Apocalypse Soon?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Futilitist, Jan 1, 2013.

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  1. Futilitist This so called forum is a fraud... Registered Senior Member

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    This thread is to talk rationally about the upcoming collapse of industrial civilization.

    Some background stuff to get the ball rolling

    Here is a paper called Energy and Human Evolution by David Price:
    http://dieoff.org/page143.htm

    Here are a couple of versions of Richard Duncan's Olduvai Theory:
    http://dieoff.org/page125.htm
    http://dieoff.org/page224.htm

    And here is Requiem by Jay Hanson:
    http://dieoff.org/page181.htm

    Here are some charts I made recently to try to get an idea of the possible timing of the onset of collapse:

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    The chart above is the price of the world benchmark Brent crude oil in dollars. Note the massive spike in 2008 and the return to the uptrend after the correction. This is what peak oil looks like.

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    The chart above is a picture of spaghetti! In February of 2005 I read Richard Duncan's Olduvai theory. I reasoned that there should be some way to keep track of the process of decline and look for early warning signs of impending collapse. I began to look for some kind of pattern amongst the myriad financial data available. Ouch! It turned out not to be so simple to find a pattern. Over the years, I kept returning to the problem, with little success. Then, in the last couple of weeks I finally found the key to unravelling the spaghetti.

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    The key to finding a useful pattern was interest rates. In the chart above, I focus on 3 basic indicators --- The price of oil (energy), the value of the stock markets (economy), and interest rates (credit). It turns out that interest rates are related to the the other indicators in a very specific way. Interest rates are the main way the government controls the economy, by lowering rates to stimulate the economy and by raising rates to lower oil prices. The charting system here allows various indicators to be displayed relative to one indicator. When the chart is made relative to interest rates, a striking pattern becomes immediately evident.

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    The other indicators now curiously form a rising line. What we see here is a better indicator of the real cost to the economy of rising oil prices. In the previous chart, the price of oil spiked over 130% in 2008 and has not been that high since. But in the interest rate relative chart above, we can see that the real cost of oil actually rose 150% in 2008, and since then it has reached as high as 180%! Also note the most recent activity at the far right. The current market peak corresponds to the latest lows in interest rates. This is very important since interest rates can now no longer be effectively lowered to stimulate the economy. The Fed is now in the position of "pushing on a string" to regulate the economy. Let's take a closer look.

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    The chart above shows a spaghetti plate of indicators since December of 2009 when oil prices began to recover from their crash. At the bottom right we can see interest rates at their practical low limit. Let's see what the chart looks like relative to interest rates.

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    Uh oh, things are not looking good. Oil, metals, the dollar, and the markets are all simultaneously flat lining just as interest rates have hit bottom. In systems dynamics terms, the entire world economic system has just run out of it's normal operating zone. That means we are due for a major state change.

    Here is a very interesting and alarming paper on the systems dynamics view of the upcoming situation. For those who have a hard time visualizing how it could all come apart, this should help:

    Trade Off: Financial system supply-chain cross contagion – a study in global systemic collapse

    Happy New Year, everyone.

    ---Futilitist
     
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  3. kwhilborn Banned Banned

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    Talking rationally option went out the window with the thread title. I have a one Apocalypse per month limit.

    Financial collapse does not equal Apocolypse. A few bankers will throw themselves out of windows and such, but life goes on.
     
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  5. Futilitist This so called forum is a fraud... Registered Senior Member

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    Yes, financial collapse does lead to Apocalypse.

    To see how financial collapse does, in fact, equal Apocalypse, please read the David Korowicz paper.

    I'm sorry you don't like the title of the thread.

    ---Futilitist

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  7. kwhilborn Banned Banned

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    I clicked on the links you provided. If you want David Korowicz you need to add a link. Economies can recovery from devastation. They have historically before. Every time a country changes hands or is hurt by war there is economic bleakness or a complete replacement of the monetary system and economy.

