Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Making of Greta Thunberg: Memetic Weapons for the Meme War

If I say that this young lady, Greta Thunberg, is a meme I mean no disrespect for her -- we all are memes! Actually, I think she is a great girl. But the story of how this particular meme was pushed up into becoming an important feature of the planetary memesphere is teaching us so much of how our world works. And how fundamental is memetics as a science. Truly, read on. You'll learn of things you wouldn't have suspected existed!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, first of all, let me introduce to you the study on memetics performed by myself and these two wonderful coworkers of mine, Sara Falsini and Ilaria Perissi. Everyone loves their own brainchild and I do love mine (ours): so, allow me to say that this work may be the first (at least one of the first, I believe) that uses system dynamics as a tool to study memetics. Maybe it will open up a whole new field of studies, but let me tell you this story.

So, what is a meme? A meme is a meme is a meme (as Gertrud Stein never said): a wonderful concept! Think of the blind crocodiles in sewers of New York, that was a pre-internet meme. Or, for a more recent one, "Obama was not born in the US." A meme is not just an idea, but an idea that reproduces itself -- analogous to the gene in biology. It was invented by Richard Dawkins in 1976 and he probably didn't suspect what can of memes he was opening.

Later on, Daniel Dennett said, "a human being is an ape infested with memes." Now, pause a moment to think of this sentence: isn't it wonderful? One of those sentences you look at, you pause for a moment to think about, and then -- poof! -- your view of the world is changed. The beauty of the universe is that you can keep learning new things and, boy, there are so many!

The point of memes is that they can "go viral" in the memesphere -- the Web -- you know this already. But what makes memes go viral? Well, there comes the fascinating thing we discovered in our paper: in biology, there is only one way to go viral: by infection. In memetics, there are two ways. One is the properly viral mode, that is with the virus jumping from a host to another. The other is the "fallout" mode - it is like when an atomic weapons kills people by radiations -- everyone is affected at the same time. Here is the description we give in our paper

In the present study, for the first time, we discuss and compare the birth of a meme and its dynamic propagation both on the internet and in mass media environments. To grasp this fundamental difference in the meme’s origin, we built simple and intuitive models, with the system dynamic (SD) methods. SD models are particularly useful in representing the structure of complex systems, especially the non-linear systems, in which the properties-of-the-whole system are different from the properties that characterize the system’s constituent elements so that the behaviour of the whole cannot be explained in terms of a combination of the behaviour of the single parts. The result of our study reveals that the origin of a meme can be due to two different activities: internet propagation or media bombardment.
 ... memes have characteristics that genes do not have. In particular, memes can be “planted” in the mediasphere using a top-down mechanism based on scattershot diffusion on the part of the mass media. This behaviour can be seen as parallel to that of the radioactive cloud generated by a nuclear incident. The distinction between these two mechanisms can be useful to understand whether a specific meme is the result of a “natural” interest of the public that derives from its special virtues or has been diffused as a top-down operation designed to influence the public or the consumers of a specific product.

And here we are: looking directly into the belly of the great beast that is the memesphere -- the great cauldron of human thought as it boils, it quivers, it festers in the giant ecosystem we call the World Wide Web. And we can see the birth of the little beasts we call memes. Some grow by infecting one node after the other, some by being pushed from above: by that giant beast infecting the memesphere, what we call the "media" or the "mainstream media" (MSM). And what the MSM want to grow, grows.

Let me show first at a meme that grew virally: "Gangnam Style" (you remember the Korean song, popular a few years ago). Here it is, fitted with the system dynamics model

But you don't need a quantitative model to note how the viral propagation mode shows a typical exponential growth mode at the beginning: here is the same meme, Gangnam, on a different scale. It has an induction time -- it is clear. It grew by infecting one node after another, just like biological viruses do with cells.

That's not the case for a fallout mode meme. It has no induction time: it is born instantly, pushed by the MSM. Here is an example, Bataclan, the terror attacks in Paris, in 2015.

You see? No induction time. It grows from zero to the maximum in no time.

But we were speaking about Greta Thunberg, right? What kind of meme is she? Well, let's look for her memetic essence on Google Trends, and there you go:

You see how quick is the growth of the meme? It is a fallout mode, not a grassroots mode. Not so sharp as for Bataclan others but, clearly, there was some force pushing her in the Web.

