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500: Whiplash Plateau

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Dmitry Orov

Dmitry Orov

Dmitry Orlov returns to the C-Realm Podcast for a review of the Peak Oil scene and where it stands 9+ years after his first introduced the topic to C-Realm listeners in episode 20. KMO asks if the American empire has any chance of collapsing as gracefully as the Soviet empire did. Dmitry's answer gives little reason for optimism. Dmitry also explains how it takes a lot of oil to make a Bitcoin and why "undulating plateau" is too euphemistic a phrase to describe the wild fluctuations that the Peak Oil theory predicts for oil prices once the easy-to-obtain oil is gone. This episode marks the transition from a weekly to a monthly production schedule for the main C-Realm Podcast.

499: Alt Dot Paganism

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Is this Major Tom's skull?

Is this Major Tom's skull?

In the 1960s and 70s, Hollywood gave us lurid visions of devil worship and the coming of the Anti-Christ in movies like Rosemary's Baby and The Omen. In the 1980s, The Believers, a movie about Santeria, provided a blueprint for the real life Metamoros cult murders in Mexico.  By the late 90s, movies like The Craft recognized a world older and less hidebound than the one encompassed by Christian beliefs. At the same time, the X-Files seemed to use the rising power of the internet to conjure weird tales that seemed more like an encounter with the strange side of real life and less like recycled Hollywood tropes about aliens and monsters. KMO and occult researcher Peg Aloi explore the interplay between popular entertainment and occult beliefs and practices.

498: Everything’s a Racket

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Detail from The 4th of July by James Howard Kunstler

Detail from The 4th of July by James Howard Kunstler

As the weekly C-Realm Podcast production schedule winds down, KMO invites long-time, repeat guest, James Howard Kunstler back to the program to talk about what has allowed the world economy to levitate in defiance of the laws of economic physics for the last 8 years. KMO asks about the prospect of continued job loss to automation, and JHK says that there's no need to worry about robots stealing your job. Rather, he says, it's time to take an interest in working with mules. They also touch on the US presidential election.

497: Back Ahead

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C-Realm_497_coverKMO starts 2016 with a look back at some of 2015's preoccupations, starting with the "sexy baby vocal virus" otherwise known as up speak and vocal fry. It only seems to bother anybody when young women do it, so is the objection based on sexism? If so, why does so much of the pushback come from older women and women who have had voice training? Did anything else of consequence garner any attention in 2015? Hmmm...

496: Radically Radical

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Nyan Cat

Nyan Cat

KMO welcomes Alfie Bown, author of Enjoying It: Candy Crush & Capitalism to the C-Realm Podcast to discuss the philosophical analysis of pop culture and everyday experiences. KMO, following Noam Chomsky and Joe Bageant, grumbles about how so much of the academic left, high on European (pseudo-)intellectualism, has discarded any pretense of outreach to working people and has instead elected to disappear up its own ass.

495: Our Secret Shame

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C-Realm_495_coverPatricia Paul, one of the presenters at the 2015 World Technology Network's Summit on Technological Unemployment joins KMO on the C-Realm Podcast to discuss the unexpected form that technological displacement of workers is taking. Anu Kirk joins the conversation and shares his first-hand perspective on how and why people in the Bay Area tech industry are reluctant to discuss this issue and instead perpetuate the narrative that reduces the nation's employment woes to a multitude of cases of individual personal failure.

494: The Mists of Memory

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Art by Jian Guo

Art by Jian Guo

KMO welcomes Peter Bebergal, author of Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll back to the C-Realm Podcast to talk about the role of memory in the writing of Gene Wolfe. One of Wolfe's characters, Latro from Soldier of the Mist, forgets everything. Severian, the protagonist of The Book of the New Sun, forgets nothing. Who do you think would make a more reliable narrator? Later, the conversation turns to roleplaying games, comics, dinosaurs and rock-n-roll.

A full audiobook of The Shadow of the Torturer can be found on YouTube.

Here's a short podcast about The Shadow of the Torturer.

493: The Search for Scarcity

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C-Realm_493_coverKMO talks with financial writer Charles Hugh Smith about the themes of his new book, A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All: The Future Belongs to Work That Is Meaningful. Charles explains how information technology is creating "wormholes" in previously secure monopolies and cartels, which eat away at their profitability. Before we celebrate the death of the giants, lets remember that the less profitable they become the more motivation they have to shed the burden of their labor costs. Welcome to the Uberized economy. We need to find a way to keep the productivity gains that information technology makes possible AND provide well-paid and meaningful work for everyone who wants it.

