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Dangerous AI

There’s talk of the risks of artificial intelligence. Nick Bostrom and Elon Musk are warning the world that not regulating AI before it is to late is asking for serious trouble, so much trouble that it could be an existential threat to humanity (and we already had one!). We think this is true, and in spite of the high fantasy level of some of the ideas about AI, we are facing real risks from intentional automated systems.

We have written on this topic before, and described what intelligence actually is, because most people don’t have a clue. Our acronim ARGO captures it, it’s autonmous goal orientation. The A can also stand for aware, in which case it can set its own goals to meet its needs, just like we can eat a banana or a hamburger, to not feel hungry. Most digital systems are simply goal oriented and not robust. Robustness is an important part of intelligence, as if a killer robot fals apart by the first blow with a baseball bat, or loses focus, it will not seem to be very intelligent. Some weapon systems of today are very robust, goal oriented and thust in our view intelligent.

The ARGO acronim hides two other complex aspects, which are the goal and the orienting. A goal may seem a straightforward thing, like a picture of a target. But how dos the system know it has reached it? It would have to be able to see a picture. If there’s no room for such a complex recognition system one needs to do some measurements, like GPS position for a location. The way a GPS position is represented, as a set of numbers, is however super specialized and thus the intelligence of the system is not very robust. Compare this to a human recognaissance officer, who can work his gps, compass, look at the sun, the stars, treebark, and won’t stop when he gets hit in the face by a treebranch. For living systems robustness is in itself a goal. Humans want to survive and much of our brian power is devoted to that goal.

The last part the orienting is where the intelligent system knows how to change to move closer to the goal. This change can be a movement, but can also be the production of a sound or other signal. It can even be a change to itself. For this the mechanisms to do this need to be in place and working. We can use the ARGO definition for any object or system. You can take a thermostat and say it has a goal, it’s hard wired, it is not very robust, not that intelligent. Or you can take a cruise missle, which is goal oriented, can find its targets throug different methods, can handle attempts to destroy it. You immediately get a sense of danger with the cruise missle that you didn’t get with the thermostat.

But we are surrounded by very mundain systems that are today becoming increasingly intelligent. Facebook is an example how the information we feed this site, which ends up in Zuckerbergs databases, is mined and used by algorithms that then change the way the pages look, what content it has, in order to achieve a goal, which is to give us a ‘better’ user experience. Facebook is intelligent in the application of rules, which we can now still assume to have been made by people. But what if Facebook used a genetic algorithm to come up with new rules and methods. A genetic algorithm is a way to create many variations of something, and allow the succes of the variations to determin the reuse of features of those variations. It works a lot like natural evolution. This could result in Facebook changing the way it uses your personal data so that you click more adds, and nobody really understanding what the changes are and why they work.

There are many of these simple optimization algorithms used in lots of places already, think of logistics planning, work schedule generation etc. For decades these have been developed further and become more sophisticated. These kind of systems are low level intelligent. Recently deep learning returned to the scene, mainly because computers have become more powerfull. The way deep learning works is by imitating brain processes on a statistical level. There’s still some steps to go before we will see true brain emulation (which is good).

Deep learning increases the GOAL part of the ARGO definition, because it allows for recognition and classification of highly complex stimuli. It can do so autonomously, so you can let it loose on any dataset you think has structure. Pictures, scenes, sounds can all be classified and recognized once a deep learning network has been trained. Google now offers a trained network for recognizing objects in pictures, and you can build applications on top of this (as a payed service, because running them is computationaly quite heavy).

If we reach a point where we develop truely brain like learning algorithms a lot will have happened. But only one research group or investor has to reach that goal and apply the power to his/her benefit to start unhinging the world. Its fine as long as the people involved like to compete in the wider economy, and use AI. But it becomes another story if the AI is used to hunt for legal loopholes around the world, or tries to find weak people to exploit, or learns to write extortion letters. The problem you offer a deep learning network doesn’t have to be understood, you offer it pictures of grannies and tell it which one can be easily robbed, and the network may learn to recognize new ones. One remark as someone that worked in AI for years, training a network is still an artform. But for many human tasks the distinctions needed are not hard to automate.

AI is a field that triggers the imagination, and humans tend to project more sentience that is usually present. Humans can make a person out of a hurricane, it seems to be one way of dealing with our environment. This can lead to romantic interpretations of even simle AI systems (take the Tamagochi rage for instance). This also makes it hard for people to recognize and respond to actual AI when it doesn’t take the form of a openly communicating human. The ARGO definition can even apply of systems, theories or philosophies humans use today, like economics, because the humans that apply such theories or philosophies are much like a substrate that obey rules even they hurt others (see the superhuman AI called Economics).

It is almost necessary to build a particularly malign AI to show how dangerous it is, while in fact (and that’s part of what this blogpost is about) we are already knee deep in systems that influence our behaviour, which have goals and which increasingly are out of human control. What if a political party decided it would allow its soundbites to be dictated by a system that mined historic political speech and it’s effects, then taking current facebook/twitter comments as imput, by region. So if Trump goes to North Carolina he gets a printout of all the political memes there, the top five that will endear him in the hearts of the majority. He doesn’t think, he just steps on the podium and goes “Well those migrants they could rob a bank” (because of a terrible bank robbery just days before his speach the AI integrated). Of course this is already part of political campaign organization which already use sophisticated data mining and focus group measurements, in a sense building an AI to do the job of touching the hearts of voters..

