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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Human Destiny? - Infinity Express #Flight2100


…the story of…

Infinity Express Flight 2100: Entropy Fueled

Not since the dawn of time has one short story so deeply rocked and stirred the minds of readers worldwide. From beginning to end, it intoxicates your thoughts and senses, leaving you with just one inevitable question?

November 15th 2013

At First Financial Insights and other participating websites.

On this November 15th 2013, 7 pm (EST), you are invited to join the many thousands worldwide attending this Red Carpet Event at First Financial Insights that Premiers:  

 “Infinity Express Flight 2100: Entropy Fueled"

In less than five minutes, this short story takes you from the dawn of time, to a place where eternities meet eternities.  So bookmark this site, mark this time, and be one of the first of your friends to tune in and know the journey of our times!
Don’t forget your Boarding Pass…

First Financial Insights

October 30, 2013

Are you ready to board this Starship? Are you sure?

Be sure to invite a friend or two to this gala social media event, so that you may share thoughts, questions and ideas. It should enhance the overall learning experience and help you formulate questions, opinions and action ideas.
So help us all spread the word and #Hashtag or Tweet or Post


Let’s start the conversation…

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Earth's State of Population

Earth’s State of Population:

To diagnose, Doctors Need Metrics

Problem Overview

While I agree with the conclusions of the analysis regarding the unlikelihood of achieving sustainability, it is doing so from a similar but different conceptual framework - call it the eyes of a dispassionate Alien Doctor. Eyes that also conclude that the planet can never achieve any sort of sustainable population level because…

…earthlings are constantly trying to measure yards with inchsticks.

And without effective calibration metrics and devices, it is impossible to accurately diagnose analyze, remedy, manage or resolve any situation. It is the same as having either a thermometer or speedometer device that constantly show inaccurate and random readings – sooner or later, you get yourself into a heap of trouble, including extreme illness or death.

When it comes to state of population measures, there is no generally accepted accurate metric or unit of measure and thus no possible way to calibrate “the state of population.”  (Adding up individual head counts is a largely irrelevant number for management purposes as supported and confirmed by comparative numerical illustrations below.) Again, so would you ever drive a car without knowing its speed? Yet we continue to talk of population control with little or no understanding of what and how to measure its current state. There is no effective unit of relevant measure to be applied by conceptual devices. Making it impossible to diagnose, analyze, project, plan, remedy or create the desired sustainable population state. Without these tools, we are destined to randomly drive not just a car, but an entire planet over the cliff.

Key Assumptions

Here is a simple illustration that acts to explain the calibration and metric issues regarding “the state of population.” First, it is well known that annual oil consumption per capita, in North America, Europe and Japan (Western Complex), averages anywhere from 32 to 36 barrels per capita. While India and China (Eastern Complex), developing countries with over 3 billion in combined populations, annually average a mere one or two barrels per person. 

Thus, using this proxy measure, the ecological and consumption footprint is said and calculated to be 17 times (17:1 ratio) greater for each person living in the Western Complex. Given the known relationships between oil consumption and its environmental effects, this footprint is thus assumed to also share proportionately in the maladies now affecting the planet, in terms of climate, oceans, economics, geopolitical issues and all forms of biodegradations.

Case Study Illustrations

Now here’s the good news, with Doctor Alien’s powers, the Doctor was able to reduce our planet’s population to one billion people in fifty years through birth restrictions, natural attrition and other civil means, without war, conflict or any other sort of adverse human expense. Everyone should be overwhelmed with joy as there are now 6 billion fewer people on the planet and all existence concerns and threats should start  improving. Humanity should now be able to survive for hundreds of more years. One cannot imagine that anybody would be displeased with this great success – the miracle of all times!

Except for our good Doctor Alien. Because the bad news is that the remaining one billion are only Western Complex people and they have also concurrently doubled their footprint over the past fifty years, to a 34:1 ratio*, while they continued pursuing the infinite growth theories prescribed by their trusted neo-classical economic gurus. Life was good. Converting this, however, to the Eastern Complex’s individual footprint from fifty years back, the planet now has an equivalent population of 34 billion Eastern Complex people. It is now severely overcapacity.

* Eastern Complex people, for purposes of this illustration did not increase their footprint over the fifty year period it is considered the base or steady state.

Including a population equivalency of 500 million Western Complex people embedded in today’s 7.1 billion figure – what stands out in this hypothetical experiment, is that even with a dramatic decrease of 6 billion to 1 billion in global population numbers; we end up being worse off by more than doubling in footprint terms. Why? Because the new population consists only of 1 billion Western Complex persons, who were also busy doubling their ecological and consumption footprints, pursuing endless growth, over the past fifty years of global depopulation.

