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Entropy production delusion

It is common in knowledgeable circles to talk about the development of civilization in terms of entropy discussion. The term 'entropy...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Predators demise


The powerful elite have throughout history used their leverage to ensure the masses support their lavish life style by reaping what nature provides while just managing to cope themselves. These elite have been and continue to be predators by deriving most of their fellows of sustenance while fostering the ravishing of the life support system. Industrialization has speeded up that process and the associated irreversible ravishing of the environment. The elite claim that the increase in intangible (monetary) wealth will trickle down to the masses has occurred to a very limited extent. The rapid decrease in tangible natural wealth is taken into account by only those few who have an understanding of the unsustainable reality of the ecological cost of constructing, operating and maintaining the infrastructure of civilization during its limited life time.

Natural wealth, including the stock of oil, is declining rapidly now. Industry is pulling out all stops in a valiant attempt to offset this influence of natural forces by harnessing other ones, regardless of the ecological cost. The elite, with the aid of the duped minions will continue to foster their predatorial activities only so long as they can away with the raping of the eco system. The growing positive feedback, including climate change, with ensure this unsustainable process will not continue beyond this century, which will be called the Devastation Century by the surviving Homo sapiens.  


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Two worlds

Stephen Hawking, the renowned scientist, discussed in a TV presentation the role of the human mind. In his view, the world exists in the human mind. His view is understandable as he has used his mind to obtain understanding of cosmic developments from the Big Bang. It is a common view as most people think in terms of their personal experience and what they are aware of through the various forms of education and communication. That is their subjective world, Myopia, and it governs the decisions they make.

 The subjective world is a myopic, intangible world developed by Homo sapiens by their limited understanding of how the tangible Real materialistic world  has operated for eons. This other world, the objective world has been run by natural.forces during evolution of Gaia, runs what is happening now as the edifice of civilization, Tityas, grows and will continue to run operations after the demise of this materialistic civilization, which has been built on unsustainable foundations.

It is fascinating that everyone accepts that they operate in two modes yet they believe that the world essentially operates in one. They know that they can decide in their mind to eat and their mind has a degree of control of the eating process. But the body takes over the central role. Metabolism controls digestion as part of the functioning of the body mode throughout its lifetime. The rich can be more selective of their food and benefit from better health care but their demise is as certain as it is for the poor.

The operation of civilization, Tityas, is no different in principle to that of any organism. People (the mind) make decisions about doing what is possible. Money has a major influence on the decision process. Natural forces (metabolism) alone determines what subsequently happens. Money does not make the rich immortal. Money will not stop the senescence of civilization as many natural resources run out.

Society will continue to live in their dream world, Myopia, only until Real sends sufficient calls to wake them up to what has gone wrong. Climate change and declining supplies of energy, food and water are already providing symptoms of the holistic malaise to the rapacious hordes. They will find it hard to power down as the cities and other components of Tityas crumble due to lack of the natural resources needed  for their operation and maintenance.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Making money with technical trading

Being a mathematician, I had a natural interest in technical trading in the financial market using the various forms of signals on charts for stocks and commodities. The signals give indications of when buyers are over whelming sellers and vice versa. The trader can make money rapidly, according to the theory, if he/she reads the signs in the way that is put forward. The rhetoric seems to be plausible from a mathematical point of view.

However, the proponents of this strategy do not address some fundamental issues. They claim the strategy will make money. The first question is who loses that money? The brokers obtain some of the money for providing services. So if an amateur trader acquires say $10,000 over a year, who loses it? Insiders and professional traders using high speed algorithms are in a much better position to make money than an amateur. Of course this discrepancy could be partly explained in the past by the creation by governments of money. However, those days are almost certainly over.

Some traders will doubtless continue to make money by wise selection of stocks, bonds or currencies or by having advantages due to insider knowledge and fast trading software. They will continue to take the cream off the top. The amateur trader using pricing signals on charts will probably still have an advantage over those who invest their savings in managed funds. However, as economic growth transitions to contraction, the useful pricing signals will become scarcer and more signals will be fallacious. Ironically, the amateur trader may well make money as it loses value so their real wealth does not improve. So technical trading is a fascinating game in which there will be more losers than winners as the generation of real wealth in the community dies down.

The philosophy underpinning technical trading is that pricing data provides insight into what buyers and sellers will be doing. The data indicates only what they have done up to the present.Those who believe that this data provides a useful forecast should think about forecasting the toss of a coin. There is no possible way of knowing whether it will end up as a head or tail. This inherent uncertainty about forecasting needs to be borne in mind when vested interests make claims about forecasting.

