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  1. #1
    Senior Member Robopop's Avatar
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    Default Have we reached peak oil and can we survive it?

    Some experts in the oil industry believe world oil production peaked in 2005 or 2007, even the most optimistic predictions go to only 2020. I have really been thinking about peak oil and sustainability lately, and I think the US is in for some VERY hard times in 5 to 10 years. I see NO efforts for oil conservation and it might be too little too late by the time people even begin to use alternatives in any significant way.

    My hope for the future comes from nanosolar and nuclear energy but we still need an oil based economy to make that transition, it would take at least a minimal of 20 to 40 years to make a transition on that scale and we only have 5 to 10 years from peak oil AT MOST. Our whole economy is based on unending growth and that is unrealistic with the finite resources we have, this includes water, coal, and other non-renewables too. At worst, our entire civilization could collapse and this has happen before to the Romans and the Mayans.

    We might have to go to a more localized lifestyle in the future and that's if we make a peaceful transition. I have been trying to factor peak oil into my career choice and future expectations. Maybe emerging technologies can get us out of this mess like nanotechnology, solar, nuclear, bio, geothermal, wind, and natural gas.

    What do you think will be the implications of diminishing energy resources on globalization, US economy, and your personal future?
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  2. #2
    Senor Membrane
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    I found out about peak oil a few years ago. I read and read and wondered why isn't this on the news. Then I kinda forgot about it and this spring I noticed there is a few days seminar about it here, but still, it didn't make any big headlines. I don't know what is going on. I can only assume it is not taken seriously because there are more dramatic theories, like the climate change. But what they don't get is that this is happening basically now, and that while the solution is simple in theory, there will not be time to make it.

    Personally, I am not feeling very optimistic. One thing I am happy about is that I live in Finland. There are relatively few people here and plenty of woods and drinkable water. On the other hand, it does get cold during the winter and, thanks to the modern agriculture, no one knows how to grow anything by themselves.

    I have done some things that are kind of preparation for the possibility of sudden crisis. I am learning about gardening, building soil and so on. I also think it is a good idea to live with friends so that if the shit hits the fan I will already have a little tribe here... I've been thinking about modifications I could do to have the balcony and part of the living room as a greenhouse. I could easily make a rain water based irrigation since the drainage from the roof goes right next to the balcony and we are on the top floor, so if we were greedy we could have all the water. We have a fireplace also, so I am not worried about freezing to death. But this is only the immediate response, to get by a year or so. After that, I'm sure we have to get out of the city. It would be better if we lived on the country but at the moment that is not really an option.

    This plan is not really an active preparation, though... I don't have any food storage for the rainy day or nothing like that. I just pay attention to news in a different manner than when I wasn't aware of the peak oil, and if I see some signs of collapse, I will prepare, go buy seeds and so on...

  3. #3
    Senior Member Robopop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolla View Post
    I found out about peak oil a few years ago. I read and read and wondered why isn't this on the news. Then I kinda forgot about it and this spring I noticed there is a few days seminar about it here, but still, it didn't make any big headlines. I don't know what is going on. I can only assume it is not taken seriously because there are more dramatic theories, like the climate change. But what they don't get is that this is happening basically now, and that while the solution is simple in theory, there will not be time to make it.

    Personally, I am not feeling very optimistic. One thing I am happy about is that I live in Finland. There are relatively few people here and plenty of woods and drinkable water. On the other hand, it does get cold during the winter and, thanks to the modern agriculture, no one knows how to grow anything by themselves.

    I have done some things that are kind of preparation for the possibility of sudden crisis. I am learning about gardening, building soil and so on. I also think it is a good idea to live with friends so that if the shit hits the fan I will already have a little tribe here... I've been thinking about modifications I could do to have the balcony and part of the living room as a greenhouse. I could easily make a rain water based irrigation since the drainage from the roof goes right next to the balcony and we are on the top floor, so if we were greedy we could have all the water. We have a fireplace also, so I am not worried about freezing to death. But this is only the immediate response, to get by a year or so. After that, I'm sure we have to get out of the city. It would be better if we lived on the country but at the moment that is not really an option.

    This plan is not really an active preparation, though... I don't have any food storage for the rainy day or nothing like that. I just pay attention to news in a different manner than when I wasn't aware of the peak oil, and if I see some signs of collapse, I will prepare, go buy seeds and so on...
    Most of our politicians are too afraid to talk about peak oil because it entails "powering down" and that means decreasing economic growth.....oh no. I still think at aleast some societies can make a successful transition to nanosolar and nuclear energy by 2050, probably some of the smaller european countries, I mean, look at how much energy the sun is throwing at earth every day, it's shit tons of energy. Nanosolar has alot of promise and I don't know whether some experts factor in exponential growth in technology(especially information technology) when looking at the impact of peak oil.