No Show Today

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No_ShowSorry. There is no new C-Realm Podcast this week.

492: Platform Justice

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The Liberty Paper Mill in Bellows Falls and possible future site of a new justice center.

The Liberty Paper Mill in Bellows Falls and possible future site of a new justice center.

KMO and Olga are moving to Bellows Falls, Vermont where the county sheriff, Keith Clark, hopes to bring some much needed humanity to an overly punitive criminal justice system. He proposes renovating a building which has stood empty for decades and turning it into a new justice center that will combine educational opportunities, community services, administrative offices and a detention center. Some Bellows Falls residents are less than pleased at the prospect. KMO speaks with Sheriff Clark about the center and the concerns of residents. Later, KMO summarizes some of the content of the presentations and discussions at the Platform Cooperativism conference.

491: Cessation or Bust

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C-Realm_491_coverThis episode of the C-Realm Podcast brings together two recent conversations. In episode 474: MALIGNANTLY USELESS, KMO spoke with Kevin Dole about the pessimistic philosophy of horror writer Thomas Ligotti. In episodes 480: Assumptions and Preferences and 481: Comfort and Understanding (are Killing Us), KMO and Olga spoke with secular Buddhist meditation teacher Soryu Forall about the unconscious habits of mind which are leading human civilization and entire biosphere to ruin. Kevin and Soryu both return to the C-Realm to carry one both discussions.

490: Transducing Consciousness

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Dr. Neil Theise, MD

Dr. Neil Theise, MD

Does consciousness emerge when the right kinds of matter are arranged in the right way with sufficient complexity, or is consciousness a primary quality of existence which precedes matter? Could both be true? KMO speaks with Dr. Neil Theise, MD about mind, matter, biology, longevity and the varities of "yogic practice." Neil, who is Professor of Pathology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, also weighs in on the value of established religious, contemplative and shamanic traditions, even the ones which clearly need a little reformation. Neil will be the featured presenter at the East Meets West Medicine Fest, November 20-22 in NYC.

489: Muscle Power and Microchips

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Speech to text apps got a lot more efficient once the human components were removed.

Speech to text apps got a lot more efficient once the human components were removed.

In response to an email from a listener, KMO explains why we can't reasonably expect Peak Oil or any variation of resource scarcity to save us from the effects of bad public policy which subsidizes automation and penalizes employment. He lays out a few potential scenarios involving human robots under the micro-managment of managerial AI. Thereafter, Jim, the host of Attack Ads! Podcast joins KMO for a discussion of how the Planet Money Podcast totally missed the mark in their attempt to examine the implications of a 1930 essay by John Maynard Keynes, Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren.

488 Metropolis to Village

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C-Realm_488_coverCity slickers KMO and Olga have their hearts set on moving to Bellows Falls, Vermont. In this episode of the C-Realm Podcast, Olga explains why she's done with the Big Apple. Later, long-time Bellows Falls resident, attorney and music promoter, Ray Massuco, talks about the history of Bellows Falls and the community connections he has forged over four decades of practice. Ray is an ardent Bernie Sanders supporter, and there are a lot of Bernie haters in the collapse community, so KMO plays devil's advocate and elicits a calm, rational and confident defense of Bernie and his enthusiastic supporters from Ray.

Music by James McMurtry.

487: Institutionalized Perversion

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Albert Bates in Iceland, 2015.

Albert Bates in Iceland, 2015.

Long-time friend of the C-Realm, Albert K. Bates, stopped in NYC on his way back to his home in rural Tennessee after an intense bout of globetrotting. He describes the people he met in his travels and their efforts to respond adaptively to the converging crises of climate chaos and peak oil. He weighs in on the futility of investing hope in a candidate like Bernie Sanders who says the right things but who is too much a creature of the establishment to break away from its imperatives. He gives the example of Sanders' support for the F-35 jet fighter boondoggle to counter-balance the Sanders hopium. Borrowing from Andrew Langford, Albert explains why responses that do not take the Patrix, our species' enduring psychic wound, into account will only perpetuate our maladaptive behavior.