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A Political Currency for Climate Action

Economics at large is causing humanity to degrade its habitat to such an extend that extinction is now a likely outcome. Economics, capitalism has been altered from using true capital (material resources and human expertise) to using fossil fuels in nearly all cases, to harvest and modify natural resources into what ‘the market’ demanded. A good demonstration of what ‘the market’ is we saw this week when US carmakers demanded China slowed down its adoption of electric vehicles. Of course not the carmakers and their factories are driving this, but the banks financing that industry, who have only one option which is to fight to the death against the demise of the fossil credit economy.

Renewable growth is slowed down by its inclusion in this wider economy. Investments are going into fossil fuel intensive activities as long as fossil fuel mining and drilling operations are allowed to continue, and the same people that finance the consumption of fossil fuel of course lobby for its protection and advertise the habits of a petrolhead as manly and tough. If you are a BBQing open carry diesel truck driving fatso with racist tencencies then you’re the posterboy for fossil. There’s no greater mob to recruit than the overentitled. Of course this is a gross generalization, but be sure the fossil industry has those it likes and those it doesn’t like. Who? Just check the right wing media, they tell you.

So what to do about this unfair competition. Why is fossil credit banking the only game in town? Is it? By posing this question we can open up a new world of opportunity for renewables and the so called roboeconomy. Traditionally the kind of money we use today (empty contracts for which fossil fuel can be bought) is more compatible farming and renewables than with fossil fuels. This is because a farmer could in principle always pay its workers with a I-owe-U or credit note for part of the harvest. Farming futures are one of the few kinds of futures that actually make sense.

What dit that farming credit do? It organized people, they held a promisary note and because they understood what they where doing and how farming worked they could trust it would be valuable later. They could even buy food today with those notes. In the end the baker supplying bread could use the notes to buy grain after the harvest. With that sale the credit note disappeared. Today we have a wierd system of debt, the holder of the credit has debt to the bank, which means he has to return the note.

The answer to how to finance many renewable project should then be to create a currency that will hold value if the activities for which it is created are fruitfull. This may be the planting of trees, the irrigation of land, the building of renewable energy factories. The question arises how to redeem this credit, how it would function. The answer is not simple and your intuitions are not going to be right, because the world that it could create by organizing people works different from your current fossil fuel economic environment.

First of all we need to ignore all bank ownership of land, all endebtedness. The only concrete form current bank debt takes is as CO2 molecules in our atmosphere. That is the consequence of fossil credit : When it is spend CO2 and H20 are dumped into the atmosphere, that is the problem we try to counter, we are not going to respect that system at all. We don’t need to. If the work takes 50 years, so much will change and so many owners will die of climate change, the financial centers will not be populated by the same people. On the other hand, this is not some communist revolution, we don’t need to disturb anyone. This is because the point of the currency can be to become valuable through political change. This is why financeing started in wars, we can have our own ‘war’ and finance it with our own currency.

If you support the effort you buy the currency. If you use the currency to run your local economy you no longer feed the system that is so damaging. If you achieve more status of the currency by political influence you have a good motivation to do work on that. The end goal is to avert catastrophic climate change and to sustain the order that is needed to fight it.

We suggest we set up climatecoin.eu to implement this system.

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The Birth of The Multipolar World

Trump is dropping the ball on US global hegemony. He has openly said that the cost of policing so many countries is something he doesn’t want to bear. At the G20 he appears isolated and his actions seem inconsequential to say the least. No final statement, this global leader has signed off.

Trump leaving the world to it’s own talent for cooperation

This is not a bad thing although it is risky. The US power umbrella has been based on control over fossil fuels and military projection. For a long time you could only buy oil in dollars, the so called Petrodollar, and our world was basically unipolar. Slowly as the world economy started to evolve this has been eroding, basically because anyone outside the US does not like to live under the fossil fuel (carbon) credit control of Wallstreet, enforced by Washington and the Pentagon. It was a stabilizing trinity but ultimately unsustainable and ultimately undesirable.

Law and order even in our western societies is nothing more than a self fulfilling prophesy. Because we wish it to exist, we behave by the rules and do not consider countless opportunities to break the law as real ones. We fear punishment we know won’t come in most cases, and for sure if we all decided to forget about law and order, no force could be mounted to restore it, at least not quickly. The prevalence of peace on a global scale equally depends on decent relationships being the norm, and it has been achieved mainly by the power of fossil fuels which could be distributed by the US to whoever it gave petro dollar credit. China has been a notable recipient of US fuel aid enabling it to develop as it has in the last three decades. Without the US China would not have happened.

The alternative to a global unipolar fossil credit based order is one in which the parties understand enough of the limitations of action to remain peacefull and cooperative. The balance of power is a balance of energy, but also one of opportunity to gain. What does Russia have to gain from invading Germany? It can’t really absorb it’s qualities in its own population, it makes no sense to move its population, it might as well just trade with Germany and leave things as they are.

War like all violence happens in defence or to gain something, but the cost of war will become to high to be compensated by the gains, as long as we abandon fossil fuels

Tillerson announcing fossil fuels are over

As the USA abandoned its role at the G20 the G19 showed they where willing to continue the order, and this order they agreed would be based on mutual renewable energy based growth and cooperation. This makes absolute sense, because what has to replace the petrodollar fossil credit? Local renewable energy credit. Not only is this wise and the only survival option for humanity, but it will drive peace and prosperity for all regions, as renewables are perfectly able to sustain a modern technologically advanced civilisation.

