Solar death spiral?

4 05 2015

Every day, I’m bombarded with information about some place somewhere going 100% renewables by (insert your favourite date here), and lately Tesla’s new battery wall being a ‘game changer’.  Let me tell you, from where I sit, I predict a renewables death spiral to match the grid’s.

This feeling started in ernest recently when our newest grid tied inverter died for the fourth time in 4½ years.  If you are new here, you may not know I was already complaining about our Kinglong/Sun Teams inverter right from its initial installation.  I took it down, drove it to Solazone’s office from where it was inspected and found to have been ‘storm damaged’.  Except there was no storm.  It just stopped.  The other inverter was fine, nothing else was damaged in the house, this was just plain BS to get out of replacing it.  Kinglong no longer operate in Australia, tough luck…  I didn’t want to replace it anyway, I was over those Chinese pieces of crap, and I didn’t care if it was replaced by a used device, as long as it was a reputable brand I could trust.  And believe me, they are hard to find now…..

Pallet load of dead Kinglong inverters

Pallet load of dead Kinglong inverters

I started looking on eBay and Gumtree for second hand inverters (I simply cannot afford a new one) and found heaps of them.  It seems every second person in Australia is upgrading from their small initial investment to the full 5kW, or even bigger.  Trouble is, they are nearly all Chinese rubbish…..  Many of the inverters for sale were branded with names I was unfamiliar with, and googling for info on them soon revealed so many problems I was blown away.  I even found pallet loads of dead inverters available ‘for parts’ on eBay, including lots that were the same as my defunct one……  and these failures are driving solar installers to bankruptcy.

I eventually found a used Xantrex, the brand I am now kicking myself for not buying in the first place, and installed it yesterday.  It’s almost 5 years old, but according to its original owner was only in service for about 2½ years.  Mind you, he ‘works’ in the solar industry, and I would not trust him any further than I could throw him, and he was big and heavy!  So far so good, the Xantrex works, and we’re feeding power back into the grid from the second array after a break of at least two months.  It will have cost us $200 at least in lost revenue, but there you go.  It had to be fixed, could not sell the house without it.

Xantrex inverters, however, are no longer sold in Australia.  It seems the bigger 5kW ones had problems.  Xantrex is a Xantrex GT 2.8 - 2800 Watt 208/240 Volt Grid Tie Inverter - Xantrex ...Canadian company with a reputation for quality; they make all sorts of other things solar related including battery chargers and other assorted peripherals, but the inverter I bought is ‘assembled’ in China.  Is this a problem?  Is it the problem??

I like these devices because of their huge heat sink at the front, rather than the normal ‘sandwiched between the hot inverter and the wall’ manner.  Plus they have two MPPTs (Maximum Power Point Trackers) which means whoever buys our place and wants to add another kW can easily do so by plugging it into the unused input plugs.

The guy who sold me the inverter had the gall to tell me about ‘all the cowboys’ in the industry closing up shop when they could not keep up with warranty claims…  when clearly he is one of them, he’s just new to the solar Matrix, and his turn will come.  Then he’ll have to sell the Beemers parked in his garage.

I have now met so many people with failures it’s bewildering.  Our neighbour up the hill had a Sharp inverter, installed by his electricity supplier no less, which failed within months.  He too upgraded to 5kW with a Dutch made Nedap inverter from a company in Nambour which no longer exists….  I just checked!  Another neighbour, the one with 10kW I’ve mentioned before had a SMA installed which had problems right from the start and was quickly replaced, proving that even the best are not infallible.  The lady at the back of us had a Solazone system installed (I sold it to her) and her Sunteams inverter died too.

Because all my tools are now parked in a shed in Tasmania, I had to borrow a cordless drill from a friend to finish my installation.  When I told him I was replacing a dead inverter, he told me his neighbour was also having problems and maybe I could have a job helping her out as she’d had two ‘cowboys’ come to have a look who told her completely different stories…. and these are all within walking distance from here.  You can even find lists of defunct solar power companies like this one.  It only goes to 2013, I’m sure the list is an accelerating one…

Go to whirlpool forums, and you’ll find more info about inverter failures than you can poke a stick at….

