Crazy Town

Crazy Town

With equal parts humor and in-depth analysis, Asher, Rob, and Jason safeguard their sanity while probing crazy-making topics like climate change, overshoot, runaway capitalism, and why we’re all deluding ourselves.

Episodes

November 24, 2021 66 min

Douglas Rushkoff is a prolific author, documentarian, and podcaster with a delightful sense of humor. He joins the gang in Crazy Town to ponder paradoxical questions such as: Why would homes on Miami Beach be selling for millions of dollars if that property were really going to be underwater in a decade? Why would so much of the world be business-as-usual if climate change were real? Why is the stock market going up during a global...

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Sylvia Earle is a legend in ocean exploration and conservation. She comes ashore in Crazy Town to discuss some of her experiences in the depths, the state of the world's oceans and marine biodiversity, the limits to growth, the wonders and disappointments of technology, and her belief in the accumulation of knowledge as a pathway for change. Sylvia's new book is called Ocean: A Global Odyssey.

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What happens when two equal and opposite forces collide? It's a tag-team match of empathy and optimism versus existential crisis and poop jokes! In this mashup of Crazy Town and our sister podcast, What Could Possibly Go Right?, we collaborate with Vicki Robin to cover some heavy stuff, including climate change, the stages of grief, and collapse. You'll get your daily dose of doom and gloom (or as we like to call it, your r...

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Take it from astrophysicist Tom Murphy. Sure, lightsabers, dilithium crystal warp drives, and Mars colonies are a lot of fun to consider. But a physics-based perspective on energy tells us that we need to accept the limits to growth, stop chasing  sci-fi fantasies, and get to work building a steady-state economy that works for people and the planet. Instead of focusing on growth, maybe we should focus on growing up.

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Peter Kalmus is a climate scientist, activist, and author. He has some gnarly things to say about climate change, extreme weather, and the myth of progress. But Peter gets past the doom and gloom to make positive recommendations for changing behavior and policy. Please check out his book Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution.

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It's the end of the world as we know it. OK, maybe not just yet, but it is the end of Crazy Town's third season. If you've been able to look past some of the more absurd parts of the podcast, perhaps you've noticed a pattern. In examining hidden drivers behind humanity's sustainability predicament, we grouped the drivers into three categories: human behavior, social constructs, and features of biophysical realit...

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The "maximum power principle" may sound like the doctrine of an evil supervillain, but it actually applies to all living creatures. The principle states that biological systems organize to increase power whenever constraints allow. Given the way humans adhere to this principle, especially by overexploiting fossil fuels, we often do behave like supervillains, wielding power in wildly irresponsible ways and triggering climate...

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Did you ever think a baseball melee could effectively explain nuanced topics like cybernetics and systems dynamics? This episode examines the fascinating world of positive feedback loops, which play an outsized role in the not-so-positive phenomena of climate change, biodiversity loss, and political polarization. In addition to basebrawls, you’ll hear how these feedback loops produce a variety of outcomes, from the mundane (e.g., r...

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All of humanity's feats, whether a record-setting deadlift by the world's strongest man or the construction of a gleaming city by a technologically advanced economy, originate from a single hidden source: positive net energy. Having surplus energy in the form of thirteen pounds of food per day enables a very big man, Hafthor Bjornsson, to lift very big objects. Similarly, having surplus energy in the form of fossil fuel ena...

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Imagine a factory assembly line running at full steam, but instead of spitting out car parts or plastic trinkets, the conveyor belt is loaded down with Jeff Bezos wannabes. That's a disconcerting image, but an accurate picture of what's happening: society is producing too many elite people, and their decisions are causing extreme inequality, which is one of the key components of today's sustainability crisis. Join Asher...

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Way back when money consisted of iron pieces, if you wanted to buy a horse or some spices to season your horse meat, you practically had to carry an olympic weightlifting set with you. Early bankers figured out how to clear that obstacle (and prevent a lot of hernias and back injuries) when they invented paper money. Over time all-too-clever financiers cleared more and more obstacles that kept people from accessing and spending mon...

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There's an insidious feature of modern life: as the economy and technology continue to grow, attention becomes ever more scarce. Nowadays footage from Russian dash cams and the latest "wisdom" issued on social media by people who are good at kicking balls compete to grab our attention and suck up our time. This state of affairs could be laughed off except that it keeps most people from focusing on climate change and oth...

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Velcro pants and legs. Booster rockets and spacecraft. Humans and nature. What do these three pairs have in common? They're all things that are detached from one another. That's right, we modern humans seem hellbent on detaching ourselves from nature, despite the obvious fact that we evolved to spend our days and nights in natural habitats. The more we wall ourselves off from nature, the more likely we are to continue on th...

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Who in their right mind is against the idea of progress? You'd be hard-pressed to find a candidate for public office with a platform of maintaining the status quo or regressing to days of yore (as bad as the Democratic and Republican Parties are, there's no support for a Yesteryear Party). But what, exactly, is progress, and is humanity preordained to achieve it? What if the modern concept of progress costs more than it'...

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Society has become so complex that all the complexity begets more complexity. And if that’s not complex enough for you, jobs have become so specialized that hardly anyone knows how anything is made or works. Join Jason, Rob, and Asher as they contemplate how to make a microphone from scratch, break down the tertiary jobs in a pirate economy (parrot tenders and eyepatch makers), and explain the Lloyd Dobler hypothesis. They also exp...

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An argument between economists is usually as exciting as reading the phone book (what's that?), especially about something as boring-sounding as the discount rate. But it's an argument that underlies how governments and businesses solve (or don't solve) climate change. So, literally life and death stuff. Jason, Rob, and Asher explore why the discount rate, and discounting the future more broadly, is so deadly important,...

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First things first, we try not to confuse ourselves or our listeners as we distinguish between conspiracy theories and actual conspiracies. Then we unpack a bunch of questions about why people (even some of the smart ones) are so easily suckered by conspiracy theories. Are we experiencing a spike in conspiracy theories akin to the days of the Red Scare and the Salem Witch Trials? What's the role of science and technology in spr...

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Self domestication, the process by which humans became a more cooperative and less aggressive species, paradoxically contributes to humanity's overshoot predicament. While trying to wrap their heads around that nugget, Asher, Jason, and Rob geek out on evolutionary biology, 80s professional wrestling characters, and a certain comedic song about foxes. Don't miss Jason's entertaining pronunciations of the names of Russia...

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What can we learn about death from the X-Men, small screaming rodents, and unwitting college students in psychology experiments? It turns out that the fear of death (or death anxiety) affects human behavior in all sorts of surprising and deeply troubling ways. Especially disconcerting is the way such fear entices people to cling to cultural beliefs so tightly that they will attack anything or anyone they perceive as a threat to the...

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March 17, 2021 57 sec

With equal parts humor and in-depth analysis, Asher, Rob, and Jason safeguard their sanity while probing crazy-making topics like climate change, overshoot, runaway capitalism, and why we’re all deluding ourselves.

Support the show (https://www.postcarbon.org/supportcrazytown/)

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