The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Hot Enough to Die

So, the temperatures in the Pacific Northwest probably cooked around a billion sea animals.


A billion.

The town of Lytton, which reached Canada’s hottest ever temperature, later burned down: 90 percent of the buildings gone. (Back in the 80s, I drove through Lytton a few times, can’t say I know it, but I spent a lot of time in the country around it.)

We’ve already hit high enough temperatures to kill some animals outright.

Humans can get there as well: It’s known as the wet bulb temperature.

The wet-bulb temperature (WBT) is the temperature read by a thermometer covered in water-soaked cloth (wet-bulb thermometer) over which air is passed.

This is to see what temperature it is with evaporation. If the wet bulb temperature hits 35 celcius, humans can’t lose heat, even if they drink water, and will die.

This corresponds to 95 percent humidity, and 88 F (31.1 Celcius.) The lower the humidity, the more heat you can take before dying, a.k.a., “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”

These are ideals, though, a lot of people die at lower wet-bulb temperatures, because they aren’t perfectly healthy or the heat just keeps going and going.

A researcher noted that just how bad high wet-bulb is:

“Even if they’re in perfect health, even if they’re sitting in the shade, even if they’re wearing clothes that make it easy in principle to sweat, even if they have an endless supply of water,” Horton said. “If there’s enough moisture in the air, it’s thermodynamically impossible to prevent the body from overheating.” 

Coming to somewhere near you?

Most of these wet bulb conditions were concentrated in South Asia, the coastal Middle East, and southwest North AmericaA growing number of other regions are nearing this point: The Southeast US, the Gulf of Mexico and Northern Australia, all denoted by green on the map, are seeing higher daily maximum wet bulb temperatures. 

Obviously air conditioning can protect you, but what if your AC goes out, or worse, there’s a brown or black out? A few hours later, you’re dead. Willing to bet your life on over-stressed power grids?

And, while a little misleading (they aren’t here in any great numbers, yet…), this is normal:

Originally, conditions like this weren’t expected until the mid 21st century, according to climate models. But they are actually already here.

Fun stuff, but what makes it even more difficult is climate instability; after all, much of the Pacific Northwest, especially along the coast, was known for its mild temperatures. (I grew up there, and can attest.)

The core thing to understand is less about heat specifically, and more that climate will keep getting more dangerous, and that you can’t count on government or corporations to keep you safe. You shouldn’t, if you can avoid it, put your life at risk by assuming “the power grid won’t go out when I need it most” or “there’ll always be a continuous supply of food.”

Expect that the highly-taut, over-efficient, no-slack, and unmaintained systems that run our society. optimized for maximum profit and not for resilience, will fail under shocks they were never designed to withstand — especially as our elites now expect such shocks, like Covid, to make them even richer and more powerful.

You aren’t precisely on your own, but don’t count on the normal of the past few decades to predict the future — except the normal of “no one with any power actually cares if you live or die or suffer, if they can make some money from your suffering.”

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The Spread of New Covid Variants


Open Thread


  1. Eric Anderson

    Again, applicable:

    A society that worships at the alter of individuality rarely produces self-actualized individuals. When all you have is yourself against the world, the world wins everytime. Individualism can only remain ascendant so long as the world provides low hanging fruit.

    I posit the impossibility of founding a country like the U.S. enshrining individual rights in an age of resource scarcity.

  2. Kurt Zumdieck

    Having suffered through the HEAT DOME 2021 I can attest to the one factor that was not mentioned was that this happened during High Summer. The hottest part of the day is 6pm and the sun doesn’t go down til almost ten pm.

    Duration of the heat is almost sixteen hours. In the tropics it’s dark by seven so you have a chance to cool down. Surprised more people didn’t die, but my money is on a huge undercount.

    there was no relief anywhere even on the water. Salish Sea are baked all the little critters.

    Starvation looms

  3. Hugh

    We have known for more than 10 years the American Southwest was going to burn up. It’s in megadrought with another La Nina on the horizon. It is really no surprise that associated areas like Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest would be affected.

    As Ian has noted in the past, with climate change the future is happening now and is in general worse than we imagined. Unfortunately, this foreknowledge does not lessen the shock.

    Unfortunately too, in response to this, the inertia of our inert elites and our reflex factionalism and tribalism mean we will likely do nothing or more too little to late as always.

  4. George

    “Our climate models aren’t yet sophisticated enough even to have foreseen the omega heat dome.” Few venture to the Arctic so few notice the warming taking place there yet the heat dome experienced recently in the NW was a result of that climate change. Artic warming caused a couple weeks of irregularity in the jet stream forcing it into an “omega” pattern over the Northwest.

    In June, the city of Nuwaseeb, Kuwait hit 127.7F (53.2C), the hottest temperature recorded anywhere in the world that month. So poor Lytton hit 122F, the hottest temperature on record any place in Canada ever; that is only 5 degrees F. cooler than Nuwaseeb!

  5. Paul W.

    I’m far from being well-versed on the topic of house construction, especially those built a long time ago. But two years ago I purchased a 120+ year old home in a small town on the eastern edge of Portugal. It is constructed in such a manner, both in terms of positioning and materials, that in spite of many weeks of 30-40°c days over the summer, it remains remarkably cool inside with no air conditioning.

