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PS5 Listings On Amazon + Another PS5 Game LEAKED

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Pokémon Card Scammer Sells Fake Graded Cards for $2 Million

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Photo: Kotaku

Pokémon cards and crime are intimately intertwined at this point, as the collectible cards are often wrapped up in robberies and scams due to their high resale value. Some of the stories surrounding Pokémon card sales have reached tragic ends, and the entire subculture of scalping, stealing, and reselling these pieces of cardboard hangs like a cloud over parts of the Pokémon community. But as a quick way to make money, the whole scheme is pretty appealing, so appealing, in fact, that a seemingly reformed bank robber decided to get in on the grift and scammed people out of millions.

Anthony Curcio, an infamous bank robber who pulled off an elaborate armored car heist in Washington state in 2008, has spent much of the past decade as an advocate speaking to youth about drug addiction and crime. But it sounds like he’s since made a hard pivot into Pokémon card scamming. Fox 13 Seattle has a story on the situation (thanks, Nintendo Wire), which outlines how Curcio, alongside accomplice Iosif Bondarchuk, has been scamming buyers of Pokémon and sports cards to the tune of $2 million.

The pair has allegedly been selling falsely graded cards to buyers, from local card shops in Washington to nationwide victims via online sales. One of their alleged fakes, a duplicate of a 1986 Michael Jordan card, was listed for $171,700, which caught the attention of the card grader company Professional Sports Authenticator. Curcio and Bondarchuk could face up to 20 years in prison for their crimes if found guilty.

Fox 13 Seattle

Neither Curcio and Bondarchuk have been convicted as of yet, and Fox 13 Seattle had no luck getting a comment from Curcio after going to his listed address. It’s a shame that Curcio spent the last decade seemingly getting out of his life of crime just to seemingly turn right back into it. That’s some Team Rocket nonsense, but Curcio might be blasting off again soon.



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Power-Efficient 2 GBps in an IP66 Package

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Lexar has a long history of serving the flash-based consumer storage market in the form of SSDs, memory cards, and USB flash drives. After having started out as a Micron brand, the company was acquired in 2017 by Longsys which has diversified its product lineup with regular introduction of new products. Recently, the company announced a number of portable SSDs targeting different market segments. The Lexar ARMOR 700 Portable SSD makes its entry as the new flagship in the 20 Gbps PSSD segment.

Despite its flagship positioning and rugged nature, the ARMOR 700 is reasonably priced thanks to the use of a native USB flash controller – the Silicon Motion SM2320. Similar to the SL500, the product uses YMTC 3D TLC NAND (compared to the usual Micron or BiCS NAND that we have seen in SM2320-based PSSDs from other vendors). This review takes a detailed look at the ARMOR 700, including an analysis of its internals and evaluation of its performance consistency, power consumption, and thermal profile.

Introduction and Product Impressions

External bus-powered storage devices have been growing in storage capacity as well as access speeds over the last decade. Advancements in flash technology (such as the advent of 3D NAND and NVMe) and the evolution of faster host interfaces (such as Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.x / USB4). As a result, we have been seeing palm-sized flash-based storage devices capable of delivering 3GBps+ speeds. While those speeds can be achieved with Thunderbolt 4, mass-market devices have to rely on USB. Within the USB ecosystem, USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) is fast becoming the entry level for thumb drives and portable SSDs. USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20 Gbps) got off to a slow start, but recent computing platforms from both Intel and AMD have started to support it on the host side. The introduction of native USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 flash controllers such as the Phison U18 and Silicon Motion SM2320 has enabled PSSD vendors to bring low-cost power-efficient 20 Gbps external drives to the market.

