Episode-998- Solutions to Some of the Big Problems

Last week I had a great interview with James Howard Kunstler, a man I find interesting yet I also find many places where we disagree.  Many wondered why I allowed some of his comments to go unchallenged, the reality is simple, I don’t bring guests on for debate sparing.  I bring them on to give their view and trust that the audience will distill what they need, as each individual sees fit.

I also have been around long enough to understand that it is a sorry ass weak mind that can’t stand to listen to a differing opinion.  It is an even weaker mind that can’t learn from that opinion, even if it is wrong.  Each individual perceives every problem, event, item, reality etc. from their own point of bias.  If you only see the point of a nail and I only see the head, neither of us really knows what the nail looks like, but together we are much closer to the picture of what the whole is all about.

Join Me Today as I Discuss…

  • The real reason many insist “total collapse” is in our future
  • Why we will not see a total energy collapse in our lifetimes (good and bad)
  • Why believing in AGW based on CO2 lets us off way to easy, seriously
  • The danger of oil peaking is actually coal and natural gas
  • The law of unintended consequences is about to play out (may be)
  • Every citizen a solider?  How about every citizen a sentinel?
  • Rebuilding society without a total collapse
    • Rebuild soils and reestablish natural ecosystems
    • Create designed ecosystems with “cheap energy”
    • Develop and remove blockages to the urban ag movement
    • Reestablish diversity in our seed lines
    • Allow for the reintegration of small farm livestock
    • Encourage rather then block architectural innovation
    • Develop alternative energy in a decentralized model
    • Turn garbage and waste into energy
    • Crack down on companies that really are doing harm
    • Repair and improve the energy grid
    • Get corporate interests out of pure research
    • Define and enforce separation of industry and government
    • Put rail between places were people actually go frequently
    • Create thousands and thousands of “laboratories of innovation”
    • Develop a culture of leadership and self sufficiency
  • Why you need to act for yourself now, and not worry about “but  ________”

Resources for Today’s Show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

104 Responses to Episode-998- Solutions to Some of the Big Problems

  1. “I also have been around long enough to understand that it is a sorry ass weak mind that can’t stand to listen to a differing opinion. It is an even weaker mind that can’t learn from that opinion, even if it is wrong.”

    Totally agree! It amazes me how many in the free-thinking and libertarian community become as dogmatic and closed-minded as those they decry.

    I prefer clarity to agreement.

  2. Jack, if this episode sticks even partially to the outline you provided in the show notes, I cannot wait to listen to it. Great stuff!

  3. I didn’t listen yet to the episode you refer to, but I totally agree with letting your guests speak their mind. I listen to Peter Schiff sometimes and like what he has to say, but get very annoyed with how often he interrupts his guests.

    • Yes. Peter is a smart guy, and I love listening to him, but I agree completely – when he is doing an interview he needs to STFU and let the guest talk.

  4. I guess I will stop digging my hovel of doom long enough to listen… Seriously, JHK was a good interview, I am looking forward to this podcast.

  5. I’m a Rawlesian. I would like total collapse not to occur, but am convinced that the majority of voters will not ever have the mind-set necessary to make our elected representatives make the hard decisions necessary to pay off the federal debt. This makes the primary collapse scenario a financial collapse. The voting public can be taught how to properly vote, but it will take harsh pain via the culture shock of widespread hunger, violence, death, and destruction.

    The secondary collapse scenario is a civil war caused by the government going too far in stripping rights from the citizens. Our current president is demonstrating the technique.

    During these transformative processes, we may or may not be able to hold onto our constitutional republic. This bubba is going to try.

    • Modern Survival

      @Curtis, Economic collapse yes, but total breakdown from sea to shining sea and no governmetn and a Red Dawn style war in Idaho, NOT!

      Your solution of “teaching people how to vote” shows me that you don’t really understand the problem or the solution. What you are going to get is as follows,

      1. Economic failure
      2. Riots in major areas
      3. Shortages and crisis
      4. The heavy thug boot of government
      5. A new currency and yes people will accept it
      6. The complete destruction of the middle class
      7. Promises of a better tomorrow
      8. Suffering and misery
      9. The continuation of control by those who have always been in control

      Fan fiction can’t change what history tells us about our future,

      Jack

  6. Outstanding show with lots of the long view.

  7. I may take a longer route from work today just so I can listen to it all before I get home ;-)

  8. Jack, I’ve been out to the Roscoe wind farm in West Texas and its amazing and seems to go on forever. It covers 100,000 acres and cost over a billion to build. However it only provides enough power for 250,000 houses. I think wind and solar are great if they are on your property for personal consumption. without massive increases in efficiency in generation and transmission of power wind farms are just another vote getter. I think that for large scale power generation we should focus on thorium and keep funding fusion. For personal generation wind is great.

    • Modern Survival

      There are a lot of ways this base level of seeing things as you lay them out are short sighted, though I am not blaming you for it. People on the conservative side of the equation have been led to be as overly pessimistic as the liberals have been to be overly optimistic on these issues.

      Let’s start out with the 250,000 houses, most minds would quickly sort of say that is a quarter of a million people, it isn’t, based on the census numbers there are 2.59 individuals per household so even those numbers provide the electricity for 647,500 individuals.

      Next I wonder what portion of the billion was due to infrastructure upgrades necessary to make the power available to the grid and now how many other wind farms can use that?

      Next I would bet with economy of scale as these farms keep being build the install costs will drop as will the out put per unit.

      Next can you tell me this facility is totally finished that no additional wind machines will ever be installed or might it be expanded at a much lower cost per unit?

      Next what is the lifespan of a wind generator?

      How much does oil really cost when we have to fight wars over it?

      Based on the numbers you gave, consider this, there are 132 million house units in the US, take that divided by 250K and you get, 528 farms of this size. At a billion a piece that is 528 billion. The “stimulus” of 09 was 700 billion, this means with the same investment we could have produced 100% of the household energy via wind in the US with 172 billion in a maintenance fund, what we got was absolutely nothing instead.

      The last point even assumes no improvements or economy of scale driving pricing down, which we know the market would create.

      Now consider that if we use 20 gigawatts of electricity from wind this year we will have no reduction in what is available next year, it is actually renewable. A wind machine can produce about enough energy to make another one in about a year or two at tops depending on wind speeds, size etc. It takes a solar panel about 20 years to make enough energy to make another solar panel of the same size. Wind is one of the few truly “renewables” we have.

      Lastly if I am a rancher and let the wind company put mills on my 10,000 acre ranch I make money, no harm comes to my land and I can still run cattle as I always have. If I am a farmer I can still farm the land with very little reduction of the land available for farming. In other words if I use a million acres of land for wind gen, I still have most of that million for other purposes.

      Wind has a bigger future then most on the right want to admit and far more challenges then most on the left can accept. The key for us as enlightened beings is to think for ourselves and understand that we might have to sacrifice some for future generations. This is a pioneering opportunity with much to be gained but not free from risks.

      Lastly how can you possibly make the case that something that works as a “one off” won’t work with the inherent efficiencies of a mass production model.

    • Mass production is great but that’s not the current problem. One of the issues is getting the power from BFE West Texas to suburbia. AC is not very good and our electrical grid needs to be rebuilt. You are correct for the cost of the bail outs we could be well on our way to cleaner power if they spent it on national infrastructure, which would have actually employed someone. The reason it’s great as a”one off” is that its more efficient transmitting that power 100 feet rather than 1000 miles. I also think we are better if we had a modern electrical grid and in addition to farms we had millions of power generating homes and buildings that feed into the grid spare energy. I think that every shingle, backyard and mall should be a decentralized power generator making the whole system more robust. I also don’t see energy companies liking not having control.

      • Robert R. Russell

        @rhinotx About two years ago I watched a short documentary covering a 2km superconducting tunnel that carried power from the Canadian side to the US side of the Niagra river. The system was profitable for any distance above 1km. (Profitable here means that the market value of the energy saved by the super conduction is more than the market value of the energy used to maintain the superconduction.)

