Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Collapse

For all our talk about gender roles, there is little attention paid in the manosphere to the deeper basis for keeping civilization running. Let us not forget that the economy is an energy equation. Whatever else is going on, nothing can work unless the laws of thermodynamics are obeyed. You can do all sorts of funny stuff with enough energy, but without a huge energy surplus, there is very little to do beyond subsistence farming for the vast majority of people, as history indeed attests to. The inescapable need for sufficient energy input is often forgotten in the manosphere, just as it is in almost every other sphere nowadays. Which is also unsurprising if you think about it, since we all grew up in an unprecedented era of extreme energy abundance and never directly felt the harsh economics of natural existence. MRAs often assume that if we only fix marriage and repeal some laws, everything will be all right. But I fear we may run into a greater problem even if all this is accomplished. There is one sphere dedicated to this problem, and they do seem to be onto something. According to the peak oilers, we will soon reach a point where the energy needed to hold the system together that we all rely on is unavailable. After reading sites like the Oil Drum and Gail the Actuary for a while, I suspect they may be fundamentally right. And I say this as someone who thought believers in peak oil were all tinfoil-hat lunatics until very recently. If this means I too have gone insane, then please point out in the comments which part of the limits-to-growth argument is flawed, because it sure seems more convincing right now than the cornucopian vision.

In a word, I have become peak oil aware. I am convinced the world is in a much worse state than the mainstream media is letting on, and it will be all downhill from here. If you watch the news, you get the impression that fracking and shale oil have solved peak oil to the point that the U.S. will soon be an exporter, renewable energy will gradually replace fossil fuels and be almost as good, and of course economic prosperity is always right around the corner. It is also arrogantly assumed that we can easily keep the system running long enough to burn enough fossil fuels to cause significant global warming, which is seen as our most important worry (as if peak oil won't do us in long before climate change possibly can). But if you look more closely into any of these issues, it becomes clear that the official position is catastrophically flawed. Renewables are a joke, with so horrible energy return on energy invested (EROEI) that it's unclear if they can even serve to delay collapse rather than hasten it due to the complexity they add. At best, renewables can work as fossil fuel extenders, but they don't produce enough energy to reproduce themselves. For example, we don't know how to use solar cells to make more solar cells without an oil-based infrastructure. You can't make more hydroelectric plants or maintain the existing ones without oil, either, or wind farms, or any of the proposed alternatives.

There is simply no practical alternative to burning fossil fuels. In truth, we have no idea how to maintain industrial civilization and keep us all fed any other way. Not with seven billion people (except nuclear, but that won't happen in time for political reasons). For every calorie in our food, ten calories from fossil fuels go into growing and processing it, and this is the only way we know how to do it. There is even no readily available alternative to liquid fuels, and these are absolutely essential to prevent collapse. And even more immediately, there is probably no alternative to our debt-based financial system to keep the wheels turning. As soon as awareness spreads in the system that all the growing debts cannot ever be meaningfully repaid because the necessary wealth will never materialize in a shrinking economy, the whole system comes tumbling down. This is not a physical necessity, but it is a strong likelihood. It is also possible that essential services will keep running until we hit hard physical limits (which admittedly would take decades), perhaps by means of government coercion such as forced labor, but this is highly uncertain and would in any case be highly unpleasant.

Collapse could start as early as this week if the U.S. government defaults on its debt, or perhaps they will come up with a way to kick the proverbial can down the road a bit further. In any event, they can't borrow their way out of their problems in a shrinking economy for long, so eventually collapse will catch up with them. Because of globalization, the depression will spread, and so we must return to a world with much less complexity. Because of resource depletion and population overshoot, the future will be ridiculously much worse than any other period in history. The stone age will likely seem like Utopia compared to what awaits us, because back then they were only moderately crowded and still had low-hanging fruit around to mostly subsist (although deforestation was already a problem back in prehistoric times). Whatever technology they had was also realistically suited for their world, while we can't get anything done without computers and oil, none of which will be available in the future.

When I see the malice perpetrated against men by governments around me, I take solace in the likelihood that they will soon lack the energy to keep it up. There will be plenty of benefits for men as entropy overtakes feminist enforcement of all their hateful sex laws. For one thing, a post-collapse society cannot keep a sex offender registry because all electronic records will disintegrate. There will be no functioning electric grid and no Internet, so all surveillance technology will cease to function. Cops will have no way to check if you are wanted, and said cops won't be paid properly anyway, so they probably won't even stay on the job.

And governments cannot incarcerate a great number of people in a low-energy world unless they can coerce slave labor out of them to make the EROEI of the prisoners sustainable. This is unlikely because the technology needed to force slaves to work the fields is lacking and cannot be produced at the scale needed. You can't manufacture as much as a shovel without oil, and the machinery currently used will break down, never to be repaired. Contemporary prisoners all have an EROEI much lower than 1 (usually zero), which isn't workable for long. Perhaps slavery was sustainable in previous times when all of society was adapted to that level of existence with the technology and skills to go along with it, but I don't see that happening now. Most likely, collapsing states will be faced with the option of killing off prisoners or setting them free, because resources to employ guards and feed them and the prisoners too will be lacking. This is the silver lining of peak oil from an MRA perspective.

On the other hand, most of us will starve to death or succumb to disease or wars or exposure as we flee the cities, which will be the biggest death traps of them all. I am hardly a rugged survivalist type myself, so I realize I will probably not be among the 1% or less expected to survive the kind of collapse envisioned. But after recovering from the initial peak oil blues most people experience when they become aware of the predicament, I have come to feel optimistic about the coming collapse. Because I hate the sex-hostility perpetrated by our governments so intensely, I will be happy to witness their downfall even if I have to suffer alongside them. At least I will get to see the terror in the eyes of feminists and manginas when they realize the lights of our civilization are going out for good and it's only brutish barbarism from here on. The moment when the scumbags in law enforcement and our legislatures realize their kids will not grow up because there will be no economy to sustain future generations, and their own pensions are as worthless as Monopoly money, will be priceless to us decent folks. There is nothing we can do to prevent collapse, so it's best not to be too invested in any worldly things, but we can still take delight in the suffering of our enemies. Sure, people could have reasonably good lives in preindustrial times, but not with seven billion...

Even if you are a hard-core prepper, I wouldn't expect to survive much longer than most people, because unless you have the kind of fortified facility only a billionaire can afford, it is impractical to have food when others around you are starving. If nothing else, you will quickly run out of ammunition to fend off looters. Therefore, I don't bother with prepping. It is always prudent to keep a well-stocked pantry and learn basic survival and self-defense skills, of course, but beyond that, there isn't much any of us can do to improve our chances. I expect that within a few months after supply lines are cut, things will get so bad, the outcomes for each of us will be largely uncorrelated with our preparations.

This is assuming a fast collapse. It is also possible the collapse will be more protracted, in which case we will live longer and get gradually poorer, our life expectancies will fall and so on. Archdruid John Michael Greer is a proponent of this sort of slow catabolic collapse, and he might be right. He is also probably the most erudite peak oil writer, in my opinion, and his blog is not to be missed. The Archdruid thinks business as usual can continue for ten more years, after which a long series of calamities will befall us over the next hundred years. At that point the human population will be down to three billion and falling. This is possible if we are able to catabolize parts of our infrastructure and recycle it in successive stages for the benefit of a much reduced population, and unfortunately it also enables oppressive governments to stay in business longer. I don't claim to predict exactly what will happen, and I don't think anyone knows. But one thing seems certain: This cycle of civilization is doomed, and we won't make it to the Singularity first like I foolishly believed in my youth, because we don't have enough energy to channel into technological progress. Prosperity isn't something which magically appears as randomly the wind blows, like I used to assume and as economists still seem to think. Prosperity must of course be based in a real energy surplus, and that energy surplus will no longer be forthcoming.

79 comments:

Eric said...

Eivind:
I'm glad that somebody finally pointed out that there is no real alternative (yet) to fossil-fuels. There are synthetic fuels but---as far as anyone knows---world governments are not eager to share such technology with the public.

What I suppose will happen is that the elites will produce synthetic fuels, but monopolize them in such a way that people will be dependent on government welfare/fuel handouts to ensure obedience.

Eivind Berge said...

Wouldn't it take at least as much energy to synthesize fuels as what you can get out of them? I suppose it could work if you have a good energy source such as nuclear. It would also need to be done cheaply so people could afford it. I doubt this will be feasible at the scale needed.

Eric said...

