Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Beauty of Simplicy

comfort food: biscuits and lamb & barley stew

"Trapper" Ray's old simple home

by murph

On this blog we talk about a rather large variety of circumstances, happenings and speculations. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I find it pretty much overwhelming. Let’s face it, we are in a period of history when complexity is dominating our lives, either in fact or as a side effect. This complexity is leading to all kinds of additional problems within society which sure seems to me to be obvious. The newest example would be the oil leak in the Gulf.

Looking at a couple of these complex systems is worth while. Some of the most obvious are the supply of water, electricity, food and warmth, the absolute basics. We know that our food chain is very fragile and subject to disruption or even failing altogether under the right circumstances. We are also aware of the electrical grid, a monster of complexity that is subject to massive failure for large amounts of people. Water is now a big issue. Fresh potable water is an extremely small percentage of the total water on this planet, only about 3%. With huge human populations, the technology and complex system to make it available is also quite fragile. The same can be said for supplying heat to human habitation which is highly dependent on a diminishing supply of hydrocarbons and the complexity of the distribution system.

On April 28, The Archdruid blog posted a long essay on the “The Costs of Complexity”. He has talked about this in other postings. In fact, many other authors have approached this subject from the standpoint that complexity always reaches a point of diminishing returns, and if restlessly pursued, will eventually collapse the whole system. It seems obvious to me that adding layers of complexity to either solve problems or to enhance someone’s gain is ultimately doomed to failure.

From a population standpoint, increasing complexity creates confusion and an almost total inability to see the bigger picture outside of single issue concern. This confusion appears to me to be the biggest problem we have in modern society today. Groups have been formed that want to deal with individual issues as if they are discreet and have no relationship to anything else. Pick any group you wish; tea party, PETA, the environmentalists, political parties and their ideologies, tax protesters, any of them. They all treat their favorite issues as discreet entries in human existence. It sure doesn’t appear to me that this works at all. Thus we have a fractured, confused and angry population that has shown itself unable to affect any meaningful changes in the status quo.

Personally, I suspect that this overlying complexity is deliberate. It keeps the populations from understanding their situation and wresting control from the elites by keeping attention on a minimum of favorite issues instead of seeing a bigger picture of control and greed.

The world’s financial and economic systems suffer from the same problem, over complexity, and we have in our face the result of that. Taking a rough count, it appears to me that for every pundit declaring that everything is under control, that we live in freedom, that the good times are just around the corner there are 5-10 pundits that declare that we are doomed, that we cannot continue in the same path that we have been on for a couple of hundred years now. If that count is at least close, how come more people do not take notice? I suspect that to recognize a disaster is coming means that a radical change in life style must also come. And who in hell wants to give up the big screen TV, the IPhone, the big SUV, the 3000 sq ft living space, the toys and accruements of our modern life? Very few will do it voluntarily. The concept that our personal worth is contained in the amount of “things” we possess has permeated most of western thinking. If we give up “things”, we diminish our self worth.

I have a short true story. We have become acquainted with a man in his 90’s over the last year or so. He is one of the last of the old timers in this area, comes from a family that was one of the very earliest settlers around here. We met him through our engagement with the Grange. He impressed us with his gentleness, generosity and humor. Although, I have met people that have known him longer than we have and say that “old Ray didn’t take shit from anyone”. He spent a lot of years selling hides from trapping until he got so old that he couldn’t walk his trap lines anymore. He just recently became enfeebled enough that he had to go into a local assisted living facility. His relatives came in and are in the process of selling off all that he had and also sold the property, which was designated a historical landmark locally. Ray lived pretty much in an early or pre 1900 life style and his house is the original building his parents put up. A great example of how people lived back then. We heard that his son was cleaning up the property and was having a sale of his stuff. We went over to see what was going on. The son and two older ladies (one I think a grand daughter) were masked and cleaning up the inside of the house. Freeacre expressed awe and pleasure at the interior of the tiny little house and was expressing wonderment at how he lived. The two ladies looked at us like we were from another planet. We had gone there to see if there were any hides left from his trapping days, particularly skunk hides since I am learning how to tan hides for usefulness. All that was left was 4 skunk tails that the son gave me. LOL Not sure just what I will do with them yet. When we went back outside, the two women nearly jumped out of their skins and took 4 quick steps back when they saw the tails. (Dirty filthy things you know, but I did notice they wore leather shoes)

Like a lot of people that age, Ray was an accumulator, never threw much of anything away. Boxes and boxes of bottles, scrap steel piles, a lot of stuff that for modern life is not acceptable to keep around. But when you talk to the oldsters still alive from the last depression, it made perfect sense, you don’t just throw stuff away, for next week or next month you will make use of it. When I lived in Arkansas, I met a lot of old- timers just like that, never threw anything away, and if you needed some damned little widget to fix something, they usually had at least a couple of them hung up with bailing wire out in the shed.

The point of this story you ask? Well, we are living in a society known for it proclivity to throw away almost everything and buy new. I assert that this can not and will not continue and most people simply are not able to understand the complexity of our society that has made that, not only possible but desirable. The disdain expressed by Ray’s relatives at his life style was very easily discernable. I truly wonder how they are going to handle life when the throw away society is no longer viable, when you can no longer buy cheap shit that is soon to be added to our tremendous piles of junk and garbage. Look around you, how many home appliances and tools can be repaired by a home repair man anymore? As a society we are completely dependent on the massive complex systems that are not only fragile, but are rapidly becoming unsustainable from a variety of circumstances that sure appear to be eminent.

In light of projections of future events, I guess I will continue to stockpile my piles of wood, metal and parts, along with the tools and knowledge to fix stuff instead of throwing away everything that has no immediate use.


Hotspringswizard said...

Simplicity is good, but simplicy is even better :-) Great thoughts there Murph about our overly complex societies. When I hike to the top of Turtle Mountain near our home and look at all of the development in this area of the So Cal High Desert I think of how much of a pointless dead end it all is.

