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The post on cows was a surprise and it doesn’t take an engineer to make those observations. I am a farmer with a small inholding and a variety of livestock including Jersey Dairy cattle. The “greatest misallocation of resources” is indeed true and will be a roadblock to changing how and what we feed ourselves. The industrialization of farming is also a misallocation of oil energy with 9 cal of oil energy as the input and 1 cal of food energy as the output. Thus oil energy not only powers our tractors and trucks but the cells in our body and our livestock’s bodies. Ruminant livestock managed properly are a win-win for the environment, improving the soil under proper conditions and consuming cellulose based plants which are indigestible to humans. The yards deep rich soil of the great plains came about as a result of unmanaged ruminants. The factory farming model reliant upon oil input and oil machines will disappear without fossil energy inputs and feeding 8 billion mouths will be impossible.. The result will be overshoot,collapse, and dieoff. People know this in their heart of hearts which is why they will be on the move out of urban/suburban food deserts. Building a new infrastructure will be slow, problematic, and difficult as this post indicates. Food security outside of an industrial model will require resourceful people realizing that the world is entering a YOYO(you’re on your own) economy and small farming with a few cows, pigs and chickens is an excellent way to ensure that security. Now is a good time to learn. One disclaimer: It is work.
Ilargi, the story that the UK only has 15 beds for serious respiratory patients which first surfaced with Chris Martenson is misleading. Those are extracorporeal membrane oxygen beds which are also used for other deadly infections . There happen to be very few in this country as well. For corona virus, normal ICU/ventilator beds are just fine for 99% of cases. But not nearly enough of those either if the US really gets hit.
Where to start? As the lawyers say, I have some standing for my opinions. I entered West Point in 1964 and there was turmoil even then within our instructors and my classmates about the wisdom(?) ie idiocy of that involvement . There was even a hushed up exodus of officers who departed suddenly when the army decided to purge dissension in the ranks. Was that ever covered in the press? I was lucky to end up wielding medical instruments instead of war instruments but the sight and smell and sounds has stayed with me. I was lucky to escape combat but I lived and worked with the consequences of it. Some of the participants were cream of the crop but the bulk were soldiers of color and marginal education and social status. Perfect cannon fodder while the cowardly chicken hawks like the Cheney/Bush/Spence types just skated. In Nam statements like what spence uttered could have gotten him “fragged” Even today when well meaning types thank me for my service I almost gag. Even today like a moth drawn to a flame I read about the history of war and the progression of armaments over the eons and like most middle level officers I have contempt for most of the generals and respect for the NCOs amd many middle level officers who were and are front line. The chicken hawk politicians of both parties are scum beneath contempt. The MIC and the currently structured Technological military is more fragile than Boeing ads and army recruitment ads would have you believe.The US 5th Fleet based in Bahrain using outdated obsolete assumptions like the aircraft carrier wouldn’t stand a chance in a real shooting war even against a tiny adversary like Iran with supersonic anti ship missiles.. The aircraft carrier makes as much sense today as the battle ship did in 1950.The advertised propaganda that the US Military is the best in the world is analogous to the US Health system the best in the world. A true statement is that they are the most expensive in the world both a victim of excessively complex fabulously expensive technology vulnerable to annihilation. The Us military is like the British military in WW1: an army of lions commanded by donkeys.
• The Places in America that Use the Most (and Least) Pesticides (PO)
Come ON guys. The article doesn’t know the difference between pesticides and herbicides. Big difference. Both are evil of course and roundup is especially evil as it is an antibiotic masquerading as a herbicide. It sterilizes the soil killing bacteria and fungi and of course plant matter.
As to massive animal dieoff in Africa caused by exploding populations . Many countries there have 5-8 children per woman. I may need to go back and read the Book of Revelations.This is a recipe for social disintegration and exodus of unwelcome refugees and ultimately another dieoff.
