2.15.2015

Butlerian Jihad (Repost From 2011)





"The target of the Jihad was a machine-attitude as much as the machines," Leto said. "Humans had set those machines to usurp our sense of beauty, our necessary selfdom out of which we make living judgments. Naturally, the machines were destroyed."
                                                                                  Frank Herbert, God Emperor of Dune


To start, I would highly recommend reading the entire article by Chris Skrebowski over at the ODAC.  Then make the jump with me as to why the lesser developed countries get such a huge economic boost from relatively small amounts of oil.  The law of diminishing returns is at play here.
Why is China’s tolerance higher? Because the value of oil is higher there. For example it is fairly clear that the economic benefit of the first car in a family is much greater than that of the third. Similarly the productivity gain from the first truck in a commercial fleet is greater than that of the twentieth. This observation suggests that rapidly industrialising economies such as China and India have a higher marginal productivity from an incremental barrel of oil than in more developed economies.
This in turn poses a terrifying question: Would this higher price tolerance mean developing economies could keep developed economies in growthless stagnation by paying oil prices that were just above those that bring developed economies to an economic halt?
This really cuts to the nut of the problem that the industrialized world faces.  It points at a problem that Mayberry and I have been discussing.   When you think about the way that energy is used in this country, you might say that, along with peak oil, we are looking at peak return on investment.  The amount of power that we use is inappropriate to the economic realities.  Hence the inordinate use of power.

We have powered everything.  We put a motor or engine on everything because we are too damn lazy to do the minimal amount of work required to simple household tasks.  Pound a nail?  Fuck that, but a compressor and a nail gun, groovy.  Screw a screw?  Piss on that noise,  buy an electric drill.  Mop the floor?  Buy a floor cleaner.

All of these things suck power.  All of these things increase the rate that you are able to get the job done (I won't say efficiency, that is still in question, but they certainly do make tasks fit well within our legendary fifteen -minute attention span. When you go to other less-developed countries, they use the older hand powered systems.  Now, all of the first part of this article is a set up, the next is an apparent non-sequitur, but look hard and the ghost of Ned Ludd still appears and makes it clear and connected

Now, we have been bleeding jobs for years now.  I would guesstimate (which is every bit as accurate as BLS statistics) that around twelve to fourteen percent of our neighbors and friends don't have a job or have a job worth having.  That is because our beneficent leaders, the corporations, have replaced us with robots.  They don't appear to be stopping this trend any time soon.  Every thing has a motor attached to it for the express purpose of getting rid of a human body so that a mid-level manager can move up the line for eliminating one of his employees.

The issue that we need to be dealing with is the distribution of wealth and the need for humans to have a job.  Mechanization and robots are there solely to increase production and decrease human costs.  Both of these functions are questionably appropriate in the current and future economic milieu.

We have had a systematic concentration of power in the hands of the large corporations at the expense of first, the lower class, and now the middle class.  This trend is accelerated by the political class, but remember above all, that it is the machines, wielded by the corporate managers, who drive the trend.

2.01.2015

OK....Bunch of assumptions and SWAG, I just trying to lay down some groundwork here

So, my man-crush JMG sez we ought to go back to a 1950's technology level:

Imagine, for a moment, that an industrial nation were to downshift its technological infrastructure to roughly what it was in 1950. That would involve a drastic decrease in energy consumption per capita, both directly—people used a lot less energy of all kinds in 1950—and indirectly—goods and services took much less energy to produce then, too.

The idea has merit, but the numbers I come up with show a different picture

So here is the way that I am thinking about looking at things.

It isn't so much the total amount of oil produced/imported that matters, it is the quantity of oil per capita that matters.

Then, take a peek at this graph:

Data taken from EIA 

So gentle readers, lets make some assumptions for the sake of argument.

First, the assumption that wells will keep pumping. But I post that the import fraction of our consumption will begin to dry up and the fracking will come back on line.  I make some ball park guesses below about the imports available to the US.



Second, the fracking, when it comes back on line will dry up in around 10 years from restart, the phase "squeezing blood from a turnip" is the principle that will drive this.

So I am asking you to go back one page and take a look at how I come up with my S.W.A.G. (scientific wild-ass guess) for US production of oil in 2023.



So, really, what we are looking at is a steady decrease in overall oil supply and a lower oil consumption per capita and a correspondingly lower technology base.

I could run a new spreadsheet to add things together to give you a false impression of precision and accuracy, but when one is throwing together SWAG, that is considered bad form.

SO take the year 2023 (eight years from now) and add the oil production sans fracking and the imports that we will be able to access and you get this

Estimated US Oil Production:  1.5 Billion Barrels
Estimated US Oil Imports:  2.2 Billion Barrels
Total available US Oil:  3.7 Billion Barrels
Estimated US Population:  346 million
Estimated US Oil per capita:  10.69 Barrels

So, going back to JMG.

He posits a 1950's level lifestyle/technology base.  Well in 1955 the US oil consumption per-capita was 16.8 barrels.  In 2013, the oil consumption per capita was 17.5 barrels.

So, if we follow JMG's thoughts, we are looking at a per capita consumption roughly equivalent to 1941 in eight years.

Now, truth be told, there was not a lot of difference in technology between '41 and '55.  So maybe he os on to something.  But the downward slope of the oil curve will continue to be negative.

I am thinking that we maybe ought to be looking at the 1920's instead.



1.31.2015

Been Working

I have been thinking a lot about John Michael Greer's work lately.

He is on the right track, but I think that sometimes he is a little light on the numbers work.

So I have been working at grunting out hard number charts to figure out the path we will be taking.

