Dark Age Watch

What is a dark age?

Sunday, June 25, 2006
'Nuisance calls' to Army families "The Territorial Army London Regiment is said to have been told Iraq insurgents traced numbers using intercept devices. " International disintegration Unlike the 1880s, when European armies easily overcame Africa's spear-wielding tribesmen, today's enemies have an in-depth understanding of the hegemon's technologies.

British 'helpless' as violence rises in southern Iraq "British forces are facing rising violence among Shia Muslim factions in southern Iraq, but are powerless to contain it, military and diplomatic sources have told The Independent on Sunday. Both British and Iraqi authorities were seeking to play down the situation, they added." International disintegration Dramatic media headlines should, of course, be treated with circumspection. Nevertheless, one could argue that the coalition is blundering into this mess because it has insufficient understanding of the equations of dark age theory.

Discovery Channel :: News - Human :: Serious Study: Immaturity Levels Rising "New research is showing that grown-ups are more immature than ever...A 'child-like flexibility of attitudes, behaviors and knowledge' is probably adaptive to the increased instability of the modern world, Charlton believes. Formal education now extends well past physical maturity, leaving students with minds that are, he said, 'unfinished.'...Charlton argues that past physical environments were more stable and allowed for a state of psychological maturity. In hunter-gatherer societies, that maturity was probably achieved during a person’s late teens or early twenties, he said." A reader suggests that this is linked to internal disorganisation. However, there seems to be a lot of internal discohesion in there at least. Part of the child-like attitude is a selfishness and self-obsession that is classic discohesion and a familiar aspect of the growing infantilism of our society. It is interesting that the Victorians used to think the savages were child-like, whereas now we think we are the childish ones. Let us be clear, the Islamist thugs who now run Mogadishu are not child-like in their attitudes. They are stone-cold sober and deadly serious, and they approach the world as a harsh reality not as a childish fantasy or game. It is they or we whose attitudes are most adaptive to the conditions of a potential dark age? The solar system will not be conquered by children with the 'short attention span' which is considered as a 'virtue' by this scientist.

Saturday, June 24, 2006
Americans' circle of close friends shrinking: "Americans are more socially isolated than they were 20 years ago, separated by work, commuting and the single life, researchers reported on Friday. Nearly a quarter of people surveyed said they had 'zero' close friends with whom to discuss personal matters. More than 50 percent named two or fewer confidants, most often immediate family members, the researchers said." Internal discohesion

Iran to ration petrol: "Iran said on Friday it will stop importing petrol in September and begin rationing it, ironic for a country that is OPEC's number-two exporter of crude oil...A surge in car ownership and petrol smuggling to Iran's neighbours, where prices are far higher, has caused an explosion in demand. Iran loses more than $1 billion a year because of the smuggling" International disintegration-internal disorganisation coupling Basically, although this website does not subscribe to the "peak oil" thesis, per se, the pressure is on for the world's oil supplies and a combination of hegemonic inadequacy and innovation failure is leading the world into a vicious spiral of political conflict and economic decline. Given their energy problems, for example, one might consider it quite sensible for the Iranians to be exploring nuclear power, but the US is intent on preventing them going down that road.

Chinese arms in Darfur: the twisted trail of weapons "United Nations investigators have found most of the small arms fueling the conflict in Sudan's western Darfur are Chinese despite an arms ban on a region where tens of thousands have been killed and 2.5 million squat in squalid camps." International disintegration

Friday, June 23, 2006
Some Farmers Trade Tractors for Animals: "Metal clinks against rocks in the soil as four of Jim Cherenzia's horses pull his harrow through seven acres of hay...He is among a small but dedicated group of farmers who use animals rather than machines to do work around the farm. While they embrace modern conveniences in other parts of their lives, they say shunning tractors helps the environent and saves money on gas." Internal disorganisation The farmers' switch to animal power obtains to a certain economic rationality on their part, in light of rising fuel prices and recent academic research into the economics of animal power versus the use of tractors for certain farms. In other words, theirs is perhaps an intelligent response to what is really an innovation failure by the society as a whole, i.e. our economy's persistent use of an energy source that, in light of this article, is beginning to fail farmers at the margin.** (Future historians/archaeologists will miss all the detail. All they will see, assuming the trend continues, is humanity taking an apparent step back, which they will regard as indicative of a dark age - just as we apply the term dark age to deintensification of farming in earlier societies and don't worry too much about the ancient farmers' precise thinking.)

China cultivates Africa, planting seeds of worry
"As in much of Africa...China's reach into Zimbabwe's economy is...pervasive: The roads are filled with Chinese buses, the markets with Chinese goods, and Chinese-made planes are in the skies. Chinese companies are major investors in mining and telecommunications. The government in Beijing, meanwhile, backs Zimbabwe's authoritarian president, Robert Mugabe. "They are all over the place," said Ncube, 43, who owns newspapers in Zimbabwe and South Africa. "If the British were our masters yesterday, the Chinese have come and taken their place."" International disintegration China's growing strength. This goes against the fundamental idea of this website, which envisages a great, global dark age, in which Africans may have a chance to recover their confidence and even be in the vanguard of the next great human civilisation. Other people see China as possibly the next imperial power, supplanting the west, and thereby preventing global collapse. This story seems to support such a view. However, the situation is far from decided yet. There are the macro-wars of the 21st century to take into consideration, as America tries to prevent China's rise to the number one position. There are also China's internal social stresses. And Africa will not be so easy for China to colonise as it was for Europe, because of the great spread of knowledge and technology.

