TED Conversations

Mitch SMith


This conversation is closed.

Climate: advancing in the war of the memes

In our new world of productive abstraction and "higher IQ" we have a task never before possible:
The numbers are in - our climate is on a path to present more change than humans can adapt to.

The technology and the need are all present to avoid this outcome.
The only impediment now is a war of memes - truth against fiction.
The battle for political will.

My idea is to arm ourselves with the memic weaponry being utilised by the untruthful against us (the truthful).

Please help me construct memic missiles to turn the tide.

Here is my first salvo:
There are no climate deniers any more - only time-wasters.

This missile is deployed against denialists by simply saying "oh - you are a time waster?" and refraining from using the word "denier"

It explodes by popping the dignity of denial hidden under a false veil of prudence. Then the capsule of "denialism" ceases to become a flag under which to rally.

Can you suggest some more potential memic munitions?
We will need as many as we can get.

"Make no mistake" this is a "war on ignorance"

And, as the numbers show, the stakes are high.

Let us make sure that this war does not produce its opposite like "the war on terror" and "the war on drugs".
Let us actually fight to win. Wouldn't that be a refreshing change!

Let the army of the honest prevail.

Unleash the memes of truth!

etc ... etc ... ad infinitum

(Time-wasters would be advised not to participate here - you will be used for target practice)

Topics: climate change

Closing Statement from Mitch SMith


2 years ago, I got in touch with my brother to warn him about the impending personal challenges that we will have to face as energy goes into the chaotic weather system that we all live in. AKA climate change.

My brother said I was an idiot - that his church assures him that this is a political piece of rubbish that we can safely ignore.

I was shocked. I am his brother, and he prefers his church.

I tried to let him know, that from my understanding of chaos math, that when this happens, you will not see trends - you will see a massive increase in the dynamics you face .. for instance, el-nino will start getting larger an start becoming more sudden.

Averages will look the same, but in-between, things will get more "bangy".

I was wrong - averages show clear temperature trends - but I was right - listen to the on-the-ground experiences. The winds are becoming more dynamically gusty .. the temperatures are plunging from one extreme to the next, rainfall bangs between drought and flood overnight.

This is climate change.

My brother agrees with me now - because his church recently told him so. So I took the opportunity to let him watch the methane question .. and put him on the list of people to leave behind - we cannot afford time wasters - there is not room left for love.

I am going off grid.

Climate change manifests through our institutions - they are betraying us like falling dominos.
Motherhood, healthcare, education, money, government, markets, technology - all of these no longer work.

They have all been blown flat - not by average forces .. but by explosive "gusts" of change.

Abandon adaptation - recover adaptability.

Turn - face, enjoy - do not look back - let the time wasters burn..

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Oct 10 2013: ...

    "Carbon was fun, Next!!"
    • thumb
      Oct 10 2013: Hmm ... that could re-open the nuclear gates again ...
      • thumb
        Oct 10 2013: Thorium looks good to me.

        There are big questions about the nature of entropy.
        The system "at rest" relies on ambient energy .. there is no need for tapping mass.
        However, if the intention is to exceed the entropic gradient, then mass is the only source we know to accelerate the entropic flows.

        Solar might be the "bridging" energy supply .. the gas thing was clearly a confidence-trick committed by T-bone Pickens (and his ilk).

        You will see his propagandist talk here on TED .. interesting that he made that statement well after the fracking operations had taken full hold in the global economy - so his talk was a diversionary tactic.

        The problem with solar is that it bypasses the Earth solution - photosynthesis. Photosynthesis opens a wide margin for complex biodiversity - solar energy does not do that.
        Imagine a world completely driven by solar. If this is achieved, then what use will we have for biodiversity?
        The answer will be that humans are only a subsidiary component of biodiversity - but that might not be obvious until it is too late.
        • thumb
          Oct 11 2013: My personal experience with Thorium aligns with the usual nuclear energy propaganda, as I grew up within spitting distance of the THTR-300, a a thorium high-temperature nuclear reactor in pebble bed core design.

