Comments : 53 Comments »
Tags: "club of rome", "dennis meadows", "limits to growth", "Peak oil", "uncontrolled growth"
Categories : collapse, limits to growth, peak oil, sustainability
Bees are the most amazing things. And they never cease to amaze us. Furthermore, if you ever want proof that the climate’s going haywire, keep bees…….. because today, a whole month (almost) into Autumn, one of our hives swarmed. Lucky thing we even spotted them, because we had a late breakfast on the deck when it happened, and had we been inside as we would normally have been on such another hot day, we would never have noticed…..
Bees usually swarm when they run out of room in their hive. For this to happen, you need prolific amounts of bee food (pollen from flowers), and it needs to be warm. Obviously, following on from the recent torrential rains, there’s a lot happening in the nearby bush. Last time we looked in the hives, about three
weeks ago to replace the beetle traps, we figured there was maybe an outside chance we could rob the hives one more time before winter set in. But our strongest hive had other ideas…
For the uninitiated, when a hive swarms, the queen decides to leave for greener pastures (or at least less crowded ones), and some 2/3 of the rest of the bees follow her. They eventually cluster on a tree somewhere, with the queen at the heart of the cluster, covered by many many thousands of worker bees to protect her. Should anything happen to her, the whole colony would die, or else it may return to the old hive. Drones are then sent out to scout for a new appropriate place to hive, and if left to
their own device, that would be a hollow in a tree somewhere…… If you’re lucky enough, and have all the appropriate gear ready for such an occasion, you can take over this process and put all the bees (and hopefully the queen!) in a prepared hive, before they decide to go elsewhere.
So I rang our beekeeping partners, Paul and Robyn, who had a 10 frame hive with sufficient frames to do the job. They were here in under twenty minutes, and the bees were still waiting for us. Of course, bees rarely pick easy places to pluck them from, though this time around it wasn’t all that hard, we just had to bash some Lantana down and do some pruning on the Wattle tree they picked as a resting place. The worst aspect of all this, for me, was as usual the heat….. it gets hot in one of those suits in the full sun, even if they are white….!
Paul cut the Wattle’s trunk part of the way to allow us to drop the bees to ground level, and the new hive, sans frames, was placed underneath. Once the bees are just above the hive, you just shake them, and they drop into the hive. It’s as simple as that, really…. if you know what you’re doing! If you have the queen in the box, the other bees will not leave her, and as we could see they were all chomping at the bit to get in, it was obvious we had been successful. It just remained to place the frames in the box, and eventually cover it up with a fresh lid.
I know that to people who’ve never done this it may look terribly exciting, even dangerous, but in fact bees are at their most docile when swarming, because all those bees are actually full of honey, and none of us have ever been stung while catching swarms…. Glenda was there to document the whole event, and I can bring it all to you in glorious colour to read on a quiet Good Friday….
When the queen leaves, she would normally have left some queen cells in the hive for the next generation to take over. Those cells hatch a new queen, and the hive regenerates…. so catching a swarm gives you a whole new hive, for free. Aren’t they just awesome? And all the wattle trimmings were fed to the goats…….
Comments : 1 Comment »
Tags: beekeeping, bees, swarm, swarming
Categories : permaculture, self sufficiency
In their latest report, “Fossil and Nuclear Fuels – the Supply Outlook (March 2013)” [ PDF 7 MB ], Energy Watch Group have updated their figures for oil, gas, coal and Uranium production forecasts.
These 5 charts (click to enlarge) from the report show the past production and future forecasts for the four different fuels, and the total.
This indicates that Peak Fossils+Uranium production will occur in 2017.
The report is very long and detailed (178 pages), but shorter summaries are also available at their website.
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Tags: "dave kimble", "Energy Watch Group", "peak coal", "peak everything", "Peak oil", "peak Uranium", China, OECD, Russia, USA
Categories : collapse, energy, limits to growth, peak oil
Today is the Equinox. Our house begins its seasonal Autumn mode with the first tiny shafts of sunlight due to start penetrating into the house and slowly warm it up in preparation for the Autumn cooling. Except it’s cloudy and there’s no sun, and I will have to wait a little more to get my kicks about how well I designed this place……. sigh…… at least the rewiring of the US64 solar panels is doing wonders for the life of my batteries, they are remaining fully charged now no matter how cloudy it gets.
