What we can look forward to: life after oil

You’ve heard Greg Hunter talk about Peak Oil for quite some time on this site. Today the New York Times has a short piece about the inevitable coming of life after oil.

For Mrs. Wilkerson, 33, a moderate Democrat from Oakton, Va., who designs computer interfaces, the spill reinforced what she had been obsessing over for more than a year — that oil use was outstripping the world’s supply. She worried about what would come after: maybe food shortages, a collapse of the economy, a breakdown of civil order.

via ‘Peak Oil’ Movement Prepares for the Worst – NYTimes.com.

And while there are people who continue to believe the well will never run dry, and some who try to manufacture science to support their ideas, it would seem no one predicted the levy’s breaking in New Orleans, or the Deep Horizon drilling platform blowing up, or any number of other major “doh’s.”

We’ve got people who say global warming is BS too- but, the reality is, if the polar ice caps melt and Manhattan and Miami go underwater- along with a bunch of other prime real estate, does it really matter what the cause was or who was right? Bet the dinosaurs never had a plan for an asteroid strike either- (and neither do we). Yep, one day, life as we know it may be very different.

The part of the article I found most interesting is this:

“I was ready to move out to the country and be an organic farmer, but I learned that’s not the way to do it. You need a community.”

And I thought about my community- in the most basic sense, South Park. We have a group of like-minded people who’ve been working together for years at “building community”- and when push comes to shove, we come to each other’s aid. We know our neighbors and collectively we have the skills to survive and flourish in a situation as bleak as life after oil. In fact, I’d say that Dayton with its aquifer, its nearby farmland, and the people’s general ability to be affable- would point to this being a much better place to be than say NY, LA, Chicago, Atlanta- where the population is already stacked on top of itself like cordwood waiting for a spark to set it off.

The only question will be is who will lead our region if and when everything breaks down? With so many chiefs currently at the head table, will they all still be arguing while the small neighborhoods like South Park fence off and wait for the unrest to quell? The ensuing battle for Woodland cemetery (the high ground that isn’t a garbage dump) would be the first part of the new civilization that will emerge when the cars don’t work anymore.

Do I spend a lot of time thinking about things like this? No. Have I thought about it? Absolutely- and it stems from my training in Special Forces, where we’re often tasked with rebuilding communities that have been severed from mainstream society. The only difference here would be that the language and cultural barriers wouldn’t be as hard to overcome- the biggest obstacle will be the bubbas with the biggest guns.

I’m pretty sure using ancient history to remind people of what can happen is pointless- but, Rome did fall. History is a great teacher. Democracys generally haven’t lasted more than 200 years. Are we operating on borrowed time already? We’ve already made a mockery of our elections- with offices going to not the smartest- but the ones who are willing to sell out. We’ve lived outside our means for years- with huge personal and national debt, we’ve polluted and are still paying the price in cleanup costs- and now we’ve sprawled with our belief in $3-a-gallon gas and highways. We’re fighting a war in Afghanistan trying to do what other empires have tried and failed.

Am I a crackpot candidate for even attempting to run for Congress?

How many times can we be wrong? Should we keep doing the same thing and expecting different results? Harbingers to reflect on.

Happy Sunday Morning to you too.

