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Strength and Honor
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I've been running across more and more literature on the subject of our reaching the peak of oil production (called Hubbert's Peak for those who don't know) and it got me wondering if anyone else had run across this information.

Being a cynical person, I'm not to the alarmist stage that many are, but do have a significant concern about it after having read from a few interesting sources.

If you're interested in the subject, both National Geographic and Rolling Stone had some really meaty articles. If you want to check out the National Geographic one, which is by far the best periodical at describing the entire situation, you'll have to visit your local library. National Geographic and some EIA reports have numbers in them, though I don't have those sources any longer.

So, do you consider yourself generally knowledgeable about the overall oil situation (ignoring the dependence angle)?
 

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I've seen a variety of things as well and do believe it's an issue that warrants attention, but am also satisfied to look at it in much simpler terms. Terms that even an idiot can grasp.;)

It's a finite resource and cannot be consumed as if it's infinite. That's easy enough. It's a large vulnerability for us economically and for our security because of our massive importing.

In the past, that was a keynote in a presidential State of the Union speech, identifying a looming supply crisis with immediate financial problems. It included plans for investment and incentives to develop alternate technologies. Not as impressive as steroids in pro sports, but important nonetheless.:rolleyes: Any idea which president proposed it? Any idea which president nixed it? Any thoughts on how or why that came down the way it did?

Hint: It was long enough ago that had it been heeded, we would likely be WELL on our way to alternative energy for much of our needs. Might even have altered our need to go to war in our first war of aggression in a century or so. Could have had us on the leading edge of another important technology, as well.

And some people wonder why I have developed the views I have.:rolleyes: :)
 

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Ah there goes dad blaming the whole thing on them damn oil loving republicans.
I'm going to try to keep politics out of this for a few posts (untill dad gets to me).

From my best understanding the earth is not running out of oil. The available untapped oil reserves have not changed since the 20's. As we consume more oil, we develop better technology to access more oil.

However our energy needs are increasing on an exponential basis. So we are always energy hungry. I think developing more energy efficient devices (also important) is not the whole solution. Lets say we develop automobiles that are 75% efficient (yeah, right) so we will get somewhere around 75mpg out of SUV's. But in 10 years we will have 3 times as many of them on the roads as we do today. So we are still consuming the same ammount of fuel.
And thats without taking into account all the developing countries, with their billions in population that have to start really consuming energy the way we do. Imagine if every family in india had 2 suv's?

What we really need is a different energy source (nuclear anyone?) and a better way to store energy.
 

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Well i heard on the radio a few months ago that 2 of the big oil compaines had more than doubled it's profits from the previous quarter. Take that for what you will:2cents:
 

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Vash said:
Ah there goes dad blaming the whole thing on them damn oil loving republicans.
I'm going to try to keep politics out of this for a few posts (untill dad gets to me).
You can't keep politics out of it because, at the scale of those industries, it IS political. The problems are and so are the solutions. Watch the oil for food program indictments now that they're starting to come out if you have any doubts. Oh, and they're NOT "oil loving republicans". They're money grubbing, greedy republicans who lie through their teeth to get the ill informed to support their party so they can then run roughshod on the economic wealth of the country. Get it straight!;) Oil is just a vehicle that they would scrap tomorrow if they found a better vehicle to ride herd on.:)

Vash said:
What we really need is a different energy source (nuclear anyone?) and a better way to store energy.
Now you're talking. BUT, you can't let that be unregulated and overseen only by the industry. Anybody know what happened at three mile island? That story's full of good news and bad, with many lessons as to why, if we persue it, it MUST be overseen by a TRULY independent group of technically competent overseers.

This is an area where I DO have some first hand knowledge and opinions from an immediate family member who was in the industry since Shippingport, the first Nuke. Spent most of his career in the Navy Nuclear program, at times answering directly to Admiral Rickover, but swung between the Navy and commercial sides, and is still actively an engineering consultant. I could argue for it or against it with the exact same set of facts, based ENTIRELY on the willingness of the country to exercise STRONG oversight. I DO NOT trust the republican party to do what's necessary based on their history in EVERYTHING they've ever touched that way.
 

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Oh for fucks sake dad. Lets see, you are going to accuse the republicans of being lying bitches that steal from the middle class, and I'm going to counter by accusing the democrats of ignoring forign policy badly enough to bring upon todays situation. We've been thru this already.

The problem isnt political. There is nothing political about not having enough energy. I dont care if nader get elected, its not going to change.