    The (coolest) ground floor never exceeds the low 20°s, and the upper floors are always well cooler than the exterior. The walls are very thick, and made of stone. There is very little direct sunlight through any windows, and wooden blinds can easily be closed if desired.

    There are some unusual advantages relating to the location, as it is at a higher elevation, and receives a cooling breeze through the house on most evenings. But my point is that if one happens to be in a position to move, and/or construct a new house, there are low-tech ways to build in resilience to the potential effects of the warming problem.

  6. “I posit the impossibility of founding a country like the U.S. enshrining individual rights in an age of resource scarcity.” [Eric Anderson]

    You might be interested in a book by Brian Griffith, The Gardens of Their Dreams. Hard to get, though, so you may wish to try a library near to you.

    To Paul W.:
    From ~1975-1985, I read a number of books on passive solar heating and cooling, how to build so that as little mechanical assistance as possible would be needed. Unfortunately, I moved central Texas to east Texas, where humidity denies the builder most of the effective choices except for ventilation/air movement.

  7. different clue

    A lot of casualities will be randomly scattered among the global warming realists who understand what is happening and the global no-warming denialists who don’t understand what is happening, or who pretend not to understand it.

    Let us hope that the casualties fall more upon the global no-warming denialists.

  8. Eric Anderson

    That looks fascinating. I’ve read Cadillac Desert twice and this seems to be in the same tradition. Looking forward to it.
    Thank you

  9. Eric Anderson

    Yes, it’s really the same effect in reverse as what we’re calling a “polar vortex.”

    “KGW Chief Meteorologist Matt Zaffino said a heat dome is really just a dome of high pressure, the same effect that causes a polar vortex in the winter. Zaffino said “heat dome” and “polar vortex” have been common vernacular in meteorological circles for years. While the weather phenomena aren’t new, the terms have found viral fame on social media over the last few years. ”

    As noted in Ezekiel, the four horsemen of the apocalypse are “sword, famine, wild beasts, and plague.” Sorry Ezekial, the four horsemen are sword, famine, plague, and anthropogenic climate change; literally created by 6 of the 7 deadly sins.

    And here you were thinking the seven deadly sins were about how we treat one another … instead of the planet. #GodIsATreehugger

  10. Willy

    At least by the time the hordes of Latin Americans moving north overtops Americas Really Great Border Wall, we’ll have virtual robot weaponry in place, with the gun operators working in air conditioned comfort.

    Maybe there’ll be money to be made in solar/wind powered air-conditioned underground bunkers?

    And finally, maybe the Mad Max movies will be rebooted yet again, except this time it’s wet bulb and not nukular radiation which wrecked all the civilizations. The obvious question is how they’ll artfully CGI the wild fight scenes which’ll have to be done at night, since everybody’ll be living well underground during the day.

    I’m trying to stay upbeat and come up with a few optimistic ideas.

  11. George

    Yes Eric and thanks for the link. Explains a lot. 125 miles from here, Death Valley hit 129 today, Henderson did 116 which is common in summer. Only thing saving us is low humidity.

  12. synoia

    Originally, conditions like this weren’t expected until the mid 21st century, according to climate models. But they are actually already here.

    That’s because the “climate models” I saw were straight line extrapolations. All natural systems follow “S” shaped growth curves.

    Welcome to the double exponential. It will get worse. Billions will die.

  13. different clue


    Billions will die?

    Well . . . . that’s what the Overclass had in mind all along.

  14. different clue

    Such heat waves can strike anywhere anywhen more and more into the future. Assuming society remains organized enough to have weather services which can predict a high chance of them happening 2-3 days before they happen, what could “society” or little units of “society” or individuals do with such predictions?

    Perhaps cities/towns/municipalities could have networks of neighborhood-scale cool-shelters built ahead of time for things like this. They could have huge thermal mass and be super-insulated on the outside. Then, for 3, 2 and 1 days before the coming heat event, they could be air-conditioned around the clock to get their thermal mass temperature down to 50 degrees or so, when the grid is not yet stretched. Then, when the heat event begins, the people can be let inside and the air conditioning turned off so the massive cool-retaining shelter building can stay cool and then coolish and then merely warm for a couple of days on its own stored cool.

    Likewise, detached homedwellers with a thermally massive cool-room in their house, preferrably the basement for even better cool retention, could do the same thing. Spend the several days before the predicted heat event pre-chilling the cool room when the grid is not strained yet . . . so they can switch off their air conditioning for several days of hiding in the cool room and not add strain to the grid.

    Just a thought for what its worth, if anything.

    Also, and even more crudely, fill a bathtub with coldest water and every family member take turns soaking in it till it is too warm to cool them any more. Then drain it, hopefully to a special pipe targetted to reach an outdoor garden rather than just back into the sewer, so the water can keep a garden alive after it can’t cool down people any more. Then refill the bathtub and do it again. Then do it all again. And so on till the deadly heat wave ends.

  15. Apparently, this is from a vice dot com article “Scientists Studying Temperature at Which Humans Spontaneously Die With Increasing Urgency”. The sub-title is
    “Wet-bulb” conditions are when heat and humidity can cause otherwise healthy humans to overheat and die. They’re happening more often than ever.”

