The Energy Racket
By Wade Frazier
Revised in June 2014
Introduction and Summary
A Brief Prehistory of Energy and Life on Earth
Early Civilization, Energy and the Zero-Sum Game
The Rise of Europe and Energy Exploitation
The Industrial Revolution and the Science of Energy
The Energy Racket Takes Shape
Science and the "Real World"
My First Glimpse
World Energy Economics
A Case History in Alternative Energy Suppression
Why Is There No Alternative Energy?
The Greatest Energy of All
Introduction and Summary
Dear readers, in the summer of 2014, this essay was largely superseded by this essay. I trimmed this essay down to reflect that the 2014 essay delves far deeper into many issues that this essay originally covered. My original energy essay was written around 2001, and could be considered the embryonic version of the 2014 version. This essay's remaining parts are probably best read in context of the 2014 essay, and many links to this essay come from that essay.
Today’s energy industry is perhaps the world’s most powerful. Energy is the basis of all this world’s wealth, and for perhaps Earth’s entire history, the Sun’s energy has fueled all ecological and economic systems. If early humans did not learn to exploit new sources of energy, humankind would still be living with its ape cousins in the tropical forests. Without the continual exploitation of new energy sources, there would have been no civilization, no Industrial Revolution and no looming global catastrophe.
All life on Earth consumes the Sun’s energy, originally captured by the process of photosynthesis, except for chemical-synthesizing bacteria. Millions of years ago, humanity’s evolutionary ancestors lived in Africa’s tropic forests, as did their great ape cousins, and fruit was their dietary mainstay. By walking upright and making tools, humanity’s ancestors exploited new energy resources, such as animal remains scavenged from predator kills. Early protohumans migrated from Africa about two million years ago, probably following migrating African predators. They eventually harnessed fire and invented other energy-consuming/preserving adaptations, such as clothing, which allowed them to survive past their natural range in the tropics.
About 200,000 years ago, anatomically modern humans appeared. By about 60,000 years ago, humans improved their weapons technology to the point where they became Earth’s first and only super-predator, expanding its range across the entire planet. By about 10,000 years ago, humanity had exterminated all the easily hunted large animals, and the hunter-gatherer lifestyle was no longer sustainable on a global basis. Domestication of animals and food crops led to civilization. Domesticating animals, plants and enslaving humans were the significant activities of early civilization, and ideological indoctrination began in those early days, as the slaves needed to be conditioned to accept their status. The positions of the new elite classes also needed an acceptable justification. Often the most ruthless and successful elites became “royalty.”
The human journey has largely been about refining methods of exploiting energy and manipulating the natural environment to human benefit. The West calls that process “progress.” The extinction of large, easily killed animals was probably the earliest instance of humans exhausting their primary energy source (although original migrations from Africa might have been due to outstripping energy supplies). Early agricultural practices also exhausted the lands, although the dynamic of deforestation, farming and desertification persists to this day. As the energy of wood was used up, and the resultant deforested lands were devastated by agricultural practices, other sources of energy were exploited, leading to the “fossil fuel” revolution, which began with coal mining in deforested England replacing wood for smelt iron, and that coal also ran the first commercial steam engines. In the late 19th century, oil became the next fuel to undergo large-scale exploitation, and its use coincided with amassing capitalistic, monopolistic empires, significantly by United States robber barons, John Rockefeller most notably. His oil companies still dominate the oil industry, and fossil fuels comprise more than 80% of world energy production in 2014. The process of extracting and using fossil fuels is environmentally disastrous. Rapid global warming, mainly caused by burning fossil fuels, is one of the greatest threats that humanity faces today.
The West’s capitalistic ideology has transformed a traditional deadly sin, greed, into a virtue, and the racketeering impulse has guided the creation of all capitalistic empires. Every significant industry and profession is largely a self-serving racket, and the larger and more powerful the industry or profession is, the more it resembles an outright racket, which I discovered the hard way during my adventures. I participated in a significant effort to bring alternative energy to the marketplace, maybe the most significant ever. What happened to the ventures that Dennis Lee headed is a case study of how alternative energy is suppressed. Alternative energy has been systematically suppressed, on a global scale, for the past century, and free energy technology has probably existed for a long time. Free energy would eliminate the energy industry, help heal Earth, increase humanity’s standard of living by a few orders of magnitude, and could end the Zero-Sum Game that humanity has been playing for the past 10,000 years or more. The exploitation of energy may exterminate the human species, but it does not have to be that way. If we wake up and begin caring, solving our problems is easy. If we stay asleep, we are doomed. The problem has a lot more to do with integrity than technology or intelligence. Personal integrity is the world’s scarcest commodity, and it needs to become more plentiful if humanity is to avoid its self-extinction. It is up to us.
A Brief Prehistory of Energy and Life on Earth
Ninety-three million miles away is the star my planet orbits. It is an average star, one of about 200 billion in its galaxy, placed on one of the galaxy’s outer arms. Our galaxy is unremarkable, one of perhaps a trillion within range of today’s telescopes. According to today’s theories, our star has been burning for about 4.6 billion years, and will burn for seven billion more before it consumes its fuel and dies. As our star settled into its life, something happened on a tiny fragment that orbits it. That fragment - a mere mote in the cosmos - is nearly completely metallic, largely composed of iron, but on its surface a thin layer of lighter elements “rose” and settled. That layer is relatively as thick as an apple’s skin, a layer that humanity calls home. Eight elements - oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium - make up nearly 99% of Earth’s crust. Some even lighter elements ride atop those elements, with an oxygen-hydrogen compound covering most of Earth’s surface, and nitrogen, oxygen and argon comprising 99.9% of the atmosphere. There are merely trace amounts of carbon, sulfur, chlorine, fluorine and some others, with most elements occurring in tiny amounts in Earth’s crust.
Scientists have developed theories, partly based upon observations, which guess what may have happened a long time ago. The oxygen-hydrogen compound that blankets Earth, known as water, would be a gas instead of a liquid, except for the peculiar way that water molecules are attracted to each other, due to their electrical polarity. In the atmosphere is carbon dioxide, which makes up about 0.04% of the atmosphere. However, if it were not there, helping to capture the Sun’s energy, Earth’s surface would probably be about 10-15° F colder than today. The fortuitous properties of water and carbon dioxide helped set the stage for something apparently unique in our star system. Today, it is theorized that life began more than three billion years ago on Earth. For about three billion years, life was largely confined to unicellular organisms, which lived in the ocean. In order for life to exist, it needed energy, and from the earliest examples we know of, the Sun’s energy was captured to fuel that life.
According to today’s understanding, stars are fusion reactors, mostly composed of hydrogen, the universe’s simplest element. Hydrogen is fused into helium, the next simplest element, in a star’s core, and a vast amount of energy is thereby given off. The processes of fusion and fission involve an atom’s nucleus. When the fusion reaction occurs, energy is given off in the form of electromagnetic radiation ("ER"), called light when it occurs at particular wavelengths. Light is still an enigma to science, because it seems to be a wave at times and a particle at others. In its wave state, the length of the wave determines how much energy it carries. Radio waves are long waves of ER, and the energy they carry is relatively small. X-rays are short waves, and their relative energy is great. What is called light has a wavelength between those of radio waves and X-rays. The Sun produces ER in a wide array of wavelengths (also known as frequencies; the longer the wavelength, the less the frequency, as the velocity is constant). Also, the Sun shoots out electrons and other subatomic particles at an extremely high velocity.
If not for Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field, its surface would be bombarded with high-energy ER and subatomic particles, and life as we know it would not exist. Earth, however, has a magnetic belt (called the Van Allen belt) and atmospheric layers such as the ozone layer that deflect and absorb much of the high-energy ER that the Sun emits. Most of the Sun’s energy that hits Earth’s surface is in the visible spectrum of light. Although light acts as a wave, that wave comes in discrete “packets” known as quanta.
An atom is made of a nucleus orbited by electrons. The electrons orbit at varying distances from the nucleus in “shells,” depending on the electrons’ energy levels. That variable energy level of the electron shell is what makes life possible.
As life first came into existence on Earth, whether through evolution or being “planted” here by our galactic neighbors or from beyond this dimension, there was a trick it “learned” that made life on Earth possible: it captured the Sun’s energy. There is more than one way it happens, but they all fall under the category of photosynthesis (except for chemical-synthesizing bacteria). The chemistry is complicated, but in essence the photons of sunlight hit the chlorophyll in plant cells, and the electron shells absorb that energy. With that increased energy, the atom can form bonds with other atoms that it could not previously accomplish. Usually, the energy from photosynthesis allows a plant to combine water and carbon dioxide into a sugar known as glucose. Animals fuel their bodies with glucose. Glucose is a sugar, and is the simplest member of a class of substances known as carbohydrates. Other simple sugars are fructose and galactose. Through that captured sunlight energy more bonds can be formed, and glucose can bond with itself and other substances such as water to create more complicated sugars, such as sucrose, lactose, and maltose. The bonding can become even more complicated to create complex carbohydrates such as starches and cellulose. Next to glucose, cellulose may be the most important carbohydrate as far as earthly life is concerned, because cellulose comprises the cell walls, and hence most of the structure, along with lignin, which is an even more complex molecule, of plants. Without cellulose and lignin, there would not be trees, flowers, grass, or much of anything living beyond the oceans, and little in them.
A little less than 600 million years ago ("mya"), there was a great leap of evolution. The three billion years of microscopic organism evolution gave way to a myriad of complicated plant and animal life. Complex sea animals developed, with fish appearing about 530 mya. By 470 mya, land plants first appeared, and trees appeared by 385 mya. Amphibians came on the scene about 365 mya. About 320 million years ago, reptiles made their appearance, with dinosaurs and mammals making their debut about 230-225 mya, and birds appearing 160 million years ago. Flowering plants appeared about 160 million years ago. Primates appeared about 85 mya, and about 66 million years ago, dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid, and mammals came to dominate Earth. That is the accepted story in scientific circles today, of course subject to revision, perhaps radical, as more evidence comes to light.
Less than 600 million years ago, when evolution took its great leap forward, the oceans teemed with life. The ocean bottom became the resting place for dead marine organisms, mainly plankton. Those seabeds became layered thicker with dead matter, and where conditions were favorable they eventually formed today’s oil deposits. Beginning about 320 mya and continuing for about 30 million years, fern forests initiated the carboniferous period. Those fern forests probably created Earth’s coal deposits. With coal and oil, the oxygen was eventually released, as well as most of the hydrogen, leaving behind compounds rich in carbon. Carbon is the chemical basis for all life on Earth, due to its unique properties, which have to do with its electron shell. The eight electron outer shell of carbon has four electrons. Its half-empty or half-full electron shell is similar to hydrogen’s, but carbon can create amazing bonding arrangements with other elements, forming long chains, and carbon atoms can make double and triple bonds with each other. There is an entire branch of chemistry devoted to carbon. On the first day of my organic chemistry class in 1977, my professor said that although the modern age is known by many names, for organic chemists the modern age would be known as the “age of waste.” All of those carbon compounds in coal and oil, with all of its complicated bonds, are a treasure trove of potential chemistry, and were created from the solar energy captured by photosynthesis. While burning them has powered the Industrial Revolution and today’s world, organic chemists see it as an immense waste of a resource. Mining and burning it is about its crudest possible use.
Carbon, oxygen and hydrogen comprise most of living organisms. Nitrogen makes up 78% of Earth’s atmosphere. Nitrogen is the primary atmospheric gas because it is practically inert. Nitrogen needs temperatures in excess of 1650° C. (3000° F.) in order to react with other elements. Consequently, it almost never does. There are major exceptions, however. Lightning creates temperatures high enough for nitrogen to react, and the earliest organisms were bacteria, and bacteria are probably still poorly understood by today’s orthodox science. Bacteria are essential to all complex life. Although nitrogen is generally inert on Earth, bacteria are able to incorporate nitrogen into their chemical reactions, and nitrogen is the next most vital element to life. If bacteria did not capture nitrogen, life as we know it would not exist. Carbohydrates and fats are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen and provide nearly all of life’s fuel, but nitrogen is the essential element that makes DNA, proteins (including enzymes) and other vital chemicals possible. The human body is about 60% water. If the water is removed, about half of what remains is protein.
Bacteria continually take nitrogen from the atmosphere and combine it with other elements, such as hydrogen (ammonia is made of one nitrogen and three hydrogen atoms), in a process known as nitrogen fixing, and that captured nitrogen becomes incorporated into plants, through their roots. Animals eat plants, and that nitrogen becomes part of their chemistry. There are several “nitrogen cycles” in Earth’s ecosystems, with bacteria taking nitrogen from the atmosphere, and returning it (denitrifying bacteria do that) as they digest dead plant and animal material. As evolution continued, animals appeared that ate other animals. In “food chains,” energy would cycle through life forms, with predators sitting atop those chains. There cannot be too many predators atop those energy pyramids. Predators are the rarest class of life forms, especially mammalian predators.
Over the eons, the Sun’s energy shined upon Earth, fueling Earth’s ecosystems. About 30% of the Sun’s energy that reaches Earth is immediately reflected away by the atmosphere, clouds and Earth’s surface. The other 70% is radiated back into space more slowly, 90% of the 70% remainder is from the atmosphere radiating energy to space. The energy absorbed and more slowly radiated back to space is what makes air at Earth's surface average about 15° C. (60° F.), makes the rest of the Earth’s atmosphere as warm as it is, is the main cause of its circulation, and drives what is called the hydrological cycle, which is how water circulates through Earth. The Sun’s energy makes water evaporate from Earth’s surface (mainly the oceans), form clouds, fall as precipitation, and on land circulates through our lakes, rivers and underground aquifers, leading back to the oceans, where the cycle begins anew. A tiny fraction of 1% (one-twentieth of 1%) of the Sun’s energy is captured by photosynthesis.
That solar energy captured by photosynthesis is the basis for all life and all “wealth” on Earth. In human terms, wealth is what sustains our lives and makes them more livable. In its simplest terms, wealth is food, and for the majority of humanity today, it remains that way. Getting enough food to eat is the primary preoccupation of most people, and it has been that way for humanity’s entire journey on Earth. Only recently, as humanity learned to mine coal and oil, have humans had to deal with obesity on a large scale, as the West does today. More than half of all Western adults are overweight. That obesity is directly related to starving other humans, however. There are a little more than a billion each of overweight and underweight people on Earth today, and the relationship is a direct one.
There is far more than enough water on Earth’s surface to have entirely covered it with water. Fortunately, Earth’s crust has slight irregularities, and the crust poked up through the water in a few places, those high points forming the continents, covering about 28% of Earth’s surface. Earth does not orbit the Sun in a circle, but in a slight ellipse. Earth also has an axis of rotation out of alignment of its plane of orbit, which causes the seasons. That axis of rotation wobbles and has changed over the eons, both relative to Earth’s surface and relative to its plane of orbit (called the ecliptic). Also, those bits of crust that poke up through the oceans have drifted across Earth’s surface, colliding with each other, breaking up and drifting apart. Ocean floors became mountain ranges, and vice versa. Ocean sediments and fern forests became buried, forming rock-like substances, containing the energy of that sunlight that was captured eons ago.
There are various theories regarding Earth’s climate changes, the most dramatic being the ice ages that have come and gone for billions of years, and when comets and other celestial objects have slammed into Earth and released energies that make nuclear weapons appear as little more than children’s toys. Changing rotational axes and orbital variations, drifting continents, variations in how much energy the Sun gives off, possible interstellar dust clouds and the like have been proposed for Earth’s variable climate, and all may play their role. The eleven-year sunspot cycle is an obvious variable, and the lack of observed sunspots during the late 17th century correlated strikingly with the heart of the “Little Ice Age,” and that heart lasted from about 1645 to 1715.
In the latest ice ages, they have predominantly happened in the northern hemisphere, related to the fact that the Arctic Ocean is virtually landlocked and the gap between North America and South America closed about three mya. The Pleistocene Ice Age began about 2.6 million years ago, and the latest interglacial period began about twelve thousand years ago ("kya").
As life on Earth evolved, complicated and diverse ecosystems developed. Bacteria and other microscopic organisms led to complex plants and animals, and biology became increasingly “sophisticated.” Fish evolved more complicated and sophisticated biology, such as in fins and respiration systems. Plants became more complicated and sophisticated, in both forms of growth and reproduction. Land animals became vastly more diverse and complicated. Larger animals learned to fly, and warm-blooded animals appeared. Awesome forms of symbiosis developed between plants, animals and microscopic organisms, where entire ecosystems evolved from the life form interactions. Flowering plants appeared about 160 million years ago, with a novel reproductive strategy. Flowers are attractive to insects, birds and other animals, and as they feed from flowers, they spread pollen, which was more energy efficient than previous methods of plant reproduction. Fruit forms from pollinated flowers, and is largely comprised of sugars, from which animals can easily extract energy. Animals in turn spread the seeds within the fruit. Many animals adapted to take advantage of fruit’s energy. Producing fruit is a great concentration of a plant’s available energy, something done far more easily in tropical regions than otherwise, with the tropics’ greater available energy.
Today, scientists think that dinosaurs eventually evolved to be endothermic or close, which means that they regulated their body temperatures. Some had energy-conserving feathers. Mammals further enhanced the endothermic process, and their fur allowed them to survive in colder areas better than exothermic animals, and therefore less dependent on direct solar energy, as today’s reptiles, amphibians, and fish are.
Primates appeared about twenty million years before dinosaurs went extinct. The opposable thumb of primates allowed for novel manipulative abilities, although some dinosaurs also had hands. Primates were originally tree dwelling, living in tropical forests, and thumbs probably evolved in response to the arboreal environment, to make navigating branches and eating fruit and other tree foods easier.
With molecular biology coming into its own, the analysis of DNA and genes has provided evidence previously unavailable. In the United States, DNA testing is proving the innocence of many people who have been on death row, wrongly convicted of murder. DNA research has also determined that humanity’s closest biological cousin is the chimpanzee, followed by gorillas and orangutans. More than 98% of a chimpanzee’s genes are identical to human DNA. Although a global effort is suppressing all evidence of extraterrestrial influence, the day is probably not far off when it is acknowledged that Earth is not the universe’s only place with intelligent life, and that humanoid life on Earth has probably had plenty of help from its galactic neighbors. The various theories of evolution are due for some major revisions once the extraterrestrial/inter-dimensional influence is acknowledged, as well as the role of consciousness. Still, such a revelation will not completely invalidate evolutionary theory. It will simply make it more complete, and will probably eliminate the materialism from it, something long overdue.
Today’s human race probably appeared first in Africa, the first erect, large-brained protohumans appearing about two million years ago. Today’s great ape diet is about 65% live fruit, and the rest is blossoms, seeds, leaves, insects, and a slight amount of animal flesh (although the most carnivorous part of the mountain gorilla’s diet is insects). Humans, as with all animals, are designed to eat living food, although humans have adapted to cooked food, and live fruit should ideally comprise around half of the human diet. It does not, however, and that is because of the human journey and today’s impoverished human diet, as it migrated past its natural range in the tropics.
Those early protohumans are the first animals that began making tools, and those surviving to be analyzed by modern anthropologists are made of stone. Early stone implements were crude, but worked better than hands and strength. The first stone tools obviously made more food available, crushing nuts and exposing difficult-to-reach digestible plant parts. Also, early stone tools probably allowed for more effective scavenging of animals, such as cracking open bones to eat the marrow. Those were the first energy-enhancing inventions of intelligent apes. Over the millennia, more effective tools and uses of them were invented. Bones, wood and other objects were incorporated into early tool-making activities.
The rise of human beings was dependent on three factors. The first was common to all life: the Sun’s energy. The second was the opposable thumb, which appeared about 85 million years ago, and it created a level of manipulative ability that few other animals had. The third was increasing intelligence, which used that manipulative ability to make tools, and thereby harness more energy than other creatures had available. The requisite intelligence began appearing several million years ago.
Originally, those early innovations allowed human-line apes to increase the available food energy in their local environment. It is thought that early protohumans followed African predators such as lions, scavenging from their kills, competing with other scavengers. That relationship is probably why early protohumans left Africa, following the African predators as they migrated from Africa about two million years ago. Humans are slow, weak animals, and could do little hunting on their own at first. Potential prey easily eluded them and were difficult to kill with the available means. When early protohumans followed predators, they largely expanded their range across Asia, staying in the tropical and near-tropical zones, which were similar to their native environment. The problem, however, with moving away from the rainforests and tropical woodlands was that the growing season would not be year-round, and that essential fruit and other foods would not be available. As humans followed predators, they began modifying their diets, eating less fruit and other plant material, and eating more animal flesh. Although humans have been able to adapt to a more flesh-based diet, it came at considerable cost. Protein constitutes half the dehydrated human body, but the consumption of the amino acids needed to create protein was largely done for structure and chemistry, not fuel. Protein provides about ten percent of the human diet’s calories today, although mother’s milk is only a few percent protein, when humans do their greatest body-building. As humans became more carnivorous, they began using animal flesh for fuel, not to provide amino acids and nutrients. Humans are far from ideal carnivores. Many serious health problems, including nearly all epidemic diseases, have resulted from humanity’s carnivorous ways.
