Wake Up!

This is not one of those “wake up and march up to DC posts.”  I will confess that standing by the Liberty bell and being told there’s a legend if it rings again the revolution will happen, I started studying ways to make it ring.  “If I crawled under there” — this was the early two thousands, though.  And it was a moment. I’m a crazy libertarian, (which I found out yesterday in a comment thread I was mentioned in, might mean I’m for more regulations.  Okay, to be fair, though the person who said it knows me, I don’t know if they know I’m a libertarian. They probably heard the SJWs whine that I was a fascist, and thence to thinking I want more regulations it’s less than a step.  Sometimes I grow very tired, you know?) but I know we rolled the dice once, and if we did it again there might be no miracle at Philadelphia.

None of which means the time might not come.  There are things a free people can’t tolerate and remain free, and as little interest as I have in living through a revolution (again) I have even less interest in living in Venezuela.

But as much as we get furious and as bad as things get, the time is not yet.  There’s still time to row this little boat back from the edge of the waterfall, without drastic measures.  If you don’t believe me, you haven’t studied what went on during Woodrow Wilson’s tenure, or FDR’s either.  And you’re not aware of the difference technology makes to the way people relate to the state, and/or you might believe that regulation of technology sticks.

Which brings me to the point of this post (what, less than a page in!  I want a medal.)

Yesterday Charlie linked on Facebook some environmentalist or other being jealous of his friend who was so sure of global warming he’s moving to Ireland and waiting for climatemaggedon.

What struck me is how much this sounds like many people on our side.  “I’m going to move to Montana and collect guns and food, because the zombie apocalypse is on the way.”

There are many factors that go into that sort of attitude and one absolutely is aging.  As a world we have an aging population, particularly in the literate, writing parts.  (And in the other parts they’re probably messing with the numbers, because they’re net recipients of “international help” per capita, of course.

Since Ecclesiastes we’ve been aware of people wanting to crawl into a hole and pull the world in after them.

And everyone gets like that every once in a while.  And absolutely times are tough, and our leadership hates us.



When I was thirty one, I sat on my back porch on a lovely summer day, reading Reason magazine.  The issue was devoted to debunking global warming.  And suddenly, like a weight lifting, I realized there really wasn’t proof.  That it wasn’t preordained that my generation would be the last to have a decent life on Earth.  That my kids and grandkids (I only had one kid at the time, and he was still nursing) wouldn’t necessarily be doomed.  That the future wasn’t all doom and gloom.

And I realized my entire life I’d lived in the shadow of the fear of decay and death.  First there was the cold war, and sooner or later, the bombs would fly.  We’d die screaming.  Then there was overpopulation.  If we escaped the bomb, we’d all starve to death.  Or thirst to death (thank you, Paul Ehrlich!)  Then there was global cooling.  We were all going to freeze in the ice age.  Then there was global warming.

Amid all these threats, how could we escape.

To watch the thing debunked and to see it pointed out that even the proponents of AGW don’t live like they believe in it lifted a weight from my heart.

Since then I’ve been skeptical of the end of the world prophecies.

Once you poke into them, they melt at the touch.  Even overpopulation seems to be a paper tiger, because we have no exact data, and can’t really have.  In the countries we have an easy look into the population growth  is plummeting, and there’s whispers from the countries that report the population growing by leaps and bounds, that it’s not.  Now, whether that’s good or bad, it’s a matter of “yes” but we’re not all going to die in population mageddon.  Not now and possibly not ever.

And the various ecological disasters are so much less than advertised and forest cover in North America is now more than when the colonists from Europe first arrived.

As for the growth of government and the boot on our neck, and are we moving to more or less freedom that’s also a “yes”.  As with the mess in publishing, the wounded beast trashes harder, but the technology is against centralization/standardization/concentration.  In fact, the opposite of the technology that gave us the statist regimes of the nineteenth and twentieth century.  And how we live influences our politics.

Only it won’t be instant, nothing is instant.  And you might not see it.  But your kids and grandkids likely will. Or someone’s kids and grandkids.  Humans, like us.

And then they’ll have THEIR own challenges.  Their own fights.

The good news, and I want you to realize that, is that there is no reason we should be poorer/less free/worse off in the future.

While religion preordains a collapse and judgement, I was taught that is individual, for each soul.  And that much is true.  You will, one day, day.  Later than your ancestors.  Possibly earlier than your descendants, but die you will.  You knew that right?  That’s why individuals invest themselves in things bigger than themselves: their work, their descendants, the human race itself.

And for those bigger things?

There is no predestined gloom. Take a deep breath.

You live in the most prosperous era humans have ever known and all your problems would make your ancestors wish theirs were so light.

Yeah, you have to fight.  Being human is to strive.  You’re not living in heaven or an earthly paradise.

There will always be challenges and there will always be some defeat.

But ULTIMATELY?  That has not been written.

Leave it to the left, an ideology of absolutes, to lament and be depressed because utopia can’t happen.  Let them rage that they’re aging without seeing the socialist paradise.  Let them hate humanity for falling short of their dreams.

We are human and own ourselves as such, and strive for the best while acknowledging the worst in us.  We know nothing on Earth is perfect, but we strive for improvement.  And we love and hope in others, as well as ourselves, so it’s easy to take the long view to a better future.  And to work to bring it about, day by day, knowing we’ll never see the completed work.

Wake up! Turn around.  That gloom you’re staring at is only one direction, and not fatally determined.

It’s not preordained we will lose, but it’s not preordained we will.  The future is ours to make.

Wake up.  And then get to work.





366 responses to “Wake Up!

  1. Indeed. There’s always some new arrangement that grows up when the old arrangement falls apart. Look a Russia as the largest example in recent times.

    However today marks Obama’s Reichstag Fire. The FCC is going to seize the Internet. It’s not the end of the world, but it is the end of how things have been done up until now.

    I advise all and sundry to look into packet radio and other off-line methods of getting on line. We don’t need them this week, but it may be handy to have something ready within the next couple years.

    Just sayin’.

    • They’re trying to. Again. Hopefully, they get their hands slapped. Again. And face actual negative repercussions for having the audacity to try. Which would be a first.

      • I am not going to say I was right when I fought for free speech rights in the late 1960s — well actually I was left at the time, but I grew up, which is another story.

        Anyway, I assure you that those that are in power have tried to clamp down on freedom of speech before. It is nothing new to have those in power argue that only those who are involved in responsible speech (meaning largely that which agree with them) qualify to have such rights.

        I can also assure you that history demonstrates that as long as there has been those who are willing to challenge such policies the policies have fallen. But if no one challenges? Forbid.

        The people who promise that by following them it is possible to live lives without risk sing a siren’s song — whether from left or right. If we do not negotiate between such Scylla and Charybdis of politics there will be trouble. We need to find ways to educate the population. We need to find a way to convince people to learn and eternalize the Declaration and the Constitution – the documents themselves, what they mean and the history that surrounds them. They need to be teach what it is to think through and understand what it means to operate as a truly free adult individual in a democratic republic.

    • I know I asked this in a previous post, but I can’t find it now. Now that they have the internet, how is indie publishing going to work if/when someone decides to clamp down on it?

      Also, packet radio is news to me and I’m going to read up on it, but what other “offline methods of getting online” are there?

      • William O. B'Livion

        Packet radio is the internet with a radio signal they can RDF, it doesn’t change anything.

        “Seizing the internet” is bullshit from a content perspective, US laws apply only in the US, and until they burn the constitution down you can always rent space on a server in Russia or Anguilla or whatever.

        There’s even ways of making sure the content is distributed widely.

        The problem is that our Elites just shit from a great height on the greatest wealth generator of the last 2 – 3 generations.

        And they did it with all the transparency and accountability of the Politburo.

      • This is what they intend to do. I think this is where we break their teeth. See again “all attempts to stop scientific/technological advance do not work. they can distort the advance, but not stop it.”

    • Not to pick a fight, but how is packet radio supposed to be an escape from the FCC? They have no legislative authority to interfere with the Internet, but they DO when it comes to radio. They’ve operated radio direction finders to nail unlicensed broadcasters for most of a century, for crissake. All the things we’re worried about “might happen” to the Internet is already true for radio!

      • Radios are so cheap as to be disposable. As are lasers. As is encryption. As are little dinky drones with Raspberry Pi brains in them. From there, use your imagination.

        That’s just off the top of my head, I’m sure I can come up with something -really- devious if I put my mind to it. You know, like a zombie cell tower.

        Point is, once the government makes it impossible to not break the law, then you have nothing to lose if you break ALL of them. What are they going to do, hang you twice?

        There’s also the Cuban answer to the problem: sneakernet. Or as the Ancient Knowledge records: “Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.”

        New Phantom version, “never underestimate the distance a cheap autonomous drone can fly carrying a 128 gig data stick”.

        • Seriously, seriously, seriously: the best protection against being silenced is becoming known. You can dispose of almost anonymous dissenters easily enough, but even relatively well known poets and writers were safe, even in the Sov Union. Not comfortable, not happy, but not dead.
          You fear being silenced? Become as stompy as you can be.

        • Okay: depending on how paranoid you are, there’s this:
          Also handy for circumventing blocked web sites, and other purposes.
          If used with boot disk/thumb drive on a lap top with public Wi-Fi, remember to munge your MAC address and monkey with the name of your machine so it doesn’t shout TOR.
          The paranoia part comes in whether to trust the TOR project or not.
          It might also be good time to learn some rudiments of Ham radio, and Morse code.

          • The federal government owns part of TOR

            • Hence the aforementioned issue. It raises another question: If it’s a honeypot, at what point do they “blow cover” by indicating that they are monitoring traffic. The Silk Road prosecution supposedly was a combination of a server hack and sloppiness. Whether it was as presented or cover is another topic.

              I don’t think there can be absolute trust in anything like TOR, whether or not there’s government involvement. The only question is whether any of us are considered worth the effort.

          • They turned/cracked/penetrated TOR enough to grab the Silk Road guy. I don’t trust it or Freenet.

        • I recently had to tell a new IT person what Sneakernet was.

          But they’ll learn.

          • Götz von Berlichingen

            I still have an operational 5 1/4″ floppy drive in an old 1997ish Pentium III machine (for really old DOS games). I remember what a blast it was to finally be able to cram 1.44 MB onto a ridgy.

            There was a sweet spot (age-wise) to grow up in where you watched Moore’s Law move hand in hand with OS and network advancements. For geeks like me, it was a magical time to be alive. Things aren’t so obviously improving, anymore.

