Wednesday, June 5, 2013

on the road to the road


ON THE ROAD TO THE ROAD?

I hope yesterday we established beyond a reasonable doubt that yes Virginia, we are all going to die a horrible elongated death because all of the resources able to be extracted by lower technology have been used up and as soon as the oil supply drops enough than those resources able to be extracted by petroleum such as steel and food and coal and liquid fuel will also be unattainable. So today’s question, conveniently provided by a loyal minion, is whether or not this is going to be an extinction level event.  Well, okay, we were actually just talking about the novel The Road, but it got me to thinking.  Can we achieve The Roads level of die-off without low probability events taking place?  The wonderful thing about scary ideas such as mass solar flares, global nuclear war, Gore Warming, asteroid impacts and the like is that we can oh so easily dismiss them with little effort.  All it takes is a kernel of doubt, the smallest mathematical probability of the event not happening and we immediately cease to worry.  We go back to planning for small, manageable, survivable events such as hurricanes.  We buy a case of MRE’s and an AR-15 and ignore all likely perils, concentrating on paying the mortgage and getting laid twice a month whether the trophy wife believes you deserve it or not.  I agree that this is a lot easier on the brain, but unfortunately for you, the smarter ones survive by not only being prepared but getting the heck out of the way prior. 

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So, can we see widespread die-off from easy to forecast, near 100% certainty events?  Peak Oil is nothing more than resource depletion.  Unless you buy into fantasies such as 500 year frack oil like The Universes Biggest Wanker Glen Beck ( his profit center is selling “democrats are cause of all evil”, which is bad enough.  His belief in centuries of frack oil is simply embarrassing and inexcusable ), you know it is game over with only the timing being the issue.  Saudi Arabia has already peaked in production, as has Russia.  Remember, the Saudi’s wouldn’t admit it when they first peaked, so don’t expect them to admit actual decline until after the fact.  It could already be happening.  And Peak Oil has already put us on the path downward to economic collapse.  Without growth in the supply of oil, interest isn’t paid.  Only quantitative easing and derivatives growth has kept us from total collapse, and that is running out of steam.  So, can running out of oil be as bad as I’ve predicted ( but obviously my time factor was way off )?  We know it is going to be bad, but will it get really bad without the really bad things happening?  Without a nuclear war, without global warming, without other improbable events, how bad will “mere” oil decline and economic collapse be?

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When an asteroid impacts, humans start starving and looting immediately.  When the nukes start flying, most of us die immediately.  If the globe suddenly sees a lurch in weather, a lot of us could die immediately.  Sudden, improbable events not only have little chance of occurring, gladdening our pattering little hearts, they are also easy on the human race.  Those events leave more resources to the survivors.  High probability events, those we are already experiencing but are denied vigorously, are what is going to trip us and violate us without lubrication for the simple fact that they take place on a long enough time scale that ALL resources are destroyed or used up, leaving nothing for the survivors ( I would actually concede that Gore Warming, if it is man made- I said IF, would be a long term event such as the economy and the oil.  If it is natural, such as from solar activity, it could be a sudden disaster ).  Worse case scenario, is this going to be an extinction event?  I’m going with yes, this is quite possible.  This is the first time in human history that the entire globe is being environmentally degraded as a result of current survival coping mechanisms.  It has nothing to do with Gore Warming ( if it is man made, there isn’t a damn thing we can do.  The extractors will not stop out of altruism ).  It doesn’t have much to do with The Petroleum Age ( other than that brought us to the point we are at ).  It is simply population destroying the resources.  We’ve done it thousands of times in our recent history.  But it is global this time.

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Survivors have no where to go.  Everywhere is over developed.  Any tiny spot of paradise will be overrun sooner or later as the desperate immigrants.  The American South?  Overrun by capetbagging Yankees.  The West?  Too sparse in resources but currently overpopulated.  It will be a bloodbath.  The countryside in South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East?  All will be invaded by nearby urban centers.  As almost every urban area is on water, and water is needed for agriculture, there won’t be enough distance from cities for the farms to survive the locusts.  Those that do make it, isolated farming villages, then face two threats that will wipe them out.  The failure of electrical systems will meltdown nuclear spent fuel rods at most nuclear power plants ( not to mention combat damaged naval vessels nuclear reactors ).  And, if that is too much of a low probability event, one that is 100% guaranteed is the high technology colonization.  Those isolated villages, as soon as they run out of modern firearms/ammunition, are now going to fall prey to brigands.  The future Mongol hordes will be locusts on the ground, consuming all and causing genocide in their path until they and everyone else is wiped out.  The reason it will be so easy is the overpopulation, the limited availability of still fertile farmland unexploited and the surviving tools of genocide ( motor vehicles, ammunition, etc. ).  Welcome to extinction.

END

16 comments:

  1. Interesting thought, but I'm not on board with this one.

    I don't think resource depletion, as a downward curve, could create an ELE. A few packs of people here or there that manage to survive a series of horrible events could figure out how to make do and repopulate. Most of the depletion is in things that provide luxeries, not necessities. There are still some areas where people could get by long enough to reproduce based on hunter-gatherer type lifestyles such that total extinction would be difficult (e.g., those tribes that are seen from time to time down in the Amazon, but basically try to hide from the world). It is just that lifestyles that require oil and iron and fully-functioning electrical grids would be in a bit of trouble.

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    1. I understand your skeptitism. Main point, the potential hidden folks will get raided before they get established given last of petroleum to use in unlimited number of vehicles.

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  2. We know how much you Love us here at Disneyland
    so we would like to thank you for your very Happy post today by reminding you that
    " IT'S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL"!
    (Repeat over and over until head explodes]

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  3. Nightshift here.....Jim? What happened? I have been rereading the old Bison survival blog and when I went to open it just now, Blogger said it is no more. I respectfully request a full refund of my 7 year subscription. LOL, Just kidding about the refund, I'm sure you already sent it to Satan's Handmaiden years ago.......Still a loyal minion.

