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David Collum is the Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry at Cornell University. He is the intellectual utility infielder of internet commentary, covering all the bases: culture, politics, finance, and technology, with often surprising views on the the predicaments of our time. He tweets at @DavidBCollum.

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

9 Responses to “KunstlerCast 320 — Chatting with David Collum” Subscribe

  1. 100th Avatar September 23, 2019 at 5:27 pm #

    Excellent podcast.
    The dire state of investigative journalism is bewildering and quite frightening.

    In a purported Information Age we are all the more pressured to accept the company, quite literally, line.

  2. Rototillerman September 23, 2019 at 6:15 pm #

    I had a literal “laugh out loud” moment when David referred to climate change as a “bug light for idiots.” Made my day!

  3. cc rider September 24, 2019 at 10:55 am #

    I didn’t know who David Collum was before listening to this podcast. Very good interview and I really liked listening to his perspectives on various issues. Over the weekend I went on a “Collum Binge” and listened to other interviews with him. Follow him on Twitter now as well. Yesterday he said he’s going to write about climate change. I look forward to reading that for sure.

  4. snarkmatic9000 September 24, 2019 at 4:59 pm #

    While true that there are few legitimate climate scientists, there is little legitimate debate anymore among the truly qualified. Perhaps peruse more of the relevant peer-reviewed climate research and statistical methodology used, no doubt supported by 99% of physicists and other colleagues in the physical sciences at Cornell, (economics doesn’t count, not being a science of any sort). Tulsi supporter, PhD Nuclear Physics, Livermore CA

    • 100th Avatar September 25, 2019 at 9:17 am #

      I still believe it’s an issue of argument framing e.g., theoretics and rhetoric.

      Why is there so much recalcitrance in adjusting the argument further?
      It has already gone from “global warming” to “climate change”.

      Why not call it what it really is “global/planetary destruction”?
      With this, one can set the rubric of pollution, wildlife die-off, air quality, soil degradation, mass migration, sea-level rise, extinction frequencies, water quality, habitat loss, disease, war, financial chicanery, government corruption, poverty, etc..

      Instead, we are left with a debate about the significance of interminable temperature fluctuations, and nothing more.

      The reason why the argument never changes is because the problem is self-evident: too many people.

      And that is what capitalism needs.

  5. Look at his portfolio:

    Precious metals, etc.: 28%
    Energy: 0%
    Cash equivalent (short term): 63%
    Standard equities: 9%

    This is a man who absolutely does not believe in progress, or even the future.

    Maybe this is consistent with expectations of a person’s whose life experience as a scientist mostly investigates discrete quanta in a controlled environment.

    Someone who reads Zerohedge, and not the The New York Times (because the former are “Rouges”, and the Times represents “media who have failed us”) doesn’t appreciate all the other people out there, in “The real world”, recording our data, and analyzing each other’s work.

    His data, in the cozy laboratory in Cornell, is good data, and his analysis is good analysis.

    But not other people’s data. Not other people’s analysis. Not other scientists. Not other economists. Add Twitter and tenure…

    This is how you end up with a lab chemist with a portfolio going nowhere who doubts the principles of his own discipline.. and is untouchable. Congrats, you’re “out of touch” as Hall & Oates would say.

    This all dovetails with “There is nobody on the planet that knows what’s going to happen”. So, he’s “more afraid of solutions than I am of climate change even if its real. I don’t want to spend ($17 trillion dollars) on climate change…. it would ruuuuuin us… ”

    Right, so here’s the guy who is skeptical of science to allow anybody to know anything, and then couches his position in terms of economics, a non-science.

  6. Walter B October 7, 2019 at 11:44 pm #

    I tell you what Jim, I would never wish that everyone in the world was just like me because that would certainly not work out well, but I have to admit that listening to David speak is like taping myself speak and then playing it back for my own amusement. I love this man and I would love to look him up and spend the night bullshitting as we quaffed a few Narragansett’s, culminating in the singing of “Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies”, and a chorus of “Show me the way to go home!”

    If you recall, I was an early supporter of Tulsi Gabbard as well, and David’s view of global warming, well, I could never have said it better. Americans seem to forget that so much of what is called fact is only theory. Darwin had a very interesting theory, and many may even argue that the Bible is also a theory. Why so many cannot admit that they subscribe to a theory rather than demanding that we all subscribe to THEIR theories, reminds me that many people never really get educated, but remain spoiled brats even until death.

    And BTW Jim, to answer your question of “is America governable now”, I would say emphatically NO! Please tell David that he has at least one HUGE fan out here. Thank you David!

    • Zoltar October 11, 2019 at 12:19 pm #

      Good content, but I think Collum’s Jimmy Stewart impersonation is a bit over-the-top.

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