Monday, 6 May 2019

What I've Been Reading, April 2019



  • The Barely Hidden Flaws in Jordan Peterson’s Scholarship, by Emily Pothast, Medium—Culture
    "Peterson’s philosophy, while it may inspire motivation at the individual level, is a deadly engine of status quo maintenance and self-justification at the cultural level. It is an ideology that denies it is ideology, hissing insults and flinging lawsuits at those who challenge its god-like powers of complacency."


  • The end of industrial civilization, by Nils, Small Precautions
  • In Defence of Inaction, by Dave Pollard, guest post on Damn the Matrix
  • NASA Study Concludes When Civilization Will End, And It's Not Looking Good for Us, by Tom MacKay,
  • , by Nafeez Ahmed, The Guardian
  • , by John Beddington CMG FRS, Government Office for Science (in the UK)
    "It is predicted that by 2030 the world will need to produce around 50 per cent more food and energy, together with 30 per cent more fresh water, whilst mitigating and adapting to climate change. This threatens to create a ‘perfect storm’ of global events (Figure 7). The key questions for policy makers and scientists are these:
    • Can 9 billion people be fed equitably, healthily and sustainably?
    • Can we cope with the future demands on water?
    • Can we provide enough energy to supply the growing population coming out of poverty?
    • Can we do all this whilst mitigating and adapting to climate change?"
    To me, it seems extremely improbable that we will succeed n all these efforts. And collapse seems inevitable.

Responding to Collapse,

Peak Oil

Climate Change

  • PBO: Most Canadians To Get More From Rebate Than They Pay In Carbon Tax, byMia Rabson, Canadian Press, Huffington Post
  • Climate change deniers are increasingly angry and hostile, by Michael Barnard, Medium
    "Cognitive dissonance at being forced off of position after position is leading to anger "
  • Why desperation could be the key to tackling climate change, by Cam Fenton, Open Democracy
    Extinction Rebellion, student strikes and the Green New Deal show that desperation is starting to define climate politics. This could be a game changer.
  • We Can Limit Human-Induced Global Warming to 1.5℃, but It Will Be Painful, by Keith Shine, The Wire
    "The report is sensitive to the fact that changes required to meet 1.5℃ must be consistent with the UN’s wider sustainable development goals. Limiting climate change will help meet goals associated with health, clean energy, cities and oceans. But there are potential negative impacts on others (poverty, hunger, water, energy access) “if not carefully managed."
    And that's about the most you're going to find anywhere in the climate change discussion about the consequences of doing something about climate change. I would say we really need to face up to how very painful it is going to be, that the idea that we can maintain and even increase prosperity while solving climate change is bizarre. But realizing at the same time that if we do nothing, it will be even worse.

Hazard and Risk


Before jumping to the erroneous conclusion that this section was paid for by Monsanto, stop for a moment and understand that organic agriculture/food is a multi-billion dollar per year industry that relies on fear to get people to buy its product. Millions of dollars are being spent to convince you that non-organic food is dangerous. In fact both conventionally grown and organic foods are equally safe. Sadly neither method of agriculture is even remotely substainable.

Practical Skills

Debunking Resources

These are of such importance that I've decide to leave them here on an ongoing basis.

Science Based Medicine

Lacking an Owner's Manual

The human body/mind/spirit doesn't come with an owner's manual, and we continually struggle to figure out how best to operate them.

Gender and Sexuality

There is No God, and Thou Shall Have No Other Gods

I don't think I've made any secret of the fact that I am an atheist, but I may not have made it clear that I think any sort of worship is a bad thing and that believing in things is to be avoided whenever possible. Indeed, I do not believe in belief itself. That's what the "Thou shall have no other gods" is about—it's not enough to quit believing in whatever God or Gods you were raised to believe in, but also we must avoid other gods, including material wealth, power and fame.

Refugees and Migration

Puerto Rico, Venezuela

Poverty, Homeless People, Minimum Wage, UBI, Health Care, Housing

Autonomous Vehicles and Artificial Intelligence




  • Red Bones, by Ann Cleeves
    Book 3 in the Shetland mystery series
  • Blue Lightning, by Ann Cleeves
    Book 4 in the Shetland mystery series
  • Thin Air, by Richard Morgan
    Morgan's new science fiction novel, the first one in a long time, set inthe same universe as Black Man.
  • Join, by Steve Toutonghi


  • Team Human, by Douglas Rushkoff
    I very much on side with what Rushkoff is suggesting in this book, but I am afraid he uses a lot of outright woo to support it. A pity, since his position can easily be supported without any woo at all. I suspect this is a case of virtue signaling—saying certain things because your audience expects to hear them.
  • The Mismeasure of Man, by Stephen Jay Gould
    I almost didn't read this book, based on what Murray and Herrenstein had to say about it in the Bell Curve. But like so much of what is in the Bell Curve, their comments on The Mismeasure of Man were just plain wrong. Gould's book was definitely worth reading.