        I doubt that the tunnel and superconducting system cost 1 billion USD to build. We could put 100 billion from the leftover stimulus money into a combination of X-prize style competitions for the construction of profitable superconducting tunnels with distances of up to or beyound 15km and prizes for researchers that can produce supperconducting materials with higher superconducting temperatures.

        The rest of the stimulus money could have been spent on rehabing the long distance transmission lines.

        Either way the long term results of such spending would be significantly better than the long term results of what we did end up spending the money on. If it were me personally, I would have tied the infrastructure improvement bill to waste cuts in other departments worth at least half of the new spending.

      • Modern Survival

        @rhinotx, you just made my point for me! That infrastructure to BFE now exists, any additional projects even remotely in the area will cost far less. Plain and simple we need the grids range of influence expanded and its generation capacity more decentralized anyway.

    • David Bernard

      Local, community-based power generation hits the sweet spot between efficient power generation and economies of scale. With central power generation, a mere 33-35% of energy produced actually reaches the point of use. The other 65-67% is wasted as heat that is released into the open air or into cooling ponds, or else the energy is lost in its transmission over lines that may be hundreds of miles long.

      Benefits of local power generation: reduced capital expenditures (smaller generators, shorter transmission lines), increased energy efficiency (less loss thru transmission, employing steam released during power generation as a heat source for nearby buildings), and reduced risk of wide-scale power disruption by distributing power generation among lots of smaller facilities.

  9. Well Jack, That was an excellent padcast! I’ve just recently started listening to your show. I’ve been hitting some of the old shows from 2008 and a lot of what you said back them, is still valid today.

    Your a breath of fresh air from the show I use to listen to. This show is WAY more on track with my way of thinking than the show Alex Jones puts out.

    Thanks for doing what you are doing. It’s helping me understand my life and the things I should be paying attention to.

  10. Ronnie in Iowa

    I am SO hoping I can get my daughter who is a leftist liberal government public school teacher to listen to this! I sent it to her in an email with the story about the two sides of a nail (which was brilliant BTW)! I SO hope she will listen.
    Have a new friend in Australia…he is looking to talk with others there who are preppers. If you are an Aussie, please let me know so I can help hook you up. He is VERY excited about TSP…he’s a new listener….and totally happy to hear Jack, find so much info and such great people. Told him I’m kicked off the forum for not contributing enough but to get on the forum to look for other Aussies.

  11. God damn that was a good show.

    From one man who’s finally waking up… Thank you.

  12. Modern Survival

    @Ronnie, what is your forum username? I thought I fixed this if not I will, my ass you are banned from the forum!

  13. Ronnie in Iowa

    Apologies to forum people…I am an artist. I paint all day and go to an evening job. Wish I could post more. I have to find podcasts, documentaries, audio books to listen to while I paint. Wish I had more time to be in there but I just don’t and now that I can’t, I guess I don’t have to worry about it anymore!

  14. Ronnie in Iowa

    I think it was Ronnieloo…. if I remember right. Been a LONG time. I did try to rejoin after you tried to fix things but did not receive any feedback. TY very much for your help…. : )

    • Modern Survival

      I created a new account for you with username ronnieloo, if you don’t get the email with the password and all let me know. You should be good to go if you encounter any problems let me know and do read and follow the TOS please.

    • Modern Survival

      Hang fire on that, give me a bit to get this sorted out with the mods.

  15. Hi Jack ~ Great podcast, you made some excellent points.

    As a small scale farmer I couldn’t agree with you more about how government/big ag makes it difficult for us to gain a market share – but as you suggested; we keep plugging and working with what we got.

    One item you said about developing your own ‘brand’ of seed caught my attention. There is an example of that with the wheat called “Kamut”. They have taken this ancient wheat, and while anyone can grow it and make their own seed – in order to have the label “Kamut” it must be grown in accordance to their set standards (i.e. all Kamut must be certified organic). I think this is an excellent example of working within the system.

    Thank Jack!! Melodee

  16. Another thought-provoking episode, Jack.

    Your perspective has evolved over the years you’ve been doing the show (being an MSB member makes downloading previous episodes easy and I have no problem paying for the value I get – this is good stuff!) In fact, it has evolved quite a bit faster than JHK’s, though I value his work also.

    You are an Applied Free-Thinker, and our world needs more of them….lots more. Thanks.

  17. Regarding returning the soil to health;

    Just last week many of the larger farms in my area started plowing and disking their fields. The fields are so dry the disking kicks up a massive dust clouds. Jack, I don’t even need to hold it in my hand. I can see the lifeless dust eroding off the fields and blowing all over the highway…

    It’s just madness.

    On a side note my one gripe (and its a small one) with Paul Wheaton is he advocates finding pristine property to begin permaculture and maintains that any land that has “toxic ick” in its past should be avoided. Now of course pristine land is preferable to poisoned land, but I would think Paul Wheaton’s plan to dominate the world with permaculture had better include some methods to return the vast amount of toxified land to health. I’d love to see his passion, knowledge and experience used to solve this problem rather than simply avoiding it. I believe he will have to at some point as there is just not enough pristine land left for him to achieve total domination.

    • Markl32 — If you’re disenchanted with Paul Wheaton’s stance, I highly recommend that you check out Andrew Faust, a permaculture designer and teacher in NYC. He heads up the Center for Bioregional Living there. A lot of his work is about scaling up solutions to just the kinds of problems you mention here.

      The C-Realm podcast recently posted a recording of a presentation he gave in NYC, and I think he’s going to be on an upcoming episode as well.

      • Thanks for the tip! Will do.

        And for the record I have much respect for Paul Wheaton. I have met the man, shook his hand, and thanked him for all his hard work. He has chosen to be an innovator and push the edge of permaculture. And he does a lot of evangelizing. We certainly need his type.

        • Markl32 — I didn’t take your criticism of Paul Wheaton’s stance on that one issue as a disrespect of all the other great stuff he does. I hope you didn’t take my recommendation of Andrew Faust as any way diminishing his work either. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting him, but he does as much as anyone out there to get permaculture into the mainstream consciousness.

  18. Inspiring show today, Jack.
    Tied in nicely with a video I found today while cleaning up some TED talks from my RSS stream. If you’d like an inspirational story of some folks doing something at the community level to promote small community agriculture without government help or interference, check out:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KmKoj4RSZw

  19. I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something, and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do, and by the grace of God I will do.
    Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909)

  20. Jack sounds like you need to tell your buddy in the waste conversion business he’s going about it wrong. Find a way to cut the waste disposal guys in instead of them thinking your buddy is an enemy. Honey and vineger my man.

    • Modern Survival

      @Dustin, see that’s the think they never tried to cut them out. Basically they told them you can still do all the removal and trucking, you will just be moving the garbage to a different location. That is actually what prompted the mafia style response.

  21. I guess I live in a different part of the country, but no one around here plows anything besides occassional terraces. My dad’s plow is just a huge pile of rust. Everyone no tills pretty much everything. But everyone also sprays the shit out of their fields as well.

  22. We need about 100 more high quality family owned and run regional heirloom and open pollinated seed companies, with their attendant dedicated seed breeders and growers. There are only a handful right now that aren’t just seed distributors, with some newer ones coming online.

    Prior to about 1930, there were 3,000 small mom and pop seed companies across the US. Everyone had regionally adapted seed and traded within a certain geographic area to maintain viability and vigor, as well as to introduce new strains to their area. Now there are only a dozen at best that grow at least some of their own varieties, and work to introduce and save others from extinction. There is a huge unfulfilled market for organic food, but there just isn’t enough quality seed growers to be able to keep up with the demand.

  23. That sucks Jack. Obviously I have no clue of their business model, but maybe set their rates at 5% over what their current rates are. Just ideas, and probably bad ones at that.

  24. Jack from Georgia USA

    WOW! Now that is how a podcast is to be done. I have been listening since about number 850 (a newbee). Best I have heard so far and I all that I have heard are great.

