Posted by: graemebird | December 18, 2009

Lets See If George Monbiot Will Answer This Question.

What point is it for George Monbiot to be interested in this subject if he is not interested in the details of the science? He is making claims for science. He is claiming that its now really hard science. And he is claiming that humans put out 130 times as much CO2 as volcanoes. That sounds OK if it were just the above ground volcanoes. But he is claiming that this includes all the undersea stuff as well. If he’s going to make such a claim I want to see the breakdown. Because I would have thought that the undersea stuff might be a hundred or a thousand times as volumnous as the above ground stuff. The earths crust on the sea floor is so much thinner and younger and the rift zones are where the crust is at its weakest. For this reason I would have thought the undersea stuff would just dwarf the above ground stuff. But him and Tony Jones appeared to be sneering that this was all included in their claim.

This is what I asked George. Let us see if he can at least give us some detail as to why he thinks his claim would be plausible. Some breakdown of how his estimate was made. Not looking for absolute proof of course. Just some sort of due diligence. Some sort of breakdown. If I am going to quote his expertise on this matter authoritatively I would just want to have some idea of how this matter was calculated.

Any way here is what I asked him:

“I want to verify this claim you have been making about human CO2 output being 130 times more than volcanic. What is the breakdown for that? How is human output compared to just land alone? Just sea alone?

What is the estimate for the various undersea fault-zones. Like those massive rift-zones in the Pacific? Is there some sort of per kilometre estimate? How was this found?

We need some sort of a breakdown to check the plausibility of it if you are going to being making claims like this.

Supposing you have 68 000 kilometres of rift-zone under the water? And you say that the human total is 130 bigger than the volcanic total all up?

So how much bigger is it than the underground rift-zones alone? 150 times? 500 times?

Lets try 150 times. So you are making the claim then that humans would put out more CO2 than the equivalent of 150*68000 kilometres of rift-zone with that conservative way of calculating it right?

So in other words you are saying that humans are putting out the equivalent at least of what 10 million two hundred thousand kilometres of continuous volcanic rifting zones would be putting out if we had that much rifting zones encircling the globe many times.

This what you are saying.

You better give us the breakdown for that champ. Its not OK to lie just because the lie isn’t starting with you. Its still a lie when you pass it on. ”

We shall see if he answers the question. He refused to answer any of Plimer’s questions. He also claimed that our climate was warmer than in the Medieval warm period and in the Roman warming period. This habit of lying, just because others have done so is way beyond plausible-deniability for George Monbiot. I would suggest the Guardian distances themselves from this pretender, if they want to get back to their former status as reasonably credible leftist rag.

Now it seems that Monbiot has established truth, not by evidence, but by ringcraft and in association with Tony Jones. Here is Ian Plimer, a scientist all his life, with expertise in chemistry, geology and also as a debunker of various science frauds. And he’s taking his estimate from assumptions to do with rock formation and from their chemistry. Where is Monbiots version of the science taking its assumptions from?

This didn’t stop Monbiot from crowing:

“Ian Plimer’s volcano claims vaporise under questioning on Australian TV”

Really? What was the counter-evidence? None given? Some allegation that a journalist talked to someone in a government department. The science is settled in Monbiots view, on that basis alone.

Lets have a look at what this loony-toon is now crowing about:

“Jones took up my charge and asked Plimer whether he stood by his claim that volcanoes produce more CO2 than all the world’s cars and industries.

Plimer replied “I’m very heartened that a journalist is correcting me on my geology”, then launched into a disquisition on how I know nothing about science. Both of us pressed him to answer the question. So Plimer said that neither of us had read his book. We both replied that we had and pressed him again.

Plimer tried to argue that the US Geological Survey only measured emissions from terrestrial volcanoes – not from submarine volcanoes. Jones, who had plainly done his homework, pointed out that a UK journalist (I think he was referring to the Guardian’s James Randerson) had gone back to the USGS and asked them whether or not submarine volcanoes were included in its calculations. They were.

Plimer went off at a tangent, starting to list the numbers and kinds of submarine volcanoes. This, I soon found, was a characteristic tactic: when faced with a tricky situation, he starts throwing out random facts. I pointed out that he had been told many times that the USGS figures include submarine volcanoes: he was making a claim on national television that he should know is wrong”

So Plimer, a scientist, is just supposed to believe? He has his estimate and he said what proxy it was based on. Now we know that you need at least three lines of evidence before you can treat anything as revealed truth. But the point is he said what he was basing his view on. And Monbiot just mentioned somebody answering a question of another journalist. And we are all supposed to believe this idiocy?

Was Monbiot brought up a red baby or something? How can you explain such stupidity? How can he know the veracity of the claim of some fellow in a government department that he did not talk to himself and who provides no detail as to the reasoning behind his conclusion?

Lets go over the key point from this idiot.

“Plimer tried to argue that the US Geological Survey only measured emissions from terrestrial volcanoes – not from submarine volcanoes. Jones, who had plainly done his homework, pointed out that a UK journalist (I think he was referring to the Guardian’s James Randerson) had gone back to the USGS and asked them whether or not submarine volcanoes were included in its calculations. They were.”

Three journalists. Hearsay that one journalist (whom Monbiot isn’t even sure who it is) was alleged have been told something, without any more detail than that. Well Plimer did talk about why he thinks that Volcanic output is higher than human output of CO2. He mentioned 240 000 volcanoes. 240, 000 volcanoes has no reality to unscience idiots like Tony Jones and George Monbiot. It has some reality to me. Plimer mentioned 68,000 kilometres of undersea riftzones. I got the point straight away. To me these are vivid facts and make his estimate plausible just by mentioning these facts. But Tony and George, having no affinity for science, were only interested in what some fellow in some government department had allegedly said to some third party.

You see what the problem is here? People like Tony Jones and George Monbiot venturing into territory they don’t understand. When the only thing they are good at is snowballing someone when the camera is rolling. To all the readers who are reading this who actually saw the interview? Did you know there were 240,000 undersea volcanoes? Did you know there were 68,000 kilometres of volcanic riftzones under the sea? Did you get the point of why Plimer mentioned these facts? Tony and George did not seem to. Someone told someone something else. And thats the science settled right there.