I’m spending those hours I’m not feeling exhausted trying to finish all those little jobs around the place, like fitting architraves and pelmets in those last couple of rooms that don’t have them, and painting them, in preparation for selling Mon Abri….. it’s wearing me down, and sometimes I wish I could just re energise by connecting my fingers to the solar panels on the roof……. or something.
The credibility of banking took a real hit this week. The confiscation of depositors’ money in Cyprus has been [at least temporarily] averted when the Cypriot government voted unanimously (well, there were a lot of abstentions) to reject the ridiculous idea. But the banks are staying closed, at least until Friday, unless that too changes. EDIT: Ooops.. it has! Now the banks will be closed until Tuesday…. what next?
I’d still be surprised if there wasn’t a run on the banks in Cyprus on Friday. And then it will be interesting to see what happens in Spain, Greece, and Italy next week…..
As if that wasn’t bad enough, customers of JPMorgan Chase (in the US) reported two days ago seeing zero balances in their accounts both online and on mobile, and speculated that the bank’s systems had been hacked into. The bank, however, clarified later that it was having a “technology problem” regarding customers’ balance information that it was working to resolve. I bet there were some very nervous customers out there……
But wait…… it gets worse…
The New Zealand Reserve Bank has released a consultation paper on “the pre-positioning”
requirements that banks will be expected to comply with to fully implement the “Open Bank Resolution” (OBR) policy, as mentioned by the Minister of Finance in his statement on 11 March 2011….. OBR is a long-standing policy option aimed at “resolving a bank failure quickly”, in such a way that the bank can be kept open for business, thus minimising stresses on the overall banking and payments system.
NZ Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Grant Spencer said: “The OBR policy provides for continuity of core banking services to retail customers and businesses, while placing the cost of a bank failure primarily on the bank’s shareholders and creditors rather than the taxpayer.”
Kiwis had better hope nothing goes wrong with their banking sector… more nervous customers, no doubt. I’m just glad I don’t have to worry about having money in the bank. There are upsides to being poor after all…!
The news on the whole Peak debt crisis, inevitably got worse this week too.
Max Keiser, the host of RT’s ‘Keiser Report’, has just reported that “The debt bomb just got bigger”. No, really…….
The amount of debt worldwide is more than all of the bank accounts in the world, and the current financial situation in Cyprus is the inevitable next phase: Confiscation.
All pretence is now gone that central or global bankers can ‘securitize’ growth by packaging and repackaging debt; by hypothicating and rehypothicating debt; by regulating and re-regulating debt. Since the bond market rally began in the early 1980s (yes, it’s that old) each crisis has been met by central and global bankers – the IMF, EU and ECB, to name a few – and their Wall St. and City of London brethren with an increase in debt, and an extension of the debt’s maturity.
The result has been – as of 2007 – the biggest mountain of on-balance sheet and off-balance sheet debt in history: A staggering $220 trillion in debt in America’s $14-trillion economy alone (when you include all public, private and contingent liabilities of unfunded entitlement programs). Deals in the global debt derivatives market now stand in excess of $1 quadrillion, riding above a global GDP of approximately $60 trillion.
But starting in 2007, and then becoming spectacularly apparent in 2008 with the Lehman collapse, the ability of the world’s taxpayers to pay either the interest or principal on this debt has hit a brick wall. And for several years now, governments around the world have tried the same old tricks of ‘extend and pretend.’ Repackage and extend the maturity, and pray that tax receipts start picking up enough to pay some of the debt off. It didn’t work. The debt bomb just got bigger. Now in Cyprus we see the inevitable next phase: Confiscation.
To pay off the debts that were incurred to finance the biggest wealth grab in history, we see in Cyprus, as well as central and global banking institutions around the world, a trend to just reach in and grab people’s money from their ‘insured’ bank accounts. We should have figured out this was coming when JP Morgan (read: Jamie Dimon) reached in and illegally stepped ahead of customers at MF Global and grabbed over $1 billion, with the help of his crony pal Jon Corzine.