But this was obvious from the beginning. We know exactly where the Greta Thunberg meme comes from: it is a creation of a Swedish company called "We Don't Have Time." The story is told by Cory Morningstar, and also by Nicolas Casaux, I haven't checked all the details, but these descriptions make sense to me, especially in view of the curve from Google trends. In short, Greta Thumberg is a memetic weapon.

That doesn't mean we should share Cory Morningstar's criticism. After all, the relation of Greta Thunberg and the company called "We Don't Have Time" is open for everybody to see -- it is no secret. Besides, the enemies of humankind are using the same memetic weapons, but in secrecy. Look at this

Yes, Climategate, the famous "scandal" that purportedly proved that all the world's scientists had formed a conspiracy to invent a non-existing danger for their personal advantage. Look at how fast the curve grows: there is almost no induction time. Not a grassroots emergence, someone has been pushing this meme. The MSM were immediately involved to diffuse something that, in itself, was just boring: who would have cared about the personal messages that some scientists had exchanged? But who was that "someone" pushing? We don't know -- and probably we never will. The dark side of the memesphere fights against humankind and they use memetic weapons.

So, folks, this is a memetic war that we are fighting. We are fighting for our survival and we need weapons: no war in history was ever won using just moral superiority. If Greta Thunberg is a memetic weapon, then she is a good meme, created for a good purpose. And let's go on and fight.

h/t Philippe Gauthier and Nicolas Casaux

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Decline of Transition Towns: Why do Good Ideas Always Flare up and Then Disappear?

If you don't know what the Transition Town Movement is, you can take a look at their page, here. It is an interesting idea to increase the resilience of the civilization network by making each node less dependent on other nodes. 

The figure above shows how the concept of "Transition Towns" flared up in the late 2000s and then slowly declined in terms of Internet searches, as shown by Google Trends. That not everything is well with the Transition Town Movement seem to be confirmed by this page. What happened? Was it a bad idea? It didn't work in practice? Or people just got bored of it?

Sam Allen finds the reason for the decline Transition Towns in the fact that " we hitched our wagon to the peak oil narrative big time." In reality, complex systems always behave in a complex manner and the attempt to find a simple explanation for why things go in a certain way is normally bound to fail. Here, saying that "peak oil didn't come, therefore people stopped being interested in transition towns" is really forcing the system into an oversimplified narrative.

In the studies we are performing on memetics (1), we are discovering that memes are virtual creatures, only marginally correlated to the real world. So, if the Transition Town meme declined, it doesn't mean that the idea is not valid or not useful, it has to do, rather, with the limited lifetime of memes in our society, something probably correlated with the way the human mind works.

In practice, the transition meme behaved as all virtual memes do: it flared up and declined as the result of its internal dynamics. The same thing happened with the peak oil meme, which started to decline years before anyone could say whether it corresponded to reality or not, as I argue in this post. The same trajectory was followed also by other memes, for instance, "The Limits to Growth" study that declined in popularity decades before it could be said whether the concepts it proposed were right or wrong.

Memetics is a fascinating field, unfortunately not much studied today (2). Maybe, in the future, we'll know much more about memes. For the time being, anyway, we have to realize that the persistence of most good ideas in the memesphere is not long enough for these ideas to have an impact in changing things. And so it goes.


(1) h/t Ilaria Perissi and Sara Falsini

(2) Below, the result of a search on "memetics" on the Web of Science. The number of studies in the field is increasing, but the numbers are still minuscule in comparison to those for other fields of science

Monday, January 21, 2019

Why do Societies Collapse? Diminishing Returns are a key Factor, a new Study Says

In 1988, Joseph Tainter published a fundamental study on the collapse of societies, proposing the existence of a common cause, diminishing returns, for the fact that all past empires and civilizations had eventually collapsed. Recently, myself and my coworkers Sara Falsini and Ilaria Perissi performed a system dynamics study that confirms Tainter's ideas and goes deeper into the origins of the diminishing returns of civilizations. It was published now on "Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality"

Why do civilizations collapse? It is a question that has been haunting the nebulous entity we call "The West" from the time when Edward Gibbon published his "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," in 1776. The underlying question in Gibbon's massive study was 'are we heading for the same destiny as the Romans?' A question that generations of historians have tried to answer, so far without arriving to answer on which everyone would agree.

