Wednesday, November 28, 2007

just some stuff

I’ve got a few posts half written and an exciting insulation project going on at home so in the meantime I thought I’d share a couple of interesting reads.

The Big Sleep

by Graham Robb

In September, at the General Assembly of the United Nations, President Sarkozy proposed "un New Deal écologique et économique," but without explaining how economic growth can be reconciled with conservation. If he is serious about saving the planet, and if he wants to reassure the unions that workers will still have time with their families, he should consider introducing tax incentives for hibernation. The long-term benefits of reduced energy consumption would counterbalance the economic loss. There has never been a better time to stay in bed.

Until the 20th century, few people needed money. Apart from salt and iron, everything could be paid for in kind. Economic activity was more a means of making the time pass than of making money, which might explain why one of the few winter industries in the Alps was clock-making. Tinkering with tiny mechanisms made time pass less slowly, and the clocks themselves proved that it was indeed passing.

You’d barely know it from the press coverage here in the US but France is seeing a wave of violence as President Sarkozy tries to convince the French people that spending more time working and less time with family and friends is good for anybody but the corporatocracy. So it’s interesting to read that apparently the French used to just sleep through the winter.

Looking down from the peak

by Carlos Guerra

This one goes in the “maybe those peak oil people weren’t so crazy after all.” We have to enjoi these while we can because before we know it everyone will be saying, “Of course we’ve peaked in global oil production. It is, after all, a non-renewable resource- Duh!”

Yet another factor is the growing acceptance of theories that, globally, we are approaching the peak of oil production, after which it will decline and become pricier, theories that, until recently, were dismissed as alarmist bunk.

Mainstream media still ends its articles about peak with some sort of forced skepticism and/or misplace hope in continuing business as usual, perhaps because they make their money selling ads for stuff we’re told to buy and then throw away. And consumer culture sponsors have had so much soma that they can’t bring themselves to even imagine that this is all on the way out, but there are hints that this news is about to break.

Chinese tiger has nothing in tank

by Rowan Callick

Maybe you’re too young to remember what the oil shocks of the 70’s looked like. I am. We’ll here’s the updated 21st century version- a sneak peak at what happens when oil dependant societies run low on oil. In China,

A truck driver named Li told the Chuncheng Evening News he had been stranded at the Stone Tiger Gate petrol station for three days after searching for fuel in other places, but failing. Another driver, at Geiju city, said a job that would have taken one day in the past, now took three: one on the road, two queuing for fuel.

Nine days ago, a truck driver was reported to have been stabbed to death in central Anhui province after a row about queuing. A few days earlier, at Ezhou in Hubei province, 100,000 people were stranded, unable to get to work, because city buses had run out of fuel.

Of course China’s fuel distribution system is sub par compared to that of the US but it’s important to remember that per capita, we use a lot more oil than they do. I am reminded of the fact that during the brief fuel shortage (if you can even call it that) in my area following Hurricane Katrina, a coworker of mine actually witnessed a fist fight at a gas station. Like I’ve said before, I am not nearly as afraid of the physical implications of peak oil as I am afraid of the reactions of Joe & Jane Public who still say I’m crazy if I talk about peak oil. He & She are going to be pissed.

Also this week Diane Rehm covered what she called, “Oil Production Forecasts” on her radio show on Monday. She did use the term ‘peak oil’ and she did have Matt Simmons (god bless him) on her show along with the standard economists, to talk about the future of oil production. Hers is a national broadcast radio show on NPR that reaches about 1.5 million listeners.

Lastly I’ll recommend a bit of audio. If you are interested in the stuff I write about, I urge you to take a little time to investigate the way money works in our country. Research the "Federal" Reserve. Research the lack of any law that says you must pay income tax (it's actually unconstitutional to tax income the way the gov't does). Research the history of central banks and their involvement in initiating the Revolutionary War. I bet you’ll be amazed to learn (chuckle) if you don’t already know that our monetary system is a complete fraud. It would take much more typing for me to explain but let me suffice by saying that what seems like a perfectly normal system of dollars and cents to you and I, the average American, is actually a contrived system of wage slavery. I could use prettier language but let’s call it a spade. One suggestion for research on this topic: read or listen or watch everything you research on 'how money works' a few times. Unless you’re familiar with this stuff it’ll take repetition for you to understand what’s really going on. In other words, don’t expect to get it the very first time. But who knows, there’s a good chance you’re smarter than me. If you don’t want to listen to the audio try,

Slide Shows

Some Video

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