A theory is a question and I invite you to ask the question with me. If there is a clear reason why this cannot be true, or some part can’t be true, let me know and I will adjust. Send me your source please. I have been adjusting since the beginning based on the best sources I can find and I publish my current understanding for the purpose of being challenged. Thank you.
Being that this is a proposal of a twenty-plus-year phenomenon, it helps to review some medium-term urbanization and disease history for perspective.
- Where has there been a major increase in human contact with living, breathing animals indoors? This would be the strongest possible challenge, especially if the animals were the ones most commonly identified as the culprit, bats or camels.
- The strongest challenge I have received is a description of unregulated industrial-scale animal food processing having increased in the same newly-modern countries where I am blaming human indoor economy. Valid challenge, but the animals are not live, indoor, or near the same scale as the humans working indoors.
- Another challenge has been the description of mutation through hybridization between human / non-human animal viruses. Okay, this is the currently accepted explanation, but what about mutation between viruses carried by two different humans? We have a new trend and humans are the ones newly living in the conditions where the virus spreads most on a massive scale: indoor, living, breathing humans.
Coronaviruses are spreading asymptomatically among a hugely-increased population of indoor humans, developing and evolving unnoticed for years, then chance mutations are causing outbreaks. SARS in 2002, MERS in 2012, and COVID-19 – all three related coronaviruses – are connected by the same progenitor: many many indoor humans sharing “exhaled breath sewage.”
Coronaviruses have passed among humans and various non-human animals for millennia. When coronaviruses caused illness, it was mostly mild illness, little more than an inconvenience to the hosts. The relationship was mostly commensalistic – that is until humans brought the coronaviruses indoors. The coronavirus population exploded in the fertile environment of air-conditioned urban centers and it was the historically well-cultivated commensalistic relationship with humans that enabled coronaviruses to be the first evolutionary beneficiaries of the new scale of man-made air-tight-indoor-air environment. The abrupt explosion of indoor space enabled by indoor economy – especially in high-density tropical areas – propelled life on its natural evolutionary path toward new disease-causing coronaviruses. “Viral gravity” is evolutionary gravity. Three new coronaviruses have emerged in under two decades, and indoor exhaled breath sharing is not just one primary spread vector. Indoor exhaled breath sharing is the evolutionary mechanism. Large-scale indoor exhaled breath sharing is the primordial soup, the origin, the creator, the genesis. Novel coronaviruses are the very first sprouts of new life in the Anthropocene.
Some of the following assumptions are difficult to quantify, but I believe so extreme as to be self-evident. Even if some specific assumptions are imperfect, the trend is clear.
- Three novel viruses in under twenty years is extremely abrupt by an evolutionary time period standard. It represents a new trend and requires something common to the three for explanation that is new.
- The number of humans spending time indoors has increased abruptly in the last three to five decades. The increase has been coincident with the emergence of new respiratory viruses. Increased number of humans indoors has led in time the emergence of the new viruses sufficiently to indicate it is a cause of virus evolution.
- Guangdong Province, China, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, and Wuhan, China all use a lot of air conditioning, in contrast to how they interacted before recent development.
- Being relatively new, many of the origin cities’ buildings are built “air-tight” for central air conditioning instead of retro-fitted. Their buildings are not drafty or leaky.
- Evolutionary genetics has shown that zoonotic transmission is involved in virus evolution. However, this has not been definitively proven to be the final mutation into a disease-causing agent.
- Are coronaviruses known to evolve quickly? I believe they are. If they do evolve quickly, it would explain why coronaviruses are the first to take evolutionary advantage of the new collective virus reservoir of the human indoor economy.
- Evolutionary science can be subjective / statistical. Evolution relies on chance and succeeds with large numbers of chances for low-probability events to occur. A “macro-view” is more effective at identifying an evolutionary cause by identifying a large number of chances for a low-probability event to occur than is a “micro-view,” which attempts to find the actual single event itself. The critical “single evolutionary event” in these cases almost always occurred “somewhere in the world, anytime, anyplace” – and at least a month in the past with no trained observer present.
- Everything the virus does is consistent with thriving indoors. Our indoor economy has domesticated a virus like an invisible indoor pet that has now grown so numerous that is has turned against us and begun to make us sick.
- We will never find a “patient zero” for a virus that seems to float on the wind, but the virus exists, and the answer can be the clearly-observable shift in the wind itself.
The Theory: “Anthropogenic Coronavirus Evolution Theory”
In the early 21st century, a new type of virus emerged causing three distinct outbreaks between 2002 and 2020. Coronaviruses, which had passed among humans and non-human animals since the beginning of time, found new fertile development ground in urban skyscrapers built air-tight with central air conditioning that allowed exhaled breath sharing to go mainstream within humanity. Human indoor economy led to a new way of sharing “exhaled breath sewage,” which in turn led to new virus evolution.
Zoonotic leap among humans, bats, camels, palm civets, raccoon dogs, ferret badgers, pangolins, and domestic cats in markets and other various locations of human / non-human animal interaction was originally theorized as the primary evolutionary requirement and origin of the viruses. Matching the virus to infected animals along with genetic markers suggested that animals were the primary reservoir. However, it was later determined that human breath sharing on a large scale in dense, newly-developed, warm-weather cities with skyscrapers built air-tight for central air conditioning was the primary reservoir and original source for all affected species in these outbreaks. Humans indoors first developed viruses with mostly asymptomatic spread hyper-enabled by large air-tight buildings. Humans passed viruses to animals, some of whom got sick, but not until humans got sick did humans finally look in the animals, find matching viruses, and point to the animals as the source.
