A gesture is sometimes important...

In Brief: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States, in collaboration with other international allies, should establish an energy project with the magnitude, creativity, and sense of urgency that was incorporated in the `Man on the Moon' project to address the inevitable challenges of `Peak Oil.'


A good start, I guess.  The thing will be to see whether the thing gets stuck in committee or not, and even if it passes, this bill by itself won't make much happen.

I wonder if it would help to have more co-sponsors??  People could write in to their Reps and ask them to get on-board.

Step 1: Write to your congressperson

Step 2: Write a short, specific and respectful message to your representative urging them to support this resolution and give a reason why you feel it is important. Include the link to Global Public Media

Step 3: Forward link to others asking for them to do the same.

Believe me, staffers do read their mail and numbers do matter.

My congresscritter is already a co-sponsor, so my job is limited to giving this more visibility.  

I already sent it off to Jerome, so maybe there will be a good diary on dKos in the next day or two about this.  I could write it up myself, but it would disappear in 30 minutes and nobody would notice.

agreed that this is a positive step forward...but realize this is not a bill....it's just a "sense of the house" thingy..but calling and writing will raise conciousness
Peak Oil, Peak Gas and Peak Energy are not something that could be handled with some kind of "Man on the Moon" or "Manhattan" project. This is not a technological challenge.

The idea of a new "Manhattan project" misses the fact that the people in the atomic bomb project knew what they were doing. They had the theory and the task was to find the technological solutions to build the bomb. The moon flight project was also based on an theoretical model of space travel. The participants of those projects knew that it was doable.

The energy problem is quite dfferent in nature. In fact we know it is undoable - there are no known new primary energy sources. The only concrete project we could think about is the nuclear fusion. But this project has been going on for fifty years already. All the renewables have been under development for a long time. There is no single solution that could be realized by some crash project. The real task is a very broad one - how to use less energy so that the adverse effects are minimized.

For liquid fuels.
  1. We know how to make synfuels out of coal, and we have lots of coal, and so do many other countries.
  2. We know how to make battery powered cars, trains, and vans, and we know where the lead and nickel and zinc and vanadium is for those batteries, and that's 90% of liquid fuel use right there.

For noncarbon electricity to combat global warming.
  1. We know how to make windmills with energy payback in months.
  2. We know how to make concentrator photovoltaic with energy payback in months.
  3. We know how to build plutonium reprocessing plants to build lots of fast breeders with energy payback in months.

Why do you pretend that we are in some kind of technology crisis instead of a policy crisis?
Can you give a source for the claim about concentrator photovoltaics with a payback of months.
That's an energy payback of months, not an economic payback.
Concentrator photovoltaic uses fabricated modules to concentrate up to, well, 40,000 times sunlight is theoretically possible, but practical is more like 1,000 because of cooling and thermal shock problems.
These modules are expensive because of the labor cost of fabrication and assembly. They are steel and plastic and glass and aluminum and much less energy expensive per pound than crystal silicon. Crystal silicon requires that you not only reduce silica to silicon, but that you hold it in a molten state for days while the cooled seed crystalizes the silicon. I worked in a wafer fab and you should have seen the busbars for the power supply.
So the cost of concentrator photovoltaic electricity depends on the cost of labor instead of the cost of silicon. Despite the fact that silicon wafer prices have been going down since the seventies (till recently) the concentrator economics haven't improved because construction labor costs are only down 20% since the seventies.
They are steel and plastic and glass and aluminum and much less energy expensive per pound than crystal silicon.

Maybe so, but still not cheap, and they will be more expensive still in an energy-poor world.  

As always, the problem lies in the the scaling-up.

As my sister put it, we are like fish trying to imagine the desert.  Energy has been so cheap and abundant for us, for so long, we have a hard time imagining what it was like when the energy cost of steel and glass was so high that they were reserved for the wealthy only.  

As you may recall, there was a copper age, a bronze age, and an iron age. Any of these people could have constructed a solar collector, although without silvered mirrors, its efficiency may have been low. The dish frame can be reinforced wood - the slop allowable in the focusing of these collectors is fairly large - or it could be simple fiberglass mat construction, like a hot tub or a surfboard. If weight was not an issue, one could even use clay and actually make a giant bowl!

This is not high tech - this is low tech. It is easy - the Egyptians used solar reflectors to illuminate inside their temples and pyramids, concentrating more of them when more light was needed. When were silvered mirrors invented? All of these items are hundreds of years old.

The only new parts of the concentrator system are the heliostat and generator parts. If this were to be done in the 1600's or 1700's, then a clockwork heliostat could even have been employed. Generators are simply not high tech either - some magnets and copper wire wound round. Remember that Ben Franklin dabbled in electricity, long before the oil age.

I am currently building one of these things in my free time - pleae don't make it seem like some kind of high tech solution. It simply isn't.

But it does work. How well I should be able to tell you by summer....

Will your solar concentrater cook a turkey?

Have a happy ....

stepback -

Yes, although it would crisp it pretty quickly. I don't have all the mirrors set yet (about 70%), and it is quite dangerous at the focal point. At high noon, it's hitting the central focal point with 150 .025 spots at between 350 and 500 degrees...

It is easy - the Egyptians used solar reflectors to illuminate inside their temples and pyramids, concentrating more of them when more light was needed.

Temples and pyramids.  Not Joe Sixpack's living room.  That's my point.  "Simple" technology may have been known, but it was too expensive for ordinary folk.  Mirrors were luxury items until relatively recently.    

It wasn't so long ago that a small amount of window glass would have been a luxury, let alone mirrors. In Shakespeare's time, ordinary folk lucky enough to have had a house at all would have had windows made of boiled horn. They let in a little light and kept out the worst of the drafts, but that was all. You couldn't see through them.

It's only in very recent times that a substantial middle class has gained access to relative luxuries and peak oil is likely to reverse that trend sharply.

stoneleigh -

The clock isn't turning back but going forward. Glass is no longer something enigmatic and valuable, but something ubiquitous and even a significant part of our waste stream. I know you have seen the house built of coke bottles on TV probably. Point being, glass is no longer what it was - now it is everywhere. Unless it is total collapse, glassmaking will continue to go on at a relatively cheap price, because all it requires is heat from ANY source...

It's the heat that's the problem, not the "mystery."

People have been making glass for 5,000 years.  The problem is the heat it takes to work it.  The ingredients are relatively cheap, it's working it that is expensive.  

Getting enough fuel (firewood, dung, etc.) to cook and heat with was a neverending struggle before we discovered fossil fuels.  It still is, for much of the undeveloped world.  The fuel cost required to heat glass to 2000 degrees is what made it expensive, not the "mystery."