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29 Responses

  1. truddick June 6, 2010 / 1:56 pm
    Back to the original premise–are we over the hump re: peak oil and what should be our plan?
    First notion: it is time to quit amusing ourselves with gasoline.  Every weekend in season, Americans consume millions of gallons of fossil fuel pointlessly running ATVs and dirt bikes around in circles, tearing up terrain and adding to air pollution and the negative balance of trade.  Now, there are legitimate purposes for an ATV or a dirt bike or a sea-doo, but just making a lot of noise and dust isn’t one of them.
    Second notion: get some highway engineers who know how to smooth traffic flow by timing traffic lights and designing turn lanes.  The recent mess-up of downtown–making it half big-city with one-way streets and half podunk with two-way–was not only stupid but a waste of money we don’t have.  The current proposal to re-do Brown Street “to calm traffic and make it more pedestrian friendly” is equally dumb; I’m frequently a pedestrian on Brown and it’s already quite friendly, thanks–and I imagine it will be far less friendly during rush hour when Oakwood commuters get backed up to downtown.
    Third notion: it’s time to increase gasoline taxes.  Refer to Thomas Friedman on this one.
    Final notion: as Henry Ford said, there is no shortage of energy.  There is a shortage of knowledge of how to tap most forms of energy.  We need to quit admiring stupidity (the likes of GW Bush and Sarah Palin) and rewarding scholarship (the likes of Al Gore and Paul Krugman).
    I now await the teabag drillbabies’ shrill rebuttals.
  2. David Lauri June 6, 2010 / 7:43 pm
    I agree that the cost of converting downtown one-way streets to two-way was not money well spent, but I’m not sure that Brown Street couldn’t use some freshening up.  Because it’s used as a thoroughfare, it’s not the easiest for pedestrians to cross (which is why you see so many people jay walking, waiting for breaks in the heavy traffic), and it’s certainly not bicycle friendly.  I think encouraging more traffic on South Main Street by widening it (detailed in this DDN article) and less traffic on Brown Street by adding bike lanes makes sense.
    Raising the gasoline tax also makes sense, but only if much of the proceeds go to subsidizing public transportation alternatives to driving.  James McCommons has an article about trains in America in the most recent Saturday Evening Post, and he points out how spoiled people in “First-World countries running ?national rail systems” are.  Of course these First-World countries heavily subsidize their train systems, partially with proceeds from high gasoline taxes, but as William Withuhn says in the article:

    We’ve been hearing since 1971 that if Amtrak was reformed, got new equipment, or got rid of certain trains and routes, it would make a profit. It’s all a crock. Passenger trains do not make a profit. Neither do roads or airports. That’s not the purpose of transportation. It’s national cohesion; it’s about moving people where they need to be. The reason America doesn’t have a world-class passenger rail ?transportation system is because it hasn’t paid for it.

    That ought to attract some “teabag drillbabies’ shrill rebuttals.”

  3. jstults June 6, 2010 / 8:03 pm

    I now await the teabag drillbabies’ shrill rebuttals.

    David Lauri:

    That ought to attract some “teabag drillbabies’ shrill rebuttals.”

    Lame!  Why would anyone be interested in talking to either of you when you call them names before the discussion even starts?  Way to take the “high” ground…

  4. Ice Bandit June 6, 2010 / 10:19 pm
      Like the great philosopher Yogi Berra once said, it was deja vu all over again. For after reading David Lauri and Truddick’s posts he was swept back to where he had heard those thesis before; his freshman biology class 40 years ago. There the disciples of Paul Ehrlich and Malthus preached their gospel of future famine, shortage and societal collapse to naive 19 year olds, who were convinced that we’d all be living in the dark and practicing cannibalism by 1986. When in fact, the amount of agriculture grew to meet and surpass the growth of population and further discoveries of petrol kept energy prices stable, a sane society would have banished these Non-Prophets to employment with Ringling Brothers where they would wear size 22 shoes, rainbow wigs and red and round noses. These High Priests of the Cult of Doom were wrong 40 years ago, they are incorrect and dishonest today, and the gas and oil will flow 40 years from now. Hope that wasn’t too shrill for ya’…….
  5. Shortwest Rick June 7, 2010 / 12:06 am
    I’ve long believed the oil was in the ground for a purpose, that the earth as a living entity absorbs and metabolizes carbon for it’s energy source as mammals consume oxygen and carbohydrates, that oil to the earth is akin to blood flowing through our veins. You can choose to believe we live on a rock floating around in space if you like and the oil is just there for us to suck out like mosquitoes, I think it’s the lubricant that’s supposed to buffer movement of the plates, that locations who extract oil are amazingly experiencing more earthquakes. I believe global warming exists, not because we’re depleting the ozone between us and the sun but because the earth it self is beginning to run low on oil and it’s surface is heating, hence the melting ice caps.
    We can talk all day about how we’ll survive without oil but in reality if we don’t respect the earth it’s self that we live on, grab something stable because if we collapse it we’ll be one of those shooting stars burning up in the sun’s atmosphere.
  6. Greg Hunter June 7, 2010 / 3:03 pm
    These High Priests of the Cult of Doom were wrong 40 years ago, they are incorrect and dishonest today, and the gas and oil will flow 40 years from now. Hope that wasn’t too shrill for ya’…….