As protohumans continued evolving, their range expanding across Asia and leaving the tropics, they invented means to survive. As they ranged to colder climates, they learned to wear the fur of other mammals, either found dead or killed by enterprising protohumans.
At least 700,000 kya, and maybe two mya, protohumans created their first truly great invention, which exploited energy in a way never done before: harnessing fire. Wood is largely made from cellulose, which is formed from the bonds created by linking water with carbon dioxide. Wood is mainly made of air and water. When it is burned, the energy captured by photosynthesis is released, and the water and carbon dioxide are released back to the environment. Ashes are made from the minerals (mainly metals) that the plant extracted from the soil as it grew. By harnessing fire, early humans could exploit the Sun’s energy of hundreds of years, not just what fell to Earth that year. Fire provided warmth, protection from predators, and fire was the first food processor. Again, that invention exacted a great cost, while it allowed for “progress.”
About 200,000 years ago, modern humans appeared on the evolutionary scene. They probably first appeared in Africa. Anthropologists have identified quite a few protohuman species, appearing and disappearing. When modern humans appeared, the Neanderthal people were well established, but died out. All protohuman “competitors” eventually died out, probably killed off by humans, leaving Homo sapiens sapiens alone on the human scene.
Ice sheets advanced and retreated in the northern hemisphere during the evolutionary journey of early humans. As near as anthropologists can tell today, between 60 kya and 50 kya, a group of about 250 people left Africa and conquered Earth. They probably invented the first boats then, allowing them to expand their range to Australia and the New World. They also refined hunting to a science, and the extinction of large animals in Australia and the New World closely coincided with when humans arrived. Human hunters likely drove nearly all large animal species to extinction, especially in Australia and the Western Hemisphere, where the animals never encountered apes before.
In historical times, humans migrating to islands such as New Zealand, Hawaii and Madagascar quickly drove many native bird (and large animals, such as a pygmy hippopotamus on Madagascar) species to extinction. When Europeans conquered the world, they also drove island human populations to extinction, such as the Taino of the Caribbean and the aboriginal inhabitants of Tasmania. What history has seen when humans migrated to islands was probably a microcosm of what happened when humans migrated to Australia and the New World. Although there remains plenty of controversy about the megafauna extinctions in North America, because retreating ice sheets changed the topography and vegetation, South America and Australia did not have ice sheets, and experienced similar megafauna extinctions. The appearance of humans appears to be the most significant variable related to those extinctions.
The destruction of large mammals probably made for the golden age of hunter-gatherers, and lasted for many human generations. Humankind became a superpredator, excelling at killing and eating anything that moved, and while they hunted large animals to extinction, they also began killing each other. Today’s hunter-gatherer people are proportionally more violent than civilized peoples. Although it can be hazardous to extrapolate today’s observations to human culture 60,000 years ago, becoming a superpredator also created the means to prey upon each other.
The bow-and-arrow was invented about 25,000 years ago, in the vicinity of Europe, a few thousand years before ceramics appeared in the same region. Pottery, invented in China about 20,000 years ago, allowed for better food preservation and preparation. Fire, clothing, refined tools, weapons, shelter, boats, pottery and the like contributed to rising human lifestyles outside its natural range. It all had to do with the capture of energy, either reducing the loss of body heat, as with clothes and shelter, exploiting new sources of energy, as with hunting large animals and burning wood, or preserving digestible energy, as with pottery and other food preservation and storage techniques.
Early Civilization, Energy, and the Zero-Sum Game
The hunter-gatherer lifestyle allowed humanity to migrate to Earth’s furthest reaches. By 10,000 years ago, there were about five million humans on Earth, and most of the easily hunted big animals had been rendered extinct. The time scale of those events is vast in comparison to a human life, and relatively rapid events on the geologic or evolutionary timescale happened with few, if any, humans perceiving the trends. The process was far from uniform, but about ten thousand years ago the hunter-gatherer lifestyle was no longer sustainable on a global scale. The Malthusian limit had been reached. Relatively little wild vegetation provides the energy that humans can digest, particularly in lands beyond the tropics, with their seasons. In at least three separate places, China, the “Fertile Crescent” and Mesoamerica, humans began domesticating plants and animals.
The plant parts that can provide human-digestible energy, mainly in the form of sugars, starches and fats, were largely found in the fruits, seeds and roots of certain plants. Today, it is thought that women began domesticating plants, as an adjunct to their gathering activities (it was not easy dragging along infants on hunts, and men were faster and stronger, better suited for hunting activity). Women experimented with the plants they gathered, and eventually bred plants to possess larger parts that humans could digest, especially seeds and roots. Animals also were domesticated, especially mammals that could digest cellulose: cattle, sheep, horses, goats, llamas, etc. Women may have also domesticated the first animals, breastfeeding infant mammals that had been taken from their parents (that were probably killed by humans). Large tracts of land could not support plants that could provide human crops, due to climate, geology, elevation and the like, but could support grasses and other cellulose-rich plants. Animals that could digest such fare were domesticated, expanding the energy resources that humans could exploit. Those animals were exploited in many ways. Horses and llamas became a source of transportation. Cattle became a source of meat and leather, and could also be put to work pulling a plow. Sheep and llamas could provide heat-conserving wool, as well as meat.
In the Fertile Crescent region, people began consuming the milk of cattle and goats. Today, 70% of the world’s adult humans cannot effectively digest milk products. Those who can, however, have generally descended from herders who ate milk products, so there has been a slight evolutionary adaptation, although eating milk products is far from ideal. Many allergies and respiratory problems are related to milk product consumption.
Earth cannot support that many millions of people using the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, because of digestible energy. The domestication of plants and animals allowed humans to greatly increase their population densities. Fossil evidence shows, however, that humans became smaller when they abandoned their hunter-gatherer lifestyles for domesticated life. The domestication revolution began with humans having poorer health than they formerly enjoyed. When people were hunter-gatherers, they were always on the move, as no place could provide them the calories they needed for long. Hence, possessions were minimal, largely limited to clothing, gathering and food processing tools, and weapons. Human social conditions were egalitarian, with very little hierarchy, as hunters lived in small bands, traveling the land. As human populations filled up the available land, the bands became competitive, and territories were carved out. People venturing into another band’s territory could get killed. It is theorized that somewhere in the misty beginnings of civilization, instead of killing a hunter from a rival band, the hunter was compelled to serve the band that captured him. It was the beginning of slavery, and may have been the beginning of civilization. Harnessing the energy of others quite possibly began with the domestication of plants and animals, as it created the “agricultural surplus” which has fueled all civilizations.
Harnessing human energy can be more productive than harnessing animal energy, because humans possess high intelligence and hands. Draft animals can digest the cellulose that humans cannot, but do not have the intelligence or manipulative ability of humans, although they are much stronger. Also, draft animals are edible, whereas no culture has ever eaten people as a regular food source, at least that anthropologists are aware of. Slaves ate food that could feed the masters, but their intelligence and manipulative ability could be put to tasks that animals could not perform. However, slaves could harbor notions of freedom that would be difficult to stifle. Brute force could keep the slaves subservient, but in the long run would be difficult to maintain. Consequently, methods to teach slaves to accept their condition were implemented from slavery’s very beginning, and may have been the beginning of ideological indoctrination. If slaves accept their condition, they are easier to control, which is partly why people born into slavery, never knowing freedom, were easier to keep as slaves. In one form or another, such indoctrination to convince the exploited to accept their position continues to the present day. Without energy however, intelligence and manipulative ability count for nothing.
About 60,000 years ago, as increasing technology led to the human superpredator, humanity began altering Earth’s environment. They ascended to the top of the food chain, killing off large mammals that had no or few natural predators, and they killed competing predators, as well as all other digestible animals. Wiping out other animals created ecological dislocations, which has been a part of evolutionary activity for eons. However, human intelligence and manipulative ability allowed humans to take over Earth’s ecosystems as no other animal ever had before. Killing off large mammals and competing predators was probably humanity’s earliest large-scale alteration of Earth’s ecosystems. Such disruptions can lead to population explosions and collapses of animals that were preyed upon, or depended on those missing creatures.
The most significant early use of technology to begin creating the human-dominated ecosystem was probably the introduction of fire as a vegetation-clearing tool. When Europeans first came to the New World during the Columbian era, the natives of North America’s eastern woodlands used fire annually to clear the forest of undergrowth, creating an environment that was conducive to foraging deer and other preferable animals. There is tantalizing evidence that the Great Plains of North America may have been the world’s largest pasture, an environment created by millennia of Indians burning the plains, to create an environment that encouraged bison, elk, and deer to flourish. When the diseases and violence of invading Europeans wiped out the natives, woodlands quickly reclaimed the plains.
Burning the vegetation was apparently a sustainable practice, although it altered the landscape immensely, and drove out certain species in favor of others. Far more significantly on a global scale, humans began cultivating the earth to raise domesticated crops. Sunlight that went into making the cellulose in trees was diverted to creating sugars, starches, proteins and fats in domestic crops, as the forests were cleared for crop production, and pastures for domestic animals. The trees were also used for fuel, shelter and other civilized amenities. Deforestation accompanied the earliest agriculture. Earth’s most deforested places are where “civilization” first appeared on a large scale. Forest ecosystems are the greatest soil makers, and wiping out forests has also wiped out soils, not only by erosion. Trees are the greatest circulators of water in ground-based ecosystems, drawing water through the roots and sending it to the atmosphere through their leaves, thus creating a “suction.” Rainwater can percolate into the soil, in a great cycle that ecosystems depend on. Killing off the trees killed off that circulation, leading to rising groundwater and eventually soil salination. Without healthy soil, there are no crops. Forests gave way to farms, and farms gave way to deserts. That has been civilization in action, as human methods destroy the very environment that supports life.
In some places, such as the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, diverted water made the land capable of raising crops, at least for a time. Deforestation and irrigation had long-term harmful effects, generally through soil destruction and salination. Rivers that ran clearly before the domestication revolution became clouded with silt, which was soil washed away downstream from deforested land. Creating artificial environments to extract more of the Sun’s energy carried with it a great environmental cost. In more tropical lands, the soils usually had less organic material in them than in temperate lands, and early agriculture in the Fertile Crescent was disastrous. Sumer, the world’s earliest known civilization, began having serious soil salination problems within two thousand years of establishment. By 2100 BCE, Ur had abandoned wheat cultivation due to soil salinity, and wheat only amounted to 2% of Sumerian crops. In 1990, Iraq, the seat of civilization, imported 70% of its food. The people of the Nile river valley successfully engaged in agriculture for thousands of years, but largely because silt from upstream deforestation fertilized the land in the annual flood.
As civilization began forming around the world, technology kept increasing in its sophistication. People began working metals. Today, it is thought that copper may have been the first worked metal, in about 10,000 BCE. It was first used artistically. Thousands of years later, it is thought, gold working began. Gold was only useful for artwork, because it was so soft and pretty. It later became currency, because it was so rare. All early use of each prehistorically used metal seems to have been artistic. Practical uses were developed later. The primitive fire pit became the hearth, and people eventually created sufficient temperatures to separate metal from other elements in the ore, and metal smelting began. Copper is thought to have been the first metal smelted, about 7,000 years ago. Copper has a melting point of nearly 2000°F. (1085°C.), and until humans created high enough temperatures in hearths, copper was obtained from discovered nuggets.
Copper is a relatively soft metal, and although copper was made into weaponry as early as 5000 BCE, it has serious limitations. Bronze is an alloy of copper and other metals, and when copper-smelting cultures learned to alloy other metals with copper, notably tin, then that culture graduated from its Copper Age to its Bronze Age. Bronze is quite sturdy when compared to copper, and weapons and tools made from bronze were superior. The Bronze Age began in Sumer by about 3300 BCE, and bronze-tipped plows were not long behind. For about two thousand years, plows, tools and weapons were made of bronze in the Fertile Crescent region. Plow agriculture is great at creating soil conditions favorable for crop production, but also leads to rapid soil erosion, largely from rain and wind. As agriculture and warfare flourished in the Fertile Crescent region, technological advance also marched along, with the wheel being invented in about 3500 BCE, and Sumer became the world’s first literate society in about 3000 BCE. Written history then began.
With civilization in the Fertile Crescent region, social stratification began. The agricultural surplus allowed for human specialization. Professions developed, with soldiers, priests, rulers, craftsmen, medical doctors and others appearing. Much of what is “bad” about the human species came with the baggage of becoming civilized. Along with specialization and innovation came classes of people who dealt with ideas. Ideologies developed, and the rise of civilized ideology often dealt with justifying the positions of the new elite classes, and those they exploited. The Zero-Sum Game appeared, although it was not called that at the time. The Zero-Sum Game, in the way I use it, is the idea that the only way to improve one’s life was by exploiting others. Jared Diamond and others call the transition to civilization the journey from egalitarianism to kleptocracy. In one form or another, kleptocratic ideologies have survived to the present day. Capitalism and nationalism, especially the American variety, are little more than justifications for enslaving the world’s people. The West also plunders their natural resources, as today’s genocide in Iraq makes painfully clear. In his Politics and the English Language, George Orwell wrote:
“In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.”
Little has changed since Orwell’s time.
As humanity kept refining its ability to manipulate its environment, the blast furnace and charcoal were created. Higher temperatures were achieved. In about 1400 BCE, iron was first smelted, perhaps in the Hittite culture, which occupied today’s Turkey. Iron has a melting point of 2800°F. (1538°C.), and early blast furnaces achieved the requisite temperature. Iron was more available than the relatively scarce tin that was required to make the day’s bronze, and its ability to hold an edge made iron a superior metal for tools and weapons. The Hittites did not maintain their technological advantage for long, and by 1200 BCE, about the time the Hittite Empire fell, iron weapons were appearing throughout today’s Middle East. By about 1000 BCE, the Celtic culture was making iron swords, and it came to dominate most of Western Europe. At about the same time, the Greeks learned how to create heat-treated iron weapons. Warfare became a bloodier affair when iron weapons appeared, especially the sword. Iron plows and tools also allowed agriculture to spread to lands previously considered too challenging to exploit. Warring empires became the theme of early history, a theme that continues to this day. Various cultures became intensely militaristic, such as Sparta’s and Assyria’s.
The struggles and hierarchies were all about securing and consuming energy, and the agricultural and pastoral surplus was the basis of it all. Hearths, kilns and furnaces were ways of refining the exploitation of energy to gain better methods of manipulating the environment and each other, to gain further energy security. Slavery was about exploiting human energy, intelligence and manipulative ability. In various wars, the idea could simply be exterminating the human inhabitants and taking their land and other wealth. The Jews secured their Promised Land by outright genocide of its inhabitants, with their God’s blessing (and demand), with Joshua’s army annihilating not only all of Jericho’s inhabitants, but also all their livestock, and seizing all their metal. That was also the logic behind the European/American “settling” of North America, where they stole what may have been the world’s richest continent from its inhabitants, while annihilating them. Even today, Christian sites on the Internet serve up religious ideology to justify Joshua’s annihilation of Jericho’s inhabitants.
By about 1000 BCE, humanity began exploiting fossil fuel, as coal was used in China to make copper coins. Before the Western Roman Empire fell, they began using coal, as evidence from Britain has suggested.
Empires rose and fell throughout the “known” world, i.e., Europe, northern Africa and the Fertile Crescent. Those ideologies that began with civilization became quite abstract, especially the religious ones, and Egypt was the first place that gold mining was practiced on a large scale. The Egyptians had a Sun god religion, with gold reserved for royal use, as its symbol. The economic logic of the day demanded that slaves be worked to death to obtain it. No Egyptian slaves returned from those early gold mines. Their bones littered mines discovered by modern archeologists. Human energy, intelligence and manipulative ability were put to that use, and the fruit of those labors became seen in early civilization as the universal measure of wealth. Gold became the ultimate currency. It was really a symbol, not the real thing, but many early civilizations became mesmerized by it, throwing away true wealth in pursuit of its symbol.
By 600 BCE, Greek agricultural practices severely eroded the land, and in 560 BCE a bounty was given to Greek farmers to plant olive trees, the only productive crop that could be raised on hills that had been eroded to the limestone bedrock.
Eventually the Roman Empire made its ascendancy, and the environmental deterioration of the Mediterranean region accelerated. As Rome conquered its neighbors, Italy and Sicily were quickly deforested to meet Rome’s needs. After Rome conquered Carthage, today’s Libya and vicinity was forced into becoming a big farm. There was no single event that signified what happened, but centuries of those practices rendered Libya the desert nation it is today. Rome helped deforest the Middle East, the cedars of Lebanon becoming nearly extinct. Only 10% of the forest remains that used to run from Morocco to Afghanistan as late as 2,000 BCE, and much is desert today. The land’s ability to sustain life was destroyed in humanity’s quest for usable energy. Whales were extinct in the Mediterranean by the time the Western Roman Empire collapsed. Early civilization’s methods of extracting useable energy were not sustainable and often cruel. Little has fundamentally changed.
Rome was the ancient world’s most refined practitioner of “Rape and Plunder Economics.” Exploiting the peoples and lands of the continually growing empire was the whole point of the Roman Empire, as with all empires. It does not matter if it is olive oil, furs, gold, timber, wheat, fish or other goods; it nearly always boils down to energy.
Not all energy-exploitation systems were so hard on the immediate environment. The world’s most sophisticated agricultural system, the paddy system, was developed in China around 4000-3000 BCE, and spread across Southeast Asia. It was a more sustainable system than dry farming, and its nitrogen-fixing feature, as well as the ability to recycle a great deal of decaying animal and plant matter, allowed for greatly increased crop yields. Southeast Asia’s human population always increased to the maximum available yield of the agricultural system (the Malthusian dynamic), leaving most people on the brink of starvation most of the time. The chinampas system of the Aztecs was similar to the paddy system, helping keep Tenochtitlán about the world’s cleanest city, as human waste from the city helped fertilize the chinampas. The peoples along the Andes range of South America created an amazing sustenance system in a hostile environment, through crop experimentation (Machu Picchu may have partly been an agricultural laboratory, testing crops for high-altitude agriculture), terracing, irrigation, high-altitude storage, fertilizer and other means.
No empire lasts forever, because either the imperial activities exterminate the imperial subjects, as Spain’s short-lived plunder in the New World demonstrated, or the environment becomes so degraded that it cannot support human life any longer, as happened in Sumer (and neighboring empires invade and conquer declining empires), or the empire’s victims rise up from within, overthrowing the imperial overlords (usually after the empire has already severely declined). All earthly empires are primarily exploitative, and they all had ideologues who concocted justifications for the exploitation. In the earliest days, the rationales were often religious. Religious rationales exist to the 21st century, as the United States, the world’s first truly global empire, targeted Islamic people, and the unelected, “god-fearing” American president called his “war on terror” a “Crusade,” just as Roman Catholic popes used to do. Religious rationales largely gave way to other ones, such as racial (Europe’s plundering of Africa and the New World being examples), social, ethnic, political, economic and “humanitarian,” etc. What all those rationales really did, however, was justify exploitation and violence in order to secure the energy of lands and peoples. They were all variations on might makes right, and different ways of playing the Zero-Sum Game.
The Rise of Europe and Energy Exploitation
When the Western Roman Empire fell in the 5th century CE, Europe reverted back to a primarily rural state and entered what are called the Dark Ages. The Eastern Roman Empire, however, flourished, and the rise of Islam in the 7th century was a cultural awakening. Europe became backward, compared to the Middle East. “Barbarians” who joined the Western Roman armies became the rulers of Dark Ages Europe. Visigothic kings ruled today’s Spain (until the Muslim invasion of 711) and parts of France. Frankish kings ruled over the parts of today’s France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. Anglo-Saxons invaded the British Isles, and the Ostrogoths invaded Italy. Carolingian kings from today’s Austria eventually wrested the throne from the Frankish line, the most famous being Charlemagne, who in 800 tried recreating the union of Church and State that characterized the late Western Roman Empire. His attempt to recreate the Western Roman Empire failed, but his empire became the direct ancestor of today’s France and Germany. Around 800, Vikings began invading continental Europe and the British Isles from Scandinavia. Vikings also invaded and conquered the Slavic peoples of Eastern Europe, establishing Russia and adopting Byzantine Christianity. The Normans descended from Vikings who settled in today’s France, and the invasion of 1066 established their rule in England.