    Ray Kurzweil says we'll see about 100 years of innovation in only a 30 year time frame and 20,000 years in 100 year time frame. Here's what he has to say about nanotech:

    Nanotechnology developments are currently in their formative stages. There are early applications of nanotechnology, but these do not represent the full vision of nanotechnology, the vision that Eric Drexler articulated in 1986. No one was willing to supervise this radical and interdisciplinary thesis except for my mentor Marvin Minsky, We have shown the feasibility of manipulating matter at the molecular level, which is what biology does. One of the ways to create nanotechnology is to start with biological mechanisms and modify them to extend the biological paradigm – to go beyond proteins. That vision of molecular nanotechnology assembly – of using massively parallel, fully programmable processes to grow objects with remarkable properties – is about twenty years away. There will be a smooth progression, and early adaptor applications, many of which I discuss in the book.

    There are early applications in terms of nanoparticles. These nanoparticles have unique features due to nanosize components, but this is a slightly different concept. We are using the special properties of nanoscale objects, but we are not actually building objects molecule by molecule. So the real revolutionary aspect of nanotechnology is a couple of decades away, and it is too early to say which companies will be the leaders of that. Intel sees that the future of electronics is nanotechnology, and by some definitions today’s electronics are already nanotechnology. Undoubtedly, there will be small corporations that will dominate. When search engines were formative, it would have been difficult to foresee that two Stanford undergrads would dominate that field. Nanotechnology is already a multi-billion dollar industry which will continue growing as we get closer to molecular manufacturing. When we actually have molecular manufacturing, it will be transforming – we will be able to inexpensively manufacture almost anything we need from feedstock materials and these information processes.
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  4. #4
    にゃん runvardh's Avatar
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    One thing about the predictions that are running around still. their estimates are based off old data for reserves back in the 90's. Since then they've found ways to tap the reserves for more than previously thought, as well as the opening up of other reserves that were previously unknown or fiscally impossible to tap at the time of the actual studies.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Robopop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by runvardh View Post
    One thing about the predictions that are running around still. their estimates are based off old data for reserves back in the 90's. Since then they've found ways to tap the reserves for more than previously thought, as well as the opening up of other reserves that were previously unknown or fiscally impossible to tap at the time of the actual studies.
    Global demand for oil will rise dramatically within the next 20 years(population growth), this increasing demand could offset "new discoveries". China is a fast growing economy and they need to supply their energy needs. In the end oil will become scarce, one way or the other we're getting off cheat oil addiction. Oil is NON-RENEWABLE, it is not sustainable, the energy resource that might temporarily help us would be coal, BUT THERE'S PEAK COAL TOO.

    Solar energy I think is our best alternative, it is renewable for millions of years(the sun will be around for another 4-5 billion years). Nanotechnology could greatly increase the efficiency of storage and capture of solar energy. Oh and also nuclear, but then there's the waste and it is very expensive.
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  6. #6
    Senor Membrane
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robopop View Post
    Most of our politicians are too afraid to talk about peak oil because it entails "powering down" and that means decreasing economic growth.....oh no. I still think at aleast some societies can make a successful transition the nanosolar and nuclear energy by 2050, probably some of the smaller european countries, I mean, look at how much energy the sun is throwing at earth every day, it's shit tons of energy.
    They are planning another nuclear plant here, and it should be big enough for export, so if they get it ready when the collapse comes, I think there are chances that we are not hit too bad, or to put it more precisely, most of us wont freeze when the frost comes. The food will be the big issue around here.

    Politics, yeah, when I was reading about peak oil there was a quote of Tony Blair about it and he said something like "A move that is needed would be a political suicide"... It's funny how democracy seems like the worst thing now. I would prefer a benevolent dictator, hah...

  7. #7
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    I don't know much about the topic, but doesn't nuclear fission produce far less waste than nuclear fusion? Even if it does produce less waste, there's still the issue of cost.

    While I do agree that solar energy is a great choice, I think it should be used alongside a few other sources like wind, algae fuel, or whatever.

  8. #8
    Courage is immortality Valiant's Avatar
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    I guess there will be trouble of some sort.
    The U.S isn't resting easy in its place as the biggest bully on the playground anymore.
    Like so many other factors, this plays into the big picture.
    The big picture doesn't only take this into account.
    A lot is dependent upon oil, though, this much is true.

    What we need to do, and this goes for many other problems as well...
    We need to maintain the economic balance of the world.
    Developing countries needs to stay far behind and be exploited.
    China and India are big, big troublesome clouds on the horizon right now.
    They've almost almost ground our native production to a standstill and we are definitely dependent upon Asia, which means that they soon control the market entirely.
    It's crude to say, but if we want to live like we do, others must work under us in some manner.

    If they're not hit by some huge epidemic or several hundred nukes, we are going to be overrun, peak oil or not.
    The Peak Oil thing might trigger a war for the natural resources, though, which means that we'll have our asses handed to us sooner rather than later.
    Provided that they are not stupid and attack too early when they are not technologically advanced enough to beat the western world.

    Mightier than the tread of marching armies is the power of an idea whose time has come

  9. #9
    Member promethathustra's Avatar
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    Great nihilistic solution! Destroy the planet to get YOUR way!

    You need to relax with the heirarchy and look to better organization...worldwide.
    "This fearless one always is the same in essence,however.He is Holy heresy born stout lacking the ability to cower or break.The Universe is transparent to him." Me

  10. #10
    Senior Member Robopop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YourLocalJesus View Post
    Developing countries needs to stay far behind and be exploited.
    :horor:
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