Spork Boards

Granberry's Parlor

tomierna's Avatar Picture tomierna (Admin) – December 08, 2007 02:46AM Reply Quote
Politics. Don Granberry on the old Spork Boards was quite fond of talking about them, and here we continue on in that fine tradition.

tliet – February 14, 2008 11:35AM Reply Quote
Produce and consume locally perhaps? It may sound radical, but there might be no other option in the long run. It's just impossible to keep hauling vegetables from Africa to Europe (as is done on a daily basis) just to give an example.

stan adams – February 14, 2008 12:46PM Reply Quote
In case you missed it the same line is over in "News, not improved".

Just to be clear: I am extremely pleased that this is coming out so early in the election cycle. Hopefully both sides will endorse the folly of ethanol, the sooner the better. If both make it clear that the ag lobby is not going to pull them around the whole friggin' world will be better off. Plenty of smart ag guys have already called "BULLSHIT" on any thought that the US consumption of petroleum could be seriously supplanted by any kind of ethanol ramp up -- http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&sid=a0uHD5Li.uLM&refer=columnist_wasik

If you talk to people who understand the shear volume of energy that the US consumes the consensus is that ultimately there is NOTHING to fill that maw -- the people who know this best happen to be oil biddness: http://www-esd.lbl.gov/SECUREarth/presentations/Energy_Brochure.pdf

If you read through that thing you will not get a warm fuzzy -- despite ExxonMobile plowing huge amounts of their profit into R&D they probably won't be able to keep pace with the increasing costs of oil exploration/production, let alone make any significant headway towards moving away from oil.

Folks, this is "dismal science" at it is darkest. If cuurent trends continue only some true "science fiction" type breakthrough means the shear volume of world wide energy use could collapse the WHOLE SHEBANG. I'm not talking "energy business" this would be the ENTIRE GLOBAL ECONOMIC ENTERPRISE AS IT IS CURRENTLY STANDS.

More likely there is going to be one HUGE ASS SHIFT toward electricty. The amount generated can be ramped up relatively quickly, get the idiots to shelve their fears of nukes and we could increase capacity 10 fold in as little as 2-3 years. Even with current (still shitty compared to oil) energy densities of batteries, greater than 70% of routine trips could be accommodated. That has the potential to do wonders for the doomsday issues, though at some significant costs/shifts in mindset. LOTS and LOTS of people would have to give up their gasoline powered cars and/or get second/third vehicles to balance out the "electric capable routine trips" and "gotta burn gas on this journey" efforts.

I have doubts that market forces alone will be able to get people to shift quickly enough, though I fear that excessive legislation would be counterproductive -- the whole "liberty /security thing" would enter in here, though from a whole different angle than a lot people see it in the "Patriot Act" arena. Generally the lower one is on the economic totem pole the more "disrupted" you are going to be. Perversely, the best way to deal with this may be by using your meager resources to invest in the tradional oil/energy companies -- clearly they have the most to lose AND the greater ability to push newer technologies that will keep them dominate (or hide technology and really f us all, though there shareholders would do ok if they don't get caught...)

And that ain't even taking into account greenhouse gases...

tliet: The models I've seen for large scale movement of goods seem to already be far more efficient than one would guess. The fraction of costs associated with all transport are rarely more than single digit. From pigs to purses it is just really easy to move stuff around the globe. http://www.extension.iastate.edu/AgDM/livestock/html/b1-33.html http://www.federalreserve.gov/FOMC/beigebook/2007/20070613/FullReport.htm

I agree that "think globally, act locally" is a wonderful sentiment but that ain't gonna make up for the fact that they can grow oranges in Haifa and not in Holland.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/14/2008 12:55PM by stan adams.