However, as the novel coronaviruses repeatedly appeared and developed into a trend, humans noticed that the small change in human-animal live indoor contact was insufficient to explain multiple similar occurrences of indoor live human respiratory viruses. Zoonotic transmission therefore lost favor as an explanation for evolutionary development of novel coronaviruses.
The Virus Reservoir and Evolutionary Mutation
The fact that the three new viruses are all suspected to have an excellent ability to circulate among humans without causing disease indicates that asymptomatic spread among indoor humans is the reservoir. The evolutionary mutation is that the virus mutates from a benign virus to a disease-causing virus. The new scale of the indoor humans reservoir is providing the large number of chance events required for evolution.
We have three new viruses. The viruses are related. There has to be a new type of reservoir to explain it. The animals have not changed a lot. The human coronavirus reservoir has changed a lot! The critical mutations are among millions of human-human transfers and multiplication.
- The alternate names for the viruses of “EBSRS-CoV-1,” “EBSRS-CoV-2,” and “EBSRS-CoV-3” are used to illustrate the point and unify the viruses. The names refer to SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 respectively.
2019: Exhaled Breath Sewage Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 3
- AKA EBSRS-CoV-3 (formerly SARS-CoV-2)
- First identified in Wuhan, China.
- Wuhan China lies near 31 degrees north latitude and has more than 3.5 months per year with average daily high temperature above 27°C.
- Wuhan China ballooned in population from 3.5 million in 1990 to over 8 million in 2020, massive new urbanization and indoor economy.
- EBSRS-CoV-3 is known to transmit well through aerosols asymptomatically among humans, consistent with many transmission events for evolutionary purposes, especially in enclosed rooms.
- Zoonotic transmission not yet conclusively verified despite global effort.
- Cruise ships are a known vector, with their closed ventilation systems.
- There are wet markets in Wuhan, but the virus seemed to “spread everywhere quickly out of nowhere,” with no clear connection to animal contact.
2012: Exhaled Breath Sewage Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2
- AKA EBSRS-CoV-2 (formerly MERS-CoV)
- First identified in Saudi Arabia. Later determined that it possibly circulated in Jordan as well. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/about/index.html
- Saudi Arabia is a petro-state (cheap energy for air conditioning) that has experienced a population explosion since 1980. Now 80% of its inhabitants live in 10 major urban centers, mostly in the southwest of Saudi Arabia, well within the tropics.
- Qatar was another potential origin, a very hot petro-state country.
- EBSRS-CoV-2 is also thought to pass asymptomatically among humans.
- Known to infect camels and bats. Transmission from camels to humans has been observed, but no “patient zero” identified in relation to camel contact.
2002: Exhaled Breath Sewage Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 1
- AKA EBSRS-CoV-1 (formerly SARS-CoV-1)
- Outbreak started in Guangdong Province, China.
- Guangdong Province lies in latitude very near the Tropic of Cancer.
- Just north of Hong Kong, Guangdong Province is home to two of the top four Chinese cities by GDP. Guangdong Province’s GDP is larger than Spain’s GDP, and would be the 13th country in the world by GDP. Lots of humans working indoors. Indoor economy.
- This first outbreak appears to have been more closely and reliably connected to markets and wild animals than the later two outbreaks. However, the origin is inconclusive due to CCP blocking of WHO officials for several weeks or months after the emergence of the outbreak.
Question: were the first cases in “air conditioning months” in all three outbreaks?
Question: does polluted air contribute?
Exhaled Breath Sewage Coronavirus Evolution Theory Explains the Following Better than the Zoonotic Transmission Theory
- Why both EBSRS-CoV 2 and 3 spread so well asymptomatically among humans. Asymptomatic spread was required for virus evolution months or even years prior to identification as a disease-causing agent. People often reference the idea that a disease spreads more successfully with a low mortality rate because the host is alive to spread. Asymptomatic spread is zero mortality, which is commensalistic, which is the ideal relationship for evolving.
- Why all three of the viruses originated in relatively warm, newly-developed cities with exploding indoor economy partially enabled by air conditioning.
- Why three new respiratory diseases have emerged in just 20 years coincident with urban population explosion in warm regions with air-tight buildings and air conditioning.
- Why the three new coronaviruses, that supposedly came from zoonotic transmission from different animals, are so closely related to each other. We have a very specific trend, there is probably a very specific, related cause.
- Why EBSRS-CoV-3, the most transmissible of the three new viruses, is so mild. It gradually increased in severity as it evolved quickly until concentrating in a large city, Wuhan, China, which may or may not have been the true origin.
- This theory is not completely at odds with zoonotic leap being an evolutionary aid to the virus development.
- Maybe there are multiple, even hundreds, thousands, or millions of significant virus mutation events. Maybe the world has been widely infected with a mostly benign, asymptomatic form of the virus that teeters on the edge of a disease-causing mutation that occurs relatively often. Maybe any pandemic involving a brand new virus acts differently from a long-time established, maturely evolved virus. Maybe a new virus relies more on mutation and evolution continuously and therefore acts differently in predictable as well as inherently unpredictable ways. We are not dealing with a turtle virus, established in its ways after having survived millions of years of evolutionary change with its simple “head in the shell” trick. We are dealing with a young rabbit being chased by a puppy darting in every direction not knowing where to go and therefore going everywhere changing frantically at every random turn.
- Maybe the vitamin D deficiency correlation with COVID-19 fatality does not mean vitamin D deficiency is a comorbidity but rather a second, related symptom that is correlated with being indoors and having been exposed to a higher infectious dose of the virus.
Zoonotic Transmission Virus Evolution Theory Explains the Following Better
Update: somebody help out here because trying to describe zoonotic transmission evolution theory makes it a joke. It is absolutely laughable we humans are trying to point to animals as a source.