            • It was also a huge PITA. I went from cassette tapes for my pocket computer (with a whopping 16 KB memory) and a 64 KB work computer with 8″ floppy disks to what we have now. Oh, and we had a DEC PDP-11 with duel 5 or 10 MB removable hard drives with disks the size of hub caps.

              • Götz von Berlichingen

                Yeah, but it sure makes you appreciate what you’ve got now. When I see 64GB thumbdrives for 20 bucks, a tear comes to my eye.

              • Ah very nice. The disks on the PDPs would be RL01 (5MB) or RL02 (10Mb). Used those when I first started working at DEC long ago. Also had an RP06 disk pac for running my own local version of the OS on systems. 7 ~14″ Platters used 12 surfaces. The disks alone (not the drive, just the platters and the case) were ~12K dollars in 1984 Total capacity? A Whopping 150 MB. Yeah my career in computers must be what it was like to start working in aviation about 1920 or so. My beloved kindle fire has more cpu power, more storage and better graphics than
                any machine I used up into the early 1990’s at a cost 2-3 orders of magnitude less.

            • The advances are all coming in sideways and backwards these days. Who knew an 8 bit microcontroller like the Arduino would become such a popular platform in this century?

              • “Who knew an 8 bit microcontroller like the Arduino would become such a popular platform in this century?”

                Sure, the raw capabilities are small. Speed in the 386 or 486 range, memory capacity less than an Apple ][. But the big news is you can buy an AVR chip for $2 or $3 with this capability, and with a heap of analogue and digital I/O built in. You can do a lot with that. If you go up to $5 you can get something with a 2.4 GHz packet radio built in. *That’s* the revolution. And that Arduino have packaged $30 prototyping hardware with PC-based editor and compiler and libraries that make it child’s play for anyone to get started. Just plug it into USB and go. You don’t need to program it in assembly language. You don’t need a special $200 hardware programmer.

                • We use them as super cheap DAQ cards. Beats a $800 NI card easily. But our boss still likes the Labview interface, so win some, lose some.

          • Consider that large multigigabyte thumb drives are cheap and can look like just about anything. Then you can buy a terabyte hard drive that fits in a pocket or a purse for 60-70 dollars. Here comes the sneakernet again.

            • Here comes the sneakernet again.

              I use a thumb drive for my writing files, for various documents I keep for research, and for some other personal stuff. Had people ask my “why don’t you just use the cloud for that.”

              Part of that is security. I only use it in computers I physically control. But, to be honest, my main reason is that my day job boss is OK with my plugging in the thumb drive to do writing at lunchtime but he’d be a little less willing (as in, not at all) to let me connect the work computer to a personal cloud server.

              So, yeah. Sneakernet.

              • In the old days, one avoided putting anything secret on paper, lest one be intercepted and searched.

                Now we’re tracked and GPSed and surveilled and eavesdropped and shadowed and monitored from orbit… so the safest way not to be overheard is to actually write things down and pass them on physically.

                Everything old is new again.

              • After I lost, for a short time, one of my thumb drives, I began encrypting them. The only sensitive thing on it is my contact information on formatted manuscripts, but I still wasn’t keen on that ending up who knows where.

    • Heh, honestly we COULD have used an alternative to getting online this week, at least those of us in northern Arizona. Though that had to do with vandals. Well, vandals of a different sort from our duly unelected nonrepresentatives at the FCC.

      Being unfamiliar with the alternatives, I looked up packet radio. Any other good keywords I could look up on this, Phantom? Others in the know?

      • Now I see someone else has already asked this question. Anything other than packet radio and the sneaker net? I’m mainly asking to find out ways online after a vandalism/sabotage situation, since it’s fresh in my mind.

    • We were discussing “Net Neutrality” at work the other day. One of us had found an article which included things that the FCC Chairman said. One of these things was his assertion that regulations forcing phone companies to allow modems on their lines was responsible for the Internet coming into being as it is today.

      I called BS on that and said that it might have sped up the process a little, but that it was really inevitable, once ARPANet became a thing to share between universities, while they agreed with the FCC guy.

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Besides the things Sarah mentioned, I’ve seen several “coming economic collapses” that haven’t happened.

    Not to mention the “Japan will own the US” thing which is why I didn’t buy the “China will own the US” thing.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Note, I once bought into the “This is the End Time (Christian version)” thing but now see the silliness in it.

      • It’s been the end time since the crucifixion. HIS ideas of time are not the same as ours and aren’t even necessarily linear.

      • You know, since I was a little kid I’ve always thought people misunderstood Christ. When he said he would return again for the end days, I always thought it was a personal experience, that he would come to collect us individually rather than in a giant group rapture.

        • William O. B'Livion

          Given the various interpretations floating around it’s a certainty that most people misunderstand.

      • “Do those who say, lo here or lo there are the signs of his coming, think to be too keen for him, and spy his approach? When he tells them to watch lest he find them neglecting their work, they stare this way and that, and watch lest he should succeed in coming like a thief!” George MacDonald

      • I always found the original meaning of the word ‘Apocalypse’ to be interesting. Now days it’s synonymous with death, doom and destruction, but when it was used in ancient times, it meant ‘revealed’ or ‘A time of revelation’. I figure that the destruction of the apocalypse is more a side effect of people no longer being able to hide their lies and deceit than a time of destruction in an of itself, and people, organizations, and systems who don’t need lies in order to function will continue to do so.

        • Oh my, something just chimed in my brain … this ties in with St. Paul’s statement that “then” everything will be clear (now we see as in a glass darkly, but then we shall see face to face …etc.). Thank you for that.

          • Actually, “apocalypse” is literally “unveiling.” It’s when death, the veil that veils all nations, will be removed. But as the Latin texts point out, “unveiling” in Latin is “revelatio.”

            Btw, my revision/correction of part 1 of Beatus is actually starting to get there, albeit I just found more sources I hadn’t found before (this time pointed out by somebody else, which hurt my pride, but at least somebody who knows what he’s doing is helping me!). I also found some really stupid translation mistakes, for which I apologize abjectly.

            I will release the corrected edition soon, but I have to integrate the new goodies. Amazon will update the ebook version for my early adopters, so don’t worry that you will miss out. And I apologize again.

            • I just recall being struck by one of the descriptions of the end times. There was a line about how the barren will be called blessed, and it hit me, it wasn’t saying that they will be blessed, just that people will call them that.

              I find myself wondering if armageddon is really about us screwing this up so bad, and getting our priorities so far out of alignment that it takes God coming back to earth to sort out the mess.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                “If those times are not cut short, man shall not survive”. My rough memory of one of Christ’s comments about the End Times.

                That comment stuck into my mind during the period where the worry was “nuclear war”.

              • Professor Badness

                To the second paragraph, yes.

      • The obsession with eschatology that coincided with the perception of US decline says much about US believers, and little of it good. Be that as it may, when the Bible talks of beheading believers and ISIS is now doing that very thing . . .

        • Eschatology has long been a live concern for certain sects in America. I must point out that we do have a certain tendency toward sharp and dramatic alterations.

    • Agreed.

      Japan, Inc was all the rage in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. They were buying up everything in sight and the pundits were worried we were going to be a subsidiary of them. There were even predictions their economy would pass ours in the early 2000’s. I always had doubts about the CIA economic statistics that had the economy of the old USSR as #2 in the world back then too, especially after I read Heinlein’s stories about his travels there in the 1960’s.

      Given the way socialist/communist governments “massage” their data, I really doubt the Chinese economy is bigger than ours at this time. Whenever we start to grow again after the Obama Interregnum, and the Chinese house of cards collapses, I bet the real story will come out. I have no doubts they are #2 in total size, but China is still a poor country per capita.

      • I got why the CIA would buy the Soviets statistics. What I never understood was why anybody else took them seriously. My Liberal friends were wont to claim that open ,arkets had destroyed the Russian economy, and I’d ask “And you believe the U.S.S.R.’s economic claims, why exactly?”

        • the CIA had analysts whose sole job was to try to deduce reality from Soviet stats.

          • But there isn’t a lot of evidence that they were actually good at doing so.

            • The thing is, if they had presented a realistic picture of the U.S.S.R. to the White House and Congress at any time, they might have had to start working for a living. They needed the U.S.S.R. to be a World Power instead of a cripple, to justify their jobs.

              • The USSR was a very dangerous cripple. They devoted well over half their entire economy to the military to maintain a rough parity with the US. I remember someone who had been there a lot calling it a third world nation with nuclear weapons and rockets.

  3. When I was a kid I remember hearing about the coming ice age. I also remember the Carter administration saying there was only 20 years of recoverable oil left. Funny how 40 years later we’re worried about the coming heat wave accompanied by rising oceans and it’s because we’re using too much oil (twenty years after it was supposed to be gone). I don’t want to live in ‘interesting times’. But I really wish the ‘scientists’ could get their act together on what is actually happening rather than fantasies.

    • The thing is, you need to find out what the scientists are actually saying. It may be wrong, but what is reported about what theyare saying WILL be wrong. Reporters lack the background to get anything involving science right. So they go to “trusted surces” , all of whch are likely to have a POV.

      • A lot of what the scientists actually said is looking to be wrong, or at the least, _not settled science_. Just look at all the press the Big Bang has been getting lately. It wasn’t all that long ago that they were reporting it was a near certainty that it happened. We had ‘evidence’ of the echo of it recorded on radio antennas. The universe was accelerating at a rate that there would never be a ‘big crunch’. Today? Eh, maybe, maybe not. It might have been here all along with no big bang or big crunch. In the 20th century scientists were calling for lot’s of grains in our diet. Now, it might be a reason for so much diabetes. Evolution has gone through numerous revisions.

        Science usually can’t really be considered settled unless there is an overwhelming abundance of information saying the same thing for a long time.

      • “Reporters lack the background to get anything involving science right.”


        • Actually, reporters often have all the background they need to report in depth and detail on local politics. They may have a POV, they are usually on target. Then they hit the Big Time, move out of their home turf, and are seldom thereafter worth the oil necessary to fry them in Hell.

          Molly Ivans may have been a lefty in Texas, but she knew themplayers and the issues, and wrote well. Then she moved to the NYTimes and became just one more lefty hack with a case of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

          The only Big Name newspaperman I can recall who managed to avoid this was Mencken, who stayed in Baltimore, even when he was editing SMART SET and AMERICAN MERCURY in New York.

        • If they’re properly trained, they have the background to get their job right– reporting news.

          Unfortunately, most are taught to glue shiny bits onto the story the want to tell, rather than to get the information and organize it for ease of use.

