Saturday, October 29, 2005

Big Oil Record Profits?

Yet production is falling. As Jerome a Paris pointed out yesterday:

"So Big Oil's huge profits are really the swan song of the industry: they are taking advantage of their own inability to produce more, and of the NOCs's inability or unwillingness to produce more, which creates stagnant production at a time of strong demand growth. These are windfall profits coming from the depletion of the good they provide, not a sign of health and not a sign of price gouging."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Electric Motorin'

A great post on the DailyKos this morning concerning electric cars. One of the historical impasses has been that batteries take so long to recharge. Not so anymore. NEC Lamillion Energy Co., Ltd has a battery that recharges in 15 minutes and the Toshiba battery that I have hyped here before can soak up 80% of its capacity in one minute! Check out the whole posting.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Well Said

While reading over another great diary by Stirling Newberry on the Daily Kos, a comment by PLS caught my eye. It is a good summation of what I have been trying to point out over here at GTC.

The technical civilization does depend on cheap energy, and cannot exist without it. Just like writing in the absence of agriculture, it just doesn't happen.

You see, the key is how many people have to spend most of thier time on subsistance activies in a society. Almost any hunter-gatherer group can support a few specialists - the shamin, for example. You have to have agriculture to support enough specialists for writing and reading to arrise.

The discovery and use of petro-chemicals has allowed even fewer people to be involved in subsistance activities. Basically because the energy we would normally have to put into survival activites is being put in by petro-chemicals. We all have an ton of energy slaves growing and raising our food, and then bringing it to us. Likewise our clothes. My great grandmother made her famlies clothes, and created them without benifit of patterns. Without another abundant cheap energy sourse, our way of life is impossible because all of our "advances" are based upon it.

We are arrogant, and think that we have all these things because we are smarter than those before us. Wrong, just think what Michealangelo would have done w/oil.

Looks like the Technical civilization is a one-shot deal. To bad we haven't realized how valuable the black gold really is. We squandered it mainly to avoid excersizing - imagine that!

As you can see, I can't really give up being a Cassandra.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


I have often fallen into, perhaps even enjoyed being in, the roll of the Cassandra. For those of you that are unaware of the myth, Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. As with all the Greek gods and goddesses, she was blessed and cursed at the same time. She had a little tryst with Apollo, so he blessed her with the gift of prophesy. Then when things went south, he cursed her by having no one believe her.

While I continue to follow the Peak Oil phenomenon, and you should too, it has become mainstream. I feel less compelled to be a Cassandra in that, finally, this is becoming a topic of broader discussion. There is some good research being done out there. As for myself, I have become more resigned to it; we are either going to make a difficult transition to alternative fuels or we are not. I guess all the blathering I did helped me come to terms with it, like a person coming to accept terminal cancer. I am as prepared for Peak Oil as I am willing to be.

There are legion of Cassandra on the political front. Except for the occasional spasm (see archives), I have been refraining from regular political commentary – I would be consumed. We are alive and witnessing the most corrupt presidency in the 229-year history of this country; sometimes the urge to explode is overwhelming. Finally, maybe, just now, this too is becoming part of mainstream discussion.

The question then becomes what to do with Gone to Croatoan. The mission statement has been “My impressions about the imminent loss of our petroleum way of life, what can be done to cope during the transition and what it means to recover from it.” The imagery that inspired the blog title was one of walking away from it all. Many myths surround the Lost Colony (see blog footnote below). The one I like is that the settlers, having a rough time imposing their European ways on the wild mid-Atlantic coast, simply gave up and threw in their lot with the natives; they went Paleolithic and thrived.

I want to keep that image. I like it. It describes me fairly well. However, I want to expand the range from solely Peak Oil to other topics as well. I have been inspired recently by Viggo Mortensen’s website Perceval Press. It is left-leaning, like me and encompasses a variety of topics and features artwork and articles, intermixed with commentary. In a recent Charlie Rose interview I watched, he said that he has no other agenda than to put up topics he, and other posters in his group, think might be interesting.

My other blogsites, "on-a-personal- note” and “post-petroleum-clearinghouse” were the result of trying to keep GTC on topic. With the first, I felt that my family and friends might want something less controversial and the second evolved out of the shear volume of links to other great, similarly themed sites.

Instead of starting a fourth blog, I think I will just merge back to one, after all, I am a rather busy student. Henceforth, a new Mission Statement: “Gone to Croatoan; impressions on living in the world while striving not to be too much of it.”

Speaking of school, soon the Labor and Delivery rotation will end for me here at SFGH. Psych will be next.

(from "One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest")

Update 1:30pm - On second thought, as I sit here at UCSF library scanning all the links at post petroleum (at T1 speeds!), I see that most of the blogs I linked to have linked to GTC as well. It would be unfair to them for me to change the GTC theme. Also, all those cool links here on the front page would no longer be appropriate. Folks with real (for $) web domains do not have this dilemma in that each new blog would just be another page within their domain.
Maybe a fourth blog is in order. It could be called Nightingale.