Other News, Articles, Or Links Of Interest
An interesting perspective on humans as locusts in a "locust economy" that strips value without delivering long-term mutual benefit.
The Locust Economy (April 3, 2013)
"Locust swarms don’t create new value. At a systemic level, the most charitable thing that can be said about them is that they efficiently strip mine value in a tyranny-of-the-biomass-majority way.
"They out-compete other species through sheer numbers, and leave others to pick up the pieces as they return to their solitary, non-swarming grasshopper phase. In this case, human farmers. The collapse of locust swarms completes the cycle in a way we’ll get to.
"Locust economies are built around 3-way markets: a swarming platform 'organizer' player who efficiently disseminates information about transient, local resource surpluses, a locust species in dormant grasshopper mode, and a base for predation that exhibits a scarcity-abundance cycle.
"So long as different locations are not synchronized, a locust market will usually have a surplus somewhere, even if it is a zero-sum or negative-sum market overall. Where that surplus comes from varies."
Two more quotes:
"Hotels, taxis, education, music, publishing, restaurants. The list of locust-devastated/soon-to-be-devastated industries is growing longer every day. I suspect the locust economy is now bigger than California’s economy."
And: "offering a Groupon deal is by now so strongly associated with a desperate, dying restaurant that professional food critics tend to write off any restaurant that offers one without even trying it."
On the heels of the BBC's Poor Kids, here's an American-made documentary. Most of the talking is by the kids. Really heart-breaking to watch and listen to young, intelligent little kids talk about being poor, being hungry, having to struggle…
PBS Frontline: Poor Kids (Video) (November 20, 2012)
"FRONTLINE explores the economic crisis as it's rarely seen – through the eyes of children."
About 53 minutes. Well worth watching.
Humans: The Real Threat To Life On Earth (June 29, 2013)
"And recent research shows that we look certain to be heading for a larger rise in global average temperatures than 2C – a far larger rise. It is now very likely that we are looking at a future global average rise of 4C – and we can't rule out a rise of 6C. This will be absolutely catastrophic. It will lead to runaway climate change, capable of tipping the planet into an entirely different state, rapidly. Earth will become a hellhole. In the decades along the way, we will witness unprecedented extremes in weather, fires, floods, heatwaves, loss of crops and forests, water stress and catastrophic sea-level rises. Large parts of Africa will become permanent disaster areas. The Amazon could be turned into savannah or even desert. And the entire agricultural system will be faced with an unprecedented threat.
"More 'fortunate' countries, such as the UK, the US and most of Europe, may well look like something approaching militarised countries, with heavily defended border controls designed to prevent millions of people from entering, people who are on the move because their own country is no longer habitable, or has insufficient water or food, or is experiencing conflict over increasingly scarce resources. These people will be "climate migrants". The term "climate migrants" is one we will increasingly have to get used to. Indeed, anyone who thinks that the emerging global state of affairs does not have great potential for civil and international conflict is deluding themselves. It is no coincidence that almost every scientific conference that I go to about climate change now has a new type of attendee: the military."
I don't see a solution, only a predicament. If it's not climate change, it's human population pressures on this finite planet that is already under degradative stress.
Maybe the collapse won't be economic. Maybe it will be a disease. Not this one, but could be another…
A Disease Without A Cure Spreads Quietly in the West (July 5, 2013)
"Coccidioidomycosis, known as 'cocci,' is an insidious airborne fungal disease in which microscopic spores in the soil take flight on the wind or even a mild breeze to lodge in the moist habitat of the lungs and, in the most extreme instances, spread to the bones, the skin, the eyes or, in Mr. Klorman’s case, the brain."
Maybe the collapse won't be economic. Maybe it will be a disease. Not this one, but could be another…
…mirror my thoughts. With major focus centred on the economy, we may very well get bowled over by something that sneaks up on us, like this disease, or otherwise catches us by surprise, like a massive power outage. We can only do so much in terms of preparations, but it helps to not have blinders on and focused in only one direction. It never fails – we get something figured out and something up jumps up and bites us in the ass!
I sincerely hope something is developed to arrest this disease.
You're welcome, Jan.
Here's more food for thought of a different kind…
"Why Did You Shoot Me? I Was Reading A Book": The new warrior cop is out of control (July 7, 2013)
"SWAT teams raiding poker games and trying to stop underage drinking? Overwhelming paramilitary force is on the rise."
"…At a local bar, Fairfax County, Virginia, detective David Baucum overheard the thirty-eight-year-old optometrist and some friends wagering on a college football game. 'To Sal, betting a few bills on the Redskins was a stress reliever, done among friends,” a friend of Culosi’s told me shortly after his death. “None of us single, successful professionals ever thought that betting fifty bucks or so on the Virginia–Virginia Tech football game was a crime worthy of investigation.' Baucum apparently did. After overhearing the men wagering, Baucum befriended Culosi as a cover to begin investigating him. During the next several months, he talked Culosi into raising the stakes of what Culosi thought were just more fun wagers between friends to make watching sports more interesting. Eventually Culosi and Baucum bet more than $2,000 in a single day. Under Virginia law, that was enough for police to charge Culosi with running a gambling operation. And that’s when they brought in the SWAT team.