The solutions tend to be political, with one side wanting to ask nicely for more oil and the other wanting to take it by force, but the problem remains the same. So lets leave politics out of it for a second.

Just finished reading the article. It provides good information, and its also extremly slanted into the doomsday scenario side. "There is no way we can build enough nuclear plants" why not? We built enough gas plants, we can build enough nuclear ones too. Humanity can do some amazing things, when it's left with no choice.

Or about renewable energy not being worth a damn. Personally, I dont think it will be a solution in itself. But the biggest windfarm in the world is being built less than 20 miles from my house, and that proves to me that its pretty damn possible. It will likely power most of the state before its all over with.

Back to nuclear power. (I have some expirience here, as my 3 best friends went thru the navy nuke program, and I lived close enough to chernobyl during the disaster to make it worth researching) 3 miles island was chiefly coused by bad system design. Not intentionally bad, but lack of expirience bad. There were too many warning lights, a good chunk of which stayed on during normal operation. They were ignored, and when another one went off, no one noticed. It was a mistake, one that can be expected from an industry in its infancy.
Regulating the industry will be somewhat necessary, but it would be too easy to over regulate it at this point. No one knows the best approach yet, since no one has enough expirience. Regulation will confine us to just one approach. Further more it will be difficult to find technically knowledgable independant overwiew commetee, since most of the technical personell will be in the industry. So we are going to have a highly politicized commeete without too much knowledge of the subject. Why not let the industry do most of its own regulating? Its not like its in its best interest to kill everyone on earth.
 

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Forgot a few points. The ammount of oil that goes to the manufacturing of plastics and pharmacuticals (sp?) is insagnificant, and can be easily replaced by other synthetic sources. So Things wont be quiet as bad as the end of the world the article wants to advertise.

Also, nuclear energy is all well and good but its cant power vehicles. We can hardly start building reactors small enough to go under the hood. The obvoius solution is to generate electricity and than store it in vehicles. Thats where our problem with batteries comes in, they are too damn heavy, and dont store nearly enough. Oh and a real pain to recharge.

The most promising solution to me, is hydrogen. It can be extracted from water using electricity from nuclear energy, than converted to electricity using fuel cells. Now if we could just make this whole thing work...
 

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Dad said:
Hint: It was long enough ago that had it been heeded, we would likely be WELL on our way to alternative energy for much of our needs. Might even have altered our need to go to war in our first war of aggression in a century or so. Could have had us on the leading edge of another important technology, as well.
I've not read up enough on the oil issue to speak with any authority, but I did wonder about this part. You're assuming that all of this progress would have already been made, and I don't think it's accurate to do so. I liken it to drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry. You can't put a timeline on innovation, you find it when you find it. You very well may be right that other technologies could have been found by now, but it's not an absolute. I realize you threw in the qalifier "likely," but you still present it as though it would definitely have happened, and I don't think that is accurate.

We now continue with our regularly scheduled debate between the Right Wing Nutjobs and the Liberal Weiners. :thumb:
 

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Strength and Honor
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Discussion Starter #9
spicersh said:
I've not read up enough on the oil issue to speak with any authority, but I did wonder about this part. You're assuming that all of this progress would have already been made, and I don't think it's accurate to do so. I liken it to drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry. You can't put a timeline on innovation, you find it when you find it. You very well may be right that other technologies could have been found by now, but it's not an absolute. I realize you threw in the qalifier "likely," but you still present it as though it would definitely have happened, and I don't think that is accurate.
sh, this is pretty much where I think I'm at. On two separate occassions and from two different "experts" (?), they've made the use of the term Manhattan-style project to describe what has to be done to deal in any signficant way with the impending oil peak. The namby-pamby grants for research into alternatives have always been paltry to what's going to be required.

As for us continuing, the point of the Hubbert's Peak is that when we've reached that, we've basically pulled all the low-hanging fruit of fossil fuels out. All that's basically left are the exceptionally hard to get at resources. Thus, while its a curve, the suggestion has been made that its really a crash-and-burn type of mode.

DOE reports indicate a 2% growth in US oil consumption, so we're not stagnant in consumption generally. What's more, it has been pointed out that if oil got expensive enough, China could just walk all over a Middle Eastern country and there'd be little anyone could do. That alone is a frightening, but realistic prospect.

Anyway, its a fascinating subject and I just thought I'd throw it out there for reading if you've got some online time to burn.