There are, literally, hundreds of "explanations" for the decline and fall of empires, and the same confusion reigns for the fall of the past civilizations rising to glory and then biting the dust, becoming little more than ruins and footnotes in history books. Is there a single cause for these collapses? Or is collapse the result of many small effects that, somehow, gang up together to push the great beast down the Seneca Cliff?

One of the most fascinating interpretations of the collapse of civilization is Joseph Tainter's idea that it is due to "diminishing returns." It is a well-known concept in economics that Tainter adapts to the historical cycle of civilizations, focusing on the control structures designed to keep together the whole system, the bureaucracy for instance. Tainter attributes these diminishing returns to an intrinsic property of control structures to become less efficient as they become larger.  Below, you can see a rather well-known graph taken for Tainter's book "The Collapse of Complex societies." (1988)

Tainter's idea is fascinating for several reasons, one is that it generates some order in the incredible confusion of hypotheses and counter-hypotheses of the debate on societal collapse. If Tainter is right, then the many phenomena we observe during the collapse are just a reflection of an inner sickness of the society undergoing it. Barbaric invasions, for instance, are not the reason that led the Roman Empire to fall, the Barbarians just exploited the chance they saw to invade a weakened empire.

A problem with Tainter's idea is that it is qualitative: it is based on the available historical data, for instance, the debasing of the Roman currency, but the curve of the diminishing returns is just drawn by hand. One question you might want to ask is: fine, there are diminishing returns, but where is the collapse in the curve? Another one could be: if the system experiences diminishing returns, why doesn't it just retrace the curve to go back to where it was before?

These and other questions are examined in a system dynamics study that myself and my coworkers, Ilaria Perissi and Sara Falsini, performed. The idea is that if a civilization is a complex system, then it should be possible to model it using system dynamics, a tool specifically designed for this purpose. So, we built a series of models inspired by the concept of "mind-sized" models. That is, models that don't pretend to be a detailed description of the system but try to catch the basic mechanisms that make the system move and, sometimes, go through tipping points and collapse. We found that on the basis of some simple assumption, it is possible to produce a curve that qualitatively looks like Tainter's one

The system dynamics model tells us that the origin of the diminishing returns lies in the gradual depletion of the resources that flow through the system. It is not so much an effect of increasing complexity in itself, the problem is sustaining that complexity.

Then, the model also tells us what happens on "the other side" of the curve. That is, what happens if the system continues its trajectory beyond the point where Tainter's curve stop. The curve shows a clear hysteresis, that is, it doesn't follow the earlier path, but it remains always on a low-benefit trajectory. It means that cutting on bureaucracy doesn't make the system more efficient.

These results are not the final word on the question of societal collapse. But they do provide some fundamental insight, I think. It is the fact that the system is "alive" as long as its resources provide good returns -- in terms of energy resources, it means they have a good EROEI (energy returned on energy invested). If the EROEI goes down, then the system falls into the Seneca Cliff.

Of course, since our society depends on fossil fuels, we are bound to go that way because the depletion of the best resources is progressively lowering the EROEI of the system. If we want to keep alive some kind of complex society, we can't do that by scraping the bottom of the barrel, desperately trying to burn what we can still burn. But, unfortunately, it is exactly what most governments in the world are trying to do. It is a good way to speed up toward the impending cliff.

What we should do, instead, would be to move as fast as possible toward a renewable-based society. We are lucky that we have energy technologies efficient enough in term of EROEI that they could support a transition to a better, cleaner, and more prosperous world. Too bad that nobody seems to want them.

There has to be something in the concept of "BAU" that makes it one of the most powerful attractors you can simulate in a system dynamics model. And so we are moving toward an uncertain future, but one thing that we can be sure of is that fossil fuels will not accompany us there.


Our complete paper can be found here. You can also find an abridged version on ArXiv.

And here are the authors

Ugo Bardi

Sara Falsini

Ilaria Perissi

Note: an earlier version of this post was destroyed by the evil minions of the Great Satan -- that is by Google Blogger.