Have we learned our lesson yet? They have more debts to pay than there is money in all the bank accounts in the world. This means that chances are, you – whoever you are, and whatever country you live in – will have a sizable percent of your savings stolen by banksters.
It now worries me that when/if we sell our place, I will have little choice other than put the money in a bank until I get a chance to spend it……. Boy, do we live in interesting times.
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Tags: "debt bomb", "new zealand", "peak debt", "pre-positioning", banks, banksters, confiscation, corzine, cyprus, debt, deposits, dimon, keiser, obr
Categories : collapse, economy
A couple of years ago, I wrote a post with exactly the same title as this one, regarding whether we were at Peak Oil or not…… Well this one is about Peak Debt….. and the reason I’m writing it is that a momentous event in a tiny place with a population of just 1.1 million called Cyprus happened overnight, which could have enormous repercussions for the global economy……
One of John Lennon’s most pertinent lyric in a whole lifetime of song-writing this morning is “I read the news today, oh boy”…..
A Cypriot parliamentary vote on the proposed €10bn (£8.6bn – AU$12.5bn) international bailout, which also includes plans for a raid on bank deposits, is expected to be held on Monday. President Nicos Anastasiades said the bail-out was “painful” but necessary to avoid a “disorderly bankruptcy”.
Christopher Pissarides, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and chairman of the government’s economic advisory committee, warned that the island’s fragile economy would collapse within “two or three days” if the legislation was not passed.
What I want to know is, how many days will it take to collapse the economy if a bank run occurs? Monday (local time) is a bank holiday. Coincidence? You tell me….. but apparently there are queues at the ATMs in Nicosia already. If this doesn’t cause a run on the banks, I don’t know what will. It’s not even inconceivable that a run on banks in all the PIIGS nations of Europe could start over the next few days.
If there was one lesson that I thought the world had learnt from the Great Depression, it was the need to guarantee depositors’ funds. So much for that fantasy. Now the EU has shown that its obsession with austerity has gone so far that even this historical wisdom has been abandoned. Not only are depositors’ funds not guaranteed, they are being lost even in banks that have not (yet) failed.
So who will have confidence in banks, any bank, after this? Is the money even there to be withdrawn…? Steve Keen thinks not……
The public will be waiting a while: the cash currently simply doesn’t exist. Currency constitutes only a tiny percentage of the aggregate money supply – whether defined as that found in bank at-call cheque and savings accounts (M2), or including term deposits and other not-at-call accounts (M3). If everyone wants it, then only one in twenty will get it, if Europe’s figures are at all comparable to America’s (see figure 1). That’s why a collapse in confidence in deposits is called a bank run: only those who run first to the bank get their money.
Now most people have no idea that their money is not in the bank at all….. and when the word gets out that if you want your dough right now, you won’t get it, there will be some seriously pissed off people outside the banks…!
The Matrix utterly relies on confidence. We are all (well mostly…) confident that because it is printed on a ten dollar note that it is actually worth ten bucks, then it must be. It’s labelled legal tender even….. what could go wrong?
For starters, it appears a lot of Russians, wealthy ones one could reasonably expect, have been using Cypriot banks as safe havens for their Rubles. Silly Ruskies… But as that favourite show of mine (The Gruen Transfer) has been asking, “what would Putin do?” I doubt he’ll be taking this lying down….. the British government has already said they would rescue any armed services personnel in Cyprus who loses money over this… The repercussions could be very unpleasant. The stock market has already taken a 2% hit, though that sector of the economy goes up and down every time I sneeze… The best the rest of the world can hope for is that Cyprus is sufficiently unique that it won’t spark panic in Athens and Madrid or in Lisbon, Dublin and Rome. I know people taking their money out of Aussie banks today….. not kidding.
Comments : 4 Comments »
Tags: "run on the bank", "steve keen", confidence, cyprus, deposits, economy, euro, europe
Categories : collapse, economy
I take more than a passing interest on a particular TV show in this country, and of course I’m talking about The Gourmet Farmer on SBS….. Been watching it right from the start, the story of a Sydney foodie moving to Tasmania to begin a new life growing and eating and then selling local food at the markets. And he picked the Huon Valley, which made loads of sense to me, it’s my favourite bit of Tassie. It was around that time that I decided we should make a similar move, so I’ve been watching Matthew Evans’ progress with much interest….