    This Sentinel just got put into gear.

  25. Thank you so much for opening my eyes to new ideas and ways of looking at the world. I only been listening for a couple of months and already feel my life has been enriched beyond measure. In no uncertain terms to do I feel that in the uncertain times we all face ahead that your words will lift our sprits and keep us moving forward no matter how hard those words are to hear today.

  26. Not only will there be a lag in land development post GMO farm system collapse, this will be exacerbated by farmer development…most farmers these days know nothing on how to grow crops nevermind real food plants, farmers now rely on crop scouts and consultants, companies like Cargil will send out a crop scout to a farmers field and tell them exactly what and when to spray a chemical, and all the farmer does is fill the spray tank and spray it on….they take in a sample of soil to Cargil, they send it away and get it tested, then tell them what and how much fertilizer to put in the soil. Farmers don’t even really decide what to grow, they just follow the market and the market says soybean or corn or in Canada wheat or canola…thanks farm subsidies

    the land will take so long to be reclaimed because the farmers have no mind to how the land needs to be treated, I could redevelop my families 1000 acres in a matter of 3-4 years and have equal to comparable yields (organically-well actually ecologically-organic label and standards is bullshit) of my conventional neighbour that renting it right now…but my neighbour doesn’t know how to not spray chem, use GMOs or synthetic fert

    how long until we get people to figure out most pesticides are just as bad as GMO’s, cus GMO’s will seem easy to get rid of compared to the even larger chemical companies…its only taken 16 years to get people in the know on GMOs…chemical pesticides have been around for about 150 years and we haven’t even dented their hold on the food system

  27. “Monsanto is afraid of the free market.” Well said jack and awesome show.

    • Modern Survival

      I think more accurately I should have said terrified.

    • Then let them face it, not the fascist government-big-industry controlled market. We need to end that, not make it bigger.

      • Modern Survival

        Chip it is a state not the State passing this law. It is also being put to a vote of the state’s people. Hell yes I hope those people vote for it, I know I would. This is not a fascist move it is a response to a fascist system and under the circumstances the best move in the play book. It was government that empower these scum to put altered genes in the food supply so government must be used to fix the problem once again it created.

        The Federal government gave this power to Big Ag, this is a state standing up and taking it back.

  28. Nathan Love (flippydidit)

    @Stephen – The “Reply” link was hidden. We’re a small family farm and have been looking at ways to get into this project. We’d be doing it from a private, family focused perspective. Meaning, we really have no interest in making profit off it. We just want to be another link in the decentralized improvement of our futures. The same reasons we raise chickens and grow gardens (without selling any of it). Maybe there will be a market in the future, but if we don’t start this process, who will?

    On that note, we’ll be putting in a larger order than is probably necessary with Terroir Seeds in the near future.

  29. Dammit, Jack — Just when I think you’ve hit the best episodes you can do, you go and put together something like this one. This may be your best episode to date.

    What scares me is that there really isn’t anything in it I can find that I disagree with except for one minor thing — which I’m not even going to mention because it’s, well, so inconsequential compared to the meat of the episode.

    Awesome show, man. It made me think AND left me feeling inspired. Thanks for all you do.

  30. What would be worse economically for Kellogs. Labeling packaging nationwide and potencially loose customers nationwide, or just cutting the supply to California. Maybe if every big company using gmo cut the supply to California there would probably be millions of hungry people, maybe wanting prop 37 overturned. The infrastructure for distribution is probably too established in California for that to happen, but just a thought.

    • Modern Survival

      @Scott, no they simply can’t afford to do that, besides if they did the vacuum would be filled by competitors very quickly. My guess is there will be some sort of grace period where manufactures will have a chance to gauge the response and adjust somewhat before the law goes into effect. The real danger there will be the complete scum at Monsanto will have time to challenge it. I think CA should have gone for a state constitutional amendment on this, much harder to have that over turned.

      Monsanto needs to start thinking differently if they are going to remain a megacorp. Sooner or later the market is going to speak here, we already know what it is going to say, that is why the scum are shitting their pants over this. I am highly tempted to take a short position on Monsanto stock prior to the election, highly.

    • Not so sure. If I’m Hostess, what keeps me from saying ‘eff it, we’re not delivering Twinkees to California any more’. You say they won’t, and you are probably right, but maybe you’re not. And of course they’ll pass along the cost of the labeling to the consumer. And where is broke ass California going to get the money to enforce truth in labeling?

      And maybe no one else can compete exactly with a Twinkee because they have a patent or some such. So what’s the net effect? A backdoor ban on Twinkees. I’m sure Nancy Pelosi & her Happy Meal hating friends would love that.

      What ever happened to AgriTrue? Voluntary labeling? Knowing your farmer and/or letting the community police the farmer/producer? That is a much better method than Big Broke Government doing it. I was really surprised to hear your take on this in this episode, Jack.

      • Modern Survival

        If other nations can ban GMOs and survive surely the mighty US can handle just telling people it is in the food! The market cannot speak right now due to the strangle hold on the market by Monsanto and their ilk.

        Do you think a company should be able to put lead in a cupcake and not label it as such? What about arsenic? What about turds? What about cockroaches?

        Keep in mind the consumer now expects to know what is in food due to existing labeling laws. Keep in mind Monsanto and Bayer and Conagra now have patents on life forms. They can and do have private police forces that go onto farms with NO WARRANT and NO PUBLIC AUTHORITY to take sample and sue over patent infringement.

        There is no free market in food in the US, that is why GMOs should be on labels. So the market can speak.

      • @jack

        The “Monsanto Police” that you’re referring to. I’ve never heard of them. How do they operate? Are people just letting them on their property?!? I would assume that if they are trying to act as police, they would have firearms? If so, our state has laws against armed trespassing. With no authority, no warrant, and trespassing on my property with firearms they’re either going to be waiting for the deputy to show up, or they’re going to be VERY quietly, and VERY patiently waiting for the deputy and coroner.

        What people are allowing them to do this on their property? Is it a Kalifornia thing?

  31. I just wanted to leave a few notes on wind and what some of the real problems are with it. So that you have a little background on where this is coming from, I work for one of the companies that designs and builds (in the USA!) the protective relays that watch over our nation’s power grid. We don’t benefit directly from one method of power generation or the other, but there are certain methods that are much more challenging like wind. Mind you, this is large scale I’m talking about, not the one you have in your back yard.

    Noise, birds dying, size, number necessary, and capacity are not the real problems with wind power. The real problem comes with managing the nation’s power grid. The power that is created must be consumed when it is created which poses a problem for wind since it is not creating when the demand is the highest. Many will argue that when the wind is producing power the other plants don’t have to which reduces the amount of pollutants since the oil/coal plant isn’t burning, but this is largely false. These power plants don’t fire up like the 2k generator you keep at your house. It takes hours for them to start working from a stop so they never stop them (except for maintenance). They might reduce the output, but even this doesn’t happen at the flick of a switch. The same goes for hydroelectric dams. They can change their output, but it is not a quick easy thing.

    Wind power also doesn’t reduce the number of coal, nuclear, hydro, etc. plants that we need since wind tends not to produce during peak hours. We still need just as many plants that have to be staffed by just as many people. What does change is the amount of power these plants can put into the system since wind energy gets priority over other power production methods. They also get a premium $$$ as well. This translates into just as many plants working less efficiently.

    This will be my last point, and I’ll leave the rest to everyone else to do their research. More plants, more lines, and more methods make it harder and harder to monitor and manage the system. Wind power adds additional fluctuation into the grid that other plants don’t. We can forecast power consumption, but having to try to forecast power creation adds another variable to the equation. I’ll leave it at that for now. End rant.

    • Modern Survival

      John, I am sorry but despite an industry credential there is so much industry propaganda there I have to respond. First in 2012 alone we produced enough wind energy to provide 100% of the needs of over 11 million households. To claim that wind, “doesn’t reduce the number of coal, nuclear, hydro, etc. plants that we need” with that fact present is insane.

