So here we are, in the last day of 2014, and I figured I’ll take a little time and maybe get in one last wrap-up note for the end of the year. I’ve already rambled on a bit about it, obviously, this being part 4 and all, but, good God, that hardly covers it. Among other things, I’m always well aware that very often, I’m finding myself repeating things, for a couple of simple reasons. One being that it seems like the same stuff, a variety of subjects, keep raising their ugly heads, either in some semi-new events or circumstances, or, sometimes, the same old shit repeating more or less the same. The second reason, sadly, is how much of it isn’t getting through to people… although that veers off on to the side topic of the fact that it isn’t like this little corner of the web has some large attentive readership.
Yes, 2014 has been quite a pile of something. Considering the nature of it all, forgive me is I start to bounce around a bit, as I proceed, trying to get one last bit in to end the year. I started to write something about “as I try to make sense of it all…”, but instantly stopped as I realized that making sense of many things from this year would be asking a bit much.
Doing a bit of web skimming, I read a little piece on the Wired magazine site saying “2014 Kinda Sucked…”. Gee. Ya think? (That really was the beginning part of the title, by the way.) It’s actually 2014 Kinda Sucked: A Look at Our Slow Descent Into Dystopia. I don’t recommend the article, and I’ll try to remember to come back to that later, as one part of it in particular is about a big subject.
On a side note, while looking around, I noticed another Wired article with the text “The tech world has a knack for the unexpected. In many ways, this is its reason for being.“. Actually, I always thought the reason for being for the “tech world” is to make things that are useful for something, preferably actually working properly. What a concept, eh? But that’s cracking open still another big stinky subject. I know that for me a big ugly part of 2014 has been dealing with “tech” problems. That’s still another subject all its own, with its own character of “where do I even start?”.
I don’t want to get dug down into that bog, but there, I think, is a large chunk of material about dysfunction in 2014, about a kind of general mass entrancement with shiny objects, a sort of collection of strange fetishes, often completely disregarding the facts of how so much just fails to actually work properly. I have my own stories, over the course of this year, not just about the ridiculous basic failures of the “tech” kind, but added to the actual failures, the absurdly contorted twists and turns of parties responsible going on and on in astonishing time-wasting circus performances of making some sort of show of pretending to deal with “issues”, while avoiding actually even properly acknowledging the problems, never mind doing anything to fix them.
Right there is something of a larger theme, that is, similarities, maybe a kind of pattern, of problems in all kinds of different areas; not just the problems themselves, but the ways people go through all kinds of contortions and pretensions about appearing to “address problems” when they aren’t even acknowledging the problems as what they are.
Earlier today, something popped up online, yet another big subject item, about a bit of recent bad news in the public realm. Somebody commented that this was really old news, just another manifestation, and it occurred to me that, perhaps, 2015 might possibly be the year when an awful lot of old news finally starts to register in the minds of people who have managed to avoid and ignore it. I’ve been hammering on a lot of that old news myself, right here, even being repetitive in what I’m doing at this moment, pointing out, again, how often I’m addressing the stuff. Big and sometimes messy complex problems, with massive confusion and various forms of pretense, are not fixed by piling on even more of that, and I think that an awful lot of pretense and delusions are going to come crashing down under their own weight, combined with the inability to maintain them anymore.
Having just written all that, I put this aside and went to attend to other things, and then go look at other things, online, and without running through all the detail, I was struck by a number of different things popping up that led me to a thought, that it might not be too far off the mark to suggest that 2014 has been a year of serious cognitive dissonance.
That leads to all kinds of potential subjects. Again… where to start?
I happened to pass by a TV with CNN droning out of it earlier today, and was both shocked and unsurprised, a combination becoming a tad too familiar, to hear some talking head spewing nonsense about the US becoming “an oil powerhouse”, resulting from “shale oil” (a common misnomer applied to the stuff actually more properly called “tight oil”, especially because “shale oil” is actually a term for kerogen, something much different). Apparently this chattering was coming forth because, I then heard, the government policy has changed to now allow exports of crude oil from the United States. Here we have the stack of problems I’ve been trying to point out, against the sea of bullshit flooding the American public psyche. The fact is that the United States is indeed pumping out oil from the Earth at a rate that puts it near the top of the list of nations ranked in daily extraction rates of petroleum, something that’s often noted in news stories, while failing to fully get people’s heads around the problem that this volume of oil flow is, as it has been for around 60 years now, well short of the amount of oil actually used here in the United States each day. That is further confused by people playing with the figures in a way that is extremely casual, to put it most generously, and unbelievably dishonest or self-deluding, to put it more plainly, by counting petroleum and “other liquids” as “oil production”, something to keep in mind if you dig into the numbers yourself, which you can do, if you take some time, by examining data on the US Energy Information Administration website.
The notion of an “oil boom” presented as the narrative these days, mainly because of “tight oil” deposits in the Bakken formation around North Dakota, has seriously warped American public consensus about the oil situation, leading to half baked notions from people who really don’t know the picture at all, beyond the confused and confusing nonsense, delusions, and even raw deceptions they get in the news and statements from government officialdom or representatives of various oil related businesses. Narrow the view of oil production charts to the last few years, and it looks impressive in the steep upward rise resulting from the increased activity in tight oil extraction. Look at the longer term, and it becomes apparent that things are still significantly below the peak of 1970-1971, and way below the rates needed to even cover US oil consumption, never mind exporting the stuff.
That isn’t even getting to the rapid depletion that comes with “tight oil” wells, and the higher costs of the activities, from the complexity, and getting much less oil for a given amount of well drilling activity, and the fact that all that means that the whole enterprise only works if crude oil selling prices are high enough to support all that. That’s not all, as the whole “boom” there is likely, by the geological nature of the thing, to be peaking and into serious and rapid decline very soon, like within the next few years, and that will mean the end of that recent dramatic positive slope on the ‘US oil production” graph.
All this is old news to anybody paying attention, but, then, how many people are paying attention? Maybe more to the point here, again repeating myself endlessly, I realize, how many people think they’re paying attention, and informed, and have no idea, because they’re absorbing a steady diet of bullshit; hype, delusions, wishful thinking, and outright lying?
So speaking of outright lying, on the international scale, that takes us back to that Wired article I mentioned at the top.
Go check out the article, and right at the top, there is a very good, if very grim, composite photograph of what is apparently the large public square in Kiev where the main action happened in the coup in early 2014. Later in the article, the subject of events in that region came up, and… incredibly, and yet, not surprisingly, the article gets the whole thing completely, fundamentally wrong. I mean, just totally backwards inverted how badly can you mangle this anyway wrong.
That might sum up quite a lot about 2014 right there.