    I think the worse we would see in North America is Martial law, and doubt any social anarchy could beat the systems we have in place for recovery. North America coulod and would be able to function without any monetary system if Martial law was enabled and people were forced to continue working as if money still existed. There would be methods to enable trading. These crisis situations are planned for.
    Perhaps there would be some countries that will fall into anarchy, but North America will not fall due to finances. At least not any time soon.

    If you are worried however. You can purchase real gold for trading purposes, as is becoming popular in Europe now.

    http://www.bullionstreet.com/news/valcambi-to-introduce-combibar-gold-bars-in-india/3643

    Finances can be fixed and ignored somewhat in todays market. It is not like anyone will attack the US to collect debts.
     
  8. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    "Apocalypse" is an antiquated superstition from the 1st-2nd century, from an unknown author (presumably in the Levant) who was apparently a Hellenized Christian Jew, and who wrote a story that is a nightmare version of C.S. Lewis in the worst of psychotic (possibly drug-induced) episodes imaginable.

    How unfortunate that the idea has insinuated itself into a prevailing world view and our sense of a tenuous future. Part of this is genetic programming, part of it is emotional response to facts and data, and a lot of it is worry, exacerbated by all kinds of psychological issues.

    Depletion of habitat and resources, and the natural human response, has a parallel mechanism seen in the migration of animals, who can sense the change of climate, perhaps even the angle of sunlight, perhaps even some change of Polaris or some other configuration in the night sky. We would tend to dig in, to stock firewood as the days grew shorter, or save corn in jars as seen in some of the native American sites. Evidently our ancestors had the instinct and/or intuition to move out of Africa and from then on to exploit just about every habitable wilderness on Earth.

    The superstitious myth of an Apocalypse allocated most of the primal sense of waning resources, at least for the Holy Roman Empire and the heirs of its culture, and so the idea of handling this rationally is relatively new. It surfaced in the Hippie era through the lens of a secular ethos, in an almost renaissance of the Garden of Eden, without the guilt-trip. One of the songs of that era which conveys the message is John Mayall's Nature's Disappearing. This song has the odd quality of seeming jaded and trite while at the same time deeply serious, and, I would say, scientifically accurate.

    Since then, power plant meltdowns, the discovery of the hazards of dioxin on roads, the reaction to lead in gasoline, leading to its ban, the creation of the EPA in the US and equivalent agencies globally, heightened awareness of extinctions, of the effects poaching and trafficking in endangered species, and the rise of awareness (and the reactionary response) to climate change science, are all examples of the primal fear of a doomsday scenario caused by the stress of human civilization, the exploding population, and the tendency toward consumerism, capitalism, and reliance on utilities and global producers to replace self-reliant lifestyles of the past. Meanwhile, Les Miserables continue to live in the same despair they always have, only perhaps more despondent given the staggering wealth and opulence that springs up around them.

    It leaves me wondering what's at stake here. Will I be burning less hydrocarbons in the future? Probably not, unless I go to great lengths to unplug myself from modern conveniences and then to live in a sub-primitive way, that is, without burning anything at all. However, it does occur to me that this is entirely a personal decision, one that every individual owns, whether they like it or not. We each own the damage we are personally doing, regardless of how deeply aware of it we are. Governments can curb some of the destructive effect of the human footprint, but to-date these appear to be stopgap measures, slow to come to fruition, often costly to implement, unpopular, inconvenient and/or impractical, and against the political will of the Right Wingers who oppose anything not related to corporatism, regardless of its basis in science.

    On a positive note, there is hope. Every person should become steeped in math in science from an early age (at no cost to a well-rounded program in the arts and humanities). Armed with more facts, and less superstition, our children and our children's children will be able to avoid falling victim to the propaganda that tries to minimize the grim results of inaction. Armed with this, a sense of urgency and the tools to act, there wells up a tremendous sense of hope. The rest is fatalism, nothing more than a deadlock.

