Infomagic? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Iam a GI who is preparing, and new to this forum, I find it to be very informative and interesting, its nice to know there are others who think alike about Y2k, and can't have the wool pulled over their eyes by the media etc. I know this is probably a dumb question to those who have been studying this for awhile, but could you please tell me "who" or "what" the heck Infomagic is. Esmerelda

-- Esmerelda (, February 17, 1999


He's the greatest of all the Gloomers, of which there is no one gloomier. Even Melancholic Milne seems downright cheerful next to Infomagic.

-- You (have@been.warned), February 17, 1999.

There was a rumor that Ed Yourdon may have been this person, but it was dismissed.

-- Faze the Nation (, February 17, 1999.

I believe Infomagic's name is Ivan Mingham (sp?).

Can anyone very this?

-- pshannon (, February 17, 1999.

OK, go to to read the first of Infomagic's installments. Subsequent ones can be found in WRP103 and WRP107, just change the number in the header address. Also go to DejaNews & search for Infomagic's name.

Maybe someone can supply the actual identity of this person?

-- here's (what@you.want), February 17, 1999.

"He's the greatest of all the Gloomers, of which there is no one gloomier."

Not so fast there You. Peggy Stewart takes the gloom cake. From WRP 106:

Why Infomagic is a Pollyanna

by Peggy Stewart

Hold on to your hats. Infomagic, though his example of the mule deer was excellent, is a pollyanna.

The Archer Daniels Midland website ( says that a century ago a farmer fed 8 people with his labors. Today (1998) each farmer feeds 212 people. I will return to those numbers later. But first, consider farming at the end of the last century.

The farm of the 1890s was a multi-generational, vertically integrated unit of production. The "farmer" was not a solitary producer, but each member of the extended farm family had skills, abilities and responsibilities. There were some communal tasks which might involve more than a family. The rich farmer who owned a threshing machine or saw mill might well trade for or buy labor.

Everything but the squeal.

Farmers grew crops to provide seed for next year, to feed themselves, to feed their livestock and for trade or sale.

Farmers raised animals to "provide" animals for next year, for fertilizer, to feed themselves, for leather or fiber, for draft animals and for trade or sale.

Most farmers had an orchard, woodlot, henyard, and kitchen garden. Cash crops, grown solely for sale, were limited to items like tobacco and sugar (beets or cane). These were luxury goods or required special processing.

Farmers preserved and stored their own produce for the winter or a bad year. A wise and well prepared farmer had three years seed grain stored.

Farmers traded for things they could not produce but paid cash for taxes, salt, specialized tools, and cloth (or clothing). The wheat fields of the Great Plains and steel roller mills were converting flour into an agribusiness. The farmer might use a local grist mill to grind locally produced grain or purchase flour depending on the area.

Farmers had ponds, springs, wells, ice ponds, and ice houses. If lucky they had a spring house with a cold spring.

If the potatos failed, they ate more oats and rye.

If the draft ox died, they raised and trained a new one. Maybe if they were lucky they could trade with a neighbor for plowing.

If the cattle took sick, they ate fish or game or "vegetarian."

If the Doctor's bill was more than he would take in trade, they harvested some tall timber and sold it for cash.

They spent the winter around the fire, eating freshly roasted chestnuts (or peanuts) and heading nails.

They spent the summer repairing or building the baskets, barrels and barns needed for the harvest.

They did their own vet. medicine, slaughtering and butchering.

Also, non-farmers still provided a portion of their own foodstuffs. Preachers and Doctors had gardens, henyards, milk cows and maybe even orchards. Even mine owners had farms to breed and feed the "pit ponies." Breweries operated dairies, feeding the exhausted mash to the cattle. The White House had extensive greenhouses.

What kind of Fisherman can't eat his catch?

Modern farming is horizonally integrated.

Some farmers grow corn or soybeans or wheat or potatos, which they sell. Some farmers raise chickens or pigs or cattle, which they sell. Dairy products and butchering are done by specialists for wages. Food (vegetable and animal products) is processed and distributed and purchased for consumption.

The seed is purchased from agribusiness. Chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides are used if not required. The chicks are purchased from an agribusiness. The piglets are sometimes bred by the feedlot operator. The calves are probably purchased from a dairy farmer. The feed is purchased from a farmer probably after processing by an agribusiness. Water is pumped and waste products are sent elsewhere.

This Charlotte's Web is as dependent upon electrical power and the transportation net as other industries.

A feedlot without deliveries of feed is a famine.

A feedlot without power to pump water is a drought.

A dairy farm without electricity requires many people.

A grain elevator full of wheat does not feed the farmer who grew it.

This is not limited to the United States. During the "Green Revolution" farmers world wide came to rely on seed grains and breedstock. Farmers no longer keep three years of seed grain in reserve. Farmers no longer know how to break oxen for draft and don't have the equipment to use if they did.

How far did that food travel?

Cory's pot of coffee in Hawaii is not the only world traveler. Coffee, tea, chocolate, bananas these are obvious migrants. There is a tea planation in the Carolinas but most tea travels from overseas. That fastfood hamburger may have come from a cow grazing in another country. The chicken probably came from the Southern United States. The "Idaho" potato is supposed to have come from Idaho but there was a lawsuit about it. Fresh fruit from California or Florida is no surprise but what about Venezuala and Equador?

In 1898 canned foods were reliable. Grain and flour traveled long distances. Cattle and pigs were driven to railheads and slaughtered near the consumer. But most food was eat very near where it was processed. Cheese was a way of storing milk. Sauerkraut was a way to keep cabbage for mid-winter consumption.

