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Quick jump to below stories:
Record cold forces blackouts
Russia Warns U.S. Against Striking Iran
Study: stock market acts oddly before a crash
Fifteen killed in Nigerian cartoon riots
Nigeria rebels kidnap expat oil workers
How to Survive the Crash and Save the Earth

[We started predicting these events more than three years ago. Although there may be only a few more this winter, because of abnormally high temperatures, even Global Warming won't prevent dozens, perhaps scores of them next winter. Natural gas just won't hold out that long. – MCR]

Record cold forces blackouts

Dan Werner Web producer

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

DENVER - With temperatures below zero, Xcel Energy was forced to conduct rolling blackouts in the Denver metro area Saturday.

The rolling blackouts also affected the Vail area.

Tom Henley of Xcel said by midmorning power had been restored to the entire area. He said the 30-minute outages affected about 100,000 customers at a time.

He said a shortage of natural gas coming into the state in pipelines was the problem, and it affected areas served by Xcel along the entire Front Range. The only blackouts were in the Denver area, however. The company was working to increase the flow of natural gas and hoped to control the problem by Saturday evening.
Henley said customers were being asked to conserve energy, including electricity. He noted that natural gas is used to generate

There have been several reports in the Denver area of homes that have been without power for a couple hours.  Those blackouts are a result of normal power outages due to the extreme weather; they are not due to the rolling blackouts.

At 10 a.m., the temperature at Denver International Airport was -4 degrees.

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Russia Warns U.S. Against Striking Iran

By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer
Thu Feb 16, Yahoo! News

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Russia's top military chief on Thursday warned the United States against launching a military strike against Iran and a top diplomat voiced hope that close cooperation with China could help resolve the Tehran nuclear crisis.

With tension mounting over Iran's nuclear programs, Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, the chief of Russia's general staff, warned the United States against attacking Iran.

"A military scenario can't be ruled out," Baluyevsky was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

He said that while Iran's military potential cannot compare to the United States', "it is hard to predict how the Muslim world will respond to the use of force against Iran."

"This may stir the whole world, and it is crucial to prevent anything like that," Baluyevsky was quoted as saying.

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alekseyev, meanwhile, said that cooperation with China could help push Iran toward accepting Moscow's offer to host Iran's uranium enrichment program.

The Russian proposal has become a centerpiece of international efforts to defuse tensions over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

"We are counting on the continuation of close contacts with our Chinese colleagues and other interested countries," Alekseyev was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. He added, however, that the Iranian nuclear issue recently had become "sharper," and "it is too early to assess the effectiveness of our joint steps to resolve it."

Iran's ambassador to Moscow said Thursday that Tehran hoped Russia would be able to help resolve the international crisis surrounding the Iranian nuclear program.

"Taking into account the good relations between Russia and Iran, I hope that together we can overcome this crisis which has arisen recently," Gholamreza Ansari said at a meeting with Russian lawmakers.

Ansari confirmed that a delegation is expected to travel to Moscow on Monday to discuss the proposal. He would not say who will lead it, but the Interfax news agency quoted Vyacheslav Moshkalo, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Tehran, as saying that the team will be headed by Javad Vaeidi, Iran's deputy nuclear negotiator.

Konstantin Kosachev, the head of Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee, said after his discussions with the ambassador that he was satisfied that the Iranians would be coming in good faith.

"Iran understands the seriousness of the situation and is ready to continue discussions between experts to reach a compromise on the Russian proposal," he said. He said he had received assurances that "the delegation is getting ready for talks and will have all the necessary authority for conducting negotiations."

Kosachev also sharply criticized Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remarks in which he called for Israel's destruction and questioned whether the Holocaust occurred.

"Such statements don't help strengthen Iran's international prestige," he said with Ansari standing at his side.

A Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the strong international consensus developed so far, including Russia, "is probably the strongest instrument we have going right now in trying to influence Iranian behavior."

Moscow is deeply concerned about the current Iranian regime's prospects for acquiring nuclear weapons, not only because Russia is geographically located close to Iran, but also because of the impact that could have on other Middle East players' nuclear aspirations, including Saudi Arabia's, the diplomat said.

The diplomat also noted that by aspiring to a central role in resolving the Iran crisis, Russia wanted to show that it could use the contacts it has built up over the years — including direct communications with the Iranians — to advance the concerns of the international community.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press.

