Pope

The Population Problem

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Published on Cassandra's Legacy on April 11, 2016

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Should the Pope tell people to stop breeding like rabbits?

In this post, I argue that overpopulation is a complex problem that has to do with human choices at the level of single families. It is not impossible that such choices will eventually lead to a stabilization of the world population at a sustainable level. It has happened in some historical cases, such as in Japan during the Edo period.

The population question arises strong feelings everytime it is mentioned and there is a general feeling that people will keep reproducing like rabbits unless something drastic is done to stop them. This position often goes in parallel with criticism to religious leaders and to religions in general, accused of encouraging people to reproduce like rabbits. Or, at least, to hide the fact that reproducing like rabbits is bad for the planet.

But is it true that people tend to reproduce like rabbits? And would they stop if someone, let's say the pope, were to tell them to stop? Maybe, but things cannot be so simple. Let me show you an example: Japan during the Edo period.
 


The population of Japan during the Edo Period (uncorrected data as reported by the bBafuku government). It shows how it is perfectly possible to attain a stable population in an agricultural society, even without "top-down" rules and laws. (data source, see also this link)

Note how the population has remained relatively constant for at least 150 years. It is a fascinating story, discussed in detail in the book "Mabiki: Infanticide and Population Growth in Eastern Japan, 1660–1950" by Fabian Drixler. Here is an illustration from the book:
 


Another impressive set of data: the net reproduction rates in Japan remained around or below the replacement rate during the Edo period, keeping the population constant for, indeed, something like one century and a half. It is also impressive to note how the reproduction rate literally exploded afterward, bringing the Japanese population from the ca. 25 millions of the Edo period to the present level of around 125 million, five times larger. Note also how rapidly the reproduction rate collapsed after the 1950s; it is a stark example of what we call the "demographic transition."

As we can see from these data, human reproduction strategies are much more complex than what you would imagine if you limit yourself to the biblical commandment "grow and multiply". The Japanese did NOT reproduce like rabbits during the Edo period. It doesn't appear that they were forced to reduce their birthrate by the government or by religious credences. Some famines are reported in Japan during the Edo period, but they couldn't have been truly disastrous, otherwise you would see their effects in the population curve. The population remained stable, it seems, mainly by "bottom-up" strategies at the level of single women or single families: contraception and, when that was not enough, infanticide.

So, what led the Japanese families to choose (rather than being forced) to limit their reproduction rate? There is plenty of scientific literature on the strategies of reproduction of various species, including the human one. The basic idea is that, in all cases, parents have a choice on how to employ their limited resources. Either they invest in having a large number of offspring (the "r-strategy", also the "rabbit strategy") or they invest in caring for their young until they reach adulthood (the "K-strategy" or the "Elephant strategy"). The choice of the reproductive strategy depends on the situation.  Let me cite directly from a paper by Figueredo et al. (1)

…… all things being equal, species living in unstable (e.g., fluctuation in food availability) and unpredictable (e.g., high predation) environments tend to evolve clusters of “r-selected” traits associated with high reproductive rates, low parental investment, and relatively short intergeneration times. In contrast, species living in stable and predictable environmental conditions tend to evolve clusters of “K-selected” traits associated with low reproductive rates, high parental investment, and long intergeneration times.

Humans, clearly, are more like elephants than like rabbits. The number of children that a human female can give birth to is limited, and it is normally a good strategy for her to maximize the survival chances of fewer children, rather than trying to have as many as possible. So, for most of humankind's history a family – or a single woman – would examine its environment and make a rough estimate of what chances their (or her) children could have to survive and prosper. In conditions of limited resources and strong competition, it makes sense for parents to maximize the health and fitness of their children by having a small number of them. It seems to be what happened in Japan during the Edo period: facing limited resources in a limited island, people decided to limit the number of their offspring, applying the "K-strategy."

The opposite is true for periods of abundant resources and scarce competition. When the economy is growing, families may well project this growth to the future and estimate that their children will have plenty of opportunities, then it makes sense to have a larger number of them – hence to apply the "r-strategy". The dramatic growth of population during the past 1-2 centuries is the result of the increasing consumption of fossil fuels. Everywhere, and in Japan as well, people reacted by filling up what they saw as open slots for their children. But with the second half of the 20th century, economic growth slowed down and people started to perceive that the world was rapidly filling up and that the economy wasn't growing anymore. They may not have perceived the depletion of mineral resources, but the result was obvious anyway. It was the "demographic transition," normally related to increasing wealth, but that we may also see as the result of a perception of the future that was seen as less rosy than before.

There are other cases of human populations that remained stable for some periods, so we may conclude that humans do not – definitely – reproduce like rabbits; except in some very special are rare conditions of history. Humans are intelligent creatures and, within some limits, they choose how many children to have in such a way to maximize their survival probabilities. The human population will tend to grow in a condition of economic growth, but it should tend to stabilize in static economic conditions. So, if we were able to stabilize the economic system, avoiding major wars and the need of cannon fodder, then the human population may well stabilize by itself, without any need for a "top-down" intervention by governments (or maybe by the Pope). Unfortunately, between now and then, there is a little problem called "overshoot" and stabilization at a sustainable level may be anything but painless. But if stabilization was possible on the island of Japan during the 19th century, why can't it happen in the larger island that we call "Earth"?

See also a post of mine titled "The cuckoo that won't sing: sustainability and Japanese culture"

1. Aurelio José Figueredo, Geneva Vásquez, Barbara H. Brumbach, Stephanie M.R. Schneider, Jon A. Sefcek, Ilanit R. Tal, Dawn Hill, Christopher J. Wenner, W. Jake Jacobs, Consilience and Life History Theory: From genes to brain to reproductive strategy, Developmental Review, Volume 26, Issue 2, June 2006, Pages 243-275, ISSN 0273-2297, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2006.02.002

Hope Fear Debt Paranoia

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Published on Peak Surfer on September 27, 2015

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"Michael Moore: 'The Pope's first miracle.'"

 
Hope, fear, debt and paranoia have been recurrent themes running through our past month as we traversed the northwest corner of the European continent through Iceland, Britain and Denmark.
 
Iceland is the country that told the world its bankers are not too big to jail and it will not be blackmailed by London, Bonn, or the European central banks. It is still taken to the woodshed regularly and reminded who is in charge. Icelanders are not free to leave their country or to take money with them if they are allowed to go.
 
Britain is Europe's bad boy, master of every latest Ponzi scheme and constantly one step ahead of collapse, eking astonishing profits as all about her topple and fall. Denmark is a dreamweaver, whose sheer powers of imagineering seem to emanate an aura that can warp reality. With nothing but fairy dust to back its notes and debts, it is poised to test the durability of its famed social capital when placed in the vice grip of open imigration. Like many former bastions of European liberalism, it has taken a hard swing to the right and is getting set for the clown show that follows.

 

 

The United States is far along down the circus trail, having starved its science, educational and social programs for decades while feeding its population a steady diet of numbing pharmaceuticals, mind-rotting television, high fructose corn syrup and GMOs, until they can be readily induced in their coma to vote against their own interests, over and over, producing a government of popular lunacy — clownocracy — a Mad Hatter's Tea Party overseen by Donald Trump, as Queen of Hearts; "a sort of embodiment of ungovernable passion – a blind and aimless Fury" (description by Lewis Carroll).

Debt is a theft of the options of future generations. To escape debt and claw their way back from penury people will rape, plunder and pillage every last sacred resource, leaving not an inheritance but a ruin. Cascading debt may sweep much of civilization away, perhaps in Jubilee, but the damage will have been done to foundations — and be visited as ecosystem death. Every dollar that cannot possibly be repaid in sweat and hours becomes a drain on Earth's operating system. We grew giddy wealthy on our energy slaves. Don't look now, but they just left and winter is coming.