The new world order (and humanities survival) will be conditional on denuclearization, relative race-self containement and renewable energy cooperation

You can’t really fight good wars without fossil fuels. Most war equipment is fossil fuel powered, planes, trucks, tanks, even drones. Of course warfare has evolved and we have written before you only need untouchable drones and satelites to dominate the world. This art has been perfected by the US and other countries. But light war, non nuclear war, can only serve to maintain order against small insurrections. This is ok, as long as populations are capable of cooperating productively without more than small insurrectons. It at the same time seems unlikely the world will fall into such a state of chaos that the necessary surveilance to police a cooperating productive population becomes impossible. This makes the world fundamentally stabile.

The G20 produced a denuclearization treaty. So this seems to spell a future in which our world will be multipolar, no big wars are to be fought, especially not with nuclear warheads, which just like with US and Russian warheads after Reagan and Gorbachov had their agreement, can now be used to generate electricity, CO2 free. The only thing that can go wrong could be North Korea lopping a bomb on the US, which will bomb back, and China getting involved. Another thing that can go wrong is that some nations don’t keep their population where they are, so migration and expasion of f.i. chinese or arabic populations (and possible religious dictatorships). That will cause conflicts we don’t need.

Even a small alliance can stifle any unenlightened despot’s rise to power

In all Trump has done a good job in landing the US believably in this new multipolar world. The 75 years ahead (until it is expected that in 2100 3 out of 4 world citizen will have died from heatwaves) offer a canvas to paint either a lasting world peace capable of defeating the biggest threat to mankind, or one in which harm infliced as temperatures rise to unbearable levels causes technological regression and chaos making extinction of our species inevitable.

a renewables based economy has much less pressure to consume resources, because banks play a much weaker role

A key element in the stabilization of a multipolar world will be communication, and a key factor in that will be internet. There are now three initiatives underway for global broadband coverage, two satelite based and one based on solar drones. It will be key to fighting climate change as it will reduce isolation of remote populations and enable robotics that can restore ecology (for roboeconomic and extraeconomic purposes). It will also help detecting (future) carbon emission crimes and natural methane sources. It will be relatively untouchable, cheap and become cheaper.

The multipolar world will be able to utilize robotics and renewables to counter the rising heat accumulation in our atmosphere, and if resources are directed away from a global arms race towards a global eco restauration effort our chances are good..

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The Reckoning

Podcast about Heat Waves More podcasts here

You can not be an oil, cas or coal company executive and not understand the damage you are doing to humanity. Decades ago people understood them, but the actuall damage was not that serious. Today you can see, if you are in a position of influence, that your activities are already causing problems, and models that have been optimized in the last 30 years also show you what will happen next. There is no way anymore to have a high payed job and not understand the consequences of your actions.


“Greenhouse effect, a heatwave all year long”

Experts expect that three out of four people will have died because of deadly heatwaves in 2100. That is about 6 Billion human beings dead because of climate change (heat accumulation). Of course it will be less billions before, and more billions after 2100. The death toll of the current batch of CEO’s and executives, politicians and lobbyists is so immense it will overshadow the Holocaust and Holodomor and all other mass killings and extinctions that ever occurred simply because of the speed at which our biosphere turns hostile to life.

Say in 2050, when we have either got a sense of recovery or we are in deep chaos due to migrations, faminers, storms, floods, heatwaves, we can look back on the people that now decide the fate of the oil, gas, coal and banking industry, the people at the ‘advisory institutes’ that tell governments to invest in fossil intensive activities, that delay and slow down the transition (like VNO), populated by older men and women that stopped caring about anything but themselves. We will know the names of those people who now pretend they do everything they can, who use every argument used by the lazy and weak to not defend our future together, but instead divide us and make us feel like we are all alone in our desire to change our fate.


Winters will be colder in some parts of the US, but that doesn’t mean we will have plant-compatible weather everywhere.

We have to make sure that the people taking the decisions today are not forgotten, can not disappear. In banking and finance this is the big problem of accountability. Who do you arrest? They will say “We where only doing our job”. The point is you should refuse to do this job. You should refuse to imagine a gas/coal/oil based future, desing it or develop it. You should refuse to earn money being a fossil lobbyist or a CEO like Rex Tillerson. It is clear that doing this kind of work is a crime. You are killing people when you do them.

Who agrees with the idea that nobody today that is actively involved in the fossil fuel industry can hide behind their ignorance, and is thus commiting a crime? We should prevent their escape of prosecution. Prosecute them and offer rewards for those that stop working for the fossil and banking industry where this has real effect. We welcome any plan in those industries to execute a hard transition to renewables, where those involved to all they can to make it the least fuel intensive process possible. We need to keep track of those that really don’t give a damn and only for their stupid  ego,lifestyle and job, commit billions of people to suffer and die.

 

 

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Recruiting Investors for the RoboEconomy

Investors are king. They are an anonymous mob (when banks like it) that can move around their money inflating and deflating parts of the economy. Banks say they need protection, of course they are a major source of income for banks, who like to fleece them if they are small, and use the bullying power if they are big.

It may have been a dutch invention, the East India Company emitted shares and thus financed it’s endeavours in the East. It was one of the first of the boom/bust pump and dump scams of which many have since followed. The main reason is that a share of a company can have more or less value, even without looking at divident. The New York exchange even had so called phantom shares, of companies that no longer existed until the regulators decided to split the profits and remove them.