Of course he had no clue. He freely admits this himself. And there’s nothing like the school of hard knocks to force clues into you! I watched with glee as he brought a wood burning cooker into his kitchen – then struggled to make it work… Having to build a possum proof fortress around his first veggie patch also comes to mind, but what quickly became obvious to me was that he had picked the wrong farm, with far too much South facing slopes, a real killer this far from the Equator. I even told him so on his blog. Which he never replies to. I don’t doubt many of the friends with the right expertise whom he met down there told him as much, because if you’re growing your own food, you would undoubtedly know and understand the difference.
So Matt and his new wife (who I suspect is the real green thumb in this marriage) bought a new farm at Glazier’s Bay, much of it North facing, where I too ironically had my eye on a couple of properties which have now sold (neither were the one he bought). In fact, I am almost certain I had a really good look at the place they eventually chose, but at 70 acres, it was way way bigger than I need, and almost certainly, from memory, well out of our budget…… but I remember thinking what a great spot it would be to start a co-op of sorts with like minded Permies to start a sustainable farm…! If I didn’t already have friends in Geeveston, I would pick Glazier’s Bay too……
It very quickly became obvious to me that they had far too many pigs on the old Puggle Farm (where they still live – the new farm has no house). The carrying capacity was limited on that patch of land, very few people appreciate or understand carrying capacity…. that’s why we are in the mess we are in now, and on a global scale. We raised just two saddle back piglets here on our even smaller farmlet, and they stretched our carrying capacity. By the end of the last drought, we literally had nothing left for our three goats to eat, resorting to trimming trees from outside our place which to my self sufficient way of thinking was bordering on failure.
Casting my usual critical/sceptical eye on things, as I watched Matthew move his pigs from Puggle Farm to Fat Pig Farm, I could not help wondering how long it would take him to overstock this place? Because it seems to me the Evans family has fallen to the growth monster. If they read this (and I hope they do) I don’t write this to be mean or anything… it’s what I do!
Their overheads must’ve gone into overdrive…… they’ve switched from a Salamanca Market stall to a permanent place in the Salamanca Arts Centre they share with Nick the cheesemaker (from Bruny Island I think…) they’ve called A Common Ground. Looks great, don’t get me wrong…. I actually really like it. But it worries me that they seem totally unaware of the looming collapse…
The whole Tassievore movement is in my opinion one of the most attractive things about living in Tasmania, it’s why I want to live there, it’s why I want our kids to live there…. but when Matthew speaks of driving from Cygnet to Hobart (and now Glazier’s Bay) regularly, my eyes glaze over and I can’t help thinking “how much longer do they think they can do this?” And how much longer will there be busloads of tourists visiting Salamanca Place? And whilst it is utterly none of my business, I can’t help wondering how much debt they’re into now……. especially when just yesterday, this came up on the ABC’s news site:
By online business reporter Michael Janda
Leading economist and financial analyst Gerard Minack, one of the few who largely foresaw the global financial crisis, is warning that another and potentially worse economic storm is brewing.In his latest Downunder Daily note, Mr Minack warns that the very actions central bankers are taking now, that have done so much to inflate share markets and restore economic confidence, are sowing the seeds of the next crisis.
It’s one thing the growth monster gobbling up idiots…… it’s quite another when it does it to really nice people whose only fault is they are trying (and working) hard to do the right thing… I can only wish them all the very best of luck. I can’t help but feel they’re going to need it.
The Gourmet Farmer is a great show by the way, a breath of fresh air…… I encourage you all who read this (in Australia) to watch it……
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Tags: "A Common Ground", "gourmet farmer", "growth monster", salamanca, tassievore
Categories : economy, limits to growth, philosophy, self sufficiency, sustainability, Tasmania Project
Meeting Mark Cochrane is turning out to be one of the most valuable and fascinating things I have yet to do online…… the man is a genius at explaining the most difficult issues, and he’s just put out another gem over at the PP website.
