Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Tango3, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    to my earlier everythings finepost...:
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    <!-- google_ad_section_start(name=default) --> Wednesday, July 15, 2009


    Now, I realize everyone is entitled to their view. As long as it agrees with mine. Okay, relax, I'm joking. It wasn't so long ago that I wasn't so gloomy. I was the "a year of food and a gun and water filter and you can survive a short term disruption" kind of guy. Yes, I grew up during the Evil Empire looming over us and had a fear of nuclear war like all red blooded Americans who were trained to support the military industrial complex by hating the mythical monster from the east. But I didn't worry so much about it. I didn't have a fallout shelter and what not. It was a real enough threat, but it was a low probability worry. Just like an asteroid hitting the planet or Yellowstone erupting. I would have left Florida with or without sea level worries just because of the population ( an asteroid has a higher probability of hitting the Pacific anyway ). And Yellowstone is about as much of a worry as the poles suddenly flipping ( in other words, not enough to worry about even though I wouldn't live in Wyoming just in case ).
    What pretty much changed my mind was continued study into eco-systems, carry capacity, resources and energy. Here we faced not a low probability event but a slam dunk sure thing, with only the timing in question. So, once again proving that too much knowledge is a dangerous thing and indeed ignorance is bliss, I researched myself into a much greater sense of worry and despair. Thanks a lot for subsidizing my book purchases, damn you all. Whenever anyone comes up with the magic bullet that is going to save us, from vats of algae to thousands of nuclear power plants that assume we'll never run out of uranium ( for awhile now the big part of the nuke power supply has been from decommissioned Soviet missiles ) to further centralizing government ( you still need resources for that ), I feel bad that I can't share in your misguided hope. I want to believe, but my glass has been half empty for a long time now. We are, indeed, going to die. A horrible and elongated death. If you want to continue the fantasy of eternal middle class leisure existence, almost every other survival/prep site is eagerly awaiting you as a new reader. All this to say, yes, a die off will happen. Now let's see about a few more details.
    It has been estimated that the maximum number of hunter/gatherers before the widespread adaptation of agriculture was three to four million. It has also been estimated that the maximum number of people a post-oil planet can support is a billion. That is ONE billion, not the current almost seven billion we are supporting almost exclusively through petroleum. Even a sensible organic run system is not a closed loop. You still need to import some soil inputs. It isn't a huge amount, but entropy always rules. There is nothing to replace oil. You gathering the neighbors leaves for your garden only works because the three hundred thousand people surrounding you get there food from oil instead of fallen leaves compost. And the one billion number assumes the soil hasn't been degraded feeding six billion, which it has, and an existing low tech agriculture infrastructure, which we don't have in the First World nations by and large ( although I'm sure there are exceptions to prove the rule ). The hunter/gatherer numbers are even more optimistic because there is no more game and plants to feed that many. As humans expanded, they had existing huge land areas that were unexploited. We no longer have that.
    Being a hunter picking berries is a pretty cool gig. You work an average of a few hours a day, then sit around scratching your lice and checking out the bra less boobs swinging low, clicking your tongue is a weird speech pattern. Talk about slackers! That is elevating leisure to an art form. So, there is no way people decided to start farming, which is quite a step down. Instead of moving to a new area when food gets low, you are stuck in one area and there is no back up to a crop failure. Plus, you work eighteen hours a day. And not at a fun job like going to kill something for a tasty BBQ but raising grains and beans which fall through the grill and aren't too suitable for a backyard picnic. No, after tens or hundreds of thousands of years slowly moving into new areas, that three million population one day found that there was no more wilderness unclaimed. So a slow increase in domesticating wild grains and animals began to increase what food was available in a fixed area. It was a slow but insidious process, unnoticed because it was merely a series of survival strategies slowly unfolding. But the end result was being farmers under the yoke of a king, subject to starving during bad weather.
    If the earth could once again only support hunter/gatherers, we would be in for a huge die off, due to the low numbers of surviving wild game. Something like 99% plus a lot of numbers following the decimal point. That wouldn't be too much fun. It would be like the novel "The Road" ( and you think I'm gloomy ) where the population that is left turns to cannibalism until no one is left ( okay, the book didn't end like that, but it was pretty plain that was the end result in a endless winter type of aftermath ). And the one billion is too high because we don't have the soil or infrastructure. So figure a number in between the two somewhere. We will still be able to farm unless close to 100% are killed off. Then it would be easier to resume the traditional living arrangement of our ancestors. But if enough people survive the Post Oil Dark Ages, farming will be necessary. At least in the fertile wet regions. The arid west will revert to hundreds of miles per person population as herding will be the only option. Regardless of where you live and what you plan on afterwards, you need several years of food per person. To survive the die off, of around 99%, and to cushion during the rebuilding, I would recommend at least two or three years of grains ( and hopefully legumes ) per person. Cheap enough. Cheap enough that if we never see a die off it is not money wasted ( it will be if you try to afford freeze dried and MRE's ).
    A mass die off might seem like a low probability event. It might be. But running short of resources for six billion is a sure thing. Only the timing and how it unfolds are up to conjecture. Do yourself a favor and assume the worse.
    Posted by James m Dakin at <a class="timestamp-link" href="" rel="bookmark" title="permanent link"><abbr class="published" title="2009-07-15T11:53:00-07:00">11:53 AM</abbr> 5 comments [​IMG]