The Catholic Church dominated Europe, owning about a quarter of its land. It created a religious monopoly over Western Europe, and the first Crusade that had its bloody climax in Jerusalem in 1096 is considered Europe’s first united act, with knights and peasants from France, Germany, Italy and England marching to the Holy Land via Constantinople. As a warm-up for the First Crusade, the Christian armies perpetrated the first great European Jew slaughters, in today’s France and Germany. Slaughtering Jews became a European sport from that time forward. In 1056, the Christian “Reconquest” of Spain from the Moorish rulers began accelerating, not reaching its completion until 1492. Europe became a milieu of tension between Church and state, serf and lord, Christian and non-Christian, and constantly warring states. Warfare became the European way of life for the next millennium, and technological advances were often devoted to weaponry and warfare.
With historical trends, there is interplay of culture, environment, economics, politics, technology and other factors. About the time Christian armies began “reconquering” the Iberian Peninsula, Europe entered its High Middle Ages. Cities are devices that concentrate energy. Every city survives by exploiting its hinterland, with the agricultural surplus sustaining the cities. There is no exception to that rule in world history. City dwellers, being freed from agricultural duties, then learned specialized skills, and Europe’s great period of city building was the High Middle Ages. Paris was rebuilt after the Viking invasions, and Notre Dame Cathedral began construction in 1163. Romans founded London, with the population declining when Roman rule ended. It was not until the Norman invasion in 1066 that London began growing into the city it is today. Florence began its rise to prominence in the late 1000s. Munich was founded in 1158. Germanic peoples began invading Slavic Eastern Europe. Accordingly, northern and central Europe began its great age of deforestation. About 75% of northern and central Europe was deforested during the medieval period, and it accelerated after 1050. Today, only about 25% of that forest remains. The trees provided fuel and building material and made land available for crops and pastures. Marshes were drained and nearly everything was domesticated that could be. New plow technology enabled exploitation of lands previously unavailable for cultivation. By 1200 however, all the good land was under the plow and increasingly marginal lands were exploited, with the resultant environmental devastation that such methods always bring.
From the earliest days of civilization, the agricultural surplus allowed the elite to pursue luxury items, indulging their senses and egos, usually at the great expense of others. The pharaohs working their slaves to death in Egypt’s gold mines is an early example. Conspicuous wealth display and consumption has been a characteristic of the elites of probably all societies for all of history. In Europe, obesity became a sign of wealth. Early humans stole the fur of their fellow mammals, taking advantage of its heat-conserving ability, and as Europeans became more affluent, fashion became a factor. The fur supply and markets were originally local, but as it became a business, fur centers developed, such as the one at Kiev. By 1240, when the Mongol hordes destroyed Kiev, there was hardly a fur-bearing animal to be found in the surrounding valley. Fur-bearing animals were largely driven to extinction in Europe by the 16th century, and the last untrapped region was exploited: Siberia. The demand for fur drove the Russians to expand eastward, eventually to California. The early allure of northern North America for Europe was the fur trade. Beginning on the Atlantic side of North America, the fur trade largely exterminated fur-bearing animals east of the Mississippi River by 1800, and the European fur rush met, coming from both directions, in the Pacific Northwest. The demand for fur finally circled the globe. A great deal was simply for fashion.
Northern and Central Europe had an advantage over the Fertile Crescent, Middle East, and Mediterranean region in that its soils contained more organic matter, and were more resilient than those more southerly soils. Nevertheless, Europe will look like those southern desert lands one day, if the current methods of extracting environmental energy continue their use. That plunder of Europe’s lands resulted in a great increase in human population, growing from about 36 million in 1000 to 80 million in 1300. Also, the world’s climate was relatively warm from 900 to about 1200, allowing agriculture on lands previously unsuited for it.
European technology began advancing again with the rise of European cities, as did new social institutions. Armor began improving during the High Middle Ages. The fully armored knight, charging on his horse with his lance under his arm, came into being during the 11th century. Crossbows began improving, to overcome the better armor. Crusades became a European constant after the first one in 1096. In order to preserve its religious monopoly, Pope Innocent III declared a Crusade on France to wipe out Catharism in the early 1200s, which killed perhaps one million people, and was Europe’s first great religious war.
The Chinese invented and used gunpowder, and used it several hundred years before Europeans did. Gunpowder began to be used in European warfare just before the Black Death epidemic of the 1340s. Gunpowder was a way to get an explosive burst of energy, in order to kill more effectively.
Europe’s High Middle Ages, which ended during the 1300s, were partly made possible by a global warming trend (making more energy available) that lasted from about 900 to the late 1200s, peaking between 1100 and 1250. It was a great period of deforestation, agriculture and population explosion. By 1300, all the easily cultivated land was under the plow, marginal lands were being exploited, and Earth began cooling. The good times were over, and Europe was at its Malthusian limit. Europe constantly hovered on the brink of famine. In 1315 a major famine hit Europe, lasting until 1317. Northern Europeans ate cats and dogs during that famine. As is typical in history, when the pressures of lack of available energy (hunger) are keenly felt, people become violent. France and England began their Hundred Years’ War in 1337, fighting over control of land. In the midst of the fighting and starving came the plague.
The Black Death probably originated in China, and swept across Asia, via the trade routes, hitting Europe in 1347. It is estimated that it killed between a quarter and a third of all those in its path, with estimates of up to half of Europe dying off. Europeans took vengeance on Jews, lepers and other social outcasts for “bringing the plague,” and tens of thousands died from mob violence. Art became obsessed with death. Works depicting the danse macabre made their appearance. The four horsemen of the apocalypse were riding during those years, and the fourteenth century was one of unending calamity in Europe. When the century came to a close with another visit of the plague in 1399, Europe’s population may have been as low as half of what it had been in 1300.
Gradually, Europe’s population grew, and recovered to its 1300 levels during the 1500s. A cultural awakening, which eventually became known as the Renaissance, began in the late 1300s in northern Italy’s city-states. Probably the most significant Renaissance outcome was the advent of humanism and the eventual undermining of Roman Catholic authority. The Cathars formed the first threat to Catholic religious hegemony in Europe, and the cultural awakening of the Renaissance eventually brought forth Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses in 1517. Concurrent with that cultural awakening was the advent of the “Little Ice Age,” which lasted from about 1430 to 1850. Winters became severe in Europe, and growing seasons shortened, with glaciers growing, rivers freezing over and Europe continually living on the cusp of disaster.
The British Isles are an illustrative microcosm of what Europe eventually did to the world. The British Isles have been the scene of successive invasions. The Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal people lived there during the last ice age, and when that ice age ended about 12,000 years ago, the British Isles became islands, separated from mainland Europe. Iberian people settled the British Isles by 3000 BCE and farmed the land. The Picts migrated to Scotland in about 1000 BCE, and to Ireland in 200 CE. During the first millennium BCE, the Celtic people overran Western Europe and also invaded the British Isles, displacing/absorbing the Iberian and Pictish peoples, although genetic evidence amassed since the 1990s supports the idea that most migrations were actually cultural and technological, not the actual migration of peoples. The Picts battled the Romans, who invaded and conquered England in 54 BCE. Hadrian’s Wall began construction in 122 CE, to keep the Picts of Scotland out of England. When the Western Roman Empire collapsed, the Germanic Anglo-Saxon peoples next invaded the British Isles. Beginning around 800 CE, the Vikings began invading the British Isles and northern continental Europe. The Vikings drove the Irish from the seas, and the Irish were never again a seafaring people. They also settled in northern France and became the Normans (from “Norsemen”). The Normans invaded the British Isles in 1066, setting up the rule of Norman kings in England. Those events led to the Hundred Years’ War, and nearly continual war with France for centuries.
The British Isles were steeped in invasion and warfare. Also, all non-human competitors for energy were driven from the scene, beginning with competing predators. By 900 CE, the brown bear was nearly extinct in the British Isles. In 1486, the last wolf was sighted in England. The wolf was last sighted in Wales in 1576, and the last one in Scotland in 1743. With competing predators exterminated, attention turned to competitors for crops. In 1533, the English Parliament passed a law requiring churches to have nets to catch crows and other birds. In 1566, churches were authorized to pay a bounty on a wide array of birds and mammals. In 1668, John Worlidge’s calendar demonstrated the English attitude toward animals that were “harmful” to agriculture. In February, killing all snails, frogs and tadpoles was the task. In June, it was destroying ants, and in July it was killing wasps and flies. The crane became extinct in Britain during the 1500s, as did the beaver. There were walruses on the Thames as late as 1456. The great auk, which once blanketed North Atlantic Islands, and was the Northern Hemisphere’s version of the penguin, began being hunted in the 1500s for food, and was rendered extinct in 1844. The global whale rush also began in the 1500s, nearly rendering extinct what is possibly Earth’s only other sentient species.
England was largely deforested by the 1500s, and then Elizabethan England needed ships to join the global empire game that Europe was beginning to play. England’s solution was to invade Ireland and chop down its forests to build its navy. Ireland has yet to recover its forest. All these activities can be seen as involved with gaining/preserving energy by using trees for fuel and structure, using that newly denuded land to raise crops, killing off all animal competitors for that crop energy, and consuming energy by eating all those animals.
The Carboniferous Period laid down great coal deposits in what became Northern and Central Europe, North America, and eastern Asia. Europeans began mining that great source of energy during the 13th century. Coal provided fuel for industry, household heat, and eventually powered the Industrial Revolution. Coal is a rocklike substance, and burning coal not only produced carbon dioxide and water, but coal also contained sulfur and other elements.
Before the British Isles were completely deforested, coal began replacing wood as fuel. Coal smoke from the local vicinity drove Queen Eleanor from Nottingham Castle in 1257. By 1307, coal burning was banned in London, but the edict was ignored. The human world’s first great air pollution came from burning coal, and by the 1600s, residents of London, with its perpetual cloud of coal smoke, had more respiratory disease than the rest of the world combined. Today, China is the great coal-burning nation (as well as the greatest tobacco smoking nation), so, as might be expected, China has more respiratory problems than any other nation. Air pollution is still a great killer of children worldwide, nearly all caused by energy-producing activities.
Europe’s first imperial ventures were about acquiring native land and the fruit of native labor. Marco Polo spent the late 1200s in the court of Kublai Khan, and brought back his amazing tale to Venice. It is thought today that people have used spice largely to better preserve food (by killing bacteria), again an energy concept, and it also made preserved food taste better, as dead food loses it flavor. Venice had a virtual monopoly on the European spice trade, and charged exorbitant prices. In 1453, Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople, ending the Eastern Roman Empire, which never completely recovered from being sacked in 1204 by its European “allies” during the Fourth Crusade. With the Turks newly in control of the spice trade route to Europe, Portugal and Spain began seeking new routes.
Portugal had already been expanding its domain when the Turks conquered Constantinople. Sugar first came to Europe as Arab traders brought it to Moorish Spain. Portugal began colonizing the uninhabited Madeira Islands in 1418. They immediately turned the islands into sugar plantations. Sugar provided two things: calories and sweetness. Similar to the spices, sugar helped provide useful calories, but more importantly, it played to humanity’s ape heritage of eating fruit: the sweet tooth. Refined sugar is an addictive substance and disastrous to health, arguably being the single greatest cause of tooth decay and also the single greatest cause of diabetes, as well as contributing to obesity. European teeth really began rotting when refined sugar became a mainstay. Before civilization made its appearance, tooth decay was rare.
On the very first day he met the New World’s natives, Columbus observed that those friendly natives would make good Christians and slaves, and he captured six natives that first day. The Christian/slave dynamic would figure largely in Spain’s imperial foray into the New World. Columbus’s very name translated to “Christ-bearing colonizer,” and he called himself the “Christ bearer” immediately after his first voyage. Practice and theory, or reality and rhetoric, were on nearly opposite ends of the spectrum, however. Española, where Europeans first colonized the New World, became history’s only instance of complete or near-complete genocide of millions of people, as the Greater Antilles’s inhabitants were extinct well within a century after “discovery.” Although Columbus would write about his desire to convert the natives, his main preoccupation was becoming rich by forcing the natives to mine gold. Columbus literally thought that gold was the ticket to heaven. Little Renaissance humanism could be found in Columbus’s practices.
The first twenty years of Spanish presence in the New World was an unmitigated and genocidal disaster for the natives, with millions dying. Enslaving the natives was the standard Spanish practice, although plenty of semantic games were played. Officially, slavery was outlawed for “friendly” natives, when it became obvious that they quickly died upon being shipped to Spain’s slave markets. So, the New World’s natives were enslaved and put to work locally, to turn them into “good Christians.” The Spanish experience during the early years of the New World’s “discovery” is history’s only era when people were regularly used as food, as the Spanish used the natives as dog food. Native Americans had few domestic animals, so the natives themselves were the most available meat, and the soft bodies of native infants made for a canine delicacy. The exploitation and waste of human energy was prodigious during those days, as it was seemingly limitless.
As mining operations declined because the natives were so numerically reduced and the easy gold was gone, sugar became the primary export from the New World’s tropics, which is concentrated, addictive energy. From northern North America the fur trade flourished (for energy conservation and fashion), which drove fur-bearing animals to extinction. From temperate North America came tobacco, the export that funded the English colonies in Virginia and southward. In 1638, three million pounds of tobacco per year made its way from present-day Virginia to Europe. It reached 17 million pounds in 1672, the same year that American whaling became an industry, largely to obtain the energy-rich whale oil. Tobacco was different from sugar in that it had no beneficial health effects as Europeans used it, being solely an addictive substance, the deadliest consumer good that humanity has seen. As early as 1604, King James I was campaigning against tobacco consumption, noting its deleterious health effects, among other unsavory aspects of its use.
As with sugar, tobacco was raised with slave labor, and both crops depleted soil fertility. Everywhere the Europeans arrived, whether it was Africa, Australia, the New World, or the South Pacific, the effect on the natives was disastrous and/or genocidal. The only partial exception was Asia, partly because the natives were better armed and did not fall prey to European diseases.
The Renaissance helped lead to the rise of science in Europe and waning Church influence. Copernicus’ heliocentric theory, first published in 1543, heralded the rise of Western Science, although the Catholic Church fought fiercely against it, as well as the Protestant Reformation, for generations. During the 1600s, telescopes, microscopes, higher mathematics and other tools came into use, and technology began vastly improving. In the early 1700s, Englishman Abraham Darby developed a scientific understanding of brass making and invented coke smelting, using coal to forge brass and iron. It led to a great increase in demand in coal use, and many metallurgical advances. Science and technology interacted. Warfare became a prominent use of technological advances, as Europeans continually jostled for power.
When Europeans invaded North America (the English most prominently), they stumbled into one of the world’s greatest reservoirs of wealth. Eastern North America was almost entirely forested, and it was a human-friendly forest, open and park-like, as the natives burned the undergrowth each year, fostering game for hunting, such as deer. The soils were intact, and agriculture was performed in an environmentally gentle way. The Ohio River ran blue before the white man arrived. The Great Plains may have been another artificially husbanded environment, creating Earth’s greatest herds.
Europe plundered North America’s real wealth with a vengeance that may have no historical equal. The Spanish New World experience during the 1500s exploited human effort for no real wealth gain, but ultimately the wealth is in the environment. The Spanish did not alter their New World domains as drastically as the English and Americans altered North America. Eastern North America was 95% deforested by the invaders, completely exterminating the passenger pigeon, which probably numbered five billion birds before the deforestation and slaughter began. When the woodlands were decimated for fuel, housing and to clear virgin soils for agriculture, coal mining began in earnest, and the Great Plains were ravaged in another prodigious display of destruction. The bison were reduced from 40 to 60 million animals to 23 wild ones in less than a century. The white man did not get around to invading the Pacific Northwest until 150 years ago, and for that reason the Northwest probably has the most intact ecosystems in the continental United States, although that is relative. I have hiked through the few remaining unlogged river valleys in the Cascades, and pondering what Western Washington looked like before the white man invaded is an awe-inspiring experience.
Not only is there evidence that the Great Plains may be at least partly an artificial construction, but there is also evidence that the Amazon rain forest may be the world’s largest garden, with the land terraformed millennia ago, turning a rather human-unfriendly environment into Earth’s most diverse and fecund land-based ecosystem. It appears that the Pacific Northwest Culture, which stretched from Alaska to California, was one of humanity’s first large-scale sedentary cultures. The salmon spawning runs were a form of energy delivery, taking sunlight that fell on the Pacific Ocean, working its way up the food chain, to be finally delivered directly to the natives’ villages. A pipeline could not have done it more effectively. Because of the salmon-based economy (sea mammals provided the fur), the world’s first environmentally stable civilization flourished. They did not need to raze their forests to divert the Sun’s energy to raising crops, and when the white man finally got around to plundering that part of the world, the trees they chopped down were tremendous.
Also, their relatively hostile environment may have helped hone the Old World’s mentality, especially Europe’s. The Puritanical attitude and the Protestant work ethic may have partly derived from the fact that people living in poor conditions, with severe seasons, had to make hay while the Sun shined or they would not survive the winter. There may be a negative feedback effect where humans would continually stress their environment through uncontrolled breeding and environmentally-destructive practices, which in turn made for harsh times, which made people’s outlooks harsher, greedy and more prone to violence. I once asked Hinono what the European rape of the world was all about, as nothing happens by accident (in the mystical perspective), and he said it was about “the dilution of bad ideas,” as if Europe was about to become a spiritual black hole unless the “pressure” was released.
About the same time that English colonies in North America became restless, England began conquering Asia, beginning with what may have been the world’s richest region, Bengal, as far as readily plunderable wealth went. The triumvirate of energy, intelligence, and manipulative ability in wealth creation was starkly evident in England’s rape of Bengal. Bengal had a thriving textile industry, and England imposed a mercantile exploitation from the beginning, actually amputating the thumbs of weavers so they could no longer manufacture fabric. After several years of English rule, a drought-caused famine (greatly aided by English destruction of the society, famine accompanied English rule in India) killed off a third of Bengal’s peasantry. The country was forced into growing raw materials such as jute and indigo for English factories and consumption, and opium for China. India became a major raw material exporter. Tea sweetened with sugar is an imperial drink, as is coffee and hot chocolate. Europe plundered Africa in the late 19th century, with similar dynamics.
The Industrial Revolution and the Science of Energy
In retrospect, along with taming coal for smelting metal, the major event of the 1700s was James Watt’s installation of the first modern steam engine in 1776. It was a great improvement over the Newcomen steam engine that was first developed in 1710, as it had a steam condenser, making it vastly more efficient. Watt’s engine made the Industrial Revolution possible. With steam engines, energy could be harnessed at a level never before dreamed of. The invention of the modern steam engine coincided with the beginnings of the anti-slavery movement in Europe. Machines could perform labor that humans formerly did.
The Industrial Revolution is one where theory lagged behind practice. Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations did not invent capitalism, but formalized an ideological framework that prepared the conditions for dogma to take root. Similarly, the steam engine was powering the Industrial Revolution long before the theory was developed to explain it. Capitalism was born in England, and the modern state was born in France. One could be considered economic and the other political, but the two have never been truly separated. Disciplines that attempt that extractive surgery, such as “realism,” which tries separating politics from economics, analyzing politics separately, can fail spectacularly. Economic and political activities are about amassing and controlling energy; it is no accident that the word “power” describes political “wealth.” Terms such as “political capital” demonstrate that “political-economic” is a more appropriate term than either one by itself. Political power derives from economic power, and violence has accompanied the garnering of economic power since the earliest days of humanity. In the USA, history’s most materialistic nation, money dominates politics, with all politicians at the national level being essentially owned by the interests that fund their campaigns.
Ever since humans began making machines, attempts were made to make them independent of fuel. All manner of “perpetual motion” devices were dreamed up. None ever worked. When Napoleon tried conquering his corner of the world, forcing the Enlightenment onto his neighbors, a military engineer in his service was Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot, whose military strategies won every battle that he planned. Carnot also was a mathematician who helped develop the mathematical basis for the reason why a perpetual motion machine was impossible. His son was also a soldier, and Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot, known as Sadi today, took his father’s work further, and in 1824 published his conception of the perfect engine, 48 years after Watt’s steam engine made its appearance. When Carnot published his seminal work, heat had only recently been scientifically described. Before the work of Antoine Lavoisier, European scientists thought that combustion was the release of a substance called phlogiston. Lavoisier, before his neck met the business end of a guillotine in 1794, demonstrated that combustion was due to oxygen reacting with the combusted material. In 1798 and 1799, Benjamin Thompson and Humphry Davy demonstrated that heat transfer was an exchange of energy, similar in concept to work being done, and that idea eventually displaced the old theories.
