Tuesday, August 30, 2016

KunstlerCast 280: 150 Strong with Dmitry Orlov

Jim Kunstler and I talk about Rob O'Grady's book, then spend some time trying to put it all into perspective.

Link to podcast

And here is a write-up that Rob O'Grady just sent in, responding to some questions Jim asked, which I didn't answer as fully as I should have during the podcast.

Self-organizing Systems – Reflections on 150 Strong: A Pathway to a Different Future

Nature is one great network of self-organizing systems. Always there is a tendency towards equilibrium. The antelopes that are slow and dull-witted are culled by the lions while the quick and sharp-witted ones survive to propagate the species. Bare rock erupted from volcanoes can become densely forested in less than a thousand years.

We might fret about climate change, but in a few million years the oceans and the organisms they contain will absorb the excess carbon we are venting into the atmosphere and plate tectonics will once again sequester it in the Earth’s crust.

There is beauty in these systems. They are efficient, and in this respect Nature, with its dynamic, constant rebalancing, serves as a model.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Thousand Balls of Flame

Russia is ready to respond to any provocation, but the last thing the Russians want is another war. And that, if you like good news, is the best news you are going to hear.

A whiff of World War III hangs in the air. In the US, Cold War 2.0 is on, and the anti-Russian rhetoric emanating from the Clinton campaign, echoed by the mass media, hearkens back to McCarthyism and the red scare. In response, many people are starting to think that Armageddon might be nigh—an all-out nuclear exchange, followed by nuclear winter and human extinction. It seems that many people in the US like to think that way. Goodness gracious!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Monday, August 15, 2016

Werewolf Logic

This day a year ago the world lost one of its great minds: Dr. Jaakko Hintikka passed away in Porvoo, Finland, aged 86.

I studied epistemic logic and philosophy of language with Dr. Hintikka while a graduate student at Boston University in the early 1990s. He was a very impressive intellectual figure—the author of dozens of scholarly books and hundreds of articles. But I understood his passion in life to be rather simple: it was to teach people to think—not what to think, but how to think. As a logician, he could see how helpless most people are at the mechanics of thought, and he wanted to help them.

Today, on the first anniversary of his passing, I am honoring Dr. Hintikka‘s memory with the following comedic horror story. Its plot rests on one of his insights: that public knowledge is but the tip of an iceberg of confidential, privately shared knowledge. It’s not what you know that matters, but who else knows that you know what you know.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Announcing: Club Orlov Shirts!

Here, for your pleasure, are three shirt designs. They are nautical-themed, highly ironic, somewhat politically incorrect, and they feature pictures of fish and exceptionally witty puns. They are very reasonably priced and are available in every imaginable style, size and color. Free shipping on large orders! Get them for yourself or the whole crew! Please click on the pictures to place your order.




Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Furious Sheep

[Ovelha enfurecida]

In all my years of watching politics in the US, never have I seen a presidential election generate such overwhelmingly negative emotions. Everyone hates Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or, increasingly, both of them. This is creating a severe psychological problem for many people: they want to tell their friends and the world that Clinton is mentally unstable and a crook, but they are conflicted because they realize that by so doing they would be supporting Trump. Or they want to tell everyone what a vulgar, narcissistic, egotistical blowhard Trump is, but they are conflicted because they realize that by so doing they would be supporting Clinton. Some are abandoning the two-party duopoly in favor of minor parties, ready to vote for Jill Stein the Green or Gary Johnson the Libertarian, but are conflicted because voting for Stein would take votes away from Clinton the crook and thus support Trump the blowhard, while voting for Johnson would take votes away from Trump the blowhard and thus support Clinton the crook. There is just no winning! Or is there?