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The Terror of Deep Time

General Ideas

Back in the 1950s, sociologist C. Wright Mills wrote cogently about what he called “crackpot realism”—the use of rational, scientific, utilitarian means to pursue irrational, unscientific, or floridly delusional goals. It was a massive feature of American life in Mills’ time, and if anything, it’s become more common since then. Since it plays a central role in the corner of contemporary culture I want to discuss this week, I want to put a few moments into discussing where crackpot realism comes from, and how it wriggles its way into the apple barrel of modern life and rots the apples from skin to core.

Let’s start with the concept of the division of labor. One of the great distinctions between a modern industrial society and other modes of human social organization is that in the former, very few activities are taken from beginning to end by the same person. A woman in a hunter-gatherer community, as she is getting ready for the autumn tuber-digging season, chooses a piece of wood, cuts it, shapes it into a digging stick, carefully hardens the business end in hot coals, and then puts it to work getting tubers out of the ground. Once she carries the tubers back to camp, what’s more, she’s far more likely than not to take part in cleaning them, roasting them, and sharing them out to the members of the band.

A woman in a modern industrial society who wants to have potatoes for dinner, by contrast, may do no more of the total labor involved in that process than sticking a package in the microwave. Even if she has potatoes growing in a container garden out back, say, and serves up potatoes she grew, harvested, and cooked herself, odds are she didn’t make the gardening tools, the cookware, or the stove she uses. That’s division of labor: the social process by which most members of an industrial society specialize in one or another narrow economic niche, and use the money they earn from their work in that niche to buy the products of other economic niches.

Let’s say it up front: there are huge advantages to the division of labor.  It’s more efficient in almost every sense, whether you’re measuring efficiency in terms of output per person per hour, skill level per dollar invested in education, or what have you. What’s more, when it’s combined with a social structure that isn’t too rigidly deterministic, it’s at least possible for people to find their way to occupational specialties for which they’re actually suited, and in which they will be more productive than otherwise. Yet it bears recalling that every good thing has its downsides, especially when it’s pushed to extremes, and the division of labor is no exception.

Crackpot realism is one of the downsides of the division of labor. It emerges reliably whenever two conditions are in effect. The first condition is that the task of choosing goals for an activity is assigned to one group of people and the task of finding means to achieve those goals is left to a different group of people. The second condition is that the first group needs to be enough higher in social status than the second group that members of the first group need pay no attention to the concerns of the second group.

Consider, as an example, the plight of a team of engineers tasked with designing a flying car.  People have been trying to do this for more than a century now, and the results are in: it’s a really dumb idea. It so happens that a great many of the engineering features that make a good car make a bad aircraft, and vice versa; for instance, an auto engine needs to be optimized for torque rather than speed, while an aircraft engine needs to be optimized for speed rather than torque. Thus every flying car ever built—and there have been plenty of them—performed just as poorly as a car as it did as a plane, and cost so much that for the same price you could buy a good car, a good airplane, and enough fuel to keep both of them running for a good long time.

Engineers know this. Still, if you’re an engineer and you’ve been hired by some clueless tech-industry godzillionaire who wants a flying car, you probably don’t have the option of telling your employer the truth about his pet project—that is, that no matter how much of his money he plows into the project, he’s going to get a clunker of a vehicle that won’t be any good at either of its two incompatible roles—because he’ll simply fire you and hire someone who will tell him what he wants to hear. Nor do you have the option of sitting him down and getting him to face what’s behind his own unexamined desires and expectations, so that he might notice that his fixation on having a flying car is an emotionally charged hangover from age eight, when he daydreamed about having one to help him cope with the miserable, bully-ridden public school system in which he was trapped for so many wretched years. So you devote your working hours to finding the most rational, scientific, and utilitarian means to accomplish a pointless, useless, and self-defeating end. That’s crackpot realism.

You can make a great party game out of identifying crackpot realism—try it sometime—but I’ll leave that to my more enterprising readers. What I want to talk about right now is one of the most glaring examples of crackpot realism in contemporary industrial society. Yes, we’re going to talk about space travel again.

No question, a fantastic amount of scientific, technological, and engineering brilliance went into the quest to insert a handful of human beings for a little while into the lethal environment of deep space and bring them back alive. Visit one of the handful of places on the planet where you can get a sense of the sheer scale of a Saturn V rocket, and the raw immensity of the effort that put a small number of human bootprints on the Moon is hard to miss. What’s much easier to miss is the whopping irrationality of the project itself.