Survey highlights Islam-West rift "Deep mutual suspicions exist between the Muslim world and the West, a survey of global opinion suggests. Many Westerners see Muslims as fanatical, violent and intolerant, according to the study by the Pew Research Center in Washington. Muslims, for their part, tend to view the West as selfish, immoral, and greedy - as well as fanatical and violent." International discohesion

U.S. Navy test intercepts warhead "A U.S. warship has successfully knocked down a short-range missile fired from Hawaii, the Pentagon has said, amid global concerns about a possible North Korea missile test." Pro-integration The US military is making progress in this area. Once again, it seems to rush ahead of the rest of the world. We should not forget, however, that this lead relies on America's dominant economic position. The Russian fleet, which although still impressive is a mere shadow of its strenght during the 1980s, is recent example of what will be on the cards for the US military at some stage.

Baghdad under curfew after insurgent attack "A state of emergency was today imposed in Baghdad after 19 people were killed in attacks and insurgent gunmen set up roadblocks in the city centre." Internal disintegration Road-blocks, hold-ups by criminals and the growing need for special security check points within the borders of a given state are clear signs of disintegration.

Villagers take on India's Maoists "The Indian government is experimenting with new ways of fighting back against Maoist fighters, who now operate in almost half of the country's 28 states." Internal (dis)integration Economic growth and technological innovation contributed to the state's monopoly of legitimate power in the west. This makes such news from India somewhat difficult to understand. There seems to be a fair amount of disorder, on the other hand, the problem of an "ageing society" is not yet as grave as in the west. At any rate, India does not look like a bastion against the coming dark age.

Six 'militants' killed in Riyadh "Saudi Arabia has seen a three-year campaign by militants, including an apparent suicide bomb attack on a major oil facility in February." Internal (dis)integration

Thursday, June 22, 2006
Ban on cash incentives and targets for traffic wardens Anti-disorganisation Parking charges have been a kind of tax farming, a common route to civilisational collapse. This is reversing the trend.

Afghan leader condemns U.S. tactics "President Hamid Karzai called Thursday for a reassessment of the U.S.-led coalition’s strategy for fighting terrorism, saying the current approach of hunting down militants does not focus on the root causes such as money, training, and motivation." Is this international integration because Karzai's complaint reveals that his is a puppet government clearly subordinate to the military decisions of the hegemon; or does it demonstrate disintegration because he dares to complain publicly?** (Comment: arguably one may judge the situation by its results. Afghanistan is more disintegrating than being integrated. The hegemon is powerful and feared, but it is more a kind of bullying than a real imposition of order.)

NZ current account deficit at 30-year high "The result, the worst since the 1975 oil shock when the deficit reached 13 per cent of GDP, also prompted a warning from Standard & Poor’s." Internal disorganisation The shocks and economic crises of the 20th century will pale in comparison to what is on the cards when the complex economic network which is the world-economy will unravel.

Britain to buy new nuclear deterrent "BRITAIN is to have a new generation of nuclear submarines and missiles after a promise by Gordon Brown yesterday to replace the Trident deterrent if and when he becomes Prime Minister." Nuclear war will become a reality at some point in a high-scale, yet highly disintegrated and discohesive world.

An Old Base (Friendship) Gets a Facelift "In a speech to military commanders, the Kremlin chief said that a newly "modern and mobile" Russian fleet will once again be flying its colors on the world's oceans. The president had nothing but praise for Russia's navy, which he said has become "significantly more active" in the Mediterranean, clearly a reflection of Putin's efforts to boost his country's profile in the Middle East." International disintegration A creaking gate hangs long on its hinges. It is too early to write off Russia as a serious contender in international politics. That is not to say that everything is fine and well within Russian society. Indeed, its the combination of societal and economic demise and aggressive external foreign policies which will make the 21st century very dangerous.

Love it or lose it "Across the UK more than 100 libraries now face being shut as councils search for savings to ease budget deficits." Internal disorganisation or innovation? To be fair, much information has become available through electronic means nowadays.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Saddam Hussein's Lawyer Abducted, Killed International disintegration The hegemon's writ does not run very far in this part of the world.

Martial law on American streets Internal (dis)integration The interesting thing is that a lot of these troops are barbarians, and perhaps in future they will even be imported barbarians promised citizenship in return for military service. This is what it looked like in the later Roman empire, where the barbarians were increasingly the forces of law and order, and they eventually formed the new governments that took over as existing political structures collapsed amidst corruption and over-bureaucratisation.

