Drone Tractors: Putting Farmer Brown Out To Pasture

Autonomous, GPS Guided, Data Driven Farm Equipment Is the Next Step In Industrial Agriculture And The Latest Example of Incipient Human Obsolescence

Tractor above: Case IH Autonomous Concept Vehicle from Case IH Agriculture

While the concept of a giant GPS controlled RC tractor plowing the field and harvesting crops is not exactly mind blowing these days, autonomous farm equipment is also equipped with all kinds of other scientific bells and whistles to interact and report on soil and water conditions and interact with weather predictions. Infrared sensors can sample soybean and corn plants’ health, while other devices measure weed distribution and soil moisture levels. The data is collected and analyzed providing farmers in their rustic high tech offices with tools to make long term and day to day decisions regarding planting, harvesting and pesticide application.

These new data driven farming tools are a key component in precision agriculture, which in turn is enabled by GMO based monoculture technology, agricultural interests and farm consolidation. With pesticide application a key component in precision agriculture, it should be no surprise that Monsanto and DuPont are key players in this paradigm shift down on the farm.

For example, data collected by John Deere tractors (which controls most of the American tractor market) is linked up to a digital agricultural weather information outfit called Climate Corp. Their algorithms provide guidance for farm managers based on their weather prediction platform combined with data from individual operations. Monsanto bough Climate Corp in 2015 as part of their objective of becoming an integrating hub for planters, not to mention achieving global domination of your food supply.

As in virtually every other aspect of commerce, there are any number of advantages to technology driven farming. However, these methods are only effective on large scale operations, which in turn benefit from minimization of labor costs. The need for seasonal unskilled workers and farm hands will continue to decrease with the passing of the family farm, thus continuing to remove employment opportunities for rural America.

And farmers will be (are already becoming) farm managers. And Old MacDonald’s goose is cooked.

Humans are so intelligent, they are capable of making themselves obsolete. Or, more likely, making “low use segments” of the population obsolete.

Posted in Autonomous tractors, Drone Tractors, Monsanto | Comments Off

Earthquakes Powered By Runaway Global Warming: No It’s Not A Conspiracy Theory

Increase in Powerful Quakes May Be Related To Ice Sheets Getting “Lighter” and More Extreme Storms

Think of the Earth As A Giant Plastic Ball And Everything Starts To Make Sense 

The planet Earth is changeable and inherently unstable. Whenever stress is applied to one component of the complex interlocking geophysical system we call home (for now) has unpredictable consequences. After three powerful earthquakes and a new volcano eruption within a few weeks of each other*, we are reminded of a topic we have broached here before, but is worth discussion again.


There are two main ice sheets on the planet, one in Greenland and the other in Antarctica. Together they hold enough ice to raise global sea levels at least 50 feet if all the ice melts. But that is not our concern in this article. But it is our concern that this land-based ice is melting at an unprecedented rate.

The Greenland ice sheet is between 6,600 – 9,800 ft thick (2,000 – 3,000 m) and covers 660,000 sq mi. The Antarctic ice sheet is is almost 5.4 million sq mi and contain about 7.2 million cubic MILES of ice. This ice mass sits on land and is phenomenally heavy. In Greenland, for example, it has pressed the interior of the island about 1,000 ft below sea level.

When the total weight of this ice mass on top of the land changes, the earth’s crust rises. This causes stress changes that telegraph around the globe. Whenever underground pressures change near faults, earthquakes can happen.

In September 2016, researchers from the Technical University of Denmark published a new paper in Science Advances suggesting that the ability of the Earth’s crust in Greenland’s to snap back when the ice is removed has been underestimated. Remember that the Earth’s crust is on 5 to 30 miles thick. In some areas, the land is rising at a rate of 1/2″ in year.


Another way the geosphere interacts with global warming driven effects is in the context of increasing ocean volume. While most people are aware that the seas are rising globally due to ice melt, not everyone understands that the actual volume of the ocean is expanding due to warmer water. This is simply a matter of physics. However, the increase in ocean volume further destabilizes the geosphere, creating the possibility that more fault lines will be triggered. A fault that is unstable can be prepared to a coiled spring. It does not take much change in pressure to release its energy.


This cause and effect scenario is less obvious than the first two, but has also been discussed in a serious way by earth scientists. This theory suggests that powerful typhoons can activate faults due to reduced atmospheric pressure as the storm passes over land. The change in pressure can release accumulated stress as it interacts with the terrain.