The common view that it is possible to make money will slowly die as the ability to create it out of thin air declines. Society will have to relearn the value of earning money by making a useful contribution to operations.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Peninulsa Link dilemma

The Peninsula Link is a freeway being constructed to bypass Frankston, a suburb of Melbourne, to improve the flow of traffic down to the attractive holiday regions in the Mornington Peninsula. The works have been carried out with promotion of the care being exercised to minimize social and environmental disruption. The promotion conveys the impression that the latest views on handling transportation problems have been taken into account.

This project is an example of the consequence of the myopia that clouds the thinking of authorities around the globe. It does not take into account:
  • the depletion of the global stock of oil will ensure that the number of vehicles using the Link will decline rapidly in the future as the fuel used becomes too expensive for most residents of Melbourne 
  • fuel cost will be only one factor in the amount of traffic falling short of expectations: the manufacture of vehicles will continue to decline due to economic contraction and declining availability of the wide range of materials used in their construction
  • the continuing requirement of road works on the Link for maintenance purposes will have to compete with many other projects as the declining availability of energy and materials hits home
It is most likely that later in this century many people will wonder what should be done about the 'white elephant' that the Link had become. Continuing to maintain it using some of the remaining natural resources will probably be judged to be not worthwhile, given the small amount of traffic.

Of course, The Peninsula Link dilemma will be only one a multitude of similar fiascos around the globe. The blame game should be interesting!

Denis Frith

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I am tired

I am seventy nine. So my body is tired. My heart finds it more difficult to pump blood through aged arteries and veins. The same consequence of aging applies to my kidneys and other materialistic processes in my body. But it does not apply to my thoughts. I continue to learn what is going wrong in how civilization operates due to the unwise, anthropocentric decisions of our species.

I am tired of the widespread rhetoric that civilization can continue to grow, despite the fact that the operation of civilization entails the irreversible consumption of limited natural resources.

I am tired of the many forms of marketing of the fallacious benefits of consumption as landfills, ground waters and the oceans fill up with toxic wastes as the stuff is thrown away.

I am tired of the rhetoric that fosters working hard to manufacture bits and pieces so the businesses can make money to enhance the ability to devastate the environment.

I am tired of the claims that science is advancing the frontiers of knowledge  when the reality is that science has not provided understanding of the fundamentals. Climate change is but one example of the lack of understanding by scientists of the physical reality that civilization irreversibly devastates its life support system.

I am tired of the promotion of technology as a means of improving our standard of living when it is really improving the ability to use up the remaining natural resources, destroy biodiversity, hasten species extinction and pollute land, sea. air and us.

I am tired of the claims of progress by our leaders when I know that the operation of civilization is unsustainable.

So I am very tired of the hallucinations that society has. I now realize that my generation enjoyed a free lunch. So I am sorry that future generations will have to pay for it.

Denis Frith

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The depressing way ahead



The operations of the systems of civilization irreversibly use up limited natural material resources and produce irrevocable material wastes as well as devastating the eco systems. It does this in order to provide society with the goods and services people covert. This supply is an unsustainable process although society does not recognize that fact. It is the malaise of civilization. The decline in the availability of a wide range of natural resources coupled with the adverse response of natural forces, such as climate change, are symptoms of this holistic malaise.

The question raised by informed people is what will encourage society to moderate the rate of this ravishing of the life support system. There is much discussion of various aspects of the endemic decision making process. The competing influence of capitalism and socialism is just one of the issues debated. However, the inherent objective of organisms to make the most of what is available does not appear to gain the consideration that is warranted. Humans have the advantage over other organisms in that they have devised tools that give them great leverage to satisfy their desire for a high material standard of living - without taking into account the ecological cost.

Society will continue to make decisions to realize possibilities as much as they can. That is an unalterable fundamental characteristic of society. Education and other means of influencing the attitude of the elite as well as the masses can do no more than slightly moderate the rate of ravishing by civilization of the foundations. The consequential demise of materialistic civilization is certain. The way ahead for the human denizens is depressing as they join the species extinction legion.  

Clearly, what will happen in the future is that the possibilities that the systems of civilization can use will decline, so forcing society to moderate their decisions. There is still appreciable uncertainty about which issues will force societies in the various regions to power down. The present focus in industrialized countries is energy supply while over population and potable water supply head the list in many other countries. Loss of soil fertility is not yet having the impact that declining fertilizer supply will ensure in the future. However, this uncertainty does not affect the fact that the possible rate of utilization of the combination of natural material wealth is declining rapidly. So the possibility of technological systems to supply society with goods is also declining. People, at best, can make smart decisions to meet the challenge of coping. Some will relearn forgotten fundamental simple skills to provide essentials such as food and community communication but that will not ease the stark reality noticeably for city dwellers in particular.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Challenge of the Senescence Century

The 20th Century saw the growth of the global economy, led by the US, at the expense of divestment of natural material wealth, particularly oil. The 21st Century began with the explosion of debt as the money virus infected the economies of many developed countries. Developing countries are doing their best to emulate this perceived progress. This unsustainable process is coming to an end. So is the high material standard of living of the middle classes.