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[In case no one has noticed the stock is behaving exactly like this and has been for about five weeks. – MCR]

Study: stock market acts oddly before a crash

Feb. 15, 2006
Special to World Science

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Physicists have found that shortly before and after stock market crashes, stock prices start to follow distinctive patterns, somewhat like those found in heartbeats and earthquakes.

The findings might lead to a system to predict stock-market crashes, they added—but not necessarily to stop them.

In the study, University of Tokyo researchers analyzed the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, a closely watched measure of U.S. stock performance. They found that over time frames of more than a day or so, short-term changes in stock prices usually obey a class of statistical patterns in which the most likely changes are relatively small ones.

But for two-month periods surrounding crashes—such as the “Black Monday” plunge of October 19, 1987—fluctuations of all sizes are equally likely, they found. One result of this behavior, they noted, was that a graph of the fluctuations looks statistically similar if plotted over different time scales, between four minutes and two weeks.

The study appears in the Feb. 17 issue of the research journal Physical Review Letters.

This type of change in behavior is known as “criticality,” the researchers wrote. According to an article in the Feb. 14 issue of Physics News Update, a newsletter of the American Institute of Physics, they drew an analogy with a class of metals that can become magnets when placed in a magnetic field.

These “ferromagnetic” materials are each associated with a characteristic temperature known as the critical temperature. Below it, the metal arranges itself into distinct regions, in each of which the spins of the atoms become aligned the same way among all atoms. These regions, which contribute to the magnetism, look similar at different magnifications.

This self-similarity is also found in graphs of the time intervals between heartbeats, or between earthquakes, the researchers added, according to the publication. But there is also a key difference: in those cases, the self-similarity stems from yet a different mathematical pattern, called a power law. Things that obey power laws become less likely with increasing size according to a characteristic formula.

The university’s Zbigniew Struzik told Physics News Update that it’s unknown whether the new findings could lead to an early-warning system for crashes. One problem is that the warning could actually produce the crash, by inducing panic, he told the publication: thus, the tipoff could either “compensate for or neutralize the crashes, or make them worse.” He added that his team will be researching how individual trading decisions lead to “criticality” in the stock market.

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[This is unfolding on schedule, just as we’ve been predicting for almost four years now. It will not be long before the Marines are sent; before advisers follow. Special Forces and SEAL training contingents are already there. How do you explain these developments? I’ll give you the short answer which is a sort of trivia question for experienced FTW readers. Although he is long dead, these “new” developments are best understood by looking at the life of Edward Lansdale. – MCR]

Fifteen killed in Nigerian cartoon riots

Protests over the cartoons have taken place across Africa

Sunday 19 February 2006
Al Jazeera

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Nigerian rioters have killed at least 15 people after a protest against the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed descended into violence, a police spokesman says.

Witnesses told reporters that protesters turned on the Christian minority in the northern city of Maiduguri on Saturday, burning shops and churches, after police dispersed a rally called to condemn European newspapers that printed the caricatures.

A police spokesman, Deputy Commissioner Haz Iwendi, told reporters that army troops and police reinforcements had been deployed to the city and that a curfew had been imposed to bring about a return to order.

"We've arrested 115 people. Some 15 persons were killed by rioters, and 11 churches burnt," he said.

The victims were the first to die in Nigeria as anger over the drawings of Islam's prophet mounts among its 60 million Muslims, roughly half the population.

Police action

"We've arrested 115 people. Some 15 persons were killed by rioters, and 11 churches burnt"

Mohammed Auwal, a civil servant, told reporters by telephone: "When the protesters gathered for the protest at Ramat square they were ordered by a police detachment to disperse but the crowd insisted on holding the protest."

"The policemen then fired canisters of teargas to disperse the crowd.

"When news went into town about what happened at the square, a mob attacked motor spare-parts shops of Christian Igbo traders at Monday market in the city, looting and burning them," Auwalu said.

A local reporter, Abdullahi Bego, told reporters from the scene that at least 20 shops had been looted and vandalised and churches had been burned to the ground.

"There are a lot of anti-riot police squad all over the city and their presence has helped quell the rampage," Bego said. Ibrahim Bukar, a student, said: "I have been indoors since the riots broke out but a friend told me he saw two dead bodies at the scene of the looting."