    Yes and the market will always go up and the same with housing prices….err right Ice Bandit there are always doom cultists, Malthus was wrong and the Green Revolution will go on for ever as we live on a finite world but we can have infinite growth.  Wrong this time but that is not possible correct?  Well have you ever seen this Caveat “past performance does not guarantee future results”?

    I will be first to acknowledge that “Peak Oil” will never be accepted as society will continue to ignore the true cause and jump on the “blame something else bandwagon”while ignoring the true cause of the continuance of this recession – No more cheap energy.  Even the NYT article trots out the doomerism that is part of the American Pysche to belittle the argument that Peak Oil will be a life changing event for the world.  The Old Bandito is goose stepping to the party line by reinforcing that belief with strawman arguments and no facts.  Sorry but the American Public got a glimpse of the Peak Oil throughout the 70s as the Economic Recession in 1973 corresponds nicely with the Peak Oil production in the good ole USA.   I have talked about it enough so here is M. King Hubbert the man who predicted the American Peak and goes on to ACCURATELY predict the world wide Peak.

    We have built as system that REQUIRES cheap energy and that day is over, so the system we invested in building will become a BIG LIABILITY, as the owners of McMansions in Springboro are finding out.  How do you like the levies, taxes and operational costs of the sprawled life style as the cost of energy exceeds the amount one can afford to pay?   Gas may not get more expensive than it is but with wage pressure and job loss, a great number of people cannot afford pay for it as the price drops.

  7. Greg Hunter June 7, 2010 / 3:48 pm
    To most people who are not familiar with world oil consumption the word “million” seems like a very big number. A million barrels of oil will last the world about 17.4 minutes.

    Thats a FACT Jack!

    But no worries Ole Bandito, that gooey center is infinite.

  8. nka June 7, 2010 / 3:52 pm
    I choose to err on the side of American ingenuity.  Yes, this country has arrived on the threshold of the pinnacle of civilization with respect to the advent of the combustion engine and we cannot rest on our laurels.  We will indeed invent the next, greatest application of technology and ride the economic wave from there.  Societies which do not encourage the entrepreneurial spirit nor gravitate towards the greatness of their people cannot understand the evolution of commerce. This is the epitome of the American Experience.
  9. Greg Hunter June 7, 2010 / 4:05 pm
    I choose to err on the side of American ingenuity

    Ahh yes Faith in Man.  Man wants to go the stars so he will.  Hmm what happened to Faith in God?  Monsanto Hall believed in Feeding the World.  Man cannot break physical laws or limits anymore than the bacteria can grow larger than the petri dish.

    Really?  What is the hurry?  We have not proven we can grow exponentially so why are we trying and what is the hurry?  What is wrong with a Quality Society and not a Quantity Society?  Is Obese better?   Living with your means applies to the physical and biological world.

  10. Greg Hunter June 7, 2010 / 4:16 pm
    I wonder if Rome had a Peak Wood problem?

    As one Jesuit complained, “When [the Iroquois] first heard of the eternal fire and of the burning decreed for the punishment of sin, they withheld their belief, because, as they said, there could be no fire where there was no wood then what forest could sustain so many fires through such a long space of time” as eternity?

    (I wonder if I will have a Peak Wood Problem?) :)

  11. nka June 7, 2010 / 4:22 pm
    “living within your means” is not how this country became the envy of the world.  We chose to expand our horizons and with that dragged the rest of humanity with us.  Who do you think feeds the rest of the world?  We are not the “bad guy” we are the utopia often dreamt of.  Those who are left behind, fall behind.  Remember:

    Stample the Weak
    Hurdle the Dead
    Fight to the Finish

    I personally became successful because I chose to not live within a defined parameter.  It is EXCITING to create something new.  Don’t limit our potential…

  12. nka June 7, 2010 / 4:40 pm
    The physical and biological world is antagonistic at its heart.  Darwinian Theory demands “survival of the fittest”.  Why then is this an anathema with respect to how civilizations engage in our current geo-political environment?  What happened to the “conquering heroes” of old?  Nations were constructed and destroyed based on conquest.  Economies are no different.  Timid governmental economic policies endanger a country much as the “barbarians at the gates” did eons ago.  Does anyone remember that George Soros—the key financial resource behind Obama—nearly sunk the British pound??  I guess that was OK because he was a socialist…
    It’s the Pioneering Edge that leads to primary economic advancement.  America has ALWAYS been that and the status quo is NEVER good enough
  13. jstults June 7, 2010 / 6:50 pm

    I wonder if Rome had a Peak Wood problem?