Obstruction is an occupational hazard we accept because we are in the business of bringing hope, otherwise labeled permaculture, or ecovillage, but we are frequently obstructed and overpowered by those other three elements — fear, debt and paranoia. From time to time we break through enough to peer over the horizon and see what might yet be.
 
Fear and paranoia are what drive the security state apparatus we encounter most closely and personally when we stand in long lines at airports and then let some gentleman we have only just met fondle our genitals. Of course, we could avoid having our genitals fondled if we would agree to placing ourselves in front of his death ray for a few milliseconds. We know that a few milliseconds won't kill us on the spot but its like buying a ticket in the cancer lottery, and we go through airports often so if we didn't do this fondling ritual we might soon have a shoebox full of such raffle tickets, and who knows? We might win.
 
Research suggests that anywhere from six to 100 U.S. airline passengers each year may be getting cancer from the machines.  Still, any time you opt out, some brainwashed TSA officer will try to persuade you that scanners are “safe,” or equal to “less than three minutes of air travel,” glossing over the fact that even the lowest doses of ionizing radiation — the kind beamed directly at the body by the scanners and qualitatively not much different in the non-ionizing radiation of millimeter wave devices — will increase your lifetime risk of cancer and inherited damage to your offspring, increasing your and their susceptibility to hundreds of genetically related diseases and disabilities.
 
It is refreshing to go through airports in Europe and not have to go through these machines because they are banned in Europe and would have been banned in the United States had the scientific or medical community made the call. As it was, the call was made by apparatchiks who skipped the legally required public comment period before deploying the scanners, and bypassed the Food and Drug Administration by waving their Patriot Act, and then, in defending these cruel devices, relied on a small body of unpublished research to insist the machines were safe, ignoring contrary opinions from U.S. and European authorities that recommended precautions, especially for pregnant women. Rapiscan employed Chertoff Group, founded by Homeland Security Nomenklatura Michael Chertoff, to make sure the government worked for them.
 
In 2013, under threat of a court order, TSA removed the ProVision, made by defense contractor L-3 Communications, from the most busy US airports but re-installed them in smaller airports, such as ours at Nashville. With the L-3, a passenger enters a chamber that looks like a round phone booth and is scanned with a form of low-energy radio waves which have not yet been shown cause cancer, but only because that kind of epidemiological research can take up to half a century. Nonetheless, the mechanism for DNA disruption is established by research into powerlines and other sources of electromagnetic radiation. Millimeter wave devices like the L-3 re-sequence DNA in dividing cells. Does that sound safe?
 
A review by the National Academy of Sciences found “no compelling evidence” that there is any level of radiation at which the risk of cancer is zero. Rapiscan and the Chertoff group rake in half-a-billion tax dollars per year because safety advocates, medical community and the FDA cannot get traction against paranoia.
 
We don't place the rational avoidance of premature death and disability in the category of either fear or paranoia. It is merely good sense. We also know that if even ten percent of people were aware of the risk and acted rationally with regard to those airport scanners and opted for the pat-down as we do, then the whole fake façade of security would come to a grinding halt. TSA might actually re-examine their machine's efficacy and decide to do as they do in Europe: junk them.
 
Which brings us to the Pope and the U.S. Budget.
 
John Boehner looking like the cat that swallowed the canary

Watching the Pope speak to Congress from the C-Realm watchtower in Brooklyn we were struck by how uncomfortable the Speaker of the House, Hon. John Boehner, a devout Catholic, seemed during that part of the speech, so passionately phrased and delivered, about not falling into a polarized view of the world. The whole Republican plan for world domination is based on repeating the mantra, “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.” This is how they can get away with not releasing the Senate Committee Report on torture, fight trillion-dollar wars against countries that have not threatened them, dig deeper data mines for blanket surveillance, and why you have to take off your shoes at US airports but not abroad. 

 
In 2001 “Shoebomber” Richard Reid attempted to detonate explosives packed into his shoes while on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami. He just gave himself a hotfoot, no worse, but he is now serving 3 consecutive life terms without parole, plus 110 years, in maximum security prison. There was also an underwear bomber on Christmas Day, 2009, using about the same size device, made of identical plastic explosive, but for some unexplained reason no one asks us to take off our underwear.
 
There is also no reason to imagine that the plastic explosive used by both the Shoebomber and the Underwearbomber would be detected today any better than it was in 2001 and 2009. It would pass right through x-rays and scanners without looking any different than any other shoes, underwear, belt buckle, book or briefcase. The scanners are useless as detection devices, but useful to keep an entire population frightened, and that is the idea. It is about polarization. Us and the Muslims, the rich and the rabble, survivors and zombies.
 
The Speaker, seated a few feet behind the Holy Father, was fidgeting and then wiping tears. Right afterwards Republicans voted to drop their usual budget blackmail and avert yet another government shutdown, saving billions in tax waste and fraud, and the next morning after attending mass as he does daily, Boehner, the highest ranking member and third in line to the Presidency, announced he was retiring from politics at the end of October, giving only one month's notice. He said he came to the conclusion after morning prayers that “today's the day I'm going to do this. Simple as that.” 
 
Michael Moore called this the Pope's first miracle. "God knows what’s next over there,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told her staff members. “Coming from earthquake country, this is a big one.” Boehner "blamed the House’s hard-right members, who he said were unwilling to govern," which was, of course, the Pope's point.
 
A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.
 
Perhaps the Pope gives USAnians too much credit. Still, the line about “to imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place” has real substance in the context of the Bush/Cheney legacy. Paranoia is in the driver's seat in Washington. It is not a rational fear, based on real enemies. It is an irrational fear based on a perverted sense of entitlement and the perceived but incorrect need to protect your superabundant ill-gotten gains from forceful repossession by their rightful owners.
 
Ironically, this has been the racket of the Holy See for a couple millennia. What's more to be feared than burning in Hell for all eternity? Is that what John Boehner thought about in his morning prayers?
 
If he is changing his life now and wants some real hope, we will be offering more permaculture design courses next Spring.
 

The Vicar Visits Congress

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on October 2, 2015

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Big Newz from last week besides the endless stream of Refugee stories was the visit by His Holiness, Vicar of Christ on Earth, Pope Francis to the Hallowed Halls of Congress.

The VoCoE has been making a lot of Headlines lately, a couple of months ago he issued out an Encyclical "Laudato si", which translates from Latin as "Praise be to you".  Basically his Popeness was encouraging the flock to take better care of the Earth, and also to do a better job of sharing the wealth of the Planet.

1. “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.[1]

 

2. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.

The share the wealth thing didn't play too well with right wing think tanks however.  From the Gatestone Institute International Policy Council:

  • Some high-profile commentators think they smell a Marxist clothed in white papal robes, who dreams of redistributing the world's wealth. Pope Francis insists that he has little interest in Marxism and that his political advocacy against materialism, capitalism, greed and idolatry are largely religious in nature. However, the flavor of some of his statements might suggest otherwise.

  • The Pope also knows that the UN is poised to strong-arm member nations to sign on to an impossible globalist agenda that will require a total shift of the world's wealth, and a restructuring of international politics and economics with a one-world government and a universal religion at the steering wheel.

  • Even to the Pope's admirers, that sounds a less like peace and love and more like a utopian totalitarian nightmare.

OMFG!!!!  THE POPE IS A COMMIE!

Not to mention he also wants a One World Goobermint with the Holy Roman Catholic Church in charge again!

Now, anybody who gets the righty think tanks in such a tizzy gets a thumbs up from me for that, and overall I do support the agenda of His Holiness on these issues.  However, I do have a few issues with exactly how serious he is in terms of doing more than just jawboning.