    Reading the article, I see no support for this specific claim “They’re happening more often than ever.” Now, as I’ve recently mentioned, it’s important not to swallow quantitative claims without seeing error bars. But this claim wasn’t quantified, at all, even without error bars.

    So, I immediately suspected global warming porn. You know, record high this, record high that, with no reference to a statistical analysis. That’s nice to have so you can develop a rational frame of reference, instead of being a dupe for propaganda. You can see lots and lots of global COOLING porn at, though the site owner recently died, so don’t count on it sticking around. But, clearly, an irrational approach works in both directions.

    Googling furher, I believe that I see covered the original source in “Climate scientists take on the ‘it’s not the heat, its the humidity’ meme”. Thee’s a world map with graphical presentation of wet-bulb affected areas, with the largest susceptible area in Brazil, comprising about 1/4 of it’s territory.

    Reading further:

    The study found that by the 2070s, high wet-bulb readings that now occur maybe only once a year could prevail 100 to 250 days of the year in some parts of the tropics. In the southeast United States, wet-bulb temperatures now sometimes reach an already oppressive 29 or 30 degrees Celsius; by the 2070s or 2080s, such weather could occur 25 to 40 days each year, say the researchers.

    High heat + high humidity is worthy of serious discussion, and it looks like – surprisingly – there hasn’t been a lot published on this. I say that as somebody who has lived in Texas 3 times, and the first was in humid Houston. Not pleasant! You don’t need temperature/humidity conditions sufficient to kill you, in order to change your lifestyle; or even prompt you to move.

    But as for what has actually transpired, already, I see a comment (also with no references):

    “Climate alarmist graph predictions are based on the assumption that increasing co2 will cause the atmosphere to warm which in turn will cause humidity to increase which is where they get the bulk of their warming from. A circular argument or perpetual motion machine.

    Problem is that humidity has decreased for decades.”

    This suggests, to me – I could be wrong – that there’s currently no statistically significant increase in “wet bulb days”. In which case, the vice sub-title “They’re happening more often than ever.” would be a lie.


    I also see no support for the claim that a billion fish died. This reminds me of a claim being pushed by “climate scientist” Suzuki, about us being in the midst of a great extinction. Tim Ball, author of “The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science”, chased Suzuki around on this fantastic claim, which is based on very contrived model by E.O. Wilson. Ball had the temerity to demand of Suzuki the names of 1 or a few of the species that had gone extinct. (I can’t remember the exact number.)

  16. As for a possible low tech (but not no tech) solution to deal with life threatening heat/humidity, I would at least look at Sterling Engines made from long pipes stuck in the ground, to a depth of X feet (I think X > 8 is sufficient), where the temperatures are generally about 55 degrees, IIRC, no matter what’s happing on the surface. The mechanical energy output would be used to circulate air through piping that also is run X feet down, so you’d be blowing air that’s about that temperature.

    I was shocked to learn, recently, that Stirling engines are about as efficient as internal combustion engines. I had generally thought of them as clever toys.

    This idea is probably all but useless in an urban setting….

  17. Ché Pasa

    Being a contrarian can be useful to others but it’s often just noise.

    I remember well when Uniformitarianism in geology finally yielded to plate tectonics and (modified) Catastrophism after decades of agitation that was resisted strenuously by the Big Men of the field. They saw contrary evidence and ideas as nothing but noise.

    Well, they died, you see, and only when they died was a new and more accurate model and paradigm possible. It doesn’t mean the contrarians had been right in every respect; they weren’t. But they had the insight that the Standard Model of Uniformitarians was deeply, fundamentally flawed. The evidence contradicted the Big Men over and over again, yet they continued to insist that their models were right, and they would brook no challenge so long as they lived.

    The problem was — and still is — that once a modified Catastrophism was accepted in geology, practically every geologic anomaly was explained as a collision with a Giant Asteroid; even the existence of the Pacific Ocean was explained as the result of a collision” The Moon’s existence was posited as the result of a collision. On and on. In the planetary realm, the reliance on collisions to explain observations is frequently absurd.

    Plate tectonics is very useful but it doesn’t explain all the anomalies on the surface of the Earth and it is often ignored when discussion turns to the polar regions which for some reason are posited as always to have been at the poles when more than likely they weren’t and couldn’t have been according to the plate tectonics model.

    When it comes to climate change and human caused global warming, the outlines were proposed by contrarians in the 19th century and maybe even before. The science behind it was pretty well understood — if not yet acknowledged by the Big Men — by the 1950s. Alternatives like Global Cooling were proposed and failed, but the rationale was valid enough. The problem was that it wasn’t happening, and it wasn’t likely to barring the arrival of the Giant Asteroid or all out nuclear holocaust.

    The Global Warming/Climate Change models we’re living with now have proved to be broadly correct but far too conservative in detail. Those who claim that Global Warming has accelerated much sooner than anticipated are probably right, but the Big Men (now in the background and not always named Koch, and are frequently politicians or plutocrats, not scientists) either dispute it or are figuring out ways to save themselves, bugger the rest of us. We can dispute and contend over it all we want and it doesn’t matter a bit to them. Our disputes are nothing but noise.