"On the night of January 24, 2006, Baucum called Culosi and arranged a time to drop by to collect his winnings. When Culosi, barefoot and clad in a T-shirt and jeans, stepped out of his house to meet the man he thought was a friend, the SWAT team began to move in. Seconds later, Det. Deval Bullock, who had been on duty since 4:00 AM and hadn’t slept in seventeen hours, fired a bullet that pierced Culosi’s heart."
They can't cope, and they don't have the heart to harvest the chickens. So they give it to a shelter. But since they don't get adopted, the shelter kills them and cremates the remains.
Backyard Chickens Dumped At Shelters When Hipsters Can't Cope, Critics Say (July 7, 2013)
"Despite visions of quaint coops, happy birds and cheap eggs, the growing trend of raising backyard chickens in urban settings is backfiring, critics say, as disillusioned city dwellers dump unwanted fowl on animal shelters and sanctuaries.
"Hundreds of chickens, sometimes dozens at a time, are being abandoned each year at the nation’s shelters from California to New York as some hipster farmers discover that hens lay eggs for two years, but can live for a good decade longer, and that actually raising the birds can be noisy, messy, labor-intensive and expensive."
These "hipsters" should be fined and prevented from having pets or backyard animals.
A wonderful article on zerohedge by the wife of "Cognitive Dissonance," aka, "Mrs. Cog." 🙂
A very pp like exit from Washington DC to find a more resilient life in a rural setting.
On getting ready to leave DC:
Conversations we’ve had with a wide variety of people were by far the most revealing aspect of our decision to move. While interviewing the first moving company representative we found that there was an unusual trend going on in the DC area. People were moving in and out in droves, a phenomenon we were told usually only occurs immediately after a presidential election brings a change in leadership to usher out the old and in with the new. Not only were people moving out of DC to all the usual places such as the West Coast, Texas, and Florida, but there was a large and peculiar exodus to strange out of the way locations such as Montana, Colorado and the Dakotas. She was at a loss to explain why.
Our neighbors, mostly employees of the Federal government or companies who support it, have had interesting reactions to our news about moving far away. When we get to the part where we somewhat tactfully say, "we don't think things will be improving anytime soon with the economy or other conditions in this country…" everyone nods vehemently in agreement. They know. …. I keep expecting someone to ask if we have lost our minds, but no one does. The cat appears to be out of the bag.
Of our numerous encounters with present and former government workers, the more "inside" their experience and knowledge (their naturally gained intel) the more adamant their agreement is that indeed something wicked this way comes. One former Special Forces and FBI employee, now a small businessman, practically said run."
Remarkable political and social awareness in a 12-year-old Egyptian boy commenting on the situation in Egypt. This boy tells it like it is. Worth watching…
This is an amazing and fascinating story. A story about how a family managed to survive in the wild only with what they know, because everything else that was material had worn out.
For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of WWII (January 29, 2013)
"Isolation made survival in the wilderness close to impossible. Dependent solely on their own resources, the Lykovs struggled to replace the few things they had brought into the taiga with them. They fashioned birch-bark galoshes in place of shoes. Clothes were patched and repatched until they fell apart, then replaced with hemp cloth grown from seed.
"The Lykovs had carried a crude spinning wheel and, incredibly, the components of a loom into the taiga with them—moving these from place to place as they gradually went further into the wilderness must have required many long and arduous journeys—but they had no technology for replacing metal. A couple of kettles served them well for many years, but when rust finally overcame them, the only replacements they could fashion came from birch bark. Since these could not be placed in a fire, it became far harder to cook. By the time the Lykovs were discovered, their staple diet was potato patties mixed with ground rye and hemp seeds."
In February of this year, Vice Magazine visited Agafia Lykov, 70 years old and the last of the Lykov family. She's still living on her own, but with occasional admirers and visitors who bring her things.
Meet the Last Lykov
"When we arrived, Agafia was waiting for us outside her cabin like a sweet granny expecting a visit from her grandchildren. The nature reserve where she resides was named the Lykov Territory in honor of her family, and her cabin sits atop a bluff near the swiftly flowing Erinat River. For a 70-year-old woman who once had to eat her shoes to survive, I was surprised by how nimble and healthy she appeared. Her property includes several cabins and smaller buildings for goats, chickens, supplies, and preserved food, as well as a garden on the steep hill behind the main dwelling. (The garden was covered in snow during our visit, as it remains for much of the Siberian winter.) Throughout the years, with the help of friends and admirers, she’s built up her property from the one-room shack the whole family used to live in. Dozens of cats freely roam the property."
Here's the documentary on YouTube:
Surviving in the Siberian Wilderness for 70 Years
"In 1936, a family of Russian Old Believers journeyed deep into Siberia's vast taiga to escape persecution and protect their way of life. The Lykovs eventually settled in the Sayan Mountains, 160 miles from any other sign of civilization. In 1944, Agafia Lykov was born into this wilderness. Today, she is the last surviving Lykov, remaining steadfast in her seclusion. In this episode of Far Out, the VICE crew travels to Agafia to learn about her taiga lifestyle and the encroaching influence of the outside world."