Saturday, May 23, 2009

The next twenty years are going to be completely unlike the last twenty years.

Professor Chris Martenson is a rare breed. A PhD scientist, previously a VP of a Fortune 300 company and an MBA from Cornell University.

Chris does a brilliant job of highlighting that the debt induced fiat monetary system which has driven our economic progress over the last 50-years is likely to fail in the future. In fact it was really nothing more than a sophisticated ponzi scheme which can only continue on the basis of perpetual compounded growth and a continued acquisition of real physical energy resources. The virtual economic economy is tied to the physical world -- this perpetual growth cannot continue forever as we are seeing with the massive de-leveraging across all asset classes in the current 2008 - 2010 recession.

Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs -
"The first is that the next twenty years are going to be completely unlike the last twenty years. Why is this important? Because we tend to base our view of the future on our most recent experience. That’s just part of being a human. It is also a gigantic liability at key turning points. So I say that massive change is already upon us. When I first gave this material as a talk three years ago, I used to say, "Massive change is coming." Well, it’s here now, and the belief I hold is that it’s really just getting underway, and I’ll show you why I believe that. Next I believe that its possible – possible – that the pace and/or scope of change could overwhelm the ability of our key social and support institutions to adapt."

Chapter 2 - The Three "E"s
"Massive change is upon us. To understand the nature of this change, we need to understand the three “E”s – the Economy, Energy, and the Environment"

Chapter 3 - Exponential Growth -
"Once an exponential function “turns the corner,” even though the percentage rate of growth might remain constant and possibly quite low, the amounts do not. They pile up faster and faster. Oil consumption, the US money supply, world population, worldwide water use, species extinction, and other critical areas all follow an exponential curve in their growth, and all have turned or will soon turn that critical corner."

Chapter 4 - Compounding is the Problem -
"If something is increasing over time on a percentage basis, it is growing exponentially. With exponential functions, the action really only heats up in the last few moments. There is simply not a lot of maneuvering room once you hop on the vertical portion of a compound graph."

Chapter 5 - Growth vs. Prosperity -
"For the past few hundred years we have been lulled into linking the two concepts, because there was always sufficient surplus energy that we could have both growth AND prosperity. But what’s going to happen when 100% of our surplus money or energy is being used to simply grow? And what happens if there’s not enough surplus to even fund growth alone?"

Chapter 6 - What is Money -
"Money should possess three characteristics. The first is that it should be a store of value. Historically, gold and silver filled this role perfectly because they were rare, took a lot of human energy to mine, and did not corrode or rust. By contrast, the US dollar pretty much constantly loses value over time"

Chapter 7 - Money Creation -
"John Kenneth Galbraith once famously said, “The process by which money is created is so simple that the mind is repelled.” We’re about to discuss that very thing. Money creation is a bizarre thing to ponder. It is actually a very simple process, but it’s really difficult to accept. Money is loaned into existence. Conversely, when loans are paid back, money ‘disappears.’"

Chapter 8 - The Fed - Money Creation -
"All dollars are backed by debt. There are two kinds of money out there. At the local bank level, all new money is loaned into existence. At the Federal Reserve level, money is simply manufactured out of thin air and then exchanged for interest-paying government debt. And perpetual expansion is a requirement of modern banking."

Chapter 9 - A Brief History of US Money -
"The purpose of this section is to show you that the US government has radically shifted the rules during times of emergency and that our monetary system is really a lot younger than you might think."

Chapter 10 - Inflation -
"Most of us think of inflation as rising prices, but that’s not quite right. Inflation is not caused by rising prices. Rising prices are a symptom of inflation. Inflation is caused by the presence of too much money in relation to goods and services. What we experience is things going up in price, but in fact, inflation is really the value of your money going down, simply because there’s too much of it around. Inflation is, everywhere and always, a monetary phenomenon."