But I will try, here we go:
- The zoonotic transmission theory says that a virus circulates among an animal population as a reservoir until it mutates by chance and gains the ability to infect humans. Once it infects humans, it causes disease.
- Two similar viruses, one human and one non-human animal, infect the same cell in a host, hybridize by replicating together, and henceforth infect humans causing disease.
It makes perfect sense so far, but I’m at a loss attempting to seriously continue:
- Human-animal contact has increased on an unprecedented scale along with mass global urbanization. The viruses have started in poor countries with under-regulated food processing industries. The new scale of these markets yields enough increased zoonotic transfer to produce three new viruses in 20 years.
- OK, but live human-animal contact? Indoors?
- Are there new indoor markets? Why airborne? Why the seemingly lightest fastest aerosol-borne viruses possible?
- Humans have gotten sick with a virus that spreads primarily indoors. If we want to say this came from animals, we need to see live camels and live bats breathing indoors, enclosed with humans. This virus did not crawl from dead bat meat into somebody’s mouth and then suddenly in just a few virus generations spread tiny virus wings and infect the world of humans, airborne, indoors all at once. Did flying fish get stranded on land, sprout lungs in a generation, and lo! mammals? No. Did some ancient monkey-sailors get caught at sea, sprout a blowhole on top of their head and start swimming, lo! whales? No. We need an intermediate environment. Unless you can show me some large-scale enclosed indoor breathing animal markets, you’re debunked. I can show you plenty of indoor breathing human virus markets: they are called cubicles, call centers, housing complexes, public transit, skyscrapers – modern human cities and also clearly recognizable as Every. Single. Confirmed. Serious. COVID-19 outbreak.
- Note: Don’t suddenly tell me hoards of people are hanging out in bat caves. Show me a modern widespread market-driven caveman-bat-batman movement of at least 10 million people and we’ll talk. It still would not explain the camels anyway. Does the Arabian Peninsula have tons of closed-air camel garages for the wealthy now? They have never heard of Ferrari’s? The camel shit is whisked off the floor by robots or what? Would the camels even put up with that? Would humans hang out for hours in such a garage? I’m not buying it.
- The only reason wet markets and China’s under-regulated food processing industry exist at the scale at which these species transfers are more likely is the world’s mass urbanization.
- Genetic history marker studies? Do the zoonotic transmission claims based on genetics hold up to the scrutiny that they have been influenced by pervasive confirmation bias from the beginning? We lack conclusive cause-effect evidence to support critical genetic assumptions.
- Hybridization by a single host being infected with two coronavirsuses, which hybridize as they multiply together within the cells? Okay, but three times in 20 years? Roll snake eyes three times in a row, go. I’ll be checking your dice.
- Does zoonotic leap novel coronavirus evolution stand up against the idea that it still could play a secondary role in the evolutionary process? Does zoonotic leap fit in as only 10% of the process instead of 90%? I think it fits just fine in 10% of the solution, second-place to the obvious.
- The supporting evidence for the zoonotic transmission origin theory is scant relative to the monumental efforts at collecting it. I feel justified being unsatisfied.
- This theory appears to be an outdated assumption that has survived only by momentum of past convention. “Of course, humans get new viruses from animals,” – that is until they give new viruses to animals.
- Observed recent changes in human-animal contact is not new enough or extreme enough to explain a major new evolutionary trend of three new viruses. This is especially true with respect to indoor human-animal contact. It is more especially true also when compared with the recent explosion in indoor human-human breath sharing contact.
Confirmation Bias Toward Zoonotic Transfer Evolution
- There is a strong – bordering on fanatically blinding – confirmation bias for the zoonotic leap virus evolution theory among the scientific community. A single piece of evidence for zoonotic transmission or discovery of similar virus in non-human animals is often regarded as the “case closed smoking gun.” This prevents further research and discovery of the true cause.
- There is a natural aversion to identify humans as a “virus reservoir.”
- “Viruses are nature. Viruses have to come from nature. We are not nature, we are people!” Recognize that? Pretty familiar. That is people being ridiculous.
- It is so widely ingrained into our psyche that, “If a virus were there, we would be sick,” that we ignore asymptomatic spread as the potential evolutionary origin of new viruses.
- No definitive patient zero has been identified in any of the three new coronavirus outbreaks. Connection to markets and animals was inevitable due to the strength of the confirmation bias.
Humans Indoors as a Spread Vector Versus Humans Indoors as the Evolutionary Mechanism
- “Transmission vector” has been poorly separated from “evolutionary cause.” Air-tight buildings as a new transmission vector could indeed easily explain why zoonotic-leap-generated respiratory viruses are now suddenly a worse problem. Air-tight buildings would spread new zoonotic leap viruses fast. True. Of course. However, this easy explanation prevents people from recognizing that asymptomatic transmission is essentially equal to an evolutionary cause. Asymptomatic transmission can enable evolution, not just virus spread after evolution.
- If indoor exhaled breath sewage evolution theory is correct, one might expect COVID-19 to be seasonal and peak in the summer. However, this confuses spread vector with evolutionary mechanism. Still, if air conditioning is enabling evolution, opening the windows should be moved up the list of COVID-19 prevention measures.
If True, Exhaled Breath Sewage Evolution Theory Would Suggest
- That though reducing contact with animals might possibly slow evolution, new coronavirus respiratory viruses will continue to emerge with or without animal contact as long as humans spend a lot of time in buildings breathing each other’s exhaled breath sewage.