    What is not are the tens of thousands who have died in Europe from the extended heat not that long ago, the thousand or more dead from the heat in the Pacific Northwest barely yesterday, the increasing number and severity of “weather events” like hurricanes, drought, flooded coastlines, rising polar temperatures, melting ice caps, and so on.

    These are really happening and their effects are really being felt by real people every day. On both the micro and macro levels, conditions are getting worse in many places. The consequences are increasingly severe, and little is being done about it. Our politicians and overlords simply don’t care, do they?

  18. Plague Species

    Being a contrarian can be useful to others but it’s often just noise.

    So says the establishment about this blog and pretty all commentary herein. So, if you are dismissing what you perceive to be contrarian commentary at this blog, it’s effectively for the same reasons the establishment dismisses contrarianism. Contrarianism within contrarianism within contrarianism within contrarianism and on and on it goes into infinity like fractals. Blessed are the contrarians, for they shall inherit nothing but dismissal with much noise making in the process.

    Ben, I have one word for you. One word. Are you ready? One word. Growth. A dirty word. A sacred word. A taboo. A word and its meaning and implications that must never be discussed especially in regard to this topic of “climate change.”

  19. Plague Species

    I don’t think the Overclass want billions to die. They want billions to suffer. Suffer as long as possible. It’s their offering to the deity they worship even if they don’t consciously acknowledge that deity known as Growth.

  20. DZhMM

    “If the wet bulb temperature hits 35 celcius, humans can’t lose heat, even if they drink water, and will die.

    This corresponds to 95% humidity, and 88 F (31.1 Celcius.)”

    Bad math. 35 celsius wet-bulb corresponds to 35C at 100% humidity (the definition of ‘wet bulb temperature’, wherein no additional evaporative cooling happens). At 95% humidity, you get a bit of evaporative cooling, so just about 35.7c air temp is 35c wet bulb. The wet bulb temp cannot be any higher than the air temp, only lower.

  21. Astrid

    Different Clue,

    That just sounds like way too much work and planning. And you would need many tons of concrete or stone to create sufficient thermal mass. That’s not eco for handling what should still be infrequent extreme weather events.

    What would be doable in a functional government system is to incentive people to properly insulate one small room (preferably on the lower floor or basement in the house and install a mini-split or window unit for that room. Then during power surge demand times, the local utility announce and institute extreme tier pricing model. The power consumption sufficient to keep that room hot/cold and keep baseline appliance like fridge/freezer running is priced as normal, next tier is 5x for double that baseline consumption. The next tier is 10-20x more than the tier below it.

    The extra money collected can go towards hardening the grid, encouraging energy efficiency and resiliency, and community cooling centers for people who need it.

    I mourn for all the vegetation that has been or will be killed off by extreme temperatures. I wonder about the effects of the extreme PNW heat on the gorgeous rainforests and alpine meadows. All the flamboyant rhodies and roses and camellias used to a mild weather. You may soon have to plant for all contingencies just to have a crop to harvest.

  22. Hugh

    If you have an anti-science position, there is a whole cottage industry of sites and “experts” to back up your claims that covid is a hoax, that vaccines are evil, hydroxy mectin and bleach work but there are vast conspiracies against them, Trump won the election, climate change doesn’t exist, or isn’t that bad, or isn’t man made. Reality made to order.

  23. Astrid


    Let’s hope that woke-ism is just a fad and doesn’t permanently destroy what’s left of academia from the inside, just as it’s also weathering MBAism and Koch and general anti- intellectualism. Otherwise what gets churned out in the future (and is already getting churned out by history and crit lit departments) might make the uniformitarianism or the Lysenkoists look reasonable by contrast.

    The US seems akin to someone really crazed on drugs and half baked ideas, currently on a global murdery bender that seems likely to end in murder suicide. All empires are murdery and self mythologizing, but this one seems intent on doing a bender to out bender all previous benders.

  24. Astrid

    Hugh’s here again with “science” and “facts”. Perhaps because I’m thick minded, I genuinely don’t know what Hugh believes to be facts and science, other than that it may vaguely bend Democrat in some way. I’ve asked him and others to explain if there’s something I’m missing but so far I haven’t gotten anything back.

    My view is that scientific knowledge and general knowledge is contextual and constantly evolving, though if it stays too far from physical reality, it will likely fail over time. The scientific method and the ability to test out and refine ideas is what makes things science. Any “science” not backed by substantive evidence as to its methodology and is open to future revisions is no more sound than scholasticism was for theology.

  25. Hugh

    Don’t worry about anything, Astrid. Just keep telling yourself that China is great and all evidence to the contrary is a Western conspiracy. Or look it up. I’m sure there is a cottage industry of made up truths for that too.

  26. Ché Pasa

    Well, there isn’t much of the academy left to save thanks to the gargantuan overburden of “administration.” In fact, the overburden of “administration” has crippled pretty much all of public and much private education top to bottom. I can’t say that my formal education — which concluded in the early 1970s — was all that good. I’m aware of many failings. But at least we learned basic critical thinking skills, how to do research and present a cogent argument, essay, thesis; what citizenship meant and how to practice it; a fair assessment of science as it was then and what it needed to become; and a sense of wonder and admiration for peoples in their vast varieties all over the world. That’s stayed with me. It never goes away, though I may lose my memory along with physical abilities as I get older.