As the industry matures, failures will smartly pick up.  It might be a good thing for the industry as they sell more and more junk with inbuilt obsolescence, but you have to feel sorry for the people who unlike me have no idea how to repair their systems themselves and have to fork out maybe $2000 or more just to keep their solar systems going.

John Michael Greer recently published an article about the demise of the internet not due to technical problems, but rather economic ones.  I find it difficult to not feel the same way about the solar industry.  Methinks all the optimism about ‘100% renewables’ is highly overcharged.  Except of course we will one day be running on 100% renewables…..  because there won’t be any fossil fuels left to burn!  Which will of course mean the closure of all renewables factories and the return to the one true solar god, photosynthesis….

Where were you during February 1985?

3 05 2015

Mark Cochrane rattling our cages again….

Remember back to February 1985. Where were you?


Feb 4th, 20 countries signed a UN treaty outlawing torture – alas, the U.S. refused to sign it….

Feb 9th, Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” goes to #1 on the charts!

Feb 13th, the Dow Jones closed at the new record high of 1297.92!

Feb 16th, the founding of Hezbollah

Feb 17th, 1st class postage rises from 20 to 22 cents in the US (it’s 48 cents now)

Feb 19th, Mickey Mouse was welcomed into China…

Feb 27th, Farmers converge on Washington to demand economic relief.

Why was this month important in climate history? Well, it was the last ‘colder than average’ month the planet has experienced. For those counting at home, March marked 361 straight months of being above average. It’s like Lake Woebegone children… I haven’t seen the April records yet but I am willing to bet that it marked the 362nd month in a row with above average global temperatures. Anyone care to take that bet? Anyone?

That makes more than 30 straight years where every month has had a higher temperature than the average of the previous 30 years. Think about that. If you are less than 30 years old, you have never known a single month in your life when the planet was cooler than average. Don’t feel bad, I missed it too since it was the height of the Cold War and I was hanging out in climate controlled splendour on a boomer with no idea what was happening in the outside world.

We define climate as the average of at least 30 years of weather. A continuously rising trend in temperature makes a mockery of the idea though. The current 30 year average is obsolete every time the calendar roles around again. The last 15 years have been unlike the previous 15 years. Or we could use 20 year comparisons to befit Chris Martenson’ tagline for the Crash Course.

Thirteen of the 15 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. The last record warm year was last year (2014). The next record warm year will likely be this year. Any guesses at when we last established a record cold year? Try 1911. No record cold for the planet in over 100 years. It would seem that the temperature records are severely skewed to the warm side.

Good luck to the Heartland Institute’s collection of so-called “real scientists” who will be desperately trying to convince the Pope that climate change isn’t happening or serious (link) before he makes a statement calling for strong action on climate change (link).

Everyone else should be able to see that the odds are clearly not in our favor for escaping the effects of climate change. Let’s stop pretending we can.

Global Warming may proceed faster than expected

1 05 2015…

There certainly is some evidence that climate sensitivity may be below 2°C. But if you look at all of the evidence, it’s hard to reconcile with such a low climate sensitivity. I think our best estimate is still around 3°C for doubled CO2.

Mark Cochrane has this to say about the above……..:

The above video and article at the link do a good job laying out the range and likelihood of various modelled climate sensitivities to a doubling of pre-industrial atmospheric carbon levels. The extension of the published IPCC range of possible sensitivities to values as low as 1.5C are more an exercise of political correctness than anything else. To realistically have values below about 2.5C you would need to have both reduced feedbacks (e.g. increasing water vapour in the atmosphere and melting ice cover on the ground) and a large negative feedback from clouds (e.g. more low level clouds at low latitudes).

The problem for this scenario being that we have already had decades of measurements that positively show the feedbacks we have already gotten, in terms of increased water vapour and decreased ice cover, won’t support a low climate sensitivity. Similarly, the clouds haven’t shown up as hoped. I spent about 15 years assuming and hoping that they would. Reality and various research studies beat that idea out of my head. If anything, the clouds are yielding a small positive feedback (warming). Depending who you believe that could be due to wispy high level clouds that trap heat or diminished low level clouds at lower latitudes that reflect less sunlight.  Could be a bit of both.