Carnot’s theory on his ideal heat engine would become known as the second law of thermodynamics, introducing the concept of entropy. Just as theory lagged behind practice, the second law preceded the first, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed (and the “zeroth,” which defines temperature). The term thermodynamics defines the essence of the science; dealing with the relationship between temperature (thermo) and motion (dynamics). The crux of Carnot’s theory is that hot things cool off, giving their heat to the surrounding environment.
Carnot theorized that the temperatures it operated between determined a heat engine’s maximum possible efficiency. According to Carnot's theory, the hotter an engine ran, the greater percentage of its consumed energy could be converted to work. Today, calculating the maximum possible efficiency of a heat engine is performed by using the temperatures of the heat source and exhaust medium. The heat source and exhaust medium are known as “heat sinks” in thermodynamics jargon. The formula is known as Carnot’s equation, and the maximum possible efficiency is the temperature difference between the two heat sinks. See the diagram below.
The (T1-T2)/T1 formula is learned by all thermodynamics students in their first week of class. Putting in some real numbers shows what Carnot’s equation means. In today’s electric companies, a coal-fired power plant generates about 2000° F (1100° C) in its boiler, where water is made into high-temperature steam. After the steam is run through turbines, a large body of water cools it back down into liquid water, so it can be reintroduced into the boiler. That is also the essence of Watt’s steam engine, and the introduction of the steam condenser was what allowed the Industrial Revolution to take off.
If the body of water that cools the condenser is 55° F (12° C), the arithmetic works out to 80% efficiency, and the calculation is at this footnote.
That means that for every 100 units of heat introduced at the boiler, the turbines will produce 80 units of mechanical energy, at most. In reality however, the steam turbine’s thermal efficiency will be far less than 80%. In the early 21st century, the USA's national average for heat engine efficiency at the electric companies was about 30%. The highest thermal efficiencies obtained by state-of-the-art equipment is about 40%, or about half the Carnot ideal. The research on gaining higher efficiencies is largely devoted to developing boiler and turbine materials that can withstand higher temperatures. The “visionaries” in the field think that 4000° F (2200° C) boiler temperatures can be reached in the next generation, and 60% thermal efficiencies may be attainable.
As I first began studying thermodynamics in the late 1980s, I wondered where Carnot's equation came from. It turns out to be quite simple. There is a process that reverses the heat engine dynamic, and it is called a heat pump. Where a heat engine takes advantage of the differential between heat sink temperatures to produce mechanical energy, a heat pump uses mechanical energy to move heat between two heat sinks. Take those steam turbine temperatures and imagine a heat pump operating within those parameters. The heat pump would take heat from the 55° F (12° C) heat sink and raise its temperature to 2000° F (1100° C), by using mechanical energy. That might seem nonsensical at first, but that is what heat pumps do. Using those temperatures and inverting the Carnot equation, the maximum theoretical heat pump efficiency is developed. See the diagram below.
Inserting the previous temperatures into that equation, we get 1.25. That means that for every 100 units of mechanical energy that is put into the heat pump, 125 units of heat will be moved from the 12° C heat sink and delivered to the 100° C heat sink, at most. That ratio of 1.25 is known as a coefficient of performance (COP). Combining both Carnot equations is what makes Carnot’s theory clear. See the diagram below.
Combining the equations yields a result of one. In that ideal Carnot arrangement, all of the mechanical energy that was farmed from the system in the heat engine was used to drive the heat pump, taking the heat from the lower heat sink and depositing it back into the high temperature heat sink. In that ideal world, the perfect heat engine could be hooked up to the perfect heat pump, and it would run forever on its own energy. In the real world, however, hot always goes to cold, and there are always heat losses from any system where heat is converted to work. As shown above, the electric company only gets about half the Carnot ideal in practice, and heat pumps get far less than half the Carnot ideal. Instead of 80% x 1.25 = 100%, it is more like 40% X 0.2 = 8%. The 8% number means that in reality, only 8% of the energy farmed from the boiler by the heat engine would make its way back to the boiler to start the cycle again. The other 92% would be largely lost to heat losses, so the majority of energy released by burning fuel would simply be vented to the environment, creating thermal pollution. Electrical power plants, for instance, are notorious for warming up the bodies of water that are used to condense the steam.
Steam turbines at electric companies work by a simple principle. Liquid water is turned into a high-temperature steam at the boiler, its newly liberated molecules rocketing at immense velocities, and then directed at a turbine blade. The energy exchanged during the collision of the water molecule and turbine blade is how the heat energy of the boiler is converted into mechanical energy. It is no different in essence from using my muscles to push my car down the road, or a river pushing a waterwheel. In the case of the steam turbine, it is a high-velocity water molecule banging against a turbine blade.
The heat pump requires a little more explanation. When Carnot came up with his famous equation, heat pumps did not exist. They only existed in theory. They have since been invented and have been put to many uses. The heat pump application that all Americans are familiar with is the household refrigerator. It removes heat from inside the cold refrigerator and dumps it into the warm kitchen, moving the heat from a cold heat sink to a higher temperature one. A brief description of how a refrigerator works is at this footnote.
Physicists have asked if thermodynamics had more debt to the steam engine than the steam engine had to thermodynamics. With Watt’s steam engine coming onto the scene, the West entered the age of machines. The motive power of steam could be harnessed in many ways. Richard Trevithick built the first steam-powered railroad in 1804. In 1807, Robert Fulton made his famous steamboat run up the Hudson River. Railroads and steamships began crossing the globe.
The forerunners to modern factories began development in England in the early 1700s, in the textile industry. England’s rape of Bengal boosted its industrial advance at India’s expense. Machines for transportation and manipulation became feasible with the steam engine, and England’s textile factories no longer needed to be situated next to rivers, to take advantage of river power. In 1814 the first cotton mill was built, in Waltham Massachusetts. Raw cotton entered, and finished goods emerged. In the early days of factory textile production, women were hired to work in them, partly because they could be paid less than men. It is not an accident that the women’s suffrage movement, the communist movement, and efforts to abolish slavery began in those early days of industrialization. With the ability to exploit energy on a scale never before dreamed of, strong backs and hands were no longer as necessary for the creation of human-usable wealth. Wage slavery eventually replaced chattel slavery. Slave owners made the case that people do not take care of things they rent as well as things they own. Their arguments were not easily dismissed, and the world of Charles Dickens came from the Industrial Revolution. In England, the advent of industrial capitalism was a disaster for the masses, as life expectancy fell during the late 18th century, in the hellish conditions of early industrialization. A rich, fat capitalist class developed, while the lower classes labored in horrific conditions, in the factories and mines, with children and women working in virtual slavery.
In the United States, wood was the first fuel exploited, as it was so readily abundant. As the trees quickly disappeared, Americans reverted to coal, just as the English had done. As far as nature’s “wealth bank” went, burning trees was the use of sunlight that had fallen on the tree during the years that it grew, while coal was the exploitation of sunlight captured by plants hundreds of millions of years ago. Because such a rich continent was plundered, the United States quickly reached the world’s highest standard of living, living easily off the land, while exterminating its former inhabitants, as well as incredible numbers of passenger pigeons, and later bison. As Carl Sauer remarked, all that so-called wealth creation was actually wealth consumption, draining the world’s real wealth. Brian O’Leary stated it succinctly one day when he said there could be no economy on a planet that cannot support life.
The Industrial Revolution is seen as the most important event in human history since the Agricultural Revolution. Mechanized farming eliminated the need for farmers. In the 1830s, the American John Deere began making steel plows, and the American Cyrus McCormick invented the reaper. By the late 19th century, heat-engine-powered machines replaced teams of horses and oxen. The Dickensian world has not quite disappeared. It has partly been exported from the West to sweatshop factories abroad, in places such as Indonesia, where people work in virtual slavery for Western corporations, making clothing for Americans and other Westerners.
The “agricultural surplus” allowed for specialization of labor. In “primitive” societies, nearly everybody was involved in food production. As agricultural systems became more efficient, from a human standpoint (not for the exterminated “pests” or the depleted soils and ecosystems), the surplus grew, and fewer people were needed for food production. Long before the Industrial Revolution, England developed the most efficient agricultural systems, yet even on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution, about half of England’s workforce was engaged in agriculture. Although the United States was the worlds’ most industrialized nation when the Great Depression of the 1930s arrived, about a third of the workforce was still engaged in agriculture. That number is less than 2% in 2014. Today’s Western Civilization is possible because of energy exploitation, but it is still a Zero-Sum Game being played, with the rise of new ideologies to justify the positions of the capital and elite classes. The craziness of ideology was not confined to political-economic activities. The growing scientific establishment was intimately involved.
The Energy Racket Takes Shape
Before the Industrial Revolution, economics was a Zero-Sum Game and land was the primary basis of wealth. In Spain, a few rich families owned most of the land. In England, a similar manifestation of greed was taking shape. In Spain, the great sheep herds of the grandees overran Spain, devastating Spanish farms and helping to make Spain as arid as it is. In England in the 16th century, rich landowners began fencing in the land and kicking the peasants off it, which was an acceleration of a trend that began with William the Conqueror and his forest laws, which reserved hunting in the forests for the elite. The movement was known as “Enclosure,” and helped spur the English invasion of North America. Enclosure was a way for landowners to kick the peasants off land that they lived off, and turn a profit using the land for either sheep pasturage or saleable crops. Enclosure riots punctuated 16th and 17th century England, and helped lead to the English Civil War, which began in 1640. In England, the evolution of first wiping out predatory competitors for energy, then agricultural “pests,” and then humans themselves, is evident.
Capitalism was born in England, due to a confluence of geography, culture, technology, and unique historical trends. When Adam Smith published his Wealth of Nations in 1776, capitalism already existed, although that name would not be used until the 20th century. Ellen Meiksins Wood and other Marxist historians have documented the long process of England’s transformation from feudalism to capitalism, and Wood shows how it grew from the rural agrarian milieu of greedy landowners, not the urban factory. Adam Smith is associated with the “invisible hand of competition” and the notion that everybody pursuing their narrow self-interest, competing against each other, would make life better for everybody. That concept is a cornerstone of today’s corporate capitalism, but Smith had little to do with it. Smith was an Enlightenment philosopher, and to him, more important than his Wealth of Nations was his The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which he had reprinted several times during his lifetime. The very first sentence of Moral Sentiments states:
“How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which may interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.”
Greed was not a virtue in Smith’s perspective, although Smith, as with all classical economists, glossed over the violent accumulation of "capital" of what Marx eventually called "primitive accumulation." Scholars familiar with Smith’s corpus agree that he would be aghast at today’s corporate capitalism, and would be particularly horrified that he is considered its father. Today’s capitalism bears far more resemblance to Charles Darwin’s vision than Smith’s. Darwin theorized that from the “war of nature,” with everything in competition, comes progress.
England industrialized on the workers’ backs, and partly by raping India. With Watt’s steam engine, coal became the Industrial Revolution’s fuel, because the British Isles and Europe had mineable coal and the trees were gone. The famous London Fog was not true fog, but coal smoke. Pictures from European urban life in the early 20th century are readily obtainable today. Everybody is soot-stained in the pictures. London was bathed in a pall of coal smoke from the 1600s to the 1900s, and all of urban Europe eventually looked the same. As with Britain, European invaders first razed eastern North America’s forests, as well as exterminating its human inhabitants. While that was happening, they also hunted the world’s whales to the brink of extinction, mainly for the whale’s energy-rich oil. As those resources became scarce, the United States also sat on mineable coal, and coal mining eventually dominated Appalachia’s economy.
New kinds of empires were built in those early days of capitalism and industrialization. Britain was in the early lead, being more than twice as industrialized as France and nearly twice as much as the United States in 1830. By 1860, Britain was three times as industrialized as France and the United States, and nearly six times as industrialized as the Hapsburg Empire. The year 1860 marked the beginning of the USA's great leap forward as compared to its imperial rivals. As usual, warfare initiated the “progress.” The American Civil War was the most devastating war in American history.
On the brink of the Civil War, American whaling was in decline, because whales were nearly extinct. In 1859 in Pennsylvania, Edwin Drake drilled the first American oil well, and the oil industry began. In the early days of the industry, oil was used for “medicine,” and because whale oil was becoming scarce as lamp oil, petroleum quickly replaced whale oil in the United States. The Civil War was also the first great era of American war profiteering. A class of men known as “robber barons” all got their starts during the Civil War, building new kinds of empires. Corporate capitalism was a new political-economic form. Today, corporations only exist to make money for the owners, an idle class that skims off the cream. Also, the Industrial Revolution, with its exploitation of energy on a scale never before seen, moved the concept of wealth further from early concepts of controlling land and labor. Controlling energy sources eventually became an overriding imperative.
The robber barons got their start during the Civil War, and the fledgling industries all came under the control of a few people, each industry turning into a racket. Empires in steel, banking, railroads and others were built during those days. The most successful robber baron of all, however, was John Rockefeller. As with the other robber barons, Rockefeller avoided military service during the Civil War and, after careful inspection, entered the oil industry in 1863. Rockefeller, the son of a snake oil salesman, realized that if he could control the industry’s refining arm, he would control the entire industry, as all oil would have to pass through his hands on its way to market. It was a gatekeeper concept. Soon after he entered the industry, he embarked on a strategy of buying out or wiping out all of his competitors - the hundreds of small refiners that dotted the northeastern United States. By 1880, Rockefeller controlled 95% of U.S. refining. Rockefeller personified a new, ingenious ruthlessness in American industry.
The decades after the Civil War became known as The Gilded Age, with the robber barons ridding the new industries of competitors and creating vast economic empires, empires that still exist. By the early 20th century, monopolies dominated the American economy, and the era of “trust-busting” was supposed to loosen the stranglehold that a few capitalists had over the American economy. The trust-busting activity had limited effectiveness. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil was broken up into a few large oil companies, but the oil companies colluded behind the scenes, and the world’s largest oil companies were known as the “seven sisters.” Two of those Rockefeller oil companies merged back together in the late 20th century, forming the world’s largest corporation, Exxon Mobil (the neocolonial Wal Mart has now exceeded them in revenues; of the 7 largest corporations on Earth in 2014, six were oil companies).
Corporate power soon dominated America’s political-economic environment. As robber barons such as Rockefeller, Morgan, Carnegie, Mellon, Vanderbilt, Astor, Harriman, and friends consolidated their empires, they often turned to “philanthropy,” a strange term to use for those men, and their philanthropy became a means of social engineering and control, and diversifications of their empires. In the early 20th century, Rockefeller and Carnegie’s foundations, working with the American Medical Association, used their “philanthropy” to entrench what became today’s medical racket. The hegemony became ideological, as Rockefeller established the University of Chicago, which has created the ideology that dominates today’s economic theory, favoring the capitalistic perspective.
The lies told to American children nearly begin in the cradle. If people can be brainwashed while they are young and impressionable, just forming their personalities and core beliefs, they will largely be unable to critically examine them for the rest of their lives. Today, major corporations are trying to form brand loyalty in children (such as the late 20th century’s Joe Camel campaign to addict children to cigarettes), so they will have customers for life. It is that way in every ideological endeavor, and no different in science, which prides itself in the exercise of reason and observation. Similar to the American media’s self-serving pretense that it is objective, the scientific establishment characterizes its membership as being open-minded, seeking scientific truth.
Science and the "Real World"
One of history’s greatest physicists, Max Planck, stated:
"a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."
Semmelweis, the pioneer of sterile medical practices, died in an insane asylum. Those who discovered anesthesia died penniless. The pioneers of sterile surgical practices, Lister and Keen, were treated shabbily. Louis Pasteur may have marched microbiology, and hence medicine, off in the wrong direction, by plagiarizing Antoine Béchamp. Emil Grubbé was not exactly "welcomed" for discovering radium therapy. Rife, Naessens, Reich and many other pioneers of medicine have been subjected to vilification and endless legal and professional attacks. Those are standard examples of the fates of scientific pioneers. Nikola Tesla has been written out of the history books. That list can go on and on. A craving for power and control typifies the members of the American government, those who run the world's institutions, most corporate leaders, etc. The world of science is little different, especially as men dominate it. A pithy observation made by Andrew Carnegie during the Gilded Age was that “pioneering don’t pay.”
With the rise of science came the Industrial Revolution, and science was an integral part of its progress. Consequently, science needed to be controlled by the capitalists, and it has been. Attacks on scientific pioneers by their “peers” is standard human behavior, no different with scientists than any other group of people. Also, certain scientific and technological breakthroughs can be very bad for business, upsetting the rackets. Therefore, true innovation is largely dead in many industries, such as transportation, energy, medicine, etc. The greater the concentration of power in the industry, the more scientific advances are stifled and crushed. Also, as an example, industrially-sponsored/influenced "scientists" such as Harold Hodge, Gerald Cox, Trendley Dean, David Ast, Edward Largent and others turned an industrial waste, fluoride, into a "medicine," while scientists such as Phyllis Mullenix had their careers destroyed for reporting data that contradicted the propaganda.
Not only are the obscure pioneers mercilessly attacked and derided. Few Americans know anything about Royal Rife. Few know who Gaston Naessens is. How many Americans have heard of Thomas Edison and his light bulb?
In 1879, Edison was basking in fame. The year before, he had demonstrated the phonograph. He had more than 150 patents to his name, and was known as the "Wizard of Menlo Park." Edison’s crew devoted most of 1879 to solving a problem that had defeated the world's most prominent electrical engineers: electrical lighting. After testing thousands of materials for a filament that would work, and playing with vacuum and various resistances, Edison hit on a combination that worked, a high resistance filament in a vacuum. When the "Napoleon of Science" announced that he had successfully created a practical electrical lamp, how did the world of science react?
England's most distinguished electrical engineer, Sir William Siemens, who had tried solving the electrical lighting problem for ten years, greeted Edison's announcement with, "Such startling announcements should be deprecated as being unworthy of science and mischievous to its true progress." Edison soon perfected his light and publicly demonstrated electrical lighting in Menlo Park, lighting the streets around his laboratory. The public came from miles away to see the night lit up by electrical lighting. Edison was demonstrating the "impossible" to the public. What was the reaction of science then?
Professor Henry Morton lived near Menlo Park, and could not be bothered to stretch his legs to go see for himself. Morton instead wrote that he protested "in behalf of true science." Morton wrote that Edison's experiments were "a conspicuous failure, trumpeted as a wonderful success. A fraud upon the public." Professor Du Moncel said, "One must have lost all recollection of American hoaxes to accept such claims. The Sorcerer of Menlo Park appears not to be acquainted with the subtleties of the electrical science. Mr. Edison takes us backwards." Edwin Weston, an expert in arc lighting, said that Edison's claims were "so manifestly absurd as to indicate a positive want of knowledge of the electric circuit and the principles governing the construction and operation of electrical machines." While the public was strolling under the radiance of the electrical lighting in Menlo Park, Sir William Preece, who had studied under Faraday, and was the chief engineer of Britain's Post Office, addressed the Royal Society in London, where he read a paper under the day’s murky gaslights. Preece said that Edison's electric lamp was "a completely idiotic idea."
Edison was probably the world's most famous scientist at the time, and he was publicly demonstrating something said to be "impossible." Not one scientist could be bothered to go to Menlo Park and see it for themselves. Human feeble-mindedness also applies to scientists, in spades. Scientists had abandoned one of their most sacred principles, the principle of observation. That is not an anomaly. Today, nearly a century since Royal Rife invented his Universal Microscope, most scientists have not even heard of it, much less tried to reproduce it, so they can view life processes on a scale that is still impossible today with "modern" technology. Gaston Naessens is doing almost the very same thing in 2014, and if his name comes up in scientific circles, it is treated with contempt. Instead of taking the time to look through that microscope themselves, or even buy one (they are cheap), Naessens is treated as if he has the plague, if he is acknowledged at all. The Catholic Inquisitors, who refused to look through Galileo's telescope to see the moons of Jupiter for themselves, have professional descendents that fill the ranks of today’s scientific establishment.
