A provocative examination of the lingering impact of Blade Runner on the cyberpunk genre:
It is all the fault of fluctuations in CO2. So says Peter Brannen in “The Ends of the World”. This is a terrific book even if you disagree with it, as I do, on no grounds I can think of except that he is a doomist.
Every few scores of millions of years, there have been massive exterminations of species. Brannen relates the best recent evidence for how these extinction events came about. There have been five of them, at least. Usually the underworld opens up and continents of lava spew forth, killing everything in their continent-sized lava flows, and what is not killed directly is then wiped out by ocean acidification (CO2 again). Or so much CO2 is belched out of the ground by volcanism that the planet gets too hot, such as 40C seas at the equator, which is hot-tub hot.
Obviously Brannen thinks that all of current human civilization is pumping massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere with such abrupt speed that nature has no chance of adapting to it.
It is not hard to find a paragraph that supports his contention.
As a result of this innovation [coal burning], human civilization is now propped up by a continuous explosion f energy, a global megametabolism, with hundreds of millions of years worth of sunlight being released all at once in combustion engines and power plants. Carbon dioxide is a by-product of this new civilizational metabolism, and we now emit 100 times more CO2 each years than volcanoes. This far outstrips the ability of the earth’s thermostat to keep up with rock weathering and ocean circulation, operating as those processes do on 1,000- to 100,000 year timescales. (at p. 236)
Nitrogen-fixing from the air, which is the technology that gives rise to artificial fertilizers, is also to blame for runoffs that take the oxygen out of seawater.
And it goes on. We are rapidly wrecking large parts of the planet, and he gives the reasons why this is so.
I must confess that Brannen makes my skepticism about the doomist view more difficult to maintain. However, he is well worth the effort, first because his science is good, second because he points out the enormous spans of time this planet has been around – spans so large that the earth has in effect been several different planets in the course of time – and third, because I think that every global warming/doomist skeptic needs to know the full argument, not just the IPCC version. Brannen has been hanging around with real scientists, not with atmospheric trend projectors and data falsifiers, such as NOAA and HadCrut and the IPCC pseudo-scientific international bureaucrats.
In my view, doomism is justified if we cannot get human population to shrink. There are several ways that the human race will make less impact on the planet in the next few hundred years.
Population reduction through lifestyle changes are already well underway. Everywhere women can guarantee that their children survive, they stop producing more than two children. See Hans Rosling on this issue.
The other traditional method is war, famine, pestilence and death. That is what will happen if we fail, and maybe it will happen anyway. If the world starts to go to hell through ecological disasters, war will inevitably follow, and with it the usual population correctives.
We could reduce population peacefully by conscious choices and end up in prosperity for the remaining few billions who will be found at the end of this process. We could reduce it by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and end up in a low productivity, high birthrate world, such as we began to get out of on the 18th century.
Maybe we are like bacteria on a Petri dish, and our numbers will expand until we die off catastrophically, as we exhaust our resources. That was the view of the biologist Lynn Margulis.
This question was also ably examined, in a more balanced way, by Charles C. Mann in his The Wizard and the Prophet. But Mann’s book, while more balanced than Brannen’s, deals with two scientists with two points of view, doomist and meliorist, whereas Brannen coneys a vast amount of information about how hellish the earth has been in the Great Extinctions that have ravaged the earth over time.
The disturbing aspect of Brannen’s argument is that, in his view, humans are acting as the unconscious agents of destruction. I do not see any happy outcome, but I hope I am spectacularly wrong.
If you wonder why most of Africa after the end of white rule wallows in corruption, poverty and tyranny, yet another lesson was provided recently by the collapse of the VBS Mutual Bank, hailed as the first bank in South Africa to be run exclusively by Africans—black Africans, that is.
An official inquiry set up by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has found that: “…its owners stole all the cash and bribed government and local government officials into depositing money in the operation,” as the New Observer reports. Further,
…the SARB report found that R1,894,923,674 (US$ 130 million) was transferred from the Bank to fifty three individuals between 15 March 2015 and 17 June 2018. According to the report, R16,148,569 (US$1.09 million) went to Brian Shivambu, younger brother of the anti-white Economic Freedom Fighter senior politician Floyd Shivambu.
News24 South Africa comments on the recommendation that at least 50 persons be prosecuted:
This includes the bank’s former executives and their associates, shareholder executives, politicians and their relatives and auditors who signed off on the bank’s “fraudulent” financials. The criminal charges should stem from evidence of fraud, corruption and bribery perpetrated by the bank’s leadership and public officials with whom they were in cahoots.
Not only that, the monies accreted by these crooks came from local municipalities controlled by, you guessed it, the African National Congress (ANC), the gang of communist bandits that passes for a government in South Africa. Senior ANC officials were the instigators in fleecing the municipalities, that is, robbing the taxpayers, and channeling the loot to the VBS bank.