With that in mind, here's the Pope Rant:

Snippet:

The fact religion is becoming more prominent in the political environment is a disturbing, if not unexpected outcome. Much of the popular sentiment against the refugees stems from the fact they are by and large overwhelmingly Muslim. The Hungarians for instance have explicitly stated they will only take Christian refugees, although I don't know how you can determine this with folks leaving war zones with no documentation. Who would you call to find out if they attended Sunday Church services recently?

 

There is also a huge cultural divide between the more fundamentalist Muslim sects and Western culture and ideas about women's rights, standards of dress and so forth. Polygamy is still acceptable in many Muslim nations, and child brides are fairly common as well. Arranged marriages rather than the Western ideal of Romantic Love forming the basis for a marriage also are common. To the Westerner, this all seems positively medieval. To the Muslim Fundamentalist, its positively lurid that women are allowed to walk around with short skirts and hit the beaches in itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikinis. You smash together two groups of people with such wildly different cultural perspectives and sprinkle in the vast inequality of wealth since even f they had some money when they left their home countries they are probably dead broke by the time they make it to Sweden or Germany, and you have an instant recipe for social strife.

FOR THE REST, LISTEN TO THE RANT!

Debunking Near Term Human Extinction

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on September 27, 2015

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Besides the ongoing collapse of the monetary system which fill the Newz headlines every day with a plethora of stories of bankrupt countries and mass layoffs, ever more people on Food Stamps and living out of their cars even if they have a full time job, probably the hottest topic in the collapse blogosphere is the question of Near Term Human Extinction.  I've covered it in rants and I've done surveys to see what the readers think on this topic also, but it's the collapse gift that keeps on giving.

The most well known person throuh the collapse blogosphere hawking this concept is Guy McPherson who runs the blog Nature Bats Last, but by no means is he the only one these days.  In his Encyclical, even the POPE insinuated this as a possibility in his Encyclical on Climate.

Before beginning here on debunking this idea, let me state for the record that NTHE is possible, and the longer you go out on the timeline the more possible it becomes.  Go out far enough on the timeline, it's inevitable and always has been. As the tagline goes on Zero Hedge, "On a long enough timeline, the survival of everyone drops to Zero". The issue is about the likelihood this can occur on short timelines.  In Guy's case, he has the timeline down to as soon as 2030 now.  That means every last Homo Sap on the planet is DEAD in 15 years.

http://izquotes.com/quotes-pictures/quote-on-a-long-enough-timeline-the-survival-rate-for-everyone-drops-to-zero-chuck-palahniuk-285421.jpg

For our purposes in this examination though, we'll consider "Near Term" to be anything under a Century.

The second caveat to this examination is that it is looking strictly at the Climate Change problem, not at the possibility we are on a collision course with Planet X or that the numbskulls with their Fingers on the Nuke Buttons will push them and set off Global Thermonuclear War.  Either of those as well as a few other scenarious could vastly accelerate the extinction of Homo Sap.

The question we are looking at here is:

Will a rise in Average Global Temperature (AGT) by 4C exterminate all Homo Saps inside the Next Century due to loss of Habitat and die off of many species we currently depend on?

Let's begin with what the current Average Global Temperature (AGT) actually IS at the moment.

Climatologists prefer to combine short-term weather records into long-term periods (typically 30 years) when they analyze climate, including global averages. Between 1961 and 1990, the annual average temperature for the globe was around 57.2°F (14.0°C), according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Now, according to the NOAA, as of August 2015, the current Average Global Temperature is 1.14C over the 20th Century Average.

The average global land surface temperature for August 2015 was 1.14°C (2.05°F) above the 20th century average

So let us be generous on the warming side and say the current AGT is up to 16 C now.  Let us warm this up further by another 4C over the next 15 years to 20 C.

Now, Guy's hypothesis states that no Homo Saps have ever been alive when the AGT was that warm, and that is true.  However, can you draw the conclusion from that it is IMPOSSIBLE for Homo Sap to survive at such an AGT?  Other mammals (our ancestors) survived an even warmer time period, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) when the AGT went up to about 25 C or so.  If other mammals could do it back then, why in principle can we not do it again this time?

The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), alternatively "Eocene thermal maximum 1" (ETM1), and formerly known as the "Initial Eocene" or "Late Paleocene Thermal Maximum" refers to a climate event that began at the temporal boundary between the Paleocene and Eocene epochs. The absolute age and duration of the event remain uncertain, but are thought to be close to 55.8 million years ago and about 170,000 years of duration[1][2][3] The PETM has become a focal point of considerable geoscience research because it probably provides our best past analog by which to understand impacts of global warming and massive carbon input to the ocean and atmosphere, including ocean acidification.[4]

The onset of the PETM has been linked to an initial 5 °C temperature rise and extreme changes in Earth’s carbon cycle.[5] The PETM is marked by a prominent negative excursion in carbon stable isotope (δ13C) records from around the globe; more specifically, there was a large decrease in 13C/12C ratio of marine and terrestrial carbonates and organic carbon.[5][6][7]

Numerous other changes can be observed in stratigraphic sections containing the PETM.[5] Fossil records for many organisms show major turnovers. For example, in the marine realm, a mass extinction of benthic foraminifera, a global expansion of subtropical dinoflagellates, and an appearance of excursion, planktic foraminifera and calcareous nanofossils all occurred during the beginning stages of PETM. On land, there was a sudden appearance of modern mammal orders (including primates) in Europe and North America. Sediment deposition changed significantly at many outcrops and in many drill cores spanning this time interval.

Although it is now widely accepted that the PETM represents a “case study” for global warming and massive carbon input to Earth’s surface, the cause, details and overall significance of the event remain perplexing.

Guy's case is that Habitat will be so destroyed globally by such a rise in AGT, that there simply will be NOWHERE Homo Sap can survive on the planet.  Is that necessarily true?

Well, first off you have to remember this is an AVERAGE taken over the whole globe, it is not the average for a given region in any given time period.  Right now, TODAY, many people live in neighborhoods which have yearly average temperatures quite a bit warmer than this. Lagos in Nigeria is one such place, but there are many in the equatorial regions of the Earth.

February is the hottest month in Lagos with an average temperature of 29°C (84°F) and the coldest is July at 25°C (77°F)

There are a LOT of people currently living in Lagos, like around 20M of them and that's just one Big Shity in Nigeria too!  They don't all have HVAC either, in fact most of them live in slums with no electricity at all!  So clearly, Homo Sap can survive at these temperatures.

Granted though, this is rather sweaty and uncomfortable weather overall, but if the AGT is 20C, does that mean every neighbohood is 20 C?  Of course not, because the average temperature for any given location depends on its Latitude and its Altitude.

Starting with Altitude, you drop almost 2C for every 1000' in altitude you gain

Although the actual atmospheric lapse rate varies, under normal atmospheric conditions the average atmospheric lapse rate results in a temperature decrease of 6.4 °C/km (3.5 °F or 1.95 °C/1,000 ft) of altitude above ground level.

So, all you need to do in any given latitude is situate yourself 2000' above sea level and you have already knocked off 4 C tempeature rise on a global average.

The situation is similar with Latitude:

Temperature also decreases as latitude becomes more northward in the Northern Hemisphere and more southerly in the Southern Hemisphere. Latitude in this sense simply refers to a measurement of movement north or south across the surface of the earth. The general rule is that temperature changes three (3) degrees Fahrenheit for every 300 mile change in latitude at an elevation of sea level. If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, you can expect temperatures to be 3 degrees cooler 300 miles north, 6 degrees cooler 600 miles north, and so on, until you reach the North Pole. The same is true for the Southern Hemisphere, except that temperatures cool the further you travel from the equator toward the South Pole.