If the world’s most famous scientist was treated that insanely, imagine how two obscure bicycle mechanics were received when they achieved the "impossible" - heavier-than-air flight. Perhaps the most amazing sight of the entire Industrial Revolution was human flight, which the Wright brothers accomplished in December of 1903. Similar to electrical lighting, heavier-than-air flight had frustrated science. A few weeks before the Wright brothers first flew, Simon Newcomb, the professor of mathematics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, published an article in The Independent that scientifically demonstrated that human-powered flight was "utterly impossible." In 1902, the chief engineer of the Navy, Rear-Admiral George Melville, wrote in the North American Review that attempting to fly was "absurd." Two months before the Wright brothers flew, Professor Samuel Langley tried flying a craft from a houseboat on the Potomac, and it plunged into the river. He tried it again nine days before the Wright Brothers flew, and his plane was destroyed.
The Wright brothers did not listen to the "experts" and flew at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. They returned to their bicycle shop in Dayton Ohio, and continued refining their airplanes. They wrote to newspapers and politicians, inviting them to come see human-powered flight, and even sent out pictures of their planes in flight. They were ignored. It did not stop them from continuing to work on their airplanes. They practiced their flying in a field owned by a Dayton bank president, and regularly flew their planes. A rail line ran next to the field. During one flight in 1905, the Wright brothers were flying when a passenger train was rolling past the field. The general manager of the rail line and his chief engineer were on the train, and the manager ordered the train stopped. They and the passengers stared in wide-eyed amazement at the sight of a man flying through the air. Many dazed witnesses wrote to the Dayton Daily News, and asked why they were not reading about those men flying over "Huffman Prairie."
Not only did the newspapers not send a reporter out to look at such a sight, but letters from people who had seen the Wright brothers in flight were burying them, and the papers complained about the volume of letters they were receiving. Two highways also bordered the field. All the while, the Wright brothers were mailing invitations across the country to media and others to see them fly, an effort that was generally futile. The local newspapers could not be bothered to send even one reporter to check out the story that was happening nearly in sight of the newspaper offices. The managing editor of the Dayton Daily News once spoke with Orville Wright, who told him that he flew for about five minutes that day. The editor did not believe him, and no story ever ran. Maybe if they flew a plane into the newspaper building, somebody might have come out to investigate.
In January 1906, more than two years after they first flew, science weighed in on the persistent reports that the Wright brothers were flying. Scientific American ran an article about the Wright brothers' flights. They implied the Wright brothers were hoaxers, and cited the primary reason for not believing the reports:
"If such sensational and tremendously important experiments are being conducted in a not very remote part of the country, on a subject in which almost everybody feels the most profound interest, is it possible to believe that the enterprising American reporter, who, it is well-known, comes down the chimney when the door is locked in his face - even if he has to scale a fifteen-story skyscraper to do so - would not have ascertained all about them and published the broadcast long ago?"
There it is, the myth of the vigilant, free press. The house organ of science stated its reason for not believing the Wright brothers and their claims of flight: because they had not read about it in the papers. It was not until September 1908, when President Roosevelt ordered tests at Fort Myer, Virginia, and the Wright brothers flew over the town for a week (after first flying near Le Mans, France, where they first found fame, after being shut out in the USA), that the Wright brothers' flights were accepted. It could be denied no longer. Science was finally forced to accept it. Even then, the Smithsonian Institution, which helped fund Langley’s failed experiments, clouded the issue for generations, trying to deny the Wright Brothers their rightful place as the fathers of powered flight.
I lived in Dayton, where Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is (it is built on Huffman Prairie), the biggest Air Force base in the world, and the source of legends such as the Blue Room and Hangar 18, where extraterrestrial craft and the remains of their hapless occupants were allegedly stored. The Air Force Museum is also there, in the town where the Wright brothers lived and whose feats were ignored for nearly five years. In the museum is exhibited the Wright brothers story and their early days, but the exhibit does not deal with the incredible denial that the American establishment engaged in for nearly five years after they first flew.
Einstein once observed that human stupidity is seemingly infinite. The danger is thinking that scientists possess less of it than the public at large, when sometimes they possess more.
Department of Energy scientists tried explaining away what their Geiger counters told them about Brown's Gas transmuting radioactive material during the 1990s. They had to perform mental summersaults and nearly gouge their eyes out to deny what their eyes and brains told them, but they accomplished it. Getting a diploma from a university does not confer intelligence or make somebody a true scientist. About 99% of those with engineering degrees have little creative talent. Mr. Mentor once told me that most engineers are plodders. They can be given some numbers to crunch or drawings to make, and they will dutifully perform their tasks, bringing back their results when finished. Not that the work may not be valuable, but there is often little creativity or mental horsepower brought to bear on such activities. Those mundane activities are similar to what Kuhn called “normal science.” The vast majority of educated people cannot think past their textbooks, whether it is in science, mathematics, history, politics, accounting, etc. Creative insight is what drives scientific and technical advances. Without that “right side” of the brain working, analysis and technical drudgery provide little insight, and for those mired in such quagmires, comprehending the possibility of flight or other textbook-challenging ideas is nearly impossible, as Planck observed.
The academic experience proves little, and negative learning often takes place. Some of the best inventors and engineers were either self-taught or were mediocre students. Einstein barely made it through his curriculum. Edison was self-taught, attending school for three months of his life.
Werner Heisenberg wrote of attending a meeting of atomic physicists in 1952, when he had a chat with Niels Bohr and Wolfgang Pauli. Bohr talked about a lecture that he gave to a group of philosophers, whom he called mostly "positivists," on the subject of quantum theory. After his talk, Bohr was disappointed that nobody asked any questions. Bohr wondered if he had failed in his talk, because quantum theory is so strange that it should have elicited a great deal of questioning. Pauli responded that Bohr should not be so hard on himself, that the positivists accepted Bohr's explanation as received wisdom, and had no questions. Pauli essentially said if that was the case, they did not really understand anything that Bohr had said. Heisenberg wrote:
"The positivists have a simple solution: the world must be divided into that which we can say clearly, and the rest; which we had better pass over in silence. But can anyone conceive of a more pointless philosophy, seeing that what we can say clearly amounts to next to nothing? If we omitted all that is unclear, we would probably be left with completely uninteresting and trivial tautologies."
Those were the all-too-rare true scientists, shaking their heads. Then Heisenberg and Pauli talked about the nature of the soul.
In the real world, theft has been a primary factor in human interaction. When Europe sailed the high seas, it engaged in history’s greatest act of plunder and piracy.
In science, theft has been all too common. The theft is not of land and resources, however; it is the theft of ideas, discoveries, and inventions. Theft and suppression is typical. Ralph Moss's observation that the pioneers in cancer treatment have been ignored, while the establishment eventually steals their work, is standard. Isaac Newton engaged in a grotesque effort to claim precedence over Leibniz in inventing calculus. The theft of math breakthroughs by college professors from their students is far from unknown. Professors have become famous, while the students they stole from are still unknown.
For centuries, scientists attempted to explain what the auroras were. In 1896, Kristian Birkeland of Norway boldly struck out in the right direction in explaining the auroras when he theorized that electrons from the Sun caused the auroras, being deflected to the poles by Earth's magnetic field, and the resultant auroras were like magnetic storms. His bold theory was on the right track, but not embraced. Instead, he was fiercely attacked by his peers for his "crazy" theory, and died a broken man in 1917. His work was derided and suppressed for many years, the effort being led by an English physicist named Sydney Chapman. Eventually Hannes Alfvén challenged the auroric citadel that Chapman perched atop, revived Birkeland's theories, and Alfvén was stonewalled by academia. It was not until 1970, when Alfvén picked up his Nobel Prize, that Birkeland was posthumously vindicated. The ghost of Birkeland must have been smiling.
A primary example of how the establishment works today against threatening scientific breakthroughs is cold fusion. When Pons and Fleischmann made their startling announcement of achieving cold fusion in 1989, it came on the heels of superconductors being created at much higher temperatures than was thought possible. After the initial cold fusion announcement, there was a worldwide frenzy, but soon after, it was dismissed as a chimera, a non-reproducible phenomenon. Pons and Fleischmann's names have become anathema in the halls of science. They had to leave America to continue their research, which has now been confirmed more than one hundred times in research institutes throughout the world. Brian O’Leary was familiar with the data, which strongly suggests that cold fusion is real. So, why does everybody I talk to think that it was disproven long ago? MIT was the first to attack cold fusion’s experimental results, saying they were not reproducible, but it is now known that they fudged the numbers to make their claim. Essentially, they lied. Their voice, and others who were heavily invested in the status quo, as they collect billions of dollars to pursue high temperature fusion (which would be subsequently monopolized), carried the day. It happened recently, and the cover-up continues to this day. Not long before he died, Brian told me that it is even worse today than in the days of the Wright brothers, as breakthroughs such as cold fusion have been mercilessly attacked and dismissed by the scientific establishment. It comes down to money, power, egos and dogma, not what is called science.
Richard Milton's Alternative Science (formerly titled Forbidden Science) is an excellent introduction to how scientific pioneers have been maligned, and how the scientific establishment works today. Joseph Schwartz's The Creative Moment is a neat recounting of the fatal turns that science has made over the centuries.
A major reason the world knows about Einstein's theories of relativity is because they posed no immediate economic threat to powerful interests in 1905. If relativity posed an immediate threat to the Rockefeller Empire or the other robber baron industries, the world may have never heard of relativity, as it would have been suppressed from the outset.
Nikola Tesla’s story is a prime example. His theories and inventions had a potentially dramatic impact on the world. Thomas Edison engaged in a disgraceful attack on Tesla's work. Tesla invented the technology to use alternating current, which powers the world today. Edison promoted his direct current. Direct current had the great limitation of only being transmittable over short distances, because its voltage was low, and therefore the resistance relatively high. The voltage of alternating current, however, could be stepped up by transformers and transmitted great distances while losing very little of its power. Tesla had to forgo the royalties that would have made him one of the world's richest men, so George Westinghouse could survive the battle against Edison. Then J.P. Morgan bankrolled Tesla…until Tesla began pursuing directions that could have provided free energy. Morgan was a classic robber baron, knowing full well how the racketeering aspect of capitalism worked, and quickly pulled the plug on Tesla when he began making free energy noises.
Tesla may have invented free energy, or came close. There is plenty of conjecture about what has been suppressed regarding his work. Tesla's inventions are legion. He invented radio before Marconi. He had about 700 patents.
An excellent book that covers the "suppression syndrome," as Brian O'Leary brilliantly puts it, is Suppressed Inventions and other Discoveries, edited by Jonathan Eisen. The stories of people discussed on this web site, such as Naessens, Rife, Hoxsey, Gerson, Moss, Reich and others are covered in its pages. The epic work on Tesla's life is Wizard, the Life and Times of Nikola Tesla, by Marc Seifer, but it does not discuss some possible aspects of the Tesla story that are intriguing, such as the alleged Philadelphia Experiment. Although his alternating current prevailed, the electric companies are often named "Edison" companies. Even though Tesla founded an electric company, there is no Tesla Electric Company, except for the one that Dennis Lee tried reviving. Recently there has been controversy over the Smithsonian Institution's display on Edison and electricity. The Smithsonian is making the bogus claim that Edison invented the modern era of power and that Marconi invented the radio. Tesla has been shunted off to a dark corner by the establishment, while Edison is a household word.
Jonathan Swift once wrote:
“When a true genius appears in this world you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”
In his 1984, Orwell called orthodox thinking a form of unconsciousness. In order for the dunces to think like geniuses, they have to abandon their assumptions and dogmas, and gain some flexibility of thought. Such unthinking has been called inverted logic. That phenomenon has been discernable in every field of mental endeavor, whether it is science, economics, journalism, medicine, history, etc.
Genius is simple, sees the forest and the trees, and cuts to the heart of the issue. The greatest geniuses I have known combine creative insight with the power of discrimination. I know some geniuses with great creative insight, but less developed discrimination, which can make them appear "ungrounded." Quite often, geniuses like that need a partner or mate whose feet are more firmly grounded, to keep the balance. Einstein was kind of like that; he never learned to drive a car or work any machinery. It is rare for the genius to have a full balance of creativity and discrimination, and to have it in balance with the heart is rarer still. They exist, but are extremely rare.
Galileo and Newton were devoutly religious. Newton pursued theology for the rest of his life after about age thirty, proving that he was much better in math and science. As with Einstein and numerous other physicists, Newton's major contributions to science and mathematics were made before he was thirty years old. Werner Heisenberg invented quantum physics, which stands with relativity as the two pillars of modern physics, and invented it in a fevered weekend when he was twenty-four years old. Leibniz and Newton invented calculus independently at around the same time. Leibniz was also in his twenties when he invented calculus, and Newton was only twenty-three. Leibniz published his work before Newton did, although Newton invented his calculus first. Erwin Schroedinger was the other father of quantum theory. Schroedinger was an old man in theoretical physics, nearly forty years old, when he published his wave mechanics theory.
What happens is that those fresh to the field, who can look at the problems with new eyes, make the great breakthroughs. After that, they can fall prey to their point of view, and rarely make great contributions later.
The rise of science in the West coincided with the loosening of Christianity’s grip, the Catholic Church’s in particular, on the minds and hearts of men. Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Heisenberg, Schroedinger…modern physics rides on those men's shoulders. Others also contributed greatly, such as Niels Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli, Arthur Eddington, Max Planck, Louis De Broglie, and others. It is not a very large group of men. Would it be surprising to know that all those scientists named above were profoundly religious or what could be called mystical in their worldview? Every single one of them knew that there was far more to the world than the materialistic worldview espoused by people such as Carl Sagan. The giants of physics were deeply spiritual, each in their own way.
In Ken Wilber's Quantum Questions, he put the mystical writings of the fathers of twentieth century physics in one book. The mystical writings of Einstein, Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Eddington, de Broglie, and others are reproduced. Here are some quotes from the world's greatest physicists.
“I don't know what I may seem to the world, but, as to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” - Isaac Newton, to a companion, not long before his death.
"The scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good and bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we're not inclined to take them seriously…The scientific world-picture vouchsafes a very complete understanding of all that happens - it makes it just a little too understandable. It allows you to imagine the total display as that of a mechanical clockwork which, for all that science knows, could go on just the same as it does, without there being consciousness, will, endeavor, pain and delight and responsibility connected with it - though they actually are. And the reason for this disconcerting situation is just this: that, for the purpose of constructing the picture of the external world, we have used the greatly simplifying device of cutting our own personality out, removing it; hence it is gone, it has evaporated, it is ostensibly not needed…Whence come I, and whither go I? That is the great unfathomable question, the same for every one of us. Science has no answer to it." - Erwin Schroedinger
"Please note that the very recent advance [of quantum and relativistic physics - Ed.] does not lie in the world of physics having acquired this shadowy character; it had ever since Democritus and Abdera and even before, but we were not aware of it; we thought we were dealing with the world itself." - Erwin Schroedinger
"I should like to stress the following:
1. Modern science, in its beginning, was characterized by a conscious modesty; it made statements about strictly limited relations that are only valid within the framework of these limitations.
2. This modesty was largely lost during the nineteenth century. Physical knowledge was considered to make assertions about nature as a whole. Physics wished to turn philosopher, and the demand was voiced from many quarters that all true philosophers must be scientific.
3. Today physics has undergone a basic change, the most characteristic trait of which is to return to its original self-limitation.
4. The philosophic content of science is only preserved if science is conscious of its limits. Great discoveries of the properties of individual phenomena are possible only if the nature of the phenomena are not generalized a priori. Only by leaving open the question of the ultimate essence of a body, of matter, of energy, etc. can physics reach an understanding of the individual properties of the phenomena that we designate by these concepts, an understanding which alone may lead us to real philosophical insight." - Werner Heisenberg
"The essential fact is simply that all the pictures that science draws of nature, and which alone seem capable of according with observational fact, are mathematical pictures...They are nothing more than pictures - fictions if you like, if by fiction you mean that science is not yet in contact with ultimate reality. Many would hold that, from the broad philosophical standpoint, the outstanding achievement of twentieth-century physics is not the theory of relativity with its welding together of space and time, or the theory of quanta with its present apparent negation of the laws of causation, or the dissection of the atom with the resultant discovery that things are not what they seem; it is the general recognition that we are not yet in contact with ultimate reality. We are still imprisoned in our cave, with our backs to the light, and can only watch shadows on the wall." - James Jeans
"The fact is that there is a point, one single point in the immeasurable world of mind and matter, where science and therefore every causal method of research is inapplicable, not only on practical grounds but also on logical grounds, and will always remain inapplicable. This point is the individual ego. It is a small point in the universal realm of being, but, in itself, it is a whole world, embracing our emotional life, our will, and our thought." - Max Planck
“You will hardly find one among the profounder sort of scientific minds without a religious feeling of his own…His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection…[regarding this feeling - Ed.] It is beyond question closely akin to that which has possessed the religious geniuses of all ages.” - Albert Einstein
Those are the words of the giants of physics. Here are the words of the "skeptics."
“…when I say I am glad I live in the century when the universe is essentially understood, I think I am justified.” - Isaac Asimov
"I am a collection of water, calcium and organic molecules called Carl Sagan." - Carl Sagan
“… attitudes and beliefs can have nothing to do with properly conducted research and conclusions drawn therefrom.” - James Randi 
“Parapsychology is a farce and a delusion...” - James Randi
“This is also a book about God… or perhaps about the absence of God. Hawking is attempting, as he explicitly states, to understand the mind of God… And this makes all the more unexpected the conclusion of the effort, at least so far: a universe with no edge in space, no beginning or end to time, and nothing for a Creator to do.” - Carl Sagan
“There are only four different forces in existence…” - Milton Rothman
Wilber made clear that the great physicists saw no conflict between religion and science. Wilber could have said "spirituality and science," but he said "religion," and I will deal with that. Wilber stated that the greatest physicists saw the conflict as not between science and religion, but between the bogus and the genuine, and science and religion has plenty of both. Bogus science and religion are the dogmatic and authoritarian aspects of them. “Religion” has "proofs" as science does. It can be tested. It is not a matter of blind faith or suspending one's mental faculties. I have pursued the mystical and the paranormal, and I have my own proofs, but I cannot prove anything about it to anybody else. Each of us can only find our own proof, which is partly why our current science cannot truly investigate the nature of consciousness. Today’s science assumes objectivity. Objectivity is probably a myth propagated by our five physical senses. The authoritarian dogmas in science and religion were what those physicists had a problem with.
As Heisenberg, Jeans and Schroedinger wrote, the theories and data of relativity and quantum theory showed those scientists that something was awry with the notion that science dealt with reality. It became obvious to the giants of physics that science was another artificial way of viewing the world, and had no ultimate answers, which helped propel them to their mystical worldviews. Although the greatest physicists of all time gladly admitted that we barely know anything, and kept science in perspective, realizing its limitations, those such as Sagan and Asimov were confident that science had it all figured out, or nearly. They typified the delusions of every age, thinking they were on the brink of knowing it all, or that they even had the tools and ability to figure it out.
There is a word for the attitude of the Sagans, Asimovs and "skeptics." It is called scientism. It is the worship of science and its methods, believing that it alone has the valid perspective of reality. It is another religion, with its priests and popes. Almost without exception, “skeptics” have proven themselves establishment defenders, scientific and otherwise. They are true believers of a different kind, and their political-economic situations have everything to do with their perspectives.
My First Glimpse
I lived in an area with many professionals and scientists, largely serving the local military bases. Among the adults I knew during my childhood years, I was kind of “adopted” by most of my friends’ parents, and one mentor in particular took me under his wing. He was one of the 20th century’s greatest inventive minds, with inventions that revolutionized entire industries. Others were so revolutionary that they were suppressed in the interest of preserving the status quo. Every invention was either stolen or suppressed, and he never made a dime from any of them.
Mr. Mentor was an engineer, and he spent many years doing mechanical work with his hands, and continually expressed his amazement at how poorly engineered the day’s automobiles were, as he worked on them. One day in 1968, he pondered the problems of modern automobiles, and how they utilize energy. He began considering what an energy-efficient car might look like, if he could build one from scratch. Aspects of the issue had been rolling around in his head for years, but that day he was sitting at a stoplight, and a vision suddenly came upon him. He saw the ideal car engine in his mind’s eye, complete. He drove home, got a pencil and paper, and in a few minutes had sketched out his ideal engine for powering a car. He did not patent it until 1972.
The patent for Mr. Mentor’s engine expired long ago, and anybody can try to build one, but patents are meaningless when inventions such as Mr. Mentor’s are considered. The protection people need when pursuing such technologies are not patents, but get-out-of-jail-free cards, bulletproof vests, and guardian angels. I will present a brief description of Mr. Mentor’s engine, to show not only that there are numerous viable alternatives to today’s business-as-usual, but to also demonstrate how genius works. Dennis Lee was pursuing this very technology when he was first thrown into jail in 1988.