I would agree Raul .Most highly intelligent people I follow besides yourself hold your opinion like Gail and Ugo and others but I see oil as the lynchpin of it all as transportation is 95% oil. The other fossil and non fossil energy sources primarily just give electricity with gas heating BUILDINGS AS WELL AS electricity TURBINES. Oil is so wasteful as a transportation energy but it induces other energy sources for concrete and steel for roads and sprawl and is the basis of transport of goods and growing food and mining the other fossil fuels. Fortunately it may be the first source to drop out by virtue of scarcity. I consider BIG AG to be an enormous part of the problem because Big AG is destroying the soils of the world and poisoning and killing the soil organisms and water. Soil fungi particularly have the ability to pull CO2 out of the air and infuse it into the soil through root exudates but a chemical herbicide like roundup can knock out 50 % of Aspergilus Nidulans fungi if applied at 1%(!!) of Monsantos’s recommended dosage. At only 2% it kill 100% of that fungi.Roundup has been described as an antibiotic masquerading as a herbicide. My point is that the evils of big AG far exceed just the energy it uses and killing the soil will induce famine and it wont matter if you have a Tesla to get to the supermarket if the shelves are empty.(did I get off subject?!!).Your point that ALL energy use must be sharply curtailed to offer any hope of mitigating planet pollution but doing so will collapse the industrial economy. Joseph Heller laid all this out in his famous novel. Do you want me to tell Gretta and Alexandria OC or will you do it for me?
Excellent and sad post Raul.I would emphasize that the kernel of the “problem” is fossil energy, oil primarily. Changing the educational system is a worthy aim but wont alter the trajectory. This suicidal self organizing system is not under the control of anyone. It might be like the trigger of a thermonuclear bomb. Once triggered the reaction will proceed to final entropy. the only way to stop this galloping juggernaut is to break its legs. How do you break the legs of fossil ag, corporate computerized computation,automobile driven sprawl, greed driven inequality, the imperial military industrial complex? Remember Viet Nam’s rationale. We had to try to destroy it to save it. The circulatory system of the globalized economy will have to be cut off to stop the economic monster from continuing its path of destruction. It will eventually have to end but with a bang or with a whimper, who can know. I weep for Gretta Thunberg and her generation who have figured out they are being screwed and don’t know what to do but scream.
Thank you Ilargi for this post from Dr D.!I Ialso run a small diversified farm with pigs, chickens, sheep and Jersey milk cows.Dr D is on target. I have in the past 30 years turned our glacial rocky alluvial soil into productive soil using only manure, I was dismayed at the Lancet article as well and by other voices who say we must end all consumption of meat and dairy. They must be educated. In one sense they are right. The industrial agriculture system as practiced should be abandoned for reasons Dr D gave but he failed to mention the most egregious reason. Huge grain inputs are used for just one purpose:to increase yields of dairy and meat. The important fact is that except in unusual circumstances supplementary grain inputs are not needed and are frequently harmful to the animal. Our livestock can exist solely on grass and weeds and grain straw ALONE. Just like the elk and venison our family consumes. These animals have digestive systems designed solely for grasses and grasses which have no nutrient value to human beings but these animals can take indigestible useless cellulose and turn it into lean meat and milk. Yes yields are less but cows don’t need ANY grain to produce milk or meat. On just grass our jersey cow will make 3-4 gallons a day but if stuffed with corn this could be doubled as is done in industrial dairies. Feeding them only grass these cows can have a useful life of 15 years. Crammed with grain they last only 4 or 5 years before they are discarded, worn out and sick. I consider this practice of grain feeding a crime against not only the animals, but the soil and the entire planet. I wont even get into the crime of raising grain for buiofuels.
Mnuchin, told reporters the sanctions would help punish “those responsible for Venezuela’s tragic decline” and boost Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader who last week declared himself Venezuela’s rightful interim president and was recognized by the United States. “It is a complete tragedy to have a humanitarian crisis in a country that has very rich resources,” Mnuchin said. Complete Mnuchin’s sentence:a country that has very rich resources, THAT WE WANT! Why is it that I haven’t seen any reports that this whole charade in Venezuela is not a CIA Black OP? It would seem obvious. We tried in in 2002. Let’s call it Venezuela 2.0. It appears the CIA is also coordinating with Britain to put a hold on Venezuela’s gold until the CIA can get its stooge on the throne. “Where have all the flowers gone. When will they ever learn. Venezuela has OUR oil and we want it!! In fact Venezuela has been one of the best sources for the medium crude so useful for diesel production. So send in the Marines! That’s what the Monroe Doctrine is for. To protect our oil access in this hemisphere just as the Carter Doctrine was to protect oil access in the ME. And don’t forget the Cheney Doctrine to protect our oil access in Iraq. Course that didn’t work out so well. Lily Tomlin said it so well: “No matter how cynical I get, I find I just can’t keep up.”
Roundup present in 80% of breast milk was stunning but the article said Brazil is rife with pesticides. Glyphosate(Roundup) is of course a herbicide, not a pesticide. Does the article mean that Brazil is contaminated with herbicides AND pesticides? Hard to discern from the article although they do use the term “agrotoxins”. Some clarity please and if contaminated with pesticides, which ones and at what level ppm?