          This reactor became famous on May 4th in 1986 by its 'fuel pebble event' by which it released radioactive dust into the environment, which happened to be my home.


          I was 17 at that time and this event became my final turning point on nuclear energy.

          In between the Chernobyl disaster on 26th of April of that year and this 'fuel pebble event' in my area, we had a school-trip to the THTR-300 Thorium reactor and you may imagine, that we students asked many questions regarding safety issues to the official PR representative.

          We got the same 'nothing to worry about' meme and in perfect detail we were explained why this specific reactor design was so superior on this matter and assured, that it was safe.

          Especially after Chernobyl the lobbyists had to work overtime, and they did.

          A view days later a Thorium fuel pebble broke within a feeding-pipeline and kicked of a chain of events which hasn't been thought of before. The reactor went immediately on emergency shut-down, yet the pipe was clogged and the situation got out of control.

          It doesn't feel good to live within two fallout zones, that of Chernobyl and that of the THTR-300, which made clear to me, that nuclear power is no option whatsoever, as there never is a 100% safety and that words are just words.

          According to the lobbyists risk-calculations, Fukushima wasn't due to have happened yet and just another proof of their real agenda.

          I got sick about the recent re-discovery of Thorium as THE NEW AGE nuclear technology, and when I read about the latest research on 'molten-salt' reactors I get some really dark ideas where this is heading to. Especially, as corrosion in metals was part of my former work.
        • thumb
          Oct 11 2013: If you are interested, have a look at this talk about the new reactor design in which a participant asked a questions regarding safety referencing the 'German pebble event' at the end of this presentation (around 12:03 min):


          All said before was just great, all is save, all is cheaper, much smaller and more smart.

          When specifically asked, we get to her that they learn .. and we get to hear laughter ...

          Just another point on a highly dangerous learning curve!

          Oh, and where would you have placed an emergency energy support system within a nuclear power plant close to an ocean and within a seismic active zone? I would certainly not have put them in a basement below water-level and definitely not all generators at the same spot.

          So much about safety, imagination and worst case scenarios ...
        • thumb
          Oct 11 2013: The 'gas thing' is an capitalistic and patriotic approach to fix the problem, yet markets doesn't work here. Just another time-waster.

          Photosynthesis would be the final solution, yet we need to gap the bridge in between fast if we ever want to get there. My personal favorite on this is geothermal energy. Its everywhere, its abundant and the technology necessary already available to us.

          Iceland is the only example at the moment because of cheap oil. Its deeper to get at other places yet everywhere within our reach. Ironically, the drilling technology is only used to get more oil instead ...
      • thumb
        Oct 11 2013: HI Lejan,

        Many thanks - you see, real experience is worth a thousand books!

        I will take your experience as confirmation that the quest to exceed the entropic gradient is a fool's quest.

        I was keeping a small window of doubt about it, but that would seem a waste of my credibility. I thank you from saving me from that!

        I was just reading about Kropotkin .. apparently he came to the same conclusion as me about the tribal reality of humans - which, in itself, sets the natural limit to the amount of power any human is competent to command. The number 150 seems to be a historically recognised limit to the number of humans which can effectively function as a social unit.
        Here is the wiki on Kropotkin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Kropotkin
        I got this reference through Chris Hedges - who quotes the 150-person limit as support of his observations of the dissolution of the Occupy movement (limits to consensus - see here at 1;04:20
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LAl04fRESE )
        I arrived separately at the number as the limit to functional empathy - a brain capacity limit. I had first set it at 200 as per Desmond Morris' estimates - and suggested by Sapolski's work on primate troops, but it recognises dependents that make up to 100 more than the stable productive adult limit.
        There is much consternation about leisure time as the prerequisite for thinking, but a troop of baboons need only work 3 hours a day for life's necessities. This is a hint that more is less as far as humans are concerned, and there was never any need to exceed, or bypass, the entropic gradient that we already have.. Any attempt to do so seems to be a symptom of deep pathology.

