Posts Tagged ‘Energy’


October 24, 2022

Abstract: Sun and wind are INTERMITTENT energy sources. But there is no storage. Thus, for each Gigawatt of Intermittent Energy, one Gigawatt of back-up power needs to be installed. Absent carbon-free nuclear, this means one Gigawatt of FOSSIL FUELS back-up for each Gigawatt of intermittent energy installed. As observed. Thus the position of self-proclaimed anti-nuclear ecologists is truly pro-fossil fuels. Thus CO2 emissions are at an all time high.


PUTIN And The HYDROCARBON LOBBY Seem To Have Devised The Renewable Energy Hoax. The same plutocrats, oligarchs and media propaganda are behind it all… The Biden administration own studies show this.

4 trillion dollars spent in so-called renewables, in 40 years and a reduction of only 1% or so in primary energy production from hydrocarbons. We are still above 80% in total primary energy from hydrocarbons… And that doesn’t count making plastics from hydrocarbons…

4 trillion dollars in bogus renewable energy is as much not applied in research, education, health care, etc. And the bogus renewable energy, by comforting those who engage in air travel and other energy sins, acts as a moral hazard. Bogus renewable only encourages surfers to fly on the other side of the planet to catch that wave (I had a memorable clash with a group of world class surfers flying from Paris to Tahiti, to catch that wave, and who, per their status, got priority over yours truly… although I was in line first and had paid for my family reason flight myself… I travelled for family reasons, indeed. The horde of surfers was paid by magazines, that is, plutocrats…)

Clearly the strategy of the world has been so bad in this CO2 crisis, that it’s laughable, and should be discontinued. Is it? No, and there is doubling down, especially in Europe, where some politicians, with a straight face, have decided to reduce energy use by 10% (ten percent)… next year. No problem! Uncle Xi has just reelected himself dictator of China and he commands hundreds of millions of obsequious slaves to make stuff… And Uncle Xi builds one coal plant a week! As Comrade Xi takes over the planet, he will take care of his little Europeans…

Forget Trump and his dreams of national self-sufficiency, and listen to Biden’s administration: “Nuclear Power is the Most Reliable Energy Source and It’s Not Even Close… “ An official government report, March 24, 2021.


The intermittent wind and solar have a problem: they are intermittent, unpredictable, and their average power output is way lower than official maximum output. 

Solar delivers only 25% of its rated output in electricity, wind only 35%, and natural gas 57%. As recently as 2010, coal delivered 67% but has fallen precipitously to 40%. 

Why is coal becoming inefficient? According to the National Energy Technology Laboratory, America’s coal plants increasingly are operated in inefficient, stop-start fashion to support wind and solar. A coal furnace may need hours to reach the temperature to make steam. The same holds for gas and oil, magnifying the risk of breakdowns and blackouts as observed all over the countries switching to renewables. 

Nuclear energy has by far the highest capacity factor of any other energy source. This means nuclear power plants are producing maximum power more than 92% of the time during the year.

That’s about nearly 2 times more than natural gas and coal units, and almost 3 times or more reliable than wind and solar plants.


Another aspect is deindustrialization in democracies. It is striking that hundreds of French schools are too cold, and that in France the Prime Minister announced energy consumption will have to be reduced by 10%, with cuts to industry. Now French industry is a shadow of its former self, already. Moreover, the country’s CO2 emissions per capita are already less than world average, 4 tons per capita, per year. That’s about 20% of Australia. Meanwhile a thousand kilometers to the east, more than 10,000 armored military vehicles have been destroyed in 8 months in an all-out war. One would think the time is to reindustrialization and rearmament. But no: the so-called “ecologists” look forward to a return to the Middle Ages under Czar Putin. 

Indeed, as industry is cut in democracies, it flourishes in other parts with less democracy and more arrangements for crooks… The global plutocracy profits from this traffic and tax mitigation it brings. (One should notice that, starting under Trump, and now much extended under Biden, a program of reindustrialization is under way in the USA… Differently from Western Europe.)

As I said many times, hydrogen has to be developed for storage and transportation (especially fuel cell-electric…) But that’s fully compatible with nuclear power. Actually a way to cool high temperature reactors would be to make hydrogen, and that has the advantage of making the reactors water independent…

The so-called “renewable” policy in energy for the last 40 years looks like something devised by Putin and the hydrocarbon lobbies… And also those financial operators who instinctively fear to be replaced, in awe due to them, by vulgar scientists rolling out new forms of nuclear power, immensely mighty, safe and effective: small modular reactors, thorium, high temperature, pebble, radioactive waste burning, etc.  

Aanother aspect is deindustrialization in democracies. It is striking that hundreds of French schools are too cold, and that in France the Prime Minister annouced energy consumption will have to be reduced by 10%, with cuts to industry. Now French industry is a shadow of its former self, already. Moreover, the country’s CO2 emissions, per capita ar already lees than world average, 4 tons per capita, per year. That’s about 20% of Australia. Meanwhile a thousand kilometer to the east, more than 10,000 armored military vehicles have been destroyed in 8 months in an all-out war. One would think the time is to reindustrialization and rearmament. But no: the so-called “ecologists” look forward a return to the Middle Ages under Czar Putin. 

Indeed, as industry is cut in democracies, it flourishes in other parts with less democracy and more accomodations for crooks… The global plutocracy profits from this traffic and tax mitigation it brings. (One should notice that, starting under Trump, and now much extended under Biden, a program of reindustrialization is under way in the USA… Differently from Western Europe.)

As I said many times, hydrogen has to be developed, for storage and transportation (fuel cell-electric…) But that’s fully compatible with nuclear. Actually a way to cool high temperature reactors would be to make hydrogen, and that has the advantage of making the reactors water independent…

So called renewables will be very useful if hydrogen storage and transportation is available. So the hydrogen economy has to be developed, and the base energy has to be nuclear.

Patrice Ayme 


Biden adminstration’s own graph, 2021… Those who have not studied this sort of things do not have a cogent opinion on what to do with the energy crisis…

Space Colonization For Real. And Why Humanity Needs It, To Keep On Being Human.

August 23, 2020

It’s fashionable among intellectuals of the lesser sort to spite technology. Of course, that’s perfectly idiotic, hypocritical, and base: they would not even exist without the technology and the capability to use it, which our ancestors developed, already millions of years ago… As a species. Yes, the arrogant thinker, thinking where no thought has been thought before, on which all of civilization rests, is a direct biological creation of exponentiating technology. That, and apple pie.

Arrogance is great, as long as it bears fruit, such as thoughts the commons find astounding,and one could not have had them otherwise. . But arrogance for the sake of denial bears no fruit.

Water at the poles of the Moon, where it condensates in perpetual shadows. (Artist representation).

What’s the spatial bodies we can hope to colonize? Well, it used to look real hard. If one had to lift water from Earth to space… We didn’t have the capability of launching all this water cheaply enough.

Friend Stephen Jones observed:

“Mars is our only potential candidate to colonize. Beyond our own solar system? Nope. We will never reach another solar system.”

Well, indeed, we need water, and lots of energy. Fifty years ago, it looked as if there was only one planet with water in the Solar System: Earth. Now we have found so much that we have to demonstrate life did NOT evolve out there in the Solar System. The same is true, even more so, with exoplanets. 

Now we know that Mars, Europa, Enceladus, Ganymede, Pluto… have lots of water. Europa may have more than Earth (we don’t know how deep its ocean is). Some asteroids, comets, the poles of Mercury have water. It’s also very likely that the Moon water is usable. The largest asteroid, a spherical dwarf planet, Ceres, is a water rich body, with eruption of brine in several places. Once we have water, all we need is energy to make livable quarters. NASA is fully aware of all this.

Ceres is an ocean world where water and ammonia reacted with silicate rocks. As the ocean froze, salts and other telltale minerals concentrated into deposits that are now exposed in many locations across the surface. The Dawn spacecraft, which orbited it ever closer, also found organics in several locations on Ceres’ surface.

Altogether, Ceres seems to be approximately 40% or 50% water by volume, compared to 0.1% for Earth, and 73% rock by mass. So no more lifting water up there in space: it’s there already. We just need to get there, with lots of (nuclear) energy…

And how to get there? Well Elon Musk’s SpaceX has landed one particular rocket six times already (crushing down the price to orbit: it would take just one million dollars to repair and refurbish tat rocket, SpaceX says…). His Starship is supposed to be as reusable as an helicopter (revolutionizing point to point transport on Earth, no doubt) [1]. 

But the ultimate grail is portable thermonuclear fusion… Give us this, oh Lord, and the galaxy is ours… Nobody knows is that is feasible: the Sun is not big by accident. Thermonuclear fusion works better, the bigger the reactor. we are trying to do in a room what a gigantic Brown Dwarf can barely achieve. And Red Dwarf stars are eminently unstable… 

IF portable fusion is feasible, we will conquer the entire Solar System, and missions to proximal stars are imaginable, if we master hibernation (all sorts of rodents do it, after all…)

The philosophical question is why bother? 