      Your comments on the grid are relevant but only if we leave the grid which is in many cases close to 100 years old as it is forever. We have to upgrade the grid so we might as well do so to accommodate more energy from wind, geothermal and solar as we do.

      You seem to be holding on to the components of an industry that are dying. I remember such people when I sold Ethernet into factory automation environments. They said serial and bus was the way it always was and always would be. Many are now unemployed and their factories are running RSTP Ethernet gear.

      • I agree completely with your statement that the grid needs to evolve just like everything, but the point that I was making was that as it stands currently. Wind causes many issues, and revamping our nations power grid isn’t going to happen overnight, but does need to happen.

        In response to my “insane” remark. I’ll concede that it reduces slightly the number of plants since they do produce some power at peak hours, but generally speaking, the do very little to help the overall demand during those hours. Peak usage dictates the total power output that our grid is capable of. Since wind isn’t producing even close to what they are rated for at these times, it’s up to the other methods of power production that are more stable to pick up that slack which means we have to have enough other plants to do that.

        To your remark of 11 million household. The reason that wind has provided the equivalent power to that consumed by 11 million households is because it gets priority over other methods. Other plants have to shut down when wind comes up even though wind power is more expensive. Wind is sold to the wholesale market at about $.12/kwh while other methods like coal, oil, and hydro are closer to $.03/kwh. These forced subsidies going very against my personal beliefs. The government is mandating that power distribution companies buy from a specific source and pay a premium for that power which gets passed down to us as consumers.

        All of these figures that we are fed are averages and fail to take into consideration that wind doesn’t produce stable, consistent power throughout the day, and what power it does produce, comes during times when we need it less.

    • lol.

      I was thinking buggy whips but Ethernet works too.

      • Mark, I would love to hear how you would bring our power grid into the 21st century and integrate wind generation into that plan. We’re so backward in the power industry, please straighten us out.

        • Modern Survival

          Well we could start with the 2008 proposed super grid, I am just sayin, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AWEA_proposed_765KV_AC_super_grid_for_US_wind.jpg

          You know what made New York city what it has become, the subway system. Someone had to understand and have the balls to comprehend that infrastructure must come first and what the long term results of said infrastructure means. Windmills may be cheaper tomorrow, more efficient, etc. So may transformers, new equipment, etc. But burying and stringing wire, will never be cheaper then it is today. It isn’t as cheap today as when I did it in the 90s. Cost of laying hard infrastructure be it cable, wire, pipe, optical fiber, open tubes, concrete or steel goes one way, UP, we need to grasp that concept now.

        • 1. I agree that the grid is due for some significant upgrades. I previously agreed that the grid needs upgrades. I’m not arguing that the grid needs upgrade and that someone needs the balls to do it. My point is that there are significant problems with wind. I’m not even saying wind is evil; just that there are significant problems and the government subsidizing it into existence isn’t the solution.
          2. While an interesting, albeit biased proposal (proposed by the AWEA), it doesn’t solve any of the problems I listed with wind. From that wiki article, the proposal is focused on distribution and using more efficient 765kv over our current 500kv system. The problem with wind is production, not distribution. It creates power at the wrong times, and that power must be consumed immediately when it’s created. Just sayin’

    • Good comments. I have heard others like Nicole Foss (aka Stonleigh at TAE) mention that wind power is difficult to spread across the grid and must be used locally. She would make a good guest on TSP, come to think of it.

      I have not researched this, but it also seems to me if we try to harness wind to continue BAU (business as usual, or happy motoring as Kunstler would call it) we would need so many windmills, I would imagine harnessing all of that might alter the climate. No, I’m not going all hippy dippy polar bear hugging, but let’s face it – the wind as it is today is doing things – carrying moisture, causing erosion, etc. Are there natural ramifications of us reducing the overall wind energy circulating through the environment? Same thing comes to mind with hydro-electric (slowing rivers) and hydrogen cells (introducing excess water into the environment). Just saying tapping these energies necessarily means taking them out of the environment they are currently affecting – are there any negative consequences to that? I don’t know.

  32. Great show Jack! When you talk about the government getting out of the way of progress it reminds me of an issue that is important to me and to a lot of small scale lumber producers. That is the ability to compete fairly with the big lumber companies.

    As you may know The international building code (which most local governments chose to adopt, they don’t have to btw) requires the use of stamped lumber. Graded and stamped by an approved American Standard Lumber Committee (ASLC) certified grader. Along with an extensive and expensive training program, to be ASLC certified you must also pay fees to the ASLC in the amount of $250 to $350 per week to keep your certification!

    Side bar

    The ASLC was originally established by a group of lumber barons In much the same manner as the Fed was created by a banking cartel. (I can provide proof if you like)

    End Side Bar

    The high fees make certification impossible for small sawmill owners. Therefore they cannot compete in the residential construction market. They must market to farmers.

    Wisconsin has a solution to this that was passed in 2008 called the WISCONSIN LOCAL-USE DIMENSION LUMBER GRADING. Basically this allows small sawmill owners in Wisconsin to take a short class at low cost and be able to stamp their lumber for local use. If this could be spread to more parts of the US, so that local timber could be used locally….can you imagine the positive ecological and economical impact on local communities?

    Perfectly good usable timber is being either pushed into landfills or into a pile and burned because the big sawmills don’t want to mess with it.

    I know what your thinking. There can’t be that much timber that is wasted. Here is the proof.

    “According to the U.S. Forest Service, the salvaged timber generated annually from tree removals in the country’s urban areas, if processed, could produce up to 3.8 billion board feet of sustainable lumber.”

    That quote was taken from an interview I did with Jessica Simons the Natural Resources Specialist at the Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation & Development Council.

    Sorry this post is so long. If anyone is interested in more on this topic and would like information on how to proceed in your own area respond to this and I will go into great detail in the forums.

  33. Jack, I have also long advocated the separation between government and business. And I have likewise offered very extensive laments over the government unfairly changing the playing field so that one category of busienss is given an unfair advanatge over another.

    Meanwhile, the American rail system has been repeatedly hampered by the governmetn throwing up roadblocks aainst its ability to be profitable, such as grossly punitive taxes upon every linnear foot of track that a rail has (so rail companies rip out tracks to cut their tax bills) . The US government gives huge subsidies to the airlines (passenger transit) and trucking (freight transit), and none to railroads. Even the maintenance of the rails themsleves must be paid for entirely by the rail companies, whole the maintenance of the US highway system is paid for by the government.

    I believe that the free market COULD work for rail if the government would stop helping airlines and trucking with a constant leg up over and above rail.

  34. This episode will be one that I burn to a CD & pull out when I am angry & overwhelmed by the way things are going. Sometimes when I get so darn frustrated I just get overloaded and end up doing nothing, I get stuck in an “Oh, f* it” loop of despair.
    Leave it to Jack to give me the big cyber “kick in the pants” that I need!
    -Eriko

  35. Sorry I’m late to the party, folks, but I’m still mentally processing this episode. At times, I was cheering, and at times, grumbling, but always Jack leads me to think more deeply about why I believe what I believe. More comments later. I need to listen to the episode again :-)

    • I agree – as I said below, there were great parts of this episode, but I am not used to disagreeing with Jack as much as I did on this one. Took some thinking, and that’s never a bad thing.

  36. Jack, great episode today – so much passion. I agree with a lot of what you said, but the point about a million laboratories of innovation really stuck with me.

    I would love to take my 10 acres and turn it into a productive operation, and I have plenty of ideas about how to do that. Trouble is, while I’m off developing this land and turning it into a going concern, who’s paying the mortgage and feeding the kids?

    Yeah, I know – start small and build on it. But holding down a full time job is more than a full time job, and not much time is left for anything productive. Wish I had the resources to just say “f*** it” and throw myself into it, but I’m not that guy. Not trying to whine or anything, just pointing out that there are nasty little realities that are in the way of starting those labs, and we need to find ways to work around the obstacles.