Broadly speaking, there are currently five distinct performance levels in the PSSD market:

  • 2GBps+ drives with Thunderbolt 3 or USB4, using NVMe SSDs
  • 2GBps drives with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, using NVMe SSDs or direct USB flash drive (UFD) controllers
  • 1GBps drives with USB 3.2 Gen 2, using NVMe SSDs or direct UFD controllers
  • 500MBps drives with USB 3.2 Gen 1 (or, Gen 2, in some cases), using SATA SSDs
  • Sub-400MBps drives with USB 3.2 Gen 1, using UFD controllers

Within each of these levels, there is further segmentation into entry-level, mid-range, and premium based on the choice of internal components. The Lexar ARMOR 700 we are looking at today falls under the second category. Lexar touts the rugged nature (IP66 rating) along with class-leading speeds as key selling points. The packaging itself is spartan – we have a discrete Type-C to Type-C cable, along with an user guide. The Type-C cable has a permanently attached Type-C to Type-A adapter that can be put together (as shown in the picture below) for use with Type-A host ports.

While the casing is metal, it comes with a rubber sleeve to impart the necessary water and dust resistance. Unlike the SL500, there are four screws hidden under the coverings on the side with the Type-C port and the one opposite to it. Removal of the screws allows the plastic trays holding the circuit board to be pulled out. While the SL500 opted to keep the board in place under tabs in the tray, the ARMOR 700 uses four screws for this purpose.

The components on the board of the ARMOR 700 are very similar to the one in the SL500, but the board itself is slightly wider to encompass the full width of the frame (and also provide space for the screw holes). The gallery below presents some insights into the case design and internals of the PSSD. Comparing against the teardown pictures of the SL500, we see the main difference being the addition of a waterproofing rubber seal in the plastic tray, and a rubber band around the Type-C port to prevent water and dust ingress.

Similar to the SL500, the board does not have any explicit thermal solution – no thermal pads or conducting paths to the external casing from either the controller or flash packages. The SM2320 UFD controller is directly visible on the board.

The 2TB version includes four flash packages in a double-sided configuration. The packages are from Longsys themselves with no obvious indication of the NAND inside (except for the 512G at the end of the part number, indicating 512 GB per package). Fortunately, we have a publicly available NAND decoder tool for Silicon Motion PSSDs, and that reveals the use of YMTC’s 128L 3D TLC inside the packages. While the NAND used is the same as the one in the SL500 sample reviewed earlier, it is just that the per-package capacity is different.

This review compares the Lexar ARMOR 700 against a host of other 2GBps-class PSSDs we have reviewed before. An overview of the internal capabilities of these PSSDs is given by CrystalDiskInfo. The ARMOR 700 supports full S.M.A.R.T passthrough, along with TRIM to ensure consistent performance for the drive over its lifetime.

S.M.A.R.T Passthrough – CrystalDiskInfo

The table below presents a comparative view of the specifications of the different PSSDs presented in this review.

Comparative Direct-Attached Storage Devices Configuration
Aspect
Downstream Port Native Flash Native Flash
Upstream Port USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C (Female) USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C (Female)
Bridge Chip Silicon Motion SM2320 Silicon Motion SM2320
Power Bus Powered Bus Powered
     
Use Case 2GBps-class, IP66-rated, rugged palm-sized high-performance portable SSD with hardware encryption and a Type-C interface 2GBps-class, sleek and stylish palm-sized high-performance portable SSD with hardware encryption and a Type-C interface
     
Physical Dimensions 86.2 mm x 54.4 mm x 13.2 mm 85 mm x 54 mm x (4.5 to 7.8) mm
Weight 80 grams 43 grams
Cable 30 cm USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C to Type-C
Attached Type-C female to Type-A male adapter (resultant Type-C to Type-A cable length : 31.8 cm)
30 cm USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C (male) to Type-C (male)
     
S.M.A.R.T Passthrough Yes Yes
UASP Support Yes Yes
TRIM Passthrough Yes Yes
Hardware Encryption Yes Yes
     
Evaluated Storage YMTC 128L 3D TLC (packaged by Longsys) YMTC 128L 3D TLC (packaged by Longsys)
     
Price $240 $118
Review Link Lexar ARMOR 700 2TB Review Lexar SL500 1TB Review

Similar to the SL500, the Lexar ARMOR 700 also supports 256-bit AES encryption using Lexar’s custom password-protection software (that needs to be installed on all machines that need access to the contents).

Prior to looking at the benchmark numbers, power consumption, and thermal solution effectiveness, a description of the testbed setup and evaluation methodology is provided.