Chapter 11- How much is a Trillion? -
"A trillion is a very, very big number, and I think it would be worth spending a couple of minutes trying to get our arms around the concept. Make no mistake, we should not be lulled into complacency simply because it is too big to really get our minds around. Keep this lesson in mind as we discuss the total accumulated debts and liabilities of the US, which are many tens of trillions of dollars."

Chapter 12 - Debt -
"For you and me, there are only two ways to settle a debt: 1) Pay it off or 2) default on it. If you have a printing press like the government does, a third option exists: 3) Printing money to pay for the debt. So what is debt, really? Debt represents future consumption taken today. Our entire economic system, and by extension our way of life, is founded on debt, and debt is founded on the assumption that the future will always be bigger than the past. Therefore it is utterly vital that we examine this assumption closely, because if this assumption is false, so are a lot of other critical things that we may be taking for granted."

Chapter 13 - A National Failure to Save -
"A personal failure to save has been reflected by a state and local failure to save, which are mirrored by a corporate failure to save, all dwarfed by a failure to save at the federal government level. And capping it all off is a profound failure to invest. All of these deficits lie before us and lead me to conclude that the next twenty years are going to be completely unlike the last twenty years."

Chapter 14 - Assets & Demographics -
"Our nation has a historic, never-before-seen level of debt and a historic failure to save. Along with debt and savings, one also has to consider assets. After all, does it really matter if you have no savings and a million dollars of debt, if you have assets worth 10 million?"

Chapter 15 - Bubbles -
"Bubbles used to happen once every generation or so, because it took time to forget the pain from the damage. Today we are facing the bursting of a second major asset bubble, housing, spaced less than ten years from the bursting of the dot-com bubble. This is simply astounding and thoroughly unprecedented. It is the largest bubble in all of history and will probably be the most destructive. And it is happening right now."

Chapter 16 - Fuzzy Numbers -
"Our economic recession, and possibly depression, can be partially explained by the extent to which we have chosen to provide ourselves with misleading economic data. Certainly if you share my concerns over stocks, bonds, and 401K holdings, or are a serious investor of any sort, you owe it to yourself to listen to this explanation of how wrong our measures of inflation and GDP really are."

Chapter 17a - Peak Oil -
"Peak Oil is simply a fact. Peak Oil is NOT synonymous with “running out of oil.” But the most urgent issue before us does not lie with identifying the precise moment of Peak Oil. What we need to be most concerned with is the day that world petroleum demand outstrips available supply. It is at that moment that the oil markets will change forever - and probably quite suddenly."

Chapter 17b - Energy Budgeting -
"With sufficient surplus energy, humans can construct remarkably complex creations in short order. Social complexity relies on surplus energy. Societies that unwillingly lose complexity are notoriously unpleasant places to live. Given this, shouldn’t we pay close attention to how much surplus energy we’ve got and where it comes from?"

Chapter 17c - Energy and the Economy -
"In theory, there’s nothing problematic with living in a world full of exponential growth and depletion curves – as long as the world does not have any boundaries. However, exponential functions take on enormous importance when they approach a physical boundary, as seems to be the case for oil in the very near future. Both discoveries and production indicate that we could be at oil’s exponential boundary already. What will happen to our exponential, debt-based money system? Is it even possible for it to function in a world without constant growth? These are important questions, and they deserve answers."

Chapter 18 - Environmental Data -
"Our money system requires continual economic growth, but energy depletion will run headlong into dwindling resource returns to limit future growth options. Overpopulation will increase competition and demand for fossil fuel energy sources such as crude oil and coal, as well as for natural gas and sources of alternative energy."

