Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘World War

The Big Picture: Fracking, Global Warming, and War

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One of the hardest things about trying to keep up with what is going on in the world is that things change. Sometimes very quickly. Yet the model of the world we have in our heads changes a lot more slowly, or not at all in some people. Things that were stable for decades do eventually change, and if we don’t update our mental models to reflect this, our understanding of the world becomes flawed. Frankly most people’s understanding of the world is a more reflection of their prejudices than any true understanding, but still, some of us are trying to make sense out of it all. And in trying to make sense of it all, a huge shift has taken place over the past few years. Illustrated above. That’s the USA from space. See the big lighted splotch near the upper left middle of the image? That’s in North Dakota. How many huge urban areas are there in North Dakota? None. So what the hell is that huge lighted area? That, dear readers, is fracking. More specifically, that’s the Bakken Formation being exploited for oil. Even five years ago the expert opinion was that the Bakken Formation wouldn’t be producing oil any time in the near future, I even blogged about it. Then a breakthrough was made in oil extraction, fracking as it is known, and the Bakken Formation is now a major and expanding oil producer. The lights by the way are excess natural gas simply being burned off.

OK, so what does this mean? I think it means we’re screwed. We were already in trouble, but this is a huge change, and I think it’s going to have some disastrous consequences. First, the huge change part. Remember peak oil? Well, despite decades of expecting peak oil to hit around 2010, it hasn’t. And now, with fracking, peak oil has been put off for decades. And instead of being an oil importing country, the USA will soon be an oil exporting country once again. These are huge changes and futurists must be scrambling to adjust their models and forecasts. Oil is at the centre of modern civilization, so these changes will ripple outwards and affect everything. And yet this huge change in where our civilization is headed is taking place almost unnoticed. That’s a topic for another day, most people miss anything less than sudden catastrophic rates of change. And as a codicil to my following two points, I don’t think much could derail this. Keystone pipeline or no, the fracking accessible oil deposits in North America will get used, they are way too valuable and the oil industry is already the most powerful industry on the planet, weapons possibly excepted. Of course the weapons industry also wants these deposits exploited, since one can’t fight modern high tech wars without oil. And if one is at all familiar with American politics, big oil has huge influence. Not to mention more or less corporate control of the mainstream media, so opposition to massive fracking will be marginalized. Whether we like it or not, oil is going to be the prime mover in the USA for decades to come.

Speaking of opposition to fracking, that’s where the first major problem rears its ugly head. A massive new wave of oil exploitation is going to be the death knell for any serious mitigation of global warming. Just the lights in the image above illustrates that. We’re talking a mind numbing amount of CO2 being added to the atmosphere just from the production of oil in the first place, and then of course that oil will almost inevitably be used in such a way as to also add to the CO2 in the atmosphere. I don’t even blog about global warming any more. The people who are in denial about it are no more rational than people who deny evolution or the Big Bang. Eventually it will get bad enough that maybe something will be done, but by then it will be far too late. Fracking just means it will get worse sooner.

OK, so fracking means global warming is going to destroy civilization even sooner than was feared, there’s something worse than this? Yes, yes there is. War and oil. Or more specifically, it takes oil to build and run tanks. If one has lots of oil, one can build a lot of tanks. Yes, that’s the simple version. Let me try a different approach. The rich of a country come into a huge pile of money. They are urged to spend it on consumer goods or war to make even more money. They already have all the consumer goods they need. War it is! I posit that the USA will do what every imperialistic power in history has done when it came into some profound new source of wealth … go on an orgy or war and conquest. And since the USA has been on an orgy of war and conquest since 1900 at least, it’s just going to get much worse. I think in the 21st century the USA is going to try and reassert western colonial control over the entire world, at the point of a drone if need be. That’s certainly been the path we’ve gone down under Obama.

So, world war and world climate catastrophe all because of some lights in North Dakota? Yeah, that’s pretty much my theory for today. Earth is a strange planet.

PS: The day after I posted this, I got this link in email: Geologist’s provocative study challenges popular assumptions about ‘fracking’ Who knows?

(The above image is by NASA and is Public Domain under US copyright law. Yes, I’m blogging again after a hiatus due to odd events in my life. Future posts will get back to weird history and such, I’m getting all my negatively out on this post. For the moment.)