Can we get an average CO2 output for undersea volcanoes George? Can we then multiply that average by 240 000 without statistical bias? Can we get an average for CO2 output for a kilometre of rift-zone George? Can we multiply that by 68,000 and get a pretty good ballpark figure? Or is that not necessary now that you heard some story about someone telling someone else something? How can the Guardian let this idiot keep going at this subject when he is clearly not up to the task?



  1. Here is an example of underwater volcanic behaviour. This sort of stuff is just continuous, along thousands of kilometers, and you would expect the deeper ocean stuff to be more active then higher up. Even where there is not an actual volcano, like in the above video, there is cracks being constantly pushed apart, expanding the ocean around it and pitting out stuff on a more modest level continuously. I think its expanding the world as such, these rift-zones. But even if you don’t go in for that the fact is that its not monitored. I just don’t understand where these dummies Monbiot and Tony Jones get their ludicrous confidence from when they have no breakdown of the figures. No sensors monitoring thousands of kilometres of more or less continuous activity and no way to deal with huge submarine explosions that would go on intermittently, without our knowledge or with any ability to for is to average out the bigger explosions over quieter years. And yet they lie and say that Plimer avoided the question. Yet Plimer told them straight that this estimates are inferred from the formation and chemistry of rocks. I suspect that Plimers estimate would be a vast underestimate on the basis that he’s not an advocate of growing earth theory.

    In any case its pretty clear that we have a duty to increase and not reduce the atmosphere’s CO2 level.

    Here is the idiot George Monbiot again:

    “Goodbye Africa, goodbye south Asia; goodbye glaciers and sea ice, coral reefs and rainforest; it was nice knowing you, not that we really cared. The governments which moved so swiftly to save the banks have bickered and filibustered while the biosphere burns.”

    Did he complain loud and hard enough about the bailout? CO2 has not got anything to do with any of the environmental problems he alludes to. In fact CO2 will help in all cases. It could be part of the healing process.

  2. Cocaine found in Egyptian mummy. As well as THC and caffeine. The ancient world is not quite what it is made out to be.

    I can back this story up with a springerlink summary. But its boring to read. We have to snap out of the wrong impressions we have of the ancient world.

  3. Graeme, most people aren’t interested ind discussing the srience behind AGW. The science is in. The discussion is only know between cranks and people who like to beat up the cranks. It’s a sport.

    In the real wider world the war between science and capitalism – which is what it was – science has won.

    Of more interest to people is the debate – the only relevant debate now – is about what sort of world we want and need and how to get there.

  4. Well unfortunately the science is in and what it says is there is no warming problem with more CO2. But if there was a warming situation with CO2, well thats the sort of planet we would want. We would want the extra CO2 as insurance against a new glacial period, with the ice front moving across North America and making Europe and Canada uninhabitable. We would also want the extra CO2 to make the biosphere far more lush and to help us reverse our reduction in biodiversity.

    If you care about the health of the environment you must work for higher CO2 levels.

  5. What’s caused the current reduction in biodiversity?

  6. Well I would put it down largely to all the land being fenced off so the critters cannot migrate. Also from the humans being such successful hunter-gatherers. This is likely to cause more loss in the case of over-fishing. But CO2 release is a force in the other direction.

    Looking at the fossil record its the times of high CO2 levels that lead to greater levels of biodiversity, at least on land. Low CO2 levels lead to a very sick biosphere.

    Here is the more recent CO2 record here:

    The result of low CO2 levels would mean high food prices, and great difficulty people feeding eachother. We would expect to see famines, or at least severe hunger, when the CO2 levels dropped low.

  7. You forgot about the birds, Birdie, in your explanation for biodiversity loss. Tsk-tsk.

  8. A lot of migrating birds are likely to be sliced to pieces by wind farms. That will be a problem.

    I think height restrictions on buildings are anti-social. And also non-user pays infrastructure. I think we want to go in for more vertical development. More robust high-rises. Pyramids and cones which straddle roads. Buildings which jut up out of the ground leaving plenty of space for the cows to walk around or alternatively dome-like buildings built into the ground which the farm animals can walk over except where there are windows.

    Downtown on the way between the city and Kings Cross there is that swimming pool built under the ground leaving much of the park above it untouched. I think we have to look at this sort of thing more and more.

  9. You seem to be denying that climate change ever has affected Earth’s species. Yours is a very non-materialist, antropocentric approach which, I’d suggest, lies at the heart of your AGW denialism. The word hubris comes to mind, among others. And anti-scientific religosity, even mysticism.

    This is a good summary of the long-range biodiversity creation and loss issues.

  10. anthropocentric, sorry for the typos.

  11. Mine is a solar and lunar based approach. So I see it as totally opposite to a human-centric approach. Although I do think that the humans have had a slight cooling effect on the planet via particulates in industrial pollution.

    I think that climate can affect species. But I don’t think humans affect climate much. Certainly not on the warming side. One doesn’t want to say “climate change” when what one really means “CO2-release”.

    I can say without any doubt whatsoever that “CO2-release” as opposed to climate change, is only helpful to species survival.

    If when you say “climate change” you actually mean climate change and not CO2-release, then I think that can hurt species. And I think it can couple with other things that the humans are doing to really hurt species, like the fencing off of land. Because if there is climate-change climate-change, you know, actual climate-change, and the species cannot migrate, then they will be dying out by the bakers dozen, since they won’t be able to adapt as quickly as they could have migrated.

    Here is Piers Corbyn explaining his Solar Lunar Amplification Magnetic process. All indications are that we are headed for serious cooling.

  12. “There is little doubt that climate has played a critical role in past fluctuations of biodiversity levels. Among the five recognized mass extinction events — the Ordovician, the Devonian, the Permian, the Triassic and the Cretaceous — at least four are believed to have some correlation to climate change.”