          Instead they pull idiot tricks like writing articles about ‘law enforcement in virtual worlds’ where they only interview gold sellers– and only one company, a guy who sold his account and an employee of that guy, IIRC– and can’t be bothered to even look at details like “can you buy castles.”

    • Most of the X years left of oil assume the prices will remain at their current levels. There are many of the plays we currently are tapping that we couldn’t have in the 70s for several reasons. Drilling technology has improved, the price is high enough to pay for it and still turn a profit, computer technology has improved to allow for better imaging of the sub surface so we can actually see more of what’s there and what’s accessible and not spend six months running a migration algorithm (Data set of which I am aware from 2008 took a month to run the depth migration on 20,000 computer cores so computing power is still a huge issue.)

      • Yup, price and new technology play the biggest factors in what oil fields can be developed (not considering political issues).

        • *Grins* And there’s enough left that I have good employment for at least a while yet.

          • a side effect of the Saud working so long to keep the price well above $100/barrel was we worked up ways to go get the stuff and in doing so made those methods get cheaper. Now I read somewhere the Saud need it at least $99 to pay for all their stuff, and we only need it at $70. So their latest ploy driving it low as they could to get at Iran, Russia, and our Fracking is not going to work nearly as well for them as it is for us. WE start recovering well before they do, and we too get the benefits of sticking it to the Rus and Persians.

            • For their extant fields they need $4 for the field stuff. Don’t know precisely how much they need to run their country off it as well (which they do).

              • to pay for everything they got it was $99 or $100 a barrel (I’ve seen both figures, but the 100 may have been a rounding up) so they are still making profit but not enough to pay for their budgeting.
                Plus they are running lower than almost everyone else. I think Dubai is about the only one over there thinking ahead to when the Saudi Soda runs out, and what they are going to do.

      • The drilling tech is the one I’m most excited about from outside the oil biz: I can’t wait to see the day when an onshore rig can drill sideways all the way out into the off-limits offshore deposits off the CA coast, just to see the anti-oil whackos heads get all ‘splodey.

        • Given the off shore Cali configurations of rocks and faults that’s going to make MY Head explody, though for different reasons.

        • You mean like the spot that is leaking hundreds of barrels of oil into the seawater every day?

          • Yeah – can’t let them drill there and pump it out, there might be a leak…

            • and even proving your leak worst case would be less than natural is not enough. then they go all “Eyesore” and any number of other nonsensical reasons.

              • Yeah, but in the North Sea they are putting all the pump and holding infrastruture stuff on the bottom, with hookups and such for tankers to connect and load up suspended from subsurface floats. With the Southern CA fields being not nearly as deep and a lot closer to land than the North Sea fields, I don’t see why they could not just pipeline the oil ashore.

                So technically it’s doable, just politically impossible.

                • yeah, well, it is Cali, where even leftoid farmers are shafted by greenie loons, so until it implodes and someone responsible takes control, it ain’t ever gonna happen.

      • And GPUs have enough memory to load a significant chunk of that data to do smaller-scale analysis on a single system, faster.

    • Professor Badness

      This is the kind of thing I bring up whenever someone claims to have “faith in science”. Not only has it proven wrong many times, but it is not a source to look for to receive guidance in your life.
      Oil will continue to be around for a long time, and we should continue using it as a main source of power until such time as alternative sources have been refined.
      Notice, I didn’t say perfected.

      • As the inimitable Steven Den Beste pointed out, markets fail gracefully. When a resource starts getting scarce the price goes up, which makes new sources profitable. It also encourages substitutes, which reduces demand for that resource.

        We will never run out of oil. We will either figure out other ways to do everything oil does before it all runs out, or we will just start making the stuff.

      • If someone has Faith in science, they are unclear on the concept.

        • That is because science is not a religion and you should never have faith in it. Have faith in your religion but verify your science.

      • We could, if we really wanted to, within a few years be producing liquid fuel from algae. It’s one of those technologies that’s close. But, it probably won’t happen in the U.S. when it happens. Environmental laws would kill it dead. Sort of why farm raised shrimp all come from overseas. Since it’s mostly automated we could farm raise shrimp and fish here and the economics would work. Except, the EPA requires that seawater leaving a fish farm actually be cleaner then the water coming in. Because there’s nothing out there in the oceans that might conceivably utilize fish waste as a nutrient…

      • When you are having a discussion about science and you hear the word ‘believe’ and ‘faith’ you know you are talking to someone who has a hazy understanding of the difference between science and religion. Probably they think that Science! is mystically revealed to Scientists! who then pass it on to us mortals.

        A scientist says: “The data supports the theory of…..”

        A scientist! (Science!) says “I believe in Global Warming!”

        In the first we can go inspect the data and have a factual discussion. In the second we quickly devolve to yet another screaming match. Not that the first doesn’t devolve sooner or later…

    • I remember as a kid (well, a young teen) trying to invent a “suspended animation capsule” so that I could get to the future (hey, the SF I was reading back then made the future sound like an exciting, wonderful time to be, not like so much crap that comes along today). One of the problems I was planning was how to deal with the capsule being buried under thousands of feet of ice because, “coming ice age.” That was what was “in the air” at the time.

      Just sayin’.

    • ooh you should remember that TV ad with the indian with a tear down his face and then a child all about how their wouldn’t be oil when the child grew up.

  4. *geologist hat on* We are, currently in a warming trend. Have been for about 20,000 years (Last glacial maximum) with a hiccup about 13,000 years ago. (Going theory Ice water about the volume of all the Great Lakes dumped straight into the sea, carving various interesting waterways in what is now Canada. Cold water + warm current changed the weather patterns for a couple hundred years then things chugged back into the old trend.) When will it flip around? No clue. By the metric of averages we probably should have turned the other way by now… by the metric of ‘longest warming trend’ not even close if I remember correctly. Climate changes, Pretty regularly. Sea level goes up. Sea level goes down. Planet gets warmer. Planet gets colder. Are humans affecting things? Probably. That which is inside the systems affects it. It’s as arrogant to think we’re having no affect at all as it is to think it’s all our fault. The question is how much? Are we an unnoticeable blip on the radar, or are we something more influential? Do we have the data to truly determine in the grand scope of climate? Not sure, this is what research is for.

    (I’m working up a thing on climate change and geology, but it’s taking a while because there’s so much groundwork to lay. People keep asking me ‘you’re a geologist what do you…’ and so… yeah, putting it together in something more coherent than I’d do just for myself. If anyone’s interested when I get it together, let me know.)

    • Very interested. Tired of being lack-of-credentialed out of arguments, me.

      • Would blog posts (with citations) be useful to you?

      • Bah, ad hominem is a logical fallacy. If the only counter one has to my argument is “you don’t have a degree in the field” then I win. Either show me how I’m wrong or admit that I am right.

        • William O. B'Livion

          Ad Hominem is a logical fallacy, but the argument that “James Hansen, Michael Mann et. al. have been studying this for years, and you manage servers for a living” isn’t an Ad Hominem in the logical sense, it’s a different way of saying you don’t know what you are talking about”.

          Now, saying they’re lying about the record ( http://tiny.cc/41cqux ) is a better response, you just have to back it up.

          Or you could say “And you know this because Brian Williams told you so.”

          • It is the “appeal to authority” fallacy.

            • Specifically, appeal to illegitimate authority. Appealing to a legitimate authority is entirely appropriate, especially when you quote said authority. But claiming that the aforementioned Brian Williams is an authority on anything but self-aggrandizement is where the appeal becomes fallacious.

              • Appeal to authority is always dangerous, because there is always the risk that the authority is wrong. Einstein adjusted his equations for General Relativity to produce a static universe and he opposed quantum mechanics (“God does not play dice.” to which Neils Bohr replied “Einstein, stop telling God what to do.”). That doesn’t make Einstein an idiot, it just makes him human.

          • If I don’t know what I’m talking about it should be easy to demonstrate that. Unless my interlocutor also doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

          • Do not get me started on my thoughts about having to add a disclaimer to my work that “these data were processed before the NCDC revised pre-1970 temperatures. Those wishing to test the analysis are invited to contact [me] at [special address] to obtain a copy of the pre-alteration data.” No, I didn’t use temps, I used something else, but they may have fudged other things as well as what they admitted to.

            And it’s 15F with snow here at the moment. AGW my [censored censored].

      • Götz von Berlichingen

        Me, too. Maybe some guest posts/material here?

    • I recall the cycle of innundation/exposure being a nice sine wave with a (very) slight trend toward exposure. (Slightly bumpy from a couple of smaller cycles, but these were minor scale compared to the overall trend.) And if the change of CO2 concentration from over 20% of the atmosphere to a trace gas had any effect, it was below the resolution of the data.

      Of course, I’m also someone who drags things back to first principles, and notes that the doctrine of Uniformitarianism is a transitive statement, which is incompatible with the current Anthropogenic Global Warming scare.
      If both the future and the past are unknown and unknowable, I’ll go hang out with the Young Earth Creationists, thanks. They’re better company.

      • Being a geologist, the Young Earth Creationists and I tend to fight like cats and dogs when the subject of the Age of Rocks comes up (one exception on that). We usually get along on the topic of the Rock of Ages, though. I’m still working on pounding it into the heads of some of the local crop that ‘Science’ and ‘God’ are not mutually exclusive.

        • Oh, I’ve gotten in my share of fights with them. I just vastly prefer them to those who believe humanity is a blight on the face of the earth.

          • William O. B'Livion

            Wow, that’s a tough call. Creationist evangelical busybodies or Socialist Evangelical Busybodies…

            • Creationists are easier to live with.

            • I’ll take Creationists. We can agree to disagree, they offer to pray for me, and we change topics and go on with life. Socialist Evangelicals just won’t quit.

            • The Other Sean

              Darn difficult call. I think its context dependent. Although sometimes both can be a pain. I remember attending a lecture on Darwin’s finches. I’m not sure which was more annoying, the Creationist insisting the lecturer admit there was no observations of speciation and that macro-evolution was a lie intended to destroy faith, or the Evangelical Atheist (who was a Socialist Busybody) who was insisting that the lecturer agree to her contention that Darwin’s findings mean God doesn’t exist and therefore religion is some sort of evil conspiracy.

              Alas, their repeated questions and assertions were tiresome and ate so much into question time that I had only a brief chance to ask more broad questions about evolutionary impacts of insular environments. And I’ve had to encounter one or both of those individuals at other science lectures (and a few sci-fi convention panels), going off on those same tangents, trying to get scientists or panelists to agree that either (some of) science is plot to disprove the existence of God, or that it does disprove the existence of God and therefore the religious are idiots to be marginalized.