Thank you Raul for posting Alistair’s piece and there are some fine comments here, particularly Joe Clarkson’s views. I am well familiar with the Hills group work and have been posting on my energy blog my own exegesis and analysis as I struggle to understand if their work is valid. I continue to parse out their graphs and equations and assumptions behind their Etp model laid out in their 65 page monograph and I have been mystified how little coverage that monograph has received in the media and the net besides an excellent report from Ugo Bardi on his casandraleagacy blog and the recent lectures by Dr Alister Hamilton in Edinburgh. No doubt most of the reason is the engineering and math complexity of their work and the interested reader needs sound grounding in thermodynamics and more than passing fluency in college math. I would urge everyone to read it particular the jarring conclusion that oil extraction, processing and distribution may be consuming all of the oil’s energy by as early as 2030, in effect consuming its tail. This surplus of exergy, not energy has made industrial civilization possible and as oil depletes so will wealth and obviously growth. The legacy fields are depleting at 5-8%/yr and the smaller fields twice that and new annual discoveries are less that 10% of world consumption and have been for decades. The average new field was 24 mbbl in 2015(source:HSBC sept 2016). It is definitely time to tend our gardens.
Raul, Thank you for the first two articles on today’s post by Smarsh and Carr. They are exceedingly informative and fine.
“I’d say wherever you live and whenever your next election is, don’t vote for anyone who promotes any centralization ideas. Or growth.”
Good advice Seychelles, if only that were possible. Unfortunately that is the existing dominant meme of political economics whether you cling to the neo classical variety or the Keynesian flavor. Nobody get why growth has been the driving force for more than 200 yrs. That growth has been created by real wealth and that real wealth has been driven by energy cheap energy which has facilitated cheap food, transportation and exponential industrial development which did not exist prior to oil and coal. With cheap energy nearly at an end, economic growth will diminish and contract.. If you subtract the huge contribution of financialization to GDP numbers the past decade or so, growth in most of the OECD has been flat or negative anyway. Paper trading in the casino banks doesn’t yield real wealth anyway. It makes money which gets counted as GDP but it is not wealth.
The Saxo bank boys are right about the Persian and Roman Empires as Michael Grant points this out in his marvelous book “The Fall of the Roman Empire”. Grant emphasizes the income inequality and disunity of the Roman empire but has a whole chapter devoted to the onerous taxation Rome resorted to trying to keep the empire together and pay their military. History rhymes even if it doesn’t exactly repeat.We are in new economic, social and political ground this century because we have exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet by hockey stick economic growth driven by free energy. The economic failures looming are also driven by the insane policies of debt and central bank cluelessness of course but economic collapse will be the least of our worries. I recently reread The Limits to Growth and they called it 50 years ago. The party is over. This is a new rodeo. Hang on to those reins and that saddlehorn. Gonna be a heck of a ride.
Greenpa I agree but why just draw the line at Texas? To this day I cannot forgive Lincoln for his terrible mistake in pursuing a civil war. When Ft Sumpter was shelled , Lincoln had a golden opportunity to be rid of the foul Southern culture. They wanted to secede and he wouldn’t let them and they’re still there, grafted to us like a foul appendage, a de facto separate nation, still racist , still ignorant.
Great Job Raul for the past few days. Here in outer Wyoming we were really whooping it up in the Greek’s epic battle against the Euromonsters. We also whooped it up during the Arab Spring and when Mubarak bit the dust and you know how that all worked out. We can only hope that Greece continues to generate real leadership . I am envious of their leaders especially when viewing the pond scum that passes for leadership and political candidates here in the ailing, failing empire.
Great comment Greenpa. Raul, could you comment on how you perceive how Socrates 6 pack or the average Greek Granny perceives the referendum decision and what they are going to have to do to figure out how to vote on the abstruse proposal. It would seem to me to simplify the decision making by making it a decision based upon consequences. If you vote “yes”, such and such is likely. If you vote “no”, this is likely to happen, Surely they must realize that they can’t have it both ways, that is, to stay with the Euro and get more money from IMF helicopters and endure even less ( or more(?) austerity. I guess I must be missing something. Comon folks, let’s wrap this up!
