Thursday, 7 February 2019

What I've Been Reading, January 2019




Note the various ways the authors look at overshoot and dieoff, ranging from choosing not to mention it at all, to focusing too much on it.

  • 2018: the tipping point—My year in review— looking back, looking ahead, by Nafeez Ahmed, Medium—InsurgeIntelligence
    Largely a list of what Mr. Ahmed has been and will continue to work on, with many link to articles that will likely show up here in the months to come. And most of it is to do with collapse, so I've included it in this section.
  • Your World Is Going to Shatter—A letter from the future, by Eric Hinton, Medium—Future
  • Collapse? It’s already here, by Surly, Doomstead Diner
  • Does Rebar Rust? By Practical Engineering, YouTube
    In this case "collapse" has a much more literal meaning, referring to the failure of the steel reinforced concrete that so many structures are built of today. Many existing structures were built without using the advanced techniques discussed in the video to prevent rusting of rebar, and they are and will continue to fail earlier than they might otherwise need to. With funds for replacing infrastructure in short supply, this will lead to the very literal collapse of much of industrial civilization.
  • Climbing Everest in high heels, by Tim Watkins, The Consciousness of Sheep
    "Politics matter, of course. In a future of economic contraction it is far better to be governed consensually by people who understand the predicament and who plan a route to deindustrialization that has as few casualties as possible on the way down… one reason not to keep voting for parties that dole out corporate welfare at the top while driving those at the bottom to destitution. That road tends to end with guillotines and firing squads. "For all of its passion and drama, however, the role of politics in our current predicament is somewhat akin to the choice of footwear when setting out to climb a mountain. Ideally you want to choose a pair of stout climbing boots; but nobody is offering those. For now the choice is between high heels and flip-flops to climb the highest mountain we have ever faced. If we are lucky, the political equivalent a half decent pair of training shoes might turn up, but while the world is focussed on economic growth; that is the best we can hope for… and we still have to climb the mountain whatever shoes we wear."
  • How collective intelligence can change your world, right now—An open source toolkit for self and social transformation, by Nafeez Ahmed, Medium—InsurgeIntelligence
    Some good stuff in this one, but a little too much mysticism for me. Getting everyone to agree is way harder than that. So much so that it shouldn't even be our goal.
  • Why American Collapse is Only Just Beginning (Not Ending), by Umair Haque, Medium—Eudaimonia
    "Six Megatrends That Will Shape the Future"

Responding to Collapse,

Peak Oil

  • The Shale Oil Revolution Actually Reflects a Nation in Decline, by Christ Martenson, Peak Prosperity
    "Faster consumption + no strategy = diminished prospects."
  • Is An Oil Supply Crunch Looming? By Nick Cunningham, The Fuse
    "The global oil industry needs to come up with 35 million barrels per day (Mbd) of fresh supply between 2017 and 2025 in order to compensate for rising demand and natural decline from existing oil fields, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2018 World Energy Outlook. Projects that are already under development could add roughly 11 Mbd over that timeframe, the IEA said in November. Additionally, the IEA said U.S. shale liquids could add another 7 Mbd of new supply, although it would require a heroic effort to achieve – the rate of production growth over the ten-year period of 2015 to 2025 would slightly exceed the ramp up in Saudi Arabia between 1967 and 1977, making it the 'fastest rate of growth ever seen,' the IEA said."
  • The Next Big Threat For Oil Comes From China, by Philip Verleger,

Climate Change

Food & Agriculture

Genetic Engineering

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 expensive products instead of the more reasonably priced ones of conventional agriculture. Millions of dollars are spent to convince you that non-organic food is dangerous. In fact both conventionally grown and organic foods are about equally safe. Sadly neither method of agriculture is even remotely substainable.

  • Scientists engineer shortcut for photosynthetic glitch, boost crop growth by 40 percent, by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • The 7 Craziest Ways CRISPR Is Being Used Right Now, by Emily Mullin, Medium—Health
    I'll say two things, one con, one pro:
    Many traits we'd like to see bred into plants and animal are polygenetic—they are determined by large numbers of genes in ways that aren't well understood. These sorts of things are out of reach of current genetic engineering techniques, which are still just picking the low hanging fruit.
    Even so, there are lots of very useful things that genetic engineering can do and because these advances can be inherited, they will be a valuable legacy for a future when this sort of high tech may not be available.



The Scientific Consensus

Science Based Medicine

Lacking an Owner's Manual

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 believe 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.

  • Atheists Are Sometimes More Religious Than Christians, by Sigal Smauel, The Atlantic
    "A new study shows how poorly we understand the beliefs of people who identify as atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular."
    But then, religion always has been a matter of making it up as you go along.


Refugees and Migration

Poverty, Homeless People, Minimum Wage, UBI

Autonomous Vehicles and Artificial Intelligence




  • How to Feed the World, by Jessica Eise and Ken Foster
    "By 2050, we will have ten billion mouths to feed in a world profoundly altered by environmental change. How can we meet this challenge? In How to Feed the World, a diverse group of experts from Purdue University break down this crucial question by tackling big issues one-by-one."
    But... "The book is light on practical and sustainable solutions."

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