Eivind:
"At the scale needed" is the operative part here. This is one reason why atomic energy is so limited by the elites---they don't want cheap, widely-available energy sources. They want expensive, narrowly-available energy because then they can monopolize it more easily and limit its consumption to themselves, the military and police, and public transportation. It's all about restricting freedom of movement and forcing dependence on the State for necessities like electricity.

Dikkeworst said...

Eivind, what's wrong with fracking?
And what is your opionon on: http://peakoildebunked.blogspot.com

Eivind Berge said...

Fracking is a decades-old technology that is now worth using thanks to high oil prices. But the wells don't last very long. There are increased costs and diminished returns, as well as environmental concerns. We have to divert more and more energy to maintain oil production, which leaves less for real economic growth. Pretty soon the world economy will be contracting if it isn't already. That means the average investment will yield a negative return, which is a very different world than what we have come to expect after three hundred years of growth. So a lot of formerly prudent behaviors like saving in investment funds for retirement will no longer make sense. Neither will paying taxes to a government which supposedly will take care of you later based on a false hope of growth. If enough people understand this, there will be upheavals. Why work or invest in anything if all the future benefits are lies? It doesn't matter how much oil is left in the ground if no one will invest in extracting it because it just isn't profitable anymore. I certainly wouldn't trust that debt can be repaid even by the petroleum companies. The whole endeavor of powering civilization becomes an investment sinkhole and eventually it must break.

Obviously the Oil Drum people were wrong about some things. They accurately pinpointed the peak of conventional oil but got the timing of the decline wrong (we are still on a plateau), but that doesn't mean it won't happen. Also the collapse may turn out to be a lot slower and more gradual than many doomers think. But I really don't see a plausible way to prevent it and have growth instead. And it seems to me the collapse is already underway in parts of Europe and elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Eivind:
Did you ever see a connection between things like peak oil (the US navy has been working on contingincies for almost a decade and a half now) and the US foreign policy of endless war and footprint expansion, or the Chinese rush into parts of Asia and Africa?

Anyway, I'm not quite as doom and gloom as I think the collapse will be slow and there will be time to get a sustainable energy infrastructure in place, probably involving some combination of portable nuclear, solar (they now have solar paint you can paint on your windows )and tidal.

But regardless, what I AM sure of is that the PTB in this world are very aware of this issue even if they don't talk about it much.

Clarence

Clarence

Anonymous said...

Great post.
And thanks for the links.

We've arrived at the same conclusion. I also used to be a transhumanist. Yesterday, I wrote this on Facebook:


America actually seems to be getting more violent now.

The trend Steven Pinker was talking about, has apparently turned, at least in the States. (He did, of course, always admit that it might turn some day.) The question is: Why is the trend turning? My guess would be overpopulation leading to resource scarcity, which in turn leads to ecological crises that camouflage as a crisis in the economy. The middle class is eradicated to consolidate the power and wealth of the ruling elite. As a result, the desperate masses of poor people turn to violent crime to get by. This trend will probably only accelerate as overpopulation continues to worsen, while the ultra-wealthy banksters continue their too big to fail-lifestyles in heavily guarded enclaves.

I used to be a transhumanist and Kurzweil-supporter, but I'm starting to realize that technology won't save us. Space is as unaccessible as ever before, and oil, phosphate and other resources are rapidly depleted. Food production per capita is actually going down, resulting in a massive increase in food prices. This is just the harsh reality of overpopulation, and the people of the future will have to wage immense wars to scavenge what they can from a planet with a depleting biological diversity. Then, after turning to cannibalism to survive, they too will go extinct, joining the ranks of the dodo and the dinosaurs. And that will be the end of humanity.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-10-25/crime-getting-worse-violent-crime-america-increased-15-last-year

Anonymous said...

Oh, and by the way:

I have the distinct impression that a lot of other (former) transhumanists are also starting to realize the error of their ways. Have you noticed this too?

It seems that pessimism/realism is spreading among their ranks. Sure, we have Oculus Rift and some other cool VR projects. But it's quite telling that the legendary id Software-founder John Carmack left his money draining company, Armadillo Aerospace, after realizing that space would essentially be unavailable to us forever. And yes, he left it to pursue a career at Oculus VR.

I've been spending more and more time on VHEMT's Facebook pages, and less and less time reading transhumanist news. Exciting new technological developments seem few and far between, while resource scarcity is hitting us ever harder due to the obvious overpopulation problem.

The internet used to be good before. YouTube, Gmail and even Facebook (to a certain extent) used to be decent around AD 2007, coincidentally the same year world oil production probably peaked. Now they all suck. As do most other websites, and they're all destroyed by ads and being monitored constantly by intelligence agencies anyway. The infrastructure is also crumbling all around us. We can no longer build roads or educate our kids. Everything is slowly falling apart while we're watching apathetically.

Eivind Berge said...

Yes, violence will likely increase as resources get scarcer. Steven Pinker will have to eat his words. People can more or less get along when they are prosperous, but I don't see that happening when we hit real limits to growth. I expect governments to get very nasty too before they collapse altogether. Expect brutal torture and executions to be the norm because incarceration will be too expensive, and vengeance must find a way to satisfy the bloodlust of the populace against sex offenders or whatever group it is fashionable to hate at the time. All the ugly aspects of human nature will erupt once again. You can count on poor desperate people to vote fascists into power of one stripe or another who promise them the world, but of course politicians can never deliver on their promises because there simply aren't enough resources to go around. Resource wars are a strong possibility, perhaps disguised as ethnic and religious strife.

There will be discontinuities ahead, possibly very soon. Business as usual is predicated on mountains of debt backed by an impossible expectation of economic growth. Ecological limits are invisible until you hit them, but long before that they may manifest as a credit crisis, I think, because the system is smarter than most individuals and at some point bubbles must burst. The short-term outcome is very unpredictable. Maybe debt and related fantasy assets can get obliterated in a somewhat orderly fashion (but will the banksters allow this?), or maybe there is a complete financial meltdown where production stops dead in its tracks and international trade breaks down, which leads to a SHTF scenario of the worst kind where the cities exhaust their food supply in three days. Personally I am impressed for every day the grocery stores are still brimming with food. Certainly not something I take for granted, knowing how precarious the situation really is.

I've noticed less optimism in the Transhumanist movement as well, though there is still a hard core who profess the exact same singularitarian fantasies that I heard when I first got on the original Extropians List in 1996 (and which impressed me much back then). After all these years, these visions now seem a lot less likely. While computer hardware is still getting better almost at the rate of Moore's law, it is clear to me now that we won't make anywhere near enough progress before going off the Seneca cliff to have a shot at artificial intelligence. Maybe Intel and AMD can make up to a handful more iterations of processors, but they would need many more even by Kurzweil's most optimistic estimates (maybe 40 could do it). And space colonization is likewise entirely unrealistic. If we can't even feed the people on earth without fossil fuels, how can we do it in space where everything is so much harder? With things like solar power? The renewable energy sources proposed don't even work on earth...

Cryonics and life extension are looking grim too. We don't have any way to slow down aging and none on the horizon, though Aubrey de Grey is still touting his fantasies of SENS, which is always just a couple decades off. I hadn't imagined back in 1996 that in 2013 there wouldn't even be a single life-extension supplement worth taking, but that's how it goes. After hanging out in the life extension community for so many years, the only supplement or drug I feel like I maybe should be using is low-dose aspirin. That's the state of the art.

Eivind Berge said...

I agree the Internet isn't what it used to be either. Especially the decline of Gmail bothers be. I can live without Facebook and YouTube, but email is essential. Gmail used to be great until a couple of years ago, and then they messed it up with one crappy update after another. First they ruined the look, then imposed these annoying category labels, and now we don't even get a proper window to compose messages in. I can get around most of the annoyance of the labels by filtering, but there is no way to have a proper compose window like there used to be. Everything is more cumbersome and takes more clicks to navigate, and it feels like I am not in control of my messages and drafts anymore. I realize Gmail is just a vehicle to display ads for Google, but some of these changes don't even make sense in light of that end (actually it's counterproductive since I would be more likely to endure ads in an otherwise beautifully designed product). A lot of it is just plain retarded, horrible design. Maybe they just can't help it? There seems to be a sort of entropy going on with every great product, at least on the Internet. Entropy by design, which one would think isn't inevitable for physical reasons, but somehow seems to be anyway. If you have a great product, its designers can't just leave it alone like they ought to do. They have to do something to it. And the only way to change perfection is to mess it up.

Actually, there is one thing getting better on the Internet: Bitcoin. Which is also the only investment I believe in (as long as the Internet lasts, that is).

Anonymous said...

I think Bitcoin is already controlled by the powers that be. I think Tor is compromised too. (If what they tell us about Ulbricht is true, they could've seized him without having compromised Tor, of course. And they probably did. But they've found ways around it now. And if they haven't, they will. Soon. There's no escaping the banksters and their NSA lackeys.)

Your analysis of the current state of transhumanism, is spot on. Of course, being overly pessimistic isn't necessarily healthy, so I try to maintain some optimism in my daily life. On the other hand, a sick little part of me would probably welcome a total collapse, seeing as it might give my life a renewed sense of meaning and purpose. It would also be nice if some megabanksters finally got what's coming to them. But I guess they'll be safely tucked away in their bunkers and Cayman Islands safehavens long before SHTF for real. And a full societal collapse would also include a collapse of the media, so we probably wouldn't know anything about the fate of the banksters/elite anyway.

I think a slow meltdown of civilization is way more likely than some sudden apocalyptic scenario. And with such a slow, gradual meltdown, it would be hard to pinpoint exactly when it "starts". I guess one could say it has already started, but it might be just as fruitful to assume it will start sometime in the (not too distant) future.

Eivind Berge said...

I don't see how the powers that be can control bitcoin, since it is decentralized, open-source and mathemathically backed. How would this be possible? Do you think they have a backdoor or other way to break the cryptography used so they could steal our private keys at will? This is impossible as I understand it, or if it happens it will happen so slowly (and we would see it coming) that most of us have time to move our bitcoins to an upgraded wallet with stronger cryptography. Currently I believe bitcoin integrity is as strong as SHA-2, which is not known to be breakable if implemented correctly. Despite all the revelations, it still looks like the NSA must rely on sabotage or surveillance to get around this kind of cryptography, and that won't work against an entire network.

Or do you envision that they have enough hashing power stacked away (would have to be tons of ASICs at this point, then) to launch a successful 51% attack? I don't really see this happening either.

A third possibility, which is the only realistic one and the one I think they will pursue, is to try to ban or regulate bitcoin to death. Of course the scum in our legislatures can pass any law they want defining any activity they feel like as criminal, and they can imprison and persecute users etc. But they can't control or break bitcoin this way either any more than their police state can win the War on Drugs.

And yes, I also think a slow decline is most likely. In which case bitcoin may become very useful as fiat money runs into hyperinflation or other problems.

Anonymous said...

My own opinion is that the dangers come not in missing the cheap energy production (another newer source will come around) but rather the shift in economics that will have to be managed very carefully so that the world economy is not chronically disturbed. For this, a transition needs to happen slowly I think.

Eivind Berge said...

I don't think there is time or enough surplus to build out alternative energy sources and an infrastructure to use them while keeping the present system together at the same time. Remember that all this new infrastructure needs to be built before we can benefit from it, and that takes investment. Where will that investment come from when we can just barely avoid collapsing right now by means of increasingly desperate tricks like quantitative easing and ultra-low interest rates? And it is only going to get harder the longer we wait. But even if it were possible to accomplish a transition from fossil fuels, what makes you confident it will happen? All previous civilizational collapses happened with plenty of energy sources right under their noses. They all had easily accessible oil until we used it up, for one thing. Lots of low-hanging fruit. Just because some technology is possible, doesn't mean it will happen. Why didn't technology save the Mayans, or the Roman Empire, or the ancient Egyptians? I also used to think technology was inevitable. But history doesn't work that way, and I am no longer so sure it will work out for us, either. And we will collapse much harder because of more people, less resilience and more depleted resources than ever.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to get back to you on the Bitcoin issue later, when I'm less tired. For now, I'll just say that you could be right. But Bitcoin won't prevent the coming collapse anyway, as I'm sure you know. Bitcoin is also, fundamentally, a type of fiat currency. There's no real value backing it. It's based on trust. (And yes, I do know it's a scarce resource, unlike conventional modern money. I know about the 21 mill. thing, and the mining, etc.)

But now, something way more serious:
Have you read about Fukushima lately?

There are good reasons for the media blackout on the situation.
Had the truth about Fukushima come out, civilization as we know it would end almost instantaneously. The world economy would grind to a halt, and there'd be riots in the streets of every industrialized nation. It would, of course, also mean the end of the nuclear industry. Due to peak oil and general resource scarcity, we're dependent on nuclear power. Therefore, the politicians approve of the media blackout on the full scope of the Fukushima disaster.

But some small nuggets of truth manage to escape the media embargo anyway ...

Former Prime Minister of Japan:
"The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was the most severe accident in the history of mankind."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/naoto-kan/japan-nuclear-energy_b_4171073.html

Eivind Berge said...

Wow, I didn't know Fukushima was quite so bad. But however bad it may be, of course we can't abandon nuclear power, because that would be far more disastrous. Nuclear is our only hope of surviving peak oil (which won't happen, for the reason's you imply, but it's worth trying to preserve our lives as long as we can, so the media embargo makes sense).

Bitcoin isn't fiat and it isn't based on trust. How can you call it fiat when it's not issued by a central bank and there is no authority who can decide to print more? Bitcoin is simply digital tokens in limited supply. Actually, bitcoin is the best known way to manage digital tokens. Not only because it is the most theoretically sound cryptocurrency, but also crucially because it has already reached popular escape velocity, unlike any other attempt. The 21-million limitation is not based on trust since everything is open-source and relies on mathematics and the consensus of the whole network. If you run the full client you verify the entire block chain for yourself all the way from the genesis block, so you literally don't have to trust anybody. Bitcoin's value derives from the demand for it, of course, and you can't eat it or do anything else useful with it in the absence of demand. If no one cares for bitcoin anymore, then it will be completely worthless, but the bitcoin economy is growing at such an amazing rate right now that I don't see that happening before all bets are off anyway. How can you not embrace bitcoin, seeing how it uniquely empowers you to safely store and easily transfer assets outside the banking system? There is awesome beauty in holding assets immune to seizure by banks or governments or any other thieves. You can even keep bitcoin in a brain wallet and no one can steal them from you or even find out you own them; it would even be possible to take your assets with you that way via cryopreservation into a transhuman future, if such a future could happen. Even a superintelligence might not be able to steal your bitcoin, and it could work as a currency even for them. Of course bitcoin requires the Internet, but so does just about everything else now. Even if you have gold or any commodity, there will be anarchy after a collapse, so you can count on getting robbed of whatever physical assets you possess, even food.

Sure, bitcoin won't prevent collapse either -- not when we hit physical limits -- but I think it could work to preserve international trade a bit longer than the madness currently going on. Bitcoin has the potential of being trustworthy long after all fiat currencies are destroyed by inflation. Bitcoin could even become the reserve currency of the world, theoretically. I asked Gail Tverberg about bitcoin's potential to alleviate collapse and she replied with this not entirely dismissive comment:

http://ourfiniteworld.com/2013/08/02/oil-limits-reduce-gdp-growth-unwinding-qe-a-problem/comment-page-2/#comment-18404

Anonymous said...

Immune to seizure? Didn't the FBI seize DPR's bitcoins recently?

Anonymous said...

Anyway: Bitcoin is interesting. I'll read up on it.

Anonymous said...

"There can never be more than 21 million bitcoin in existence, but these can be infinitely subdivided, so they should be able to facilitate any kind of trade at any scale, indefinitely."


I didn't know they can be infinitely subdivided. Isn't that a problem, though? Couldn't it lead to hyperinflation? If they are infinitely subdivided, isn't that basically the same as "printing" endless fiat money?

Of course I'm impressed by bitcoin's price increase and the amount of media attention it's got. But what happens when Goldman Sachs own all/most of them, one might wonder.

Eivind Berge said...

Bitcoin cannot be seized, provided you use a strong password and keep it secret. It's not at all like the powers that be can forcibly rewrite the blockchain to transfer bitcoin to themselves just like they can freeze any regular bank account. Unlike all other "rights" and property, which we only think we own until the government decides that we don't, bitcoin is more powerful than the government. There is no eminent domain for bitcoin, no expropriation possible. The authorities are powerless to rewrite the global ledger except by playing by the rules like the rest of us. And that means actually knowing the passwords for whatever bitcoin you want to spend.

Maybe Ross Ulbricht didn't encrypt his wallet? Or did the FBI use torture to obtain the password? I heard he was kept in solitary confinement, so maybe that's how. Also I think they only got a small portion of his fortune so far, though there are conflicting reports about that.

But no adversary can seize your bitcoin if you take simple precautions. Bitcoin is backed by cryptography, which does not require trust, except the kind of trust we put in mathematical truths. Fiat money is backed by "trust" in a central bank that can unilaterally decide to ruin the currency by printing as much money as it sees fit, plus you have to trust the government to leave you alone. Even if the core bitcoin development team tried to rewrite the protocol to comply with government demands, they could not get the majority of the network to apply such an update, so it is futile to try to control bitcoin.

When I said "infinitely divisible," I meant the protocol and software can be modified to allow further division in the future if necessary. The minimum division of a bitcoin today is to eight decimal places, so 0.00000001 BTC is the smallest amount (known as a "satoshi"). Currently the standard client also implements a "dust limit" of 5430 satoshis (which is less than $0.01) to avoid spamming the blockchain, so in practice you can't send less than that. And no, divisibility does not lead to inflation. If the bitcoin economy ever gets so big that even one satoshi is too big to be practical as the smallest unit, then you would be very rich indeed if you own a whole bitcoin :) So extreme deflation is the only way bitcoin will keep getting divided.

"But what happens when Goldman Sachs own all/most of them"? If major investors want to buy into bitcoin, the price would also increase so much that I doubt they have enough money. I think most bitcoin owners would only cash in a small portion of their coins even if the exchange rate is very high because we expect an even higher increase. Even if bitcoin went up 100x in the next year, I wouldn't sell much because I expect several orders of magnitude more value in the long run. So good luck with buying up all the bitcoin :) And I think it's a good thing if mainstream investors try to position themselves in bitcoin, since that will transfer so much wealth from the 1% to the rest of us as long as fiat money can still buy things, and ultimately they can never really control the bitcoin economy anyway no matter how hard they try.

Anonymous said...

For de som synes Berges dommedagsprofetier blir litt overveldende, her kommer et innlegg om den ellers så nyanserte Tjomlid:

http://tjomlid.com/2013/10/29/hvordan-unnga-a-bli-voldtektsforbryter-en-innforing/

Han legger, i ganske frenetiske ordelag må jeg tillegge, ethvert seksuelt forhold som etter dagens forhold kan sees på som "voldtekt" som mannens ansvar.

Samtidig tar han altså kvinnegruppers retorikk i sin munn. Han nekter å problematisere voldtektsbegrepet i seg selv, og sidestiller overfallsvoldtekt med "sex uten uttrykkelig samtykke." Han gjør bruk av eldgammel feministisk retorikk, "ingen har rett på sex", (som om rettighet gir legitimitet i tilknytning til basale behov) Som ikke dette er nok, sammenblander han altså en av vår tids mest alvorlige forbrytelser (voldtekt) med noe så trivielt som "tafsing" Det forekommer forøvrig ingen definisjon av hva Tjomlid mener med "tafsing" men man gjør rimelig rett i å forstå det dithen at enhver berøring av en kvinne er å forstå som første ledd i en seksualisert prosess, hvor voldtekt er et sannsynlig utfall.

Ganske utrolig når man vet at tilnærming fra mannens side mot kvinner er en like urgammel forutsetning som mennesket selv. Hans påstand, dvs han kaller det selv for viten, er at måten å få sex på er å utvise hensynsfullhet mot det motsatte kjønn. Joda, å bli sett på som en sympatisk person mot den man prøver å kurtisere er nok ingen ulempe, men jeg tror ikke akkurat hensynsfullhet i den forstand Tjomlid underforstått sikter til, nemlig passivitet, er en særlig velfungerende strategi. Det må heller være unntaket enn regelen.

Det er nok fortsatt slik at tilnærming, aktiv handling, ikke minst utvisning av mot på en slik måte at man overskrider den vanlige grensen mellom kjønn er en forutsetning for å få vinne kvinnens gunst. Nettopp her spiller også berøring en rolle. Å gjøre enhver berøring til et seksuelt overgrep, er panzer-feminismens ønskedrøm. Og i umiddelbar proksimitet med dette ligger voldtektsbegrepet og lurer. Voldtekt ligger aldri langt unna, når feminister skal diskutere kjønnskamp. Deres kronargument som gjør de fleste menn tause.

Det er vannvittig å la begreper som "seksuelle overgrep" og "voldtekt" flyte i relativismens farvann slik som i dag. Å ikke innse de enorme nyansene som i dag faller inn under begrepet "overgrep" og "voldtekt" gjør nettopp at man aldri kan ha en kjønnsdebatt på sobre premisser.

Det er mannens fulle og hele ansvar at han uavhengig av situasjon, tid eller sted, er og forblir en overgriper. Og dette stempelet overskrider enhver rasjonalitet. Det bare er sånn, fordi man er mann. Er ikke dettte ganske kjønnsdiskriminerende egentlig?

Øyvind Holmstad said...

Hei!

I came upon your blog as you appeared as a new follower to Greer, and I'm very happy to see you have grasped the realities of our times. I've tried to convince my futurist brother for some years now that we're facing the end of civilization, but he continues buying new mobiles, laptops and cars to boost progress to a sustainable high tech future. Anything I say to him repels like water on his always new polished car.

Although I'm not a libertarian I look upon myself as a traditionalist, and am very aware of that our current gender role patterns are just as unnatural as our economy has become, both are fueled with abundant energy and will collapse with depleting resources.

As an anti-modernist what I will enjoy most during collapse, hopefully a slow collapse so I can enjoy more of it, is that modernist architecture will fade away. This because just like feminism and globalism is modernist architecture too a result of abundant energy. My friend Nikos Salingaros made this very clear in his recent interview at levevei.no, titled "Episode 84: Creating buildings and environments that support life":

http://www.levevei.no/2013/10/episode-84-creating-built-environments-that-support-life/

Øyvind Holmstad said...

Forgot to mention this brilliant lecture by Simon Michaux on the implications of peak mining:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFyTSiCXWEE

Øyvind Holmstad said...

To me fracking seems like a rather crazy thing:

http://www.postcarbon.org/article/1831339-the-peak-oil-crisis-a-review

"With per-well production decline rates of between 81 and 90 percent in the first 24 months, wells must be constantly replaced by new ones just to keep production flat. The higher production gets, the more new replacement wells have to be drilled. Before the end of the decade, this bubble will collapse on its own accord and fracked oil and gas production will begin dropping. As usual there are disputes as to just when this downturn will begin, but the best available analysis suggest that four or five years from now will be the time period when fracked oil peaks in the US and a few years later for gas."

Eivind Berge said...

Hi Øyvind,

Welcome and thanks for the links. I had to laugh a bit when you described how you will enjoy the decay of modernist architecture, but I guess it goes to show how we can all find something positive about the collapse. Because we all hate something that can only exist in the presence of abundant energy flow. Whether it be the downfall of feminism, the banksters, architecture, or what have you, there is something to look forward to for us all.

We might disagree about the aesthetics, but you are right modernist architecture has to go. We need small houses that can easily be heated by firewood. And since we will mostly be doing manual agriculture (and some fishing), we need to live close to the land, so big cities are out of the question. Norway can support perhaps 2 million that way in the ecotechnic future of Greer. If instead Gail is right that collapse will be sudden, we need to go much lower, because then there will be no time to find low-tech alternatives to the way we do things.

Greer just mentioned White's law, which was new to me and provides even more proof that the cultural/technological complexity of a society is a function of its per capita energy consumption.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White's_law

Just like Hubbert assumed that after peak oil sufficient nuclear power would be online, White evidently assumed we would have transitioned to nuclear energy by now, which to him is naturally the next stage after fossil fuels if we want to keep civilization running. So what went wrong is basically we failed to make that transition to the fifth stage of human development. It is really delusional to think we can continue our advanced technological civilization and even keep growing on "renewable" energy sources. How could we be so stupid, even though it was known since the 1940s that nuclear must follow oil? But I guess living on renewable energy is a fairy tale people need to be told, or else they would panic if they understood that their way of life cannot possibly be kept up that way.

Øyvind Holmstad said...

Takk for lenken til White's law, it was new to me as well.

I have to recommend one more article by Heinberg I just read, the last chapter in his latest book Snake Oil, and where he looks closer for the EROEI at all the alternative oil and gas sources, like for the last media hype of methane hydrates outside Japan. It's of course possible to extract some of these energy resources, but the EROEI is so ridiculous low that only the richest will be able to pay for it. This mean that infinite growth is doomed, and the future energy available is not enough to sustain our present life styles, not to say 7-9 billion people.

- SNAKE OIL: Chapter 6 - Energy Reality:

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-10-30/snake-oil-chapter-6-energy-reality

Eivind Berge said...

Being rich might not help. I used to think the oil price would go up if oil got scarce or expensive to extract, but it would still be available for the rich. But that's not necessarily what happens. When oil is too expensive, demand drops off because people can't afford it, and so the price falls. Instead of buying expensive oil which they can't afford, lots of companies instead go out of business (alternative energy sources are even more expensive, so obviously they won't help either). This will surely bring down the price of oil, but oil companies can't afford to keep production up if it isn't profitable, and certainly they won't be able to invest in more exploration and development if it is a losing proposition. Then the world quickly becomes unlivable even for the very rich. Therefore low oil prices may perhaps be the most damaging of any likely development, and this is the reason why I think a quick collapse like Gail anticipates is somewhat plausible. The system does need to function for resources to be extracted, since there is no way any of us can do it with our own hands. And the financial system is key. Like she says: “The financial system falls apart first. We can hide the problems with the financial system for a little while, but then they come out in full force. In fact, that looks like the point we are reaching very soon. Without our current system, how do you propose to get the resources out? With a shovel you personally dig in the ground with?”

Unless there is some alternative way to keep production going after it no longer makes economic sense in the current system. Perhaps governments will nationalize the oil companies and other essential industries and force workers to stay on the job? Assuming governments haven't also collapsed at this point, which is what Gail expects to happen. I also doubt governments will have the means to enslave us all, but they might try. No matter how you look at it, the outcome is likely to be very nasty.

Gail is about the most extreme doomsayer though, so maybe she is missing something. Apocalyptic predictions have a very poor track record. I just can't pinpoint exactly what is wrong with her logic.

Anonymous said...

Charles Darwin, T. H. Huxley and various other 19th century secularists, saw themselves as spearheading the global fight against religion and superstition. They seemed to believe they were predestined to conquer the scourge of religion once and for all. With incessant vigour they fought against the yoke of superstition, championing science and reason. They literally thought religion would be gone from the Earth in a generation or two. But here we are, 150 years later, in a postmodern world – and religion is stronger than ever.

Why is this?

The answer is multifaceted. On the one hand, it should be noted that Arthur C. Clarke had it right* when he said: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Science and technology have become so deeply mystical and alienating that people are estranged. They simply can't grasp how the latest inventions work, so they fail to appreciate the physics underlying every new gizmo. They rely on computers to solve their math problems, so they never develop logic or reasoning skills. Even Heidegger noted this in a moment of clarity. He pointed out, back in the sixties, how five people in the world, at most, understood the fundamental science – the basic mathematical equations – behind the propagation of radio signals. Engineers and technicians know enough to do their job properly, but only a handful of people understand the underlying principles that actually make the technology work. Since most people are alienated from science and technology, they grasp at straws, taking solace in what's comforting and understandable. And what's more comforting and understandable than the belief that a caring, loving God is watching over you, rewarding you after death, while punishing the infidels?

The second part of the answer has to do with resource scarcity and diminishing returns. We're beyond peak oil per capita now, and the EROEI (energy return on energy invested), is rapidly making the pursuit of new oil projects less and less profitable. This rapid resource depletion is not only apparent in oil; it's evident with regards to a lot of other natural resources as well. This unsustainable use of resources, driven by overpopulation, creates poverty. The poverty manifests itself as economic crises. What seemingly starts as a crisis in the financial sector, quickly proves to be a debt crisis, which in turn, eventually, proves to be a resource crisis. To put it short: Food production per capita is going down. It's becoming obvious that we don't have enough energy to maintain our standard of living indefinitely. Profits are channeled to the top of the pyramid, to cement and increase the wealth of the elite, consolidating their power. The impoverished masses working on minimum wage to pay off their mortgages, become criminals, just to get by. Desperation and poverty drives them into violent behaviour. And into religion. Once again, they find solace in the idea of a loving, caring God. If the politicians don't look after them, then surely God does. He must. After all, he's God. Looking after people is his job. He's fair and just.

This is why religion is winning and atheism losing. Atheism has no place in the future of the human species. It's a thing of the past. Religion is sexier, more aggressive, more violent. It's the way of the future. A hip way to cope with a harsher, more brutal world. As we approach the Malthusian catastrophe ahead of us, religion will increasingly be seen as something cool. The media will portray it as sexy, as something worth striving for, something to envy and pursue. The age of nihilism and meaninglessness is behind us now. To survive in the future, mankind must become more religious than it already is. Religiosity will increasingly become an adaptive trait. It will be essential to the survival of any hypothetical humans in the post-Malthusian era.

So start praying to the god(s) of your choice now, while there's still hope.



(*Apart from the obvious tautology in his statement.)

JimmyGiro said...

The 'super' rat not only knows when the ship is about to sink, but takes control; to guide the last resources of the ship to their personal advantage. They take control by fear, they scare the crew to obedience, and have the ship scuttled just near rat island.

Isn't it odd, that so much money goes towards climate change 'science', and its predictions, which singularly fail to predict in any believable way; yet the problem of predicting future energy resources, using the same money and 'expertise' as squandered on climate science, could have given a more useful result for future survival planning.

Instead we are coerced into paying billions to the rat controlled bureaucrats in carbon taxes and levies on 'renewables'; and to make sure your 'economy' has enough credit to pay, they dupe our governments to bail out their respective banks, so as to lend them back the money !?

As passengers on the doomed ship, we can only watch and wait for the exodus of the super rats, for they are all protected by the indentured crew, that are promised a place on the last lifeboats... military and civil servants first.

With the western economy imploding, what can the burgeoning China and India do without its market in the west? No customers, no manufacturing economy.

The next economy must be global feudal slavery, and we, alive today, may witness its screaming bloody birth.

If you are fit, strong and obedient, you get to eat; else you starve. And for your own safety, you must provide rat island with a tenth of your produce, or the big doohikey will descend from rat heaven, wrecking all your mud huts.

Eivind Berge said...

Good point. It is very strange to spend so much money on climate forecasting while our future energy supply gets short shrift. Simple extrapolation seems to be all we need when it comes to maintaining our energy supply or anything we need for survival. We add however much solar cells each year now, so all we have to do is extrapolate this trend, the thinking goes, and we won't even need oil by 2050. Never mind that this growth is dependent on a prosperous economy as well as limitless natural resources and technology which hasn't been invented yet.

Norway has even spent billions on a "moon landing" effort of carbon capture, without making it work, so they had to abandon it. Rather than trying to add futile complexity, these resources could have been better spent on making us more resilient, but that is not a priority at all. Meanwhile the national grain reserve has been abolished, and everything increasingly depends on just-in-time supply lines. Even the food we appear to farm ourselves is heavily dependent on imported supplies. For example, our entire poultry production depends on one monthly ship of soy beans from Brazil.

No one has figured out how to make renewable energy viable for us without heavy subsidies from an economy based on fossil fuels (and even then only the rich can afford it). Yet somehow "renewables" are expected to be so profitable as to painlessly replace fossil fuels within the next few decades.
It doesn't add up, and I doubt there will be lifeboats even for the super rats. They seem to be just as dependent on just-in-time supply lines as the rest of us, if not more so. Unless they are smarter than they are letting on, that is, and all the crap about things like "renewables" and "carbon capture" is just pabulum for the great unwashed.

Anonymous said...

biofuel.

Eivind Berge said...

Biofuels may be useful in some ways, but they are not a net energy source. The energy input needed to produce biofuels is very close to what you can get out of them and often higher.

You might keep your existing farm equipment running for a while on biofuel from your crops, but there is no way to get enough energy return out of biofuels to manufacture said machinery and keep civilization running.

Anonymous said...

Engineers will solve all these problems! WE WILL NOT GO BACK.

Eivind Berge said...

It seems to me that the "religion of progress," as Greer calls it, is an apt term for this blind faith that science and engineering will solve all our problems. Because this belief really does not appear to be backed by anything more substantial than faith. I used to believe it myself until I realized we don't even have a theoretically realistic plan for how our energy needs can be met without fossil fuels.

Anonymous said...

Can you recommend some other thinkers, pundits and writers, Eivind? Preferably of the kind who back up their writing with empirical data.

I like JMG and Gail. I also like the extremely pessimistic biologist Guy McPherson, who's certain most humans (and other lifeforms) will be dead by 2030 (due to climate change). Although I'm still a bit of a climate sceptic myself (i.e. I don't have blind faith in AGW), I gotta admit that McPherson has some pretty interesting thoughts.

Eivind Berge said...

Yes, I can recommend a few. Ugo Bardi is worth checking out:

http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.de/

Also Paul Chefurka:

http://www.paulchefurka.ca/index.html

Here are some other links I have enjoyed:

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/07/galactic-scale-energy/
http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/04/economist-meets-physicist/
http://eroei.blogspot.no/
http://www.jayhanson.us/page137.htm

And Dmitri Orlov and Nicole Foss are also big names in the movement who are probably worth reading, though I am not so familiar with them yet.

I am not sure what to believe about climate change, except I am pretty sure it won't be a huge problem for at least a few more decades, and in the meantime we must face the energy descent. Peak oil is much more scary than AGW no matter how you look at it. If we have plenty of energy, we can deal with global warming as it happens. We can rebuild our houses after natural disasters, or move around to more suitable locations, grow food in greenhouses, have air conditioning, etc. But if we don't have fossil fuels or something similarly powerful, then there is no way we can even keep 7+ billion people alive in any climate.

Eric said...

Eivind:
OT somewhat but I wonder if you'd seen this post?

http://www.men-factor.blogspot.com/2013/11/my-pictures-featured-in-documentary.html

It concerns the Julian Assange Case---note how the feminists lifted Manosphere memes out of context as a smear tactic.

Eivind Berge said...

That is funny, and totally distorted and slanderous. I don't recall any death or rape threats against Assange's accusers from the manosphere (which explains why the documentary makers had to take ScareCrow's satirical pictures out of context, I guess), and indeed I've taken pains to use the story as an illustration of hateful feminist sex laws rather than attack the accusers personally. As I have said before, I don't even think Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilén are lying. I mean, if they were going to make up a false rape accusation, I would at least expect them to come up with a story that a normal person would recognize as rape if it were true, without being versed in feminist rape law reform. I would expect some manner of violence or threats in a totally fabricated rape story. What they said was instead along the lines of "Yeah, I happily went to bed with Assange, but I was half asleep at some point during sex and he didn't use a condom, so therefore it was rape." As I recall, the women didn't even realize it was "rape" until feminist prosecutors explained the law to them, and the Swedish state has independently been using the allegations for all they are worth ever since.

Feminist legislators, the law and ultimately the cops are our real enemies -- not some random Swedish sluts. It is utterly pointless to direct our hatred against such accusers whether they are lying or not.

Eric said...

Eivind:
I tend to agree with that assessment of things---I recall mentioning on one of the MHRM-leaning blogs once that going after false accusers really did little good, since they are usually only the cats-paws in a larger web of corruption. What would put a grinding stop to the false rape industry would be---after a false accusation fails---to bring impeachment charges against the judges, prosecutors and police chiefs who pushed these cases. And even better, sanctions against the mass media for egging them on with false reporting. THAT would stop it.

These officials have nothing to lose if false accusers get punished, since these women are only pawns to them anyway. But of course, the MHRM guys don't want to hear that...

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geQyrBGS_60

Dikkeworst said...

Eivind, read and weep.
France is following the steps of Norway in persecuting Johns.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25164988

Anonymous said...

Hei. Hvordan går erstatningssaken? Statens sivilrettsforvaltning har vel ikke endret standpunkt etter stevning er innlevert, slik de gjorde i min erstatningssak da jeg truet dem med søksmål etter at de først hadde nektet å tilkjenne erstatning? Er det eventuelt satt noen dato for når saken skal opp i retten?

Eivind Berge said...

Foreløpig somler advokaten litt med å levere inn stevningen. Men det er noe han sa er et sannsynlig utfall også, at de inngår forlik og tilkjenner erstatning likevel nå de ser at rettssak blir en realitet. Vi får se.

Anonymous said...

I think Bitcoin will go beyond 2000 USD before 2014, and 10 000 by December 2014. Quark will probably reach 1 $ in less than a month from now.

What's your take on the current and future pricing of these (and other) cryptocurrencies?

Eivind Berge said...

I agree with you about the future of Bitcoin and I still think it is incredibly cheap. Those prices are quite plausible just from steady growth alone. If not $2000 by New Year's, it will almost certainly happen in the spring, and $10,000 by 2015 is well within reach. That means a market cap of 150 billion dollars or so, which isn't really all that much compared to other major asset classes (e.g. gold is 6 trillion, and I think Bitcoin can rival gold in the long run). If something dramatic happens like a financial crisis in a major economy or a stock market collapse, it could go much higher sooner.

I didn't get in on Quark because I don't have a trading account at any of the exchanges where it is traded and didn't bother registering just to get it, so I missed out on the quick growth, unfortunately. At this point I don't feel Quark is worth trading other coins for, but I could be wrong. As I understand it, Quark is already something like 98% mined, and the block reward will be just 1 coin soon, at which point there won't be much incentive for mining (unless it gets widely adopted so it becomes worth mining for transaction fees alone), leaving it vulnerable to 51% attacks. Most investors will probably get out soon and I would sell them and buy Bitcoin myself at this point, if I had any Quark. It still looks like nothing can beat Bitcoin. There are many more altcoins than we need. Most will probably die out, and I see Quark as one of the less suitable ones, so I don't think it has a future. My favorite altcoins are Litecoin, PPCoin, Namecoin and Feathercoin, and I think it's a good idea to hold some of these. Primecoin is also pretty cool. It is certainly possible to make a lot of money on marginal coins if they happen to take off, but Bitcoin remains the safest investment, in my opinion. Litecoin also seems to be destined for wide adoption (perhaps $50 within a few months and potentially $100 or more within a year?), but the others have not proven themselves as anything other than speculation at this point.

Anonymous said...



The really interesting thing about the Bitcoin price, is that it's a positive feedback loop. As more and more money is pouring out of the banks and into Bitcoin, the banks will have to use more bailouts and bail-ins to secure their income, thus forcing even more people to put their money into Bitcoin. Hence, the price increase accelerates. We saw what happened during (and after) the Cyprus crisis. Now imagine when Janet Yellen takes over after Ben and starts increasing the monthly QE payouts (QE is, of course, nothing but an euphemism for prolonged bailouts of the megabanksters). This will force the common man to put his money into BTC. And the banks/politicians can only react to this by using even harder bailouts and bail-ins, even going so far as to confiscating physical gold and silver directly from the proletariat. I seem to recall they did this during the Great Depression. (The American politicians forced people to sell their gold (to the banksters) for a fixed, low price. Then, weeks(?) later, the banksters sold it at a much higher price.)

And when bank deposits, gold, silver and other physical assets are no longer safe from the claws of the banksters, people are left with nothing but cryptocurrencies.

What's your take on this, Eivind?

Anonymous said...

Her er en fyr som fortjener en god del saklig motstand:
http://voldtattmann.org/

Anonymous said...

I belive the slow catabolic version seems more valid. Oil might run low (there are still some untapped reservoirs though), but there are still plenty of coal. And coal can be liquified. This will give humanity energy for a while.
(Also in case of necessity cars can be run on wood. Gas can be made from wood that runs the engine. This was used during WW II when the axis states were low on fuel.)

jack said...

Hydroelectric power is running out because the reservoirs built decades ago are filling up with alluvium. So we have "peak hydro" as well as peak oil. Not only energy but the whole chemical industry relies on fossil fuels. Sure methane hydrates are an unknown but other things are running out beside energy, like arable land, antibiotics that work, etc.

Expect more reliance on nuclear power, more nuclear waste nobody knows how to get rid of, and more Fukushima-like disasters. Fukushima is bad enough as it is and we haven't heard the last of it.

Eventually we will see the end of feminism, children & families. We will go down but so will all the lies with us.

Eivind Berge said...

Hydroelectric power is already pretty much maxed out, so it can do little to offset peak oil even if the reservoirs remained intact. There can simply never be all that much of it. I also fear there will be a problem with spare parts for the generators after international trade and supply chains break down. I doubt we can make all this technology ourselves here in Norway, so even if we have plenty of hydroelectric power right now, it won't necessarily do us much good after the collapse.

Gail's latest post as well as a podcast interview with her explain well how financial limits are more important and immediate than geological limits:

http://ourfiniteworld.com/2013/12/18/th-real-oil-extraction-limit-and-how-it-affects-the-downslope/
http://www.peakprosperity.com/podcast/83994/gail-tverberg-shale-oil-boom-more-mirage-miracle

We don't keep up business as usual until we wake up one morning and find the oil wells are dry -- collapse happens much sooner, when investments in extracting resources stop for financial reasons, perhaps because interest rates rise or because investing in new oil projects is simply unprofitable. The mainstream media is already letting on that oil companies are running into this very problem:

http://www.dn.no/energi/article2735408.ece

Seems Gail is right that high enough oil prices fail to materialize. Looks like we need to subsidize the oil industry ASAP or else we will soon have no oil industry. And then we will have nothing else, either. At least the police state will also then become thermodynamically impossible, so there is a bright side. I laugh at all the long sentences being handed down and hateful laws that cannot possibly be enforced much longer.

As to Bitcoin, it just took a hit from obstacles created by the Chinese government. But I think it will recover and I stand by my above predictions. Now is a great time to buy if you missed the previous lows. I think cryptocurrencies will be our civilization's last success story before collapse, and they may even help delay collapse for a while by facilitating international trade longer and save us from some of the machinations of the banksters. As Bill Still says, they are Noah's Ark 2. My prediction for 2014 is money from QE will start flowing into Bitcoin via Bitcoin derivatives traded on Wall Street. This is an opportunity to finally transfer some of that wealth to ordinary people, rather than just blowing up bubbles for the super rich. Everything will still collapse before long, but it can be a fun ride if we are smart.

Anonymous said...

"Looks like we need to subsidize the oil industry ASAP or else we will soon have no oil industry."


The oil industry is already heavily subsidized.

Eivind Berge said...

I thought the oil industry was a major source of taxes for oil exporting countries. Isn't that how Norway has been able to accumulate a huge Government Pension Fund, for example? But as profits decline, governments can't count on oil for taxes anymore, and it seems to me that maybe we can delay collapse a bit by subsidizing the oil industry instead.

Anonymous said...

https://www.google.no/#q=subsidier+oljeindustri

Eivind Berge said...

Ok, so subsidies are already widely used. That means we are even closer to collapse than I realized. There is still room for less taxes though, to stimulate oil production, but then governments must cut spending. If we are smart, we will also put the Oil Fund back into the oil industry to keep it going even at a loss, because this fantasy money will otherwise mostly be lost anyway as stock markets collapse. I guess we are already doing this too to some extent.

Anonymous said...

It has long been known that [URL=http://"http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/did-the-cia-give-the-nsa-documents-to-ed-snowden/"]there's a turf war[/URL] between the NSA and the CIA. Ed Snowden, for instance, is probably a triple agent, primarily working for the CIA. His role is, first and foremost, to hurt the NSA. (And to give the Russians some false American intelligence, while simultaneously trying to steal real Russian intelligence, feeding it to the CIA.) He's obviously succeeding in hurting the NSA, at least.

We also know that Satoshi left the Bitcoin project as soon as Gavin revealed he was visiting the CIA. Gavin even stated publically that this very fact probably was the reason Satoshi left. And Gavin's revelation came right after he received the alert keys from Satoshi.

So why did Satoshi seemingly become so angry that he apparently left the Bitcoin project for good? Was it perhaps because Satoshi worked for the NSA all along? And when Gavin revealed he was visiting the NSA's arch enemy, the CIA, Satoshi realized the Bitcoin protocol would be compromised in some way? Or maybe Satoshi just was a true cypherpunk all along. Either way, he didn't seem to like the fact that Gavin visited the CIA.


Anonymous said...

Here's the post where Gavin revealed he was gonna visit the CIA: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=6652.0

This is what Gavin said:

"I think the goals of this project are to create a better currency, create a more competitive and efficient international payment system, and give people more direct control over their finances. And I don't think any of those goals are incompatible with the goals of government."

Here you can find the radio interview where Gavin revealed why Satoshi left:

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=113609.10;wap2

http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/onlyonetv.com-bitcoin-show/id464967190

And here's a Satoshi quote:

"Yes, [we will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography,] but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years. Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks like Napster, but pure P2P networks like Gnutella and Tor seem to be holding their own."

No disagreement there, I guess ...


This blew my mind when I read it:

http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/matrix-who-is-edward-snowden/


What do you think of this, Eivind?

Guy Faux-wkes said...

Eivind, as a long time follower:

Are you not the least embarassed to be so apocalyptic?

Most critics of you that agree with you to some extent regarding society now being misandrist, write you off as a conspiracy theorist and therefore as someone not worthy of being associated with.

By embracing "peak oil"-hysteria and entertaining apocalyptic notions, are you not feeding those voices and attitudes?

Eivind Berge said...

Embarrassed to be so apocalyptic? Yes, I thought long and hard about whether I should come out as a peak oiler and how it would affect my credibility. I am not sure apocalyptic is the right word though, as I said a slow decline is at least as likely as a sudden collapse. It may take up to a century. But since billions of people likely have to die prematurely one way or another, it is bound to be pretty dramatic, so perhaps I really am apocalyptic.

Despite any embarrassment, I became so convinced that we are running into some serious limits to growth that I just had to say it. Especially since narratives to the contrary, of endless growth, increasingly look like silly fairy tales. Politicians, economists, transhumanists, and most people speak of the future as if energy is irrelevant or an afterthought at best, as if prosperity can be created out of thin air by all of us selling services to each other. It hurts my sense of rationality to believe in perpetual motion machines. Another analogy to the official world view is the mythical image of a snake subsisting on its own tail. I have come to realize that the myth of our economy, when detached from fossil fuels in our imagination, is just as ridiculous as a snake eating its own tail forever. If you believe this, while I acknowledge the laws of thermodynamics, who is the crazy one?

Peak oil is now admitted in the mainstream media:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/dec/23/british-petroleum-geologist-peak-oil-break-economy-recession

Witness the mainstream media also admitting "renewable energy" is a charade:

http://www.dn.no/energi/article2726371.ece

And look at prime minister Erna Solberg in her New Year's speech claiming we shall live on "knowledge" after the oil runs out. But civilization does not run on knowledge. We need an energy source. And what's it gonna be?

Eivind Berge said...

As to Snowden, I don't know exactly what to believe, but it seems plausible he is some sort of inside job or double or even triple agent. The most convincing reason to me is: What good is all this surveillance if people don't know they are being watched? So the NSA itself or some other government agency set out to show us we are being watched all the time. It is probably much more complicated too, maybe with internal turf wars and so on.

I am a little shocked by Gavin's amicable attitude to the government. While it is true that ideally the goals of Bitcoin aren't incompatible with the goals of government if we had a perfect government who cared about freedom and the interests of the people, that is hardly the reality of any government in the world today. Real governments fight wars against their own people, as in the War on Drugs, or they use their power to serve themselves or give unfair advantages to special interest groups like feminists or the banksters. Gavin seems naive to think cooperating with government is a good thing. But it might be necessary to appease them to some extent and play along with regulations for a while until we are more powerful than fiat. Perhaps he knows what he is doing. Bitcoin is bigger than Gavin though, and if he tries to mess up the project, then we simply won't run his software. I know a lot of people trust him, but hopefully he can't convince the majority of the network to do something stupid.

Guy Faux-wkes said...

Jaja. Her har du i alle fall en medalarmist: http://psteigan.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/statoils-salg-varsler-roffe-tider/

Eivind Berge said...

Han har skjønt det. Det er surrealistisk at vi kan være på randen av sammenbrudd uten at det er tema i den politiske debatten.

Anonymous said...

Se også Finansavisen i dag, lørdag, s 4-5 ("Gullalderen er over i Norge"), og ikke minst s 6-7 ("Dobbelt så mange felt, halvparten så mye olje").

Se også Dagens Næringsliv i dag (fremdeles mandag), s 4-5 og topp forsidesak: "Folk tror nordmenn er snille og russerne slemme, men det er IKKE tilfelle" - Italiensk energigigant i strupen på Statoil (bildetekst "SINT: Eni-sjef Paolo Scaroni mener Statoil er den verste gassleverandøren. Han roser russiske Gazprom.").

ScareCrow said...

You do realize that there are other ways to get energy besides burning oil?

Let oil run out - whomever invests in alternate energy sources will be the winner.

This is not something I worry about - but then again, I guess that I am unique, as I own the intellectual properties on how to make a big solar panel for under $300 - with a battery too - for when there is no sunlight.

http://greenrgsolutions.com/

Eivind Berge said...