    • Hey Dan — I’m in the same boat as you, but with only 1.3 acres. Not only do my wife and I both work full time, but we have 2 young children at home — and the 17-month old keeps us VERY busy all by himself. I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s a long process, and that so long as we have to live within the world that is (going to work and paying the mortgage) instead of the world we want (homesteading), we have to make compromises and find balance. Also, it’s beneficial to maybe look back at where you were 2, 3 or 5 years ago and keep in perspective that you’ve made very significant steps even if you’re not yet at the destination you’d like to be.

      Good luck and stick with it!

      • @Christopher – good thoughts. I’m in a similar boat. I’ll tell you from experience as the kids get older & more self-aware & self-responsible, that does give you some time back for yourself & your passions. And then the really cool thing is you can get them involved in your passions too, and it is extra rewarding – assuming it’s something that they are also interested in.

        Good luck to you too, and hang in there!

    • @Dan you should listen to “5 Minutes with Jack” – might help you with how to become a laboratory of innovation while still holding down a full time gig. :)

  37. Is anyone else having problems streaming the shows lately?

    Aound an hour or so in, on both this show and the Jackie Clay interview, my streaming players stop and will not continue. This issue is on iOS devices — iPhone and iPad. It is only these two shows that I have ever had this issue with.

    Just wondering if this is a problem to me only, iOs only or a wider issue.

    erik

  38. Interesting show and I will need to listen to it several more times before I can grasp it all.

    In reference to sustainable skills and technology, I worked in the electrical generation and transmission industry in the 90’s before changing careers. Some of what I did was work on substations that were installed in the 60’s and 70’s and now they were trying to service them enough to get a few more years out of them.

    The big problem though was the transformers. These were made in the 50’s, at the earliest. These huge transformers take months, if not years, to build and they aren’t even built here in the US anymore. If there is one industry that we need going strong here in the US is how to build, and rebuild, generators, electric motors and transformers. It is a dying field and the small shops that used populate many cities, especially large cities, have gone away.

    At one time in the very large city that I lived near, there were at least 10 facilities that could rewind and rebuild electric motors, generators and transformers, from small to large. There is now 3 left and there are only 1-2 people at each shop that actually know how to do this kind of work.

    I’ve also noticed that many vocational schools and other tech schools have eliminated or are phasing out machining and sheet metal fabrication courses because there are so few of these jobs left in the US.

    Once any of these skills are gone, it’s going to be years before we get them back and we need all of them if we are going to maintain and enhance our electircal grid.

  39. I finished listening to the episode yesterday on the way home. I currently work in construction as an engineer, and I deal a lot with union trades on my project. One thing that I’ve never believed is that I am in any way smarter or better than any of the laborers, operators, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc. that also work on the job. We just have different –and complimentary — skill sets and training. It’s a shame that many of the engineers I work with DO consider themselves above those who do the physical work of building things.

    Also, I became a much better engineer the more that I built things with my own hands around home. It gave me much better insight into how constructability ties in with design. Engineering used to be more about “tinkering” and experimenting in a workshop. Only in the last 60 years has it become a separate “thinking” profession, and in many ways I think this has done it more harm than good.

    Additionally, there’s the reality that a union laborer in NYC makes $38/hr plus benefits. Plumbers and electricians make in the $52-$55 per hour range. Operators make $60/hr. It often takes 10+ years after graduating engineering school to get up to that kind of rate. I can’t understand for the life of me why more people don’t consider the skilled trades to be an honorable profession. I know that I certainly do.

    • Modern Survival

      Just so you know those Union Wage are way inflated. A basic equipment opperator in a non union state will make 14-20 an hour, a really good one working for a big company or utility with 5 or more years of experience MIGHT approach 20. Plumbers and electricians in the general workforce like for McBride Electric, etc. make say 15 as an apprentice and when they get up in status may make 30ish, if they want more then that they have to become division leaders, etc.

      It is still respectable money, there is always work and the best make the best wages unlike most of corporate America where you either have to be in sales to make pay on merit or kiss ass better then the next person otherwise.

      • Some of us do still produce better than the next person to get the best wages ya know… It does still exist, believe it or not. I can’t recall ever kissing any asses, but I sure do produce. ;)

    • Christopher,

      “Also, I became a much better engineer the more that I built things with my own hands around home. It gave me much better insight into how constructability ties in with design. Engineering used to be more about “tinkering” and experimenting in a workshop. Only in the last 60 years has it become a separate “thinking” profession, and in many ways I think this has done it more harm than good.”

      100% agree, and it has made me a better engineer, too. I went back and learned how to operate machine tools, and it has made me a better designer.

      • Nathan Love (flippydidit)

        @Chris & Backwoods,

        You two should spread the word. I’ve spent a good part of my career fixing the work of engineers. There are some good engineers out there, but not as many as there used to be. Like you said, many of them think it’s primarily a “thinking profession”.

  40. Jack,
    I’m very surprised by your support of prop 37. Why would a libertarian want to pass a bill that would force a company to do something when instead they could introduce a bill that would allow a company to do something. It’s currently illegal to put “GMO free” on labels.

    • Modern Survival

      @Josh, so do you think we should repeal all laws that require providing a list of ingredients on packaging?

      • Yes, I do. We do not have an inalienable right to know what’s in our food. Companies can decide to publish an ingredient list or not on their package & whether to have a third party company verify that list or not. When that’s all said & done, we can choose whether to buy it or not.

    • @Josh – Please cite a reference that says it’s currently illegal to put “GMO free” on labels. This is the first I’ve heard of it, and I have seen such labels, so I tend to doubt that statement. If you are right, those laws should be repealed ASAP.

  41. Actually, yes. I believe in free markets. I know we don’t have one and get that you are trying to work within the current system to fix what you see as a problem, but that’s part of the problem ;).
    I still love you though Jack, and I greatly respect your opinions.

  42. Hey Jack, I’ve been listening to your show since episode 10 and this is one of your best ever. Thanks for your passion and vision. The world needs more of it.

  43. Hi Jack, completely agree with everything you said, except I disagree that CO2 isn’t causing most of the warming. I’m not terribly interested in convincing you otherwise since your proposed solutions are in my opinion far better than anything I’ve heard from “environmentalists” who suggest we do things like create more taxes and build more Priuses. I’m quite disheartened it all.

    Regardless, you asked for science. Here is some direct observation (not models) showing that less radiation is escaping out to space, which means more of it is staying here.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6826/abs/410355a0.html

    This is consistent with theoretical expectations that increases in certain gases are increasing the greenhouse effect. Especially CO2, since the kind of radiation getting trapped suggests that CO2 is the main culprit.

    If that doesn’t help convince you, I really don’t mind for the reason I explained above :)

    • Modern Survival

      @Danno, if you can’t prove that a known fact isn’t countered by a current theory the current theory is CRAP, nothing will change that. Again it isn’t that CO2 doesn’t raise temps, it does a LOT when it first increases but by the time you get to about .030 % it has blown its wad and can’t do much after that. Which meshes nicely with the reality of the article I posted,

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2217286/Global-warming-stopped-16-years-ago-reveals-Met-Office-report-quietly-released–chart-prove-it.html

      Again you want to convince me all it takes is the scientific method. Observations including what I just posted are just that observations, not experimental proof of anything. The only reason I even respond with other observations is because that is all the AGW side has. The link you posted doesn’t really explain a much more scientific measurement of trapped heat you know this one?

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2011/07/27/new-nasa-data-blow-gaping-hold-in-global-warming-alarmism/

      Of course the AGW addicts have tried to spin that study but they can’t. Just like you can’t put climategate back into the genie bottle, etc.

      Like I keep saying chasing this CO2 boogie man doesn’t do anything to help the planet or deal with real pollution. All it does is decide people who would otherwise agree. Why supposed environmentalists chase it at this point is beyond me. Seriously the same goals could be met though much more common sense and actually provable arguments.

