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View Diary: "America will always rely on foreign oil" (19 comments)

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  •  It's like the boiled frog. (none)
    When we realize the water is too hot it will no longer do any good to struggle. Civilizations end with a whimper, not with a bang.

    Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.
    Czeslaw Milosz

    by Chris Kulczycki on Thu Feb 09, 2006 at 05:20:16 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Heh, that's an unfortunate myth (none)
      debunked at Snopes.  We will solve this problem, as we solved any number of previous problems of this sort.  When England ran out of firewood, it quickly converted to coal, and modified the technology.  When the metallurgy got good enough, the internal combustion engine took to running gasoline, a fraction of distillation previously flared off:  distillers were in search of the more stable kerosene.

      The market will solve this problem for us;  as with the frog, the poor amphibian is taking in calories from the water, and it energizes his jumps.  The frog always gets out, and so will we.

      People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

      by BlaiseP on Thu Feb 09, 2006 at 05:28:58 AM PST

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      •  The market may solve the problem.. (none)

        but we may end up with fuel that costs the equivalent of 10$ a gallon.  Or more.

        The core issue is that we are running out of things to burn, so substitution is a harder problem.  Many of the ideas for substitutes simply don't scale up to the point where we can substitute oil on a gallon-for-gallon basis.

        •  As Frank Zappa said (none)
          "The two most abundant elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity"

          People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

          by BlaiseP on Thu Feb 09, 2006 at 07:14:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  A myth, but not necessarily unfortunate. (none)
        It's a good way to illustrate my point ;<)

        The unfortunate myth is that many believe that because technology has always come to the rescue it always will. That argument defies logic.

        Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.
        Czeslaw Milosz

        by Chris Kulczycki on Thu Feb 09, 2006 at 06:03:04 AM PST

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        •  This guy is obviously a wingnut... (none)
          The free-market will solve the problem!!! What an idiot.
          •  I do believe the market will solve the problem (none)
            as it has before.  The price of hydrogen based solutions is dropping, and the price of petroleum based solutions is rising.  When they cross, there will be a change in technology.  Your engine will be retrofitted to burn hydrogen, and you will like it.  You will put some batteries under your back seat, your brakes and axles will be retrofitted with a motor/generator set, and life will proceed as before.

            Are you using the same computer you were ten years ago?  Of course not.  The technology advanced, and you bought another.

            Petroleum is an extraordinary resource, which we should not be wasting on fuel.  Hydrogen and the concomitant electrical solutions are just now getting online, no thanks to the Bush administration, which has decided to lay off alternative energy technologists.

            But rest assured,

            People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

            by BlaiseP on Thu Feb 09, 2006 at 07:11:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What you say is true. But.... (none)
              The question is one of quantity. We are not close to being able to scale up any technology to generate even close to the amount of energy contained in the oil we use. That is the issue. It is a matter of running the numbers. Today's solutions are a bit like saying, "We loose a dime on every unit, but we make it up in quantity."

              Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.
              Czeslaw Milosz

              by Chris Kulczycki on Thu Feb 09, 2006 at 07:28:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Huh? (none)
                Hydrogen is a workable solution, with a less-than-infinite price point.  No sooner has oil reached that price point than we will convert.  End of story.

                People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

                by BlaiseP on Thu Feb 09, 2006 at 10:12:06 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Where does the hydrogen come from? (none)

              Today it is largely made from natural gas and/or coal.  We cannot base a new transportation infrastructure on those two fossil fuels.  Natural gas is barely able to keep up with demand as it is.

              Hydrogen is best viewed as an energy carrier - kind of like a battery.  You need to put energy in in order to get Hydrgogen gas out.

              Vehicle retrofits are unlikely.  It is far easier to toss the thing and start from scratch.  Sucks if you own an older gas guzzler.  Part of the reason for this is simply that the scale of the problem is so huge that the only way that people can piece together any sort of an answer is to make great use of conservation.

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