So, barring a sudden and unexpected change in all of the trends to our advantage, a climate sensitivity below 2.5C is a pipe dream. Something more like 3-3.5C is probable with higher values more likely than lower ones around that range. Note, I’d really like to be proven wrong about this… (to the low side)

In practical terms, the higher the climate sensitivity, the faster and more extreme the emissions cuts we will have to make in order to avoid compromising the resilience of our society and the rest of global ecosystems to climate changes as we progress through this century.

Wishful thinking is not a viable strategy for managing our future.

15 ways to abandon the Matrix

1 05 2015

I am inspired by the very definition of self-reliance: to be reliant on one’s own capabilities, judgment, or resources. Ultimately, it is the epitome of independence and lays the groundwork of what we are all striving for – to live a life based on our personal principles and beliefs.

It is a concept rooted in the groundwork  that made America great. Being dependent on our own capabilities and resources helped create a strong, plentiful country for so long. That said, the existing country as it is now is entirely different than when it began.

Why Are We So Dependent?

It is much too complicated to get into how the “system” was created. That said, the purpose is to enslave through debt and to create an interdependence that will force you and your family to never truly find the freedom you are seeking. It manipulates and convinces you to continue purchasing as a sort of status symbol to make you think you are living the good life; while all along, it has enslaved you further. Wonder why we have all of these holidays where you have to buy gifts? The system needs to be fed and forces you into further enslavement. If you don’t buy into this facilitated spending spree, you are socially shamed.

Collectively speaking, the contribution from our easy lifestyle and comfort level has created rampant complacency and a population of dependent, self-entitled mediocres. We no longer count on our sound judgement, capabilities and resources. The system keeps everything in working order so we don’t have to depend on ourselves, and furthermore, don’t want to.  I realize that many of the readers here do not fall into this collectivism, as you see through the ideological facade and know that the system is fragile and can crumble.

Breaking away from the system is the only way to avoid the destruction of when it comes crumbling down. When you don’t feed into the manipulation tactics of the system, or enslave yourself to debt, and possess the necessary skills to sustain yourself and your family when large-scale or personal emergencies arise, you will be far better off than those who were dependent on the system. Those who lived during the Great Depression grew up in a time when self-reliance was bred into them and were able to deal with the blow of an economic depression much easier. Which side of this would you want to be on? Those who had the patience to learn the necessary skills, ended up surviving more favorably compared to others who went through the trying times of the Depression.

Develop Personal Dependence

Now is the time to get your hands dirty, to practice a new mindset, skills, make mistakes and keep learning. Developing personal dependence is no easy feat and requires resolute will power to continue on this long and rambling path. To achieve this you have to begin to break away from the confines of the system. You don’t have to run off to the woods to be the lone wolf. Simply by asking yourself, “Will your choices and the way you spend your time lead to more independence down the road, or will it lead to greater dependence?”, will help you gain a greater perspective into being self-reliant. As well, consider ignoring the convenient system altogether. This will help you to detach yourself from complacency and stretch your abilities and your mindset.

Most of us can’t move to an off grid location. We have responsibilities that keep us from doing so. Therefore, live according to what is best for you and your family (common sense, I know) and do what you can. My family and I moved to the rural countryside four years ago to pursue a more self-reliant lifestyle. We learned many lessons along the way and are proud of where we are. Am I 100% self-reliant? No. But, I am venturing closer to living more self-reliantly with each skill I learn. Many of my little homesteading, off-grid ventures can be read about here.

Here’s What You Can Do:

1. Inform Yourself – Understand that there are events on the horizon, some large-scale and some personal that could wreak havoc on your quest toward a self-reliant lifestyle. Informing yourself and planning for them will be your best in staying ahead of the issue.

4 Things You Must Eat to Avoid Malnutrition

Most Likely Ways to Die in a SHTF Event

End of an Era: Prospects Look Bleak For Slowing the Coming Food Crisis

Collapse Survivor: “There Was Little Room For Error… Either You Learn Fast Or End Up Dead”

The Perfect Storm: Grow Local or Grow Hungry?

