Monthly Archives: May 2016

Nightmare on Your Street: Could You Survive the Loss of the Power Grid?

The Power Grid Has Gone Down and Will Not Come Back Up: What Do You Do? Stores are closed. Cell service is failing. Broadband Internet is gone. Hospitals are operating on generators, but rapidly running out of fuel. Garbage is … Continue reading

Posted in Discontinuities, Doom, Electrical Power Grid, Survival Prepping, TEOTWAWKI | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

China’s Phantom GDP: 35% at Risk

How Far Can You Trust China’s GDP Numbers? The GDP framework cannot tell us whether final goods and services that were produced during a particular period of time are a reflection of real wealth expansion, or a reflection of capital … Continue reading

Posted in China, Economics | Tagged

Mastery is More Than a Matter of Time

… the difference between experts and less skilled subjects is not merely a matter of the amount and complexity of the accumulated knowledge; it also reflects qualitative differences in the organization of knowledge and its representation (Chi, Glaser & Rees, … Continue reading

Posted in Competence, Sensitive and Critical Periods of Development | Tagged

How Large a Population Is Required to Build an Advanced Civilisation?

“The world we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them.” — Albert Einstein Fertility is high … Continue reading

Posted in Disruptive Technologies, IQ, Rebuilding Civilisation | Tagged | 11 Comments

Oil Prices May 2016

Oil markets are never in balance. Producers always misjudge demand and either over-shoot or under-shoot with supply. Balance is simply a zero-crossing from one state of disequilibrium to the next, from surplus to deficit and back again. __ Art Berman … Continue reading

Posted in Oil Prices | Tagged ,

The Hollowing Giant: Autophagy in the former USSR

autophagy: self-digestion; eating oneself Corrupt institutions and governments divert resources away from productive projects and enterprises, toward powerful insiders in government, and well-connected family, business, and criminal interests. This results in a “hollowing out” of the competence and productivity of … Continue reading

Posted in Russian Decline | Tagged | 2 Comments

Sweet AGE-ing: Focus on Advanced Glycation End-Products

Advanced glycation end products, (AGEs) are proteins or lipids that become glycated as a result of exposure to sugars.[1] They can be a factor in aging and in the development or worsening of many degenerative diseases, such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, … Continue reading

Posted in Biomedicine, Longevity, Practical Medicine | Tagged

Venezuelan Utopia: Is It the Future?

For years, the top radical tourist destination, the political equivalent of the Pattaya Beach brothel, has been Chavista Venezuela. Hollywood stars, the leaders of the British Labour party and Spanish “popular resistance”, and every half-baked pseudo-left intellectual from Noam Chomsky … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, geopolitics, Utopia | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Making the World Safe for Sex

Summer Olympics in Brasil and a Young Man’s Thoughts Turn to Sex But is it safe? Thanks to a growing endemic threat of Zika virus in Brasil, you can’t be sure. No one wants to be condemned to death — … Continue reading

Posted in Biomedicine, Zika | Tagged ,

US Isolationism in the 21st Century: Quest for Unaligned Utopia

Once, the US was a relatively isolationist destination — the shining city on a hill for opportunity seekers around the world. Built upon a wise legal foundation, it had only to deal with a number of pesky issues of human … Continue reading

Posted in geopolitics | Tagged

Demography and Fertility: Destiny and the Fickle Womb

The lowest TFR rate in 1970 was Finland at 1.8, but by 2014 Singapore had the lowest rate at just 0.8! The highest rate in 1970 was Rwanda which had a TFR of 8.2. In 2014, Niger had the highest … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Anarchy, Demographics, Dysgenics, Economics | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Financial Crisis: Who Will Be Next to Reach Deadly Default?

