Dmitry Orlov: Russia’s Patience Is Wearing Thin

30 11 2014

Great podcast from Chris Martenson who interviews Dmitry Orlov……

“DeGrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era”

30 11 2014

Editorial Reviews


“DeGrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era” illuminates diverse concepts for clear thinking, provides us with new languages for political discourse, and outlines the many steps we can take to recreate our economy, our lives, and our relations to planet Earth. Call it what you want: happiness, living within limits, community, real democracy “DeGrowth” both calls and empowers us to bold action.” Richard Norgaard, Professor Emeritus of Energy and Resources, University of California, Berkeley.
” Dalisa s book is an excellent introduction to the politics of “degrowth” in its different meanings and dimensions that are analyzed and catalogued in dozens of entries providing an indispensable point of reference for anyone interested in joining the debates surrounding this perspective. It is also an eye-opener to the evolution of the concept. For as the editors introduction demonstrates, degrowth for many signifies a variety of initiatives time banks, local currencies, urban gardens, solidarity economies proposing an alternative to capitalist accumulation and the reconstruction of our reproduction on more cooperative terms. This then is a volume that those committed to building non exploitative relations will need to consult as it offers a map to the world of alternatives to capitalisms. “Silvia Federici, Professor Emerita of Social Science at Hofstra University, ” “Hempstead.”
This dictionary is a vital resource for those who want to engage with the diverse networks of ideas and traditions, analytical concepts and theories known as “Degrowth.” It is also one indispensable compass to find orientation in the complex simplicity of alternatives. ” Massimo De Angelis Professor of Political Economy and Development at the University of East London,” “London.” Humanity has already crossed the ecological limits of the earth; we have been terrible guests of our planet. Radical steps to reduce our impacts are our most crucial task, particularly so for those parts of the world that have been responsible for unsustainable development pathways. It needs to be heeded even by so-called ‘developing’ countries as they blindly follow the same pathways. Degrowth is very much a part of the global search for alternative ways of human well-being that are sustainable and equitable, and this book offers a comprehensive exploration of its various dimensions. The section on ‘Alliances’ from non-western perspectives is a bit thin, but a welcome beginning to the possibilities of a truly global framework of values that could lead us out of our collective planetary crisis. ” Ashish Kothari, member of Kalpavriksh, Puna; and co-author of “Churning the earth: The Making of Global India.”
” Reinventing the growth trajectory is equally critical for the rest of the world in this age of climate risk and present and future danger. Degrowth is then the new vocabulary that we must learn and practice.” Sunita Narain, Director of the Centre of Science and Environment Delhi; and editor of the magazine Down To Earth. ” In times marked by political stupor, it is refreshing to have such a light-footed guide through a universe of anti-mainstream ideas ranging from conviviality to Ubuntu, and from urban gardening to entropy.” Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Founder and long-term of the Institute of Social Ecology at Alpen Adria University, Vienna. “
For the poor to grow up to a steady-state economy that is sufficient for a good life and sustainable for a long future, the rich must make ecological space by de-growing down to the same sufficient (not luxurious) steady-state level. Essays in this collection recognize the necessity to face this difficult convergent task of justly sharing our finite world. Herman Daly, Emeritus Professor of Ecological Economics at University of Maryland, Maryland. The editors invite the reader to make their own voyage through this book. It is sage advice, for readers will wander through a wonderland of radical thoughts, intriguing observations and bold visions for a different kind of world. It’s exciting and deeply subversive. Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University and University of Melbourne, Melbourne. Author of “Growth fetish” and “Earthmasters” “
” We know that there are limits of growth just as there are limits to growth. The former teaches us that beyond a certain size of the economy, certainly as measured by GDP, more growth does’t increase welfare but reduces it, so that society would be better off with less GDP. Many “advanced” countries today are already beyond that point and are experiencing what herman daly calls “uneconomic growth.” This exciting book is a pioneering exploration of the recently come-of-age field of degrowth economics and policy. It will be landmark for all those who want to transcend the growth fetish that has so many enthralled today. ” James Gustave Speth, Professor of Law at the Vermont Law School, Royalton. Author of “America the possible: manifesto for a new economy.” ” We really need to develop a vocabulary for a new era, and this timely book takes us a great step forward by providing an impressive collection of concepts and ideas related to the degrowth debate. It is a very useful resource for both newcomers and seasoned participants. Due to the broad coverage, everyone can find inspiration and new links between ideas by following one s own personal track through the entries it is a pleasure.” Inge Ropke, Professor of Ecological Economics Aalborg University, Copenhagen.”
