Monday, December 26, 2011

End of the year odds - Eli cleans the attic

One of the stranger, are you sure you have thought this through bits, was the piling on Jared Diamond based on Hunt and Lipo's new book (Eli will point to Judith Curry for giggles, Planet 3.0, and KK, oh never mind Eli prefers reliable sources for those who want their memory refreshed without leaving a bad taste from the author's whining.)

Much of it is deep in the weeds, e.g. were the statues moved by rollers (Diamond), sleds (Eli and Thor Hjerdahl) or refrigerator delivery guys (Hunt and Lipo) but that is a sideshow

Pretty clear how you could roll the things downhill on their backs, but how do you do it standing up? (note the bit about uneven terrain, that means you are moving the damn things UPHILL for a fair and gut busting amount of time. While Eli has no experience moving 90 tons, the bunny has maneuvered a whole bunch of a ton like optical tables and without rolling it ain’t a whole lot of fun.)

So to move these things standing up you need strong ropes which you can get from palms (or other trees), and some sort of grease to put under the narrow base and a smooth road of some sort. Since there were not large animals on the island that throws you back on palm oil, or maybe oil from porpoises/wales. To get the sea creatures you need boats, which means wood and ropes to build ships. Otoh rounding logs with obsiden tools is not a walk in the park either.

and, of course sleds as several pointed out. Then what wiped out the palms, rats or people (or some combination). Interesting to sort out by archeologists, but not the serious part.

What is the serious part? Mark Lynas touched it off, and the usual suspects, Peiser, Kloor, Curry and more piled onto Diamond claiming that his version of ecocide depopulating the island was a pile of wet spagh, but what dear readers, have the usual suspects embraced in the Hunt and Lipo version. Mark Lynas got it in one and was then submerged

Falsely accusing the islanders of killing and eating each other is bad enough. But it gets worse. Whilst the conventional narrative blames the islanders for committing a kind of collective ecological and social suicide (hence the term ‘ecocide’) this reading of history is almost certainly perpetuating a monumental injustice. For the Easter Islanders were indeed subject to a genocide – but it did not come from within. Instead, visiting ships brought epidemics of new diseases which wiped out the majority of the population – with most of the remnants later carted off in slave raids.

It is grimly ironic that Jared Diamond, of all people, missed – or misread – this more realistic version of history, given that it forms the central thesis for his earlier and much more convincing book ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’. In this work, Diamond provides compelling evidence for how diseases unknown in the New World decimated whole populations, facilitating European invasion and setting the scene for appalling crimes committed against native populations from the silver mines of Potosi to Tenochtitlan.

So why could he not understand that the same thing happened at Easter Island? Hunt and Lipo again:

“For Rapa Nui, Fischer reports that of the approximately 1,500 Rapanui who were blackbirded to Peru, the vast majority died there. In the repatriation from South America to Polynesia, eighty-five of the survivors died at sea, leaving a mere dozen or so Rapanui who actually made it back home. Then in 1871, a majority of islanders left for Tahiti and Mangareva; and even in their neighboring islands of Polynesia, the Rapanui met with death in large numbers. By 1877, the native population on the island had reached its all-time recorded low of just 110. Through a series of disastrous encounters with foreign visitors, the Rapanui population had collapsed, rebounded, collapsed again, and then recovered to a degree, only to be ravished in slave raids.”

Nor was this the final insult. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the island was converted into a massive sheep ranch, with its surviving human population held in virtual captivity. The sheep converted it into a true ecological wasteland, eliminating the remaining smaller trees and causing large-scale soil erosion – for which the early Easter Islanders would once again later be blamed by latter-day environmentalists.

So Kloor, Peiser, Curry and friends, in order to stick it to Jared Diamond, are arguing that Western "civilization" and its capitalist system are corrupt and genocidal. Well, that's what they said, who is Eli to disagree? (Now watch them try and throw Hunt and Lipo under the bus)


43 comments:

Steve Bloom said...

Maybe, but recall the proverbial reluctance of the dog to return to its vomit. I say this one has gone down the memory hole entirely.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least we can be pretty certain the statues were not delivered by FedEx, because if the recent incident is any indication, the statues would probably have all been on their heads.

~@:>

Anonymous said...

Maybe, but recall the proverbial reluctance of the dog to return to its vomit

Ever had a Labrador? Our 7-month-old, Connie, will happily return to her vomit and eat what she's just brought up. Yuk! She'll happily eat what comes out of the other end, too. Double yuk!!