This is what I mean when I say we're like fish trying to imagine the desert.  We assume that ancient peoples didn't do what we do because they didn't know how to do it.  The idea that they knew how to do it but it was too energy-intensive is hard for us to understand.

Of course we have lots of scrap now.  Plastic, aluminum, steel, glass.  However, it will take a lot of energy - heat - to work into new uses.  This might be a good temporary solution.  If we do it with the knowledge that we are just cushioning the drop and it is not sustainable, I'd be all for it.  But it's not a long-term solution.  

IOW...yes, glassmaking will most certainly go on.  But not at a "cheap" price.  

I don't see materials goods being much of an issue in a post peek world.  Photovoltaic panels and other solid state devices will not be easy and probably imposable to manufacture, but we defiantly have tons of material goods to scavenge.  Food and medicine will be the scarce commodities.  There are lots of wonderful medicinal plants, but you have to know where to find them and how to use them.  I often wonder how humans will adapt to all of the toxins that are currently in our bodies and the environment.  I think we already see many of the effects of these toxins via cancer, infertility, and other diseases.  Health care will be a huge issue in a post peek world....
Well, it's not mysterious any longer, and you can find mirrors everywhere, even in junkpiles. Think of how many will get chunked out in New Orleans alone. Just by picking through scrap one could build this type of setup.

We aren't in that time period any longer - the argument isn't valid with all the cheap crap we have cluttering up our world these days.

how about the tired Coyote in a chicken house analogy?The chicken are healthy and run around,the coyote is hungry but tired.

The U.S. is obviously the coyote in this histogram and energy solutions are abundantly running around untouched by us loathesome Yankees

U.S. Coal numbers only look good when compared to our current usage. If coal were used to replace oil as our primary liquid fuel we would soon be talking about peak coal. Battery power for cars is fine, but batteries are only carriers, not sources of energy. (And do you realize we are already close to peak Zinc and Vanadium?)

Wind and photovoltaic energy are great, but won't provide the amount of energy we currently use, unless you are willing to cover a good portion of the country with windmills and solar collectors.

At current usage rates we have something like 50 years of uranium left, if we suddenly start building lots of nuclear plants we'll find uranium peak right around the corner.

It is not a technology crisis nor a policy crisis. It is a worldview or paradigm crises. The view that endless growth is sustainable is being shown to be insupportable. There is no choice but to reduce consumption and design a new worldview, a new economy.


You state a 50 year lifespan for uranium production, but this does not imply a 50 year limit on nuclear power production.  Currently our reactors mostly use U235, which is only about 1% of unrefined uranium.  We have the technology to use the other 99% of uranium, the U238 part.  Switching to this technology effectively expands our useful uranium supply by 100 times.  

We are very far from the uranium peak if we consider breeder reactors.  Also, there is an alternative reaction that we could probably do using thorium, which has a several times greater natural abundance than uranium.

I think there is a perception crisis.  Our society has a strong conditioned response to nuclear power that is handicapping the technology that is most likely to sustain us into a somewhat recognizable future.

Reprocessing produces much more intractable high level nuclear waste than we currently have to deal with. Breeder reactors have been abandonned as impractical by their greatest proponents (France and Japan). Do you really want to see boatloads of plutonium travelling all over the world?
Reprocessing extracts uranium and plutonium from the spent fuel, greatly reducing the long term activity of the residue.  This reprocessed waste would reach a safe level of activity much sooner than unprocessed spent fuel. From this perspective, reprocessing makes the spent fuel more tractable, not less.

Fears about potential mishaps have restricted all forms of nuclear power technology.  With peak oil upon us, as well as the actual cumulative damage caused by our fossil fuel fixation, alot of people will need to reexamine those fears of nuclear nonevents.

Why not reprocess fuel where it is burned? You don't need a boat for your plutonium if you don't move it.  Also, on the topic of boats, we are already shipping LNG in ships that would flatten a port if ignited. The risk to life embodied in just these ships must be greater than the combined risk of all our nuclear power cycle.

In 2004, the world consumed 66,000 tons of uranium in power stations. 30,000 tons was mined, 36,000 tons was produced from weapons grade uranium. By 2012 (I think + or - one year) the nuclear reduction treaties will have been met and there will be no more uranium from weapons grade materials unless peace breaks out and Russia and the US reduce their nuclear weapons arsenals even more. Fast breeder reactors have been closed because they were considered very dangerous and very expensive to run. In the short term, I don't see fast breeder stations being built with new technology - countries are having big problems deciding whether to build ordinary nuclear power stations, so that deciding to build a research station is down their list of priorities. In the long term, research into fast breeder reactors probably should be done, but on who's territory?

In the UK, the nuclear authorities have been very poor at covering up major mishaps and even worse at doing something about it. These radioactive spills have gone on for weeks before being detected, let along something being done about it. The public are right not to have any trust in these scientists (and I am speaking as someone with a degree in physics). The scientists are/have been hiding major pollution problems (Windscale, Irish Sea etc, etc), hoping that no one will notice, what right do they have to try something that could be even worse and devastate the Irish Sea or mainland Britain or Ireland. As much as I would want nuclear power stations to help out in producing electricity, the nuclear workers (or more likely their managers and accountants) have so little regard or care to the consequences of radioactive leaks that it would be better that they were shut down. Frank Spencer would be amongst the best workers in the nuclear industry, given the widespread radioactive disasters they have inflicted upon the British Isles.

Frank Spencer in the nuclear industry - what a thought! He'd be even worse than Homer Simpson. :>) A friend of mine used to work at Sellafield and he had a few hair-raising stories to tell, albeit from quite a few years ago.

Reprocessing isn't something that can be done just anywhere in order to avoid having to transport plutonium. The THORP plant at Sellafield cost billions of dollars. I can't imagine other governments building similar structures all over the place, as well as building the huge number of reactors it would take to supply them and use their output. Transporting plutonium would be inevitable. Not that transporting LNG is a good idea either, but plutonium is in a class of its own.

The Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) is a design that combines the breeder reactor with improved reprocessing, so that plutonium doesn't need to be transported at all.  Also, compared to conventional reactors, the fuel cycle for the IFR produces plutonium that is much less useful for nuclear weapons.  An IFR power plant would be a net consumer of radioactive elements, where as all of our coal-burning power plants release radioactive elements up their smokestacks, along with the CO2, and poisonous chemicals.

As far as plutonium being in a class of its own, there are many things that are far worse, if human life is the measure.  A peak oil induced economic collapse would probably kill billions.