              Probably, the Socialist Evangelical Busybodies are a larger pain because they have a larger number of topics where they want to be obnoxious busybodies, but in their smaller area the Creationists are no less obnoxious.


              • I remember attending a lecture on Darwin’s finches.

                I was really upset when I found out that they were in the “different species because they do not normally interbreed” because the populations were in different areas–similar to how the spotted owl is a different species than the barred owl, and thus the barred must be wiped out because they interbreed quite readily.

                They were a literal text book example of species showing up; to find out that nobody had freaking bothered to test that they were more different than breeds of cattle was quite annoying.

                No idea what the “plot to destroy religion” person was actually going off of, but I wouldn’t be surprised if misrepresentation by supporters wasn’t involved. :/

                • Not sure if this will go to the right place it was intended to reply to Foxfier’s post after the Evangelical Aethist and ‘plot to destroy religion’ post. (Word Press says I’m replying to Txred so yeah… anticipating problems. Darn you WordPress!)

                  The ‘plot to destroy religion’ is actually the single most common argument I’ve heard, including having people tell me to my face that all scientists were automatically against all things God (and must be evangelical Aethists or they wouldn’t be scientists) and that all the truck loads of evidence were manufactured by satan to corrupt the faithful and that, usually by implication, scientists were his willing accomplices. I stopped going to my bible study for several months because we were going through the first several chapters of Genesis and they would not let it go. These are also the ones who insist that the bible is a 100% literal document in the ‘original King James English’

                  I have met ONE reasonable young earth creationist who actually can formulate a coherent argument on the subject and who can actually discuss the topic without making me see red. (And I’m marrying the man.)

                  • It came right to my wordpress widget!

                    I find the folks you mention sad, but kind of funny– they’re agreeing with the Scientism idjits I’ve fought against, and abandoning the rich Christian tradition of using the gift of reason.

                    Talk about two sides of a coin.


                    I have met ONE reasonable young earth creationist who actually can formulate a coherent argument on the subject and who can actually discuss the topic without making me see red. (And I’m marrying the man.)

                    Congratulations, I’m sure it will go well!
                    (No, not sarcasm– my husband was agnostic when we married, but able to discuss Catholicism without hate, and totally dedicated to historical facts as best they can be identified. It’s a strong foundation.)

                • Once was arguing online with a silly goose who maintained that fertile interspecies hybrids were quite common. Never did say what a species was then. Produced two “species” of salamander on opposite sides of river that could interbreed as evidence.

                  I brought up another famous example of two populations separated by even larger bodies of water.

                  Got a haughty response about my allegedly putting my foot in it, given this person’s (purported) Pawnee ancestors. Might have worked better if I couldn’t have counter-attacked with Mi’kmaq ancestors.

    • Yes, interested. Yes. Very. Impetus, encouragement, etc.

      • Warning it will likely be many posts since it’s going to take a few to put the ‘basics the geologists know’ out there before getting into ‘current stuff’.

        • Wouldn’t expect less. Scientists (rightly) like to establish the foundations they’re working from. Tends to reduce basic misunderstandings.

          Advanced misunderstandings will be my fault. 😀

        • A solid bludgeon of expert testimony with which to bash our opponents into silence, if not submission? Don’t threaten me with a good time.

          • I will warn you, my jury’s still out on how much is humans, which is part of why I started digging in depth, so I’ll present the data I’m looking at and say what it implies to me. My current hypothesis is that humans are having a measurable impact, but that impact is localized. I do not know if the data will support a greater or lesser impact, or a broader impact. The ACW irritate me for the same reason the majority of Young Earth Creationists do. The later are so sharply either or either God or Science with no allowance for the Almighty to have done things in way Scientists could measure and figure out (and mention the notion he might have deliberately done it in ways that would allow us to discover how he did it induces frothing.) The ACW crowd is very much ‘climate is changing therefore it MUST be humans and only humans’ with no allowance for othe natural processes and the fact we are part of the system that is the Earth, not separate from it. We, humans, are as ‘natural’ as grass and tigers.

            I will present the evidence, I will draw mine own conclusions and hopefully give you folk enough information to draw yours.

            • There are actually those who, when you point out the climate has been changing for billions of years, will actually say that that was because we weren’t there yet; since we’re here now, it has to be us.

            • Question I always ask AGW proponents: “Can you name three things that, if observed in the world, would lead to the conclusion that your theory of human-caused global warming is wrong? Two things? One? Because until you can then. it. is. not. science.”

              Testable predictions. Falsifiability. These are the very definition of what makes a scientific hypothesis.

              • *nods* And I’m probably going to come up with a ‘I need something to test’ level hypothesis, and file things at the end of each article “Supports” “Does not Support” and “Contradicts”

                The basic way to claim ‘evidence suggests humans are causing an appreciable portion of climate change’ would be to establish the pattern of what climate changed looked like in the past, then show a change to the pattern in the presence of humans that was not reproducable without humans. It wouldn’t be conclusive but it would be a start.

                It’s not an easy question because it’s hard for humans to directly observe things that happened before our species was around and the geologic evidence gets more general with time. We loose resolution the further back we go, and in some cases the closer we get. A lot of our evidence of the last ice age is arrived at through soil samples, There are other evidences in the actual rock record but the question of resolution and how much we can actually determine is a difficult one. We’ve only been watching the climate in any great detail for 100-200 years and in huge detail really only the last 70 or so. So what impact does the change in collection methods and availability of data have on our interpretation of those data? What has been lost to the coarse resolution of the rock record (including glacial core samples here).

                • It’s not an easy question because it’s hard for humans to directly observe things that happened before our species was around and the geologic evidence gets more general with time.

                  Nowhere is it writ that all questions must be easy. But until this question is answered it is not science, let alone “settled science” (as if there is any such thing). It may be the first fumbling thoughts that might lead to science but it’s not science yet.

                  • However, when you ask for a simple answer to a complex question, especially from a layman, you’re not likely to get a good answer even if one exists. Can you give me 3 factors which would falsify the current theory of gravity? I”m betting I could go two offices down to our physics guy and he could spend half an hour enumerating where the current theory breaks and could be wrong (or more). I can’t off the top of my head. I don’t understand the full current theory well enough to do so. I’m doing this to see what answers are out there.

                    I have about 300 pages of references to go through and see how many I can find and how many are duplicates of each other (and I need to renew my memberships to various organizations so I can get access to those publications.) There’s a lot of stuff out there, I don’t blame a lot of the normal folk who get cross eyed over all the data and just buy what someone they trust tells them. To most laymen ‘Science’ and ‘the laws of physics’ are interchangeable. They don’t understand that Science is our method of understanding those laws. They also don’t understand the difference between something like ‘the Law of Gravity’, the current detailed theory of ‘how gravity works’, and the actuality of gravity.

                    • However, when you ask for a simple answer to a complex question, especially from a layman, you’re not likely to get a good answer even if one exists.

                      I use that question when somebody tells me that “the science is settled”, that AGW is absolute, positively true, beyond question. The mere fact that they are making the assertion proves that they don’t know what they’re talking about. My question is simply my way of underscoring that.

                      And it’s not even aimed at “fine points” or differentiating between theory one and theory two (“does experiment support supersymmetrical theory or string theory?” type of thing). Gravity: F = G*m1*m2/r^2 (or the vector equivalent). Any of endless postulatable instances of that not being followed for any two masses would invalidate it. (Okay, the equations get a bit more complicated when you get into realms where GR or quantum effects start becoming significant, but the basic principle remains.) In fact, it was violations of that prediction from the classical theory of gravity that led to the development of General Relativity.

                      AGW does make predictions. But they don’t seem to be _testable_ predictions because nobody ever seems to say “oh, that prediction failed so our theory has been falsified.”

                    • The people who are saying ‘The science is settled’ aren’t going to listen to that question. They’re going to assume the people they’re getting the information from have considered that if it’s worth considering. That has to be shaken before you can get anywhere with most of them.

                    • The people who are saying ‘The science is settled’ aren’t going to listen to that question.

                      True. But it’s not them I’m aiming at. As Larry Correia is wont to say “argument is a spectator sport.” I’m presenting the case for others so they can choose between the two of us. And I usually follow up with Feynmann on how to discover new laws of nature for a nice one-two punch:

                    • The science is ALWAYS settled, until some nosey parker unsettles it……

                    • Oh, I can tell you where the current theory of gravity breaks down… extremely large and extremely small scales. I’ve heard a programmer jokingly call it ‘God’s floating point errors’.

                • Hmmm.
                  Hypothesis – political speeches increase the temperature due to the extra hot air.
                  Test – gag politicians for the next 100 years and see if temperatures return to normal 🙂

              • My favorite question on this topic – Does carbon dioxide have any significant additional warming effect above a concentration of 100 ppm?

                The repeatedly tested answer to that question is no. The additional warming effect drops off rapidly above 60 ppm and is essentially nonexistent above 100 ppm. (Law of diminishing returns at work.) This was first measured sometime in the 1800s when scientists were trying to figure out why greenhouses worked, and how to make them work better. They tried to make a warmer greenhouse by pumping in CO2, and it didn’t work. (More CO2 does help the plants grow faster, though.)

                They hate it when you quote basic facts at them.

            • The best argument against AGW is the sheer fact that the measured temperature rise in the last 30 years is well within the error of measurement when you look at the raw “unmassaged” data. I have analyzed test data for 30 years and know that if your trend is within the error of measurement, you do not have a trend.

              Dr. Roy Spencer (http://www.drroyspencer.com/) and Anthony Watts (http://wattsupwiththat.com/) have a ton of information with links on this subject.

              All of the AGW hysteria is supported only by computer models of global climate that have consistently failed to predict in the short term (10-15 years) and fail to re-created past data without fudging the model to specifically calculate the past data for each data set. Supporting raw data has been found to have been tampered and cherry picked and the ONLY way that was known to have happened was when the hackers got into their computers. They consistently refused to release their data because they KNEW their machinations of it would be immediately noticeable.

              What they have perpetrated in criminal fraud, and if there is any justice in this nation, one day they will be prosecuted for it.

              • Thanks for the links. I’m still planning on laying it all out (and it’s turning out to be a lot of typing. Hopefully I can start getting the first parts up soon.)

                I’ve got a pretty good analytical background, but I haven’t gotten my hands deep into the numbers which is why I’m doing this, to get into those numbers. I know the geology. I know data analysis. I’m just now digging through various things. To present it right requires a lot of citations and rabbit trailing through other people’s citations.