        As a meme, we might urge people to cast-off these nutbags and resume the good-life they distracted us from.
        • thumb
          Oct 12 2013: Interesting thoughts!

          I always wondered if there was a natural maximum below which a group of people could rise towards their highest potentials, if the conditions they form for themselves would nurture this goal. What would happen at the perimeter towards other groups and how stable would a multitude of 'natural maxima' behave over time?

          If I look at history as a playground of concepts, it doesn't seem that there is such 'natural' sizing and if there ever was, it didn't remain stable. The tendency is rather growing than shrinking as shrinking usually occurs in the stage of decay of large groups.

          Following that little what I just read about Kropotkin in your link, why didn't this 'mutual aid, mutual support, and voluntary cooperation' prove its efficiency in this very 'maxima'? Wouldn't people have noticed a tipping point at which things didn't work as well anymore as they used to before when they grew above this optimum? Or was this a generational process, of which comparison couldn't keep track on? Like ... Yes grandpa, the good old times, we know, we know ...

          I am pretty certain that there are such optimal sizes, yet I think their units aren't numbers.

          Could we polish 150 turds? Would they form an efficient tribe?

          As a child I noticed, that playing with one friend was fine, yet it could become instable playing in a group of three, as 2 could team up against 1 and it did happen. Groups larger three developed its own dynamic, yet this dynamic was always rooted in the children who formed that very group.

          The same goes for teams. You can have 10 of the worlds top leading scientists, if their 'chemistry' isn't working, so is the whole team. The outcome would be way less due to the energy loss by internal friction.

          Chris Hedges said, you can't teach morals and I partly agree on that as morals are prone to indoctrination. Yet wouldn't a synchronized moral code be necessary to stabilize '150' individuals in their favor? And aren't morals a variable?
        • thumb
          Oct 12 2013: If that was true, changing morals of the group could exceed those natural maxima, as well as 'incompatible' morals of single individuals, could endanger a whole tribe.

          I just recently learned again, that 'mutual aid, mutual support, and voluntary cooperation' is absolutely alien to some people. It is neither desirable, nor understandable to them and I tend to see the origin of that in what Gabor Maté describes as personal detachment due to childhood trauma.

          If as a child, my empathy, my emotional development has been crippled, the whole dimension in which 'aid, support and cooperation' takes its natural place later in life isn't just there or damaged beyond repair.

          Taking a closer look on todays spread in careerism, moral corruption and greed we could well conclude that the leading elite is all rooted in child abuse.

          I found it statistically significant, that in my business contacts, the most trustworthy, the most friendly and cooperative people happened to be NOT in focus of their careers, yet were resonating with their jobs and just good people.

          Yet there is also this other breed, whose only concern is their own advantage. Their network are 'positions', not friends. This type has spread in large numbers within the last centuries and more of them are to be expected in the future.

          Maybe we should see workaholics and careerist as mentally ill people and help them to cure their mental condition. This would not only help them, but also society, as we may again could subdivide into more natural and smaller entities and to take better care of us and especially of our children. I think it would be worth to try, but how do we avoid indoctrination and how could all of us become good parents for our children?
        • thumb
          Oct 12 2013: It just popped into my mind.

          Isn't it interesting, that society is completely fine to accept that the condition of epilepsy is not allowed for a public bus-driver. And that people who suffer badly of it aren't even allowed to have a driving license.

          As this is OK and not considered as any form of discrimination, so what makes us accept to be dominated by other diseases? Is this because psychology isn't considered 'hard science'?

          I have no idea ...
      • thumb
        Oct 12 2013: Wow .. lots to think about there! Many thanks!

        Assumption both enables us and prevents us. It lies in the noise - that which we don't know.
        At the very best we can discern a little of the noise as that which we know that we don't know .. but that's enough to define investigation - a path that leads to a possible infinity of investigation .. so it's not over .. the road is all we have - no destination can be assumed - because assumption is .. assumption - not yet known.

