Carbon waste life form

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  • in reply to: Adapting Technology To A Brave New World #11017

    Thanks Automan.
    This is a thoughtful and comprehensive article.
    Like Ghung, I have used ubuntu for many years now. Mainly out of principle. I would not rule out using a more commercial operating system, but I don’t think I will.
    I use Xubuntu because it’s what works well with my 9 year old desktop pc. Plain ubuntu (with the Unity windows manager) seems to be tied in these days with search engines which do a web search whenever you search for documents on your machine. (Correct me if I am wrong here) Some might feel uneasy with this. I do. I don’t like giving away personal information for free on principle, especially to the large multi-national companies.
    I set my mother (a computer newbie) up with winXP and xubuntu dual boot. I was really glad that I did. The windows installation was an old one that came on the computer. It failed almost immediately and won’t boot, so she uses the Linux.

    Linux is a good idea becaues it is not dependant on one company for support. one day the large companies will fail, and even before that, since you are tied in to their software, they have a certain amount of control and can render your sorfware obselete or broken, either by design or accident.

    The downside of Linux for me is the levels of hardware support. my computer uses very old Nvidia graphics cards and I have had lots and lots of trouble over the years with upgrading my Linux distribution. Advances in graphics have made my old drivers incompatible and Nvidia (understandably) have not focussed on keeping their legacy harware properly supported. The hardware is one place where FOSS meets the commecial world and that’s why hardware support goes wrong IMO. it’s getting better though. Maybe I should upgrade to a five year old computer!


    in reply to: Mac died #10460

    Hi Ilargi

    I use Xubuntu on my 9 year old pc. It does everything I need it to do. Xubuntu is lighter then plain Ubuntu and is not integrated with social media and google search as Ubuntu now is. I turn all the desktop effects off so it feels a bit like win 98.
    This computer does not work well with Win XP. It is too old, It can’t manage streaming video with Windows. It can with Xubuntu.

    I think you should use what compluter you like. We don’t want you to have productivity issues!


    in reply to: Mac died #10443

    Hi Ilargi

    I have donated maybe 1/100 of a MacBook

    I reckon a couple of dollars per lurker and you’ll have one in no time!

    All the best!


    in reply to: Crash on Demand? A Response to David Holmgren #10359

    Thank you Boilingfrog

    I am trying to tie up the facts with my hypotheses. It really isn’t easy to see what’s really happening. The world is a complex place and lots of organisations are at least selective about the data they publish.

    I wonder how the well-off in your area made their money. I expect that to make a large difference to how they think the system is faring. I saw a tv interview with a very rich local oil producer in Pennsylvania (I think) who attributed his success to “God’s will”. That seemed to show a lack of analysis.


    in reply to: Crash on Demand? A Response to David Holmgren #10357

    Hi Nicole

    One of my friends brought this subject up in conversation the other day. I suspect he had also read a David Holmgren article. My respose was along the same lines as yours. You can’t explicitly aim for, or even wish for an early collapse, it’s not the correct mindset. It would be much less adversarial to make the current growth paradigm obsolete by showing methods for sustainability are a better alternative in most situations for most people.
    For fractional reserve based economies to deliver necessary services to everyone, there needs to be sustained compound growth or the system fails. It’s mathematical. Unless you believe in decoupling energy from wealth, or in substituting other things for energy or major resources, then the resources and energy will run out soon after their use exceeds primary production by nature. The current systems only work in the growth phase. There’s really no argument for keeping them during contraction.

    If people are encouraged to think in systemic terms then they can’t be baffled by economists and politicians.


    in reply to: The Untouchables of the 21st Century #7539

    Let me clarify what I meant when I agreed that there was not enough work to do. What I mean is that within the current system, there is not enough work to do which is necessary to the functioning of society, that is why there are unemployed people. This creates a market where labour can be mistreated and played off against each other. Stigmatising un- and under-employment is a part of this.