(I probably need to insert a parenthetical note here. Every time I blog about the space program, I can count on fielding at least one comment from some troll who insists that the Moon landings never happened. It so happens that I’ve known quite a few people who worked on the Apollo project; some of them have told me their stories and shown me memorabilia from what was one of the proudest times of their lives; and given a choice between believing them, and believing some troll who uses a pseudonym to hide his identity but can’t hide his ignorance of basic historical and scientific facts, well, let’s just say the troll isn’t going to come in first place. Nor is his comment going to go anywhere but the trash. ‘Nuf said.)

Outer space simply isn’t an environment where human beings can survive for long. It’s near-perfect vacuum at a temperature a few degrees above absolute zero; it’s full of hard radiation streaming out from the huge unshielded fusion reactor at the center of our solar system; it’s also got chunks of rock, lots of them, whizzing through it at better than rifle-bullet speeds; and the human body is the product of two billion years of evolutionary adaptation to environments that have the gravity, atmospheric pressure, temperature ranges, and other features that are found on the Earth’s surface and, as far as we know, nowhere else in the universe.

A simple thought experiment will show how irrational the dream of human expansion into space really is. Consider the harshest natural environments on this planet—the stark summits of the Himalayas; the middle of the East Antarctic ice sheet in winter; the bleak Takla Makan desert of central Asia, the place caravans go to die; the bottom of the Marianas Trench, where the water pressure will reduce a human body to paste in seconds. Nowhere in the solar system, or on any of the exoplanets yet discovered by astronomers, is there a place that’s even as well suited to human life as the places I’ve just named. Logically speaking, before we try to settle the distant, airless, radiation-blasted deserts of Mars or the Moon, wouldn’t it make sense first to build cities on the Antarctic ice or in the lightless depths of the ocean?

With one exception, in fact, every one of the arguments that has been trotted out to try to justify the settlement of Mars can be applied with even more force to the project of settling Antarctica. In both cases, you’ve got a great deal of empty real estate amply stocked with mineral wealth, right? Antarctica, though, has a much more comfortable climate than Mars, not to mention abundant supplies of water and a breathable atmosphere, both of which Mars lacks. Furthermore, it costs a lot less to get your colonists to Antarctica, they won’t face lethal irradiation on the way there, and there’s at least a chance that you can rescue them if things go very wrong. If in fact it made any kind of sense to settle Mars, the case for settling Antarctica would be far stronger.

So where are the grand plans, lavishly funded by clueless tech-industry godzillionaires, to settle Antarctica?  Their absence shows the one hard fact about settling outer space that next to nobody is willing to think about: it simply doesn’t make sense. The immense financial and emotional investments we’ve made in the notion of settling human beings on other planets or in outer space itself would be Exhibit A in a museum of crackpot realism.

This is where the one exception I mentioned above comes in—the one argument for settling Mars that can’t also be made for settling Antarctica. This is the argument that a Martian colony is an insurance policy for our species. If something goes really wrong on Earth, the claim goes, and human beings die out here, having a settlement on Mars gives our species a shot at survival.

Inevitably, given the present tenor of popular culture, you can expect to hear this sort of logic backed up by embarrassingly bad arguments. I’m thinking, for example, of a rant by science promoter Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who likes to insist that dinosaurs are extinct today because they didn’t have a space program. We’ll assume charitably that Tyson spent long nights stargazing in his teen years, and so tended to doze off during his high school biology classes; no doubt that’s why he missed three very obvious facts about dinosaurs. The first is that they were the dominant life forms on land for well over a hundred million years, which is a good bit longer than our species shows any likelihood of being able to hang on; the second is that the vast majority of dinosaur species went extinct for ordinary reasons—there were only a very modest number of dinosaur species around when the Chicxulub meteorite came screaming down out of space to end the Cretaceous Period; and the third is that dinosaurs aren’t extinct—we call them birds nowadays, and in terms of number of species, rates of speciation, and other standard measures of evolutionary vigor, they’re doing quite a bit better than mammals just now.

Set aside the bad logic and the sloppy paleontology, though, and the argument just named casts a ruthlessly clear light on certain otherwise obscure factors in our contemporary mindset. The notion that space travel gets its value as a way to avoid human extinction goes back a long ways. I recall a book by Italian journalist Oriana Falacci, compiling her interviews with leading figures in the space program during its glory days; she titled it If The Sun Dies, after the passionate comment along these lines by one of her interviewees. Behind this, in turn, lies one of the profound and usually unmentioned fears that shapes the modern mind: the terror of deep time.

