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The insanity of our disposable way of life

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  • The insanity of our disposable way of life

    This is absolutely insane to me. I have an ipod touch that is less than 2 years old. It has 32GB disc space, cost about $300 and has a computer more powerful than the one that put people on the moon. And yet after less than 2 years old the battery inside is dead and it cannot be repaired. I'm expected to simply throw it away.

    Not only does it anger me to throw the actual device away, but I have purchased a few books and some apps that now must also be thrown away. And there was no warning for the battery. It simply died and that was that.

    Does this kind of thing strike anybody else as completely insane? Maybe I'm just too old for this way of life. I remember when it was a big deal if your computer had 16K of memory. This feels like an enormous waste. I don't think I can in good conscience continue with this type of consumption.
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

  • #2
    We do that with people too, ever been terminated with no warning? We have created a world based on consumption. Everything is throwaway. Capitalism is like a shark, if it doesn't continually moved forward, it dies. A positive balance sheet quarter after quarter is all that is valued when you get down to it.
    Primal/Paleo is not for everyone, it's for those who have committed to understand.
    READ THE BOOK! Robb Wolf says: "Trying to convince people to save their own ass will burn you out."

    Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, and an affront to all I stand for -- the pure enjoyment of food.” Anthony Bourdain

    and yes, calories DO count my little piggies


    • #3
      I couldn't agree more SB. I don't understand how everyone can continue to blithely consume these products knowing full well that they have a built in obsolescence. No one seems to be that concerned with what happens to them when we dispose of them. Let's face it they aren't disposable, no matter what may be said to the contrary.

      I'm really not all that stoked about the 21st century.
      Life is death. We all take turns. It's sacred to eat during our turn and be eaten when our turn is over. RichMahogany.


      • #4
        Is it the 3rd generation model? I think the batteries are still replaceable in those although it's kind of a pain. If Apple won't do it maybe you can find a local place or person who will?

        I agree with your sentiment though. I'm not a fan of the 'disposable consumerism' mindset either.


        • #5
          AGREE! Painful isn't it. I have nothing to add to the discussion, just popped in to say I'm with you SB.


          • #6
            Given enough information and a version to cannibalize, nothing electronic is completely broken. It may be made to be disposable, that doesn't mean it has to be disposable.
            I see no point in upgrading to the next new thing when the older thing is still perfectly serviceable or reparable (regardless of whether it is meant to be reparable.) Forced obsolescence is lucrative for the designer and infuriating to the consumer. Voting with our money would be the best way, if it weren't for the fact of the people who hafta keep up with the Joneses who are more than willing to make up for our money.
            Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
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            • #7
              I agree SB....

              But as Moochy pointed out, the system that we have REQUIRES this kind of rapid turnover of "stuff".

              More to the point, I would phrase it like this:
              --The IMF has set as a realistic goal the growth of economy at 2.5% per year. This number is considered conservative, and most of the major players like the US or China shoot for much faster growth.....what this means is that EACH person is supposed to consume 2.5% more than they did last year, whether in human or ecological capital.

              --Projecting this out to the year 2050 and compounding the numbers, this means that the economy is targeted to be THREE TIMES the rate of right now, EVEN if the population did not increase at all.

              -- Most conservative estimates of resource depletion report that we are currently using resources at about 140% of the available land on Earth. This means that given an estimate of population of 10.5 billion by then, add in the fantastical 2.5% growth (that most banksters say will be more like 4 or 5%),this projects taking land and resources at about 500 to 700% the rate of the current speed.

              -- Things like your iPhone, LCD televisions, electric batteries, all of these are made using heavy metals that are also, guess what, becoming much harder to find. This is leaving out the big stuff like arable land, oil, clean water, etc....even the so-called high tech stuff that is going to save us must come from somewhere.

              -- It is 100% true that technology will continue to have a positive effect in extracting more resources. Improved oil drilling methods, fracking for natural gas, new farming techniques, all of this will HELP in expanding our ability to produce.

              But here is the thing:
              NO one with a calculator and functioning brain cells has been able to hypothesize that any of this so-called "growth" will actually some point the costs will become to high, things to expensive to produce and make profit, that all of society will be disrupted. No one honestly believes our planet can handle the amount we are projecting to take from it, period.

              My point is that likely in my lifetime, if not definitely in my children's, the music is going to stop. It will not happen all at once, it will not be a dramatic "Doomsday Preppers" will be a plateauing, slow and fast drop in ALL of this shit that we have built our "culture" on. Things like everyone having their own internal combustion engines, weighing a ton each to transport them, everyone having limitless electricity, limitless everything, all of that will stop. That is not wacky tin-foil hattery. That is math. The numbers above do not allow for output X given input Y.

