Pick your worries

There must be dozens of worries from which to choose. Perhaps start with some of the big ones: A failing democracy, the collapse of religion, war with China, Trump becomes President, Social Security gets chopped, housing for normal Americans gets worse, Health industry collapses, public schools can’t educate anymore.

Mariner opts for the war with Mother Earth – global warming/climate change. The time is approaching when all the other worries will disappear because of extreme disruption to global economics, agriculture, viable living zones and human migration on a scale that has never been experienced. Governments will not be able to pay for wars, although groups of rebels around the world will cause as much destruction. Plutocracy will worsen then collapse as The US runs short on funding.

ProPublica, a much awarded and exceptional news company, published a report titled, “Climate Crisis Is on Track to Push One-Third of Humanity Out of Its Most Livable Environment”. One paragraph is presented below:

“The notion of a climate niche is based on work the researchers first published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2020, which established that for the past 6,000 years humans have gravitated toward a narrow range of temperatures and precipitation levels that supported agriculture and, later, economic growth. That study warned that warming would make those conditions elusive for growing segments of humankind and found that while just 1% of the earth’s surface is now intolerably hot, nearly 20% could be by 2070.”

 Add to that thought rising oceans wiping out the viability of dozens of nations, even making large areas of land become flooded or submerged. Current tax structures will be changed dramatically as the United States begins to feel social and economic pressures that remind us of World War II America. In the 1930s and 40s, the tax philosophy was to tax the rich so the poor would not have to underwrite government expenses. FDR, for example, put a 100 percent tax on income over $25,000 (about $500,000 today).

One wonders whether the new facemask telephones will matter even though they are one step closer to Matrix reality. The world’s environment is up in arms and that will dictate our pleasures. Can Alexa and Siri keep up?

Ancient Mariner

Mother Earth and humans

When mariner worked as a project manager, he learned that certain individuals made it difficult to run the project. For many reasons related to power insecurity, bad personality, uncontrolled desire to change objectives and other distracting behaviors, these individuals were overhead that was not helping.

As a necessity to survive and complete the project, he developed a technique that avoided confrontation but indirectly suppressed the person’s interference. He calls it “taking away cards”. Here is a simple example:

You have a chain-smoking relative who prefers not to drive the car so they always ask you to buy cigarettes for them. You are concerned about their heavy smoking. You take away their control card by saying, “I don’t have time right now; I must do something else right now. Why don’t you buy your cigarettes?” Either the relative goes without or must resolve their distaste to drive. You, however, have avoided a face-to-face shout down. With luck, you may have altered a pattern of behavior.

Mother Earth is using this technique with humans. Some examples:

  • If you continue to pollute the air, I’ll stop enforcing dependable weather patterns.
  • If you continue to trash the environment and killing thousands of creatures, I’ll take away your clean water.
  • If you continue to make matters worse, I’ll melt all the ice at the poles and release methane from deep permafrost.
  • If you don’t learn to live within the constraints of your habitat, I’ll remove the habitat.

These are not future threats; they’ve been growing for decades if not centuries. Mother Earth is about to take away our control cards. Someone tell the fossil fuel industry.

Ancient Mariner

As we roll to 2024

Mariner knows he puts out a lot of negative stuff (if he ever hears of a positive stuff, he’ll headline it). However, this paragraph below from 538, a respected pollster and sports oddsmaker, represents an assignment to each and every democrat and independent individual:

“Today, FiveThirtyEight is launching our national polling average for the 2024 Republican presidential primary. It shows former President Donald Trump receiving 49.3 percent of the national vote and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (who has not officially entered the race) receiving 26.2 percent. Former Vice President Mike Pence, another potential candidate, is at 5.8 percent, while declared candidate and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is at 4.3 percent.”

The assignment is this. Participate in local politics; put up a sign; make sure your friends and neighbors know your political position; donate (only) to your preferred local candidate; and, of course, attend the party’s local caucus and vote on election day!! (Congress is important, too – just beating on it doesn’t do any good; ever heard of beating a dead horse? Let’s elect a new young one!)

These are not normal times. In fact, they are a bit scary for every human around the world, not just democrats. 2024 is unique and the future 25 years will role out heavily influenced by the 2024 election.

Perhaps we should get 88 year-old Chuck Grassly (R-IA) and 80 year-old Joe Biden to run against each other in 2024. Then there would be only one theme: “Make America Eden Again”.