Must be something to do with the see-food diet.

Cymraeg llygoden

Andy S said...

Lynas, Curry and Kloor are showing us their knee-jerk reaction against any science or scientist that points out humans can be destructive to their environment. This is an extension of the thought that we are part of nature so anything we do is part of nature and is OK and that we can't or shouldn't deflect our own development in order to provide an easier and more beautiful environment to live in. I call this the "What - me worry" syndrome.

http://www.neatorama.com/2010/09/13/what-me-worry/

I was interested in Lynas' refutation until I read Diamond's response.

Archeologists and anthropologists have foisted some pretty crummy hypotheses on us in the past. I don't trust them until they're thoroughly vetted by experience.

Some examples: Hominids couldn't walk out of Africa until the climate dried and they descended from trees (sounds sort of biblical to me)even though paleontologists had proven that all sorts of other creatures such as snakes, lizards, small tree-dwelling mammals and other kinds of relatively immobile creatures had been doing it for eons.

The archeologists who persist on using an asteroid strike right near their dig in the Carolinas as an explanation for the Younger Dryas cold period.

And the one that gets me the most: the archeologists who wouldn't accept that humans were capable of megafaunal and other animal and plant extinctions even though prehistoric and even historic records of the extinctions coincide with human colonization throughout the world. Including on Easter Island. But also on North America, New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and Madagascar.

Anonymous said...


Maybe, but recall the proverbial reluctance of the dog to return to its vomit. I say this one has gone down the memory hole entirely.


BTW, Proverbs 26:11 summarizes quite nicely the relationship between deniers, dogs, and vomit.


--caerbannog the anonybunny

Boris said...

I assume they will pin the blame squarely on the sheep.

EliRabett said...

Steve, but think of how this is an excellent club to batter the Kloors and Currys with. They obviously hate Western civilization and blame it for all the ills of the world.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

"For the Easter Islanders were indeed subject to a genocide – but it did not come from within. Instead, visiting ships brought epidemics of new diseases which wiped out the majority of the population – with most of the remnants later carted off in slave raids."

hahahaha, you and your followers by in 100% to far left trash. There were no new diseases, potentially 1 or 2. The reason for this is there was nobody to test to know whether not the diseases were actually new. In fact, this is nothing more than a liberal pipe dream of how they want to remember history.

Secondly, it isn't as though the natives to Easter Island would have been nice to the foreigners had they not brought guns. They would have killed each other anyway. Also, many of these poor native tribes kept slaves themselves but that doesn't fit into Eli's worldview.

Maybe the natives of Easter Island did not align with the Europeans but native americans certainly formed alliances with Cortez.

Nice bunko spin story on history.

Marion Delgado said...

The same people who are McCarthyites all week become rabid Reds on the weekend so they can claim environmentalists are ignoring all the human problems of the poor and disenfranchised worldwide. My favorite ne plus ultra is the notion that we environmentalists promote vaccination "for population control!" Best You Fail Biology Forever ever.

Anonymous said...

Coming from the person who thinks 3% of $1.4 trillion is $1 trillion, this article does not surprise me.

Notice the Lemmings, I er mean uh Rabetts faithfully follow w/o question.


Thanks for the after Christmas laugh.



Celery Eater

Anonymous said...

CE, got a link? Or just throwing out random assertions and ad hominems?

Blueshift

Anonymous said...

I read Dr Diamond's book, as well as the "refutation". And something struck me, something that someone with a clear brain should have checked.
Dr Diamond doesn't get his hypothesis out of his bottom, but relies on several facts. Among these facts, several signs (the sudden halt to the idol production, the idols smashed, the sudden shift in beliefs, and maybe even traces of fights ?) tend to indicate that a "civil war" broke out ... in the XVII and XVIII century. This is not consistent with their hypothesis.
So, a society which managed to be stable for many centuries suddenly goes mad and launches a civil war. The question is why, and the new authors don't answer that.

PS : Mark Lynas posted a rebuttal from Diamond, who destroys the article. And the wise word comes from bigcitylib :
"Actually, it has only been an informative debate if you (like myself, admittedly) don’t know much about Easter Island. So when Mark slapped up some fringy research that most people didn’t recognize as such, it looked like there was a genuine debate in the field. And while the result may have been that us plebes got educated a bit, Mark hasn’t done the science any good, other than to give the fringe research prominence it would not otherwise have.
"
I just *can't* remember who used this kind of misinformation for climate matters. Arrrgh my memory, and I *swear* I just read their
names !
... at the beginning of Rabbet's post maybe ?