The SARB report [available here], entitled “The Great Bank Heist”, makes fascinating reading to the extent that it makes the Mafia look like schoolboy amateurs. The report contains chapters with delicious titles such as “The Extent of the Looting” and “The Methods of Looting and Pillaging”. And, as news24 South Africa reports:
Motau [the main author of the SARB report] also recommends that VBS be wound up (liquidated), as he does not believe there is any prospect of saving it.
“It is corrupt and rotten to the core. Indeed, there is hardly a person in its employ in any position of authority who is not, in some way or the other, complicit.”
Motau found there was “widescale looting and pillaging of the monies placed on deposit at VBS”.
However, the author of the SARB report was not without a sense of irony; the first page begins thus:
More than forty years ago the most daring heist in South Africa’s banking history took place. A group of industrious thieves, led by the elusive Mister Nightingale, skillfully tunneled
their way some twenty -one meters underground into the vault of the Standard Bank in Krugersdorp. The bold bank robbers withdrew the princely sum of R400 000. They disappeared with the loot and no arrests were ever made.
I have, for the past five months, investigated the sorry affairs of the VBS Mutual Bank. My report will reveal that the perpetrators of the heist at VBS made away with almost R2 billion. And they certainly did not put in anything like the hard work and effort of Mister Nightingale and his team.
I trust that, in this case, arrests will be made.
I saw the Thirteenth Warrior again after a gap of many years. My friend, who had never seen it until yesterday, is now another convert to this outrageously wonderful movie.
Let’s face it, it is a national socialist movie. No, I do not mean National Socialist as in a celebration of hideous Hitlerian totalitarian doctrines. It is the story of Beowulf retold, where Grendel becomes a collective monster, a tribe of cannibals who eat humans, and who think they themselves are bears. The humans, northmen all, are fighting for their lives against an apparently superior force of anti-human evil, the Wendol, the collective of cannibals. It is based on the clever Michael Crichton’s story, Eaters of the Dead.
In writing this little article, I came across the negative review by Roger Ebert. Pay him no attention. Lisa Schwarzbaum called it “the most unexpectedly audacious, exhilarating, and wildly creative adventure thriller I have seen in ages”.
As a friend once said, The Thirteenth Warrior is the same movie as Cross of Iron (1977), or Aliens (1986). A group of warriors who think they are the toughest meanest sons of bitches have to take on an overwhelming force of alien evil, and they discover the limits of their powers.
It is also outrageous fun. Watch it with other males.
Lo do I see my father before me
Lo do I see my mother, my sisters, my brothers before me
Lo do I see them back to the Beginning
Lo do I see them in the Halls of Valhalla
Where the brave may live forever!
It will get you pumped. Pajama boys will need to retreat to a safe space to recover.
As the bard says to the Arab diplomat character about the Wendol, after he has killed a few of them, “Don’t worry little brother, there are more!”. That is to say, aliens left to kill. The struggle is eternal.
The fast answer might be “the same thing that makes Jordan Peterson so controversial”, but that would be inaccurate. Their enemies are far closer to each other than Bannon is to Peterson. What their enemies want in each case is to shut them up, to dislodge them from the public stage, to prevent anyone from hearing their arguments.
So what exactly makes Bannon so objectionable? More precisely, why do the lefties of Toronto want to prevent him from appearing at the Munk Debates?
Several organizations banded together Tuesday to call for the event, part of the Munk Debates, to be called off in light of last weekend’s deadly attack at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
They said giving Bannon a platform to express extreme views contributes to a climate of hatred that can encourage violence against marginalized or racialized groups.
“We’re at an important and terrifying moment as we watch right-wing governments come into power all over the world. The hate we are witnessing is serious — in fact, it is deadly,” said Rachel Epstein of the United Jewish People’s Order.
Ignoring the sinister sound of the United Jewish People’s Order for a moment, why do people object to even hearing Steve Bannon?
Let me recite his arguments from memory.
- The working class of the United States and elsewhere has been relatively impoverished by policies that have driven factory jobs overseas. This was caused by NAFTA in particular and freer world trade in general.
- These job losses have been part of a policy of globalization, by which the working classes of third world economies have been lifted out of poverty.
- Free trade has benefited many, but not everyone, and the people left behind happen to be the citizens of fly-over country, west of the Appalachian mountains and east of California.
- In addition, lack of adequate immigration controls in the United States have served the interests of rich Republican factory owners and of Democratic organizers, but the flood of illegal immigration has drastically lowered the standard of living of the American working class, white black and brown.
- After the economic crash of 2008, a vast lot of people lost the value of their houses, but everyone who owned an asset such as intellectual property or stocks has made out like bandits.