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    apocalypse cocooning

    Lately it seems that most of the media is ignoring the meltdown. At first it was all fun and games and everyone had a real fun time. Oh, look, a minor recession. Nothing to see here, move along. Not as bad as the 70's because we've given the Federal Reserve Bank all the taxpayers money, the tax revenue for the next 347 years and just in case that isn't enough stimulus all the global revenue until the sun goes super nova. Then, as the economy kept contracting it suddenly got a lot harder to make up happy news for the great unwashed masses. How do you make it sound good that Obamma doubled our debt that took two hundred years to accumulate in a mere six months? He spent more than a couple of world wars, a civil war, a depression and the New Deal combined and the only thing to show for it is more executive bonuses. Anyway, not to get bogged down or anything. I wanted to veer off on another tract today. My point was that the media is now 100% celebrity news ( new national hero molested boys! ) and the only economic news to be squeezed out of their tight asses ( the CEO's that run the media ) is 100% spin. As in, the decrease in the rate of collapse is treated as a recovery.
    So, I only expected spin as I was listening to National Pravda Radio this morning. And I wasn't disappointed. The latest and greatest news is that fat people are going online to lose weight rather than going to face to face meetings. Well, you would think I would just make a snide comment about rolly pollies or heifers and complain about the media and move on to other topics. But my brain has a mind of its own. I'll hear the most insignificant piece of trivia and build a complex and unnecessary tangled web out of it. So here goes, the cocooning trend during the collapse.
    Faith Popcorn was around in the early 90's if I'm not mistaken ( go ahead and Wiki it, I'm on a roll here and can't be bothered ). Her book, The Popcorn Report, was a favorite of mine. I must have read that three times or so. Your basic Ten Trends In The Future book. One was Cocooning, where people increasingly stayed home. Retreating into the safety of their cocoon. I don't remember why. The nineties were a pretty happy time. Unless that was during the recession at the beginning of the decade when folks thought we were headed back into an early eighties hell. Anyway, I think the trend was forecast a bit early. Starbucks and granite counter tops lured out people for a time. Now we are all set to embrace the trend to its fullest. We are dead broke and Starbucks are closing faster than California state facilities. There are no more manufacturing jobs. I love how Michigan is just now panicking within the last few weeks as GM was bailed out ( read: reorganize to screw the retirees and Union workers so the CEO's can get a few last bloated bonuses ). You couldn't see this coming years ago? What a bunch of stupid pukes.
    Without jobs making stuff, there is the fall back of creating financial paper out of thin air. Oops, the rest of the globe is broke from the last batch of derivatives we suckered them into buying. Forget about the financial sector. Well, we can all go to work selling each other retail goods from big box stores. Oops! We ran out of credit from China to buy any retail goods. And businesses are closing faster than houses are being shuttered. That leaves...government jobs and welfare. Paid for by printing money. We all make noises about sheeple and government oppression, but the simple fact is that 99% of the population will vote for a Hitler/Obammy ticket as long as the cable keeps broadcasting Big Brother and there is enough corn syrup food shapes on the table to eat. Why even worry about revolt when those idiots will turn you in to the thought police? The government knows this. The government is good at a few things, one is staying in power. They will keep nationalizing and creating new welfare as long as possible. The total collapse will be preceded by a massive welfare state. Central to that will be government make work jobs from home. From your cocoon. You can compile worthless data from the Internet part time in return for food stamps and a government subsidized home. Then you can slowly adapt to the degradation of services in comfort. Brownouts, food shortages, soylent replacing meat, Internet outages ( don't worry, you'll still get "paid" ), gas rationing, etc.
    I don't think the news report on online dieting is a government plant or trial run. It is a genuine report just documenting the gullibility of idiots that were indoctrinated in the public schools ( look, documenting calories will help you lose weight, no need for exercise or peer pressure ). And, no, I really don't have issues with overweight people. I actually like curves on women ( I just draw the line at Pear People ). And carrying weight around is a sound survival strategy ( as long as it isn't heart attack weight ). I have issues with stupid ( even though I'm one to talk ) and lack of discipline. The basic point here is that people are eagerly, voluntarily embracing cocooning. They want to stay at home and relate to others on the Internet. You can forget about redesigning communities, living in walking distance to work. Condos surrounded by organic gardens. That is all tree hugging wet dreams. We don't have the energy or the materials to rebuild ( or the finances ). What you see, from the soon to be torched Detroit downtown to the soon to be flooded Sacramento delta suburbs, is what you get. The best strategy for prolonging our society is to restrict travel and keep people home.
    But wait, what about tent cities, you ask. What about the shuttered homes? What about the Hillaryvilles? This won't be that pretty, everyone safely cocooned, waiting for their government tit chit. There is still going to be plenty of casualties. Crime will explode, homelessness will explode. Unemployment has only just started to get bad ( remember, declining energy inputs means total system breakdown ). I'm just talking about the lucky ones that somehow remain in main stream economic society a little while longer. This is just a short phase of treading water before we all drown. Enjoy it while you can.
    Posted by James m Dakin at <a class="timestamp-link" href="" rel="bookmark" title="permanent link"><abbr class="published" title="2009-07-14T11:53:00-07:00">11:53 AM</abbr> 5 comments [​IMG]

