Open Thread- Non-fossil fuel May 16, 2016

Hi all,

This thread is intended for non fossil fuel topics.  Whatever people would like to discuss.

I will have a new oil post up in a few hours (hopefully).  So if you can wait, oil, natural gas and coal related topics would be better in that thread.

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137 Responses to Open Thread- Non-fossil fuel May 16, 2016

  1. Oldfarmermac says:

    It’s been a while since we have had a discussion devoted to books .

    Here’s hoping other regulars here will post the names of the authors and the titles of some of the more recent books they have read and found useful in understanding energy and sustainability.

    It’s time I updated my library, lol.

    Relevant books to my way of thinking do not necessarily have to be oriented to modern economics and technology. There is a hell of a lot to be learned from the study of history and literature.

    I will lead off by way of plugging Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer.

    This book throws more light on the reasons we tend to believe or disbelieve in particular movements and values than any other single book I can remember reading. If you want to understand religion and politics, this is the one to start with. If you believe in Trump, it will explain to you why those who believe in Clinton fail to see the truth, and if you believe in Clinton, it conversely will enable you to understand why some people are be stupid enough to believe in Trump. The ZEN involved in understanding the last sentence previous is that so far as true believers are concerned , there is no truth except their own subjective interpretation of truth. To a true believer there is no OBJECTIVE truth.

    We naked apes join together in competing bands, and once the BAND has decided on what the “party line” is in respect to any given issue, we generally support it without question. My liberal friends who own guns never say so in public forums. Likewise conservatives who have been smoking pot since the sixties seldom if ever say anything in favor of doing away with pot prohibition in public. We stick to the party line, because the sense of belonging, the sense of community, is more important than just about anything else except food, shelter, and sex, lol.

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      May I recommend Deep South by Paul Throux?

      One of his best in years, and very insightful as to our current predicament.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Here’s one that goes back to basics, I use it as a reference when the my mental cobwebs need a little cleaning… 🙂

      What Is Mathematics? An Elementary Approach to Ideas and Methods by Richard Courant

      Written for beginners and scholars, for students and teachers, for philosophers and engineers, What is Mathematics?, Second Edition is a sparkling collection of mathematical gems that offers an entertaining and accessible portrait of the mathematical world. Covering everything from natural numbers and the number system to geometrical constructions and projective geometry, from topology and calculus to matters of principle and the Continuum Hypothesis, this fascinating survey allows readers to delve into mathematics as an organic whole rather than an empty drill in problem solving. With chapters largely independent of one another and sections that lead upward from basic to more advanced discussions, readers can easily pick and choose areas of particular interest without impairing their understanding of subsequent parts.

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        Thanks, I will put both on my reading list. Another that is maybe a little dated but VERY worthwhile is FUTURE SHOCK.

  2. islandboy says:

    European news:

    Renewables power Portugal for four days straight

    Portugal last week ran on clean energy for 107 uninterrupted hours, or more than four days, as solar, wind and hydropower covered 100% of electricity consumption.

    Data analysis of Portugal’s national energy network provided by clean energy watchdog ZERO revealed that between 6.45am on Saturday May 7, through to 5.45pm on Wednesday May 11, all electricity demand was met by a combination of solar, wind and hydro.

    SolarPower Europe CEO James Watson told the Guardian that this data – which came just days after Germany broke further records for renewable energy supply – is a significant achievement that will, in time, become somewhat commonplace on the continent. “The energy transition process is gathering momentum and records such as this will continue to be set and broken across Europe,” Watson said.

    Germany raises renewable bar again: clean energy meets nearly 100% of demand

    Germany’s renewable energy sector reached new heights yesterday, exactly a week after the country saw clean energy meet 95% of its power needs.

    Data from Agora Energiewende published today showed that solar and wind power peaked at 2pm on Sunday, and joined by biomass and hydro the clean energy sector delivered 45.5 GW of power at a time when German demand was 45.8 GW.

    For several 15-minute periods on Sunday, power prices once again dropped into the negative, falling as low as $57/MWh, according to analysts Epex Spot. Last week something similar happened, with Germany effectively paying commercial customers to consume energy.

    Despite cool conditions across much of the country on Sunday, high winds and prolonged periods of sunshine during the middle of the day meant that clean energy met pretty much 100% of Germany’s power needs at that time, having reached 95% on the previous Sunday, May 8.

    Hold on, not so fast!

    Reports of 100% renewable power in Germany vastly overstated

    It turns out that the Agorameter only estimates the current load, and repeatedly the estimate has come in around 10 GW too low. The alleged 100% renewable power peak on Sunday now looks closer to 82%.

    First, I need to explain the joke in the subtitle above. “Ente” is German for canard, which is actually French for a misleading / untrue news report. We have now had two misleading reports on the peak share of renewable power, so the Energiewende is increasingly an EnergiewEnte.

    (I am a very funny guy.)

    Second, I am about to criticize Agora, but I have made the same mistake myself (just compare the URL and the text here). And to be fair, Agora staff have tried to warn against misreports, but to little avail. Basically, live data are not only guesstimates, but also keep adjusting for around 48 hours.

    In the case of Agora’s chart for Sunday, which originally seemed to show that renewable power touched the line for demand for the first time ever, power demand turns out to be only estimated for the current day. The estimate also seems to be reliably 10 GW too low (at least in these two cases). The 100% share of renewables now comes in at 82% (47 GW of 57 GW).

  3. islandboy says:

    US news:

    U.S. DOE: Solar PV can meet 25%+ of annual demand without major intervention

    The first report of the eight, authored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL), finds that curtailment could affect the economics of solar generation and erase the progress made under SunShot goals when solar is meeting 20% of annual electricity demand.

    However, it also finds that with the replacement of baseload with flexible generation, utilizing advanced inverter capabilities and other measures, solar PV can remain cost-competitive while meeting 25% or more of annual demand “without any major intervention”.

    In most of the United States this is a distant concern, as the nation only meets around 1% of annual electricity demand with solar PV. However, California is currently meeting more than 5% of demand with solar PV and has experienced moments of negative electricity prices, as high solar and wind output conflict with the inability of the state’s sole remaining nuclear power plant and coal generation to cost-effectively ramp.

    Looks like maybe we should be keeping an eye on Texas too.

    Report: Texas will add 13 GW of solar PV by 2035

    Driven by market dynamics including low gas prices, Texas is on a path to move to a grid dominated by natural gas, wind and solar, according to a report by the Brattle Group. This change is also expected to come at little additional cost.

    Exploring Natural Gas and Renewables in ERCOT was released on Tuesday, and is the fourth in a series that Brattle Group has produced for Texas Clean Energy Coalition (TCEC). The report looks at changes in the Texas generation mix to 2035. The report also examines the role of market and regulatory factors in this mix, costs and CO2 emissions.

    In the report Brattle Group predicts that the ERCOT grid, which covers the vast majority of Texas’ land area and population, will add 9 GW of wind and 13 GW of solar over the next 20 years. This will nearly double the state’s wind capacity, and also means that Texas’ solar will increase more than 20-fold, as GTM Research puts the capacity at the end of 2015 at 537 MW.

    In the event one considers a 20-fold increase in PV in 20 years overly optimistic, it is important to note that ERCOT itself has predicted that PV capacity on the grid will reach 13 GW in only 15 years – without implementation of the federal Clean Power Plan.

    • Longtimber says:

      In North America Keep in mind that much of the PV DG is behind the Meter. 44 States have Net Metering laws so much Production is consumed Behind the Meter and not taxable. Net Metering is a workaround since Utility DE-REG was so badly botched. Utilities can estimate from the Net Metering Contracts System details, but Both Business and Residential PV System owners are not going to fart with additional paper work every system tweak. Used to be Natural to flow bidirectional to the Grid. Common for Elevators and cranes. Not anymore since Billions of TARP Tax dollars spent on “1984” Smart Meters. A Utility truck rolls to disconnect any meter whenever a rouge electron is detected. Note also a kW on the roof may be worth more to the customer than many kW elsewhere for multiple reasons. IOU’s are spending millions to change the game and control this ” Out of control mess” they have made for themselfs. Keep the BuroRats hands off MY Power! Viva Net Metering.. har

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        IF you switch from driving a car that gets fifteen to twenty mpg to one that gets from thirty to forty, you can pay twice as much for gasoline without suffering any loss of living standard.

        We can use electricity twice as efficiently as we do today in some applications. Cutting heating and cooling loads by half is easily doable in new construction. Cutting lighting loads by half is a piece of cake. Cutting hot water load by going to larger superinsulated water heaters that are chipped and connected to run only when wind and solar power are cranking is easily doable.

        Ovens can be better insulated, even cooking pots can be insulated.

        Methinks that over the next couple of decades, we can cut per capita electricity for domestic purposes and in most businesses by half without suffering TOO much pain or ANY loss of comfort and convenience.

        And while I expect the use of electricity to power personal transportation to skyrocket, I also expect most of that electricity to be produced via wind and solar power, and most of the remainder to be produced using off peak conventional capacity.

        Renewable electricity WILL be affordable for the easily foreseeable future.

  4. islandboy says:

    China news:

    Electric Vehicle Sales In China Exceed 30,000 In April

    CAAM reports significant growth of New Energy Vehicles (another term for all-electric and plug-in hybrids combined) in China for April.

    Some 31,772 electric vehicles were sold during the month (while production stood at 31,266), which is nearly three times more than a year ago.

    The majority of sales made in April were of the all-electric variety (nearly 24,000), mostly due to the way incentives and ease of registration surround the platform.

    Despite the huge volume lead for all-electrics, BEVs are also growing much faster than PHEVs.

    If we check data for the first four months, it turns out that China has already exceed 90,000 sales this year, so by the time one is reading this report, it is likely that 2016 sales in China are just about to surpass the total EVs sold in the US for all of 2015 (~116,099).

    Of course, not all of those vehicles are full-size cars (there is significant portion of tiny EVs, as well as buses and commercial vehicles-more on that shortly), regardless of that, China is still the largest electric vehicle market in the world any way you slice.

    How much larger is the Chinese new car market than the US market? Surely not three times as large? 10,586 plug-in vehicles were sold in the US in April.

    Maybe China will turn out to be ground zero for EVs.

    • islandboy says:

      Nearly 20,000 Plug-In Electric Cars Sold In China In April

      Yesterday we touched on the fact that over 30,000 electrified vehicles were sold in China last month (including buses, commercial vehicles, micro-vehicles)

      Nearly 20,000 of those were plug-in passenger EV sales, as noted by the EV Sales Blog who took the time to break down and estimate the number by individual models (right table).