There’s a profound irony in the fact that the geologists who first began to figure out the true age of the Earth lived in western Europe in the early nineteenth century, when most people believed that the world was only some six thousand years old. There have been plenty of cultures in recorded history that had a vision of time expansive enough to fit the facts of geological history, but the cultures of western Europe and its diaspora in the Americas and Australasia were not among them. Wedded to literalist interpretations of the Book of Genesis, and more broadly to a set of beliefs that assigned unique importance to human beings, the people who faced the first dim adumbrations of the vastness of Earth’s long history were utterly unprepared for the shock, and even less ready to have the first unnerving guesses that the Earth might be millions of years old replaced by increasingly precise measurements that gave its age in the billions of years, and that of the universe in the trillions.

The brutal nature of the shock that resulted shouldn’t be underestimated. A society that had come to think of humanity as creation’s darlings, dwelling in a universe with a human timescale, found itself slammed facefirst into an unwanted encounter with the vast immensities of past and future time. That encounter had a great many awkward moments. The self-defeating fixation of evangelical Christians on young-Earth creationism can be seen in part as an attempt to back away from the unwelcome vista of deep time; so is the insistence, as common outside Christian churches as within them, that the world really will end sometime very soon and spare us the stress of having to deal with the immensity of the future.

For that matter, I’m not sure how many of my readers know how stunningly unwelcome the concept of extinction was when it was first proposed:  if the universe was created for the benefit of human beings, as a great many people seriously argued in those days, how could there have been so many thousands of species that lived and died long ages before the first human being walked the planet?

Worse, the suspicion began to spread that the future waiting for humanity might not be an endless progression toward bigger and better things, as believers in progress insisted, or the end of the world followed by an eternity of bliss for the winning team, as believers in Christianity insisted, but extinction:  the same fate as all those vanished species whose bones kept surfacing in geological deposits. It’s in the nineteenth century that the first stories of human extinction appear on the far end of late Romanticism, just as the same era saw the first tales that imagined the history of modern civilization ending in decline and fall. People read The Black Cloud and After London for the same rush of fascinated horror that they got from Frankenstein and Dracula, and with the same comfortable disbelief once the last page turned—but the same scientific advances that made the two latter books increasingly less believable made tales of humanity’s twilight increasingly more so.

It became fashionable in many circles to dismiss such ideas as mere misanthropy, and that charge still gets flung at anyone who questions current notions of humanity’s supposed future in space. It’s a curious fact that I tend to field such comments from science fiction writers, more than from anyone else just now. A few years ago, when I sketched out a fictive history of the next ten billion years that included human extinction millions of years from now, SF writer David Brin took time out of his busy schedule to denounce it as “an infuriating paean to despair.” Last month’s post on the worlds that never were, similarly, fielded a spluttering denunciation by S.M. Stirling. It was mostly a forgettable rehash of the standard arguments for an interstellar future—arguments, by the way, that could be used equally well to justify continued faith in perpetual motion—but the point I want to raise here is that Stirling’s sole reaction to Aurora, Kim Stanley Robinson’s brilliant fictional critique of the interstellar-travel mythos, was to claim dismissively that Robinson must have suffered an attack of misanthropy.

Some of my readers may remember Verruca Salt, the archetypal spoiled brat in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. When her father didn’t give her whatever she happened to want, her typical response was to shriek, “You don’t love me!” I think of that whenever somebody trots out the accusation of misanthropy in response to any realistic treatment of the limits that will shape the human future. It’s not misanthropy to point out that humanity isn’t going to outlast the sun or leap breezily from star to star; it’s simple realism, just as reminding someone that they will inevitably die is an expression not of hatred but of common sense.

You, dear reader, will die someday. So will I, and so will every other human being. That fact doesn’t make our lives meaningless; quite the contrary, it’s when we come to grips with the fact of our own mortality that we have our best shot at achieving not only basic maturity, but that condition of reflective attention to meaning that goes by the name of wisdom. In exactly the same way, recognizing that humanity will not last forever—that the same Earth that existed and flourished long before our species came on the scene will exist and flourish long after our species is gone—might just provide enough of a boost of wisdom to help us back away from at least some of the more obviously pigheaded ways we’re damaging the biosphere of the only planet on which we can actually live.