It has nothing to do with anything sustainable, and its only there because of hydrocarbon energy, and the vast majority of the people living in all that complexity cannot see at all just how ridiculous it all is when it comes to the well being of that which makes our life possible, the viability of earths ecosystems and resources.

I don't even feel like talking much to people about the coming trainwreck since it won't accomplish anything for them, and will not change the minds of the vast majority who only see the continuation of the current doomed paradigm.

Yes Murph, it is all very overwhelming and I just do my best to live as simple as I can personally in my lifestyle since that is the one thing that makes sense to me in coping with this, time and time again.

SingColleen said...

Yes, it seems silly to talk to most people about even the most basic disaster-preparedness. Charles Hugh Smith wrote recently that he calls his food & water stores "earthquake preparedness" because that sounds "only slightly paranoid." It certainly says something about most Americans today, when the most basic stores of food/water/light/heat in case of natural disasters that are near-certainties, seem paranoid.

On a lighter note, I had great success last week in adding to my arsenal of useful skills. Instead of taking my bicycle in for a (much-needed) tune-up, I decided to buy the few tools and parts to do it myself. I spent the whole day on it (when it would have taken the bike shop an hour), but finished with a great sense of accomplishment. Of course I read/watched several internet instructables, but I really enjoyed the process of taking apart my old bike, cleaning and oiling each part, replacing what needed it, and putting it all back together. I've had this bike since my 16th birthday (I wanted a car of course!) and it was my main mode of transportation through half of high school and for many years while living in Philadelphia, so it was truly a labor of love. My local bike shop was incredibly helpful and I gladly paid them $20 when I was done to check the brakes and shifters and make sure I had set everything correctly. Now that it's easier to ride (the old chain, brakes and tubes were badly worn), I have been using it for all my errands.

It's funny, the more you do for yourself - fixing things instead of buying new ones, making new things out of old ones, the more you feel like doing for yourself. Alas, we are still too reliant on our complex car, power, water and internet networks, but myself and my husband both feel so much more empowered to begin really making those necessary changes as it's becoming possible for us.

I feel young and idealistic saying these things (and I am), but there is real hope in self-sufficiency and community-building, while the status quo looks bleak at best.

Hotspringswizard said...

John Michael Greers new weekly post speaks to complextiy and simplicity, similiar themes to that discussed in Murphs entry.

After Money

.....This, I suspect, is what underlies the rising curve of economic volatility of the last decade or so: we have reached the point where the primary economy of nature will no longer support the standards of living most people in the industrial world expect.......

On another subject, the MSM is showing video of the actual leaking well pipe ( one of the two spots still gushing ) in the GOM. The picture quality was quite good and the flow amount seems to me to be alot more than 210,000 gallons a day ( the most common amount currently being cited ).

They also showed that Big Box they tried to lower on the leak the other day. It was sitting on the ocean floor over the leak and the massive oil flow was just rushing out the big gap in the box which was supposedly there to allow a slot for the well pipe laying on the ocean floor.

The pipe on top of that box which they were going to use to suck the oil up looked quite small. From the looks of it this leak amount far exceeds the capabilities of what oil could be sucked to the surface, and thats even if it could be pumped like they expected.

Now they are planning on lowering a second smaller box like thing ( Top Hat ) with devices meant to keep the methane hydrates from freezing it up like last time. I can't see how it won't just turn out like the last try. And if that doesnt' work, they think there going to maybe plug up the leak with golf balls and tire pieces? Its like the Three Stooges are in charge!

But not too worry because lately they have been talking like the two additional relief wells they are drilling are " gaurunteed " to fix this thing. Do they really think we should have any confidence that they will be successful with that? Man its just one big Dog And Pony show while the GOM turns into a giant Dead Zone!

freeacre said...

SingColleen, thanks for sharing about your own fix on your bike. Inspiring. Sort of like "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."

I can just see you with your free turtles looking out across the desert at Zombieville...

Speaking of simplicity - just watched a video on Huffington (yuk) about shampoo alternative of baking soda mixed with water and conditioner made with organic vinegar and water. Simple and cheap. Then, there is ras's soap. Not to mention, baking soda and water or peroxide to brush teeth.

BTW, I added flax meal and potato flakes and a little additional baking powder to Bisquick to make those biscuits in the picture and they turned out pretty good and light. Also used soy milk.

Hotspringswizard said...

Since I keep my head shaved I have no need for shampoo, and I remember when I did keep a head of hair the various shampoos always made my scalp itchy and dry. Also my skin in general was very dry so I stopped using soap at all when I bath so the natural body oils would not be washed away and now my skin feels just fine :-)

When I shave I just soften up my stubble with warm water and shave without any shaving cream.

When you keep adding simplicity to various parts of your life, even though each thing is small in itself, I find that put together they collectively provide for a more satisfying feeling inside, developing the sense of not needing so many things, and truly feeling content about that :-)

Zoner said...

Countless surveys of populations regarding their "happiness level" bears out the notion that simpler = less stressful = more contented. Many populations have little choice but to live simply, and we often pity them for not having achieved what we have here, but we never see simpler people as our betters do we? Seems more like we need to convince ourselves of our superiority with these notions rather than anything else.

It is unfortunate that the programming to pursue "happiness" via acquiring material goods is so deep in western societies, and that the disposable (and too easy to get)nature of most things cuts off the true and lasting value that comes from pride of ownership in most cases even before the shine wears off. Of course, having your latest whiz-bang widget become "obsolete" within a very short time is a convenient way for another sale to be made, but let's consider what that word really means, shall we? We all know that the dot matrix printer is a worthless dino, so why would anyone use such a thing? (chuckle)
I mean, look at what you get when using an archaic tool like that! What, you still wind up with a piece of paper with words on it?

But,'s OLD!

Personally, I have always wondered when folks would look around and say "You know what, this works for me, and it is all just enough".

Increasing complexity carries with it natural barriers, mainly a point of diminishing returns, then over-complexity which brings with it higher maintenance requirements and greater vulnerability to failure. "Too big to fail" is one of the most moronic expressions I have ever heard.