Investors can do many different things, but the investment market is structured such that most will opt for a fund or share or something like that, offered to them by neat bank employees accompanied with a neat prospectus. What does investment in a share mean? That you in theory have part ownership of the company, that you can see returns if more people want to own the shares. Existing shares have no influence on the companies themselves, at least not if the company is not deeply in debt. Only when they are sold does it matter to the company what you think of it. Afterwards it will only care when it wants to sell more shares. It can go bust, your money has been collected already. This is why there was a .com bubble. The companies collected cash, and ‘burned it’ at a ‘burn rate’ (and investors accepted this as a good thing!) crashing, then  leaving the investors with worthless shares!

Today there is a much better option, but it has not been structured for the public in the optimal way yet. It is of course renewable energy and storage, climate action in general. If you accept that fossil is on its way out and would like to survive the next century (3/4 of humanity is now expected to go extinct in the next 100 years!), you would do well to put every cent in renewables. Saving money is not meaningfull if your money is carbon credit. You want to create the means to keep you alive by investing, this is the key to survival and a good pension.

If you keep betting on all kinds of wastefull economic plans sold to you by the neat looking bankers, you’ll find that farmland will dry up, floods, rains and hales will destroy your car, house, roofs. Fossil will run out and society will stratify into a majority of desperate people and a tiny elite that doesn’t care about them (Trump sets the trend). Don’t expect to belong to that elite. You need to invest in what will make the future work, which is not fossil, not gas, oil or coal, not intensive farming, not big industry.

Even with current incentives solar yields more than 6% annually, so it is a no brainer compared to a savings account. But you are not beyond comprehending the real play of this century, which is to extract yourself from any fossil fuel dependence, because then you can 1. Own your food and wealth security 2. Prevent having to deal with all kinds of problems as now expected. 3. Have a better return, because you don’t only get the actual return but also the reduction/elimination of negative side effects and prices.

You can argue that solar prices keep dropping and you will not get your investment back, but you will be profiting from the cheaper solar what is invested in after you do, because the energy they produce will make products and services cheaper. The money you get in return will go further until you will find that government decides to give you a basic income based on renewables. But you need to invest. You need to ask your pension fund to invest also in the energy sources that will be used to make what you need when you want to spend your pension money.

We need to simplify the system a bit. Investment has to be channeled so it goes to productive or resource increasing activities. Now a lot of investment is meant to disappear money (your money) in order to reduce fossil fuel consumption. You should be able to invest in a global solar fund which builds solar PV and Themal installations at a return of about 5%, maybe more. In fact most renewable technologies can be standardized, say solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tidal systems are all pretty much evolved to a level where you can know what they can do. Then you should be able to invest in the wholesale transiton of your own region, which is the smartest thing to do because this is where you will be spending your future money.

If we look at all assets in terms of wealth creation, and I mean not the creation of expensive products, but of usefull resources like food, water, arable land, timber, then you will find that the financial system selling you investments is actually a big machine that tries to achieve as little as possible while destroying natural resources. Why? Because if you have consolidated a cycle of real wealth creation and destruction by consumption, the demand for fossil fuels, and thus fossil fuel credit, will die.

Some authority, maybe the UN, should create a small number of funds to invest in, with a clear return (just for your anxiety). They should invest directly, without bank invervention in wind, solar, wave etc. More or less standardized installations. The land used must be owned by the countries involved, not in some private hands that will push up the price. Then of course there still can be tenders for the work. You can also invest in specific regions.

The investment/return model as we know it today is not sustainable as we transition away from renewables, unless you for instance invest in wind/fertilizer plants in Ethiopia and the grains are shipped to where you are. Investment has been an abstract multiplier (for some, not for most), and this will change. You will see that it starts to matter more what you actually know about the real world, and as you invest, you may see that your investing real assets already owned, not money. Until we get there there must be an attempt to channel your funds now ready for investment so it is not put into ‘storage’ (long term bonds) or projects that will increase emissions and extend the domination of banks and fossil fuels.

Tesla shows that a enormous amount of money is waiting in the sidelines, but usually in small quanties of so called ‘cash’, which is money that doesn’t have to have a return or does not have to be returned as payment for debt. This money, that individual citizens can control without interference, is the key to a rapid transition. Put it into projects that produce real wealth. And vote for people that propose to make rules that force you and banks to do so.

 

 

 

 

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Building Yellow Brick Roads..

We are working on a plan to green the deserts. It comprises of two parts : Water making and tree planting. Of course to do that you need some kind of infrastructure. We think we know what that can consist of : Yellow Brick Roads.

We don’t understand why deserts are not green. It seems to be mainly because not enough moisture is carried to them through the air, but also because the sand blowing around covers vegetation. Desertification can be fought by planting trees and plants that hold the sand together. We want to do that and more : Plant trees and plants in a high density, so they become accumulators of water and life themselves.

Plant dense forests, not ones that are wide spread and vulnerable, shade must be everywhere, and the thing will be a water sponge

To do that we would like to spike the desert with water. It’s not that difficult if you have fresh water and roads, like in many places. The winds will then carry the water (which you are wiser to use to micro irrigate desert hardy plants) around and sometimes off the continent. The road from Nouackchott runs well eastward, into the dry hot continent of Africa. Nothing grows there,  the land is shaped by the prevailing winds that move westward. If only there was a source of moisture in the winds path, this would carry it over land towards the coast, giving a better chance to all life in between.


Long pipes and roads lead to the middle of the desert of Algiers

Algeria has immens pipe works, seemingly to export gas right from its immense hot dry heart. Why is there gas there? Because thousands of years ago the desert was green and swamps trapped gas which became covered by sand..What seems like a 4 lane highway is actually a 4 pipe connection over hundreds of miles to the coast. We could use only one of them to feed water the other way, and it would not have to be fresh water either. Salt water would corrode the pipes (preventable by putting a voltage between the water and the metal using solar), but it would evaporate soon enough and form coulds cooling the land, causing rain at night (when the desert cools considerably). Clouds are strong reflectors of solar radiation. They also absorb infra red, which they will carry up and radiate back there.