Friday, January 18, 2019

What are the chances of a war that would exterminate most of humankind? It could be more likely than you think

Recently, together with my coworkers, I have been engaged in a statistical analysis of war over the past 600 years. The results were sobering: war, it seems, is a statistical phenomenon similar to earthquakes and forest fires. It strikes according to well defined statistical patterns and there is very little that can be done to avoid it. Aaron Clauset is another scientist who has been working on the same subject and, in a sobering analysis of his, he calculates the probablities of future wars. According to his calculations, a war as large as the Second World War has more than 40% chances to occur within 100 years from now. Then, a war causing more than billion battle deaths, that is exterminating most of humankind, has a probability of 5% to occur in less than 4 centuries from now. That doesn't mean we can relax for 4 centuries, not at all. It means we can expect it at any moment in the future.

From Aaron Clauset, 2018. (highlighting by UB)

.... a stationary model may be used to estimate the likelihood of a very large war occurring over 100 years, one like the Second World War, which produced x* = 16,634,907 battle deaths. Using the ensemble of semiparametric models for the sizes of wars and assuming a new war onset every 1.91 years on average (43), the probability of observing at least one war with x* or more deaths is p* = 0.43 ± 0.01 (Monte Carlo), and the expected number of these events over the next 100 years is 0.62 ± 0.01. Hence, under stationarity, the likelihood of a very large war over the next 100 years is not particularly small.

Under an even stronger assumption of stationarity, the model can estimate the waiting time for a war of truly spectacular size, such as one with x = 1,000,000,000 (one billion) battle deaths. A conflict this large would be globally catastrophic and would likely mark the end of modern civilization. It is also not outside the realm of possibility, if current nuclear weapons were used widely.

Using the ensemble of semiparametric models of war sizes and a longer Monte Carlo simulation, the model estimates that the median forecasted waiting time for such an event is 1339 years. Reflecting the large fluctuations that are natural under the empirical war size distribution, the distribution of waiting times for such a catastrophic event is enormously variable, with the 5 to 95% quantiles ranging from 383 to 11,489 years. A median delay of roughly 1300 years does not seem like a long time to wait for an event this enormous in magnitude, and humans have been waging war on each other, in one way or another, for substantially longer than that.

Monday, January 14, 2019

What Happened in 2015 that Changed the World? "Peak Cement" may Signal the Turning Point of Civilization

"Peak Cement" may have taken place in 2015, stopping the exponentially growing curve that would have led us to turn the Earth into a bowling ball, similar to the fictional planet Trantor, Galactic capital in Isaac Asimov's series "Foundation" (image source).

When giving an example of an exponentially growing production curve, I used to cite cement production. Look at the data up to 2013: a beautiful growing curve with a doubling time of -- very roughly -- 10 years. Then, if we assume that the current concrete covered area in the world is about 2%  (an average of the data by Schneider et al., 2009 and the Global Rural-Urban Mapping Project, 2004) then we would get to Trantor -- bowling ball planet -- in some 50 years.

Of course that wasn't possible, but it was still a surprise to discover how abrupt the change has been: here are the most recent data (the value for 2018 is still an estimate from

Impressive, right? Steve Rocco, smart as usual, had already noticed this trend in 2017, but now it is clearer. It looks like a peak, it has the shape of a peak, it gives the impression of a peak. Most likely it is a peak -- actually, it could be the start of an irreversible decline in the global cement production.

Now, what caused the decline? If you look at the disaggregated data, it is clear that the slowdown was mainly created by China, but not just by China. Several countries in the world are going down in terms of cement production -- in Italy, the decline started in 2010.

My impression -- that I share with the one proposed by Rocco -- is that this is not a blip in the curve, nor a special case among the various mineral commodities produced nowadays. It is a symptom of a general problem: it may be the clearest manifestation of the concept of "peak civilization" that the 1972 "Limits to Growth" study had placed for some moment during the 1st or 2nd decades of the 21st century.

Peak Cement is not alone another major peak was detected by Antonio Turiel for diesel fuel in 2015.

And, of course, we know that another major commodity went through a global peak in 2014: coal. (data from


So, are we really facing "peak civilization"? It is hard to say. On a time scale of a few years, many things could change and, in any case, you don't expect peaking to take place at the same time for all mineral commodities, everywhere. A strong indication that the whole world system is peaking would come from the behavior of the global GDP. Rocco had proposed that also the GDP had peaked in 2015, but the data available at present are insufficient to prove that.