It’s not only correlation versus causation – we have correlation and physical, tested processes which strongly support causation unless there is some offsetting physics that no one has discovered.
Where’s the evidence humans are changing the climate?
New results out in Science today, Marcott et al. 2013 (link)
Our results indicate that global mean temperature for the decade 2000–2009 (34) has not yet exceeded the warmest temperatures of the early Holocene (5000 to 10,000 yr B.P.). These temperatures are, however, warmer than 82% of the Holocene distribution as represented by the Standard5×5 stack, or 72% after making plausible corrections for inherent smoothing of the high frequencies in the stack (6) (Fig. 3). In contrast, the decadal mean global temperature of the early 20th century (1900–1909) was cooler than >95% of the Holocene distribution under both the Standard5×5 and high-frequency corrected scenarios. Global temperature, therefore, has risen from near the coldest to the warmest levels of the Holocene within the past century, reversing the long-term cooling trend that began ~5000 yr B.P. Climate models project that temperatures are likely to exceed the full distribution of Holocene warmth by 2100 for all versions of the temperature stack (35) (Fig. 3), regardless of the greenhouse gas emission scenario considered (excluding the year 2000 constant composition scenario, which has already been exceeded). By 2100, global average temperatures will probably be 5 to 12 standard deviations above the Holocene temperature mean for the A1B scenario (35) based on our Standard5×5 plus high-frequency addition stack
Quick translation – the planet had been cooling for 5000 years and through orbital mechanics models of Milankovitch cycles should still be cooling but all of a sudden the temperature shoots up for no apparent reason just when we start pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. We shot from one of the coolest periods in the entire Holocene (11,500 years since the last Ice Age) to close to one of the warmest. Unprecedented rate of change. Any competing theories on why? (crickets…)
Take a look at the probabilities associated with being 5-12 standard deviations (normal distribution) above the Holocene mean by 2100.
I posted this diagram of Standard Deviation last year to explain the possibilities of being three standard deviations out, but five to twelve? That doesn’t even compute on a graph such as this… Wikipedia only give probabilities out to the 7th standard deviation from the mean but that is a start. Cl stands for Central Limits by the way…. that dark blue area.
|zσ||Percentage within CI||Percentage outside CI||Fraction outside CI|
|0.674490σ||50%||50%||1 / 2|
|0.994458σ||68%||32%||1 / 3.125|
|1σ||68.2689492%||31.7310508%||1 / 3.1514872|
|1.281552σ||80%||20%||1 / 5|
|1.644854σ||90%||10%||1 / 10|
|1.959964σ||95%||5%||1 / 20|
|2σ||95.4499736%||4.5500264%||1 / 21.977895|
|2.575829σ||99%||1%||1 / 100|
|3σ||99.7300204%||0.2699796%||1 / 370.398|
|3.290527σ||99.9%||0.1%||1 / 1,000|
|3.890592σ||99.99%||0.01%||1 / 10,000|
|4σ||99.993666%||0.006334%||1 / 15,787|
|4.417173σ||99.999%||0.001%||1 / 100,000|
|4.891638σ||99.9999%||0.0001%||1 / 1,000,000|
|5σ||99.9999426697%||0.0000573303%||1 / 1,744,278|
|5.326724σ||99.99999%||0.00001%||1 / 10,000,000|
|5.730729σ||99.999999%||0.000001%||1 / 100,000,000|
|6σ||99.9999998027%||0.0000001973%||1 / 506,797,346|
|6.109410σ||99.9999999%||0.0000001%||1 / 1,000,000,000|
|6.466951σ||99.99999999%||0.00000001%||1 / 10,000,000,000|
|6.806502σ||99.999999999%||0.000000001%||1 / 100,000,000,000|
|7σ||99.9999999997440%||0.000000000256%||1 / 390,682,215,445|
The bottom row (in bold) shows the probability of any point occurring seven standard deviations from the mean, the probability is one in 390 plus billion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_deviation
The most likely scenario, five standard deviations, has a probability of one in 1.7 million…. get it? The chances that the current warming rate is natural, ie not our fault, is like winning the lotto.
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Tags: "climate change", "mark cochrane", "standard deviation", holocene
Categories : climate change