Bratisla

Anonymous said...

Easter Island Idols

~@:>

Anonymous said...

Maybe the rats ate the humans, half-gnawed some palm seeds, and then walked the statues upright, all just to sow seeds of confusion to mislead those pesky archeologists hundreds of years later. Damn rats :-)

Donald Oats

Anonymous said...

Judith Curry is a marker of proof that humans will not address in anywhere near enough time the pressing environmental problems that we, as a species, face.

After all, if an apparently credible scientist can get so much so wrong, and in the process take along for the ride so many lay people as well as the support of vested interests, what hope is there?

Really?

Seriously?


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

Anonymous said...

Why did the Easter Islanders destroy their Island?- there was probably a Judith Curry-type amongst them saying that there was some uncertainty about the likely shortage of trees, and that the tree-shortage folk needed to build bridges (out of trees) with the plenty-of-trees folk and anyway, we should probably just adapt to any shortage of trees and at any rate, why are we worrying about a shortage of trees when there are poor people here on Easter Island......

Anonymous Etc.

toto said...

Hunt and Lipo are not "fringe". They published their work in Science and (most recently) PNAS. Their late chronology for East Polynesia settlement is being taken seriously.


As for Peisner... Well, OK, never mind. :)

Anonymous said...

Blueshift,

Eli has claimed, on this very site, http://rabett.blogspot.com/2011/12/durban.html?showComment=1323480543707#c6769746443047352219

"Cel, let us try the 1% shall we, and a US tax increase on the top tenth would not be a bad thing either. Given rates that prevailed in the 1990s that would bring the deficit into balance PDQ, "

If you return the top rate from 35% back to the 1990's 39.6% that will affect the top ~3% of tax payers rather than the top 1% Eli is claiming above. Regardless, go to the IRS 2009 Tax tables, (latest available) and look at earners in the top bracket, look at their income, look at the taxes they pay. Now increase the rate to 39.6% and see how much additional income the government would receive. It is far short of "bring the deficit into balance PDQ..". I actually posted on that thread all the numbers and math from the IRS tables and it showed up as a comment for 2 hours and then was deleted.


http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/indtaxstats/article/0,,id=133521,00.html

If you do not look at the actual data as referenced above please do not comment, you want to talk facts then let's talk facts.


Anyone who thinks raising taxes on the top 1% heck even the top 3% is going to balance the budget (which is $1 trillion+ out of whack) is just plain delusional.


It goes to his credibility, your honor.


Celery Eater

Brian said...

CE is missing the raising the rates on the top tenth part of the comment. Personally I'm not sure even that would be enough given the unpaid Republican wars, the unpaid Republican corporate welfare for pharmaceutical companies, and the Republican blockage of cost control provisions in health care reform, but in the off-hand context of a single sentence in a comment, I don't consider this to matter much for credibility.

(Apologies for getting roped into the thread hijack.)

Anonymous said...

Brian,

Republicans blocked nothing in the Obamacare bill, remember we were on the back of the bus because Obama won.

So three years into an Obama administration and it is still all the Republicans fault. Heads you win tails I lose. I have not met a Democrat going on 10+ years that will take responsibility for one dang thing. It is always "but it is there fault". Lame.



Raising on the top 10%, so much for OWS cheerleading on Rabett Run, but I digress.

That is Household income at $112,000.00 ouch that is gonna hurt those people that live in the big cities. So the top 10% earned $2.933 trillion and paid $660 billion in taxes in 2009 about a 22.5% rate. To pull another $1 trillion out of these nice folks you will have to raise their effective rate to 56.5% (not accounting for deductions etc this number will certainly need to be higher).

Sounds like a good plan.


Why don't we just have everyone throw their money into one pot and then everyone takes out an equal share? Of course after the Federal government pays for everyone's health care, education, house, car, cell phone, cable tv, food, clothing. Sounds like Utopia.

I recommend we rename Rabett Run to Class Clowns or Socialist Society.


Celery Eater

dhogaza said...

"That is Household income at $112,000.00 ouch that is gonna hurt those people that live in the big cities. So the top 10% earned $2.933 trillion and paid $660 billion in taxes in 2009 about a 22.5% rate. To pull another $1 trillion out of these nice folks you will have to raise their effective rate to 56.5% (not accounting for deductions etc this number will certainly need to be higher)."

