Category Archives: history

Part 2 – Racing Towards the Cliff Edge

In my previous blog I outlined that the world is racing towards the loss of civilization, not through Climate Change (though that is a factor) but due to 2 other factors. Now I’m going to reveal what is going to cause the decay of civilization. I’m going to tell you a secret that the world doesn’t want to share with you. It’s such a secret that only handful of Sustainable Development scientists, like myself, ever have sleepless nights over.

The secret is actually well-known but poorly explained. This is why I’ve decided to do an entire course on both the ‘secret’ and the solution. I call this course: The Bigger Picture: A Glimpse into the Probable Future of Energy. You can pre-register for this today, right now, HERE.

Now I’m going to reveal a few parts of the course to whet your appetite. This is EXCLUSIVE MATERIAL. I’ve decided to include it on a video for you.

This course is going to be available in a short while, so please keep a look for it.

 

Racing Towards the Cliff Edge

BLIND MEDIA & POLITICIANS

We live in a world dominated by political masters, be they right-wing or left-wing, centre ground or populist, whom are totally blind to the greatest threat to human survival in over 460 years, and I’m not talking about Climate Change. In fact if you may be totally unaware of this threat, because no-one wants to tell you the truth of what will happen in 50 to 100 years, or the path towards what is about to happen. They hide what I call the LTT or ‘Long-term-Triggers’. We are racing towards the cliff edge of that particular LTT.

THE SILENCE & THE NOISE

The reasoning behind the silence of the media and their political masters (for all media is controlled by someone, even the BBC) is that although short-term bad news sells, and even Climate Change bad news sells, the horrible truth about the future doesn’t sell. Instead you are told about a future full of Artificial Intelligence by non-numerate journalists who wouldn’t know Bayes or his theorem if it turned into alien out of the movie Monsters! You are told about how AI might be dangerous by Elon Musk. You are convinced that the future will have the perfect market place due to the growth of the internet. You are told that we’ll all have robots soon. Children are being taught using ipads, computers and robots. Soon we’ll be going regularly into outer space, and even flying will be quicker by utilising the vacuum of space to wisk us to far off shores in a few hours. There will be space tourism. Even war will be drone based, so that the pilots who are already remote from the battlefield can annihilate their enemies without losing sleep or their lives. Soon even that control might end up being taken over by AI pilots who don’t see the morality, just the mission. In any case, when did the morality ever matter to the elites who run our governments. It’s never been a concern that we live inside a room filled with nuclear dynamite, with two people we’ve probably never ever met, nor will ever meet, with their fingers on the buttons of Mutually Assured Destruction, or to use it’s Cold War term: MAD. Nuclear accidents and poor nuclear weapon security almost guarantees that one day a terror group might get hold of fissile material.  The media want to frighten you with the worse short-term case they can offer, whilst they hide the LTT (Long-term-Triggers).

FOCUSING ON THE TRIVIAL

The media like to focus on things that they feel their puerile little non-numerate intellects can handle: sleaze – did Donald Trump have sexual relations outside of marriage with hookers, a pornstar and a model? scandal – did the Russians rig the US election using Facebook? Finally, is the economy, job creation and automobile sales moving up or down, and is this affecting our mortgages? (Mortgages – deadly agreements to allow banks to re-possess your liability if you cannot pay. I’ve never had one. If you cannot afford it, don’t buy it unless it is an asset.) Not one of them wants to tell you that not far off over the horizon of your amazingly short life span, and for that matter the even shorter lifespan of your children and grandchildren there’s a LTT that their masters, the politicians are failing to recognise, and thus failing to plan for – well kind of. Again I’m not talking about Climate Change.

SECRETS

In part 2 of my blog I’m going to tell you a secret that the world doesn’t want to share with you. It’s such a secret that only handful of Sustainable Development scientists like myself ever have sleepless nights over. I don’t know why, but I do. I shouldn’t. After all I’m not much of a philanthropist – a lover of humanity. If anything I’m a secret Misanthropist, but don’t tell anyone, all you will spoil my image, and we cannot have that can we? Well Donald Trump can, as it seems it doesn’t matter either way to him!  Till next time…

 

The Syrian War, Facebook and the coming Oil Crisis

As I write, US along with NATO forces are steaming into positions off Syria to inflict more damage on Assad and potentially his Russian often mercenary allies, to teach him for a second time that chemical weapons are banned. The Syrian War is a human tragedy because of just two men: Assad the leader of Syria, effectively a dictator, and Vladimir Putin, his main ally. Alone, Assad probably would have lost this war. With Russian arms he is able to inflict the worst kind of punishment against civilians who happen to be in enemy areas! We need to ask the question: what caused this to happen? What drove the rebels to rise? Why didn’t the West act to stop the bombing earlier? What is the UN doing? And why at this late stage would Assad use chemical weapons knowing that these are outlawed and will surely bring retribution?