Written by unitedcats

February 20, 2013 at 9:38 am

The Bombs of August

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Today is the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in World War Two. And for the first time, the USA sent a representative to the ceremony at the  site. Note however that the USA is not offering an apology for the nuclear attacks on Japan. Predictably there are those on the right outraged by even this minor gesture of sympathy and understanding. Me, I don’t think it means much one way or the other. It’s not like the USA is going to give up its nuclear arsenal, and Obama’s comments about a nuclear free world are as believable as any of Obama’s liberal remarks. IE, if there’s any liberals who still believe them, then some liberals are as stupid as arch conservatives love to go on about. In my case, I’ve noticed that stupidity is completely without ideological trimmings, and can be found anywhere among any group of people.

In any event, the nuclear attacks on Japan are a wonderful example of poor logic, propaganda, and outright lies. For one thing, they didn’t “end the war.” The war was already over, it was just a matter of how and when Japan would surrender. The bombings didn’t save any lives, American or otherwise, they killed huge numbers of people, the vast majority of who were innocent civilians. The bombings served little to no military purpose, neither town was a major military target. In fact the bombings were completely opposed by the leaders of the US military at the time, since they were indeed war crimes under the law at the time. The decision to drop the bombs was a purely political one made by Truman and his cabinet. Yes, it takes a politician to justify blowing up a city with a nuclear weapon.

August was also the month that World War One started. A war that everyone involved in confidently thought would be over by Christmas. A war that ended up being one of the bloodiest wars in history. A war that destroyed three great empires, redrew the map of the world, and set in motion events that are still killing people to this very day. To put it mildly, World War One had so many wide ranging, completely unexpected, and disastrous results … that it’s hard to imagine why anyone would ever risk such a thing again. And to humanity’s credit, World War One did usher in an era where politicians at least had to pay lip service to the idea that major wars should be avoided if possible. Hence the League of Nations, the UN, and a host of international treaties designed to minimize the chances of  “World War Three” breaking out.

Sadly however the lessons of the twentieth century seem to be fading rapidly into history, and the politicians of today are more and more practising the kinds of brinkmanship and foreign adventures that could lead to wider war. People’s memories are short, it only takes a few decades for the memories of war to fade. For example, after the US Civil War, the USA actually stayed out of wars for decades. Yes, it was the only prolonged period of peace in USA history. By the 1890s though it was all over, and the USA plunged into a century of war and intervention that is still going strong today. Hell, we are in a state of permanent war it seems these days, so much for the peace movement of the sixties and seventies. Where have all the hippies gone?

And this August, there is a chance of a larger war breaking out … an interesting link left by a previously unknown commenter bears some consideration. Basically it points out that with a US election coming up in November, and a new US intelligence report due on Iran’s nuclear capabilities in September … in August Israel might attack Iran. The thinking being that so close to the election American politicians would feel they have no choice but to back Israel 100%, and with the intelligence report almost certain to say “Well, Iran seems to have stopped trying to make nuclear weapons in 2003,” Israel might as well strike while the iron is hot.

Sigh. You know, an Israeli attack on Iran would be really annoying. The price of gas would double overnight. And that’s the absolute minimum bad news an Israeli attack on Iran would engender.There are a number of other extremely unpleasant possibilities that could result from an Israeli attack on Iran. One of which is the destruction of Israel for example. Hell, the collapse and break up of the American Empire is a possibility. I’m sure some will say both of these outcomes are “impossible.” Yeah, and if in 1914 someone claimed that the war would result in the destruction of the Austrian, Russian, and Ottoman Empire, they would have been ridiculed as well.

So, August, a good month to prepare for the worst. I was thinking of making up an on line calculator people could use to predict when and where war is going to break out, but it’s a project that I don’t have the time for. Maybe I’ll make up a post, outline my proposal, and solicit donations; then I could find time for it. In any event, if I had such a  calculator, the “Israel attacks Iran” percentage would be way up there now.

Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, is central to illustrating the post, and is arguably an historically important image. And I searched diligently for the copyright owner to no avail. It’s a picture of the Nagasaki Medical College Hospital, about 2,300 feet (700 meters) southwest of the Nagasaki bomb’s  ground zero. The wrecked machines are from the Mitsubishi Shipyard. I chose it because in was one of the few colour images I could find of the aftermath of Nagasaki, the “forgotten bomb.” I just wanted to emphasize how real nuclear weapons are and the damage they can do, and point out that starting a war is how nuclear weapons will likely end up getting used again. I rest my case.)

Written by unitedcats

August 6, 2010 at 9:50 am

Posted in History, Iran, Peace, Propaganda, War, WMDs

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