In the instance of Mr. Mentor’s engine, it was not immediately stolen, partly because it was so radically different that it was not easy to initially comprehend. However, he had produced so many startling innovations by that time, even though many of the best were stolen from him, that the higher-ups took him seriously when he proposed one of his new “crazy” ideas. The federal government spent about $250,000 to have Mr. Mentor’s engine patented, and the government claimed rights to its use, because they funded the patent process. The government brought in an outside expert to assess it. He was a rocket scientist who helped save the USA's space program in the early 1960s. He discovered why so many rockets were exploding as they took off (inconsistent combustion, similar to how a match head flickers when burning, except amplified zillions of times in a rocket, creating stresses that blew apart the early rockets) and also solved the problem. He met with Mr. Mentor, and after a lot of hand waving and blackboard drawings, the rocket scientist comprehended the fullness of what Mr. Mentor had come up with, and became its greatest champion.
Then Mr. Mentor’s engine became a big deal. During the hoopla, one person close to the situation told Mr. Mentor that he hoped he was not serious about actually developing his engine and making the internal combustion engine obsolete, because the Detroit car companies would then have him murdered. The engine was a big deal nevertheless, and a rich industrialist offered to go into business with Mr. Mentor and the rocket scientist to develop and sell that engine. The only hitch was that the industrialist would own 95% of the company, with Mr. Mentor and the rocket scientist sharing in the other 5%. With a deal like that, all pursuit of the engine ended, and Mr. Mentor ended his career soon afterward, a bitter man. His engine was not forgotten, however.
Not long after that engine created a stir in the government, 1973 arrived and the OPEC oil embargo made the world energy situation headline news. In the wake of the energy crisis and Jimmy Carter’s “declaration of war” on the energy issue, a huge federal study was launched regarding alternative engine designs, to conserve energy, oil in particular. Building on earlier analytical work performed by the government, the study quickly focused on Mr. Mentor's engine, and devoted about a third of its effort to analyzing it. Many man-years were spent analyzing Mr. Mentor’s engine design. The study concluded that Mr. Mentor's engine was by far the most effective engine in the world for powering a car. A United States Senator, who had made a reputation as the alternative energy Senator, began calling Mr. Mentor at home in the wake of the study’s published results. He begged Mr. Mentor to come to Washington D.C. to host congressional hearings regarding having his engine developed. By that time, Mr. Mentor was retiring an angry and bitter man, recalled the “make your funeral plans” advice he was given if he seriously considered pursuing the development of his engine, and the engine was pursued no further, although a company did make his engine (without consulting him) and drove it in a Rose Parade in the 1970s, announcing that it was going to revolutionize the automobile industry. They quickly disappeared from the scene, probably suffering the fate that other companies had when they tried challenging Detroit’s automotive oligopoly. Below is a newspaper article from 1974, when that engine began making waves.
on image to enlarge
The rocket scientist was awed by Mr. Mentor's invention. He said that there were numerous “wrong turns” that his engine design could have taken, and that he estimated that Mr. Mentor’s engine should have taken a team of engineers twenty years to design. It came to him in a flash at a stoplight. That was how Tesla also did his inventing. It had a lot to do with psychic ability. The intuitive aspect of human consciousness is almost wholly neglected by the scientific paradigm, though its greatest theoreticians almost always had to thank their imaginations and intuitive ability for their breakthroughs, not their intellects.
Here is how Mr. Mentor’s engine worked, my understanding coming partly from studying his expired patents, and partly from conversations with him many years ago. The engine, as with all engines, operated in a cycle.
The engine was an external combustion engine, not an internal combustion engine, meaning that the combustion took place outside the engine and not inside it, as with a car engine. The working fluid began its journey in a boiler. The boiler was subjected to a flame created by burning the fuel. As the working fluid boiled, the gas expanded and left the boiler through a pipe. The working fluid’s steam then met what Mr. Mentor called a pressure intensifier, which was one of his engine’s major innovations. A drawing of the pressure intensifier and its position in the engine is presented below.
The principle of the pressure intensifier was that high-pressure steam would come from the boiler and meet the piston head (area A in the drawing). As it pushed the piston down, it gave its energy to the piston, becoming a cooler gas at a lower pressure as it left the cylinder. The boiling point of any substance is determined by the attraction of the molecules to each other, and the temperature and the pressure it is subjected to. A pot of water, for instance, boils at 212° F (100° C) at sea level on Earth, but at less than 150° F (65° C) on top of Mount Everest. If we put water in a jar and hook up a vacuum pump to create a vacuum, the water will boil at room temperature. The fluid that left the boiler was turned into steam by the heat applied by the flame. It gave energy picked up in the boiler to the piston, as it pushed it down. It left the cylinder cooler and at less pressure, which was closer to its condensing point than when it entered the cylinder. The journey of the working fluid makes its way to the piston’s other side in the pressure intensifier (area B in my drawing). The amount of force exerted by the piston is easily calculated, and is the pressure of the gas multiplied by the piston head’s surface. If the gas pressure was 100 PSI and the piston head’s surface area was 10 square inches, 1,000 pounds of force would be applied to the piston (100 X 10) on side A. On the piston’s other side is another head. The pressure the piston exerted on the steam in area B would be the force exerted divided by the surface area of the piston’s head. So, if the piston’s other head was only two square inches in area, and 1,000 pounds of pressure were exerted, the pressure the gas would be subjected to would be 500 PSI (1000 / 2). By knowing the pressure of the working fluid leaving the boiler (mainly determined by the boiler’s temperature), and adjusting the surface areas of both heads of the piston, any desired pressure could be applied to the working fluid in the back end of the cylinder.
At a certain pressure and temperature, the working fluid would re-condense. Studying my refrigerator discussion may make some of this easier to understand. Not only would the working fluid re-condense, it could be made to be any pressure needed, just by varying the surface areas of the pressure intensifier piston’s two heads. Let us say that 2,000 PSI was desired, and the boiler sent out steam at 100 PSI. Then, the surface area of the piston’s front end would need to be 20 times the surface area of the far end. In essence, the working fluid worked on itself, making a low-pressure liquid in the boiler a high-pressure liquid in the far end of the pressure intensifier. Some of the energy delivered at the boiler would have been expended driving the piston downward, and that energy would be stored in the liquid’s pressure on the other end. The high-pressure liquid would then enter a hydraulic accumulator, which was simply a reservoir where the high-pressure liquid rested. Because the boiler and pressure intensifier determined the pressure the reservoir was subjected to, the cooling liquid in the hydraulic accumulator would not affect the accumulator’s pressure. As it cooled, the pressure would decrease, but would be offset by the pressure coming from the intensifier. A steady state would be achieved in the system, with the hydraulic accumulator’s liquid awaiting its further journey. When the accumulator achieved the desired pressure, the boiler would turn off, just as the thermostat in one’s home turns off the furnace, except it was pressure, not temperature, sensitive.
Hydraulic motors are highly efficient, at more than 90% efficiency. The fluid in the hydraulic accumulator would be fed to hydraulic motors. In the case of an automobile, the motors would be at the wheels. Each wheel could have its own motor. The car could run with one motor or four. The only limitation was if the car owner wanted to pay for four motors, three, two, or one. Four would have been ideal, with every car having four-wheel drive, which is superior to two-wheel drive for safety and other reasons. Yet, three of the four motors could fail and the car could still run. After the working fluid gave its energy to the hydraulic motor process, it would have been a low pressure liquid, perhaps near its boiling point, and would have been ready to return to the boiler.
That is a brief description of the working fluid’s travels through the engine, but there is more to tell. As a car drove down a city street and the stoplight turned red, when the driver put her foot on the brake, the hydraulic motors would reverse direction and act as pumps, pumping the hydraulic fluid back into the accumulator. Instead of making brake linings hot and wearing them out, the kinetic energy of the car would be put back into the system, not wasted. It was like putting the gasoline back into the tank after it had been burned. That was one of the more ingenious aspects of Mr. Mentor’s engine.
Here are the problems that Mr. Mentor’s engine solved.
It was an external combustion engine, and solved several problems that plague internal combustion engines. The pollutants that resulted from incomplete combustion due to the rapid mechanical processes in internal combustion engines, such as carbon monoxide, would no longer be produced. Another issue was the high temperatures and pressures of internal combustion engines making atmospheric nitrogen react with atmospheric oxygen, creating the nitrogen oxides that not only make the air brown, but are also a component of acid rain and a greenhouse gas. With an external combustion engine, the burn could be perfected to the ideal burn, at a lower temperature and pressure than was in internal combustion engines. Mr. Mentor’s engine would have produced almost exclusively carbon dioxide and water, which is the least polluting form of combustion there is.
The prime mover (pressure intensifier) would operate at one speed, and in doing so could be made to operate at its ideal speed for maximum efficiency. No more running up and down the efficiency curve, as with today’s car engines, as they operate over a wide spectrum of engine speeds. That was accomplished largely by uncoupling the prime mover from the drive train. Think of the engine and transmission of a car. The transmission directly relied on the engine moving in order to operate and propel the car. Another source of the pollution was the variable speed at which today’s engines operate. The widely variable combustion is not only inefficient, but also partly how pollutants are created. In Mr. Mentor’s engine, the pressure intensifier and hydraulic motors were separated by the hydraulic accumulator, which made them operate independently of each other, increasing the prime mover’s efficiency.
Mr. Mentor’s engine would have reclaimed the energy lost due to braking in today’s vehicles, putting it back into the hydraulic accumulator. That had numerous benefits, some not immediately obvious. One was that city driving MPG would have skyrocketed. The experts estimated that a mail truck driving through neighborhoods might achieve 200 MPG with Mr. Mentor’s engine, partly because it would be traveling so slowly that air resistance and tire friction would have been minimal, which is where a quarter or more of the energy is used in a car traveling down the highway at 60 MPH. Air resistance increases at the square of the vehicle’s velocity. If city MPG for cars leapt to a mere 100 MPG, it would mean that only 20% as much fuel would be burned in town, meaning that 80% of the potential air pollution would have been eliminated, as well as reducing the thermal pollution that all Western cities experience. Not only that, the external combustion engine would have had near-perfect burning, and most American urban air pollution problems would have immediately disappeared. Also, it would have been a quiet engine, eliminating a great deal of noise pollution.
Not bad, for coming to him in a flash at a stoplight. Heisenberg’s quantum physics came to him in a fevered weekend. Einstein’s relativity came to him, complete one morning, as he woke up. They had the technical/analytical ability and training to assess how feasible their bright idea was. Many years later, I had a more mundane version of how Mr. Mentor had his stoplight vision, when I saw a way to get every American truck driver home every night. I know that the intellect cannot claim credit for that flash of creative insight.
As with others like him, Mr. Mentor was intimately familiar with the technical issues, spending many years pondering the automobile’s internal combustion engine and its problems. He had enormous analytical ability, getting the highest math score on a standardized test in his home state, earning him a full-ride scholarship to a major university. Without his great technical ability, what came to him at a stoplight would not have gotten very far, and the vision probably would not have come to him in the first place.
His long pondering of the issues brought him to the place where his insightful moment at the stoplight was valuable. Practical genius needs both the left and right sides of the brain to be working together, or stated another way, the creative and analytic abilities working in harmony. The creative spark can make itself known in a flash, while the analytical part often has to spend years validating it. Analysis without the creative spark can be virtually worthless, or worse. Many scientists have been frozen into the analytic and intellectual mode, and are unable to comprehend or experience the creative spark that illuminated the greatest geniuses, both scientific and spiritual. Even a far lesser light such as Carl Sagan had some idea regarding the importance of the intuitive side. Sagan was an inveterate marijuana smoker, believing that his best ideas came while stoned.
Mr. Mentor’s engine never went anywhere, largely due to the inertia and corruption in today’s system. The major government study was dutifully filed away and forgotten. Our system wastes a vast amount of talent and genius. Mr. Mentor was far from alone in being stolen from or ignored for his genius. It is standard operating procedure in today’s world. The military base Mr. Mentor worked at had many thousands of employees. Mr. Mentor estimated that the only creative talent there that amounted to much consisted of a handful of people. Birds of a feather flock together, and he knew the other great talents there. Generally, they were treated like he was. Mr. Mentor’s superiors and “peers” even waited for people such as Mr. Mentor to come along, so they could steal their ideas. One thief actually laughed in Mr. Mentor’s face, telling him that he was “stupid” enough to allow him to steal his idea.
His superiors would not even be sly about their theft. For instance, one standard procedure was when a scientist or engineer would write a scientific paper worthy of publication or oral delivery to a symposium, the bosses would step in, call the paper their work, and deliver it to accolades at the symposia. One oceanographer pal of Mr. Mentor wrote an outstanding paper. His boss told him that he would deliver it to a symposium and call it his own. The oceanographer was able to get into the symposium, watch his boss deliver the paper as his own, and see the accolades it received, with his boss bathing in the spotlight. He at least had the satisfaction of seeing that his work was well received, even though he received no credit for it. A major university tried to recruit another one of Mr. Mentor’s pals. One of the perks they waved under his nose was telling him that he would have many bright graduate students working for him, and when they came up with anything good, he could steal it and call it his own. It was standard operating practice at the university. That is how the “real world” works.
The thieves often could not even steal properly. They knew Mr. Mentor’s inventions were something worth stealing, but they often could not even understand the rudiments. One system Mr. Mentor designed was stolen by one of the thieves, who rushed it into production. The thief had such a poor understanding of what he stole that it was made and installed upside down. Mr. Mentor laughed about it, but in truth, he would have been happier if the thieves had actually built it right side up.
How long will an inventor invent, when everything he does is suppressed or stolen? Not forever. Although nearly every home in the West uses technology that Mr. Mentor’s inventions made possible, and companies made billions of dollars off of them, Mr. Mentor never received a dime of compensation or recognition. His tale is not that unusual. The military base where he worked raped all inventors such as Mr. Mentor, and all his buddies with any talent soon left that base, and most abandoned their careers. When Mr. Mentor slipped into his rocking chair in the 1970s, that base, which employed many thousands of people and made up the majority of the local economy, did not have one operational system. The entire base and surrounding community was completely worthless, if deriving any benefit to the American people was its goal, all due to greed and stupidity.
At age 16, I gained some understanding of what Mr. Mentor’s engine could mean for the world, and how there were people “in charge” who would not welcome such innovations. At age 16, I began having my alternative energy dreams, and when that voice spoke to me twelve years later, in 1986, I was able to pursue those dreams, although it did not turn out as I had hoped. We were trying to marry Mr. Mentor’s engine to the panels of Dennis Lee’s heat pump when the Global Controllers lowered the boom on us.
World Energy Economics
With the U.S. leading the way, in the early 21st century, the world’s white people (Europeans and their descendants, such as white Americans, Canadians, Australians, South Africans, New Zealanders, white residents of the former Soviet Union, etc.) comprised about 18% of the world population but consumed more than 60% of its energy. Today, there is scarcely an ecosystem on Earth that has not been plundered past its near-term recoverability, or has not been put under humanity’s yoke, to primarily serve human needs and desires. The goal of ecosystem exploitation is nearly invariably the extraction of useful energy, usually in the form of food.
It is well known that the most reliable indicator of economic production is energy consumption. The relationship between energy use and GNP is nearly linear. The first table below shows the gross domestic product for various nations, from the poorest to the richest. The per capita income of a Swiss citizen is more than 400 times higher than the per capita income of an Ethiopian citizen. The disparity is vast, but as the second table shows, the per capita income divided by the energy consumed is nearly a constant number. For Great Britain and Ethiopia, with a 200-fold disparity in income per capita, the ratio of income to energy consumption is 0.30 to 0.32, nearly identical.
In the table below, the nations on each end of the scale evidence special circumstances, such as Switzerland’s reliance on efficient hydroelectric production, Japan’s lack of control over its energy sources, or the economic hardship cases of India, Pakistan, Poland, and Russia, largely because of the penalty they have paid for escaping the West’s domination (“free market” exchange rates also affect this ratio), however temporarily. The ratio of income and energy consumption per person is fairly constant among the world’s nations, from richest to poorest, from $0.20 to $0.50 of income per unit of energy (the energy derived from burning one KG of coal) consumed.
The relationship between GDP and energy consumption in Japan is a typical example, as shown below. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
In 2000, 23% of the United States’ energy consumption came from burning coal, 24% by burning natural gas and 39% by burning oil; about 86% of the USA's consumption thus came from burning fossil fuels. Nuclear energy was 8%, with hydroelectric and biomass at 3% each, with the typical “renewable” energy (geothermal, solar and wind) totaling about half of one percent of U.S. energy consumption. The United States accounts for slightly more than 25% of global energy consumption. Globally, the fossil fuel percentages of consumptions were nearly identical, and nuclear and hydroelectric energy were about 7% each, and “renewable” energy accounted for less than 1%.
The “developing world” is “undeveloped” because the white world actively prevented its development. With only so much of the world’s resources to go around, preventing the world’s poor from industrial development ensured that they would not compete for the world’s resources, especially energy resources.
In the United States, more than 90% of its coal production is burned to make electricity (most of the remainder is exported). Burning coal fuels about half of the United States’ electricity production. Going back to Carnot and the limitations of heat engines, about two-thirds of the heat generated by burning coal is lost to the electric production process. In the energy industry's parlance, such losses are known as “conversion losses,” or “waste heat.” Largely due to those losses of conversion, electricity is more expensive than other fuels, per unit of energy delivered to the home. Of the 97 quadrillion BTUs consumed in the United States in 1999, about 26 quadrillion were “wasted” in conversion losses during electricity production.
In summary, nearly 100% of U.S. consumption is used for the creation of heat energy (hydroelectric power generation is the only significant exception), and about 50% of that heat is directly used to heat things (mainly to create human-friendly environments), about 30% is wasted in conversion losses, and about 20% creates mechanical energy, to either propel transportation equipment or run electric devices (air conditioners count in that category). Those are rough numbers.
Because of those conversion losses, the cost of building and maintaining electricity plants and the electric grid, and the vast and still largely unaccounted costs of nuclear energy, electricity is nearly four times as expensive as natural gas. There are regional variations, and electric companies can give preferential pricing to consumers who use electricity for heating, but the 1999 price differential of 3.75 (residential electricity costs divided by residential natural gas costs) is close to the 4.0 rate that existed in 1980, when the USA's energy costs were near their all time highs in constant dollars. This discussion will use the 4.0 rate.
Of that 50% of the USA's energy consumption that goes to heat, most is used to heat human environments. Natural gas is used for about 70% of American residential space heating, with electricity used for less than 8%. In 2011, the USA's residential heating market was more than $100 billion per year, with the residential electric market around $170 billion, and the USA's energy bill was around $1.2 trillion.
A Case History in Alternative Energy Suppression
The adventures of Dennis Lee constitute an extraordinary case history of how alternative energy has been suppressed in America. His effort is perhaps the most sustained ever made to try bringing alternative energy to the American marketplace. An ancillary essay tells his tale, with the highlights presented here.
Dennis was raised in a family of migrant farm workers, left home at age 13, was a medic in the army and ended up in combat in Southeast Asia. He had a timely paranormal experience, just as he was about to commit suicide, and he devoted his life from that time forward to making the world a better place. After nearly being murdered by organized crime in Alaska, he fled to New Jersey and went to college, studying Utopian literature and social psychology. After his college days he went into the construction business, trying to bring craftsmanship back to home building. His business was destroyed during America’s first energy crisis, and he then invented a card that today has reincarnated in watered-down form as the Discover Card. He began that company with no capital and learned many hard lessons about how the business world operated. The Mafia tried killing him, he became a Christian, and eventually the company went out of business. Dennis tried giving it away to the Christian community, but the company died.
Then Dennis got into the energy conservation business, and eventually the insulation business. He invented the energy industry’s first shared savings program. He had companies stolen from him, and just as another gangster was about to break his legs, Dennis became paralyzed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, from the neck down. The VA hospital that treated him nearly killed him three times due to their negligence. As he recovered from his paralysis, he became involved with a company that invented the world’s best heating system. He immediately became the most prolific seller of that equipment ever, and was flying high when the owners of the heating system company stole all his money, and then the Mafia stole the rest. Dennis was on the brink of a billion-dollar deal to carpet America with that heating system when those criminals made their move.
Dennis ended up in his home state of Washington, just when the “Whoops” energy disaster hit, and tried making the heating business happen in his hometown. His business associates again thwarted him, and he went to Seattle in 1984 to try it there. In Seattle in 1985 he mounted what may be the greatest effort ever made to bring alternative energy to the American marketplace, and discovered that the energy establishment and the Mafia have a lot in common, except the Mafia may act more honorably. In the energy industry’s attempt to wipe Dennis’s company out, they were responsible for the death of one of his employees.