- The global response to COVID-19 will (eventually!) include sanitation of indoor air. Sanitizing indoor air will not only slow the spread of COVID-19, it will slow the development of future respiratory viruses.
- Sanitation of indoor air should be the primary prevention measure against COVID-19 because it would also eliminate the evolutionary source of new disease-causing coronaviruses.
Air Conditioning Versus Heating – What’s the Difference?
Long story short, I cannot make an argument that there is a big difference between air conditioning and heating. Both air conditioning and heating lead to people spending time indoors sharing exhaled breath. The only difference with air conditioning is the recent increase in human-hours spent breathing indoors as a result of increased population in places that use air conditioning. Air conditioning enables large indoor economy.
- baseboard heat would not sanitize air
- The origin cities may not be rich enough for widespread air conditioning and I do not have that data to support.
- Is this valid: When a building is heated, heating sanitizes the air from viruses much better than cooling the air does? In a heater, the temperature spikes up in the furnace heat exchanger above where viral RNA survives well – what about baseboard heating though? In an air conditioner, the temperature spikes down when cooled, failing to break down viral RNA. Therefore, heated air-tight buildings do not act as a collective virus reservoir like air-conditioned buildings do. Is this true? Is this true enough? Questions on this one: types of heating, types of air re-circulation, actual amount of AC in origin cities, difficult to get this data. Is air conditioning simply providing the sheer indoor human numbers required and is independent of the type of indoor climate control?
- Too many details to make a separation between air conditioning and heating. Thanks to all the people who challenged me on this. This theory stands without it and is stronger without the weak link, which was never necessary.
Some Optimism – An Existing Prevention Measure Becomes the Solution
- Can entire cities open the windows in the summer and “sweat the curve flat”? This confuses evolutionary origin with spread vector, but still connected.
- A global standard of indoor air sanitation could completely eliminate the evolutionary virus reservoir “primordial soup” and stop the recent trend (three in just two decades) of novel coronaviruses. An air sanitation standard would certainly benefit in the fight against COVID-19.
- N95 air conditioner filters anybody?
This post is the notes for the theory. For the anthropogenic coronaviruses origin theory, click here.
A Brief Recent History of Humans Sharing Fluids, Disease Prevention and Urbanization
Cities have always been harbingers of disease. Bubonic Plague flowed from relatively urban China to relatively rural Europe. Smallpox flowed from urbanized European settlers to rural American natives. Most of the worst diseases require sharing of fluids to develop and spread – but we figured that out so we prevented sharing fluids – except exhaled breath. Result: We now share a lot more exhaled breath than ever before, and I mean A LOT, for the first time in history.
1 AD: total world population 300 million
1000 AD: total world population 310 million
1347-1351: Black Death reaches Europe from Asia via Crimea on rat fleas on the silk road.
1492: Europe discovers the Americas – along with smallpox
1500: total world population 500 million
1796: Smallpox vaccine demonstrated. Cities grow.
1800: total world population 978 million
1850: John Snow connected Cholera to sewage. Humans stop drinking sewage. Cities grow.
1850: World urban population still under 1 billion.
1881: Carlos Finlay identifies mosquitoes as a disease vector. Cities grow.
1914: first home with air conditioning. Windows closed all summer.
1928: Penicillin isolated as the first antibiotic. Cities grow.
1928: World urban population still under 1 billion.
1950: World urban population reaches ~1 billion
1970s: energy crisis. Buildings tighten-up for efficiency. Exhaled breath trapped inside on a global scale.
1976: Legionella bacteria identified as a human pathogen after an outbreak. Click here for outbreak description. Later linked in some cases to water-cooled air conditioner cooling towers. ***Interesting, but mostly unrelated to novel coronaviruses: 1. not novel, 2. not viruses, 3. Not even human to human transmissible.
1978: smallpox eradicated by global vaccination campaign. Cities grow.
1980: World urban population 1.74 billion
1981: HIV discovered, a sexually-transmitted virus
1990: World urban population 2.27 billion
2000: World urban population 2.85 billion
2003: SARS-CoV-1 emerges, a new virus that infects the lungs and causes respiratory disease.
2010: World urban population 3.57 billion
2012: MERS-CoV emerges, another lung virus causing respiratory disease
2019: SARS-CoV-2 emerges, human lungs again, third time now.
2019: World urban population 4.27 billion
Exhaled Breath Sharing, a New Breeding Ground
The three most recent viruses to develop that infect humans have been respiratory viruses. ALL THREE. The three new viruses in just the last 20 years are lung viruses.
The story is simple. Humans figure out how to sanitize drinking water, avoid mosquitoes, kill bacteria, and vaccinate, but it enables us to breathe so much of each other’s exhaled air that viruses have found a new “primordial soup” in which to breed and evolve.
New respiratory viruses will continue to develop until we let the air out, open the windows, go outside, breathe fresh air.
Bats and camels may have coronaviruses and pass to humans sometimes, yes, but does it make the news when animals catch respiratory viruses from humans? Hell no, not until they can write the news. Are bats and camels gathering in artificial air-tight spaces by the billions? No again. Who is? Humans are. I believe the transmission goes both ways, but the primary virus development is the other way around. HUMANS are developing lung viruses with billions of us indoors breathing each other’s exhaled air, then bats and camels catch them from us.
The terms “exhaled breath sewage,” “exhaled breath sanitation,” “building ventilation factor,” etc. may be the buzz phrases of our generation.
In our minds, viruses must come from the wild. They must come from fetid bat caves and mangy camel hair. Most disease still does, but the newest breeding ground, the newest “virus wild” is the ocean of air among the concrete jungles and towering steel / glass aquariums into which humans exhale and trap 6 liters per minute of living breath each. Air is a fluid. We share the fluid, much more than any other animal. Like any shared fluid, it can make us sick.
