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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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How Should We Then Live?

How Should We Then Live? 

The philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, which we’ve been discussing for several weeks now, isn’t usually approached from the angle by which I’ve been approaching it—that is, as a way to talk about the gap between what we think we know about the world and what we actually know about it. The aspect of his work that usually gets all the publicity is the ethical dimension.

That’s understandable but it’s also unfortunate, because the ethical dimension of Schopenhauer’s philosophy is far and away the weakest part of it. It’s not going too far to say that once he started talking about ethics, Schopenhauer slipped on a banana peel dropped in his path by his own presuppositions, and fell flat on his nose. The banana peel in question is all the more embarrassing in that he spent much of the first half of The World as Will and Representation showing that you can’t make a certain kind of statement without spouting nonsense, and then turned around and based much of the second half on exactly that kind of statement.

Let’s review the basic elements of Schopenhauer’s thinking. First, the only things we can experience are our own representations. There’s probably a real world out there—certainly that hypothesis explains the consistency of our representations with one another, and with those reported by (representations of) other people, with less handwaving than any other theory—but all the data we get from the world out there amounts to a thin trickle of sensory data, which we then assemble into representations of things using a set of prefab templates provided partly by our species’ evolutionary history and partly by habits we picked up in early childhood. How much those representations have to do with what’s actually out there is a really good question that’s probably insoluble in principle.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Small Space Prepping: 25 Ideas for Stashing Your Stockpile

Small Space Prepping: 25 Ideas for Stashing Your Stockpile

The biggest challenge in small space prepping is finding storage areas for your supplies. While I don’t recommend stacking food buckets to the ceiling in the living room where you receive visitors, there are all sorts of charming ways to hide preps in plain sight as part of your everyday decor. As well, just a few small tweaks to rooms all around your house can add considerable amounts of storage space.

Here are 25 ideas to get your wheels turning.

Hide Preps in Plain Sight

  • Store some of your food “country kitchen” style. Consider adding a rustic shelving unit full of various mason jars containing dried foods, beans, pasta, flour, jams, herbs, and other shelf-stable goods. If all of the jars are clear and labeled the same way, it looks very organized and appealing. (Maybe use those cute little chalkboard labels – but be sure to get the ones marked “reusable.”)
  • Put candles or oil lamps in every room. Use your emergency lighting as an old-fashioned statement. Add a decorative little box with matches or lighters. (You can pick the boxes for a song up at the dollar store or a yard sale.) Boom – let there be light the moment a power outage occurs.
  • Decorate with cozy throws and blankets. Soft, fuzzy blankets not only look inviting, but they can also help keep your heat bill down when nobody is able to resist curling up under them. Pile them in wicker hampers, put them on the foot of beds, and toss them over the arm of the couch. Bonus: When the power is out, you have a way to stay warmer within arm’s reach.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Food Crisis—The Greatest Threat to Social Stability

Food Crisis—The Greatest Threat to Social Stability

Food Crisis—The Greatest Threat to Social Stability

 

Recently, I was in a pharmacy and overheard the pharmacist say to someone, “There’s so much unpleasantness on the news these days, I’ve stopped watching.” The pharmacist has my sympathy. I’d love to be able to ignore the deterioration of the First World. It is, at turns, tedious, depressing, disturbing, and infuriating.

Unfortunately, we’re now passing through what, before it’s over, will be the most life-altering period in our lifetimes. As much as we’d like to behave like ostriches right now, we’d better keep our heads out of the sand and be as honest with ourselves as we can if we’re going to lessen the impact that these events will have on us.

I cannot emphasize too strongly the importance of a possible shortage of food. History is filled with examples of cultures that would endure most anything and still behave responsibly… but nothing causes greater, more unpredictable, or more violent behaviour in a people than a lack of food.

Interesting to note that whenever I converse with people on the finer points of the Great Unraveling, when I mention the words “famine” or “food riots,” even those who are otherwise quite comfortable discussing the subject tend to want to discount the possibility that these will be aspects of the troubles that are headed our way. For this very reason, I believe that we should shine a light on this eventuality.