This volume is indispensable for anybody interested in moving beyond mere retrofit solutions to the most important economic and ecological conundrums of our time. This book helps bury several oxymoron-constructs masquerading as solutions to the human predicament. It achieves this by landing definitive intellectual and political blows to both the desirability and possibility of unfettered economic growth as a panacea for all ills.” Deepak Malghan, Professor of Ecological Economics at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, India, and Princeton University, USA”
What a splendid vocabulary! A range of international authors brilliantly surveys the emerging field of an economics which bids farewell to the obsession of growth. The entries are compact yet eloquent, learned yet action-oriented. In the new style of economic thought, ideas like sharing, frugality, debt-free money, dematerialization, and digital commons play a leading role. Whoever wants to know more about an economy of permanence for the 21th century should reach for this book.” Wolfgang Sachs, Professor of Social Science at the Wuppertal Institute, Berlin. Editor of: “The Development Dictionary: A Guide to Knowledge as Power.”
” In this timely and important (both academically and politically) contribution, D Alisa, Demaria and Kallis offer the definitive collection on Degrowth. Comprising 51 compelling contributions by key international scholars, the collection juxtaposes in a critical manner the economic, social, political, and ecological aspects of the Degrowth thesis, to mainstream debates on economic development, sustainable growth and environmental (in)justice. This is an invaluable source of knowledge and inspiration for anyone interested academically or politically in alternative ways of thinking and acting about the environment and development. The collection is of interest to economists, political scientists, ecologists, geographers, planners, environmentalists, activists, development scholars, anthropologists, policy makers, and to anyone who wishes to think and act in ways that transcend the current environmental and economic impasse. ” Maria Kaika, Professor in Human Geography, University of Manchester, Manchester.”
Degrowth takes the false coin of economic growth via capital accumulation and confronts it head on: There is no wealth but life and to protect life on the planet and to ensure the future for all it is necessary to exit the current system of production. This is the essential message for our time.” John Bellamy Foster, professor of sociology at the University of Oregon, Eugene; and editor of Monthly Review and author of “Marx s ecology.”
” A thought-provoking, wide-ranging, spirited, and deeply original analysis; this book is a must-read on degrowth debates.” Karen Bakker, Professor and Canada Research Chair Director, Program on Water Governance, Universty of British Columbia, Vancouver. ” Degrowth thinking is a strategic meeting place for many trends in contemporary environmental politics, and this encyclopaedic compendium, at once widely accessible and deeply informative, will be invaluable in advancing the work of both academics and activists committed to building eco-sufficiency and global justice.” Ariel Salleh, Professor of Social Science at Friedrich Schiller University, Jena.”
At a time in history when political, economic and intellectual leaders assure us that nothing fundamental can any longer be questioned, nothing could be more important than the movement – of thought, and of action that this volume on Degrowth represents. It raises the prospect of finally ejecting the twin demons of productivism and consumerism that are responsible for so many historical failures of the left as well as the right, and begins to set about the real work of imagining and building a society fit for human beings to live in.” David Graeber, Professor of” “Anthropology at London School of Economics, London.”
This book is one of the most thorough and insightful presentations and discussion of economic theory and practice in the field of de-growth economics, a revolutionary attempt to understand the economy as if humans and Nature matter.” Manuel Castells, Professor Emeritus of City And Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley.” Degrowth is more than just an idea: it is a dream. A recurrent, collective dream that has spread from philosophers and visionary economists to a variety of social movements that have put it into practice by activating economies of care. Born in the 1970s, it has survived the neo-liberal hegemony and as this book convincingly shows has gone more political (and more feminist) through collective think…