Economic growth, without taking into account ecological costs, has been fostered by governments and business to grow their wealth, regardless of the impact on the masses or the environment. But nature will inevitably fight back. Irreversible rapid climate change is one unintended consequence of the ravishing of its life support system by civilization. Other will follow as civilization enters its senescence.

Society will slowly wake up to what has gone wrong. The smart ones will rise to the challenge of instilling measures that will ease the inevitable powering down by ensuring the provision of the essentials, food, water, shelter, sanitation, education, health care and security. At the same time, efforts will be made to retain the worthwhile features of current society in the arts, science and knowledge fields. This will entail relearning some of the fundamental skills, including farming, to enhance community living.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Technology fails us

A tablet in the nearby nature reserve describes how bushfires (wildfires) are a natural way to renew the range of plants that have made up the bush for eons. It details the different mechanisms that varieties of trees use to either quickly or slowly renew their lives from the damage the fire did. Botanists, no doubt, have a greater understanding of this wonder of nature. However, the short description on the tablet tells the basis of this sustainable renewal process.

The Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria destroyed a number of towns, houses, schools and the associated infrastructure. These are being slowly rebuild with aging technological systems irreversibly using energy and materials out of the depleting natural store while producing irrevocable waste. This replacement process does not emulate the proven natural renewal process. It is an unsustainable process that will gradually diminish this century as available natural resources run down.

The natural renewal following bushfires and the inability of our systems to emulate this natural process is but one example of the difference between the way natural forces operate and what the systems of civilization can do. Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions are other natural traumas that have occurred over the ages from which the eco systems have slowly recovered. But the systems of civilization damaged by these traumas that can be quickly repaired depends on the availability of the necessary materials, energy and human skills to operate the technological systems. That possibility is declining as the natural resources required, including oil, become more difficult to supply.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Future cars

The automotive industry has the size and research capabilities to tackle the growing predicament of the failings of the internal combustion engine using hydrocarbon fuels. The emissions from conventional cars and trucks contribute to climate change. The availability of the fuels for these vehicles is becoming more questionable as the number of them increases due to the emerging demand in developing countries such as China, India and Brazil while the extraction of oil becomes a bigger problem. It is no surprise, therefore, that automotive companies are devoting appreciable resources to alternatives to the internal combustion engine to power these machines. Hydrogen fuel cells, electric motors and other means have been brought to the proving stage. They all have their advantages and disadvantages so only experience will determine which ones, if any, largely replace the conventional vehicle. The liquid nitrogen powered car is now receiving attention as its advantages seem to outweigh its rivals even at this early stage of development.

These considerations of the merit of various forms of powering motor vehicles are to be expected of the global automotive industry. They have the objective of producing something that will expand their market share. This myopic view does not take into account that the vehicles they produce are made of irreplaceable materials and they have a limited life. Recycling scrap cars does not change the principle that the manufacture of various types of cars is an unsustainable process.

It is certain that in the relatively near future only a small section of society will be able to afford to run cars. They will be able to bless the fact that they no loner have to cope with traffic congestion. But the masses will not cope pleasantly with withdrawal of the means of transport they have become dependent on.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

High Frequency Trading dilemma

High Frequency Trading (HFT) using super fast algorithms is a virus that has infiltrated stock market trading. It gives the users the capability to make money at the expense of others. It is a factor in the exponential growth of the wealth of the 1%. It is one of the products of the information revolution using vastly improved electronic devices It is an unsustainable meme. Intangible money can only be conjured up out of thin air only as long as available tangible natural resources can support materialistic operations. Those days are coming to an end as natural resources such as oil and rare earth minerals run out. Those using HFT will be in a good position to cope with the inevitable powering down that the masses will find so hard. But the 1% will be lost without the services provided by infrastructure before it decayed. The denizens of Wall Street are reliant on computing serves such as HFT so will suffer dire withdrawal symptoms.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

energy delusion

People appreciate the ability to use energy. They like to feel energetic as they contemplate their activities for the day. They enjoy the contributions that energy makes to the cooking of their meals, providing hot water for their shower, propelling their car, powering their computers and at the end of the day providing lighting. Many can take this supply of energy for granted, even when they pay the bills, so they give little thought to its source. They do know that they get their energy from the food they eat. They give even less thought to what happens to the energy after it has done the work or provided a service. most do not know that it invariably ends up as waste heat that is radiated to outer space. It is gone forever. That would not worry them as they know the Sun sends us energy in sunshine and that is forever, as far as we are concerned. However, ,most of the energy

Future Shock
energy productio
clean energy
renewable energy
commodity

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The rampant complexity virus

Human beings believe they have been very clever in devising means of using natural resources to provide useful goods and services.  They are so carried away with their cleverness that they do not take into account the unintended consequences of their cleverness. This is a virus for which they have no remedy. Natural forces will eventually cure them during the inevitable die-off. Those that are left will learn the simpler way.