The Present State of the Industry

In America, the food industry is not in good shape. Normally, the food industry relies on a low-profit/high-volume basis, leaving little room for error. Add to this fact that many business owners and managers in the food industry have given in to the temptation to build up debt over the years.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Storm Leaves 600,000 French Households Without Power

Storm Leaves 600,000 French Households Without Power

According to French electricity grid operator Enedis, winter storm Zeus which unleashed hurricane-force winds across much of southern France, has left more than 600,000 French households without power as of 4pm on Monday. The company’s website advises that the power cuts have affected 175,000 customers in Brittany, 190,000 in Auvergne Rhone Alpes, 130,000 in Nouvelle Aquitaine, 80,000 in Pays de Loire, and the company advises that more than 3,500 technicians from Enedis are working in the field to deal with “very major” storm damage.


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Centre :  les techniciens @enedis sur le terrain pour diagnostiquer le

 le réseau et réalimenter les foyers impactés

It’s What’s Happening Beneath the Surface That Matters: Moral Decay and Rising Inequality

It’s What’s Happening Beneath the Surface That Matters: Moral Decay and Rising Inequality

These disintegrative forces are easy to see but elusive to pin down. Nobody defines themselves as self-serving, greedy and lacking in virtue. Everyone feels trapped in the system.
With the media’s hyperactive three-ring circus blasting 24/7, it’s easy to forget that everything consequential is happening beneath the surface, out of sight and largely out of mind.
What’s going on beneath the surface is structural and systemic–for example, the 4th Industrial Revolution that is transforming the global economy and social order, regardless of political ideologies or our wishes.
Centralization–the “solution” to every problem since 1940–is now the problem.Centralization generates corruption, privilege, rentier skims, institutionalized rackets and pushes one-size-fits all failure down the chain of command.
Another “solution”–issuing more costly credentials–has also failed. An over-abundance of credentials pushes wages down, even for the highly educated, while the credential mill of higher education has become a bloated, ineffective cartel that charges outrageous fees for increasingly valueless credentials.
The structural changes in the economy are visible in these charts:
The civilian participation rate is plummeting, despite the “recovery:”
The civilian participation rate for men is in a multi-decade decline:
As a percentage of GDP, wages have been declining for decades.
The rich have managed to gain wealth and income while the bottom 95% have gotten poorer as the cost of living soars and their wages stagnate.
There is more going on here than changes wrought by technology. Consider how many analysts identify central banks as a key cause of rising inequality and debt burdens. Consider how many people identify “money in politics” as a key factor in the corruption of governance.
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

5 Gray Man secrets I learned as a surveillance operative

5 Gray Man secrets I learned as a surveillance operative

Luckily, this just happens to be something I’m very familiar with, having both been involved in real-world operations on source operations and surveillance teams as well as teaching agents in both classroom and field exercises (not to mention the crap ton of training I did, compliments of the government), so I’ll break down the basics for you as far as I understand the concept. If you really want to dig deeply into it, here’s a list of books that you might want to consider.

What is the Gray Man concept?

Surveillance Tradecraft: The Professional's Guide to Surveillance Training The gray man concept is the theory behind the tactics, techniques, and procedures of reducing an adversary’s awareness of your presence or actions, allowing you to operate in a semi-permissive environment.

In simpler terms, it means doing things in a way that any others either don’t pay attention to you or dismisses you from being a target while you go about your business. Essentially, it comes down to how to hide in plain sight.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Minimalism: The Value of Living With Less

More and Less balance, young man holding a tablet computer

MINIMALISM: THE VALUE OF LIVING WITH LESS

While part of this growing trend toward minimalism can be attributed to the ongoing global economic recession, many people are prompted to downsize due to ecological and environmental concerns. For even more, this yearning for simplicity is about cultivating an appreciation for a life with less “stuff.”

“We bought into the media notion that money buys happiness,” said Duane Elgin, who wrote a book about the benefits of minimalism and simplicity. “We really, really tried that for couple of generations, and it didn’t work.”

On average, Australian households annually spend more than $1,226 on things that will never be used – and individually, each of us produces more than half a ton of waste each year. Not only is this unhealthy on a personal level, but it’s damaging our environment – leading more young people to search for ways to consume less.

Renting or buying smaller homes, using renewable energy sources, eating seasonally and cooking at home, and choosing to take public transportation or car-sharing networks instead of purchasing a personal vehicle are some of the ways people are starting to shift to a more sustainable, minimalist lifestyle.

