Category Archives: 1) Decline

Decline will be death by a thousand cuts as too many problems occur and overwhelm societies ability to fix them (i.e. Tainter’s “complexity”). Already our infrastructure (oil and gas pipelines, electric grid, roads, bridges, etc) has a Report Card of D from the American Society of Civil Engineers. All 18 components of essential infrastructure, from the electric grid to the financial system are vulnerable to cyber-attack, The end of growth means bankruptcy for cities, pensions, families, and businesses, and no credit for energy companies to borrow for new projects to obtain oil, coal, and natural gas, the real drivers of the economy (just try putting dollar bills in your gas tank)

The coming crash in 2020 from high diesel prices for cleaner emission of oceangoing ships

Preface.  Ships made globalization possible, and play an essential role in our high standard of living, carrying 90% of global goods traded. But the need for a new, cleaner fuel may cause the next economic crisis.  What follows are excerpts … Continue reading

Posted in By People, Crash Coming Soon, Peak Oil, Ships and Barges | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Fresh water depletion, contamination, saltwater intrusion, & permanent subsidence

Map of the U.S. showing cumulative groundwater depletion from 1900 through 2008 in 40 aquifers. Source: Groundwater Depletion in the United States (1900-2008), USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2013-5079. Preface. What follows is from: Ayre, J. April 2018. Fossil Water Depletion, Groundwater … Continue reading

Posted in Groundwater, Salinity, Water, Water, Water | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Toxic textiles: the lethal history of Rayon

Preface. This is a book review from Science magazine of Paul David Blanc’s 2016 book “Fake Silk The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon”, Yale University Press.  I’ve shortened the review and changed some of the text. This book exposes how … Continue reading

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Book: John Perlin’s “A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization”

Preface.  This contains excerpts from John Perlin’s “A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization”. It’s one of my favorite books about natural resources, exploring the role wood has played in the rise and fall of civilizations since they … Continue reading

Posted in Collapse of Civilizations, Collapsed, Deforestation, Limits To Growth, Peak Resources, Soil, Wood | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Venezuela collapse: looting, hunger, blackouts

[ Venezuela is experiencing a double whammy of drought and low oil prices, which has lead to blackouts and inability to import food.  It just keeps getting worse and worse.  Related posts: Book review of “In order to live: A … Continue reading

Posted in Central & South America, Social Disorder | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Book review of “White Trash. The 400-year untold history of class in America”

Preface.  This book makes the case that the poor arrived 500 years ago when America was first settled, and most of them never rose to the middle or upper classes because “land was the principal source of wealth, and those … Continue reading

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Not enough lithium to electrify transportation

Preface. Breaking news: The New York times just reported that there are only 25 years of zinc reserves left and goes on to say that lithium reserves are even smaller — just 5% of zinc reserves (Penn 2018).  The authors of … Continue reading

Posted in Automobiles, Electrification, Peak Lithium | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The electric grid: fragile, filthy, poorly managed, polluting, inefficient, corrupt

Preface. Most forms of alternative energy depend on the electric grid (nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower). But the Grid is falling apart.  Most people who care about climate change believe electrifying everything will solve our problems. This energy section of … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Blackouts, Books, Electricity, Energy | 3 Comments

Fantasyland Part 1. How America Went Haywire. A 500-Year History.

          Preface. The next 8 posts will review the book “Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire.  A 500-Year History” because it’s one of the most important, and fun to read, books I’ve read in a long time.  … Continue reading

Posted in Collapse of Civilizations, Critical Thinking, Critical Thinking and Scientific Literacy, Human Nature, Religion, Social Disorder | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Battling the Inland Sea, the history of why and how the levee system was built in California’s delta

[ When settlers first moved to farm the central valley, they found it was often flooded with water, not the “desert” people often claim California to be.  A vast swamp over 100 miles long of half a million acres of … Continue reading

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