GMO Labeling: Will Congress Keep Us in the DARK?

2. Learn Skills – When you can depend on your skills to support you and your family’s life, then the outside world doesn’t affect you as much. When large groups of people in a general area possess self-reliant skills, it makes your community stronger.

Doing the Stuff Network

10 Skills Necessary For Survival

49 Outdoor Skills and Projects to Try

As well, look into these DIY projects found on Ready Nutrition

3. Get Out of Debt – It is paramount that each of us begin actively practicing economic self-discipline. Many believe that because of the ease in money confiscations from the banks, you shouldn’t have all of your money stashed there. Diversifying your money and investing in long-term ways to preserve your wealth will ensure you have multiple ways to pay the bills.

How To Break Up With Your Bank

Buy Commodities at Today’s Lower Prices, Consume at Tomorrow’s Higher Prices

Money and Wealth Preservation During Times of Uncertainty and Instability

How to Use Ebay to Find the Most Affordable Silver

Silver Bullion or Junk Silver for Long-term Bartering?

5 Reasons Why There Is Security In Seeds

4. Store food – Having a supply of food to subsist on in times of dire circumstances ensures that you are not dependent on having your basic needs met by someone else. This gives you the control of what food to put in your body and how you want to live.

25 Must Have Survival Foods: Put Them In Your Pantry Now

11 Emergency Food Items That Can Last a Lifetime

Best Practices For Long Term Food Storage

Meet Your Emergency Food’s Worst Enemies

Buy The Prepper’s Cookbook

Creating a Bug Out Meal Plan

 5. Start raising your own food – With the high prices of meat at the store these  days, many are turning to raising their own meat sources. Rabbits, chickens and fish can easily be started in backyard homesteads.

How Micro Livestock Can Be Used For Suburban and Rural Sustainability

What to Feed Your Livestock

Child-Friendly Livestock

Waste Not, Want Not: How To Use EVERY Single Part Of An Animal

 6. Prepare for emergencies – Preparing for the unlikely emergencies is a way to insulate yourself from the aftermath. The simplest way to begin preparing is to prepare for the most likely events that can affect you, and go from there.

FREE Emergency Preparedness Guide: 52-Weeks to Preparedness

Anatomy of a Breakdown

SHTF Survival: 10 Survival Tools That Should Be In Your Survival Pack

5 Reasons You Should be Preparing

Buy The Prepper’s Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Guide to Prepare You For Any Disaster

Six Ways You Can Keep Yourself Alive With Animal Bones

7. Repurpose – We must take steps to stop being a throw away society and get back to a population who makes do with what they have.

50 Things You Should Stop Buying and Start Making

5 Ways to Make Candles from Household Items

Survival Uses for Household Items

SHTF Planning: 7 Ways to Use The Items Around You To Adapt and Survive

Composting 101

8. Make Your Own Supplies – You have everything around you to survive, but many can’t look outside of the box to see how they can use what they have to survive. Having versatile preparedness supplies saves space and can serve multiple uses that can double up as ingredients to make soaps, medical supplies, etc.

Make soap

3 Ways to Naturally Make Yeast

10 Dehydrator Meals for Your Prepper Pantry

Make Your Own MREs

SHTF Survival: How to Prevent Infections

7 Kitchen Essentials That Deserve To Be On Your Preparedness Shelves

9. Use Up What You Already Have or Find Another Use – Being self-reliant means using up what already have. This is a crucial principle of being self-dependent. Saving leftover construction supplies, food, clothing, etc., can be reused for another day.

Why Everyone Should Have a Rag Bag

8 Slow Cooker Meals Made From Leftovers

10 Household Products You Never Have To Buy Again

Complementing Your Food Storage Pantry with Dehydrated Foods

Five Essential Tools for Fixing Your Clothes on the Cheap

10. Live More Naturally – Life is chaotic these days and many of us feel we have to keep up with everyone else. It’s time to forget that and start living more simply and naturally.