The great tragedy of the loss of individuals like 'Ol Trapper is the passing of wisdom - not to be confused with intellect or academic credentials, but the ability to discern and learn from practical application rather than relying on some "expert" to tell us what a thing is about or how it works or is (or is not) applicable to our lives. We seem to hear "It's too complicated, you wouldn't understand - trust us, we're in the phone book" a great deal, and that tends to nullify one of our most important and most overlooked God-given tools - intuition. We are all more capable than we know I suspect.

A perfect example in my life is taking place withing my current musical project. We are writing a rock opera, and the main songwriter insists on reworking songs that have been done in my mind for months now. He is constantly trying to add little parts and tempo or key changes seemingly just to make it more complex. Listening back to the original demos we did, it is clear that the further we delve into this exercise of addition, the further we get from the original, inspired core of the song. There is more there, but it detracts from and risks obscuring the intended message. Plus, it is harder to remember all these little excursions and creates a far greater risk of trainwrecks when performing them live.

Sorry - I ramble. Thanks for the post and the warmth of your fire.


Zoner said...

Simplicity in action.,0,4653627.htmlstory

This man is being driven from his property BTW. Former US Marine and Vietnam Vet.

I'm sure many would dismiss him as "crazy" or something, but in no small way he is a hero to me.


Hotspringswizard said...

The MSM said yesterday that the diameter of the pipe the main GOM leak is coming out of is 21 inches. The diameter of the pipe atop the plan B Top Hat is 6 inches. So calculating the area of the end of each pipe and dividing the smaller one into the larger ( leaking pipe ) one the area of the larger pipe is over 12 times the area of the smaller suction pipe.

It looked to me from the video of the leak that the large pipe is flowing pretty fully so I think the above figures illustrates how the Top Hat pipe will be very much overwhelmed by the flow in the larger pipe, and thats even if the suction pipe works. Most of the leaking oil will still be flowing out into the surrounding water around the Top Hat.

SingColleen said...

@Hotspringswizard - I don't know if it's just my frustration and sadness at watching my childhood beaches be destroyed so quickly, but does it seem like they aren't even really TRYING to fix the problem in the Gulf? I'm not saying it's some sort of conspiracy, but how can people who are pushing the edge of drilling technology not take things like pipe diameters, or how much oil is REALLY gushing out of that hole every day, into account?

Hotspringswizard said...

SingColleen, In my opinion the Three Stooges of BP, Trans-ocean and Haliburton have found themselves now in the position of having a cataclysmic event like this oil blow out at 5000+ feet below the ocean, and they never made any realistic plans about what to do about that kind of thing, if it actually did occur. Their focus is on making zillions of dollars in profits. Saftey measures cost alot, bad for the bottom line!

You can see just how little planning they did in the Mickey Mouse attempted fixes they are throwing at it, like thinking they are just going to cover a high pressure blast of oil coming out of the ocean floor with a big heavy box with a tube, and expecting thats is really going to accomplish anything of value. I do think they would very much like to get this thing shut off, but it is a case of being beyond what they are technologically able to do.

After plan B fails, plan C is, according to MSNBC this evening, for them to try and hook up a pipe directly to the top of the well head, which will have some sort of gaskets that would hopefully prevent the high pressure oil from leaking around it. Then Plan D is to try and clog the leak with golf balls and tire pieces. Yeah you would think these supposed technological wizards would have made better plans to stop such leaks than these boondoggles they are throwing at it. Russia has actually used small nuclear weapons to close leaks in a few instances ( at least thats what I read in one article ). Will it come to that and what would be the myriad repercussions of such an attempt?

Meanwhile, they ( BP ) are doing their best to hide the ugly visible manifestations of this leak, like trying to disperse the oil, every toxic way they can. But the oil is still out there whether on the surface or anywhere else in the water collum, and its toxic components will disperse through the GOM system either way and kill off large areas underwater. You got to imagine the bigger swaths of oil will be hitting the shore in much larger quantities pretty soon. The Gulf is a huge place so I think the carnage will be unfolding in various spells of major impact.

They apparently have a 24-7 video going of the leak. I think that image should be available non-stop for the US Public, keep it in their face so all can see what is occuring down there minute by minute, week after week. And to think that the Obama adminstration has since the leak already approved a couple of dozen more offshore wells!

Its awful to think of whats happening out there. And I've been thinking that with all of the many other wells out in the GOM, you have to think that other spills have occured here and there, but being underwater you would only know if it was big enough to see difinitive signs on the surface, like a large slick. What untold carnage could a whole host of smaller leaks be causing in the gulf ecosystem? Would this also be a factor contributing to the massive dead zones that were already growing rapidly in the GOM before this incident?

And I see the BP head dude saying that they will pay all " legitimate " damages. That is just pure BS. Just go and talk to the people affected by the Exxon Valdez spill and see how responsible Big Oil is when it comes to massive spills. There is still oil on the beaches under the rocks up there, 20 years later!

Anonymous said...

From Belgium

Re the GOM situation, why don’t they hang two giant hydraulic jaw ended rams from either side of the pipe and just squeeze the fucker shut? Or do you think Goldman would exert an even higher pressure to keep the pipe open? It looks to me as if they are trying hard to find plausible things which won’t work. And the biggest delicate eco system that nobody seems to be talking about is the Gulf Stream.

Yes, everything that was said about Trapper Ray, although it is hard to imagine what use he might find for all those horse shoes that are hanging from the trees. Is that a cast iron wood burning stove just off picture in the foreground, surely they are not throwing that out? Ah well!

Re complexity, we are collectively a little bit to blame for the situation, being easily influenced n’all and being told what we want. The company which sells the most DVD players / recorders for example is the one which can print a bigger list of features on the outside of the box even though it is known fact that most people only use 30% of the whistles and bells that come with the thing anyway. How many people actually use picture in picture or freeze frame picture advance but most of them seem to have it. It is the same story for all sorts of other things too – digital cameras; cell phones washing machines with 16 programs of which you only ever use two. Have you ever tried to go into a car showroom and ask to buy the basic stripped out box on four wheels? Well it seems there isn’t any call for it anymore. How many people these days know how to gap points? Now they have been replaced with a more reliable throw away bit. GPS, Surround sound stereo and a little computer which works out you fuel economy every 100 yards. Toys for the boys are what sells cars.