    I don’t know that current educational practices are trying for that level of comprehension and understanding, nor do they seem to teach how to learn.

    I will say this: educational practice has always been subject to fads, fashion, and fantasies. It’s the nature of the beast. I wonder if contemporary fads are all that important, though…

    A story of sorts: I was an observer (not a participant) of a webinar last week “centering” Native American leaders and scholars. I put “centering” in quotes, because that’s become the fashionable way to talk about featuring thus and so. About half the leaders and scholars were elders, the rest were young — twenties to mid-thirties — and Highly Educated at the Best Institutions. All the youngsters used the current fashionable (you might say “woke”) jargon to refer to what they did and what their mission or the mission of their non-profit or government agency was. The elders, on the other hand (most of whom also had advanced degrees at top universities), spoke normal English (and also their Native languages), without buzzwords, “wokeness”, or obscuring what they wanted to say. They didn’t skim the surface, they got down to the meat of what they felt was important to share, unvarnished, truthful, and to me anyway, very movingly.

    I know that’s a generational thing. They were speaking my language and to me.

    The youngsters, not so much. But they are speaking to one another in language their peers understand.

  27. The Global Warming/Climate Change models we’re living with now have proved to be broadly correct but far too conservative in detail.

    Well, that’s a hoot! Yeah, you can see with your own lying eyes just how “broadly” the models have performed, by looking at 33:30 in “Dr Patrick Michaels: Is Science Trustworthy?” on youtube.

    That presentation is 7 years old. In the meantime, most of the “holy” climate models have gotten even more divorced from reality. The accurate models (which predicted the least amount of global warming) are headed in the right direction. The other models, not so much. From “Climate Prediction Models ‘Worse Than We Thought’” @

    Late last year, the folks over at Carbon Brief plotted the sensitivity of all the CMIP6 models. It really is worse than we thought.

    First, the good news: the revised Russian INM-CM4.8 actually dropped its sensitivity even further, down to 1.8⁰C, and the Institute for Numerical Mathematics next-generation model, INM-CM5, was essentially the same, with 1.9⁰ of sensitivity.

    The rest of the story is indeed worse than we thought. Fourteen of the 40 models plotted by Carbon Brief had sensitivities higher than the upper limit of the UN’s 2013 range, with two of them at a scary 5.6⁰C.

    I was under the impression, perhaps mistaken, that even your conventional CO2 catastrophist scientists don’t take the extreme* IPCC GCM models seriously, anymore. So, perhaps the modelers are trying to compensate by juicing up their less wrong models. But in the wrong direction.

    It’d be nice if the media would do serious investigative reporting. Or if the CO2 catastrophists would have the nerve to show up in a serious debate. But that would make too much sense, wouldn’t it?

    Conspicuous by it’s absence, this article doesn’t mention computing aggregate error in the past, so possibly the clever climate modelers did something devious/brilliant/what-have-you by turning the feedback dial down for the past, so as to cool it off, thus making their postdictions more realistic; while turning it up for the future, thus making predictions more dire, so as to keep their funders happy.


    BTW, I’ve met Michaels and asked him why the Russian models were more accurate. He said they assigned a higher heat capacity to ocean water. Honestly, that sounds like a lucky fudge, since the thermal capacity of water is readily measured in laboratories, at any value of salinity you choose. IMNSHO, it’d be better science to figure out how much heat is escaping from the earth’s mantle into the oceans, via underseas volcanoes.** When we see sea levels rise, even during recent periods of global cooling, doesn’t that demand a thermal input? (I looked briefly into accelerated radioactive decay in the oceans, but that seems vastly under-powered for measurable thermal expansion.)

    If anybody has a $100 million to nail this down, you could do worse with your excess cash.

    * extreme = 6 deg C temperature increase in 100 years
    ** articles on this at the probably-soon-to-be-defunct

  28. Willy

    I’m not sure that anti-science is a cottage industry. Prager U (provider of conservative Cliffs Notes cartoons for children and adult children) is famously funded by the Wilks Brothers, Patrick Michaels (as noted here) by the Western Fuels Association. And so on down a very long line.

    According to Scientific American: “140 foundations funneled $558 million to almost 100 climate denial organizations from 2003 to 2010”. I doubt that any of that was for research. What we’ll likely have is more towns like Lytton burning to the ground after setting all-time records followed with professional denialists increasingly isolating themselves from reality based humans with increasing public masturbation to reality-denial porn.

  29. Mark Level

    Well, I’m working on the problem at my end. I just got a one year lease in Duluth and am leaving the Bay Area since the entire (US) West Coast seems to be entering severe drought and heat conditions for the foreseeable future. A friend moved ten days ago, but to Oregon, which to me doesn’t really solve the problem. I guess as someone pointed out above that in Northern Minnesota I will risk polar cold domes as opposed to heat domes. In any case, seems less likely and more survivable, at least at the current time. Interesting to see from the comments how much personal ideology affects perspectives on science, with even outright Climate Change Denialists on this comment board . . . I have to assume they’re over at RedState or somewhere more amenable to their fantasies as well. In any case, I feel luck to be in a place where I can move and transition. The plan is to get a small rural property in a year and stockpile enough for emergencies as/if needed. Yes, the MoTU/ Masters of the Universe do not care if the peons die en masse, they will probably just invest in areas where they can profit (crematoriums?). I’m unsure whether the quip Gandhi was said to have made when asked about “Western civilization” is true or apocryphal, but “It sounds like a good idea” no longer holds, it has obviously failed since at least the election of Reagan (thinking more deeply, likely before then) & just as with Covid, this country’s huge mass and Imperial arrogance (yes, Hugh, let’s have some wars with China over who’s the big dog, that should help) will make it worse here than in most smaller countries more in contact with reality.