So, depending where you are in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, you can knock off aroun 1.5C for every 300 Miles you move from your current location.  Can you stand the heat where you currently live without HVAC?  If you can, each time the AGT goes up by 1.5C, you just need to move another 300 miles north or south and you are back to where you started, and that is WITHOUT gaining altitude!

So clearly even with a projected 4 C rise in AGT, there are still going to be zones on the earth with still livable climate for Homo Sap.  It is also by no means clear that we will get 4 C inside of 15 years either.  So it has no good basis in scientific reasoning to suggest that Homo Sap will go extinct in such a short period of time, simply due to a 4 C rise in AGT.

Can Homo Sap experience an extreme Knockdown event in such a short time?  That is much more possible, and perhaps even probable at this point.  The number of neighborhoods that would have both good temperatures and enough water would be vastly reduced from what is available today.  However, a Knockdown event is not an Extinction, and Homo Sap has experienced Knockdowns before and rebounded from them.

Although the cause is disputed, somewhere between 75-200K years ago Homo Sap DNA evidence shows that the population of Homo Sap around at the time experienced a severe bottleneck, which may have been quick or it may have gone on for some time, but the bottleneck is still there:

The Toba catastrophe theory as presented in the late 1990s to early 2000s suggested that a bottleneck of the human population occurred c. 70,000 years ago, proposing that the human population was reduced to perhaps 10,000-30,000 individuals[3] when the Toba supervolcano in Indonesia erupted and triggered a major environmental change. The theory is based on geological evidence of sudden climate change and on coalescence evidence of some genes (including mitochondrial DNA, Y-chromosome and some nuclear genes)[4] and the relatively low level of genetic variation in humans.[3]

However, coalescence times for Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA have been revised to well above 100,000 years since 2011. In addition, such coalescence would not, in itself, indicate a population bottleneck, because mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome DNA are only a small part of the entire genome, and are atypical in that they are inherited exclusively through the mother or through the father, respectively. Genetic material inherited exclusively from either father or mother can be traced back in time via either matrilineal or patrilineal ancestry.[5]

In 2000, a Molecular Biology and Evolution paper suggested a transplanting model or a 'long bottleneck' to account for the limited genetic variation, rather than a catastrophic environmental change.[6] This would be consistent with suggestions that in sub-Saharan Africa numbers could have dropped at times as low as 2,000, for perhaps as long as 100,000 years, before numbers began to expand again in the Late Stone Age.[7]

So whether this bottleneck was fast or slow, whether the Toba Supervolcano caused it or not, whether the numbers dropped to 30,000, 10,000 or 2000, it's pretty clear the population of Homo Sap can rebound from a very small number to quite a large one, as today there are over 7B who reproduced up from that number.

So not a whole lot of people need to make it through this Zero Point to avoid an Extinction Level Event for Homo Sap.

So we have established now 2 things:

1- The climate in all places on earth is unlikely to become unfit for human habitation

2- The number of people who need to survive in order to avoid extinction is quite small

The next question to address is that of Positive Feedback Loops, which some folks suggest will send the planet into a Venusian style Global Cooking Event, with runaway heating that exceeds even the PETM.  If that were to occur, most certainly Homo Sap and most other living things besides Extremophiles like the Tardigrades would not be able to make it through such an event.  However, does the scientific record of Global Atmospheric Carbon content and Average Global Temperature suggest that is likely?  No it does not.

http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/PageMill_Images/image277.gif

As you can see, basically regardless of how much of the Global Carbon Reservoir gets dumped into the atmosphere for whatever reason, the AGT always plateaus out around 25C.  So for all the Positive Feedback Loops that are out there, at 25C some Negative Feedback Loops must start to kick in.  Unidentified as of yet what they are, but they must be there, otherwise we should have turned into Venus 170M years ago when global atmospheric CO2 was at around 2300 ppm.  We got a lot of carbon to burn to get there in any event, and lots of clathrates have to melt too!  That is not going to happen in 15 years.

The other issue here is what happens to the oceans and all the fishies during this period?  Well, the Ocean is going to continue to acidify, and many current species are going to die off.  Phytoplankton are of particular concern here, since they are in large part responsible for dropping molecular oxygen back into the atmosphere for the animals on the planet to breathe, including you and me.  Can the atmosphere go Anoxic inside 15 years?  No, not even if every last phytoplankton died could that occur, because the atmosphere is a very large sink.  As more animals die off, less oxygen is consumed.  So it takes some time to deplete the atmosphere of oxygen down to say 10% where it would be real difficult to survive.  Although, well acclimated people such as the Sherpas can do OK at 8%.  Obviously, as oxygen levels in the atmosphere decline, only people who can survive with such low concentrations would be selected for.  In any event it takes some time for this to occur, a lot longer than 15 years. There are at least 3 currently living communities of people who can survive these low oxygen concentrations.

Prehistoric and contemporary human populations living at altitudes of at least 8,000 feet (2,500 meters) above sea level may provide unique insights into human evolution, reports an interdisciplinary group of scientists. Indigenous highlanders living in the Andean Altiplano in South America, in the Tibetan Plateau in Asia, and at the highest elevations of the Ethiopian Highlands in east Africa have evolved three distinctly different biological adaptations for surviving in the oxygen-thin air found at high altitude.

Above 25,000', fuhgettabboudit, not even Sherpas can last long up there.  It's the DEATH ZONE.  However, below 8000' or so, even with steady atmospheric oxygen concentrations depleting, it will take a good deal longer than 15 years for that one to occur.

http://listverse.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/bigger.jpg

The Death Zone on Everest

However, the likelihood that all the phytoplankton die off within 15 years itself is quite small.  Remember, they all did not Buy their Ticket to the Great Beyond TM in the PETM, 5-10% of ocean species survived that event.  Phytoplankton are single cell and they reproduce and adapt to changing environmental conditions rapidly.  There has been a dieoff of around 50% of them over the last 40 years or so, but it is unlikely they ALL will die off inside even another 40 years, because this is asymptotic.

Land based ecosystems have their own set of parameters, and some will collapse quickly, others will persist for quite some time to come.  As the population of Homo Sap dwindles, it will migrate to those zones that still have functional ecosystems.  Then in addition, Homo Sap being Sentient can further augment what is available in the local ecosystem, through techniques like Hydroponics and Aquaculture.

This Greenhouse is on the North Slope of Alaska:

http://www.agratech.com/cms/upload/menu/gallery/14/Continental_TagawaWestCoastGrowers4.JPG

So you clearly can feed SOME number of people this way, it's a Non-Zero number, which by definition means you don't have Extinction.  How big that number is remains open to question, but it is certainly more than 100,000, which is more than enough to provide genetic diversity for the species to recover over time.

Now, despite the fact the evidence above shows that Guy's 15 year timeline to Near Term Human Extinction is quite preposterous, does this mean we are not in BIG TROUBLE? 

HELL NO!  WE ARE IN THE DEEP DOO-DOO HERE!

We are going to have a LOT of DEAD PEOPLE!

https://cicisrant.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/dead-people.gif

What is important given this incontravertable fact of life is that the sooner we get started on addressing this problem realistically, the better we can make it possible for not only more people to survive this crash, but more of the rest of the ecosystem too!

For right now, making any changes on the gross geopolitical level is impossible.  The Chinese are going to keep burning coal to keep their electric power plants running as long as they can.  Happy Motorists in the FSoA will keep driving around willy nilly as long as they can too.  The carbon will be burned, the climate will continue to become more inhospitable, for at least the next 40 years no matter what due to the lag time for many effects to show themselves.