    I take a far more catastrophic point of view to these past major extinctions than what this fellow seems to. I see them as probably to do with massive galactic traumas, setting off supernovas in our region. Or the possibility of two solar systems becoming entangled for a time leading to all sorts of terrible troubles. I suspect that, were the critters not fenced off by the humans, that they could usually adapt to climate change over time. A migration 100 kilometres north is roughly equivalent to an increase in average temperatures of about 1 degrees Celsius or so.

  13. “I see them as probably to do with massive galactic traumas, setting off supernovas in our region. ”

    Seeing is not the same as being.

    What humans think they see in their imaginations or hypothesise about and what actually exists or occurred are often quite different things as Heisenberg et all noted.

    In short: what is your evidence?

  14. Well for example these big extinction events often seem to be associated with massive volcanic behaviour. And in the case of the one that sent off the dinosaurs there was massive volcanic behaviour in India and later two massive hits from asteroids. This all happened within 300 000 years. Which would be a bad run of luck for the dinosaurs. So much so as to defy all rules of probability. So what we look for is a root cause for all these otherwise unlikely events.

    In the case of the Quarternary extinction we have mammoths that seem to have been snap-frozen with buttercups and other warm weather food undigested in their stomach. Thats climate change but of a rather fast version.

    We have the evidence for animal and plant matter washed up hard against a mountain. Some sort of massive deluge happening with incredible force.

    In the earlier “Cat Gap” we have the total disappearance of all cat species from the Americas for many millions of years. Not something we would expect from some sort of mild climate change, or from two or three or five degrees increase in greenhouse-based warming. Greenhouse-based warming being something that even by its own definition leads to less contrast and more mildness in temperatures.

  15. The fear of CO2 which we know to be a very benign and beneficial thing is therefore hiding much nastier problems that can creep up on us. As in your link where the fellow seems to be trying to spin it that “climate change” which is now inextricably bundled up with “industrial CO2 release” can lead to these extinction events. Whereas I think these extinction events are to do with massive tidal waves, earthquakes, asteroid hits, supervolcanic eruptions, and gamma ray bursts that hit the animal world like a series of disasters from which they find it almost impossible to recover from.

    Contrast that to warmer winter mornings as a stressor to the animal kingdom. The warmer winter mornings forcing the animals into extinction.

  16. From elsewhere:

    “Well Cohenite, as far as I am concerned it is up to warmers to prove the hypothesis of AGW, not the other way round….. Natural climate change is the accepted science.”

    Well yes of course Mr Hansford. But the whole trick of the fraud side of the argument, for several years now has been to NEVER come up with evidence. Always come up with attacks on the opponents case but always avoid coming up with any actual evidence. The discipline these guys have exercised in this regard is astonishing. For example George Monbiot filibusterd for weeks and refused to come up with any actual scientific evidence or argument. And maintained this ability, even through the entire TV showdown, and even after he pulled the leftist reversal on Plimer.

    I’ve been looking into this since about 2003. And they are totally consistent in this regard. It would be an incredible faux pas within their circles to even so much as try to come up with any evidence. Since once they do so, it can quickly be refuted. This is the entire secret of the movement. And they don’t really have anything else going for them but this tactical inspiration of pure genius and discipline.

    So were I to say….. “Enough is enough gavin. You’ve been filibustering long enough. Lets have that evidence have a nice day fool”

    Then the tactic is to filibuster and talk all around the subject. Like drug talk. Until such time as the conservative is house-trained never to ask for primary evidence of the other side. Or until the persistent conservative can be banned from the site in question.

    Thats it. Thats their whole secret. Never once have these clowns come up with any evidence for a specific hypothesis, justifying their policy goals. Never. You cannot find someone who could find someone to track it down for you.

  17. “Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I don’t think there is any actual theory of trickle-down economics in economic history. But some of us have the theory of “funnel-up” economics. In my rendering of this theory any financial system short of 100%-backing, growth-deflation will have a situation where wealth is being “funnelled upwards” towards the people who are already wealthy. Plus the already wealthy will likely have sorted any number of very subtle advantages that allow their money to make money while they sleep.

    On the alleged libertarian side of things some thought has gone into our rights as consumers. But almost no thought has gone into the little blokes right as a producer. The right to get out of the proletarian mega-pool and get into a business of ones own. The alleged libertarian set seem to be utterly flippant about that side of things. And this bias towards the big corporations and against the sole trader, while it may be a small thing, small insipid forces that work around the clock for long periods of time will have dramatic effects.

    I would argue that over a period of (lets say) five decades, this small bias against the sole trader and in favour of the big corporates can lead to essentially a rigged market at both ends. Not enough people getting top executive business experience in their twenties to compete down the salaries of this new managerial class overlords….. At the same time too many people in the proletarian pool, leading to stagnant wages at the bottom end.

    It may be only a subtle bias. And it may take a long time to cause a lot of trouble. But if we bring in the time factor it can be all the difference between utter cronyism and the just society.”

  18. My latest message to Monbiot:

    “You got any corroborating studies more recent then the 1991 Gerlach study?

    You being such a great scientist?”

  19. “Which 1991 Gerlach study would that be specifically Monbiot you lying sack of shit?”

  20. “What did you find particularly convincing about the 1991 Gerlach study hey George?

    What about it WON YOU OVER as-it-were?

    Bit of the old science reasoning hey Mr Science-Man? International man of science?

    Lets have it then. There must have been something about this one, very old study, that won you over.



  22. No thats 1995 dummy. George had no interest in that one or dozens of others. He was particularly interested and won over by the Gerlach study of 1991.

    But thanks for the link and thankyou for your input.

  23. Volcanic activity has minimal to no effects on the Earth and is not responsible for climactic changes or flooding or similar catastrophic events. It has had comparatively little to no effect on planetary temperatures.

  24. I would have thought that you were pretty right with all of the above except when we get to the catastrophic events.

    If we get a real massive volcanic explosion it can throw the earth into a cooling cycle. For example the mount Toba explosion of around 70 000 years ago is associated with some sort of catastrophe, or series of catastrophes, that is thought to have almost wiped out homo sapiens. There is thought to be a genetic bottleneck in our gene pool that can be traced to around that time.