I agree that with the style of reactors currently used, the total energy that we can extract from the world's uranium reserves is about on par with the energy in the world's oil reserves.   It really is past time that we updated our nuclear technology beyond what we basically started with over 50 years ago.  

Fast breeder reactors extract 100 times as much energy from uranium than our current reactors do. With breeders, available uranium reserves also expand because of the greater EROEI, so much so that even extracting uranium from seawater would be viable.

Fast breeder reactors, combined with advances in design over the last 40 years, have made them much safer than what we are currently using.  The EBR II safely shut itself down after all of its control rods were pulled and its cooling pumps were stopped in a test in 1986.  

I think the primary reasons we are not yet pursuing breeder reactor technology has to do with short-sightedness and fear.  The myopia is the same short term behavior that has our society flying off the tracks as we pass over peak oil.  Breeders cost more to build than conventional reactors, so it is hard to justify to those who make decisions on a bottom line that only goes out 10 or 15 years.  Currently, breeder reactor electricity would cost more than coal-based electricity, but are any investors considering how peak oil will multiply the cost of coal extraction in the near future?  With breeders, all of the uranium  238 that we need for the next 100 years has already been mined.

The fear has to do with plutonium.  There is a widespread impression that it is one of the most toxic substances around and to be avoided completely. Many were panicked by the Earth fly-by of a plutonium carrying spacecraft. These people should have kept in mind that over 10 tons of plutonium had already been released by atomic bombs, with no discernable worldwide health effects over many years.  Swallowing a 50 mg pellet of plutonium oxide might give you the runs.   Swallowing a 50 mg pellet of nicotine would probably kill you on the spot.

I think that everyone has to be truthful and transparent when it comes to nuclear power.  The industry and agencies need to let everyone see what they are doing.  The public should be able to judge nuclear power on its merits, but also has the responsibility not to hold it to a standard that is incredibly higher than  any other energy industry.  Maybe if we had not been so fixated on potential problems with nuclear, we would not now be in such a pickle with the previously ignorable issues associated with carbon-based fuels, like global warming.

Maybe Michael Crawford could be an analogy for nuclear power.  After years of being nearly type cast as Frank the loser, he went on to great success in other roles.

This is not a technological challenge.

To bad most people "believe" we can work our way out of the oil crisis with some good ole technology! They do not get the fact that oil depletion and technology are two different subjects.  

But the politicians have found a new mantra to feed to the sheeple and they will use to their own demise..

Why is it that people asume we will have to find one thing to replace oil wholesale?  

You're reading this on the internet, a perfect example of a distributed network: open, multiple, and non-dependent technologies combine to make one working whole.  So why do we have to replace oil with one magic technology?  We can't replace oil with one thing, but if we put enough effort into it (not just energy technology but also better environmental technoogy, populaiton control and socal organization) we can replace it with a lot of things.

the politicians have found a new mantra to feed to the sheeple

The "fix" is to "reform" the social order in which the politicians thrive, which is why the politico's are going to oppose it.

I think oil and technology are two very closely related subjects.  As Tainter points out, complexity has an energy cost.  It's the cheap energy of fossil fuels that has allowed us to reach a level of social and technological complexity greater than any in history.  We will not be able to maintain it without a new source of cheap and abundant energy.  
I agree that Tainter's work is vital to understanding our current situation. I'd recomend his book to anyone.
"Tainter's work is vital"

Better than 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond?

I have Jared Diamond's book, but I haven't read it yet. My stack of essential reading materials is currently several feet high. That one is near the top.
Richard Heinberg discusses Diamond and Tainter a bit here:


My take on it is that Tainter's work is more fundamental than Diamond's.  Basically, Tainter's argument is a thermodynamic one.  People can solve problems, including resource depletion, but only if they have enough energy to do so.            

Diamond pretty much deals only with the problem of environmental degradation.  This often the same problem as running out of energy, as we are discovering.  But there are societies that appear to have collapsed due to reasons other than environmental problems (none of which are discussed by Diamond).  

Both books are worth reading, IMO.  Tainter's book is heavily theoretical, and a bit dense in places.  It's an academic work, that is often used as a textbook (so it pretty expensive, even used).  Diamond's book is much more empirical, and aimed at a popular audience, not an academic one.

Thanks for the link Leanan - it was an interesting comparison.
The future downside of this peak could very well read a mirror opposite of history .
We do need a major national project, but it must focus both on conservation and supply, and on both social, infrastructure, and technological issues.  The technological portions probably need to focus more on engineering and product development.  We need real, useable devices, in both the conservation and alternate energy areas, which people can use on a widespread basis.   We will need to retrofit these systems into existing homes and businesses, at least for the near term, so there will need to be a variety of solutions to fit a variety of situations.  Whether they are new forms of isolation, PV systems, solar hot water systems, etc., there will need to be actual useable, reliable, affordable products available.  And to go along with them, we will need to retrofit a whole new set of expectations about how much energy we should each be using.

We need to buy as much time as we can to allow us to re-engineer our society around lower energy use, and technology will play a big part in that.  The alternative is doing nothing and giving up, and I owe my kids a bit more than that.

"isolation" should have been "insulation"
I owe my kids a bit more than that.

But your kids are all majoring in business and other "money making" educations rather than in engineering and science. (And by "your kids", I don't mean "you people", I mean my kids too.)

It is our society and it's "values" system that is heading us ever closer to the edge of the cliff.

Another thing that must be a part of the needed social transformation is in providing incentives to educate more people in the areas that we will need.  I'm thinking banking and advertising won't make the list.  Useful skills at some level, but not where we should focus.
My daughter is a chemistry major. Knowing how to manipulate atoms will become more valuable than manipulating consumers in the coming decades.
This, what Twilight says, makes a lot more sense than a "Man in the Moon" type project. But there is a catch. All this means a lot of new investments, scrapping old infrastructure and so on, and this means using more energy and wasting some more.

But still, there is much that can be done. Right priorities are important. May be, insulating houses and reducing heating costs is more important than shifting to hybrid cars. It is easier to drive considerably less than freeze in the winter. This is not only an oil crisis and oil is not just gasoline but multi-purpose energy. So it might be sensible to look for right priorities and low cost, low energy solutions to conserve energy and use it for the most basic needs. This is not same as trying to preserve the present level of energy consumption in the US or keep up the growth.

there are no known new primary energy sources

I don't want to ruin your day, but ....

scientists have discovered a huge fusion pile ...

they call it the sun.