They build highways using irreplaceable materials to ease traffic congestion.  This breeds more cars in an unsustainable positive feedback loop.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Freedom to offend

Freedom to offend is a major subject round the world because Muslims are offended by what a few Westerners have been saying about their Prophet. This issue continues to divide Western and Muslim societies with little sign of moderation.

It is ironical that these two branches of society are quarreling as they continue to offend their life support system, Gaia. They misunderstand the role of all homo sapiens in the operation of eco systems.They are able to do this damaging process because Gaia is only slowly responding to the offensive devastation wrought by human society and industrial civilization in recent times. Climate change, ocean acidification, the depleting of natural resources (oil, many minerals as well as fertile soil, potable water), species (other than human) extinction together with bio-diversity and geo-diversity destruction will ensure that society belatedly respond to what it has done wrong.

It is quite likely that the Western and Muslim societies will reduce their quarreling as they try to cope with the stark reality imposed by Gaia.

Denis Frith


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bunkum

A well-known investment writer had this to say.

"My theory is that this is because real-time commerce is the most overlooked force in the universe. Commerce even provides the test of the long-run merit of ideas: Ideas rooted in truth instantiate themselves in institutions and become part of history. Therefore, following the commercial thread through time means following meritorious ideas and the real ways in which people use them to live their lives. Yet because economic ignorance is so pervasive, especially in journalism and academia, few are in a position to follow this thread. They end up daydreaming about untruths for a living."

It is a common view. It is a view that has underpinned economic growth. It is a view that is leading to the collapse of economies because it is fostering an unsustainable process. The writer refers to 'the most overlooked force in the universe' which has come up with ideas. The problem with that logic is that ideas do not have substance: they are intangible. The systems of civilization are made of materials and use energy for their operation. That is the stark tangible reality.

The writer's 'force', however, has done immeasurable harm by leading to unsound decisions about making irreversible use of the limited natural material wealth.

Denis Frith

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Dichotomy

We have a funny world! It is a dichotomy. On the one hand it is how people think the world operates. It is the anthropocentric view. On the other hand, it is what is really happening in all the operations. That is the realistic view entertained by few humans.Do you find the assertion of a dichotomy confusing? Some examples will help you to understand the difference.

You consider the car as being a convenient form of transport. You buy one if you can afford it and regularly fork out money for fuel. Insurance and maintenance are other outlays. You do this as you welcome the freedom to transport family and friends hither and thither because you have sufficient money. It is a symbol of your success. It helps you to understand the dichotomy to classify this thinking as an example of Myopia.

The other side of the coin about the car can be classified as an example of Real. The car if made of many materials that have been mined. The crustal stores of some of these minerals are running out. Replacing the car in the future will not be as easy as it is today even though some materials will be recycled. The engine of the car irreversibly burns irreplaceable fuel to provide the energy that propels it. Friction is a continuing natural force that ages the engine, the tires, other parts of the car and even the roads that it traverses.That is the reality of what is happening to the car and in its operation. You just take this for granted as you appreciate the convenience of having this convenient means of transportation, except when you are caught up in a traffic jam!

Consider another example - money. Most people work to earn money so they can buy the goods and services they need and want to enable their standard of living. Some are more successful in acquiring this filthy lucre. All have to manage their financial affairs during the booms and busts that characterize the operation of this aspect of Myopia. The powerful in society evoke fiscal and monetary policies to foster the foundation of Myopia, economic growth. Where deemed desirable, they conjure fiat money out of thin air, so degrading the hard-won savings of the masses. Those who become wealthy by fair means or foul have the intangible leverage to invest in means to make more money. This operation of Myopia has been successful for a long time but there are signs that the hallucination is coming to an end in developed countries and the developing countries will follow in due course.

Well-off people are so addicted to using money in the Myopia world that they take many of the Real operations for granted. They organize the construction, operation and maintenance of the infrastructure, from the cities down, (using up limited natural material resources) without taking into account how this infrastructure will be replaced when its time is up because natural forces are aging  it in the Real world. Ironically, people recognize their mortality, due to the way the Real world operates, but they have the hallucination that materialistic civilization can continue to operate on 'hot air'

Another example of how society views operations while having a distorted view of what is really happening is the operation of a city. The population lives in the suburbs in houses they own, are buying under a mortgage or renting. They enjoy the benefits of electricity providing lighting and powering many devices from the TV through to the micro wave although they do not like rising prices for this power and other services like the supply of water. The home is the center of family life: the refuge after a day's work and the commuting to place of employment by car or public transport.  They buy the goods and services they need at local supermarkets if possible. They rely as much as possible on the rule of law to aid social operation and on those, such as the police, who do what they can to uphold it. Schools and universities provide the forums for the formal education of the young  but they also learn much from their peers, parents and the media. The workplace may be an office using electronic equipment manipulate information or in a factory to operate machinery. Or it may be in providing educational, medical, financial or legal services. Or it may be to make the management decisions controlling the operations of a diverse range of organizations from the government cabinet through to small businesses. They do this to earn money to finance their standard of living. That summarizes the Myopic world of the population of a city.