Muslim anger

In recent weeks there have been protests around the world -some peaceful, some violent - by Muslims angry over the publication in European newspapers of cartoons satirising Islam's holiest figure, the Prophet Muhammed.

In a radio broadcast following the violence, Ali Modu Sheriff , the local governor, said: "The Borno State government is shocked and disgusted."

Sheriff, a Muslim like the vast majority of Borno State residents, said that while he sympathised with the feelings of Muslims offended by the cartoons, Nigerian Christians should in no way be blamed for them.

He promised that the perpetrators of the violence would be punished.

In Abuja, Frank Nweke, the Nigerian information minister, called on religious leaders to rein in their angry followers.

Call for calm

"The federal government, while it does not begrudge any group the right to defend their faith and religion, also believes that certain actions  - such as burning of churches - are not the best way," he told reporters.

Northern Nigeria is overwhelmingly Muslim, but major cities have significant Christian minorities, mainly members of the Igbo ethnic group who operate successful small businesses, trading especially in car parts and alcohol.

Since 1999 a dozen northern states, including Borno, have attempted to reintroduce Islamic Sharia law, exacerbating latent tensions between the communities and triggering several bloody riots.

Sometimes external factors such as the cartoon controversy trigger the fighting. In September 2001 news of the attack by al-Qaida hijackers on New York and Washington rekindled unrest in Jos which killed 915 people.

And in 2002 an attempt to stage the Miss World beauty contest in Nigeria offended conservative Muslims and led to a riot which left 220 dead.

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Nigeria rebels kidnap expat oil workers

Saturday 18 February 2006
Al Jazeera

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Rebel guerrillas kidnapped nine foreign oil workers on Saturday in an attack on one of Africa's largest export terminals, and vowed to step up assaults on wells and pipelines across the Niger Delta.

A manager from energy giant, Shell, who asked not to be identified, told AFP that guerrillas had attacked a pipe-laying barge off the Forcados oil terminal at around 5:00 am (O400 GMT) and had taken the men hostage.

"The attackers came in five boats. We don't know the extent of the damage, but two soldiers were reported injured," he said.

Shell's operations in the delta are protected by troops from a regional military task force.

The kidnapped expatriates were working for a Shell sub-contractor, the US engineering firm Willbros, on a pipe- laying barge operating in the Forcados river, 50km (30miles) west of the oil city of Warri.

"The attackers came in five boats. We don't know the extent of the damage, but two soldiers were reported injured"

Forcados is one of Shell's two main export terminals in Nigeria and if the attack on the loading platform is confirmed then exports totalling hundreds of thousands of barrels per day will be hit.

The militants claimed that they had killed five soldiers in the attack, but this could not be independently confirmed and military spokesmen said they were not yet ready to give details of what happened.

"There was an incident like that, we're monitoring the situation. We don't yet have details of what happened," said Obiara Medani, the navy's Captain.

Hostages identified

The rebels identified the captives as three Americans, a Briton, two Egyptians, a Filipino and two Thais and warned that they planned to step up their war on the oil industry in retaliation for government air strikes.

"In response to attacks on communities in the Niger Delta by the Nigerian army, units of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta moved into Delta State yesterday to commence an attack on installations," they said, according to Reuters.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said the employees of US oil services company, Willbros WG.N, were taken in an attack on a barge known as "Barge 318".

"These individuals and facilities were well guarded by a large number of soldiers who resisted for an embarrassingly short period before escaping to ensure their personal safeties," the group said in an email, naming all nine hostages.

In a statement emailed from an address used by the militia, the group also claimed to have severely damaged the export terminal, a major pipeline manifold and a gas pipeline supplying energy to Lagos.

Saturday's attack followed a week in which the Nigerian military carried out two air strikes against barges used by the militants to smuggle stolen crude.

Last month, the same gang had kidnapped four foreign oil workers and held them for 19 days, demanding that two ethnic Ijaw leaders be released from jail and that Shell pay $1.5billion (1.2billion euros) to the tribe.

The hostages were eventually released unharmed, but the group and its allies also attacked a number of oil facilities, killing at least 22 soldiers and police in two assaults, and blew up a major pipeline.

Shell's production was already down by 106,000 barrels per day when the latest violence broke out and the company has closed four of its oil flow stations in the western delta because of security fears.

