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

Quick Takes 2: The End Of Wild Fish Approaches, Decline Of The Dollar, And More

So, let’s do another quick takes. I’m feeling slightly compulsive about clearing out some of my backlog of stuff I should write about but never get to.


One of the signs of Boeing’s decline (other than massive price over-runs and planes falling out of the sky), was when they decided to get rid of their wind tunnel and use computer modeling, and it’s something I noted at the time. So it’s interesting to me that the Chinese have just completed the world’s largest wind tunnel, specifically meant for testing hypersonic plane and missile models.

Computer models can be useful, but they aren’t the real world and relying on them when you can do direct observation is—stupid, and the sort of cost-cutting that leads to huge errors and costs down the road.


State Farm has decided to no longer insure new customers homes in California! Why? Because of forest fires. Having worked for an insurance company home office, I can assure you that this is a cold mathematical decision. It will spread beyond California and if the government wants home insurance in a lot of places, it’s going to have to subsidize it or just do it themselves. (Government insurance is almost always cheaper than private but insuring stuff that truly is at very high risk is basically stupid.)

This is a half climate change, half capitalism issue. PG&E, the California electricity company has not been clearly brush around its poles and lines or replacing old poles, lines and equipment. They have, however, been paying huge dividends. Power supply is also something that government does best, though there’s some room for private (heavily regulated) generation.

The easiest way to make outsize profits is to push your costs onto other people. Walmart and Amazon telling their employees to get food stamps is another example, but neglecting maintainence that leads to thousands of houses being burnt down is another.


Another of those “it’s happening faster than we expected” stories about climate change, in this case, ocean circulation slowing more quickly than expected. This leads to the oceans being a worse sink for carbon, leading to faster overall climate change, so it’s a compounding thing and it leads to less nutrients and oxygen for ocean life. If you’re young or maybe even middle aged, you will see the full collapse of fish stocks.


In the “end of the dollar” news, ten Asean countries have agreed to cooperate in creating a currency for trade among themselves.

They are “Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.”

The end of the US dollar as international trade currency isn’t here yet, but it’s getting closer. The BRICS are acting on this (and multiple countries want to join BRICS) and oil deals are being cut in non-dollar terms.

A great deal of US privilege and US standard of living comes from having the global trade and reserve currency, and so does much of America’s ability to sanction other countries. It is, indeed, other countries desire to not be subject to US currency/bank based sanctions that is driving much of this, and the seizing of Russia’s reserves was the wake up call, whether one thinks it was justified or not.


Back in the 70s one of my uncles was friends with a marine biologist in British Columbia, Canada. He stated that he expected to see the end of the BC salmon run in his lifetime. I suspect he was wrong, he probably died in the 2010s, but he wasn’t far wrong. It looks like the Alaska (and therefore BC) salmon run has collapsed, and it’s unlikely to come back. If it does, it will be brief.

The end of wild seafood is on the horizon.


And that’s it for today’s quick takes.

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Quick Takes: American Can’t Build Ships; Plants Feel Pain & More


Open Thread


  1. Arthur

    If I may, I wish to throw a thought out to the world for discussion. And it’s not far removed from this quick takes, as Ian mentioned the collapse of the fisheries. I’m sure everyone has seen stories or is living through the terrible smoke conditions caused by the wildfires in Canada. Well, today the morons on Fox (and any number of other rightwing media) have stated that this is nothing to worry about. You know, sort of a ‘pay no attention to that man behind the curtain’ thing. I realize that anyone with an I.Q. above 75 knows that decline and fall, at least of the west, is beyond question at this point. But when this kind of stupidity is presented to the public and sadly believed by a good number. . .well, I have to wonder if we haven’t really and truly crossed the Rubicon.

  2. Trinity

    It was never their intention to build a working jet. There’s too much money to be made (stolen) from their suppliers and taxpayers and whoever else falls for their spiel. But I agree, using computer models for anything except estimates or approximations is to invite failure. The real world is too complex to model with a discrete calculating machine. But, when all you have is a computer, everything looks like it should be converted to bits and bytes.

  3. Keith in Modesto

    I like this quick takes format, it’s a good addition to the site. I wonder, Ian, if you would welcome suggestions for future quick-take items. I have two.

    First, Newsnation (a website of which I’ve previously never heard) has published an interview with an US Air Force veteran named David Grusch claiming that the US government has a long-standing program to retrieve and study “craft” of non-human origin. I saw this on Rising (the Briahna Joy Gray and Robby Soave program from The Hill). See here:

    Second, several days ago a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, in answer to a question, warned that supplying nuclear weapons to Ukraine would lead to worldwide collapse or worse, saying “If someone in the West wants to turn off everything on this planet — both light and, in principle, existence — then they will probably start supplying nuclear weapons to the Kyiv regime. But that’s the end of it then. Of everything. It just needs to be recognized right away.” To me, this raised the question whether the Russian government has “heard chatter” suggesting that NATO or the Pentagon is seriously considering supplying nuclear weapons to Ukraine, or is Moscow just playing up the seriousness of a proxy war between Russia and the U.S.? See:

  4. GlassHammer

    “when this kind of stupidity is presented to the public and sadly believed by a good number. . .” – Arthur

    American news is no longer a broadcast, it’s a narrowcast targeted at a select audience which means its not supposed to make sense or appeal to most people.

    If it makes you feel any better, most of the American public relies on social media gossip to navigate the world not the evening news. (This is due to the breakdown of the publics trust to the point that now they only trust information from their friends, neighbors, and co-workers.)

  5. different clue


    Fox News reaches a selected silo full of Foxanons. So the concept that ” wildfire smoke is good for you” is reaching all the ” right people “. Its a Darwin Filter for them.

    heh heh heh heh . . . . .

  6. Purple Library Guy

    Even without climate change, I feel like we’ve been fishing the oceans out; every time one stock is fished to nothing, they just switch to the next, but it’s diminishing returns and moving down the food chain. I remember a marine biologist decades ago saying something like “If things keep on there will be nothing left in the oceans except nasty little creatures nobody wants to eat.”
    Of course with climate change, even a lot of those will be gone.

  7. Creigh Gordon

    Computer models? All models are wrong, some are useful.

  8. different clue

    I hope someone thinks to transplant some wild salmon eggs into the northernmost rivers emptying into the Arctic Ocean . . . . some of the midsize rivers emptying into Hudson’s Bay, any smaller rivers and streams coming off of Elsmere Island, Baffin Island and stuff like that, and the huge rivers in Russia and Siberia going into the Arctic Ocean from there. And also the Mackenzie River.

    If the Arctic Ocean remains cool enough to retain enough oxygen to keep salmon alive to maturity, this would permit some salmon species to remain biologically non-extinct in the wild, against the day when Organized Civilization Man dewarms the global enough that salmon can live in the Pacific again.

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