Saturday, January 5, 2008

Famine Zero

Wow! It's like a post lifted off Vault-Co from 1999!

In a declining civilization, everything seems to be a matter of decreasing gains. The more energy that is put into a complex system like agriculture the smaller the productivity gains that appear to come out of it. This parallels the collapse of many previous societies. In the beginning, everything looks so easy, food is marvelously abundant, producing it sometimes seems almost effortless. Near the end, every grain of wheat has to be fought over until more calories are being expended to grow it than can be replaced by eating it.

I honestly don't know exactly why that is. It is likely a combination of a huge number of factors, like soil quality and solar output and yield per hectare versus energy required to harvest it.

Marc Widdowson, a writer about the new Dark Age, said it elegantly : Times get harder. Everything seems tougher. What was once easy starts to appear impossible. It's a sign your society is in decline.

This is the reason so many people are now claiming we never went to the moon. With all our technology, how in the hell could our ancestors have sent a capsule up there and brought it back with nothing but vacuum tubes and punch cards? Yet, they did just that. Made it look like child's play, too.


JKo said...

Is that gamma world?

Anonymous said...

Store food. Lots of it. Think one year minimum. 2-5 is even better. Also learn to hunt, trap, fish, grow fruit, grow food, and raise livestock.

Lang said...

I had wondered about the Moon Shot, but only idly. It does seem amazing that men were able to go to the Moon back in the 60's but we can barely fly the shuttle anymore. Yours is a most convincing argument in favor of it having happened; I can see the results of the mass "dumbing down" with my own eyes.
Most days, I wish the end would come and just get it over with. If I have to die screaming, I may as well go with the assholes that threw the rock through the windshield of my car last night. **sigh**


Anonymous said...

"how in the hell could our ancestors have sent a capsule up there and brought it back with nothing but vacuum tubes and punch cards"

They had mainframe computers and transistors. The last moon flights even had microprocessors. Punch cards and vacuum tubes were already obsolete.

Texas Arcane said...


I had an old truck parked near the street, which is a dead end on a mountain, on my own property. I was planning to sell it but I had parked it on my own grass.

Somebody had to kick in the side of the door one night. No reason, really. Just an opportunity, it was unguarded. Just to hurt something.

Civilization is a never ending tug of war between those trying to keep order and the rule of law and everybody else on the other end of the rope.

I'll tell you something truly incredible I think is a rule in this world.

We say a society is ascendant and in a growth phase when 10% of the population is actively working towards a better nation. We say it is in decline when this figure drops below 5%. In all times and all eras, 90% of the population are either nesting parasitically like pigeons or else aggressively working to destroy civilization from the inside.

The ultimate reason I believe the West is doomed beyond hope is I doubt (like Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah) you could find one in ten people in that country who is anything but a rabid, vicious destroyer. There are almost no people left in the tug-of-war pulling on the good side of the rope. Everybody is trying to outdo everybody else in "coolness" by taking a sledgehammer to the building they live in. That's why the West is living on afterburner fumes and not much else.

CadorBolin said...

Quoting "texas arcane": "That's why the West is living on afterburner fumes and not much else."

This is why I like to read this blog because one small anecdote like this explains the entire condition of modern society.

There are 300 million Amerikwans who have been grown from high fructose corn syrup, most of it produced by fossil fuel-injected fertilizer. Decline in energy will lead to food shortages.

These fat and happy 'kwans who live off of their maxed out credit cards won't peacefully transition from a first world economy to Great Depression II. The political will of 300 million 'kwans who are either starving or living in bare subsistence will be expressed by nuclear war.

andyboots37 said...

It's amazing how when you slow film speed down to half it looks like there's no gravity. Stanley Kubrick's 2001 coming out around the same time is very telling too. Eyes Wide Shut.

Shouldn't we have McDonald's on the moon by now?

Nah, it wasn't staged.

Texas Arcane said...

Dark Ages sour grapes.

The average engineer in the 1950's was an expression of the mind and will of God. You forget this was a nation of kids raised on science toys and the Jetsons instead of masturbation and video games.

Everything they did before 1963 looks impossible. They were science fiction people. Our ancestors passed more brain cells in any given bowel movement than 10,000 XBoxers have in all their heads put together.

What you've heard about doesn't even scratch the surface of what they had planned. These crazy bastards were working seriously on a plan to use nuke detonations to propel starships. If not for the culture wars and subsequent destruction of our society, it would not surprise me if we had Heinlein's men shuttling to Alpha Centauri on hydrogen bomb blasts by now.

Modern people can't walk and chew gum without accidentally crushing their own testicles. They are the greatest generation ... of morons. Of course they're all highly edjumificated. It's just never apparent what they were edjumificated in.

andyboots37 said...

Maturbation? C'mon, everything generation gives it a li'l tug:)

Anonymous said...

I like your rule about 90% of the population just hitching a ride, but I wonder if it isn't 80% are hitching a ride, and the other 20% either actively building up or actively tearing down, with the balance determining the general direction of society. Within that 20%, if you have more than a quarter working to tear down, you're in decline. Just an idea.