BTW, I had specifically excluded dependence in hopes of avoiding the politics because no matter how you cut it, neither side of the aisle has done a good job. They both suck :finger:
 

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spicersh said:
I've not read up enough on the oil issue to speak with any authority, but I did wonder about this part. You're assuming that all of this progress would have already been made, and I don't think it's accurate to do so.
It was Jimmy Carter. Identified the looming problem, proposed a plan to start to deal with it, and it was nixed as soon as Reagan came in. Whether we'd have all of the solutions will never be known but we'd have had a 35 year history by now of working on it. My bet is, with all of the highly lauded talents of this country (talents AND capacity being lost by exporting our industry), we would have made significant progress by now. As it is, we are starting nearly from scratch. Where is Cheney's energy policy? His team was only those vested in the current system, no outsiders. The same creative bunch who brought us to where we are. Carter was an engineer and had a sense of what it would take. He also identified the finite aspect, the financial strain on our economy as an import, and the risk from instability in the oil regions. Hmmm, same things 35 years later, just a little more serious and no real alternatives yet off the ground.

I'll look for a link to State of the Union speeches. I know one exists because I've seen it.
 

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Vash said:


Back to nuclear power. (I have some expirience here, as my 3 best friends went thru the navy nuke program, and I lived close enough to chernobyl during the disaster to make it worth researching) 3 miles island was chiefly coused by bad system design. Not intentionally bad, but lack of expirience bad. There were too many warning lights, a good chunk of which stayed on during normal operation. They were ignored, and when another one went off, no one noticed. It was a mistake, one that can be expected from an industry in its infancy.
That's gross oversimplification that's full of errors. There were some operator training problems, but there never would have been a TMI incident if procedures that were devised by the NRC and made part of LAW, had been followed. Know what it was?

AFTER they were not followed and the meltdown began, what fundamental difference between Chernobyl and TMI prevented TMI from becoming another Chernobyl?

We have entirely sufficient existing technology to build Nukes and operate them safely but they require a LOT of cost in extraneous safety equipment and redundency that the industry will argue is unnecessary but those who know engineering, machinery, and human nature will say, "If it can happen, it WILL... someday."

Unlike the double hulled oil tanker debate that went on BEFORE the Exxon Valdez disaster, nuclear (or is it nucular);) power is no joke and can't be handled in anywhere near a like method. While the pipeline was still being discussed, and the need for double hulls was argued away due to the wonders of modern technology and navigation equipment's ability to make such an error impossible, the lower cost single hulls were allowed and they eventually drove one right onto the rocks, navigation equipment and all, leading to the disaster that happened. After all was said and done, and all of the wonderful hi-tech systems that were in place failed to prevent it, the double hull would have prevented the catastrophe, exactly as originally argued. Can't play those games with Nukes, and industry left entirely to its own devices, CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO HANDLE IT RIGHT, PERIOD.
 

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Double houled, may have prevented the disaster. Maybe, Or both could have been punctured. Or one would have gotten old and rusted, and would collapse as soon as the inner one would have.

Its a compromise. Industry can accept too much risk in the name of profit, while over regulation can stagnate progress. Both are unacceptable dangers.

Hell the reason why no more nuclear plants are being constructed is over regulation to a degree. None can be built untill a standart is drawn up. Thats a regulation. And its keeping plants from being built.

As for TMI not turning into a chernobyl, it was never at risk. The rods where still in, it wasnt going into meltdown. It was just a coolant leak. (Granted there is really no such thing as "just" a primary coolant leak)
 

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Come again...

Vash said:
...From my best understanding the earth is not running out of oil. The available untapped oil reserves have not changed since the 20's. As we consume more oil, we develop better technology to access more oil.
If you'll allow me to digress for a moment...

Vash, how can we consume a non-renewable resource, but not be running out of it?

Sure, we can, "...develop better technology to access more oil..." but, at the end of the day, there is only so much down there. It's a finite resource. Efficiency of current technology will merely delay the inevitable end. I think it's perfectly logical to consider that we are "running out of it."



Sorry for the intrusion. Please, continue. This is making for great reading! :D
 

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aside from politics (this is the reason nothing gets done in the US effectively), The only thing that will curb the world's demand on oil is higher prices. Once this price outweighs alternative energy sources everyone will drive that vehicle. Even if there still is oil reserves.