About the Authors

Giacomo D’Alisa is Research Fellow at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

Federico Demaria is a PhD candidate at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

Giorgios Kallis is Research Professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

The three editors are members of Research & Degrowth,

Climate Crisis: Are we there yet?

28 11 2014

Published on Youtube 27 Nov 2014

A lively panel discussion with Dr. Guy McPherson, Dr. Rick Nolthenius, Joe Jordan, Dr. Carol Stoker, and a participating Santa Cruz audience reviews a wide variety of opinions on whether we are in a climate crisis.  At first, I thought this was going to be a Guy McPherson love fest, but it’s much better than that……  proper scientists putting McPherson into perspective.  Things aren’t great, but we still have time to stop the worst of it…

Joe  Jordan and Carol Soker needs to visit this site, however……  his optimism of solar power is well overcooked!  Let’s face it, everyone has opinions, and they all have something to say that adds to everyone’s knowledge.  So share the knowledge…


28 11 2014

Alan Weisman

Another very good Youtube clip, this one on population.

To avoid the scenario laid out in his bestselling The World Without Us, Weisman formulated a series of questions about sustainability and population limits, then traveled to some twenty countries to find out what leaders and scientists think. Here’s his report on the future of humanity on this planet.

Founded by Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade in 1984, Politics & Prose Bookstore is Washington, D.C.’s premier independent bookstore and cultural hub, a gathering place for people interested in reading and discussing books. Politics & Prose offers superior service, unusual book choices, and a haven for book lovers in the store and online.

Prove This Wrong

27 11 2014

My Photo

John Weber

Another guest post by John Weber..  I have already pronounced more than once that building ‘renewables’ involves intensive use of fossil fuels, the emissions from which the machines made to generate this renewable energy can never be removed by the machines.  So while they may reduce the emissions that might have been caused by using fossil energy to generate this electricity, the machines do not remove them.  In fact, it doesn’t matter how many wind turbines are erected, the fossil energy use just keeps growing…..  and if we decided tomorrow to shut down all fossil fuel use (a darn good idea…), then not one more wind turbine would be erected, and not one more solar panel would be built.  It’s really that simple……..


It would be elegant if wind and solar energy capturing devices could actually maintain a modicum of the wonderfully rich lifestyles many of us live.  I believe this is a false dream and that BAU (business as usual) is not sustainable or “green” nor really desirable for the future of the earth or even our species.

Prove This Wrong

Many people believe wind and solar energy capturing devices can replace a substantial percentage if not all of our fossil fuel usage. Below you will find pictures and charts detailing the necessity of the fossil fuel supply system and the massive industrial infrastructure in this “renewable” dream.

Wind, Water, and Solar Power for the World

Nix nuclear. Chuck coal. Rebuff biofuel. All we need is the wind, the water, and the sun

By Mark Delucchi/ SEPTEMBER 2011

“We don’t need nuclear power, coal, or biofuels. We can get 100 percent of our energy from wind, water, and solar (WWS) power. And we can do it today— efficiently, reliably, safely, sustainably, and economically.  We can get to this WWS world by simply building a lot of new systems for the production, transmission, and use of energy. One scenario that Stanford engineering professor Mark Jacobson and I developed, projecting to 2030, includes: 3.8 million wind turbines, 5 megawatts each, supplying 50 percent of the projected total global power demand.”

Mark Z. Jacobson Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University was coauthor of another article. It can be found in Scientific America – “A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030”.