Mokers (Moderator) – February 14, 2008 01:48PM Reply Quote
Formerly Remy Martin

yes, missed Dr. Strangelove's post in the other thread until today. I agree with you on a lot of things. My commute is five miles. Even adding a trip to the gym or the grocery store, I rarely go more than 20 miles a day. I really would be a good case for plugging in. Of course it does make things difficult since I have to park on the street.

tough to say what the answer is. Chavez wants to punish the US by making oil more expensive, but at $200 per barrel, even Kucinich would be looking at opening up ANWR and oil shale. We really could afford to be pacifists if we just strip-mined more stuff here, or dam up every halfway suitable river location like the Chinese....

Dr. Strangelove – February 14, 2008 03:34PM Reply Quote
Funny you should mention ANWR; I was listening to Sean Hannity the other day (it's a sickness, I know), and he listed his six conservative principles or something, and one of them was "drill ANWR". My reaction was WTF?!? When did drilling Alaska oil become a conservative principle?

A couple years ago I crunched the numbers (think I posted this at the old location), and ANWR has enough oil to supply US needs for something like 14 months. So it's literally a drop in the bucket compared to the shift stan's talking about. Oil shale is considerably more, but even that only delays the day of (worldwide) reckoning for a couple decades.

stan adams – February 14, 2008 04:01PM Reply Quote
Decades sounds about right. Huge boom now, and technology ought to make things even better. Believe it or not I actually have family that live in Labrador and they've said that between gold prices, oil drilling and the scale-up in the "oil sands/shale" plants in Alberta there are people in the eastern provinces that think all of Canada is shifting westward...

The "media creatures" like Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity Huffington and all the rest are pathetic. They all spend so much time in front of cameras/microphones that simply have no ability to grasp these issues. They don't really even understand that by the time something shows up on the radar of their "barely out of college" 'producers/research assistants' the lobbyists from both sides have already nailed down the tent flaps -- a "win" for "big oil" is also a way for "EcoDefenseFund" to hit up donors for an "emergancy action alert/plea for funds".

El Jeffe – February 14, 2008 04:15PM Reply Quote
What a journey.
We'll never come close to getting at the last drops of the oil reserves. The cost to do so will be so high eventually, that alternative fuels will be cheaper.

What a journey.

tomierna (Admin) – February 14, 2008 04:16PM Reply Quote
Hideously Unnatural
I like this guy's take:

Jonathan Goodwin via Fast Company
Goodwin ... believes the country could be weaned off gasoline in a three-step process. The first would be for Detroit to aggressively roll out diesel engines, much as Europe has already begun to do (some 50% of all European cars run diesel). In a single stroke, that would improve the nation's mileage by as much as 40%, and, because diesel fuel is already widely available, drivers could take that step with a minimum of disruption. What's more, given that many diesel engines can also run homegrown biodiesel, a mass conversion to diesel would help kick-start that market. (This could have geopolitical implications as well as environmental and economic ones: The Department of Transportation estimated in 2004 that if we converted merely one-third of America's passenger cars and light trucks to diesel, we'd reduce our oil consumption by up to 1.4 million barrels of oil per day--precisely the amount we import from Saudi Arabia.)

The second step in Goodwin's scheme would be to produce diesel-electric hybrid cars. This would double the mileage on even the biggest diesel vehicles. The third phase would be to produce electric hybrids that run in "dual fuel" mode, burning biodiesel along with hydrogen, ethanol, natural gas, or propane. This is the concept Goodwin is proving out in his turbine-enhanced H3 Hummer and in Neil Young's Lincoln: "At that point, your mileage just goes really, really high, and your emissions are incredibly low," he says. Since those vehicles can run on regular diesel or biodiesel--and without any alternative fuel at all, if need be--drivers wouldn't have to worry about getting stranded on the interstate. At the same time, as more and more dual-fuel cars hit the road, they would goose demand for genuinely national ethanol, hydrogen, and biodiesel grids.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/14/2008 04:16PM by tomierna.

El Jeffe – February 14, 2008 04:20PM Reply Quote
What a journey.
I do wonder, though, once an alternative fuel comes along that will work well, if the guvmint will also tax it into oblivion, until the NEXT fuel comes along. They must make up 'gas(oline)' tax revenue somehow. Then, at that point, will they reduce the gas tax(es)?