Humans domesticate cows, cows become the second species by biomass living on Earth (second only to humans). Humans domesticate coronaviruses, coronaviruses run amok.
The Solution … ?
- Update building codes to require massive ventilation, filtering, and sanitation of the indoor air – WORLDWIDE.
- Ventilate public transit.
- End air conditioning.
- Everybody physical distance. Worldwide. All the time. Forever.
Really? What do we do?
Maybe the old Miasma theory has come true, we humans have made it so.
- Personal Finance Education
- Trade Education
- Proactively eliminate distractions
What is a credit card?
A credit card is a card with a number on it that you can use to buy stuff.
Yes. Yes it is.
They also represent the systemization of all consumer relationships.
Credit cards have only existed since the 1950’s or so. That is not very long ago. So how new are they? Do they represent a completely new concept? As with many things that appear new, credit cards are really a transformation of something very old. In the case of credit cards, they transformed personal consumer relationships with vendors. The relationship is still there, but it has taken a different form, and different people and institutions handle it and profit from it.
Let’s consider 2 consumers: Consumer A, and Consumer B. We will consider how each did business in 1819, then we will consider how they do business now.
Consumer A: The Person and Habits
Consumer A is very responsible. He spends only what he makes. He is polite when he enters the store, makes his purchases and usually has cash on hand to pay for the merchandise. He likes a good deal, but pays the listed price. He considers debt to be a burden on his life and immediately pays it to keep his life clear. As the store owner, you happen to know several other people in Consumer A’s family who also shop in the store. Consumer A buys mostly bread and horse food, but enjoys the occasional beer with friends on the weekend.
In short, Consumer A is a responsible consumer who is a pleasure to do business with.
Consumer B: The Person and Habits
Consumer B is not responsible. He spends money when he sees things in front of him that he impulse buys. He is polite, but always seems like his politeness has an ulterior motive — hence when it comes time to pay, he is usually short some cash and asks for a “quick loan.” He likes a good deal — so he is always taking what he can get. Consumer B racks up little debt constantly and if you forget about it then so did he. As the store owner, you never really know Consumer B very well. Consumer B buys the necessities, but also a whole bunch of other stuff that nobody needs, drinks during the week and drinks too much on the weekends.
In short, Consumer B is worth doing business with, but only because barring him from the store would be more of a hassle than it’s worth.
Consumer A in 1819
Consumer A spends decades racking up goodwill with store owners, and store owners pay him in kind. When there is excess inventory of horse food one year that will go bad if they don’t give it away, the store owner takes Consumer A to the back of the store and gives him the horse food for free. When the store expands and gets rid of quality office furniture, it goes to Consumer A. When the store owner sees Consumer A at the bar on the weekends, he picks up Consumer A’s drink tab.
Consumer A normally has plenty of savings, but one time spends his savings to buy lumber to build a new house. The first day of construction, the load falls from the cart and breaks his arm. He can’t work for three months and is potentially mildly crippled permanently! The townspeople line up to help him out. The store owner drops off bread to his wife who is taking care of Consumer A. The horses eat for free. Consumer A recovers and manages to pay back the debt that he had his wife keep track of. The store owner and townspeople accept some repayment, but in the end Consumer A is hardly able to pay back what he actually received. There was certainly no interest added to his debt.
In short, Consumer A gets a bunch of extra little stuff that adds up over time, and in hard times gets even more because of the goodwill he had built up with others.
Consumer B in 1819
Consumer B spends decades making everybody a little angry and uncomfortable. He has several enemies who hate him and will take everything they can get from him. When he accidentally leaves his cash clip on the counter, it disappears. No free horse food. When the office furniture was given away, he was the last to know and found out too late. When he passes out at the bar one weekend, he wakes up with nothing. The wallet thief gives some of the take to the store owner because he knows Consumer B owes the store owner money — but the store owner won’t take it because he doesn’t want the dirty money.
One day, Consumer B wakes up with a broken wrist and he doesn’t know where it came from. He spends his recovery time of four months alone begging for crumbs, and loses weight almost to the point of death, but eventually recovers angrier than ever and antagonizing everybody even more.
In short, Consumer B fights hard for tiny little deals constantly and loses every penny that isn’t physically attached to him. In hard times, he loses everything and barely survives.
The Store Owner in 1819
The store owner wants to sell stuff, get paid for it, and go home to his family at the end of the day.
The store owner deals with Consumer A and Consumer B because they both pay for the merchandise, although in the case of Consumer B only after three times as much energy was expended hounding him.
Consumer A in 2019
Consumer A has a credit score of 770 that was determined by algorithms that used Consumer A’s habit data collected and stored by financial institutions.
Consumer A buys everything on the same rewards credit card that constantly gives him 1% – 1.5% cash back on everything he buys, and up to 5% on some merchandise. He pays his credit card statement balance every month.
Consumer A constantly receives offers for 0% financing. Normally he doesn’t use this financing, but the one time when his new house was under construction and he breaks his arm, he charges everything to a 0% credit card and pays no interest for the three months that he couldn’t make his payments.
In short, Consumer A gets a bunch of little extra stuff — well, exactly 1% — that adds up over time to a nice vacation each year.
Consumer B in 2019
Consumer B has a credit score of 550 that was determined by algorithms that used Consumer B’s habit data collected and stored by financial institutions.
Consumer B buys everything on credit from whomever will lend him money. The best credit card he can get charges him the maximum interest rate allowed by law. He pays the minimum balance every month and pays one credit card with another if possible.