The Niger Delta- a 70,000 square km (27,000 square mile) swathe of swampland and mangrove forest - is home to Africa's biggest oil industry and to the 14-million-strong Ijaw tribe, many of whom dream of independence.

Although Nigeria is a major oil exporter, producing around 2.6 million barrels per day, most of its 130 million people live in grinding poverty and there is much resentment of government and the oil firms in the delta.

Several illegal militias operate in the creeks and jungles of the region and in recent weeks have stepped up attacks on both government forces and the oil industry, in particular the Anglo-Dutch energy giant, Shell.

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[This guy has got a handle on it. –MCR]

How to Survive the Crash and Save the Earth

by Ran Prieur
December 19, 2004

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Creative Commons License
1. Abandon the world. The world is the enemy of the Earth. The "world as we know it" is a deadly parasite on the biosphere. Both cannot survive, nor can the world survive without the Earth. Do the logic: the world is doomed. If you stay on the parasite, you die with it. If you move to the Earth, and it survives in something like its recent form, you can survive with it.

Our little world is doomed because it's built on a foundation of taking from the wider world without giving back. For thousands of years we've been going into debt and calling it "progress," exterminating and calling it "development," stealing and calling it "wealth," shrinking into a world of our own design and calling it "evolution." We're just about done. We're not just running out of cheap oil -- which is used to make and move almost every product, and which gives the average American the energy equivalent of 200 slaves. We're also running out of topsoil, without which we need oil-derived fertilizers to grow food; and forests, which stabilize climate and create rain by transpiring water to refill the clouds; and ground water, such as the Ogallala aquifer under the Great Plains, which could go dry any time now. We're running out of room to dump stuff in the oceans without killing them, and to dump stuff in the atmosphere without wrecking the climate, and to manufacture carcinogens without all of us getting cancer. We're coming to the end of global food stockpiles, and antibiotics that still work, and our own physical health, and our own mental health, and our grip on reality, and our will to keep the whole game going. Why do you think so many Americans are looking forward to "armageddon" or the "rapture"? We hate this shitty world and we want to blow it up.

In the next five or ten years, the US military will be humiliated, the dollar will collapse, the housing bubble will burst, tens of millions of Americans will be destitute, food, fuel, and manufactured items will get really expensive, and most of us will begin withdrawal from the industrial lifestyle. SUV's will change their function from transportation to shelter. We will not be able to imagine how we ever thought calories were bad. Smart people will stop exterminating the dandelions in their yard and start eating them. Ornamental gardens will go the way of fruit hats and bloomers. In the cities, pigeon populations will decline.

This is not the "doom" scenario. I'm not saying anything about death camps, super-plagues, asteroid impacts, solar flares, nuclear war, an instant ice age, or a runaway greenhouse effect. This is the mildest realistic scenario, the slow crash: energy prices will rise, the middle class will fall into the lower class, economies will collapse, nations will fight desperate wars over resources, in the worst places people will starve, and climate disasters will get worse. Your area might resemble the botched conquest of Iraq, or the depression in Argentina, or the fall of Rome, or even a crusty Ecotopia. My young anarchist friends are already packing themselves into unheated houses and getting around by bicycle, and they're noticeably happier than my friends with full time jobs. We just have to make the mental adjustment. Those who don't, who cling to the world they grew up in, numbing themselves and waiting for it all to blow over, will have a miserable time, and if people die, they will be the first. Save some of them if you can, but don't let them drag you down. The first thing they teach lifeguards is how to break holds.

2. Abandon hope. I don't mean that we stop trying, or stop believing that a better world is possible, but that we stop believing that some factor is going to save us even if we do the wrong thing. A few examples:

Jesus is coming. If you believe the Bible, Jesus told us when he was coming back to save us. He said, "This generation shall not pass." That was 2000 years ago. Stop waiting for that bus and get walking.

The Mayan calendar is ending. Some people who scoff at Christian prophecies still manage to believe something equally religious and a lot less specific about what's going to happen. At least Jesus preached peace and enlightenment -- the Mayans were a warlike people who crashed their civilization by cutting down the forests of the Yucatan and exhausting their farmland. That's what we should be studying, not their calendar and its alleged message that a better world is coming very soon and with little effort on our part. Now the Mayan calendar gurus will say that it does take effort and we have a choice to go either way, but go back to 1988 and read what 2004 was supposed to look like, and it's obvious that we've already failed.