I was coming in to work one Monday morning and an electrician was coming down the corridor in the opposite direction. There was no “Good morning, how did the weekend go”. As we passed each other he looked straight ahead and said “My wife went out on Saturday and bought a microwave with a 28 day timer”. It didn’t strike me at first but 20 yards down the corridor it hit me and I just broke up.

Who remembers the days of super 8 film? When I was an urchin there was a guy who made five minute shorts of what he considered to be dying crafts, throwing a clay pot; shoeing a horse; thatching a roof; making a wooden barrel; making a cartwheel etc. He said that someday people would want to know how to do these things and his films were a record to show how it was done.

What a rant.

RAS said...

The Top Hat supposedly has a gasket around part of the pipe that is supposed to fit into and seal with the larger pipe. Not that it will work.

BP doesn't know what to do. They're taking a shot in the dark. They've hired slimeballs who are from all the states affected to work PR in those states. One of the little twerps was telling fishermen in Louisiana yesterday not to blame BP because the spill is really the fault of everyone who drives a car. Which is true in one sense, but not a practical sense.

K, who is about as nice and anti-death penalty as you can get, told me at dinner the night before last that the BP execs in charge of this shit should be lined up and shot. I was so surprised I choked.

It said that people like Trapper Ray aren't valued for their wisdom. People are like 'ewww' about the stuff they know how to do and just dismiss their wisdom as 'old-fashioned nonsense'. We'll see how old-fashioned and nonsensical it is when things start getting worse.

Hotspringswizard said...

On MSNBC this morning they are reporting that the leak may be as high as 70,000 BPD instead of the 5000 BPD thats been cited up till now. Looking at the speed that oil is shooting out of that 21 inch pipe it sure looks like the actual volume is way over the 210,000 gallons a day thats been proposed so far.

Clearly BP is going to drastically underestimate all the figures about this massive leak. Its so easy for them to lie about what is really going on out there with the source of the problem deep in the dark depths of the ocean, and the giant GOM with its currents to disperse and hide the true magnitude of how much toxic material is being introduced into that ecosystem.

It looks like as of this morning the insertion tube idea, putting a suction pipe directly into the leaking pipe has been moved up to plan B.

freeacre said...

I guess they don't play Horse Shoes in Europe, eh, Belgium? They are a game - you drive two stakes in the ground many yards from each other. Each player takes 4 horse shoes and tries to throw them at a stake to get a "ringer." The closer you get, the more points. It's pretty fun. Kinda gone out of fashion since computer games... talk about "simplicity" again. When we lived in Tahoe, Murph brought his horse shoe habit with him, and our housemates used to play after dinner sometimes. We have it set up at our house now as well... file under "What To Do When the Grid Goes Down."

Alan Donelson said...

Like a comet back in near orbit once a century, I've returned again to the warmth, rationality (nay, sanity!), and comraderie of TCC. The topic of complexity drew me in for discussion. Here's my take on it, for what it's worth.

I believe that "All" is simplicity itself: The All in All as All, so to speak, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent. The Universe operates fine with just a few simple rules. There's the one we know well, the Law of Cause and Effect, aka by many other titles and phrases (e.g., Law of Mind). Even now, we often refer to "karmic" events. knowing full well that what we sow, we reap, more often than not, in this lifetime!

We are told that one master Teacher, Jesus, when challenged to articulate the "two greatest commandments", boiled it down to (1) Love GOD wholly and completely, (2) Love your neighbor as your self. The latter commandment, I think, is meant to be taken literally, unlike many other verses in the "Bible" (e.g., parables). Other master teachers also managed to get the Truth out with minimal verbiage and sparse conceptual frameworks of thought. I highly recommend Yogi Bhajan (The Mind, The Msster's Touch) to those who want a no-nonsense, brutually loving Teacher of Kundalini Yoga.

Full disclosure: I am not, and have never been, affiliated with any of Yogi Bhajan's enterprises or legacy. I am eternally grateful he left a trail of bread crumbs for non-Sikh folks. The lectures captured in print, the tapes of meditation and other exercises are invaluable to all.

THE POINT: I think WE make things complicated, too complicated, bringing Mind to bear on patterns in Mind, compounding our confusion as a function of our ignorance. I hold the belief that "ignoring" is an active mental process, habituated.

Reasoning, I conclude that to regain full awareness requires letting go, surrender, peeling off layers of the onion, etc. BUT FOR our habitual conviction of "separation", manifest as existential fear, which then drives countless counterproductive mental programs, we might actually live as peaceful, joyful, loving beings, spiritual beings having a human experience, to quote another Teacher.

Doing so in the face of a storm does indeed test one's faith, fortitude, and ability to self-sacrifice.

Wif [not wife] and I continue growing Soleil Farm in Nevada County, CA. I'll be back. I hope to make a more substantial contribution to the fine latticework of positivity here around the campfire!

nina said...

A great post, Murph. Thanks. Very thought provoking.

It wasn't until Junior took office I began to hear about these dreadful hoarders. Sure, we'd heard of them before in ref to animal hoarding, but that was about it until 2001-02, the LA Times ran a huge spread with photos on "helpful professionals" who made a living cleaning up people who saved too much "junk." As if these hoarders were domestic terrorists. They even cited studies saying hoarding was a scientifically proven disorder caused by a prisoner of war mentality - supposedly going from painful but patriotic deprivation to the magnificent wonder of the homeland's glistening oversupply.
I think the idea behind it all was to encourage citizens to dump everything old and purchase everything new, enriching the countries promised US import dollars as carrots to join the willing coalition.
A related comment on TOD: "...If economics mattered a bit more to the vast majority of people then we probably wouldn't be in nearly as serious a mess as we are now - oil-wise, debt, housing etc.
The trouble is we have been swung so far toward this idea of "unlimited choice" with no consequences that we totally replaced what we "need" with what the auto corporations convinced us we "really need". The argument typically goes that Detroit (et al) made almost exclusively big cars, SUVs, pick-ups because that's what the people "wanted" - never mind that that "want" was totally artificially induced - people were brainwashed into thinking they just couldn't possibly run their errands without an Excursion 4WD that could seat 16 and had a V8 6.9L engine but could still manage to do 0-60 in 5 seconds (fictional, exagerrated specs. of course - but we all know how those ads went) and we had cheap oil as the primary enabler of this idiocy - despite the fact that an extreme minority had a "need" for anything much more than your Versa or my Hyundai.
Bernays et al. swapped out wants and needs decades ago and it was off to the races - figuratively and literally... unfortunately I don't think we get the genie back into the bottle..."