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    new agri empire

    China, through rise and fall of empire after empire ( or perhaps it is dynasty after dynasty ) always faces the same foe. The nomads from over the mountains ( or, in some spots, over the wall ). The herders from the plains constantly try to pillage the farmland and its riches, and the Chinese resist whichever flavor of the year is trying to steal from them. There is a reason the players always change but the fight is always the same. The two systems are incompatible due to the climate and geography. Climate determines how your livelihood is secured. This might seem obvious to anyone throughout history, but our Oil Age has allowed us to confuse this issue. There is no way that half of the US is ever going to stay welded to the other half. One part is good only for nomads and grazing and the other half will support farming. The only reason the two coexist now is cheap energy to pump water and cheap transportation to send the goods of both to one another. Come the collapse, the Great Basin desert and southern desert ( either extending into Old Mexico or extending up from that country, it is hard to say where the new boundaries will be in the wasteland ) will be the new Mongolia and the East will be the new China.
    There is a perfectly good reason that the two different systems don't merge. The Chinese invaders can't grow anything, and the nomad invaders are absorbed into the farming society. The cultures are different, because culture grows up around the climate to help secure survival. This is something we've covered before. You can't expect different economic/survival systems to work in another environment. In time, I expect that the Yankees will drift back towards agriculture. They might have the small local hydro sites, but they have little to no coal or iron ore deposits left that are suitable for primitive mining. There should be small industries using that power, perhaps recycling metal. But the locals should be pretty much growing most of their own food. The East is well suited for water transport and industrial areas can be supported from some distance away, but first you must assume a lack of warfare and a stable society. The eastern US will not go from peaceful information/oil economy to peaceful agriculture/small scale industry. There will be war and conflict in between. Before a new agri empire emerges, there must be conflict for the spoils. One assumes transforming the plains into the bread basket has allowed a lot of coastal area soils to rest and refurbish themselves ( otherwise all bets are off about the areas survivability ).
    The overseas importation of cotton growing should also have given the Souths soils a time to recover. That, and the eventual tearing down of suburbia will allow a lot of farmland to go into production. Not soon enough to prevent famine as the oil runs out, but in time the east will again regain some of their population with most soil in production. I think that the long periods of time after the collapse when the area is fought over should establish a tradition of local agricultural self reliance, despite the ability of crops to be cheaply transported in by water. The ore and coal factor is a big question mark in the north's ability to engage in anything other than farming. On the other hand, it will be vital if the east will rise as a empire. You need a arms manufacturing ability to conquer and stay in power. But even manufacturing areas will grow their own food by new tradition. The water transport will enable manufactured goods to be shipped out, rather than crops to be brought in. The area is too rich is rainfall to be neglected for food. Granted, some areas have poor soil, such as New England which had turned to fishing to compensate. But, the oceans having been depleted, it seems more likely that with new French Intensive methods that the area could produce. Perhaps there will need to be soil building materials imported in, but the manufacturing income could pay for that ( plus leave a tidy profit-without coal, hydro power is going to be it and be a valuable resource ).
    From the Sierra mountains to the Rockies, a vast stretch of land is pretty much useless for anything but grazing once oil inputs cease. Even then, vast stretches won't even be useful for that. The few sources of water will be where all life clusters. Depending on how Gore Warming unfolds, the plains areas might also be closed to farming. If the natural rainfall isn't enough for dry farming the whole area will perhaps revert to a buffer zone between the farmers and the herders. Southern California is naturally a desert, and the irrigation is petroleum power dependant. That will revert to wasteland. Up close to Sacramento farming is possible, and then north up along the coast. Perhaps up in Canada and then down into Idaho. It is easy to map the new countries, according to rainfall. The only question is how far the buffer zones extend. And, no, I don't see just two countries, or empires. It will be several waring factions in each zone. Even after villages and towns fight each other during the collapse and powerful warlords emerge to control vast holdings, I'm sure the borders will always fluctuate. More like several states in Europe instead of one holding like China.
    To see in what general direction your area will lean, just trace the water source. The Mississippi delta, for instance, can become one large empire because of the single water source. Mountain chains will be natural borders. Cultures will closely follow climate. You need to strip away what oil makes possible to see where your future is. Perhaps not ours. Our future is war, famine and death. But perhaps your grandchildren will have that future. The best stockpiled hoarder will eventually run out of supplies, and the two choices will be farming or nomadism. And don't think you can maintain an island of one surrounded by the other. You will be assimilated into your areas Borg.
    Posted by James m Dakin at <a class="timestamp-link" href="" rel="bookmark" title="permanent link"><abbr class="published" title="2009-07-13T12:00:00-07:00">12:00 PM</abbr> 10 comments [​IMG]