Why to conquer space? The answer is simple: because it raises the bar of our understanding.  

An example? NASA just announced that its perpetually deferred new space telescope the James Webb, will be launched even later than last forecast (Fall 2021 now). Why? It’s immensely complex. To fit inside the fairing of the Ariane V rocket (or any rocket), it has to be folded. The mirror system and the solar shield enfold themselves in 180 different operations… This has to work 100% on 180 operations, as the telescope will be at the L1 Lagrangian point, where Earth and Sun gravitational attractions balance each other, 600,000 kilometers away, twice the distance of the Moon.  

So this telescope is perhaps the most complex machine ever. It uses several new and finicky technologies… And so it is throughout space exploration. New tech, all over. Mastering space forces us to master those technologies. We are in a debate with space, and it teaches us a lot, this demanding master.

Look at the blackouts and fires in California: both are all about energy management. Yes, there was not enough energy to take care of the forests. Now there is not enough energy to fight fires burning into groves of 3,000 year old trees. Space teaches us to optimize energy management… in particular of creating, and using energy as efficiently as possible.

Space forces tech to go higher, better. And only new tech will save us, the Earth, and our high mental and spiritual standards… 

Space is not a luxury, it’s not just a refuge from disaster, or reality. It is the future, because humanity is a force that goes. Up.

Patrice Ayme



[1] Supporting Elon Musk directly and indirectly, I was against: it looked like a case of celebritism. Now I am happy to report I was in error (as I already said). Supporting Elon Musk with beaucoup dollars is actually the best thing Barack Obama ever did. What characterizes Musk is the boldness of vision, the “ALL HOPE AHEAD!” attitude, what Charles Quint called :”PLUS OULTRE!”

Musk’s Starship, if he gets it to work, will revolutionize transportation (the Pentagon is going to be very interested). If there is no will to reach much higher, there is no way to change much deeper, this is true all over. If there is no will for a different, better world, there is no way, and there is not even any thought going that way. Instead, the “Inch’Allah” way rules all… Suivez la direction de mon regard…

Not An Infinity Of Angels On Pinheads

July 1, 2016

Thomas Aquinas and other ludicrous pseudo-philosophers (in contradistinction with real philosophers such as Abelard) used to ponder questions about angels, such as whether they can interpenetrate (as bosons do).

Are today’s mathematicians just as ridiculous? The assumption of infinity has been “proven” by the simplest reasoning ever: if n is the largest number, clearly, (n+1) is larger. I have long disagreed with that hare-brained sort of certainty, and it’s not a matter of shooting the breeze. (My point of view has been spreading in recent years!) Just saying something exists, does not make it so (or then one would believe Hitler and Brexiters). If I say:”I am emperor of the galaxy known as the Milky Way!” that has a nice ring to it, but it does not make it so (too bad, that would be fun).

Given n symbols, each labelled by something, can one always find a new something to label (n+1) with? I say: no. Why? Because reality prevents it. Somebody (see below) objected that I confused “map” and “territory”. But I am a differential geometer, and the essential idea there, from the genius B. Riemann, is that maps allow to define “territory”:

Fundamental Idea Of Riemann: the Maps At the Bottom Are Differentiable

Fundamental Idea Of Riemann: the Maps At the Bottom Are Differentiable

The reason has to do with discoveries made between 1600 and 1923. Around 1600 Kepler tried to concretize that attraction of planets to the sun (with a 1/d law). Ishmael Boulliau (or Bullialdius) loved the eclipses (a top astronomer, a crater on the Moon is named after him). But Boulliau strongly disagreed with 1/d and gave a simple, but strong reasoning to explain it should be 1/dd, the famous inverse square law.

Newton later (supposedly) established the equivalence between the 1/dd law and Kepler’s three laws of orbital motion, thus demonstrating the former (there is some controversy as whether Newton fully demonstrated that he could assume planets were point-masses, what’s now known as Gauss’ law).

I insist upon the 1/dd law, because we have no better (roll over Einstein…), on a small-scale.

Laplace (and some British thinker) pointed out in the late 18C that this 1/dd law implied Black Holes.

In 1900, Jules Henri Poincaré demonstrated that energy had inertial mass. That’s the famous E = mcc.

So famous, it could only be attributed to a member of the superior Prussian race.

The third ingredient in the annihilation of infinity was De Broglie’s assertion that to every particle a wave should be associated. The simple fact that, in some sense a particle was a wave (or “wave-packet”), made the particle delocalized, thus attached to a neighborhood, not a point. At this point, points exited reality.

Moreover, the frequency of the wave is given by its momentum-energy, said De Broglie (and that was promptly demonstrated in various ways). That latter fact prevents to make a particle too much into a point. Because, to have short wave, it needs a high frequency, thus a high energy, and if that’s high enough, it becomes a Black Hole, and, even worse a Whole Hole (gravity falls out of sight, physics implodes).

To a variant of the preceding, in: Solution: ‘Is Infinity Real?’  Pradeep Mutalik says:

July 1, 2016 at 12:31 pm

@Patrice Ayme: It seems that you are making the exact same conflation of “the map” and “the territory” that I’ve recommended should be avoided. There is no such thing as the largest number in our conceptual model of numbers, but there is at any given point, a limit on the number of particles in the physical universe. If tomorrow we find that each fermion consists of a million vibrating strings, we can easily accommodate the new limit because of the flexible conceptual structure provided by the infinite assumption in our mathematics.


I know very well the difference between “maps” and territory: all of post-Riemann mathematics rests on it: abstract manifolds (the “territories”) are defined by “maps Fi” (such that, Fi composed with Fj is itself a differential map from an open set in Rx…xR to another, the number of Real lines R being the dimension… Instead of arrogantly pointing out that I have all the angles covered, I replied:

Dear Pradeep Mutalik:

Thanks for the answer. What limits the number of particles in a (small enough) neighborhood is density: if mass-energy density gets too high, according to (generally admitted) gravity theory, not even a graviton could come out (that’s even worse than having a Black Hole!)

According to Quantum Theory, to each particle is associated a wave, itself computed from, and expressing, the momentum-energy of said particle.

Each neighborhood could be of (barely more than) Planck radius. Tessellate the entire visible universe this way. If too each distinct wave one attaches an integer, it is clear that one will run out of waves, at some point, to label integers with. My view does not depend upon strings, super or not: I just incorporated the simplest model of strings.

Another mathematician just told me: ‘Ah, but the idea of infinity is like that of God’. Well, right. Precisely the point. Mathematics, ultimately, is abstract physics. We don’t need god in physics, as Laplace pointed out to Napoleon (“Sire, je n’ai pas besoin de cette hypothese”). (I know well that Plato and his elite, tyrant friendly friends and students replied to all of this, that they were not of this world, a view known as “Platonism”, generally embraced by mathematicians, especially if they are from plutocratic Harvard University… And I also know why this sort of self-serving, ludicrous opinion, similar to those of so-called “Saint” Thomas, a friend of the Inquisition, and various variants of Satanism, have been widely advocated for those who call for self-respect for their class of haughty persons…) 

The presence of God, aka infinity, in mathematics, is not innocuous. Many mathematical brain teasers become easier, or solvable if one assumes only a largest number (this is also how computers compute, nota bene). Assuming infinity, aka God, has diverted mathematical innovation away from the real world (say fluid flow, plasma physics, nonlinear PDEs, nonlinear waves, etc.) and into questions akin to assuming that an infinity of angels can hold on a pinhead. Well, sorry, but modern physics has an answer: only a finite number.

Patrice Ayme’



February 14, 2015

Light slows down in water. That’s a known experimental fact. The usual explanation is that, when light advances through water, it collides with water molecules. So it zigs and zags through the water, and this zig-zagging action slows it down.

This makes no sense (sorry, noble predecessors!)

After showing why it makes no sense, I will present my solution, STRUCTURED LIGHT. The reasoning squarely contradicts Einstein on the photon, and its triumph helps to demonstrate how right it is.

Structured Light Slows Down In Empty Space. I Apply To H2O

Structured Light Slows Down In Empty Space. I Apply To H2O

If the zig-zag collision theory of the slowing down of light were true, light would lose energy during these collisions. (Light speed through water is only 2/3 c; the collision theory would mean that laser light through water would cover one third more distance, simply due to haphazard collisions; thus laser light would certainly losing coherence.)

Simple basic physics shows that light loses energy: if particle P hits particle W, and particle P’s momentum changes, W momentum also changes, and so does its energy. Energy is conserved (at least for times long enough), so as P gives energy to W, P loses energy. Here P is for Photon, of course, and W for Water. (Remember Quantum Physics does not contradict Classical Mechanics; instead, it gives it a SUBSTRUCTURE, in the finer domain that subtends the Classical domain.)