Our planet intercepts only a tiny fraction of the radiated energy that comes off this fusion pile. Are any ideas coming into your head about how to have "more energy"?

Like the collapsing Nordic civilization in Greenland (was it there?) as depicted by Jared Diamond, we are limited mostly by our own lack of social flexibility. There were plenty of fish around Greenland, yet they died of starvation ... because it wasn't permitted in their society to think about eating fish.

Solar energy is new?  On the contrary.  Solar energy is what we are running our society on right now.  Fossil fuels are solar energy, banked by nature millions of years ago.  We are burning buried sunshine.
While technology may not be the only factor, it certainly is an important one, particularly in certain areas of alternative energy.  

There is much that could be done right now with technology already on the shelf, but there is a lack of willingness to commit the vast amounts of capital needed to make even a small step toward a transition away from fossil fuel.

Private and corporate investors are understandably squeamish about making major investments in energy systems with little or no track record and dubious prospects for a decent return on that investment. Our government could theoretically do it, but it is already up to its eyeballs in debt, has a $300 billion war in Iraq to pay for, and has hundreds of pork barrel projects that come first.

So, I have a very hard time seeing how we're going to get from here to there before the situation really gets out of control.  

a $300 billion war in Iraq to pay for
You wish.  My guess is more than ten times that, by the time we get out and account for secondary costs...
That number, $300 billion, for the Iraq War is just the 'sticker price' thus far and doesn't include the long list of 'options' that go with such a product.
I think the general public, in particular those in the lower economic brackets, respond to things such as this:

with much more fervor and appreciation. It maintains the familiar status quo, doesn't call for sacrifice, and is basically yet another entitlement, which are the bread and butter of the government yoke system.

The words "hardship" and "sacrifice" and others which imply working together and contributing to a common goal have yet to be used. This is only a statement of position, without any money behind it or even a vague plan. It is something politicos can point to and say "See? I supported this!" when the steaming energy turd hits their desk...

I think "hardship" and "sacrifice" are euphemisms for doing without because someone else thinks pain is good for you because they like it. Like inviting someone to share your bondage set when they would rather cosplay.
The words "invest" and "boom" are better ones because they imply that whoever invests in battery powered car factories and mines, or windmills and flow batteries, or solar power and flywheels, is going to be better off.
No offense intended wk, but your missing a big piece of the puzzle. What do you think is going on in the energy industry right now if not "invest" and "boom." Is not our involvement in the middle east and central asia an attempt to assure an energy future? While you may be right that in the long run investments in the alternatives you note will pay off, right now, everyday, companies and individuals are making the calculations and deciding to invest in one form of energy or another. But our economic calculations are inherently short term and those decisions are being made largely for increased exploration and LNG terminals. By the time those investments in alternatives become as attractive as new exploration for big time business investments, it will be far too late to prevent the mother of all depressions.


Of course people in lower economic brackets respond to such things - they don't want to freeze.

Too often those prescribing "hardship" and "sacrifice" are experiencing too little of it themselves, and those to whom it is being prescribed are well aware of that.  I don't have everything I want, but I'm lucky enough to have what I need am I'm thankful for it.  I'm glad to see people with less get a break on heating oil, and I hope it keeps them warm this winter.  I also hope our government gets it's shit together and looks at how to keep them warm next winter.  Many of them probably don't even own the heating systems they're buying fuel for.  I suppose they should be more far sighted, refuse to accept the assistance?  Maybe we should research suspended animation so we can put all these inconvenient people into storage until after we develop fusion power.  Until the oil fired heating infrastructure that provides their heat is replaced, they will need heating oil or they will die.  Why should we scoff at attempts to prevent that?  

Terms like "demand destruction" serve to mask the painful truth, which is that many of those doing the demanding will be destroyed too if it happens on a wide scale.  I know I am not immune.  

I buy all my gas from CITGO.

Here is one way to look at our problems:

The Energy Policy Act of 2005
Legislative Achievement or Management Fiasco?
Ronald R. Cooke, The Cultural Economist

"(...)The point is, before we invest our money in the development of energy solutions, we need to understand the energy industry as a whole, including exploration, production, transportation, refining, distribution and consumption. Against this knowledge, we can select options that make common sense because they fall within existing industry attributes and the evolution of consumer demand.

If we do a good job, we now have a clear definition of the problem. We have characterized our challenge by fuel type, by application, and by development objectives. Available technologies have been identified. Government, corporate and academic resources have been evaluated. We have factored cultural change and economic impact into our strategy. We have given due consideration to ecology and energy efficiency. This report would then be communicated to the public in multiple media formats and forums. Public education is a vital component of our program.

By the way. Did Congress take these steps? No.

Why not?

The next step is to create a business plan to address the problem. Yes Virginia. If we are to make any sense of this highly complex effort, we need a real business plan with a statement of goals and objectives, a comprehensive strategy, and an organization.

*    The statement of goals and objectives establishes what we need to accomplish and a timeline for the completion of our strategy. It is highly likely that an honest job of market research will reveal we Americans must moderate our energy intensive lifestyle. We have to move from a carbon-based energy cycle to an energy resource that does less environmental damage. Energy moderation will mean cultural change on a scale we have never experienced. So although our goal will be to gradually reduce per capita petroleum consumption, it will have to be done in a way that sustains our economy and the transformation of our culture. The objectives we then postulate will address the means to achieve these basic goals.

*    It appears our strategy falls (roughly) into three phases: those changes and developments that can be done within 5 years (improved energy efficiency, introduction of hybrid vehicles, etc.), those changes and developments that can be done in 5 to 15 years (development and distribution of alternative fuels, diesel fuel from coal, the nuclear option, enhancements to public transportation, etc.) and those changes and developments that will take longer than 15 years (introduction of a new fuels technology, lifestyle changes, etc.).

*    A task of this magnitude requires the resources of a large organization. It must have the funding, structure, responsibility, and authority to carry out its mission. This organization must provide, or identify and contract, the technical, manufacturing, and distribution resources needed to ensure the success of America's energy program. It should make periodic reports to Congress on its progress.

Here is the `problem' with our problem:

Life After The Oil Crash
Matt Savinar

"At the Paris Peak Oil Conference, Dutch economist Maarten Van Mourik of the Netherlands Economic Institute explained that because of the financial shortcomings of all currently available forms of alternative energy, a sudden crash is the profitable solution for the oil companies.

Furthermore, according to Dr. Colin Campbell:

"The major oil companies are merging and downsizing and outsourcing and not investing in new refineries because they know full well that production is set to decline and that the exploration opportunities are getting less and less.