No one is talking about doubling the effective tax rate on households making $112,000. If the Bush tax cuts expire and the payroll tax holiday expires we're looking at about a return to earlier rates which were a few percent (not 100%) higher than the *temporary* rates put in place during the Bush administration and the payroll tax holiday of the last year.

"Of course after the Federal government pays for everyone's health care, education, house, car, cell phone, cable tv, food, clothing. Sounds like Utopia."

Sounds like the Army ...

Anonymous said...

"No one is talking about doubling the effective tax rate on households making $112,000."


The whole point of the conversation was Eli said we could raise taxes on the top 1% by returning their rates to the 1990's level and it would be a good idea to raise taxes on the top 10% (household income $112K) and "that would bring the deficit into balance PDQ.."



"Sounds like the Army ... "

Ya know what, it does. People WORKING for their PAY, imagine that!!


Celery Eater

Russell said...

The elephant in Eli'sattic is that the poor, palmless, decimated ,navigation-challenged and tuckered-out-from-statue-delivery Rapa Nui still found time to up and invent Polynesia's only written language.

Until the lava tunnels yield a rongo-rongo tablet on how to manufacture palm nut ball bearings , armchair archaeoagnatologists will remain free as WUWT commenter to declare the palms went extinct because so many trunks were required to package the statues as bundles round enough for convenient cross-country rolling.

Meanwhile, it speaks volumes that Diamond had to go to so bizarre an end of the Earth to make the case for a supposedly universal theory.

Steve Bloom said...

Getting senile, Russell? That comment was bathed in teh stupid from top to bottom.

Hank Roberts said...

socialism ... utopia ... the army

Well, the lowest and highest pay grades are less than 10x different:
http://www.us-army-info.com/pages/ranks.html

Kooiti Masuda said...

Hank, do you mean that, objectively speaking, the army is (one of) the most socialistic part(s) of the U.S. society?

Anonymous said...

Wow... Those US Army pay rates are unbelievable. Are there other amounts not listed?

Here are the Australian ones: http://content.defencejobs.gov.au/pdf/triservice/DFT_Document_PayRates.pdf

Current exchange rate is US$1 = A$1.

Australian Defence Force personnel do not pay any tax at all on salary and some allowances.

Some examples:

US Army Captain on active duty: $38,652-$58,500 from 1 to 10+ years.

Australian Army Captain with Service Allowance: $72,757-$124,797 from 1 to 10+ years.

US Army Private on active duty: $17,124. (!)

Australian Army Private with Service Allowance: $53,786-$87,130. (Interestingly you have to go to a rank of Major to find an officer whose salary has no overlap with a Private of 10+ years' experience.)

The highest pay grade is still only 5x the lowest, it's just that the lowest is apparently a lot higher.

JasonB

dhogaza said...

JasonB:

"US Army Private on active duty: $17,124. (!)"

You have to figure in the value of all the spam and shit on a shingle you can eat!

(shit on a shingle - creamed chipped beef on toast - and no, I have no personal experience of this!)

Anonymous said...

If you want to call the military the most socialist part of our society and use it as an example of great government in action, I agree.

- People must work to get paid and all their benefits, if you choose not to work and have to be disciplined you could forfeit all your pay and benefits

- Effort, performance, conduct, and time are the main factors for advancing in rank, if you lack in these areas you remain at the bottom, if you are at the bottom too long, you are out

- Must be willing to put your life on the line and work in hostile environments which is measured in months/years rather than hours/days

- What are weekends?

- Your appearance must be maintained within very strict guidelines, this goes to conduct

- Like drugs? Not going to last long


If you would like to attach the above to say welfare, unemployment insurance, health care I am with you 100%



Celery Eater

dhogaza said...

"- People must work to get paid and all their benefits, if you choose not to work and have to be disciplined you could forfeit all your pay and benefits"

20 and out, pension, lifelong health care ...

Anonymous said...

"20 and out, pension, lifelong health care ... "


The hard part is making it the 20 to get 50%. It is not as easy as it sounds.



Celery Eater

Anonymous said...

For the curious.


http://www.military.com/benefits/content/military-pay/the-military-retirement-system.html


Also, only 17% of those who start military service make it to 20 years.



Celery Eater

Russell said...