So the slow-down through collision theory predicts that light will lose energy when it goes through water.

However, it does not. Light comes out of water at the same exact color, thus energy, as it came in. Laser light keeps being laser light under water. It surely would not if every single photon of the beam had to collide with a water molecule. (Notice in the link how confused research presently is about optics and liquids; my proposed reasoning is at a scale thousands of times smaller.)

Proposing that light slows down from collision is thus wrong.

So, what’s my solution?

Absolute Wave Theory.

According to said theory, propagating photons are NOT particles (Va De Retro, Einsteinas!)

What are photons, when viewed as Absolute Waves?

Einstein proposed that photons (“Lichtquanten”) were points. He made it up. He had no proof, whatsoever, that this was true. It just sounded good. Worse: he did not need point-particle photons to explain the photoelectric effect. That error has poisoned the well of physics for 110 years. Thousands of physicists repeated what Einstein said. That Einstein was given the Nobel Prize for this exact idea, is no proof of its validity, as far as I am concerned. That makes me special.

But I have very good reasons to believe photons are not points. Because:

  1. I don’t know what points are. Not only I do not know what points are physically, I don’t even know what they are, mathematically. (By the way, I know Real Analysis and some Model Theory, so I am not as naïve as I may sound to the unwary.)
  2. Light diffracts and bends around corners. Isolated photons do this. How could they do it, if they were not spread about transversally?

Here is my conclusion: Photons are structured waves. This basically means that they have some width.

This is now experimentally supported. What was published in Science on January 22, 2015?

Spatially structured photons that travel in free space slower than the speed of light. (Daniel Giovannini1,*, & Al.)

“Abstract: That the speed of light in free space is constant is a cornerstone of modern physics. However, light beams have finite transverse size, which leads to a modification of their wavevectors resulting in a change to their phase and group velocities. We study the group velocity of single photons by measuring a change in their arrival time that results from changing the beam’s transverse spatial structure. Using time-correlated photon pairs we show a reduction of the group velocity of photons in both a Bessel beam and photons in a focused Gaussian beam. In both cases, the delay is several micrometers over a propagation distance of the order of 1 m. Our work highlights that, even in free space, the invariance of the speed of light only applies to plane waves.”

So what do I propose?

That water structures photons propagating through it. Structuring is what slows light down. Instead of having just one mask, as in the Glasgow experiment, we have thousand within one wavelength of light. Thus, instead of being slowed down .0001%, it’s slowed down of the order of 10% or more.

As in the Glasgow experiment, photons are not “particles”, they are spread about (they have a “TRANSVERSE structure”).

When a photon enters water, should it NOT hit a water molecule, the photonic wave will get endowed with a complex topology of non-trivial genus (because the non-linear wave that constitutes the photon has to have avoided nuclei and orbiting electrons, and the only way it can do that is by evolving holes in the right places).

As a photon passes a water molecular group, it slows down a bit. The water molecules act like the mask the physicists applied to slow down the beam photons in their experiment. Those breaking episodes pile up, and integrate in a global slow-down.

Frequency, thus energy, is unaffected.

Some may object that the theory is obviously false: should not the slow-downs pile up, and thus, the thicker the water, the more photons will slow down?

No. In the slowing down of the Structured Photons in vacuum, the slowing down is necessitated by the collapse of the photon back into a linear wave. It’s a one time event. However, in water, when the photon has acquired a structure which is enough like a sieve, after going around enough water molecules, it needs time to restructure. So over that distance, it has slowed down. Then the process repeats.

Let me quote a bit more from the violation of light speed Glasgow University paper (from behind its pay wall):

“The speed of light in free space propagation is a fundamental quantity. It holds a pivotal role in the foundations of relativity and field theory, as well as in technological applications such as time-of-flight measurements. It has previously been experimentally established that single photons travel at the group velocity (20). We have now shown that transverse structuring of the photon results in a decrease in the group velocity along the axis of propagation. We emphasize that in our full-aperture experiments, no pre- or post-selection is applied to the spatially structured photons, and that the group velocities are always compared over the same propagation distance, much as if they were in a race. The effect can be derived from a simple geometric argument, which is also supported by a rigorous calculation of the harmonic average of the group velocity. Beyond light, the effect observed will have applications to any wave theory, including sound waves.”

The authors have declared that they could not see any application of the effect they discovered. In particular not in cosmology.

However, I just found one, in everyday physics.

Einstein said nobody understood Quantum Mechanics. Feynman added that all the mystery of the Quantum was in the Double Slit Experiment. Here I explain speed of light in a medium by piling up thousands of double slit experiments within a wavelength of light, and the slow-down they bring. (It’s not quite the Double Slit as it involves continual collapses along the propagation axis.)

The structured photon is the fundamental idea, the order one idea, of the Absolute Quantum Wave theory. The preceding, and the Glasgow experiment itself, establish it further (more is coming soon).

There is no experimental support for Einstein’s views on the spatial the nature of the photon as a particle, there is plenty of evidence against it (the latest being Structured Light).

By contrast there is increasing evidence for the Absolute Wave Theory. Einstein and company, bless their souls, pontificated about a lot of things they did not know anything about. That photons were point-particles is one of them. Time to move on.

Patrice Ayme’


December 28, 2014

Non-Locality, acting at a distance, without intermediaries, is the stuff of legends in tales for little children. A sorcerer does something somewhere, and something happens, or is felt, somewhere else. Newton himself rejected it. Isaac said the gravitation theory which he had helped to elaborate, was “absurd”, precisely because of it implicitly used “act upon another at a distance”:

“It is inconceivable that inanimate Matter should, without the Mediation of something else, which is not material, operate upon, and affect other matter without mutual Contact…That Gravity should be innate, inherent and essential to Matter, so that one body may act upon another at a distance thro’ a Vacuum, without the Mediation of any thing else, by and through which their Action and Force may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an Absurdity that I believe no Man who has in philosophical Matters a competent Faculty of thinking can ever fall into it.—Isaac Newton, Letters to Bentley, 1692/3.

Du Châtelet Discovered Energy, Infrared Radiation, Correcting Newton

Du Châtelet Discovered Energy, Infrared Radiation, Correcting Newton On His Confusion Of Momentum (Buridan) and Energy, Which She Established

[Yes, one of civilization’s most important physicists and thinkers was a woman; but don’t ask the French, they never heard of her… because she was a woman.]

However Émilie Du Châtelet pointed out that: “…hypotheses eventually become truths for us if their probability increases to such a point that this probability can morally pass for certainty…. In contrast, an hypothesis becomes improbable in proportion to the number of circumstances found for which the hypothesis does not give a reason. And finally, it becomes false when it is found to contradict a well-established observation.” (Du Châtelet’s Lectures on Physics, 1740. Notice the subtlety of the thinking.)

Every Quantum process contradicts Locality, thus, Émilie Du Châtelet would say, Locality is a false hypothesis.

Gravitation got better described (not much) by making gravitation into a field propagating at the speed of light. It is not a trivial modification: it immediately predicts gravitational waves. If two huge star like objects (such as pulsars) rotate around each other, they should generate such waves, they should carry energy away, and those two objects ought to fall towards each other at a predictable rate. Said rate is indeed observed, thus Einstein’s gravitational equation (obtained by talking a lot with others, such as Hilbert, Grasso, etc.) seems correct.

Einstein’s main motivation for his theory of “General Relativity” was that he wanted to explain inertia (why fast rotating planets develop a bulge at the equator, or more generally an acceleration VV/r). That worry, called Mach’s Principle, actually originated 100% with Newton. Newton put water in a pail, twisted and twisted and twisted a rope from which the pail was suspended, and let go: the pail rotated faster and faster, and the water inside crawled up.

Einstein basic wishful logic was that: gravitation = inertia (he called that the “Principle of Equivalence”). So, by making a theory of gravitation, Einstein would make one of inertia, and become a giant among giants (of Du Châtelet’s caliber, say).

Silly. Silly idea, doomed to fail.

Why silly? Once gravitation was made into a field, Einstein and company made it into curvature in a manifold (called “spacetime”; the basic idea was elaborated by genius Riemann, two generations earlier, although implicitly attributed to Einstein by the ignorant ones).

So gravitation is locally determined: once at a point A, gravitation, that is, curvature of spacetime, is determined in a(ny) neighborhood of A (call it N).

The distant stars do not influence N much, if at all. Yet, inertia is clearly determined by the distant galactic clusters.  Einstein could not understand this.

But now physicists understand better Einstein was deluded, and (Soviet physicist) Fock’s critique that Einstein’s General Relativity is just a theory of gravitation is universally (albeit silently) accepted.

So let me repeat slowly, as I suspect many readers will not understand this either: inertia, as far as present day physics can see, is a Non-Local effect. Inertia has been Non-Local, ever since Buridan discovered it, seven centuries ago (1320 CE; time flies!)

Einstein completely failed at understanding inertia. Einstein even failed to realize that it was a Non-Local effect, although that is completely obvious. So he came out obsessed by Non-Locality, while being angry at it (so he was open to the Non-Local objection of philosopher-physicist Sir Karl Popper! Hence the EPR paper, more or less lifted from Popper.)

All this to say that I am not shocked by Non-Locality: I just have to go out, and look at the stars, move about, and I see Non-Locality.

Many, if not most physicists are horrified by Non-Locality.

Philosophically, though, being afraid of Non-Locality makes no sense. Once I was broaching Quantum Physics with my dad. I explained what I understood of the problem of Non-Locality to him.

My dad did not know much physics, but he was a scientist. Admitted to the famed ENA (the school of conspirators from which the present leaders of France come from), he declined it, and, instead, following the path of his own father, an amateur-professional geologist, he himself became a (highly successful) non-academic geologist (he discovered Algeria’s fortune).

My Dad said: ”Non-Locality is obvious. To think things would get ever smaller, just the same, made no sense.”

With this philosophical perspective, the following arise: physical space is not made of points (although Quantum Field Theory is, one of its many problems).

When physicists talk about Non-Locality, they feel the urge to get into the “Bell Inequality”. But it’s a convoluted, over-specialized, contrived way to get at Non-Locality (I say this, although I respect the late John Bell as much as I despise Feynman when he tried to steal Bell’s work… Although, in general I do respect and love Feynman, especially in light of his appreciation for my own ideas).

Bell theorem says that some Local Hidden Variable theories imply an Inequality that Quantum Physics violate. So Bell’s is a work which predicts that something false is not true.

My approach to Non-Locality is made for Primary School. It goes first through:

  • The Uncertainty Principle:

Suppose you want to know where an object is. Suppose all you have is touch. So you kick it. However, if you kick it, it goes somewhere else. That’s the Uncertainty Principle.

Why touch? Because light is touch. It turns out that light carries energy and momentum. Anybody who lays in the sun will agree about the energy. To demonstrate the momentum of light requires a bit more experimental subtlety.

Could you kick the object gently? No. That’s where the Wave Principle kicks in. Waves ignore objects which are smaller than themselves: they just turn around them, as anybody who has seen a twenty meter tsunami wave enter a Japanese port will testify.

So, to detect a small object, one needs a small wavelength, high frequency wave. However the energy of a Quantum wave (at least a light wave) is proportional to its frequency.

So the more precise the determination of (position of) the object, the higher the frequency of the wave, the greater the energy and momentum conferred to the object, etc.

  • Conservation of Momentum: 

One has axioms, in physics, as in mathematics. Modern physics axioms include the conservation of energy and momentum. Newton knew of the latter, and confused it with the former. A French woman, Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet discovered (kinetic) energy (”force vive”). As she also discovered Infrared radiation, she obviously could have done more when she died from a fever, at age 43, after giving birth to her fourth child. (Her lover Voltaire, also a physicist quipped that:” Émilie du Châtelet was a great man whose only defect was to be a woman”)

Fundamental hypotheses in contemporary physics are conservation of energy and momentum (something the Multiverse violates, thus, into the bin of silly ideas).

  • The Non-Local Interaction:

So say two particles, such as a positron-electron pair, are created together and have total momentum zero (a completely realistic situation: machines do this, for medicine).

Knowing the momentum of (say) the electron E, gives that of the positron P (the vector is exactly opposite to that of the electron). Classical and Quantum mechanics say the same.

So, without having disturbed P (it could be next to Beta Centauri, 4 light years away), we know its momentum. Should one measure it later, one will find it as said. (The latter experiment, retrospective checking of entanglement was actually accomplished by the Austrian Zeillinger and his team!)

However, the basic set-up of Quantum Physics says that the measurement create the state (my formulation, you will not read that in textbooks, although it’s clearly what Bohr wanted to say, but he did not dare, lest his academic reputation gets vilified: he had only a Nobel Prize in physics, after all…).

So the state of P, maybe a few light years away, was created by measuring E.

How come?

The basic Quantum set-up was designed for laboratory experiments, not Cosmological Quantum effects. So it did not need to consider all the consequences of this.

Following Du Châtelet, I will say that we are in obvious need of a new hypothesis, the QUANTUM INTERACTION (ex “Collapse of the Wave Packet”). It explains what we observe (instead of trying desperately to say that we cannot possible observe what we observe).

Following Newton, I will say it is absurd to suppose that the effect of E on P is instantaneous. So this Quantum Interaction goes at a speed I call TAU (it’s at least 10^10 the speed of light: 10,000,000,000 times c).

New physics coming to a Quantum Computer near you.

And of course , said new physics will have giant impacts on philosophy (be it only by presenting new models of how things may be done), or Free Will (is it really free if it takes its orders from Andromeda?). This is going to be fun.

Patrice Ayme’

Geography Is Destiny

January 21, 2014

Abstract: The vastly different geographies of the USA and Europe explain many things, and seem to require greater variety of behaviors than observed. Or how geographic destiny can lead both to exploitative ecstasy and conservative futility.


Many highly educated Europeans who migrate to the USA affect contempt for the old continent. That alleviates their remorse. Indeed they earn higher incomes in the USA’s jungle, most hospitable to the most educated (as long as said education can be sold!).

This weekend the New York Times revealed that the salary of Medical Doctors in some medical specialties average above 900,000 dollars, nearly twenty times the average family income in the USA. It’s of course just the tip of the iceberg. One of the insurance executive Obama has put in charge of covering the uninsured with his “philanthropy” earned more than 100 million dollar last year. That makes him of great counsel at the White House.

This is of course inconceivable in Europe. Something also inconceivable in Europe is the richness of North America.

Oil & Gas Shales Everywhere, That’s Smart!

Oil & Gas Shales Everywhere, That’s Smart!

But then so is the fact that one citizen of the USA out of six has no health insurance. That means one out of six citizens show up to the emergency room only when the cancer has grown too big, or the heart has failed too much.

Both facts are related. Abusive exploitation brings elation to the exploiters, desperation to the exploited. If the elation can leverage more power than the desperation, the exploitation goes on.

Sometimes, it’s the land that gets exploited. Fracking is devastating giant regions of the USA, but it does not matter, because the USA is giant. The USA is nearly the same surface area as Canada, the world’s second largest country (much of Canada is hopelessly frozen wastes, though). Nobody cares about what is going on in remote places of the Dakotas, Wyoming or Texas.

Fracking Near Riffle In The Rockies, Colorado: Where Is Everybody?

Fracking Near Riffle Rockies, Colorado: Where Is Everybody?

Wyoming is actually slightly larger in area than Great Britain (253 K square kilometers versus 243 K) however its population, about 550,000 people , is less than 1% of Britain’s 64 millions. Thus fracking in Kent does not compare with making a lot of pollution roughly anywhere in Wyoming.

The European Union, with a bit more than half a billion inhabitants, is not even half of the area of the USA, with roughly 320 million. Even more strikingly, the population of the USA is actually concentrated in less than half of the country. Many states in the USA are mostly empty, although many of these have a wonderfully temperate climate.

India, with more than three times the population of the USA, is a third the area. So about ten times the density. There again the density is not even at all, and the resources vastly inferior (but for… Thorium, hence the Indian Thorium program.).

At this point the economy of the USA is lifting up, because the energy production of the USA has been skyrocketing (both the energy used inside and the one sold outside, such as coal). This is deliberate. Any American business publication worth its salt, explains that the strategy of the USA is to render energy production cheaper, and more profitable, no holds barred. Obama’s EPA cracks down on coal’s pollution to better encourage its exports, pushed by fracking.

After all, as I have long explained, it’s the exploitation of oil in the USA, starting in the mid nineteenth century Pennsylvania,  that was perhaps the major advantage of the USA.

(Without Texas oil, generously provided by his plutocratic friends, Hitler would have been incapable of invading in Spain with Franco’s army, and his fascist helpers. That used to amuse Adolf a lot. He lost his sense of humor on September 3, 1939. Then he declared he would only wear a drab grey tunic until the war was won.)

Fracking brought the cost of natural gas in the USA down to one third of the world’s price (gas is dangerous to transport by ships, so it mostly stays in the USA). Displaced USA coal production is massively  sent to gullible Germany (and soon, China).

Of course, lots of methane leaks. Measurements show that the powerful greenhouse is smothering the southern USA, and thus, the planet. But there again, and that’s left unsaid, is that a mighty greenhouse would advantage the USA… Or at least that’s what USA strategists apparently think. In their stupidity, they see that most of frozen Alaska (more than a third of the EU’s area) will become balmy, and that war has always advantaged the USA. They forget little details, such as Florida under water, and California roasting (greatest drought ever unfolding there, second year in a row).

Last year, the USA added the equivalent of four nuclear reactors, in solar photovoltaic power alone.

All of this will have an effect. Meanwhile, propelled by all this energy, the population of the USA augments by three million a year. (Never mind if the death rate related to childbirth in the USA is nearly thrice that of the EU: pediatricians are the worst paid doctors in the USA.)

To not become completely irrelevant, powers such as the EU will have to use different energy strategies. However, at this point, it has just been all about conservation, and that maybe the main trouble of Europe’s economy.

Let me repeat slowly: the rise of man has been the rise of what I call AWE, Absolute Worth Energy, the energy at disposal to effect a worthy task. A related, but grosser notion, the energy at the disposal of any single human being has constantly augmented(The easiest way to do that is simply to produce more energy, overall; that proved difficult in the Late Roman empire, or 1300 CE Europe).

To diminish the AWE is just impoverishment. To augment the AWE without augmenting energy production is difficult, yet this is what Europe has chosen to do. It becomes outright impossible without new technology. The Photo Voltaic effect discovered around 1830 by a French physicist is new. But not wind and water mills, which were already central to the European economy in the Middle Ages.

Thus it is astounding that Europe does not have active research and development in, say, Thorium reactors. Just digging giant holes in Germany while scrapping Appalachian mountains to feed German power plants with coal is assuredly not the key to a better future.

Much of the German error in behavior from 1871 to 1945 CE had to do with forgetting that Europe was not the USA, thus not realizing that behaviors that had proven profitable in the New World would not prove so in the Old Continent. In a way the same sort of error is made to this day. This time, it’s not about killing the Indians, but, rather, about living like Indians. Squeezing one’s belt can go only that far.

Patrice Aymé


December 18, 2013

Energy is the central concept in physics. Could it also be the central concept to determine truth?

High Energy Physics is, well, about high energy, as its name indicates. All of Quantum Field Theory consists into speculative manipulations about how energy is thought to behave as it flows. This is the theory that, in its most ambitious versions, claim to determine the truth of the world (grandiosely called the TOE: Theory Of Everything).

Don’t laugh! The Ancient Greek philosophers looked at nature to find out truth. What else? So do I.

The Greater Depression (copyright Tyranosopher) is about the lack of decent, rewarding, well paid work. What’s another name for work? Energy. Thus the Greater Depression is all about energy, or the lack thereof, showing up in dearth of work (that is, energy!)

The CO2 crisis is all about energy: we produce most of our energy by burning coal, a method invented by the Romans. Then a stroke of genius, now a perverse twist on the burning of wood by Homo Erectus.

Even love, according to standard evolutionary psychobiology, has to do with energy: it’s about selecting who we view as the most energetic, dominant, provider of life.

Thus, in a sense, everywhere we turn, energy determines the reality, the truth of the world.

Yet, one does not catch flies with the truth. Honey, though, works. Here this word, this concept, again: work.

What has meaning is what works. Get it? A deeper truth than it looks: it relates veracity with the physics of energy. Literally. Philosophy for our age.

Alexi Helligar:What is truth? We like to think truth is obvious. But the profundity of obvious truths are so difficult to grasp that it takes sometimes multiple lifetimes of wisdom.

We think truth is all that matters. In this we are mistaken. More important than truth is meaning. It is meaning which tell us the next step we must take. The contents of our various religions may not be true, but they are meaningful. The meaningful lie is far more effective to significant action than meaningless truth.”

Patrice Aymé: The truth known to Keynes: ‘in the long run we are all dead’ is very true, but it’s also very much meaningless, when one is engaged in that game known as life. So Alexi, you are very right.

Euclidean geometry is true. But, pushed too far, it becomes meaningless elucubration about Byzantine theorems. There are better things to do (such as the basic theorems of non-Euclidean geometry). Thus, better ways to use one’s energy.

Truth is not obvious, indeed. Great logicians (say Tarski, a Polish (-American) who blossomed two generations after Bertrand Russell) worked hard to establish a better theory of truth. What truth is still pretty much up in the air.

I got logic from Alexander the Great: if it’s too complicated, cut the Gordian knot. Thus, instead of the how-many-angels-on-that-pinhead theories of truth, I propose instead my META theory. META theories are local logical frames that allow to make linear logic in the vast universe of truth. META stands for Maximally Evident Truth Applied. (1)

From my point of view, most modern mathematics is not anymore true than angels on a pin. It’s as irrelevant as angels on a pin. Someday soon most mathematicians will guess and fear increasingly that this is true. Meanwhile they loudly cling to their mom Plato, like frightened new-born monkeys (as my friend Penrose does).

The best argument those who cling to Plato have is, precisely, meaning. The math they have done mean something, somewhere, they argue. “Look at our beautiful theorems,” they say ecstatically.

It’s exactly the same problem as with well-known superstitions. No proof for what they say, but they say it together, sing it together, so they believe it. Whatever “it” is. Belief is much comfortable: it saves energy. Instead of creating one’s own neurological circuitry, one learn to sing it from others (as the Nazis put it: Sieg Heil!) That’s the charm of tribes, their brain energy-saving side.

I propose to forget the error of infinity, this “corruption of the youth“, as a mathematician contemporary of Georg Cantor put it. I propose to concentrate on more meaningful mathematics, precisely. Solve hypersonic laminar flow. Forget what requires ZFC to prove.

Some could sneer that I talk about energy to justify truth, and now I talk about meaning, thus I am all over the place, thoroughly confused.

But not so.

The brain is an energy machine. The brain has interest to believe.

Belief is energy cheap; it basically consists, most often in just repeating what one has heard. As the Wolf put it to the Lamb: ‘On me l’a dit, il faut que je me venge, one has told me that I must avenge myself’. Once the Wolf has asserted the primacy of belief, he can devour whatever he so desires.

Believing is much less energy consuming than thoroughly demonstrating (that’s energy demanding, as it requires to have checked every single logical jump). The brain finds more meaning in models of the universe that require less energy to believe.

For example, once you have decided god explained everything, there is nothing else to figure out. One can be like a dog, and believe everything. So the popularity of god has to do with energy conservation.

A plane is built from the most delicate architecture of entangled truths. Truth is literally what works, i. e., conducts energy with meaning.

Some will object that I make a superficial reasoning by proximity, a topo-logy: a logic of place. Thinking has to do with energy, energy has to do with thinking, so they are the same. No.

What’s a thought? Well, a set of joint brain assemblies calling onto action. (A particular case is an idea, which can be expressed in words, that is, which can be digitalized, and thus can be communicated by voice or the like.)

It requires energy to set-up and be inspected by consciousness, to be made into a communicable whole (even if it’s only self-communication). So the establishment of a thought, and even its sustainability, require energy.

Now, not all and any energy display will be a thought. However, when is a truth correct? When it allows energy to flow in a way that is deemed correct. That is, when it has correct meaning.  The later notion is simply tied up, ultimately, to survival of the species.

Thus the architecture of energy, not only describes thoughts, but validates them.

Let’s go back to the idea of High Energy Physics (Quantum Field Theory,  QED, QCD, TOE, Super Strings, etc.). Why is it called “High”? Because it’s about high frequencies (the first idea of the Quantum is that energy comes in packets determined by the frequency: E = hv).

So what are we facing here? That thinking is about Brain Energy Physics. That implies both meaning and pleasure, both derivatives to optimizing energy flow.

Truth is the discourse that optimizes the servitude of energy to the survival of the species.

At least, so I propose.

I think, therefore I energize.

Patrice Aymé


Notes: (1) Reading old proofs, I found, to my amazement, that META is close in mentality to the initial proof of Georg Cantor on the uncountability of the real numbers; except I stand that on its head. Fields Medal Tim Gowers has been trying to contradict my reasoning, but I think is objection is devoid of powerful meaning.


Economy ought to be founded on Energy (I’ve insisted, to give economics, and thus society the rigorous foundations society needs it to have). In particular AWE, Absolute Worth Energy.

Absolute Worth is, ultimately, determined by survival. There is a science uniting psychology and economics, that justifies one with the other, and vice versa. The preceding goes much further, as it unites the whole thing, and thinking itself, as a subset of energy physics.

Real Economics

August 30, 2013

Real macroeconomics ought to set its field of study correctly. It’s not nation-states anymore. We are living on a small Earth. Condensing Mercury vapor from burning Chinese coal poisons our food. Facts cognizable by all, such as Assad dropping napalm on a school in Alep (BBC, 8/26/13) devour moral systems, making anti-war weaklings into accomplices of crimes against humanity.

The house in eco (oikos) -nomy is now the entire planet, the full arena of human activity. Such is the macro stage. Nothing smaller will do.

Now that the stage is determined, what’s the “nomy” in eco-nomy about? Nemein is “manage“, related to “mane” (hand). Manage what? People, their work, the entire planet, recently on fire:

Yosemite Rim Fire: Bad Economics At Work

Yosemite Rim Fire: Bad Economics At Work

[Energy Unleashed, Men Overwhelmed; 95% of California Visible Above; On Day 5 Of Rim Fire, only 2,000 firemen were fighting it, because another 6,000 professional firemen were employed on other Californian wildfires! Some can be seen above. San Francisco Bay is the gaping grey crocodile jaw full west (left!) of the Rim Fire]

The number one object of economy ought to be energy: what we need, how much of it, to do what, and at which ecological cost. So economics has to be refounded around the idea of energy.

Once one has refounded economy theory around energy, one gets a bonus. One has to remember that well channeled energy does work. So work, that is employment, is a natural attachment to energy focused economics.

Monetary considerations are tied to the fractional reserve system at this point. That’s what conventional economists do. They might as well do the economics of angels on a pinhead.

It’s not that money is purely imaginary, but it’s a convention. If all loans were recalled in all banks, one will find that there has been 30 times more money lent that there was to be lent from what the banks really owned (that’s what 3% reserve in USA banks mean).

Money, as it presently exist, is an artificial construct that exists only thanks to its government back-up. That is, money is backed-up by the established order, its “justice system”, taxmen, police, army. But that order is flimsy when the entire biosphere is wobbling, the forests are burning, and acidifying seas are rising, thanks to human activity.

To just worry about monetary policy is like worrying about a weltering bush because the giant, multimillennial sequoia across the clearing, just caught fire. As has been happening in Yosemite National Park for two weeks.

Think about the Yosemite Rim Fire, burning trees that existed before Rome: if that kind of disaster, a direct consequence of human activity, is not incorporated in economics, the very concept of economics, as used today, is a contradiction with what it was meant to be.

Economics then just becomes a way to employ thousands of sophists singing together about the beauty of the established order. But there is no beauty when the planet is on fire.


Patrice Ayme


Notes: 1) The objection above is analogous to the one Socrates made against education and politics in Athens. I propose a remedy, Socrates did not. The remedy to Socrates’ complaint was the rise of democratic meritocratic institutions within the state (Rome started this).

2) The present fractional reserve system (“frac”) is artificial, and rests on the state. This is nothing new. Most of the currency used under Rome had an official value, imposed by the state, much superior to that of the precious metals the coins contained. The Tang dynasty in China, in the seventh century used paper money, with a value also imposed by the state (in both cases the cause was the dearth of precious metals).

I propose to use Absolute Worth Energy as a (much less arbitrary) currency. Anyway,

3) Economics was invented as a concept by Xenophon, a hyper intellectual, part of Socrates’ school. Scholars are getting the notion that much of macroeconomics’ foundations are too uncertain to be anything but a matter of philosophical debate.

See in the New York Times What Is Economics Good For? The authors are philosophy professors, one of them chairperson at Duke university. Extracts:

“A student who graduates with a degree in economics leaves college with a bachelor of‘science’, but possesses nothing so firm as the student of the real world processes of chemistry or even agriculture.

… Over time, the question of why economics has not (yet) qualified as a science has become an obsession among theorists, including philosophers of science like us.

It’s easy to understand why economics might be mistaken for science. It uses quantitative expression in mathematics and the succinct statement of its theories in axioms and derived “theorems,” so economics looks a lot like the models of science we are familiar with from physics. Its approach to economic outcomes — determined from the choices of a large number of “atomic” individuals — recalls the way atomic theory explains chemical reactions. Economics employs partial differential equations like those in a Black-Scholes account of derivatives markets, equations that look remarkably like ones familiar from physics. The trouble with economics is that it lacks the most important of science’s characteristics — a record of improvement in predictive range and accuracy.

Moreover, many economists don’t seem troubled when they make predictions that go wrong. Readers of Paul Krugman and other like-minded commentators are familiar with their repeated complaints about the refusal of economists to revise their theories in the face of recalcitrant facts…What is economics up to if it isn’t interested enough in predictive success to adjust its theories the way a science does when its predictions go wrong?

Unlike the physical world, the domain of economics includes a wide range of social “constructions” — institutions like markets and objects like currency and stock shares — that even when idealized don’t behave uniformly. They are made up of unrecognized but artificial conventions that people persistently change and even destroy in ways that no social scientist can really anticipate. We can exploit gravity, but we can’t change it or destroy it. No one can say the same for the socially constructed causes and effects of our choices that economics deals with.

…no one can predict the direction of scientific discovery and its technological application. That was Popper’s key insight… scientific paradigm shifts seem to come almost out of nowhere. As the rate of acceleration of innovation increases, the prospects of an economic theory that tames the economy’s most powerful forces must diminish…”

This brings us back to Yosemite’s Rim Fire (I run there all the time, loving the giant trees). Why did that happen? Well, the Forest Service took days to bring the big planes dumping ninety tons of fire retardant at each pass.

Why? Sequestration. Another bright ‘economic’ idea from Obama’s bankster friendly cabinet. Ignorant little greedsters hide behind ‘economic’ theories that advance banksterism, thus their future personal earnings, sequoias be damned.

Sequestration caused huge cuts in many parts of the Federal Budget of the USA. Including fire fighting (the Forest service was literally running out of money to fight fires, before the Rim Fire, explaining its slow reaction; it had $50 million left for the year, for the whole USA; the Rim Fire will cost several times that!).

And, of course, the most significant victim of sequestration is deep science, the very engine of humanity.

Although the location and nature of revolutionary thinking is hard to predict, it’s easy to predict that, by financing enough students of revolutionary thinking, one will get breakthroughs.


Some facts on Yosemite Rim Fire after 14 days: aerial tankers flight time: 14,500 hours. 15,000 tons of liquids dropped by aircraft on fire, most of it red fire retardant laden with chemicals. Uncontrolled fire edge: 100 miles (160 kilometers), controlled edge: 66 miles (90 kilometers), bulldozer lines: 106 miles (170 kilometers).

Economic Tech Wreck

July 25, 2013

Paul Krugman: “Both Steve Benen and Ed Kilgore get annoyed at fellow journalists complaining that there aren’t any “new ideas” in Obama’s latest. But why should there be?

It was clear early on that this was a crisis very much in the mold of previous financial crises.”

Well, sort of, but not really. True, the USA population had filled up to the rim in subprime mortgages, and could not afford anymore. True, the USA population ignore both mathematics and the fact that big bankers can conspire, big time (in jacking up interest rates after mortgages had been acquired: ARMs; or through securitization, selling lies to the unawares; or by hyper leveraging themselves against all of society through financial derivatives). Result? A Great Depression, probably the greatest of them all.

Comparing Two Great Depressions

Comparing Two Great Depressions

What triggered the crisis, though was a spectacular rise in the price of oil. People suddenly had to choose between paying for the house, or fueling the car. As the USA is car dependent, it was not really a choice: without a functioning car, there is no getting to work, or even food, let alone school.

Moreover, ever since, in spite of frantic fracking, the price of oil has stayed high in the USA, depression or not. California gets most of its oil from Texas now. It’s back to the past. Except for one important detail: all of this oil is fracked oil.

Now please observe that the world economy, and world food production, let alone trade, is completely oil dependent. Without oil, the world population would quickly collapse by 90%.

We do not have an acceptable mass energy replacement. We are in the situation of Europe (and Japan!) in 1300 CE: dependent upon a waning asset (then, wood, which was used for everything; although England switched to coal then).

So what’s the idea? The big idea is always missing from the loud economists who dominate the USA, and, thus, the world in general: they view the economy as just about money flow. According to them, if money flows, everything is fine (never mind all the money goes to the .1%!).

This was basically the reasoning Roman emperors wanted their economists to believe, and advocate, too. So I sent the following to Krugman who published it right away:

“What is new in present day economics is the possibilities new technologies offer that were not within reach before, and the problems old technologies are causing, as they become waning assets.

We are living in a science-fiction world, highly dependent on technology. Not to realize this is a lethal condition.”

To this, John from Hartford replied:

“I’m not sure this is true. If you look at the period in the 20’s and 30’s when people like Keynes were evolving their theories the world was being flooded with new technologies like radio, mass ownership of automobiles, silent/sound movies, aircraft, proto computers, etc. etc. which were probably greater in their affects than those were currently undergoing. What was much more important was that it was a period of intense global economic disruption which essentially provided real life laboratories for examining and testing economic hypotheses. And back then the consequences of economic mismanagement really were lethal on a scale we’ve never experienced since.”