      A year ago, passenger EV sales in China stood at around 10,000.

      Bold mine.

  5. Oldfarmermac says:

    I don’t have any problem envisioning solar electricity becoming an entirely generic sort of commodity. We buy car tires and batteries , etc, that are entirely interchangeable between different makes and models of cars, and commercial trucks are routinely built to order with engines from one company and transmissions from another, etc.

    The building trades have just about gotten standardization down pat, every lumber yard has lumber entirely interchangeable with the lumber down the street and across town. Truck and car tires are heavily advertised by brand name, but they are really pretty much a generic good nowadays.

    Within a few more years, we will be able to buy pv panels already mounted in frames, on pallets, with the pedestals along side, and installing them in the back yard will simply be a matter of setting the pedestal like a fence post and bolting the panel to the top , and running color coded wires from one to the next.

    An illiterate laborer will be able to do ninety percent of the work, and the price of the components will be down to half what they are today.

    Most people simply don’t get it when it comes to the power of mass marketing. I can go to the local big box store and buy a COMPLETE LAWNMOWER cheaper than I can buy an identical lawn mower ENGINE at local stores that sell small engines and parts.

    I can buy a completely assembled and painted utility trailer for less than half what I can buy the COMPONENT parts for, even if I buy ALL the parts on the same day at the SAME place I can buy the trailer.

    I can go to the local building inspectors office and file an application for a permit to build a deck or a room addition and get an approval within forty eight hours most of the time and sometimes the same day. When I read about people installing solar systems , the hoops they have to jump thru usually add up to days and weeks and MONTHS and require getting approval from various offices that really ought to have nothing to do with the permitting process.

    Things will soon start getting easier , and the costs will keep on coming down, if you want solar electricity of your very own. German tradesmen routinely install small scale pv systems for HALF what it costs to install one here in the USA.

    When small scale pv system costs fall by half here in the USA, where we have so many places with GOOD sun, pv will be MORE than cost competitive on a dollars and cents basis. We WILL catch up, eventually.

    • Hickory says:

      Yesturday in Calif, the combined solar and wind electrical output
      was = 11 standard size (1000MW) Nuclear Power plants operating 24 hrs
      Today closer to 10 1/2 nuc plants worth.

      And the build out is in early phases.
      Here, you can walk into any home depot and see SolarCity with a table setup to explain their offerings.

      We got a shot, if we hit it hard like the WWII effort.

      • wimbi says:

        And, important to keep in mind that there’s tons of room for real leaps in performance/cost, as there is in any tech that hasn’t been commercial very long.

        I am myself fascinated by the kite wind power idea. There’s lots of work going on there, but so far anyhow, they don’t seem to have seized on the idea of the kite itself not being just a glorified paraglider, but instead a hugely better one based on a high-performance sail plane. These things have fantastic aerodynamic efficiency. Google is trying to set a record altitude of 90,000 feet with one!

        I visualize west Texas filled with precision controlled supersailplanes all beautifully coordinated to pull ground based generators, producing 10 times the power/$ of those primitive big propellers sticking up all over there now.

        The jackrabbits will love it.

      • Hickory says:

        Oops mistake on the calculations of renewable output in Calif, was sleepy.
        Let me put it differently (on solid ground)-
        In 2014 the combined annual calif utility scale solar and wind output (11.8% of total energy consumption), was equivalent to 3.1 1000Mw nuclear plants annual output.
        Conclusions are unchanged.

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        We need a series of PEARL HARBOR WAKEUP EVENTS. I wish I had copyrighted that phrase, although I am not sure it is original on my part.

        There’s nothing like a muggers brick upside the head to convert a bleeding heart liberal into a newly minted law and order conservative, lol. I am not at this minute advocating conservative politics, but rather using that cliche to get my point across.

        If some freedom fighters ( terrorists ) were to get their hands on a few old artillery pieces, and a few dozen rounds of armor piercing and incendiary ammo , and load their loot up on a raggedy ass old tramp freighter, they could sink a supertanker in a tight spot someplace NO PROBLEM at all, before anybody could do anything to stop them. Tankers aren’t armored, and they have small crews, and they are not trained to fight multiple fires, under fire, like navy crews, and anyway , tankers don’t carry enough fire fighting gear to deal with an artillery attack even if the crew were big enough.

        The price of oil would go up ten bucks overnight, and the sales of electrified automobiles would jump.

        The environmental consequences of the spill would be trivial in comparison to the value of the change in public opinion regarding the risks of oil addiction.

    • Brian Rose says:

      That’s really insightful OFM.

      Especially the way you describe it I could definitely see PV eventually being sold that way.

    • Jim Baerg says:

      What you are forecasting is pretty much here.
      This winter I bought a PV package. 3.84kW, 12 panels plus rails, cables and inverter. Cost $8,200 less tax credits = $5k. I had the roofers install the roof jacks, then I bolted on the rails, the micro inverters and then the panels. All the wires were included so I just had to snap the weatherproof male and female connections together. I then installed the inverter adjacent to the meter and ran conduit up to the panels. A little more conduit and wiring connected the inverter to the meter base. This took me a few days. I passed the electrical inspection and then had the power company install the net meter. My first month, February, I produced more than I used so I just paid a small monthly service fee.
      I’m handy, but I’ve never done anything like this before. Now I just watch my app on my phone and think about getting an EV.

  6. Oldfarmermac says:

    How long has it been since we have seen an all time low temperature record set in a place with reliable record keeping ?

  7. R Walter says:

    Tires can be used for 55,000 miles, after that, they need to be replaced. Ends up, millions of discarded tires take up space somewhere. More pollution. Discarded tires are a nuisance and a pain. Teflon tires would go 330,000 miles, have 1/6 of the numbers of discarded tires. har

    When an 18 wheeler needs new tires, it’s a big job.

    Cooper tires would be the choice to make.

    If I want some spinach, I can go to the store or plant 1500 seeds, wait awhile, you’ll have spinach. The spinach seed from New Zealand is the best.

    A couple of cloves of good garlic, minced, spinach leaves, olive oil, heat on low, good fixins right there.

  8. Paulo says:

    Food/prep stuff

    All set to kill and process 26 very good sized meat birds starting in 10 minutes. While the meat itself is known, and of high quality, I have pretty much decided to make this the last year doing it. To be honest, after keeping track of my feed and electricity expenses I save about $350. The birds have lots of room to move around and can even go outside if they choose, (limp and waddle), they are a bit tougher than store bought due to the exercise they get. But I have to monitor them closely and it really ties me down as opposed to layers who are quite duty free.

    I just informed my wife we will be eating more fish, (salmon and cod), in the coming years and less chicken. Anyway, I am all set up and will start in 5 minutes. It takes about 2 hours from the first chop to the last feather. My wife does the final cleanup of pin feathers, etc and puts them in the freezer. I made a plucker for this and do the scalding on a wood fired cut-off 45 bbl.

    Anyway, the home food thing is satisfying and worthwhile, but it sure ain’t free.


    • wimbi says:

      Interesting. I do the same job on fewer birds much less efficiently. I have a far higher return on investment from two trigger pulls and a day’s butchery getting us a year’s worth of deer meat. Those things are a pest around here and I keep wondering why many more aren’t just eaten. The hill folk do but the city types find it a thing horrid to contemplate, and instead just killum with their 50 cal. toyota and let the coyotes reap the profit.

      We never buy any store meat.

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        I’m jacking that “fifty caliber Toyota” for use in my book to be.

        For anybody who has the time, and the inclination, here is one of the very best ways to prepare venison.

        Clean the carcass in the usual way, and cut the meat up in pieces no bigger than an inch or so, getting every speck of silver skin and gristle, etc, out. This IS a time consuming process, best conducted in good company while carrying on a rambling conversation. Figure four hours at least.

        Pack the meat in quart jars, with one moderately heaped teaspoon of salt, cover with water. Put lids on, and fire up the pressure cooker to ten pounds and keep it at ten pounds for a couple of hours. Sounds excessive, yes, but on a nasty winter day, it costs nothing, because you are heating the house anyway.

        The result will be fork flaky tender, and it will taste GREAT without any seasoning at all.

        Local folks put it in lunch box sandwiches, make sloppy joes , heat it and have it with eggs for breakfast, serve it as the main course at dinner like stew beef. I never add any additional seasoning, but anything that works on beef works well.

        You get back the day invested in fixing deer this way in time and convenience all thru the year you take the jars out of the pantry.

        My maternal grandmother when somebody first explained the term “convenience food ” to her forever after referred to a DEAD chicken as convenient food.

        When I was a kid, we raised chickens from twenty five to fifty at a time for the table. Getting all of them from the coop to the freezer took a couple of hours. You get quick at that sort of chore with practice. My main job was getting a good hot fire under the scalding tub and having the water hot. You dunk the chicken in the hot water a couple of times, and the feathers pull right out easy as easy can be. Getting the last few bits can take a minute or two. Sometimes we held the carcass in a fire for a few seconds to dry the skin and make it easier to get the last of the feathers. Out with the entrails, and wham a couple of times with a heavy butcher knife, and rinse in cold water and into the freezer. Prior to having freezers, folks just killed their chickens one or two at a time.

        You can can chicken, but canning chicken never caught on. We made and fried pork sausage and canned that, and we canned beef sometimes. Mostly we salted down the hogs and “parboiled” the meat to get the excess salt out before cooking it the usual way.

        • wimbi says:

          Right, I too had that boiling pot job as a kid, much preferred the one at a time method, since the kitchen helper did all that and I could go back to making stone age weapons like all hunter-gatherers should be doing.

  9. Revi says:

    I know what you mean. We are selling our maple syruping operation because the amount of time is a lot, and I’m retiring and moving away from this part of the state in a couple of years. It was a great thing to do, and we may be doing it for another year or two. It’s very instructive to do something agricultural. You learn how much work there is in providing food for yourself and others. When you do it on a small commercial scale you need to produce in order to pay the bills. Anything extra is good!