    I would argue that any movement of money within the current system causes it to flow towards the bankers. The system is designed this way. In my opinion and within the current system, one should only work as much as one needs to for your economic safety and a good standard of living. Anything more is destructive. The politicians tell you to “strive” and “get on”. I thnk you’ll perpetuate a broken system by participating.

    Now, if you are thinking of transforming society to be more fit for the future, with economic sustainability (no macro growth) and rescource sustainability (if possible). Then there is flippin’ unlimited work to do. But if you do it within the current system – e.g. carbon trading, “sustainable growth” etc, you’ll be doing more harm than good, these schemes are rooted in the current growth paradigm.

    I agree, it’s always possible to be entrepreneurial and create work within the current paradigm, I just am not sure that that would be a good thing to do.

    It’s the “higher you get – further you fall” argument.

    That should polarise you!


    in reply to: The Untouchables of the 21st Century #7529

    Hi Dave,

    I naturally wanted be close to the eurozone and join the Euro, it seemed obvious to me.

    I thought people who didn’t want to get close to Europe were isolationist or xenophobic, both of which I didn’t want to identify with. I also thought that the single currency would be good for trade and finally, I thought that being within Europe might average out the left / right policy divide and provide more consensus and fewer expensive u turns. It might also undermine nationalism.

    I think, on reflection, I was wrong on most counts, which shows that you cannot rely on your instincts.

    I think people are still relying on their instincts and their received knowledge from politicians and pundits who predict doom on European split-up. They are not yet using their critical faculties.

    But then I do think most people have a lot in their lives to think about so it’s a lot to expect them to think critically and from first principles.

    That’s why people don’t chuck out the Euro in my opinion.


    in reply to: The Untouchables of the 21st Century #7528

    Hi Gurusid

    No more work to do! That is what I have been thinking recently as well. Isn’t it wonderful that we have got to the stage of industrial civilisation where we don’t need to work all the time in order to live a reasonable lifestyle. So from here, we could encourage a two or three day week and have more people in work. Lots more leisure along with a gently declining economy to suit our resource problems. We could couple that with family planning so that we are well below replacement rate and then we’re set to not destroy the world. This is a total anathema to those in power. There’s no profit in it and their corporate powerbase would wither. So, here in the UK, if you are not in work, you are the scapegoat for society, even when there is, as Sid points out, no more work to do. Additionally, if you are poor, you are not, by definition, metabolising much resources, and you are not allocating those precious resources as new Land Rovers and personal swimming pools. It is the very wealthy who mis-allocate our resources, and that should be made clear. I am in direct opposition to our current UK government in my thinking.

    I don’t think we should:
    -chase growth, it’s raising the stakes for collapse.
    -subjugate the poor, they don’t need it.
    -support big business over small, they don’t need it.
    -support the uber wealthy, they don’t need it either.
    -destabilise other countries for your own ends.
    -obfuscate the problems we face.

    I think those people who say we need the current wealth gap, the current banking system and growth in order to run our society just do not have any imagination.

    There’s the easy, elective way to change now, or the hard way later.

    If only I were king!
    Although with my policies, it would be a dangerous occupation!


    in reply to: What Do We Want To Grow Into? #7464

    Just to say:
    The best article on TAE so far, or at least, the closest to what I really care about


    in reply to: What Do We Want To Grow Into? #7463

    This is exactly the subject which which we should be talking about. It isn’t possible for us to have sustained growth indefinitely, and to try to re-start growth against the backdrop of diminishing resources will worsen the gap between the rich and poor, because any growth of wealth by a group will be at the expense of the rest in a zero sum game and it’s approximately a negative sum game at the moment, unless amazing new sources of energy appear. Perhaps the sum total of human suffering would be reduced if we admitted that.

    Tha problem with all this is that every group has to admit this at once, because any group moving to sustainability, whatever that is, may be outcompeted by other groups, invaded, if you like.