Venezuela is an extreme example of a nation driven to deadly default by a string of bad government policies. Why “deadly default?” People are dying in Venezuela because hospitals, other institutions, and much of the public cannot afford foods, medicines, … Continue reading

Posted in Demographics, Economics | Tagged

Living in Deep Space: Growing Living Space Colonies

NASA has funded an approach to robot construction of a “growable” space habitat. Such construction is meant to be scaled from habitat scale up to larger colony scales. Deep Space: Scalable Habitats for Long Distance Space Travel or for Distant … Continue reading

Posted in Asteroids, Space Future | Tagged

Shadow Wars and The Modern Mercenary

Characteristics of Shadow Wars 1. States matter less. Today’s “great powers” aren’t just countries, they’re multinational corporations as well as the super-rich. The Fortune 500 are more powerful than most countries, most of which are fragile or failed states. … … Continue reading

Posted in Europe, Military, Russia | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Murdering the Criminal Class: A Case Study

The obvious way to eradicate crime is to eradicate criminals, but neither the lawgivers nor the constabulary seem inclined to do this. __ Jeff Cooper Case Study: Phillipines Eradicating criminals may seem a radical approach to eradicating crime, but there … Continue reading

Posted in Crime, Crime and Punishment | Tagged | 5 Comments

Beyond the Peak Oil Delusion: Two Scenarios for Oil Markets

Oil prices have declined substantially from the heady “peak oil delusion days” of the last decade. Now we are offered two separate narratives explaining why oil prices are likely to stay low: Demand depletion vs. splintered demand. The first [narrative] … Continue reading

Posted in Crime, Energy, Oil Prices | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Elon Musk Still Has One Good Idea: SpaceX

Elon the Dropout: Early Successes Elon Musk was born in South Africa, and moved to California via Canada and Pennsylvania. He had meant to achieve a PhD in energy physics at Stanford, but his plans changed when the world around … Continue reading

Posted in Future, Green Quagmire, Space Future | Tagged , | 7 Comments

China vs. Russia: Race to Implosion

China and Russia on Track to Disintegrate? Which will collapse and disintegrate first? China, or Russia? “From what I can see, and my Chinese wife can see, China will probably soon implode. Just what the catalyst will be is uncertain… … Continue reading

Posted in China, Russian Decline | Tagged ,

Disruptive New Paradigms in Space Launch and Nuclear Power

A New Paradigm for Nuclear Technology Development What’s different this time is that there is a profound shift taking place from government-led, and funded, nuclear R&D to private sector-led efforts by people with strong entrepreneurial goals… These developers want to … Continue reading

Posted in Disruptive Technologies, innovation, Nuclear Power, Space Future | Tagged , ,

How Stupid is Too Stupid?

Too Stupid for What? Consider that Russia wants to bring nuclear power plants to sub Saharan Africa. Given the crucial roles of maintenance and intelligent monitoring to nuclear plant safety, would building nuclear power plants in Africa be a good … Continue reading

Posted in Africa, IQ, Nuclear Power | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

A Sense of Security is the Beginning of Disaster

Humans crave security. They will go to great lengths in an attempt to make themselves feel safe and secure. Unfortunately, there is no limit to potential risks. The ones we focus on are often the least likely to do us … Continue reading

Posted in Doom, Environment, Everything You Think You Know Just Ain't So, Folly of Prediction, Groupthink, Peak Oil, Rebuilding Civilisation, Survival Prepping | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Energy Bridge: Cheap Oil & Gas for Next Few Decades

The Age of Cheap Oil & Gas Begins Scientific American: Another 40 million barrels per day of global oil production looms on the near horizon. Geopolitics will never be the same. A world of growing and geographically diversified oil supply … Continue reading

Posted in Energy, Europe, Green Quagmire, Nuclear Power, Oil Prices | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Climate Apocalypse Cult: Panic, Damn You!

Conventional wisdom says you are more likely to die from catastrophic global warming human extinction than from an automobile crash. Climate apocalypse is the cult du jour for people with nothing important to worry about. And that category apparently encompasses … Continue reading

Posted in Climate, Green Quagmire, Groupthink | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment