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If I was to sum-up in one word the bullshit in those Integrated Assessment Models I would choose humanism. I would further favor a more loose definition as oppose the more doctrinaire humanism of the Secular Humanists. True enough the scientist you mentioned by name -- Dawkins and E.O. -- are doctrinaire Secular Humanists as well. We can't say for certain that all those scientists working on the Integrated Assessments Models are as doctrinaire as those two. But, what we can say is that they all agree that humans are super-duper problem solvers and that models should reflect that "fact". Of course if it proves to be that, that "fact" is wanting, then we all start playing the "blame game". I see your good friend Paul Krugman has already positioned himself on the board:
Toggle Commented Dec 5, 2015 on Bullshit Is Everywhere at Decline of the Empire
I have not had much to say lately -- does not means I have not been following. Last year I took what was billed as the "people's Climate Train" to what I now understand was the not-as-big-as-we-were-told climate papapalooza in New York. Why I decided to do so is a story in itself and one I do not really need to get into. But, I will say that part of deciding to go was accepting that I would more then likely have to sit next to some wild-eyed environmentalist for 3 whole days. I suppose dreading that was why I rather sulky about actually boarding the train. By the time I boarded there were only two seats left. One next to an ancient, but very lively, pixie-sized hippy. The other next to a young good-looking Indian national. I took the Indian. His name was Shankar, Tamil, Brahman and in America to become proficient at computer engineering. Shankar told me a great deal about himself. While still an innocent, Shankar had developed a very strong cross caste infatuation. A very tragic story. Shankar said it was all but impossible to develop a love of nature in India. That had happened for him in our national parks. Perphaps they really are the greatest American idea ever. We as well talked a great deal about India. Shankar was going to go back at the end of 2014 and was now committed to: "finding a way to work for preservation in India". But, Shankar also said that he accepted the fact that: "nothing could be done about coal consumption in India". He said no Indian politician could ever favor such an idea as: "the reduction of coal consumption, at the price of delaying development". This is putting aside the fact that: "Indian politics is unbelievably corrupt". On a personal level Shankar had become a vegan. I also learned from him that India has the largest cattle industry in the world. Shankar as well fessed-up that his decision to become a vegan had left his mother unbelievably distraught. Shankar's mother was thoroughly convinced without the daily consumption of ghee her son would never enjoy good health. Shankar is an only son and had been inline to be family's next Pandit. At the time of the denouement of his tragic infatuation, with the low-caste servant girl, Shankar had informed his parents he would never study "the hateful religion". I was left with the strong impression that Shankar's parents adored him, even if his uniqueness distressed them. I believe his whole extended family held Shankar in the highest regards as well. For Shankar said, when he had first come to America, his cousins who were already here, encouraged him to take time to "explore himself". All and all the three days with Shankar was like being in the presence of a Hindu prince of old. I suppose they had Brahman princes? I really do not know. On his return to India Shankar planned to first tackle the overwhelming problem of "outdoor defecation". While he never said so to me, I believe Shankar hopes to combine his new American born reverence for nature, with the pure innocent love of the adored golden boy for the beguiling, ill-fated poor serving girl Saraswati. In all his endeavors I will always wish Shankar the best of luck. May he at some level forever remain the forthright, passionate, yet wise beyond his years, young man who accompanied me on our quixotic journey across America.
Toggle Commented Nov 11, 2015 on The Keystone Victory at Decline of the Empire
Aloha, I really have nothing much to add. I do note in this post you really are at the top of your game! Well on second thought, I do have a small observation to add. It concerns the self-identity of the political activist faction, as opposed to the science faction, within 350. I am not surprised that "Wild-Bill" is based at a small New England liberal-arts collage. That rocky soiled cradle of Yankeedom was the birthplace of the first mass activist movement in American history -- the movement to bring about the sudden and total abolition of slavery though-out the Union. Without question The 350 activists see themselves as the righteous heirs to those antebellum Abolitionists. When not bring up the undoubtedly true threat the burning of fossil fuels present to future generations, 350 activists like to play the moral blame game. They blame a rogue fossil fuel industry for this deplorable existential threat to humanity's continued existence. In their somewhat simpler times the Abolitionists had the "Slavocracy" as the source of all known evil. Both are examples of affixing blame for what are "wicked problems". As "wicked problems" both, chattel-slavery and the burning of fossil fuels, defy the simple solutions that "blame thinking" implies. Without question the burning of fossil fuels is a far, far more wicked a problem then the one presented by chattel-slavery. Hell the burning of fossil-fuels was part of the "wicked solution" to chattel-slavery. I would say there is only one plausible reason that can be given, for why the American peoples had to endure a hellish war in order to "abolish slavery" -- Americans are a particularly morally obtuse people. Let's have a little fun by making-up a semi-humorous analogy between the historic "abolition of slavery" as a result of the Civil War/War between the States and a future American "abolition of fossil fuel dependency" through a similar war. Of course, 350 activist along with their doppelgangers, the climate deniers, will never alone plunge us into such a war. In order for that to happen they will need help from "crackpot realist" politicians. In particular there will be a need for a state-in for "honest Abe". As the title "the Great Emancipator" has been taken, she/he will be know down through whatever remains of history after the war as "the great Renewer". In what ever sort of school may exist in the post fossil fuel civil war America, all the little nit-wit kiddies, will be taught, "the Great Renewer" is called that because they "freed us from fossil fuel dependency". Just as "White Supremacy" somehow survived, the war and reconstruction that supposedly done it in, plenty of fossil fuels will be burned in this new postbellum America. All demon Americans will reside in places like West Virgina or Texas. In the end, the greatest result of this future fossil fuel civil war will be the tremendous and exciting new chapter thus added to our national story. Tales will be told about how the war tore brother from brother. Some will say they were just simply "taking a stand" to defend their way of life. Homicidal fanatics will be honored as "the righteous instrument of the people and the science". But once all the debates and discussions are ended everyone will agree that we -- as a people -- are all far better for having enured such a terrible ordeal. Yes, much was lost, so to speak, "gone with the wind". But we will be strengthened, the union more perfect. We will continue to move forward. Our collective progress towards a better future will not be crippled by such tragedy. The Americans of this, the future postbellum fossil fuel free America, will derive conform from all this that they will know. The alternative to being so uplifted will be too horrible to contemplate. Thus, such alternative views will be entertained by very few. A hui hou ...
Thought you might find this Machiavelli quote amusing and apropos -- The distinction between children and adults, while probably useful for some purposes, is at bottom a specious one, I feel. There are only individual egos crazy for love.
Toggle Commented Mar 26, 2015 on Early Weakening Of The AMOC at Decline of the Empire
I have said it before and I will say it again -- you are made of sterner stuff than I. I tuned in to about five minuets of the first episode and there were Masai racing around in Land Rovers, wearing night vision goggles, so as to live in peace with the local Lion Pride. Well after that I just thought: "I am sure Dave will be tuning in and if he said there is a point of subjecting myself to this I will find out then". By the way, my commie friends, have an expression for the point you made at the end of your post. When supporters of other political lines do what the commies consider to be, a good job covering some particular exploitation or social oppression, while at the same time showing-up the limitation of a non-party line analysis of said exploitation/oppression, they call that "good exposure". The masses start out with "good exposure". It prepares the masses for the correct party line, by allowing party supporters to struggle with them, by showing them the draw-backs of non-class analysis of "the exploitation and oppression the system generates". Perhaps I need to find better introductory "good exposure" before I bring up Flatland. But then, the capacity for ever being able to see Flatland is more then likely genetically determined. Education can overcome "false consciousness" resulting from a particular socialization but it can never rewire consciousness itself.
Aloha, I agree with Oliver and have come across and article argues from this perspective: . If you find reading this article too tedious {as well you should} then this comment by Wee Willy Winky over at "Our Finite World" gets the point across while spilling far less virtual ink: Wee Willy Winky say December 30, 2014 at 3:29 am Of course they can rig the price of oil. OPEC has been rigging it for years (with full approval of the US) If they wanted the price of oil to move over $100 they could easily do it. John Kerry would just make a call to the Saudi’s and tell them to shut a spigot or two. And if Saudi’s said no, then whichever bearded whore-master was behind that ‘no’ would be advised to download the movie Syriana and watch that movie in his gilded screening room. He would specifically be asked to watch the scene near the very end, the part where the drone kills the would be Emir who signed the deal with the Chinese instead of the Americans. Remember what happened to Mossadegh, and Gaddafi, and Saddam when they decided not to listen to their CIA minders. Look at what is happening to Mr Assad right now. And lest we forget, Putin is arch enemy number one all of the sudden because he refuses to kowtow to the will of the US. This is what empire is all about. Carrot and stick. If you go along you get the carrot. But if you rock the boat you get the assassin’s bullet in the head, and someone who will go along replaces you. There can be no leniency, because if the emperor is like the mafia don. If he fails to punish someone who screws him, the message goes out that he is weak, and that is the beginning of the end. If the US wants the oil price higher it will go higher. It is surely much more difficult to increase share prices across global stock markets to record highs, when growth is falling, than it would be to increase the price of oil. It really would be as simple as firing some drone missiles into the refineries of a major oil producer cutting the flow of oil and creating a panic, and blaming the whole thing on “the terrorists” You’d have $100 oil in the time it would take for an energy trader to read that information coming across his Bloomberg screen, and hitting a few key strokes on his terminal. In another comment Wee Willy shows great respect towards Gail the Actuary and her silly Leonardo Sticks: I am with Gail on this. I do not think we are likely to see much of a burst upwards in price of oil due to renewed growth. Because growth is over, no matter what we do. We are starting the phase of pushing on a string. It would be good to be wrong on this.. A hui hou ...
Thanks Dave for getting back. I think it really means a great deal to all of us devoted readers that you really do care about our comments and what we write to you. In the area of wilderness conservation I have started referring to the structure/process as -- the Conservation-Industrial Complex. Like its sibling, the Military-Industrial Complex, it is surrounded by big, opaque, billowing clouds of bullshit. If you want to get focused on outcomes there, make sure you have on your hazmat suit fully equipped with industrial-strength bullshit filters.
All I can say Dave is that you are made of sterner than I. Expect a card. It has something in it that I hope you appreciate -- besides a small cheque.
A question: Have you heard of the concept of "supernormal stimuli" and what is the relationship of this concept to profit taking?
Toggle Commented Aug 30, 2013 on Either Profits Go or We Go at Question Everything
Dave -- Mahalo nui loa for clarifying, for me, a great deal about human nature. You really enabled me to put-down some of my own thoughts as well -- though far from addicted to writing {I actually hate writing}. Also a big mahalos for cluing me into "Science Daily". I basically read it for laughs {yes I got an odd sense of humor} but there is occasionally some really good stuff there. I guess I will have to work harder to get the most out of "Science Daily" and the rest of the internet now it will not be filtered through you on a near daily basis. Looking forward to your meatier less often blogs. A hui hou ... Lucas.
Toggle Commented Jul 26, 2013 on DOTE Goes Off The Air at Decline of the Empire
Aloha -- Dave here in Honolulu we are presently having our annual Hawaii Con-Con {Conservation-Convention}. The opening keynote was given by a Dr. Doug McKenize-Mohr enviornmental psychologist founder of community-based social social marketing see: and http: and Oh, the Delicious irony of it all was lost on most everyone else there. This guy is in the business of making money off the behavioral changes humans would need to make to survive -- not that he really asked all that much from any of us. Well, he did talk about chocolate which is also delicious. Also the chanting Hawaiians at the "opening protocol" did give the whole event a wonderful "Hawaiian sense of place". If they had instead flown you out we would have instead got the unvarnished truth. Wish I could afford to fly you out and had the the space to put you up. You would hate Honolulu but the rest of the state is very beautiful. We could go hiking, snorkeling and do some swimming. I do not surf or scuba -- tho I guess I could give it the old college try. Hardly a week goes by out here that someone or the other {usually what we refer to politely as "visitors"} kills themselves "having fun". This the Cohen "good enough" theory of human cognition helps explains, for me, the so-called "mystery" of our dear, late and much lamented cousins the Neandertals. Because of their magnificent robustness their technological instinct -- not their "intelligence" -- was rather underdeveloped. I think, I read somewhere or the other, that if Neanderals were "de-extincted" {by the way the TED-talk on "de-extinction" -- a number of the presenters at the the con-con loved it.} and started playing NFL football, they could grab a Sapien player, from the opposing team with ball he was holding and drop-kick them both through -- what I hope -- are called the goalposts. A hug from a Neandertal would be as deadly to a human as a bear hug. This fact brings up some interesting questions, about well the time when, we were you know -- intimate. Perhaps that explains the point of origin of our insufferable arrogance. I can imagine one of our primeval "playaz" coming back to his homies and saying: "Yah I was all-up in that! Those Neandertal bitches are da bomb!" Of course, the shoe would be on the other foot {that is if anyone was wearing shoes back then} when lady Neandertal showed-up with keiki in tow. By the way if any of you out there have, like I do, very, very wide feet with strong griping toes you got yourself a genuine pair of "Neandertal feet". Read about their feet in Erik Trinkaus' and Pat Shipman's "The Neandertals: Changing the Image of Mankind". A hui hou ....
Dave, I am breaking out my secret stash of hopium about the next three weeks. But, no matter how they pan out, I simply do not possess the words necessary to express my gratitude for what you have accomplished here at DOTE. Yes, yes I understand that DOTE was a failure in achieving the goal you set for yourself, and may I add it was a most humanly understandable goal even for one who is so uncompromising in spelling out the fatal flaws in our human nature. If anything, if there was any decency or basic sanity, in our so-called free-society, your stalwart truth-telling should have guaranteed you what you so desired "an interesting life". No such luck. I was angered but not especially surprised to read about your receiving "hate mail". My heart goes out to you, for declaring, that despite the frustration you feel in going on blogging, that you face life after DOTE with "horror and terror". To paraphrase the Bard, may it be said of David Cohen, that he blogged not wisely but too well. Of humanity may it be said, they like the base Judean, threw a pearl away richer than all their tribes. The best to you. Aloha 'oe hoaloha ... Lucas
Toggle Commented Jul 9, 2013 on Is Humanity Doomed? at Decline of the Empire
I see know that all knowledge about human behavior can be reduced to one simple acronym PRO MAO. The first part is basic ecology from Dilsworth: P=Pioneering Principle. R=Reaction Principle. O=Overshoot principle of. The second part from you Dave the result of the first: M=Manipulation. A=Appropriation. O=Obliteration. Of course one is neither pro-or-con PRO MAO it is just what we do. a hui hou ...
The best of this sort of stuff remains, for me, a Stuart Staniford post from May of 2010: Of course if all of Staniford's and Drum's duck do get lined up in a row they are right -- but that certainly is a big if.
Toggle Commented Jun 4, 2013 on Here Come The Machines! at Decline of the Empire
I would say the Mithen work needs to be read in conjunction with Richard Wrangham's "Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human". Mithen has nothing to say about the domestication of fire and the effect it had on our evolutionary development. That is simply a glaring oversight in an otherwise find work. A comparatively new work by Timothy Taylor, that expands on this whole line of research, into human origin and subsequential development, is "The Artificial Ape: How Technology Change the Course Human Evolution": Have yet to get a hold of a copy -- the reviews at Amazon and else where have got me very intrigued.
Toggle Commented May 20, 2013 on The Technological Instinct at Decline of the Empire
@ Mr. Roboto No offense but speaking as another homosexual -- you really summed it up why we will fail as a species. It is all about "My Private Idah" there really is something in for everybody in progress. A hui hou ... Lucas.
Aloha -- Dave, Because he is a tenured prof, George Mobus, tends to be long-winded. But, by the stands of his profession, he does write with clarity. I bring this particular posts, by the good professor, to your attention because he, drags in to the discussion: A. Our alleged universal need for meaning. B. Deep evolutionary theory. C. He talks about sex {well he does bring up evolution}. A question for you, O wise one, if evolved cleverness is the Fall, and the impending population bottleneck is the Tribulation, does that mean E.O. Wilson is Jesus Christ? A hui hou ... Lucas.
Toggle Commented Apr 26, 2013 on Two TED Talks, Open Thread at Decline of the Empire
Dave, If you have not already read Christopher Lasch "The True and Only Heaven Progress and its Critics" you need to do so. Before reading Lasch I was a true-believer in one of the more heretical economic sects{at least in what was once referred as "the Free World"} -- Marxism -- afterwards I could start to think for myself. Here is a quote from Lasch: "Now we can see what was so novel about the eighteenth-century idea of progress ... Its original appeal and its continuing plausibility derived from the more specific assumption that insatiable appetites, formerly condemned as a source of social instability and personal unhappiness, could drive the economic machine -- just as man's insatiable curiosity drove the scientific project -- and thus ensure a never-ending expansion of productive forces. The moral rehabilitation of desire ... generated a new sense of possibility, which announced itself most characteristically ... in the hardheaded new science of political economy." {p.52} Yes, of course Progress is a religion, because like all other invisible cosmic beings, that men have created, it never dies -- Progress is eternal. Like other religions before it, Progress promises its believers eternal life, in that a progressive society is incorruptible without end. As Lasch puts it: "A positive appraisal of the social effects of self-gratification made it possible for interpreters of the new order to exempt modern society, in effect, from the judgment of time -- the judgment previously believed, by Christians and pagans alike, to hang like a sword over all man's works." {p.53} We have indeed raised up a great golden beast and worship it. The beast calls us its "children". We are proclaimed to be the apple of the golden beast's eye. The beast then tells us: "Children you are free!" We say: "Free? Free for what, O Creator?" The beast replies: "Why, my children you are free to want what you will." We say: "But what should we want, O our parent?" The beast smiles slyly and coos: "Children, children just look into your hearts and you will know". We grow very quite, a glint comes to our eyes, a roar rises in our throats, the shout goes forth: "WE WANT MORE!" With tears in its eyes the beast says: "Thus, you give me life and I to you." A hui hou ... Lucas
Toggle Commented Apr 24, 2013 on Economics As Religion at Decline of the Empire
I think Buffaloian got a point. But, then I am person who can't say that I have never gotten in a physical fight with another person. I say it again, DAVE IS A PROPHET, and simply will not be regarded or respected. His level of understanding and compassion are simply too rare ... oh hell lets do the full quote: -- "Too Weird to live, too rare to die" -- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas -- Hunter S. Thompson. I wonder how much that goes for by the pound? Good thing most people are swine -- not to suggest they won't try to put a price on everything, it really is a question of knowing the value of anything. President Kimura is for the present simply living his culture, which does, as pointed out above, provide him with an honorable alternative when that is not longer viable. Now if we were as a species honorable, we would have quite some time ago, embraced the goals of the Human Voluntary Extinction Movement {see.}
Dave-- of course you have the right to complain. And your reward is that ye shall be proclaimed not scientist, not philosopher, not pundit, not doomer-for-sale but prophet. And as it is written "a prophet shall have no honor on his planet" {we all do now live in a "globalized society"} The Avatar of this the most unhappy era was not incarnated to bring joy-to-the-world but awareness. When you took up your calling, three years ago, you had much awareness but that final awareness was still denied you -- the awareness that the joke would be on you. Perhaps you had some inkling but now you know the brutal truth. I am not going say "buck-up the next year your hits are bound to go through the roof" because they are not. The pain, the frustration, the unhappiness all are not going to go way. The world will not change. Dave, what I can offer you is my unconditional love and total loyalty as a reader. Your insights, your compassion are unique and that is what makes them very precious. As you like to say "there is no free lunch". Your suffering is our gain. There is really quite a lot brilliance in the world. What sets you apart is that you do not look away no matter how painful it gets. Thus your light burns extra bright. Far too bright for most gaze upon. You really are now entering into uncharted territory. Jesus only lasted three years. But, each great passion is different. Who knows how long yours will last. Happy Anniversary -- expect a card from Honolulu A hui hou ... Lucas.
Toggle Commented Jan 14, 2013 on DOTE Three-Year Anniversary at Decline of the Empire
Mahalo nui loa for posting Robinson Jeffers. Will share with only friend who I think will appreciate.
Wheelerlucas added a favorite at Decline of the Empire
Nov 20, 2012
Wheelerlucas added a favorite at Decline of the Empire
Nov 20, 2012
I guess some problem in my HEAD will never get better. Will be a more diligent proof-reader for future comments posted.
Today I truly did not want to get out of bed. Things inside my end -- as you know the only place that really matters to any of us -- are simply going from bad to worse. Well as I lay there thinking what is the point a little thought entered my head: "I have to get up to read Dave. I hope it is a good one." Out of the ball park! My question is what would have this sycophant have written if Mittens had won? The mother of all consolation pieces? I read this big steaming pile as proof positive as to why "liberals" are more dangerously delusional then "conservatives". You say "ocean acidification". They say "gays in the senate". I am quite certain they truly believe that at some future date our first Black-lesbian-native-American-foreign-born president will be able to start the slow but certain process of dealing with those other "astonishing changes" Mike Roberts made reference to just above. Did not Obama mention climate change in his acceptance speech? Clearly the process has already started. Be prepared to be even more astonished.