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    religious fanaticism

    I hope I was somewhat coherent yesterday. I was working on about four hours of sleep and pretty much was in a zombie vegetative state, kind of kind Bush Jr. on a good day. Or Obammy, when the Mothership beams down his instructions. Anyway, I reread it this morning on six hours of sleep and muddled my way through it. But then, I'm a bit biased on the greatness of my writing. Plus, I usually sleep pretty sound so what was my excuse the other times? I'm going to mumble some drivel about native cannibal religion and then call it good today.
    I was almost done at work yesterday, driving to the last food pick-up. In front of me is a little gas sipper car with a licence plate holder that says "Mormon Assault Vehicle". Okay, that was a little cute. But then, I see the bumper sticker above it, something to the effect that this country was founded by men of religion and if you didn't like it then you should leave. I had several thoughts. First, in general the Mormons seem to be a little more polite than that. Second, now I know how the tree hugging Birkenstock wearing Volvo driving Commies feel about gun owners and Cold Dead Fingers bumper stickers. Third, I wouldn't be bragging about how religious the Indian genocide practitioners were. And finally, this is the kind of person that is going to be trying to kill me after the Collapse because I am judged to be a non-believer. I might have covered religious fanatics before. I can't remember. You're not doing anything else anyway.
    I'm not very religious. Over the decades I've gone from a card carrying atheist to a trial member agnostic, but I won't much progress beyond that. Parochial school didn't stick ( I went there for the education ), my mother remarrying a Baptist and converting and trying to recruit me didn't stick ( and by the way, I was given the original box set game of Dungeons and Dragons, before the controversy about paganism etc. by Mom, bless her heart ). I was never a big believer in faith, always wanting to question how things work, why they work. Now, having said that, I live by the Golden Rule. If that isn't enough for people ( or deities ), piss on them ( and I'm thinking of a less polite term ). You can talk all the trash you want, it is actions that speak loudly. I think I live and act kindly to others. Despite my biting humor and sarcasm, I try to do right by others. Yet, I am going to be a target of Mormon Assault Vehicles after law and order break down. Because religion is a tribal marker. Religious wars through the ages have been about resource theft, the religion part is the rationale.
    I'm not dogging on anyone's faith. I almost envy the strength and guidance it provides many. But religion does provide an excuse to treat others badly. As does race and other things. What irritates me is the blind faith used by the card carrying members. I understand tribal behavior, but that doesn't excuse irrational thinking. If you are going to steal someone else's food, okay. But don't lie to me or yourself doing it. Remember, if you can't even be honest with yourself you will lie yourself into trouble one day. Intellectual honesty promotes a sharper thinking process. You are doing yourself a favor. That is why I am so damn good, I don't call a wart a beauty mark. And part of the reason I'm one of Baby Jesus' favorites, despite my lack of religious faith. I know, I've asked him.
    Now, besides sticking voodoo dolls full of holes in a vain attempt to punish me for my blasphemy, you are also asking yourself why you should give two craps. Most likely because you think you belong to The One True Faith ( even those faiths that profess a tolerance for other beliefs give their own brand preferential treatment and extra large portions of food at supper ). But, since others also believe that, you are both targets. This is simply a "heads up" on yet another thing to worry about after the Oil Age ends. We were all kept so fat and marshmellowy eating Taco Bell and KFC and swilling Coke and watching endless reruns of Gilligan's Island that we had no need to worry about religion. Even the Great Hue And Cry Warning Of The Evil Muslim Hoards Descending On Us in a vain effort to resurrect the military industrial complex to take the place of the housing bubble failed to elicit much of a response. I mean, hell, we just elected one of them to the White House. How much more couldn't you care? Once the welfare state ends and hunger begins, start to watch for those shifty polygamists ( and all other true believers out to smite your evil ass ). And, by the way, don't bother wasting a trip to Elko to wipe me out for the good of your god. I'm positive I've offended plenty of people here who will beat you to it.
    Posted by James m Dakin at <a class="timestamp-link" href="" rel="bookmark" title="permanent link"><abbr class="published" title="2009-07-10T12:06:00-07:00">12:06 PM</abbr> 22 comments [​IMG]

    Thursday, July 09, 2009

    long slow infrastructure

    I'd like to officially register my disappointment that I didn't make the list of all time favorite survival books over at Rawles site from his recent survey. That said, a pretty good article on silver today. Before you get too excited about the increased purchasing power in silver terms however, you need to keep two things in mind. First, as he acknowledges as a topic for another day, the silver market has been manipulated recently. That means the metal should be selling a lot higher than it is. Secondly, two things are artificially keeping food prices down. Well, perhaps three if you factor in cheaper food imports. But, the basic two are factory farms and subsidized oil. Centralizing food production has artificially kept prices lower. If we had kept production decentralized our future would not be so bleak. A family farm takes care of the soil, as family future generations are handed down a legacy. Corporate farms rape the land as if it were a mine. Short term since the eighties is cheap food. Long term we all starve. And since oil made those corporate farms work, the corporations used militarily subsidized cheap oil.
