Links of the Month: April 2024

cartoon by Michael Leunig

When I look back at what the world seemed to be like, in my youth in the 1960s, it sometimes seems as if nothing has changed at all. We’re still fighting the same battles, supporting and confronting the same ideologies and misconceptions. In other ways, everything seems different now — the amount of information and misinformation available is vastly greater, but the ignorance and incapacity of most people across the political spectrum also seems paradoxically greater. And the overall level of competence, especially among people in ‘management’ and positions of power, seems to have unarguably declined enormously. The bozos are now driving the bus.

This perhaps, is what inevitably happens when a system gets overly large and unwieldy. It just stops working properly. And then it stops working entirely.


the latest from Copernicus: Bye-bye 1.5; 2.0º here we come!

Why is collapse surprising us?: Tim Morgan re-summarizes the latest evidence of everything falling apart, despite a still-prevailing absurd belief that something is going to magically save us.

Running out of fresh water: Andrew Nikiforuk reviews our globally rapidly-diminishing supply of fresh water.

More people than we thought: A new report shows that the UN and other population projection agencies have, yet again, been overly complacent and overly optimistic in predicting a levelling off of human population growth. Thanks to Richard Heinberg for the link.

Climate migration is not just immigration: A new book suggests that many of the people desperately migrating to new homes in the US will be coming from elsewhere in the country, trying to escape domestic ecological collapse.

So you thought hydro power was “renewable”: In light of a staggering record-low snowpack, BC Hydro is preparing to import even more hydrocarbon-based energy from the US than it has during the last few drought-heavy years.

When trees become carbon-emitters: Erik Michaels demolishes the dream that “regenerative agriculture” can play a role in abating climate collapse. And in another article he describes facing the reality of the inevitability of collapse (and mentions yours truly).

We can’t even get close to ‘there’ from here: Tim Watkins thoroughly deconstructs the utterly impossible targets the UK has set for shifting to “renewable” energy.

This is what social collapse looks like: Haiti is a failed state, now controlled by oligarchs, domestic and foreign armies, and gangs. Listen to get a taste of what life will be like everywhere if economic and political collapse leads to social collapse.


graphic by John Atkinson from the memebrary

When the only measure of value is commercial profit: A short essay by Caitlin Johnstone about being aware that what we’re being asked to take into our bodies, our brains, and our homes, is mostly not being done for our welfare; more and more, it’s up to us to look after that.

The benefits of human composting: Another way of giving back to the earth at the end of your life.

Challenging a sacred sports myth: Sports columnist Andrew Berkshire has been absolutely excoriated for daring to suggest that often extraordinary sports accomplishments are possible only for those with exceptional social privilege, and that the myth that “anyone can accomplish anything” if they only work hard at it, is wrong, and often cruel.

Taking care: An astonishing cartoon from Matthew Inman at The Oatmeal on dealing with grief, based on a poem by Callista Buchen. Thanks to Hank and John Green for the link.

Not buying the hate: Independent Jewish Voices rejects the ongoing Israeli genocide and calls for an immediate ceasefire and just peace in Israel-Palestine. Thanks to Sharon Goldberg for the link.


this is also from the memebrary; good thing we no longer have to worry about the things on the left!

Corpocracy, Imperialism & Fascism: Short takes (thanks to John Whiting for many of these):

Propaganda, Censorship, Misinformation and Disinformation: Short takes:


again from the memebrary; I think this is very clever, so if anyone can decode the reference bottom right and identify the original author, I’d love to know who it was

Cloning your beloved deceased pet: Ordering clones from the genetic matter of a dead animal is expensive, risky, and exposes the ‘clones’ to genetic abnormalities. Is this new technology truly an ‘advance’, or is it, like the $500,000/year pills for rare and specialized diseases, an indulgence for the rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else? Especially in a world with so many pets waiting for adoption. And how soon will people want clones of their dead human relatives?

Headlines from The Beaverton (the Canadian equivalent to The Onion; ask a Canadian to explain the humour):

  • Media promise to start covering Pierre Poilievre’s transphobic comments as soon as they finish 50th story on how Liberals are unpopular
  • In honour of Mulroney, national funeral to be privatized
  • Financial planner recommends having more money
  • To combat self-checkout theft, stores experimenting with new human cashier pilot program
  • “Law & Order Toronto” program criticized as unrealistic after showing Toronto police actually trying to solve crimes
  • “If only someone had the power to make corporations behave better,” laments prime minister
  • OJ Simpson dies surrounded by family members he didn’t murder
  • US Supreme Court rules woman’s life ends at conception
  • Study: Best way to get rid of a body is to check it as luggage with Air Canada

More Lari Basilio: The amazing craft of a Brasilian maestro.

