyer belt of cheap manufactured goods from China to the WalMarts and Target stores doesn’t work so well when the American customers lose their incomes, and have to spend their government stipends on gasoline because they were born into a world where driving everywhere for everything is mandatory, and because central bank meddling adds to the horrendous inflation of food prices.

Read more here.

 Nature Bats Last

Recently, I’ve noticed some longtime activist voices verbalizing a new perspective and one that some would label as “defeatist.” Writing in his “How To Save The World Blog,” Dave Pollard recently offered a piece entitled “In Defense Of Inaction,” in which he states:

“No one is in control. The enemy, if there is one, is not a cabal of elites, but a set of co-dependent collapsing systems that every one of us has a vested interest in trying (insanely) to perpetuate. Systems we have all helped co-create and are almost all dependent on…The question we must each ask ourselves, I think, is this: If we acknowledge that our systems and hence our civilization cannot be reformed or ‘saved’, what can we do now that will make a real difference, for the future, in our communities and for those we love?…The insanely rational answer to this question, I think, is (a) probably nothing, and (b) it’s too early to know.”

Isn’t this just giving up, or giving in? The pathetic whining of defeatists? How can any respectable activist utter these words?

Read more here.

The Anti-Empire Report #129

I have great admiration for the young Mr. Snowden, for what he did and for how he expresses himself. He may not be a radical, but he is a hero. His moral courage, nerve, composure, and technical genius are magnificent. I’m sure the NBC interview won him great respect and a large number of new supporters. I, in Edward’s place, would be even more hated by Americans than he is, even if I furthered the radicalization of more of them than he has. However, I of course would never have been invited onto mainstream American television for a long interview in prime time. (Not counting my solitary 15 minutes of fame in 2006 courtesy of Osama bin Laden; a gigantic fluke happening.)

Apropos Snowden’s courage and integrity, it appears that something very important has not been emphasized in media reports: In the interview, he took the Russian government to task for a new law requiring bloggers to register – the same government which holds his very fate in their hands.

Read more here

This Week In Doom June 8, 2014

by Surly 1
Freda-Right-to-Live-copy-600x637‘Twas a week in which a US President made a deal to bring a hostage home and got nothing but criticism for his trouble. The world celebrated the 50th anniversary of D-Day. Obama and Putin spoke privately. Poroshenko, the Willy Wonka of Ukraine, was sworn in as president. Open Carry Tarrant County continued to “educate the public” by dropping in fully armed at restaurants; a Ukrainian jet killed eight in Luhansk; Verizon had a big sad because Netflix told the truth about its bandwidth-throttling; GM recalled another 106,000 vehicles; a Vermont gun store laid off 41 and blamed Obama, who may also be responsible for the resurgence of polio, decreased sunspot activity, an outbreak of genital herpes and a US plague lab in Kazakhstan. Kenyan police seized hundreds of elephant tusks, the Thai military swept the country for weapons, and Brazil’s “love hotels” were refurbished for the World Cup. But we won’t be talking about any of that. Because this is That Was The Week in Doom, where we look for themes, context, and any good excuse for a rant. We’ll look at capitalism’s assault on our food supply, on the very notion of national self-determination, and at the elite’s favored tool for control, “privatization.”

 

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" As a daily reader of all of the doomsday blogs, e.g. the Diner, Nature Bats Last, Zerohedge, Scribbler, etc… I must say that I most look forward to your “off the microphone” rants. Your analysis, insights, and conclusions are always logical, well supported, and clearly articulated – a trifecta not frequently achieved."- Joe D

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Knarf's Knewz Archives

3/5/2015

Computerized Vote Counting: The Hole in America's Political Bucket


Lost in Detention



Chemical Exposure Linked to Billions in Health Care Costs



Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2015



Yes, Black America Fears the Police. Here’s Why.



Judge tells NYPD to follow the law, demands new stop-and-frisk tactics



The case against private education: Why we put our kids in public school



Cleaner air is linked to stronger lungs in Southern California children



Tech-Savvy Women Farmers Find Success with SIM Cards



Americans Can Go to Cuba - Just Not for Tourism

3/4/2015

Supreme Court Obamacare Fight Over Four Words Could Affect Healthcare for Millions


Oil Company Sues to Overturn San Benito County Fracking Ban; Could Affect Other Counties



NSA, Maryland Shootings Possibly Linked



Warmest Winter Records Shattered in West, but Reporters Still Won't Say "Climate Change"



Shellacked on the State Level, Democrats Chart a Way Out of the Wilderness



"Cultural Fascism Has Arrived": How the GOP Blew Its Outreach to Racial Minorities



With Jury Chosen, Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Starts Today



How to Cut the Prison Population by 50 Percent



Canadian Government Pushing First Nations to Give Up Land Rights for Oil and Gas Profits



Another Attempt to Tell the EPA What Science It Can Use From House Republicans

3/3/2015

Environmentalists Link Plunge of Monarch Butterfly to Pesticide


Is A Bolder President Obama Emerging Like a Phoenix From the Ashes of the Midterms, Instead of a Lame Duck?



Villarrica Volcano Erupts in Southern Chile, Thousands Flee



Boehner to Allow Clean Homeland Security Vote



US Democracy Is Doomed



Every Time Winter's Extreme Cold Claims a Life, We Have Failed the Homeless



Gas Industry’s Solution to Toxic Wastewater: Spray It on Roads



Obama’s Military-Force Resolution Sets the Stage for a New Era of Imperialism



Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email as Secretary of State, Perhaps Illegally



Violence Caused by Far-Right Extremists Has Surpassed That Caused by Domestic Jihadists, Study Says

3/2/2015

Dahr Jamail | The "Mega-Drought Future," Disappearance of Coral Reefs and Our Unwillingness to Listen


If Supreme Court rules against Obamacare, states have few options



"Bringing a foreign leader before Congress to challenge a president’s policies is unprecedented."