- None of the perpetrators of the financial crash has spent a day in jail.
- The interest of Bannonite policy is whether you are an American citizen, not what colour or ethnicity you are. US policies should be directed to the benefit of citizens, not sub-groups within the United States. This is not white identity politics, but American identity politics.
This set of policies and concerns may be described as nationalist, backward-looking, reactionary, anti-free trade, misguided, or mistaken. It cannot fairly be described as racist or hate-filled. Nor can it be said to be “extreme”, if words are to have any meaning.
But as I have been saying for some time now, all the Left can say these days is “sexist, racist, fascist, nyah nyah nyah”. Their minds have atrophied to the extent that actually confronting reasoned debate is a challenge they would rather not face. Especially as Bannon, not they, is defending the interests of the working classes. Long ago the Left abandoned the working classes and has sought to get the Supreme Court (in the States and Canada) to do for them what votes could not.
And who is the United Jewish People’s Order? It is here: https://www.winchevskycentre.org/staff.
My kind of obnoxious zealots.
This from our social betters at the CBC, by Don Murray:
“I stood on the border between Hungary and Austria as the gates opened in September 2015 and the refugees flowed through, most to be taken by train to Munich. People cheered. Europe, and much of the world, applauded.
But beside me a German cameraman from Bavaria muttered, “The Germans aren’t going to like this.”
I was surprised and dismissive, but I shouldn’t have been. The Germans swallowed and took in an estimated one million refugees, but almost from that moment Merkel’s popularity began to drop. And just as significantly, the AfD, which was born as an anti-euro and European Union party, shifted dramatically. Its target now became immigrants and refugees, and it rose dramatically in the opinion polls.”
“I was surprised and dismissive.”
In older times the CBC had a few old European refugees from Nazis and Communists, people who knew which end was up, like Joe Schlesinger, of blessed memory, a Czech Jew. CBC had a few people who had seen combat, or reported on it close up, like the elder Mathew Halton. Nowadays the better sort of commenter is a downtown Toronto Volvo-driver who would know what lies north of the 416.
Here we see a man watching a vast column of Islamic refugees, mostly male, mostly of military age, and he is incapable of seeing the implications of what is before his eyes. This is an invasion. And ineluctably the Cologne mass attack on German females followed. Duh! What is it about Islam these idiots do not understand? Oh! Everything!
As a German friend of mine said: “These people all lost their passports somehow but kept their cellphones”.
Finally, Angela Merkel, pounded by electoral defeats, has decided not to run for re-election as party chairman but not actually resign as Chancellor until the next elections in 2021. Imagine the long drawn-out death scene.
The Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats are each being hammered by the electorate, and no wonder. The AfD on the right and the Greens on the left are gaining.
I asked my Austrian correspondent for his views this morning. He writes:
Well, [Merkel is a] lame duck for sure, but she’s working hard to implant her clone, Annegret
Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK), as her legacy, and the CDU has been completely castrated – no
leadership potential and substance left.
AKK is certified charisma- and thought-free, just as AM
Some people throwing their hat in the ring now:
Her old enemy Friedrich Merz is just another European superstate cheerleader.
The guy from NRW (North Rhein Westphalia) , Armin Laschet, is a walking joke.
Then there’s Jens Spahn, 38, gay, a bit of a hipster, a tad more conservative – that’d be the best option (and not much at that).
You’d have to be a special breed of idiot to take over the party at this point and leave Merkel as chancellor to continue driving Germany against the wall, just to be ready to take the blame for the next election disaster.
what I do not understand is – the greens are going through the roof and now routinely overtake the SPD, which is fried and in free fall.
Obviously the shit hasn’t hit the fan hard enough; Germans are – I am sorry – an electoral idiocracy and wholehearted preference falsifiers. As long as the CDU is in this sorry state I don’t see that trend abating
So – no great cheers coming from over here.
“The only solution I can see is to hold a series of long and costly hearings in order to put off finding a solution.”
Jack Ziegler was the sharpest, funniest New Yorker cartoonist. I have been missing him for over a year now and I had wondered whether the New Yorker was purging male cartoonists of talent. That would be consistent with its rabidly anti-Trump political posturing. Alas! It was worse than this. Jack died last year at the early age of 74.
If you ever want to buy a great, and enduringly funny, book, get yourself a copy of his hardback collection about drinking alcohol, Olive or Twist? My wife and I found it in a Halifax bar chained to the counter, and I know why it was guarded so carefully. We laughed steaduly for half and hour as we perused the cartoons. I ordered a copy immediately. Do yourself a favour, and buy one. It will bring joy to your heart for years, and a good guffaw every few months when you re-read it.
