Another brilliant article by Mary Logan on the sudden temporary loss of complexity.
As we progress further into descent, we will see more electricity brownouts, blackouts, and other events where there is a sudden failure of complexity, resulting in a shutdown of productivity. This failure of complexity has created a new urban word; "digital snow day." And since our digital snow day in Anchorage coincided withtermination dust on the mountains, the name is especially fitting. When we lose complexity suddenly, much of modern life stops, as our subsystems are highly connected. What sort of systems will be impacted when we have complexity brownouts, and what will some of those snow days look like? Does digitization make the failures worse, with a drop to a lower trophic level than would have occurred without digitization?
What's really interesting is how H. T. Odum characterized industrial energy as an extension of the food chain, as "highly embodied energy", as a higher trophic level of transformed energy that both drives and controls production. These concepts are critical to understanding the link between energy and information, a complex set of questions that I have been pursuing for the last four years.