The Real world in the operation of a city goes largely unnoticed by the population at large until something goes wrong. The sewerage system provides what is deemed to be an essential service by disposing of human wastes (containing valuable and irreplaceable nutrients), generally in nearby waters. The operation and maintenance of the systems providing this service is a part of the Real world that is taken for granted until it can no longer meet the demand. The same applies to the supply of electricity, gas, water and other essentials. The population is happy to buy their food from supermarkets, fast food outlets or restaurants without worrying about how it was produced, dealt with and transported to the outlet. Increasing prices due to crop failures brought on by climate change is Myopia's way of handling that Real world predicament for those having sufficient money. The powerful in cities glorify the facilities and buildings that grace the landscape and make policy and financial allowances for their development and maintenance while ignoring that fact that they only temporary denizens of Real.

It is ironical, is it not, that society believes in the operations of Myopia while Real continues to do what it has always done over eons and what it does in the operation of our materialistic civilization. Of course, Real will inevitably win out because it is the operation of natural forces that have been controlling what happens in materialistic operations for eons. Myopia is the hallucination Homo sapiens have believed in only for centuries It has been the basis of their decisions - wise and unwise.

Denis Frith

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Epilogue

Climatologists have been telling us for years that irreversible, rapid climate change is under way, primarily because of the greenhouse gases from the industrial use of fossil fuels. The message is slowly getting through to the politicians in the industrialized countries. Ironically they now seem to believe that the climate change and ocean acidification processes can be tackled by introducing policies such as a carbon tax to encourage industry to reduce the rate of emissions. The global rate of emissions is still increasing despite mitigation policies in the EU and China.

The rate of greenhouse gas emissions is no longer the sole climate change issue. Climatologists continue to warn of the acceleration of climate change by positive feedback mechanisms. These include the reduction in Arctic sea ice and the release of methane from perm-frost and clathrates.

As usual, there are specialists who understand what is happening and are sponsoring sound measures to remedy the effect of climate change. Responsible authorities in London, York and the Netherlands are implementing measures to counter the impact of rising sea level. However, these remedial measures are, as yet. insignificant and impotent.

Despite the failure of society at large, and its leaders in particular, to understand the reality described by climatologists, the prognosis is quite clear - Hell is coming. It will make a major contribution to the senescence of our civilization. Surviving future generations will ponder in the Epilogue of the ecological system the causative factors in what went wrong.

Denis Frith

Friday, August 10, 2012

Grand Challenge Manifesto (GCM)

Dire times ahead! That is not the message that the young want to hear - but it is the stark reality that society will have to cope with. Industrial civilization has used up so much of the stored natural material wealth, including oil, that it is becoming so scarce that supply will not be able to meet demand in the future. Technology has provided the means to use this natural wealth but not the means to handle the material wastes produced or to repair the ecological damage that industrialization has done. So now the vast, aging infrastructure is addicted to using up the limited natural material capital as it runs out. Surviving future generations will curse their inability to do no more than make decisions about how to power down as the goods and services provided by civilization decline. They need a Grand Challenge Manifesto to guide them on the way down.

Denis Frith

Curiosity rover and the other side of the coin.

The achievement of the NASA team in sending Curiosity Rover to Mars is indicative of the high level of technical expertize that humans are able to reach. It is therefore surprising that our scientists do not seem to understand the fundamental principle that has governed physical operations here on Earth for eons. Natural laws have always determined what can possibly happen. They will continue to do so despite the research and development efforts of our scientists. The natural laws are inviolate.

If our scientists had understood that side of the coin, many of the unintended deleterious consequences of the development of civilization could have been avoided. However, that has not happened so we have the Curiosity Rover as a positive being more than offset by rapid, irreversible climate change, acidification of the oceans, pollution of land, sea, air and people as negatives.

Ironically, will not be long before scientific effort will be primarily focused on  trying to remedy some of the problem created by industrialization.  These efforts will have to make use of some of the available natural forces.

Denis Frith

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Truth and certainty

Many commentators on the global economic and ecological scene wishfully call for truth and certainty. Is it a bull market or is it a bear market? Will the bail out of Greece (or Spain or Italy or California) work? Is the Chinese economy peaking? Will India be able to manage the common power failures? Will the current US drought do irreparable damage to world food production? Is there any way to stop global warming?