There’s something else to be found in the acceptance of our collective mortality, though, and I’m considering exploring it in detail over the months ahead. Grasp the fact that our species is a temporary yet integral part of the whole system we call the biosphere of the Earth, and it becomes a good deal easier to see that we are part of a story that didn’t begin with us, won’t end with us, and doesn’t happen to assign us an overwhelmingly important role. Traumatic though this may be for the Verruca Saltish end of humanity, with its distinctly overinflated sense of importance, there’s much to be gained by ditching the tantrums, coming to terms with our decidedly modest place in the cosmos, and coming to understand the story in which we play our small but significant part. We’ll discuss that further in future posts.

**************

In not completely unrelated news, I’m pleased to say that the latest issue of Into the Ruins, the magazine of science fiction set in the kind of future we might actually get, is on the notional newsstands as I write this. It’s a very solid issue, with crisp and lively stories in a variety of interesting future settings. If you don’t have a subscription yet—and what’s keeping you?—the issue can be bought online here.

Also, a reminder—the current science fiction short story contest, which calls for stories set in the imaginary worlds of the Old Solar System, is under way, and some stories have already been received. The deadline for submissions is January 30, 2018; you can find the details here.



37 Comments on "The Terror of Deep Time"

  1. Revi on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 7:43 am 

    Anyone who is familiar with paleontology knows that we have maybe a million years as a species, and then something else takes over. If we’re lucky! We seem to be blissfully unaware of what we’re doing to make conditions better for the next dominant species, and unliveable for our own. Of course we have our heads in space at the same time.

    The answer to our problems is too horrible to contemplate. We would have to stop driving around in our monster trucks and flying all over the world and maybe conserve some of the power packed goo for future generations.

  2. eugene on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 8:06 am 

    Some time ago, I came to the conclusion we are just another animal and not a particularly nice one at that. Without reason, I decided the item that makes each species a success lies the source of it’s demise. Ours is our brain. With our brain, we select from the chaos of our surrounding a “truth” of, often, insane pictures of “reality”. Not long ago, I heard the statement that we had developed religion to hide what we really are.

  3. LetStupidPeopleDie on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 9:05 am 

    Some of you are so scientifically illiterate and cannot keep up with no discovery.

    Everything the is using DNA as dying because of DNA degeneration. This has been know for a long time. This is why everything is dying including humans and tree. Go on youtube and look at tress dying everywhere.

    http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread967099/pg1

    I could link biology and medical research about DNA degeneration, but I am too lazy, google it yourself.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNBfvYboK98

    And no, tress are not dying because of human, they are dying because of DNA degeneration.

    Greer is just another uneducated shill thinking he knows everything,

  4. Cloggie on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 10:02 am 

    There could be a civil war of secession in Spain soon:

    https://www.ft.com/content/0d0ec8ea-9dd7-11e7-8cd4-932067fbf946

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/sep/20/spain-tense-as-catalonia-plans-independence-refere/

    Rich Catalans in majority want to break away from “black hole” Madrid. Madrid wants to keep its Spanish tax farm in one piece.

    If the Catalans manage to break away from Madrid, that could inspire quite a few European-Americans to attempt to break away from Washington. Or Northern Italy from Rome.

    #BeerAndPopcorn

    The last civil war in Spain in the thirties between Catholic Nationalists and Stalinist’s, backed the world’s commies USSR and USA, resulted in 500,000 killed.

    When Europeans wage war, better go into hiding.

  5. GregT on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 11:21 am 

    “And no, tress are not dying because of human, they are dying because of DNA degeneration.”

    Over 18 million hectares of trees are now dead in BC, not because of DNA degeneration, but because of global warming caused by humans.

    http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/forests/fire-insects-disturbances/top-insects/13397

    The forests around these parts this year are also really beginning to show the effects of warming. The forest floor is covered in a layer of dead Douglas Fir needles. The very strong sweet odour from all of those needles permeates throughout the entire forest. Something that I have never experienced before in my over half a century of life. The Cedar trees are also starting to look very unhealthy due to the new drought like conditions, in a historical temperate rainforest.

  6. rockman on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 11:42 am 

    Revi – So true. Eventually I suspect Homo sapiens will be replaced by Homo texicans.

    Just makes sense, ya know. Just look how the transition has already started. LOL.

  7. Apneaman on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 11:56 am 

    Hear that clog? The wizard Greer just called you, Verruca Saltish.

  8. LetStupidPeopleDie on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 12:20 pm 

    Only stupid people with no science background like Grep believe in government propaganda because there are not intelligent enough to read PHD research done in biology and medicine.

    Greg is the typical idiot that made me abandon all hope.