    • Paulo says:

      Hey guys,

      It took 2.5 hours for my end of things. (coffee break time while Michelle continues the final bird cleanup). Anyway, the outside cleanup is mostly done. I have lived here on this property for 12 years now. I added another 16 acres about 10 years ago just for the deer and woodlot as Wimbi mentioned. The deer used to be a pest and of course taste very good. Well, that year cougars moved in a the deer have never returned. They return in dribs and drabs, but are soon taken. I shot one cougar, and a few neighbours shot some more, but every spring new ones return. They ate my sheep!! We now have elk herds, and they are a little too high profile to poach and legal draws are few and far between, but I did get one 2 years ago. This part of the Island used to have so many deer we just got 3 per year and never thought about it. Now, due to cougars (mostly) and a few wolf packs we hardly ever see them. The elk are pretty aggresive when threatened and can stomp just about anything….although I have seen 400 lb youngsters taken by cougars.

      Anyway, the gardens are prolific (fenced!!) and the lifestyle keeps us healthy, wealthy, and wise. Fishing is more fun, anyway. The other day we went out and had to shut down when we were surrounded by 100+? white sided dolphins. Beautiful, but scary as my boat is small. When the salmon are running orcas have literally swum under my boat to have a looksee. Now, that is quite terrifying. One slip and we go in the water. I bought a fishing kayak a few years ago as another prep, but we don’t use much gas in the boat. Maybe 10 imperial gallons all summer…..and that gets us at least 100 salmon and all the cod we want. Prawns and crab too. I use the kayak for river fishing, but it is almost impossible to land a salmon with it. This year I will just paddle in to shore and play the fish. Or, just fish from the dock.

      The first big runs start the 3rd week in July. I can hardly wait.

      regards as always

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Mountain Lion got both of my goats.
        Live in Valley of The Moon in Sonoma.

  10. clueless says:

    Re: Previous Thread discussion on self driving cars.

    To Fred Magyar

    I read your referenced article in its entirety. It seems reasonably close to what I was saying. Quote from the article: “But enormous challenges remain until self-driving cars are ready to drive on public streets without test driver. Such cars need to be able to cope with almost every situation – however remote – which they may encounter. They not only need to correctly detect and categorize objects in many situations, they also need to anticipate their behavior. The problem space is large and very complex. “

    • wimbi says:

      Far rather a self-driving coming toward me than a stupid human with a smart phone.

      • Longtimer says:

        +1 – Smart Phone Stupid People

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          The are just personal tracking and data mining devices.
          Only a idiot would have one (coming from a former Apple Employee).

  11. Caelan MacIntyre: Thought Bubbles says:

    A solar energy bubble in the making

    “The real culprit of the financial bubble and fallout from its collapse wasn’t Wall Street. It was Washington.

    Government policies – specifically, reckless programs that gave out tax dollars and taxpayer-backed loans to encourage home ownership – fueled the bubble. America appears to be heading down a similar path with its current promotion of solar power.

    Just as the government created a housing bubble when policymakers attempted to lure Americans into buying homes, lawmakers are now creating a solar bubble by arbitrarily and unnecessarily encouraging increased renewable energy production. And much like the housing bubble and the subsequent financial crisis, taxpayers and investors will be forced to pay for the government’s bad decisions when the industry comes crashing down.

    Nothing provides less bang for American taxpayers’ buck than solar energy. The federal government spent an astounding $39 billion subsidizing solar energy schemes last year, according to the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. Despite the massive amount squandered on taxpayer-funded handouts, solar provides a paltry 0.6 percent of America’s electricity supply.

    Unfortunately, artificially inflating demand for solar with subsidies may have even broader economic consequences beyond the sheer waste of tax dollars.”

    And like little reverse airbag mosquitoes, some people are jumping on the PV bandwagon and sticking their little probosces into the bubble to help inflate it.

    What did they say about fracking? 200 years of energy independence? (But maybe with PV, this time it’s different.)

    Tony Seba’s website bills him as, in part, a ‘Thought Leader’, by the way… I wonder what George Orwell would have thought about that. I wonder who would have led whose thinking.

    Bubbles, Crinkles & Soft Sticky Fingers

    • Longtimer says:

      Demonstration – Just Four 345w Utility Panels wired 2S 2P, some welding cable and rods,
      and Arc weld some steel sheet.. Everyone is amazed and understands
      that distributed PV is nothing short of Magic. Panel tilt adjusts Arc intensity as needed.
      More panels allows thicker plate to be welded.

      More Ludicrous Centralized Generation.

      • JN2 says:

        LT, demo here of 2 x 100W panels melting nails. 54 seconds of video…

        • longtimber says:

          Standard 60 cell 265 watt or 72 cell 320 watt modules are now cheaper than prime 100 watt class modules. >90% of worlds current production are larger 152mm cells. I don’t think any teir 1 module manufacturers the older smaller 125mm cell. Difference is ~ 10amps vs 6 amps. This week we were not prepared for a steam cannon resulting from a single 5kw 700 volt string fault in a 1″ conduit. There must have been a mini sun inside the conduit once the water was blown out.

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        Technology can be democratized, but people have to realize that the problem is not technological, and then do something about it, otherwise, it’s ‘just on paper’.

        In an age of decreasing energy levels, it may be that ‘more democracy’ emerges, regardless of attempts to the contrary.

        What do you think of the issue of birds apparently flying into the focal points and burned alive?

        “A low-energy policy allows for a wide choice of lifestyles and cultures. If, on the other hand, a society opts for high energy consumption, its social relations must be dictated by technocracy and will be equally degrading whether labeled capitalist or socialist.” ~ Ivan Illich

    • Hickory says:

      Hi Caelan,
      You write a lot of long posts and sorry, but I get lost real easily beyond a short paragraph.
      What is your point- that renweable energy sources are a waste of time/ money, and that fossil fuel is running out so we might as well……., or what?

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        Caelan’s primary point is that everything associated with modern civilization is BAD. So far as I can tell, that’s it. If he has ever posted a comment indicating approval of anything that can exist only if industrial civilization exists, I missed it.

        After reading his comments faithfully, since back when, I am reminded of a friend of mine who unlike Caelan and me , says a lot by saying only a little. He sat thru an unexpected two hour sermon by a visiting preacher at church, because that was the only polite thing to do, and when asked about the topic, he said sin. When asked what the preacher said, more specifically, he said “he’s again it” . You still hear some Elizabethan era words around here, for instance “I ‘m afeared that if that there Hillary Clinton gits elected……….” Personally I am even more afeared of that there Donald Trump, and afeared that HE might get elected.

        What he is FOR is has never been clear to me, unless perhaps it is a return to the hunting and gathering stage of our evolution.

        If it has to do with modern life, Caelan is “again it” .

        • Hickory says:

          Well Caelan, if what OFM says is true about your message (and to me it seems he generally spot on),
          then despite coming across as a rude bastard I’m going to say I’m tired of your angry preaching.
          If I wanted something along those lines, I ‘d just turn on the TV and find trump running his mouth.

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            “A new commenting standard will be introduced to Energy Matters within days. Of the 200+ comments on this thread, I’m guessing maybe 10 might make the new standard.

            If I have any readers who are interested in reading mindless opinion like this:

            AC- you strike me as probably the most closed minded person to comment here.’ ~ Hickory

            Then I suggest you go find another blog to read.” ~ Euan Mearns, Energy Matters

        • Caelan MacIntyre says:

          “I am reminded of a friend of mine who unlike Caelan and me , says a lot by saying only a little.” ~ Oldfarmermac

          It’s a quote from an article, not my own words, which were very few.
          Perhaps your misery is seeking some sort of company?

          Speaking of which, I’m unsure I can help Hickory’s either. ‘u^
          (But maybe you two can get together and work something out, in the spirit of mutual/cooperative adaptation.)

    • Oldfarmermac says:

      Life is a messy business, Caelan. Mother Nature is only a figment of our imagination, since “she ” is not a sentient creature, and even if she were sentient, she wouldn’t give a hoot in hell about anything wasted or done in vain by naked apes. She destroys life as cheerfully as a little boy stomps in a mud puddle. Watch a hound hunt rabbits someday. That hound is as happy as happy can be, there is absolutely no sign of AGGRESSION displayed, he has no evil intent at all, but I am sure the rabbits see it differently.

      Whatever we do either works or it does not. If it doesn’t , we will give it up,and do something else.

      I may be one of only a VERY few people who have sense enough to read ATLAS SHRUGGED as a novel, rather than a BLUEPRINT. You remind me of MA KIP. She had ideas somewhat like yours, and had control of the bureaucracy in charge of food production and succeeded in bringing on a famine.

      The rest of us KNOW things aren’t all hunky dory, but we also know there are choices to be made among things that are relative to each other , better or worse.

      I don’t personally want to DEFEND industrial farming for any reason at all, even though most of my family at one time earned their living that way, and some still do. Most of my net worth is tied up in land that would be nearly worthless on the market for any other reason, but even so, I readily admit that industrial farming is BAD for the environment, and I recognize that the environment MUST be our primary benchmark in determining what is good or bad for us, collectively.

      But I also recognize the indisputable fact that if seven billion people are to eat, and coexist MOSTLY in peace, industrial farming is NECESSARY. The AVAILABLE alternatives are all infinitely WORSE, in terms of the obvious consequences.

      How about you tell us HOW you would go about getting along without oil, coal, gas, WITHOUT wind and solar power, WITHOUT the grain from Iowa and Nebraska, WITHOUT the citrus fruit from Florida, WITHOUT the apples from my mountain farm, etc?

      Who would you put in charge of the committee that decides who lives, and who dies, so the REMAINING FEW can go back to , well, whatever it is exactly you want us to go back to?

      Whatever it is , only a VERY few of us could live that way. I might have had a FAIR shot at surviving, myself, back when I was young. NOW-I wouldn’t last a month.

      Ya gotta have a BRIDGE to cross a chasm, we can’t just drop everything and go directly back to the Garden of Eden, and anyway, I wouldn’t want to sit up all night keeping the fire well lit to keep the lions and tigers and bears oh MY! from having me for a midnight snack.

      • islandboy says:

        Couldn’t have said it better myself. I occasionally have to visit some low income communities (which are numerous on this island) and when I see desperately poor people with lots of little kids around, I wonder what will happen to us in a fast crash. When I see young able bodied men hanging out on streets, with no apparent vocation or source of income, I wonder if they will become “super predators” in a fast crash. Not a pleasant thought.

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        United Nations Calls for an End to Industrialized Farming

        “In 2013, the United Nations announced that the world’s agricultural needs can be met with localized organic farms. That’s right, we do not need giant monocultures that pour, spray and coat our produce with massive amounts of poisons, only to create mutant pests and weeds while decimating pollinators and harming human health. Don’t believe the hype: We do not need genetically modified foods ‘to feed the world’.