  30. Soredemos

    One day metamars is going to post something of worth. That’ll be an interesting day.

  31. Hugh

    Sorry, Mark, for not being as starry-eyed as you about Chinese dictatorship. As for smaller countries more attached to reality as Gandhi would say, “What a great idea!” Indeed you should try it too.

  32. nihil obstet

    We need to define what the “academy” should do. When we decided that every child should do better than their parents, we made more formal education the supposed ladder up which the child would climb. And so everybody has to go to college. It’s the gateway to the path of higher income throughout your life. In other words, it’s an enormous waste of human thought and effort.

    Job training (STEM!!!) has completely frozen out the major purpose of education, the development of the mental means to a good life. By the 1960s, literature and history faculties had decided not only that faculty should do research but that the research should be in the same playing field as scientific research. There aren’t enough new things to say about Shakespeare to support the academic literary world, so you get the race to new ideas that have limited utility, like some of the more abstruse critical theories.

    We need to cut the academies back radically. Most advanced job training, including things like engineering, legal studies, finance, should be primarily done through apprenticeships. This would help eliminate the unequal demand and supply of jobs and the burden on students. You should have a reasonable expectation of similar income from college and non-college preparations.

    Remember, universities turned their eyes to the modern world about 100 years ago, and did the basic history and publishing as quickly as European immigration filled up the Louisiana Purchase. The need for research and training separated from the productive world is limited.

  33. Astrid


    I truly don’t think there’s any “there” “there” with woke-ism, it doesn’t have any structure or understanding. It’s just a word salad attached to a vague sense of aggrievement to everyone who came before. The parallels to the Cultural Revolution is instructive, and if the Chinese can pull out of that madness, maybe there’s a chance for us all.

    I came up the education system decades after you, but I would certainly identify with you and the elders, not the young-uns who are likely only slightly younger than me. I think it’s a mind set that started with the proliferation of X-study curriculums and then metastasized perhaps because the elite found it a useful cudgel to beat down and distract from class solidarity and real world problems.

    The liberal arts is probably dead. Even without woke-ism, it’s dead because of the expense and nonmarketableness of a liberal arts degree, and proliferation of free and near free alternatives that are frankly much less shitty. But there is still a chance to save the scientific method and take engineers who can still build stuff.

    This may all be coming from a liberal art grad who lived all her life amongst scientists and engineers. I couldn’t cut it, but I admired people who can build things and understand things, and it either works or it doesn’t. It sucks that even these doer disciplines are getting knocked around by mush brained thinking.

  34. Astrid


    Wishing you a good move. Brave of you to move to Duluth. I honestly couldn’t trade West coast weather for…that, but hope it works out. You would have water and highest measured temperature so far seems to be 97 degrees (but how’s the humidity). Hopefully you’re too far north for derechos and tornados. Make sure the HVAC is in good working order anyways and maybe get a backup.

    So far, I would say the East Coast seems least negatively affected by the changing weather patterns. Our winters seem to be getting milder except when it’s not (polar vortices) and the last few summers have not been unbearably hot except for the couple days when it would get close to 100. Seems rainier than before, but not so much as to cause flooding yet, except when I see parts of DC or NYC flooding. All in all, not much for me to complain about except the sickening abundance of wildlife in my yard.

    A good friend of mine thinks the end is near, so he decided to buy a condo near Embarcadero (on bedrock, not landfill, he insists). He’s planning to spend $5,000 to put in a closet “system”. Nothing really makes sense anymore.

    I’m still dreaming of a move to Portugal, which seems to be the only part of Western Europe to not be greatly impacted by the extreme heat and cold hitting the rest every year. Drought and tsunamis might be problems, however.

  35. Willy

    ‘Cause I’ve got friends in high places, where the cognac drowns and champagne chases
    my blues away. And I’ll be okay. I’m not big on social graces. Think I’ll slip on down to the club med oasis. Oh, I’ve got friends in high places.

