April 22, 2020
Some anthropologists argue that we’re living in an anomalous historical period called High Energy Modernity, which will end sooner than we might like because of declining ‘net energy.’ It’s an era of contradictions in which we’ve acquired unbelievable technology but put it to some of the most frivolous uses. In this episode, Rob, Asher, and Jason ask themselves, “If High Energy Modernity is on the way out, what will we miss most, and what will we be glad to see go?” And they ponder appropriate technology and whether the digging stick is primed for a comeback.
- Superman and Bizarro
- John Carpenter’s 1988 movie They Live has an anti-consumerist theme and arguably the best fight scene of all time.
- Robert Bradley excerpts a report from the unscientific, climate-doubt-sowing Heartland Institute in his blog MasterResource.
- Energy reports from David Hughes
- Julian Simon (deceased), noted cornucopian and former professor of business administration
- Robert Bradley’s Bizarro quote, “Natural resources originate from the mind, not from the ground, and therefore are not depletable,” is referenced in Brian Czech’s book Supply Shock.
- “Energy and Economy: Recognizing High-Energy Modernity as a Historical Period” by Thomas Love and Cindy Isenhour, Economic Anthropology 2016; 3: 6–16.
- Marvin Harris’s theory of cultural materialism
- White’s law, named for anthropologist Leslie White, explains the relationship between energy and the evolution of culture.
- “Exosomatic energy consumption refers to the use of energy for processes outside the body. The first time that humans were able to consume energy exosomatically was when they learned how to control fire. However, today, humans exploit a very large amount of energy exosomatically for innumerable activities and purposes such as transport, heating and street lighting.” -Inge Ropke in Humanity’s Energy History
- Inundation of the Turkish city of Hansankeyf, an ancient Silk Road trading post, by the Ilisu Dam
- Jeff Bezos’s Bizarro reaction to a finite planet
- James Howard Kunstler often mentions Cheez Doodles as the object of his disdain for American consumerism.
- Mayor McCheese, Grimace, Captain Crook, and the Hamburgler — the McDonaldland Gang — were sued out of existence by Sid and Marty Kroft. The characters were too similar to their Pufnstuff characters.
- “Water Is Life: Nick Estes on Indigenous Technologies,” Logic Magazine, Issue 9, December 7, 2019.
- Kris de Decker’s Low Tech Magazine
- “Can the Internet Survive Climate Change?” — article in the New Republic that references de Decker’s work.