Sounds planned - by all the usual suspects. We fell for it completely, got wise, but its too late now to reverse the horrific, incalculable, inhumane and infinite damages still breaking across the horizon.
Now, when you look at Trapper Ray and Z's find, Diliberti(?) out there in the sagebrush foothills, you can see they are not of this millenium, aka not of the terror era and escaped the onslaught of Bernays crafted plastic economics supporting 4th generation warfare.
Its time to release the contents of Cheney's secret energy meeting. Certainly, it was in the works before they took office, but they were a part of the program from long ago and know exactly what they do:

Encourage dependence, enriching the ruling corporations that require precious resources to pay for war to get them, in turn supply lawmakers to ensure their requirements are met and thus their continuity assured. Now the trick is to push us into accepting exacerbated complexities in solution to the mess they've made in exactly the same ways liars caught in lies only tell bigger lies to cover and minimize the damages done by lies number one, two and so forth.

Zoner said...

Well, after enduring a couple weeks of 40's and rain, a glorious blue sky emerged, providing the opportunity to sit on my deck and bathe in the warmth of a strong sun. One of my favorite, simple pleasures.

Then the planes began doing their thing - a large "X" laid across the sky directly above, now spreading wider, joining the other streaks. Soon, we will have the usual thin white layer that obscures the sun, and the blue sky will vanish once again.



freeacre said...

Oh, dear... our skies are filled with parallel trails with one X that marks the spot directly overhead, too. Creepy.

murph said...

Talking about complexity;

I don't know how many of you indulged in the past for comparison, but I have been a big user of single job applications from freeware sites, for years now. These programs didn't have a lot of bells, whistles and multiple layers of complexity, they did one thing and I had a bunch of them to perform specific tasks. If you do likewise, be sure to save permanently the .exe file on a disk, and have multiple backups of it. The reason for this is a lot of my favorites no longer can be downloaded, and, the ones that took their place have to be paid for and are complex and multiple function. I have a scad of examples of this and is just more complexity that cost bucks now. I'm into the KISS principle.

RAS said...

Here's to simplicity! And self-sufficiency. I struck three blows to the industrial food system this weekend. Yesterday I bought a gallon of organic strawberries at the farmer's market for 12 bucks. I just turned most of them into my own homemade jam and a pint of frozen strawberries (with some left out to be eaten, of course). This morning I made pumpkin muffins from scratch and at lunch I made beer bread. I hope this weekend finds all the Clan well.

freeacre said...

Good for you, ras! It all sounds yummy!
Today I went to the store to buy some fresh green beans to make tempura, and they didn't have any beans! I asked the produce lady about them and she said they returned the beans because they were horrible and expensive. So, I got some asparagus which was almost $3 a pound! Man, can't wait till we can pick beans and things from the garden.

Hotspringswizard said...

I was talking to my brother today ( sunday ) and he said the plane trails and consequent hazing of the skies in his area of northern Cal was terrrible today. He said he wasn't even going outside much because of it. My brother said alot of folks up there are experiencing airway problems like prolonged periods of consgestion and sinus problems, including himself and his good friend Mauro who runs the website. My brother has been dealing with some airway problems for over a couple of months but said he seems to be getting over it finally.

On another subject I went hiking this last Friday to the top of Raven Mountain ( near our home ) and I came across two more rattlesnakes. One startled me when it began to rattle about 4 feet from me in a crevice, and the other one I literally hiked right over the top of, probably coming within about a foot of it. My three pooches also walked right over it. It never moved or rattled and I figure either it was sleeping or didn't feel threatened. It was a big one! I took a picture of both of these snakes. On the same hike I came across a Chuckawalla which are big black lizards that live in those rocky mountains, and then just before getting back to my car I found a Desert Tortoise. I have been trying to watch out for those rattlesnakes but they blend in to the landscape so amazingly well, just like the rock colors.

Regarding that oil spill, that BP CEO Tony Hayward really takes the cake with his over the top idiotic statement about the oil spill really being quite tiny when compared to the great big ocean. He reminds me of the Goldman Sachs CEO when he said not too long ago that they were just doing Gods work in reference to how Goldman Sachs conducts business. Its just beyond belief how far out there these guys are. Hope all in the Clan are doing well :-)

Hmmmm, no Rockpicker lately? Whats he up too?

baz recon said...

Down from a cave, next to a stream, hey—it's where I live! bum bum bum bum ... bum bum — cyber-tribalism !? Hmmm, still figuring that one—um.

Aahh, yes—living sustainably by living simply ; what a noble dream. Who can do ? Who even wants to ... with such pressure not to ? Even in the face of, the pressure ... to. Interminable questions produce ... interminable answers.

Now anarchy ... freedom, concepts I've consciously / unconsciously embraced willingly / unwillingly, and understand ... somewhat post-collapse. Before the internet FTW had a whole other meaning, to my posse. You might even say, I helped to build the system ... of a down. Guilty your fuck'n honor!

aah well—Tanning hides ; favorite method—Australian Opossum : equal portions Alum potash powder (avail. all good pharmacy outlets) and salt. 2 heaped tablespoons each 1/3 std bucket water for 3 days, stirring occasionally — 2 skins. Then hang to dry in shade out of sun for a few days. Stretch and rub skin over something like a post or sawhorse 'till soft—vigorous wrestling action. Best (organic) method for pliability and whiteness. Other methods—salt and kerosene; stiff and yellow. Caustic soda—lethal shit, will remove fur.
Some pics (sorry about the small size ; ctrl+ to enlarge)
fur 1
fur 2
fur 3
fur 4
fur 5
who needs a carbine? when you're as skilled as I am!

freeacre—haha, you kid right ? No—aue! Hmmm, OK ... nuh, don't eat it. Although the old [Indian—who else?] prophecy + warning referring to white men not being able to eat-it, may hint at a not-too-distant future to come.

