Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Super Doomer Porn: Interview With Mike Ruppert

A recurring theme here at the Edge is exposure to true doomers: those who are certain that collapse of industrial civilization is inevitable and imminent. Here's one who's not been featured previously: Mike Ruppert, former head of From the Wilderness, an outstanding doomer website and resource. As always, the insights gained in this interview are bracing and mind altering. Just a short one, it nonetheless contains many subjects for thought. Give it a try...

Staring Into The Abyss: Wicked Problems Revisited

Chaos has posted before on one sentient being's take on wicked problems, but the subject deserves a second look, since these are becoming ever so much more visible to the naked eye (and by naked eye, Chaos is referring to visibility by the great masses of unconscious individuals who make up most of the public). Specifically, industrialized society is now faced with multiple predicaments that resist solutions or even an honest appraisal of the scope of the problems, i.e., global heating, the exhaustion of fossil fuels, overpopulation, habitat destruction, water depletion, and many more. In the US, wicked problems continue to manifest in the area of drug "wars," the healthcare system, major and growing inequality, and quite recently, the economic debacle. Chaos finds the discussions and attempted "solutions" to wicked problems to be fascinating, since they illuminate the black holes of industrialized society: areas of nonmatter which suck up energy and resources without any tangible reward. The very nature of wicked problems ensures that most efforts to solve or at least mitigate them are doomed to failure at best, and might even be counterproductive.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The New York Times Catches Up...

Nothing new here, to readers of the Edge and other aware individuals, that the country of Norway has not succumbed to the bubblicious greedfest that permeated the US and rest of the world's economies in the last few (or many) years. The culture of that country dictated that, since its oil resources were limited (as of course, are all natural resources, but this is necessary to state, since the idea of limits is a startling one for many people), provisions should be made for the eventual running out, resulting in an actual (as opposed to say, the US Social Security fund) trust fund for the benefits of all citizens. This in addition to the many many social benefits and real security enjoyed by the country's citizens. Of course, the purpose of the piece is to highlight that vast differences between the US and Norway, which it does, but there's another interesting comparison that's not being made, and it lies in oil production and decline. Since the nations of Norway and Great Britain are owners of one-half each of the oil resource (the North Sea), it's quite instructive to note that while Norway prudently managed its inevitable decline in oil production (and this is undisputed, that the North Sea has reached and past peak), Great Britain played the grasshopper role, and heedlessly squandered its resource on frivolities.

In Chaos' opinion, the fact that the nation's paper of record has now noticed the situation in Norway is an interesting and revealing sign that the US is now in an entirely different place, economically, at least, and probably in many more ways than just that.

Monday, May 11, 2009

An Answer To Technocopians

Of all those living in denial, there are few who Chaos finds so completely annoying as the Kurzweil technocopians, those who have an unshakable faith that technology will enable humanity to transcend laws of nature, physics, and arithmetic. The smug ignorance of these beings simply defies rational and logical thought, simply because they are true believers in a different kind of religious cult. To debunk this ridiculous system, here's a nice rebuttal, albeit written a few years back. Funny stuff, and true, as well.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Real Mother's Day...

Chaos has long suspected that Mother's Day (and Father's Day as well, for that matter) are simply degraded "hallmark holidays" that benefit primarily the floral and greeting card industries by taking advantage of human herding behavior (google it) and inertia, while sucking the meaning out of the whole enterprise. Here's the real history of mother's brief, this started out in the late 1800's as a way of protesting inhuman working conditions, morphed slightly into an antiwar event, then gradually declined into yet another commercial holiday. The piece contains a recommendation to support the Ploughshares Fund, either monetarily or by signing an online request to rid the planet of nuclear weapons. Try that one on for size, instead of a purchased bauble or cheaply bought sentiment. Though it may be ultimately futile, it least it won't be supporting a deeply corrupt and exploitative system.

A Request...

If, after reading the Edge, you're still desirous of increasing your collection of durable goods (or frivolous wants) through the amazing marketplace (tongue in cheek) of, Chaos kindly requests you to click through the links provided here to shop won't do much to cover the costs or time spent, but it's something. In anticipation, thank you.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Fall Of Nauru: A Warning...

This fascinating article concerning the environmental destruction and consequent economic collapse of the tiny island nation offers an instructive lesson on several levels. Briefly, the people of this Pacific island enjoyed a resource-based bounty for a time: phosphate derived from bird guano. The birds were attracted by the rich coral reefs, but changing migratory patterns caused a long anticipated decline in the resource base (it's also quite likely that the resource was mined much faster than replenishment). Islanders had invested in a trust fund intended to provide financial security for leaner times, but corruption and mismanagement depleted the fund prematurely. In addition to leaving the population destitute, the phosphate mining produced vast environmental damage. Sadly, there apparently is still some phosphate to be mined from Nauru's soil, and this time, promises are made that a new trust fund will be properly managed. In the meantime, the island population has shrunk dramatically as those able to leave have departed permanently.

What's equally interesting about this piece is not just the bald facts of resource depletion and devastating environmental damage, but the author's astounding assertion that the fault lies in "failure to invest in economic growth." Here's some key evidence of this flawed logic:

"It's a cautionary lesson in the perils of failing to reinvest in the economy. There is no country in the world, not Nauru and not the United States, that can possibly sustain itself indefinitely on the proceeds of yesterday's economic successes.

There is no substitute for economic growth. Making some really bad investments was clearly one of the Nauruans' big mistakes. But over the long run, neither a big, well-managed trust fund nor a small, badly managed one will survive in the face of a shrinking economy."

Well. Some really amazing editorializing here, mostly just ignoring the undeniable fact that humans cannot exist without natural resources. This is typical of most of the material one reads in the MSM these days...completely clueless and without any context whatsoever. The author describes the overshoot and collapse of a civilization in miniature, without for a moment realizing what is being depicted in this unfortunate scenario or the implications for the rest of the planet. For a more accurate picture, try substituting the words "exploitation of natural resources" for "economic growth." Articles like the one posted should be serving as screaming warnings, but alas, no one pays attention.