    We are still on track for a smidge over eight percent oil import declines for this year. That is three years in a row, as I recently covered in my article "8%". The 70's oil shock recovery was easily solved by a flood of oil imports, from the Alaskan oil fields, the North Sea field, Russian, eventually Saudi, etc. There are no new super fields now as there were then. No new ones in forty years, and not for lack of trying. Those were the last of the clean and abundant fields. Canadian tar sands are nothing more than using natural gas to create liquid fuel for the last of Detroit's SUV's. Okay, I'll stop now with the Peak Oil. But my point is that real prices continue up because fuel supply is falling. At this moment, it isn't as bad as it could be because of centralized food and stolen oil. But that will not last much longer. Everybody wants a long slow collapse, myself included. That is actually the best possible news. But you need to plan on a quicker collapse, even as you hope for a slow one. Infrastructure will continue to suffer, and regardless of long or short collapse, localized effects could hurt you.
    Oil imports fall. Fuel prices rise. Transportation costs rise. Oil prices rising raise asphalt prices. Local governments seeing revenue free falls ( Nevada, even with gambling and mining-hindered by precious metals being held down, granted- saw tax revenue fall by 45% in a year ) can't buy as much of that more expensive asphalt and roads fall apart more. Insurance companies, already suffering from policy cancellations from vacated homes and having lost money from derivatives ( those bad boys will raise Cain until the bitter end ), now see increased claims from cars vibrating apart on poorly maintained roads. The companies use that as last straw excuse to go bankrupt and screw you out of premiums. Insurance cost rise, putting more pressure on private companies such as ambulance services ( do municipal companies have insurance? I don't know ). They jack up prices or go out of business. The city ambulance would have been on the way but they hit a rather large pothole and suffered a mechanical failure.
    Oil imports fall. Artificial fertilizer prices rise. Food goes up much faster than the twenty percent we've seen the last few years. When you only spend 10% of your budget on food, those kinds of increases are easily absorbed. Twelve percent one year, fourteen the next. You bitch, but can carry on easy enough. But after a certain period, it starts to become very noticeable. You have to start cutting back quite a bit. In time ( and remember, it starts at 20% food inflation and just gets worse ), we become Third World peasants with the real prospect of malnutrition and starvation. This is all directly traced back to oil, but remember all the other inputs also effected and thus compounding the problem. Increased inflation due to skyrocketing government costs. Credit contraction due to decades of financial bubbles tearing the system apart. Business closing because of inflation jacking up wages, no operating capital due to no credit, and all costs rising because of energy and inflation. Less jobs is less tax revenue is increased local government failure is that ambulance driver laid off even if the vehicle doesn't crash into a pothole. Or, police laid off ( Oakland, CA, recently hired a private firm at half the cost per person, but even they won't last long ), so the ambulance driver is mugged after the vehicle crashed in the pothole.
    Even before the Super Duper Depression started, emergency rooms were closing their doors due to finances. Unstated in these politically correct times, a large part of the cause was undocumented workers sucking free services. Not that I blame them. Pop a kid for free and it's a citizen! What a deal. If Mexico had been offering that, I would have been down there with a prego in one hand and a sombrero in the other. And, if you think either health care reform or global warming solutions are anything other than smoke up your ass and an increased cost to you personally, you are a zombie. A shrinking pie doesn't expand. Inflation and increased energy costs effect health care also. There will be even more uninsured, as prices skyrocket.
    Retirement? I laugh uproariously. Ha! You and your pipe dreams. Home equity? I laugh harder. Twenty million vacant houses equal falling values even as inflation takes off. And, as public services are cut back, your suburban castle is no longer tied to its life lines of fire protection, clean water, reliable sewer, grid power, etc. Your thirty grand SUV remaining on the road? Stop it, I'm splitting a side here. See the insurance companies and road repair and oil imports above. I'm not making up anything new here. I have preached to you for years to consult the bible of the future, The Great Reckoning. They only focused on finances and didn't factor in oil, but their social disintegration thesis was right on ( even if they were twenty years early ). A long slow collapse, even as it is the best case scenario, still leaves a lot to be desired.
    Posted by James m Dakin at <a class="timestamp-link" href="" rel="bookmark" title="permanent link"><abbr class="published" title="2009-07-09T11:56:00-07:00">11:56 AM</abbr> 6 comments [​IMG]