      Again, two polycarbonate spheres, control and experimental and prove it. But no, we are going to do stupid shit like observe the climate and blame one of a thousand variables and call it science. And then the AGW crowd says those of us asking for actual proof are deniers on par with those who deny the holocaust.

    • Modern Survival

      @Danno, one more and one more far more important thing. Remember the deal I made with AGW belllievers on the show?

      “What would you have me do differently if I was a believer? Not what I would think but what I would do in my life?”

      Do you have an answer? What I have found is most hard core believers in AGW generally don’t do half of what I do in daily action to reduce waste and pollution. Until you are showering with a bucket as not to waste water, building soil and growing 75% of the vegetation you eat, you are not. Perhaps you are, perhaps not. It really isn’t the point is it?

      The point is what do you AGW people want done? 99% of it I am fine with, I want it too, so would most people if we stopped arguing over a theory that frankly you can’t prove. You know the one thing I won’t stand for? A tax on carbon, anything else I am fine with so what would you have me do differently.

    • Jack, I wouldn’t have you do anything different whatsoever. As I said above, “your proposed solutions are in my opinion far better than anything I’ve heard from “environmentalists” who suggest we do things like create more taxes and build more Priuses.”

      I just think you’re wrong on a single technical point. But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you change your mind on that or not, because the solutions won’t change if CO2 has caused the warming. That’s awesome, that’s what the world needs. We should try to create an indestructible society.

      • I pretty much agree with you, Danno. I think that Jack thinks that science is about certainty but of course it’s not, it’s about probability. We never say “case closed” in science, we simply weigh the evidence on either side to determine which is most likely. Apples might start rising tomorrow instead of falling, but it ain’t likely. However, I don’t have much interest in banging it out any further. I’d rather find a common ground and work toward solutions.

      • Well said Charlie!

  44. A “law” is a readily observable fact about something. It is something that is obvious and undeniable. Allow me to clear up a common misconception right now, laws are not a “higher” stage than theory, and no theory ever becomes a law. Laws are simple and obvious statements about a phenomenon that never require a second guess, or an experiment, to verify them (for example, there is a law that states that there exists an apparent attraction between all objects having positive mass…it’s called the law of Gravity, and it’s not just undeniable, but it’s readily observable and demonstrable (by virtue of the simple fact that you are not floating about, but are anchored to the Earth)).

    Now, a “theory” is an advanced hypothesis. An hypothesis is a plausible, testable explanation of how a phenomenon works and/or why it works that way. Once an hypothesis has been tested repeatedly, under a variety of conditions, such that it is sufficient to convince a majority that the hypothesis is probably right (“right”, in this context, means that it can be used successfully to make predictions as to how the phenomenon will behave if one conducts the same experiment(s) again), it can graduate to “theory”, but it is still tested just as vigorously.

    A theory can be “strong” or “weak”, depending on the amount of evidence there is that agrees with it, the amount of accurate predictions it’s made, and the amount of experiments that have been conducted and have concluded in its favor. However, it doesn’t matter how strong a theory gets (you might think of such as examples as the theory of Evolution, Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, &c), it never becomes a law. That would run contrary to the definition of “law” as readily observable and nor requiring experimentation for verification. Also, a theory may always be disproven, but it must then be replaced with a better theory.

  45. Just listened to this episode. Good thing it’s 4am. I need to sleep on this one! And probably listen through it again tomorrow.
    Always good stuff, but this one really resonated with me. Thanks Jack!

  46. Jack,

    This was an outstanding episode! LOTS of great food for thought! I love the idea of being a sentinel.

    Lynda

  47. This was a refreshing (though strange) show for me. Usually I agree with Jack 99% of the time. In this show, I’d say it was at about 70%. I just can’t get on board with all the regulation & government involvement Jack came out in favor for in the beginning, and I think that California label GMO law is a terrible idea.

    Remember the litmus test: 1) is it Constitutional? Well yes, Cali can do that if they want. 2) can California afford it? Hell no, they are broke.

    I can also see it coming down on small business disproportionately, driving up the cost of food, etc. The market CAN decide – we’re deciding right now based on voluntary ‘organic’ labels, for example. There’s no reason ‘non-GMO’ can’t also be voluntary, and allow an opportunity for the private sector to offer verification, like QAI, Oregon Tilth, etc. do now. The last thing we need is more government involvement.

    And no, you don’t have a ‘right’ to know what’s in your food. You have rights to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and the other rights enshrined as protected in the Constitution. Our creator did not endow us with the right to know what’s in our food. It’s up to us to get off our lazy asses and verify, or trust the voluntary labeling that companies do, based upon third private party certification (or not). Don’t get me wrong, I dislike GMOs as much as anybody, but more Big Government is not the answer.

    • Modern Survival

      @metaforge you are arguing this point while ignoring the thousands of regulations that already exist that empower agribusiness into a monopoly status with GMOs. Like I said the free market cannot work in the current situation and frankly Monsanto is scare shitless of the market.

      Watch me flame your strawmen one at a time.

      California can’t afford it? Non starter it doesn’t cost anything to do this, it simply requires food manufacturers to label GMO foods as such. The apparatus of enforcement is already in place, you don’t have to hire anyone to get it done, you don’t need a new department, etc. THERE IS NO COST.

      It is disproportionate against small business? Bullshit, it only effects food that is already labeled. You add words to the existing label, it is no more hard on small then big business. It would actually be harder on big business as they would have to deal with California and other states, most small businesses effected would only be in California.

      Organic is an option? Bullshit the government via regulation has made organic meaningless in many ways. The USDA now controls the organic label and the GMO scum are very close to pushing GMOs into organic under the lie of “generally recognized as safe”.

      Ya see Chip the scum in Monsanto, Conagra etc, run the FDA, as such the existing regulations have created a predatory environment. And I am sorry but YES you do have a right to know what is in your food. The litmus test of is it in the constitution is for the government not the people. The constitution PROTECTS rights it does not give them.

      To wit I submit, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

      So your claim that you only get the rights the Constitution gives you is well, unconstitutional.

    • Strawmen? I don’t get why you called my legitimate arguments that, but whatever, let’s go on.

      Yes, they can’t afford it. How are they going to know if what the companies list on their sacred ingredient list is bullshit or not? They’re going to hire goons to do tests and fill out paperwork and have meetings & lattes at Starbucks to discuss & yadda yadda. I’m sure Twinkies are full of non-GMO goodness, right? Let’s trust Hostess.

      It will be harder on small business because of the point above – it will involve inspections to verify. If I know them, the libs in Cali will pass these inspection costs on to both the taxpayers and the businesses. Can small businesses bear these costs? Maybe. But for sure it will be disproportional. So there’s one reason Monsanto won’t give a shit if it passes – big brother again helping them push competition out of the market.

      You have a point with organic getting distorted, but my point is still valid nonetheless – companies can voluntarily disclose what’s in the food and have it 3rd party verified or not, then label. It is up to the consumer to choose, and decide whether that label is honest or a crock of shit. Isn’t this akin to the whole AgriTrue effort you’ve launched? Why bother with AgriTrue if you’re in support of BigGovernmentTrue?

      Yes, they run the FDA, and I’m sure they run the California equivalent of the FDA. Talk about putting the fox in charge of the hen house. No thanks.

      I did not say that your rights come from the Constitution, I said that your rights come from your creator. I agree the Constitution merely (attempts to) enumerate & protect some of those rights, while reserving the other undefined rights. I said clearly it does pass the constitutional litmus test for California to do this. That doesn’t mean they should.

      If a right is not explicitly enumerated & protected, then there is room for debate, since no one can say if it’s retained by the people if we don’t know it’s a right for sure. We just fundamentally disagree – I believe you do not have a right *from your creator* to know what’s in your food, while you do apparently. And maybe California will agree with you, who knows. Neither of us is going to sway the other in that opinion I imagine.

    • Thought about this some more and went back & re-read the proposed law.