The companies have to sing to the stock market, and merger hides the collapse of the weaker brethren. The staff is purged on merger and the combined budget ends up much less than the sum of the previous components. Besides, a lot of the executives and bankers make a lot of money from the merger."

Expecting the oil companies, the government, or anybody else to solve this problem for us is simply suicidal. You, me, and every other "regular person" needs to be actively engaged in addressing this issue if there is to be any hope for humanity."

Paraphrasing that old preflight stewardess monologue, secure your breathing mask first, then help others.

Perhaps extreme demand destruction among the lower orders will become the inadvdertent 'final solution' to the peak oil problem?

Of course, people generally don't take too kindly to their demand being destroyed, particularly when it comes to things like eating and staying warm.

Does this have the makings of a peasants-with-pitchforks scenario? If you look at any major civil disorder, there was usually a minor incident that served as a spark to ignite a latent explosive situation that had been building up for a long time.

Inadvertent? Isn't that the way or economic system is designed?
Twilight -

The point I was trying to make was that Chavez responded more effectively than our own government did. Socialists use people for their own political ends just as much as necons do - they just use a different group. I don't think the "elite" placed Lenin or Stalin or Mao in power...

Make that peasants-with-guns-lots-of-guns scenario.
November 13, 2005, early morning: Kara Beth and Ludwig returned to the Borden home. Ludwig was carrying several weapons. Ludwig and Michael Borden, Kara Beth's father talked for between 30 and 45 minutes, and Borden told Ludwig he couldn't see Kara Beth anymore.
According to Ludwig, and confirmed by Katelyn's account, Ludwig then shot Borden in the back with a .40-caliber Glock automatic pistol. Ludwig then shot Kara Beth's mother, Cathryn Borden. ...

The search of Ludwig's home turned up 54 firearms.

Donal -

If old Ludwig had been born in 1350AD, then the facts would only have changed slightly.

Instead of shooting them, he might have stabbed them, speared them, hacked them, or shot them full of arrows. Upon inspecting his home, they may have found 54 weapons of various lethalities, none of which were firearms. From crossbows to scimitars to poisoned daggers...

Firearms just happen to be more effective at what they are designed to do, and thus are the weapon of choice for our current society.

But none of these weapons has a brain - they are simply tools. It is the tool-makers who do the deed. We just have some very efficient tools at our fingertips.

Killing our fellow man is something that weapon control will not stop. Even a rock is lethal, or a fist when the blow is placed correctly and with sufficient force.

I think that firearms are a very non-personal way to kill others, and as such, they insulate their users from the reality that is death.

I would prefer that when people wanted to kill others, they had to get up close and personal, and that it would be very, very messy.

Yeah, yeah, guns don't kill people, bullets do, but as Bigelow noted, the peasants have plenty of guns and bullets.
And it was a response to joule's

"Of course, people generally don't take too kindly to their demand being destroyed, particularly when it comes to things like eating and staying warm."

Bush plans to use the military more and more in domestic emergencies... destructing peasants?

Regarding the issue of "destructing peasants,"  the following link is pertinent:


How valuable and reliable the information, inferences, and other links it contains are, you yourselves may judge.  There is plenty of material of this sort floating around on the web, for those who care to look into it.

When it comes to heat, what are the alternatives?  A typical oil burner runs 100,000 to 120,000 BTU/hr.  Unless it's really really cold, it probably runs about 1/3 of the time, so figure maybe 33,000 to 50,000 BTU/hr are needed.  That's 10 to 15kW continuously.  What are the reasonable alternatives right now?  Coal, wood, pellets, NG, oil, and electricity (from the grid, most of us cannot afford a PV system of this magnitude).  It's a lot of energy, and does not count the fridge, hot water, and perhaps a well pump.  If you want to move away from oil heat, I defy you to find a viable alternative other than these.  In my case, I'm moving to wood as my primary heat source, because I have it, but I need a backup, and I still must address hot water and cooking.  So even though I know that the electric distribution network is in sorry shape, I will probably go with a heat pump, and add a wood fired cook stove upstairs, with an integral hot water heater.

The investment to make these changes, in terms of labor and money, is not going to be trivial, and I cannot fully fund it now.  I still have to upgrade insulation and better seal up windows.  How are people at the bottom end of the economic pile going to make these changes?  Beyond that, I'm doing a lot of it myself, but most people will not be able to do that.  The investment to move away from oil and NG is going to be huge on a large scale.  And in the mean time we still have an obligation to keep people from freezing to death.

Twilight -

It's a problem, to be sure. The item that made the biggest impact for me was to reduce the living area. The second was to go to a ground-sourced heat pump, and then third to place some thick, stone interior walls as "heat banks" to help moderate things passively. You could heat these stone walls through windows reflectively as well. If this worked in central Montana, I'm sure it might work for you.

You can build a castle if you want to - just make sure you design it so that in winter you are only heating a very small piece of it, preferably deep in the middle.

You could add solar thermal to your list, as opposed to solar  PV. Even vacuum tubes are affordable now (much cheaper than PV panels anyway) and can provide space heating and hot water in all seasons as long as the sun is shining. I have flat plate solar thermal collectors because I don't need the added winter efficiency of vacuum tubes. In winter both my space heating and hot water are provided by an outdoor wood-burning furnace. Coupling one of these to a baseboard radiator system means being able to avoid the need for power to run a furnace fan.
Twilight -

The government has no, zero, nada obligation to keep anyone from freezing to death. Nowhere will you find that in our basic rights. That they do so is due to our election of officials on the basis of their ability to dole out government assistance.

We as fellow humans should feel obliged to help others help themselves, but none of us is "owed" anything by government at any level or by our neighbors. We are certainly not "owed" anything by people we have never met.

Responsibility for everything, including staying alive, ultimately rests with the individual themselves. To live otherwise is to place your fate in the hands of strangers and fair-weather politicains at every turn.

"Responsibility for everything, including staying alive, ultimately rests with the individual themselves."

It is a first principle to think and act for yourself. As a sentiment it skillfuly sidesteps all those bad people who happened to be born poor however.

Further, the government has no, zero, nada obligation to Citibank or Exxon either, yet they are copious in their largess to them.
Think they'll bail out GM, if they go belly-up like Chrysler did last time around?
I think GM will go into bankruptcy and emerge --presto-- without pension or bond servicing obligations. The will do anything to blame unions, weather, anything, but themselves for it all. Just a guess.
Bigelow -

I are one of those born poor. It was my choice to not remain poor and to educate myself and work my way free of that situation. My family didn't even own a television until 1969 - we watched at the neighbors. I began working after school when I was 11 years old - and walked miles to the bus and all of that crap. Ancient history.

