Jay Hanson essay "Thermo/gene collision: On human nature, energy, and collapse"

Shell safety record in North Sea takes a hammering
Metal thieves steal kids' slides, toilet roof in Japan

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Peak oil & depletion - March 5

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Appalling

Aaron Nuline, Powering Down
The terrible truth is that the "last man standing" mentality being applied by the bush adminiztration isn't even working.

Before the 1991 Gulf War the country's oil sector produced as much as 3.5 million barrels per day. But after four years of occupation, Iraq has only recently and momentarily managed to reach an output of 2.1 million barrels per day. And it can rarely manage to export more than 1.5 million barrels per day. Iraq's current oil production is concentrated in the north and the south. But since the US-led invasion, production in the northern fields has been almost totally off-line because of constant sabotage: 400 major attacks have been recorded on the pipelines that connect the Kirkuk fields to the Baiji refinery and both of those to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Last year attacks on oil installations and employees killed 289 people and wounded 179. The Nation

I doubt if Iraq will be producing anyway near the 6 million barrels of oil per day Paul Wolfowitz and others predicted the country would be turning out by 2010 as the neocons tried to assure Congress that Iraq would foot the bill for its own reconstruction, not the American taxpayers. Right. What we're seeing is that the oil isn't flowing.

...Can we now please address the issue of an eminent peak in global oil production? Is it possible for us to focus now on the awfully tough (but enjoyable) work of rebuilding our society with the aim of eliminating our dependence on fossil fuel consumption? They had their shot. But now that the violence of "Last Man Standing" has proven a failure, can we please get on with the reconstruction our world?

Because we just can't afford another appalling mistake.
(2 Mar 2007)


Thermo/Gene Collision: On Human Nature, Energy, and Collapse
(PDF)
Jay Hanson, Warsocialism
This paper will attempt to describe the least-known major biophysical laws at work in modern society and extrapolate them into the near future. These biophysical laws are now "politically incorrect" and suppressed from public discourse, but that doesn't mean these laws don't exist.

What will our lives be like, when changes in our energy supply radically change the energy context in which we live? We need to understand how we will make decisions when thermodynamic laws (allowing for less-and-less) collide with genetic drives (demanding more-and-more.) This is the "thermo/gene collision."

The entire article is archived at
www.warsocialism.com/thermogenecollision.pdf
(20 February 2007)
Familiar message from the creator of the influential www.dieoff.org website. Although Hanson has woken up many people by pointing out the trends, I prefer analyses from authors with backgrounds in social sciences or history, such as the recent writing by Thomas Homer-Dixon on collapse (references on EB) -BA

UPDATE:
Right there you've got a summary of Jay Hanson's cheery blend of genetic determism and peak oil doomerism. I think there's a not negligable chance that these extreme scenarios will play out, but not for the exact same reasons -- the mechanistic genetic determist perspective is way overstressed. Jay Hanson was the editor of the influential DieOff.org.
-AF

Hanson writes in a footnote to the essay:

Fifteen years, plus or minus ten years, is when I estimate anarchy will reign in the United States. Please note thatI do not advocate anarchy. Indeed, anarchy is the worst possible future. However, our government was not designed to solve social problems and will be utterly helpless in the face of unfolding biophysical law-driven events.


Shell safety record in North Sea takes a hammering

Terry Macalister, Guardian
Shell has been repeatedly warned by the Health and Safety Executive about the poor state of its North Sea platforms, according to information obtained by the Guardian.

The company's dismal record undermines Shell's public commitment to improve its performance after a fatal explosion on the Brent field in the North Sea in 2003 and raises further concerns about Britain's ageing oil and gas equipment.

As recently as November 13, Shell - one of Britain's largest companies - was served with a rebuke and a legal notice that it was failing to operate safely.

...North Sea operators are investing less in offshore oil platforms at a time when production is falling much faster than expected, according to a recent report from the UK Offshore Operators Association. As the North Sea nears the end of its natural life as an oil province, many large groups are looking for much bigger finds elsewhere. North Sea production fell 9% to 2.9m barrels of oil equivalent last year and UKOOA expects it to be 250,000 barrels lower on average over the remainder of the decade. UKOOA is also predicting investment will fall to as little as £4bn this year compared with £5.6bn last year, at a time when costs are rocketing due to equipment shortages.
(5 March 2007)


Metal thieves steal kids' slides, toilet roof

Miho Yoshikawa, Reuters
Children's slides, incense holders from cemeteries and even the roof of a public toilet have disappeared in a spate of metal robberies in Japan prompted by surging steel and copper prices.

Last year, there were about 5,700 such robberies in Japan causing damages worth some 2 billion yen ($17.27 million), and the number of cases is rising, media reports said citing the National Police Agency.
(5 March 2007)
As energy rises in price, commodities follow. We've noted reports of commodity thefts in the past; this is the first we've found from Japan.

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