What a journey.

Mokers (Moderator) – February 14, 2008 04:27PM Reply Quote
Formerly Remy Martin
Dr. Strangelove,

You are right, ANWR (which could have more or less than current projections because there has only been limited work done there to test) and oil shale are not going to give us cheap, free petroleum, but tapping them would at least give us a hedge for when the Chavezes and the mullahs want to fuck with us. And honestly, at those prices, it's better to have the production paying people in the United States, even if it only lasts for half a century. The full-court press to make renewable sources cost competitive has to be strong. I have always liked hydrogen fuel cells. Even though the main way of producing hydrogen is using natural gas, there are plenty of other ways people can make it including biomass and nuclear. Then again a fuel cell car is just an electric car, so perhaps the battery technology people will be able to solve their range and refueling problems before the fuel cell people can.

I really wish I owned a home and made enough to test out the FCX Clarity.

El Jeffe,

Oh, they'll figure out some way to tax it, that's for sure.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/14/2008 04:29PM by Mokers.

stan adams – February 14, 2008 04:47PM Reply Quote
Diesel is already taxed more than gasoline where you factor in "use taxes"- the rationale for that actually makes sense: bigger heavier trucks == more wear & tear on roads.

I have not seen much of the "total thermal potential" of crude and what that means for the refiners biasing more toward diesel and less toward gasoline, but I am pretty sure there are some negative implications with regard to refiners have spent decades on moving the split the OTHER way..

Common sense tells me "there is no free lunch" -- changing from a nice single purpose GASOLINE fueled motor to a "run on anything and make electricity too" unit is going to cost a whole helluva lot. People are not stupid. You can't make 'em pay for stuff they'll never use. Keep the choices simple and success will move incrementally.

GM and Ford (and maybe even the idiots at Cerebus -- failed to capture MB tech in their buyout) need to have some actual PRODUCT available before they can expect the Feds to help incentivize this. The Europeans and Honda are WAY WAY ahead of us in this regard. We can't realistically import diesels and just stuff 'em under the hoods of Neons, Cobalts, Focus and other econo-boxes unless the domestic companies are prepared to lose MOUNDS OF CASH on each unit. Imported == expensive, especially give the devalued greenback.

I believe Honda has diesels undergoing final pre-production verification for US implementation in 2009, they are most ready to do scale "US based" diesel production. VW might be able to do a similar thing but their production might be with sub-assemblies from Spain or what have you.

The only good news is that both Honda & VW are a lot more "middle America" than MB, the other diesel powerhouse. Too bad the US pickups with diesel are hugely expensive...

El Jeffe – February 14, 2008 04:57PM Reply Quote
What a journey.
yes, but they are taxed differently. As a previous diesel car household, I know. Plus, I also worked on the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), those little stickers you see on all the semi-trucks' doors.

What a journey.

Mokers (Moderator) – February 14, 2008 04:59PM Reply Quote
Formerly Remy Martin
Tom, I like that take on things. I've always thought that part of the success of the Prius is in the packaging. I've always wondered how many MPG it would get if it had a small efficient gas or diesel engine and no battery weight penalty. I've also wondered how many more MPG it would get if it were a diesel hybrid. The other good thing about diesel is that it would be fairly easy to retrofit new diesel engines into older cars, or at least a lot easier than transforming them to any other powertrain.

John Willoughby – February 14, 2008 05:01PM Reply Quote
Cyberdyne Systems Customer Support
I like the idea, I think I saw it in a link posted by Soup, of mandating engines that can burn gas/diesel, ethyl alcohol, or methyl alcohol. Alone or in any combination. And aggressively pushing methyl, which can be derived from non-food sources. Easing the transition is key. Hydrogen has to be cracked out of water, and electric just means that the power is coming from somewhere else. Which means nuclear, to me. Can't wait for fusion.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/14/2008 05:02PM by John Willoughby.

rino – February 14, 2008 05:05PM Reply Quote
In America, the only respectable form of socialism is socialism for the rich.
It takes leadership.