In any case, it has been said that we would see the great peak "in the rear mirror"and this may well be what we are seeing. Whatever is happening it will be clearer in the future but, if it is really "the peak", expect the Seneca cliff to open up in front of us in the coming years. And maybe it won't be such a bad thing(*): did we really want to turn the Earth into a bowling ball?

(*) Antonio Turiel lists in a post of his (in Spanish) all the advantages ensuing from a societal collapse: reducing emissions, less pollution, a saner society and more)

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Future as Seen by the Doomers. It Will be the Seneca Rebound!

Recently, RE (Reverse Engineer) of the famed "Doomsday Diner" carried out an opinion poll among the people frequenting some of the most doomeristic/catastrophistic/millennialistic sites of the Web (including Ugo Bardi's blog, Cassandra's Legacy).

Refreshingly, a majority of the members of this group of hard-liners are in favor of renewable energy! Only 36% of the group think that renewable energy is useless, while 57% think it will power a sustainable technological civilization.

So, maybe you are one of those people who feel it is their duty to pester the discussions on this subject with your favorite statement that goes as "renewable energy plants are built using energy coming from fossil fuels, therefore will never be anything but fossil fuel extenders." Then, know that not only you are wrong, you also understood nothing of the concept of EROI, and, finally, you are also a minority even among the minority of the millennialists of the Web.

Yes, the transition will not be easy, but renewable energy is the future of humankind. It is the Seneca Rebound, baby!

Monday, January 7, 2019

"Energy Dominance," what does it mean? Decoding a Fashionable Slogan

"Now, I know for a fact that American energy dominance is within our grasp as a nation.” Ryan Zinke, U.S. Secretary of the Interior (source)

"All Warfare is Based on Deception" Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"

Over nearly a half-century, since the time of Richard Nixon, American presidents have proclaimed the need for "energy independence" for the US, without ever succeeding in attaining it. During the past few years, it has become fashionable to say that the US has, in fact, become energy independent, even though it is not true. And, doubling down on this concept, there came the idea of "energy dominance," introduced by the Trump administration in June 2017.  It is now used at all levels in the press and in the political debate.

No doubt, the US has good reasons to be bullish on oil production. Of the three major world producers, it is the only one growing: it has overtaken Saudi Arabia and it seems to be poised to overtake Russia in a few years. (graphic source).

This rebound in the US production after the decline that started in the early 1970s is nearly miraculous. And the miracle as a name: shale oil. A great success, sure, but, if you think about it, the whole story looks weird: the US is trying to gain this "dominance" by means of resources which, once burned, will be forever gone. It is like people competing at who is burning their own house faster. What sense does it make?

Art Berman keeps telling us that shale oil is an expensive resource that could be produced at a profit only for market conditions that are unrealistic to expect. So far, much more money has been poured into shale oil production than it has returned from the sales of shale oil. "Energy dominance" seems to be just an elaborate way to lose money and resources. Again, what sense does that make?

But there is a logic in the term "energy dominance." It has to do with the way slogans are used in politics: a slogan is not just a compact way of expressing a certain political concept, it is often a coded message that hides much more than it says. So, we know that "bringing democracy" to a foreign country means to bomb it to smithereens. "Make America great again" means subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. "The Indispensable Country" means, "The American Empire." And more.

There is nothing wrong in using coded slogans: you only have to know how to decode them. So, "energy dominance" has to be decoded and turned into "military dominance." Then, things start making sense.

One quick note before you accuse me of being a conspiracy theorist: I am reasonably sure that there is no "control room" in a dark basement of the Pentagon or of the White House deciding long-term economic and military objectives. The decision mechanism of modern states is collective and networked. It is akin to that of anthills: there is nobody in charge, plenty of people push in different directions and, eventually, the giant structure may start moving in a certain direction.

So, the fact that so much money has been directed toward the exploitation of shale oil and gas doesn't mean that someone at the top decided that it was the thing to be done. It is simply, that investors tend to direct their financial resources where they think they'll have returns, and that may well be the result of a collective hallucination. Investing in shale oil is, basically, a Ponzi scheme but if Ponzi schemes exist there is a reason for them to exist. Even if investing in something doesn't generate overall profits, it moves money, benefits contractors, raises the GDP, and the more money is invested the more expectations of profits grow. And so it goes until the bubble bursts, but that may take time.