  9. Revi on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 12:35 pm 

    I am not even going to comment on Rockman’s suggestion…

    We are well on our way to extinction. I hope we figure out something soon, but I’m beginning to run out of hope.

  10. sunweb on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 3:33 pm 

    Eugene – I don’t know about the religion part but I agree with the rest of your thought.

  11. Apneaman on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 4:02 pm 

    Abstract

    “Hurricane track forecasts have improved steadily over the past few decades, yet forecasting hurricane intensity remains challenging. Of special concern are the rare instances of tropical cyclones that intensify rapidly just before landfall, catching forecasters and populations off guard, thereby risking large casualties. Here, we review two historical examples of such events and use scaling arguments and models to show that rapid intensification just before landfall is likely to become increasingly frequent and severe as the globe warms.”

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0134.1

  12. Apneaman on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 4:04 pm 

    LetStupidPeopleDie, where is it? This research you are talking about? All I see from you is a couple of links to retards R US sites. Bring it on. I’ll mop the fucking floor with you.

  13. Apneaman on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 4:07 pm 

    World’s 6th Mass Extinction Grows — Ash Trees & 5 African Antelopes Near Extinction (With Climate Change Playing A Part)

    “The eradication of the world’s remaining wildlife seems to be continuing at pace, going by the most recent IUCN Endangered Species List — with numerous species that were until recently common now “disappearing faster than they can be counted.”

    http://bit.ly/2wEbimY

  14. Apneaman on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 4:09 pm 

    Climate Change Is Already Making People Sicker

    “…global hunger is on the rise; 38 million more people were affected in 2016 than in 2015. Climate change and the spread of violent conflicts are responsible, the report says. Other research has linked climate change to increased respiratory problems, poor nutrition, the spread of infectious disease and even anxiety.”

    http://time.com/4949720/climate-change-united-nations/

  15. Apneaman on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 4:17 pm 

    Record heat wave for Sept in Aussie eastern states

    http://www.canadianinquirer.net/2017/09/21/record-heat-wave-for-sept-in-aussie-eastern-states/

    Heat wave forces cancellation of full marathon in Montreal on Sunday

    http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/heat-wave-forces-cancellation-of-full-marathon-in-montreal-on-sunday

    I wait in anticipation of the announcement that a NFL game is canceled due to heat or better yet a NASCAR race. Oh how I would love to see the reaction of some ‘coal rolling’, Dale Earnhardt Jr loving, climate denying Cancer car fan when he hears that climate change has ‘dun wrecked his race’. It’s them librals what did it. Rush told me they was plotting against are freedums again.

  16. Apneaman on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 4:32 pm 


    “Eric Holthaus
    @EricHolthaus
    14 hours

    On Wednesday, Caguas, P.R. got more rain in a single day (39.67″) than Seattle usually gets all year (37″).

    It’s a brave new world.”

    Indeed

  17. Apneaman on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 4:39 pm 

    The Unbearable Lightness of Billions

    “The costs of recovering from Hurricanes Harvey (Texas), Irma (Florida) and Maria (Puerto Rico) are now estimated at about $220 billion. Congress has thus far appropriated $15 billion for the purpose, acting on September 9, the very day FEMA was expected to run out of money.

    By its timely action, Congress solved seven per cent of the problem. With a burn rate of two million dollars a day, FEMA will be broke again in 75 days (from September 9).”

    “But arithmetic suggests that the correct question is not whether FEMA will run out of money, but when the US government will run out of money. ”

    http://www.dailyimpact.net/2017/09/21/the-unbearable-lightness-of-billions/

  18. makati1 on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 5:56 pm 

    Ap, if you totaled up the real costs for all of the weather disasters (hurricanes, floods, drought, etc. it would easily exceed a trillion dollars this year, or ~8% of the US GDP. I see that number only going up in the future. Eventually, it will “break the bank” (governments, insurance companies, personal incomes) not to mention deaths.

  19. makati1 on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 6:28 pm 

    ““I’ll never live to see 9/11 justice,” says Stephen Lendman. The 9/11 attacks have changed the course of humanity, even so for sixteen years have not been minimally clarified but turned the world in a place full of fear and hate as the United States spreads its military bases all over the world, having 737 and more than 2,500,000 U.S. personnel serving across the planet.”

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/democracy-in-america-is-pure-fantasy-stephen-lendman/5609830

    “SL: Democracy in America is pure fantasy. None exists. Powerful monied interests run things. People have no say. Elections are farcical when held. Dirty business as usual wins every time.”