Technology will save us. If it does, it will be something we don't even recognize as "technology" -- permaculture or orgonomy or water vortices or forest gardening or quantum consciousness or the next generation of the tribe. It will not be a new germ killer or resource extractor or power generator or anything to give us what we want while exempting us from being aware and respectful of other life. Anything like that will just dig us deeper in the same hole.

The system can be reformed. Yes, and it's also not against the laws of physics for us to go back in time and prevent the industrial age from ever happening. Ten, twenty, thirty years ago the ecologists said "we have to turn it around now or it will be too late." They were right. And not only didn't we turn it around, we sped it up: more cars with worse efficiency, more toxins, more CO2, more deforestation, more pavement, more lawns, more materialism, more corporate rule, more weapons, more war and love of war, more secrets, more lies, more callousness and cynicism and short-sightedness. Now we're in so deep that politicians right of Nixon are called "liberal" and the Green Party platform is both totally inadequate and politically absurd. Our little system is not going to make it.

Also, there's a time lag between smokestacks and acid rain, between radioactivity and cancer, between industrial toxins and birth defects, between atmospheric imbalance and giant storms, between deforestation and drought, between soil depletion and starvation. The disasters we're getting now are from the relatively mild stuff we did years or decades ago, before SUV's and depleted uranium and aspartame and terminator seeds and the latest generation of factory farms. Even if we could turn it around tomorrow, what's coming is much worse.

We're not strong enough to destroy nature. Oddly, this argument almost always invokes the word "hubris," as in, "You are showing hubris, or excessive pride, in thinking that by lighting this forest on fire to roast a hot dog, I will burn the forest down. Don't you know humans aren't capable of burning down a forest? Shame on you for your pride."

In fact, we've already almost finished killing the Earth. The deserts of central and southwest Asia were once forests -- ancient empires cut down the trees and let the topsoil wash off into the Indian Ocean. In North America a squirrel could go tree to tree from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, and spawning salmon were so thick in rivers and streams that you couldn't row a boat through them, and the seashores were rich with seals, fishes, birds, clams, lobsters, whales. Now they're deserts populated only by seagulls eating human garbage, and nitrogen fertilizer runoff has made dead zones in the oceans, and atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing oceanic acidity, which may dissolve the shells of the plankton. If the plankton die, it's all over.

Maybe we can't kill absolutely everything, but we are on the path to cutting life on Earth down to nothing bigger than a cockroach, and we will do so, and all of us will die, unless something crashes our system sooner and only kills most of us.

3. Drop Out. (See my essay How To Drop Out.) Dropping out of the present dominant system has both a mental and an economic component that go together like your two legs walking. It's a lot of steps! Maybe you notice that you hate your job, and that you have to do it because you need money. So you reduce expenses, reduce your hours, and get more free time, in which you learn more techniques of self-sufficiency and establish a sense of identity not dependent on where you get your money. Then you switch to a low-status low-stress job that gives you even more room to get outside the system mentally. And so on, until you've changed your friends, your values, your whole life.

The point I have to make over and over about this process, and this movement, is that it's not about avoiding guilt, or reducing your ecological footprint, or being righteous. It's not a pissing contest to see who's doing more to save the Earth -- although some people will believe that's your motivation, to justify their own inertia. It's not even about reducing your participation in the system, just reducing your submission and dependence: getting free, being yourself, slipping out of a wrestling hold so you can throw an elbow at the Beast.

This world is full of people with the intelligence, knowledge, skills, and energy to make heaven on Earth, but they can't even begin because they would lose their jobs. We're always arguing to change each other's minds, but nobody will change if they think their survival depends on not changing. Every time you hear about a whistleblower or reporter getting fired for honesty and integrity, you can be sure that they already had a support network, or just a sense of their own value, outside of the system they defied. Dropping out is about fighting better. Gandalf has to get off Saruman's tower!

4. You are here to help. In the culture of Empire, we are trained to think of ourselves as here to "succeed," to build wealth and status and walls around ourselves, to get what we desire, to win in games where winning is given meaning by others losing. It is a simple and profound shift to think of ourselves instead as here to help -- to serve the greatest good that we can perceive in whatever way is right in front of us.