They proposed that starting in 2012, 50% of the worlds needs could be supplied by 3,800,000 five megawatt wind capturing devices to be installed by 2030. Here are the numbers:

3,800,000 5 megawatts each supply 50% of the world’s energy needs in 18 years


211,111.11 Machines a year

578.39 Machines a day for 18 years

24.10 Machines each hour each day for 18 years EACH ONE INSTALLED EACH DAY

I am choosing wind energy capturing devices because they have a higher Energy Return on Energy Invested than solar energy capturing devices. I continually use the phrase “capturing devices” for what are usually called solar panels and wind machines because these are devices that capture the sun or wind energy. It is misleading to not realize they require energy and natural resources.

Let me cut right to the results of this study. The base of this 2.5 megawatt turbine in the pictures that follow (half the megawatts in the Jacobson/Delucchi study) used 45 tons of rebar and 630 cubic yards of cement. This computes in barrels of oil and in tons of CO2 for each base:

For the Concrete

478.8 Barrels of oil in 630 yards of concrete.

409.5 Tons of CO2 released for 630 yards of concrete.

For the Rebar

Taking a conservative 3 barrels of oil per ton the rebar would require 135 barrels of oil for the base of the 2.5 MW Turbine.

89 tons of C02 released for 45 tons of steel for the base.

All Together

The concrete and steel together for one base use

613 barrels of oil for each base alone.

Each base release 498 tons of CO2

(A barrel of oil is 42 gallons – or 160L)

Before looking at two of the energy requirements to install these 3,800,000 machines here are some interesting pictures of installing a wind energy capturing device from .

The machine we are looking at is only 2.5 MW turbine not the larger 5 MW proposed by Jacobson and Delucchi.

The turbines, each standing 485 feet tall and weighing 2,000 tons

The project utilizes 2.5 MW turbines on 100 metre towers.


The pictures clearly illustrate that the fossil fuel supply system and a vast industrial infrastructure support the manufacture and installation of these wind energy capturing devices. The tons of rebar and the yards of concrete offer a chance to look at the energy requirements for both. It is also important to point out that all the equipment used to install the turbines also have the fossil fuel supply system and the massive industrial infrastructure supporting them.

In researching this, the information for concrete was more definite than the range of energy required to make rebar.



“Common rebar is made of unfinished tempered steel, making it susceptible to rusting. Normally the concrete cover is able to provide a pH value higher than 12 avoiding the corrosion reaction. Too little concrete cover can compromise this guard through carbonation from the surface, and salt penetration. Too much concrete cover can cause bigger crack widths which also compromises the local guard. As rust takes up greater volume than the steel from which it was formed, it causes severe internal pressure on the surrounding concrete, leading to cracking, spalling, and ultimately, structural failure. This phenomenon is known as oxide jacking. This is a particular problem where the concrete is exposed to salt water, as in bridges where salt is applied to roadways in winter, or in marine applications. Uncoated, corrosion-resistant low carbon/chromium (microcomposite), epoxy-coated, galvanized or stainless steel rebars may be employed in these situations at greater initial expense, but significantly lower expense over the service life of the project. Extra care is taken during the transport, fabrication, handling, installation, and concrete placement process when working with epoxy-coated rebar, because damage will reduce the long-term corrosion resistance of these bars.”

“Under the most ideal circumstances, the energy required to produce solid iron from iron oxide can never be less than 7 million Btu per ton (MMBtu/ton). Since the energy required to melt iron under the most ideal circumstances is about 1 MMBtu/ton, the inherent thermodynamic advantage of making liquid steel from scrap rather than from iron ore is about 6 MMBtu/ton. When process heat losses are included, the advantage falls in the range of 9 to 14 MMBtu/ton. . . . current total energy requirements for the pro- Petroleum provides only a small amount of enduction of finished steel products in different pIants and countries from iron ore range from 25 to 35 MMBtu/net ton.”