    Recent post on TOD about energy transitions, first graph shows the transition away from wood.  The lags between subsequent sources are interesting (maybe they could be modeled).  nka, what do you think is going to take up the slack?  My pick is thorium, but even if you’re optimistic about the future you have to recognize the enormous scale of the problem.
    Greg again:

    Gas may not get more expensive than it is but with wage pressure and job loss, a great number of people cannot afford pay for it as the price drops.

    People will probably learn to love commuting on their line-trimmer bikes.

    “Peak Oil” will never be accepted as society will continue to ignore the true cause and jump on the “blame something else bandwagon”while ignoring the true cause of the continuance of this recession – No more cheap energy.

    Sure you don’t have cause and effect reversed?  Drops in production projections seem to be driven more by changes in economic growth projections rather than changes in proven reserve levels (or am I just mainlining the BAU opiate?).

  14. truddick June 7, 2010 / 10:28 pm
    Wow, so much fodder.
    David, I have no trouble crossing Brown Street at any hour.  If I choose I may wait for a walk signal.  Mostly I opt to jaywalk despite the law because common sense dictates that it’s safer to cross when traffic is potentially coming from two directions than it is to cross when traffic is potentially coming from four.
    Stults, if you want name-calling to stop, then take the teabaggers to task for starting it.  I only respond in their dialect.
    Ice Bandit, I’m with NKA on this one; I like American ingenuity.  As one OPEC oil minister once said, the stone age did not come to an end due to a shortage of rocks; in the same way, we can discover stuff that’s better (cheaper, cleaner) than oil.  Look at what they’re doing at Purdue:
    (note: that article is a little out of date–they’ve since improved the alloy.  Google for yourself to find the latest)
    In toto: I think there will always be a place for petroleum derivatives for lubrication and fuel.  But letting BP and the like dictate that we’ll continue to use them as our primary source of energy is a fool’s elixir.  One that the Palin-worshipping tea-bag drill-babies are using to wash down their stupid pills.
  15. Greg Hunter June 8, 2010 / 8:22 am
    I will respond in detail to Bau, stones and Darwin, when I am not on the iPhone. Stones and oil? Really? But there is some evidence that suggests that the stone age did end because all the high quality, easily accessible stone was gone.
  16. jstults June 8, 2010 / 8:55 am

    if you want name-calling to stop, then take the teabaggers to task for starting it.  I only respond in their dialect.

    My point was, you called any prospective rebuttal-ists names before the discussion even started.  Clearly, if someone disagrees with you they must be shrill and love deep ocean drilling… Where are the name-calling TeaParty People on this site?  The actions of some vague ‘them’ excuses your own poor choice of ‘dialect’?  Name names of the esrati.com name-callers.

  17. truddick June 8, 2010 / 10:26 am
    Jstults challenged me:
    Where are the name-calling TeaParty People on this site?

    Which seems to set up a condition that I must edit my comments to include only comments posted by specific people on this site.
    Stults’ complaint is predicated on the notion that it’s baseless to say that teabaggers are, in general, drill-babies and shrill.  I’d say those are fair assessments, not random name-calling.  Moreover, I’d offer that the tea-bag movement’s refusal to acknowledge facts in these cases  only worsens the problem.
    Now, to presume that I meant by that comment that there could be no reasoned or calm rebuttals is jumping to a conclusion I did not intend.
    If you want to find name-calling on Esrati.com, feel free to browse the archives yourself.  Trust me, they’re there.  Of course, one person’s name-calling is another person’s identity politics…
  18. jstults June 8, 2010 / 11:20 am

    Now, to presume that I meant by that comment that there could be no reasoned or calm rebuttals is jumping to a conclusion I did not intend.

    Fair enough.  Why call names in the first place then?  It’s off-point and a distraction from the interesting subject which is What, If Anything, Should I Do About Peak Oil.

