Home » Posts tagged 'the consciouness of sheep'

Tag Archives: the consciouness of sheep

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Post Archives by Category

Tim Watkins: Anatomy of the Crisis

Tim Watkins: Anatomy of the Crisis

Welcome to the oil death spiral

Welcome to the oil death spiral

There is something deeply tragic about watching people who would be dead within a fortnight without oil nevertheless calling for oil – and fossil fuels more broadly – to be banned immediately.  It is possible, of course, that these people believe that food grows inside supermarkets or that the chemicals used to provide clean drinking water can be beamed to the waterworks using Star Trek technology.  The hard reality though, is that every aspect of modern living – even for those of us surviving on the margins – depends upon oil… and not just any old oil.  The workhorse behind the modern, hi-tech western economies is the roughly 30 percent fraction of an average barrel of oil called diesel.

Take a look around the room where you are reading this.  Every item your eyes land upon was, at some point in its life, transported on a truck – if you are in the UK, a large part of it will have arrived on a ship from Asia too.  Almost all of those trucks used diesel as a fuel.  Some smaller trucks and vans may have used petrol (gasoline) and an even smaller number may have been electric… but only the small ones – you cannot run a large semi using batteries (at least, not if you want to leave some space for cargo).

Take another look around the room for anything made from or with plastic, or anything which is painted or dyed.  These, too required oil in their manufacture.  Almost everything made of metal or requiring metal as a component began life in the bucket of a diesel-powered crane, which loaded it as an ore onto a diesel-powered mining truck, which delivered it to a fossil fuel-powered grinding machine which, in turn moved the crushed ore to a fossil fuel (coal or gas)-powered smelter.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

In Brief: Trading safety, An inflection point, The crisis of under-consumption, A reign of decline

In Brief: Trading safety, An inflection point, The crisis of under-consumption, A reign of decline

Trading safety

Within the inner sanctum of one of the world’s oldest and most esteemed universities, an ageing professor sits in a battered leather armchair.  Oblivious to the day-to-day sensations within the room – the slow tick and tock of an antique grandfather clock, the shimmering particles of dust caught in the beam of sunlight making its way through the sash window, or the odour of the worn, dusty and tea-stained carpet – our professor meditates upon the deeper mysteries of the universe.  In the adjacent reception sits a dragon secretary, whose main role in life is to guard the inner sanctum and to ensure that none of the mundane workings of a modern university be allowed to disturb the professor’s haven of tranquillity.

After three decades of neoliberal governments turning universities from bastions of knowledge and inquiry into the individual units of a cargo cult-based Ponzi scheme, this vision of a university may be but a reflection of a lost past.  It is, however, a metaphor for the way in which the human brain works – just like the dragon secretary – to prevent any of the millions of pieces of data that flood in through the senses from disturbing peace of mind.

When the mechanism – which psychologists call the “Affective Signalling System,” which causes us to seek pleasure and avoid danger – works properly, any sudden change in the environment will be allowed to enter the conscious mind.  This is a safety mechanism wired in by ancestors who needed to know if that rustle in the grass or snapping of a twig might indicate the presence of a predator hungry for a hominid meal.  And even within that tranquil inner sanctum, the odds are that our professor will notice immediately if the old grandfather clock stops ticking.

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

Green technocracy’s dirty secret

Green technocracy’s dirty secret

Germany is in trouble.  The IMF has revised its projected growth figures down to just 1.2 percent for 2022.  Even this may prove to be optimistic now that gas imports from Russia have dropped to just 20 percent of what was anticipated prior to the EU sanctions.  With autumn approaching, German industry is anticipating power outages while the population looks forward to food and energy shortages.

The cuts in gas supplies – resulting, apparently, from Canada refusing to return essential turbines following repair – mean that Germany has no chance of building up its gas storage before winter arrives.  And, of course, it is possible that the Russian state will use this moment of weakness to cut supplies even further.  After all, most of the future gas which would have gone to Europe has since been sold to Asian states instead.

Inevitably then, German – and western – media outlets will spend much of the winter talking about “Putin’s energy cuts.”  In reality, it is the European technocracy and its puppet politicians who bear the greater responsibility.  After all, it is they who have spent the last three decades leaving Europe vulnerable to precisely this kind of supply shock.  As Lea Booth at Quillette argues:

“The truth is that the Energiewende was doomed to fail from the start. Germany bet big on solar and wind and shut down their nuclear plants when they should have forgone renewables and expanded their nuclear energy program instead. Germany’s anti-nuclear ideology is so rigid that they closed three nuclear plants in December 2021, despite the global energy crisis, and plan to close their last three nuclear plants this December, despite Russia’s energy extortion.