Thank you IL for such diligent efforts on almost a daily basis. You are my first and sometimes only mouse click of the day and I dearly wish I could send a few paypal vists your way more often. I along with some of the other commenters got twisted backwards with the war risk comment. LIke WHO for example? The US perhaps. True of course and who would we fight(unsuccessfully of course) next? We’re running out of countries to invade or destabalize. I am glad you emphasize again and again of the danger of plunging oil prices while the economic goons du jour of the MSM which includes NPR most especially, point to the bright side of $2 gasoline. What you know and I know and the goons don’t of course is that oil(Energy)=The economy. Ergo oil goes down, economy goes down. At this point most of us realize that we in most countries are being led by donkeys. We are like those African migrants trapped down in the hold of that freighter plowing thru the ocean toward Italy with the ship on autopilot with the bridge dark and the captain and crew long gone . But immediate threat of war??? Nah…….don’t see it.
Thanks for the post, one among the thousands predicting the end of the Euro kids, the CPIGS(I have always hated the double i; Cyprus to the rescue of that clumsy acronym.) OK Ilargi. If they are dead, why don’t they die? Looks like we will have some pretty big acronyms coming up…
PS: Is there someway you can delete some of the rude ad hominem comments cluttering up a really good website?
Illargi, beautiful post in your typically well structured prose( and nifty artwork BTW) laying out the opaque anatomy and physiology of the financial devil serpents holding sway over the world economy and squeezing the life out of us. I’m not stupid enough or naive enough to demand that you offer up a solution to this predicament because there isn’t one, at least one that can be implemented through the democratic process or by free market dynamics.Wait! There was a solution, and Iceland took it. Some years back President Olafur Grimsson asked the Icelanders to decide whether they wanted to bail out the evil bankers in a referendum. 93% said no, and today it was settled for good and for all by the EFTA court ruling. Unfortunately George Bush did not offer us that option.We had long since put the central banks in place because of repeated boom bust cycles and having a quasi independent head of financial and monetary policy seemed like a possible solution given the prevailing economic assumptions of the day but packing the Fed with Bankers and banks was the fatal flaw along with flawed economic assumptions of that crowd. I’m really starting to hate this roller coaster to hell that goes up and down but never jumps the rails. I wonder what the proximal event will kick it off the tracks….
Thank you for laying some of the blame for a collapse which in retrospect is multifactorial and which has been a long time coming. The rogues gallery is a lot bigger than the finance and banking elites who have dominated the political system for many decades and without any doubt are proximal causes of this debacle but the banking cartel of the Federal Reserve certainly merits mention as well as the flawed and outdated economic assumptions which characterize the dogma under girding a globalized economy hell bent on a meeting with a brick wall. There are limits to growth as was pointed out in the oft ridiculed book of the same name and we have hit those limits. I suppose laying the blame and naming names serves some function. It would seem to be like the deck passengers of the Titanic screaming at the clueless corporate ship owners, the skipper, the ship designers, the lousy structural steel, the lack of a better iceberg patrol and even the berg itself for destroying their travel plans. As Jorge the magnificent once said, “This sucker is going down!” Of course Obama is a disaster but we could have gotten his evil twin, the robot romney. Our future is baked into this cake and pretending we can avoid that wall may help those who feel they must keep an optimistic outlook on life, but wont change the outcome. The good news is that we might soon be rid of some devils, the ones we know.
Thank you for another well constructed blog, Illargi. We missed you the last few days . You are still one of a small group of voices telling us not what we want to hear but what we need to hear but I do think that we are well past the point of rescue. We are living in in two modes as James Schlesinger noted: complacency or panic. Despite a few intelligent voices in government, it is the elite at the top who just don’t get it, or if they do get it,wont say it. A few days ago Bloomberg reported that the House Speaker told Harry Reid to “go F— yourself” just outside the oval office, no less!. These are the donkeys leading us. Remember the old expression about the British Army in WW2 as “Lions led by Donkeys!”. Not too many lions left here in the good ole US of hay, I’m afraid. More like “Sheep led by donkeys.” I cannot see a future limned by meadows and others as anything other that what you laid out. Our shitwagon is starting to fly apart but Newtonian Laws are now in control with an object in motion tending to remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. I can think of one last quote, poorly paraphrased:” people will tend to do what they always done for as long as they can, until they can’t. And then they wont. Pax Vobiscum.
Thank you for an incredibly lucid explanation of where value comes from. I would prefer that you had used the term “wealth” instead of value. This is my conclusion from some years of independent rumination but you have put it crystal clear for me by relating it to the laws of thermodynamics. I intuitively knew that energy was at the core of wealth but you made the jump to the thermodynamic laws. WOW. I have already printed this blog post and filed it. It is great to have you back and writing regularly. Say hello to your female collaborator. I enjoyed her conversation at our dinner table a year or so ago.