On the same note, no one can seem to conserve anything in the US until it hits the pocketbook real hard. Water should be conserved, but this will never happen because I like long hot showers, and the cost does not bother me. Sad but true.
 

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Vash said:
Double houled, may have prevented the disaster. Maybe, Or both could have been punctured. Or one would have gotten old and rusted, and would collapse as soon as the inner one would have.
Aw c'mon. You're telling me we can't have tankers that are safe for transporting oil and just have to accept a big 'ol spill now and again? If that's the case, then maybe the tree huggers are right and it should all be stopped now. I don't happen to believe that.

Vash said:
Its a compromise. Industry can accept too much risk in the name of profit, while over regulation can stagnate progress. Both are unacceptable dangers.
Industry makes compromises and judgement calls all of the time. I do it daily in my business. When assessing risk, bodily harm gets my attention. With nuclear power there is NO ROOM for catostrophic error in the area of the core.

Vash said:
Hell the reason why no more nuclear plants are being constructed is over regulation to a degree. None can be built untill a standart is drawn up. Thats a regulation. And its keeping plants from being built.
The US has built and operated a lot of these plants all over the world and without ONE catastrophe to mankind yet. There is a standard. A very effective one. It also needs to be enforced and not degraded. Such oversight is ONLY ATTAINABLE when it is enforced by a truly independent and technically competant group. That cannot be entrusted to the low bidder. There is no room for error with nuclear power.

Vash said:
As for TMI not turning into a chernobyl, it was never at risk. The rods where still in, it wasnt going into meltdown. It was just a coolant leak. (Granted there is really no such thing as "just" a primary coolant leak)
Sure it was and that coolant leak that occurred would have contaminated that region if the plant had been built as Chernobyl was with NO containment building. And the error in operating was criminal in that NRC procedure required that when the primary pump went down, they were to use the back-up pump to operate ONLY as was required to shutdown to fix the primary. You were NEVER to operate on your backup pump. It was, afterall, the BACKUP. Well, the operators were told by the upper management NOT to shutdown as it would be too expensive and what the heck, the backup was running, so they continued operation in direct defiance of NRC procedure. THEN and only then, did the operators continue to screw up when they didn't read the problem with the second pump correctly. They never should have been there. THEN, IN SPITE of not being competant, failing to follow procedure, and several simultaneous equipment failures, the redundency of the design STILL prevented a human catastrophe. The ULTIMATE safety was the containment building, the "second hull", that prevented the ultimate catastrophe after the two equipment failures and two more human blunders skuttled the whole thing. And I'm going to trust that measure of thoroughness in design and its inevitable cost to industry? Not on YOUR life.;)
 

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Re: Come again...

cookeetree said:
... how can we consume a non-renewable resource, but not be running out of it?
The biggest single cause of death regardless of nationality, race, color, or creed..... WORLDWIDE.... is birth.:eek: :D
 

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Come again...

Dad said:
The biggest single cause of death regardless of nationality, race, color, or creed..... WORLDWIDE.... is birth.:eek: :D
:confused:

Sorry, Dad, maybe I'm having an off day, but I have no idea what that has to do with:

...how can we consume a non-renewable resource, but not be running out of it?...
 

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Re: Come again...

cookeetree said:
:confused:

Sorry, Dad, maybe I'm having an off day, but I have no idea what that has to do with:
The GROSS simplicity of the concept.

Sorry, I guess that was a pretty wild leap.:thumbs2: :D
 

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Re: Re: Come again...

Dad said:
The GROSS simplicity of the concept.

Sorry, I guess that was a pretty wild leap.:thumbs2: :D
"A bridge too far" for where my mind's at right now. :D :thumb:
 

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Vash said:
...Back to nuclear power. (I have some expirience here, as my 3 best friends went thru the navy nuke program, and I lived close enough to chernobyl during the disaster to make it worth researching) ...
Vash, this is sort of off topic, but I was 12 when Chernobyl disaster happened, and lived pretty much down wind of it. The "news" was broken to us by our teachers, 3 or 4 days later, in the classroom. We were soothed by the assurance that there was nothing to be really worried about:rolleyes:

For many years I was horrified to think about what that would mean if I ever decided to have children. Today I am a proud father of two sons (and two step-sons). The boys were born with all their fingers and toes, and are growing up to be pretty smart little fellas. I sure feel like a heavy load is gone off my shoulders!:D

I know you mentioned previously that you expected to eventually marry and have children, so I just wanted to share this with you.

OK, now you guys can get back to the political debate.
 
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