        From my experience, many of these – how shall we call them – ‘worker bees’ (i.e the GMO salesmen) who work for these companies and spread this propaganda, actually believe conventional tactics are necessary to ensure food security. They’ve drunk the Kool-Aid and cannot envision another possibility. The changes threaten their very existence.”

        After 30 years of side-by-side research in our Farming Systems Trial (FST)®, Rodale Institute has demonstrated that…

        “Organic farming is far superior to conventional systems when it comes to building, maintaining and replenishing the health of the soil. For soil health alone, organic agriculture is more sustainable than conventional. When one also considers yields, economic viability, energy usage, and human health, it’s clear that organic farming is sustainable, while current conventional practices are not.”

        There are seven myths of industrial agriculture that have been repeated so often, they have been taken for truth

        “Myth One – Industrial Agriculture Will Feed The World
        The Truth
        World hunger is not created by lack of food but by poverty and landlessness, which deny people access to food. Industrial agriculture actually increases hunger by raising the cost of farming, by forcing tens of millions of farmers off the land, and by growing primarily high-profit export and luxury crops.

        Myth Two – Industrial Food is Safe, Healthy and Nutritious
        The Truth
        Industrial agriculture contaminates our vegetables and fruits with pesticides, slips dangerous bacteria into our lettuce, and puts genetically engineered growth hormones into our milk. It is not surprising that cancer, food-borne illnesses, and obesity are at an all-time high.

        Myth Three – Industrial Food is Cheap
        The Truth
        If you added the real cost of industrial food-its health, environmental, and social costs-to the current supermarket price, not even our wealthiest citizens could afford to buy it.

        Myth Four – Industrial Food is Efficient
        The Truth
        Small farms produce more agricultural output per unit area than large farms. Moreover, larger, less diverse farms require far more mechanical and chemical inputs. These ever increasing inputs are devastating to the environment and make these farms far less efficient than smaller, more sustainable farms.

        Myth Five – Industrial Food Offers More Choices
        The Truth
        What the consumer actually gets in the supermarket is an illusion of choice. Food labeling does not even tell us what pesticides are on our food or what products have been genetically engineered. Most importantly, the myth of choice masks the tragic loss of tens of thousands of crop varieties caused by industrial agriculture.

        Myth Six – Industrial Agriculture Benefits the Environment and Wildlife
        The Truth
        Industrial agriculture is the largest single threat to the earth’s biodiversity. Fence-row-to-fence-row plowing, planting, and harvesting techniques decimate wildlife habitats, while massive chemical use poisons the soil and water, and kills off countless plant and animal communities.

        Myth Seven – Biotechnology Will Solve the Problems of Industrial Agriculture
        The Truth
        New biotech crops will not solve industrial agriculture’s problems, but will compound them and consolidate control of the world’s food supply in the hands of a few large corporations. Biotechnology will destroy biodiversity and food security, and drive self-sufficient farmers off their land.” ~ Andrew Kimbrell (editor), ‘The Fatal Harvest Reader: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture’

        Paradise Lost

        • Caelan MacIntyre says:

          19 Jaw-Dropping Images of What Humans Are Really Doing To Our Planet

          “Industrial agriculture in Almeria, Spain, stretches for miles…”

          • Oldfarmermac says:

            The world is full of idiots and quite a lot of them are associated with organizations such as the UN and Rodale. This is not to say Rodale hasn’t done some good work, or that that work is irrelevant, or that it won’t continue. But like everybody else, they seem to have a cheering squad that, to put it gently, gets carried away.

            I have a solid scientific education when it comes to agriculture, and I have never been in the habit of drinking any sort of kool aid.

            MANY things are TECHNICALLY possible. We could TECHNICALLY go entirely renewable as far as our energy needs are concerned. We could control our population problems VERY easily by rounding up men and women and running them all thru an assembly line clinic tying up and snipping the sexual plumbing, or just inoculating them with a bug that renders them sterile.

            Now as it happens, I DO know shit from apple butter, when it comes to agriculture, and I have forgotten more about agriculture than the people who post such OUT OF CONTEXT drivel will EVER know.

            JUST YESTERDAY I was over at the local farm supply and talking about control of the brown M stink bug, and the fact that emergency regs have been implemented to allow growers to use some off label chemicals to control this pest.

            THE NEXT PARAGRAPH listed the chemicals that ORGANIC growers are allowed to use. They apply them with machines just like the ones I used to use. They buy them at the same places. They mostly come from the same manufacturers. The regs say stay out of the field, wear the protective gear, so many days must elapse before harvest, etc, just as they do for the chemicals conventional growers use. The only REAL difference? They are biologically derived. They are not proven by any means to be any safer.

            Organic agriculture as it is ACTUALLY PRACTICED COMMERCIALLY is one of the biggest snow jobs ever successfully sold to a gullible public. This is not to say that if you have plenty of money, you shouldn’t spend some of it on organically labeled food. I tend to avoid some conventionally produced foods myself. But you shouldn’t go round fooling yourself about it, feeling righteous, because the actual differences are trivial when it comes to the overall environmental impact of eating out of a supermarket. There is SOME reason to eat organically, assuming you have lots of money, reasons having to do with the precautionary principle. If the choice is between conventional and organic when it comes to paying the bills, any MD will tell you that malnutrition is demonstrably thousands of times more dangerous than pesticide residues.

            Now it is certainly possible to go organic.

            All we need to do is put Chairman MAO in charge, and engage in a couple of GREAT LEAPS FORWARD, scrap the tractors, and the fertilizer plants, breed the hell out of horses and mules, and move people a few tens of millions at a time out of their comfortable urban and suburban homes, and put them in tent camps out in the boonies, where they can do number one and number two in buckets, and take the buckets out to the field with them , along with their spades and hoes, and their squalling brats, and plant and chop and pick and bag bent over in the sun all day. Whatever grows locally will be what they eat from then on.

            Industrial ag will work until it doesn’t. When it doesn’t work anymore, then the shit IS going to hit the fan VERY hard.

            It IS very bad for the environment, in a great many ways, and I have always been among the first to acknowledge the shortcomings .

            There are a hell of a lot of capable people, including some at outfits like Rodale, working to figure out ways to do BETTER. But we are no more going to give up industrial agriculture, so long as we have industrial civilization, than we are to give up water and sewer systems, or schools, or armies to defend ourselves from other people with armies.

            Industrial agriculture is subject to the same mismanagement problems as public schools, tax collection, transportation infrastructure, or any other grand scale human undertaking.

            If it weren’t such a waste of time, I would go thru the so called refutations of the so called myths one a time, but the readership here in this forum is well enough informed in my estimation there is no need to bother.

            If any regular , Caelan excepted, wants to read a few paragraphs about any one of the so called myths, and posts a comment to that effect, I will respond.

            Life and civilization as we know it is not sustainable, and anybody who hangs out in a forum such as this one knows this to be true.

            Hopefully we can figure out ways to do things MORE sustainably, even as we hopefully see the population peak and begin to decline. Otherwise, we truly are up shit creek without a paddle. I have predicted a coming collapse due to overshoot many times in this forum. The question is when, rather than IF, barring a few miracles.

            I know how to run a small farm organically and SUSTAINABLY , and get good yields. Good enough to feed the people on the farm anyway, and maybe a few more. All I need to do it is find about three or four tough young people who are ready to spend their lives grubbing in the dirt, staring at a mule’s ass, while doing without about ninety five to ninety nine percent of the modern conveniences of life, for it is sure as the sun coming up that if we go back to organic agriculture, we are going back to the time when there was no electrical grid, no refrigeration, no electronic entertainment and communication, maybe no vaccines, no cars and trucks to get around, maybe no electricity to run the well pump.

            I wound water up as a kid, a bucket at a time, with a windlass. Before that , we TOTED water a quarter of a mile from the nearest spring, until my folks got prosperous enough to dig that well. I lived in a two room green oak board and batten house , no plumbing, until I was nine years old. The water bucket frequently froze overnight unless we put it near the wood stove. I was off to university on a scholarship before I ever ate a strawberry, other than one frozen or canned, in the wintertime. Now I routinely shop for about six to eight EXOTIC varieties of ( reasonably ) fresh fruits and veggies every week in January, when it frequently hits ZERO F here.

            My Daddy can remember very well when there was no electricity in this part of the world. I still have the old glass kerosene lamps they used back then- VERY carefully, and VERY sparingly, because kerosene was expensive as hell, if you were a dirt poor subsistence farmer.

            There is a LOT to be said for industrial civilization, warts and all.

            Folks like Caelan get off on imagining everybody ELSE doing as THEY think we ought, while somehow assuming that THEY will continue to live their usual comfortable lives.

            How about it Caelan? Are you ready to give up electricity? Every thing you post indicates you believe we ought to, because you are against fossil fuels, and you are against renewables, unless I am entirely lacking in the skill referred to as reading comprehension.

            • Oldfarmermac says:

              number two refutation of the supposed myth exposed to be mostly bullshit

              number one is below.

              From today’s LA TIMES

              “A sweeping new study of genetically engineered crops released this week has found no evidence that they are unsafe for human consumption. They don’t cause diabetes, cancer, obesity or food allergies, and are safe for livestock as well, researchers for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded.”

              Now MOST of us here in this forum have at least a HAZY idea who and what the aforementioned national academies ARE.

              If you go to the LA Times, a link to the study is embedded in the article.

              Personally I do not doubt that there are some VERY minor health risks associated with GMO foods, but the risks are TRIVIAL compared to the advantages, INCLUDING environmental protection, if you look at the BIG picture.

              There is a possibility that eventually some GIVEN or particular GMO food may be found to be a proven health hazard. Of course half the conventional foods we are eating ALREADY have been proven to be DEADLY serious health hazards, lol.

              “Myth Three – Industrial Food is Cheap
              The Truth
              If you added the real cost of industrial food-its health, environmental, and social costs-to the current supermarket price, not even our wealthiest citizens could afford to buy it.”

              There is a substantial kernel of truth in the argument that industrial agriculture is not exactly an environmentally benign industry, to put it POLITELY.

              On the other hand, WITHOUT industrial agriculture, the current population of the world would probably not exceed two billion, and it might be less than one billion. I leave it to the reader to decide if there was such a thing as time travel, and manipulating history, that he or she would like to gamble against his or here own personal existence, lol, because eighty percent or more of us here in this forum would not EXIST.

              Go to the closest supermarket, and compare the actual prices of industrial chicken to organic chicken, etc, organic apples to conventionally produced apples etc.

              • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                “Go to the closest supermarket, and compare the actual prices of industrial chicken to organic chicken, etc, organic apples to conventionally produced apples etc.” ~ Oldfarmermac

                You and JN2 are forgetting your externalities.

                “a race to (or for) the bottom…
                1. a situation characterized by a progressive lowering or deterioration of standards, especially (in business contexts) as a result of the pressure of competition…” ~ Google Search dictionary

                And some of the rest is kind of moot.

                See also my response to JN2.

            • Oldfarmermac says:

              got something to do, will get to the rest later.

          • JN2 says:

            Re 7 myths:

            1. Agreed, no lack of food, only money.

            2. More cancer could be that people are living longer (better nutrition!). Obesity could be rat-race induced stress and depression. And cheap food.

            3. More food poverty with costly organics.

            4. Small farms more productive – but at higher cost. So more food poverty.

            5. Agreed, variety loss is unfortunate. But I love the choice in the supermarket compared to my local organic shop.

            6. Maybe we need separate wildlife havens?

            7. Best case GMO beneficially speeds up evolution. Agree re dangers of corporate control.

            • Hi JN2,

              Industrial agro is not sustainable or resilient and is, quite frankly, whacked, practically any way you slice it.
              So there doesn’t seem to be as much point these days in arguing for it, does there?

              “I love the choice in the supermarket compared to my local organic shop.” ~ JN2

              Supermarket, ay? Seems like it’s past time to give a garden and a tree a go…

              Of course, once more people are growing their own food and even making their own clothes and building their own homes for themselves and as real working communities again, then they regain greater self and community knowledge, empowerment and resilience. There are implications to that, especially in an infanitilized culture that appears to, increasingly, be coming apart at the seams.

              Oldfarmermac is on record here for suggesting something along the lines that they wish to see BAU last for as long as possible.
              So I’m unsure how productive a discussion with them would be with regard to such things as local resilience and real personal/community re-empowerment if they’ve drawn that kind of line in the sand.
              This is perhaps in part because, if we’re talking about ‘business-as-usual goes pseudorenewable’ for example, then what are we not talking about? I mean, what might they be detracting/distracting us from?
              Are EV’s or PV’s, for example, distractions from our ultimate and real comforts and survivabilities in a post-peak era? Such as if one or more links in the BAU-Lite supply-chains fail and we can’t obtain our hi-tech replacement parts?

              • Oldfarmermac says:

                Caelan is apparently wishing to go from the ugly catepillar of industrial civilization to the beautiful butterfly of an agrarian non industrial world without any intermediate steps. But catepillars have to eat a long time, as insects go, and grow fat, and spin cocoons and live on that fat while they magically turn into butterflies.

                If industrial civilization doesn’t last a good long while yet, there won’t be enough economic fat to manage the hoped for transition to renewables.

                Of course pesky details never bother people like Caelan.

                I don’t really HAVE an opinion as to how long transitioning to a renewable energy economy will take, but I will hazard a guess that with the best of technological luck and political management, we might get more than halfway there in twenty to thirty years.

                If the industrial economy crashes any sooner than that, civilization will crash with it, and there will be no transition, at least not within the next few centuries.

                As bad as a diet of soda pop and twinkies is, it will keep you alive a hell of a lot longer than just a diet of water and lettuce. Industrial civilization is bad, just like a diet of pop and twinkies is bad, yes indeed, but if we want to remain civilized in the modern sense, we better hope it lasts at least one or two more generations.

                In the meantime, we are making some serious progress in terms of farming while damaging the environment less, at least in terms of damage per unit of food output.

                The last year I worked the farm, I used only about half the quantity of pesticides I used twenty years ago, and these newer ones are MUCH safer than the older ones they replaced. I had less fertilizer run off, burned less diesel fuel, etc .

                • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                  “Caelan is apparently wishing…
                  Of course pesky details never bother people like Caelan.” ~ Oldfarmermac

                  Of course lack of information never bothers people like Glen to make all kinds of idle conjecture…

                  “I don’t really HAVE an opinion… but I will hazard a guess…
                  If the industrial economy… and there will be… at least not within…” ~ Oldfarmermac

                  *Yawn* *stretch*…

                  So how’s the book going, by the way?

                  • Oldfarmermac says:

                    Hi Caelan,

                    Thanks, the book is going, but it will take a long time yet,maybe as much as three or four more years, because the scope of it is very broad indeed, and I want it to be worth reading from both a technical and a human interest pov.

                    This means I have to have history and culture for the technically savvy reader, the folks who understand math and physics and have some background in the biological sciences. Most of them seem to have taken only one or two courses in the humanities.

                    It means simplifying the technical stuff in such a way it is enjoyable to read but still understandable and enlightening to the sort of reader who knows a hell of a lot about history and culture but little or nothing about the hard realities of physics and biology. That lot seldom took even ONE real course in the hard sciences.

                    Blogging here and elsewhere is basically no more than down and dirty rough writing practice for me.

                    I want it to be a quality work that will be read and respected , even if I have to give it away.

                    To be honest, I probably WILL have to give it away, but otoh, I am not in significant danger of missing any meals or suffering any serious material hardship, lol.

                    Hence I can afford to work on it as a labor of love and as an ego trip.

                    Rest assured, you will be quoted at least a few times.

                    IOU, Caelan.

                    You are my chosen example of a certain stereotype. 😉

                    Besides just PRACTICING writing, which I am now doing at least four hours a day at least three times a week, in a number of forums,where a very wide range of topics are discussed, using a variety of handles, I am getting my research done this way.

                    I try to put in an hour or so a day with coffee before breakfast, when my mind is rested, on actual content, and another hour or maybe more sometime during the day.

                    This particular blog is priceless in terms of my personal agenda, because it is a VERY rich source of both raw data and informed opinion.

                    The opinions that matter the most to me are the ones that are contrary to my own, because they USUALLY come with reasons and facts attached, thereby enabling me to weed out errors in my own thinking and reasoning.

                    I can readily afford to make a foolish mistake here and there , here and now, so as to avoid making such mistakes later, when everything is all pulled together in one place.

                    And if I change my mind about certain facts and CULTURAL VALUES, well, you undoubtedly have heard about foolish consistency and small minds. 😉

                    Now as to a big old Y A W N,
                    here goes one more time.

                    “If industrial civilization doesn’t last a good long while yet, there won’t be enough economic fat to manage the hoped for transition to renewables. ”

                    If you can refute THAT, I will send you a bottle of good sipping whiskey to any address to which it can be legally delivered.

                    Please post your refutation here, and if two of the ” old regulars” here post a comment indicating I owe you the whiskey, all you need is to post an address.

                    Or I will donate fifty bucks to your favorite charity.

                    I may never finish the book. The more I get more or less right, the more I see that is in need of work.

                    If I don’t, I will post everything I have in rough draft someplace, hoping somebody else will take it up from there.

                    And to be SURE, I think maybe BOTH of us would migrate to the SHIRE of MIDDLE EARTH if we could, without a second thought. We have some VALUES in common, quite a lot in fact. It’s day to day hard facts, as I see them, that separate us as far as EAST and WEST.

                    If you ever have reason to visit my neck of the woods, you are welcome to drop in for conversation and a peasant’s meal of entirely home grown food. Seriously.

                    This blogging is just a game, it’s not personal, unless somebody calls me a nazi. I am USED to being called stupid, ignorant, headstrong, opinionated, etc.

                    If you can’t take the heat, you ought to stay out of the kitchen.

                    Homemade wine and home pressed juice from home grown apples will have to do.

                    We can wind up our drinking water from the old hand dug well, I keep the windlass in good working order.

                    Ya never can tell when that old grid might go down!

                    Coffee will be VERBOTEN, because it is a beverage available only by way of industrial civilization.

                    It’s just too much trouble to keep a dairy cow anymore,and the last one in the immediate neighborhood was recycled into stew beef and hamburger sometime back.

                    I am sure you are a proud man, and won’t mind paying for your dinner by helping me clean out the chicken coop and spread that wonderful manure around the grape vines and the pear trees which are close enough to just haul it in a wheel barrow.

                    We won’t have to fire up that evil old oil burning truck.

                    I can’t arrange travel by horse or mule from the nearest rail or bus line.The closest ones are too far, and the roads are too dangerous, and it would take a couple of days at least.

                    I am fairly sure you don’t approve of air travel AT ALL, and that you view the use of a personal automobile as a deadly sin.

                    But the Blue Ridge Parkway passes within a mile as the crow flies, and you can get on it with a bicycle where it intersects a couple of highways that do have buses, unless the intercity buses companies have all gone broke.

                    I can treat you to home grown beans, cabbage, potatoes, onions, etc, and free range chicken, farm pond bluegill and catfish. We can cook it on an open fire outside too. LOL. I like to cook over an open fire outside, it’s a very pleasant way to pass an afternoon with company.

              • JN2 says:

                Caelan, >> Supermarket, ay? Seems like it’s past time to give a garden and a tree a go… <<

                Supermarkets versus gardens and trees? False dichotomy.

                Personally, I love gardens and trees and here in rural Wales I live in sight of some of the most beautiful in the world (IMHO).

                And I love shopping in supermarkets. Go figure.

                • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                  It is not a false dichotomy if the argument is about self-empowerment and knowing stuff about growing an edible garden yourself and/or finding/recognizing your own food in the wild versus not knowing about that and simply entering a supermarket and eating what they feed you like a little domesticated house-pet.

                  Like those signs say: “Don’t feed the wild animals.”. ‘u^

                  “…here in rural Wales…” ~ JN2

                  Sounds lovely.

        • Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles

          “… centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. The term permaculture (as a systematic method) was first coined by David Holmgren, then a graduate student, and his professor, Bill Mollison, in 1978. The word permaculture originally referred to ‘permanent agriculture’, but was expanded to stand also for ‘permanent culture’, as it was understood that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system as inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka’s natural farming philosophy.

          It has many branches that include but are not limited to ecological design, ecological engineering, environmental design, construction and integrated water resources management that develops sustainable architecture, regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.

          Mollison has said: ‘Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.’ “

          See also, Permaea.

  12. Oldfarmermac says:

    Does anybody here know how Savonous wind turbines compare to the conventional three blade horizontal design in terms of dollar cost per unit of energy output?

    • wimbi says:

      I like the vertical axis for fast, cheap, small power in high winds, no matter how gusty. I used one for quite a while, made of a junked industrial squirrel cage blower rotor. Everything was fine, and I liked the publicity and the ticky-ticky noise until that big storm that blew down entire little towns to the west of us came thru about 40 years ago, and it blew my frantically spinning little windmill right over on to the tin roof of my shop. This cut down (haha) my enthusiasm somewhat.