  25. I think the fossil and geological records show that Earth has had a continuous stream of creation and extinction but this has occurred, up until recently, over vast periods of time, i.e. over a much longer time frame than what has occurred since the existence of homo sapiens and that our environmental and climactic effects are massive and massively destructive to us and other species in such a short time frame.

  26. I don’t know about that. For example the destruction of the dinosaurs appears to have been from a series of disasters occurring over a 300 000 year period. But the Quarternary extinction seems to have been something that happened over a pretty short space of time. The Toba near-extinction likely was due a clustering of catastrophic events over a reasonably short space of time.

    If the root cause was the explosion of a supernova then that can trigger off multiple disasters that send the population through a series of shocks. Earthquakes, Tsunamis, supervolcanic eruptions, gamma ray blasts, global freezing, hurricanes, massive bush fires, the destruction of the food supply, and so forth.

  27. On the other hand its at least possible to attribute the humans to the extinction of a lot of species. Like the thesis Tim Flannery had. He thought that the aborigines wiped out a lot of the megafauna in Australia for example. This is a reasonable thesis. Although the Quarternary extinction could be important here. Especially when it comes to the downfall of the woolly mammoth. I don’t think this matter is fully resolved. And its certainly reasonable to think the humans played a big part in a lot of extinctions due to being successful hunters.

  28. Graeme, Merry Christmas to you and yours

    • Merry Christmas tal.

      • Why thank you kind sir 🙂

  29. In geological time most volcanic eruptions have not affected world climate and to the extent some (one?) may have for a few years, it did on an Earth which was covered in forests that could absorb the carbon, but which today mostly no longer exist because we have cut them down.

    Which makes the remaining carbon sink in the world today the ocean which is a big problem because our carbon emissions are rapidly acidifying the oceans.

  30. Well we don’t want to conflate CO2 release with climate change. Thats where the confusion is coming in. Climate change is climate change. CO2 release is CO2 release. One doesn’t cause the other. But if they did we still ought not conflate the two different things.

    I don’t think volcanoes cause global warming. But they probably release more CO2 then what we do. Despite the reliance on the 91 Gerlach study.

  31. “Comparison of CO2 emissions from volcanoes vs. human activities.
    Scientists have calculated that volcanoes emit between about 130-230 million tonnes (145-255 million tons) of CO2 into the atmosphere every year (Gerlach, 1999, 1991). This estimate includes both subaerial and submarine volcanoes, about in equal amounts.’

    This is from a United States Geographical Survey website. They are saying that above water volcanoes release as much CO2 as the underwater ones. This is a lie. It isn’t even the least bit credible. And they are relying on a single 1991 study to put out this lie. So this looks like a clear conspiracy to mislead. They pretend this statement is from an entire organisation. But its really from whoever gets to screw with their website.

  32. Fill in geological time only the sun and orbit changes affect world climate. CO2 does affect climate, it’s just that there isn’t evidence for much effect.


  33. It’s not about CO2 birdie, the argument is about feedbacks.


  34. This is the problem. The leftists know that they can manipulate the debate by simply applying enough pressure to get dopey faux-conservatives like Pedro to agree to things that he knows absolutely nothing about. But the natural world doesn’t bend over in compliance to the bipartisan opinions of dummies on both side of some sort of arbitrary political spectrum.

  35. Get snappy fella. We started out this narrative right at the start, and we found a definite cooling mechanism first up, that cannot be denied. Its not the end of the story. And there are cooling and warming mechanisms that can be identified by straight logic before we get to the end of this story. But what I cannot see is how you can imagine that you’ve sussed it out that the warming effects overmatch the cooling effects. When you don’t have the evidence, nor have you even identified a single warming effect.

  36. “Which makes the remaining carbon sink in the world today the ocean which is a big problem because our carbon emissions are rapidly acidifying the oceans.”

    This is not actually happening. The oceans are alkaline. Its not clear to me that industrial CO2-release will make the oceans less alkaline even a little bit. But what we can be sure about is that the oceans will stay alkaline. And that any change to their alkalinity will be very slow. And also that so long as the change was slow, a move in the direction of a less corrosive neutral can scarcely be judged a bad thing.

    Still. One does want to green the deserts. And so I for one see no big problem with some sort of nature corridor program. Some sort of long-term plan to desalinate huge amounts of water and bring that desalinated water into the desert heart of Australia.

    So long as people are patient and respectful of the property rights of the taxpayer and the property holder. And so long as these plans aren’t a major burden. The idea is to make haste slowly. Put in place a plan that will see a super-sufficiency of desalinated water going into central Australia, and ubiquitous nature corridors, over a period of one or two centuries. One or two centuries being a time period where we can get this all done without hurting people.

  37. Some sort of long-term plan to desalinate huge amounts of water and bring that desalinated water into the desert heart of Australia.

    MaoBird’s Great Leap Forward eh?

  38. hey what do you make of this Many Worlds stuff?

    • “hey what do you make of this Many Worlds stuff?”

      I’m an atheist and a skeptic so obviously I think its all bullshit. Every waking moment we have evidence for three dimensions of space, no evidence for time, and certainly no evidence for space-time, parallel universes and this sort of thing. Except for personal testimony that you yourself would not find convincing.

      There is far more evidence for the sometime presence of alien life in our solar system then there is for space-time for example. The evidence being “some evidence” versus “no evidence.” I won’t say there is no evidence for multiple worlds. But if you put aside personal testimony of the type that is akin to me pointing out that Elvis is right now in my kitchen frying up some vittels, then there is none. Certainly no lab evidence or anything like that.

  39. You don’t need to tell lies. Did you notice I’m saying that if you have these things over two hundred years then you can do this sort of thing slowly and at low cost.

    The great leap forward is an immediate thing. So you’ve done the leftist reversal again. You must never tire of this leftist reversal fella.

  40. I should have known it. Building on stupid quantum ideas. Once you allow irrationality and the cult of personality into any field of science then there is no end to the crazy-talk these people are going to come up with.

    These science workers are actually a little bit slow. Captain Kirk went in for this sort of stuff 40 years ago. You had the good Captain Kirk and the bad one dressed in black from a parallel universe.