In turn I answered to this very conventional reply with more of my advanced details (a condensed version of which was published by the NYT):

John: I do not dispute that the flood of new technologies getting in everyday life in the 1930s was not higher. Right now such a flood is very high in China. Yet, the technological flow has been deliberately slowed down in the West by a plutocratic conspiracy (as happened in Rome, when the government consciously paid inventors to NOT develop their inventions).

As I have explained in the past, plutocrats hate disruptive technologies. New technology introduces new ideas (witness the so called “Arab Spring”). It’s only natural to apply the “new ideas” mood to the established (plutocratic) order, as plutocrats and plutophiles, correctly, fear.

An example of technology not deployed is single payer health care in the USA (Germany introduced one more than 150 years ago!). Instead Obama introduced a new technology, Obamacare, friendly to plutocrats like the old one, but with even more subsidies from taxpayers. (For what the word “technology” means, see the comments.)

I just said the possibilities of higher technological disruption exists now… and that’s a good thing. And that proper economics, well done, would look into disrupting for the best the established economic order. At the governmental level (and not, as is done now, just at the Bill Gates level!… Bill Gates is financing new nuclear technologies.).

To claim, as Hartford John does, that “the consequences of economic mismanagement really were lethal on a scale we’ve never experienced since” is saying that devastating the entire machinery of the biosphere on a planetary scale is not “economic mismanagement”.

As I have long argued, we are in much more global danger now than in the 1930s. Fascism in Europe and Japan in the 1930s was a man-made disaster. Now we have much greater disasters waiting in the wings, driven not by human maniacs, but by physics, such a methane belch (that could turn overnight global warming into global heating!). ‘Massive methane eruptions’ is not a question of “if”, but WHEN.

Massive methane belching is actually already happening, in my not so humble opinion. How else to explain that the North Siberian sea route (“North East Passage”) is already now open for business? The topography makes it possible for much more methane to erupt there than in the North West passage… as observed!

(An interesting aside is that Total is investing many billions in a gas liquefaction  plant along the Siberian shore, obviously expecting the melting of the ice to accelerate! The idea is to send the liquefied… methane to China; Putin said it was OK with him, and he would remove the Gazprom monopoly…)

More prosaically, the ROI (Return On Investment) of fossil fuels is going badly, and the search for new mass energy is reaching emergency levels (however new energy technologies cannot be invented from one decade to the next!)

Europe knew a comparable situation twice: in the Late Roman empire, and then around 1300 CE. In the former case, civilization nearly crashed. In the latter case, European governments took successful, but drastic, measures (yet population collapsed by 2/3).

The only obvious new, potentially massive, technology we have is nuclear energy. By “nuclear energy” I mean all imaginable fission (there are about 100 of these) and fusion technologies. some will scoff. Yet, by 1330 CE, England had switched to coal to such an extent that Edward III’s government had to pass laws against coal, to limit the pollution of London.

This energy independence may help to explain that ‘England” was winning the war against “France” (for want of a better word) for a century… (Until the southern French developed the world’s first field artillery.) The abundance of coal with high ROI certainly explains the economic ascendency of England for the next six centuries… Until the age of oil. Oil with high ROI was in the USA, Arabia, and Mesopotamia.

Right now, many of the conventional, ignorant ecologists are certainly culprit not just of the impending ecological collapse, but also of the present depression. Jim Hansen, the ex-NASA scientist who did more than anybody else to provide the world with catastrophic insight on the degradation of the biosphere, shares this opinion:

“Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy…

I think the only hope we have of phasing down emissions and getting to the middle of the century with a much lower level of fossil fuel emissions — which is what we will have to do if we want young people to have a future — we’re going to have to have alternatives and at this time nuclear seems to be the best candidate.”

Screaming against first generation, 1950s nuclear reactors, as those in Japan is entirely justified. The Japanese reactors use French-made recycled MOX for fuel. But for that, they are time-wraps. Let alone carefully installed in the way of a 30 meters (100′) tsunami… that had already happened 12 centuries before.

By now Fourth and Fifth, super-safe, super-efficient fission reactors should have been massively deployed. But the research was carefully not funded, because the reigning political class is fossil fuel fueled.

Survival, not just the economy, is all about energy.  

Patrice Ayme.


December 31, 2012


Some pontificate that we are experiencing the “third industrial revolution”.

This erroneous naivety, rich in lessons, beholds a lack of measure, and a lack of history. As I explain why, I will introduce the INDUSTRIAL INDEX, which rests on the concept of energy and AWE, ABSOLUTE WORTH ENERGY, which rests on humanly effective energy usage.

Together both energy related concepts allow to found rigorously the notions such as industry, progress, even revolution, and the dismal science, economy.

Athena Parthenos: lots of energy to build, metal therein.

Athena Parthenos: lots of energy to build, metal therein.

Economy has been dismal, because it had no scientific foundation. Energy gives that foundation to economics. While generalizing… physics.

Verily, there have been many “industrial revolutions” before. Scholars of antiquity call them “ages”, instead of “revolutions”. A tradition.

Going from the Bronze Age to the age of (carbon reinforced) iron (steel) was a change of “age”. (Trojan War Greece fell to the iron equipped Dorians, launching the Greek Dark Ages.) To make bronze, one had to bring together copper and tin, sometimes from very far away. To make iron, one had to reach temperatures higher than any naturally occuring fire. Those new metals were all about new, and more intense, energy management.

One needs to define “industry” and one needs to define a measure for “revolution”. I will do both. Defining industry depends upon a measure of industry, and this is the same measure that defines revolution. So I will do the measure first. (See note on measure.)

A woman, with her bare hands, can do only that much. But if she drives a bus, she can do much more. Much more what? Much more work, in the exact physical sense of “work”. In physics, work is force time the distance along which said force acts. It’s equivalent to energy. (See work note)

An obvious question is how would industry be defined? Very simple: by work. A human, au naturel, can do only that much work. Industry does much more.

The concept of industry comes, through the French from the Latin “industria” “diligence, activity, zeal” itself from the old Indo-European roots “in”, or “indu” and struere (building, giving structure).

A measure of industry is how much work a human can do, or does, or depends upon,
or commands, in the average. To evaluate the industrial measure of a society, one sums up energy potential or realized, over the entire society.

To get an index, divide that generalized energy by the total population.

This is intuitively satisfying: the index equates the increased mastery of energy with increased industry. As energy is the most important notion in modern physics, this new economic theory fits smoothly with modern physics.

We need a name. I will use II, for Industrial Index.

How to measure the II varies according to societies. A herdsman will a flock of sheep brought in more calorie than his colleague running after wild mountain goats. In this case the relevant II springs from the difference of how much calories is produced (including by milking the goats) versus how much is expended (including training dogs, building fences, or making arrow heads…)

The Neolithic revolutions of herding and agriculture brought tremendous jumps in II. The first dams were built apparently in present day Yemen, then solidly connected to the rest of Middle Earth by a wetter climate, and Jawa in Jordan, 3000 BCE. By irrigating vast lands, a dam does automatically what would be a lot of work for people carrying the water by hand, so it brings lots of energy (jump in II), and in the service of mankind (thus an equal jump in II(AWE) see below).

An industrial revolution occurs when II jumps. II will jump when significantly more powerful science or technology is introduced or deployed (for example the science of breeding less dangerous almond trees or boars). It took 2,000 years to deploy the technology of the steam engine, from the ancient Egyptians and Greeks to the Frenchman Papin (who made a steam powered boat, outright!).

The size of revolutions can be compared across the ages, using the ratio: II(before revolution)/II (after revolution).

For example the steam engine allowed to jump from the maximal power of a dozen horses to ten times that, an II jump of ten. Advanced coal based steam power plants reached at most 100,000 horsepower (around 100 megawatts). A nuclear fission U235 reactor ten times that. So going from fossil fuel to nuclear represented another II jump of ten. (But that jump has mostly failed because the military based nuclear technology partly deployed was found to be insuffiencently safe enough.)

An objection could be that this first order definition of II does not take into account, waste. However neither does GDP. GDP is notorious to augment with waste, so some countries have higher GDPs, just because they are tremendously more wasteful (what the Swiss and the French do does not differ much from what Canadians, or Americans do, under the same latitude; however Canadians and Americans need three times more CO2 to do it, a tremendous waste).

I have an answer to the problem of waste too. To remedy this, a notion, AWE, Absolute Worth Energy, does NOT consider the energy spent, but only the energy of the effect one is looking for by the activity that this energy deplyment intents to serve.