      I am thinking of reviving this thing for a task I have set myself for a while – how to get some good out of our local wind pattern, that is, nothing, nothing, nothing, and then, for half hour or so, one hell of a lot. And, in winter sometimes, a fair amount for a while, switching all over the compass.

      But, for real work, nothing can beat a champion sailplane on a string, up a couple of hundred meters pulling a ground-mounted generator. That’s the real one. I see nothing to beat it for watt/$.

    • Longtimber says:

      The Bible for small wind is Paul Gipes Books.
      We put up every type of small turbine for a client , and took m down – Some were so Cool looking.
      A Skystream 3.7 ( or similar) on a TALL Tower is the only “small wind device” that makes worthwhile kWh.
      Summary of what you need to know:
      Executive Summary
      -Unlike PV – Few people live near a good wind resource location. (A sailboat can be good)
      – If you need kWh and are serious about wind – Think BIG. It’s not downwards scalable like PV
      – Look up the 20H Rule. must be AWAY and many meters above EVERYTHING to be into Laminar Flow.
      – Small wind Cost of ownership can be 5-20 times more than PV per kWh. PV costs have fallen. Cranes costs not.
      – Ignore everything but a 3 Blade Horizontal Axis Wind Machine.
      -A 10kW Bergey Turbine is not small wind. A 10 kW is now a small PV System.
      – Wind power may be worth the effort at some sites if you can’t shift heavy loads to Daytime.

      • scrub puller says:

        Yair . . .
        In my younger days two and three blade Dunlites backed up by a three to five hp Lister or Southern Cross diesels were common enough in remote areas.

        No cranes needed, the tower folded to ground for maintenance.


      • wimbi says:

        I’d say forget wind unless you live where the constant wind is driving you nuts. There are such places, and people.

        That’s one of my theories as to why Kansas are nuts (republicans).

        And maybe my Scot ancestors came across because they got blown off their island, right along with their short fuzzy cattle purpose designed to hug the edge of the cliff.

        BUT, freighters have slowed down for fuel reasons to less clip than clipper ships. So a modern sail ship makes great sense. We know a hell of a lot more than David Mckay did when he made those clippers.

  13. Caelan MacIntyre says:

    The Energy Return of Solar PV – a response from Ferroni and Hopkirk

    “Last week’s post on The Energy return of Solar PV caused quite a stir. Yesterday I received a response to some of the comments from Ferroccio Ferroni and Robert Hopkirk addressing some of the queries raised by readers. Their response is given below the fold. But first I have a few comments to add…” ~ Euan Mearns, ‘Energy Matters’

    “Hi Euan,
    I first want to say I very much appreciate all the work you put into this very informative site, since I think it is critical for all to be aware of energy issues.” ~ Hickory

    “I stopped going to Euan Means[sic] website a long time ago.” ~ Hickory

    What A Difference A Day Makes

    • GoneFishing says:

      As usual, the obvious is over-stated. Yes, there is less sunlight in the winter, not zero. But of course anyone with a brain can figure ways around that little problem that go way beyond batteries. Batteries are intended as a buffer storage and possibly a day or two of storage in some cases.

      Here is a real time site:

      I know the Scottish are a very bright people, they probably have thought of the intuitively obvious ways to really use solar PV and that wind power is also available as well as tidal and wave action. So to imply that they are incapable of utilizing solar PV and it cannot be used there is to insult their intelligence.

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        “Yes, there is less sunlight in the winter, not zero.” ~ GoneFishing

        From the article (note the bold text)

        “Solar in Scotland produces virtually no electricity in the winter months, it produces absolutely zero electricity at 18:00, the time of peak demand in winter (Figure 2)”

        “…wind power is also available as well as tidal and wave action.” ~ GoneFishing

        I think the article is about ‘The Energy Return of Solar PV’, though, rather than ‘tidal and wave action’.

        “As usual, the obvious is over-stated.” ~ GoneFishing

        As opposed to missing the obvious?

        • Fred Magyar says:

          it produces absolutely zero electricity at 18:00,

          Um, probably because in the winter the sun has already set at that time. However I would suspect that there is still some sunlight during the daylight hours in Scotland even in the winter.

          I’ve never been to Scotland in the winter but I have been to Germany and it is still possible to store some energy from daylight solar even during the winter months for use during the night. Plus there are lot’s of ways to conserve energy at night. And nobody that I know has ever suggested that northern latitudes depend exclusively on PV solar in the winter.

          Why don’t you take a little time to study how solar impulse manages to fly all night to get a better idea of how the Scots might survive the winter nights.
          They are flying right now and will be aloft long after dark… Hint, they conserve energy using daylight power to reach a very high altitude. Bonus points if you understand the connection! It is a different paradigm but doable.

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            Fred, aside from other issues I’ve posted related to PV and industrialism in general, one plane flying around is not solar panels on top of everyone’s house in Scotland or anywhere else.
            While I will ‘take a little time to study how solar impulse manages to fly all night’, why don’t you take a little time to review or at least consider my posts about this and keep them in mind when you post about this kind of stuff.
            Sailboats can sail all night and around the world too and can be made locally with, for all or the most part, local, renewable materials.
            They are also a proven technology and for far longer.

            • Fred Magyar says:

              one plane flying around is not solar panels on top of everyone’s house in Scotland or anywhere else.

              No kidding! You are still missing the point! Go to their website and read up on their mission statement. They know that and so do most of the people posting in this thread.

              BTW, I love sailing and am all for more of it. Guess what, with improved technology and advances in materials science we could do quite a bit more transport with it…

              • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                Technosailboats, where, in a storm, say, they get somehow trashed, but ‘fixable’, might be waiting for far longer for their techno-materials/-parts and hi-spec service than a locally-made wooden sailboat.

                Yes, with batteries and also flying high during the day and then gliding down at night, right? I wanted to fly aircraft at one point in my early life. One day maybe we can do that with houses so that they can retain some of their energy from the day. It will be fun to fly in a house, let me tell you.

                So Impulse 2 is a Goodyear blimp for pseudorenewables, rather than tires?

                Fred, be careful, lest you be ‘borgged’ (with apologies to the Swedes with that last name).

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            Just to add that technology needs to be appropriate. You don’t just do technology just because; you do it where, how, why and when appropriate.
            So if climate, sunlight, ERoEI, environmental/pollution/democratic/social constraints, and/or cost-benefit/cradle-to-grave analyses, etc., suggest inappropriateness, then, guess what?

            Is this a Peak Oil blog or something more along the lines of adolescent-level ‘techno-narcissism’? Self-driving cars, AI robots, Tony ‘Thought Leader’ Seba… WTF? What kind of wage-slave jobs do we do to pay for all this shit that we don’t really seem to need? Are they meant to keep us on the rat race treadmill to feed, via taxation, the centralized state/BAU elite apparatus? Do you think of these kinds of questions?

            While ‘nobody that you know has ever suggested that northern latitudes depend exclusively on PV solar in the winter’ doesn’t necessarily mean that people won’t be sold on that (in this scam as an excuse for a culture). Presumably, that’s in part why this issue is being presented.

            • Fred Magyar says:

              WTF? What kind of wage-slave jobs do we do to pay for all this shit that we don’t really seem to need? Are they meant to keep us on the rat race treadmill to feed, via taxation, the centralized state/BAU elite apparatus? Do you think of these kinds of questions?

              Caelan, Come on now! Do you take me for an imbecil or a fool?! Of course I think about these kinds of questions!!! Have you not read my posts about AI potentially taking away more than 75% of all service jobs all over the world? That’s going to be a lot of unemployed, (in the traditional sense), people all over the world.

              What is going to happen to them? The Big Government that you hate so much is going to have to find a way to support them.

              Guess what! People are thinking about these issues more and more.

              Instead of complaining about how the world is going to hell in a hand basket because of technology would you be qualified to run this project? Why don’t you send them some of your ideas?


              Silicon Valley has helped hatch all sorts of disruptive new technologies, from robots that can make computer chips, to automated personal assistants, to cars that drive themselves. Now it wants to study what happens when you pay people for doing absolutely nothing.

              It sounds crazy, sure. But one of Silicon Valley’s most influential venture capitalists thinks the time has come to test the pros and cons of basic income, a controversial scheme under which people are provided with a guaranteed income sufficient to cover basic living expenses whether or not they work.

              Go ahead, put your lack of money where your mouth is! Let’s see you being a part of the solution. It’s really easy to sit back and criticize everyone else’s attempts to do something!

            • Brian Rose says:


              Amazon uses self-directing robots in their warehouses. Thousands and thousands of them all together.

              And they’ve been doing it for several years now.

              You will probably assume self-directed drones delivering small packages is absurd and useless until 3 years after they’ve already become ubiquitous and proven they are a cost efficient technology to implement.

              Literally every single major Auto manufacturer is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to develop autonomous vehicles. Insurance companies are openly concerned about what autonomous vehicles will do to their revenue stream.

              Every major business that is involved with automobiles sees autonomous vehicles as inevitable and for more than “oh, just because”.

              When microwaves came out you would have droned on about how they don’t actually solve a problem, and are therefore useless because stoves and ovens already exist.

              Business’ only invest in technologies if they’ve determined there is a use case for it, and therefore there is strong demand for it.

              2 million years ago you would have detested the controlled use of fire because we already had ways to do the things it made easier.

              6,000 years ago you would have detested the invention of writing because we can just memorize things like we’very always done, and memorizing things doesn’t require the laborious and wasteful act of slowly chiseling symbols into stone or clay.

              • Caelan MacIntyre says:

                Don’t worry about any side effects of your technofetishes, Brian. Maintain focus. Put on blinders if you have to.

                I looked into drones some time ago and like to think I’m reasonably aware of what they can do, along, perhaps, with what they can’t, won’t or shouldn’t.
                No one really knows how things will play out or whether they even should. But maybe if they thought a little harder and broader about it, it would be an improvement.
                Of course, some people want certain things to play out in certain ways for the rest of us, whether we like it or not– manufactured need-creation and all that.

                Oil is going down, so outfits, for example, that base much of their model on deliveries by vehicles that run on oil might be concerned.

                “6,000 years ago…” ~ Brian Rose

                Apparently, some time ago in various pockets, humans wiped out some fauna with their efficient, if rudimentary, technology. And now, there’s commercial fishing… that are now going for Antarctic waters because there’s little left anywhere else.