    Comeon, everybody…

  36. Mark Level

    Astrid, thank you for your kind thoughts and wishes. Having grown up in the upper Midwest (North of, then in Chicago) I will readjust to the weather over some period of time. I’ve been in the Bay Area since ’89, before that New Orleans for nearly 9 years. The Bay Area has been a victim of its successes as well as failures . . . it’s interesting that you have considered Portugal. Before Covid I was considering Spain or possibly Italy for my retirement, but I have reined in my hopes a bit given the global situation. I spent a year in total living in Mexico and Central America between 1983 and ’90 or so, originally I took a 6 month trip during 1983-4 overland from Mexico thru Costa Rica, spent 4 months in Nicaragua as a “Sandalista”, picking coffee in 2 different fincas alongside other Internationalists and Nicaraguans who were in the Central Sandinista de Trabajadores (CNT/Sandanista Workers’ Union). Also 10 weeks in Spain summer 2004. I love Hispanic/ Latin cultures for the most part, but can’t achieve all my dreams at the current moment. (And Hugh, no offense, I’m sure you imagine the Nicaraguans were monsters who were planning to take their beat-up jalopies and take the “2 day drive” to Texas Ronald Reagan always went on about, and establish a “Communist dictatorship.” In actuality that was not what I saw at all, I saw kind and friendly people in a small, poor country who were squeezed between 2 horrible empires and just wanted to have some agency over their own lives and not live under a fascist US-installed dictatorship. I visited a friend in Texas after I’d returned on the way home, & after I left my friend’s dad told my buddy “traitors” like me should be executed for insufficient loyalty to the USA. I expect even Hugh as a “liberal” may not go that far?) In any case, it is time for those of us who don’t have the massive, bourgeois ideological blinders that some have to realize that, as Ian says, nobody from the Ruling Class, the pure evil side (Repukes) or pretend-Lesser Evil side (CIA, cop and deep state loving PMC) is looking out for us and establish something viable, as things belatedly fall apart.

  37. Astrid


    I wish you well and hope you will document some of what you learn about the next chapter of your life in the preparing for bad times thread. It sounds like you’ve had quite an adventurous life so far and will likely continue.

    It is hilarious to me how hard some here maintain blinders and demonize me and others just for countering some lies about China or Trump voters. At least the stakes are low here, I don’t dare say any of this to their deranged cohorts in real life.

  38. Astrid

    I’m not pro-China and certainly not pro-Trump. I can be persuaded with convincing evidence on why I’m wrong on the facts of what’s going on in Xinjiang. That’s actually exactly what’s happening.

    In fact, I used to believe that China was probably doing something pretty bad, just because they had a major terrorist threat (akin to the IRA) and I know that security is tight and Uighurs are scrutinized throughout China. The genocide story made no sense but I was willing to believe some really bad shit went down because that’s what happens when governments deal with terrorism.

    It was only when I was forced to read further into it that I hit a story that made more sense, even if that’s probably not the whole story.
    (Someone close to me IRL accused me of being a genocide supporter for saying China/Russia had the right to act as they wishes within their own borders and it’s none of US’s business to mess in the internal affairs of any other country, given US’s dismal record and the proud ignorance of US populace for what goes on in other countries. I privately let that person have a piece of my mind and he eventually conceded after I debunked the doesn’t make any sense Amnesty International hit job he proffered in defense of his position).

    But I also always believed that America’s instigating hostilities against yet another people is always bad given the track record, and when those peoples have nuclear weapons it can be unimaginably bad. I also happen to know enough about China (not that much, I don’t live there and my life does not revolve around what China thinks or does because that’s not my job, really my job and career has zero to do with China) to know that the claims made never made much sense and were at least extraordinarily exaggerated. And of course, I knew Hong Kong pretty well and the conclusions reached made no sense even in the context of Western reporting on it and what HK government did is very reasonable compared to how the West dealt with far more legitimate protests such as the BLM and yellow jacket protests or what’s happening in Columbia now.

    It’s instructive that when I ask for facts and reasoning here, and state that I’m truly open to convincing evidence (and I am, I have changed my mind on centrally held beliefs many times, starting with thinking America is a mostly a force for good in the world and Democrats mean well, it took many many many blows to arrive at my current opinions about each), the “other side” always goes straight to calling me a Chinese troll. Now it’s just a tight circle jerk of 4 of them, reinforcing each other and saying I’m a Chinese troll when I have a presence here long before China even came up as a topic.

    I don’t consider what Soredemos or Che is doing “other side” at all, even if I’m not persuaded by the evidence they provide and have my own interpretations, but I did read them and consider them carefully and substantially respond with my reasoning in the respective threads. I appreciated that they took time to give me additional information that may have changed my perspective. I do change my mind based on things I read here, that’s why I take the time to read the comments and deal with the abuse here, because there is great stuff and insight layered with the transparent mindless rubbish.

    I know I’m shouting into the wind with these end of thread giant posts, but I care about being intellectually honest and being the best balance of pragmatism and idealism that I can be. It’s been an interesting and instructive lesson to see how hard some folks are committed to being always right.

  39. Ché Pasa


    I’m less interested in the hysterics over Uyghur genocide and oppression than I am in the hysterics over Tibetan genocide and oppression given my Buddhist bent. If I thought that the Chinese were engaged in genocide in either place, I would say so, loudly and frequently.

    But that isn’t what I see from my perch out here in the wilderness. What I’ve seen — limited, very limited — is an attempt by Beijing to control restive populations in Tibet and Xinjiang through a carrot and stick approach, with the emphasis on the carrot. For some reason, the leaders in Beijing have this wild idea that they can gain the loyalty of the people of these areas by actually ensuring they have better lives under Chinese rule than they would otherwise have. And when faced with rebellion, they crack down. But using your Hong Kong example, their crack-downs are nothing like what happens in the US or Europe (east or west) to protesters and other restive souls. They are far less violent for one thing, and their justice system is (apparently) far less draconian and harsh.