This II(AWE) is computed otherwise just as the II. A measure of the efficiency of a civilization is the quotient:

Examples: a traffic jam has zero AWE, but a Light Emitting Diode has an AWE close to 100% (as close to 100% of the LED output is used… as long as there is someone to enjoy the light of its energy output).
When a plane’s flight’s AWE is the energy of transporting people and goods, on that flight, NOT the energy spent to transport them (pretty much equal to fossil fuel spent + cost of training, flying, repairing, etc.)
It becomes a bit delicate when one determines the AWE of a PhD (but it can be done, using modern computers).

The Mayan civilization rested upon a tremendous irrigation system with reservoirs and canals. The largest canal, about 100 meter wide and more than 100 kilometers long, can be seen from space. So there was such a thing as Mayan industry. However, the American civilizations were violently destroyed, and contributed even less than East Eurasian civilizations to the present One world Civilization (the east’s greatest contribution, besides its very existence, may have been Chinese black powder).

Ultimately, civilization has been mostly the work of the Middle Earth. It makes civilization pretty much in one locale. The successive revolutions that articulated the civilizational mainstream all happened there, knew about each other, and are thus easy to compare.

The first industrial revolution was the invention of cities, the second one that of herding (or the other way around), the third one was intensive agriculture of engineered crops, the fourth revolution was writing (6,000 years ago). The fifth the political system (Sumer, 5,500 years ago), arriving simultaneously with copper-tin alloys, that is bronze. As tin and copper were often not found in the same place, they had to be transported by massive shipping (Crete, 4,000 years ago). Shipping was crucial for Western Eurasia, which, by the time of Carthage, enjoyed a trade system, shipping enabled, extending from the British isles to India, and even Black Africa; for example tin was shipped from Britain, and salted fish, from Black Africa).

There is no doubt that Rome had industry. The first Roman fleet, 200 warships copied from Carthage, was constructed in a few months, while the crews were trained in the dirt to move oars and obey commands (Carthage promptly sank that first attempt.) Rome had an enormous industry and economy.
But did Rome see an industrial revolution? Well the Industrial Index jumped. Roman dams are still in use today. Yet, the Greco-Roman empire mostly cheated. It split the population in two: the free, and the slaves. The Industrial Index and the II(AWE) applied mostly to the free.

Extremely. There are, or ought to be, two industrial revolutions in full swing, one of intelligence, axed on II(AWE), the other of energy, axed on II. The first is still in infancy, the other, in trouble.

The present Artificial intelligence revolution is blossoming, but, like an infant learning to crawl, it is far from fully capable yet. Its potential to augment II(AWE) is very far from fulfilled. That will happen when all the tasks requiring NON CREATIVE and NON CONSCIOUS intelligence can be done by robots. No more driving; the car will do it for you. No more cooking; the kitchen will serve you what to eat. Etc.

What about the energy revolution? It’s somewhat in regress. Although so called “sustainable” energies are developed, they stay an epiphenomenon, and will stay so, as long as they cannot replace base energy. The USA has decided to go the other way, full blast, burning the planet for its own profit, encouraging China and India to do the same with coal.

The new energy source was, of course, nuclear energy which has energy density greater by a factor of one million. A succession of red herrings have mentally unbalanced civilization about nuclear energy, and this is having the disastrous consequence that the biosphere is in the process of quick irreversible destruction. Nuclear waste fades to nothing dangerous after a while. But not so for the poisoning by coal combustion, which permeates the biosphere with eternal contaminants such as arsenic and mercury. Or CO2, that will stick around for millennia.

The Industrial Index is actually in danger of collapse. How? Because the population is augmenting fast (II is obtained by dividing total energy commanded by the number of people), while the catastrophic consequences of fossil fuels burning have reached a tipping point. So energy production may have to shrink. Better AWE (such as more efficient planes, high speed electric trains, photovoltaic electricity) may compensate for this enough. Or not.

To get out of the deepening depression the world is entering, we need a jump in Industrial Index. Why? For the same reason as imperial Rome needed one: the resources accessible with deployed technology are getting exhausted (the case of Rome, and also our case). Solution: new technology, with a higher II, thus capable with greater energy to reach further resources (say bottom of the ocean nodules or Helium3 on the Moon).

Otherwise we can do like the Romans and wait until we don’t even have the resources to conduct war. By the way, India and China have understood this, and their policies are axed around augmenting the Industrial Index. Whereas, stupidly, in the West some have claimed we have reached the “post-industrial age”. Apparently that means that the factories are in China.

We are also experiencing a problem that Rome did not have, namely the collapse of the biosphere.

A greater II means a greater massive energy source. There is one, and only one. It’s energy intensity is a million times greater than fossil fuels.
So start a crash program to make high temperatures (hence high efficiency) thorium reactors (the radioactive waste of that energy type is neglectable). They would give massive amounts of clean base energy.
India and China have them, but the West has more capital and expertise at the ready. Maybe Japan can show the way? (Japan needs energy but not 1950 tech Uranium 235/Plutonium plants, which are too polluting and dangerous.)

By all means, pursue sustainable energy. But, as it is, for a huge variety of reasons, it stays a sideshow, or an invitation to disaster: watch Germany go coal crazy.

Already in 2008, and before, I explained that “Energy Is the Foundation Of Economy”, and I introduced AWE.

That the USA has chosen a catastrophic energy policy goes according to American historical know-how. War has been good to the American Anglo-Saxon colony. Four centuries of war have brought unending success. The bigger the war, the bigger the success.

India, China, Japan, Europe and even Iran know differently. They know that there are wars that bring extermination rather than satisfaction. The Mongols hesitated to destroy China, and replace it by a steppe (Genghis Khan’s generals had the souls of geoengineers!). Just like Sparta saved Athens at the last moment, so did Genghis with Northern China. Iran and Iraq were not that lucky.

The present leadership of USA believes it will always be lucky, and war is a friend, so the more CO2, mercury, arsenic, coal, oil, gas, and rising, acid, lifeless seas, the better. Well, the Greco-Romans went down that road before. All the way down. In the end, they licked obsequiously the toes of the Franks for the next 15 centuries. That was not so bad, but this time is different; the planet is at stake.

If the USA were truly wise, it would opt to increase the Industrial Index instead of military know-how. The former implies the latter, but not conversely.

This is so true that even the U.S. Navy got it, and tried to conduct war exercises in 2012, using algae fuel. That fuel augments the II, because it produces energy from sun and air. It also sucks the CO2 out of said air (so plants making algae fuel could be fossil fuel plants’ best friend! algae fuel is basically the only method of Carbon Capture that could work significantly). The U.S. Congress, more controlled by plutocracy than the U.S. Navy is, was furious, and tried to block the Navy’s efforts. Funny how everything connects.

The military has long been partial to a higher Industrial Index. The first ‘automobiles’, in the Eighteenth Century, were commissioned by the French military. Earlier than that Middle Ages gunners found that Aristotelitian ballistics were false (physicists abstracted that generations later).

Even earlier Constantinople was saved “Gregian Fire” a long range flame throwing system based on fossil fuels. Gregian Fire allowed the Greco-Romans to beat back Muslim fleets for three centuries, sometimes burning up to 2,000 ships in one battle below Constantinople’s fortifications.
Meanwhile in France three full scale Muslim Arab, Berber and Syrian invasions were beaten back in 30 years, because the Franks succeeded to establish a slight industrial edge, using a number of techniques, from better steel to gigantic war horses, to a nationalization of the Church (to pay for the largest and better trained army since the heydays of Rome).

Plutocracy does not like revolutions, industrial, economic or political: they are all related, all having to do with ideas. All what the plutocrats want is to rule. And the way for them to do that, 2,000 years ago, or now, is by paying no taxes. That the world needs an industrial revolution and a paradigm breaking jump in II(AWE) is of no use to them, just the opposite. What’s good for the world, is not good to those who find their call in other people’s misery.

Ultimately, the industrious disposition of a society depends upon the psychology of its leadership. In a real democracy, that should be that of the People, but “representative” “democracy” often represents the People in name only. And industry is not the call of plutocracy, quite the opposite.

Carnegie himself, the USA’s first billionaire, pointed that out, and advocated, in writing, 50% tax on the rich’s income. Carnegie said that it was so that the rich pay back the society that allowed them to become rich in the first place. Carnegie also advocated confiscatory taxes on inheriting wealth, because, he said, the children of the hyper rich, per their psychological upbringing, are adverse to industry.

So why can’t “democrats” in the USA at least preach the way Carnegie did? Because they are “democrats” in name only?

Patrice Ayme
Work Note: apparently more sophisticated definitions just integrate work, as defined as above exactly, but infinitesimally, along paths.

Measure Note: I am using the word measure in the mathematical analysis sense. So I have equipped civilization, progress, industry and even technology with two measures: II and the more sophisticated II(AWE).
(I chose Industrial Index II, and not Industrial Coefficient to avoid a confusion with IC, Integrated Circuits, a good example of jumping II; besides, II is indeed an index, not a coefficient.)

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