* Japan, New Zealand and Italy.

Posted in climate change earthquakes, Greenland Ice Cap, Greenland land mass rising | Comments Off

Mass Reindeer Die Off As Arctic Climate System Collapses

New Report Details the Results of Arctic Amplification On The Permafrost Ecology

[November 17: the Arctic is 36 degrees Fahrenheit degrees warmer than normal and Siberia is 60 degrees colder. Meteorologists are more or less freaking out]

[Sea ice extent is less than in 2012, a previous record breaking year considered anomalous]

Crazy things are happening to the reindeer of the Arctic, and none of them are good. In August 2016, a freak lightning incident electrocuted more than 300 reindeer in Norway. In July, an anthrax epidemic was unleashed when long thawed microcrobes were released from a reindeer corpse that had been frozen during an epidemic decades ago. Anthrax was passed to humans, killing a least one and making dozens more sick. The incident took authorities and residents by surprise.

According to a new research report published in Biology, all of these occurrences are driven by the extreme change in the Arctic climate and the rapid thawing of the permafrost. It’s called Arctic Amplification and it encompasses all of the events related to the fact that the Arctic is warming twice as fact as the rest of the world. Global weather patterns are only one component in the cornucopia of effects related to Arctic Amplification.

These reindeer “mortality episodes” are the latest in a timeline that includes major die-off’s in 2013 or 2006, along with the strange incidents of 2016.  In a semi-apocalyptic weather event in In November 2013, 61,000 reindeer starved to death on Russia’s Yamal Peninsula due to “unseasonable” rains. To put it mildly, it doesn’t usually rain in November in Siberia. In this event, several inches of rain fell quickly and then refroze into an ice sheet that is too thick for the animals to kick through. The reindeer were unable to forage for lichen, their normal food supply. As a result, tens of thousands starved to death while staring at their dinner on the other side of the ice.

This weather is known as rain on snow or (ROS) and is driven by the sea ice retreat and crazy warm temperatures. These conditions have become the new normal over the past ten years, which this fall proving to be in a league of its own for temperature anomalies.

A similar scenario accounted for the mass die-off in 2006, killing 20,000.

Evolution has perfectly suited reindeer to the harsh environment they inhabit. Ironically, when it becomes less harsh, they are more or less screwed as a species. They can’t migrate north.

While many species have adapted to changing climate over the centuries, success depends on having enough time to migrate of mutate.

Posted in 80.000 dead reindeer, Permafrost collapse, reindeer die-off | Comments Off

“Charlie Brown” Wises Up to Republican Tricks

This time, place kick that football where the sun don’t shine, Charlie Brown

In the year 2000 the election was stolen by George W. Bush because GOP shenanigans in Florida. He did not win the popular vote. Al Gore conceded when he should not have and the Democrats played along in an effort to pull together as Americans. I distinctly remember the self-righteous demands that the American people give George W. Bush a chance. We did.

Bush inherited a budget surplus from Bill Clinton. At the end of Bush’s 8 year term, the US was embroiled in a military and economic quagmire. We were and are fighting an unwinnable conflict in the Middle East with a multi-trillion dollar price tag. The national debt was at an all time high (third Republican president in a row to do that). The international economy was in a state of collapse brought on in no small part due to Republican refusal to reign in the banking industry. Thanks to Reagan, financial interests had been de-regulated to the point that they could literally bring civilization to the point of collapse.

Today, after 6 years of economic stability under Obama (in spite of 8 straight years of obstructionism, conspiracy theories and bigotry on the part of the right), a con man has been elected without winning the popular vote, to some degree because of blatant voter suppression in several red states.

This president elect has claimed that climate change is the result of a Chinese hoax and has tapped into Myron Ebell, one of the most heinous climate change pimps ever to be put bankrolled by the fossil fuel industry. All this even as the collapse of the Arctic environment goes into overdrive. This is not OK with the CatastropheMap Editorial Board.

Trump supporters are now demanding we all work together and give Donald Trump a chance. Yeah. Better hold onto that football. You never know where it might end up.