    It must be remembered that science is in the public sector now. With all the bad craziness that this implies.

  41. Scientific American is doing a story on the multiverse too

  42. Well what does that tell you? The success of the Gramscian project. You know who the editor is right? That incompetent fellow you featured. Or at least he was editor up until recently.

    The article would have some credibility if they tracked down the witness testimony. Since that is the sum total of what the evidence is for this irrational jive.

  43. Mr Bird

    Surely as a man of science you know of positive or reinforcing feedback loops, the mathematics of exponential growth and how these can result in overshoot even collapse?

    These are fundamental mapping and conceptual tools needed to recognise and understand the massive problem of climate change and associated environmental hazards and threats.

    So too and, relatedly, are they fundamental tools for understanding let alone rationally shaping the whole system of national and global economic life and organisation that I thought you were interested in, in a disinterested way, as a scholar, not some creature bought and owned by crony capitalism!

    • “Surely as a man of science you know of positive or reinforcing feedback loops, the mathematics of exponential growth and how these can result in overshoot even collapse?”

      Right. The mathematics of exponential growth. This is something that any analyst must get his head around. Finally. People come on and lay on me all of this jibber-jabber. But at last the important thing. The mathematics of exponential growth is really what it is all about. I somehow could not get this concept to take over at Catallaxy, expect once. It did sink in a bit with Cambria with the potential costs of the cap-and-kill. But he took that one on board at first when he used to listen to me.

      None of the faux-right economists seemed to understand that the “mathematics of exponential growth” actually mandates outright the concept of “peak oil” from traditional sources. Mandates it in absolutist terms. This fact just escapes them.

      I apply this concept always. This is one of my strengths as an analyst. Thats what is behind my interest in high-rise, and high-rise particularly of conical and pyramidal shape. It follows quite naturally from an analysis which never loses sight of this most important of analytical tools. This is why I demanded that aquaculture be taken out of the tax system. This is why I, clearly the most serious libertarian when I was on catallaxy, nevertheless talked about putting up a plan for ubiquitous nature corridors. This is why I’ve been talking about desalination canals, and have been thinking a lot about how to run public works projects and keep the costs down when doing so. This is why I have not rejected Henry Georges economic analysis in its entirety, even when the most credible extant school of economics (The Austrian School) appears not able to even meet Henry George one quarter of the way.

      It doesn’t matter what the subject of analysis is. No serious thinker can ever afford to lose sight of the reality of the exponential series and the implications that flow from it.

      Great post Philomena. This is why I like you posting here. The Catallaxians would never have thought to bring this subject up that ought to be so much at the core of any analysts thinking. The mathematics of exponential growth and the general rules that follow from this mathematics, are definitely at the core of all of my thinking.

  44. “Several physicists have argued that a slight change to one of the laws of physics would cause some disaster that would disrupt the normal evolution of the universe and make our existence impossible.

    For example, if the strong nuclear force that binds together atomic nuclei had been slightly stronger or weaker, stars would have forged very little of the carbon and other elements that seem necessary to form planets, let alone life.”

    See how full of shit these people are? They are like the Keynesians. In that their understanding is so feeble that they think if somebody moves everything falls over. They construct their models in this way. Thats how the global warming science workers work as well. Anything changes and its ice-ball planet or Venus hot. Just don’t do anything, just don’t move or else we’ll spiral right out of control.

    And notice how these dupes start speculating about the “strong nuclear force” when there is no such thing. When it is a foolish idea idea in the first place.

    The legend of the “strong nuclear force” is one of the most foolish things the taxeater has ever come up with. In this story they have protons which repel eachother packed together. Well of course this is just impossible. If things repel eachother they cannot be packed together, without something between them blocking the repellant force. Or without something attracted to them which would push against them overcoming the repellent force. Out of these two only the blocking business is really all that credible. But both of these alternatives happening at once would seem to be the obvious reality barring some contrary evidence.

    But notice how these taxeating science-worker wingnuts overcome the problem? These irrational bastards imagine another particle. And this particle, for no fucking reason whatsoever, moves quickly between the protons, bumping into the protons and giving them “negative momentum”

    Imagine an explosion going off in the middle of a soccer field and the players running away in all direction. But never mind. Just then a soccer ball appears and hits you and gives you negative momentum and then that soccor ball charges about hitting every other prick on the field and keeping you huddled together, though you all want to run away in different directions. You cannot do it because this soccor ball keeps slamming into you and forcing you in the opposite direction of where it hit you. .

    Why would it do such a service? What could possibly motivate it? Why doesn’t the soccer ball escape the field. What intelligence directs it at the players? How can there ever be such a thing as “negative momentum.”

    So you see this science, now that its been taken over by the public service, has dissolved into utter wingnuttery. These are the stupidest people around. They pour all the publics money down these accelerator money pits, and the only real output they have is the cult of personality and the abuse of free-thinkers.

  45. An aspect of exponential growth which you may be overlooking, e.g. in your enthusiasm for unrestricted high rise is the notion and actuality of fixed limit.

    Restrictions on high rise make perfect sense if one factors in infrastructural deficiencies, such as street egress and exit, water provision, parking, access to services such as shops, public transport, etc. Proper urban planning needs to take account of such factors not just build high rise willy nilly wherever.

    Another example. Suppose you own a pond and you notice a single water lily growing on it. You know the waterlily will double in size each day. You realise if the plant is allowed to grow unchecked it will completely cover the pond in 30 days choking off all other forms of life in the water. But for now to you the lily seems small so you don’t worry about it.

    You’ll deal with it when it covers half the pond, you think.

    How much time have you given yourself to deal with the destruction of your pond?

    One day!

    Because on the 29th day the pond is half covered. On the next day after one final doubling the pond will be totally shaded.

    Thus exponential growth can lead to overshoot where change comes on faster and faster until with the last doubling or two the growth accumulates to produce an unmanageable problem, even though the percentage growth rate remained constant throughout the month.

  46. “Restrictions on high rise make perfect sense if one factors in infrastructural deficiencies, such as street egress and exit, water provision, parking, access to services such as shops, public transport, etc. Proper urban planning needs to take account of such factors not just build high rise willy nilly wherever.”