I am of the opinion that being poor here in the US of A is really simple to do, and that it is a regal lifestyle when compared to places like Papua New Guinea or Nigeria or Afghanistan. C'mon man - we get a totally free education to the end of High School!! Everybody!  Are you sick? Walk into any ER and they will take care of you - you may have to wait, but they will.

There are situations with respect to being disabled and such to my general philosophy - I give at church (another privilege) and help out volunteering for several causes. But my life experience and my guts tell me that many of the "poor" are that way by choice. And the choice is made because it is simply easier to be poor here than many other places.

I've had intersection panhandlers throw food at me - you know those guys who have the signs saying "HOMELESS - PLEASE HELP - GOD BLESS" - I have handed them fresh lunch in a sack before and had it literally hurled at me with curses. Not once or twice - I have told people about this and then we tried it out during lunch. If they didn't outright ask for money instead, then when you drove away, they tossed your food to the curb. Only in America do the poor throw food at you and curse you for not giving them cold, hard cash. Only in America do hurricane refugees take their FEMA cards to topless bars and blow it all on drinks and dancers, forcing the government to stop the program for everybody else.

The real problem may be that Americans do not know what poor really means...

It was my choice to not remain poor and to educate myself and work my way ... my guts tell me that many of the "poor" are that way by [their own] choice.  

Maybe we are getting way off topic,
then again maybe not?

Are those of the Sheeple who ignore or know not of Peak Oil that way by their "own choice"?

Most people, IMHO, are doing as best as they can in most situations.
Almost no one says to themselves: "I'm going to perform poorly on purpose in all situations." (I said "all")

It is delusional for we who live in North America to praise ourselves as being "better", harder working, smarter than other people around the world. For myself, I usually say, "There but for the grace of God go I."

I thank all the teachers who tried to teach me.
I thank my parents for giving me the "values" I have (well most of them).
I thank the business owners who gave me an opportunity to work and learn on the job.
I do not see myself as a "self-made man". I do not jump to quick conclusions about the plights of those who may be less fortunate than I. Maybe they have physical or mental impairments? Maybe they struggle with demons I cannot see? Who am I to judge myself better or more deserving than they? A little humble pie is good for the soul.

I suspect it's a philosophical difference of opinion we won't settle!  Government has no obligation to rescue people from a hurricane area, put out forest fires, subsidize urban sprawl, or stage clandestine operations to get rid of other country's leaders (both elected and otherwise) so that oil companies will have access to their oil.  But our government does all those things.  Suffice it to say that any government that has large numbers of its citizens freezing to death has a real problem on its hands.  We can watch how the UK handles that in the next couple of years.  

As far as stone walls, yes they are great thermal storage.  A masonry wall with southern exposure will gather a lot of heat.  My external walls are mostly stone, some well below grade in a bank (terrible moisture trap in the summer), but most not exposed to much sun due to trees.  The stone walls that surround my wood stove stay warm for many hours after the fire has gone out.  I do have a sun porch that covers two stone walls and a stone floor.  I hope to replace that with a better insulated one at some point, as it should make an excellent passive solar heat collector.  If I were designing a house now, such passive solar and masonry construction would be a major part of it - but well insulated windows are expensive.

The government has no, zero, nada obligation to keep anyone from freezing to death. Nowhere will you find that in our basic rights.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Is not part of the "general Welfare" to avoid freezing to death?

The quoted text is the Preamble to the US Constitution

Also see Amendment XIV: "nor shall any state deprive any person of life ... without due process of law;"

Note that is says the general welfare. That's not your welfare or mine. It's the general welfare of the nation as a whole. People mistake that phrase as applying to themselves specifically when it does not.
My point is lost for some reason.

It is this: Government and your neighbors are simply not obligated to take care of you.

Waiting or hoping for someone else to swoop in and save you or make your life easier is total denial of reality. Yet this is the mindset with which many people go about life these days.

If we are all waiting for government to solve this, then we are indeed waiting for a crisis big enough to solicit their undivided attention and one that lasts more than just a few weeks. Look at how quickly Katrina and Rita have receded from the fore of "news" and focus in congress.

For government to take any type of action will require crisis. That is the only way they operate - pick a crisis, politicize it, fight about it and make a big show of passing unfunded legislation. Or passing "resolutions" so that they can reference their "position" in the future if they are called on a voting issue. Yet in the end, nothing changes except that we get taxed more, have our rights reduced or infringed, and the government spends yet more money they do not have.

Unless and until the Peak Oil monster literally kicks them in their respective crotches, they will only pay lip service. The reality is that our congresscritters are just like insurance companies and lawyers fighting legal battles - deny, deny, deny, and when faced with facts, obfuscate and litigate for years, hoping the problem goes away or the issue falls off the radar.

Don't wait on the Fedral Government- you will be waiting until it is truly too late.


We pay for the kind of government corporations want. Horatio Alger like transformations of the poor uneducated take time we don't have.

I do think the government has an obligation to provide for the population at some level, but I don't trust them do do so successfully during a real crisis when my neck might be on the line. In the kind of social crisis peak oil could produce, the government (whatever its obligations) is likely to be effectively paralysed. The need could completely overwhelm the ability of public authorities to achieve much of anything.

Providing for the necessities of one's own existence to as great an extent as possible beforehand has to be the wisest course. Think of it as minimizing the consequences of being wrong. If you take steps towards self sufficiency and no crisis occurs then what have you lost? You will still be well placed for whatever the future has to throw at you (within reason). Alternatively, if you take no action and a crisis does occur the consequences for the unprepared could be catastrophic.

Those who are able to look after themselves may also be able to rescue others in their area (family, friends or neighbours) who had fewer resources or less foresight. They will be able to offer something positive to their communities rather than being a burden upon them. Trusting to government action leaves more people unprepared and vulnerable.


Ronald Cooke's business plan for a governmental response to peak oil shows that planning is possible (http://tceconomist.blogspot.com/2005/09/energy-policy-act-of-2005.html). I agree trusting the government is a bad plan, but it is because it is already effectively paralyzed. It bothers me that things can be done to minimize public chaos and continue some type of society, but what we get instead are FEMA mandates and more contracts for Halliburton.So in that regard it really is every soul for themselves.

I don't really trust the government, either.  

But "every man for himself" is not a world I want to live in.   Moreover, it could quickly become a world that no one can live in.