Testbed Setup and Evaluation Methodology

Direct-attached storage devices (including thumb drives) are evaluated using the Quartz Canyon NUC (essentially, the Xeon / ECC version of the Ghost Canyon NUC) configured with 2x 16GB DDR4-2667 ECC SODIMMs and a PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD – the IM2P33E8 1TB from ADATA.

The most attractive aspect of the Quartz Canyon NUC is the presence of two PCIe slots (electrically, x16 and x4) for add-in cards. In the absence of a discrete GPU – for which there is no need in a DAS testbed – both slots are available. In fact, we also added a spare SanDisk Extreme PRO M.2 NVMe SSD to the CPU direct-attached M.2 22110 slot in the baseboard in order to avoid DMI bottlenecks when evaluating Thunderbolt 3 devices. This still allows for two add-in cards operating at x8 (x16 electrical) and x4 (x4 electrical). Since the Quartz Canyon NUC doesn’t have a native USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port, Silverstone’s SST-ECU06 add-in card was installed in the x4 slot. All non-Thunderbolt devices are tested using the Type-C port enabled by the SST-ECU06.

The specifications of the testbed are summarized in the table below:

The 2021 AnandTech DAS Testbed Configuration
System Intel Quartz Canyon NUC9vXQNX
CPU Intel Xeon E-2286M
Memory ADATA Industrial AD4B3200716G22
32 GB (2x 16GB)
DDR4-3200 ECC @ 22-22-22-52
OS Drive ADATA Industrial IM2P33E8 NVMe 1TB
Secondary Drive SanDisk Extreme PRO M.2 NVMe 3D SSD 1TB
Add-on Card SilverStone Tek SST-ECU06 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C Host
OS Windows 10 Enterprise x64 (21H1)
Thanks to ADATA, Intel, and SilverStone Tek for the build components

The testbed hardware is only one segment of the evaluation. Over the last few years, the typical direct-attached storage workloads for memory cards have also evolved. High bit-rate 4K videos at 60fps have become quite common, and 8K videos are starting to make an appearance. Game install sizes have also grown steadily even in portable game consoles, thanks to high resolution textures and artwork. Keeping these in mind, our evaluation scheme for portable SSDs and UFDs involves multiple workloads which are described in detail in the corresponding sections.

  • Synthetic workloads using CrystalDiskMark and ATTO
  • Real-world access traces using PCMark 10’s storage benchmark
  • Custom robocopy workloads reflective of typical DAS usage
  • Sequential write stress test

In the next section, we have an overview of the performance of the Lexar ARMOR 700 in these benchmarks. Prior to providing concluding remarks, we have some observations on the PSSD’s power consumption numbers and thermal solution also.



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Minecraft Live 2023 Highlights — Crafty

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So, what exactly is Minecraft Live and what happened in the latest one? For those of you who might not know, let’s start there.

The Minecraft Live event has come and gone, leaving all of us Minecraft enthusiasts with a bittersweet taste in our mouths. It’s not because the features announced were bad – quite the contrary – but because we now have to wait for these amazing features to make their way into our beloved blocky world.

What is Minecraft Live?

Minecraft Live is the annual extravaganza where Mojang, the brilliant minds behind Minecraft, unveils exciting new updates, features, and goodies for all the Minecraft players out there. It’s a day of pure Minecraft magic, where we get a sneak peek at what’s coming next. It’s like Christmas but with more creepers!

Now that you’re up to speed on Minecraft Live, let’s dive into the juicy details of what was revealed at this year’s event.

The Mob Vote: Penguin, Armadillo, or Crab?

2023 Mob Vote Winner: Armadillo

One of the most anticipated parts of Minecraft Live is the Mob Vote. This year, the choice was even more exciting because we had real-life animals to choose from: the Penguin, the Armadillo, and the Crab. Each of these creatures came with their own unique abilities and uses.

Let’s break it down:

Penguin: These adorable waddlers promised to be our sea buddies by giving a speed boost to boats.

Crab: With the Crab, you could extend your reach, which is pretty nifty.