Perhaps the palmy Tale of Why will sooth Steve's bloomin dyspepsia:

http://vimeo.com/1516019

Anonymous said...

Ok, CE thanks for the links. So if we did put rates for the top 10% back at clinton levels, how much more would be raised?

Also, Eli's comment isn't clear, but you shouldn't be assuming indefinite trillion dollar deficits. As the recession ends revenue will pick up and certain programs (e.g. Medicaid) will get cheaper.

-Blueshift

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

Ah, Celery eater, Carrot Eater's arch nemesis.

Celery, I tried to make a similar point 2 weeks ago, T Boone Pickens has paid 665 million dollars in taxes from the time he was 70-83.

So if you average that out it is 51.16 million per year and all Mika Brezinski could say was "how much did you make"?

Pickens responded "you don't think I paid enough?"

Anonymous said...

Blueshift,

That is a lot of calculation to determine what the exact difference in tax receipts would be if the top 10% of earners found themselves back at 2000 Tax Table rates. The 2001 tax changes not only lowered rates (39.5-35, 36-33, 31-28, 28-25, 15-15& a new 10% bracket) Captial gains were adjusted, child credits, marriage penalty all applied on a graduated scale.

Reference the IRS link and this http://www.moneychimp.com/features/tax_brackets.htm

We cannot simply raise taxes and grow out of this debt, we have to be realistic and reduce spending.


Carrot Eater was the inspiration for my choosing this name.



Celery Eater

Anonymous said...

Sorry to burst the bubble about Australian defence forces pay.

The small allowances paid to the reserves for their attendance at training is tax free. The salary for fulltime personnel is not usually tax free. Additional payments for overseas service in 'prescribed areas' are tax free. So if you're overseas as part of a delegation or diplomatic arrangement, fully taxed. If you're in Iraq or Afghanistan or similar active duty, the additional allowances are tax exempt.

MinniesMum

Kooiti Masuda said...

Back to Eli's original story.

If we want to mention Easter Island in the context of sustainability, we should recognize two collapses. The first one is perhaps caused by un-wise (in afterthought) decisions by the isolated human community. The second one is caused by those human groups external to the island which happened to have hegemony during some stage of modern globalization. And we are basically successors of those who caused the second stage rather than the victims.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification, MinniesMum. I must have conflated the tax free status of reservists' allowances with the base salary of fulltime personnel.

Of course, given the difference in the salaries between those listed for US Army and Australian Army, having to pay income tax on a large portion doesn't even come close to bridging the apparent gap -- even if the entire amount of the 1st year private's salary is taxable he'll still get over $43,000. It sure looks like you're better off being a private in the Australian Army than a captain in the US Army, regardless of whether US soldiers pay tax or not!

JasonB

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

@Kooiti Masuda

"And we are basically successors of those who caused the second stage rather than the victims."

Kooiti, I am part Irish and I think you're right. I'm going to fly to England and demand reparations from the English because Oliver Cromwell was a bastard and most likely killed one of my relatives.

Kooiti, please feel free to travel to Easter Island and give someone 5 dollars, I just don't think it is going to accomplish anything.

Can anybody think of a group or ethnicity that hasn't been persecuted? I sure can't. I also haven't seen any posts from Eli on this site about how the Romans persecuted Christians and fed them to the lions.

WhiteBeard said...

Russell, 28/12/11, 12:38 PM

Um, according to the text of the copy of Collapse that Diamond autographed for me, he used many cases to illustrate his title theme. Maya, Norse Greenland, Anasazi, Easter and Pitcairn Islanders, Rwanda, Haiti visa vie the Dominican Republic, as well as problems in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley where he has a spread, plus others.

The book isn’t all about societal failures, or solely focused on the environmental considerations linked to their collapse. He discuses successful coping with sever resource limitations by the Polynesians of minuscule Tikopia Island in the South Pacific, some 600 mi to the southwest of the Guadalcanal; the long time densely populated highlands of central New Guinea, unknown to the world before WW 2; Tokugawa-era forest management by the Japanese.

This recent focus on Rapa Nui is just another attack by “The Auditors” on “The Icons” in lieu of substance.

And Oh... how many volumes do you think should be devoted to your 3 paragraphs in light of your neglect to read the book?

Hank Roberts said...

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=court-issues-last-minute-epa#comment-01

Hank Roberts said...

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=federal-judge-blocks-californi