Posted in Climate change hoax, Myron Ebell, Not this time Charlie Brown | Comments Off

Another 5.0 Quake In Oklahoma As Oil Industry Plays With Fire At Cushing Hub

Latest Quake Strikes Near Cushing, OK Mega Tank Farm, A Disaster Waiting to Happen

The only people that doubt oil and gas fracking waste disposal wells are causing the amazing spike in Oklahoma earthquakes are the people in the pockets of the Okie Oil Sheiks. Which is a lot of people in a state that is OK with its governor declaring Oilfield Prayer Day an actual thing.

Nevertheless, the chart tells the story, which CatMap has also been telling since 2010. [This link takes you to the background story.]

If you don’t have time to read the whole story, the basics are simple: Oklahoma has historically had no earthquake activity, but all of a sudden when oil and gas began injecting fracking waste underground, it has become the most earthquake prone state in the country. While most of these are small, they keep getting worse. There have now been six 5.O quakes in Oklahoma, all of them since the boom began in 2008. Three occurred this year, including a 5.8 temblor in Pawnee that is the most powerful in Oklahoma history. The pattern, by the way, is that they keep getting worse.

Just as a personal question, doesn’t anyone wonder how a pimp for the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association can look at a camera and claim there is no proof as to what the cause of the quakes is?

Even when the USGS and the State of Oklahoma finally agreed that the wells were the cause, the oil and gas industry continues to resist. There are more and more injuries and property damage, but the oil pimps continue to resist regulation.

Closer and closer:
On Nov 7, another major quake hit near the Cushing, OK, a superhub of oil pipelines and storage facilities. Earlier in the year, a 5.6 temblor struck the same region.

Not only is this mammoth industrial terminal of strategic importance, it represents a potential disaster on an almost unimaginable scale. At any given time, the Pipeline Crossroads of the World is storing over 50 million gallons of crude oil.

On Sunday, there was extensive property damage to 50 buildings in the town, but only minor damage reported so far at the oil facility. Schools were closed, a retirement home was evacuated, bricks toppled off of commercial buildings and homes were damaged. Thus far, the oily boys have showed no inclination to pay for this damage. While there were only minor injuries, no one has died yet. When they do, it will be interesting to see what the response of the citizens of Oklahoma will be.

Y’all had enough yet?

Posted in Cushing Oklahoma Earthquake, fracking waste disposal wells | Comments Off

As Tengger Desert Encroaches, China Resettles New “Ecological Migrants”

Not far from Beijing, China’s northern desert regions are moving into villages as the state moves millions

Global warming is driving the desertification of northern China at an annual rate of approximately 1,300 sq mi per year. Based on the most recent research, China is now about 20% desert, with 21,000 square miles more arid wasteland that it did 40 years ago. According to satellite data, the Tengger is slowly merging with two other deserts in the north, which will result in a vast mega desert. The extended drought in the area is expected to worsen as global warming takes its toll.

The most compelling manifestation of the changing climate are the sand storms that sweep through the region beginning in the spring. As they move east, the clouds of displaced soil and dust regularly blacken the skies of Beijing. They have begun moving east into Korea, Japan and the Western US. Life in the region, always difficult, may become impossible in the foreseeable future.

This catastrophe, along with the desertification of part of Africa, the American West, Southern Europe, Spain, Australia, and South America, is generating the beginning of the predicted climate refugee epidemic that has long been predicted. China has already resettled hundreds of thousands, with mixed results. Along with the refugees will come resource wars.

Not even the massive resources and resolve of the Chinese government to implement large scale social and topographical engineering feats can prevent this onslaught.

The leading edge of the Tengger desert is about 200 miles from Beijing. For now.

Posted in Climate Refugees, ecological migrants, Tennger Desert Expands | Tagged , | Comments Off

Second Pipeline Blast In Alabama (in 2 Months) Kills 1, Burns 5 More

And This is The What The Oil Industry Calls the “Safest” Means of Transport

Shelby County, Alabama experienced its second major pipeline explosion on the Colonial Pipeline as another blast shook the town of Helena. Citizens within 5 miles of the blast were evacuated as multiple fires continued to burn in a drought affected area.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the mishap will probably affect diesel prices on the East Coast. Also, one worker was burned to death and five more were severely burned. Diesel prices will probably go up on the East Coast, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In 1996, Colonial Pipeline company was responsible for the largest oil spill in South Carolina history, an epic event that sent a 1 million gallon tsunami of gasonine down the Reedy River. In the 20 years since then, 40 more oil spill related incidents have occured in South Carolina, involving both Colonial and Plantation Pipeline. More on that story.