    Wednesday, July 08, 2009


    I would like to thank the generous Loyal Minion that gave me this idea, and many more besides. It isn’t too great of a task to throw a few ideas my way once in awhile. I mean, for those of you not even buying a friggin fifty cent e-book, help a brother out here. A little creative brainstorming is all I’m asking. I do all the hard work, dredging two pages of dense writing out of the my dank and oxygen deprived swamp of a mind and all you have to do is send a line or two with a new idea. Those that sent ten bucks or whatever, you can just kick back and think evil thoughts on those not contributing. Not that you have to, I’m not asking for anything else from you, not even seething hate. You can instead just feel mildly superior. You know I love all of you. Anyone that can read my drivel and then come back for more is all right in my book. But let’s not get a tragedy of the commons thing going on here where there are free loaders. No free lunch, damn it all to Hades. Contribute something. I bought Rawles book, cause I read his blog every day. And I’ll buy the next one. It’s only right. Just a little plea to the few here, no need to pay attention if you’ve already done your part. And, by the way, “paying” attention doesn’t count. I’m not a magazine, I don’t get extra money for extra readers.
    When you have roommates, you basically get a bunch of people together that can’t stand each other. Someone is a pig, won’t wipe the underside of the seat after a night of beer causes diarrhea. Another turns the TV too loud, subjecting you to screaming fat incestuous hillbilly relationships on daytime talk shows. One guy won’t eat any fiber and stays in the bathroom for a half hour, and you usually have to hear him grunting, moaning, and calling out to God to help him as he desperately attempts to shoot out a turd that is three weeks old and has the diameter of a softball ( I don’t know if the ladies here approve of bathroom humor, but since it’s mostly guys here I indulge frequently if for no other reason than my own amusement ). Everybody is trying to cook at the same time, and generally one of them has stolen someone else’s food so it turns into screaming and elbowing. Someone is always behind on rent, and because most of them are young, lazy, ignorant and living off meth, prostitution or welfare, everyone panics because no one else can cover the difference and homelessness haunts them all.
    People living in a boarding house, by contrast, are not giving to misunderstanding that they are equal. They are not pitching in on rent, entitled to equal say in all matters. They are renting a room only and have no say in how the rest of the house is used. They have their meals cooked for them, thus are not entitled to kitchen privileges. Plus, this is not a bunch of kids renting an apartment, feeling free to trash the place since they have no reason to worry about consequences. It isn’t their deposit or credit rating on the line, and no one knows anything until the place is renting all over again. In a boardinghouse, the owner is directly effected by renters behavior, and knows immediately. He/she/they can rent by the week and kick out malcontents quickly. Traditionally, boardinghouses were run by a widow. The home was already paid for ( the notion of a widespread need for mortgages started shortly after the Federal Reserve Bank was founded and later zoning and codes came along to kill the owner built on a cash basis home-all coincidence I’m sure ) and she was already used to cooking for a family. Her routine was kept pretty normal and she got the cash needed for daily living. In the future, I’m sure we’ll see the return of boardinghouses.
    It won’t just be widows now. Almost everyone is stuck in their mortgage by several factors. First, house prices are falling as much as oil imports, eight or ten percent a year and guaranteed to accelerate. You can’t sell in today’s market without taking a haircut. A heck of a lot of people are upside down on their homes. Plus, it is stupid to give up your job right now. I wouldn’t want to move to another area even if I was going to work minimum wage, not the way retail is suffering. Of course, if you can scrape up two grand by liquidating everything you could buy a east Texas lot and a beater trailer, move there and garden and fish and collect Food Stamps and live a peaceful, non Rat Race life. Before the economy went south, the unemployment rate there was ten or twelve percent. Imagine what it is now. You could honestly claim there was no employment so you could easily latch on to the government teet. Just have silver rounds so you can pay the property tax ( silver instead of currency to avoid the effects of inflation ). I think it might conceivably be a sellers market for boardinghouses. You can keep hold of your home, even if one or both of you get laid off. More and more people won’t have any place to live. They can’t afford houses, even now, so they rent apartments. But very few apartments are being built, what with the credit contraction, so prices there are rising. People will be coming to you. Give a married couple a slight discount ( the cost of two boarders, minus a little ), since two are staying in one room.
    Another big consideration is the communal eating/cooking. You are factoring in the food with their rent. Together, their two costs constitute a bargain for them. For the home owner, there is profit without out of pocket expense. You can cook cheaply because you have the time and equipment and knowledge to cook from scratch. Plus, you can buy at a Costco or Restaurant supply place for a discount. Your boarder can do neither. While he pays you less than what it would cost him, he pays you a lot more than what it cost you. It is a win/win. You are already giving him cheap shelter by only allowing them a room. Then, you give them a cheap way to eat because you are splitting the bulk cost of food and energy. If you are baking twenty loaves of bread at a time, the cost per loaf energy wise is much more negligible. Granted, a single person could bake an entire ovens worth and freeze the surplus. They could buy meat in bulk and freeze. They could crock pot. But, most of them can’t do it, out of ignorance or out of lack of equipment investment. You are providing a service most can’t match on cost.
    And, since you are providing a sought after, bargain rate service, they are under your control. You can keep an orderly and quiet home. Any bad behavior earns expulsion, and they know others are in line to take their place. You could, if done right, pay the mortgage, your energy and food bills, and Internet connection ( I wouldn’t offer more than antenna TV to keep it cheap and legal, but you can split the broadband connection easy enough ), all through the boarders. Your costs drop to almost nothing. Your home turns from a money pit, expensive, never ending rent-equivalent shelter to an actual investment that pays extra. All you have to do is cook and clean. With that kind of set up, hell yes I would be a house bitch in a heartbeat. I’d even wear a pink fluffy apron. There will still be slight issues. Parceling out bathroom time, partitioning garage or master bedroom or family room into separate living areas. Refereeing disputes. But, all in all, this is a way to take that sour mouthful of lemons and turn it into sweet lemonade. You were stuck with a house payment, now you have a paying investment. You might have quite a few hours a day of work still, but the quality of life will be better. Now, having said all that, we might still be too close to the start of the collapse. It might be too soon to resurrect a great old idea. People might not be ready just yet. Too radical of an idea, behaving properly and respecting others property. And giving up certain freedoms for the sake of frugality. But it might just be what folks have been waiting for. Another thing to be aware of, I have little knowledge in legalities. Such as renters rights in your state. Or, laws pertaining to the disabled. Believe it or not, back in the day I was renting out my rooms, a guy in a wheelchair started giving me crap for not having access for his chair. I have a feeling he was cruising for people to sue, but a quick look at our mobile home must have given him a pass on us. And, you are welcome. Another great idea to help weather the storm.
    Posted by James m Dakin at <a class="timestamp-link" href="" rel="bookmark" title="permanent link"><abbr class="published" title="2009-07-08T06:46:00-07:00">6:46 AM</abbr> 6 comments [​IMG]