I had thought that New Yorker cartoons had fallen in quality under the editorship of Bob Mankoff, but he is no longer in that position. The recent decline is matched by the increasing number of twee female cartoonists. I also ascribe the decline to the New Yorker’s pervasive leftist mindset, which is infecting the cartoons. When I say I only read the New Yorker for the cartoons, I am not kidding, and only slightly exaggerating.
Occasionally a picture is worth a thousand words. This painting would have been made sometime in the latter half of the 19th century, around 1875, on Nantucket, a prosperous whaling island off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts,
You will note the absence of everything that makes a modern kitchen convenient. Start with the absence of pipes and of cold (not hot) running water. No sink. No wood stove, only an open fire. Mrs. Ray emerges from a larder in which food is stored.
No electricity: and thus no dishwasher, refrigerator, washing machine, dryer or lights. Scarcely a counter-top on which to cut and prepare a meal. In case you wonder about what is hidden at the other end of the kitchen, the painter did the other end too. You can see a sideboard, a small table, a mirror, a sconce for a candle, and the fireplace. Not even a wood stove!
These were prosperous people of the time. Not rich, but not suffering either. Note the fine piece of furniture below the mirror. Note the wide (16-18 inches?) sawn planks of old growth pine and the lack of water stains on the whitewashed ceiling. They lived in a comfortable house, by the standards of the time.
All this is a world before fossil fuels or electricity. Doubtless it had a very low carbon footprint.
When I read about carbon taxes, and rich magnates like Bill Gates saying we have to get carbon neutral by some date in the near future, I ask myself, do these fools understand what it was like to prepare a meal in Susan Ray’s kitchen?
To prevent the worst effects of climate change, we need to get to zero net greenhouse gas emissions in every sector of the economy within 50 years—and as the IPCC recently found, we need to be on a path to doing it in the next 10 years. That means dealing with electricity, and the other 75% too.
50 years is nearly twenty years less than what I have lived already. Two hundred years would be a more reasonable time horizon.
Read him, he exemplifies a kind of insane rationality that fails to understand that the world cannot get to carbon neutrality at any price we can afford, political or economic, in fifty or a hundred years, if ever. Insanity is not the absence of rationality, but the excess of it. Just think of Susan Ray’s kitchen when you think of a low carbon footprint, but you should take out the fireplace and replace it with a wood stove, if the authorities will permit it. That is a low-carbon footprint kitchen. Why is it so difficult for the intelligent of our time to understand that they have embarked upon a course of folly and destruction?
Global warming catastrophism is a disease of the intelligent, like Communism in the 1930s.
Eastman Johnson, (July 29, 1824 – April 5, 1906) painted “Susan Ray’s kitchen”. Hewas an American painter and co-founder of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, with his name inscribed at its entrance. He was best known for his genre paintings, paintings of scenes from everyday life, and his portraits both of everyday people and prominent Americans such as Abraham Lincoln, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His later works often show the influence of the 17th-century Dutch masters, whom he studied in The Hague in the 1850s; he was known as The American Rembrandt in his day.
She gets a job as a professor at Harvard, the premier anti-White race-conscious university in the US, posing as a “woman of color”, the “color” being claimed is Native American Indian, Cherokee in particular. Saying “colored woman” would, of course, be a hate crime as Newspeak is changed every day to suit the Commissars.
The standard leftist drone is that race is not biological, is a “social construct”, is only skin color, everyone is the same, and other obviously nonsensical piffle. That may work when the object is to land a well-paying sinecure at an institution of higher ignorance, where the standard modus operandi in matters of race is to deceive, but in the real world one has to realize that race is real.
Every day modern genetics is discovering more facts about the human genome and the variations in the genome that can clearly be associated with racial differences. So Senator Warren takes a DNA test which results in showing her heritage to be about 1/1024 th Native American Indian. [It may be less than that as, apparently, the comparison sets involved South American Indians too.]
So Senator Warren puts Ivory soap [99.44% pure!] in the shade—she is as White as they come.
Here’s the doublethink. Like all liberals, she claimed the non-existence of race as a biological reality, then, when caught lying about her ancestry to get a job, immediately appealed to the reality of race as shown in her DNA, albeit no more than the average White American. Two contradictory thoughts at the same time, the very definition of doublethink. The obvious conclusion to be drawn from recognizing the reality of race is that genetics may affect all manner of differences between races, including the taboo subject of intelligence. That of course must be suppressed.
Anyhow, it’s interesting that she appeals to a 1/1000 th part Indian ancestry as justification for her absurd claim of being an Indian. This degree of racial differentiation is about one hundred times as fine as that practiced by the most race-conscious state in modern times–the Third Reich! Way to go, Liz.
I was glad to see that the Cherokee Nation told her where to go.