  19. Ice Bandit June 8, 2010 / 2:37 pm
    Ice Bandit, I’m with NKA on this one; I like American ingenuity (truddick)

      In the technological museum that is El Bandito’s garage is a testament to American ingenuity; a record player, reel to reel, eight track and cassette tape players, a Commodore 64 along with 486 and Pentium 3 computers and a couple of pre-HD televisions. As a sidebar, the Old Bandito’s first VCR (a top-loading four head VHS) cost 400 dollars in 1983. The latest VCR purchased cost $29.99. Each of these antiques functioned well, demand ensured these items affordabilty and consumers would have happy to hang on to any of these items until they were displaced by the next round of technological improvements. But there are some devices, that by the genius of their design are almost impossible to improve upon; count the wheel, the plow and the fork among these items. Put the internal combustion engine on that list. Despite the designs of such geniuses as Wankel, the ICE has withstood the test of time and fought back the challenges of other inventions. These engines are easily adaptable to run on such things as discarded french fry grease, there just has yet not been a way to transport and market such fuels in a way consumers want. Yes, dear truddick, the whole world not only loves but depends on American technological advances. But until that next design of engines come about, we are in a shotgun marriage with fossel fuels…..

  20. Greg Hunter June 8, 2010 / 2:46 pm
    …..which is What, If Anything, Should I Do About Peak Oil.

    Well said, so let’s get back to it.

    First and foremost Stones do not burn…. but that, I am sure, will not convince you in the least, so here is a great little thread that ties declining high quality stone production with the rise of the bronze age as well as a side discussion on Markers or the first paper money.  A capitalism primer if you will, but here is the key paragraph on stones.

    I always love that throwaway line about the Stone Age not ending because they ran out of stone. It’s widely known in archeology that it sure looks like that’s exactly what happened.
    There is stone, as in huge granite boulders that rumble down mountains and fall on your head, and there’s the high quality chert and obsidian suitable for making tools and weapons. There’s oil miles down under pre-salt formations in the Gulf, and there’s West Texas gushers.
    The quarries for the good stuff for stone tools, high quality chert and obsidian, show clear signs of exhaustion by low-tech mining methods. It was traded for thousands of miles and Turkey must have been the Saudi Arabia of the Neolithic.
    The archeological records shows that metal was used to make small decorative dohickies during the Late Stone Age, probably by pounding naturally occurring nuggets. The development of metallurgy coincides with increasing resource scarcity of good stone.

    “living within your means” is not how this country became the envy of the world.  We chose to expand our horizons and with that dragged the rest of humanity with us.

    America has lived beyond its means before and has doubled down this time with excess debt on investments we did not need (sprawl and war for example) at a time when the economic engine is slowing due to increased energy costs.  While everyone focuses on Europe’s economic crisis, we are not focused on our own issues.  Germany and France probably can afford to bail out the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Iceland, Greece and Spain) because they still PRODUCE things, therefore the fall in the Euro is GREAT for them and not us.  Well it should have worked because the US was the Ownership Society touted by the Hack in Chief GWB.  It made no sense but with two wars, defense buildup and no fiscal restraint each US citizen is on the hook for preposterous sum.

    Finally, the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare are nearly $109 trillion, or about $352,000 per US citizen (see usdebtclock.org). That number alone is a Debt/GDP ratio of 745% and is so outside the realm of rationality that I didn’t bother to put it in the table. Clearly, the recipients of these promises can’t possibly hope to receive such benefits in current dollars. Depreciation of the currency or significant cutbacks in the promises (or both) is inevitable. The recognition of the real magnitude of these irresponsible promises should be enough to cause a loss of confidence in the dollar. In my view, unless the US moves to at least begin to address these issues, that day is closer than anyone might think.

    So more data indicating a predicament and not a problem.

    Who do you think feeds the rest of the world?

    I agree we have exploited Americas Natural Resources while simultaneously releasing man’s creativity with Capitalism that has a foundation in law and the ideals of the Founding Fathers.  This process continued unabated until America Peaked in Oil production in 1973.  America won the WWII with no damage to industrial capacity, which combined with Cheap Energy from the Texas oil fields, led to the Bright and Glorious 40’s, 50’s and early 60’s that St. Ronnie the Wrong so fondly thought of as Americas’s Golden Age – and he was right, but for the wrong reasons.   Yes we still feed the world but it takes 10kcal of petroleum products to get 1kcal of oil into each American’s gob, so how will food production be impacted by Peak Oil?   Natural Selection or Survival of the Fittest.