                Side note to others: I will be contacting various of you for sources and such. Buying a house is eating up more of my time than I anticipated.

    • This is right up the alley for a on-line friend, Keith DeHavelle. (aka Level_Head on Live Journal also on word press) Real nice guy, very intelligent. He has pages upon pages where he discusses “climate change”.

      • If he’s got good information, I’m definitely interested in looking him up. 🙂 There are a HUGE number of papers to sort through.

        • You know, there’s reasonable evidence, though not temperature reading evidence, that the earth was warmer 1000 years ago, and 2000 years ago than it is today. Evidence like tree rings, where plants grew lattitude wise, historical records, etc.

          In the medieval period, clothes and weapons changed drastically between 1300 and 1400. Evidence is pretty solid for a history buff that the earth cooled off a lot between 1320 {when it was still as warm as today} and 1400 {when it had cooled substantially}.

          The evidence trail isn’t as good during the Roman era, but people talk about grapes growing in Northern England then. There are other written things that would tend to lend credence to Northern Europe being warmer than it is today.

          In other words, in our historical era, one can find evidence of both warming {beyond where it is today}, and drastic cooling.

          That’s not including the mini-ice age of 1600 to 1630.

    • This is exactly my perspective. (Mom is a paleontology nut, so I got a lot of geology as background information when I was growing up.) People say “This is the warmest it’s been in X!” and I say, How accurate is your data… in terms of eras?

      My take on the subject is that it’s probably a bad idea to pump nasty stuff into a chaotic system, yes. But the best way out is through—note the number of bad air days in Los Angeles in the 60s vs. today—the air quality is much better, despite the vast increase in population (and the likely particulate plume from China.) Let’s do better because we’ve proven that we can.

      • We’re more likely to hurt ourselves than the system. The system ground through some pretty cataclysmic events and keeps on chugging. The planet, as a whole, isn’t nearly as breakable as some people think.

        • This is why it’s hubris to say “it’s all the humans.”

          • Oh, indeed. I just maintain it is also hubris to assume we have no affect at all on the system we cannot escape. We do have impacts on local levels, and those are very easy to see. Build a lake and watch the wildlife come. It’s a change, not a climatic one, but a road cut can change erosion and weathering patterns in the area of the cut. I’m expecting to find something similar to that in the climatic arena IF we have enough data.

            • Oh, sure. The Roman agricultural methods changed the climate in Southern Portugal. It’s just that I think the ah… entropy fail safes kick in before the bigger system goes out of whack.

              • Lebanon used to be known for its cedars.

                • Which, if the tales I’ve heard are correct, all became masts for British ships. If you’ve stopped at Mediterranean ports, any of them, trees, especially tall ones, are few and far between. On some islands- goats get ’em before they grow. In other spots, they become firewood before they’ve fully grown.

                  Between Central Park and Battery Park, Manhattan has more and taller trees then any port city in the Med. Google aerial views of any random port city in the Med and Manhattan and take a look.

                  • The Brits may be the reason they were cut down, but the reason they never grew back in all that time since masts were in significant demand is the goats.

                    Any place there’s goats, there’s desert.

              • Heck, Michael Crichton said it back in Jurassic Park—something along the lines of “Don’t worry about the Earth; the Earth will be fine. It’s *humans* we should be worrying about.”

                • We live in every climate from the Arctic Circle to Tierra Del Fuego, and for the most part we’ve done it without modern technology. With modern technology we live from hundreds of feet below the ocean’s surface to hundreds of kilometers above.

                  Humans eat like rats, breed like rabbits, and are hardier than cockroaches. We’ll stick around. Maybe not all of us, but a large number.

            • William O. B'Livion

              The problem isn’t having enough data, it’s having good data. Or rather in this case understanding how the data collection methods (example, changing from wooden buckets to metal buckets for measuring sea temperatures) impact trends.

              The thing is that we pretty much *know* how much CO2 impacts global temperatures *by iteself*, which is to say “very little”. The catastrophic part of Anthropogenic Global Warming is based on computer models that assume some sort of positive feedback between the minor heating caused by CO2 absorbing energy which then allows more water vapor to be absorbed, which causes more heating and the cascade starts.

              Anyway, as the link I posted above shows, there is reason to doubt the *data* we’re being fed and once you doubt your data you’re basically arguing whether hell is endothermic or not.

              • Of course that part of the theory is treatable and falsifiable, through the proven technology of weather balloons.
                It has been tested. Most results were negative, with a few trials being inconclusive. None were supportive.

                • iirc one of the things that makes Burt Rutan such an anti-AGW fellow is all the models he got a hold of would not work in the least bit. Every test to verify they were good failed. He said if he relied on models that poor nothing he designed would fly. It’s like one of our Standards tests at work for Fluorine. Test the same sample 5 times and get 5 different results and they will range from failure too high to failure too low … from the same sample. That is not a “Standard”. Use the models the AGW worshipers use and go back to a known amount and run it to now with the current known amount and the results do not work, even using the crapinsky data like weather stations that once were a few yards from a gravel road that are now right next to a blacktop parking lot or have a burn barrel parked near them, or an air conditioner installed that blows right onto it, and the models they use still can’t support it. They have to “adjust” data, going in and coming out now hide their models, but we are assured they work. Even then you get “2014 warmenest year evar!!1!11!!! (ssshhhhh. we are a whopping 38% -if that- certain this might be true)” and the insipid “lack of global warming is being caused by global warming” and the race to change it to global not-warming-but-something-else. Your doctor is 38% certain he needs to remove your leg, shut up and get out the bone saw!
                  I’ve now worked two jobs where if they used the AGWmonger methods of math and verification, people could well die. But it would still be a minuscule amount of what they are aiming for.
                  I used to have a nice folder of AGW stuff that seems to have become vaporware.

                  • I work in nuclear power plants and if I used the warmistas methods to make a presentation to the NRC, I’d be in jail for fraudulent activities…

              • I know I bring it up every time, but– using temps recorded by people writing them down, from looking at a normal thermometer, in theory at the same time every day, in theory as precise as visually possible….. Ya gotta be kidding me, especially when trying to detect something less than +/- 10 degrees*.

                *Let’s pretend the thermometers are actually pretty accurate, and go further and assume that they’re marked for every single degree, and properly positioned. You don’t use the smallest marked measurement, there’s no way to tell if you should round up or down.

          • You’re right. Maybe the point of this to tear down the current world economy? With megadeaths due to the trashing of the modern world and loss of tech and medicine as icing on the cake?

            • Maybe the point of this to tear down the current world economy?

              Note that the Global Warming Alarmists always propose “solutions” from a very limited playbook. It’s always wealth redistribution, cutting back, more government control over the economy and over individual lives. It’s never “we need to build more nuclear plants” or “we need to improve Ocean Thermal power” (basically low temperature solar thermal with the oceans as the collector) or “we need to develop cheap access to space so we can get Solar Power Satellites and space industrialization to move all this polluting industry off Earth” or anything that actually moves industrial and technological civilization forward rather than backward.

              When the solutions all come from one particular “side” of the political spectrum and other solutions are ignored or outright rejected, then I call shenanigans. (Insert Super Trooper meme here.) The politics are the motivating factor, not the environment.

              • The Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressive Left is scared to death that the third world will get their industrial revolution really chugging, because if they do their lives improve, they use less land to feed more people, and all kinds of things that prove the LIRPs are full of it happen. Let the Third World become industrialize and the LIRPs will no longer have large swathes of peasantry to lord it over, and that will be Truely Awful.

              • Patrick Chester

                They don’t want technological solutions. These are the creatures who consider humans to be a plague upon the Earth.

                They want us gone, or reduced to pre-industrial levels.

                • No. They would be fine with technological solutions if such solutions worked for their real ends. This ends are simply for them to end up on top of the heap, telling the rest pif us what to do. For the most part, tech doesn’t work that way. It especially doesn’t work that way for nitwits LIRPs who never learned anything hard, like the math and reasoning necessary to use tech. Consequently, tech mostly frustrates THEM, while empowering people who think rather than emote.

                  They don’t really consider humans to be a plague; they simply consider most humans to be peasant, and themselves to be aristocrats. They may despise us, but they need us or they won’t have anybody to lord it over, and that’s no fun.

    • I’m interested in what you come up with. Climate and Geology, how could they possibly be related? Other than the effects of large bodies of water and physical features on wind patterns, or precipitation distribution…d’oh!

      Seriously, H. Sapiens can’t help but have some effect on ‘Climate’ by their existence, but would this effect be of a magnitude that could have a measurable effect on the planet as a whole?

      CO2 levels have historically been higher, and that was pre-industrial revolution. During the Pre-Illonian, the Laurentide ice sheet extended into the Ohio River Valley at its largest extent. 20,000 years ago, the area I’m living in was under a mile of solid ice. Somehow it managed to melt despite the lack of coal plants and SUVs. What’s equally interesting are fossils that were excavated within a hundred miles of my location which indicated that prior to the glaciation, there was an abundance of plant and animal life that could only be classified as tropical. The planet has been around for a while and has been through a large number of changes over the course of its existence. On the geological time scale, humanity is a blip.

      From the perspective of an engineer, the climate of this (or any other) planet is a complex, chaotic system with an almost infinite number of internal and external factors impacting it. Until we can identify all of them, and understand the effect of each on the whole, modelling this system has been an exercise in futility. Why anyone would posit, never mind view as credible, models which exclude such things as clouds and solar radiation escapes me. Fixation on a few variables to the exclusion of others isn’t science, it’s dogma.

      • It is, the thing is, there are real articles and real science on the topic out there. There are summaries, conclusions, and counter conclusions. I’m currently wading through around 300 pages of citations (not articles, citations of articles to find) such just to get /started/. Now, I’m finding some articles have been cited multiple times. Those will probably get higher priority since whether they are for or against they have something that’s relevant enough that lots of people are using them as a basis. I’ll prioritize from there. This is a long term, not short term project here.

        If you’re great lakes area you’re probably where that huge ice dam broke (generally speaking) and dumped all that ice water into the Atlantic and the nice warm current. Warm current + ice water is going to cause problems with the weather. 😉

    • I know that isn’t geology based but… What about decreased number of sunspots signifying decreased activity of the sun? Are we on the road to a Maunder Minimum?