    My vision of a rosy future is this. First, people throw off the veil of superstition completely. Every person learns to estimate the number of Joules of energy needed to commute, to run their homes, to feed themselves and their families, and so on. Every person also is given the skills to either build for themselves, or at least to hire someone else to do it, the type of structure that supersedes the conventional home, which is as close to zero-impact as each person may personally choose to live, and without incurring such high expense and inconvenience that it fails as a cultural paradigm shift. A low impact vehicle replaces any conventional type on the road today. Renewable energy becomes dirt cheap compared to the alternatives.

    Education, knowledge, skills and tools are the first line of defense against fatalism. They bring hope. Low impact human habitats, designed around increasingly self-reliant lifestyles, coupled with a personal ethos that ripples through the world population -- this is one of several scenarios that may play out.

    But who knows what the future may bring? One thing is for sure: for every 10 or 100 people running around like chickens with their heads cut off--kicking and screaming, whining and preaching--there is one person studying how to solve the problems. Fatalism may put certain ideologies into deadlock, but it's the Petri dish that science grows in--just as long as the Right Wing leaves science alone and allows it to thrive.

    Ultimately, this entire concern all boils down to political will, which boils down to individual will, the sense of responsibility, and a love of Nature and its laws.
     
  9. Futilitist This so called forum is a fraud... Registered Senior Member

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    I chose the title quite carefully.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypse

    We live in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception.

    A lifting of the veil---How things really work is only really seen and understood when things begin to break down. You don't know what you've got till it's gone.

    Victory of good over evil---We are all equal in an Apocalypse.

    I like to use terms like Apocalypse, social collapse, collapse of industrial civilization, collapse of electromagnetic civilization, and the end of the world as we know it, somewhat interchangeably depending on the particular context. Apocalypse is the most evocative and all encompassing.

    What good is hope in an Apocalypse?

    Every person should become steeped in wilderness living skills. Our children's children will be hunter gatherers.

    I don't see many rosy visions ahead. But I don't wear rose colored glasses.

    It boils down to nature. There is no solution. Science will not save us. The laws of physics trump political will. Run for the hills.

    Why is talk of Apocalypse taboo?

    ---Futilitist

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  10. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    How so? In what era was truth more accessible than today?

    Joni Mitchell, also a song about the human footprint.

    Or, all people are created equal, in the here and now, and all of us share the burden of protecting equality. Science is a tool to achieve that.

    This is what I meant by saying that in the past people relegated these kinds of thoughts to a religious superstitious belief in a Christian Biblical Apocalypse. I believe we are programmed to sense impending doom, and now that the churches are absorbing less of the inclination, that you are expressing a kind overflow.

    Impoverished people already live in the kind of fatal situation you describe, and have, since the dawn of history. They would probably scoff at the idea that people with some kind of security would be worrying about doom. Hope is the means by which people find the courage to struggle for their survival. The march precludes the despair and sense of doom. The course of events is changed. We live on. Even thrive.

    Adventurous, innovative, educated, and/or skilled people who want to break out of the mold can go live off the grid, and I suppose this will be trend in the future. Most likely it will trend towards communal living or a return to small towns, with renewable energy sources and personal gardens. There's no going back in terms of knowledge. Science will always propel us forward in that regard.

    Maybe you can grow them. One way is by looking for the positives. There's still plenty of oxygen on Earth. Plenty of water. Plenty of sunshine. So far, so good.

    Sartre said that all evil eventually boils down to Nature. It was an almost prescient view that all bad people are the product of trauma of some kind, which ultimately is rooted in catastrophe, disease, and death from natural causes. However, Science has given us storm, earthquake and tsunami warning systems, the better architecture to avoiding structural failure, every kind of safety system imaginable, excellent medical technology and hospitals, and so on.

    People change. New generations trend differently. Pressures change. These things evolve and so will the political will. I do believe that there will be a flight out of the cities, but only after self-sufficiency re-emerges as a viable lifestyle which pleases the folks who adopt it.

    You're in a science forum. Science is by default optimistic. We know where we are, we know where we've been and we know where we're headed. The sky is not falling, and the sun will come up tomorrow--literally. That doesn't make fatalism taboo, just arguably unrealistic.
     