        The best we can do is keep forging into that which we know that we don't know, and be informed as things intrude from the place that we don't know that we don't know.

        It is from that where we are reminded that life is in our faces - the wind in our hair - to expect novelty - and that to live accepting surprise is a better way to be alive than to remain within the realm of what we expect.

        I have this over-riding imperative to remain in "child-time" .. you know how the years have an annoying tendency to go subjectively faster, year-on -year .. this is because of our increased ability to anticipate from experience - we find more and more monents that we know will happen .. we plan for them, and as we get better at it, that's what happens .. but we lived it in the plan .. when it actually happened, we did not live it.

        Thus .. a fool has a longer life than a wise man .. and the wise are wise to be fools.

        Because why are we here?? Except to live .. and that seems wise to me.
        Thus my shame at being such a monumental fool as to put my chin into the wind of judgement .. and not running to the safety of the academy and the death of tenure .. how foolish is that?

        And then, if I choose fools for friends?
        If they are fools in the eyes of the academy, then .. so long as my foolish friends do not kill me .. Then we can together crap upon the academy from great heights and enjoy the spatter-pattern.
        • thumb
          Oct 12 2013: A vivid imagination combined with a mouth full of coffee is critical for sensitive computer equipment combined with 'spatter-pattern' ... in cause AND in effect ... :o)

          I could not agree more with you on remaining in 'child-time' as wise fools and to allow 'the wind in our hair'. Your observations and conclusions resonate with mine. Yet you also spark a lot of thinking, new ideas, new combinations, new angles to see from, that my thanks belong to you as well.

          I just love the Kafkaesque 'pink rock' example and thought, that only my nation was capable of such deeds, but yours? I guess, ignorance does not need any visa for spreading.

          I am curious how this story will end and let me know when it is time for me to check the conditions if Australians are accepted as political refugees in my country ... :o)

          The horror of artificial stupidity is, that some of their victims doesn't even sense its artificial component anymore. It played a major role in the unpleasant history of my nation.

          Yet I am not certain if the bulletproof US war on terrorism is based on artificial stupidity. It may well be that there is more intelligence behind as it seems at first glance. Stupid it is, yet for whom it isn't is more significant to me on this matter. Lets have a conspiracy conspiracy about it.

          Will you upload the 'pink noise' footage on youtube for us to see? :o)
      • thumb
        Oct 12 2013: OK .. I see that we are in the thread "advancing memes"

        In our dialogue, this is not really important - an opportunity for great dialogue should take any excuse. And take it ruthlessly!

        And publicly! - demonstration is the greatest teacher :) what did Mr Jesus say? "Don't hide your light under a bushel."? .. words put in the mouth of Arnold Schwarzenegger would do as well ;) it is ancient social programming - and those old guys were our equals - very clever!

        And it is best we understand that not all programmers are nice people - and not all that our fiends do is to our benefit .. the best we can hope is that they spare us the worst of their impact - and still be able to support them.

        All that said:

        I just walked past a hilarious tableaux ..

        It was a concrete rock in the middle of a pathway - some municipal employee had painted it pink and put a picket around it with "danger" printed on tape wound around the picket .. I wish I had a camera to capture it.
        IT was an inferred story - some "resident" had complained about the rock and made it the local council's problem .. the local council worker had acted within guidelines and cordoned-off the danger as per operating procedure.

        So I took the rock out of the pink-paint silhouette and put it outside of the picket.
        Tomorrow I fully intend to put anoher picket around the displaced rock - and the original picket with tape inscribed with "LOL".

        The day after, I will put another picket around the tableaux with the tape-notation "Caution - dangerous meme".
        Then the day after I will put yet another picket around it plus a camera-on-a-pole with the tap[e-notation "Expanding this meme is an offence - minimum penalty death".

        This is an example of what I refer to as "artificial stupidity".
        I learned this truth as a maintenance programmer - nothing is bulletproof - attempts at bullet-proofing will exceed the budget.

        .. "USA - LOL!"

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.