Just to prove the pudding, here’s some positive stuff from Science Magazine:

“A novel cancer vaccine tailored to genetic changes in a person’s tumor is showing promise in the clinic. In a study of about 150 people who had surgery for melanoma, a type of skin cancer, those given a personalized vaccine along with an immunotherapy drug were more likely to remain free of cancer 18 months later than patients who did not receive the vaccine.”

Ancient mariner

Odd-lot stuff

֎ The use of extracted Phosphorus by humans is becoming a serious issue. Every living thing in nature uses Phosphorus to survive but it is in a chemically bound form that exists in nature. It is part of bones, part of plant material, part of rock, part of every known plant and animal.

As early as the 1600s humans learned to concentrate Phosphorus using various forms of composting. Today huge chemical factories extract Phosphorus so pure it bursts into flame if not kept under water. The Phosphorus is rebound with inert fillers which become the second number in garden fertilizers. Agriculture worldwide uses concentrated Phosphorus to grow more productive products. Unfortunately, farming is the source of major amounts of Phosphorus draining into bodies of water.

Nature is not used to having free Phosphorus any more than we are used to having free health care. Extracted, free-form Phosphorus is what causes algae bloom in water and was chemically severe enough to shut down public water drawn from the Great Lakes.

֎ From the other end of the climate change field, local fishing companies along the Atlantic Ocean are being threatened by wind towers. It seems private equity has invested in wind farms and has the money and political power to disregard concerns about local fishing industries. Wind tower property would be off limits to fishing.

֎ A new definition for ‘public health’: Federal Trade Commission announced that it had fined prescription discount site and telehealth provider GoodRx $1.5 million for sharing customer data with Google, Facebook and other firms, then in March hit online therapy provider BetterHelp with a $7.8 million levy for sharing customer data.

֎ Finally, why mariner knows Mother Earth will win the global warming war. From NPR:

“Red States Are Trying To Fight The World On Climate

By Maggie Koerth

State Rep. Jeff Hoverson didn’t want anyone getting in the way of using fossil fuels in North Dakota. Not the United Nations. Not international nonprofits. Certainly not the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. So he made a law to stop them. In March, the North Dakota legislature passed a bill that Hoverson co-authored with a state senator. It’s short, sweet and to the point: “A climate control-related regulation of an international organization, either directly through the organization or indirectly through law or regulation, is not enforceable on this state.”

Hoverson told me he isn’t sure what that will mean the next time the federal government wants to sign a climate treaty. Frankly, he’d prefer the feds not have that kind of power, anyway. But while his law stands out for the scope of its ambitions, it’s not exactly an outlier in its spirit. Across the country, bills pushing back against climate policy have been a trend this legislative session, with multiple states proposing — and passing — laws that would undermine efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions.”

Ancient Mariner


At the front edge

In case you needed to know, an ant can live up to five years if lucky but the average life span is less than one month.

Recent subjects from the thinking class are that we are amid a protracted inversion of political parties where eventually republicans will endorse discretionary spending for health and other needs and the haughty, wealthy college graduates will become conservatives. This has happened twice in the history of the US but in today’s multitude of conflagrations, it is hard to find a stable place to stand from which to gain perspective.

In the past, legislative manipulation was used to protect special interests. Today, the government is a full-blown plutocracy where the special interests run the government. Another difference is the presence of social media, which can raise angry armies in a few days. The third difference is the international confusion; today, the oceans don’t help isolate the US politic – take Tik-Tok for example.

Interfering with the pace of political change is the current societal transition from the boomers through the retiring millennials to the zee generation.

It used to be a war was a war. Today, there are about 12 major independent wars happening at once and the US is involved in most of them.

As followers of the news know, each of the items listed above is disruptive to a united party, and the social issues of abortion, drugs and sexual variability haven’t been counted. Nor has the biggest player, planet Earth, been considered – we may not have the money for two different parties.

Another think-tank issue is that there is a good chance Florida and Louisiana will not be around in fifty years, nor the Caribbean islands. The scientific fact is that all the new water will move to the Equator more than it will to other parts of the planet. The Earth is a large spinning ball; water will be subject to centrifugal force, sending it to the farthest location from the center of the Earth – near the Equator.

Well, it’s Spring. Get the bike out and pedal around for a while. Gardens are starting to show a lot of color and the breeze is finally warm.

Ancient Mariner

Are humans and the biosphere still in the Pleistocene?

Traces of Homo genes have been found that existed more than 600,000 years ago but the variation that represents the beginning of humans as we would define them today (Homo sapiens) appeared about 300,000 years ago.

