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Daily Pickings is a blog on issues and events related to the work of the Critical Thinking project and invariably references videos, articles, books and academic papers. Accumulation of these materials adds to the "Critical Thinking reference library". Use the search facility to find articles on specific topics or you can browse the titles of every Dailly Pickings article since inception via the Site Map for which you need to be registered.
We welcome comments and interaction on Daily Pickings either through the Forum or Comments, for which you need to be registered. Critical Thinking is a collaborative, educational project relying on contributions from diverse sources.

Renewable energy

In the climate debate, claim and counter-claim of the costs and benefits of renewable energy create confusion and misunderstanding. Irrespective of climate, we need to move away from fossil fuels and find alternative sources of energy. Fossil fuels are a finite resource and they are one of the drivers of wars and environmental destruction.

Do we have the right technologies to substitute for coal, oil and gas? If we use the renewable sources currently on offer, what will be the impact of switching to renewables to meet internationally agreed emissions targets? This guest post on Judith Curry's (climate scientist) blog offers a professional assessment of the impacts and costs of renewable energy from a US perspective.

Myths and realities of renewable energy by Planning Engineer

Power System Planners do not have the expertise or knowledge to say whether or not the benefits of reducing carbon emissions are worth the costs.   However they should be respected as experts for obtaining a better understanding of what the implications and costs of such programs are.

Manipulating markets

It's a long time since Daily Pickings mentioned Matt Taibbi's article on Goldman Sachs, The Great American Bubble Machine and now seems an appropriate time to remember how markets are manipulated. Often such manipulation happens in plain sight, such as the recent move by Saudi Arabia to drive down the price of oil to increase pressure on Russia, while the US announced it has record levels of oil held in reserve, putting further downward pressure on oil prices. In view of the prematurely cold winter in the US, it will be interesting to see how that plays out.

The bigger question is about the prospects for stock markets and the claimed economic recovery. In the US and Europe, the majority of people have suffered reduced or stagnating incomes while the level of inflation they've experienced is much higher than official headline figures. Reduced spending power, means less demand, which means less economic activity. The super rich, who've enjoyed a dramatic rise in incomes, won't make up for this shortfall in demand. So what has driven this year's boom in stockmarket prices and is it all about to end, plunging us into yet another crisis?

Happy Black Thursday
Do Tumbling Buybacks Signal Another Market Crash? By Mike Whitney

“Frankly, we are so far off the economic rails, the locomotive is stuck in a swamp and the trailing cars are piling up around it.” Anonymous, Comments line, Naked Capitalism

Whether the collapse is now or later, that it's on it's way is not in doubt and we need a plan to change the course of our civilisation.

Democracy, protest and media

If you doubt that media are a primary lever of control for the ruling clique (RC), you need look no further than the contrast between Guardian coverage of the Occupy Central protests in Hong Kong and the pitiful reference to the UK Occupy Democracy in Parliament Square, London. The picture below speaks volumes - of HK coverage but one small column on the battle for democracy outside the UK parliament.



About the work of Critical Thinking

Concentrated Power and Consequences - Clive Menzies
7pm to 9pm on Tuesday 28th October 2014
The Venue, (floor -2 in the basement) LSE Student Union
Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, 1 Sheffield Street, WC2A 2AP

An interactive workshop to explore the inevitable, damaging and destructive consequences of concentrated power. Initially, attendees will form small groups to agree the biggest challenges facing our civilisation. We will then discuss the three most cited challenges in the context of the Political Economy, based on research and analysis by Critical Thinking at the Free University.

Event program: Concentrated Power and Consequences (,pdf download)

The following interview with explains more about Critical Thinking, its origins and its progress to date.