Simply Simplify

 7 Off Grid Projects for Survivalists

Self-Reliance in 4 Steps

Five Eco Friendly Alternatives For Emergency Preparedness

11. Grow Your Own Medicine – With the vast medical advancements in the Western world, we are turning our backs on the first medicine – natural medicine. It’s time we begun exploring a more mindful, natural existence.

30 Most Popular Herbs for Natural Medicine

Step-By-Step Guide to Making Colloidal Silver

Essential Oils for SHTF Medical Care

How to Make Dakin’s Solution for SHTF Medical Care

12. Grow Your Own Food – The cost of making healthy decisions about the food we put into our body is eating our budgets alive. We want the very best foods for our family, but buying solely organic products can be costly. All the while, you are questioning the legitimacy of this produce. Is it genetically modified? Where was this grown? Was it exposed to salmonella or another food-borne pathogens? What was the type of water used to grow it? There comes a time when you want to throw your hands up and shout, “That’s it, I’m doing this myself.”

7 Laws of Gardening

25 Survival Seeds You Need For Your Garden

10 Foods You Should Not Feed Your Chickens

Medicinal Plants for the Survival Garden

6 Essential Food Types To Grow Your Own Food Pantry

Make Your Own Herbal Tea Blends

13. Be Flexible – I often tell those who are preparing that the single most important thing you can do is continue to be flexible in your preparedness efforts. Doing so gives you leeway in your planning and backup planning, as well as helps you move more fluidly through the aftermath. This concept can be applied in non-emergencies, as well. Self-reliance can help us be more flexible in our life and our decisions.

 Survival of the Most Adaptable

8 Prepper Principles For a Prepared Mind

Blending In: The Secret to Keeping The Target Off Your Back

5 Survivor Traits That Make a Prepper Successful

5 Steps to Become the Smartest Person in the Woods

14. Barter Better – Bartering for goods and services was the first currency that went around. Let’s be honest, everyone is up for a good deal. Using self-reliant skills, you can use these as leverage in bartering. As well, having a surplus of survival/preparedness items can also help you make good bartering deals.

The Barter Value of Skills

A Free Falling Economy Makes Bartering Go Boom

100 Must Have Survival Items

15. Teach Your Kids – We must teach our children how to be more mindful and self-reliant. After all, we do not want to continue the cycle of having a dependent, self-entitled population. By informing them, we are setting them upon a self-sustaining path for life.

 How Farmers Markets Can Teach Your Kids the Values of Local Food and Community Building

*  *  *

We must come to the understanding that there is no true safety net for us to fall into; it’s up to ourselves to get us out trouble. How easily you land depends on how reliant you were to begin with. Adopting certain concepts as your new life’s code will help you on your path.

Many of us share a common goal: to be free from the shackles of the system. This goal doesn’t come over night. You have to work at it, invest in it and ultimately, change your way of thinking. The point is, we are all at different places in our preparedness efforts, so don’t get discouraged! Continue on the pace, keep learning and step-by-step, you inch closer and closer to that goal.

Are we there yet..? revisited

30 04 2015

Four years ago, I wrote a post with exactly the same title as this one, regarding whether we were at Peak Oil or not……  Then I wrote another two years later, about Peak Debt.  Well this one is about Peak Everything….. and the reason I’m writing this one is that….  well everything is going nuts out there in the Matrix.

First, this turns up on ZeroHedge:

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

The entire economic and political structure is now dependent in one way or another on the continued expansion of financial markets.

