Posts tagged collapse

This video, that starts with a view of the top of Tower 4, was taken from the vantage point of an Arecibo Observatory drone,…

Arecibo Observatory, collapse, astronomy, 2020

video link

This video, that starts with a view of the top of Tower 4, was taken from the vantage point of an Arecibo Observatory drone, utilized for monitoring the condition of Tower 4 support cables. Four cables are seen in the center of this video. The top cable does not support the telescope platform, but instead supports the catwalk described in the narrative for the previous video. The three lower cables are, from left to right, M4-1, M4-2, and M4-3. Note that a number of individual wire strands of the M4-1 and M4-2 cables are noticeably broken at the beginning of this video. The M4-3 cable does not appear to have any broken wires at the beginning of this video. The first indication of the coming failure is the breaking of another M4-2 wire, accompanied by a puff of “smoke” and chips of paint flying away from the surface of the cable. Four seconds later the entire M4-2 cable appears to disintegrate. The failure of M4-2 is followed a fraction of a second later by the demise of M4-1, followed a fraction of a second later by the failure of M4-3. The drone operator then swings the drone around to view the reflector dish and fallen platform, azimuth arm, Gregorian dome and the falling cables and catwalk. The top section of Tower 12, near the Visitor Center, can be seen tumbling down the hill to the left of the operations building. The Tower 12 backstay cables that connect the top of Tower 12 to the ground cause damage behind Tower 12, well away from the edge of the telescope dish.

Courtesy of the Arecibo Observatory, a U.S. National Science Foundation facility. 

All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it…

dune, power, collapse, corruption, Frank Herbert

“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted.”

Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune.

An annotated version of Jared Diamond’s 1995 article “Easter’s End” – Part I 

rapa-nui, easter-island, civilisation, collapse, jared-diamond, history, archeology, Carl-Lipo, anno

The content below was written by Jared Diamond and appeared in the August 1, 1995 edition of Discover Magazine ( The content of the article article been widely copy-and-pasted by others and often serves as the basis for what people think they know about the island. Here, I try to provide comments to help update the essay with knowledge that we have gained over the past 25 years. In just a few centuries [the entire prehistoric occupation was just 500 years: ca. 1200AD to 1722AD. Radiocarbon dates (Mann et al 2008) show the loss of the palm forest took this entire span of time.], the people of Easter Island wiped out their forest [note that choice of the word “wiping” belies the fact that the palm forest was turned into gardens over the entire prehistoric span of occupation and possibly into European times], drove their plants [large palm trees (Jubea Chilensis) with little economic value] and animals [by animals, Diamond means “seabirds.” Excavations by Steadman et al (1994) show that there were once seabirds on the island that are now extinct.] to extinction, and saw their complex society spiral into chaos [according to whom? and when? Archaeologically, we only see changes in settlement patterns after the point of European contact] and cannibalism [there is no empirical evidence of cannibalism on Rapa Nui]. Are we about to follow their lead?


2016: You Want It Darker

Dougald-Hine, Dark-Mountain, liminal, liminality, collapse, crisis, uncertainty, ritual, transformat

The concept of liminality was first used to describe the structure of rituals like the one at the centre of The Encounter, but its application as a term for thinking about modern societies is connected to the study of theatre and performance. The anthropologist who made the connection, Victor Turner, distinguished the ‘liminal’ experiences of tribal cultures – in which ritual is a collective process for navigating moments of change – from the ‘liminoid’ experiences available in modern societies, which resemble the liminal, but are choices we opt into as individuals, like a night out at the theatre. This distinction comes with a suggestion that true liminality, the collective entry into the liminal, is not available within a complex industrial society. Now, perhaps this has been true – but here’s my next wild suggestion. The consequences of that very complex industrial society are now bringing us to a point where we get reacquainted with true liminality. To take seriously not just what Dark Mountain has been talking about, but what Monbiot and Harris are touching on, is to recognise that we now face a crisis which has no outside. The planetary scale of our predicament makes it as much a collective experience as anything faced by the tribal cultures studied by Turner and his colleagues. […] To navigate at these depths, you need a different kind of equipment. Facts alone don’t cut it down here.


No, Nasa Does Not Think Civilization Is About To Collapse

collapsonomics, Nafeez Ahmed, collapse, reductionism, problems

A model with this few equations will always provide egregious predictions about “industrial collapse”. Anyone who spends more than two minutes looking on Gapminder will recognise that inter-country differences are so vast that using eight equations to accurately model humanity is like replicating the Sistine Chapel using a crayon.

An Eschatological Taxonomy

futurism, end of the world, extinction, apocophillia, collapse, disaster, taxonomy

What do we mean when we talk about the “end of the world?” It’s a term that get thrown around a bit too often among a variety of futurist-types, whether talking about global warming, nanofabrication, or non-friendly artificial intelligence. “Existential risks” is the lingo-du jour, referring to the broad panoply of processes, technologies and events that put our existence at risk. But, still, what does that mean? The destruction of the Earth? The end of humankind? A “Mad Max” world of leather-clad warriors, feral kids, and armed fashion models? All are frightening and horrific, but some are moreso than others. How do we tell them apart?

ClubOrlov: The Sixth Stage of Collapse

orlov, collapse, collapsonomics, economics, environment, governance

I admit it: in my last book, The Five Stages of Collapse, I viewed collapse through rose-colored glasses. But I feel that I should be forgiven for this; it is human nature to try to be optimistic no matter what. Also, as an engineer, I am always looking for solutions to problems. And so I almost subconsciously crafted a scenario where industrial civilization fades away quickly enough to save what’s left of the natural realm, allowing some remnant of humanity to make a fresh start.


research, collapse, east germany, cryptic refugia

Südthüringer-Wald-Institut is an independent, distributed research organization founded in a cave 200m deep below the Southern Thuringian Forest in the former East Germany. Physically positioned as a default site of refuge from the possibly inevitable collapse of the pervasive technological and social infrastructures that scaffold contemporary existence, the conceptual agenda of the Institute is framed by the present luxury of a world where discourse around mitigating unpleasant contingencies is still unhindered by the profound stress of needing to survive them.

Bronze Age collapse

greece, history, broze age, dark ages, collapse, 1150 BCE

The Bronze Age collapse is a transition in the Aegean Region, Southwestern Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age that historians such as M. Liverani, S. Richard, Robert Drews, Frank J. Yurco, Amos Nur, Leonard R. Palmer, and others believe was violent, sudden and culturally disruptive. The palace economy of the Aegean Region and Anatolia which characterised the Late Bronze Age was replaced, after a hiatus, by the isolated village cultures of the Greek Dark Ages.