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I saw a comment on ZH mentioning the massive energy footprint of cryptocurrency. Is the suggestion that the benefits of this currency to humanity outweigh its necessary harmful impacts on the rest of the planet?
My sincere3 sympathies on the passing of your Mother.
“There’s a lot of political interest in downplaying the danger ebola poses. There’s even more economic interest in doing that, but then the two are Siamese twins. As of today in America, and last week in continental Europe, that attitude has become a threat to potentially millions of people.”
On the contrary, there remain people who are experts in the health and infectious disease field who have nothing to gain financially from over-playing or downplaying the risk of ebola who are on the record as saying that for the western world this is not a significant threat but that it is a serious threat in West Africa. If anything, these people suggest that TPTB have much more to be gained from fear-mongering, to gain public support for the production of ever more pharmaceuticals.
Additionally, the threat represented by ebola is not equal in all areas in the world and this needs to be acknowledged in the analysis of this threat in order for people living in different areas to properly assess the risk it represents to them. I am not suggesting that people living in less-affected areas should not provide support for those where the illness is hitting hard.
Here are links to articles written by alternative health leaders who subscribe to this position.
Re Ebola, from Jon Barron, a leader in alternative health, says that ebola risks outside West Africa are being hyped:
The maleficent, monger-miners of morbidity are at it yet again, looking to whip people into a frenzy of fear and spread misinformation in the name of the CDC. In case you haven’t seen it, there have been an abundance of headlines over the last couple of days saying things like:
CDC report predicts as many as 1.4 million cases of Ebola by January
And although the CDC report literally says that, it doesn’t actually mean that. The statement is taken out of context. I encourage you to read the actual report and not just the stories about it. But if you don’t have the time, let me explain what the report actually says.
First, this is not an actual prediction; it’s the presentation of two different scenarios based on an Ebola Response modeling tool developed by the CDC. The 1.4 million figure represents one scenario. To quote from the report.
“Extrapolating trends to January 20, 2015, without additional interventions or changes in community behavior (e.g., notable reductions in unsafe burial practices), the model also estimates that Liberia and Sierra Leone will have approximately 550,000 Ebola cases (1.4 million when corrected for underreporting).”
However, the second scenario in the report states:
“If, by late December 2014, approximately 70% of patients were placed either in ETUs or home or in a community setting such that there is a reduced risk for disease transmission (including safe burial when needed), then the epidemic in both countries would almost be ended by January 20, 2015.”
In other words, if you weren’t into fear mongering, you could just as easily have run a headline based on this report that read:
CDC report predicts Ebola will be over by January
So which scenario is more likely? Well, the last three sentences in the report clearly state the opinion of the researchers themselves.
“Officials have developed a plan to rapidly increase ETU capacities and also are developing innovative methods that can be quickly scaled up to isolate patients in non-ETU settings in a way that can help disrupt Ebola transmission in communities. The U.S. government and international organizations recently announced commitments to support these measures. As these measures are rapidly implemented and sustained, the higher projections presented in this report become very unlikely.”
Unfortunately, many news services have decided to transform into fear-mongering the CDC’s express effort to motivate the international community. As the Washington Post pointed out in its version of the story, CDC Director Tom Frieden, commenting on the report, said, “This presents a what-if case — the nightmare scenario if nothing is done.” He added, “It is still possible to reverse the epidemic, and we believe this can be done if a sufficient number of all patients are effectively isolated, either in Ebola treatment units or in other settings, such as community-based or home care. Once a sufficient number of Ebola patients are isolated, cases will decline very rapidly — almost as rapidly as they rose.”
Link to the whole article: https://jonbarron.org/colds-flus-infectious-diseases/ebola-14-million-cases-not-reallyMay 23, 2014 at 2:56 am in reply to: Physical Limits to Food Security: Water and Climate #13088
I think your assessment of water remaining in a never-ending cycle is theoretically true but in real terms not necessarily true. In Canada, we have huge man-made “lakes” that have for all intents and purposes been permanently removed from a usable water cycle as a result of being terribly polluted in the extraction of tar sands. Flocks of birds die when they land on these lakes because they are so polluted. Researchers have been trying unsuccessfully for decades to find ways to clean these “lakes” up, but they remain in a polluted state. As a second example, I have also read that, in the case of underground aquifers, once they are pumped out, they collapse, such that they are no longer able to store water, which again effectively removes a portion of water from the usable water cycle. A third example is the sallination of water from agricultural use which, owing to the high energy requirements to remove the salt, effectively means a loss of usable water contained in the water cycle. While at some time in the future, these problems may be resolved through technological improvements, this is not a given.