Click to access 1355390994_jrc_green_steel.pdf

The range above supports the 25 to 35 MMBtu/net ton. With various iron making processes, iron has a range of Btus per ton.   Converted to barrels of oil the range is 2.17 to 4.83 barrels of oil per ton of rebar.

Taking a conservative 3 barrels of oil per ton the rebar would require 135 barrels of oil for the base of the 2.5 MW Turbine.

On average, 1.8 tonnes of CO2 are emitted for every tonne of steel produced.

This means 1.98 tons of C02 emitted for every ton of steel produced.



Multiply 1.10231 to convert tonnes to tons

One yard of concrete equals two tons

Two tons equals 1.81437 tonnes

4,426,832.62 Btus in a yard of concrete

5,800,000 Btus per barrel of oil

0.76 barrels of oil in a yard of concrete

32.06 gallons of oil in a yard of concrete

0.65 tons of CO2 per yard of concrete

478.8 Barrels of oil in 630 yards of concrete

20,195.52 Gallons of oil in 630 yards of concrete

409.5 Tons of CO2 per 630 yards of concrete

Click to access eeroci_dec03a.pdf


Click to access eeroci_dec03a.pdf

On-site energy values are based on actual process measurements taken within a facility. These measurements are valuable because the on-site values are the benchmarks that industry uses to compare performance between processes, facilities, and companies. On-site measurements, however, do not account for the complete energy and environmental impact of manufacturing a product. A full accounting of the impact of manufacturing must include the energy used to produce the electricity, the fuels, and the raw materials used on-site. These “secondary” or “tacit” additions are very important from a regional, national, and global energy and environment perspective.

Normal weight concrete weighs about 4000 lb. per cubic yard. Lightweight concrete weighs about 3000 lb. per cubic yard. If a truck is carrying 10 cubic yards, then the weight of the concrete is approximately 40,000 lb.

The tonne (British and SI; SI symbol: t) or metric ton (American) is a non-SI metric unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms;[ it is thus equivalent to one megagram (Mg). 1000 kilograms is equivalent to approximately 2 204.6 pounds,


Click to access eeroci_dec03a.pdf

It is important to realize we have only looked at the energy for the concrete and rebar for the base of a 2.5 MMwatt turbine. Behind this device and most sun and wind capturing devices are a global system of providing energy and materials. And this support is further supported.   Here is one mining truck among a worldwide fleet of trucks that also must be manufactured. It is like a thread on a knitted sweater that when you pull it thinking you will get a small piece, you end up with a whole ball of yarn.


Wilful Blindness, Wilful Hypocrisy, You first. What’s your spin?

27 11 2014

My Photo

John Weber

Reblogged from John Weber’s website, with permission…….  John has lived off the grid for over 30 years making his own electricity from sun and wind..  He is most concerned about the psychological impact of the culture shock coming down the pike.

Here’s the deal. Research reveals that we lie to ourselves. Not you and I of course, but others do prolifically. Wilful Blindness is one of various books and research papers that verify this. We seem to fool ourselves for a variety of reasons. Two of the main reasons, one is self protective and the other is social protective.

From Margaret Heffernan’s Wilful Blindness:

“People are highly driven to do things that build self-worth; you can’t transgress and think of yourself as bad. You need to protect your sense of yourself as good. And so people transform harmful practices into worthy ones, by coming up with social justification, by distancing themselves with euphemisms, by ignoring the long-term consequences of their actions. “

Heffernan, Margaret. 2011. Wilful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril. Walker. N.Y. pg. 195.

This is something that I have known for a long time. Here is a quote from my journal written when I was around twelve years of age. It is from a book on psychology but I don’t know which. I started reading psychology books at eleven – Freud, Havelock Ellis, Kraft-Ebing, Jung, etc. Yes, I have always been strange. I didn’t know to copy references at that age.

“We build up a picture of ourselves; hence, we come to expect certain things from ourselves, to value ourselves and to do everything possible to keep this idealized picture of ourselves unspoiled.”