Here’s another way to look at this experiment in fifty years. For a moment, personify yourself as the planet earth and you have to make a decision about what Complex offers you the best opportunity to survive and build a long-term relationship. You have only two choices. You can choose to cohabit with 1 billion people from the Western Complex or 7 billion people from the Eastern Complex who do not pursue an endless growth strategy. Even with its 6 billion more people, for strictly rationale reasons, you choose the Eastern Complex simply because your longevity timeline is extended roughly five-fold (34/7). That is the most logical decision based on the arithmetic outcomes using the equivalent population metrics. On the other hand, if you decided based strictly on the absolute numbers, that 1 billion is lower than 7 billion, then you would have curtailed your life-expectancy by 75%.  (As an aside, most smokers would probably have no problem quitting this addiction when faced with these grim numbers)

Imagine that! For the planet, in this numeric experiment, the 7 Billion low-consuming people are clearly a much better choice, than the 1 billion hyper-consuming addicted people!  Most of us at first blush, would have likely thought otherwise. We did

Preliminary Conclusions

Leading to the conclusion that often-used unit of measure or metric “absolute population by persons “does not in any way calibrate “the state of the population” and it is not a meaningful metric or relevant unit of measure in any way whatsoever in this regard – you just are driving the car without a speedometer and surely heading for a heap of trouble - probably over the cliff. For planetary management purposes the number has limited utility on its own.

Moreover, the much better unit of measure or metric, calibrates “the state of population” based on ‘population equivalents ‘A metric that moves to embedding and calculating the aggregate of a specific population’s individual ecological and consumptive footprints on the planet. Shifting to measuring and managing planetary affairs based on generally accept “population equivalent metrics,” rather than just simple headcounts. is both profound and far-reaching. But, without qualification it is absolutely imperative if one hopes to better manage the population and planet’s resources and conditions towards a mix achieving their optimal longevities.

For as the good Doctor Alien’s final Inter-galactic Committee Report reads:

“…earthlings can no longer afford to be constantly trying to measure yards with inchsticks…”

T.A McNeil
First Financial Insights
October 18,2013

“Without accurate measurements we cannot even effectively diagnose the patient to begin with…”
Inter-Galactic Committee Earth Report*
October, 2013


Friday, October 18, 2013



Top Priorities

Rule #1: Top priorities are non-linear

A few days back a number of colleagues were discussing whether over-population or climate change should have a greater priority. One person stated that such a debate was meaningless, as they both must be addressed in equal form and substance. I agreed, but took it all one step further. Writing that there are multiple threats facing humanity that need to be dealt with concurrently and equally. As each threat entails unknown, unknowns which could bring about unspeakable events. Our fragility has never been so complex and exposed. 

Comments: October 17, 2013

I concur and believe there is no sense debating what problem has the greatest priority, as there are just too many unknown, unknowns. Four practical concerns come readily to mind. One, the other reactors at Fukushima could blow sky-high at any moment with undefinable outcomes.Two, all pollinating bugs could disappear everywhere, in short order; seriously disrupting global food chains.Three, biochemical events could rapidly accelerate the acidification of the Oceans in just months - then all bets are off. Four, a limited nuclear outburst in the Middle East could trigger Russia's automated and antiquated "dead-hand launch system" that effects an all-out strike on Western targets.

Notably, these concerns do not include more popular discussion topics such as; financial collapse, climate change, and overpopulation. Suggesting that we face multiple issues whose ranking values in terms of priority are hidden. Leading one to assert that the actual problem is that there is no complete solution because humanity ultimately faces the universal constraints of entropy and infinity. To my knowledge, applied physics has not discovered any devices or means that would allow us to leap over these barriers. 

It is then paradoxical that there is no solution, which in and of itself is the solution.    

Moreover, facing the governing laws of physics and the vast number of unknown, unknowns it seems debating, discoursing or conversing about prioritising these concerns would bear little fruit as there are no absolute metrics that could be applied to objectively weight these concerns. Even if that were possible, there is always the possibility that some other concern would jump onto the agenda, seemingly out of the blue  - making all preceding concerns and debates completely irrelevant. 

So , that's why I agree with you and conclude that we'll just have deal with them all concurrently, notwithstanding what gets in our way.


T.A McNeil
First Financial Insights
October 17, 2013    

Sunday, October 13, 2013



Economics Fails?

The question of why economics failed came up in a recent economic forum "Unlearning Economics" wherein the following response was provided. This is obviously a short version of a much more in depth complex answer but should serve to drive the fundamental point across "Economics ignores the macro-physical rules of reality at great peril" It is a peril, that in the end, exponentially advances the last chapters of the human condition. 

"Economics simply fails because it ignores the laws of physics, exponential mathematics and the concept of eternity. It falsely believes its abstractions and theories, which create a make-believe positive-sum-game world, will, by sheer hope and dreams, overcome and defeat the negative-sum game constraints that define existential reality. It AIN'T going to happen - Entropy and Eternity will win the day - being absolutes that you cannot convince, negotiate or legislate in any way.

When Einstein said he was not sure about eternity, but certain there was no end to human stupidity - there is little doubt he was thinking specifically about economics with its beliefs, gurus and sheep...

So the writing is on the wall, as economies all over the world are beginning to look more like Nauru or Easter Island with every passing day. From Cyprus and Iceland, to PIIGS, to Egypt and Syria and now to even Venezuela or possibly Japan - what is perfectly clear is that when you run out of inputs (i.e. resources) it is utterly impossible to produce outputs, such as food, regardless of how much Keynesian currency and debt you print and create, to feed your hungry civilians. "Again, it just AIN'T going to happen.”

Now you try explaining that to an Economist. Good Luck!"

T A McNeil
CEO and Founder
First Financial Insights Inc.
October 14, 2013

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them"