However, individuals can begin the process of learning how to survive in a drastically changed environment, and communities can begin to form to handle it as well.  It is up to each person to begin this process inside your own small sphere of influence.  My small sphere is the Doomstead Diner , collapse.global & Sun4Living websites.  That's my effort, that is all an old cripple can do.

If you have talent, knowledge and/or experience, you too can make a difference, and this is no time to be a QUITTER.  Resigning yourself to an inevitable fate of EXTINCTION in the Near Term is QUITTING.  Accepting this situation as HOPELESS is QUITTING.

This is a battle that can be fought, and it is a battle that can be WON!  Not without a lot of pain and a lot of loss, to be sure, but giving up is not an option, unless you really WANT to die, or you want our whole species to die because you think we are so awful and bad to have around on the planet.  If you want to LIVE, you look for means and methods to SURVIVE.

This battle has been waged before by the ancestors of Homo Sap in the PETM, and they won it.

DONE ONCE, IT CAN BE DONE AGAIN.

Hang the Pope?

Off the keyboard of Ugo Bardi

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Published on Resource Crisis on June 18, 2015

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Image above: an internet site with wild accusations against Pope Francis. That's, of course, just the work of an isolated crackpot, but, a hundred years ago, Pope Benedict XV was widely accused of "defeatism" and threatened with hanging when he requested to stop the "useless slaughter" of the first world war. Could something similar occur because of Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change?     P

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The Pope's encyclical on climate is out. I went through it, I think I agree with just about everything in it. From a scientific viewpoint, it seems to me flawless (at least after a first read). In terms of its ethical and human approach, it is even better. I don't see myself as a very religious person, but I think we badly need ways to overcome that peculiarly evil view of the world that sees each one of us as a mere economic agent, interested only in maximizing profits and accumulating capital. That can't be the way to run things on this planet and if we need a religion to tell us that we should do better than that, then welcome religion!!

This said, now what? It was Stalin who mocked the pope by asking how many division he could muster on the battlefield, but – apart from armored divisions – if I were a denier, I would feel dismayed. The beauty of the pope's intervention is that it demolishes right away one of the main stumbling blocks that prevented most people from understanding the gravity and the seriousness of the situation. So far, the forces of denial could paint the whole story of climate change as a silly idea concocted by an isolated group of crackpot scientists. But, now, not anymore. You may agree or not with the pope, but you can't ignore that he represents more than a billion Christians. Not an isolated group of crackpots, for sure. Clearly, the pope's encyclical has forever changed the terms of the debate.

On the other hand, if I were a climate science denier, I would also start thinking about what I could do to oppose the pope and his ideas. And, for this purpose, there are ways. We have, today, a giant mud-slinging machine in place that's called "public relations" (called propaganda in old times). This PR machine is truly an evil force that can destroy anything it decides to destroy; even the pope.

It is not farfetched. Something similar already happened about one century ago, in August 1917, during the first world war. The pope of the time, Benedict XV, appealed to "the heads of warring peoples" to end the "useless slaughter." He was not heard and, at least in Italy, the reaction of some exponents of the war party was that the pope should have been hanged.

So, it is not difficult to imagine ways to use the mud-slinging machine to paint the pope as feeble-minded, misguided, or perhaps much worse than that. Will we see again people asking for "hanging the pope", as it happened in 1917? (*) We can only say that the present situation is even more dramatic than it was at the time of the first world war. There is still time to avoid a climate disaster, but we still face a hard fight. What is sure, anyway, is that the pope's intervention is a big push in the right direction and a great hope for all humankind.

(*) Something like that seems to be already ongoing here.

Dense Fog Turns into Toxic Smog

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

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Published on The Burning Platform on December 31, 2013

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In mid-January of this year I wrote my annual prediction article for 2013 – Apparitions in the Fog. It is again time to assess my inability to predict the future any better than a dart throwing monkey. As usual, sticking to facts was a mistake in a world fueled by misinformation, propaganda, delusion and wishful thinking. I was far too pessimistic about the near term implications of debt, civic decay and global disorder. Those in power have successfully held off the unavoidable collapse which will be brought about by their ravenous unbridled greed, and blatant disregard for the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution and rights and liberties of the American people. The day to day minutia, pointless drivel of our techno-narcissistic selfie showbiz society, and artificially created issues (gay marriage, Zimmerman-Martin, Baby North West, Duck Dynasty) designed to distract the public from thinking, are worthless trivialities in the broad landscape of human history.

The course of human history is determined by recurring cyclical themes based upon human frailties that have been perpetual through centuries of antiquity. The immense day to day noise of an inter-connected techno-world awash in inconsequentialities and manipulated by men of evil intent is designed to divert the attention of the masses from the criminal activities of those in power. It has always been so. There have always been arrogant, ambitious, greedy, power hungry, deceitful men, willing to take advantage of a fearful, lazy, ignorant, selfish, easily manipulated populace. The rhythms of history are unaffected by predictions of “experts” who are paid to spin yarns in order to sustain the status quo. There is no avoiding the consequences of actions taken and not taken over the last eighty years. We are in the midst of a twenty year period of Crisis that was launched in September 2008 with the worldwide financial collapse, created by the Federal Reserve, their Wall Street owners, their bought off Washington politicians, and their media and academic propaganda machines.

I still stand by the final paragraph of my 2013 missive, and despite the fact the establishment has been able to fend off the final collapse of their man made credit boom for longer than I anticipated, they have only insured a far worse outcome when the bubble bursts:

“So now I’m on the record for 2013 and I can be scorned and ridiculed for being such a pessimist when December rolls around and our Ponzi scheme economy hasn’t collapsed. There is no disputing the facts. The economic situation is deteriorating for the average American, the mood of the country is darkening, and the world is awash in debt and turmoil. Every country is attempting to print their way to renewed prosperity. No one wins a race to the bottom. The oligarchs have chosen a path of currency debasement, propping up insolvent banks, propaganda and impoverishing the masses as their preferred course. They attempt to keep the masses distracted with political theater, gun control vitriol, reality TV and iGadgets. What can be said about a society where 10% of the population follows Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga on Twitter and where 50% think the National Debt is a monument in Washington D.C. The country is controlled by evil sycophants, intellectually dishonest toadies and blood sucking leeches. Their lies and deception have held sway for the last four years, but they have only delayed the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. They will not reverse course and believe their intellectual superiority will allow them to retain their control after the collapse.”

The core elements of this Crisis have been visible since Strauss & Howe wrote The Fourth Turning in 1997. All the major events that transpire during this Crisis will be driven by one or more of these core elements – Debt, Civic Decay, and Global Disorder.

“In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

My 2013 predictions were framed by these core elements. After re-reading my article for the first time in eleven months I’ve concluded it is lucky I don’t charge for investment predictions. Many of my prognostications were in the ballpark, but I have continually underestimated the ability of central bankers and their Wall Street co-conspirators to use the $2.8 billion per day of QE to artificially elevate the stock market to bubble level proportions once again. If I wasn’t such a trusting soul, I might conclude the .1% financial elite, who run this country, created QEternity to benefit themselves, their .1% corporate CEO accomplices and the corrupt government apparatchiks who shield their flagrant criminality from the righteous hand of justice.

Even a highly educated Ivy League economist might grasp the fact that Ben Bernanke’s QEternity and ZIRP, sold to the unsuspecting masses as desperate measures during a crisis that could have brought the system down, have been kept in place for five years as a means to drive stock prices and home prices higher. The emergency was over by 2010, according to government reported data. The current monetary policy of the Federal Reserve would have been viewed as outrageous, reckless, and incomprehensible in 2007. It is truly a credit to the ruling elite and their media propaganda arm that they have been able to convince a majority of Americans their brazen felonious disregard for the wellbeing of the 99% is necessary to sustain the .1% way of life. Those palaces in the Hamptons aren’t going to pay for themselves without those $100 billion of annual bonuses.