But there is more than that in this story: it is the military side. We all know that wars are won by the side that can pour more resources into the fight. It was in this way that the first and the second world war were won: the allies could produce more energy in the form of oil, coal, and gas. And, with these energy sources, they could produce more stuff: planes, tanks, cannons, bombs, bullets, and more stuff that was thrown at the Germans until they gave up. Matthieu Auzeannau gives us plenty of examples of this mechanism in his book "Oil, Power, and War." The Germans were always lacking enough oil to power their military machine and that's why they were doomed from the beginning.

For the military, the lesson of the past world wars is that wars are won by the side which has the largest oil supply. And they remember it. So, if you want to attain military dominance, energy independence is not enough, you need to attain energy dominance.

Everything makes sense also in view of some recent results on the statistical patterns of wars. Wars, it seems, are correlated to the thermodynamic phenomenon of entropy dissipation in complex systems. The more energy there is to dissipate, the faster it is dissipated. And if this dissipation is really fast, it may take the shape of a war -- war is the fastest way to destroy (dissipate) accumulated resources. But, in order to dissipate resources, you need to accumulate them first, and that's the role of shale oil in the current situation.

Which means that shale oil is not a natural resource, it is a military resource. As such, it doesn't matter if it brings a profit or not for the investors. What matters is how it can be used to maintain and expand that gigantic social and economic structure that we call "Globalization" (another slogan that can be decoded as "the global empire").

As long as the production of shale oil increases, we face the risk of a new, major world war. We can only hope that the shale bubble bursts by itself first. One more good reason why a Seneca Collapse of oil production would be good for all of us.

Friday, January 4, 2019

How do you Stop the Arms Race? By Starting a New War, for Instance

Do you see a ghostly Seneca Cliff in this graph? (source)

There is a good rule that you should always be careful when extrapolating your data, especially over the long term. And there is an even better rule saying that you should never, never extrapolate an exponential growth. The uncertainty in the data of an exponentially growing curve increases exponentially, too, and that makes your extrapolation meaningless very soon.

But, in the figure above, they extrapolated an exponentially growing curve for the military expenses of the US and China over more than 30 years!  The origin of that curve above seems to be the RAND Corporation. I couldn't find the original source, but it has been reproduced in the blog of the Wall Street Journal and on Zero Hedge

It looks like someone seriously proposed this extrapolation. But consider a few numbers: according to the chart, by 2050 the US would spend more than 20% of its present GdP for the military! (it is now about 3%). It might be possible if the US GdP were to increase in proportion. But, from the graph, they assume a growth of nearly a factor of 5 (from ca. 600 billion dollars, today, to 2.9 trillion in little more than 30 years. It means that the GdP should double at least twice in 30 years, that is, the US economy should grow at the rate of 6% (twice the current rate!) every year for the next 30 years. Otherwise, the US government would bankrupt itself even faster than it is doing now. 

Now, you might want to dismiss this graph as one of the many silly forecasts that are part of the everyday chat on how this or that sector of the economy is going to grow -- and therefore everyone should invest on it. But, there is something in this idea that military expenses are going to rise in the future. It has to do with a typical enhancing feedback effect. One side raises its military expenses and causes the other side to do the same. And that's the feedback that creates a ladder on which both contenders climb without knowing how to step down. Another parallel effect is the financial mechanism. Large investments in military expenses create a powerful lobby representing the military-industrial complex. A powerful lobby successfully pushes for higher investments and that, in turn, creates an even more powerful lobby. It is all part of what we call "arms race."

Here is another example of an arms race: how military expenses grew in the years before the 1st World War. (from Our World in Data -- see also this link)

The impression is that, by 1913, nobody knew how to stop the race and that the only "solution" that could be found to block the ever-increasing costs was to start a war -- which they did.

The similarity of the current situation with that of the years leading to WWI has been noted more than once. So, are we going to see a new world war in the near future? We cannot say: history doesn't really repeat itself, although it does rhyme. It might not be necessary to start a new world war to stop the exponential growth of military expenses, but the data are not encouraging. A new war could really be near. And, a nuclear war could generate a Seneca Collapse so drastic and disastrous that it could really be the "war ending all wars" -- as WWI should have been -- at least those not fought with clubs and stone axes only.


Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome and the author of "Extracted: how the quest for mineral resources is plundering the Planet" (Chelsea Green 2014). His most recent book is "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017)