  20. Apneaman on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 6:48 pm 

    mak, that’s right and “break the bank” is what I have been saying will take us down. The AGW jacked weather events get major MSM attention for a day or two then it’s back to Trump tweets or whatever. There is no excitement in broken infrastructure and mounting disaster debt.

    Oh and I forgot to mention in that last post that anyone who has that subsidized flood insurance is on BIG GOVERNMENT welfare.

    “There is some talk of doing something or other about FEMA’s National Flood Insurance program, otherwise known as socialized flood insurance. When privately owned insurance companies discovered many year ago that it was suicidal to insure the seaside and riverside houses that Americans love best, they stopped. That hurt homebuilders and developers, who of course demanded that the free market solve the problem with a government handout. But the government flood insurance has proven to be as suicidal, financially speaking, as the private insurance was, and the program was, before this year’s trifecta of Category Fives, $20 billion in debt. An amount that arithmetic (dark pagan art that it is) suggests can never be repaid.”

    http://www.dailyimpact.net/2017/09/21/the-unbearable-lightness-of-billions/

    Mak, I wonder how many of those free market cheer leaders like boat have BIG GOVERNMENT subsidized flood insurance? I bet there are plenty of them and they all have come up with some kinda special pleading for why it doesn’t count in their case. Like a constitutional amendment for capitalism so they can still pretend & preach their free market religion. I have literally seen thousands of capitalist amendments and special pleadings in my life. It’s been said that the one constant is change and I believe that to be true. The world changes, societies change then the religions and ideologies high priests (econOpriests) make up new justifications and rules and interpretations to keep up, then act as if that is the way it’s always been. Most of the humans never notice.

  21. GregT on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 7:20 pm 

    “The world changes, societies change then the religions and ideologies high priests (econOpriests) make up new justifications and rules and interpretations to keep up, then act as if that is the way it’s always been. Most of the humans never notice.”

    More like eCONOpriests.

  22. makati1 on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 7:36 pm 

    Ap, the FSofA is corrupt from top to bottom, (not to mention greedy, immoral and insane). I do not even excuse the serfs. They support the government so they support the things the government does. A true democracy can not work if the citizens are not all educated and able to think rationally. Humans are not wired to do that. Democracy ends up as all forms do, a dictatorship.

    I was doing Flood Maps for FEMA shortly after they began (Late 70s). All areas to be covered were mapped out for the entire US. It was eye opening. A very large part of America is technically unbuildable, as many are finding out now. I hope the program does go broke. I never liked paying some fool to rebuild in a flood plain after Mother Nature destroyed their home.

  23. Duncan Idaho on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 9:11 pm 

    It is hard to take anything who calls himself a Druid
    seriously.
    “archdruid John Michael Greer has recreated a complete magical system based on the Celtic Golden Dawn traditions. This new book provides students with a complete curriculum of Druidical magic and occult wisdom, including training in ceremonial magic, meditation, pathworking, divination, geomancy, and herbal alchemy, allowing self-initiation into the three degrees of Ovate, Bard, and Druid. It features spectacular magical techniques for such things as invisibility, etheric shapeshifting, and conjuring spirits.” —”

  24. GregT on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 9:19 pm 


    Ap, the FSofA is corrupt from top to bottom, (not to mention greedy, immoral and insane).”

    The USA is not alone on the corruption front Makati, it just happens to have a much more heavily armed military, and continues to use that military to mass murder millions of innocent people, all in the name of ‘regime change’. Something that the U.S. desparately needs itself.

  25. GregT on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 9:26 pm 

    “It is hard to take anything who calls himself a Druid
    seriously.”

    Well at least the Druids aren’t hell bent on destroying the entire planet, all in the name of capitalism, AKA greed.

    Something that we should all be taking very seriously.

    We need more Druids, and less capitalists.

  26. Duncan Idaho on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 9:35 pm 

    “We need more Druids, and less capitalists.’
    We need a lot less of both.

  27. makati1 on Thu, 21st Sep 2017 9:49 pm 

    GregT, you are correct that there are other countries that are corrupt, but the US has to be Number One in that area. I just want it to be taken down to the point where its corruption is confined to the 50 states, not the world. Where the media can no longer portray it as the “indispensable” country. The ‘bastion of democracy’. Let its serfs deal with the problem inside the 50 states so the rest of the world can move on. Revolution is well overdue in America.

  28. Apneaman on Fri, 22nd Sep 2017 12:15 am 

    This is the type of thing I mean when I say the humans have triggered/unleashed forces most of them do not comprehend.