    There is something called the Maximum Power Principle – a heuristic in biology which says that it isn’t on average the best adapted species which survives best, it’s the one which has the highest energy throughput. I think the analogue in societies competing in the globalized world is apt.

    It may be that is is not possible for 7 billion or however many humans to electively abandon growth as it is for a small group of people. It may be our biological destiny, like yeast, an emergent property of the fact that people are different to each other, means we’ll never pull together, and that means growth and burnout.

    I hope not

    Or maybe globalization will falter and we will no longer be connected enough for continual growth. That might save us in the long run. I think this is Nicole’s guess (correct me if I’m wrong here.)

    What to do? Huh


    Thanks Sid

    I think you have described my situation quite well, except that I can make my own internal transtion just fine. When I learned about oil depletion in 2005 ish, I joined the dots with the end of the growth economy – something most people seem unable (or unwilling) to do.

    It’s the effort of thinking differently to the prevailing opinion which is tiring. You know, when you meet someone, discuss financial collapse (they call it recession) and they can only see growth and “restarting the economy” as the light at the end of the tunnel, while we might see a restart of business as usual in the current paradigm to be one of the worst options, which would bleed away the last of our resources without producing sustainability, and which would widen the gap between rich and poor.

    Now you know you are messing with somebody’s noodle when you tell them that “recovery” would be a disaster and a whole new way of thinking which addresses declining energy and resources fairly is our only hope, and that probably means relocalisation and a redefinition of what we think we need in life.
    That’s when you become Nassim’s infectious Cassandra – (see Nassim’s comment below) You can see the pain of their cognitive dissonance.

    Incidentally I was one of three or four people who registered our city as a transition town. I have seen several rounds of transition participants burn out and leave, and now I can’t participate either because of the toddler care. But, due to the hard work of others, the transition town has morphed into an urban food collective where volunteers grow vegetables for a box scheme. That’s good, and a whole lot more practical than the peak-oil talking shop that it once was.


    Please excuse my muddled sentences! We have a two year old and I am sleep deprived.

    Thanks Nassim!

    I think this subject is worthy of more consideration and I made noises about writing a TAE article about it. I feel I have a better grip of the emotional side of things than the technical, but I’m not very confident of my voice so the article never got written.

    Because of my location, I have met Stoneleigh and Ilargi on more than once occasion and count them as good friends, they both understand very well the psychological barriers to change.
    I think you need two toolkits in order to make the necessary changes in your life to cope with the future, that which helps you understand the bigger picture, the trends and the approximate reasons why collapse is happening, and the toolkit which helps you manage your own reaction and grieving process and understands where others stand in their understanding, their investment level in the current paradigm, and their ability to change direction.

    Because neither I nor my family have the ability to really change to a more sustainable lifestyle, I’m concentrating on reducing my (our) discretionary spending and getting mentally prepared so that I can be someone who prevents over-reaction in other and helps them understand what’s happening in a structural sense rather than relying on narratives from the media.

    I have been trying to make changes to my attitude and reduce complications in life in order to prepare for a more disconnected future.
    I have been doing so since 2005 or so, explaining to anyone who is interested why.
    One thing I have noticed is my considerable fatigue, kind of emotional fatigue at being the Cassandra of my peers. There’s a big hit on your social fitness at the present because people do quite often feel a great deal of subconscious unease about the current way of life. One thing they don’t want is the “red pill” – (hope I have the colour right). They don’t want the danger or futility crystallised in the way Nicole does because it might just remove their remaining mojo, their remaining impetus to continue day to day, and of course, damage their current social fitness as well.
    You have to be strong already to take on this level of dislocation.

    Anyway I have fatigue, so I’m slowing down a bit, but I’m not stopping.

    Anyone else get this?


    in reply to: Scale Matters #6748

    Hi Nicole

    As I see it, the benefit of this approach is to be able to view trust and power at different scales as an emergent property of the resources available to society. That way, you don’t get tangled up in the morality of resource sharing, you don’t see the situation as partisan, but instead an an inevitable function of catabolic collapse. That’s the way to make the most intelligent and compassionate choices.