Chapter 19 - Future Shock -
"Money, credit, growth. Exponential growth. Debt, future, history. Failure to save. Assets, housing, bubble, financial panic. Demographics, wealth, boomers, falling values. Fuzzy numbers. Energy, oil, growth. Peak Oil. Environment, resources, exploitation, change."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our beautiful Milky Way Galaxy - Texas Star Party

Galactic Center of Milky Way Rises over Texas Star Party taken on April 21-22, 2009.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Doctor Manhattan - Vishnu / Krishna

Dr Manhattan's unusual hyperconsciousness allows him to perceive time in multiple facets. He slides through time and has a keen sense of predestination. For him, all time is simultaneous; all things happen at once. Therefore, he knows what "will" happen in "the future" but is incapable of doing anything about it. An obviously complex, distant, otherworldly character, Manhattan is ageless and indestructible but poignantly paradoxical in his fatalistic yet omnipotent existence.

Some even claim that Dr Manhattan might even be an indirect allegorical reference to Vishnu / Krishna.

Dr Manhattan appears to transcend space / time, talks metaphysically about reality, life and death. Dr. Manhattan seems beyond human, beyond super-hero, evolving god-like. He has a blue hue around him like Vishnu/Krishna.

Of course that in itself, doest mean anything, however lets roll back 60-years to the time of the first test of the Atomic Bomb.

In July 16th 1945, the Manhattan project, conducted the first atomic bomb tests, at Jornada del Muerto desert near the Trinity site in the White Sands Missile Range. Supervising scientist Robert Oppenheimer (a big believer of the Vedas/Upanishads) quoted Vishnu / Krishna from the Bhagavad Gita - "I am become death - the destroyer of worlds", just as the first Atomic bomb was detonated.

Afterwards, he recalls: "We knew the world would not be the same, few people laughed, few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the prince that he should do his duty and to impress him he takes on his multi-arm form and says - 'now i am become death, the destroyer of worlds.' -- i suppose we all thought that one way or another." - J. Robert Oppenheimer

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Silent Revolution

“On the surface of the world right now there is war and violence and things seem dark. But calmly and quietly, at the same time, something else is happening. Underground an inner revolution is taking place, and certain individuals are being called to a higher light. It is a silent revolution - from the inside out, from the ground up. This is a Global operation, a Spiritual Conspiracy.

There are sleeper cells in every nation on the planet. You won't see us on the T.V. You won't read about us in the newspaper. You won't hear about us on the radio. We don't seek any glory. We don't wear any uniform. We come in all shapes and sizes, colours and styles. Most of us work anonymously. We are quietly working behind the scenes in every country and culture of the world - cities big and small, mountains and valleys, in farms and villages, tribes and remote islands. You could pass by one of us on the street and not even notice. We go undercover. We remain behind the scenes.

It is of no concern to us who takes the final credit, but simply that the work gets done. Occasionally we spot each other in the street. We give a quiet nod and continue on our way. During the day many of us pretend we have "normal jobs." But behind the false storefront at night is where the real work takes a place. Some call us the Conscious Army. We are slowly creating a new world with the power of our minds and hearts. We follow, with passion and joy.

Our orders come from the Central Spiritual Intelligence. We are dropping soft, secret love bombs when no one is looking: Poems ~ Hugs ~ Music ~ Photography ~ Movies ~ Kind words ~ Smiles ~ Meditation and prayer ~ Dance - Art ~ Social activism ~ Websites - Blogs ~ Random acts of kindness.

We each express ourselves in our own unique ways with our own unique gifts and talents. “Be the change you want to see in the world” - that is the motto that fills our hearts. We know it is the only way real transformation takes place. We know that quietly and humbly we have the power of all the oceans combined. Our work is slow and meticulous. Like the formation of mountains, it is not even visible at first glance. And yet with it entire tectonic plates shall be moved in the centuries to come. Love is the new religion of the 21st century.

You don't have to be a highly educated person or have any exceptional knowledge to understand it. It comes from the intelligence of the heart, embedded in the timeless evolutionary pulse of all human beings. Be the change you want to see in the world. Nobody else can do it for you. We are now recruiting. Perhaps you will join us. Or already have. All are welcome. The door is open.”

~ Author Unknown