Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Meanwhile in Oklahoma

Pawel Kuczyński
[This is a guest post from Bonnie.]

Here in Oklahoma what you have been predicting for some time is here already, with exception to the full brunt of the collapse. The grocery still has food, the system is still operating, but we are all essentially indigent. For example, I am now out of dishwashing liquid and running low on laundry detergent; they are right there within walking distance and cost less than six dollars for both, but I cannot purchase them. But we will find a way... I am bilingual and educated and skilled in more than one trade, but while visiting Walmart last month my children and I sat on the bench in the entry waiting for my husband and someone handed each of my children one dollar out of pity. I was devastated. We have everything we need. We're financially poor with no need for vanity. We are educated and self-sufficient and can make most everything we need, but until the majority of the population comes down to our level this ability holds no real value. All it means is that we are already running low on supplies but have no cash to reacquire them, while others still have some cash left. And this makes feel lonely.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Le Vieillard Gros

Gelii Korzhev
My doctor wants me to live to be a hundred. During a recent check-up she asked me how long I want to live, probably as a way of telling me that I should listen to her more carefully. I said eighty, because that's how long men in my family generally live (unless there is a revolution or a world war); the women live a bit longer than that. She then said that eighty used to be considered good longevity, but that one hundred is the new eighty. Well, that certainly explains all the old people I saw in her waiting room! I told her that I do not view aging as a competitive sport, and that I do not aspire to smashing any records in the longevity department. She seemed a bit confused by this response and changed the subject.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Extraenvironmentalist Episode #49: Developing Breakdown

In Extraenvironmentalist #49 we speak with Dmitry Orlov about the developing systemic breakdown threatening to destroy the global credit system. Dmitry describes his view of the mortal blow to globalized trading and discusses ideas of how society would transform after it evaporates. We ask Dmitry about those who may be best prepared for the financial system to go broke. To find out more about people prepared for a world without money, we speak with photographer Lucas Foglia [1h 19m] who tells us what it was like to capture the lives of those dropping out of society for his book A Natural Order. After we hear from the people in Lucas’ work, we play a discussion from CNBC with Marc Faber [1h 52m] where he echoes the sentiments of Dmitry and those living off the grid.

And remember: Listening to XE #49 is the perfect way to celebrate the launch of QE ∞

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 2:14:47 — 185.2MB)

Podcast (96kbps): Play in new window | Download (Duration: 2:14:59 — 92.8MB)

[Many thanks to Larry]

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Suicidal Services

Members of the US military, both officers and enlisted, are dying at a record pace—not at the hands of the enemy (although revenge killings of US servicemen by aggrieved Afghanis do feature prominently) but at their own hands. Suicide rates across all the branches—Army, Navy, Air Force, even the Coast Guard—are all registering large increases. More US servicemen die at their own hands than from any other cause.

The Army's suicide rate last year stood at 24 per 100,000; this year it is higher. The rate of suicide for all American men is 19 per 100,000, which is significantly lower, is computed over the entire lifetime. Taking into account the average Army length of enlistment of just under 15 years and the US life expectancy of 78 years gives us an effective Army suicide rate of 125 per 100,000—five times the US suicide rate, and three times the national suicide rate of any country on earth.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Most Interesting Driver in the World

Barnaby Barford
Recently circumstances have conspired to make it necessary for me to drive hundreds of miles all over New England. I don't often drive. The last time I owned a car was over a decade ago, and I haven't missed it. I bicycle a lot, plus Boston's public transportation is not too awful. When I do need a car, I either use a Zipcar, or I rent one.

Driving is by far the most dangerous activity I engage in. Both government statistics and ample anecdotal evidence show that bicycling through Boston rush-hour traffic, or sailing off into the stormy North Atlantic on a small sailboat, or flying halfway around the world on a semi-regular basis, or riding buses and trains wherever I go—all of these modes of transportation are much safer than climbing behind the wheel of a car, strapping yourself down, and driving it on the highway. My engineer's mind rebels against such dangerously inferior technology. It appears that cars are mankind's second worst invention, after nuclear fission. To drive a car is to acquiesce in the suicidal stupidity of our species.