    This is, I think, due to an ideology that values the masses, even in rebellion. Read Mao. He says quite clearly how to treat rebellious and contentious groups and people, how to treat defeated soldiers who fought against the Communists, and how to treat those who were alarmed at the victory of the Communists. He says, first of all, treat them with respect, listen to them, help them, make life better for them, show them that that they too can be part of a better future.

    Of course it’s an ideal not always carried out in practice — we still don’t know how awful it was in Tienanmen but I’m sure it was nowhere near Mao’s ideal. The Cultural Revolution was grotesque, and what I learned from some of those who lived through it and participated was that it was a titanic mistake instigated by Jiang Qing for personal reasons.

    Tibetans are far better off than they were under the rule of the lamas and the feudal aristocracy. Maybe they would rather not be ruled by China, and one day they may gain independence. But for now, China is trying much more carrot than stick on Tibet. Material benefits are not the only things people hold dear, however.

    I imagine the same is true in Xinjiang.

    But at this point, I see no reason to become hysterical about China’s rule over either autonomous region.

    That could change.

  40. Plague Species

    ..their crack-downs are nothing like what happens in the US or Europe (east or west) to protesters and other restive souls.

    Maybe because the CCP’s control is so pervasive, it strangles any such notion in the womb before it has a chance to be born. One way to accomplish this is to create a highly conforming society. I mentioned that cooperation trumps competition but only if that cooperation is authentic and for the right purpose and not coerced via soft and hard enforced conformity.

  41. Astrid


    I largely agree with your points and really appreciate you sharing them (just to make sure I’m not going crazy and defending China for the sake of defending China), though honestly I’m still not feeling so generous towards Mao. I think he definitely saw himself as the first emperor of a new dynasty and was playing out those patterns.

    I don’t like some of the Xi encouraged revisionism of Mao’s legacy and I do worry whether the Chinese”miracle” will go off a ledge one day because somebody got too cocky and started believing their branding a bit too much. ( Yet I want good faith politicians! There’s a paradox for me!) I’m encouraged by my recent survey that the CPC might have a big picture in mind and recognition that strength comes from wellbeing of all its people and maintaining acceptable relationships with its neighbors. I hope that thinking persists for a while and drives their behavior forward. Still, with what’s happening in the west with zombie capitalism in the west and in Latin America, that all does put the purges of Mao, Lenin, and Stalin in perspective.

    I’m sympathetic to Tibetan Buddhism and the Tibetan landscape, having travelled through the area in the late 90s and read a lot about it back in the day ( admittedly my interests were more focused on the landscape and plants than people). I certainly don’t think Chinese tourist driven development of religion is an unmitigated positive (what they’ve done to Chinese Buddhist and Dao sites is appalling in my opinion, but the Tibetan monasteries were magnificent when I visited). But all capitalism goes through an ugly growth stage, maybe the next generation can refine and improve. I only need to look at Central Asia or India/Sri Lanka/Burma to think that the Uighurs and Tibetans were not dealt such a bad fate, all things considered. CPC’s relationship is complicated and there’s no question that it expects religion to be subordinate to the state, the question is whether you can have authentic religious heritage’s in an atheist state.

    But my Chinese friends would definitely all claim to be Tibetan or Uighur in a heart beat if they could. The education, career, and material benefits of ethnicity based affirmative action is very real.

  42. anon

    I’ve read that land animals aren’t doing much better. Everything from birds to coyotes are dying in this heat. I am saddened for every living being that has to deal with this. If this heat wave ends up being a regular occurrence, there is no way that anything other than humans with air conditioning and their house pets will be able to endure.

  43. Astrid

    I definitely think that if the carrot approach didn’t work, the CPC would not hesitate to be effectively brutal with a stick approach like what Putin did in the Caucasus.

    This is what Israelis Zionists, being the racists that they are, doesn’t get. Peace and equality for Palestinians can mean exactly that. Most people want peace and to get on with their lives. As long as their interests are being looked after, they will not really make a fuss. Americans and Europeans look at the amount of turmoil in their society and think it’s normal or someone else is doing it to them. It really isn’t and it’s a sign of a society deeply in crisis.

  44. Ché Pasa

    And I would just add that as a rule, Buddhists should not be in charge of governments. That’s part of what made Tibet into such a nightmare-land prior to the Chinese takeover. But look around. Find a Buddhist government that either cannot provide a decent life for its people or which doesn’t descend into oligarchy, anarchy, and/or civil insurrection/civil war sooner rather than later.

    Buddhists can advise governments, but though I practice, I would take their advice, including the Dalai Lama’s, with a huge grain of salt.

  45. Astrid


    Really appreciate your perspective. Being a non practitioner, my knowledge of Buddhism outside of Han China is quite superficial. I could certainly see concerns about competency of Buddhist chauvinists given how Myanmar and Sri Lanka and the Tibetan government in exile have handled their minority situations. I believe Bhutan hadn’t done so badly – do let me know if I am mistaken about that, I have long wanted to travel there and wouldn’t want to do so if it’s supporting an oppressive regime.

    The project of enlightening oneself is difficult enough. I’m grateful that others do keep their eyes open and share their wisdom. Perhaps one day I will cultivate a sufficient Buddha nature to soften even the hard cases. What would Milarepa do with my quartet of haters?

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