Many pundits address the pros and cons of all these issues. Confusion reigns! Complexity grows and resilience declines. The bewildered masses strive to make do despite the apparent uncertainty engendered by all the blather. They are at a loss because they have not been told the truth.
This is not surprising because the natural forces that control what happens do not have a voice. They have just acted for eons, despite that actions of human technological tools irreversibly drawing down on the limited natural material capital. As a consequence, the truth is the certainty this century of demise of industrialized civilization. No rhetoric, no decisions, of humanity can change that destiny.

Denis Frith

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Divestment of natural capital

George Monbiot published a piece, The Great Imposters, in the Guardian of 7th August 2012 in which he describes the trend to commodify natural capital so market forces will determine their usage.The argument in favour of this approach is coherent and plausible. Business currently treats the natural world as if it is worth nothing. Pricing nature and incorporating that price into the cost of goods and services creates an economic incentive for its protection. However, it does not take into account the fact that many components of natural capital, such as oil, soil fertility, phosphorus, the marine ecosystem and the climate are being irreversibly degraded by the operations of the systems of civilization. Incorporating the ecological cost into business plans is a logical improvement on what has been done in the past but it still does not take into account the divestment of the natural capital. It is an unsustainable process so future generations will learn the hard way how unwise their forebears were.

Denis Frith
 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Science and technology myth

We have been entranced over the years with myths.They tend to add spice to our lives as we spread the around amongst our friends. They can be quite entertaining. But they can also cause a lot of problems.

The biggest myth has been around for centuries  It is the myth that science and technology (S&T) can create things and systems useful to society. You may say that is not a myth as you think of the numerous items that science and technology has produced. That is right. S&T has produced a bewildering array of systems, devices and services - by employing natural forces to irreversibly use some of the limited natural material resources. S&T has not created any material thing The only thing it has created is the anthropocentric illusion that humans can control the erection, operation and maintenance of the temporary edifice of civilization and the provision of natural services.

Ironically, as structural problems emerge, the powerful in society vainly urge the use of S&T to solve the problems that S&T has produced. They want S&T to chase its tail!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Reality 101

Gaia has accumulated an amazing range of biodiversity, geodiversity and stored natural resources over eons with the help of input of energy from the Sun and the operation of natural forces. The hydrological (water) and other cycles has aided the slowly increasing order in the eco systems.

That was the reality for ages. Then Homo sapiens learned how to use some natural forces to consume a proportion of Gaia's bounty to create the gigantic temporary organism, Tityas, that produces the services on which society has become dependent. That is the new reality. But this consumption process is not sustainable. The Anthropocene era will inevitably end this century. Gaia will continue to slowly evolve after recovering from Tityas' damaging operations while surviving Homo sapiens relearn how to cope with what remains of Gaia's bounty.

Spurious wealth

Many people around the globe delight in the apparent wealth  that has been generated by the systems of civilization, particularly in recent times. Eastern countries are now emulating the West. The population enjoying a high material standard of living is growing exponentially. Cites are springing up in many regions. Car, airliner and container vessel production is reaching plague proportions.

This wealth is spurious. It comes at the cost of devastation of the long-established natural wealth. Society does not take the irreversible consequence of this devastation into account in considering future prospects. Concerned people note the decline of numerous natural resources, including oil. Others note what has happened to biodiversity and the deleterious impact. The extinction of many species has occasioned a little remedial action. The pollution of land, sea, air and its effect on human health is causing some concern and a little action. This includes vain attempts to slow down irreversible, rapid climate change. Few, however, connect the dots to provide understanding of what the operations of civilization is doing to the natural wealth.

This delusion cannot continue as natural forces continue to degrade the structures of civilization. That is the output side of the equation, the consequences of operations. The other side of the equation is the unsustainable input of natural resources.

The demise of the spurious tangible, materialistic wealth of civilization is certain. The nebulous, intangible financial wealth will dissipate. The current nebulous comments on the volatility of finances of EU countries is but a prelude to the chaos to come. And the masses will bewildered as their hard won savings lose worth.

Denis Frith

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The two worlds - Myopia and Real

It is fascinating that what is happening in the operation of civilization depends very much upon perceptions. These differ so much that it would appear to a detached observer, such as Laprin, that there are two worlds. Myopia is the world as perceived by humans and their perceptions govern the decisions they make. Real is the world in which natural forces have always determined what happens - and always will - even when the residents of Myopia make unwise decisions.

Myopia has invented tools to use Gaia's natural bounty to construct, operate and maintain the temporary tangible edifice that is Tityas of the Real world. The bits and pieces of Tityas provide the goods and services enjoyed by Myopia for now. They will have to learn the hard way that the divestment of Gaia's bounty is the reality and that monetary investment is an unsustainable delusion.