    Herbert Spencer first used the phrase – after reading Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species – in his Principles of Biology (1864), in which he drew parallels between his own economic theories and Darwin’s biological ones, writing “This survival of the fittest, which I have here sought to express in mechanical terms, is that which Mr. Darwin has called ‘natural selection’, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.”[1]

    Now we must address Darwin and the basic human condition.  All humans exhibit a great range of emotions and great civilizations cannot be constructed without some altruism and nka suggests that is a major driver in our economic struggle.  We as humans are always at war whether it be on the Pitch orconducting business, so I will have to agree that Darwin will rule and not the Christian ideals of Ronaldus Maximus.
    Based on the above arguments related to Peak Oil, mis allocated resources in the form of indebtedness of the American Taxpayer as well as the Political Class’s unwillingness to the deal the structural problems in the US then yes I am a believer in Survival of the Fittest and I am taking steps to be on the fit side or at least have a chance.  If you cannot see how all of the arguments and links draw together and the US can come out by some Technological Miracle then you may survive as luck is one thing, but you will not be fit. So what does society/individuals need to do to Survive?  I know the answer as Fox/CNBC tell me so Free Market Capitalism!  I think that is wrong and I have a good idea of what it will take to HAVE a chance at survival.

  21. Brian June 9, 2010 / 3:03 pm
    Hey Greg Hunter:
    How much energy does that iPhone of yours soak up?  Or how about that gas guzzler of a car that gets about 2 miles to the gallon?
  22. Greg Hunter June 10, 2010 / 2:47 pm
    Ahh Gene Brian what do want Jesus?   Sack clothes and ashes?  That would not change your mind I am certain.   On the scale of hypocrisy I consider myself at the low end as I have sacrificed income and savings for a higher principle.  You have rationalized your actions by some mass delusion while I have predicted and done exactly enough to survive in the current environment.  I will admit that I LOVE OIL.  I LOVE MY CAR.  I LOVE THE FREEDOM.  It is the greatest gift ever and as I recognize that I also recognize that breeding like cockroaches because of the benefits of oil will bring un natural and horrific deaths to others I am conscience of what “needs to be given up” for the common good. I want people to be well fed and well traveled and I would gladly have a single point of food distribution in Downtown Dayton, delivered by train,  and then ride my bike to that distribution point for purchase.  I consistently pay a higher price for eggs, meat and produce from the 2nd street market because in “theory” that food is at least within 100 miles of me, which is called a resilient system.  I am hoping my standing in this system will help it grow and thrive for those times when Daytonians WILL ask for more than the local producers can provide as the benefits globalism wane as the oil is drained from the system. It is amazing how few people take advantage of the wonderful trails and bike paths available in the area.  I want to thank Sue for showing me the path to Taylorsville Metro Park from the Riverscape.  Great ride and great history may be found on the path. I would like to ride more times but as the summer heats up it is frowned upon to sweat or not have shoes or too wash off in the fountains but I will eventually endure that ridicule as well and live simply so that others may simply live. Gene I have been ridiculed but loved all my life and I see nothing changing….

  23. nka June 10, 2010 / 3:18 pm
    The arrival of the Bronze Age was obviously not based on the lack on certain types of stone as all of these varieties are as abundant today as they were in the Neolithic period, but rather as a technological advance of civilization.  Thus proves the ultimate argument of Darwinian Theory—newer, more efficient advances pave the path towards evolution. 
    The same principles that made it necessary for humans to advance from stone to metallurgy are the same principles that necessitated amphibians to advance from purely water-dependant creatures to land dwelling.  We have an innate desire for the most desirable living conditions.  It simply is not sustainable for human beings to reside in a solely static environment.  We have a biological desire to explore outside of our established boundaries for the next level of sustainability.  This is NOT a nefarious concoction. 
    Human beings want more not because we are simply greedy, arrogant consumers but rather that we crave to push the boundaries of our existence.  Americans in particular have created a culture in which we create the new in order to advance the overall human condition.
    Right now oil is the lubricant that makes our economical world “go ‘round” as that resource become more scarce and ever more geo-politically explosive—have no fear that we will create another resource to fill the gap for our next advancement of civilization.  The only reason that we still currently depend of oil is that it is STILL so abundant on our planet that it hasn’t caused enough pain for us to switch immediately to another alternative. 
    In the words of one of my best friends, “it’s all good”—lighten up
  24. Greg Hunter June 14, 2010 / 1:36 pm
    have no fear that we will create another resource to fill the gap for our next advancement of civilization.