      I don’t agree that someone has a fundamental creator-given right to know what’s in their food. But if California does think that, that’s their right, and I do agree with you in that they should put it in their constitution if that’s what they think, not in this law. After that, then they can legislate to enforce that right.

      A big problem is the law exempts all kinds of things, such as:
      1. If you’re already organic, you’re exempt. Therefore if the Monsantos of the world do manage to pollute the ‘organic’ label and get GMOs into it, this law doesn’t do squat.
      2. Alcohol is exempt. Why? Shouldn’t we know if there’s GMO grapes in our wine or GMO hops in our beer? ;)
      3. Food at restaurants is exempt. Again why? If knowing what’s in your food is such a ‘fundamental right’, why does that fundamental right end just because I’m at IHOP? Or McDonalds? Or Whole Foods?
      4. Derived meat is exempt. ie if the cow eats GMO corn & alfalfa, that’s ok, no disclosure requirement. pfff… ridiculous.

      At the end of the day, I just think it’s the wrong approach, and won’t really be a big solution to anything. We need to be promoting individual responsibility, not more nanny state.

      Although of course, if you held a gun to my head and said you must support one of these three laws: A) Cali GMO labeling B) NDAA C) Patriot Act, I would clearly pick A.

      Anyway, I can’t imagine Californians not voting for this, and they’ll do that as they vote themselves yet another tax increase. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of it.

  48. Lots of interesting stuff, and I agree with much of it.

    The only physical mechanism I can think of that would make the greenhouse contribution of CO2 saturate at one third pf a percent concentration is if that concentration already retained most of the infrared radiation. But if that were so, then you should not expect any additional effect of methane. Yet you do. Could you tell me from where you got the claim that there is such a saturation effect? I didn’t spot it in the Daily Mail article you gave as a reference.

    You mentioned that the scientific method is simple enough to be taught in grade school. I followed your link to Science Buddies, and the description given there really is a simplified version for grade school. It simplifies two things rather too much:
    1) You test your hypothesis by making a prediction, then testing that prediction with new data. Those new data don’t have to come from experiments. Astrophysicists can’t do experiments on solar system formation or supernova explosions, but they can test their hypotheses by new observations. That’s why astrophysics, astronomy in general and geology are considered sciences. The predictions in those sciences often come from computer models, then they are checked against new data, same as in climate science.
    2) It is absolutely not necessary to vary only one variable. If you want to know which plants give you most food in light or shade and in which soil pH, you manipulate three variables simultaneously: plant species or strain, light levels, and pH. If you have just two conditions for each variable, you end up with eight possible combinations of values for those variables. And you might find that there is no single plant, light level or soil pH that is better, but that there are specific combinations that work well. In statistics, that’s called an interaction. You can’t find interactions if you vary only one thing. If you restrict yourself to varying only one thing, you can analyse only linear systems that don’t have interactions. If the scientific method were limited to that, it couldn’t do very much.

    Regarding CO2, I wonder what your opinion is about ocean acidification: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/rise-of-acid-ocean-eats-away-base-of-food-chain-8348892.html. Here, predictions don’t need complex models, only basic chemistry and observations how animals respond. Experiments are possible.

    • Modern Survival

      @Robert it is well known. Even the scientists that say global warming is real don’t believe that CO2 is the direct cause, more an indirect cause. The theory is as CO2 rises so does atmospheric humidity and that indeed can trap more heat. So the real villain is supposed to be WATER VAPOR caused by CO2.

      Here is an article all the true believers are trying to poo poo, quite unsuccessfully I may add http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-data-blow-gaping-hold-global-warming-alarmism-192334971.html

      Now here is a part of that article that even all the climate scientists (if you can call them that) would agree with

      “Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate are in general agreement about how much heat is being directly trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide (the answer is “not much”). However, the single most important issue in the global warming debate is whether carbon dioxide emissions will indirectly trap far more heat by causing large increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds.”

      Now ask yourself how many people who say “the science is conclusive” or “they have read all the data and the debate is over”, don’t even know that? What does that say about the concept that most people that believe this do so more from an act of faith then an act of logic?

      • You wrote ” Even the scientists that say global warming is real don’t believe that CO2 is the direct cause, more an indirect cause.”

        That may be, but I am not sure how that relates to my question about the saturation of CO2’s greenhouse effects. I had interpreted your point about filling polycarbonate spheres with varying concentrations of CO2 to mean that the direct greenhouse effects saturate at 0.3% CO2 concentration, and that there was experimental evidence. Did I misunderstand? Because if you meant that indirect effects saturate at 0.3% CO2, how could you know other than through a computer model that satisfies you? Then why would an experiment about the direct effects matter?

        You ask ” What does that say about the concept that most people that believe this do so more from an act of faith then an act of logic?”

        I earn my living as a university lecturer and researcher. I know that to be competent enough to form an independent judgement on a field of research needs the equivalent about three to five years full-time work, on top of a relevant graduate degree. In total, about what you do for a PhD. The less I have made such an effort, the more I have to rely on someone else’s judgement, and the greater the degree to which my choice is an act of faith either in a specific person or that science as it is practised works well enough. I don’t know how to make my choices acts of logic in areas where I don’t have that level of expertise. Even where I do have that expertise, most of my knowledge relies on data gathered by others, because life is too short to repeat all their experiments.

        Do you have a way to make your judgements acts more of logic than of faith without that level of expertise, or do you have a different threshold for how much knowledge you consider enough that you say your decisions are acts of logic?

        For the record, I have the impression you have that level of expertise in permaculture, but even that opinion is largely an act of faith on my part. I don’t know enough about permaculture that I would dare to call that opinion more an act of logic than an act of faith.

        Actually, in all of the above, I think “trust” is a more appropriate word than “faith”.

        • Modern Survival

          @Robert it is you that are working on faith. You have faith a piece of paper makes anyone qualified to do anything. All said paper does is prove that the student absorbed the material as it was presented by the teacher. If the teacher is wrong the paper is meaningless.

          Conversely permaculture is PROVEN, we can look at a site before, we can look at it after and we can 100% define the results in a measurable way.

          On the poly spheres. If CO2 increases atmospheric humidity in our atmosphere it should also do so in the sphere. Science is blaming CO2 so it should be the only variable between an experimental and a control group. If one variable creates others well that is a proven result. Again this is all about faith that you people put in something that is at best a hack theory.

          If you can’t prove something in a small scale it isn’t to be accepted on a large scale, this is scientific method 101. Keep on believing if you want to but ask yourself two questions….

          1. Why didn’t you know what I just taught you about it actually being humidity vs. CO2 that is the actual thing in the so called “consensus” that says CO2 makes the earth warmer? Why?

          2. If CO2 indeed does increase atmospheric humidity and the entire thing really is that simple why hasn’t it been proven in a controlled experiment yet?

          Be mad, be sure you are right (without know why or how) and stand your ground. Be sure some assclown leaning to conform sufficiently to be granted a certificate somehow has special powers if you want to but you don’t need a PhD to understand “control group” and “experimental group” do you? All of you people speak of science and all I am saying is so do it scientifically. A computer model IS NOT SCIENCE. These idiots can’t model climate 30 days out accurately and we are supposed to alter the entire economy of all developed nations based on these models.

          Permaculture is proven, I have proven it in my back yard. Lawton proved it in the deserts of Jordan. Holzer in the Austrian Alps and the Spanish Deserts. Molison in the outback of Australia. Thousands of people in thousands of locations have DONE IT, we have measurable results.

          Let me put it this way. About 12000 years ago an ice age occurred. In North America and Europe and in Asia various “holy men” stood in front of them chanting prayers and asking them to recede. Such prayers fell on the ears of a deaf God and the glaciers grew larger. Then one day they stopped and began to recede, one could ague that they are STILL RECEDING as part of that cycle. One could also argue that God eventually answered the prayers of the holy men. Well, guess what, those two theories are about as proven as the concept that CO2 alone is currently making the planet warmer, as the supposed proof is simply that the planet warmed in the last 30 odd years a bit.