    I don’t think that height restrictions make any sense in this case. I think we need price rationing to make that nut work. Our cities make no sense logistically. Government peak-time profiteering when it comes to infrastructure makes more sense.

    It will bring on the private provision, and it will lead us collectively to change our city-country balance. Our big cities make no sense logistically. And they are militarily unsound in a world where we have to be able to prevail, even under conditions of extended nuclear war.

  47. Birdie

    How come I can’t paste text or a link into the comments box?

  48. I’m not sure? If you put two links its likely to throw you in the spam-box. I’ll go looking for you there and try and pull any comments out if that is what the problem is. I just noticed my statement from mid-2008. Its a hypothesis about “referred pain”. What do you think?

    “Actually to have sympathy for the devil just for one minute. Part of the impetous for the environmentalist movement could be a sort of “referred pain” as it were. They understand this maths and realise that we ought to max out on renewables out of first principles. But perhaps they realise it on an almost subconcious level as a sort of anxiety. And that drives them to accept a lot of other baggage and snake oil as well.”

    Just off to see if you are stuck in the spam otherworld.

  49. oops now I can. Keyboard playing up

    This looks like a great Christmas present. Read the review extract below.

    “Take two examples. Nearly four billion years ago the inner solar system was bombarded by meteors and asteroids (an event known as the ‘Late Heavy Bombardment’ or ‘LHB’). So many hit the moon that they melted its surface. Mercury was especially badly hit; vast craters like the Caloris Basin were ringed by volcanoes after the impact, and shock waves raised weird hills on the far side of the planet. Given that the Earth also lay in the path of this cataclysmic shower of debris falling into the sun, it too suffered. More than 1700 craters of diameter greater than 20 kilometres were formed on the moon by the LHB, so it is calculated that, given the Earth’s larger size, ten times as many such giant craters were formed here. Deep sediments in Canada and Greenland contain an abundance of extraterrestrial isotopes, which fact gives empirical support to this hypothesis; and moreover the further fact that, according to the fossil record, life began soon after the LHB period suggests either that an earlier emergence of life was wiped out by it and had to start over again, or life was brought to our planet by the huge rocks that collided with it. Fascinating. ‘

  50. Like a promissory note?

  51. I have no sensible comeback for that. How are things going more generally? How are you getting along? You get to talk to your sisters much?

  52. I’m trying to read about 10 books at once and keep getting distracted by blogs.

    Guess what there is a new disease, so called ,ADD – adult defiance disorder. LOL.

  53. Sorry, it’s ODD. Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is an increasingly popular diagnosis for children and teenagers. The official symptoms of ODD include, “often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules,” and “often argues with adults.”

  54. Right. They work backwards from the treatment necessary to get people to function at work or in school. It might be that the kid is spoilt and hasn’t been civilised. Or it might be that the kid is perceptive and realises instinctively that his elders have feet of clay. And are full of clay more generally.

    Or it might be that the kid has a problem that some sort of drug moderates. But the description in any case probably works backwards from the treatment.

  55. Paging Karl Marx, Karl Marx please report to aisle “disciplined capitalistic worker.” Yeah feet of clay. Saw it from the get go.

  56. Yes a likely story. But given the fallout it might have been better to have that kid full of drugs.

  57. On a completely different note check out how sound Ron Paul was in his grasp of the economy. This back in 2007.

  58. What do you think of J.S. Mill’s advocacy of a “stationary state of capital and wealth”?

  59. Can you pin down when he was talking about that? There is early Mill and there is later Mill. I suspect this was later Mill when he was under the influence of that socialist wench not his wife.

    I don’t think much of it, because I would want everyone to be wealthy. I would want the truly rich to pay for the entirety of the roads on account of their willingness to blithely travel at peaktime and get hit by the peaktime rates.

    My sort of world is where the poor people live in impossibly spacious high-rise. Where you can take your horse from the centre of town and ride a curved path to anywhere at all through land , good land, and the poor people look down from their sky-houses at the hobby-farms, the nature corridors, the Edwardian Estates and the full-blown agriculture that invades all the way into the middle of town.

    My idea is that most people who have financial aspirations and are not yet rich would choose to live in a sky-house (that is to say an apartment ridiculously spacious by todays standards) and that since nearly everyone will choose to do so nearly all the time there will be plenty of space for someone like myself, to ride out of town, set up a shack, get away from everyone else and spend the whole time hanging upside down growing my hair long if that is what I have a hankering for.

    Most of us ought to live above nature and have the nature walking around underneath us. At sea most of us ought to have our fish farms starting twenty metres down and the surface and the bottom, for the most part free and clear.

    But we don’t want to halt the growth in wealth and capital accumulation. On the contrary it will be the accumulation of massive wealth that will enable us to have a more symbiotic relationship with nature than what we have necessarily had in the past.

  60. Wiki

    Mill demonstrated an early insight into the value of the natural world – in particular in Book IV, chapter VI of “Principles of Political Economy”: “Of the Stationary State” [20][21] in which Mill recognises wealth beyond the material, and argues that the logical conclusion of unlimited growth is destruction of the environment and a reduced quality of life.

  61. Well thats fair enough as far as it goes. But you see Mill was born rich and in the aristocracy. So he may have been flippant about the children of a lesser tribe And so you have that natural constraint. And yet you don’t want to get in the way of everyone aspiring to the good life.

    And it is this sort of tension from which the better policy ought to be derived.


  63. Well for one thing its a very balanced piece. And for another thing that small amount of talk about limiting population …… had he seen the explosion of Nazi-ism in the twentieth century he might not have written it in the same way. Or if he had he would likely to be willing to put a bunch of disclaimers on it when prompted.

    He says its inevitable. But this becomes clear when we go to the exponential series. So yeah its pretty forward looking stuff. But this is not something we need to say “bring it on” about on the grounds of it one day being inevitable. Industrialisation is something of a birth-control device. And we want to have policy grounded in the near-maximisation of the voluntary accumulation of per capita capital goods. But in seeking this goal we want to put certain insipid forces into the mix. That might barely be noticed on a day to day basis, and that seldom would be the cause for complaint or comment, that nonetheless start getting more and more human activities up in the air, or below the water, away from the actual sea bed, and generally let nature have a bit of a run of it.