White House task force calls for increased oversight of police



Centrist Dems ready strike against Warren wing



Google gives new meaning to “Orwellian”



Dianne Feinstein: Benjamin Netanyahu 'Arrogant' For Claiming To Speak For All Jews



Our election system’s anti-minority bias is even worse than you think



How Emulsifiers Are Messing with Our Guts (and Making Us Fat)



The Black Lives Matter Movement Needs the Black Panthers

3/1/2015

Meet the Southern Tycoons Helping Fund the Koch Brothers' Political War Chest


Our Condolences: How the US Paid for Death and Damage in Afghanistan



Thousands march in Russia to mourn Putin critic Boris Nemtsov



US Seeks to Deport Bosnians Over War Crimes



FEMA: Evidence of fraud in Hurricane Sandy reports



Our Election System’s Racial Bias Is Even Worse Than You Think



The Real Social Security Crisis Is Income Inequality



Why More Black Parents Are Homeschooling Their Children



US-Cuba Officials: Diplomatic Ties Could Resume by Mid-April



This SCOTUS Destroyed the US: How Citizens United Is Ruining More Than Our Elections

2/28/2015

The United State's Terrorist Legacy of Lynching


Congress averts Homeland Security shutdown with one-week extension



Police: Gunman Killed Seven and Then Himself at Multiple Crime Scenes in Rural Missouri



Virtual Charter School Network Making Profit at the Expense of California Schoolchildren, Study Finds



In the War of GMO Labeling, Big Food Is Losing the Crucial PR Battle



Hundreds of Illicit Oil Wastewater Pits Found in Kern County, California



With Chicago Tired of “Mayor 1%,” Chuy García Could Actually Win His Runoff With Rahm Emanuel



"The Interests of the Wealthy": How the Rich Control Politicians - Even More Than You Think



Twelve Ways to Reverse Inequality and Close the “California Chasm”



House Republicans Slip Anti-Abortion Language Into Education Bill

2/27/2015

Senator Whitehouse Rips "The Senator With the Snowball"


In the War of GMO Labeling, Big Food Is Losing the Crucial PR Battle



CPAC 2015 Wants You to Know: You Are In Terrible Danger



How Google's Silence Helped Net Neutrality Win



The Big Melt: Antarctica's Retreating Ice May Re-Shape Earth



The Brief Life and Private Death of Alexandria Hill



The Siberian Crater Saga Is More Widespread - and Scarier - Than Anyone Thought



UN Reveals "Credible and Reliable" Evidence of US Military Torture in Afghanistan



At CPAC, Scott Walker Compares Wisconsin Protesters to ISIS



The Mystery of the Civil War’s Camp Casey

2/26/2015

"Gestapo" Tactics at US Police "Black Site" Ring Alarm From Chicago to Washington


Warming World: Is Capitalism Destroying Our Planet?

Crude Awakening: How the Keystone Veto Dashes Canada's "Superpower" Dreams

Goldman Employees Rake In $2 Billion From 2008 Options

Here is the New Homeland Security Report on "Sovereign Citizen Extremist" Violence

Hell on Earth: A Political Theory of Holy War

Net Neutrality: FCC Set to Vote on New Rules Governing Future of Broadband


'2014 Was a Catastrophic Year,' Amnesty International Says



Kerry Blasts Netanyahu: He's 'Wrong' on Iran Deal Like He Was on Iraq War

2/25/2015

States Are Blocking Local Regulations, Often at Industry’s Behest


Official: Radioactive Fukushima Water Leak Was Unreported for Months



The United States' Radioactive National Park



Alaska's marijuana entrepreneurs eager to open for business



Top Medical Groups Say Gun Violence Is a Public Health Crisis



US 'Electoral Integrity' Ranked 45th Among 107 Nations, 'Worst of Established Democracies'



Corals face 'slow starvation' from ingesting plastics pollution, experts find



Vast dust bowls threaten tens of millions with hunger



This Is the Most Economically Segregated City in the US



How regulators and legislators make it harder for you to use solar power

2/24/2015

Edward Snowden Has Just One Regret


Malkia Cyril: Net Neutrality Is the Civil Rights Act for the Internet



JPMorgan, Still On 2-Year Probation, Under Scrutiny in Gold Fixing Probe



The Global Water Crisis



"People Are Really Getting Angry": How Bernie Sanders Just Electrified Iowa - and What It Means for ’16



Right Wing Radio Host Hugh Hewitt to Moderate First GOP Presidential Debate



Who’s Afraid of Chicago’s Progressive Aldermen? Rahm Emanuel, That’s Who.



Republicans Split on DHS Funding, Edging Closer to Partial Agency Shutdown



Comcast Made $68 Billion in 2014



Alaska Becomes Third State With Legal Marijuana but Bans Smoking In Public

2/23/2015

NSA chief declines comment on spyware reports, says program are lawful


Justice seeks stay to implement Obama's immigration orders



Border Patrol sees little reform on agents' use of force



The United States' Freelance ISIS Killers



Australia May Stop Providing Water and Power to Remote Aboriginal Communities



TransCanada has big new plans for moving oil around, and you won't like them



The Widening War Against Boko Haram



Australia reveals tough new security measures (VIDEO)



Net neutrality: A lobbying bonanza



Secrecy around police surveillance equipment proves a case’s undoing

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