Life and Self Sufficiency27 Oct 2008 11:27 pm

I added pics to the gardening album. Scroll down to those pics with September or later dates.

Life and Peak Oil09 Oct 2008 12:01 am

Oh, man… I just read something scary but very real, written by Alice Friedemann way back in 2006.

I have been aware of peak oil for almost a year now, and modestly doing what I can to prepare for what is coming in the next several decades. But every once in a while I come across something — like this paper — that knocks me off my feet.

When I first blogged about peak oil back in January, I asked whether in 50 years we would still be manufacturing electronics, and whether the internet would still be around. After reading Friedemann’s paper, I think 1) the relevant timeframe for my questions is more like 20 or 30 years, not 50, and 2) the answer to my questions may well be ‘No’.

This is a great paper, well worth 20 minutes of your time to read. Friedemann wanders around a bit in the beginning, citing plenty of alarming but relevant facts about the upcoming energy descent, but she finishes with a very strong argument that computers will not be with us for much longer, and that we should be thinking now about non-electronic preservation of knowledge for future generations. Even many of the books that are around now will not survive the century.

It can be frightening to think about a world without all of the things we take for granted: plenty of food, easy transportation, cheap electricity, relatively affordable housing, plentiful clothing, corrective lenses for our imperfect eyes, medicines to address many of our common ailments, electronics to keep us entertained, informed, and educated. But all of those things (and a thousand more) are the direct result of the nearly-free energy stores we discovered a while back (~1860) and have been burning up at an increasing rate.

We are currently living our lives at the top of an enormous house of cards that will soon be tumbling to the ground (and the house may come down much faster than it took to be built). Enjoy your computer and your ATM and your cable box and your router while you can. By the time my generation leaves this world, those will be things of the past.

So shouldn’t we spend some time and money figuring out how to pass on some basic learnings to future generations?

Older peak oil blog posts here, and lots of bookmarked articles here.

Life06 Sep 2008 06:01 pm

Flooding from Tropical Storm Hanna

Tropical Storm Hanna dumped a ton of water on us here in northern Virginia today.

Sugarland Creek runs through the woods behind our house. The creek overflowed its banks in a big way today, going higher than at any time since we moved here in 2000. Normally it is about 30 feet across, but right now it must be over 300 feet wide, and running very rapidly.

When we were checking it out at the peak of the flooding, we saw several deer (must have been trapped on a sudden island) struggling to make it to shore. A couple of them made it, and bolted by about 50 feet from us. Another deer was trapped, swimming wildly, in the middle of the creek. We couldn’t see her very clearly through the trees and the rain, and after a moment lost sight of her. I don’t know if she survived or not¬† :-(

More pics in the gallery.

Update  9/11/08: Using the aerial photos on Google Maps, it looks like the floodwaters were about 250 feet wide at peak.

Life23 Aug 2008 05:54 pm

I added picture albums from beach trips this year and last, and added some new gardening and wild plant pics to existing albums (hit the links and scroll down). Enjoy!

Bird at sunrise

Life and Peak Oil28 Jun 2008 09:57 am

It was the best of times…

So here we are approaching the End of the Oil Age. It’s been a hell of a ride, but we’re now at the beginning of a slide down the far side of Hubbert’s peak. We don’t know how quickly we’ll descend, but we do know that we will.

What are you going to miss the most about the grand ole time we’ve had this last half-century or so?

  • Driving your air-conditioned Hummer down to the local ice cream shop for some cool relief on a hot summer day?
  • Grabbing a cheap flight to Daytona Beach for spring break?
  • Earning enough money in a few minutes to pay for a day’s worth of calories… shipped from faraway lands all over the earth?

It was the worst of times…

For all the cool things that we’ll be losing, surely there are some things you’re happy to be done with. What are you not going to miss?

  • Sitting on your ass in your car as you idle your way slowly to work… along with thousands of others?
  • Pumping enough hydrocarbons into the atmosphere to push the last remaining summer arctic ice into the history books?
  • Having an agricultural system in the US that lets us abuse, kill, and serve as food over 10,000,000,000 animals a year?

What are your BoTs? What are your WoTs?

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