Titiro (Look), may I be frank ? I won't pussy around—I'll be frank, ‘even the Indians had gold. Lots of it.’ (Italics mine) ‘Untold riches’ ; for the imperialistic invaders.

Some words and their meanings ;
Papatuanuku : Earth-mother — Ranginui : Sky-father — Kaitiaki : Earth guardian

wv: counsink — countersink

murph said...

Hey Baz,
Yeh, cyber tribe, strange isn't it? Guess the question should be does it work? Does it fulfill a function? Welcome back cynical brother.

Hmmm, didn't you decide to do a sustainability trip? Or at least as close as you can come to it? Doesn't sustainability mean not exceeding the replenishment rate of what you use?

Fine looking hides you got there. I'm using salt and battery acid for the pickling part. Alum is way too hard come by around here. I plan to try the actual tanning soon, going to use smoke tanning, that way I don't have to buy anything. Tannin is hard come by in this neck of the woods also. Also planning brain tanning soon, to see how that comes out.

I suspect you have been doing it for a lot longer than I have, I'm still in my learning curve for it. When I figured out how to not tear up the rabbit hides, they are starting to come out pretty nice. Because they aren't actually tanned, they aren't water proof of course. I thought I was going to get a bunch of skunk hides to work with but the son threw them away. Nuts. By the way, ever tried tanning a chicken hide? lol. Another project. Now I wish I had my snake hides back.

Yup, the imperialist raider wanted the gold. Looters and rapers. Although not all the Indians had gold, they killed off the ones without it too.

What's the language you were giving us there?

Any words for being underwater and dead? Sure looks to me like a whole bunch of shit is coming our way dude.

lol WV flock

Anonymous said...

From Belgium

“Tannin is hard come by in this neck of the woods”. Why not throw a whole bunch of tea bags into the mix, or is that a stupid idea – probably is, never having done it myself.

murph said...

Hi Belgium,

Yup enough tea bags or coffee grounds would produce enough tannin to use. However, so far, it appear that it would take a very large amount of tannin containing tea or coffee to produce enough tannin to actually tan a hide. I haven't read yet an article that talks about just how much would be needed of either or both base units.

I keep looking, but with the rising cost of coffee and black tea in bulk, I just don't know whether it economically would be useful.

Hotspringswizard said...

Have you noticed that the word " Austerity " has been thrown around alot lately? Thats what all the travails of the converging calamities of our times will be bringing, lots of Austerity!

Here is an excellent article that I think will be worth your time spent to read it:

The Financial Oligarchy Reigns: Democracy’s Death Spiral From Greece to the United States

.....Shortly before he was assassinated ( Abraham Lincoln that is ), he had this to say:

“The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the Bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe.”......

There is also discussion of " Financial Terrorism Operations: 9/29/08 & 5/6/10", 700 point stock market plunges engineered to send a message!

On the subject of the GOM Oil Volcano, I saw that CNN released new videos today around 12 noon, one showing the second leak on the well head itself, which looked just as large as the other leak previously shown. Also they showed new video of the 22 inch leaking pipe, with the suction tube/pipe inserted into, and from the looks of it, the oil is still gushing out at the same pace it was before they inserted it. So much for the animated depictions showing the gushing oil stopping once the suction pipe was inserted!

That suction pipe is 4 inches and it looked like a little straw compared to the larger pipe. If a six inch pipe has a capacity of around one twelth the volume of the 22 inch pipe, then at 4 inches I would guess would be getting close to one twentieth. Even if they are able to suck anything through it, which I have my doubts about, there's no way they are getting 40% ( as stated today ) of the leaking oil at that 22 inch pipe, and thats not even counting what the flow is at the second leak, at the well head. Even if they were able to stop the flow at one leak, it would just transfer to the other leak. I read another article today speaking of the pressure of the exiting oil gusher at 70,000 PSI.

So far this evening I have not seen any more of that video showing the 22 inch pipe with the oil still gushing with the little suction pipe inserted. It will be interesting to see if it shows up on the MSM any more, or maybe it just shows too much how ridiculous BP's Statements are about the affectivness of this plan B effort regarding the 4 inch insertion tube, and they won't show it further because of this.

There should be daily reports to the public showing video of whats actually occuring down there! That would be one of the best ways to expose BP and all the other officials for the big liars that they are about what is really occuring with this undersea oil gusher!

freeacre said...

Nina referenced this on her blog. It's an article on The Oil Drum called Jeremy Jackson Talks About How We Wrecked the Ocean.
Don't read it until you have some time afterward to stare into the distance. It's another one of those brilliant presentations on TED.

It's not just the oil spill. It's us. So tragic.

mrs p said...

We had a good shaker last night at about 20 to 6. The epicenter was Ocatillo Wells again...S and E of us. CA is surrounded by activity so much so that it appears to be pulling away from the mainland shelf. Not an expert of any kind but it sure seems like something different and big is going on. There's so many fault lines running through So. CA it's a given we will continue to shake rattle and roll. Just hope the big one isn't so big it flattens the whole area. The San Andreas might move and if it does we're screwed.

Meanwhile in the Gulf, with the releasing of all that tremendous pressure, one has to wonder if it could possibly affect the plates? The damage seems horrific as it moves into and up the Atlantic through the "Loop". The "Loop Current" as mentioned over at ACT II proves that "ruining the ocean" is not an exagertation. How could the PTB be so frikken careless? We really are desparate for every last drop aren't we. Now everytime I drive ( as little as possible - we share one car) I think about the ocean.

FA: Those darn trails are everywhere down here and so frequent! What a waste of energy that is! mrs p

mrs p said...