The financial markets don’t just dominate the economy–they now control everything. In 1999, the BBC broadcast a 4-part documentary by Adam Curtis, The Mayfair Set ( Episode 1: “Who Pays Wins” 58 minutes), that explored the way financial markets have come to dominate not just the economy but the political process and society.
In effect, politicians now look to the markets for policy guidance, and any market turbulence now causes governments to quickly amend their policies to “rescue” the all-important markets from instability.
This is a global trend that has gathered momentum since the program was broadcast in 1999, as The Global Financial Meltdown of 2008-09 greatly reinforced the dominance of markets.
It’s not just banks that have become too big to fail; the markets themselves are now too influential and big to fail.
Curtis focuses considerable attention on the way in which seemingly “good” financial entities such as pension funds actively enabled the “bad” corporate raiders of the 1980s by purchasing the high-yield junk bonds the raiders used to finance their asset-stripping ventures.
Charles Hugh-Smith then says “This spells the end of the electoral-political control of the economy, as politicians of all stripes quickly abandon all their ideologies and policies and rush to “save” the markets from any turmoil, because that turmoil could destabilize not just the financial markets but the economy, pensions and ultimately the government’s ability to finance its own profligate borrowing and spending.”
Scared yet?  Read on……
A study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that 75 percent of the planet’s “moderate daily hot extremes” can be tied to climate change. That figure means that heat events which, in a world without climate change, would occur in one out of every 1,000 days (or about once every three years) now occur in about four or five out of every 1,000 days, the study’s lead study author, Erich Fischer, told the Washington Post. Basically, climate change has upped the odds that these types of heat events will occur.
But wait, there’s more…..

a new Financial Tsunami is beginning, this one, of all places, in the Texas, North Dakota and other USA shale oil regions. Like the so-called US sub-prime real estate crisis, the oil shale junk bond default crisis is but the cutting front of the first wave of what promises to be a far more dangerous series of financial Tsunami long waves.

Banking system vulnerability greater

I say more dangerous because of what governments in the USA, EU and elsewhere did after 2007 to make sure no repeat of that bubble-cum-collapse-of bubble cycle could repeat.

In a word, they did nothing. What they did do—explode US Federal debt and bloat the credit of the central bank to historic highs leave the USA in far worse shape to deal with the unfolding crisis.
First appeared:

And there’s more still…..

U.S. oil production decline has begun.

It is not because of decreased rig count. It is because cash flow at current oil prices is too low to complete most wells being drilled.

The implications are profound. Production will decline by several hundred thousand of barrels per day before the effect of reduced rig count is fully seen. Unless oil prices rebound above $75 or $85 per barrel, the rig count won’t matter because there will not be enough money to complete more wells than are being completed today.

Tight oil production in the Eagle Ford, Bakken and Permian basin plays declined approximately 111,000 barrels of oil per day in January. These declines are part of a systematic decrease in the number of new producing wells added since oil prices fell below $90 per barrel in October 2014 (Figure 1).

Chart_ALL New Prod Wells
Figure 1. Eagle Ford, Bakken and Permian basin new producing wells by month and WTI oil price. Source: Drilling Info and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.
(Click image to enlarge)

Deferred completions (drilled uncompleted wells) are not discretionary for most companies. Producers entered into long-term rig contracts assuming at least $90 oil prices. Lower prices result in substantially reduced cash flows. Capital is only available to fulfill contractual drilling commitments, basic costs of doing business, and to complete the best wells that come closest to breaking even at present oil prices.

Much of the new capital from junk bonds and share offerings is being used to pay overhead and interest expense, and to pay down debt to avoid triggering loan covenant thresholds. Hedges help soften the blow of low oil prices for some companies but not enough to carry on business as usual when it comes to well completions.

The decrease in well completions provides additional evidence that the true break-even price for tight oil plays is between $75 and $85 per barrel. The Eagle Ford Shale is the most attractive play with a break-even price of about $75 per barrel. Well completions averaged 312 per month from January through September 2014 when WTI averaged $100 per barrel (Figure 2). When oil prices dropped below $90 per barrel in October, November well completions fell to 214. As prices fell further, 169 new producing wells were added in December and only 118 in January.

Chart_Eagle Ford Break-Even

Figure 2. Eagle Ford new producing wells (2 month moving average) and WTI oil prices. Source: Drilling Info, EIA and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.
(Click image to enlarge)

Junk bonds

Since the shale oil boom took flight in 2011 Wells Fargo and JP Morgan have both issued shale oil company loans of $100 billion.There has been a huge rise in high risk high return bonds, so called “junk bonds.” They earned the appropriate name because in event of a company’s going bankrupt, they become just that—junk. The bonds have been issued by Wall Street banks to shale oil and gas companies since the bubble started in 2011. The US oil and gas industry share of junk bonds has been the fastest growing portion of the overall US junk bond sector of the bond market.