      • I’d have to look into that. My astronomy is minimum. I’ll add it to the list and see if I can dig anything up. Otherwise I’ll toss it out there as ‘someone suggested and I can neither confirm nor deny anyone out there know more about astronomy than me?’ and see if we get nibbles. 🙂

        • There’s solid empirical inverse correlation between the sea-level cosmic ray count as detected worldwide by neutron detectors and the sunspot count – lots of sunspots, fewer cosmic ray hits at sea level, and vice versa.

          I came upon it through the impact those hits were having on semiconductor devices – the big server racks used for network switching are packed with a lot of FPGAs, and the flavor they use in that application are relatively sensitive to upset when they get their silicon substrate whacked by charged particles. The server manufacturers were seeing the reports of resets swing upward in cycles, and also varying by attitude and altitude. Somebody from the space-rated semiconductor world eventually connected that with how satellites on orbit would see the same thing, mores at the low count intervals of the 11-year-ish sunspot cycle. They ran tests and it turns out those server racks make pretty good cosmic-ray-cascade-event detectors.

          Lost of theories on the mechanism. The one I like best is that the lowering of solar output at the low spot of the sunspot cycle lets the Earth’s magnetic field expand outward, so it’s less strong at than if it were compressed inward, and thus it deflects fewer incoming charged particles.

          And per recent science, more cosmic rays cause more high level clouds, so that mechanism right there, by reducing insolation at the surface, could be one way the sunspot cycle could impact the climate.

        • I know that one of the guys who talked to Watt’s Up With That about his study supposedly being part of that “97%” that support AGW was upset, because his study was on the correlation between temperatures, clouds and sunspots.

          You can imagine his response…..

      • What about decreased number of sunspots signifying decreased activity of the sun?

        The person to ask about that is probably Stephanie Osborne (don’t know if she ever pops in here–I know her from FB as well as a few cons). Bona Fide space scientist and smarter than three of me. 😉

        • Sorry for the long delay in response; I was at AnachroCon in Atlanta this weekend, and piled into bed, exhausted, last night. (11 panels in 3 days, 5 of which were on Friday evening!) David pinged me privately on Facebook to let me know he’d tagged me here, so here I be. (I subscribe to the blog so I usually just read it in email.) I don’t know how many people will see this, but I’mma give a shot anyhoo.

          So. Let me preface by saying that my graduate work was in spotted variable star astronomy, and that many of us consider the Sun to be at least borderline variable with this mechanism. This means that 1) I keep up with this stuff, 2) I “get” the science, 3) there are other people besides me who think like this in the community. Also I’m going to keep this as short and sweet as possible. If you really want me to go into detail (sunspot formation, magnetic reconnection, etc.), yell and I’ll oblige.

          OK hang on, here we go.

          We are almost certainly going into some sort of an extended solar minimum. Why? Because in the last few decades we have learned we can use certain means (polarized light, specific wavelength bands, etc.) to view “under” the photosphere, and we have discovered thereby that newly forming sunspots move upward near the poles, simultaneously move south/northward, emerging on the “surface” in the midlatitudes, and eventually playing out near the equator. Now, the sunspots that can be observed beneath the photosphere in the polar region are always for the NEXT cycle’s spots.

          There currently are no developing spots near the poles.

          And there haven’t been for something like 5-6 years now. So we are over half a cycle late in next cycle’s spots developing. And there is still no sign of ’em. So, at the very least, the standard cycle minimum is going to be stretched out…even longer than the one that started the current cycle, which extended by several months. This time, I’m expecting it to extend for several years. Of course, I won’t know until it happens, but it seems very likely to me. These things take time to form and to move to the correct position, and it’s hard to speed up that process without some really nasty other effects.

          Also realize that, contrary to what one would expect (DARK sunspots must mean cooler Sun and less energy output, right?) the Sun actually throws considerably more energy into the Solar System at Solar Max than at Solar Min. This is because the additional sunspots are also accompanied by increased activity in the form of flares, coronal mass ejection (CME) events, coronal holes, and generally increased solar winds. These all couple with Earth’s MAGNETIC FIELD, and funnel the energy down into the atmosphere along the field lines. (And the atmosphere actually heats and swells when this happens, which I know for a fact because we had to compensate for increased drag for Shuttle, Station and other orbital spacecraft.)

          Connected to this, there is some evidence that indicates that superflares, a la Carrington event level stuff, tend to occur in the “walls” of the extended minima (in other words as we are dropping into or pulling out of same). The Carrington event itself occurred during such a timeframe, and there is paleoastronomical evidence of others. This gets even more interesting when we remember the hullaballoo a year or two ago about the supposed “near miss” by a Carrington-level flare and CME (which actually occurred on the OPPOSITE SIDE of the Sun, nearly 180 degrees away from Earth — real near miss, that ). So that may be corroboration of the decreasing solar activity as regards future events.

          How flat are we talking? How inactive? Well, if it turns out to be a Maunder type extended minimum, severe. The deepest part of the Maunder minimum lasted for ~30 years. During that time there were about 50 sunspots observed, TOTAL, for the whole 30 years. The normal sunspot count for that timespan would be on order ~45,000. Just a few orders of magnitude difference, there.

          As to predictions on climate: there is a strong correlation between extended minima and extended cold spells, with a bit of a delay between the minima and the cold spells, roughly commensurate with the time lag expected if a heat sink is coming to a new equlibrium state. Correlation, however, does not necessarily prove causation. And the majority of scientists in most fields of research are conservative enough to wait until causation is proved before making such predictions.

          That said, correlations include:

          *The early medieval warm period and high levels of solar activity
          *The Little Ice Age and the back-to-back Wolf, Spörer, Maunder, and Dalton extended minima
          *The Modern Warm Period and high levels of solar activity
          *The last few decades’ temperature plateau and diminished solar activity.

          You may draw your own conclusions.

      • Leif Svalbard is the person to check on that. And the guy at IceAgeNow.info (his links, not his book). IIRC WattsUpWithThat.com also has a sunspot subsection in his links/archive.

  5. If human nature is a constant, then decadence and decline are inevitable. Sadly.
    That doesn’t mean we can’t hold the tide back for a bit longer. It’s worthwhile to rage against the dying of the light.

    • “If the changes we fear be thus irresistible, what remains but to acquiesce with silence, as in the other insurmountable distresses of humanity? it remains that we retard what we cannot repel, that we palliate what we cannot cure. Life may be lengthened by care, though death cannot be ultimately defeated: tongues, like governments, have a natural tendency to degeneration; we have long preserved our constitution, let us make some struggles for our language.”
      – Samuel Johnson, Preface to the Dictionary

  6. Wake up. And then get to work.
    But it’s my day off, and it is snowing again!

  7. Hey, you’re one of them Northerners:

    What’d’ya call a misting snow? (If’n ya say “misting snow…”) ‘Cause that’s what’s falling outside my window. The tiniest flakes wafting slowly down, barely visible.

    • Nesting fail. Last comment on the page, it always tricks me!

      Tuck this under JP Kalishek, formerly of the cold state of Michigan, and (maybe, if I remember right) a UP’er.

      • Yeah, I’m a displaced Yooper. it is a bit sticky, as the ground is too warm, but it is that fine dusting snow the skiers love. Whacking the canopy makes a nice cloud of it. We had a few big flakes yesterday morning but it was way too warm for it to stick. Took a trip into Cleburne and egad I hate driving in this down here. It is fine conditions but even on clear roads that are just wet folks drive like it is all black ice. It was all I could do to not knock the geezer driving in BOTH lanes off into the weeds … errr … Duplexes. (literally took his half down the middle, dotted lines easily visible), luckily there is a turning lane as well so I was able to get by. If it scares you that much get off the roads folks.

        • Heh. Between those and the folks that assume AWD is an anti-physics device driving does get fun around here.

          Just keeps falling. Gentle and quiet. I’ll take it over the biting wind.

          • just got back in from playing on my lighter bikes. My dirt bike has a Shinko 705 on the rear. about useless in the snow (it’s an 80/20 road/dirt tire … that 20% does not include snow! But I get 11,000 miles from a rear on my ST1100 road only)
            My CB400T with Shinko SR241s on the other hand … those cheap black things work very good in the snow, so my street bike was better than my dirt bike (1980 XL250S)

        • I used to live in Acton near Granbury when I worked at Comanche Peak. Where do you live?

          • Alvarado now. During the heat of summer I like to swim at the park in Acton on Lake Granbury.

            • When there is water in the lake. I was shocked when we dropped by there last year how low the lake was allowed to get with the drought. Folks we know in Granbury said political pressure from the Lake Whitney people forced the BRA to release more water from Possum Kingdom and Granbury to keep Whitney full.

              • yeah, I went twice and the little hole I usually swim in was just a finger of dampness. Whitney was still lower too. That’s what happens when you design thinking that you have the usual water levels when actually it was a slightly higher level. and then add a larger amount of users to the load. Been a while since I’ve been up to Possum Kingdom, but saw it on TV recently for the RedBull cliff diving and you could see the old water level marks.

    • Powder. If you can clear more than a square foot with a breath, it’s blue ribbon powder, the holy grail of skiers everywhere.

      • Ah! Many thanks.

        I think I’ll forgo the breath test. Hate to disappoint the skiers with the notion that the holy grail is falling all over the flat-lands…

    • You might appreciate this — be sure to read the whole thing:

      • Thanks!

        I’ll admit, I’ve only read the Inuit section and scanned the rest, so far. But I’ve got the tab open and will resume when I return from lunch!

    • I’d probably call it a dusting.

    • I call it “Snow fog.”

      • It’s still fogging, and my layer of dust is getting moderately thick…

        • Götz von Berlichingen

          In our disturbed corner of the PRV, light snow is “Snizzle”.
          Three (to four) inches accumulation and under is classified as a NPE (Non Plowable Event).

          • 4 inches accumulation of snow is a non plowable event? Does that mean,not enough to plow, or too much to plow? May I infer that PRV stands for Peoples’ Republic of Vermont?

            • Götz von Berlichingen

              Not enough to plow. All of our vehicles can navigate through about 8 inches without a problem.

              And, yes, that stands for VT.


              • *chuckle*

                Speck has a love-hate relationship with the white stuff. Townies, anything over two inches they close schools. Really. And there’s a run on milk, eggs, toilet paper, and bread at the grocery. Folks take off work and the bosses let ’em get away with it.

                Up the holler a ways in the sticks, it takes a foot all at once to slow things down. Unlike our more lowland neighbors, snow is a regular visitor during the season.

              • How much snow has to fall before schools are closed?

                • The Other Sean

                  Here in Cincinnati, all it takes is predictions of 3-4 inches, or of really low windchill.