People buy orange colored water flavored with high fructose corn syrup by the gallon jug at Walmart and other mega-lo-marts.

As much as I am pro-market and somewhat laissez-faire, there are times when a designed solution (a la european models of social engineering) is needed more than "market forces". But, this social engineering needs to occur in an agile fashion. There must be OODA loops to adjust models if it's to be designed from the top down.

I said it before and I'll say it again -- especially after 9-11 if we had any leadership someone in a position of power would have stood up and not stopped complaining, lobbying, talking about and whatever else it takes to solve the coming energy problem.

Oh -- there's a Frontline on this issue too:


Meanwhile in Maine news:
Environmental Activists Denounce Nuclear Plant Proposal

A second nuclear power plant in New Brunswick, near the border with Maine, is viable. That's the finding of a study released today in St. John by the provincial government of Premier Shawn Graham, which says there are potential markets for nuclear power in both the U.S. and in the Canadian Maritime Provinces.

And the premier of New Brunswick came to town and addressed some business leaders and others talking all about their wind farms, clean and safe nuclear grid coming online, and what did we talk about in response? Getting on that tit baby! Not generating wind power, no... would destroy the view! And not making a safe and modern nuclear plant, no... must shut those down. And not a liquified natural gas depot on the coast, NIMBY!! But instead we talked about a better power transmission line to get power from New Brunswick.

So short sighted.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/14/2008 05:19PM by rino.

rino – February 14, 2008 05:25PM Reply Quote
In America, the only respectable form of socialism is socialism for the rich.

New Brunswick is working to be the energy hub of the eastern seaboard, Maine is picking lint from it's belly buttons.

rino – February 14, 2008 05:58PM Reply Quote
In America, the only respectable form of socialism is socialism for the rich.
TPBD -- is this the right thread?

As for the transport of goods -- I have always been under the impression these giant ships are very efficient, the long haul trucks are so so efficient but rail (which incidentally big oil and auto killed in the US) is also extremely efficient.

rino – February 14, 2008 08:24PM Reply Quote
In America, the only respectable form of socialism is socialism for the rich.


Over big oil's dead body!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/14/2008 08:25PM by rino.

Mokers (Moderator) – February 14, 2008 09:06PM Reply Quote
Formerly Remy Martin
I'd be very surprised if the environmentalists let the gulf stream idea go through. And big oil doesn't have to do anything to stop wave generators; the article already said it would "never" be cheaper than oil. I say save that money and invest in solar.

tliet – February 15, 2008 03:34AM Reply Quote
Stan, shipping is more than just about cost. Having worked in the shipping industry I know that there's a relentless drive to cut on shipping costs. Because nobody sees it as an added value, it's just a cost. Hence, it will always be lowered.

Having said that; shipping is more pollutive than until very recently has been thought. The large vessels burn the crudest of oil sorts, basically the cheapest available.

But could we sustain our lifestyles, will nothing need to be changed? Is it normal that I eat oranges from South America, beans from Ghana and kiwis from New Zealand? We used to eat local or regional stuff, vegetables that are now almost forgotten but have fed us for centuries. Eventually, we will need to adapt our lifestyles and it would be better if someone would market this lifestyle in a successful way.

Indeed, as Tom's link suggested, it's better to start changing gradually with tech that's already out there. And tough legislation as has been suggested by rino. Eventually, the industry will be turning to progressing stuff they already know, like combining diesel tech in a petrol engine. They just will have to be strong armed into it, no big deal.

El Jeffe – February 15, 2008 05:31AM Reply Quote
What a journey.
NO. Not in my opinion. I recall my parents talking about how there were hardly ever bananas in groceries when they grew up. So, yes, they SURVIVED without them just fine. I would like to see the world 'grow' (if the term SHRINK is applied to describe that it's easier for people to come and go from all corners), and focus more locally on things such as this. It's all about labor+shipping < local, then do it.

What a journey.

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