              We are in the Goldilocks zone right now, hopefully for about ten more years....enough technology and resources to still give a decent quality of life to about 20% of the world's population, but not yet enough scarcity to bring it all down, but it is on the way. It will, within a few decades, be more like about 2% of the population with our modern "Growth", whilst all the rest are essentially back in the 1800's....the way my grandparents talk about how hard it was "back in the day" will likely be reversed for my own grandchildren. I will be sitting around telling them about how great things used to be, how I could run my lights as much as I wanted, drive myself or fly myself anywhere, eat mangos in Vermont in February, and it will all seem just as otherworldly as the Great Depression does to me. Again, it is just math.

              So I say enjoy it. It won't be here forever.

              For more on the math of this, look into the lectures and articles by Paul Gilding. NOT a wacko crackpot, but rather an Oxford educated futurist that has spoken before many Fortune 500 companies, Harvard, Apple, etc.
              Last edited by TheyCallMeLazarus; 12-07-2013, 06:45 PM.
              "The soul that does not attempt flight; does not notice its chains."


              • #8
                After visiting shops around town that wouldn't fix it, I found a place online that will do repairs. But it's the principle of the thing that bothers me so much and it's not limited to Apple's products.

                Oh and yes, I understand planned obsolescence. Have you seen "Story of Stuff?"
                Last edited by sbhikes; 12-07-2013, 06:43 PM.
                Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


                • #9
                  sbhikes, I agree with you-- this consumption level crazy and unsustainable. My family works in retail and it's all about how to get people to consume more and more. Everyone agrees it's killing the planet, yet there's no way to stop it.


                  • #10
                    If you all are interested in this topic, I recently read a good book on waste - "Zero Waste Home" by Bea Johnson. I was so inspired by her, I made some changes here at home, and more are in the works. She has a blog under the same name.
                    I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC


                    • #11
                      I don't understand why you think your books and apps would be lost. They weren't from iTunes or another major retailer like Amazon that reloads onto your new device?
                      “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” W. Edwards Deming
                      Blogging at


                      • #12
                        I don't really know how the books work. I got them from Amazon. I avoid itunes like the plague. I'm really not interested in being funneled into anybody's sales machine.

                        I got the ipod so I would have an iphone-like device to test web sites on. I make websites for a living. Great job for a Luddite. I have ended up using the ipod mostly as a tabata timer, a violin tuner and an alarm clock.
                        Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


                        • #13
                          This is just Apple's way of doing things, and it's why I avoid buying their overpriced gimmicky products. You can replace the battery though, it's just tricky for most people to open the case. You need a soldering iron, and a small flathead and crosshead screwdriver.
                          Make America Great Again


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Derpamix View Post
                            This is just Apple's way of doing things, and it's why I avoid buying their overpriced gimmicky products. You can replace the battery though, it's just tricky for most people to open the case. You need a soldering iron, and a small flathead and crosshead screwdriver.
                            Exactly. Apple's laptops also have their batteries and RAM soldered on so you if you want/need them replaced or upgraded, you send your product to Apple for $$$. Here's a good description of their products:


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                              Oh and yes, I understand planned obsolescence. Have you seen "Story of Stuff?"
                              Excellent book and I'm rereading it now. The way I put it to someone was that when I was growing up, my mom had an Oster blender (this was in the 60s) and I think she still has it and it still works. But what companies like Oster figured out was that if they made a blender that easily lasted 20 years, they only sold one blender to a family every 20 years. But if they made a blender that only lasted 5 years (or less), presto! instant sales increase.

                              The Story of Stuff does a pretty good job of explaining the different forms of obsolescence. One of the things that I have enjoyed about working overseas, often in developing countries, is that they cannot afford to buy a new phone every year or less so you have this whole industry that has developed to keep these electronics going for longer than the manufacture planned on. And the cost of their services is pretty cheap.

                              Services like this don't blossom in the USA because, like has been said, we have become a disposable society. Why spend money on an IPhone repair when the cell phone carriers give you an incentive to just get the latest model?

                              Yes, it will come crashing down on our heads at some point. It is becoming unsustainable now. A lot of African countries (and others) will barely notice a difference in their lifestyles and will do ok. Americans will be lost when they cannot get their 4000 channels on TV or lose their email.
                              AKA: Texas Grok

                              Originally posted by texas.grok
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