The cause of the war is quite complicated if you read lots of journalists views. However, in the grander scheme of things the cause is simple: it was essentially part of the so called Arab Spring a movement founded by people wanting better lives being able to unite using Facebook. The influence of this particular social medium along with Twitter seems to be a general part of the creation of a perfect market place: just like Amazon, Ebay and Alibaba help to lower prices by localising and globalising competition simultaneously, Facebook and Twitter seem to democratise it.

Cambridge Analytica have shown is that Facebook is a great marketing vehicle for politicians. It is also open to being easily used to subvert election results.

In the case of the Arab Spring most of these movements happened as an indirect result of the stress caused by the financial collapse in 2007 to 2008, a banking crisis deeper than the 1929 stock market crash, which plunged banks and nations into massive debt. It was initially triggered by a oil crisis which doubled and tripled the costs of bunker fuel oil causing large companies in the US to stop imports from China and lay off workers en masse!

Now I want to look forward. If such technology evolves what happens when the entire world faces a global crisis like the loss of economically extractable oil?

That answer I will consider in my next blog.

How Trevithick Changed the World

by John Clarkson

Richard Trevithick was born in Tregajorran in the parish of Illogan, 13 April 1771, between Camborne and Redruth, Cornwall, British Isles. Cornwall was a rich mineral mining area at the time, with plenty of tin and copper. If you watch the TV serial Poldark then you will see some reconstructions of the conditions that faced miners at the time. Richard would be one day seen the major inventor of the steam engine.

Trevithick was according to his teachers: “disobedient, slow, obstinate, spoiled view, frequently absent and very attentive”. He was good at arithmetic, though he arrived at the correct answers by unconventional methods.

Richard Trevithick is one of the people who truly changed our world. At the age of just 19 he went to work at East Stray Park Mine, quickly becoming a consultant, which in itself was unusual for one so young. The miners respected him because of his father, who was a ‘mine captain’. For a time Richard lived next door to William Murdoch, the steam carriage pioneer, who influenced his own experiments with steam powered locomotion.

Trevithick quickly rose to engineer at the Ding Dong Mine in 1797 where with Edward Bull he pioneered the use of high-pressure steam, modifying and building new steam engines to avoid royalties to James Watt who had made improvements on the Newcomen steam engines used to pump water in the mines.  William Murdoch had already developed what was called ‘strong steam’ or high pressure steam which could move a piston on its own account instead of using near atmospheric pressure in the standard condensing engines. Trevithick lived next door to Murdoch in Redruth between 1797 and 1798. Although Oliver Evans in the US and Arthur Woolf in London had been making similar experiments, Trevithick was it was said by his son, Francis, the first to make high-pressure steam work in England in 1797-1799 (depending on which sources you believe). This eliminated the condenser, used a smaller cylinder and thus made the engine more compact, lighter and thus able to carry its own weight. The expansion of steam (known as expansive working) came later.

In 1801, Trevithick built a full-size locomotive in Fore Street, Camborne, Cornwall.  It was called the ‘Puffing Devil’. This was far better than Nicholas Joseph Cugnot who in France in 1770 had built a steam wagon. On Christmas Eve 1801 Trevithick carried six passengers up Fore Street, continuing on up Camborne Hill, from Camborne Cross, to the nearby village of Beacon. Andrew Vivian, Trevithick’s cousin steered the locomotive which had no rails. The demonstration inspired a Cornish folk song called ‘Camborne Hill’.

Following this Trevithick continued to make other steam engines, some which were successful, one of which unfortunately exploded (e.g. 1803 stationary pumping engine). The Pen-y-Darren locomotive built in 1802 and the Catch me Who Can built in 1808 became famous. The latter allowed passengers to ride on a circular railway track just south of present day Euston Square tube station. Trevithick’s work would later involve vast engineering projects in places like South America and Costa Rica.

Trevithick would die penniless in 1833 in Dartford at the Bull Hotel, but his invention would change the world. The way that steam power developed would alter the entire world. Firstly mining engines became much more efficient; secondly, steam engines allowed the development of railways (railroads as they call them in the USA) which took over from canals, and made the transportation of American wheat to the whole of America and the opening of steam shipping routes, which led to a better developed and safer global market. It could also be argued that Trevithick’s work helped later engineers to develop the combustion engine.

Back in the days of rapid technological expansion knowledge was poorly transmitted, and generally lost when engineers died, unless they had apprentices, which many did, including Trevithick. Nowadays, many people work their entire lives, become specialists, and retire, never to pass on their knowledge to the next generation. It’s not just knowledge but direct experiences that might be useful to future generations that are lost forever. We though have the technology to preserve all knowledge on video for as long as our digital world survives. We can pass this knowledge on to future generations, and all become teachers.