Reviewing ADM's numbers, each farmer in 1898 fed 8 people. But that farmer used the tools, techniques and training of that century.

In 1998 each farmer feeds 212 people using the tools, techniques and training of this century.

Given a world population of 5.9 billion, that means there are 28 million farmers. If those 28 million farmers had only the tools and techniques of the last century they could support 8 people. That projects a carrying capacity of 224,000,000. For comparison, that is the estimated world population during the Roman Empire and again at the turn of the first Millenium of the Current Era.

Like Infomagic's mule deer, the survivors will have been hungry. There is no guarantee that the persons with the skills required will survive.

"Hungry people cannot learn or make anything but riots." Pearl's Kitchen

At this point, I disbelieve my own argument. The idea that agriculture will collapse and be able to feed only 2 people out of 59 is inconceivable. The Black Death killed 1/3 to 1/2 the population of Europe, changed agriculture, and ended feudalism. But this is an analysis of currently available information, not a prediction of what will happen.

"There are no hopeless situations, there are only people who have grown hopeless about them." Clare Booth Luce

Victory Gardens

During the American Civil War city dwellers planted "Sanitary Gardens" using information and assistance from the US Sanitary Commission. A minimal Sanitary Garden included onions, carrots and potatos. More elaborate gardens provided food for the owner and a few neighbors.

During WWII Victory Gardens were encouraged in England and the United States. But again, many gardens were minimal. They supplemented transported food. The governments provided information and assistance to make them productive.

Will there be someone available to assist with the Millenium Victory Gardens? Will there be seeds for the first year? Second year?

Regional effects

There are areas where the farms now support the 8 people that they could using 19th Century technology. Whether they are small communities in a modern area like the Amish or a nation with less technology like China, they probably could support themselves without electricity. Theoretically at least. The Amish areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio are walking distance from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Cleveland suburbs.

The remaining vertically integrated farmers can be the intellectual capital to bring production to as high a level as possible as quickly as possible. Alternatively, they can be killed by looters. This is not a novel or a movie. There is no assurance that the persons with the skills will survive.

Sorry to see such a bleak picture. Farms now are not like "The Little House on the Prairie." Even farmers buy their groceries at Piggly Wiggly.

The fall of the Roman Empire may be a model, not just because Infomagic saw its ruins as a child. In Northern England, the flues of ruined Roman Villas were used as fish drying racks. The Roman roads had such an impact on trade and commerce that English canals and railroads used their width as a standard.

Will we be using flues for fish drying racks or roads as models?

A final kicker: loss of arable land. The world is losing arable land. The loss is due to overfarming and overgrazing. The loss is due to irrigation with salt water and irrigation which depletes the supply of water. The loss is due to diversion of prime farmland.

Two examples of diversion of farmland - Arlington Cemetery is located on what had been General Robert E. Lee's home and plantation. This prime farm land was diverted in the last Century. Suburbs of the North East have expanded to the point where the family can not afford to farm. Those who want to farm sell and move to an area where farmland is available. Those who don't want to farm sell the homeplace to a developer and the only thing that grows is housing developments, or industrial parks.

(c) 1998 by Peggy Stewart

This article is published as part of Cory Hamasaki's DC Y2K Weather Report and may be reproduced under the same terms and conditions. All other rights reserved to the author.

-- a (a@a.a), February 17, 1999.

Dear Esmerelda: Please check

Archive of all WDC reports.

-- Eli (, February 17, 1999.

Thanks for the info, wasn't sure if it was a person, group of people, company or what, although I knew that he had TEOTWAWKI scenerio.

-- Esmerelda (, February 17, 1999.

Eli: Thanks for archive URL

-- A (, February 17, 1999.


Everything Peggy Stewart wrote here is obvious if you assume the total collapse of the infrastructure.

Be careful what conclusions you draw from your assumptions.

-- ... (.@...), February 17, 1999.

Check out the assumptions from which you draw your conclusions.

Food Chain could very well be highly damaged without total infrastructure collapse. If you don't like Peggy Stewart, go read Yardeni on Agriculture/Food Chain, and if that doesn't satisfy, read the essays on the Dept of Ag y2k page. If that still doesn't do it go to the Edgar Database at SEC and read the y2k disclosures of the big Food Chain outfits, if that is too hard do a DejaNews search using my email addy, date range May/June 98 - I reported on several of the big Food Chain outfits then - if you do this search on Edgar, please report it back here to the Yourdan forum. Thanks. Actually while doing the Edgar search, since this is Ag you need to take a look at Monsanto and DuPont, Chevron, etc. since they are integral to Food Chain. If you still aren't convinced, use the example of a Thanksgiving turkey, and work out the entire net of events that MUST occur in order to get that turkey from egg to cooked on your table. Clue, the list of conditions is over two pages long.

No indeed, for Food Chain interruptions to happen we do not need total collapse. Probabilities are high for interruptions.

-- Mitchell Barnes (, February 17, 1999.

And you can link to Gerri Giudetti's site through Holly Deo's Millenium Ark sites. Just toss any of them into a competent search engine and follow the links.


-- Chuck, night driver (, February 18, 1999.

Be careful what assumptions you make in the first place. Bad assumptions = bad conclusions. Bad logic is worse. Infomagic uses the worst logic I have seen. He fell from grace with IFM #3 which was even worse than #2. No one pushes IFM #3 - read it and find out why.

-- Paul Davis (, February 22, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