One of the most interesting parts in Diamond's Collapse was the part about the role of the size of a society or government.  For a small society, "grassroots" works fine.  Everyone knows everything they need to know to make decisions.  Large societies only work if they are "top-down."  People can be affected by things happening elsewhere that they don't know about.  Therefore, they need someone who can see the big picture - a king who has advisors who are monitoring the whole country, say - to order them to do what's in the best interest of the society.  Neither strategy works for medium sized societies; they collapse into internecine conflict. Diamond suggests that large societies with weak central control may suffer the same fate.

Tainter says that societies often grow brutally repressive as collapse approaches.  That sucks for the individuals, but I can't help wondering if strong central control would be better for humanity and the earth in the long term.  If it's every man for himself, the tragedy of the commons will play out, just as it did on Easter Island.

I spent quite a few years studying Eastern European societies, particularly the Soviet Union (focusing on energy primarily, but also on the social, political and economic context). Strong central control and repression were disasterous for both the population and the environment. Many places in Eastern Europe are toxic sewers. Think about the destruction of the Aral Sea, or Chernobyl, or Mayak near Chelyabinsk (which is the most radioactive place on the face of the Earth). Strong central control means no accountability at all. It means you can dump high level radioactive waste into the nearest river for instance, and it means the value of life declines to almost nil.

I don't really envisage an 'every man for himself' scenario as a result of peak oil. I imagine there will be an attempt at repression, but that ultimately it will fail because the ability to project power at a distance is dependent on the availability of energy. Instead I would imagine a future of city states and neo-feudalism, with frequent low intensity conflicts (see The Transformation of War by Martin Van Creveld). Humanity would still aggregate into groups rather than try to go it alone, but those groups would be much smaller and life would be more local than at present. Peace would be elusive as we are so far above the non-fossil fuel carrying capacity of the Earth.

A strong central government is not sufficient in and of itself to create sustainability.  Obviously, it has to be the goal of the government.  Which it wasn't, in the Soviet Union or here, until relatively late in the game.  

One reason for the different outcomes based on the size of the society is that it determines whether the people have a stake in the outcome.  On a small island, where everyone knows everyone, it's easy not only for everyone to understand the problems, but to realize they need to work to together to fix them.    

A large society can support the complexity that allows central organization to develop.  The king derives his wealth from all the nation, and he wants his children to inherit this wealth, so it's in his interest to take care of all his nation.  

But a medium-sized island is too small to support the complexity that allows central control.  And it's too large for people to know what's going on everywhere on the island.  People may be cutting down all the trees in one area, assuming there's plenty of trees elsewhere.  But they don't know, in which case they could be making a fatal mistake.  It's also too large for everyone to know everyone, so conflict is more common.  People end up raiding their neighbors, cutting down all their trees, etc.  They have a stake in their valley, but not in the one next door.  Everyone ends up looting their neighbors' land.

I have to say...it kind of suggests that democracy isn't the best solution to the problems of sustainability.  At least a king or dictator has a stake in the future, because he expects his children will rule after him.  In a democracy, people in power may be tempted to loot the country while they can, for they may be thrown out of office at the next election.          

On the "general" part of welfare, how does that absolve the US government of its obligation to keep the genereal "us" from freezing to death?
Phrases like "The Government" or "The Economy" are abstractions. If we were to study the programming of the individual players inside these abstractions much as we might study the micro-programming of individual bees in a bee hive, we would see that the whole is made of the sum of its parts.

The bee hive appears to have a mind of its own, but in reality that is not true. Change the micro-programming of the individual bees and suddenly you have a different collective animal.

This thought experiment actually plays out in the real world everyday. We are so close to the action that we are blind to it. Consider similar cities with similar resources, except that one community is highly "educated" while the other is not. "Education" is another word for programming of the individuals. Depending on what the "education" was specifically, the educated community will behave differently from the uneducated community.

So for our society; irrespective of whether you think of it as being "The Governement" or "The Economy", it boils down to how the individual members were "educated" with regard to their individual behaviors and its impact on sustainability. If they know nothing, they will behave accordingly.

One of the benfits of a site like TOD is that it starts "educating" those who come here. You leave as a different person than when you came.

I would argue that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. You could know everything there was to know about every single bee in a hive and that would not tell you how the hive would behave collectively. Similarly with human populations, a knowledge of individual humans will not give you an understanding of population dynamics. Population dynamics is an emergent property of the behaviour of individuals.

The study of collective behaviour is fascinating, particularly the unconcious aspects that involve acting according to feeling rather than thinking. It goes far beyond the 'programming' inherent in conventional education as that addresses primarily concious thinking. Thinking and rationality, as important as they are, only go so far towards predicting social behaviour (they are better for protecting oneself against it). The herd instinct, based on emotional perception, explains a great deal more, whether or not the population is an educated one.

Educated people bought stocks at the height of the dotcom boom because of the herd instinct - they bought into a vague sense of euphoria that easily communicated itself amongst our social species and mutated into an extreme form of irrational exuberance. The same people have recently plunged into a real estate bubble in recent years, just in time to climb out of the frying pan and into the fire. For a long time, a majority of people were putting an optimistic gloss on everything - suspending their critical faculties about the sustainability of their lifestyle and surrendering to complacency. Even most educated people don't question the reasonableness of their assumptions when in the grip of a powerful social mood - positive or negative.  

The prevailing social climate is changing now - can you feel it? There is a vague sense among an increasing percentage of people that not all is well, which was aptly demonstrated by the article by Peggy Noonan discussed here recently. The worry amongst the general public is mostly non-specific at this point, and it hasn't yet reached critical mass where it would become 'contagious', but more people are gradually becoming more receptive to messages that there is something to worry about.

The next step would be to reach critical mass (the point of recognition) and for a negative social mood to ignite like a wildfire - the mirror image of irrational exuberance. At that point we are likely to begin collectively tearing down the house of cards we have built, before resource limitations have even had a chance to fully manifest themselves. I'd expect it to begin with a stock market crash and the bursting of the real estate and debt bubbles. A full-blown economic depression is likely to follow.

The herd instinct probably served us well when we lived in small groups. A contagious sense of worry in particular would have been as useful to us as to other social animals, which, for example, avoid danger to the group by slapping their tails on the water or flashing the white underside of their tails to signal a warning. It is easy to see why it might have become part of our programming as it would have increased the chance of survival. Like many other things though, it causes problems when it is scaled up.

Social mood swings become much more destablizing when they propagate widely, perhaps even globally. Extremes of optimism cause us to devour resources in the creation of complexity with no regard for the consequences. Swings of pessimism see us tear down what we have created and punish those who became symbols of the previous era of excess out of proportion to their personal culpability (Bernie Ebbers?, Martha Stewart?, Conrad Black maybe?, watch out Bill Gates - you may be next).