          But go on and tell me how we should all kiss the ass of anyone who spent 5-10 years being told what and how to think.

  49. I want to start with the most important things: backing up claims with data and the scientific method.

    I asked you about your claim that the greenhouse effect of CO2 saturates because I didn’t see how to reconcile that with your statement that methane could still increase the greenhouse effect. I am not expert enough to be confident that you are wrong, so I wanted to see the basis for your claim. Because you did not respond to my question, I searched. I was right not to be confident. CO2 and methane have different absorption spectra: http://www.skepticalscience.com/saturated-co2-effect-intermediate.htm. However, it turns out that the saturation effect argument is too simple, and has been refuted long ago: http://www.skepticalscience.com/saturated-co2-effect-advanced.htm.

    “A computer model IS NOT SCIENCE.”

    Not by itself. A computer model is a hypothesis with bells and whistles. Science comes into it if the computer model can be tested against new observations that you didn’t use to make the model.

    For an example, look at this: http://phys.org/news/2012-11-explosions-peculiar-supernovae.html. These people found a discrepancy between the hypotheses (in the form of computer models) they had and observations in the last 10 years. They refined their hypothesis (made a new model), and it predicts new observations that they can now look for to see whether those new data are consistent with the new hypothesis. All proper science, and not an experiment in sight.

    “you don’t need a PhD to understand “control group” and “experimental group” do you?”

    Here is another analogy to explain the point I was trying to make: Imagine I said that permaculture is not using synthetic fertiliser. I’d be surprised if you told me “Robert, you’re wrong, we do use fertiliser.” I think it is much more likely that you would say “But there is so much more to permaculture that you’re missing, where do I even begin?”

    When you said the scientific method is limited to manipulating one and only one variable, and that an experimental design must use one experimental and one control group and when you said you can test a hypothesis only through data from experiments, you missed out much of the scientific method, just as my above example misses much of permaculture. If I claimed permaculture was bunk on the grounds that yields must go down if you take away the fertiliser, and I showed you an experimental and a control group to prove my point, would you believe me?

    If you then base your critique of an area of research on such an incomplete definition of the scientific method, then there is no good basis for your conclusions. You may be right, but it would be only by luck. Imagine that I say you are a great guy, and my only reason for believing so is that my telephone is black. Then I may well be right, but I don’t have a good reason for my opinion. As I understand your critique of climate science, it is based on an interpretation of the scientific method that is so incomplete that you lose the basis for your conclusions. I don’t know enough about climate science to say with confidence that your conclusions are wrong. I do believe I know enough about the scientific method to be confident that your arguments about the scientific method are not a good basis for your conclusions.

    You wrote: ” You have faith a piece of paper makes anyone qualified to do anything.”

    No, that is absolutely not what I said. I quantified the minimum amount of effort I consider necessary to be competent to form an independent judgement about an area of research. Later I said that I think you have equivalent expertise in permaculture, and that it doesn’t need a piece of paper.

    You wrote ” All said paper does is prove that the student absorbed the material as it was presented by the teacher.”

    That is not my experience or the experience of anyone I know. I even know someone who got her PhD position when, after a presentation, she told the speaker that she didn’t believe a word that he had just said, but that she wanted to work on this. He gave her a position exactly because she wouldn’t just believe what he said. When my students have ideas I haven’t thought of or if they prove me wrong, I congratulate them, and tell the next lot of students about it to encourage them to do more of the same.

    “Be sure some assclown leaning to conform sufficiently to be granted a certificate somehow has special powers if you want to”

    That, too, is not my argument.

    “Conversely permaculture is PROVEN”

    I didn’t dispute that. What I have learned about permaculture so far fits with other things I know, so I have no reason to dispute it. Anything you say in defence of permaculture misses the point I was making. That point was that I don’t know enough to form an independent judgement about permaculture, and what I read or hear I have to take on trust. In your terms, my positive opinion of permaculture is an act of faith to a larger degree than it is an act of logic. There is logic in there. I do check what I learn against other things. But because I have very limited knowledge that is relevant to what I have learned about permaculture so far, there is more trust (or faith) than logic behind my opinion.

    That point in turn was part of a broader argument. When you attacked those who think human CO2 emissions are the main driver of global warming as basing their opinion more on an act of faith then an act of logic, you seemed to make a categorical distinction. If you argue that an opinion must be either an act of faith or an act of logic, and that it can’t combine both to varying degrees, I dispute that. And I see it as important to the scientific method. If you don’t make such a categorical distinction, just tell me, and we can avoid getting sidetracked.

    In summary, I say that opinions and beliefs don’t divide neatly into the categories of acts of faith and acts of logic, but that they always include both to varying degrees. And I say that most of anyone’s opinions are based more on faith than logic, because there is too much knowledge for anyone to independently test the majority of it.

    “On the poly spheres. If CO2 increases atmospheric humidity in our atmosphere it should also do so in the sphere. ”

    Depends on whether you can reproduce the relevant mechanism. As I understand it, cloud formation is involved. And I think temperature and pressure gradients are important to that. Can you reproduce those in your poly spheres? What is the source of the humidity, and how does it respond to the effects of more CO2? If your poly spheres don’t reproduce the relevant mechanism, then your experiment excludes the very mechanism you postulate. That would make the experiment worthless.

    “Why didn’t you know what I just taught you about it actually being humidity vs. CO2″

    A misunderstanding. I didn’t say that was news to me. I had come across it before. I said it was not relevant to my question. I was trying not to get sidetracked.

    A written exchange is slower than talking. If you are interested both in continuing this discussion and in speeding it up, we could do it on Skype. I have to give my email to leave a comment, I expect you have access to that, so we could exchange Skype names.

    • Modern Survival

      What a waste of energy! Yes it is an act of faith on computer models, studies funded to provide an expected result, attempting to destroy anyone that questions the fake results, nothing ever being proven and “bells and whistles”. You also believe in the region of academia you are part of it so you are likely not willing to do anything here with an open mind and I can’t help you.

      For God’s sake you YOURSELF didn’t even know the mechanism behind the theory you defend.

  50. “What a waste of energy!”

    Climate science, astrophysics, or my replying to the points you made?

    ” You also believe in the region of academia you are part of it”

    The only part of my region of academia that has come up anywhere in this discussion is the scientific method. I need to know that both to do research and because I teach some aspects of it. I am not a climate scientist, I haven’t claimed to be. If you thought I was, I don’t know what reason you had.

    “so you are likely not willing to do anything here with an open mind and I can’t help you.”

    What is the basis of that conclusion? You didn’t give me a source for the saturation argument. I found a secondary reference myself, which was enough to see that my reason for doubting the saturation argument was wrong, and I volunteered that information. Not strong evidence for a closed mind. I also found that the saturation argument has been refuted on other grounds. You have offered no argument why the refutation of the saturation argument might be wrong.

    You offered counterarguments to points I did not make, so I tried to clarify what I did intend to say. You did not discuss what is an act of faith and what an act of logic, so I don’t see a basis for changing my mind on that. You have not engaged with my point that your definition of the scientific method is so simple that it is misleading. You can hardly claim that my mind is closed to argument if you don’t give me an argument.

    “For God’s sake you YOURSELF didn’t even know the mechanism behind the theory you defend.”

    What I am trying to defend is an understanding of the scientific method. You put together an excellent podcast with many well-argued points. The one flaw I see in it is you using a definition of the scientific method so simplified that it is misleading. I argue that it has mislead you, and you have not engaged with that argument. If you say that I don’t understand the scientific method, then that is an assertion without an argument to back it up. If instead you meant I don’t know the mechanism behind the greenhouse effect, that is not what I was trying to defend.

    But if you want to demonstrate that you know the mechanism behind the critique you defend, please tell me whether you still accept the saturation argument. If yes, you should be able to tell me what is wrong with the refutation to which I linked.