                It has been said that technology is a double-edge sword, but a question is, which edge ends up on the wrong side more often?

  14. GoneFishing says:

    SIGNS OF A FAILING CULTURE (the old school view)
    “The final indicator of the demise of a civilization is the failure of its people to see what is happening.
    In nearly every case, citizens of past civilizations which ended witnessed all of the signs of demise but failed to act. Today, the popular culture has helped society forget the lessons of history. In school, teachers used to teach the basics; children received report cards that actually reflected what they had achieved. In 1973, the NEA president said, “The day of basic skills is over . . . we will be the conveyor of national values” Today schools teach self-esteem and is a major tool used to indoctrinate our children. It’s not uncommon in science class for children to be taught that humans evolved from a lower lifeform and that trees have the same right to life as humans. Children learn that it is okay to have two mommies and no daddy. Kids today are adept at using a calculator, but have no concept of multiplication or division. They cannot make change but score high in self-esteem. ”

    To read the rest of the signs of a failing culture:

    Possibly some of these views are highly prejudiced by the very fast changing society and rapid formations of new culture. In some ways the generation gaps have grown very wide as the world is rapidly changing. One must realize that not long ago it was believed to be okay to just rampantly destroy the environment for the “progress of mankind”. In fact the environment was not even considered if it did not effect profits and production in the near term. So much has been learned in just the span of one lifetime that the old school cultures are not keeping up with all the new knowledge and changes.

    I think a more important sign of the demise of civilization is that people see what is happening and do little or nothing to correct the problems.
    Another might be that the world view gives little importance to all life on the planet, not just humans.
    A third sign of a failing society is that the citizens are no longer very involved in the society and the government. In fact they are, in many ways, discouraged from full participation.

    Any other thoughts on this subject?

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Any other thoughts on this subject?

      For starters, I think a quote from Einstein might be relevant.

      “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results!”

      I think that one of the main reasons that civilizations fail catastrophically is that even when circumstances change, their citizens still try to continue doing what seemed to work so well before. However that path is doomed to failure!

      At the risk of starting to sound like a one note Samba one of the problems we seem to be facing is a refusal to understand and accept that the main source of energy we have depended on, that is fossil fuels, is giving us diminishing returns in terms of EROEI. Yet almost every politician, corporate CEO, finacier, etc… is still pushing the growth paradigm based on easily accessible cheap fossil fuels.

      Unfortunately things on the ground have changed and that isn’t working anymore.

      We need to either find a high EROEI source of substitute energy or embark on a new, much lower energy consumption paradigm with all its implications and a completely new technological revolution based on alternative energy. Since this is completely uncharted territory we might have to try multiple dead ends and there is absolutely no guarantee of success.

      A good example of this resistance to change is the demagoguery of politicians like Trump, who promise to make America “Great Again!” He promised to bring back the coal miner’s jobs. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why that is a blatantly false promise.

      We could digress here into an examination of the premises behind Joeseph Tainter’s thesis, “The Collapse of Complex Societies”. We might also learn from Lambros Malafouris’ radical ideas on neuro archeology and how technology affects the evolution of cultural memes.

      There is much fertile ground for new approaches to building a completely new civilization. The old guard will probably fight change to the bitter end!

      Who Moved My Cheese?!

      Have a nibble.

      • GoneFishing says:

        What if people don’t expect different results? What if they deeply want things to stay the same? It is said that the world is changing faster than animals can adjust to the changes. So maybe the same is true for humans, they are lost in a rapidly changing world and cannot adjust so they just do whatever they were doing before.
        Possibly people are not that flexible after all (in general).

        • Brian Rose says:


          They say that cultural change only happens as old generations die and new generations spring forward.

          Then, I get to thinking.

          People live longer now than any time in history, yet technology is being invented and adopted at a pace far beyond any time in history, so how can that saying possibly be true?

          Could just be a problem of visibility – the ones that refuse to adapt are more vocal and therefore APPEAR to be larger than they are. everyone else just gets on with it!

          • GoneFishing says:

            Sorry Brian, that does not fit the current situation. We have lots of technology and knowledge to move forward but it is only being embraced in incremental fashion. The movement by enlarge is to stick mostly with old ways and methods as long as possible. So the getting on with it does not encompass the obvious move toward a better future, but holds primarilly to the outdated harmful methods of the past.

          • Caelan MacIntyre says:

            Hot on the heels of one of my related posts

            (Just a quick-and-dirty post…)

            Anyway, you could say that about the inverse too, Brian. Or you could ask what adaptation really means? Does it mean adapting to BAU’s Lite dictates? Or do you actually adapt? And what does that mean?

            Are you familiar with lock-in or draw-down?
            Much tech, such as industrial agro, draw down resources, so it can appear that things are great when they aren’t really if you back up and look at the larger pic and over time.

            3D printing is not required for basic survival or even comfort (and I’m unsure why it is even being posted on a peak oil blog. Are we supposed to 3D print our way out of peak oil or something?)

            Basic knowledge of food, clothing and shelter is. When a culture walks down a path of increasing specialization, it can lock-in itself (by the removal of basic knowledge) into various dependencies of sorts. This can translate into vulnerabilities for the people within the culture and vulnerabilities of said culture.

  15. Bobby G says:

    With respect to the extremely slow build-out of renewables in the USA, in light of where the Godzilla’s share of 60 exajoules of energy consumption per annum* actually goes to — heavy transport and industrial agriculture — what do you think is preventing this build-out?

    We certainly don’t have time to stand up modes of transport that carry heavy loads long distances. Heavy freight-rail, for example. Air cargo transport on planes using jet fuel. All those 18-wheelers out there. The 250-horse giant john deere tractors working up and planting a 40- acre in one shift of work.

    I think it’s the giant wall of debt that Gail Tverberg has been talking about in her recent Our Finite World posts. Oil and gas companies in fracking fields aren’t going to let their business model be usurped by the renewables. After all, there’s $1.2 trillion of debt overhanging them, the frackers, thanks to economic policy since the housing crash in late 2008.

    This is my notion, at least. What’s yours?

    *Referencing the EIA chart, ca. 2012, showing 25 quadrillion BTUs annual natural gas consumption, 35 quad BTUs in petroleum. Using quad BTUs and exajoules as equivalent, given they’re close enough in units for horseshoes or hand grenades.

    • Fred Magyar says:

      With respect to the extremely slow build-out of renewables in the USA, in light of where the Godzilla’s share of 60 exajoules of energy consumption per annum* actually goes to — heavy transport and industrial agriculture — what do you think is preventing this build-out?

      I don’t think the build out is all that slow at all! It’s just still in the early stages of an exponential growth curve. Even the MSM is aware of this already.

      I think this headline underscores the point:
      Clean Energy Is Growing Faster Than Ever Before
      Ah, 2015. Bad year for oil investments, OK year for wine, GREAT year for renewable energy.

      Renewable energy capacity grew faster than ever before, with a worldwide increase of 152 gigawatts, or about 8.3 percent, according to a report released Thursday by the International Renewable Energy Agency, an Abu Dhabi-based nonprofit.

      “Renewable energy deployment continues to surge in markets around the globe, even in an era of low oil and gas prices,” Adnan Z. Amin, director general of IRENA, said in a statement. “This impressive growth, coupled with a record $286 billion invested in renewables in 2015, sends a strong signal to investors and policymakers that renewable energy is now the preferred option for new power generation capacity around the world.”

      The renewable energy sector got a major boost last year from the booming solar industry, which last year grew by 47 gigawatts, or 26 percent, as the cost of photovoltaic panels dropped by 80 percent. Wind, which has proved a tougher sell than sun as an energy source, grew by 63 gigawatts, or 17 percent, as the price of onshore turbines dropped by as much as 47 percent since 2010.

  16. Pingback: Open Thread- Non-fossil fuel May 16, 2016 | Energy News

  17. GoneFishing says:

    Urban areas are predicted to cover 10 percent of the land surface area by 2030. Up from about 6 percent currently.
    At the same time we are losing snow and ice cover at a steady rate. North America alone is losing 3100 square miles of snow cover every year, on average.
    Both of these phenomena are accelerating. The increase in urban area generally traps heat and the black roofs absorb sunlight. Loss of Arctic ice and northern snow causes more sunlight to be absorbed.

    So how about making all new city construction and road surface construction be mandated to be white or very light reflective colors? Also any roof maintenance should use reflective colors.
    Ten percent of land surface area is about 9 million square miles. The Arctic Ocean is about 6 million square miles. Converting cities and roads to be more reflective would offset the snow/ice loss rate, thus keeping albedo similar for at least a few decades. It seems like a fairly inexpensive, easy and safe way to geo-engineer some planetary cooling. Add in white rooftops to town and rural areas as well as lots of white cars to cover those black parking lots (which need to be changed to a reflective color) and we could offset much of the snow and ice loss.

    It is a bit ironic that tar is black and just adds to overall global warming caused by the burning of oil.
    Now if we could just get the farmers to use white soil. 🙂

    • Fred Magyar says:

      So how about making all new city construction and road surface construction be mandated to be white or very light reflective colors? Also any roof maintenance should use reflective colors.

      Former US Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, actually proposed exactly that back in 2009!

      But white roofs were too green… 🙂
      I know, because back then I was involved with PV installations in Florida and part of our package was to paint every exposed roof reflective white. Even FPL was paying for white roofs to help customers reduce AC usage and therefore save them the cost of building a new generating plant.

      Anyways, the idea didn’t fly!

      • GoneFishing says:

        Guess that project ran into the good ole boys political clout. From what I read about Florida, they are a bit backward as far as renewable energy even though there is a lot of sun to be had.

  18. Brian Rose says:

    Please everyone check this out. I absolutely promise it is worth all of our time.

    I’d been following it for the last year with optomistic skepticism. Their focus is on enterprise (not consumer), and released their first model on April 1st.

    Truly revolutionary technology.

    If you want to skip to where they discuss in great depth skip to 5 minutes in and watch the rest.

    Again, I promise everyone this is a great video about a truly revolutionary technology that just hit the market.

    • Hickory says:

      That is very cool Brian. I saw a news piece regarding a new generation HP printer were you can embed circuitry in the printing process. Innovation is startling!
      Not sure what the energy implications for this field are, but it will surely be useful in vehicle and appropriate technology prototyping.

      • Fred Magyar says:

        No, this is definitely NOT just for prototyping this is for full scale manufacturing today.

