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End of the Industrial Age

Date: 11-08-08
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: John Michael Greer, Brad Matsen

Researcher and explorer in alternative realities John Michael Greer discussed his new work exploring the decline and fall of the Industrial Age and what it means to our future. According to Greer, the end of our civilization will be a gradual process and "within 100 to 300 years there are not going to be industrial products available anywhere on the planet." The cause, he believes, is our dependence on oil.

As evidence, Greer cited the destruction of the Mayans, which he said came about because they had based their civilization on a non-renewable resource -- fertile soil. After they reached what he termed "peak corn," production declined and along with it the Mayan civilization. Our petroleum-based economy makes us just as vulnerable as the Mayans, according to Greer. Even many of our alternative energy sources are dependent on petroleum, he explained, noting that a "huge flood of oil [pours] into each solar cell."

As the oil runs out, Greer expects populations to contract and to see a decentralization of power. "Governments on a continental scale are only functional when you have the energy base to support that kind of transportation network," he said. We're likely to see a devolution from nation states to populations, Greer predicted. He even imagines a time when there could be five or six people claiming to be President of the United States of America, each one ruling over an area the size of a state. Greer also spoke about the decline of conventional medicine and how epidemics and endemic disease would threaten a post-Industrial society.

Titanic's Secrets Revealed

In the first hour, author Brad Matsen discussed his research into how and why Titanic sank so quickly. According to Matsen, the ship did not rise high out of the water before the hull broke as depicted in James Cameron's blockbuster film. Instead, Titanic sat relatively level in the water, Matsen said, then suddenly broke in the middle and was gone within four minutes.

A key piece of supporting evidence was the bending pattern in a fragment of the ship's steel found by noted divers, John Chatterton and Richie Kohler. Matsen believes the builders made compromises in the construction of Titanic that likely caused its demise, and even tried to cover it up to avoid negligence claims by survivors and families of those lost that fateful night.

Ian also spoke briefly with Richie Kohler during the first part of the second hour about his 2005 expedition to Titanic's wreckage.

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