video: helio display/futuristic air video screen

Gleaming vision of the future? Not quite.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zRmffRIifE

Advertisements

video: LAND WALKER/Japanese Robot suit/Mech Warrior prototype

If you happen to be familiar with Transformers, or the Japanese cousin (or origin thereof?) the Mecha – gigantic human-controlled robots capable of fighting intergalactic battles, this is – to many – a step “into the future”.

However notice the oil-based engine. Nice hearing those pistons firing!

Nothing like using 100 year-old technology as the primary driver of something that’s supposed to be “our future”.

It’s interesting to see the extent to which the postwar generations have been been affected by the “visionaries” of movie and general media fame. It’s too bad that, realistically, it’s not very feasible.

For the uninformed, why not? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons.
1. Peak oil
2. Peak resources (similar to peak oil – except with much more severe ramifications)
3. Oil-based engine
4. Scalable (will everyone and their mother be able to have one)? See peak resources.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVwbUljGs3g

More than 60 percent of U.S. in drought

Still arguing there won’t be a Malthusian catastrophe? What, do you really think that irrigation is going to fix that problem? Get real.

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.

Matt 4:17

http://tinyurl.com/g8svq

By JAMES MacPHERSON, Associated Press Writer

STEELE, N.D. – More than 60 percent of the United States now has abnormally dry or drought conditions, stretching from Georgia to Arizona and across the north through the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin, said Mark Svoboda, a climatologist for the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

An area stretching from south central North Dakota to central South Dakota is the most drought-stricken region in the nation, Svoboda said.

“It’s the epicenter,” he said. “It’s just like a wasteland in north central South Dakota.”

Continue reading

More blackouts feared in California

Among many other reports of blackouts. Simple logic: blackouts are caused by energy demand from customers: industrial users, individual users, small businesses. The world does not have enough resources to allow every man, woman, and child the use of an air conditioner, every time, in 100+ degree weather, for the next 100 years. There’s simply not enough energy. In the next 20 years, don’t think the cost of the American lifestyle is gonna hit you? Think again.

http://tinyurl.com/pa468

By SAMANTHA YOUNG
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Scorching heat pushed California’s electricity supply to the brink Monday and threatened another round of blackouts as utility crews across the state struggled to restore power to tens of thousands of people left in the dark over the weekend.

Authorities warned that the eighth day of the heat wave could drive demand for electricity in California to an all-time high. Some businesses cut their power usage under a program that grants them lower rates if they agree to conserve during a crisis.

Meanwhile, utilities in the St. Louis area and New York City also labored to restore power to hundreds of thousands whose electricity was knocked out by storms and equipment failures.

Continue reading

Miliband unveils carbon swipe-card plan

This article sure has undertones of “666”/one world government to it, in one sense. But realistically, such an ordinance would be impossible to enforce, especially with six billion people, corrupt authorities, and the implausibility of free-market rationing. More on this in another post.

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/green/story/0,,1824238,00.html

David Adam and David Batty
Wednesday July 19, 2006
Guardian Unlimited

The environment minister, David Miliband, today unveiled a radical plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by charging individuals for the amount of carbon they use.

Under the proposals, consumers would carry bank cards that record their personal carbon usage. Those who use more energy – with big cars and foreign holidays – would have to buy more carbon points, while those who consume less – those without cars, or people with solar power – would be able to sell their carbon points.

Continue reading

Did World War III start yesterday morning?

A beginner’s attempt at WWIII speculation. I think it can be said that there are many more options besides blasting each other to kingdom come at the world’s disposal as compared to the past, right?

via EnergyBulletin link. http://tinyurl.com/hmtu3. 
The great thing about predicting human events is that you are so often wrong. In this case, nothing would make me happier than to be in error. But, G-d help us all, I think the odds aren’t that bad that I’ m right. It is possible that yesterday morning, we started World War III.

The beginnings of wars are often hard to identify. Which act lit the spark on the tinderbox? Which straw was the final one? Like peak oil itself, the beginnings of war are often visible only in retrospect. Why today? Why, when we might make the case a world war war began when the US invaded Iraq? Why when this particular cause might turn out to be just another brush fire?

Continue reading

Coping with high oil prices

An excellent article talking about the economics of Peak Oil via EnergyBulletin. Among some questions that were approached were: with energy prices so high, why isn’t the “world” suffering from a massive economic downturn? Have firms been taking a hit at all?

Unfortunately, due to its West-centrism, it fails to acknowledge that the high prices have effectively destroyed semi-developed countries such as Zimbabwe, and is working against some countries exporting oil such as Indonesia and Qatar due to outdated domestic policies regarding subsidies. But even more importantly is the talk of “transition”.

Looking at Japan’s post-70s example of transition, while maintaining some of the highest efficiency standards, it remains number three in oil consumption, behind only the US and China.

By Nikos Tsafos

The most surprising feature of the current oil crisis is that it does not
really feel like a crisis. Oil and gas prices may be high and many
people are struggling to cope with rising energy bills, but at a macro
level, the world’s largest economies have grown consistently in the
past two years. Hardly is our fear realized—that high energy costs will
force an economic downturn, much less a recession. What explains this
disconnect between expectation and reality?

To examine this question, take three mechanisms through which oil
prices affect economic performance (there are more, but let’s focus on
three): a reduction in income caused by the need to spend more money on
energy leads to reduced demand for goods and services and this, in
turn, forces an economic slowdown; an increase in inflation generated
by higher prices that firms charge to cover energy costs leads to a
reduction in real income; and worsening performance by firms,
reflecting mainly higher costs and/or reduced overall demand by
shrinking real income.

Continue reading