You don't have to sacrifice yourself for others, or put others "above" you. Why is it so hard to see each other as equals? And it's OK to have a good time. In fact, having a good time is what most helping comes down to -- the key is that you're focused on the good times of all life everywhere including your "self," instead of getting caught up in egocentric comparison games that aren't even that fun.

Defining yourself as here to help is a prerequisite for doing some of the other things on this list properly. If you're here to win you're not saving anything but your own wretched ass for a few additional years. If you're dropping out to win you're likely to be stepping on other outsiders, instead of throwing a rope to bring more people out alive. And as the system breaks down, people here to win will waste their energy fighting each other for scraps, while people here to help will build self-sufficient communities capable of generating what they need to survive.

In the real world, being here to help is easier and less stressful, because you will frequently be in a situation where you can't win, but you will almost never be in a situation where there's nothing you can do to help. Being here to win only makes sense in an artificial world rigged so you can win all the time. Thousands of years ago only kings were in that position, and they reacted by massacring all enemies and bathing in blood. Now, through a perfect conjunction of Empire and oil energy, we just put the entire American middle class in that position for 50 years. No one should be surprised that we're so stupid, selfish, cowardly, and irresponsible. But younger generations are already getting poorer and smarter.

5. Learn skills. Readers sometimes ask for my advice on surviving the crash -- should they buy guns, canned food, water purifiers, gold? I always tell them to learn skills. You know the saying: get a fish, eat for a day; learn to fish, eat for a lifetime. (Just don't take it too literally -- there might not be any fish left!)

The most obvious useful skills would include improvising shelter from materials at hand, identifying and preparing wild edibles, finding water, making fire, trapping animals, and so on. But I don't think we're going all the way to the stone age. There will also be a need for electrical work, medical diagnosis, surgery, optics, celestial navigation, composting, gardening, tree propagation, food preservation, diplomacy, practical chemistry, metalworking, all kinds of mechanical repair, and all kinds of teaching. As the 15th century had the Renaissance Man, we're going to have the Postapocalypse Man or Woman, someone who can fix a bicycle, tan a hide, set a broken bone, mediate an argument, and teach history.

Even more important are some things that are not normally called skills, but that make skill-learning and everything else easier: luck, intuition, adaptability, attentiveness, curiosity, physical health, mental health, the ability to surf the flow. Maybe the most fundamental is what they call "being yourself" or "waking up." Most human behavior is based neither on logic nor intuition nor emotion, but habit and conformity. We perceive, think, and act as we've always done, and as we see others do. This works well enough in a controlled environment, but in a chaotic environment it doesn't work at all. If you can just get 10% of yourself free of habit and conformity, people will call you "weird." 20% and they'll call you a genius, 30% and they'll call you a saint, 40% and they'll kill you.

6. Find your tribe. We minions of Empire think of ourselves as individualists, or as members of silly fake groups -- nations, religions, races, followers of political parties and sports teams, loyal inmates of some town that's the same as every other. In fact we're all members of a giant mad tribe, where the relationships are not cooperative and open, but coercive, exploitative, abusive, and invisible. If we could see even one percent of the whole picture, we would have a revolution.

You may feel like you want to do it alone, but you have never done it alone. To survive the breakdown of this world and build a better one, you will have to trade your sterile, insulated links of money and law for raw, messy links of friendship and conflict. The big lie of postapocalypse movies like Omegaman and Mad Max is that the survivors will be loners. In the real apocalypse, the survivors will be members of multi-skilled well-balanced cooperative groups.

I think future tribes are already forming, even on the internet, even among people thousands of miles apart. I think the crash will be slow enough that we'll have plenty of time to get together geographically.

7. Get on some land. This might seem more difficult than the others, yet most people who own land have not done any of the other things -- probably because buying land requires money which requires subservience to a system that makes you personally powerless. I suggest extreme frugality, which will give you valuable skills and also allow you to quickly save up money. You probably have a few more years.

If you don't make it, it's not the end of the world -- oh wait -- it is the end of the world! But you still might know someone with room on their land, or someone might take you in for your skills, or if you have a tribe one of you will probably come up with a place in the chaos. And if not, there will be a need for survivors and helpers in the cities and suburbs. So don't force it.