Here is number one....The production of US conventional oil prior to fracking


Will be posting more in the next little while.  I will also be dressing them up (gotta add attributions:  FYI, the data is from EIA.
http://tonto.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MCRFPUS1&f=A
)

1.24.2015

Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?



You go Francis.

I have yet to read anything that you have said that is not truth.

Your writings are clear, lucid, and show the evil standing astride the world today.

But you are coming into the temple of the moneychangers and you are angering them.

Please be careful.  They are evil, and they will not hesitate to stoop.

1.12.2015

Graven Images

So:  Charlie Hegbo is putting up another drawing of Muhammad on it's cover this week.

Aniconism is just a word.

I don't think that they get it.

1.11.2015

I guess that I am really not Charlie

Been thinking about the whole process leading up to the crime committed in Paris last week.

No one comes out looking good, do they?

A snotty French rag that specializes in smug, self-absorbed printed lynchings of "the other" publishes a series of poorly rendered drawing mocking the founder of a world religion.  Oddly enough, the world religion is one which has an unusually large subset of followers who have no real problem with shooting people in the head who make fun of their religion.

So, after multiple efforts at pissing off this subset, the subset finally went and did the expected thing.

I will put this in terms of the high school experience here in the good old USA.  I think that this is where a lot of folks here in the US draw their societal worldviews.

In every high school, there is a group of preppie kids.  Parents are rich.  The drive the nice cars, wear the hipster clothes, and make a habit of sneering at and mocking those whose parents aren't rich, whose car is unimpressive (or even lower on the food chain, nonexistant), and whose wardrobe leans towards Sears and JC Penneys.  This is Charlie Hegbo.

In that same school, there is an outsider, kinda big, kinda strong, and just a little bit off his rocker.  He has had "issue" with fighting.  He stays off with the parking lot crowd, and everyone (except for his friends) kinda steers clear of him.

Well, one of the preppies decides to impress his friends by walking over to the outsider and going through their little ritual of hazing and humiliation.  The first time this happens, the preppie wins big points among his preppie friends and status is thus raised.  

So, a little time goes by, and the preppie, feeling that his friends aren't paying enough attention tries the process again.  Sometimes the process plays out as before.  Sometimes another result happens: The outsider beats the living shit out of the preppie.

Look, freedom of speech is one thing.  But mocking someone for beliefs different then yours is just never a good idea.  Making fun of other folks beliefs is not the mark of an adult.  Making fun of someone who hold a gun is the mark of an idiot.

1.01.2015

Winning, Losing, and Such Ephemera



The hard part for the next decade or so is that the rational folks had better get used to the idea of losing the fight.

Most of the folks out there in Blogo-Doomerland still seem to have the self image of the Prophet.  Out in the wilderness, preaching to the unwashed.

My reading of the history of those folks is that most of them died unfulfilled.

Still, it doesn't mean that they are wrong, or that the problems that they portray don't exist, it just means that the great majority of any population simply doesn't want to hear it.

So, gird your loins my prophetic friends.  Playing the game doesn't mean you get to win, it just means you get to play.

12.27.2014

A question for Ilargi

Now, you all know that I am kind of a fanboy of Ilargi and Stoneleigh over at the Automatic Earth.

I do like the Debt Rattle part of the process there.

But sometimes I would love a little more.....so I am going to ask questions here.

Here is the headline in the "Debt Rattle"

• Saudi Arabia Maintains Spending Plans in 2015 Despite Oil Slide (WSJ)

So, since this is a paywall link to a status quo economic cheerleader , I ignore it and go poking over to the "Grey Lady" and find this.....the applicable quote is:

The Finance Ministry said the "budget was adopted under international economic and financial conditions that are challenging." The 2015 budget reflects an expected cut in revenues of around $88 billion from 2014, mostly due to the slump in global oil prices.

So, the Saudi's dip into the big pot-o-dollars and start spending them.....looks as though they have enough to cover bad oil prices for 6-8 years, which I firmly believe will not be the case.

But what will be the effect of spending all these dollars?  What will spending these dollars do to the value of the dollar as they start flooding the market?

BTW:  Here is a $$-SDR conversion


High School Dayze

Sometimes I get tired of trying to figure out just what is happening in the world. But I am beginning to think that my experience in High School may be the best source for models and explanations of the way that the world works.

Can't seem to get past my lack of trust for the mainstream media. The cheerleaders there are so full of shit that it is extraordinarily difficult to get past their sneering, self-satisfied visages to try and parse what they are trying to communicate. When I do make the effort, what I usually hear is an attempt to present the bad data in a light that keeps the charade going. I suppose that I should be offended, but then I take a stroll down memory lane and remember that cheerleaders cheer even when the team is losing. It is just what they do.

The jocks have turned into the corporate types out there. They have engineered the system so that all attention is on them and they have turned the economy and political arena into their playing field. The cheerleaders come to all the games and cheer.

The environmentalist are the stoners.

Parking lot types are still there.


Band types are middle management.

Now, I will grant you that the parallels are not absolute.  But the correlation  is high enough that it is still an effective means of understanding the society around you.

12.20.2014

Just a lazy update on an old issue

The boy that cried wolf is the fable that just keeps giving.

SARS, H5N1....the list just keeps going.

I have a nasty feeling, after living in the lab for all those years that there is a trend among the viral cognoscenti to treat any potential "threat" to the currently distended human population as a call to lobby for billions of dollars to be given for salaries, jobs for college friends, and trips to conferences.

A new virus is discovered and it is a race to the feeding trough for the academics and NGO's that, like any flavor of high priesthoods, try to make the general population pay for their beliefs.