Armadillo: The Armadillo came in as the true winner. Not only could it roll up into a protective ball when it sensed danger, but it also dropped scutes. These scutes might not be like turtle scutes, but they’re perfect for crafting armor.

Not just any armor, though – it’s armor for wolves! That’s right; your furry canine pals are getting an upgrade. Doggo lovers, rejoice!

So, which mob did you vote for? The Armadillo’s victory shows just how much we adore our loyal wolf companions.

Meet the Crafter: Automated Crafting at Your Service!

Crafter
Crafter

Get ready to say goodbye to those long hours of manual crafting because of the Crafter! This nifty block is here to make your crafting life easier. While they didn’t spill all the details on how it works into much detail the trailer clips hinted at something resembling a hopper system.

You can select a recipe, feed it the required items, and, voilà, it’ll spit out the crafted item for you. It’s like having your own personal Minecraft assistant. The Crafter is going to be a game-changer for all you farm builders out there.

Many players are already getting creative with the Crafter and preparing schematics of many automated crafting processes such as the following where the process of crafting fireworks is automated

Automated firework crafting. Credit: billyK_
Automated firework crafting. Credit: billyK_

Trial Dungeons: Underground Adventures Await!

Trial Dungeon Spawner
Trial Dungeon Spawner

You thought the Ancient City was already challenging? Well, get ready for an even bigger adventure because Trial Dungeons are coming. These dungeons promise more challenges and, this time, you can tackle them with friends!

What’s different, you ask? These dungeons will spawn underground at various depths, and each one will be entirely made of new copper and tuff blocks. New blocks are always a treat, right?

Our absolute favorite was the Copper Bulb which emits varying levels of light based on the oxidation of the block!

These dungeons also come with exciting features, like the brand-new Trial Spawners.

These spawners release mobs depending on your proximity to the spawner and the number of players nearby. So, more players equals more mobs – teamwork is key! Not just that, it also drops loot on successfully defeating all the mobs!

Not only that, a new hostile mob joins the party in the Trial Dungeons, the Breeze. As its name suggests, it uses the wind as its weapon, looking somewhat like a cousin of the Nether mob Blaze, but with a windy twist.

The Breeze can shoot projectiles and launch melee attacks. But what’s really intriguing is that it can trigger redstone blocks. How that’s going to play out remains a mystery, but we’re guessing it’ll shoot some buttons to open secret doors for players to hide under when it goes on a rampage.

This is all speculation based on teasers, of course, but the Trial Dungeons seem like an exciting addition to Minecraft.

What’s Next?

Despite the thrilling reveals at Minecraft Live, there’s one thing that left many in the community feeling slightly unsatisfied. Unlike previous events, we didn’t get a name for this upcoming update.

We’ll have to wait until next year for the big reveal, and many features will remain shrouded in mystery until then.

But remember, Minecraft is more than just a game on one device. It’s available on nearly every major console and platform, making it a mammoth task to roll out updates to all these devices simultaneously.

So, in the meantime, enjoy all the incredible features we already have and keep on crafting, exploring, and creating.

Minecraft Live 2023 may have left us craving more, but it’s only a matter of time before we get to dive headfirst into these fantastic new updates.



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Biden camp hits out at Elon Musk and ‘sucker’ Donald Trump

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Joe Biden’s campaign has hit out at Donald Trump as he tries to court Elon Musk and other megadonors, mocking the Republican presidential candidate as a “sucker” who is being used by billionaires seeking tax cuts.

The US president’s campaign also accused Trump of cutting deals with donors to help cover legal costs stemming from civil and criminal cases including his hush-money trial in New York, where a verdict is expected imminently.

“Despite what Donald Trump thinks, America is not for sale to billionaires, oil and gas executives, or even Elon Musk,” said Biden campaign spokesperson James Singer on Thursday.

“Trump is selling out America to pay his legal bills and put himself in power, while all billionaires like Elon see a sucker: they know if they cut him campaign checks, he’ll cut their taxes while he cuts Social Security and other benefits for the middle class.”

The comments from the Biden camp mark the latest effort by Democrats to depict Trump as a candidate in hock to fossil-fuel executives and right-wing billionaires, and as one who will draw Silicon Valley bosses such as Musk into an increasingly bitter presidential race.