If you do get land, the most valuable thing it can have is clean surface water, a spring or stream you can drink from. Acceptable but less convenient would be a well that doesn't require electricity, or dirty surface water, which you can filter and clean through sand and reed beds. At the very least you need the rainfall and skills to catch and store enough rainwater to drink and grow food. (The ancient Nabateans did it on less than four inches of rain a year.) Then you'll need a few years to learn and adjust and get everything in order so that your tribe can live there year-round, even with no materials from outside. With luck, it won't come to that.

8. Save part of the Earth. When I say "the Earth," I mean the life on its surface, the biosphere, as many species and habitats as possible, connected in ways that maximize abundance and complexity -- and not just because humans think it's pretty or useful, but because all life is valuable on its own terms. We like to focus on saving trophy animals -- whales, condors, pandas, salmon, spotted owls -- but most of them aren't going to make it, and we could save a lot more species if we could put that attention into habitats and whole systems.

So how do you save habitats and whole systems? You can try working through governments, but at the moment they're ruled by corporations, which by definition are motivated purely by short term increase-in-exploitation, or "profit." You can try direct physical action against the destroyers, but it has yet to work well, and as the world plunges to the right I think we'll see more and more activists simply killed.

My focus is direct positive action for the biosphere: adopting some land, whether by owning or squatting or stealth, and building it into a strong habitat: slowing down the rainwater, composting, mulching, building the topsoil, no-till gardening, scattering seed balls, planting trees, making wetlands -- a little oasis where the tree frogs can hide and migrating birds can rest, where you and a few species can wait out the crash.

Tom Brown Jr. mentions in one of his books that the patch of woods where he conducts his wilderness classes, instead of being depleted by all the humans using it for survival, has turned into an Eden, because his students know how to tend it. Some rain forest environments, once thought to be random wilderness, have turned out to be more like the wild gardens of human tribes, orders of magnitude more complex than the soil-killing monoculture fields of our own primitive culture.

Humans have the ability to go beyond sustainability, to live in ways that increase the richness of life on Earth, and help Gaia in ways she cannot help herself. This and only this justifies human survival.

It requires a new set of skills. A good place to start is the permaculture movement. Sadly, in the present dark age the original books are all out of print and rare, and classes are so expensive that the knowledge is languishing among the idle rich when it should be offered free to the world. But the idle poor can still find the books in libraries, and many of the techniques are simple. What it comes down to is seeing whole systems and paying attention and innovating, driven by the knowledge that sustainability is only the middle of the road, and there's no limit to how far we can go beyond it.

9. Save human knowledge. When people of this age think about knowledge worth saving, they usually think about belief in the Cartesian mechanical philosophy, that dead matter is the basis of reality, and about techniques for rebuilding and using machines that dominate and separate us from other life. I'd like that knowledge to die forever, but I don't think it works that way. Humans or any other hyper-malleable animal will always be tempted by the Black Arts, by techniques that trade subtle harm for flashy good and feed back into themselves, seducing us into power, corruption, and blindness.

Our descendants will need the intellectual artifacts to avoid this -- artifacts we have barely started to develop even as the Great Bad Example begins to fall. In 200 years, when they are brushing seeds into baskets with their fingers, and a stranger appears with a new threshing machine that will do the same thing with less time and effort, they will need to say something smarter than "the Gods forbid it" or "that is not our Way." They will need the knowledge to say something like:

"Your machine requires the seed to be planted alone and not interspersed with perennials that maintain nitrogen and mineral balance in the soil. And from where will the metal come, and how many trees must be cut down and burned to melt and shape it? And since we cannot build the machine, shall we be dependent on the machine-builders, and give them a portion of our food, which we now keep all for ourselves? Do you not know, clever stranger, that when any biomass is removed from the land, and not recycled back into it, the soil is weakened? And what could we do with our "saved" time, that would be more valuable and pleasurable than gathering the seed by hand, touching and knowing every stalk and every inch of the land that feeds us? Shall we become allies of cold metal that cuts without feeling, turning our hands and eyes to the study of machines and numbers until, severed from the Earth, we nearly destroy it as our ancestors did, making depleted uranium and polychlorinated biphenyls and cadmium batteries that even now make the old cities unfit for living? Go back to your people, and tell them, if they come to conquer us with their machines, we will fight them in ways the Arawaks and Seminoles and Lakota and Hopi and Nez Perce never imagined, because we understand your world better than you do yourself. Tell your people to come to learn."

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