Dark Age Watch

What is a dark age?

Sunday, August 06, 2006
Japan's PM says shrine visit could come "any time" "Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has said he could visit a controversial war shrine any time, amid speculation he would go on the anniversary of Japan's World War II surrender this month." International discohesion The WW2 losers are increasingly fed up with apologising for the past. And they are two of the most martial nations in the world.

'Dead zone' threat to US suburban dream "Petrol price rises may cause the housing bubble to burst, triggering global recession and the fall of America's Eden...For the past five years America has been gripped by a housing price bubble. It has funded a huge expansion of suburbia as Americans poured their wealth into their homes. Yet many think that bubble may be about to burst. That would send shock waves through the US economy and into the rest of the world. Nor is that the only threat. The rising price of oil is squeezing suburbanites. It threatens a way of life where pavements are rare and everyone moves by car." Internal disorganisation ahead A crash, a dark age, will be its own solution, making innovation worthwhile. Today, oil is too easy, there is no incentive to move into alternatives. When the oil-based economy collapses under its own illogic, innovation will ensue (necessity is the mother of invention as we all know) and the world will be ready to move into another era of human progress.

Nationwide road tolls 'outlined' "Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander will seek powers to create toll roads across the UK, reports have said. In a leaked letter in the Sunday Times, he outlines plans for a bill for widespread tolls to combat congestion." Internal disorganisation Ascendant civilisations try to facilitate the movement of traffic, not discourage it out of existence though taxation. Imagine if the Romans had said, "There is too much traffic, we must put a stop to it." Indeed, they did say that. Vehicles were banned from Rome during daylight hours. And we all know what happened to them.

London Masturbating Marathon 2006 "The Wank-A-Thon will take place in Clerkenwell this summer and will see hundreds of men and women doing it for themselves and for charity." Internal discohesion Anything goes.

'Dead zone' threat to US suburban dream "Between 2001 and 2005 housing created 43 per cent of all new jobs in America. If the bubble bursts, the economy could plunge into recession. So tied up is the average American that a 20 per cent drop in prices is seen as equivalent in effect to a 40 per cent drop in the stock market." Intern(ationa)al disorganisation ahead? Related: More economists are using dreaded ā€˜Sā€™ word

Growing lack of English in schools "New statistics show that six per cent of primaries and five per cent of secondaries have intakes where 50 per cent or more of pupils do not have English as their mother tongue. In inner London, 50 per cent of primaries and more than a third of secondary schools are heading for, or already have, a majority of children with English as a second language." Internal discohesion Britain is changing and it won't change back.

British troops in Afghanistan 'on the brink of exhaustion' "Commanders fear that the number of "high tempo" operations being launched against the Taliban is "unsustainable" unless the 3,600-strong task force is reinforced with an extra 1,000-strong infantry battle group." International disintegration? Imperial overstretch?

Europe and US polls apart on conflict "Such a division across the Atlantic in Western public opinion is similar to that which opened up over whether there should be an invasion of Iraq...John McCain, the Republican senator, spoke for many this week when he suggested that the US would respond in a similar way to Israel if it faced missile attacks from the other side of the Mexican border." International discohesion

Rebels 'smell blood' in lawless Baghdad International disintegration-internal discohesion coupling

Saturday, August 05, 2006
How long is your commute? ...: "The average commuter spends 139 hours a year travelling to and from work, while the distances they travel are increasing, according to a new report. Researchers have warned of the impact travelling such distances could be having on mental and physical health." Innovation failure? Actually, commuting times have changed little over the millennia, and are typically about an hour, each way. In the past, people walked to the fields. Today, they take the train to the big city. Of course, distances are increasing. This is a reflection of growing scale - people's ability to move further and faster, and so come in contact with a wider range of other people. One day, people will zip to the next star to go to work. Dark age theory posits a direct link between mobility and economic activity/wealth.

LRA leaders declare ceasefire "The Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has announced a unilateral ceasefire, with immediate effect." Internal re-cohesion?

Personal debt spiralling out of control, say insolvency experts "The financial advisers Grant Thornton said the problem was "spiralling out of control". Mike Gerrard, its head of personal insolvency, said almost 9,000 people a month were losing the fight to remain solvent against 2,500 a month five years ago. He said: "What is of greater concern is that such rises have developed within a relatively benign economic context." Internal disorganisation

'Muslims flee' Sri Lanka fighting ; Internal disintegration A low intensity conflict that is far from over.

Chinese city's rethink on youth crime "The city of Kunming in south-west China is trying a more liberal way of treating young criminals amid concern about soaring youth crime in many cities...I saw evidence of this new thinking on a Kunming basketball court where a group of young police officers was taking on a team made up of teenage boys, all of them young offenders." Internal disintegration? Evidence of accelerated decline?

Friday, August 04, 2006

More Flee Unrest Near Colombia-Panama Border: "There are an estimated 2.5 million internally displaced people in Colombia ā€“ the largest population of concern to UNHCR in any country in the world." Internal disintegration

At least 5 dead in Colombian car blast "A car bomb exploded in front of a police station Friday in Colombia's southwestern city of Cali, killing four officers and the driver, authorities said, blaming the attack on leftist rebels." Internal disintegration

Insolvencies show sharp increase Internal disorganisation

Thursday, August 03, 2006
`Hourglass Economy' Divides Americans, Defines U.S. Politics Internal disorganisation A large wealth gap is a sign of an unhealthy economy.

Thai insurgency gaining ground "Malay Muslim resentment of Bangkok's policies ranges from political and cultural issues to economic ones - the Malays complain of discrimination against their religion and language and economic marginalization...Currently, the three provinces are under the guard of 30,000 heavily armed troops, in addition to 10,000 police officers and some 1,000 psychological-warfare operatives." Internal disintegration A situation that is somehow reminiscent of the one in Kosovo.

What a mesh ""Meshing" is the latest fad for newlyweds in the US and involves joining together a couple's existing surnames to come up with a new one just for them." Internal discohesion Sharing the husband's surname meant incorporation into the patrilineal kin-group. In a discohesive, individualistic society, this is increasingly irrelevant.

Witchcraft ban ends in Zimbabwe "From July the government acknowledges that supernatural powers exist - but prohibits the use of magic to cause someone harm." African dark age

Witch School Opens in Midwestern Town "According to the American Religious Identification Survey, there were approximately 134,000 Americans claiming Wicca as their religion in 2001 -- up from 8,000 people in 1990." Internal discohesion The west follows hot on its heels.