Denis Frith

Gaia is not upset

Gaia is not upset by the behavior of  her adolescent off spring, Tityas. She knows from experience over eons that organisms can get carried away by their delusions of what can be done with what she provides. She finds it amusing that the species, Homo sapiens, are so taken with their powers that they feed Tityas with her resources without taking into account that many of them are exhaustible. It seems that Homo sapiens believe that growth on intangible money is a possible good. They relate the interest rate on money as being synonymous with the price of the passing of time.They do not take into account that it is also synonymous with the divestment of natural resources. Consequently, Tityas has grown into a vast organism with an unsustainable appetite and an unwise populace.

Gaia understands that Tityas' demise is in the nature of evolution but wonders how the surviving Homo sapiens will cope without what Tityas has provided, at her expense.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Senescence of the Anthropocene era

Humankind has made decisions that have had a major impact on Earth's ecosystems in recent geological times by making unwise use of irreplaceable natural material resources. Climate change and the pollution of land, sea, air and organisms, including humans,  are some of the unintended consequences.

This unsustainable process is being termed the Anthropocene era. The exponential growth of Tityas, materialistic civilization - the machinery, cars, ships, aircraft, buildings, roads, railways, ports, airports, cities - to provide humankind with goods and services is out of control by humans but not of natural forces. This unsustainable tangible process has been driven by the delusions of the powerful in society with the aid of intangible money, damaging science and technology together with the support of the unknowing consumers. They are all in denial of the reality of how materialistic systems really operate. They glory in financial wealth as their mechanistic systems irrevocably destroy natural material wealth.

Tityas is an organism that is now entering into its senescence. Its components are irreversibly aging under the impact of natural forces as their sustenance, particularly those supplying energy, becomes scarcer. The hallucination about the ability of life-limited technological systems to tackle emerging problems will become a nightmare. The future demise of Tityas in the geological short term is certain. The power of the elite will decline as their money and tools becomes impotent. Developing countries will emulate the senescence of developed countries. The Anthopocene era will end with the surviving, bewildered humankind wondering what went wrong.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

New scientific principles

There is great excitement in some scientific circles. Experiments in the Large Hadron Collider appear to have found the Higgs boson, a sub-atomic particle that could be the foundation of matter. This excitement is understandable as this has been the object of research for many years. It was a theoretical concept in particle physics. It is believed to have been part of the Big Bang that created the universe. Now it has been found!

Scientists have advanced knowledge of how natural forces operate in many fields - physics, chemistry, medication, biology, botany, geology, climatology, oceanography - rapidly in recent times. This knowledge has been a major factor in the development of technology to provide society with infrastructure, goods and services that now deemed to be indispensable. This advancement of knowledge is indicative of how little we know about how natural forces have operated for eons.

This knowledge of how natural forces produce things is only one side of the coin. All things age due to the action of natural forces is the other side of the coin. The aging of organisms, including people, is common knowledge and many attempts have been made to slow this process down. But aging of organisms is unstoppable.

The aging of the structures of civilization is also common knowledge. Machinery, buildings, roads, bridges, cities etc. all age due to the action of friction, wind, rain and other natural forces. Appreciable natural material and energy resources are used up in maintaining these structures but that only slows the aging process down.

The natural resources used for this maintenance and for the replacement of those structures that are worn out are irrevocably running out. The demise of these structures in coming decades is something society will have to face up to. What will they do? Is science seriously addressing this fundamental problem? Scientists are curious about how the universe began. But what about the future of civilization!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Population hopes and expectations

The global population of humans is over 7 billion and growing rapidly. About 3 billion have few hopes and expect to continue to struggle to get essential needs such as sufficient food, potable water, adequate housing, effective sewerage and health care.

About 2 billion hope that they will enjoy a better material standard of living than their parents with their expectation bolstered by what they see on TV.

 About 500 million in developing countries have seen the expectations of their parents for  them largely realized and they hope their children will enjoy an even higher standard of living.

About 1 billion, mainly in developed countries, are having to come to grips with the fact that their hopes for the future are founding. They do not expect that their children can look forward to a brighter future as the natural material resources that are the foundation of civilization crumble.

About 100 million enjoy a high standard of living and believe that money and technology will solve any emerging problem, such as climate change, and that the future will be bright.

About 10 million have been so successful that they expect they have sufficient leverage of status and money to leave a sound legacy.

About 1 million have an understanding of reality: the operation of civilization is unsustainable. They hope society will wake up to this reality in time to ease the inevitable powering down by adopting wise policies. However, they do not expect that to happen in their lifetime because society will only slowly respond to what nature throws at them.

Tityas' addiction

Humankind has used nature's bounty to build the gigantic organism, Tityas, in recent times. Tityas is made up of the cities, roads, airports, bridges, tunnels, skyscrapers, sewers, electricity grids, power stations, water works and the other technologies that provide the populace with the goods and services they have become dependent on. Humankind welcomed the availability of that bounty created by natural forces over eons. The ability to freely use that bounty has been the lynch pin of the growth of Tityas. The divestment of this natural wealth is not taken into account in the affairs of society.