  11. Rhaedas Valued Senior Member

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    Our biggest problem as a population is ignoring the signs that something is wrong and needs to be changed. That change is difficult, as people don't want to change their way of life unless that way of life becomes uncomfortable. That's just human nature.

    Running for the hills won't help anyone. If only a few run, then the rest will continue on, and things will not change. And those who ran for the hills will still be affected. If everyone runs for the hills...that's be a messy hillside.

    Realistically, we have to change. Embracing the worse case scenario as inevitable doesn't help anyone. It's really no different than pretending there isn't a problem.

    As the saying goes, be part of the solution. Not part of the problem. Easy, no, but if enough people begin it's a start.
     
  12. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    The inevitable breakdown of industrialism has been obvious since 1972, when The Limits to Growth was published. That it will be apocalyptic should be equally obvious - between climate change and bad management, between overpopulation and energy-dependency, the breakdowns will be massive, global and devastating. This isn't about bankers or production; it's about dustbowls inland, water up the wazoo on the seaboards, starvation, migration, pandemic and strife on a scale that makes WWII look like a soccer match. Ironically, the last of the fossil fuel will be wasted on wars over the last of the fossil fuel.

    It's already too late. I knew it was too late in the mid-70's - not because of any single even that took place, but because, in the face of clearly visible signs and responsible scientific studies, governments, churches and advocacy groups of every stripe were still arguing over the morality (!!) of birth control; the transporting of raw materials and manufactured goods from one continent to another kept increasing; the most powerful nations (they know who they are) were obstructing instead of helping UN efforts to relieve the worst human hellholes; oil companies began drilling under the ocean.
    For me, all hope was lost with the advent of imported bottled water. In plastic bottles. That's just frickin nuts!

    In the '70's, it was reversible. In the '90's, it was haltable. Now, it might be possible, with drastic action, to mitigate the worst disasters. Nothing rational was done then. Nothing rational was done in Kyoto, nor after the scientists' warning http://www.worldtrans.org/whole/warning.html. Nothing rational will be done now - or ever.
     
  13. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    I need moderator approval? Why?
     
  14. elte Valued Senior Member

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    Alas, it was only within the past several years that I became aware of and thought about overpopulation. Society has a tendency to miss very important things.
     
  15. Futilitist This so called forum is a fraud... Registered Senior Member

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    Optimism bias?

    Extremely naive statement. Every generation believes this. Every generation is always proven wrong. That is what you call progress. Have we now reached the end of progress? Your statement ironically contradicts itself.

    I know. That is why I mentioned it.

    People may be created equal as you say, but they do not get to live that way in the real world. Science does not protect or create equality.

    I am an atheist. The word Apocalypse comes from ancient Greece. I am not talking about a general sense of impending doom, I am talking about a very specific dilemma faced by our species.

    Impoverishment is not an Apocalypse. By a long shot. I agree that hope is sometimes the means by which people find the courage to struggle for their survival. But you jump to "We live on. Even thrive" without any justification. If we overshoot our resource base, we will die off just like any other species on this planet. How could it be otherwise?

    You are describing a situation that changes slowly enough that we can adapt, as we always have done. An Apocalypse is a rapid change that is too fast and too severe to adapt to. After the die off, whoever is left will have to adapt to the conditions that then exist. Science has propelled us straight into a brick wall. Our descendants will not have time for science since they will be too busy doing more basic stuff like finding food.

    Why on Earth would I want to lie to myself? There are plenty of people already doing that.

    We are running short of fresh water, the atmosphere has too much greenhouse gasses, topsoil is depleting, the power grids are under stress, the economy is failing, the Green Revolution has run it's course, the population is now over 7 billion, and we have now reached peak oil. So far, not so good at all.

    So? All those improvements have allowed the population to continue to expand, thus creating more severe problems to solve. We are clearly falling behind.

    You are incorrectly perceiving the timeline. Collapse will be very rapid. Did you read the Korowicz paper?

    Science is not supposed to be optimistic by default. It is supposed to be objective. It is designed to minimize the effects of the optimism bias that is so ever present in every other aspect of human life. If science itself is too optimistic to clearly see what lies ahead, then we have a major catch 22 situation here.

