Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Political Correctness

Super article HERE.  Warning, a long read.

Don't read it if you value a "happy face" over flinty reality.  Political Correctness is the dogma of Secular Humanism and the author, Gail Tverberg pokes a few holes into it.

Key points
Myth One:  Diminishing supply will always "telegraph" with higher prices.
Author's response: Sagging wages and the resulting destruction in buying power can destroy demand more quickly than supply shrinks, at least in the short term.

Myth Four: Wind and solar can save us.
Author's response:  The numbers don't pencil out.  Nomadic hunter/gatherers needed 100 "Watts" in the form of food and another 200 "Watts" of firewood and of energy embodied in their artifacts per capita.  Pre-industrial agriculture required 2000 "Watts" but much of that was invested in traction animals.

Even if we could get all 7.5 billion humans to coast along at 300 Watts, the perfect allocation of all of the earth's solar and wind power would only provide about 10% of the supplemental energy needed over-and-above food.

Suppose we created some kind of "fusion" agriculture using herbicides instead of traction animals and were able to survive on 1000 Watts per capita?  In that case all of the installed wind and solar power would only provide 2% of the required supplemental energy humans need to survive.

Even if we could scale up 50 times the current installation base, there are still major issues of intermittency and distribution.

Myth Six:  Peer reviewed articles give correct findings.
Author's response:  The splintering of knowledge causes "findings" to be untethered to the macro context.  Political considerations lead to omissions or overly generous "findings" so papers will be accepted and published.

Myth Eight:  We don't need religion.  Our human leaders are all knowing and all powerful.
Author's response:  As a society we need an over-arching structure to bring us into alignment and coherence.  Think of the drum beat in a Sousa march.  Human leaders are a very slender reed upon which to thrust this task.


  1. Using watts as an energy term in this case is meaningless if a time measurement isn't included as is 2KW hours. That is unless you're saying 2KW continuously,
    I do see your point though. My solar system puts in around 3kw a day and the system uses about a third of that to run so a net of 2KW a day which excludes driving, etc., hot water and cooking. It will provide much more but I don't need it.

    1. That is the equivalent of 300 Watts continuously. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning people consider the heat output by a 100 Watt light bulb and a human to be the same. Yes, I know that light bulbs put out some of their energy as light but it degrades to heat after a few surface bounces.

      The 200 Watts of supplemental energy is lumpy. A typical fire produces/consumes far more than 200 Watts but it is not continuous. Things like teepee poles and the like last a long time.

      No effort is made to work the Calories in meat back to the calories in the vegetation the animals consumed. Some hunter-gatherer cultures like the Potlatch cultures of western, coastal North America consumed mostly animal foods . Others consumed significant amounts of plant based foods.

      Entropy is a ruthless bitch.