Do you think the 170% increase in the S&P 500 has been accidently correlated with the quadrupling of the Federal Reserve balance sheet or has Bernanke just done the bidding of his puppet masters? Considering the .1% billionaire clique owns the vast majority of stock in this corporate fascist paradise, is it really a surprise the trickle down canard would be the solution of choice from these sociopathic scoundrels? Of course QE and ZIRP have impacted the 80% who own virtually no stocks in a slightly different manner. Do you think the 100% increase in gasoline prices since 2009 was caused by Bernanke’s QEternity?

Do you think the 8% decline in real median household income since 2008 was caused by Bernanke’s QE and ZIRP policies?

Click to View

Do you think the $10.8 trillion stolen from grandmothers and risk adverse savers was caused by Bernanke’s ZIRP?

Was the $860 billion increase in real GDP (5.8% over five years) worth the $8 trillion increase in the National Debt and $3 trillion increase in the Federal Reserve balance sheet? Was it moral, courageous and honorable of the Wall Street plantation owners to syphon the remaining wealth of the dying middle class peasants and leaving the millennial generation and future generations bound in chains of unfunded debt to the tune of $200 trillion?

My assessment regarding unpredictable events lurking in the fog was borne out by what happened that NO ONE predicted, including: the first resignation of a pope in six hundred years, the military coup of a democratically elected president of Egypt – supported by the democratically elected U.S. president, the rise of an alternative currency – bitcoin, the bankruptcy of one of the largest cities in the U.S. – Detroit, a minor terrorist attack in Boston that freaked out the entire country and revealed the Nazi-like un-Constitutional tactics that will be used by the police state as this Crisis deepens, and revelations by a brilliant young patriot named Edward Snowden proving that the U.S. has been turned into an Orwellian surveillance state as every electronic communication of every American is being monitored and recorded. The Democrats and Republicans played their parts in this theater of the absurd. They proved to be two faces of the same Party as neither faction questions the droning of innocent people around the globe, mass spying on citizens, Wall Street criminality, trillion dollar deficits, a rogue Federal Reserve, or out of control unsustainable government spending.

My predictions for 2013 were divided into the three categories driving this Fourth Turning CrisisDebt, Civic Decay, and Global Disorder. Let’s assess my inaccuracy.

Debt

  • The debt ceiling will be raised as the toothless Republican Party vows to cut spending next time. The political hacks will create a 3,000 page document of triggers and create a committee to study the issue, with actual measures that slow the growth of annual spending by .000005% starting in 2017.

The government shutdown reality TV show proved to be the usual Washington D.C. kabuki theater. They gave a shutdown and no one noticed. It had zero impact on the economy. More people came to the realization that government does nothing except spend our money and push us around. The debt ceiling was raised, the sequester faux “cuts” were reversed and $20 billion of spending will be cut sometime in the distant future. Washington snakes are entirely predictable. I nailed this prediction.

  • The National Debt will increase by $1.25 trillion and debt to GDP will reach 106% by the end of the fiscal year.

The National Debt increased by ONLY $964 billion in the last fiscal year, even though the government stopped counting in May. The temporary sequester cuts, the expiration of the 2% payroll tax cut, the fake Fannie & Freddie paybacks to the U.S. Treasury based upon mark to fantasy accounting, and the automatic expiration of stimulus spending combined to keep the real deficit from reaching $1 trillion for the fifth straight year. Debt to GDP was 104%, before our beloved government drones decided to “adjust” GDP upwards by $500 billion based upon a new and improved formula, like Tide detergent. I missed this prediction by a smidgeon.

  • The Federal Reserve balance sheet will reach $4 trillion by the end of the year.

The Federal Reserve balance sheet stands at $4.075 trillion today. Ben is very predictable, and of course “transparent”. This was an easy one.

  • Consumer debt will reach $2.9 trillion as the Feds accelerate student loans and Ally Financial, along with the other Too Big To Control Wall Street banks, keep pumping out subprime auto loans. By mid-year reported losses on student loans will soar and auto loan delinquencies will show an upturn. This will force a slowdown in consumer debt issuance, exacerbating the recession that started in 2012.

Consumer debt outstanding currently stands at $3.076 trillion despite the fact that credit card debt has been virtually flat. The Federal government has continued to dole out billions in loans to University of Phoenix wannabes and to the subprime urban entitlement armies who deserve to drive an Escalade despite having no job, no assets and a sub 650 credit score, through government owned Ally Financial. It helps drive business when you don’t care about being repaid. Student loan delinquency rates are at an all-time high, as there are no jobs for graduates with tens of thousands in debt. Auto loan delinquencies have begun to rise despite the fact we are supposedly in a strongly recovering economy. The slowdown in debt issuance has not happened, as the Federal government is in complete control of the non-revolving loan segment. My prediction has proven to be accurate.

  • The Bakken oil miracle will prove to be nothing more than Wall Street shysters selling a storyline. Daily output will stall at 750,000 barrels per day and the dreams of imminent energy independence will be annihilated by reality, again. The price of oil will average $105 per barrel, as global tensions restrict supply.

Bakken production has reached 867,000 barrels per day as more and more wells have been drilled to offset the steep depletion rates of the existing wells. The average price per barrel has been $104, despite the frantic propaganda campaign about imminent American energy independence. Tell that to the average Joe filling their tank and paying the highest December gas price in history. My prediction was too pessimistic, but the Bakken miracle will be revealed as an over-hyped Wall Street scam in 2014.

  • The home price increases generated through inventory manipulation in 2012 will peter out as 2013 progresses. The market has been flooded by investors. There is very little real demand for new homes. Young households with heavy student loan debt and low paying jobs will continue to rent, since the oligarchs refused to let prices fall to a level that would spur real demand. Mortgage delinquencies will rise as job growth remains stagnant, leading to an increase in foreclosures. Rent prices will flatten as apartment construction and investors flood the market with supply.

Existing home sales peaked in the middle of 2013 and have been in decline as mortgage rates have jumped from 3.25% to 4.5% since February. New home sales remain stagnant, near record low levels. The median sales price for existing home sales peaked at $214,000 in June and has fallen for five consecutive months by a total of 8%. First time home buyers account for a record low of 28% of purchases, while investors account for a record high level of purchasers. Mortgage delinquencies fell for most of the year, but the chickens are beginning to come home to roost as delinquent mortgage loans rose from 6.28% in October to 6.45% in November. Rent increases slowed to below 3% as Blackrock and the other Wall Street shysters flood the market with their foreclosure rental properties. My housing prediction was accurate.

 

  • The disconnect between the stock market and the housing and employment markets will be rectified when the MSM can no longer deny the recession that began in 2012 and will deepen in the first part of 2013. While housing prices languish 30% below their peak levels of 2006, the stock market has prematurely ejaculated back to pre-crisis levels. Declining corporate profits, stagnant consumer spending, and increasing debt defaults will finally result in a 20% decline in the stock market, with a chance for losses greater than 30% if Japan or the EU begin to crumble.

And now we get to the prediction that makes me happy I don’t charge people for investment advice. Facts don’t matter in world of QE for the psychopathic titans of Wall Street and misery for the indebted peasants of Main Street. The government data drones, Ivy League educated Wall Street economists, and the obedient corporate media propaganda apparatus declare that GDP has grown by 2% over the last four quarters and we are not in a recession. If you believe their bogus inflation calculation then just ignore the collapsing retail sales, stagnant real wages, and rising gap between the uber-rich and the rest of us. Using a true measure of inflation reveals an economy in recession since 2004. Whose version matches the reality on the ground?