'Explosion' ahead as MRSA spreads beyond hospitals: "THE superbug MRSA is a worldwide problem that remains out of control and could become “explosive”, according to an international team of public health doctors." Plague

Swiss diplomatic corps rocked by sex-for-visas scandal: "Michelle Calmy Rey, the Swiss Foreign Minister, has taken the dramatic step of recalling 30 of her diplomats from Pakistan after allegations that embassy employees issued visas in return for sex or bribes." Barbarian invasion

Zimbabwe signs China energy deal "The Herald newspaper says Chinese companies will build new coal mines and three thermal power stations in the Zambezi valley on the Zambian border. In exchange, Zimbabwe will provide China with chrome." International organisation Will China be able to roll back the African dark age?

Scottish attacks on England supporters condemned "Mr Smith said: "He was a psychopath, it was a totally unprovoked racist attack because I was wearing an England top and displaying an England flag." " Internal discohesion

Sudan rejects 'colonial' troops "Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has opposed the deployment of international troops in his country, saying Sudan would not be "re-colonised"." International discohesion The west losing its moral high ground.

Gunmen kill Saddam lawyer; Gunmen have abducted at least 80 Iraqi factory workers Internal disintegration A booming criminal economy

National Guard Arrives in New Orleans "Up to 200 more Guardsmen will be sent in later, bringing the total in the city to 300. In addition, 60 state police officers will be sent to help keep the peace. As the soldiers arrived, New Orleans police were investigating another slaying, that of a 22-year-old man. The killing brought this year's murder toll to 54." Internal (dis)integration In Mexico, there has been several instances over the past few years in which the army had to be deployed as a last resort.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006
CNN.com - U.S. begins massive war games in Pacific - Jun 20, 2006 "Three aircraft carriers filled the skies with fighters as one of the largest U.S. military exercises in decades got underway Tuesday off this island in the western Pacific. For the first time ever, a Chinese delegation was sent to observe the U.S. war games. But as the show of American military power began, North Korea -- one of the region's most unpredictable countries -- was rattling some swords of its own." Wars coming soon The reason for the Chinese observers' presence is to send the message, "One false move, Charlie Chang, and this lot is coming your way".

EU threatens visa curbs for Americans "A transatlantic war over visas threatens to derail a summit attended by President George Bush tomorrow, after the EU threatened to impose new restrictions on US diplomats and soldiers." International discohesion See also, Europe: Friend or foe to Bush?

Sudan will not be 'recolonised' "Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir voiced strong opposition to the deployment of Western troops in war-torn Darfur, vowing his country would not be "recolonised", state media reported on Tuesday." African dark age Disintegration? Africans will claw their own way out of their desparate situation or not at all.

North Korea set to test-fire missile capable of hitting US: "The blurry satellite images leave little room for doubt, say military officials: the Stalinist regime of North Korea — already a self-declared nuclear power — has fuelled and readied for test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States." International disintegration North Korea is socially bankrupt and economically in ruins. It poses no real threat to the US. Even if it did manage to hit LA with a nuke it would promptly be blasted out of existence. But why would it do so out of the blue? Much of this is bluster, part national pride, part hoping to bluff the US not to attack.

Police arrest 12 Eta extortion suspects Internal integration

Monday, June 19, 2006
Female chief makes Church history: "The US Episcopal Church has chosen a woman as its next leader - making it the first church anywhere in the Anglican denomination to do so. " Intern(ation)al discohesion The African arm of the church is already struggling with the idea of the first openly gay bishop. (Note that the dark age team has no problem with gay bishops, women bishops or bishops with three heads, but the personal opinions of the dark age team is not what this website is about.)

Japan, Australia and the United States press North Korea on missile...Bush: Iran must stop uranium enrichment International disintegration (These folks don't seem that bothered by the hegemon's rhetoric.)

Thousands march with family raided by police "Thousands of protesters led by members of the family caught up in the anti-terrorist raid in east London two weeks ago demanded an apology from police yesterday for their "barbaric and unacceptable" treatment." Internal discohesion

Drug wars take over fading resort "Sporadic ambushes and assassinations carried out with hand grenades began in 2005, alongside a constant trickle of lower profile murders of the foot soldiers in the conflict. Now the violence is intensifying to the point that every day there is at least one death thought to be associated with the war." Internal disintegration Mexico is in a bad way. If the trends of rising crime and industrial demise continue in this counry, we might expect this to have a noticeable demographic impact some time ahead.

Shuttle launch to go ahead despite risk of 'catastrophic' faults "The concern for this mission centres on 34 structures known as ice-frost ramps, which protect the tank's fuel lines from ice build-up. If a big enough chunk of debris hit a certain part of the shuttle "the results would be catastrophic", said project manager John Chapman." Innovation failure The concerns may be exaggerated or not, the reality is that the Shuttles are between 14 and 22 years old. The remaining three might have to be decomissioned before the introduction of more advanced space vehicle.

North Korea set to test-fire missile capable of hitting US "The blurry satellite images leave little room for doubt, say military officials: the Stalinist regime of North Korea — already a self-declared nuclear power — has fuelled and readied for test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States." International discohesion To be fair, North Korea is far away from posing a critical threat to the United States. Still, it should be remembered that more than 50 years after the Korean War, North Korea continues to be a nuisance for the hegemon and its allies in the region.