Here is a picture of our Great Grandfather:

Homo heidelbergensis




300,000 years ago is before the Industrial Revolution. It is before the invention of the wheel. It is before the idea of government. It is before rafts. It is before American slavery. It is before George Washington. It is before Texas and New York. It is even so far back that Henry Louis Gates Junior can’t trace ancestors on his “Finding Your Roots” show.

The point is this: We are 99.9 percent the same creature that walked around buck naked in the Pleistocene. The .1 percent that continued to evolve was the ability to have abstract thoughts – thoughts and imaginings that weren’t real. To this day our limbic system is confused and can’t tell what is real. There is no physiological chemistry designed to respond to railroad trains.

How did Homo sapiens relate to the environment? It’s a difficult question to answer. For a long time, Pleistocene folks were classified as herbivores who survived primarily by eating roots and grasses that are still around today. However, recent discoveries at one site showed plenty of bones. Most of the animal bones came from gazelles. Among the other remains were hartebeests, wildebeests, zebras, buffalo, porcupines, hares, tortoises, freshwater mollusks, snakes and ostrich eggshells.

It is unlikely that early man kept gazelles and buffalo in body-sized cages as modern man does. Our ancestors had to chase them down. That is why the limbic system is confused by railroad trains. An interesting footnote to this paragraph is that only 20 percent of water-sourced food remains from averages posted just 50 years ago. Something is happening that is different from the last 300,000 years. Further, arable land is disappearing due to many things from population to industrial consumption to climate change.

Speaking of climate change, it is not coincidental that Homo sapiens has been able to populate the planet in the blink of an eye – given evolutionary timelines. Generally speaking, the planet has been tough on life since the beginning. Consider an ice age that lasted millions of years and in modern times can run 200,000 years without blinking an eye. Volcanic eruptions are another phenomenon that raises its disturbances every so many thousand years. But fortunately, scientists have noted a very still, cooperative and generous period for the last 300,000 years.

But now there is foreboding activity. It is true that modern Pleistocene man has trashed the climate, biosphere and has driven the animal kingdom to extinction – that’s the result of abstract thinking. But Homo is not the only driver of change. Most of the methane comes from deep in the Earth, from a time before rafts were invented. Further, volcanoes seemed disturbed by an unbalanced spinning of the Earth’s core. Scientists already have proven that the planet has entered a stage where the polarity will switch – something that happens over many years but can be disruptive. Will polar bears and penguins have to switch places?

Let’s not add any significance to Donald but doesn’t he look like an old Homo heidelbergensis? Then, so does mariner’s Great Aunt Denise.

Good Luck Zees!

Ancient Mariner

New signs

Bottom up power: [Politico] “The country’s 900 or so rural electric cooperatives serve remote rural customers and are member-driven, -owned and -controlled. Their nonprofit status has made it hard to make investments in low-carbon energy; unlike investor-owned utilities, they can’t go into debt or sell shares to pay for a solar farm. But getting them off of fossil fuels is essential to meeting climate goals.

Already five co-ops have either left or announced they will leave a major G&T (generation and transmission) called Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which covers parts of four Western states.”

This tendency is happening in Europe as well. Despite all the ‘effort’ to stop using fossil fuel, oil companies are making record profits. Even Biden is allowing a new oil-drilling operation in Alaska – talk about plutocracy!

Mariner often writes about collective cultures. Collectivism includes concepts like extended families, local government, local cooperatives, community rules for equality of life, etc. To one degree or another, terms for collectives include cooperative, clan, communist, commune, tribe and many other terms denoting a localized group. The image below captures the general spirit:

Just being a small group does not automatically grant goodness. There are many small groups bent on anything but sharing and survival of all – NIMBY is one of countless examples that demonstrate the conflict between collectivism and the imposing needs of a much larger population.

Having learned from many sources over many years, mariner knows Homo sapiens is a tribal species, along with most of its primate ancestors. In past posts, he has cited authors who said things like “The maximum number of individuals that can be familiar to a human is 150”, “The further a person gets from a direct relationship with the environment, the more abusive the relationship becomes” and recently, “I’m first if its fair for everyone”.

When he studies the development of western nations, and the unimaginable wealth that suddenly appeared on the American continents, mariner is reminded of a group of hoodlums during a riot who break into a store and steal all its goods. Such tactics work for the hoodlums if there is plenty to go around. Western Capitalism is the fastest way to reorganize wealth.

Today, however, there is not enough to go around. Capitalism has an idiosyncrasy that doesn’t work anymore: Grow or die.

Because the West has achieved such wonders and accomplishments – especially when the achievements provide convenience, collective terminology is not popular and its advantages often are discounted. It is this resistance that makes it good news to mariner that there is a breakaway of self-owned electric companies from large conglomerates. There are other appropriate concepts of management that will work better in these challenging times. Bigger may not be better.