 

Corporate profits have leveled off at record highs as mark to fantasy accounting fraud, condoned and encouraged by the Federal Reserve, along with loan loss reserve depletion and $5 billion of risk free profits from parking deposits at the Fed have created a one-time peak. The record level of negative earnings warnings is the proverbial bell ringing at the top.

negative earnings

I only missed my stock market prediction by 50%, as the 30% rise was somewhat better than my 20% decline prediction. Bernanke’s QEternity, Wall Street’s high frequency trading supercomputers, record levels of margin debt, a dash of delusion, and a helping of clueless dupes have taken the stock market to another bubble high. My prediction makes me look like an idiot today. I’m OK with that, since I know facts and reality always prevail in the long-run. As John Hussman sagely points out, today’s idiot will be tomorrow’s beacon of truth:

“The problem with bubbles is that they force one to decide whether to look like an idiot before the peak, or an idiot after the peak. There’s no calling the top, and most of the signals that have been most historically useful for that purpose have been blazing red since late-2011. My impression remains that the downside risks for the market have been deferred, not eliminated, and that they will be worse for the wait.”

  • Japan is still a bug in search of a windshield. With a debt to GDP ratio of 230%, a population dying off, energy dependence escalating, trade surplus decreasing, an already failed Prime Minister vowing to increase inflation, and rising tensions with China, Japan is a primary candidate to be the first domino to fall in the game of debt chicken. A 2% increase in interest rates would destroy the Japanese economic system.

Abenomics has done nothing for the average Japanese citizen, but it has done wonders for the ruling class who own all the stocks. Abe has implemented monetary policies that make Bernanke get a hard on. Japanese economic growth remains mired at 1.1%, wages remain stagnant, and their debt to GDP ratio remains above 230%, but at least he has driven their currency down 20% versus the USD and crushed the common person with 9% energy inflation. None of this matters, because the .1% have benefitted from a 56% increase in the Japanese stock market. My prediction was wrong. The windshield is further down the road, but it is approaching at 100 mph.

  • The EU has temporarily delayed the endgame for their failed experiment. Economic conditions in Greece, Spain and Italy worsen by the day with unemployment reaching dangerous revolutionary levels. Pretending countries will pay each other with newly created debt will not solve a debt crisis. They don’t have a liquidity problem. They have a solvency problem. The only people who have been saved by the actions taken so far are bankers and politicians. I believe the crisis will reignite, with interest rates spiking in Spain, Italy and France. The Germans will get fed up with the rest of Europe and the EU will begin to disintegrate.

This was another complete miss on my part. Economic conditions have not improved in Europe. Unemployment remains at record levels. EU GDP is barely above 0%. Debt levels continue to rise. Central bank bond buying has propped up this teetering edifice of ineptitude and interest rates in Spain, Italy and France have fallen to ridiculously low levels of 4%, considering they are completely insolvent with no possibility for escape. The disintegration of the EU will have to wait for another day.

Civic Decay

  • Progressive’s attempt to distract the masses from our worsening economic situation with their assault on the 2nd Amendment will fail. Congress will pass no new restrictions on gun ownership and 2013 will see the highest level of gun sales in history.

Obama and his gun grabbing sycophants attempted to use the Newtown massacre as the lever to overturn the 2nd Amendment. The liberal media went into full shriek mode, but the citizens again prevailed and no Federal legislation restricting the 2nd Amendment passed. Gun sales in 2013 will set an all-time record. With the Orwellian surveillance state growing by the day, arming yourself is the rational thing to do. I nailed this prediction.

  • The deepening recession, higher taxes on small businesses and middle class, along with Obamacare mandates will lead to rising unemployment and rising anger with the failed economic policies of the last four years. Protests and rallies will begin to burgeon.

The little people are experiencing a recession. The little people bore the brunt of the 2% payroll tax increase. The little people are bearing the burden of the Obamacare insurance premium increases. The number of employed Americans has increased by 1 million in the last year, a whole .4% of the working age population. The number of Americans who have willingly left the labor force in the last year because their lives are so fulfilled totaled 2.5 million, leaving the labor participation rate at a 35 year low. The anger among the former middle class is simmering below the surface, as Bernanke’s policies further impoverish the multitudes. Mass protests have not materialized but the Washington Navy yard shooting, dental hygenist murdered by DC police for ramming a White House barrier, and self- immolation of veteran John Constantino on the National Mall were all individual acts of desperation against the establishment.

  • The number of people on food stamps will reach 50 million and the number of people on SSDI will reach 11 million. Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, and Jeff Immelt will compensate themselves to the tune of $100 million. CNBC will proclaim an economic recovery based on these facts.

The number of people on food stamps appears to have peaked just below 48 million, as the expiration of stimulus spending will probably keep the program from reaching 50 million. As of November there were 10.98 million people in the SSDI program. The top eight Wall Street banks have set aside a modest $91 billion for 2013 bonuses. The cost of providing food stamps for 48 million Americans totaled $76 billion. CNBC is thrilled with the record level of bonuses for the noble Wall Street capitalists, while scorning the lazy laid-off middle class workers whose jobs were shipped to China by the corporations whose profits are at all-time highs and stock price soars. Isn’t crony capitalism grand?

  • The drought will continue in 2013 resulting in higher food prices, ethanol prices, and shipping costs, as transporting goods on the Mississippi River will become further restricted. The misery index for the average American family will reach new highs.

The drought conditions in the U.S. Midwest have been relieved. Ethanol prices have been flat. Beef prices have risen by 10% since May due to the drought impact from 2012, but overall food price increases have been moderate. The misery index (unemployment rate + inflation rate) has supposedly fallen, based on government manipulated data. I whiffed on this prediction.

  • There will be assassination attempts on political and business leaders as retribution for their actions during and after the financial crisis.

There have been no assassination attempts on those responsible for our downward financial spiral. The anger has been turned inward as suicides have increased by 30% due to the unbearable economic circumstances brought on by the illegal financial machinations of the Wall Street criminal banks. Obama and Dick Cheney must be thrilled that more military personnel died by suicide in 2013 than on the battlefield. Mission Accomplished. The retribution dealt to bankers and politicians will come after the next collapse. For now, my prediction was premature.

  • The revelation of more fraud in the financial sector will result in an outcry from the public for justice. Prosecutions will be pursued by State’s attorney generals, as Holder has been captured by Wall Street.

Holder and the U.S. government remain fully captured by Wall Street. The states have proven to be toothless in their efforts to enforce the law against Wall Street. The continuing revelations of Wall Street fraud and billions in fines paid by JP Morgan and the other Too Big To Trust banks have been glossed over by the captured mainstream media. As long as EBT cards, Visas and Mastercards continue to function, there will be no outrage from the techno-narcissistic, debt addicted, math challenged, wilfully ignorant masses. Another wishful thinking wrong prediction on my part.

  • The deepening pension crisis in the states will lead to more state worker layoffs and more confrontation between governors attempting to balance budgets and government worker unions. There will be more municipal bankruptcies.

Using a still optimistic discount rate of 5%, the unfunded pension liability of states and municipalities totals $3 trillion. The taxpayers don’t have enough cheese left for the government rats to steal. The crisis deepens by the second. State and municipal budgets require larger pension payments every year. The tax base is stagnant or declining. States must balance their budgets. They will continue to cut existing workers to pay the legacy costs until they all experience their Detroit moment. With the Detroit bankruptcy, I’ll take credit for getting this prediction right.

  • The gun issue will further enflame talk of state secession. The red state/blue state divide will grow ever wider. The MSM will aggravate the divisions with vitriolic propaganda.

With the revelations of Federal government spying, military training exercises in cities across the country, the blatant disregard for the 4th Amendment during the shutdown of Boston, and un-Constitutional mandates of Obamacare, there has been a tremendous increase in chatter about secession. A google search gets over 200,000 hits in the last year. The divide between red states and blue states has never been wider.