                  • Really low windchill is horrible because not only were we freezing waiting for the bus, the bus would be late because it had trouble starting.

    • Every alternative word I have for snow happens to also be a synonym for feces.

    • In an aviation weather report, the non-frozen equivalent is mist, METAR code BR (which I tell my students stands for “baby rain”), from the french “brume”; some of the METAR codes derive from french, as they were so active in early aviation. Or else you were one step up to a frozen drizzle, METAR code FZDZ.

      We had it here a couple of times during the past week; you mostly wouldn’t notice it unless you had a long sight line somewhere, then it was everywhere at times. And then it started building up on pine needles and small branches.

      Just around sunset they caused a very bright sun pillar here for a minute or two.

      • It always annoys me how, with America being the birthplace of the airplane, and English being the language of aviation, that aviation weather has so many terms that come from French.

      • In the modern age, I hate METAR with a passion that burns. (and don’t get me started on NOTAMs). We aren’t using teletype anymore. FCC probably won’t eff with the internet when it comes to aviation. Why not just spell it all out in Murkan English? With capital letters and little letters that are easy to read? Why am I still decoding this crap in my head?

        • I hasn’t made sense for a long time (and that’s ignoring the fall from prominence of the French in international aviation; they’re still steamed that international aviation’s voice transmissions worldwide are in english).

          Sometimes I think it’s been kept on as a secret language to keep the unwashed out of Ye Aerial Mysteries. Sometimes I’m afraid that I’m right about it. The format of METARs clearly dates back to when data bits actually used to have some value to ’em. There are reasons why we’re not reading this on a teletype printout.

          Some of the METAR descriptors make sense: PR = Partial, BL = Blowing, SH = Shower(s), TS = Thunderstorm, FZ = Freezing.

          But then you have: MI = Shallow, BC = Patches, GR = Hail, BR = Mist, FU = Smoke, PY = Spray.

        • Why am I still decoding this crap in my head?

          What would the FAA put on the written tests if everything was in simple to understand plain english?

  8. I suspect some of the impulse to bug out comes from the realization that a) things are a real mess and b) there is nothing definitive, concrete, and obvious we *can* do to affect that mess. People want to take action. Something, somehow. That the usual institutions that should be protecting us are instead participating in the breakdown of trust and the rule of law makes things even more stressful.

  9. When it comes to the heralds of inevitable doom, I generally refer people to Jerry Pournelle’s A Step Farther Out. He’s been fighting that fight for, literally, decades.


    I have no trouble believing we can deal with the various technological/environmental/resources challenges we face. Whether we will? I’m far less sanguine there. The enemy is strong and they are fighting while many of the people who should be on our side sit on the sidelines and let them win. (You would think the Republicans haven’t just streamrollered through an election from the way they’re rolling over for the current Administration.)

    Can we? Absolutely? Will we? There I’m not so sure.

    Oh, well, if there weren’t uncertainty it wouldn’t be a fight, now would it? 😉

    As for the “move to Wyoming and hole up” folk, well, I can see the appeal of that but the problem I see with too many folk involved in that is they don’t think beyond the relatively short term. Okay, society collapses (let’s give them that for sake of argument). You use your guns and stored canned and freeze dried food to survive the collapse. Now what? What’s your plan for rebuilding? I mean, beyond setting up as a petty warlord in your local area?

    And so I recommend two other books:

    For utter and complete breakdown, Wolf & Iron by the late Gordon R. Dickson:

    For central control breaking down but the local area still being intact, “Alas Babylon” by the late Pat Frank:


    As for me, I’m unlikely to survive any such a collapse, or live long afterward if I do survive the immediate situation. Besides, I like living near a fairly good sized city with the amenities that come with it. So I’ll go right along trying to head off the disaster, however much some people may think it unavoidable (Hel’s Misty Hall, however much I think it’s unavoidable in darker moments), thank you very much.

    • Hm. I wasn’t expecting those links to produce such huge previews. Sorry about that.

    • “You would think the Republicans haven’t just streamrollered through an election from the way they’re rolling over for the current Administration”

      Are you talking about where McConnell just made Harry Reid irrelevant for DHS funding?

      • If by irrelevant you mean “handed him everything he wanted without a fight” then yes.

        • No, see Reid wanted Boehner to agree to pass the clean bill. That didn’t happen. So now either the House passes the clean bill, which doesn’t seem likely judging by the noises coming out of it, or the whole thing goes to a conference committee. The thing is, the Senate rules don’t permit a conference report for an budget bill to be filibustered. There’s a limited period of debate and then there’s a floor vote. The only hope the Democrats have would be to filibuster the agreement to the conference, which would be hard because there isn’t any language in that agreement to object to, and the Republicans could have a field day just singing “I’m just a bill…” during the filibuster.

          I’d bet that’s why Cruz et al. voted for the clean bill.

  10. The technology they seek to regulate is already outside of their control. I can set up a server on a Raspberry Pi for about $40, use a wifi link I got for less than $10, and if they won’t let me on the Internet, then by heaven, I’ll start forming my own network. Yes, it might be messy at first, and they will try to say that I am still on the intertubes, but if can be engineered around, it will be. Any regulation they propose will be routed around in about six months or less, given the way both software and hardware are evolving.

    • Götz von Berlichingen

      Local Mesh Network, with a legit looking node NATed out.

    • And then there’s the Fire Chat App, which the Hong Kong authorities found to their frustration doesn’t even require internet or cell signal; it’s a messaging system that lets the cell phones themselves be the P2P relays.

    • Look at all those phones that let you bump other phones to transfer files and information. Now recognize that most modern phones also have bluetooth and wifi. Ad hoc networks are easy to create. Download the right app and you could create a rogue roaming network in any group of people.

  11. You know what is a really fantastic book to counteract the doom and gloom, is “The Rational Optimist” by Matt Ridley. He goes right through history, explaining how free trade and flow of ideas means that we are continually solving the problems and producing more and better abundance. One of my favorite examples is of fuel. He lists the progression of fuels, from wood and wax to whale oil to kerosene and oil/coal, and what they cost per unit. Seen like that, we can see that we have continually found cheaper, more abundant, and better fuel. We can do it again.

  12. We can DO something about this. Maybe not “fix” it, but we can deal.

    Heart of the human wave. 😀

    • We’ve got duct tape, WD-40, and hammers. We can fix anything, for a given value of “fix.”

      • A Nuke with a roll of duct tape and a hammer running down a passageway.

        Now there’s a scary image.

        • then there’s the big conundrum … do you follow as fast as possible, or run away at the same speed?

          • My desire to help warring with my desire to glow…

            Hm. No conflict.


          • Professor Badness

            A man I respect once said, (In respect to a nuke going off.) “If it’s gonna happen, you might as well turn and watch.”

            • I recall during a history class one of my classmates came out with “We are safe here because there is nothing around for the USSR to bomb”
              She was bit put out when the teacher pointed out the K.I. Sawyer AFB was close enough to be in blast range, and I pointed out the shipyards 6 miles away for Iron Ore were likely a target as well, and someone else mentioned ELFS Sub communication system was in the area too (though now the gov’t claims it doesn’t exist … funny that, they pushed the story to get approval to build the thing and the jobs construction would bring.) and for sure that would be a first target. but needless to say we still had nothing to worry about because we were all vapor if the ball dropped.

              • Some of the “secret” stuff is really funny– there’s at least one base with a “secret” hanger.

                You can stand out side of the front gate, look at the map that is on the line where the base’s land actually ends*, and it says something like “Hanger 1, Hanger 2, Hanger 3, Hanger 5.”
                You take a quarter turn, look out across the desert, and you can count one, two, three, four, five…..

                If they ever paint giant numbers on the side, I’m REALLY going to put it down to being a huge joke.

                * The local cops had some… issues. So feet got put down. Solidly. And everybody knew exactly where the Shall Not Cross line was.

                • with ELFS they had stories about it in the news papers and local TV news describing they were developing a Extremely Low Frequency Sound method of submarine communications. Then they had a few stories about it being built and basics on how it worked.
                  Then some folks actually could hear the noise and complained …. the gov’t has not a clue as to what the people are complaining about. ELFS? What’s that? No that doesn’t exist, you are imagining it … etc.

              • The SF Bay Area back when I was growing up had the Blue Cube with all the sattelite control teams, which was next door to one of the main P-3 antisub warfare bases, that just down from the homeport for a couple CVN groups, which was itself down a bit from a nuke attack sub base. All gone now – Mare Island, NAS Alameda, NAS Moffett, Sunnyvale AFS. They actually bulldozed the Blue Cube just recently. We also had a big pile of military contractors here, which were pretty much the main post-war employers before the local electronics industry started up.

                Aside from military and mil-contractor target density, though, I remember teenage discussions about targeting theory, pointing out that the local industrial base, even if it was nominally non-military, was by no means off limits, to say nothing of the population centers. Given the sheer numbers of ICBMs on the other side, even if they overtargetted in order to make the glowing launch silo rubble bounce at the Minuteman bases, there would be plenty of warheads available that they’d throw towards us, so as High School student nuclar war experts we figured we were basically toast (and if you want absolute certainty, there’s no expert like a teenager).

                That being said, the current fad for making fun of the duck-and-cover drills really bothers me. A bunch of really smart people put a lot of work into studying wound mechanism histories from WWII and correlated that to the physics of nuclear detonations, and they found out that if you were in a survivable area, the main thing you had to do was avoid blast-propelled glass and debris, then get into a shelter to avoid the worst of the fallout.

                One of the things that the Soviet agitprop made efforts to do was to completely discredit all civil defense efforts in the US. Their success in that has carried forward into the popular culture to this day. If, God forbid, we lose a city to a terrorist nuke in the next few years, or if John Ringo’s alien deep space kinetic strikes ever do take out LA, a large chunk of the non-vaporized casualties will be creditable to Hollywood buying the USSR’s agitprop on how ‘hopeless’ any civil defense preparations would be.


              • Well, we didn’t have anything for the Soviets to nuke, but we were in the fallout plume from Wichita.(ring of Titan sites, Boeing Military Airplane Company, Beechcraft, etc.)

              • I grew up across the water from the “largest military base in the free world.” No reason to be in the first tier strikes, but wasn’t going to be left hanging for long.

                My creative writing teacher was not pleased with my response to an assignment following Alas, Babylon: write your own post-apocalyptic short story about our area.

                “Um — everybody died?”

                I wasn’t sanguine about the fine targeting of Russian nukes, myself.