The Fourth Turning: End Times?: A review of Peter Turchin’s latest book on the long arcs of civilizations and their castes.

Western pop music 2023 in one song: The latest mashup by DJ Earworm. Clever, fun, and way better than the rather unimaginative individual songs it incorporates.

The demise of quality education: For those who checked out the Sabine Hossenfelder, NPR and DeSantis links above, Aurélien puts it all into a fall-of-the-PMC (Professional Managerial Caste) cultural context.

Has global warming happened before?: How the bloom of an arctic fern during the Cambrian Explosion (14ºC above recent average) may have prevented runaway Hothouse Earth and precipitated the ice age(s) that followed.

Sudoku Land: Also via Hank and John, it’s Sudoku, but, uh, with land.

Tardigrades!: And here’s Hank talking about our favourite mysterious tiny animal.


yes, this is a real book in a series by Chris Ferrie; reading to your kids is important

From Aaron Bushnell, the self-immolating anti-war-in-Gaza protester, on imagining (thanks to Caitlin Johnstone for the link):

I’ve realized that a lot of the difference between me and my less radical friends is that they are less capable of imagining a better world than I am. I follow YouTubers like Andrewism that fill my head with concrete images of free, post-scarcity communities and it makes me so much more prepared to reject things about the current world, because I’ve imagined how things could be and that helps me see how extremely bullshit things are right now.

What I’m trying to say is, it’s so important to imagine a better world. Let your thoughts run wild with idealistic dreams of what the world should look like, and let the pain and anger at how it’s not that way flow through you. Let it free your mind and fuel your rage against the machine.

It’s not too late for you or anyone. We can have the world of our dreams tomorrow, but we have to be willing to fight today.

From Callista Buchen, who inspired the Oatmeal cartoon linked above, in the DMQ:


For a while, my daughter worried about a catastrophic hole in the ground wherever we were going. Mom, what if the library is just a giant hole? What if the cereal aisle is a big hole? She imagined canyons replacing each familiar landmark. At every intersection, every turn I promised her there would no hole. She’d plead: But what will we do? You’ll see, I would say, everything will be fine. When she stopped asking, I grieved her lost worry like the death of an imaginary friend, but since she’s first stacked the blocks in the living room, she’s understood that what we build we can crash.

Anything can go boom, she says now to her little brother, who wants the tower higher, higher still. Mom will hold it, she tells him. She pauses and adds, for now.

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1 Response to Links of the Month: April 2024

  1. Vera says:

    Tardigrades! Who knew?! Fabulous.

    Read the article by a prof at U of Florida. Very enjoyable, written by a witty craftsman with words. Too bad he turns his (pretty ubiquitous) tale of woe into an attack at DeSantis who apparently has not been able yet to apply his malevolent axe to this particular university, but he is bad bad bad and did some bad things elsewhere so it must all be his fault! Sigh.

    As some perceptive commenters noted: “If only we could have seen it coming. The forces in play here have been in motion for a quarter century and tenured faculty have not addressed it and in many ways aided and abetted.” [You don’t say!]

    “Whining about this 30 years in after never standing up in an actionable or meaningful way: the typical humanities professors 1980-2024. Smug job, nice gig, got lucky, born in the right zipcode and decade. Waited it out, got old, got fat. Now you can retire and watch the smoke from afar and write articles to pretend you were the morally good actors after contributing… what to the fight?” [Well, better late than never. The prof writes about exactly the same destruction by the Managerial Aristocracy that Aurelien writes about.]

    Here is a highlight of his writing (when he describes the new president forced on the uni by the board of trustees):
    “A theatrical performance with no audience as such, only a houseful of victims. The lions eat the circus and then tweet about it. Ask no questions, tell only lies, and double down, triple down, quadruple down. The ineffably stupid ‘move fast and break things’ that has so much to answer for in our time. Our new ‘Innovation Hub’ has an asinine three-word slogan: ‘Grow Ignite Disrupt’. It would make just as much sense to have ‘Paper Scissors Stone’ for a motto. And rather more to have ‘Smash Grab Run’.”

    These sorts of people run nearly everything nowadays. Clown World.

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