I met Dennis in Seattle, and worked for the company until my boss helped steal it. Dennis was run out of the state and tried rebuilding his effort in Boston. I followed him. In Boston, Dennis got his “free energy” idea, and we moved to California to tie into talent and money to make it happen, and that is when it really got rough. Technical innovations came to us that might have made free energy possible, and then they lowered the sledgehammer on us, with Dennis nearly going to prison for life, and many lives were shattered. A handful of us stood up to the judicial establishment’s criminal actions as it did the energy industry’s bidding, and we prevailed, sort of. Dennis only spent two years behind bars, and has continued his free energy quest ever since.
Why Is There No Alternative Energy?
My journey with Dennis was a traumatic learning experience, and I went through years of slow disillusionment, with various salient moments (1 - 2 - 3 - 4) punctuating the process. It hit rock bottom for me when I, a committed pacifist, saw myself in my mind’s eye killing people, and liking it. When I had my lowest moment, I instead mortgaged my life to spring Dennis out of jail, and it worked.
It was in those days that my most surprising and painful realization hit me: personal integrity is the world’s scarcest commodity, and the reason we not only do not enjoy alternative or free energy today is not because there are energy gangsters doing their dirty deeds, but that not enough people care enough. As I began looking into medicine, American foreign policy and elsewhere, I saw the same phenomenon. People to whom doing the right thing is more important than their reward for doing it is on the order of one in thousands. With that level of integrity, we just might be doomed. The only answer I can see is for more people to care more (or somehow find the few who care, which my effort beginning in 2014 is attempting, utilizing the Internet's wide reach), and those who care more can also begin seeing vistas that have previously been largely invisible, which this web site is trying to help them see. Paradoxically, caring for others is probably the only way we can save ourselves.
The point of this essay is not if free energy is possible or not, with what Dennis promoted or not. The point is that there is an energy establishment, and any move to try bringing innovation to the marketplace is met with the sledgehammer, Dennis’s adventures being an epic example. With what happened to a relatively mundane effort to bring alternative energy to the marketplace, who can confidently say what else has, or has not, been suppressed? What happened to us was fairly typical, but harsher, because Dennis’s efforts threatened to have an immediate impact in the marketplace. That is when they take the gloves off. Inventors tinkering in their garages are largely left alone, unless they try getting something market-ready or begin making noise.
On several fronts, our energy-production practices threaten to doom humanity. Today, the United States is engaging in genocide in Asia, as part of an effort to control the Middle East’s oil. Under the rubric of the War on Terror, the U.S. is moving to militarily control the world’s most lucrative store of unexploited oil and gas deposits, in Central Asia. Atmospheric carbon dioxide helps make Earth’s surface 60° F warmer than it would otherwise be, making life on Earth possible. During the 1700s, before the Industrial Revolution, there were about 275 parts per million (PPM) of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. Burning fossil fuels has been almost entirely responsible for increasing the PPM to nearly 400 in 2014, for an increase of about 45%.
Other greenhouse gases have been increasing rapidly, due to humanity’s ways. Methane is the other naturally occurring greenhouse gas. The destruction of the world’s forests have increased the termite populations, as they feed off of the wreckage, and they produce methane as a byproduct of their digestion, as do domestic cellulose-digesting animals, which have also greatly increased. In addition, the paddy system of China creates a great deal of methane, from decaying manure and plant matter. Those factors have created more than a 140% increase in atmospheric methane since the 18th century. Methane makes up less than 2 PPM in Earth’s atmosphere, but it is also twenty times as effective at trapping infrared radiation as carbon dioxide is, and makes up about 17% of today’s greenhouse effect.
Chlorofluorocarbons ("CFCs") are artificial chemicals made for refrigeration and other uses, and although they make up a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, their effect is tremendous. They not only are probably partly why the ozone layer has been under duress, but they are thousands of times as effective as carbon dioxide at trapping infrared radiation, and CFCs make up 12% of the greenhouse gas effect.
Lastly, all the nitrous oxides created by high-temperature combustion (the brown haze in urban smog) are 120 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxides comprise 5% of the greenhouse effect.
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out what the effects may be, and we are seeing it today. Global warming is already happening. In the Northern Hemisphere, the glaciers have been rapidly shrinking. In the summer of 2001, I was near Glacier Peak, looking in awe at where the glaciers were. It appears that in my lifetime, Glacier Peak will be misnamed. People who have hiked in the Cascade Mountains for more than sixty years have told me that the rapid disappearance of the glaciers has been incredible to witness. I may witness the complete disappearance of the Arctic icepack. The effects will be far more dramatic than the polar bear becoming extinct. With the Arctic permafrost melting today, it is predicted that great amounts of methane will be released from that process, among the many catastrophic effects such a melting will bring (such as killing off all the far northern forests).
Humanity has already commandeered nearly half of the fruit of the world’s ecosystems, and the greatest mass extinction episode since the dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago is underway. In the early 12st century, one-fourth of Earth’s mammal species were in immediate threat of extinction, and one-eighth of Earth’s bird species. Most of the world’s fishing grounds have either collapsed due to over-fishing, or are on the verge of it. Wiping out the world’s ecosystems for human benefit cannot continue much longer, and ecosystem collapses are already happening, initiated by human exploitation.
The energy racket works on many levels. The automobile and oil companies banded together to create an industry front group called the Global Climate Coalition. They tried defeating all international efforts to curb fossil fuel emissions. Their undermining of the Kyoto Protocol, which called for extremely modest reductions in fossil fuel emissions, is a case in point, especially with the un-elected American president in their back pocket. In 2000, even oil companies began admitting that global warming was a real phenomenon, and they abandoned the Global Climate Coalition, which then had to reorganize and went defunct. Ideology and disinformation are two powerful tools they use. Academics such as Julian Simon purvey “scholarship” that shows that all is well. As David Edwards and others have been noting for many years, the oil companies bought up a handful of scientists to publicly display their “skepticism” that global warming is real, or a hazard. Then, people such as Julian Simon and our supine media feature them as credible scientists, their interest-conflicted opinions counting just as much as that of the 3,000 scientists that make up the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It goes further than that.
The IPCC has been charting the effects of global warming, and the potentially catastrophic effects that are just around the corner. The only real debate is whether Earth’s surface will increase by “only” a few degrees or ten in the next century, an event that may be unique in Earth’s multi-billion-year history. Oceans will rise, perhaps dramatically, as the polar ice caps disappear. Superstorms are already happening, with natural disasters increasing at a rate of 6% per year for the past generation, as the casualty insurance industry well knows. Island nations such as the Maldives will simply disappear under the rising ocean. If we get the predicted several degree rise in temperatures, under the current methods and technologies employed, it may mean the deaths of billions of people from starvation and disease, which will likely trigger nuclear wars, or worse, even if we do not wage Armageddon over the energy sources. Each IPCC report has been more ominous than the last, and the mainstream news today is filled with articles on shrinking and collapsing ice caps.
The United States is the only nation on Earth that has consistently opposed any limitations on the use of nuclear weapons, undermining every treaty it can. Nuclear weapons are the ultimate energy weapons these days, creating a horrific burst of energy. In April 2002, the United States snubbed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty meeting in Vienna. It has attacked and undermined every organization, and attempted to sack every official, who attempts to limit chemical weapons (Jose Bustani was sacked in April also), unconventional weapons inspectors (Hans Blix was “investigated” by the CIA in April, because his findings did not support the “weapons of mass destruction” fraud angle the U.S. was trying to use to justify invading Iraq) and anything or anybody else who gets in the U.S.’ way. If there ever was a rogue state, it is the United States.
Demagogues throughout the millennia have exploited human gullibility and complacency, and quite effectively. Adolf Hitler wrote in his Mein Kampf:
“The great masses of people in the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than consciously and purposely evil…therefore, in view of the primitive simplicity of their minds, they more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big.”
Hitler exploited that human tendency to deceive to mount history’s most destructive war, born of economic hardship. Germany and Japan wanted to come to the imperial card game with the other big players - Britain, France and the United States in particular - but the imperial powers already “owned” the world. Today’s political-economic systems are simply more refined means of exploitation, with most Americans scarcely realizing the ways in which they are exploited. The Zero-Sum Game is still being played, but a huge body of lies has been erected (in America, at least) to make it seem that it is not. The term “American Empire” seems like an oxymoron to most Americans, which demonstrates how effective the indoctrination systems are.
In theory, the Industrial Revolution increased humanity’s real wealth, as human-friendly products were made in factories. The world’s real wealth bank account, however, shows no such thing. In reality, the bank account has been drained at an unprecedented rate. All those fossil fuels were the result of life forms putting energy into Earth’s “wealth bank.” Drawing that energy wealth out “of the bank,” at a rate about one million times greater than it went in, has fueled the past 200 years of Western “progress.” Hundreds of millions of years of fossil fuel creation will be burned up in mere hundreds of years.
As Carl Sauer wisely perceived, the so-called wealth created during the Industrial Revolution is largely fictitious; our system measures the output, but not the cost. If our fossil energy sources went away tomorrow, the West would largely and quickly revert to the pre-industrial economy of Europe, using feet and animals for transportation, and most who survived the transition would become farmers again. The human population would decline, commensurate with the available food energy, which would decline with de-industrialization. Plundering ancient reserves of sunlight is not wealth-creating activity, and the long-term environmental devastation is a cost that humanity will be repaying for a long, long time, if we even survive it.
The energy industry probably does not deserve to exist. Dennis was working toward a thermodynamic answer to free energy, but tapping the zero-point field is where the long-term answer lies. What is coming soon for humanity is the end of moving part technology. Future free energy machines will have no moving parts and last nearly indefinitely, eliminating the energy industry. Even conventional solar technology could probably meet the world's energy needs today, but the energy oligopolies have bought up those technologies and seem to be developing them at a snail's pace. Why is this?
When Dennis teamed up with Yull Brown, Dennis and I spoke at Department of Energy ("DOE") hearings regarding the disposal of nuclear waste in America in early 1997. Brown's Gas can apparently transmute nuclear material, once again doing something that conventional physics regards as "impossible." The Brown's Gas and nuclear material demonstration has been done many times, even in front of DOE personnel with their Geiger counters in hand. The nuclear waste hearings were a ruse to create a fig leaf of consent for the program that was already chosen by the big interests. At the hearings, I spoke first about Brown's Gas and its potential, and Dennis went next, trying to convince the DOE to at least look into the Brown's Gas solution, instead of burying the waste in the earth, hoping that nothing happens to it for the next 250,000 years.
The meeting we attended was in South Carolina, next to the Savannah nuclear facility that nearly glows at night from the waste of America's nuclear weapons program. The hearings were sparsely attended, mainly by the contractors who stand to make a killing from "managing" nuclear waste. As it stands today, there will probably be more than one trillion dollars spent to "manage" the nuclear waste problem, and managing it just means sticking it in the ground and hoping it never comes back up. It is similar to whistling in the dark, but if something bad happens, future generations (if there are any) will likely pay for it, not us. The Brown's Gas proposal could do the job for a few percent of the trillion dollar total, and it would be a permanent solution, not something that would come back to haunt future generations.
When I began speaking, I related the facts of Brown's Gas and the numerous demonstrations of its transmutational properties. The motion picture Chain Reaction, which was released just as Dennis began promoting Yull Brown, is a thinly disguised story about him and his discoveries. The people who made that movie picked Brown's brain for a few days, years ago, leading him to believe they were going to help his project get off the ground. After they picked his brain they disappeared, and a couple years later their movie Chain Reaction appeared, without giving Brown a cent.
After I related the facts, Dennis went into his salesman's mode and a DOE man who ran the hearings approached us in the parking lot after our first presentation. He said that we were the third group that had spoken at the hearings, presenting a neutralization technology to solve the problem. He said he was excited about what we had presented and would do what he could at the DOE, but admitted that he was an underling with little power. Then he said something I will never forget:
"There are people who stand to make a lot of money in managing nuclear waste. If your solution does not make them money, it will not go anywhere."
That is the reality of nuclear waste management. The point is making a financial killing today, and setting up a racket that will see the dollars flow in for generations.
Marginalizing the true pioneers is how the establishment works, even on its fringes. Tom Bearden has documented T. Henry Moray's story well, as have others. Moray was a generation ahead of his time in developing the first semiconductors we know of, in the 1920s, and developed a free energy device that was demonstrated many times in conditions that seemed to preclude any other conceivable energy source. The device was disassembled and reassembled many times. Franklin Roosevelt directed the USA's Rural Electrical Administration (REA) to work with Moray, and an agent from the REA destroyed Moray's prototype with a hammer. Moray had gunfights in his lab with various saboteurs. His car was fired on and bullets passed through his car. It is one of the more high profile cases of how a free energy pioneer was wiped out. Writing Tesla out of the history books is standard operating procedure, while his failed rival Edison is a household word.
What this essay has not yet discussed are "free energy" demonstrations that members of our organizations have witnessed over the years. Tom Bearden's talk at Hoagland's conference might seem to be paranoid conspiracy theorizing but Bearden was talking about experiences, not theory. One free energy demonstration we had was from an inventor that Bearden also worked with. The technology appeared extremely genuine, but the inventor was receiving awe-inspiring suppression. There are also stories about technologies being violently wiped out, entire families murdered, and their houses set on fire and bulldozed, tales not told me by “conspiracy theorists,” but hard-nosed scientists.
The potential of free energy is far greater than just eliminating Earth’s most destructive industry. Free energy is probably the greatest single step in toppling the Zero-Sum-Game paradigm that humanity has been operating under for the past 10,000 years or more. With free, renewable, non-polluting energy, especially when combined with machines, robotics, and computers (going back to the basics of the rise of humanity - energy, manipulative ability and intelligence) the reasons why humans exploit each other and the environment can evaporate, and new vistas beckon. The kill-and-be-killed game that humanity has played for the entirety of history can end, and free energy is probably the most important first step. Without free energy, the rest is close to impossible, unless the world human population declines to a tiny fraction of today’s.
Accordingly, it is collective insanity to sit and wait for some hero to make it happen, or criticize them if they do not. It is time for humanity to accept responsibility for what is, and dare to create the world that prophets such as Jesus spoke of: heaven on Earth. Technically, it is child’s play, but if we do not wake up and care, it is an impossible dream, and this nightmare will continue until humanity exterminates itself.
The Greatest Energy of All
There is far more to the energy issue than Dennis Lee, burning oil, and razing forests to burn it and plant crops. Einstein’s E=MC2 makes everything in our universe equivalent to energy. Few scientists will dispute Einstein’s equation. However, what is the basis of energy? What happened before the Big Bang? Did everything come from nothing, as the Big Bang asserts, in a theory that seems to be a warmed-over version of “Let there be light”?
The greatest scientific minds I have known were mystical in their perspective, realizing science’s limits. History’s greatest physicists thought similarly. I will hazard some speculations about the nature of energy and its relationship to this alternative/free energy conundrum.
Mystical literature often discusses the emotional journey that humanity is on. Emotions are a source of truly unimaginable power. Seth once said that an average, garden-variety human emotion, the kind one might experience while reading the newspaper, has more energy in it than it takes to send a rocket to the moon. If that is the case, it sure does not appear that way to earthly humans, though the fear of strong emotional states is highly evident in American culture. Many American men, especially those of older generations, are emotional cripples.
Nevertheless, sources I respect say that human emotions are incredibly powerful, and the uncontrolled (or unconscious) aspect of human emotions can be highly dangerous for other physical species to be around. That is apparently one reason why “alien abductions” seem to always happen with the humans losing consciousness. “Abducted” humans are put to sleep partly because if they were awake, their emotional reactions can kill the “aliens” in the vicinity. Most humans will agree to the power that emotions possess, although it is not always pleasant to have them. Yet, what underlies emotions? There is interplay of emotion and mind happening. They do not seem to be the same thing, and mystical sources state that that is the nature of the polarity and paradox of our world. Beyond this plane, there comes a point where feelings and thoughts unify into the same thing, as all of creation is one. That is a nice idea, but nobody here can really experience such a concept.
Humanity is on an evolutionary journey, and the critical goal at this time is to come to a new level of emotional maturity, and bring the heart into its rightful place, which is being awake and in charge. Mystical sources have long stated that all emotions are aspects of love energy, which is what God is, and it is the energy that has created this universe, and all of Creation. Emotions can be seen as aspects of love, and rigidly (fearfully) holding onto any of them is where we get into trouble. Embracing all emotional states at once reduces it all to love. That is partly what Jesus was all about: demonstrating the power of love. With love, anything is possible, in terms we can barely glimpse. Love can move mountains, because mountains are love, as are we.
As we walk this immense spiritual journey, learning who and what we are, in this dense dimension of limitation, some are using us, feeding off of our negative emotional energy. Michael Roads’s encounters with them are mind-blowing. Although people such as George Bush and friends may think they are “only” grubbing for money and power, and inducing fear and misery in the general population for self-serving ends, beings are above them in the food chain, feasting off of Bush and friends as well, and the fear they induce and experience themselves. In this system, everybody is ultimately a loser, in ways that most cannot, and dare not, imagine.
Even if that seems too bizarre, the tactic of taking advantage of fear, and controlling the great herd of people, is easily comprehensible. Even a materialistic rationalist such as Noam Chomsky says that “induced fear” is how the ruling classes manipulate the masses, especially in “democratic” societies. Orwell’s 1984 stated the same thing. That is what drives the “war on drugs,” the “war on terror,” the “war on communism,” the “war on cancer,” etc. Chomsky sees little hope that humanity will manifest enough collective intelligence to prevent its demise by its own hand. He is one of the most humane and courageous people that America has produced, and he is having a difficult time staying optimistic, particularly after the World Trade Center attacks and the USA's invasions of oil rich western Asia.
A great deal of the manipulation can be attributed to reality control, as Orwell also wrote about in his prophetic 1984. I was told a steady stream of lies for my entire childhood, which apparently was to set me up to believe all the “reasonable” lies I would be fed as an adult. As we unthinkingly adopt the paradigms that are fed us, they blind us, so we can be easily manipulated and controlled. The scientists who laugh at “free energy” as “impossible” are the professional descendants of those who laughed at the notion of Edison’s light bulb, the Wright brothers’ airplane, the findings of Naessens's and Rife’s microscopes, the transmutational properties of Brown’s Gas and LamCo COPs of seven. Until they investigate with an open mind, they cannot have an informed opinion on the issue. Also, they will need to use a little creativity, so they can see past the barriers to comprehension that reductionistic analysis can produce.
As we are brainwashed into what is “possible,” we are easily manipulated. As “scientists” and others automatically reject “free energy” as “absurd,” the Zero-Sum Game is further enforced, on a subtle and largely unconscious level. Then, transparently false rationales are concocted to create a superficially noble cover story for killing off a generation of Iraqi children, so the United States secures cheap access to oil and big profits for the oil companies who own the American president. All the exploitation is justified, because everybody is operating from the Zero-Sum-Game assumption. There has been some “progress,” where legal slavery has supposedly been abolished, but it has largely been replaced with subtler forms of exploitation. That is what ideology is mainly about: getting the exploited to accept their circumstances, and making the violators and exploiters "right.”
The foundation of Earth’s ecosystems - the acquisition and use of energy - which humanity rides atop, has never changed. Kill-or-be-killed is not only a tired game; humanity has reached the stage where the arena is being destroyed, due to the game itself. The, “I win, you lose” game is the epitome of the Young Soul awareness. Free, gentle, non-polluting, forever renewable energy can trigger the next step in our journey back to our divine origins, to where we were before we took our “fall.”
In very real terms, the love for humanity that Dennis Lee has is directly related to his “free energy” quest. Love is energy, and love is the only answer.
 Nobody working in the field of anthropology disputes that the fossil evidence supports the notion that humanity’s evolutionary ancestors lived in Africa. In early 21st century anthropology, the primary question is if Homo sapiens sapiens evolved in Africa or among descendents of the members of Homo erectus that began migrating beyond Africa somewhat less than two million years ago. The majority view today is that Homo sapiens sapiens evolved in East Africa somewhere around 200 kya, and as they migrated across the planet, beginning about 60-50 kya, they displaced all other hominid species, including Neanderthals. Recent advances in molecular biology (where DNA can be tested) support the “Out of Africa” hypothesis, although there is controversy swirling around even some of the most elementary concepts. For some relatively recent popular books on the subject, see Ian Tattersall’s The Fossil Trail, Jared Diamond’s The Third Chimpanzee and Christopher Stringer and Robin McKie’s African Exodus.