The era of oil allowed us to achieve a much greater degree of excess than had previously been the case. The downside could easily be similarly extreme. In order to mitigate its effects, to the extent that is possible, we need to resist our primal programming and rely on rationality in the face of what may become an almost overwhelming urge to give in to panic and throw the baby out with the bathwater. Keeping a constructive mindset when the prevailing mood has turned destructive is difficult. It may help to avoid conduits for mass-hysteria such as the mainstream media.

The prevailing social climate is changing now - can you feel it? There is a vague sense among an increasing percentage of people that not all is well,...

There are 30,000 GM families who are feeling it a little more strongly this Thanksgiving 2005 (Deffeyes PO Day). And that is only the tip of the iceberg because their GM jobs helped support a whole infrastructure of other jobs: waiters in the restaurants they frequented, nurses in the doctor's office they went to, barbers, supermarket cashiers, fast food counter people, ...

Already I hear the minions of thought control on the radio spreading the word about how it was "the unions" and their greed --for want of decent paying jobs-- that is at fault. If only the GM families had been like sweatshop Chinese laborers and accepted their caste position in the Universe with grace (as has blessed leader accepted his) that we would not have all these vague "troubles". Can you hear it? Do you sense the mind twisting control coming on? Not yet? Listen carefully. Parse the mixed messages.

We have been put into hypnotic sleep mode:

A new scape goat, it's all the Union's fault. They did not spend their "trickle down" tax bonus wisely:

You're right, these layoffs tend to propagate through the whole community.  I'm in an IBM town, and when they went through that bad period awhile back, it was terrible.  The real estate market crashed, with houses going for half what they used to.  Many restaurants went belly-up.  Perhaps the oddest casualty: the no-tell motels, where Beamers used rent a room at lunchtime for their office affairs.
You are quite right that we are in a transitional 'mixed messages' phase where cross-currents are evident, but no new overall direction has yet emerged. I think the tide has turned against globalization and its global race to the bottom in terms of standards of all kinds in the name of the more efficient accumulation of capital. However, the opposite impulse has not yet built up a head of steam. When it does it will probably lead to redistribution of wealth on a significant scale, but likely in a chaotic manner which will see much value destroyed and great harm inflicted on all classes of society.

You are right to point out the knock-on economic effect of GM's problems. That's how a positive feedback spiral leading to economic depression is initiated. GM is not the first casualty of our hollowed out financial system, but it is far closer to being the first than to being the last. As more and more ordinary people lose jobs that pay enough for them to sustain a middle-class lifestyle, their erstwhile purchasing power is withrawn from the economy, which leads to more business failures.

Globalization sewed the seeds of its own destruction. Hopefully a new social contract will eventually emerge at a much more local level that will allow us to build a less ambitious economy less susceptible to over-reaching its self and its resource base. Unfortunately, there is every reason to think there will be a great deal of suffering in the meantime.

Note that it says "Provide for the common defence", but only "Promote the general welfare"
not to get too deep into Constitutional law issues with you, but "promote" is a stronger requirement than "provide".

Promote means to constantly try to take it (our general welfare) to a new and better level. "Provide" can be a one time deal.

If we look at what actually happened, one might think the Constitution said --Promote the military industrial complex--

have a good turkey

What utter horseshit!
Are you saying that disabled veterans, large percentage of who were drafted, are not owed something by a government that forced them in to danderous situations?
1932 - Herbert Hoover forcibly evicts bonus marchers from their encampment. Two killed when U.S. Army attacks encampment of 20,000 World War I veterans gathered in Washington D.C. to demand their bonus benefit payments. As the flames destroy the shantytown, people stream into Maryland.

Fighting broke out between the Bonus Army & police and on July 28 federal troops attack led by Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur and his subordinates Majors George S. Patton, Jr. & Dwight D. Eisenhower. MacArthur opted to use force over the protests of Patton and Eisenhower.

Using tear gas, cavalry with sabers drawn and tanks, the Bonus Army was driven out of their encampments in the abandoned buildings along Pennsylvania Avenue. The tanks then leveled the Bonus Army's "Camp Marks" on the Anacostia River. The casualty toll was four dead (including two infants) & 66 injured.

The smoke lingered over Washington for two days. Armed police from Maryland and Virginia had blocked all roads out of the District of Columbia until Pennsylvania offered asylum to the marchers in Johnstown.



Glad you brought it up.  

The Bonus Marchers was a short but very shameful episode in American history. No American can be proud of it. Unfortunately, it is an episode of which most of today's Americans are completely ignorant.  The fact that these people were WW I vets, some of them permanently crippled, makes it even more appalling.  Shows where 'serving your country' gets you.  

Tis just another example of the arrogance of power. Once in a while they have to dramatically demonstrate who really runs the show.

But resentment has a very long shelf-life, and things come back to haunt those who try to squash the helpless.  Other cultures might call it kharma, but I call it getting what's coming to you. So, the cycle continues.

I wonder if there is eventually going to be an energy version of the Bonus Marchers. What has always amazed me is how easily reasonable, responsible
people can be driven to truly desparate actions during times of crisis.

One should not take for granted the 'civil order' that we have come to enjoy.  

Strange that you should bring up Hoover, as I was just thinking about this yesterday.  I would not be surprised if this is what awaits many in the coming years:



Another sign of peak oil awareness, from Newsweek:


When all is said and done, 2005 may be remembered as the year America caught a serious case of energy agita. In the past year, oil has blown by $50 a barrel and peaked briefly at $70 altitudes, sending prices at the gas pump temporarily into the psychologically jarring territory north of $3 a gallon. At the same time, confronted with hurricanes, vanishing Arctic ice and other bizarre weather phenomena, many global-warming skeptics finally acknowledged that the greenhouse gases produced by burning fossil fuels are altering the Earth's climate. Add to that the fierce ongoing debate about "peak oil" and the declining viability of the Earth's oil supply, the plunge in sales of gas-guzzling SUVs and, finally, the double whammy of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which ravaged the Gulf Coast energy infrastructure and closed a third of the country's oil and gas production.

I can imagine how some people in the White House and around are becoming more and more pissed off at Roscoe Bartlett. But the name of the game is "There is no Problem, 'cause We did not Admit There is a Problem". As the problem arises I expect them to become even more silent on the matter. I just fear that the growing public awareness coincides with the opening of the Iranian oil burse... This could be too much of incentitive to attack this country, bringing the worst-case scenarious on the table.