    We most certainly do not know where we are, where we have been, or where we are headed. We just like to think we know. We have no more control over our evolution and destiny as a species than yeast in a vat of sugar. The great human die off is the price we must pay for our amazing success up till now. Do you really believe that we are so different than every other life form that has ever evolved? Talk about hubris.

    Fatalism is taboo. That makes sense. But this thread is not about general fatalism. It is about a very specific Apocalypse. So far, you haven't even mentioned any of the specifics contained in my first post. You have only listed unsupportable general excuses for not looking any deeper.

    Take off the rose colored glasses.

    ---Futilitist

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  16. Futilitist This so called forum is a fraud... Registered Senior Member

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    Embrace reality

    If the worst case scenario happens to be the actual reality, we will have no choice but to face it. Facing it realistically may be a better option than deceiving ourselves. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but embracing the worse case scenario as inevitable may actually be helpful in this case.

    There is no solution, we are all part of the "problem". That is why what we face is a dilemma, not a problem.

    ---Futilitist

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  17. Futilitist This so called forum is a fraud... Registered Senior Member

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    Awareness

    Yes. Society is too busy making progress to notice that we are no longer making progress.

    ---Futilitist

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  18. Futilitist This so called forum is a fraud... Registered Senior Member

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    Too quiet

    Well, I guess this Apocalypse thing just isn't an interesting enough topic to generate a discussion on this science forum. Perhaps I need to add some more material for folks to not read. Here we go.

    Here is a speech given by Admiral Hyman Rickover called "Energy Resources and Our Future". This speech is hot off the press from 1957! It seems like that might be a little out of date, but smart people have been thinking about our fast approaching energy cliff for a very long time. Rickover was *WAY* smart, and his "ancient" perspective shows that our most basic problems have never been "solved". We have only managed to kick the can down the road.

    "Energy resources and our future" - remarks by Admiral Hyman Rickover delivered in 1957 | Energy Bulletin

    From the speech:
    Our energy issues are not new. Smart people have been paying close attention to this for a very long time.

    What do people think of this blast from the past?

    ---Futilitist

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  19. R1D2 many leagues under the sea. Valued Senior Member

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    Not much seems to change...
     
  20. Rhaedas Valued Senior Member

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    Interesting that he did not mention pollution, health hazards, and the destruction of the environment from exploitation. I guess we didn't yet see what we had been already long doing to ourselves and the planet.

    I doubt anyone will argue against his point here.

    possibly the reason why no one has bit yet on the topic is that it is too broad. You cover a lot of material in your first post. I don't necessarily disagree with it, but I'm not sure where you wanted to go with it all.
     
  21. Futilitist This so called forum is a fraud... Registered Senior Member

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    The more things change...

    Does that mean that the problems aren't real, but that people just like to be party poopers and complain that things aren't getting solved?

    Or does it mean that the problems are real, and that we just keep ignoring them at our own peril?

    How much longer can we keep ignoring them?

    Maybe things are about to change...for the worse.

    ---Futilitist

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  22. Rhaedas Valued Senior Member

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    As the Declaration of Independence says, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. I think this applies not just to government rule, as was the topic, but in things generally. We are a procrastinating species, and if we can rationalize not changing our own little world around us, we tend not to act.

    So I guess the point to your question is, how well we fare collectively will depend on how obvious the problems rear their head and how much time it gives us to react. If it's quick and unrecoverable, then you may be right. But with some time and a threat in our own back yard, people could change. We can complain about the governments and the corporations all we want, but they won't change if individuals don't. Why should they? They don't think long term.
     
  23. R1D2 many leagues under the sea. Valued Senior Member

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    We do keep ignoring at our own perils.... And how long you ask will we ignore. Some do it better than others. And we been going the way we do for so many years. And many don't wish to see the worst till its to late. Or there is those that see but do not know how to unite. To make all the changes we need. We the people have created a pickle. We doom our selves. Or if we don't. Nature bits us in the ass eventually.
     
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