 Paul Martin of the University of Arizona first presented the “overkill” hypothesis for North American megafauna extinctions in 1967. Peter Ward of the University of Washington is considered a leading investigator/author in the field of mass extinctions. Don Grayson, also of the University of Washington, is the leading voice on refuting the idea that humanity drove the megafauna to extinction, particularly in North America.
In his The Call of Distant Mammoths, published in 1997, Ward presents a multi-disciplinary inquiry of the subject and shows how driving the megafauna to extinction did not mean killing off every last one, but reducing their numbers to a level where they could easily go extinct if other factors impacted them, such as a few years of bad weather or other natural disaster. Ward finished his book by presenting what he considered the last word on the subject which was the research of Dan Fisher on mammoth tusks. By studying the growth rings on mammoth tusks (like tree rings), Fisher was able to determine gestation rates for females, because their tusks have little growth when gestating, as their available nutrients (especially calcium, as far as tusk growth goes) are dedicated toward the growing fetus. The ring study showed that as mammoths were going extinct, the females were reproducing at vibrant rate, a rate that would not occur if they were starving, and a rate (a birth every four years) that suggested they bred quickly to make up for rapidly declining numbers, as the birth rate equaled the birth rate of today’s elephants that are actively hunted by humans. Grayson has been also publishing his research findings, and recently made the case that there is not enough evidence of humans at megafauna kill sites to support the notion that humans hunted them all to extinction.
There are other concepts such as “keystone” species that support arguments that the Pleistocene hunters did not need to kill off every member of every species to tip the scales in the direction of mass extinctions. The debate will probably rage for many years, but I consider the evidence for mass extinctions soon after humans first arrived to be quite persuasive, particularly when there is so much evidence for it happening in historical times. Also, the primary other theory of late-Pleistocene mass extinction, climate change, has serious shortcomings, such all those extinct species survived drastic climate changes during the previous millions of years of glaciation cycles, to “coincidentally” go extinct when the latest interglacial period was accompanied by a new super-predator that those species had never encountered before. Also, mass extinctions happened where there was no drastic climate change (as in South America and Australia), but the megafauna all became extinct soon after humans arrived. It is theorized that humans did not necessarily hunt the Australian megafauna to extinction, but used fire to clear the land as a subsistence tool, and thereby drove the megafauna there to extinction.
 See Milton Meltzer’s Slavery, A World History, pp. 1-3.
 See William Arens's The Man-Eating Myth.
 See Charles Mann’s 1491, pp. 251-252. See also Andrew Goudie's The Human Impact, pp. 78-80.
 A good book that summarizes this process is Thom Hartmann’s The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight. See also Andrew Goudie’s The Human Impact, pp. 160-202; 37-105.
 See The Orwell Reader, 1984 edition, p. 363.
 See Jack Weatherford’s Indian Givers, pp. 59-63. That idea is not so radical anymore, and is becoming accepted.
 See Clive Ponting’s A Green History of the World, p. 121.
 See Clive Ponting’s A Green History of the World, p. 178.
 See Clive Ponting’s A Green History of the World, p. 99.
 See Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror.
 See Carl Sauer’s Northern Mists.
 See Clive Ponting’s A Green History of the World, p. 164.
 See Clive Ponting’s A Green History of the World, p. 358.
 William Duffy’s Sugar Blues is the classic treatment of the ills that refined sugar causes “civilized” humankind.
 The English “settlers” also used the natives of Tasmania for dog food as they “settled it.” There were only 5,000 aboriginal Tasmanians, so the dog food period could not have lasted long.
 See Charles Mann’s “1491,” The Atlantic Monthly, March 2002. Mann later published a book of that article's title.
 Fahrenheit is known as a relative temperature scale. The temperature needs to be converted into an absolute temperature in order to calculate the maximum possible efficiency. William Kelvin was knighted for his work with gases, and he theorized a minimum possible temperature, known today as absolute zero. The Rankine (R) temperature scale is the absolute temperature scale that uses the Fahrenheit degree interval. 0° F is equal to 460° R. So 2000° F and 55° F convert to 2560° R and 515° R, and the Carnot equation equals (2560-515)/2560 = 80%. That means that the steam turbine at the local electric company can get no more than an 80% efficiency.
 2560/(2560-515) = 1.25
 The reason why heat engines combined with heat pumps can provide more energy than simply burning heat engine fuel for heat is because the heat pump is not heating the exhaust medium back to the temperature of the heat engine’s boiler. If a steam turbine burned coal to get 2000° F. boiler temperatures (as today’s electric companies do), getting electricity-conversion 35% efficiency, and a heat pump used the resultant electric energy to heat up a lake to 2000°F, its COP would obviously be low, probably far less than 0.5. Then 35% X 0.5 is 17.5%. If the coal was burned in the home, it would be burned at more than 90% efficiency, so it would obviously be cheaper to heat the home with coal. In the real world, however, most heating energy is used to merely create human-friendly environments, so coal burned in the home is only used to heat a home to 72° F., not an electric company boiler to 2000° F. A heat pump taking heat from the environment at 40° F., and moving it inside a home to heat it up, could theoretically reach a COP of 16.6 ((532/(532-500), in degrees Rankine). If heat pumps could reach half the Carnot ideal, as steam turbines do, then we have a COP of about 8, which, combined with steam turbine efficiency of 35%, means that for every unit of heat released when coal was burned at the electric company, 2.8 (0.35 x 8) units of heat could be delivered into the home. On a macroeconomic basis, this is highly energy efficient, nearly three times as efficient as burning coal to create heated, human-friendly environments.
 In an electric company steam turbine, water is the working medium, going through its cycle of liquid to gas and back to liquid. In a household refrigerator, a substance called Freon is most often used. Freon is an artificial compound made from carbon, chlorine and fluorine, which has a low boiling point, -22° F at atmospheric pressure. Every substance has a melting and boiling point, and the pressure it is subjected to will determine that point. Water can boil at room temperature if it is subjected to a vacuum. Pressure cookers work by the reverse principle. Subjecting water to greater than atmospheric pressure will raise its boiling point. So, the pressure cookers that Americans use in their kitchens may operate at 250° F instead of the usual 212° F at sea level, so the food cooks faster.
In a refrigerator, the boiling and condensing point of the Freon is manipulated by altering the pressure it is subjected to. The diagram below depicts Freon’s journey through a kitchen refrigerator.
In this illustration, the Freon's journey will begin in the receiver, as a liquid, lying in the receiver’s bottom. It is at 80° F. The Freon will boil at -22° F at atmospheric pressure, but in the receiver, it is under about 100 pounds per square inch (PSI). The pump circulates the Freon through its cycle, and the Freon is pushed through a tube where it meets an expansion valve. An expansion valve merely allows the liquid Freon through at a measured rate, where the other side of the valve has a lower pressure. As the Freon goes through the valve (the valve works just like the valve on an aerosol can), it meets a lower pressure past the valve, of 37 PSI. At that pressure, Freon will boil at 40° F, and boil it does. When something boils, it takes a great deal of energy to break the bonds that attract the molecules to each other. It takes about six times as much energy to make water boil when it is at 212° F than it does to raise its temperature from 55° F to 212° F. To test that number, if you put a pan of water on the stove to boil, it will take about six times as long for it to boil dry than it took to make it boil in the first place. That threshold at the boiling point is known as a state or phase change (the water changes from one state to another, liquid to gas in this case), and it is an immense energy sponge. The energy is going into breaking the inter-molecular attraction of the water molecules.
As that Freon boils at 40° F in the evaporator (it is obvious why that component is so named), the evaporator attains a 40° F temperature. The air in the refrigerator compartment, where the lasagna sits, is 45° F. According to Carnot’s observation, the air in the refrigerator compartment will give its heat to the evaporator, because the air is warmer. In a running refrigerator, that evaporator is where the heat is being continually sucked from the refrigerator, keeping the lasagna cool, slowing its decay rate. As the Freon boils, the pressure goes up, and oddly, the high-pressure liquid becomes a low-pressure gas at a much cooler temperature. As the Freon gas continues its journey through the refrigerator, it encounters the pump that makes it all work. The pump slams the Freon to the other side, and the Freon gets “squeezed.” As it is “squeezed” by the pumping process it attains a much higher pressure, such as 100 PSI, and accordingly gets much hotter. Energy systems have entropy and enthalpy, or disorder and useful energy. In that instance, increasing entropy would be greater disorder of the molecules, and increasing enthalpy would be the increase of temperature. With nowhere to go, even losing its entropy, as the molecules are forced closer together, the temperature increases.
The Freon reaches 130° F on the pump’s other side. The high temperature gas then enters the condenser. The condenser is exposed to the kitchen air. Sometimes a fan will force the kitchen’s air across the condenser. Again, going back to Carnot, the 130° F condenser (usually put on the back of refrigerators or underneath them, so nobody gets burned touching it) will give its heat to the 72° F kitchen. As the Freon gives its heat to the kitchen air through its contact with the condenser, it cools down. As it cools down, it again crosses the temperature/pressure boiling/condensing “line,” and turns back into a liquid, which is why that component is called a condenser. The resultant liquid/gas mixture is dumped into the receiver, the liquid settling to the bottom, where the intake tube sends it to the expansion valve to begin the cycle anew.
That is how a refrigerator works, continually sucking heat from inside the refrigerator and dumping it into America’s kitchens. It is a heat pump.
 See brief discussion in Ellen Meiksins Wood’s The Origin of Capitalism, pp. 83-84.
 See Ellen Meiksins Wood’s The Origin of Capitalism and The Pristine Culture of Capitalism.
 See David Korten’s discussion of the corruption of Smith’s work in The Post-Corporate World, pp. 151-162.
 See Darwin’s conclusion in his The Origin of Species.
 See Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, p. 149.
 See Max Planck's Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, pp. 33-34. Quoted in Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, p. 151.
 The stories of Edison, the Wright brothers and other idiocies of science, can be found in Richard Milton's Forbidden Science (now titled Alternative Science), pp. 11-23.
 See Werner Heisenberg's "Truth Dwells in the Deeps" in Ken Wilber's Quantum Questions, p. 33-38.
 See Richard Westfall's The Life of Isaac Newton, for a fairly sympathetic treatment of that situation. Stephen Hawking, who sits in Newton's chair at Cambridge, and is one of the greatest scientific minds of our time, is less charitable regarding Newton's behavior. See Hawking's A Brief History of Time, pp. 181-182.
 See a brief account of the Birkeland-Chapman-Alfvén tale in Candace Savage's Auroras, pp. 92-110.
 See Richard Milton's Alternative Science, pp. 24-36.
 From his Thoughts on Various Subjects, published in 1706.
 See Richard Westfall's The Life of Isaac Newton, p. 309.
 From Erwin Schrödinger's "Why not talk Physics?" in Ken Wilber's Quantum Questions, pp. 82-83.
 From Erwin Schrödinger's Mind and Matter, in Ken Wilber's Quantum Questions, p. 9.
 See Werner Heisenberg's paper, reproduced in Ken Wilber's Quantum Questions, p. 73.
 See James Jeans's “In the Mind of Some Eternal Spirit.” reproduced in Ken Wilber's Quantum Questions, p. 129.
 See Max Planck's Where is Science Going? in Ken Wilber's Quantum Questions, p. 150.
 See Albert Einstein's Mein Weltbild, in Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions, p. 40.
 See Isaac Asimov's “The Relativity of Wrong”, The Skeptical Inquirer, Fall 1989, p. 44.
 See Carl Sagan's Cosmos, 1980, p. 127.
 See James Randi's The Mask of Nostradamus, p. 7.
 See James Randi's Flim-Flam!, p. 326.
 See Carl Sagan's introduction to Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, p. x.
 See Milton Rothman's “Myths about Science…and Belief in the Paranormal”, The Skeptical Enquirer, Fall 1989, p. 34.
 Many years later, I interviewed that rocket scientist as I was on a document hunt regarding Mr. Mentor’s engine, and while the rocket scientist indeed was awed by the engine, he recalled how he came to comprehend its potential differently. He said he largely came to understand its potential on the basis of his own analysis, with little help from Mr. Mentor. They are probably both right, to a degree, but it also shows how we all remember things differently.
 See Denis Brian’s Einstein, a Life, pp. 60-61.
 The sources of my information regarding energy use, prices and sources comes from the U.S. Department of Energy’s data, mainly from its 2001 Annual Energy Review and associated reports. I have also used The American Almanac, 1996-1997 for some of this information, such as tables 1334 and 1358, for my economics/energy analyses.
 See Clive Ponting’s A Green History of the World, pp. 387-389. See also Andrew Goudie’s The Human Impact, pp. 333-343.
 In late 2000, the World Conservation Union published its Year 2000 Red List of Threatened Species. More than 11,000 species risk extinction today. That list is only composed of those species that have been identified. More that 14 million species of life are estimated to live on Earth, and less than two million have been identified. Perhaps a half million or more species became extinct during the 1990s.
 For instance, the decline in perch and herring populations off the Alaskan coast depressed the populations of seals and sea lions, which were killer whale prey. The killer whales ate otters in the absence of their usual prey, which collapsed the otter population, which in turn caused a population explosion in one of the otter's favorite foods - sea urchins. The sea urchin population explosion in turn devastated the kelp beds on which they feed. The disappearance of the kelp beds in turn threatens the existence of numerous species that depend on them, including fish, birds, marine mammals and numerous other creatures. See Chris Bright’s “Anticipating Environmental ‘Surprise’” in State of the World 2000, pp. 22-38. Numerous fish species also face human-caused extinction; something that orthodox theory previously held was impossible.
 For instance, Fred Singer is a leading scientist who downplays the notion of global warming, and has "consulted" for several oil companies. Patrick Michaels is another prominent scientist who downplays global warming, who also makes big money "consulting" for coal companies and other energy interests (they both are prominent authors in Julian Simon's The State of Humanity. See also Ehrlich and Ehrlich's Betrayal of Science and Reason). In the year 2000, several events happened which should take most of the air out of the sails of the oil company "skeptics" regarding global warming. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. winter of 1999-2000 was the warmest on record. The spring of 2000 was also the warmest spring in U.S. history. Since measurements began over a century ago, the eleven hottest years on record, globally, have all been since 1980. Though the New York Times reported a mile-wide hole in the Arctic ice at the North Pole in the summer of 2000, a report that has been discredited as normal summer thawing, the Arctic ice pack is 40% thinner than it was fifty years ago, and the Antarctic ice shelves have been breaking up. Glaciers have been retreating across the planet. The polar bear will be extinct in the wild in a generation at the rate that warming is happening today. The U.S. National Research Council in January 2000 issued a report titled, "Reconciling Observations of Global Temperature Change." The report states that "the warming of surface temperature that has taken place during the past 20 years is undoubtedly real, and it is at a rate substantially larger than the average warming during the twentieth century." In February 2000, scientists at the NOAA's National Climate Data Center (NCDC) reported that the rate of global warming is increasing over the past twenty-five years (in a report published in the March 1 issue of Geophysical Research Letters). The evidence is strong that the rate of increase since 1976 is likely human-induced, according to the NCDC scientists.
In June 2000, the USA's Global Change Research Program released a report that predicted that global fossil fuel emissions would increase the U.S. temperatures by 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100. In the September 15, 2000 issue of Science, the findings of an international scientific expedition were published. Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University led the 1997 expedition, and it obtained ice core samples from the Dasuopu Glacier on the Himalayan mountain Xixabangma. The ice cores were obtained at 23,500 feet of elevation above sea level, the highest elevation ice cores ever obtained. The global warming models predict that higher elevations and higher latitudes will show the effects first. The highest latitudes are the Polar Regions, and the Himalayan ice cores reveal what is happening at high altitude. The ice cores showed that the past fifty years have been the warmest in the past thousand years. Dust particles had increased four-fold in the past century, and the ice layers gave signs of desertification happening in the region. Thompson said, "There is no question in my mind that the warming is in part, if not totally, driven by human activity. I think the evidence for that is so clear - not only from this site but also from Kilimanjaro in Africa." Thompson led a team to Kilimanjaro in 2000, where the ice on it has declined by over 75% in the past century. Such dramatic warming can create unprecedented human suffering, with droughts and other climate changes that could kill off billions of people and destroy entire ecosystems. Recently, companies like Texaco, Shell, British Petroleum, Ford, DaimlerChrysler and General Motors quit their membership in the Global Climate Coalition, which is an industry front group that is determined to undermine any global efforts to reduce fossil fuel emissions. In the wake of the massive corporate abandonment of the coalition, it had to reorganize. Those were items from 2000, and in 2002, each report coming out for the past two years has been more alarming than the previous one.
 For a mere sampling of current information that is easily available, on May 14, 2002, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued a report on the peril the polar bears face. Reuters, a non-U.S.-based media organization, reported it. (Will Dunham, Reuters, “Arctic Warming Imperils Polar Bears, Report Says.” May 14, 2002). The WWF report noted that industrial pollution, including mercury and other heavy metals, radioactive waste, pesticides and industrial toxic waste are imperiling the polar bear, but the effects of global warming are the most ominous. The polar ice has declined in thickness by about 40% since World War II, and current computer models show that summer sea ice may decline by 60% in the next 50 years. The polar bears in the Hudson Bay area are already exhibiting early signs of what is in store for them. Going into the birthing season, female bears are in poorer condition than they used to be, reflecting a decline in food sources, among other stresses. On the same day, Reuters ran an article on the breakup of the Antarctic ice cap. (Michael Byrnes, Reuters, “Antarctic Ice Melt Poses Worldwide Threat.” May 14, 2002.) Scientists are already calling the breakup of the Antarctic ice cap the biggest one since the end of the last ice age, 12,000 years ago. In April 2002, a 500-billion-ton chunk of the Larsen Ice Shelf - more than a thousand square miles and 650 feet thick – broke off, climaxing an unprecedented summer of ice shelf disintegration, in the Antarctic’s warmest recorded summer. That is highly abnormal activity, and is one of a series of recent events that may presage a catastrophic disintegration of the Antarctic ice cap.
Whether tracking species threatened with extinction or global warming, today’s common dynamic is scientists eventually realize that their earlier reports, though alarming, have often been understating the true threat, as conditions conflate, creating mutually reinforcing runaway events that the models do not predict. The IPCC reports have become more ominous with each one. The rapid disintegration of the Antarctic ice shelves will not immediately raise the world’s sea levels, because they are largely floating, so their net displacement is small (similar to an ice cube floating in a drink not raise the drink’s level in the glass as it melts). However, as they disintegrate and float away from Antarctica, it will expose the continental ice shelves, and their melting will increase the world’s sea levels. The reality is that nobody really knows how fast the continental ice shelves can collapse. The disintegration of the Larsen B ice shelf was dramatic and not predicted, and could herald similar rapid collapse around the entire Antarctic ice shelf.
At this time, the predicted rise in the global ocean level is perhaps “only” a meter or two in the coming century. The leading scientists readily admit, though, that models are only guesses, no matter how sophisticated, and in light of the Larsen B ice shelf collapse the past few months, a “snowball” effect is admittedly quite possible. Also, the rising of ocean levels is but one component of the environmental effect. The release of fresh water from Antarctic melting could also affect the circulation patterns of Earth’s oceans. The Gulf Stream, that makes European winters as relatively warm as they are, for how far north Europe is, could be diminished by Antarctic melting, and Antarctica is the main source of introducing oxygenated water to the ocean floor. That dynamic will also be diminished. It is already estimated that the “bottom water” production by Antarctica has already declined by 20% since pre-industrial times. The continued decline in “bottom water” production will further threaten Earth’s marine life. These dynamics are part of “cascading” environmental disasters, which defy the relatively simple models that scientists have developed.
Corporate mouthpieces such as Rush Limbaugh have been crusading against the notion of global warming or any true environmental problems being created by corporate greed. With these recent, alarming developments, Big Oil has been making its countermoves. Not only is the United States giving the finger to the world on issues of controlling greenhouse gas emissions, but a recent memo from ExxonMobil to George Bush the Second, brought to light by a Freedom of Information Act action, called for the removal of the IPCC head, Robert Watson, because his stance was a little too “aggressive” in trying to confront and solve the issues of global warming. On April 20, 2002 ExxonMobil got its wish, as Watson was replaced. (See George Monbiot’s “Diplomacy, U.S. Style,” in The Guardian, April 23, 2002. See also Paul Brown’s “Oil giant bids to replace climate expert” in The Guardian, April 5, 2002.) That is typical “diplomatic” behavior by the United States. Tellingly, the USA's media is not where I am finding these reports, but in Europe’s media.
 See William Blum’s Rogue State.
 See Tom Bearden's Excalibur Briefing, or Suppressed Inventions and other Discoveries, edited by Jonathan Eisen.
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