The social protective is our very human need to belong. The essence of being human is being a social animal. We must learn the rules of our particular game early – language, emotional display, right, wrong, and most importantly how to belong. We carry this early training (shaping) with us our whole life. Without it we do not survive physically or psychologically.

“As the pioneering psychopharmacologist Jaak Panksepp put it, ‘social affect and social bonding are in some fundamental neurochemical sense opioid addictions.’In other words, our desire to seek social connection with others comes from chemical rewards as well as social ones.”

Heffernan, Margaret. 2011. Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril. Walker. N.Y. pg. 132.

Endorphins: Endorphins (“endogenous morphine”) are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters.[1] They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise,[2] excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm,[3][4] and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being.

. . . the general argument is that we deceive ourselves the better to deceive others. To fool others, we may be tempted to reorganize information internally in all sorts of improbable ways and to do so largely unconsciously. . . . the primary function of self-deception is offensive – measured as the ability to fool others.

Trivers, Robert. 2011. The Folly of Fools. Basic Books. N.Y.

Here is the point of this. There is lots of information about the convergence of serious problems. There is lots of information – books, articles, internet, meetings – on these problems and the solutions.

“. . . A lot of people think we were facing our last century as a viable civilization, maybe even as a species. Global warming, overpopulation, the death of he seas, the loss of arable land, the proliferation of disease, the threat of nuclear or biological warfare . . .”

“We might have destroyed ourselves but at least it would have been our own fault.”

“Would it, though? Whose fault exactly? Yours? Mine? No, it would have been the result of several billion humn beings making relatively innocuous choices: to have kids, drive a car to work, keep their job, solve the short-term problems first. When you reach the point at which even the most trivial acts are punishable by the death of the species, then obviously, obviously, you’re at a critical juncture, a different kin of point of no return.”

Wilson, Robert Charles. 2005. Spin. Tom Doherty Associates Book. N.Y. pg.127-128.

In essence few if any of us are really doing a damn thing about it. We all have our spin.

From the Energy Round Table – a quote from the moderator and in italics a poster:

“Hitting the gas pedal decades ago is not something that

I think anyone who understood the problem would have

done. Why would anyone with half a brain make a plan

that severely damaged the biosphere of the planet that

their descendants would have to live (or die) on??”

Bill Tamblyn – Moderator

If we don’t use all the water, someone else will.

If we don’t use the oil, someone else will.

If we don’t burn the coal, someone else will.

If we don’t spread GMO crops, someone else will.

If we don’t make more babies, someone else will.

If we don’t waste the biosphere, someone else will.

If hitting the oil or coal or baby or gas pedal

gets me ahead or more status, then I must do it.

Was this a plan or lots of little plans?

More likely we just can’t help ourselves?

Does tragedy of the commons fit here?

Arlen Comfort

My partner in answer to using a banana each day at breakfast and buying strawberries grown a thousand miles away said, “But I don’t buy roses.” Friends, who I love dearly and who are very environmentally and energy conscious, have a business totally dependent on driving to supply it and tourism for its success. They modified their distribution paths and feel they have made a significant change.


Let’s be clear.  Every mile we drive supports fracking, tar sands, pollution of the oceans, underground water, rivers, the air, and our food.Each meeting we attend to save the earth from whatever surely makes us feel good.Each thing we write, each time we talk about this, we are playing the Transactional Analysis game – “Ain’t it Awful?”.

Each of the maybe billion of us at the top of the energy/resource heap are rushing towards the cliff. I do not to excuse myself from the spinning. This from one of my other essays:

Just say I.

I am polluting our ground water by using the natural gas from fracking. I am creating havoc in the oceans by spilling life-killing oil. I am also plasticizing the oceans. I am also limiting or eliminating species after species in the ocean, on the land, in the air. I am putting my medicines into the rivers and the water supply. I am greedily creating food sources that only I control. I am removing the topsoil. I am gouging huge holes in the earth. I am burning coal and creating nuclear waste for thousands of years to come for my flat screen television, my computer and my DVD player. I am putting mercury and acids into the air, water and life. I am melting the ice caps and the glaciers. I am heating the planet to drive my snowmobile, my wave runner, and my four-wheeler and to drive to any damn place I want. I am using many people to cater to my many whims.