  • The government will accelerate their surveillance efforts and renew their attempt to monitor, control, and censor the internet. This will result in increased cyber-attacks on government and corporate computer networks in retaliation.

If anything I dramatically underestimated the lengths to which the United States government would go in their illegal surveillance of the American people and foreign leaders. Edward Snowden exposed the grandest government criminal conspiracy in history as the world found out the NSA, with the full knowledge of the president and Congress, has been conspiring with major communications and internet companies to monitor and record every electronic communication on earth, in clear violation of the 4th Amendment. Government apparatchiks like James Clapper have blatantly lied to Congress about their spying activities. The lawlessness with which the government is now operating has led to anarchist computer hackers conducting cyber-attacks on government and corporate networks. The recent hacking of the Target credit card system will have devastating implications to their already waning business. I’ll take credit for an accurate prediction on this one.

Global Disorder 

  • With new leadership in Japan and China, neither will want to lose face, so early in their new terms. Neither side will back down in their ongoing conflict over islands in the East China Sea. China will shoot down a Japanese aircraft and trade between the countries will halt, leading to further downturns in both of their economies.

The Japanese/Chinese dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands has blown hot and cold throughout the year. In the past month the vitriol has grown intense. China has scrambled fighter jets over the disputed islands. The recent visit of Abe to a World War II shrine honoring war criminals has enraged the Chinese. Trade between the countries has declined. An aircraft has not been shot down, but an American warship almost collided with a Chinese warship near the islands, since our empire must stick their nose into every worldwide dispute. We are one miscalculation away from a shooting war. It hasn’t happened yet, so my prediction was wrong.

  • Worker protests over slave labor conditions in Chinese factories will increase as food price increases hit home on peasants that spend 70% of their pay for food. The new regime will crackdown with brutal measures, but the protests will grow increasingly violent. The economic data showing growth will be discredited by what is happening on the ground. China will come in for a real hard landing. Maybe they can hide the billions of bad debt in some of their vacant cities.

The number of worker protests over low pay and working conditions in China doubled over the previous year, but censorship of reporting has kept these facts under wraps. In a dictatorship, the crackdown on these protests goes unreported. The fraudulent economic data issued by the government has been proven false by independent analysts. The Chinese stock market has fallen 14%, reflecting the true economic situation. The Chinese property bubble is in the process of popping. China will never officially report a hard landing. China is the most corrupt nation on earth and is rotting from the inside, like their vacant malls and cities. China’s economy is like an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 coming in for a landing at SF International.

  • Violence and turmoil in Greece will spread to Spain during the early part of the year, with protests and anger spreading to Italy and France later in the year. The EU public relations campaign, built on sandcastles of debt in the sky and false promises of corrupt politicians, will falter by mid-year. Interest rates will begin to spike and the endgame will commence. Greece will depart the EU, with Spain not far behind. The unraveling of debt will plunge all of Europe into depression.

Violent protests flared in Greece and Spain throughout the year. They did not spread to Italy and France. The central bankers and the puppet politicians have been able to contain the EU’s debt insolvency through the issuance of more debt. What a great plan. The grand finale has been delayed into 2014. Greece remains on life support and still in the EU. The EU remains in recession, but the depression has been postponed for the time being. This prediction was a dud.

  • Iran will grow increasingly desperate as hyperinflation caused by U.S. economic sanctions provokes the leadership to lash out at its neighbors and unleash cyber-attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities and U.S. corporations. Israel will use the rising tensions as the impetus to finally attack Iranian nuclear facilities. The U.S. will support the attack and Iran will launch missiles at Saudi Arabia and Israel in retaliation. The price of oil will spike above $125 per barrel, further deepening the worldwide recession.

Iran was experiencing hyperinflationary conditions early in the year, but since the election of the new president the economy has stabilized. Iran has conducted cyber-attacks against Saudi Arabian gas companies and the U.S. Navy during 2013. Israel and Saudi Arabia have failed in their efforts to lure Iran into a shooting war. Obama has opened dialogue with the new president to the chagrin of Israel. War has been put off and the negative economic impacts of surging oil prices have been forestalled. I missed on this prediction.

  • Syrian President Assad will be ousted and executed by rebels. Syria will fall under the control of Islamic rebels, who will not be friendly to the United States or Israel. Russia will stir up discontent in retaliation for the ouster of their ally.

Assad has proven to be much tougher than anyone expected. The trumped up charges of gassing rebel forces, created by the Saudis who want a gas pipeline through Syria, was not enough to convince the American people to allow our president to invade another sovereign country. Putin and Russia won this battle. America’s stature in the eyes of the world was reduced further. America continues to support Al Qaeda rebels in Syria, while fighting them in Afghanistan. The hypocrisy is palpable. Another miss.

  • Egypt and Libya will increasingly become Islamic states and will further descend into civil war.

The first democratically elected president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, was overthrown in a military coup as the country has descended into a civil war between the military forces and Islamic forces. It should be noted that the U.S. supported the overthrow of a democratically elected leader. Libya is a failed state with Islamic factions vying for power and on the verge of a 2nd civil war. Oil production has collapsed. I’ll take credit for an accurate prediction on this one.

  • The further depletion of the Cantarell oil field will destroy the Mexican economy as it becomes a net energy importer. The drug violence will increase and more illegal immigrants will pour into the U.S. The U.S. will station military troops along the border.

Mexican oil production fell for the ninth consecutive year in 2013. It has fallen 25% since 2004 to the lowest level since 1995. Energy exports still slightly outweigh imports, but the trend is irreversible. Mexico is under siege by the drug cartels. The violence increases by the day. After declining from 2007 through 2009, illegal immigration from Mexico has been on the rise. Troops have not been stationed on the border as Obama and his liberal army encourages illegal immigration in their desire for an increase in Democratic voters. This prediction was mostly correct.

  • Cyber-attacks by China and Iran on government and corporate computer networks will grow increasingly frequent. One or more of these attacks will threaten nuclear power plants, our electrical grid, or the Pentagon.

China and Iran have been utilizing cyber-attacks on the U.S. military and government agencies as a response to NSA spying and U.S. sabotaging of Iranian nuclear facilities. Experts are issuing warnings regarding the susceptibility of U.S. nuclear facilities to cyber-attack. If a serious breach has occurred, the U.S. government wouldn’t be publicizing it. Again, this prediction was accurate.

I achieved about a 50% accuracy rate on my 2013 predictions. These minor distractions are meaningless in the broad spectrum of history and the inevitability of the current Fourth Turning sweeping away the existing social order in a whirlwind of chaos, violence, financial collapse and ultimately a decisive war. The exact timing and exact events which will precipitate the demise of the establishment are unknowable with any precision, but there is no escape from the inexorable march of history. While most people get lost in the minutia of day to day existence and supposed Ivy League thought leaders are consumed with their own reputations and wealth, apparent stability will morph into terrifying volatility in an instant. The normalcy bias being practiced by an entire country will be shattered in a reality storm of consequences. The Crisis will continue to be driven by the ever growing debt levels, civic decay caused by government overreach, and global disorder driven by resource shortages and religious zealotry. The ultimate outcome is unpredictable, but the choices we make will matter. History is about to fling us towards a vast chaos.

“The seasons of time offer no guarantees. For modern societies, no less than for all forms of life, transformative change is discontinuous. For what seems an eternity, history goes nowhere – and then it suddenly flings us forward across some vast chaos that defies any mortal effort to plan our way there. The Fourth Turning will try our souls – and the saecular rhythm tells us that much will depend on how we face up to that trial. The saeculum does not reveal whether the story will have a happy ending, but it does tell us how and when our choices will make a difference.”  – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

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