You’ll have to pardon my reliance on link posts for the moment — I’ve just come off a stretch of work that comes out to about 85 hours since last Tuesday. I’m pretty exhausted but after about 2-3 hours tomorrow morning, I’m off again until Monday. Whew!
Via the Downward Spiral, a link to the NYT: Life Spans Shrink for Least-Educated Whites in the U.S. “Bill Hicks” points out that this may well be the beginning of dieoff; and with a hat tip to Dmitry Orlov, highlights a parallel with the rise in mortality rate that occurred in 1990s post-Soviet Union.
The Indo-Australian tectonic plate is breaking apart. The process started 10 million years ago, but it seems to be forming an actual new plate boundary within the past few decades.
Will the US Face Blackouts as Electricity Generation Suffers in Drought? This is something I didn’t know: “…virtually all power plants, whether they are nuclear, coal, or natural gas-fired, are completely dependent on water for cooling… power plants account for about half of all the water used in the United States. For every gallon of residential water used in the average U.S. household, five times more is used to provide that home with electricity.”
This seems to me a more pressing issue than the decrepitude of the grid, which is where most people tend to go when talking about electricity & collapse. This is a whole different and immediate wrench in the allocation of water problem.
Excellent mental masturbation: C. G. Jung and the Alchemical Renewal — includes a section on “alchemical redemption” which is very much on vibe with my overarching themes here at Mythodrome.
State of the Web: How the Internet makes things worthless — this article is short and pretty worthwhile in that examining how we collectively “value” things is a project we desperately need to undertake… however, I disagree with the author’s premise. Worthless to whom? The internet does not make things worthless; rather, it strips away access barriers — often by collapsing monopolies on distribution channels — such that people can decide for themselves what they value and what they do not. Value is no longer something that gets dictated to us from on high, whether by religion or academia or government or corporations or whatever, because now we have alternatives immediately available at our fingertips. These institutions’ ability to trick people into paying money for something that is ultimately not valuable is greatly diminished. I think what the author sees as the process of devaluing is more like a process of realizing there wasn’t much of value around to begin with. The internet makes things worthless only to those who no longer have the power to decide what we all collectively value.
I also don’t think that we are devaluing ourselves by trading our privacy, our attention, and our time for the things that are free on the internet. On the contrary — time is money, and in an information economy our information is money too. Surfing the web is very much a series of transactions, but these just happen not to be with money. Google gives away everything under the sun for free, and yet it is still worth $198 billion: Google is essentially an investment bank converting dollars into attention/information and back again, at an extremely high ROI. This would not be possible if attention/information were somehow being devalued.