BTW...I hope it's okay that we put Palooka's Revenge site on Moms. It was there before but somehow got lost in the sauce. Don't know what we'd do without the net and places like this campfire! It helps keep our sanity! If it's ever gone or the PTB takes it away or makes it unaffordable...we'll have to send smoke signals and write letters! mrs p

baz recon said...

Herd of sheep! Heard of chickens ? —sorry, thinking aloud

hey MURPH, and maybe Hotsprings (haven't decided yet) ; Sustainability trip, in many respects (not unlike yourself I suspect) was, in large part forced upon me. But hey—when you break an egg, you make scrambled egg! Brain tanning—hmmm. Too much sun.

Gotta admit, kinda liked Belgium's ‘whole bunch of tea bags’ idea—not so stupid. In fact, got me thinking (Oh no!) you could stitch them together, and sell them as body armor to the U.S. Military (even with minimum tea-bags) — Shipment's on its way — Who me ... cynical ?

aarrgh—just kidding ... really, but (only a personnel opinion conviction) they should fuck-off outta, well ... everywhere. Let me try and explain something—you ever notice how cheap the price of gold was post-invasion of Iraq ? And oil, post-invasion Afghanistan, and heroin around military bases in Texas ? Coincidence — or looting ? Justifiable ? I heard the Jury's still out.

Of course, oil and gold are a huge source of war and conflict in other places as well, such as the Congo ... without even getting into the enviromental damage — respiratory illnesses caused by gold-mining [Australia] to surrounding towns, even hundreds of miles away. Pools of Cyanide (by-product of gold-mining) ignored by Corporations, polluting natives' water sources, who refuse to be forcibly displaced—where ?

I'm reminded of a sentence from a book I read recently, about the IMF—World Bank; ‘Austerity measures imposed [by] to the developing world ...’ Now this is in Sth America — neighbor to Nth America. The genocide of Indians [for gold] continues still, today ... tomorrow.

But wait, there's more. I haven't even got to the good part ... yet. The toxic time-bomb in [tah-dah] Silicon Valley, California—capacitators, semi-conductors, circuit boards—from cell phones, PDAs ... containing vast quantities of toxic materials (incl. gold—haha) buried toxic waste—ground water leaking into the aquifer. Maybe it's Karma—eh, both for soldiers, and their citizen financiers ? Just saying ...

Language — I've toyed with, contemplating giving-up anglais altogether—disgusted with its abusive verbiage ... toward 1st-nation peoples — was almost an extinct language, care of the govt—for purposes of whanako : legal-theft. Yeah, including cholera-ridden blankets—it seems, a favorite trick of Imperial Lords supported by meathead (jarhead) constabulary—troops. OK—so I wear my contempt on my sleeve.

Now after Ka whawhai tonu matou : struggle without end, the remnant of Aotearoa : Land of the long white cloud, have their own TV channels (comes with sub-titles—great)! Extensive coverage of real-news, things that matter, you don't quite get—or even hear about, from Goldman-sacks.

Anyways—as usual, hope all of this has been of some assistance—haha to someone. Ka kite ano : See you again — Oh, and ;

Ka mate koe i te kai waipiro : Drinking poison water will kill you.

Hotspringswizard said...

Like the Congress person said today, " BP has lost all credibility ". Finally we get some real time, hopefully 24-7 video, as is now being shown on the MSM. For the most part they are just showing the one leak in the broken oil pipe, and hardly showing the very large leak at the wellhead itself.

I think they should show every night on all the news a split screen showing both of the spewing oil volcanoes down in the corner of the TV screen while they do the other news reports. That would surely fire up some pressure on these criminals. I know, not going to happen.

At first BP said there were three leak points, then later they said they capped the smallest one. I've never seen any video of that capped leak. Did it really get sealed after all? And who knows, maybe there is possibly even more leak points than BP is saying. How could anyone know since BP is currently running the show and has actually kept other agencies out of the area up till now.

Today there was a report of some CBS reporters photographing oil somewhere near the Florida Coast when a Coast Gaurd vessel comes up to them and says they have to leave or be arrested. Why was this? The Coast Gaurd personel said it was due to BP's rules, not their own.

The US government and BP are clearly complicit in trying to conceal the immensity of this gigantic environmental disaster, and this is why up till now BP has been left to do as it wishes, while the US government stays back and actually gives cover to much of what BP is doing.

Now the oil is coming ashore in Louisiana big time. Forget trying to clean this stuff out of those complex marshlands, they are toast!

And also finally today there is talk of the US government fianlly getting some experts outside of BP to determine more acurately just how much oil is gushing from the two ( maybe two ) leaks. BP today supposedly sucked 5000 Barrels of oil from the broken pipe gusher and to look at it ( the one leaking pipe ) in the live feed, the leak has actually grown to be larger than when the showed in the first 30 second image of it which was released. With the two leaks combined, it would not supprise me if it was something over 100,000 barrels a day.


Hotspringswizard said...

Apparently BP CEO Tony Hayward is over in England celebrating his birthday, even after he said publicly that he would remain here in the US dealing with this disaster till the problem was resolved. So much for promises, like BP's promise that they would clean up and fix this mess, which will also turn out to be a gigantic lie.

Now soon Shell will apparently be drilling in the Artic Ocean off the north coast of Alaska. You can only imagine what would happen if this kind of leak occured in that highly remote and harsh landscape. Just another sign of our complex societies and the problems they create, spinning wildly out of control!

And just in time, a new Pakastani Taliban terror threat is being reported on in the MSM. No specific targets are cited, just be afraid, and forget the Oil Volcano! Just like everything else is just massive non-stop BS, and lots of smoke and mirrors!

Oh and financial reform has apparently passed. Just like the so called health reform it will benifit the perpetrators of the corrupt practices, while allowing them more ways to continue to screw the working class.

In all we do here to tell our feelings about things that are occuring, and bringing what information we may find to this space which can help make us more aware of just what is occuring, I think that this endeavor will not stop the dire course of any of what we are speaking of. At least thats my purpose for sharing what I do at this Campfire, to gain more understanding, and to share my concerns with others to whom these things are important too.