    That right?


    in reply to: The Automatic Earth presents a brand new Nicole Foss 4 DVD set #6559

    Hi Stoneleigh, Ilargi

    I happened to visit you in Leicester, Uk when you were still working on and organising these DVDs so I know how much trouble you have gone to.

    Low volume production costs more per item so I think the price is very reasonable indeed.

    All the best,

    in reply to: Bernanke And Draghi Are Not Trying To Save Our Economies #5680

    Hi Trivium

    I agree with Dave, I think the TPTB have been pushing the ponzi envelope as far as they can, and of course, it becomes increasingly less stable and more difficult for them to control. Yes they can influence it, but cannot predict the outcome as well.

    Couple more things:
    1. I think TPTB is a useful concept, but in practice the, what we can see as a unified PTB is probably just the emergent behaviour of a lot of sociopathic types at the top working within the growth paradigm.
    2. As much as they, as a group, have an emergent agenda, I think they have largely lost control of the vehicle of the economy and are probably searching for ways to post-justify it. i.e. they did it “on purpose”.

    I think the problem now is that there is no “steady state” paradigm to take over now that we are running on fumes as far as resources goes. If humankind were to save ourselves, “no growth” is the kind of austerity we need. Not the type of austerity that funnels our remaining wealth to those who need it least.

    Now whenever I say that the main problem is our growth paradigm, all emerges from that, I get glazed looks from my friends

    in reply to: Are You Going to Believe Your Masters or Your Lying Eyes? #1679

    Hi rapier

    Don’t you think that there might be a phase change at some point when the ability of the corporations to accrue wealth is thwarted by the level of damage to the economy? Like the break up of the Roman Empire?

    in reply to: Are You Going to Believe Your Masters or Your Lying Eyes? #1678

    I think the quality of the articles and posts recently has been really good, Thanks to all concerned, particularly Ilargi and Ashvin.

    Fundamental questions are being tackled here.

    My view is that the world economy is now supercritical like liquid water below zero degrees. Any seed crystal will cause it to freeze up like “Ice 9”

    I’m not looking forward to that!

    in reply to: Are You Going to Believe Your Masters or Your Lying Eyes? #1676

    Hi El Gallinazo

    I like your commentary. Here in the UK, yesterday, there was quite a good science documentary (“Horizon”) about the powers of the subconsious. They alluded to some recent research that showed people were on average optimistic about the future, that they only assimilate good news and discard the bad. The program seemed to spin this as evololutionarily adaptive (which it might be).

    An example of this was asking a person to rate his chances of suffering from cancer during his lifetime. The real statistical rate was then given to the person. If it was lower that their guess, they remembered it, if it was higher, they did not.

    It made me think of you, El gal, and the readership of TAE in general because we have the uncommon ability to consider bad news outcomes.

    I think, unless more people learn to believe their lying eyes, the Owners’ program will continue.

    The problem for me is that it makes it very difficult to calculate when the financial system will actually break down here on a local level.

    I think that in the Soviet Union during the financial collapse in the ’90s, Lots of critical staff for example, doctors, nuclear technicians etc. still went to work even though they had not been paid for long time and the prospect of pay was not high.

    I wonder whether society held some of it’s normality together because of desperate hope.

    Will this happen in the UK or USA?

    in reply to: PetroPlus – Tip of an Iceberg #476

    The attitude of the populus of the UK to wind farms makes me a little sad: there’s a debate going on about the additional expense of renewables in general now that households and businesses are facing hard times and high energy bills. It’s so myopic and, I think, reflects the idea that the market will react in time to provide renewables just in time.
    I wish that people who speak up against renewables really study energy resources first. Otherwise it’s all noise in a vacuum. Once everyone knows the parameters of the subject, then it’s time to weigh it up!

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