    Tuesday, July 07, 2009

    historic overpopulation

    “Caution: objects in rearview mirror are closer than they appear.”
    The thirteenth century in Europe was more than just dudes on horses jousting with one another, guys wearing pantyhose living in mud huts and kings going around looking for wedding night virgins to break in as a favor to the groom. As happy as those things were ( except the guy wearing pantyhose, and even then if everyone else was doing it it was okay and it kept your legs warm- warmer than the blue scrotums under a kilt up in wet and chilly Scotland that was for sure ), you still had to worry about famine and plague. No one was as yet worried about not bathing, not just the French. And you can thank that French guy Pasteur for finding germs or the French would still be bathing once a year instead of once a week. And speaking of the French, let’s give them credit for making something gross like snails taste wonderful. Take the Chinese, who supposedly have been civilized the longest, and look at anything they serve up and they can’t seem to make it taste that good. Of course, that could have something to do with one culture serving up yummy stuff like bread and dairy and meat and the other serving bunny food and rice and anything no other people would touch like monkey brains and rotted eggs. And the jury is still out on the health effects of a mostly vegetarian diet because normally the Chinese dudes are all dead from war or starvation long before they get too old. Of course, if you do get most of your protein from high fat sources like butter and cream and eggs ( a perpetual protein source rather than a one time gain from slaughter, although to be fair to us Americans we have simply oodles of waste land to feed cattle on if the corn crop all goes to ethanol so we can afford to BBQ every week ) make sure to have a glass or three of wine everyday, as it seems to counteract the cholesterol.
    That time period was also surprisingly modern, at least in its demographics. Overpopulation was a continent phenomenon, as documented in England with the Doomsday Book. Which despite its cool name isn’t very apocalyptic, much to my disappointment. In England as well as France it was estimated that the population tripled in about a century. Now, as I have already shared with you some time in the distant past when I first read “War & Peace & War” by Peter Turchin ( which is a superb book on the way empires rise and fall ), France cleared a quarter of its forests and reduced its fallow period on fields from every other year to every third year in order to feed this overpopulation. But that only doubled its food production, and if you have stayed with me so far rather than allowing your eyes to roll back into your head and doze off you will remember that we just said its population had tripled. Another fun fact of the period is that the average farmer needed three acres per household member to pay his church tithe, his taxes, set aside seed for next year and also to feed adequately all year long. Yet only one peasant household in five had enough land. You would have thought that perhaps the Pope, being in pretty tight with Baby Jesus and all, would have been a little more sympathetic and let the contributions slide a bit. But no doing. I can understand the King not wanting to have to close off any of his thirty four wings of the castle for lack of heating wood or concubines, but the Pope could have been less of a dick. Oh, wait, is this the same organized religion that authorized the Inquisition and today prohibits contraception, condemning Third World peasants to malnourishment due to scarce resources and overpopulation ( and I was a good boy and didn’t even mention choir boy molestation )?
    But, if I could finally get back to my point, this caused a great migration into urban areas. There wasn’t enough farmland to go around due to the increasing population. So, this wasn’t just a sustenance farmer famine that was to come. You had a modern capitalistic ( well, more like a mercantilist system, but the same difference ) heavy urbanized society. A good portion of the population had to earn a paycheck to buy food, they didn’t grow it. The cities teemed with unemployed. And, true to supply and demand throughout time, workers real wages fell and food prices went up. As workers were paid a lot less ( about a third less ), grain and flour prices doubled and tripled and farmland rents quadrupled. At the same time that the soil was being degraded to produce more food ( not that this was altruistic, the high food prices-and higher taxes- encouraged overproduction ). Then, because Mother Nature is a bit of a Bad Girl and always appreciates a practical joke, the basic weather patterns changed. A series of wet and cold years moved in to worsen the already overpopulated areas which had already been experiencing hunger. Crops failed, animals died. And cannibalism reared its head. Now, a lot of you act like I endorse the practice. I predict with certainty that it will happen again. I don’t necessarily endorse it, but I remain open about being forced into it. Not that I want to. Which is why I have years and years of stored food, unlike your SUV driving, mortgage holding, MRE eating, semi-auto collecting ass. But I digress. It was documented by multiply sources in France in this period ( okay, granted, it was reported rather than documented, this being a bit before cameras, but there were other reports such as unfed prisoners eating newly arrived convicts- all told, hard to disbelieve ).
    Then, because of malnourishment and unsanitary practices like eating corpses ( there were documented cases of people dying as they were trying to dig up corpses for food, not to mention eating family members- and to still doubting Thomas’, this kind of behavior was also documented in Chinese famines ) or letting dead livestock rot in the open, the Bubonic Plague next hit. First you had overpopulation and mass starvation wipe out at least ten percent of the population and later you added to that at least another thirty percent from plague. All told, after repeated cycles of despair, the population was down to under half its total at its peak a hundred years previous. And remember, despite a large portion of the population being in cities, this was still an agriculture economy. Most of the population had been trained since birth at farming. Now contrast this to us today.
    We are already massively overpopulated. It is a bit hard to refute this. The only question is when the oil running low will cause this state of affairs to lead to actual starvation rather than mostly economic problems ( I’m discounting areas already in decline, obviously, and speaking in a broad sense ). Our soil is already depleted ( again, only mitigated by oil inputs ). And while we aren’t seeing cold and wet weather effect crops, we do have “Gore Warming”, which crops seem to appreciate even less. We have far less farmers tilling the soil. This can in time be reversed, as human labor is cheap with overpopulation, but not in time to stop famine and die off since they are untrained. And we have no infrastructure supporting a primitive farming economy. We are just stuck watching the gas tank gauge dip slowly. Again, generally speaking. Your organic asparagus grower will do well until city hordes descend or budding royalty invades. If you feel safe, take a pencil and an atlas and draw a circle two hundred miles around each city in the rain watered agriculture regions. Even if everyone had to walk and they only walked four hours every morning before the heat got too much, in roughly two weeks ( which is too soon to die from starvation, especially considering the average body fat of Americans ) even one percent of those striking out would number in the thousands. I’m not saying it is automatic that lots of city dwellers will find you, just that the odds are really poor in your favor.
    If France lost over half its population in an agricultural society due to overpopulation, soil depletion and disease, imagine the numbers in a non-agricultural oil dependant society such as ours. I don’t think 90% is unrealistic. Oh, we won’t lose it all at once. The oil, even as it decreases at eight percent a year ( it is already higher in Mexico, which accounts for the crisis, not drug wars ), will not run out all at once. But disasters are perfect storms. We will see overpopulation meet soil infertility, which meets energy decline which melds with increased disease due to malnutrition and infrastructure failure, with a sprinkle of Gore Warming thrown in ( I include that phrase a second time to strengthen my claim to creation and reserve the right to trademark ), not to mention the economy But, not to worry. The Muslim Half Breed Price Of Darkness will get you ethanol to burn in your SUV so you can drive to your government job were you eat SoyLent Brown grown in an algae vat, warmed in the microwave powered by a windmill which was made by metal harvested from the moon, because we don’t have enough ore left here to build enough alternate energy machines. American optimism and Can Do Spirit are 100% dependant on increasing energy supplies, which, in case you’ve been asleep for thirty years, we no longer have. If France with a farm society can lose over half its population to overpopulation, America with its financial paper economy will lose far more over time.
    Posted by James m Dakin at <a class="timestamp-link" href="" rel="bookmark" title="permanent link"><abbr class="published" title="2009-07-07T07:04:00-07:00">7:04 AM</abbr> 15 comments [​IMG]