Tityas is now vast and still growing. It is addicted to using more of the natural bounty even as it runs out, with oil leading the way down. Tityas is entering into its senescence and will slowly disintegrate as the sustenance for its maintenance declines. Humankind will be bewildered by the withdrawal of what Tityas provided. It will eventually learn the reality that nature's bounty was not free and they will have to face up to the consequences.

The situation is akin to a bus heading out into the desert. The driver and his assistant discuss how well the bus is running and how fast it can go while the passengers look out the windows to take in the scenery. A youngster notices that the fuel gauge needle is in the red but her warning cries are ignored.

Long time reality

Natural forces have provided the reality of what happens here on Earth under the stimulus of energy from the Sun. These self-organzing and sef-regulating forces have created over eons the bio sphere and geo sphere, with a few ups and downs, that we have inherited. Humans have invented technology that uses some of these natural forces to irreversibly use up limited natural resources to produce our needs and wants. This is an unsustainable process. So our materialistic civilization is a spurious, temporary reality that coming generations will have to do without.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Climate change hallunication

Homo sapiens have many hallucinations. But one of the most dangerous ones is the belief that they can now tackle the irreversible, rapid climate change, an unintended consequence of using fossil fuels to provide 'cheap' energy. They may get round to reducing the use of fossil fuels, so decreasing the rate of emissions. They do not understand that all that will do is slow down global warming, which does not tackle climate change. Australian businesses and families are now having to pay a carbon tax aimed at reducing the inconsequential emissions coming from that country. The politicians would be doing a better job if they proposed policies aimed at adapting to the damage their scientists suggest will be the effect of climate change.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A mind game with Laprin


Recent discussions on a forum  about the terms 'reality', 'abstraction', 'tangible' and 'intangible' has not resulted in widespread understanding of the relation between the intangible (not able to be seen or measured) decision making of humans (and many other organisms) and the influence of natural forces on what then happens in the materialistic operations that follow activation by decisions. This confusion arises because the discussion is anthropocentric. It is by humans using terms they have invented to describe what they understand about natural operations (processes), the operation of the systems of civilization, and the contribution of humans (and other organisms) to these processes by the decisions they make.

Ironically, the confusion about the meaning of those terms can be resolved by playing a mind game that looks outside of the box of the human mind. You are asked to think like that of Laprin, an extra-terrestrial, who has observed and measured the operations on Earth over a long period without understanding the communications between people. Laprin is observing and measuring the tangible reality but has to presume that decision making exists as the consequences are apparent. He has to assume that the intangible processing of information used in the decision making exists. It is a reality because of what it instigates. We can only surmise about how migratory birds decide when to go and where to go. But they do this annually so it is a reality. Laprin can only surmise about how homo sapiens communicate and make decisions about using natural resources to provide the goods, services and infrastructure of their civilization.
Laprin notes that these operations result in the depletion of many natural resources taken out of the crustal store - and wonders what will happen to the vast infrastructure of civilization when these resources inevitably run out.
Of course, Laprin is unable, through inability to interpret the processing of information in civilization and the associated decision making of the people, to understand how the flow of money contaminates the decision making process. He may wonder about the intelligence of the human species because what they have organized is clearly unsustainable. He will not know the part played by scientists and mathematics in what humans decide to do. He can only judge them on the tangible consequences of their decisions.
Play this mind game as it will help to understand the reality of how intangible thoughts of people have initiated the tangible operations of mechanistic systems that have destroyed much of the tangible natural bounty.

Denis Frith

Saturday, June 30, 2012

What lies ahead

Many Australians must be wondering what lies ahead as they grapple with rising prices of water, food and energy. They are being told that the economy is sound as they have to cope with these prices as the values of their homes plummet. Informed people know that Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese, Irish, British and even Americans are having a harder time with many being unemployed and workers demonstrating. They are not reassured by the blathering of the state and federal politicians about the carbon tax to slow greenhouse gas emissions. They are learning that climate change is irreversible even if the global rate of emissions decreases rapidly, which is most unlikely.

The stark reality is that the mining industry is making vast profits by selling Australia's mineral wealth to all and sundry, but primarily the Chinese, while the ability of the dry continent to produce food in what remains of its fertile soil. The multitudes in the cities have reason to wonder what they should do to cope with the difficult times ahead.

"The way ahead" in the ebook "Gaia and Tityas. what Homo sapiens have done" provides some advice stemming from what knowledgeable have been advocating on the internet. The G&SC spreadsheet and associated Issues and FQA on this site provides systematic consideration of the issues with the intention of providing insight into what is likely to happen.