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

Walking backward into the storm

Walking backward into the storm

Are we in a recession?  It is an interesting question because nobody can know for sure.  A recession is defined as two successive quarters of negative growth.  Okay, but how do we know if, in the quarter we are in, the economy is shrinking?  Again, we cannot know this.  This is because the latest data we have is for February 2022… and it showed an unexpected fall in growth to just 0.1 percent.  In the event that growth turned sufficiently negative in March 2022, then the first quarter of 2022 as a whole might have been negative.  And in the event that this negative trend continued through April and on through May and June 2022, then we would indeed be in a recession… but we will only know for sure when the data is published in August.

It is on this kind of uncertainty that economic policy is set.  On top of the slowdown in growth – which may have improved or worsened, but nobody knows yet – comes data for March showing a dramatic fall in retail spending, largely resulting from rising food and fuel prices.  Is this because households and businesses can no longer afford to buy, or are they reining in their spending in anticipation of higher prices in future?  Again, we do not know.  Certainly, food and energy retailers have warned that prices will have to rise in future.  At the same time, households and businesses face higher local and national taxes and utility bills.  And so, falling sales is likely a combination of both prices that have already risen and the expectation of price rises to come.

Crucially though, the lens through which economic policy makers are viewing the economic clouds gathering on the horizon is a financial lens which looks back fondly on the sunlit uplands of the pre-2008 years as some kind of normal…

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

Imperialism in bright green

Imperialism in bright green

Voiced by Amazon Polly

The human ability to disconnect from and deny geopolitical reality lies at the heart of the “green” net-zero project.  Most obviously, those – like the current UK Prime Minister – who claim victories along the road to the Nirvana of net-zero must maintain blindness to the way in which the UK economy is integrated into a global industrial civilisation.  As a result, such measures as closing British coal mines and coal-fired power stations can be translated into lower national carbon emissions figures, even though all that is achieved is the outsourcing of UK emissions to other, less developed states elsewhere on the planet.  Aiding this sleight of hand is the international convention that we do not include emissions from shipping in anyone’s national data, giving the appearance that there is no difference between goods moved tens of miles by truck or train, and goods transported by ship from the other side of the Earth.

Nor is it only governments and politicians that get away with this dubious accounting trick.  Activists simultaneously demand the construction of thousands of wind turbines – manufactured on the other side of the planet – while denying the need for the materials from which wind turbines are made, deployed, and maintained.  Consider, for example, the recent outrage over the decision to extend the Aberpergwm anthracite mine in South Wales and the proposal for a new mine in Cumbria.  Both are intended to supply UK steelworks which, among other things, will produce the steel which is essential to the construction and deployment of thousands of wind turbines.  Activists have reacted as if wind turbines might otherwise magically construct and deploy themselves with the aid of the net-zero fairy, or – even less plausibly…

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

Feynman’s Law writ large

Feynman’s Law writ large

Elizabeth Holmes, Chairman and CEO of Theranos, is a living archetype for the modern age.  Lauded by upmarket glossy magazines and heralded as a symbol of modern feminism, Holmes was the world’s first female tech billionaire.  In the tradition of Apple’s Steve Jobs and Tesla’s Elon Musk, Holmes was a driven individual determined to push aside the bureaucrats and naysayers who stand in the way of progress.  A university drop-out with no background in medicine nor tech, Holmes convinced some of America’s most powerful men – including Henry Kissinger, George Schultz and Bill Clinton – that she had succeeded where thousands had failed in developing a Star Trek-type non-invasive blood testing technology.  But Holmes was closer to Elon Musk than to Steve Jobs, in that, like Musk’s hyperloops, solar roofs and Martian colonies, Holmes’ blood testing technology was a work of fantasy.  Unlike Musk – so far at least – Holmes is currently on trial for fraud and faces up to twenty years in jail if convicted.

My interest here is less to do with Holmes so much as with the technicians and engineers who she employed to work on the development of a technology which all of them must have known could never work.  Nevertheless, almost all of them continued to take their monthly salary in exchange for long hours and considerable effort which they knew could never pay off.  John Michael Greer offers a plausible explanation for why this occurred:

“Crackpot realism is one of the downsides of the division of labor. It emerges reliably whenever two conditions are in effect. The first condition is that the task of choosing goals for an activity is assigned to one group of people and the task of finding means to achieve those goals is left to a different group of people…

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Click on image to purchase @ FriesenPress