A coastal desalination plant (not RO but solar ionic f.i.) can fill carrier after carrier, which then drive unmanned solar electrically into the middle of the desert to irrigate trees, creating a patchwork of oasis.

The road into the desert may not exist everywhere, but we can use the sand, melt it into bricks or beams, and create roadways explicitly meant to be used to transport water carriers and maintenance bots. Pipes made of solar molten sand mean you don’t have to invest in logistics, sourcing the materials. You do need to invest in robotics, in automated and perhaps mobile systems to melt glass using either solar thermal or PV energy. The good thing is you can do it in parallel so your progress can be much quicker. With new internets (three sat constellations are in the works) everywhere it will be easy to control them.

The yellow bricks can be made with molten sand

We might as well start in places where it is hottest, and we might as well try to create clouds even if we don’t create biomass. Cooling is the name of the game. We have not done the math, but think cooling around the equator could offset warming around the poles? Especially ocean warming, which can’t be that serious around the poles but is strong around the equator. Clouds, made for instance by dispersing water into the air using wind turbines (Just wind driven pumps, not containing the whole electric system) can cool the atmosphere considerably. A cloud making apparatus can be very inexpensive, be made at some remote coast, from f.i. glass fiber, in large automate factories. We are lucky that AI is getting stronger, and we can expect machines building entire factories autonomously at some point.

Roads made of glass made of desert sand can be formed to transport water and maintanance bots

Global heat accumulation is a problem, and we can’t fix it as effectively if we allow warming to continue, because of outgassing from the oceans and plants suffering. Acidification being a direct result of CO2 in the atmosphere is another great problem, because removing CO2 will be like removing ink from a swimming pool, dropping it in is easy, but the mulecules disperse so it becomes hard to get hold of them.

Parts of the Middle East and Africa may become uninhabitable

unless you do something!

We want the yellow brick roads, glass melting factories and robotic irrigation systems to be build, and it won’t be economic to do so, it will have to be extraeconomic, which is when resources are added to the total reserves without the economy having access to them. That is the opposite of clear cutting rainforrest or depleting soil carbon by planting palm oil trees. Extraeconomics exists to sustain its own process, our of sight from the wider public.

Sadly we expect this to take decades to become real, we will be working on it though.

 

 

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The Last to Party

Three more years to turn the dangerous heat accumulation we are now experiencing around, at least in theory. That combined with the incapacitation of most citizen in our world economy (they either struggle to make ends meet or don’t have any power) doesn’t bode well. Of course some of the rich people don’t really care, they are going to be dead when the worst comes to pass.


Chris Christie shuts down public beaches, then goes to the beach, then lets his minions lie about it..

Just like Mitsubishi started catching and deep freezing tuna when it became clear the species might go extinct, some if not all conservatives (who are pro fossil by definition) may be banking on the climate catastrophy, really. If they have to change course they can’t get the most numb of their voters with them. The “What happens after I die I don’t give a shit about” mentality may be pervasive. This combined with general ignorance, which is more prevalent if you life has been a breeze of luxury, because you have to be either a nerd or very inquisitive to find out and care about physical facts.

So we may be looking at a large, armed, greedy contingent of fatalists that now dominate US politics, law enforcement and military. The army has show serious interest in dealing with climate change, stating it is the single biggest threat. But congress has passed a law that prohibits the military from spending money on anything climate related. Generals that talk about climate action have been pushed aside. The party of the fatalists doesn’t seem to care. It wants to have the party.

“Bluefin tuna frozen at -60C now could be sold in several years’ time for astronomical sums if Atlantic bluefin becomes commercially extinct as forecast, a result of the near free-for-all enjoyed by the tuna fleet.”

The EPA removing restrictions that protect public health, the dismantling of Obama care, which can cost real lives, the agitation in the geostrategic sphere. All show that there is very little worry about instability caused. The thought may be that whatever happens, the poor will suffer most, the rich will escape and in the chaos nobody will care or know who did what. The screeny zombies with an attention span of no more than 140 characters sure as hell don’t know how to do anything about anything without paying for it.

Action is needed to weed people with this mentality out of our leadership. The problem is that money is too imporant, money is the promise, the virtual vision, and money today derives its value from fossil fuels. Banks ensure we all need it, we all struggle for it, which nicely organizes society, and we all get some cash when there is enough fossil fuels to go around. The new leadership has to grow from organizations that can sustain themselves 100% without money. Of course they have a big problem in gaining support, because most support in politics and business is gained from being able to give some kind of advantage, usually monetary.

The opposite may also be tried, as it seems some conservative leaders are fatalistic and thus a public risk, strong action can be taken against them. Do you arrest a person that lies about being a surgeon that tries to operate? Do you arrest a politician that claims to know better than 95% of relevant scholars and researchers? Can you sanely claim to have such beliefs? You can’t but the behaviour can be explained by the desire to just have that party without looking ahead, at the cost of countless people, possibly humanity.

As an afterthought, these people, who also want to bomb iran and be at war with China and Russia, may believe that a nuclear war will cool the planet down and give our planet time to recover. There are better ways to do that however, but how is probably to complex a question for those now driving us towards destruction.