Consumer B constantly receives offers for loans to buy a variety of optional expensive items like furniture, electronics, new cars, fancy liquor, anything sellers can put in front of him to impulse buy. He takes the bait often enough that he is in debt to many creditors who hound him all the time.
In short, Consumer B has nothing because every penny to his name is already spoken for by a creditor.
The Store Owner in 2019
The store owner wants to sell stuff, get paid for it, and go home to his family at the end of the day. (Notice this has not changed at all).
The store owner deals with Consumer A and Consumer B because they both pay for merchandise with credit cards. He goes home at the end of the day with 97% of what Consumer A and Consumer B spent without even knowing who the consumers are as people. Where did the 3% go that would make 100%? He paid 3% of his sales to …
The Credit Card Company in 2019
The credit card company did not exist in 1819. However, what the credit card company does is far from new. In fact, ironically, people in 1819 were much more familiar with what credit card companies actually do than we are today in 2019. The credit card companies deal with the store owners, and they deal with Consumer A and Consumer B. They manage that relationship and make it transparent to all parties.
The credit card company goes to the store owner and says,
“I will make sure you get paid 97% of all that you sell. You don’t have to know the customers at all. As long as they pay with this card, you will receive 97% of the value of what they purchased. You will receive it from our bank, in one big monthly payment — guaranteed.”
The store owner says,
“I don’t have to deal with Consumer B at all, and I don’t even have to lend to Consumer A when he breaks his arm? Just 3%?!?! Guaranteed payment?? Done. Where do I sign?”
The credit card company (which is essentially banks) collect all the data from all the consumers no matter where they shop, and they collect all payment data on all consumers. They use that data to determine who is Consumer A and who is Consumer B. They then take 3% of all sales, plus the interest – charged mostly to Consumer B – as their revenue. From their revenue, they subtract the rewards given to Consumer A as incentive for being zero hassle to them. The credit card companies then use the remaining money to pay the wallet thieves and hustlers to take everything they can from Consumer B through consumer data sales to impulse goods salesmen, interest charges, general hounding, and repossession. What remains is the credit card companies’ profit.
In short, the credit card companies make a lot of money by charging 3% on all sales to deal with the few Consumer B’s out there.
“TV is bad.” “TV saps your motivation and rots your brain.” “I don’t watch much TV (therefore I’m better than you).” “TV wastes time.” “Cable wastes money.” “There’s nothing on but trash.”
You’ve heard all that. I’m not going to beat those dead horses.
There is a milestone in the development of television that I believe often goes unnoticed and its societal impact under-estimated. That is cable TV and how cable is different from regular old antenna TV.
I lived in Rio de Janeiro Brazil for six months. Brazil has multiple channels, but for the most part, there is one channel to watch, Globo. The feel there was very different and it felt like lack of cable TV was largely responsible. I say “lack of cable TV” as an American born in 1983, but to them no cable TV – one channel – was normal, nothing to notice.
This is a bit of a rosy picture, but allow me some dramatization. It felt like one big family in Brazil with respect to the TV because everybody saw the same stuff. In Brazil, whether you love the TV darling Flamengo soccer team or not, they are the televised team and everybody watched. Love the current novela or not, everybody watches it at least a little, even in the bars. The news was limited to an hour because otherwise that’s all there would be.
The Good About One Channel
- Everybody is on the same TV schedule, so it doesn’t get in the way of plans.
- The news doesn’t have to sensationalize the news to compete with the others, so it is much less emotional and dramatic.
- Less TV in general, that’s always good.
- TV was kind of boring, so you didn’t pay much attention to it.
- I enjoyed the two novelas that ran while I was there, “A Regra do Jogo” and “Velho Chico,” even though I struggled to understand. I was able to get lots of help though because everybody knew what was happening!
- Without competition, one outlet has a monopoly on politics and opinion. Many Brazilians felt like Globo was owned by specific parties and unfairly biased the news.
- TV was kind of boring. Boring is bad I guess.
I have to admit these differences sound small, but the overall feeling and my perception that it was connected to cable television was really very strong. There was an overall ambiance that the collective attention was outside instead of inside, on others instead of self-focused. Even while actually watching TV, you knew that a good number of homes around were watching the same channel. If you could see in a neighbor’s window, you would see the same channel. If you go outside and run into somebody on the street, you would have just seen the same show. If you go to a bar, the only difference on the TV from your house is that 10 minutes had passed so it is likely later in the same show.
“Winter Storm Harper,” January 2019
I don’t know who started naming winter storms. It was kind of fun having everybody talking about the same thing, but it’s the weather, not the TV. However, instead of the weather – which was underwhelming – we were talking about the TV’s dramatization of the weather. Ridiculous. I heard the grocery stores ran out of food! Hilarious.
So by the way, when did we start naming winter storms?
“When ‘men’ started naming their penises.”
That’s the best answer I heard.
The car. We travel mostly by car in our industrial world. Prior to the car, we traveled by horse, by walking, or not at all. As time passes and the memory of life without cars dies, considering life without cars becomes more and more radical-sounding. However, the car has transformed our lives for better and worse.
1769: first steam-powered automobile.
1808: first internal combustion engine automobile, hydrogen-powered.
1870: first gasoline-powered combustion engine automobile.
1885: first production automobile, several copies made by Karl Benz.
1913: first car made on a moving assembly line, the Ford Model T.
- Almost infinite mobility within range of a city.
- Goods travel quickly.
- Cars are extremely reliable today, inexpensive to own and operate.
- Can visit friends and family far away easily.
- Enables sedentary lifestyle.
- Driving alone Isolates from other people.
- Expensive status symbol.
- Cars are energy expensive.
- Driving is statistically very risky, dangerous.