“I always packed as lightly as possible, and found it exhilarating to get by with just a small carry-on bag,” said Francine Jay, an author and blogger who has been living minimally for more than a decade. “I thought, wow, if it feels this great to travel lightly, how amazing would it be to live this way? I wanted to have that same feeling of freedom in my everyday life, so I decided to get rid of all my excess possessions and live with just the essentials. I wanted to spend my time and energy on experiences, rather than things.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

New (free) E-book Offers Sustainable, Equitable Solutions to Building Resilience

New (free) E-book Offers Sustainable, Equitable Solutions to Building Resilience

In an era rocked by environmental, economic, and political upheaval, our communities must be resilient to survive and thrive. But what does resilience mean, exactly? And how can we address the problems facing America today — povertyjob losscrumbling infrastructurepollution — while preparing for an uncertain tomorrow?

To help answer these questions, Island Press launched the Urban Resilience Project  in 2013, with support from The Kresge Foundation and The JPB Foundation. The Project works with a diverse group of thinkers and activists to produce a wide-ranging series of articles on resilience. A compilation of this work is now available in the e-book Resilience Matters 2016: Sustainable, Equitable Solutionsavailable for free online.

The articles collected in the e-book address the economic, ecological and social dimensions of resilience. They report on a variety of threats, from the vulnerability of transit systems to the economic crises facing Rust Belt cities. Importantly, they showcase solutions that are sustainable and equitable. From public housing residents creating jobs in disaster recovery, to red-state cities that are (quietly) adapting to a changing climate, these stories illuminate the path forward in tumultuous times.

Organizations that contributed to the volume include the Public Health Institute, Emerald Cities Collaborative, Movement Strategy Center, Energy Innovation, West Harlem Environmental Action, NAACP, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Natural Hazard Mitigation Association, Bronx River Alliance, California Environmental Justice Alliance  and many others. The articles collected here were originally published in a diverse group of outlets—including The GuardianGristThe Nation, The Root and Governing.

The Urban Resilience Project continues to imagine and inspire the resilient cities of the future. If you’d like to write your own resilience story, or have a news tip to share, we’d love to hear from you. Together, we can forge a greener, fairer future.

Prosperous Homesteading

Prosperous Homesteading

If you expect the future to resemble the past, then you are very likely to be disappointed. Quite a few people understand this, but don’t know of any alternative to continuing to do what they are accustomed to doing—driving to a job, shopping, paying bills—until they no longer can. They can’t figure out anything better to do than shove their children through an overpriced educational scheme so that upon graduation they can take part in a game of economic musical chairs—until they no longer can either.

A lot of people also find the future too depressing to think about. Yes, it is depressing to think about cities and suburbs with no electricity, running water or functioning sewers, buried in rotting garbage and trash and overrun by feral dogs and armed gangs. It is far more pleasant to escape into a fantasy world where renewable energy saves the day as soon as the fossil fuel industry gets out of its way, or where the fossil fuel industry saves the day as soon as the environmentalists get out of its way, or some other politically motivated nonsense.

One question that doesn’t seem to be asked enough is, What alternative is there that actually works? The answer is surprising: there are hundreds of thousands of people living throughout North America who will be largely unaffected by the dismal scenario outlined above. When the electric grid fails, they won’t even notice. When cities and suburbs became uninhabitable due to filth and crime, they won’t even know about it. When starving vagabonds come trudging by their homestead, they will be fed a good meal and gratefully move on.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fumbling Towards Collapse

In all the smoke and fog emitted by Trump and his adversaries, it must be hard to make out the actual issues dogging this society, and even when you can, to find a coherent position on them. This was nicely illustrated in Paul Krugman’s fatuous column in Monday’s New York Times, “On Economic Arrogance” — the title describes Krugman’s own attitude to a T.

In it, Krugman attempts to account for the no-growth economy by marshaling the stock-in-trade legerdemain of academic economics: productivity, demographics, and labor metrics. Krugman actually knows zip about what afflicts us in the present disposition of things, namely the falling energy-return-on-energy-investment in the oil industry, which is approaching the point where the immense activity of getting oil out of the ground won’t be worth the cost and trouble of doing it. And since most of the things we do and produce in this economy are based on cheap oil — with no reality-based prospect of replacing it with so-called “renewables” or as yet undiscovered energy rescue remedies — we can’t generate enough wealth to maintain anything close to our assumed standard of living. We can’t even generate enough wealth to pay the interest on the debt we’ve racked up in order to hide our growing energy predicament. And that, in a nutshell, is what will blow up the financial system. And when that department of the economy goes, the rest will follow.