Now as oil prices hover around $49 a barrel, the shale oil companies that indebted themselves with junk bonds to finance more drilling are themselves facing bankruptcy or default more and more every additional day the US crude oil price remains this low. Their shale projects were calculated when oil was $100 a barrel, less than a year ago. Their minimum price of oil to avoid bankruptcy in most cases was $65 a barrel to $80 a barrel. Shale oil extraction is unconventional and more costly than conventional oil. Douglas-Westwood, an energy advisory firm, estimates that nearly half of the US oil projects under development need oil prices greater than $120 per barrel in order to achieve positive cash flow. 
First appeared:

And today, global share markets went down.  US quarterly growth was a mere 0.2% and the Fed still has not raised interest rates as promised.  They know we’re nearly there, I’m sure.  Not that it particularly fills me with glee now my ute and all our precious goodies we need to get on with the rest of our lives are parked almost 3000km away awaiting our house sale….  We sure live in interesting times.

Because one has to laugh…. take two

25 04 2015

Programmed to ignore

24 04 2015

I guess many of my readers also follow Tom Murphy’s marvellous blog ‘Do the Math’ which until his last post where he shortened it to DtM I had not realised has the same initials as mine…!  Now I’ve known for some time that my Myers-Briggs personality trait is INTJ, but until reading Tom’s latest post, I had no idea of the repercussions of having this trait was, let alone the impact of having everyone else who is not INTJ.  Nor the impact of the fact that likely not one single person running the world is either.

To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of “definiteness”, of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise — and INTJs can have several — they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don’t know.

INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type: INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion “Does it work?” to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.

That’s me pretty much down to a T.  This Wikipedia page classifies us INTJ people as Mastermind Architects….  I like that.  A lot actually!  Being a Mastermind goes well with being in control of my Matrix!

But the true master discovery here is that the vast majority of people who visit our sites are INTJ.

About a year ago, Tom tells us, a friend shared with me a graphic from an informal survey on the Peak Prosperity website. This is Chris Martenson’s site, which hosts a “Crash Course” consisting of 4.6 hours of quality video content describing why we should worry that tomorrow may not be bigger than today, and why the growth phase may be just that. As a related aside, I once did a podcast interview for Chris Martenson.

The Peak Prosperity site visitors probably have a lot of overlap with Do the Math readers: the fundamental concern is the same. These are people who are—by and large—not content with extrapolation of the here-and-now into tomorrow. We think there will be fundamental changes in how the full Earth operates compared to our frontier days of resource exploitation in an empty Earth. In many cases, there are compelling calculations to motivate concern. Rather than trying to predict a dire future, my goal in “Did the Math” was to build a plausible case for things going off the rails in the desperate hope that recognition of this possibility would spur action now to steer clear of this potential pitfall (thereby making me wrong, in a happy way). It’s trying to expose a blind spot—a sleeping dragon.

But that blind spot may be stamped into human nature. So what about this survey?

Tom’s latest entry has loads of information about his survey results, too long and complicated to duplicate here, so I urge you to read his site for all the amazing fine print and statistical analysis only an INTJ physicist (which I now know my son is also!) would persevere with….  Tom’s conclusions, however, are scary.  We will almost certainly fail, as a civilisation, to act on the coming predicaments, because most of us are not INTJ and are therefore programmed to ignore all the prognostications within the contents of sites like ours.  “As a cerebral type,” Tom writes, “it gives me some satisfaction to have insight into how and why we may fail. If the world falls apart before I die, at least I’ll have some inkling as to what’s going on, and won’t be as psychologically shattered by the affair. But I’ll be one of a pitifully small number, I’m afraid.”

So there you have it….  we are on our own.  Maybe all the world’s INTJ’s should head for Tasmania, turf out anyone who is not (or the closely allied INTP/INFJ like my dear better half!) and mount its future defence against the poor souls who simply don’t make the grade!  One more link to Tom’s brilliant work…

I would love my own readers to do their own personality test and report back in the comments to see if we fare similarly, because it’s a fascinating experiment if nothing else.


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