- Enables us to live far from family and friends.
Keep the Good, Cut the Bad
Consider having one car for the family. At first glance, it appears extremely inconvenient or impossible, but imagine if you do not save the extra money from having just one car, and instead spend the extra money to alleviate the inconveniences. You could possibly:
- Reduce or eliminate a second job.
- Taxi / Uber when necessary.
- Rent a car when you really need it.
- Pay other parents real money to carpool your kids (while still using your one car to carpool sometimes).
- Car time becomes family time with one car.
- Nice bicycles to use for short commuting are cheap compared with a second car.
- Afford a home closer to where you work and go to school.
Sugar as we know it today is table sugar, which is refined sucrose.
We will discuss sugar on this blog extensively, to include cane sugar, beet sugar, and high-fructose corn syrup. To start, let’s just look at the overall change that has occurred.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, sugar came from sugarcane, which grows in tropical climates and is native to southeast Asia. Sugar was expensive outside these regions and always labor-intensive to refine. The Greeks and Romans were aware of sugar, but they did not consider it a food, they considered it a medicine.
Sugar remained a plant by-product with limited refinement until the Industrial Revolution.
In 1747, German chemist Andreas Marggraf discovered sucrose in beet root, giving another plant source of sugar in addition to sugarcane.
In 1768, a steam engine first powered a sugar mill in Jamaica and thus began the industrial mechanization of the refinement of sugar.
This has brought about cheap sugar, and desserts as sweet as we can desire that are often cheaper than traditional food, and made of sugar rather than sweetened by sugar.
Industrialized sugar refinement has brought about normalization of sugar as a food group. Even if you don’t eat candy, there are many other foods that are sweetened with huge amounts of sugar that we often consider to be normal food. Donuts for example, or soda as a drink to wash down a meal.
How to keep the good part of the industrial refinement of sugar without the unnatural extreme sweet diet? The answer is to have zero refined sugar inside your house. This rule might seem extreme, but by historical standards, refined sugar is an exception within our diets, a rarity. It is not normal to eat refined sugar regularly. Our bodies are not accustomed to it and it is not healthy.
The Fundamental Disruption of Industrial Time
Time, measuring the passage of time, and telling the time of day, are among the most fundamental aspects of human life. The Industrial Revolution changed how we tell time so fundamentally that we don’t even realize that there was ever another way. I call the current conventional format for measuring time “Industrial Time.”
You probably are familiar with Industrial Time as “time,” or “normal clocks,” or the answer to the question:
What time is it?
Our current time format is so widely adopted that it seems odd to give it a specific name to differentiate from another format for telling time – since we don’t currently use any other ways to tell time – but we should give it a name because it really is new. It is called “Industrial Time.”
Keep Industrial Time!
I am not opposed to Industrial Time I believe it should remain, and Industrial Time should continue to be used in its current state in many situations. Industrial Time works well in an industrial, global world! However, Industrial Time is new, odd, arbitrary, and disconnected from the natural events it measures. It should be treated as such, and it should have its own name, Industrial Time.
Post-Industrial Time (The Blog) and the Industrial Revolution
Now let’s return the the Industrial Revolution in general, and the Post-Industrial Time Blog. The Industrial Revolution has brought about such a pace of change that Industrial Time – despite its earth shaking consequences to our daily lives – is lost among numerous equally important and fundamental changes that we have quickly accepted as normal! What is really odd is that we accept things so arbitrary and disconnected from natural reality simply because our lives are short and the generations that knew another way have died. The Industrial Revolution began around 1760, which at 25 years per generation, is about 10 generations past. 10 generations is not many, but it is enough to almost completely wipe away life experience of a different reality.
Our perception of the world is based on our own short realities. This works when the world remains the same for thousands of years at a time, but when the world changes fundamentally every two or three generations, we should make an effort to understand the changes. Enter the Post-Industrial Time Blog. Consider the following industrial advancements that we accept as normal, even though they are all less than 10 generations old:
- Sugar / processed food / unlimited food
- Cars / unlimited independent mobility
- Television / cheap easy media entertainment
- Air conditioning / sedentary indoor lives
- Pills / pharmaceuticals
- The internet
- Industrial Time of course!
- Worldwide nationalism
Each of those is something most people, especially Americans, would not consider living without, yet each of them is less than 10 generations old. The “Post-Industrial Time Blog” on this site is here to discuss these various products of the Industrial Revolution, and specifically how the advancements have impacted our daily lives. Industrial Time is just one example topic.
The first 5 items on the list are clearly meant to represent negative changes. My opinion is that those 5 things are almost entirely negative. I call them “The Five Industrial Culture Plagues” and I believe America particularly is fighting a culture war against those things – or at least we should be. Maybe you don’t consider them “all bad,” but I do. Either way, the first step is identifying what has changed.
By clearly identifying the changes that have occurred, readers obtain reference to understand the rapid change that we have come to accept as normal.
General Format for Posts
- Name an industrial advancement.
- Before and after / timeline
- The good and the bad
- How to practically keep the good and cut the bad
- ~500 words
Post-Industrial Time, A Timeline of Progress
Pre-Industrial Time, until ~1775
Without accurate clocks, one looks to the sun, stars, and moon as a reference for time. This is pre-industrial time.
Industrial Time, 1775 – present
Captain James Cook, on his second voyage from 1772-1775 used a watch / chronometer, that cost a third as much as a ship cost at the time that was accurate enough to determine his longitude as he sailed around the world. The watch was called the K1. The K1 was designed by John Harrison, then Marcum Kendall successfully crafted a copy, and Kendall was rewarded by the English government.