    Well I will rest easier now that I can have faith that Man will event something to break the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.  It is this “type” of thinking that proves to me that we are doomed.

    “If kindness and comfort are, as I suspect, the results of an energy surplus, then, as the supply contracts, we could be expected to start fighting once again like cats in a sack. In the presence of entropy, virtue might be impossible.”

    NO one deserves a blackened shoreline. And the people are not to blame for their lifestyle. They were born into it and are living life the only way they know how.

    Actually, I’d say we all deserve blackened shorelines, because as a nation we are all responsible for the habit which created this mess. Just because we are “born into it”, really isn’t relevent, its just an excuse to justify our refusal to change our habits. I hate to break it to you, but the people are to blame for the choice to continue living our current lifestyle. We are sentient beings capable of independant thought, not mindless bacteria.
    Just look at the response from Louisiana if you need evidence. “Stop the oil at all costs!…but whatever you do, don’t put a temporary moratorium on deep-water drilling, we need the jobs!” Its completely schizophrenic. I’m almost surprised they aren’t praising BP for creating a bunch of jobs cleaning up the oil.
    You can’t expect people to perform tasks with perfect precision. Mistakes and carelessness happen in every industry, no matter how careful we tend to be… thats just reality. Wind turbine towers collapse and hurt people on occasion, people can get electricuted dealing with solar generated power, etc. The main difference with oil (and nuclear, and coal mining, etc.) is the scale of the problem when bad things inevitably occur. However, if you support the industry with your purchases, you really can’t spout out your righteous anger at BP & pollution without being a hypocrite.
    I’m Runeshade… I drive an ICE car, and the GOM oil spill is partly my fault.

    Like Bill Gates I steal from the Best….

  25. David Esrati June 19, 2010 / 5:38 pm

    @jstults so funny- but so sad. Unlike the last 8 presidents- who have failed to come up with workable solutions to wean us from foreign oil- I’ve actually come up with a few ideas:

    Walk to work tax credit

    The 50cc scooter

    Bicycle Sharing

    I’ve yet to hear anything out of Mike Turner.


  26. jstults June 25, 2010 / 2:30 pm

    have no fear that we will create another resource to fill the gap for our next advancement of civilization.

    Well I will rest easier now that I can have faith that Man will event something to break the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.  It is this “type” of thinking that proves to me that we are doomed.

    Lack of a classical liberal education? (emphasis added)

    The warning would be simple: at the end of the path of liberation lies enslavement. Liberation from all obstacles is finally illusory, because human appetite is insatiable and the world is limited. Without mastery over our desires, we will be eternally driven by them, never satisfied by their attainment.
    Science and the Decline of the Liberal Arts

  27. jstults June 29, 2010 / 10:16 am
    Nothing new under the sun, even the “ancient blogs” had trouble with name calling:

    Now in the mind of Mr. Southey reason has no place at all, as either leader or follower, as either sovereign or slave. He does not seem to know what an argument is. He never uses arguments himself. He never troubles himself to answer the arguments of his opponents. It has never occurred to him, that a man ought to be able to give some better account of the way in which he has arrived at his opinions than merely that it is his will and pleasure to hold them. It has never occurred to him that there is a difference between assertion and demonstration, that a rumour does not always prove a fact, that a single fact, when proved, is hardly foundation enough for a theory, that two contradictory propositions cannot be undeniable truths, that to beg the question is not the way to settle it, or that when an objection is raised, it ought to be met with something more convincing than ‘scoundrel’ and ‘blockhead.’
    Macaulay’s Review of Southey’s Colloquies on Society

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