                • I grew up a few miles from Offut AFB, AKA SAC Headquarters. We figured we were toast. Then we moved down here, checked the windage, and decided that if the sun ever set in the north-northeast, we’d be fine, but Pampa, Panhandle, and Borger wouldn’t need streetlights for a while.

                • yeah, they went with that Quantity has a Quality for a reason on some things

              • Yeah, we had a couple of kids in high school all concerned about a nuclear war happening. Most of us just figured if it happened we’d be one of USSRs top 5 targets being there’s a duel nuclear base (ICBM and B-52) less than 15 miles north of town while being surrounded by 150 missiles; we’d have just enough time to pop the top on a beer and smoke a cigarette before it all burned.

        • Not as scary as the seeing the same Nuke a few minutes later running the other way.

        • Just close the compartment vent and take shallow breaths for a couple of hours.

      • Power corrupts, but the power of duct tape corrupts absolutely.

      • Also superglue and— lemmie check– yep! Liquid Nails.

  13. Having once been an enemy of the state, or to put it more succinctly; on the Clinton’s enemies list, trust me, things are bad and they’re definitely going to get worse.
    Are we at a tipping point? One from which only radical means (such as a constitutional convention) will save us? I don’t know, but we will all know about 3 years from now. But governments never to the kinds of things that this one is doing, unless they are preparing to crackdown on somebody.
    The question is, who is that somebody? I think we all can guess.

      • You mean I shouldn’t continue to be the meek and retiring person I’ve always been? 😉

      • Götz von Berlichingen

        Trying to be anonymously stompy (not here, of course). Then when the villagers come with the torches and pitchforks, I’ll out myself with a flourish. Ta-DA!

        Makes it easier to get along day-to-day in an area where the vast majority of folks would renounce Veganism if they really knew that I was what’s for dinner.

      • And have my phones tapped again? Get followed around by government agents (Yes, we stopped and asked, the badges came out, I’m not kidding) again? Subtle forms of harassment from the IRS messing with your tax returns?
        Nope, unless this turns into an actually shooting civil war, I’m sitting this one out. I’ve told everyone what was going to happen, and I got either ignored or laughed at. Now that it’s starting to happen? I’m just going to point and laugh like Nelson does as they all start to realize how screwed they really are.

        • There are those who can be helped. Those whose knees are dirty and palms are calloused. Folk that, while they may not speak their minds and let all the world know, yet toil for something larger than their own selves.

          Them’s worth saving.

          For the rest, the phrase “willful ignorance” may apply. There’s none so blind as those who curse your eyes for seeing what makes them fear.

        • Oh, sure. Like you’re the only one who’s had that happen? Well, not the IRS … so far.

    • The big question is “how badly will they miscalculate and how much will it blow up in their faces”?

      Also, how much spillover will htere be?

    • I think we’ll have a much better chance selling a Convention of States than selling a Constitutional Convention – the two are not the same. And frankly, the CoS is a better idea. Yeah, we have to go fix things the founding fathers incorrectly assumed, but the foundation is still good, and better than anything a similar sized group would create from scratch today.

  14. Completely off topic, but this is the right crowd to ask: where is a good resource for learning Roman Republic / Empire slang, vulgarities, and metaphors? Are there any similiar resources for various allies and enemies in the area, especially Egypt, Gaul, and the sort of expressions that would fall from the lips of Thracian auxillaries?

  15. And as Sarah has said, just letting people know that they are not alone has a lot of power. I spent a couple hours recently reassuring someone that he was not crazy, that the Islamist are the bad guys, and that there are people working in the US to be ready when/if Something Interesting happens.

    If each of us can reach one or two, perhaps just enough to make people say, “hey, waitaminnut” and “I’m not alone,” I bet we can at least hold the boat steady until we can get the rope anchored on shore.

  16. Since then I’ve been skeptical of the end of the world prophecies.

    I was really counting on the end of the Mayan calendar. But not, it was a bust, so I still had projects at work I had to do and bills I had to pay.

    Then apparently Ragnarok was supposed to be last February, and I almost got my hopes up again, but I remembered… “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”

    I wish something could be done about those projects and bills, though.

    • Then apparently Ragnarok was supposed to be last February,

      You do understand that the “Ragnarok” thing was basically an ad campaign designed to generate “buzz” about, I don’t remember what they were selling.

      After all, any real scholar of the Norse ways would know that we have to have Fimbulwinter, three years of winter with no summer in between, first. 😉

      (Looks out the window at the snow. please Fimbulwinter!)

  17. On the one hand, intellectually it probably isn’t true that our descendents will starve in some version of “Planet India”. (Well, at least it isn’t *inevitable*) (Especially if I have anything to say about it..)

    On the other hand, living where I do in Cyberpunk Atlanta (seriously, it’s like living in a William Gibson novel. The sky over the city is the color of a TV tuned to a dead channel and all that… Somehow it manages to be near anarchy and yet you have to report to court if a pothole eats your car)

    Living where I do, it’s impossible to emotionally shake the feeling that the world is too damn crowded. (This city *is* too damn crowded). That there is no place for everyone. That there is no space to get away from other people and hear yourself think.

    Partially it’s the obnoxious architecture that doesn’t give anyone any room to get away from each other. The insanely noisy open offices without even cubical walls and no AC. The parking spaces are all a tad narrower than a typical car (and you have to pay through the nose, and have a limit of 90 minutes). Everything at the supermarket is already half wilted, and often bad. Traffic is ridiculous. When I get home in the evening, I am extremely grateful that I can shut the door to my 300 sq ft one bedroom apartment, and that I have even this tiny space that I can call my own and exclude the world from. (Except when my downstairs neighbor has a bad trip and decides to pound on my floor and scream.)

    If you grow up here, I don’t see how you could possibly avoid having the Malthusian/Eco-Fascist worldview imprinted. It’s overwhelming. I feel like I’m drowning sometimes.

    • Eh, that last bit is probably a bit melodramatic. Even so, I’ve got to move to somewhere (not even necessarily less populated, but certainly with more *privacy*) one of these days.

      • Come to Texas. Here in the “DFW Area” it is about 100 miles in diameter and everything from people stacks to “Your gonna want to take a car to the neighbor’s house”.

    • PFUI. No, seriously. PFUI. Having grown up in Europe and come to the US my only answer is “you think this is crowded?” Nuts.

      • I’m not saying I think the US is crowded. I’ve lived out west, I know we have room. (Whether anyone is allowed by the BLS to *own* that land is another matter.)

        I’m not even saying that our large cities couldn’t be made livable with some buildings/streets/anything designed by people who don’t think a vast mass of pedestrians crushed together is somehow romantic and wonderful.

        I’m not saying that the center of our large cities aren’t marginally better than some Asian megacities. (3000 people/sq mi vs 15000) (One of my friends once told me “Oh, this is nothing! This is totally uncrowded. You should see a Buenos Aires barrio sometime!” No thanks. Cross that off the list of places I’d want to live.

        I’m just saying that:
        1. I am discovering that I am not a city mouse. I have a psychological need for territory (a living space I can control, a *desk* that I can control, privacy, etc) that is pretty much totally unmet here.
        2. If people grow up in this run-down super-urban environment, it has to shape their view of what the rest of the world is like. If they have some subconscious assumption that the rest of the world is like this, it might not be too surprising that they think the world is overcrowded, resign themselves to proletarian poverty, don’t have kids, etc.

      • Which I’m trying to get my head around for a bit of world making. Ended up using “Medieval Demographics Made Easy” for basic information:


        To tweak it, I looked at political subdivisions, having determined land under cultivation for each, used that to create population numbers for each, then applied that method, taking into account that the higher population of the larger cities (above the norm) would decrease the population elsewhere.

        My kids are rolling their eyes at all this, and perhaps it’s too obsessive. It started out as a map-making project, and right now going through “This is a city here, and this is a town here, and this is a logical spot for a village.” That’s creating mini-stories, in a way, for why a town is where it is says something about economics and history, and this in turn shapes attitudes and perceptions.

    • Atlanta is interesting. Have been there and through there on business. It’s rumored that the locals think I-75 is a speed limit. Nothing quite like bumper-to-bumper high speed traffic, with idiots on mini motorcycles weaving between the cars. Passed a slow-moving car with northern plates, and the driver looked shell-shocked.

      A quick check shows Atlanta has a population density of 3,382 per square mile, or about 5.28 people per acre. An average Medieval city had a population density of about 61 people per acre, so things could be worse.

      Of course, you could have gone through Spaghetti Junction the wrong way and ended up in an alternate reality. That happens from time to time.

      • We drove through Atlanta once at about 07:30 in a roll-back tow truck, loaded to the gills with three men, a Toyota race car, welder/generator, and almost a full car’s worth of spare parts. The back sorta steered and you were constantly catching it.
        I was really glad I had just turned over driving to my buddy who owned the rig.

        Two years ago I drove in at dusk and both low beams on my ST went out. An 18 wheeler nearly ran me off the road and I managed to avoid him then he flashed light at me and I noticed the issue. You can aim the headlights with a knob so I pointed then down as far as they’d go and only slightly blinded the others out there (they were Hella 110/150 watt bulbs … stock is a wimpy 45/55.)

        • While Atlanta is famous for gridlock on the perimeter – and have gotten into relatively slow traffic on I-75 around 6:00 PM somewhere north of the gold dome, Chattanooga has it beat. I try to go through Chattanooga in the mornings, as the weekday afternoons will slow to a crawl.

          • Baton Rouge is a bear to drive through as well. I10 from the southeast and I12 from the east merge and only 10 heads west. This is the only way through the city other than taking US61 which is just a big street through or River Road which is worse.
            They widened it but it was one of those poor planned lagging capacity improvements.

    • Hm… possibly it’s a matter of engineering. I know what you mean about some places feeling like they’re over-crowded, but when I think about places I know technically had more people but didn’t feel as crowded, the crowded ones are more “efficiently” designed. So you have more people using the travel areas.

      Then you take out chunks to make a place “nicer” by putting in really ugly decorations, bike lanes, supposedly pedestrian friendly areas…..

      • Even in crowded areas, you can usually find quieter places or unexpected nooks and crannies. Of course, in a bad neighborhood, the gangs or druggies or homeless sometimes take them over, but there are usually some places that just aren’t popular or noticed. A lot of businessy areas have tiny parks or courtyards that just aren’t visible from the main drag, but make very nice lunch breaks.

        Google Street View and Google Earth might be able to give you some hints. Also, think like a kid.

  18. Patrick Chester

    …just don’t wake up the sheeple.


    It Would Be Bad.

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