I saw the DVD “What a Way to Go” yesterday. It was very well done in listing the freight train laden with our woes coming straight at us. The many speakers continually said, “we are doing this” and “we are doing that”. They must have been talking about me. Because I am aware of these things and more and I keep doing it.

John Weber

Busy in Northern Minnesota doing all these things and more.

So enjoy while you can. I am.

Some internet sources:

My site:

Abelson, Robert P. 2004. Experiments with people : revelations from social psychology. Lawrence Erlbaum. Mahwah, N.J.

Bayne, Tim and Fernández.Jordi, editors. 2009. Delusion and self-deception : affective and motivational influences on belief formation. Psychology Press. New York.

Berne, Eric. 1964. Games people play : the psychology of human relationships. Grove Press. New York.

Berners-Lee. Mike. 2011. How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything. Greystone. Vancouver.

Cumpsty. John S. 1991. Religion as Belonging. University Press of America. N.Y.

Fonseca, Eduardo Giannetti da. 2000. Lies we live by : the art of self-deception. St. Martin’s Press. New York.

Gianetti, Eduardo. 1997. Lies We Live By: The Art of Self-Deception. Bloomsbury. N.Y.

Hirstein, William. 2005. Brain fiction : self-deception and the riddle of confabulation. MIT Press. Cambridge, Mass.

Keyes, Ralph. 2004. The Post-truth Era. St. Martin’s Press. N.Y.

Kurzban, Robert. 2010. Why everybody (else) is a hypocrite. Princeton.

Lockard, Joan S. and Paulhus, Delroy L. Editors. 1988. Self-Deception: An Adaptive Mechanism. Prentice Hall. New Jersey.

Mele, Alfred R. 2001. Self-deception unmasked. Princeton University Press. Princeton, N.J.

Triandis, Harry Charalambos. 2009. Fooling ourselves : self-deception in politics, religion, and terrorism. Praeger Publishers. Westport, Conn.

Twerski, Abraham J. 1997. Addictive thinking : understanding self-deception. Hazelden. Center City, MN.

“. . . The farther removed we become from our neighbours, the more siloed in our self-sufficiency, the easier it is to treat people as things, to turn a blind eye to the human costs of toxic cultures and to make immoral decisions.


Credibility gap


Terminological inexactitudes (Winston Churchill’s)

Poetic truth

Parallel truth

Nuanced truth

Imaginative truth

Virtual truth

Alternative reality

Strategic misrepresentations

Creative enhancement

Non-full disclosure

Selective disclosure

Augmented reality

Nearly true

Almost true

Counterfactual statements

Fact-based information


Enrich the truth

Enhance the truth

Embroider the truth

Massage the truth

Tamper with the truth

Tell more than the truth

Bend the truth

Soften the truth

Shade the truth

Shave the truth

Stretch the truth

Stray from the truth

Withhold the truth

Tell the truth improved

Present the truth in a favourable perspective

Make things clearer than the truth

Be lenient with honesty


Keyes, Ralph. 2004. The Post-truth Era. St. Martin’s Press. N.Y. pg.15-16.

On a missed opportunity

26 11 2014

Maybe it’s my ingrained negativity, maybe it’s something else, but I have this irresistible compulsion to write this article; even though in many ways the house which is the subject of this post would at first glance appear to be a dream home, it just grates with me as a missed opportunity, and one that is growing as I think about it more and more.

My dear other half received an email from a friend who know the people selling this house in the Huon Valley, which is of course where we want to live.  The views are to die for, no doubt about that, and the house is a solar powered 8 star energy efficient one.  So why do I disapprove?  Read on…….