    But such a plan has to be of the sort that the results are slow. Or it is no sustainable plan. We want to be in this sort of thing for the long haul. The current usurpation of farmer property rights is no good. And is evidence of flightiness and a lack of holistic thought.

  64. btw, speaking of volcanoes, I just came across this which I’d thought you’d like. In an extended European trip in 1833 Ralph Waldo Emerson met Thomas Carlyle for the first time and spent a day at his home in the Scottish Highlands. They really hit it off. Emerson described it as “a white day in my years” and Carlyle as “a living, not an extinct volcano whose lava-torrents of fever-frenzy enveloped all things”.

    Cool, eh.

  65. Right. Must have been pretty impressed with the young American.

  66. Emerson was talking about Carlyle, not vice versa.

  67. Right. I don’t have much of a sense of Carlyle. I might have to read his book on the French Revolution or something. You hear the name all the time but somehow I’ve missed out on reading this fellow, even in terms of second hand quotations.

  68. Answer the question Birdie. By what mechanism would gamma rays cause earthquakes or volcanic eruptions?


  69. Phuck off BirdLab. You’re boring.

  70. Birdie, mention of gamma rays, which I know you are partial to, always reminds me of that fabulous Pulitzer Prize winning play by the American science teacher Paul Zindel: “The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds”.

    Did you read it Birdie or see the movie (directed by Paul Newman and starring his wife Joanne Woodward and their daughter Nell Potts)?

    It’s stupendo.

  71. Well Birdie, your the one who’s claiming that gamma ray bursts somewhere in the gallaxy will cause all manner of death and destruction, and you’ve specifically sais a supernova was the cause of the 2004 erathquake and tsunami.


  72. What’s you favourite sci-fi movie?

  73. BirdLab is so lame that I’m sure you’d agree Birdie in a fair world he’d be getting top notch state disability support subsidy to ease his crippled physical/ mental being.

  74. I didn’t mind “Silent Running”. But Blade Runner would probably be one of my favourites. I’ll bear in mind your recommendation.

  75. I love Bladerunner too and equally I love Alien (the first one) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

  76. Another jealous male, Birdie. LOL, They’re never ending!

  77. Close encounters is one I’ll have to see again as an adult.

  78. Yeah its pretty funny at that. But not funny enough to stop me from wiping that comment.

  79. Thank you Mr Bird

    You are a gentleman.

    I have to go now.

    Thanks for the dance.

    Someone said that Astaire gave Rogers class and she gave him sex appeal.

    Not sure if that’s accurate in her case. And, after all, she did it all on heels and backwards as someone else noted!.

    Have a lovely evening Braveheart.

  80. We’ve had our differences, Birdy, but you might get a kick out of this:


  82. Pretty much what I was telling you hey THR. Max Keiser puts a bit of a lefty slant on things. But reading between the lines he actually seems to be reasonably respectful of the free market, when it is an actual free market. And not this crony looting spree we see going on in the US at the moment. No-one has ever seen stealing on this grand level. The money they are stealing is depriving people of the business spending that would normally employ them.

    It ought to be a left and right bipartisan story that the banking system has to content itself with making an honest living or face the same punishments that other people not so content face. An honest living is a cut of the interest.

    Not the entire interest. Not the principal and interest. But a cut of the interest. Yet we see that even our own bankers at Catallaxy are so corrupt they want to get the benefit of new money creation, the benefit of the sale of the extra products that monetary inflation brings. They want the interest rate subsidy from the central bank. They want the bailouts. The cartelisation regulation. They want it all. They are not interested in making an honest living.

    Occasionally they will lie like real dogs and try and invoke some foolish notion that Hayek came up with after he got the Nobel. This is just the leftist reversalist game they play with libertarians. But in reality its the current subsidies and rorts they want.

  83. differences THR?

    the fat man wants to report you to DOCS

  84. I don’t think so. But you would have to worry if he’s going to have these multiple personalities. Kevin the Konservative Teenage Chinese rapper. I mean he’s gone to all this trouble to write rap songs. Actually he was beginning to show that he was starting to learn his craft. Thats how much trouble he’d gone too.

    And he’s got this whole blog where he dresses up like Travis Bickle and does this monstrous leftist reversal where he pretends its Iian Hall running the triple act.

    Lets hope that now that he’s had a kid he’s put all this weird business behind him.

    But it does just go to show that conspiracy is second nature on the left. They run down conspiracy theory with the same fervor in which they engage in conspirational activities.

  85. dude THR

    is it true? were you Kevin?

    that was brilliant. I actually believed it. I always refrained from laying too hard into him because I thought he was just a kid.

  86. He broke cover to take a shot at Iian Hall. These people set up whole front personalities to save up for a rainy day.

    Its like the usurpers factcheck outfit. They pose as this pretty good service and they are really quite good. But then when it comes to the usurper they just lie flat out. So their whole purpose is to save their act up for strategic matters. Its incredible the way leftists think and act. Its like they have been playing the card-game “cheat” all their life and now they’ll lie just for the exercise of it.

    Like this rubbish about the volcanoes. The surface ones and the underwater ones giving off the same CO2. Thats such nonsense. Who knows what the difference is. Despite 100 billion spent on the science fraud, no serious attempt seems to have been made to find out. But if they told me it was 1000 to 1 that to me wouldn’t strain credibility. Since almost all the volcanic action is in the deep water.

  87. Humphreys in the SMH

  88. God he’s an idiot.

  89. one of the good guys, Yegor Gaidar, has passed away

  90. Graeme, I’m not the author of the Travis Bickle blog. Check your IPs.
    Secondly, there’s plenty of evidence that Iain Hall has done some fairly extensive stalking. He himself doesn’t deny it. I’m happy to provide further details if you need them.

  91. An interesting review of a couple of books on the bank bailouts by industry insiders, an investment banker and trader respectively with Lehman Brothers.