” I intend to design a curriculum of information with regard to limits to growth, workshops for working through the necessary decision tree for moving forward and classes in all manner of practical skills for adaptation. There’s so little real, relevant education available at today’s educational institutions”
I find this hard to believe, and maybe you need to look beyond “educational institutions”. There are permaculture organizations popping up all over the place, including Eastern Ontario for example. There are also vocational schools teaching all manner of skills. Organic farmers provide workshops on soil health and how to maintain it (we took one such course from a fifth generation farmer — quite compelling). This year I have taken a tree pruning workshop and I’ve recently attended a workshop on how to grow grapes. We are planning to attend a workshops on raising bees. And on and on. There are ample examples of these practical skills in my backyard and I don’t think my circumstances are unique.
I also spend a fair amount of time in a rural area, and my experience is that many of these folks have a lot of practical knowledge of how to manage their physical environment and get things done to a much greater extent than do city folks. I’d think my time would be better spent trying to learn from these folks.
I very much appreciate Nicole’s skills in the area of providing an excellent big picture overview but, from what I glean from her writings here, I have yet to see sufficient experience with the practical skills to be an effective and convincing teacher in these areas. I would not be interested in learning about something like permaculture, for example, from anyone who has not actively practiced it for at least a decade, with enough time to have experienced a sufficiently wide range of climate challenges. In areas such as this and other practical undertakings, my experience is that there is a huge divide between “book learning” and real world application.
I’m wondering if the gas flaring is similar to the depression-era farmers dumping their milk in the ditches. I’m also wondering how bad it is for the energy companies to be taking these write-downs – if they can claim losses for tax purposes, does this preclude the possibility of the companies going back to fracking at some point when the price is right? (I’m no fan of fracking, just wondering about this scenario.)
I agree that the youth of today are completely screwed. However, it is not clear to me that it would help the youth if people with pensions/paycheques should simply refuse them. With all of the “excess claims” I’m not sure that this money would end up where it should. I’m also thinking that there would be such a miniscule number of people who would agree to do this, because of high debt levels, that it would make no difference. I agree that this is setting up for a huge intergenerational fight, but I don’t see a way around that.
What should the youth do? I really don’t know. Nicole seems to suggest a few things ( don’t get into debt, don’t buy a house, acquire useful skills (ie carpenter), don’t acquire an expensive education or education leading to a job based on continuation of our highly complex society).
What should the older generation do? I don’t have an answer to this either. Again, I think Nicole suggests some similar things to what is suggested for youth (ie stay out of debt and don’t own a mortgaged house). As long as people are somehow preparing for collapse and intending to help those in their community, I think Nicole would see the continued acceptance of a paycheque of some sort (including a pension?) as being a transfer of wealth from the 1% to the 99%. She has also said at one of her presentations that living in the current economy is quite expensive, such that my sense was that she was not advocating “dropping out” and leaving one’s day job as it were.
I am personally trying to interest the youth in my sphere to come along for the ride to explore the old world of living off of the land, an activity that we have made some progress on. However, there are no takers even among those who are somewhat marginalized in the current economy.
Hi South Ozzie, I understand your confusion and I had similar concerns here in Canada. I don’t know the definitive answer to your questions, but I can tell you what I have done – maybe some of it is applicable to your context. First, in Canada the government sells bonds once per year (in November and December). Bonds are sold through the banks here so, in November, I went to the bank and told them I wanted to buy bonds. I gave them money and a few weeks later they gave me the paper bonds. These I am keeping at home. I stand to be corrected, but I understand that these bonds can be cashed at any bank. In Canada, our federal bonds can be cashed at any time without penalty. As for mortgage deeds, there is a government registry in Canada that indicates who owns properties. In addition, I have a copy of the deed to my house that I keep in my possession in a safe box. As for where to keep your cash, TAE recommends keeping some of it “in your possession”. This is where you have to use your imagination and think about protection from fire and flood (and don’t put it inside an old fridge and then sell the fridge…). Good luck to you and hope this helps!
This is a really timely and useful messsage. Here are the signs of the times in my world. First, neighbours had a relative help with re-roofing. The relative fell off the roof (fortunately survived but multiple bones broken in wrist and several vertebrae cracked). The insurance company is dragging its feet — started by repeatedly cancelling apointments event to come for the initial assessment. Second, we recently had a robbery in our town involving 4 people waving down a car and trying to rob occupants. They say that banks have such good security setups (quality surveillance images) that now robbers have moved to street crime. Third, in my circle of friends, many of their kids just can’t get anything other than Mcjobs and that isn’t even guaranteed.