 

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Money versus Vision

We are sleepwalking into an ever more deteriorated situation as we keep giving deference to the fossil fuel companies. They push on, cognizant of their mortality beyond which nothing matters, as they don’t care (apparently) for anyone but themselves. Shell families, often expat, children in an expensive school, father too bussy to see them. This is a recipy for intergenerational indifference. What about giving your children the same starting point as you had yourself? That’s nowhere on the minds of the people in the fossil fuel industry.

Solving the climate problem (or the global heat accumulation problem as we would like it be called) requires vision, you have to see the solutions, understand them, reject a lot of them because they are too complex. Many people have to be involved, which is fine because the benefit of their work will mostly be theirs as well.

But all this needs to happen in the fossil economic context. We already wrote a piece “Fossil fuels, a limit to growth”. How is this true? Well, if you want things to move, and you only have fossil fuels to make them move (for ease of argument). Then the number of things you can make move is finite, as the supply of fossil fuels is finite. This means that if you want to do something new, you need to take fossil fuel resources from another project. That is why our money system tries to maintain its integrity, so that there is no money trying to buy fossil fuel that doesn’t exist (which would show up as inflation).

Consequently, fossil fuels/money will go for 90% to wastefull activities, and 10% perhaps to stuff that makes fossil fuels obsolete. Those 10% will actually add to the total energy available to both make products and deplete (natural) resources. The economy is not geared to replenishing resources, so even if all energy is renewable, we still are risking a barren Earth, but that has to do with revising economics.

In short, if fossil fuel economics remains the dominant philosophy, and we can’t get a grip on fossil in some kind of emergency fashion, the allocation of fossil (and thus other) resources to renewables and climate action will remain low.

On the other hand, if fossil economics is replaced by roboeconomics (where robots running on renewables are used to provide what we need, and restore our ecosystems), then the way to think about this transition becomes different. The push would become to transition as fast as possible, even while restricting availability of many luxuries, because once the solar panel factories (and their associated supply chain) can run on solar, the production cost of the panels would fall to zero, and adoption would explode. Energy is so fundamental to creating wealth that even in our economy it’s market driven nature is nothing but a charade. Banks and energy companies are not normal economic entities. But if this became too clear we would know their power and we would find our way out as we have to in the end.

The above tries to show that thinking of climate action in terms of money is nonsensical. If at any time in the future the world is producing 200% of its energy needs from renewables, we won’t have to pay for much really. There will not be crazy stockmarkets of flash cash. Why? Because our money supply will probably only be used to aquire human labour, and the number of humans doesnt change that dramatically over time, certainly not in the eugeninst future we are now creating.

When coal, oil, gas have all shut down, when the methane burp takes hold and drives up temperatures, we must hope there are islands of energy security where humans can still make a plan and try to execute it. The good news is that robotics will make it possible to reach every corner of the planet, at least as long as there is an industry that makes all the parts. The bad news is that we are then in a situation so bad our chances to recover are close to zero.

We need courage and leadership, where courage is necessary to aquire power, and leadership means someone that carries a vision of a safe climate outcome which we can practically achieve. The market is not going to fix it, even though we should definitely use it while it is there. At the same time as we try to get the economy to accelerate the change to renewables (which is hard because banks don’t like it), we need a path of Hoover Dam style projects to drive renewables production and restore biomass on land and at sea. To do that we need energy, and that will be mostly fossil at first. This in turn means we need to take that from the wealth creation system, and this means life will get a bit more boring.

The vision of leaders also needs to be about what life we can afford, how we can make it good enough. This should be easier now that many of us spend so much time on virtual experiences. That can be a good thing if it reduces the need for natural resources, but a bad thing if it means people get indoctrinated and consumerized more by those that dominate VR/AR content. The latter also depends on whether we still use the fossil economic principles or Roboeconomic ones.

A global plan to fight climate change is not about keeping temperatures under 2 degrees, it is about abandoning methods and habits that have proven to be destructive, and adopting a global culture that be a basis for a century of renewable growth. It is not clear how the cacophony now created by the ‘market value’ of green initiatives will crystalize into one narative, one plan to succeed. We think we need visionary leaders with their own cash on hand (or a group of citizen that will take what is needed), to build the outline of our future society today, and show others that adoption of it’s principles will be a good work that leads to a happier healthier and human friendly future.

 

 

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Civilization withdrawing from the US and what to do about it..

Economics is a theoretical framework that is used to justify  behaviour in banking and government. It has some nasty properties, like for instance its neglect of the finite nature of resources. This has consequences when its rules dominate 100%, because economics only works if there is untapped resources that regenerate themselves somehow.

In the US we see the effects of economic thought in action. In principle there is not so much wrong with economics. Its general principle is that if there is demand it will create supply, and so in the end all problems will be solved as they emerge. However economics in the US has been infected with a parasite, a resource that has injected itself in almost every transaction, which is fossil fuels. You can’t buy anything at the hardware store f.i. without driving there (spending fossil fuels), and the stuff you buy being part plastic, supplied from some far away place, requires fossil fuels to come into existence and arrive where you buy it. This is generally the case with all stuff people need.

Fossil fuels are used in almost every transaction you make, this is a parasitic novelty of the last 70 years or so

According to the rules of economics a citizen/consumer lives in quite a barren environment, where he/she needs a job to afford what he/she buys. A person is not motivated to have more skills, and in many cases he/she doesn’t have any except some that maybe use a lot of fossil fuels, like eating meat and driving a quad or senseless diesel truck. It doesn’t matter if you are a lean hipster in the city that doesn’t sustain itself but for the fossil fuels you use, or a fat redneck in a bungalow. The economy has made it so everything you do has a fossil fuel cost, even your job.