    Hurricane Harvey flooding causes Earth’s crust under Texas to sink

    Devastating storm left 33 trillion gallons of water saturating US soil

    “The volume of water dispensed on US soil by Hurricane Harvey was so vast it caused the Earth’s crust to give way and sink under the weight.

    Around 33 trillion gallons of water was left behind by the hurricane — four times the amount left by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

    The flooding added around 275 trillion pounds of weight to the landmass of the southern US region, according to calculations by The Atlantic.

    Chris Milliner, a geoscientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, says this caused the Earth’s crust to warp and sink by two centimetres.”

    http://ind.pn/2jNjZVF

  29. Apneaman on Fri, 22nd Sep 2017 12:19 am 

    Drone Footage Reveals Staggering Amount of Flooded Cars Destroyed by Hurricane Harvey

    With half a million cars flooded in the Houston area, they all have to go somewhere

    “It’s almost hard to believe in this hyperactive hurricane season, but Harvey’s ongoing reign of destruction in southeast Texas began just three short weeks ago. Over that time, the storm claimed more than 80 lives, inflicted untold billions of dollars in damage, and reshaped an entire region. Some communities are still covered with floodwaters, now a toxic mix of sewage and petrochemicals. And because the Houston area is so driving-centric—and the flooding so biblical—the rising waters engulfed an estimated half a million vehicles.

    For a place that’s built around the car, losing so many in one fell swoop is a problem in more ways than one.”

    http://www.thedrive.com/watch-this/14504/drone-footage-reveals-staggering-amount-of-flooded-cars-destroyed-by-hurricane-harvey

    Kinda funny how the deniers efforts have resulted in destroying so much of the shit they in love with.

  30. Theedrich on Fri, 22nd Sep 2017 2:00 am 

    America is a war on evolution.  Consider a sentence from the article above:  “Wedded to literalist interpretations of the Book of Genesis, and more broadly to a set of beliefs that assigned unique importance to human beings, the people who faced the first dim adumbrations of the vastness of Earth’s long history were utterly unprepared for the shock, and even less ready to have the first unnerving guesses that the Earth might be millions of years old replaced by increasingly precise measurements that gave its age in the billions of years, and that of the universe in the trillions.

    But shock-averse America perceives nature and evolution as its enemy, because Yankee “values” demand their destruction in favor of infinite “growth” and increasing dysgenics condoned and absolved with sob stories.  These “values” stem from two millennia of Christian propaganda, with a considerable admixture of Judaism.  Thus a brief consideration of the nonsensical “holy” scriptures which have led to this dementia is in order.

    The Bible is the scriptural detritus left by ancient tribes, nations and cultures whose notions of cosmogony, anthropogenesis, social behavior and morals are no longer regarded as modernly relevant even by Jews and Christians.

    A primary example is the “Garden of Eden” story of Genesis, the first book of the Bible.  As Professor of Biblical Literature and Northwest Semitic Languages and Literatures (at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles) Ziony Zevit explains in his scholarly What Really Happened in the Garden of Eden, this story was originally the origin myth and idealized portrayal of the life of Iron-Age (1200 BC – 600 BC) Hebrews.  However, under the influence of Hellenism in the final centuries before Christ, it was transmogrified from an imaginary past into a religious myth taken as literally true fact.  If we analyze this new ethnogenetic-portrayal-turned-religious-dogma, we find the following psychological archetypes:

    – the subconscious fusion of the “two trees” — of life and of knowledge — into a single tree.  As with the many other “axes mundi” or “world trees” of so many other early religions, this merged tree was the psychic portrayal of the human Central Nervous System.  (The CNS, of course, is both the life-sustaining “tree” of the human body and the structure culminating in the “crown” of the brain which makes awareness and knowledge possible.)

    – the “forbidden fruit” of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” was (despite countless paintings and graphic depictions) not some kind of “apple,” but simply consciousness itself.

    – the “talking snake” was merely a metaphor for curiosity, which “worms” its way serpentinely through the mind until it comes to knowledge.  (There is no mention of any “devil” or “Satan” in the text of Genesis.)

    – ejection from “paradise” meant the subsequent inability of (the resultant) “wise man” (homo sapiens) to return to the infantile innocence of his pre-rational childhood and ancestors.  This is also symbolized by the post-Edenic adoption of clothing, which separates the ego from the environing non-ego.

