Category Archives: How the World Really Works

The Wonderful, Messy Process of Self-Organization

pedestal left after statue of slave trader was removed in Bristol, UK; image from NPR taken by Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP We humans seem to like order, and there are several ways of achieving it. We are inclined to prefer simpler, easier-to-understand … Continue reading

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Changing Things That Don’t Make Sense

I coined Pollard’s Law of Complexity nearly 20 years ago, to try to sum up what I thought was the most important practical learning from my years of study of complexity theory. Here’s how I worded it: POLLARD’S LAW OF … Continue reading

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Collapse Happens Slowly… and Then Very Suddenly

David Ehrenfeld, in Beginning Again (1994), describes our civilization as a ragged flywheel, over-built, patched and rusty, spinning faster and faster and beginning to rattle and moan as it comes apart: There goes a chunk — the sick and aged along with … Continue reading

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Links of the Month: July 2020

cartoon by the late Dana Fradon, in The New Yorker, way back in 1976 One of the signs of social collapse is, ironically, the simultaneous emergence of autocratic demagogues and a soaring distrust of perceived ‘leaders’ of all kinds — … Continue reading

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There Is No Trade-Off

The mainstream and social media, and most politicians and corporations, keep telling us that as long as CoVid-19 is with us we have to find a delicate balance between looking after our collective health (ie saving lives) and salvaging the … Continue reading

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Freedom Fighters

[This article is an attempt to convey an appreciation and support for the Black Lives Matter movement and other struggles against systemic racism and oppression, within the context of the ongoing global struggle for freedom, justice and sanity we all … Continue reading

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CoVid-19 Update #9: What We Still Don’t Know

image by V Altounian in Science magazine showing some of the early discoveries about the widespread and serious effects of CoVid-19 on the body (other effects, and unique effects on some infected children, have been found since this report) I … Continue reading

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The Enemy of My Enemy

2018 photo from the Kremlin website The malleability of the human mind, and of “popular consensus”, is both fascinating and terrifying. At a time when the last humans who witnessed the atrocities committed with the full consent of their armies’ … Continue reading

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Links of the Month: June 2020

screenshot of top of a recent CBC headlines page A comment on free access to information: Over the past three months, more and more newspapers and other media sources have put paywalls, ad-blockers, compulsory ‘registrations’, article limits and other restrictions … Continue reading

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The Perpetual Growth Machine

This is a bit of a Straw Man thought experiment. It suggests that economic collapse might only occur when we can no longer keep generating more and more cheap energy, rather than when we realize that the current global mountain … Continue reading

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