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Old 02-19-2012, 09:52 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The flinching and foot stomping

begins..........we never enjoy when something strips away a tiny bit of the denial that we maintain to feel safe.....Let alone when something or some idea strips away nearly all of the little "k" king's clothing.

Last edited by landsailor; 02-19-2012 at 09:54 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Tom Murphy is good reading. I tend to pass along his posts to my son -- of the few things worth the time when one is busy -- and while more philosophical musings can have more meat to them, there is no way around large numbers . . people, systems, etc.

As a magical belief system capitalism has had few peers through history. And the resentment, fear and anger of many, if not most folks won't be pretty when the little they have is threatened (the crux of the perception).

David Graeber, though on a slightly different wavelength, also has food for thought.

What is certain is that the future won't be like the past.

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Old 02-19-2012, 10:44 PM   #13 (permalink)
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For those who had not found this already, here's Tom Murphy's personal bio:


An impressive list of accomplishments, already. He's a vigorous thinker for sure and I really appreciate his passion and his firm grip on the facts and methods of science.
Sincerely, Neil

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Old 02-19-2012, 10:48 PM   #14 (permalink)
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He is good reading; I don't have issue with the blog I linked here at this time, but I disagree with one he did last year on the potential fuel economy of cars- pretty far off the mark IMHO. I wanted to get on there and comment but failed- seems to be closed.

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Old 02-19-2012, 11:23 PM   #15 (permalink)
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More efficient use of the energy we have available.

The cost of oil will drive the efforts to find alternatives.

We have had a long period of history where we did not rely on oil, and some of those methods should be reevaluated.

The emerging countries have the example of the US and to a certain percentage Europe and the rest of the developed world as an example of how not to more to economic prosperity.

There are plenty of examples of this already, with China's electrified vehicle population.
The oil producing countries also will try to extend the profits over a longer period of time so they can transition to other means of power generation while accumulating enough wealth to finance their future prosperity.

Democracies may have to transition to a more long term type of government that has the stability to look at solutions that are not dependent on the results of the next election. We in the US have already transitioned to the perpetual campaign, with promises that have no relevance, and spending with no constraints. We will soon run out of the total wealth necessary to continue this situation, if we haven't already.

The energy is available today, the willpower and intelligence to store that energy is the real short term problem, while lower per capita consumption, with significantly more gain from the same amount of energy is the two pronged goal.

A real look back into the ways that people dealt with energy conversion storage and utilization in the past would also help us to understand the correct pathway to progress.

While I agree with the fact that population growth is unsustainable, I believe the future is bright, as long as we understand the solutions are there and the technology is there. We must learn to properly balance the effects of our storage methods and the fact that there will be environmental costs and consequences of our efforts.

Between the nuclear energy, solar, evaporation, tidal, and ocean currents, we can transition away from oil, but oil will be a factor probably for at least another century, possibly two. By then we can grow the replacements for fossil fuels, but I think individual transportation will have to transform dramatically. I also believe it will be done cost effectively at a balance point when oil reaches a price threshold where alternatives can replace fossil fuels, and I think it can happen within my lifetime, by the year 2050 if I was to live to 100 years, as one of my aunts has lived to that age.

I remember a grave marker in an old run down cemetery near a municipal golf course in Hampton Virginia.

Rachael Johnson
April 11, 1811
April 12, 1911

I ponder the times of Rachael's life and the technological revolution she witnessed in her life of 100 years and 1 day.

I wonder what life will be like on November 23, 2050, when I reach the same age. As a youth, I seriously thought the Earth would never see that day. Mankind seemed to be determined to self exterminate in a nuclear holocaust. I don't feel that such a possibility is as near today as I did then, 40 years ago, but I guess it could still happen.

I am fairly optimistic about the future, once mankind wakes up enough to actually approach the energy situation with a less dogmatic and more rational approach. of course we could continue to ignore potential solutions while we chase the next "breakthrough" when we already have the tools to solve the problem, and to do so at a reasonable cost today, while the same technology Rachael witnessed in her century offers us better solutions not even conceived today.

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Old 02-20-2012, 01:06 AM   #16 (permalink)
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As I said... our problem is that even if we're pushing in one direction, you have the teeming millions of suddenly middle-class citizens (especially in China), who want to do it the American way. Thus, they're moving straight from bicycles to four door Buicks in large numbers, and are demanding more and more energy.

The Chinese government has had the foresight to massively invest in hydroelectric and other alternatives, but rapid industrialization is incredibly power-hungry.

The electric car initiative in China and the rest of the world still isn't quite at the US level... because at the current price levels, electric cars with the same size and convenience as regular cars (i.e.: they're not golf-karts with fiberglass body-kits) are still way beyond what most consumers can actually pay.


2050... that's a long ways away. My hundredth year is 2075. That will be an interesting time... I hope by that time they'll have the technology to enable me to live another fifty years, so I can see the 22nd Century.


Even in the worst case scenario, I see our life fifty years from now as being not that bad. Even our transport and power infrastructure break down, our information infrastructure will enable us to keep progressing in some ways, at least. Civilization won't break down completely. Perhaps we'll all be riding bicycles to work (clean air!) at the sugarcane plantation... and spend all our spare time on virtua-twitter...
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:09 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Or at the very least, twittering from our small biospheres.
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:37 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I imagine us living in hybrid-arcologies... high-rise but low-energy-use residential complexes set within farmlands sufficient to feed each arcology. We'll still maintain some roads, but most travel will be delivery trucks and the occassional long-distance traveller. A lot of commercial transactions already take place online. Even more of it should, to eliminate unnecessary travel.

That would leave long stretches of empty road used merely for recreation and access to recreation sites. Instead of sharing it with harried drivers doing a fifty mile commute to work, you'd share it with other people out for a leisurely drive in the countryside, in their ultra-lightweight electric/human/ethanol/biodiesel-powered buggies.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:01 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
We won't try. It'll be at least the 11th hour before people take it seriously. Maybe 12th or 13 hour.
Of course.
Not restricting fuel use gives some countries a short-term competitive edge.
But in the long run, they'll miss out on lean-energy production methods.

International cooperation on reducing oil use becomes useless when the US, China nor the developing countries wish to take part in it.

It certainly doesn't help that these measures were proposed for the wrong reason - climate change.

With many countries winding down nuclear installations, it's a big question where their power supply will come from in an oil-depleted near-future.

Higher oil prices won't be the real issue, but rather availability is going to be key.
That'll be the day we'll regret we've stupidly burned off so much of the stuff.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:09 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by niky View Post
Even in the worst case scenario, I see our life fifty years from now as being not that bad. Even our transport and power infrastructure break down, our information infrastructure will enable us to keep progressing in some ways, at least.
If transport and power break down, so will the information structure which is based on the wide availability of power, lots of power actually.

Civilization won't break down completely.
It won't , but expect a severe set-back - unless they find something that delivers plenty of power in a sustainable way.

People aren't adapted to their surroundings anymore - we've adapted our surroundings to us.
Few people actually know how to live off the land.

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