The problem with this is simple : The consumer is not supposed to be smart. The (as we call it) destructive endpoint of fossil fuel generated products, is not supposed to distort the market or compete in it unless this is his/her job. With automation we know we don’t need a lot of smart people or a lot of physical labour (in fact we do, but it has to be at the end of a fossil fuel based logistics chain, which places it outside the US). The economy thus promotes the emergence of bland, uninterested, fatalistic people who will scream to get a big mac. Economics in the US has been too successfull in disempowering individuals and as we speak this success is still growing, as f.i. cash is removed and so economic considerations as promoted by the banks, and their ability to penalize who don’t conform start dominating behaviour completely.

We have two actors in this process as you can see above, one is fossil fuels, the other is the banks. Together they exploit whatever spontaeous talent emerges, and monetize everything to their own benefit, even education, health care etc. Why the banks and fossil fuels, why are banks so important in this process? Because they have almost nothing to wield their power. The only thing banks have is credit, which is nothing but which becomes important because people can use it to buy fossil fuels. Credit is carboncredit. Without it banks could not function one day the way they do today.

A civilization is a large community that can sustain itself

Try to do any transaction with your dollars, but make a rule that nobody can buy fossil fuels with them anymore. You will immediately see that this makes your money all but worthless. This should be a grave worry to you because YOU CAN NOT MAKE FOSSIL FUELS. Sorry for the caps, but reread the last few sentences again and again until you feel there is a problem. All your transactions depend on something you can not make, that your neighbour can not make, that nobody is born with the talent to make.

The above is a slight exaggeration, some may be organic biofuel farmers or have some rare property of land that will generate its own energy, or you may own a wind turbine that has been payed off in full. You exist, but you don’t by far determine what happens to your energy yet, you sell it into the same system that sells fossil fuels, for dollars (in the US). I am writing about the people who do need to drive to a supermarket and buy food, that does not own land. This is the super vast majority of ‘consumers’.

Spanish sold their siesta

The way economics works is that it does its thing (create huge factories, mines etc.), then if too many people suffer they have to revolt. Then if banks realize they can’t have their carboncredit game with all that suffering and revolting, some payoff is made (social safety net) so people will return to their workstations. Then economic forces will start eroding those hardfought rights because individual entrepeneurs find themselves in hell under pressure of banks who supply their credit. This credit makes the market big and adversaries close to equal, because banks will extend credit to all parties. Warning, capslock comming : ALL BANKS COOPERATE IN THIS GAME. IT IS THEIR ONLY GAME.

The EU has had more local autonomy as countries in it competed, than the US. Therefore banks have had less grip on it and the social safetynet has been stronger. That and we don’t like to make people desperate in the EU. Still we face the same threat of economics.

It used to be different. People would be more sovereign, farmers would own their land, governments would own thier countries, but all has fallen under the control of the carbon/credit system, banks extending credit which is used to buy fossil fuels. Even the fossil fuel companies! This has lead to a less resilience on a local scale, less expertise and less inspiration in a large part of society. Whole generations are taught that if you only perform and behave interestingly you have done your job, and you are a winner if you make others follow your example (place products on your instagram).

Banks oppose renewables (even though they tell you they don’t) because they make banks obsolete and lower cost of everything in society

Now the above should make it easy to understand that as some in society feel entitled to more than others, the credit that is going around in the economy will accrue with some that are more skillfull in persuading you to share unequally (which is a natural thing). Melania Trump is beautifull, therefore many are motivated to share with her without getting anything back. Just the privilige is enough. Of course this is exactly what kept her ancestors alive and beautifyll. It’s a lucky draw this aspect of beauty, and normally it would not hurt to let beauty lead. Ivanka is a better example than Melania, because Melania doesn’t seem to sell anything, which is she doesn’t seem to create much opportunity for this unequal exchange. Ivanka does. She sells with her appearance and presentation. It doesn’t do much harm really, but it is how the economy robs so  many every day, by renting some face to create unequal exchanges. This makes society unequal.

Beauty leads. Make sure  you find the right things beautifull

A pretty face is like a monopoly, our mind works with ideals, it finds the ideal thing of any category beautifull because it doesn’t have to spend a lot of energy to percieve it. In nature that would mean that if our brain adjust to it (which takes a few weeks, even though our brian has evolved to do so), we will find nature beautifull. The more you get explosed to something, the more beautifull you think it is, because your brain knows it, it is easy to process. Your brain being naieve will think “This happens a lot, better like it” because in a natural environment that would not hurt you, or you would not be around! In our economy with its marketing processes, it can mean you get hurt for sure. Just today California declared Roundup (Glyphosate) a carcinogen. Monsanto sold it to millions of people to use in their garden. It is in much of US drinking water. It gets blown into the air, it persists and kills insects, birds, cats, mouses, lizards and now also : people. This is because Monsanto operates in the carboncredit economy, and you have been taught through repetition (and lies) that this is a thing to accept.

Cruelty is a result of uneven distribution of skills and power in society

Sometimes people need to cooperat to match the skills and power of a cruel agent

Now if you don’t like this because for instance you are aware of the global heat accumulation happening (climate change) and are scared for your children or grandchildren, you may want to do something to change this. The people in the big companies, and many employees, won’t. They fully believe they do a great job, have a great life, work very hard. Even though they all use fossil fuels they can’t produce themselves. You, who wants to change things can do only one thing : Reduce transactions that involve fossil fuels. Eliminate them. You will be going against the strongest force in the economy, that to push fossil fuels in every transaction.