There are many more sociological points of interest but mariner can become boring.

Ancient Mariner

Is Big Better?

The news from every quarter, whether conservative, liberal, science, democracy or dictatorship, it is the same: There isn’t enough to go around. An increasing number of nations are participating in or pontificating war as a path to sustain order. In both the East and the West, social mores are collapsing. The economies of wealthy nations are vulnerable. Hoarding behavior within plutocracies, corporatocracies, oligarchies and martial command nations prevail in global policy making. Yet the global number of homeless, starving and abused people is rising; small historical cultures are disappearing and conflict with the Earth’s biosphere grows more volatile.

Since 1980, the rate at which poor nations are collapsing has doubled, largely from the burden of climate change and the hoarding philosophy prevalent among all nations which in turn minimizes assistance.

The most frequent causes cited by public sources are unrealistic tax formulas, cultural abuse (woke, racism, Uyghurs, Moslems, on and on . . .), national cultures ignoring the needs of large populations, and antiquated judicial practices. A new one is artificial intelligence with its self-interest in managing public behavior for profit.

It occurs to mariner that the common denominator to all these dysfunctions is that they are controlled top-down. A simple contradiction would be democracy, a government that is managed by the individual citizen through local, state and federal elections – clearly a bottom-up philosophy today being managed by a plutocracy – a top-down philosophy that makes it so expensive for a local candidate to campaign that only national deep pockets can dictate who can run in local elections.

If one were to examine Earth’s evolution of every plant and animal, compressed into the instinct of every cell is a behavior that would be survival by bottom-up practices. In other words, survival of the fittest at SUSTAINING THE SPECIES. Opossums can only behave in a way that would be good for any opossum. Even the large flocks of birds, herds of cattle and swarms of fish all live in an equal but very personal state of survival: me first but only if it’s fair for the others. Of course, these creatures don’t reason this conclusion, it is in their genes.

Originally, sustaining the species was in the genes of the primates and likely still is but the thorn is the ability to reason, to perceive reality not bound by direct reality – not bound by a balance between the biosphere and physical dependence. Should we curse the first primate that conceived a tool not provided by nature? Of course not. However, should we curse the first primate who discovered how to grow more wheat than was needed and hoarded it? Perhaps, that was not an act to sustain the species.

It may be that the last structured society to sustain the evolutionary rule, ‘me first if it’s fair’, was the Chinese culture which existed around the beginning of the fifth century BCE. The period was before empire-building. It was a society of self-sufficient towns of about 250-1,000 people, likely all related in extended families. The economy was based on a collective style where everyone had a role in sustainability and no one went without.

The idea of a collective economy arose in Europe, if only briefly, with Anabaptist communism; there are remnants today in The United States and Europe but the overwhelming presence of modern commerce is too much to sustain pockets of collectivism. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, there were numerous attempts at collectivism, the most notable being the Commune movement in the 1960s. A few sympathizers maintain that white man forced native Americans into an independent collective economy; recent news articles have addressed the invasion of commercial interests into Indian sources of locally sourced food, e.g., salmon.

֎ If, indeed, ‘top-down’ management is the issue, could we ever return to bottom-up? Not likely. It is very difficult to imagine what world order will look like in 100-150 years. There are so many substantive forces changing at the moment that it is easy to imagine an Armageddon catastrophe. Short of that, there are many presumably unmanageable situations that politics may not be able to manage. For example:

Population. Simply said, there are far too many humans on Earth to be supported by a natural ratio to Earth’s biosphere nor by any industrial or technological solution. The following quote is from the Smithsonian:

One can speculate that, at least in the United States and Europe, the worker rebellions are the beginning of a new politic.

Uncontrolled corporatism. The last time the Federal Government knew enough to tell corporations what to do was the generation in 1982 that forced Bell to split its empire into smaller independent companies. Before that, in 1911 Standard Oil was forced to split into 34 companies. Given the political power of Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc., not to mention weaponized Plutocratic political parties, it may not be possible to restore bottom-up economy.

Instant global communication. It is a marvel for anyone to log on to the internet and instantly acquire knowledge, news and ideas from around the globe. The nature of this instantaneousness is that there is no need to stop at a national border to show a visa; there is no need to have independent corporations operating in diverse nations of the world; there is no need for anyone to be loyal (AKA collective) to local markets when one can instantaneously purchase cheaper goods in Asia – no Silk Road needed. The most common evidence of this at the local level is the demise of storefronts. A nation’s borders may not mean much as commerce becomes global and can skirt or otherwise dominate national politics.