Trump held fundraisers with oil and gas chiefs including shale tycoon Harold Hamm and Occidental Petroleum’s Vicki Hollub earlier this month. He will head to California for fundraisers with deep-pocketed supporters next month.

While Biden still leads the money race, Trump is gaining donors on Wall Street. In Silicon Valley, long considered a liberal oasis, some libertarian donors are also warming to Trump as they fret over issues such as free speech, technology regulation and taxes.

Musk, who previously supported Biden, has become increasingly critical of the president to his 185mn followers on X, the social media platform he owns, targeting his immigration policies and mental acuity. 

“Biden obviously barely knows what’s going on. He is just a tragic front for a far-left political machine,” the Tesla and SpaceX chief wrote on the platform last month.

Singer said Biden “has been standing up to people like Elon” his entire political career.

The Biden campaign comments also come a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump could appoint Musk to an advisory role in his administration if he were to win in November. Musk has also briefed Trump on a data project to prevent voter fraud, according to the report.

In April, Musk held an anti-Biden dinner in Hollywood alongside venture capitalist David Sacks, with a guest list that included entrepreneur Peter Thiel, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Biden has also been criticised by Sacks, who is close to Musk, and fellow Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen. Sacks is hosting a San Francisco fundraiser for Trump on June 6, ahead of another fundraiser by Palmer Luckey, founder of defence group Anduril and Oculus VR, in Newport Beach, California.  

Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The City Police take part in a solidarity event to combat child cancer – Ajuntament de Barcelona

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The City Police take part in a solidarity event to combat child cancer  Ajuntament de Barcelona



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Crypto voters have already influenced the 2024 presidential election

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Crypto voters have become a new battleground for the 2024 presidential election, in a bipartisan shift that has taken Washington by surprise.

After Hack, Christie’s Gives Details of Compromised Client Data

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The auction house Christie’s said Thursday that it had alerted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the British police about the cyberattack that hobbled its website earlier this month, and began telling clients what types of personal data had been compromised.

The company said in an email to clients that neither their financial data nor any information about their recent sales activity had been exposed in the hack. But it said that some personal data from clients’ identification documents had been compromised.

“The personal identity data came from identification documents, for example passports and driving licenses, provided as part of client ID checks, which Christie’s is required to retain for compliance reasons,” Jessica Stanley, a Christie’s spokeswoman, said in a statement on Thursday morning. “No ID photographs, signatures, email addresses or phone numbers were taken.”

It was the first time that Christie’s officials had detailed to the public what kind of information the hackers might have acquired from its records on some of the world’s richest art collectors. The admission came a few days after a group called RansomHub took responsibility for the cyberattack and threatened to release its findings on nearly 500,000 clients of the company. Previously, the auction house referred to the cyberattack as a “technology security incident” and attempted to calm anxious bidders with a temporary website despite serious concerns among some employees.

The company’s efforts to downplay the importance of the cyberattack were largely successful with bidders. Its marquee spring auctions, which got underway shortly after the hack, netted sales worth $528 million.

RansomHub, which took responsibility for the Christie’s hack, wrote on the dark web that “we attempted to come to a reasonable resolution with them but they ceased communication midway through” and threatened to begin releasing data.

Christie’s said in its email to clients that it had notified the relevant law enforcement authorities in Britain and the United States. Law enforcement officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In its email to clients, Christie’s urged people to check their accounts for any unusual activity and wrote that it would be offering them “complimentary identity theft protection and monitoring services.”



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A Russian Gas Pipeline, and a $6 Billion Question For Ukraine

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SUBSCRIBER+ EXCLUSIVE REPORTING — It’s one of the stranger economic realities of the war in Ukraine: Ukraine is still earning $800 million a year shipping Russian gas to Europe, shipments that net Russia more than $6 billion a year in hard currency. With the flick of a switch, Ukraine could end that flow of cash to Moscow – cash that is fueling Russia’s war. 

Why wouldn’t Ukraine do that?

“The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

Access all of The Cipher Brief’s national security-focused expert insight by becoming a Cipher Brief Subscriber+ Member.