So, the real issue hidden in plain sight is how America — indeed all the so-called “developed” nations — are going to navigate to a stepped-down mode of living, without slip-sliding all the way into a dark age, or something worse. By the way, the Ole Maestro, Alan Greenspan, also chimed in on the “productivity” question last week to equally specious effect in this Business Insider article.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Nafeez Ahmed: Our Systems Are Failing

Nafeez Ahmed: Our Systems Are Failing

This is an evolutionary moment for our species

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is an award winning 15 year investigative journalist, noted international security scholar, best-selling author and film-maker.  He authored The Guardian’s Earth Insight blog and has twice won the prestigious Project Censored Award for outstanding investigative journalism.

In his new book Failing States, Collapsing Systems, Nafeez points out, as we often do here at PeakProsperity.com, that everything in our modern society is connected to energy, and that our pursuit of ever more, ever higher growth is finally colliding with planetary limits. Scarcity and strife will be the dominant trends from here, unless we, as a species, start looking for different ways of living better-suited for a finite world:

The most fascinating thing for me is how so much of what we take for granted becomes questionable as a result of the breakdown we’re seeing. When we begin questioning the exponential growth model then we begin questioning the value system driving our material production/consumption. It’s not that it hasn’t produced amazing knowledge of our environment and our place in the universe. It’s not that there haven’t been a huge amount of amazing technological developments, like the internet which has enabled people to be interconnected in ways that they never were able to before. In a way has paved the way for us to be able to think globally in a way that centuries ago would have never happened.

It’s not that everything about this paradigm is bad. It’s just that it has very clearly outlasted its usefulness and is now fundamentally responsible for escalating the biophysical rupture that we see happening and manifesting in so many different ways. What that tells me is that we have to grow up as a species. It’s an evolutionary moment.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Johnson: Elites Eying the Exits Signals America’s Crisis

Johnson: Elites Eying the Exits Signals America’s Crisis


Institute President Rob Johnson interviewed by the New Yorker on hedge-fund managers and the market for air strips in New Zealand

Interviewed as part of an extraordinary New Yorker investigation into growing anxiety among America’s corporate elite over the potential for anarchic social collapse, Institute President Robert Johnson saw his peers’ talk of bolt-holes in New Zealand as reflecting a deeper crisis.

Johnson told writer Evan Osnos of the mounting anxiety he had encountered among hedge-fund managers and other wealthy Americans he knew. “More and more were saying, ‘You’ve got to have a private plane,” Johnson said. “You have to assure that the pilot’s family will be taken care of, too. They have to be on the plane.’ ”

Osnos writes: “By January, 2015, Johnson was sounding the alarm: the tensions produced by acute income inequality were becoming so pronounced that some of the world’s wealthiest people were taking steps to protect themselves. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Johnson told the audience, ‘I know hedge-fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway.’ ”

Johnson bemoaned the lack of a “spirit of stewardship” and openness to more aggressively redistributive tax policy among the wealthy.

“Twenty-five hedge-fund managers make more money than all of the kindergarten teachers in America combined,” he told the New Yorker. “Being one of those twenty-five doesn’t feel good. I think they’ve developed a heightened sensitivity.”

If anything, Osnos wrote, inequality is widening, noting recent statistics from the National Bureau of Economic Research that showed that while incomes for the top 1 percent of Americans have nearly tripled, half of the population was earning at the same level they did in 1980, comparing America’s wealth gap to that seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

This Is How the Status Quo Unravels: As the Pie Shrinks, Everybody Demands Their Piece Should Get Bigger

This Is How the Status Quo Unravels: As the Pie Shrinks, Everybody Demands Their Piece Should Get Bigger

Fragmentation, discord, discontent, class war: this is the inevitable result of a shrinking pie.

The politics of the past 70 years was all about horsetrading who got what share of the growing pie: the “pie” being cheap energy, government revenues and consumption, sales and profits.