Global Warming. This is the big change. With the flick of her weather finger, Mother Earth can cause billions of dollars in property damage, increase homelessness, and disrupt government budgets. Further, she has demonstrated how easy it is to change agriculture to desert or a pleasant valley to a lava flow. Politics are irrelevant – no nation can own her or avoid her. Ask Pakistan.

Will there be Armageddon? You’ll have to prove it to mariner.

Ancient Mariner.


Climate Change w/o politics

Many of us have taken note of the population shift away from industrial, high populated areas and a move toward more rural areas especially in the southern states, e.g., Texas and Florida. These shifts are understandable for dozens of economic reasons and the lifestyle freedom of working from home. Even a dislike for freezing temperatures is enough motivation.

This migration involves serious personal investment to purchase homes, change careers and adapt to new social norms. Considering this investment in light of serious climate change by 2050 has made mariner curious about the actual details of climate change and whether this present migration is wise. This post is based on the projections provided by sources like NOAA, NASA, ProPublica, Climate.gov and several journals that cover this subject.

Most sources agree that 2050 is a significant year to witness disruptive changes in weather that will affect half the agricultural capacity in the U.S. and draw a clear line across the nation where life below the line will be difficult and above the line will be habitable with minimal stress. That line, without much deviation, is 40°N – a line through Philadelphia, Columbus, Burlington ( Iowa), Denver and Sacramento. Today in 2023, that line, with significant deviation in latitude, travels along the borders of North Carolina/South Carolina, southern Tennessee, drops into north Texas and encompasses the entire southwest until the coast of southern California. By 2100, the 40° line will have moved to the US/Canadian border.

Looking below the fortieth parallel it is true that high temperature is an obvious cause of discomfort for both creatures and plants and by 2050 daily temperatures will be in the nineties for much of the year. But the real disruption is caused by a combination of heat and humidity. At 95° with 100% humidity, human life cannot be sustained. Today, there are very few places where this is the case; we are accustomed to much lower humidity in the nation’s hot spots.

The science behind the unsustainability is the dysfunction of the lungs combined with heat stroke. If mariner moved to Mississippi today, bought a house and other amenities like solar panels, by 2050, 27 years from now he would have to move again. What about a young family with 30-year old parents and 3 children? The climate won’t wait until 2050 and then Boom! everything will change. The fact is the weather already is changing – rapidly.

All politics aside and ignoring other aspects of global warming, perhaps the migration to the south should give it further thought.

Ancient Mariner


For the last few days mariner has been poking about in information about global population. As a general introduction to the subject, below is a clip from the New Statesman, a British web magazine:

“Japan’s prime minister Kishida Fumio warned last week that the country’s demographic crisis was approaching a tipping point. “Our nation is on the cusp of whether it can maintain its societal functions,” Kishida told the Japanese parliament on 23 January. “It is now or never when it comes to policies regarding births and child-rearing – it is an issue that simply cannot wait any longer.”

This is not an overstatement. Japan already has one of the world’s oldest populations (second only to the city-state of Monaco), and it is ageing rapidly. In 2022, the number of births fell below 800,000 for the first time since records began (in 1899), eight years earlier than the government had predicted. This compares to more than 2 million births per year during the baby boom of the 1970s. Life expectancy has also increased. This means that almost a third of the population – 30 per cent – is now aged 65 or above according to the World Bank, raising the cost of social security programmes, such as pensions and medical care, while the proportion of The working-age people who pay into these programmes is shrinking.”

This perspective pretty much describes the situation for virtually every developed nation. In the United States, the U.S. Census Bureau released estimates showing the nation’s 65-and-older population has grown rapidly since 2010, driven by the aging of Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964. The 65-and-older population has increased by over a third during the last decade.

Couple that with Japan’s other concern about fewer workers to support discretionary funding for things like retirement, Social Security and health care, and the U.S. clearly is on the same path as Japan.

Mariner’s interest in global population began as just a curiosity but the elephant in the room forces a serious fear about the United States comparable even to the devastation of global warming.

The elephant is the ultra-conservative movement in the U.S. Their focus is to reduce taxes, attack Social Security and stop immigration – the big three associated with the subject of population. Does the electorate prefer stupid, self-centered legislators? Consider George Santos, Marjorie Taylor Greene et al. Is the atmosphere in legislative chambers filled with debilitating drugs?

One day, Alfie, the government will represent the best interests of the nation, but not soon.

Ancient Mariner