    As modern biblical research has shown, the Bible is a compilation of ancient texts, many of them utterly false, which have no true connection to modern science or lived reality.  Its only use is as a political tool to manipulate ignorant populations.  This fact is even more applicable to the truly insane scriblings of Islamic writers.  Their schizophrenic leader, Mohammed, got the violent and bloodthirsty primitives around him to believe that the voices he was hearing in his head were those of some kind of god, and those primitives have followed him ever since.  So much for American “values.”

    Of course, the religious dementia of mankind and its “leaders” does not necessarily mean that the “strong form” of the anthopic principle (i.e., that the cosmos is teleologically directed, via epistemic though precarious evolution, toward intelligence) is false.  As a non-dismissive, careful and sober analysis of the paranormal shows, it is quite possible, and even highly likely, that there is a transcendent Intelligence behind nature which we prefer to misinterpret, deny or curse.  But power-mad Western elites are focussed on the most banal and anodyne “values” possible so that, using the maudlin absurdities of Jew-Cretinism, they can quickly effect Caucasian genosuicide through submergence by subhumans and, after bringing the highest form of life to extinction, sink into planetary oblivion.

  31. Cloggie on Fri, 22nd Sep 2017 4:25 am 

    Drone Footage Reveals Staggering Amount of Flooded Cars Destroyed by Hurricane Harvey

    Hurricanes are so overrated

    http://www.ramzpaul.com/2017/09/hurricanes-are-overrated.html

    Galveston 1900: 8,000 dead.
    Irma 2017: 12 dead.

    Yes there is record damage, a direct consequence of the US being an affluent society. Next time park your car higher up, on a slope, OK?

    (or order a top of the bill drainage system from your Dutch buddies, in the long run the cheapest solution by far)

  32. fmr-paultard on Fri, 22nd Sep 2017 7:53 am 

    whithout shooting tard extremist nazi preachers we can’t advance, evolutionary wise. tard extremist preachers reject god who is thought to be a superior being and want to make themselves superior race. as human we always kill anything better because it stands out as a challenge.

    in ww2 it’s impossible to shoot and kill tard extremist nazi preachers because the weapons were primitive. now we have the chance because technology in a 9mm is minimally lethal even to super race nazi preachers.

  33. deadlykillerbeaz on Fri, 22nd Sep 2017 8:46 am 

    Buy land on Mars!

    How much is 33,000,000,000,000 gallons of water?

    It is a lot!

    One pint of water weighs one pound, therefore 33,000,000,000,000 gallons of water will weigh 264,000,000,000,000 pounds.

    Yikes!

    7.48 gallons per cubic foot.

    33,000,000,000,000/7.48=4.4117647e+12 cubic feet! Holy Water, Batman!

    4,411,764,700,000 cubic feet of water.

    43,560 square feet per acre.

    101,280,181.494 acres, all with water one foot deep.

    101,280,181.494 cubic feet of water.

    158,250.283585 square miles of land with water one foot deep.

    52 inches of rain, 4 1/3 feet.

    36,519.2962118 square miles of land impacted with 52 inches of rain.

    An area approximately 200 miles by 180 miles in size.

    Again, 8 pounds per gallon times 33,000,000,000,000 gallons of water will weigh 264,000,000,000,000 pounds or 132,000,000,000 tons.

    In other words, 132,000,000,000 tons divided by 36,000 square miles is 3.67 million tons tons of water per square mile.

    33,000,000,000,000/325,000 gallons per acre is 158,653.846154 square miles of land with water one foot deep.

    35256.4102564 square miles of land with 52 inches of rain from the super hurricane Harvey.

    The arithmetic checks.

    That’s it.

    If all that water were oil, nobody would complain.

  34. Keith McClary on Fri, 22nd Sep 2017 3:24 pm 

    @makati1
    I read somewhere they haven’t updated the flood maps for decades.

  35. onlooker on Sat, 23rd Sep 2017 12:43 pm 

    Thank you for the reality check Mr. Greer aka. Druid. Yes, our obliviousness to our actions on this Earth has now firmly set the stage for our demise. Earth will keep spinning and life will continue to adapt and evolve. But our species is toast. Check out the Great Dying on biggest and baddest Mass Extinction event ever. 95% species gone. Caused by wait for it— Climate change. Still optimistic about our chances?

  36. Apneaman on Sat, 23rd Sep 2017 1:18 pm 

    Failing dam in Puerto Rico, endangering 70,000, a reminder that Climate Denialism Kills

    https://www.juancole.com/2017/09/endangering-reminder-denialism.html

    I can’t wait for the ‘Denier Inquisition’ hearings to begin.

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