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The Major World Dilemma – Job One for Humanity

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The desire to continue the good life of modern civilization vs. the pollution of the natural world in the production of goods and services.

Scientists understand the consequences to the natural world of the use of fossil fuel energy. Burning coal, petroleum, and natural gas creates carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other emissions that are stored in the atmosphere, the oceans, and on land. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, these gases have increased, reaching their highest amount today.

Refined scientific models also project the probable results of continued use of fossil fuel energy. Even the most conservative models show that to continue “business as normal” will result in global warming that exceeds limits beyond which natural and social disasters will occur. Based on these models, many international groups of climate scientists and government officials have established goals to limit greenhouse gas emissions to safe levels. 

These goals cannot be met when greenhouse gas emissions of recent decades continue to increase as projected for the next few years, let alone for decades, into the future. The questions must be asked: Why are the nations of the world unable to meet those goals?

The basic social/cultural fact is that the energy from fossil fuels underlies modern civilization. Unparalleled rapid release of concentrated energy from the burning of fossil fuels has created a panoply of tools, goods and services that support human life today.  Humans’ desires to continue and expand the goods and services of modern civilization is the first half of a dilemma.

The second half of the dilemma is that the use of fossil fuels to make the desired goods and services releases pollution in the form of heat, chemicals, and other waste products into the natural environment. Only in recent years have many people become aware of the undesirable effects of worldwide pollution.

Modern civilization is based on ideas of growth and progress and measured in terms of more goods, more services, and longer life. It has been extremely successful. More goods and services are available than at any other time in history. No emperor or king was so well served. In the last 224 years, the world population has grown from one billion people to more than eight billion people. (Over seventy million people will be added this year, alone.) 

Natural resources were able to supply, sustainably, the demands of humans until 1970, at which time the global footprint exceeded the ability of the Earth to absorb the pollution created by emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the oceans, and land surfaces. Since 1970, the world population has doubled, placing additional demands on agriculture and grazing lands, ocean and forest resources and urban uses. The excessive demands of the ‘developed’ world are strikingly exemplified by the ecological footprint of the United States. Even as the biocapacity (the natural resources) of the United States is great, demands on it vastly exceed its ability to supply them, i.e., its ecological footprint exceeds the resources of the Earth by more than four and a half times. The result is that many of its resources come from outside the country; and its waste products are sent to the atmosphere, the oceans, and less useful land. 

The natural resources of the Earth are limited, absolutely. (The Earth’s biocapacity is exceeded by 37 %.) Technologic processes may find substitutes for some current resources. But those substitutes must be evaluated as to their energy demands, concomitant pollution, and effects on other ecological systems. Because all processing of concentrated energy releases degraded energy in the form of heat, the production of goods and services must be evaluated in terms of their waste. Of course, the processing of minerals and organic matter, as well as the eventual disposal of manufactured goods also place demands on the natural ecology of the Earth. The demands for more energy and more natural resources are both the successes and the unwanted consequences of modern society. As a result, growth and progress must eventually decline as the ecological systems of the Earth are altered irrevocably. 

Climate warming is the most recognizable major ecological problem facing the Earth today. Because its effects are now widely experienced, the physics of climate systems has become a focus of many natural scientists. Some people still deny climate change, let alone its human-causes and effects; yet others believe that global warming can be solved by specialized technological innovations. However, modern technology depends on energy now primarily supplied by fossil fuels and innovative uses of minerals and organic materials.

Renewable energy has become the prime candidate as a substitute for fossil fuel energy. However, renewable energy has not been effectively analyzed for its useful energy gains, let alone for its ability to provide adequate energy to maintain modern civilization. Artificial intelligence may assist in making energy more efficient. However, the processing of information artificially has already greatly increased the demand for new sources of energy and water.  The hopes for renewable energy and AI largely remain disconnected from the ecological processes of the natural world. They rely on the hubris of believing that human intelligence, at least in the short run, does not depend on the long-term wisdom of evolution and ecology.