Was it Stoneleigh who said that people move to majical thinking when things become too tough? Speaking from personal experience, at times I find it is an effort to stay in the gritty, tough world of rationality in spite of the havoc we here are all so very highly atuned to in our world. I hope you will continue to spend some time with us Ash on this rational journey because you have much to offer and we need all the help we can get.
I liked the spirit of the article very much, but the intro left some questions.
“we distort our ability to truly empathize and understand the humanity of those who preceded us and in doing so we distort our ability to understand our own position in history and relationship to those that will follow us.”
Your basic position seems to be that we are incapable of truly understanding history, but you then go on to try to do just that….
“it is important that we work to empathize with their reality as best we can so that we might understand our own more fully.”
Can you name some examples in which empathy with the reality of forbearers led to a fuller understanding of current reality? It sounds like a platitude. On the contrary, there are many examples in which we don’t learn much from our errors, such that, in trying to predict the future, we often quite confidently and reasonably assume that the same errors will be repeated.
Did anyone see the Martenson post at ZH on June 5 “The Pernicious Dynamics of Debt, Deleveraging, And Deflation”? It seemed very much like he is moving into the deflation camp.April 22, 2012 at 6:51 am in reply to: Retrospective #1: As published in the Wanganui Chronicle, 21-04-12 #2727
I believe that double- or triple-paned windows are pretty expensive upgrades for minimal energy savings return (ie going from an R2 to R3 or 4). For a much lower price, you can get a substantially better energy savings from insulating the attic, for example, in some cases going from R20 to R40 or R50. As for adding to the capital value of the house by upgrading windows, again I’m not sure about this if the assumption is that house prices will decline/deflate. New windows are certainly nice and less drafty, but they usually come at a relatively high cost.
I share the observation that people tend to focus on the superficial elements in home renovations generally (ie beautifying the bath or kitchen areas, while ignoring the overall functionality of the house). I have seen some excessive kitchens that are used for little more than microwaving prepared food purchased at the supermarket.
Anyone get to see the Canadian documentary film “Payback”? It is based on Margaret Atwood’s Massey lecture by the same name. My comments: the movie explored the broad notions of debts, including environmental debts that can’t be repaid monetarily in some cases, and debts between individual persons which can lead to feuds where there is not legal system of redress. While the movie touched on prisons as a mechanism for extracting payment from individual criminals for their debts to society, there was no exploration of the concept of debtors prisons as discussed here on TAE. I would have liked to have seen this element. There also seemed to be more of a focus on inter-personal debts as opposed to the debts that are owed to or by large institutions/corporations. It would have been interesting to have seen some exploration of this also. Overall, some good food for thought plus some chuckles listening to Conrad Black wade in on the subject of his repaying his debts to society.
Ben and Reverse Engineer,
Can you make your criticisms and points without being demeaning towards Ash? I appreciate a good debate but things are getting ugly.
My world is starting to confront some economic walls now. What is coming true is that, as TAE has said, by the time stuff starts to happen, the options of many are limited without the benefit of some advance planning and action. I’m really hoping to try to work on the ‘community building’ thing in some way so that we can help each other through.
On the democracy front, my organization recently implemented a new very restrictive ethics code that effectively puts many of us in contravention just by doing our daily jobs. It is shocking for some to confront this reality, particularly those who believe that they and their employer are “on the same team”. The inoculation of learning about these types of shifts in advance really does, in my opinion, reduce some of the stress when they arrive at the door. Thanks again for your efforts.
Is there any way that a “burning questions” section could be added somewhere? A friend and I have repeatedly posted in the comments section a question about the Canadian equivalent to Treasury Direct. Unfortunately, we never got an answer and I would think that this question would be relevant to quite a few people. Even people living in other countries besides the U.S. and Canada might want to know. In any case, the broader suggestion is for a place for people to post questions. Thanks for all you do — much appreciated.March 1, 2012 at 2:42 am in reply to: When the Deflation Tsunami Hits, Losing the Least is a Winner #1169
I’d like to echo the SOS request for what would be the Canadian-equivalent to TD for the purposes of buying Canadian treasuries (or Savings Bonds or whatever is recommended). If anyone can provide insight on this, it would be most appreciated.
Ash, thank you for drawing attention to the corporate angle on prison labour. In Canada, plans are in place to substantially increase the number of prisons, along with implementing mandatory minimum sentences, a move that is vocally criticized by the national bar association. This is all happening as our statistical agency points out that the crime rate is decreasing. Understanding how corporations can potentially benefit from prison labour, never mind the construction contracts, provides a rationale that is consistent with everything else we are seeing these days.