A great way to santize our economic models is by taking out all the banking system numbers. They make no contribution to the GDP, only creation of value by manufacturers.

Most people on the planet live without any fossil fuels in their lives. But they are usually poor (and the World Bank is trying to ‘help’ them). Today this is no longer necessary. You can go off grid, have organic food, use equipment to farm it which you run on electricity or biofuels (if necessary). You can have a closed system in which most people work some of the time to keep everyone happy. It requires education and development of local skills, but the institutes that own and develop skills can be coowned by you (instead of being a debt cash cow for banks). The only thing you have to do is to see the things that are bad for you as ugly, and those that are actually good for you as beautifull. This requires you to learn and expose yourself to them.

Detach from beauty you don’t control, learn to find the right things beautifull

You reading this may be able to choose your experiences, and know there is veracity in the above. Then you need to start to move to places where you can see nature as it is, where you can organize and learn to have access to skills and services that you need. I’m not saying at all that you need to move into a straw hut, but just that you have to give what is yours, your life and effort and resources, to those that are trying to make an equitable exchange. To those that you know will not try to capture you and dumb your down. To those that are close so they can be held accountable.

One of the important things the above detachment from the carboncredit economy requires is going bankrupt. This seems to be a terrifying thing, but it happens all the time. Why? Because if most of the debt you have is caused by fossil fuels, and you can not make fossil fuels, then you can not repay it. Ever. Don’t talk about earning the money to buy the fuels and thus repaying it, because you know those are different fossil fuels. New ones, made available by new credit to capture new activity in a debt trap. If you worked for a farmer and got bread from him as pay, and you ate it, then yes, you would have to work again to eat again. But guess what : banks don’t work for the fuel, fossil fuel companies don’t work for the fuel (yes a super marginal bit ok). You can make grain grow to make your bread, but you can’t make fossil fuels no matter how hard you try. The debt, if it keeps you from freeing you from the economy, is not meaningfull to you. People should support each other as they go bankrupt if they must.

Removing yourself from the ‘economy’ can also take the form of going off-grid. This seems to be a possible trend in the future.

A world is possible to reach that does not have the perverse incentive to burn fossil fuels in every transaction. But banks can not help us to get there because they are the ones that so desperately want us to need fossil fuels, because they live of transactions (you get that without caps I hope). So to extract ourselves from the carboncredit economy and its destructive and repressive forces we need to orient towards the things that are truely beautifull, the natural, the sovereign, the free. This will mean we educate ourselves, we find problems are more complex than we think, and that complexity will start to look beautifull as we do.

We don’t have to be autarkic (totally self reliant) at all to get to this place at all. Cooperation is one of the remaining free resources, one the economy will try to undermine by making us suspicious of each other. Black/white, man/woman Christian/Muslim every soccer, football and baseball team. It would be fine if those teams where the best players of your local community, but they are not, they are a thing of beauty that has been coopted by the banks to divide you and entertain you as you find you have no freedoms in your life.

Make a national pharmacueutical company, one that only uses renewables, only sources sustainably and as close to the factories as possible. One that ships by electric transport and one that supplies energy to the grid to power those means. One fully owned by the patients, who are trained to make the medicine and process the constituents. It will be nearly free. Even just being able to make medicine locally can cut cost dramantically (as a dutch pharmacy in a poor neighborhood of my city is proving). Just an example. You can make up many.

To be continued..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drone Based Ecorestauration, Demi-Lune bombing and the Roboeconomy is developing..

This is it, a couple of optimizations, a seedpod that can be fired from the air to penetrate the ground, a drone that can follow a set pattern and preprocessing that can optimize the planting pattern. This system can plant 100.000 trees per day. It will only work in areas with suitable soil, and it won’t protect the young growth from bark eating animals. But it is definitely the way to go.

Seedbombs are Thailands idea of reforestation, trees are very resilient and strong when germinating, so you really only need to plant them for many of them to take root. Try it with an apple some time, most apple seed in your apple will become tiny stems.

Droneseed is a company that aims to automate treeplanting after wildfires. This is a growing problem as temperatures increase.

There are huge tree planting operations underway (like this one in Australia), but we need to plant much more. We don’t know the marginal cost of running a tree planting operation, so that it becomes extraeconomical, meaning it sustains itself without any interaction (or sale of wood) to the wider economy.

Demi-Lune Bombing

One of the successfull strategies to revitalize degrated land in practice since the 80’s are so called Demi-Lunes, which is french for half-moons. This simple solution is to dig a half circle with the straight side towards the top of the slope of the land, so that rainwater collects into the pit and sinks into the ground, this is a technique similar to countour trenching  (see Peter Westerveld). The principle problem in general is that the top soil compacts and water doesn’t permeate. It takes quite a lot of energy to break it up again. Demi-Lunes that collect water are a lot like bomb craters, except they hare half circular. It is imaginable that with a certain bombing pattern it is possible to create them quicker and in larger numbers than with human labour. If a machine can be developed that is solar powered which only moves around the land creating demi-lune after demi-lune, this would be a great investment.

The video shows that the land between the demi-lunes is still dry and barren, it should be a follow up action to create connecting trenches, simply to break the top soil. When trees are planted in this way they will thrive, and the higher the tree, the more wind they break and shade they provide.

In general it keeps popping up that our Earth doesn’t by spontaneous process become ideal for plants to thrive, even though all chemical constituents are present (at least some of the time).