  92. I did check my IP’s. Thats how I found you out. You are lying like a lawyer. You want it both ways. You want it that the Travis Bickle incarnation is not a stalker, and yet you want his insane obsession with Iian Hall to be reality-based.

  93. Its a sickening state of affairs. Essentially Lehman didn’t contain any derivatives counter-party risk for Paulson and his cronies. So they were allowed to fail and everyone else was filled up with scuttled treasury funds like great big ticks.

    The number of ways these parasites have managed to put together multiple subsidies for their act is now astonishing. Cambria actually insisted out loud many times that this all wasn’t stealing. So these guys are ruthlessly belligerent in maintaining their bailed-out and subsidised status.

  94. Why don’t governments nationalise the major financial institutions? Wouldn’t that be best now?

  95. Like the sirens in the Odyssey, Philomena is inexorably leading Birdy to his doom as a Red

  96. No you are lying Graeme. You’ve got it wrong.

    You’re also wrong on Hall. He’s stalked a number of separate individuals before, and also offered (and paid) a bribe to get information on me. You’re an idiot. You let your hatred of the left blind you to reality, and you start taking the side of every two-bit degenerate on the net.

  97. You see you want it both ways. You want to say that Travis Bickle is telling the ttruth, when he’s a compulsive liar. At the same time you want to say he’s not you. But the IP Address doesn’t lie.

  98. I’ll certainly get into what we ought to do with the banks. But its a bit of an involved question. To run them honestly is to have the current setup unprofitable. So to nationalise them would be to take on a business that needs to go into retrenchment. So its better to take away their ability to create new money, then let these guys go into free-fall and have the government as a different entity, containing the damage.

  99. best rendition of Dylan’s best gospel song ever

    worth tolerating all the preachy visuals just for the song and that voice

  100. Right. I still like the original better. Clearly the vocalist is and excellent black female vocalist. But then one of the appealing things about the original was this born-again nasally bloke with the excellent female vocalists in the background. And while this version is very good its not different enough to appreciate it as if it were an whole other song.

    Like supposing if you’ve got the Beatles singing “Here Comes The Sun” and then you’ve got the Nina Simone version. Well Nina adds so much with her interpretation that it can be seen as another song entire with a few more dimensions to it.

    Even an extra dimension of sadness and tragedy to it possibly. The Beatles might be trying to cheer up a child. Whereas with Ninas version it could be a whole other level of seriousness, with a survivor of some sort, trying to hold it all together.

    Check out this amazing girl. Looks like she has a marked tendency for sadness. But see how she is such a skilled musical interpreter, that all of a sudden she can make her piano sound like its the happiest piano that ever had life given to it

  101. “Why don’t governments nationalise the major financial institutions? Wouldn’t that be best now?”

    Philomena. One thing I must add. If Professor Quiggin or Professor Keen were to argue that the government could run the big four banks better than they have been run in the last ten years then there is no question about that. No contest. If thats their argument and the neoclassicals want to gainsay them thats a losing argument for the neoclassicals on straight economic grounds.

    What we cannot put up with is the current situation. The current situation extrapolated forward is really the end of this country. The banks would take us all down if matters are not changed fairly radically.

  102. I’m trying to get this one approved at Quiggins place:

    “If we continue with the financial system that we have on the fly there can be no doubt that this is the end of this country. The financial system in American has basically wrecked that Republic. And it will go the same way for us eventually.

    Professor Keen and Professor Quiggin seem to aware of some of these problems. Here is Professor Keen on Max Keisers financial show. I think it would be a good thing if some of you guys master the technical side of what Max and Professor Keen are saying here.

    Our banks have misallocated resources to an astonishing degree. They have put us in incredible debt for the privilege of bidding up consumer and land prices. They have gone out of their way to misdirect resources away from productive spending.

    They have held out their hand to foreign banks for liquidity needs, meaning that our dollar has been persistently overvalued, leading to relentless de-industrialisation.

    We cannot put up with the current situation. I’m not for nationalisation but lets look at things from a technical point of view. Supposing there was a run on the banks in 1999. Suppose they went broke. And suppose after all due process the governments cut a deal with the creditors to buy the banks up and nationalise them for just a bit more than the domestic creditors would have gotten.

    Then imagine that the federal government had split loans strictly into two categories. 1. Wealth creation. 2. Low interest loans for state, local, individual, then corporate debtors, in that order, who were willing to swear off debt for maybe 20 years.

    The second function is important. Since to get better resource allocation we need a slower growth in the money supply. But for a slower growth in the money supply not to be immensely painful and disruptive we need to bring debt levels down.

    So supposing if those were the only two allowable loaning criteria? Would we now be better off after ten years of this, rather than the ten years that we had?

    Of course. We would be immensely better off comparatively. There is just no doubt about this on a technical economics level. This is not my preferred option. But my point is we have to change. We have to get out of the clutches of these ponzi-artists and debt-addiction pushers. Or else they will be the death of us.”

  103. Another post at Quiggin’s I’m trying to get through:

    “Guys. Can you drop most of your other causes and just stop this sale? The rail was downplayed in the twentieth century. But I thought the rail would be big in the 21st. This sale, in the way that it is planned, will be the death of that hope. No doubt about it at all. Yes cronyism usually has the edge on socialist business from some sort of static efficiency perspective.

    But if Queensland sells off their rail in this particular way that burns all our bridges. We can never then sort it that we have a powerful, expanding and dynamic rail system there for the 21st century.

    We don’t have to take a helluva lot of time to get this public-private deal right. But we need a moratorium for sure. We need a total rethink. Because there can be nothing worse then an outfit that is neither quite private nor public. Witness the American banking system by way of example.

    A business that is neither quite public nor quite private is like an immortal human cell that is neither quite dead or alive. An undead replicating cell. Its like a cancer cell. Its the living dead replicating cancer cell, not just for that industry. But for the society at large.

    No public private partnership. If you can make it private without cronyism fine. If not keep that part of the business in public hands until such time as you are sure of what you are doing.”

  104. Beat it Birdlab. You are boring. And a liar.

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