540: This Finite Earth

KMO talks to engineer and permaculturalist, Robert Brown, about the strengths and weaknesses of the Peak Oil narrative. KMO recalls the different psychological factions that congregated under the Peak Oil banner. Some were focused on finding investment opportunities, others were disgusted with contemporary society and thrilled at the prospect of it falling to pieces. The conversation also touches on the harms and benefits of digital technology.

539: Extend the Pretend

KMO has turned Peak Oil apostate. Information technology and machine learning in particular, seem to have played a much more influential and interesting role in determining the course of industrial civilization over the past decade than have shortfalls in petroleum production. In short, the predictions of a Peak Oil fast collapse have failed to materialize. Over that same period, most everyone in the industrialized world has taken to carrying powerful computers around with them that fit in the palms of their hands. Governments and corporations use the data we generate with our online activity for surveillance and social control. What will the coming decade hold? Will the collapse of industrial civilization finally make its entrance, or will information technology extend it's lead over the predicted collapse? KMO puts these questions to long-time C-Realm guest, James Howard Kunstler, who predicts that the collapse is still coming, and that the next couple of years will be marked by greatly increased levels of disorder on the international stage.

538: Playing Roles

KMO welcomes author and game designer, Michael O. Varhola, to the C-Realm to discuss the story-telling alchemy that comes from getting a group of people together around a table with dice, character sheets and possibly some miniatures to engage in collaborative adventure-spinning. Michael is the founder of a gaming company called Skirmisher, and you can find all of their offerings on DriveThruRPG.com.

537: H1B Mission Creep

The H1B Visa program was originally intended to make sure that American tech companies had access to enough computer programmers to fix the Y2K bug before the stroke of midnight. Mission accomplished. But then the H1B program found a new mission. Kevin Lynn of U.S. Tech Workers explains how the program expanded and the effect that it continues to have on the culture of Silicone Valley and on the fate of Americans who have the aptitude and the skills to do the work that US firms would rather give to foreign workers.

Check out the GEBB webcomic and KMO's YouTube channel.

536: Recontextualizing Identity

KMO speaks with Mark Gober, author of An End to Upside Down Thinking: Dispelling the Myth That the Brain Produces Consciousness, and the Implications for Everyday Life. The idea that consciousness arises from sufficiently complex arrangements of matter isn't so much  a finding arrived at by scientific investigation as it is an axiom of the materialist worldview. Modern science doesn't lead to the conclusion brains produce consciousness so much as the scientific community demands that you accede to this starting assumption or keep quiet about your reservations if you want to be taken seriously. Mark Gober argues that experimental findings demonstrate that ideas concerning telepathy, precognition, remote viewing and life after death need to be given more thorough-going consideration than they currently receive in the scientific community.