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  2. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    And Just when I thought I was coming outta the slump end of things...
    The TRUTH sucks huh?
    What a complete downer....
    Sad but too damned truthful...
    ( Maybe I can't handle the TRUTH anymore?)
    At 58, I feel like I'm around 960 right now!
    (anyone see a LARGE wooden structure resembling a boat, with a bunch of really po'd animals running amok?)
    God, I feel so tired and so old......
    My education about reality of life was started at the ripe old age of around 8 or was it 9?
    My grandmother (may she rest in peace) took me under her wing and told me stories of the depression....NOT good stories....not to scare me but in order to educate me as I seemed to be the ONLY one to listen, and really pay her any mind at all.
    I spent many a summer with her, and I was taught many fact, I was into Hucklebery Finn at the time, and I was taught to fashion a corncob pipe and what do you suppose WE used for the tobacco?
    (she did not imbibe)
    Grape leaves, once dried on the vine and crumbled up, were excellent for my new pipe!
    But then I do digress a bit....(suppose it happens with us old guys on and off, from time to time)
    She taught me how to make my first slingshot using RED rubber from inner tubes... (see? I said I was old!)
    She showed me the way to find a good "Y" branch, and how to cut it cleanly with a kitchen knife....That woman was a wonder of wonders I tell you!
    I learned about gardening and responsibility, as she would leave me there in her home entirely left to my own devices, (which were many and assorted) with one rule:
    Don't get into trouble (that meant do NOT burn the house down!) I never did....
    Well, almost never....I blew up the concrete incinerator in her back yard, and it took me 2 summers of mowing lawns to buy her a new one!
    But there I go again.....
    Anyway, back to the survival part of this .....
    She knew how to hunt, how to fish and do almost everything a kid would want to know.....Not bad for a woman that was quite elderly even then!
    One day, out of the blue she called me inside and said to me "we need to have a talk". Now, that meant serious trouble in my book.....
    It was the worst conversation I have ever had with another human being in my entire 58 years.....and I have been married 3 times, and had 8 kids!
    The eyes are the true windows to the soul, and so it was to be....
    The look I watched, and was frightened by, and I listened intently as she told me of what would be in my lifetime....
    It has come to pass, every word she spoke, as if it had been upon the rock of ages, carved there for me to never forget...
    And now, for the first time in my life, I will share with you the sadness, the fear, and the tears, I saw in this old womans eyes, and the ages of wisdom she held inside her....
    She foretold of a time when there would be vast numbers of people, and the tyranny of governments around the world...
    People's bodies littered the streets, and those NOT dead were dying...disease and starvation was the rule of mankind.
    Man had become his own undoing, in his greed and ignorance, he had destroyed the ability to grow food on the earth.....
    Now for the GOOD part....wait for it!
    She said she saw visions of large cook pots like we had on the farm to cook corn, and snap beans and such, like we were canning......
    But this time there was something strange...something was wrong here.....
    There was something hanging down from the pot, from under the lid........
    It was blonde hair.
    Man had finally made it, he was now consuming his own children.

    (Ok, that's it for me folks)
    IF you think TANGO is a gloomer.....this should really get ya going...
    I have had to live with that inside me for at least the past 49-50 years
  3. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    I made it through the first I'll try another!

    I made it thru religious fanaticsm...
    Thanks "T"!
    Honestly, I needed a damned good belly laugh!
    Feeling as if I have been "refreshed" by your words....I shall continue forth!
    This is by far one of the BEST non-fiction writings it has been my pleasure to read!

    This was a tad bit of "dejavu"!
    Scary...and worst of all, I agree 999%
  4. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    'Fly You're confoozing this simpleton...Are you saying you'relaughing off this this wash of doom as pure rubbish?? I Hope it is only rubbish..., sorry to bring you down other wise.. those are completely the words of jim Dakin the "bison survival" blogger...
  5. QuietOne

    QuietOne Monkey++

    Dragonfly, thanks for sharing that. Some folks see things truly. I don't believe everything predicted has to be but it takes a kind of moral strength and determination to change the way things are going.

    What really annoys me is that the energy to support our civilization is there, is finally technically producible and isn't insanely expensive. I'm thinking of mile-wide solar satellites beaming power to stations on Earth. We've finally got the materials, we have the delivery systems, we're wasting billions that could be spent for this. But no, the money is all thrown away on political pork. Oh well, doom and gloom...
  6. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    hmm interesting idea, what about night??? I'm guessing but even at geosynchronous altitude 22,000mi there's bound to be a shadowed spot.
  7. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    NO WAY!
    I see things as they are, and frankly, it scares me far worse than a night patrol in Vin Hao's mountains in Vietnam!
    That's hairy....!
    Not that I see conspiracies around every corner, and I'm the "hard sell" type too boot!
    I want to see, smell, taste, and touch the "proof" as it were, before I believe most anything.
    This I believe!
    Ok, it may be a downer, but reality usually is.
    Unfortunately, I'm a realist!
    So, my answer is yes....I believe it, and NO, I do not simply brush this aside as some rubbish!
  8. RouteClearance

    RouteClearance Monkey+++

    Dragonfly, what scares me is that this nations society, no matter how "cultured" or "advanced" it may want to portray itself, is quite capable of removing their thin veneer they call civilization and committing such acts as your grandmother for saw without claiming to be a prophet or a soothsayer, for myself along with alot of other people on this board can see that this can very well happen, especially if our economy does experience a full crash.
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