Basically, the K1 watch told Captain Cook that the sun was early or late as he traveled, something we would understand as “switching time zones.” Prior to this, Cook would have looked to the sun and not known “what time it is” in his home of England and would have continuously adjusted to the sun. By knowing “how early or late” the sun was, he had a steady reference, and Cook used the reference to calculate his longitude.
Captain Cook continued to use the new watch for the rest of his travels as an indespensable navigational guide. This was the first time a person referenced a machine rather than celestial objects to determine the time. This is Industrial Time. This is the time format we are familiar with today. A century after Cook’s voyages, in 1884, at the International Meridian Conference, world leaders discussed and chose,
…a meridian to be employed as a common zero of longitude and standard of time reckoning throughout the world.
Time zones were born. Industrial Time calculated by machines effectively replaced nature to determine
“what time it is”
and we never looked back.
Post-Industrial Time, 2018 and Beyond
Machines are now flexible enough to give us a time format that is accurate and precise while still remaining relevant to the natural world around us. Enter Post-Industrial Time. The Post-Industrial Time at your location is:
During the day, the amount of time, in standard hours and minutes, since the sun rose. Sunrise occurs at time 00:00. It also includes the length of the day and length of the night for reference. Sunset occurs when the time equals the day length. Midday is half that amount of time, and the sun will be directly in the north or south at midday (or overhead). Example:
The time is now sunrise plus hh:mm:ss. The day length is hh:mm. The night length is hh:mm.
At night, the amount of time until the next sunrise. At night the time counts down from the total night length to zero. Example:
The time is now sunrise minus hh:mm:ss. Tomorrow’s day length is hh:mm. The night length is hh:mm.
You will immediately notice that post-industrial time is location-specific. It is meant to be used locally, only with people who are within a normal day’s commute of you. Within that space it varies only a few minutes. It can be used within a city and surrounding suburbs for example. It can be used to set the time that employees arrive at work in order to have them arrive at a reasonable hour with respect to nature, the whole year round. It is not useful for coordinating flight arrival times, phone calls outside your city, etcetera.
Post-industrial time does not replace industrial time. Industrial time is still useful and in fact, industrial time makes it easy for computers to calculate post-industrial time. An exception is that post-industrial time will make daylight savings time changes obsolete.
Post-industrial time needs industrial time, and it improves on industrial time. It uses industrial time and the flexibility of machines (computers) to give us a time that is more natural.
Post-Industrial Time, Live It Love It
Post-industrial time connects us with the people around us, who we can relate to in person, by bringing to attention what we share with our local friends: sunrise, sunset, midday, longer and shorter periods of light and darkness.
Post-industrial time puts nature back where it belongs, ahead of the machines and our man-made conventions by measuring our industrial lives using natural events rather than measuring natural events with industrial inventions.
Post-industrial time forces the machines to adapt to us, rather than the other way around by directing the machines to give us time that is based on nature.
Post-industrial time is fun by shaking up something we thought to be older than the hills.
Post-Industrial time is a better future by remembering the past.
The Post-Industrial Time Blog
The Post Industrial Time Blog is seeking individuals who want to write about the industrial revolution in society and daily life. I am looking for interesting perspectives of all kinds.
Contact email@example.com if you are interested in contributing.
PI Time Clock Projects
- Android app: currently on github
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for access to the repositories.
- Physical clock on a Raspberry Pi: under development
- i-phone app: Swift?
We are actively coding in order to enable the use of Post-Industrial Time with clocks.
PI Time Coding Notes
At a given location, the post-industrial time is:
If daytime at location, i.e. the sun is up / above the horizon. i.e. the most recent event was a sunrise rather than a sunset, then the post-industrial time is:
Sunrise + hh:mm:ss. The day length is hh:mm. The night length is hh:mm.
Where the sunrise is the most recent sunrise at that location. The total day length is included for the current period of daylight for reference.
If nighttime at location, i.e. the sun is down / below the horizon. i.e. the most recent event was a sunset rather than a sunrise, then the post-industrial time is:
Sunrise – hh:mm:ss. Tomorrow’s day length is hh:mm. The night length is hh:mm.
Where the sunrise referenced is the next sunrise to occur at that location, and the amount of time is the amount of time until that event. It counts down to zero at night. The total night length should also be included for the current period of nighttime.
The Polar Regions
The issue arises in the polar regions where the sun does not set during a particular industrial calendar date / rotation of the earth.
When this is the case, the post-industrial time still continues to count up since the sun last rose above the horizon, and the day length is still the total time until the sun sets. Near the poles, the sun may remain above the horizon for months at a time. This means that the post-industrial time WOULD reach over 4,000 hours. Half of a year is 4,380 hours.
In the polar regions, when the day length exceeds 24 hours, the unit “rotations” must be introduced and the post-industrial time becomes:
Sunrise + rr:hh:mm:ss. The day length is rr:hh:mm.
One rotation = 24 hours. *See note.
This is required in order for the post-industrial time to continue to have meaning with respect to where the sun is in the sky. In the arctic region, the most recent sunset will have been in the south, and therefore the rr value will tick up approximately when the sun crosses south. As the sun circles around just above the horizon (arctic region), the sun will be
in the west at about xx:06:xx:xx, north at ~xx:12:xx:xx, east at ~xx:18:xx:xx, cross south again at ~+1:00:xx:xx.
This will be true for the entire duration of a multiple rotation day. Day length [should be?] within a few minutes of when the rr value ticks up and day lengths will be within a few minutes of multiples of 24 hour periods.
*Note, this is all relative to the sun and not relative to the stars, don’t try to get clever and use a “sidereal day” for the number of rotations. The rotations are relative to the sun.