    Nightshift

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    1. Okay, here's the deal ( and really, I'm surprised someone noticed so fast ). Google keeps sending me urgant reply or we'll suspend blog notices because of adult material. They give the flagged material as a certain day. It is all the rude and crude comments I used to allow. No big deal, I'd just delete them. But the problem became a real time sink since it took up to a half hour slogging through all the tens of thousands of comments to get to the correct time period ( you can't get to comments in the admin section as easy as articles ). I figured, screw it. You can buy the five years for five bucks, and download free the first three years at Lulu, so I'm just going to delete the whole damn thing. As the economy goes, so does my writing income. I don't mind slowly decreasing income, but I don't want to put in extra time for less money. I felt kind of bad, but triage is a bitch. Your refund is on the way- I understand this is no laughing matter.

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  4. Coherency (a little more effort please)

    Now to the post subject. Will resource depletion, by itself, cause an ELE?

    No. At some point war breaks out in a fight over those diminishing resources. Massive depopulation occurs due to use of ABC (or NBC, depending on your generation) weapons.
    Infrastructure collapses. Die off begins in earnest. People will be killed off faster than remaining resources can be depleted.

    Everyone will NOT remain calm until the last drop of oil is used.

    Remember in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"? The three way shoot off at the end?
    Somebody is going to draw.

    Don't bother to respond. It makes you seem like Creekmore.

    You Know Who

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    1. Can you please sign off with "$20 bitch", since, really, "I don't know who".

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  5. james i think that with in the first 2 yrs of any event there will be no food weapons and or ammo available and we will return to bows arrows and swords and axes ther are so many things to make these out of and all you need is a hammer and some fire ... by the way ...most 3rd world counties are having trouble providing water to the masses now grid down most of utah arizona new mexico west texas and southern kalifornia will become unliveable due to lack of water as will most large cities ... the die off will be big and it will be quick

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    1. I wonder if the food will even last two years. Three day supply on hand with JIT inventory. 1/10th of 1% preppers with six month supply ( any warehouses and silos will be stripped immediately )Fields stripped immediately. The only question is, how long will the ammo last on spray and pray?

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    2. "james i think that with in the first 2 yrs of any event there will be no food weapons and or ammo available and we will return to bows arrows and swords and axes ther are so many things to make these out of and all you need is a hammer and some fire"

      And I think that you're 100% correct. I'm already heading off in that direction myself. I love firearms, but as time goes on, I only see more and more legislation making the ownership of such becoming more difficult? They also broadcast your where abouts; not good in a post collapse scenario.

      Also, firearms are only going to be more difficult to produce and maintain, as well as produce ammunition for, in a long term infrastructure collapse. The flintlock musket will be the best bet as far as guns go (Ignition is simple, serves as both a shotgun, and capable of firing a projectile, and uses a relatively easy to produce propellent) but should it be damaged, lost or stolen, it will not be easy to replace. Also, you have to hope that you will easily be able to obtain the sulfar, and salt petre for the making of the powder. By all means, stock up on firearms, reloading equipment, etc. But have a plan to fall back on as well, which is where primitive bows will come in.

      There are many good books, websites, and youtube channels on making bows and crossbows (They do have certain advantages, as well as disadvantages).

      This is one such site on a simple bow:

      http://www.poorfolkbows.com/

      A good, though out of print book that can still be found at Alibris books, is: The Art of Making Primitive Bows and Arrows, by
      D.C. Waldorf. But there are many publications and videos available on this process. Buy a big spool of the correct dacron, and you will have bow strings for life.

      For obvious reasons, bows would have more of a benefit in heavily wooded areas, vs open plains, desert, etc.

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    3. If you are going to plan on blackpowder, you can just keep modern arms alive. Buy the book Cavemabn Chemistry. Burning sulfur and capturing the fumes, plus nitrates and cotton are guncotton. Not sure about the primers other than mercury.

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  6. It well might be ELE, because of all the un attended nuclear reactors that will end up spewing forth. Something worth glowing in the dark about to ponder eh...
    Not to mention the 42 bazillion nukes that will most likely be used before TPTB give up control.
    WTF we all gotta die eventually and I can't see where anyones genes are all that wonderful anywho
    So a bit of radiation into the mix on top of all the rampant chemical spillage which will most undoubtedly occur and viola whole new species to take over and fuck it all up in their own manner

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    1. Cockroaches with bigger brains and oppossable thumbs?

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  7. Nope, not an ELE.
    Islands are inhabited now that receive supplies only a few times a year but have a breeding population.
    Humans are mostly landbound in most invasions, and without GPS or a well experienced compass/chart navigating seaman (and most of those are long since dead) how is anyone going to be able to get to the islands to invade it?
    Sure the island tribe will be eating seaweed and minnows for a couple of lean generations, but as soon as a drifting wreck washes ashore(maybe downed trees or telephone poles from the mainland, maybe styrofoam garbage) some poor soul will seek to pioneer or be exiled to the sea, and make it to a now -empty of humans- mainland. Then humans will again begin repopulating the mainland.
    And this of course is a worst case scenario assuming that the last pair of mainland breeding humans kill each other or die of accident.
    Yeah, I would say NOT, by itself an ELE, though canibalism is certainly a possibility canibals dont usually eat THEMSELVES.

    -Grey

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    1. I think most islands are degraded, and the food comes to them. Add in fish die-off, pollution/Fukishimi and Gore Warming weather events. Most islanders die-off AND diet not condusive to reproduction. I think I'll write more on this soon. Although I started the ELE somewhat tongue in cheek, I think it has a certain probability of sucess.

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