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Goodbye Norman by wisconsin_cur on Thu Sep 17, 2009 1:39 am
Norman E. Borlaug was, on many accounts, a great man. Intelligent, innovative, studious and, perhaps most importantly, driven by a noble desire: a desire to reduce human suffering caused by hunger.

When Dr. Borlaug entered his professional life in 1941 physical scarcity was the driving factor of human hunger in the world. Citizens of India, Pakistan, China and many other nations faced the real and abiding risk of famine and starvation with every harvest. Even this is an understatement since many of these citizens, even in the years of a good harvest, remained dependent upon humanitarian imports of foreign grain. Utilizing the then newly developed herbicides and pesticides Dr. Borlaug helped breed improved strains of wheat that turned these perennially hungry nations into reliable food exporters.

In the face of criticism from environmentalists...

[ Continued ]

0 Comments Viewed 51311 times
Cutting through expectations by wisconsin_cur on Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:38 pm
If learning about peak oil has taught me anything it is that we must all learn to expect the unexpected. A problem arises, however, as our expectations change; we think we have our bases covered and no longer need to expect to be surprised.

Making plans for the future need to be versatile. I have read some people who use this as an excuse to not prepare, they plan to remain mobile. How, I would like to ask, will you adapt if the future presents a surprise where one needs to stay rooted where they are in order to thrive? Just because we have been disabused of some false expectations does not mean that the future is obliged to meet our new one's.

The future is open. Even if certain constraints make a certain outcome necessary does not mean we know exactly how the path from here to there will progress. Even if we can know the megatrends for the next one hundred years, this is not the same thing as knowing how those larger trends will impact our micro-existence or that of our neighbors...

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Great Depression in Color by eastbay on Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:57 pm
http://extras.denverpost.com/archive/captured.html

Color photo's of the effects of the Great Depression on rural USA life taken from the late 30's and early 40's. A fascinating photographic perspective on poverty in America.

0 Comments Viewed 22703 times
Remote doomsteads - initial reflection by Jack on Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:02 pm
It appears that many who consider the possibility of peak oil have a doomstead some distance away - hundreds of miles at least. The premise seems to be that at some point, some level of danger, the individual(s) will go on a trek to the new location and ride out the storm, secure with freeze dried food and a variety of weapons. In essence, they have assumed both a slow, or even a gentle decline and also a uniformly graceful degradation of the system.

Let us explore these ideas. When some sort of crisis occurs, the first and natural instinct is to hoard. When people believe that something is about to happen, or has happened, they clean out the store shelves and fill their tanks with gasoline. Thus, even if the supply lines for goods and fuel are at normal levels, human reactions tend to disrupt the flow and cause shortages. The concern provoked by such occurrences exacerbates the reaction leading to panic.

Now suppose that the problem is neither brief nor immediately transitory....

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3 Comments Viewed 13308 times
Print is Dead by kpeavey on Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:01 am
Less oil=less economic activity. I don't make up the rules, I just pass them along when it is convenient for me to do so. As oil production worldwide goes into terminal decline, so must the global economy enter into terminal decline. Robust growth gives way to mediocre growth. This eases off to flat, then recession. Recession deepens to Depression. Following Depression come Regression.

Regression is what must follow a pattern of unsustainable consumption. When the non-renewable resources are consumed or are no longer economically viable in terms of production, stuff starts to run out. The cheap plastic Wal-mart bags I used to insulate my living room ceiling will become more expensive. They may even compete with brown paper bags. Does every supermarket out there go back to paper bags when plastic bags are unavailable or unaffordable? Do we go back to wooden crates or bring our own bags? The days of the cheap lightweight disposable plastic bag with a smiley face on the side will...

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