Horsetrading over a growing pie is basically fun. There’s always a little increase left for the losers, so there is a reason for everyone to cooperate in a broad political consensus.

Horsetrading over a shrinking pie is not fun. Everybody is shrilly demanding their piece of the pie should either grow or be left untouched; any cuts must come out of someone else’s slice.

Everyone turns on their most compelling emotion-based defense: “we wuz promised” is a reliable standard, as is “we need more money to defend the nation from the rising threat of XYZ.” “Help those in need” plays the heartstrings effectively–as long as the “help” comes out of somebody else’s pocket.

Everyone sharpens their knives, the better to carve a slice off somebody else’s slice of the pie. A passive-aggressive free-for-all ensues as everyone reacts with aggrieved defensiveness to any attempt to diminish their slice, even as they launch shrill attacks on everyone else’s defense.

As the pie shrinks, the motivation to join a broad consensus vanishes like mist in Death Valley. Any cooperation is merely a brief tactical move designed to carve a big chunk off another player’s slice. Once that’s accomplished, the alliance quickly splinters as the survivors battle over the meager spoils.

Any victory is temporary, as a new alliance will arise to decimate the previous winner. Winners in the zero-sum game of divvying up a shrinking pie merely set themselves up as the juicy target for the next ferocious attack by the resentful losers.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Made For Each Other

Don’t be fooled by the idiotic exertions of the Red team and the Blue team. They’re just playing a game of “Capture the Flag” on the deck of the Titanic. The ship is the techno-industrial economy. It’s going down because it has taken on too much water (debt), and the bilge pump (the oil industry) is losing its mojo.

Neither faction understands what is happening, though they each have an elaborate delusional narrative to spin in the absence of any credible plan for adapting the life of our nation to the precipitating realities. The Blues and Reds are mirrors of each other’s illusions, and rage follows when illusions die, so watch out. Both factions are ready to blow up the country before they come to terms with what is coming down.

What’s coming down is the fruit of the gross mismanagement of our society since it became clear in the 1970s that we couldn’t keep living the way we do indefinitely — that is, in a 24/7 blue-light-special demolition derby. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with accounting fraud, but in the end it is an affront to reality, and reality has a way of dealing with punks like us. Reality has a magic trick of its own: it can make the mirage of false prosperity evaporate.

That’s exactly what’s going to happen and it will happen because finance is the least grounded, most abstract, of the many systems we depend on. It runs on the sheer faith that parties can trust each other to meet obligations. When that conceit crumbles, and banks can’t trust other banks, credit relations seize up, money vanishes, and stuff stops working. You can’t get any cash out of the ATM. The trucker with a load of avocados won’t make delivery to the supermarket because he knows he won’t be paid.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Jim Rogers: “We’re About To Have The Worst Economic Problems Of A Lifetime, A Lot Of People Will Disappear”

Jim Rogers: “We’re About To Have The Worst Economic Problems Of A Lifetime, A Lot Of People Will Disappear”

“Get prepared,” warns billionaire commodity guru Jim Rogers, “because we’re going to have the worst economic problems in your lifetime and a lot of people are going to disappear.” In this wide-ranging interview with MacroVoices’ Erik Townsend, the investing legend discusses everything from whether Russia is being scapegoated (“yes, ask Victoria Nuland”), the war against cash (“governments love it… they want to control everything”), to his views on gold and the demise of freedom.

Full podcast below:

Key Excerpts…

Are Russians the bad guys?

Well I do know that during the last administration, Mr. Obama’s administration as you probably remember we started, we tried to pull of an illegal coup in Ukraine, we got caught at it, what’s her name, Victoria Nuland, whatever the woman’ name the State Department they have there several pieces of evidence where we know she tried to instigate an illegal coup then of course the Russians outsmarted us and so the State Department started blaming it on the Russians and the hype against the Russians has gotten bigger and bigger ever since after we started– or tried to start, tried to instigate the illegal coup Crimea and Ukraine.

So yes we are certainly at fault to some extent and obviously you then, when you’re caught you’ve got to keep the rhetoric up and keep throwing more and more accusations and so the State Department has done that.

I know that before the illegal coup Obama, Bush everybody was trying to be friends with the Russians rightly so, cold war had ended long ago, the Russians wanted to be friends with America. We didn’t need NATO anymore.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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