The same pipeline spewed 330,000 gallons of diesel gasoline into wetlands in September.

Visit the Global Petrochemical Screwups Map
Visit the Oil Spills Archive

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Arctic Sea Ice Extent Dips Below Previous 2012 Record As Collapse Continues

All bets are off as the Arctic literally enters uncharted waters amid continuing high temperatures.

Sea ice extent and thickness are recovering more slowly than any year on record following the official 2016 summer minimum recorded Sept. 10. That minimum tied the second lowest extent ever recorded (2007).

Not surprisingly, the extended streak of high temperatures in the Arctic has slowed the expected sea ice recovery to the point that on October 26 it dipped below the record breaking year 2012.

If the slow re-freezing recovery continues, the ice field extent will be below 9.8 million km2 by November . That number is significantly less than the record breaking year 2012.

Arctic air temperatures have been averaging 18 degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal, driven by sea surface water temperatures. This meteorological scenario sets up a feedback loop, which fuels strong, unseasonable storms that can further contribute to the collapse of the thinning ice on the perimeter.

Posted in Arctic Ice Extent, Sea ice 2012, Sea Ice Collapse | Comments Off

Deaths Slowly Increasing From Flesh Eating Bacteria

Those who witnessed Michael Funk’s rapid death in Maryland described it as a “like a horror movie,” but it no movie. It was the flesh eating microbe, Vibrio vulnificus

You’ll never go in the water again.

As the oceans warm, incidents of humans dying horrible deaths from flesh-eating bacteria – Vibrio vulnificus – are increasing. While not usually fatal, the nasty microscopic beasties cause fever, chills, septic shock and the horrifying blistering skin lesions that give them their name.

When they are fatal, however, they doom the victim to a horrifying death in which the microbes literally eat away at the skin. In addition to Michael Funk, who died in September,  another man checking into an emergency room in July with a lesion on his ankle. In 48 hours he was dead.

While fatal events from Vibrosis remain relative rare per se, a recent study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicated that “rising ocean temperatures related to global warming is strongly associated with spread of vibrios.” Only about 200 people currently contract the flesh-eating strain each year. The number of amputations reported in vibrosis related cases is also increasing. This relatively new affliction has only been reportable since 2007, so many cases go unreported at this point.

In addition to the more visually horrifying Vibrosis, some strains of Vibrio cause cholera and other infections. According to University of Maryland microbiologist Rita Colwell, vibrosis and cholera are likely to bloom in once-unlikely places such as Alaska and Northern Europe. The Baltic Sea and other northern waters are warming at a faster rate than the global average.

Colwell’s team analyzed date from the Continuous Plankton Recorder survey, which has been sampling ocean water marine life since 1958.


Posted in Flesh eating bacteria, Michael Funk death, Vibrio vulnificus | Comments Off

116 Students Died In ’66 When Coal Slag Heap Mountain Crushed A Welsh Village

Aberfan Remembers 50 Year Anniversary of the Day They Lost Their Children

One of the few survivors of the 1966 Aberfan coal waste landslide disaster remembers that the school children were beginning the day with “All Things Bright & Beautiful”.

“All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small
All things bright and beautiful, the Lord God made them all.”

In the middle of the hymn, the ground began to rumble and shake as a literal mountain of coal waste accumulated for decades collapsed and slid into the town of 1200. In it’s path was the grade school, where 116 children were crushed or buried alive. The massive landslide of coal waste buried a large portion of the town, ultimately killing 144. It was a week before all of the bodies were recovered.

Funny guy, that God.

The rock and slate slag heap or “tip” mountain had grown over a 50 year period, until it towered over the town and encroached on its boundaries. Undermined by extended rains, the mountain turned to slurry and collapsed, sending more than 1.4 million cubic feet of slag roaring downhill to engulf the village.

As Wales remembers the somber 50th Anniversary of the horrific disaster, survivors also recall the cause: indifference on the part of the National
Coal Board to repeated warnings about the danger of the slag heap. An inquiry board placed the blame unambiguously with the NCB, but there was no prosecution and no one even lost their job.

Whether it’s Appalachia, Australia or Wales, coal has been a killer for generations, with the profits going to the executives and the miners paying the price…sometimes with their lives, sometimes with the lives of their children.

Posted in 1966 Coal disaster, Aberfan coal landslide | Comments Off