I don't expect to change the world with these musings or cited information. The currents of grand change will continue to sweep us along in directions of grave consequence. Even as much as we come to understand the greater nature of humanities course, this knowledge in people and in small groups will not alter myriad travesties now unfolding.

All I can see is to do my best ( in my simple life ) to find a niche for myself and loved ones, and live as best I can the life of a thoughtful, caring and responsible human being. That for me is challenging enough in these trying times.

murph said...

George Ure on his May 17th posting did some arithmetic on the oil spill and his results show an 11,000,000 gal leak per day, based on the reported size of the underwater plume that was released recently. There are a few problems I have with his math on it, but whatever the size of the leak, it is huge and appears a bunch bigger than the MSM is reporting from BP.

There are dire predictions all over the internet about it, and some jerk (Rick Hume of Fox) that minimalized it, asking where was the oil? Limbaugh wants to bill Green Peace for the clean up, since they are at fault because they have blocked so much drilling on land.

It looks to me that there will not be a clean up of this if the flow was stopped tomorrow. The predictions that this has the potential to destroy the oceans is the extreme predictions, plus the gasses released into the atmosphere are going to have severe health affects for a very long time.

Regardless of the predictions, this is a very big deal I think. It has the potential to change a lot of situations and is presenting non solvable predicaments we are simply going to have to learn to live with, if that is even possible down the road. If enough of the oceans are affected, that is going to take out a lot of the plankton which supplies around 70% of the worlds oxygen, not even beginning to talk about the food supply furnished by the ever depleted oceans of its fish.

It sure appears to me that events of dire consequences are accelerating. A person with a retreat or thinking of one should get pretty serious about it now. Avoid the rush and get out of Dodge.

freeacre said...

I seem to be tongue tied in the face of looking around and seeing TEOTWAWKI. After reading Jeremy Jackson on How We Wrecked the Ocean (written before the oil leak catastrophe), I flash on the dinosaurs looking to the sky and wondering what that flash was...
Only thing that is encouraging is remembering that as the dinosaurs were dying of nuclear winter, the little rodent mammals were scurrying around practicing duck and cover. Eventually, they took over. And, now, it seems the process is repeating itself.
Murph and I have been drafted into local action lately. The primary election booted out the county commissioner we have been railing against and replaced him with a pretty good guy from our own little town. In the general election, he will be opposed by a new young guy who is also pretty good. At least both of them are way better than the one who got the axe. So, things on the local level are looking up.
We also had to write letters encouraging the planning commission to request that the local ordinance that we are still fighting be rescinded. And, I had to make goodies for the pig roast tomorrow and cleanup of a local park. The pig is named "Luke," after the defeated commissioner. The Grange market for next month needs to be organized (by me). Lots of scurrying around while the ocean dies, the country falls apart, and clouds of war are darkening on the horizon.
Part of me wants to make a costume for the Mountain Man Rendezvous coming up, but another part wants to put on sack cloth and ashes. Time to hold each other close, I think.

Hotspringswizard said...

Soon BP will begin trying to clog the leaking wellhead with various materials. But in thinking of any real possiblilities of this actually working, BP thought its first " best " option was putting a box on the gusher, which failed miserably. Then BP implemented its second option, putting a very small suction tube in the very large gushing and broken pipe. It was a ridiculous attempt that accomplished essentially nothing.

If clogging the wellhead really presented such a chance at stopping maybe as much as 100,000 BPD a day shooting out at possibly as high as 70,000 PSI, wouldn't you think they would have tried that first? Seems to me BP is just working down a list of less and less likely options.

And the MSM talks like the two other wells that are currently being drilled will be the endpoint of the leaks if nothing else works. The information on just what these wells are trying to accomplish has not been consistent. Some animations show the wells being drilled into the oil reserve, supposedly then being able to relieve pressure from the leaking well. If you have a large pool of liquid material under extreme pressure, with a straw poked into it leaking this material, two more straws won't do anthing to releive the pressure of the liquid coming out of the first straw. Its a matter of scale of the straws compared to the resevior.

Other animations show the two wells trying to intersect with the leak well hole, which supposedly would allow BP somehow the means to close off the leak. How likely is it really that they could meet up with the leaking well hole ( 7 inchs in diameter according to one report ) under a mile of ocean and who knows how many thousands of feet below the ocean bottom. Does anyone ( besides BP ) really think they are that good? And this is not even to consider what myriad other problems that may occur if they do actually hit the leaking hole, like for one the chances of another second blown well head for a start.

To me both of those scenarios seem like extreme longshots realistically. But then all that BP has said about what is happening, and what they are capable of doing to stop this gusher has nothing to do with being realistic.

Just plain sickening to know the kinds of environmental armegedon that is now ongoing in the GOM, and of course this oily mayhem won't be cofined there.

This event has the real potential of throwing the already constrained energy situation for the US into an even more dire situation. These offshore increasingly deep oil wells represent a reality that the US has no choice but to try and supply larger and larger amounts of its oil demand from ever more dangerous and risky endeavors that these extreme wells entail.

They are running out of options for supply. Now they will be caught between the clamour to stop offshore drilling, and the reality that if they did put a moratorium on more offshore drilling that the US energy crisis would jump quickly to even more dramatic proportions.

The public will demand from the politicians that their " American way of Life " is preserved at all cost. Will a society that uses 25% of the world's resources ( with only 4% of the population ) finally get a conscience about its glutenous ways? I seriously doubt it. The train will barrel on as the the cliffs of societal breakdown loom larger.

Hotspringswizard said...

Is the world falling apart?

.....When I say "the world" I am referring to the global economy in the short-term (within 1 year). I don't doubt "the world" is falling apart in the long-term, but that will takes years (oil price shocks) or decades (dead oceans) to unfold......

Hotspringswizard said...

Hiding the Truth: White House Allowed BP to Keep Video of Gushing Pipe from Public for Three Weeks

.....The evidence is mounting that the White House is working in concert with industry to hide the truth about the extent and cause of the spill.....