When all the inputs are accounted for, the energy return on investment of solar power is something like 2.45:

http://energyskeptic.com/2013/tilting-at-windmills-spains-solar-pv/

And that's under pretty much optimal conditions in sunny Spain. An EROEI of 2.45 is far too low to sustain civilization as we know it. And if your solution includes batteries, EROEI will probably be lower. Do you seriously think your solar panel can be manufactured for $300 in the absence of fossil fuels, just by using similar solar panels and other renewable power sources? This would have to include mining or recycling the raw materials for the batteries and everything else that goes into making the product, as well as maintaining the entire infrastructure needed to get this done. If you consider the whole system, it becomes clear that solar energy is hopeless. We don't have any way to concentrate the energy from the sun enough to be sufficiently useful for us, without waiting millions of years for nature to do it for us. And other renewable energy sources are not much better. After reading extensively on this I am convinced by now that no matter how we attack it, there is not enough net energy to be had. Industrial civilization is done for now.

Anonymous said...

http://www.aftenposten.no/meninger/kommentarer/Lang-straff-med-rabatt-7430259.html#.UtNI3fTuLT_

Eivind Berge said...

Ser ut som enda en ny rekord i falsk voldtekt. 15 års fengsel for 12 påståtte voldtekter langt tilbake i tid hvor det ikke finnes andre bevis enn at jentene hevder de ble presset ned av kroppsvekten hans? Altså en ren troverdighetsvurdering. Og der retten ikke tror på voldtekt, så kan de likevel dømme for "utnyttelse av stilling" bare fordi han er trener, for mannlig seksualitet er uansett forbudt.

Noen bra kommentarer der. Jeg liker denne av Morten Pedersen: "Jeg ble en gang tiltalt for voldtekt. I tingretten ble jeg dømt, fordi retten mente at kvinnen var TROVERDIG. Just like that. Like før ankesaken innrømmet hun at hun hadde løyet. Sendte meg mange mailer hvor hun bønnfalt meg om tilgivelse. Ikke en dag går uten at jeg drømmer om hevn, ikke mot henne, for hun er en bare en skam, men mot det systemet som felte meg. Hvorfor jeg ble anmeldt? Har hørt det er klassisk. Hun gikk til politiet fordi jeg slo opp kvelden før."

Nå kommer endelig rettssaken som skal promulgere for det norske folk at det er lov å oppfordre til drap på politimenn (mens det kun er oppfordring til iverksettelse som er forbudt). Det blir gøy. Les stevningen her. (Linken er et utkast som ikke er korrekturlest, men i hovedtrekk det samme som er levert inn.) Fikk også nettopp kopi av et brev fra Nordhordland tingrett om at nå må staten senest 27.01.2014 gi tilsvar til stevningen; ellers vil retten avsi fraværsdom på grunnlag av min fremstilling av saken.

Anonymous said...

Hvem er arild dyngeland? hvorfor har du skiftet advokat?

Eivind Berge said...

Og vi skal også ikke minst bevise for folket at det er i vår fulle rett å forherlige politidrap, selvsagt, selv om det fremdeles står i § 140 at forherligelse er straffbart.

Regner med at saken kommer opp i mai eller rundt der.

Eivind Berge said...

Jeg har ikke skiftet advokat. Det er fremdeles Henrik Birkeland som fører saken. Dyngeland fra samme firma står oppført som ansvarlig advokat, men det er uten betydning.

Anonymous said...

Hva er planene dine etter at denne saken er helt over? Kommer du til å engasjere deg i debatt på ulike måter? Skriver du på ting? Ser det er lite oppdatering og veldig mye fokus på det samme som min fucked-up jehovasvitner-tremenning er helt oppslukt av; the end of the world og olje. Han er en hårsbredd fra å bli en prepper.

Anonymous said...

Det var ikke vondt ment ;) selv om han er fucked up betyr ikke at du er det. det er mange interessante ting i vår tid, men håper du vil skrive mye mer om vår tids heksebrenning på bloggen din.

Anonymous said...

Pussy riots kommer til Bergen for å se på norske soningsforhold. Regner med at du stiller opp Eivind for å fortelle et og annet om norsk ytringsfrihet.

Anonymous said...

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=412846.0

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-09/13/digital-economy-task-force


Any views on this, Eivind?

Anonymous said...

It seems like The Bitcoin Foundation is becoming a kind of federal police force tasked with combating things like drugs, money laundering, prostitution and terrorism. Gavin will go to regular closed meetings at the NSA, Pentagon and The Fed, where he'll be duly instructed on which direction to take the Bitcoin project. The source code will be closed, or at least backdoored somehow (if it isn't already).

I guess another crypto currency will take Bitcoin's place eventually.

Or maybe I'm wrong.

Eivind Berge said...

Of course it is utterly reprehensible for the Bitcoin Foundation to champion these politically correct causes. If it means they will get directly involved in surveillance and cooperation with law enforcement, then that's a dealbreaker. But can they really do this even if they want to? I already know there are some bad apples among the core developers. For example, Mike Hearn proposed that bitcoins be somehow tainted as "bad" if they are involved in inappropriate activities. His proposal was not well received and I think it had to be abandoned.

As any product or movement goes mainstream, it comes with the territory that its leaders will tend to parrot the prevailing politically correct shibboleths. But realistically, all this talk about abetting the moral panics of our time is probably little more than lip service. It is very pathetic and sad that the Bitcoin Foundation puts on such an obsequious display, but not disastrous for the project unless they really mess up the protocol somehow to cater to the government in practice behind our backs.

If the source code were to be closed, wouldn't that be the death of bitcoin? I don't see how they could close the source code and still be trusted. Also, anyone can make a bitcoin client as long as they follow the protocol, so the reference client will hopefully eventually be a minority, in which case it doesn't really matter what the core developers do. They can fork themselves into oblivion for all we care, where they can suck up to the NSA, feminists and law enforcement all they want, while honest developers take over the project.

If there is a backdoor in open source, wouldn't it be discovered? And it would be a huge scandal for sure. I don't think the Bitcoin Foundation could breach our trust and still be in charge. Then we would indeed either fix it or move on to a different cryptocurrency (really it's as simple as compiling the bitcoin client ourselves without the backdoor). Or if a lot of people keep using bitcoin even while knowing it's a tool of the government, then we would at least still get rich if we are invested in bitcoin as early adopters. So I don't share your pessimism.

Eivind Berge said...

After reading through this thread,

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=412846.80

I am convinced that Gavin is an evil man. It is much worse than I thought. He literally wants the Bitcoin Foundation to be an extension of the feminist sex abuse industry. In fact this is even worse than what the feminists are currently doing. He thinks it might be a good idea if the Bitcoin Foundation offered a bounty paid in bitcoin for anyone who can successfully accuse someone of a sex crime against children. This is so sick and absurd, he comes across as a caricature of the kind of dimwitted scumbag who will blindly favor any kind of persecution as long as it is claimed to be "for the children." These are his words: "For example, maybe offering mostly-anonymous bounties to reward anybody who gives information that leads to the arrest and conviction of people abusing children for profit or pleasure is a good idea. Maybe those bounties could be paid in Bitcoin."

Ok, let me follow his example. I hereby offer a bounty of 1 BTC to anyone who successfully accuses Gavin Andresen of a sex crime. If anyone can put him in prison for at least a decade and on the sex offender registry for life, then I shall send the informer one bitcoin. How do you like to live in a world where any idiot could get paid to make up accusations against you, Gavin? Or perhaps send you some child porn and call the cops? What if others chip in and make the bounty 1000 BTC, do you still only feel warm and fuzzy about "protecting the children" then, Gavin? And what makes you think creating these kinds of perverse incentives is the job of the Bitcoin Foundation?

We seriously need to support some new developers, because not even the central bankers could come up with this shit...

Eivind Berge said...

Anyone who wants to contribute to the bounty on successfully accusing Gavin Andresen of a sex crime can send BTC to 1Ay8PaesNqgu1QDP7VD9tNKuYKhsneHqSD, and I will hold it for that purpose.

And just to clarify, I am not trying to incite false accusations here. I am just giving him *exactly* what he asked for...

Anonymous said...

Etter å ha lest stevningen, kan jeg ikke forstå annet enn at dere vinner erstatningssaken fullt og samtidig forhåpentligvis klarer å påføre staten et høyst fortjent tap.

Eivind Berge said...

Ja, det er utrolig at Staten i det hele tatt velger å la det gå til rettssak når jeg så soleklart har alle rettigheter på min side. Men så langt ser det ut til at det blir slik. Så kan de dumme seg ut enda en gang (eller tre om det går helt til Høyesterett igjen) i tillegg til å betale både erstatning og masse saksomkostninger.