Almost no one in dominant economic or political positions of power wants to acknowledge the overwhelming extent that humans are animals and, as such, are part of the long evolutionary tale of nature. A dominant evolutionary principle is that all organisms want to reproduce and grow. Humans have been able to become, at least temporarily, the most successful large animal because they have captured the large stores of fossil fuel energy to grow and reproduce goods and services that it wants. Only, very recently, has this dependence been confronted by another evolutionary principle: that the growth of all organisms is limited by their environment.

As conscious creatures, humans have created stories to explain their lives. Their dominate stories concern their daily lives, which in turn are placed within economic, political, social, and religious stories. In modern times, prevailing public stories have been made by politicians, economists, technologists, and other leaders who can focus on maintaining the surfeit of goods and services that are part of daily life. As recognized by Lewis Mumford, power, in modern societies, is found in ownership of energy and property, in the ways to make profits from manipulation of land and energy, and in the production, publicizing and the desire for goods and services. It is these stories that have come to guide our actions and thoughts about the world, not the physical world of ecology and evolution.

Suppliers of fossil fuels want to continue their profitable operations. 2024 will see the most production, ever, of fossil fuels and fossil fuel producers are making record profits. Banks want to lend money to further profitable development of fossil fuels by exploitation of new lands. Governments continue to subsidize new fossil fuel projects, often on public lands, to increase economic growth and to develop and supply military weapons. Politicians and the public are influenced by hundreds of energy lobbyists and media publicists.

Politicians’ constituents are afraid of losing jobs in ‘the economy’ if fossil fuels aren’t available to manufacture and provide desired goods and services. No one wants to see the cost of gas and home heating fuels increase. No one wants to see their travel, retirement, and vacations plans cost more. No one wants to see their education and medical costs go up. All of us, even those of us who want to reduce the use of fossil fuels, are the products of the cultural stories that we have learned throughout our lives. We have also individually inherited the organic wisdom to want to ‘grow and progress.’ We are no longer animals that must cooperate with nature to survive. We have become cultural creatures that live by the stories and artifacts of our own creation.

The overall result of these underlying human beliefs that have created modern societies, ignore that humans are but one part or process of a wider natural environment that is the Earth. Humans have evolved to be the temporarily dominant organism within the ecological processes that operate on the planet Earth. Their consciousness has allowed humans to create stories and abilities that have changed the rate and kinds of processes of major natural systems of the Earth. Now, however, these stories and abilities have come face to face with natural limits that they can no longer overcome. That is the overriding dilemma facing humanity today.

Modern, technological civilization can no longer survive because most technologies ignore the dynamics of the natural world of Earth except as humans can use them. The present holders of power may survive in greatly limited, but radically altered, societies. Survivors will live with greatly reduced goods and services. Human population will reach limits from nature and decline. Evolutionary processes will, possibly soon, cause human extinction. The wonders of Nature and the processes of evolution and ecology will continue with or without humans. 

I believe that the consciousness of the human animal is unique in Nature. It is desirable to preserve consciousness. However, it should not be used to distort the tested and long continuing ecological and evolutionary processes that are unique to all life on Earth. Humans must learn to enjoy and find beauty in Nature without destroying the very processes that have made human life possible.

 “We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology.” 

― Edward O. Wilson, from The Social Conquest of Earth

Footnotes

 1. Pollution is a cultural term. It refers to damage, directly or indirectly, to habitats of humans and other organisms.

 2. Resources are cultural creations. Natural resources simply refer to Earthly things that humans find valuable.

 3. See the Global Footprint Network for details.

4. Lewis Mumford wrote extensively about technology. Especially note his book: The Pentagon of Power. The five sides of the pentagon are Power itself (energy), Property, Production, Profits, and Publicity.

5. Even if through some miracle the problems of global warming are solved, the continued massive exploitation of the natural environment will reach limits. Fossil fuels themselves are in limited supply and are discussed under the rubric of Peak oil and Gas.

 

This article was written by Alvin (Al) Urquhart: 

Alvin is an Emeritus Professor of Geography and was a founder and director of the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Oregon. With three degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, he was trained in anthropology, soil science, ecology, and geomorphology, as well as in his home department, geography. Al is also a member of the Job One for Humanity Advisory Board.

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