125 Swamp Road, Franklin, Tas 7113

The living space is just 70m².  I could live with that, if it had been cleverly designed.  But it isn’t.  You have to walk through the floorplan1kitchen from the bedroom to the [tiny tiny] bathroom and toilet….. which is flushing!  More about that later….  I really don’t like the kitchen, no space to work, let alone make cheese.  To heat it, they use a wood heater, when they could have had a wood cooker., that probably would save them on firewood in the long term, instead of using gas which we all know will become short soon, especially in Tasmania where all the gas comes from the big island up North….

The owners tell us that they don’t like walking on concrete, and thus have an above ground timber floor….  that almost certainly cost them the two more stars needed to make this the 10 star house it should have been.  Instead, they used this fandangled phase change thermal mass idea, which they put in the roof when it should have gone in the floor…..  sigh….  And what a missed opportunity for an earth bermed house, the site is perfect!

In the video linked below, the owner proudly announces that their 3.7kW solar array has all but ended their power bills.  Really?  Our 3.5kW system produces six to seven times what we need here, so where on Earth does all the power used in this tiny house occupied by just 2 people go…?  This is where the missed opportunities comes in.

First, the flushing toilet; all the waste from this house goes into an award winning Biolytix system.  This one, it appears, works fine, because it’s on steep well drained terrain with about five acres of grass below it to soak it all up, but the fact of the matter is, Biolytix went into receivership way back in January 2011 because nearly all the systems here in Queensland failed.  They cost between $10,000 and $12,000 to put in (probably more in Tasmania, as they came from Qld) and consume 44kWh per year, not a huge amount, but 44kWh more than our system here consumes!  Biolytix was founded by Dean Cameron in Maleny not far from here.  He’d already gone bust before with their Dowmus wet composting toilet arrangement, and you’d think he would have learned the error of his ways the first time.  Mixing water with shit is simply a bad idea, and to prove it, the very first house I designed for Glenda’s uncle and aunt in the Glasshouse Mountains has a Dowmus that still works because…… it has a dry pedestal sitting above it!  It may well be the only one still working, as far as I know.  Biolytix systems also cost some $400 a year in maintenance, at least in Qld.  I have no idea how much this might cost in Tassie.  Conclusion…….  they should have installed a dry composting toilet.

Where is all that solar energy going?  To start with, there is no solar hot water system.  I expect they have a heat pump, though if they have gas for cooking, they may also have a gas HWS.  Either way, it’s another missed opportunity, they could have done what we did and have a wood boosted solar heater and save on loads of PVs….

Then of course there are the two big iMacs in the study, which both use 170W (according to Apple) while our two laptops use a quarter of this consumption.  The conventional fridge in the kitchen would also consume some five times more power than our cool idea, and then there’s the huge TV in the lounge.  Beats me why anyone thinks they need such a large TV in a small lounge room like this house has…..

At 400 grand, it would be the most we could afford, and even then we’d probably have to go into a small debt unless they were prepared to come down….  having bought this admittedly great property – even though it’s steeper than I would like – we would have nothing left to rip out the kitchen and toilet, and switch to standalone power.  In the video, the owner happily states that they still have access to water in blackouts because of their header tank.

I’m almost tempted to describe this as a classic example of Jevons Paradox….

Is there anything I like?  Maybe I’m being overly pedantic;  it’s just that I’m not terribly inclined to move that far only to compromise on my list of essentials.  Going back to what I like, as I’ve already stated, the views are to die for (but they won’t feed you), I love the highland cattle, and the double glazed timber doors I would kill for.  There’s a lot of potential there……  but it would all cost money we simply won’t have.  If it were available as a blank slate, it would be marvellous, though I hate to think how much the driveway cost them….  and we still haven’t sold Mon Abri, though we have some seven parties that are very very interested, but who all have to sell their current abodes to win the race…!  It’s all happening, just in terribly slow motion.