        • Brian Rose says:


          Doesn’t magically save civilization, but is a great example of how technology can surprise us, and move us along.

    • Fred Magyar says:


      Though tell Caelan not to watch it. I don’t think he would be comfortable with the fact that these guys live at the technological intersection of hardware, software and molecular science.

      I couldn’t help but be amazed at the potential for incredible gains in efficiency and EROEI in the manufacturing process itself and manufacturing supply chains.

      It brought to mind something I saw last year at the Disruption Innovation Festival which was a startup founded by a group of MIT grads. They were producing industrial quantities of UV curable organic polymers and resins from waste orange peels. These resins were destined as coatings in automobile manufacturing. I’m going to bet that there is a going to be a lot more substitution of the fossil fuel based polymers and other petrochemicals that are currently so important in myriad industrialized products.

      This printer and the resin chemistries that it uses are truly disruptive technologies. It is going to allow parts manufacturing on an as needed basis. The could mean huge savings in many manufacturing and retail sectors.

      Hey maybe Caelan can figure out how to produce resins using genetically modified plants in artificial ecosystems using permaculture techniques. Because if he doesn’t you can be sure someone else will. Don’t forget CRISPR-Cas9…

      Of course if he doesn’t want to do that then maybe he could chip in with E.O. Wilson’s Half Earth project. Time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and get to work there’s a hell of a lot that needs to be done before we run out of fossil fuels!


    • Caelan MacIntyre says:

      Brian, your comment sounds almost like a guerrilla advertisement.

      The machine ostensibly uses/spits out polymers, some, maybe most of which are polluting (unsure how much the batches cost) and it’s $40 000 to lease if I caught that right. I wonder how much it costs to own.

      Hypothetical Brian: “Yes, but the costs will come down, it’s new tech, it will save money/costs, and the polymers are not really polymers and/or they will all be recyclable/recycled and/or biodegradable, and unicorns will run on the pristine gardens around the factories that use the machines, and periodically enter them to piss into the machines to collect the special unipolymers to 3D print.”

      Oh wow, collapse of global industrial civilization possibly impending or just getting started and some are discussing newfangled 3D printers for parts for such things as cars.

      Die hard.

      • Brian Rose says:


        You’re entertaining, I’ll give you that.

        The subscription model and the $40,000 per year price (don’t forget an additional $15,000 for installation) is actually also quite revolutionary because of how AFFORDABLE it is compared to what businesses currently use for 3D printing.
        Yes, you can get a consumer 3D printer for $1,000, but that is not the business facing, enterprise printers that companies use.

        You obviously don’t know a single darn thing about this industry.

        • Caelan MacIntyre says:

          It’s an industry, Brian. I’d rather not know it.
          There’s a wealth of unflattering literature about it and I can spin my own unflattering yarns about it as well.

          For one; industry, vis-a-vis job specialization and the whole host of other rote, tedious, mind-numbing jobs and in synthetic environs that revolve around it, may actually be, over time, ‘atrophying’ our brains; cogs in the machine and a dumbing down in a very real sense.

          What were we doing as a species aeons ago on the plains of what is now called Africa? Our lives may have been a whole lot richer and more in touch with the natural environment and true community. Not typing on a screen like we are doing here.

          Can a species ‘de-evolve’? If so, maybe that’s what we’re doing.

          I once had a brief chat at Walmart with a young student who was working there part time and studying something about the brain, like neurochemistry, neurobiology or something like that.
          Anyway, she suggested at one point that autism is on the rise, perhaps even epidemic. We agreed how mind-numbing it was for her to work at Walmart, which was sort of how we got talking in the first place. All those minds going to waste stocking shelves and in other capacities to take care of this kind of industrial civilization. 4 billion years or so of evolution to do what? To sell stuff. That’s tragic if you ask me. These are people in the background, maybe the majority, people we don’t see that keep this system running doing the kind of jobs that many would rather not.

          We really need to think about these kinds of things and many don’t seem to care or bother. It is already affecting us detrimentally in myriad ways, this global industrial civilization.

          • Bob Nickson says:

            Where do you draw the line on acceptable technology Caelan? And could you define the word Industry for us so that we know what you mean as you universally decry it? Is any specialization of labor abhorrent to you? No coopers, cobblers, blacksmiths or printers then. Are books okay so long as they are handwritten by a scribe and bound by hand with hide glue? Well, that’s still industry if someone makes more than needed for their own use and gives or sells their work to another.

            A person who has invested time to develop skill is practicing a trade; can do it faster, and produce higher quality work. Perhaps it is verboten to pay a helper to assist. Is it mechanization that is the cardinal sin? Grinding seeds between stones is acceptable but as soon as you attach them to a water wheel you’ve rendered the miller into a diminished being.

            There is simply no chance that humanity will revert to hunting and gathering regardless of how devoutly you might wish it.

            Do you wish the extinction of our species? What then do you envision as the optimal social/cultural/economical organization for us, and most importantly, how do we get there from here?

            If your longed for transformation requires catastrophic collapse to come to fruition, frankly, it’s going to be a hard sale. That’s simply best to be avoided if possible.

            We may very well at some future time universally practice organic, or bio-dynamic agriculture, or Permaculture, to produce the food supply, but if so, it will be done industrially, because industry is simply a term that describes a category of activity. Even hunters and gatherers had specialization of labor.

            • Hickory says:

              I’m pretty sure that the only technology that C.M. likes are the ones that enable him to play his favorite role- the “Debbie Downer” man.


            • Caelan MacIntyre says:

              A word for the job, Bob: Cooperative.

              Another couple of words for general social relations; democracy and equality.

              I really don’t care how fabulous anyone thinks their technology is. It won’t really work over time without the implementation of those concepts.

              All political systems that I know of, and most kings, have moved their whole nation to desert. And the things that we saw as most proud– the cities and the canals and irrigation and so on– are the things that killed their cultures. And it continues, unabated. If people don’t seize power back, and make their own gardens, and sit in their own gardens of Eden, then we’re all doomed, and the whole world ends in dust.” ~ Bill Mollison

              “We are ‘political’ animals from birth until death. Everything we do or say can be seen as part of lifelong political agendas. Despite decades of scientific warnings, we continue to destroy our life-support system because that behavior is part of our inherited (DNA, RNA, etc.) hard wiring. We use scientific warnings, like all inter-animal communications, for cementing group identity and for elevating one’s own status (politics).

              Only physical hardship can force us to rewire our collective-political agendas. I am certainly not the first to make the observation, but now, after 25 years of study and debate, I am totally certain. The ‘net energy principle’ guarantees that our global supply lines will collapse.

              The rush to social collapse cannot be stopped no matter what is written or said. Humans have never been able to intentionally-avoid collapse because fundamental system-wide change is only possible after the collapse begins.” ~ Jay Hansen

              • Bob Nickson says:

                I asked for your definition of the term industry, this thing that you revile. What is it?

                And also, where is the line to be drawn between appropriate technology, and inappropriate?

                Can we have a spear but not a plow, or a plow but not a tractor?

                No quotations required. How about just your original thoughts?

      • LightYears 1.0 says:

        I’m with Caelan, this is no big deal. These have been around for 50 years since the mid 60’s on Star Trek. There called replicators.

  19. Fred Magyar says:

    It’s an industry, Brian. I’d rather not know it.

    Wow! Talk about sticking your head in the sand. And that in a nutshell makes any further meaningful discussion with you nigh impossible.

    And in other news that you probably really won’t want to know about either:

    Germany’s Bayer offers $62 bn for Monsanto
    AFP 2 hours 0 minutes ago Comments Like Reblog on Tumblr Share Tweet Email

    Berlin (AFP) – German pharmaceuticals giant Bayer on Monday said it had offered $62 billion for US agriculture group Monsanto in a move which would create the world’s biggest supplier of seeds, pesticides and genetically-modified crops.

    Bayer said it had made an “all-cash offer” for the US giant at $122 per share or a total of $62 billion (55 billion euros).

    Personally I’d really wish that didn’t happen though what I wish is completely irrelevant and I think it will. BUT I sure as hell want to know and I really want to understand ALL the science behind what they do. Sticking one’s head in the sand and NOT KNOWING is really NOT an option in the 21st century.

    4 billion years or so of evolution to do what? To sell stuff. That’s tragic if you ask me.

    Jeepers! You really don’t have even the most basic notion as to what evolution is or how it actually works, do you?!

    Ironically it may be the very people involved in GMOs who will find it in their interest to promote something like E.O. Wilson’s Half Earth because they actually do understand evolution and will want to maintain a viable wild gene pool in intact ecosystems for purely selfish business reasons. Oh what a wild evolutionary web nature has woven! However the Universe doesn’t give a shit and it’s up to us to keep plugging along until we can’t. Me, I’d rather know the good, the bad and the ugly!

    Right now I can hear the mating call of invasive Cuban Tree Frogs outside my window they are out competing the native species and they are fascinating and beautiful creatures… There is no going back, the genies are out of the bottle!

  20. GoneFishing says:

    We have been suckered by modern technology. The downsides, the isolation, the replacement of jobs by machines, the ever intensifying need to be connected and entertained; all signs of something horribly wrong. Do we continue to accept a toxic, dead end existence that promote the sociopath and the mechanized? Or do we choose a more human, natural existence. Will we be cyborgs integrated into an antlike machine culture or just better humans I the future?

    “Global monoculture rarely sees a technology it doesn’t like. Working off the tacit assumption that technological innovation can and will solve the most critical threats to civilization – the collapsing environment, poverty, tyranny, disease pandemics and resource depletion – we are quick to celebrate unproven technologies and slow, oh so dangerously slow, to critically examine their safety and utility. It’s as though a magical spell has pervaded our groupthink, immersing us in deluded fantasies of meeting human needs with a few swipes of a touchscreen.”

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Whether or not a particular technology is a force for good or bad doesn’t change the fact that things are happening incredibly fast on so many different fronts. Sticking one’s head in the sand and choosing to ignore reality is IMHO a complete cop out. I certainly want to stay informed and know what is happening!

      CRISPR gene drives allow scientists to change sequences of DNA and guarantee that the resulting edited genetic trait is inherited by future generations, opening up the possibility of altering entire species forever. More than anything, the technology has led to questions: How will this new power affect humanity? What are we going to use it to change? Are we gods now?

      Nope! we are still just naked apes but once we learned how to control fire back in our caves and make tools we leapfrogged ahead of all other species in our capabilities to change our environment and that of the entire planet. There is no going back! We march inexorably forward perhaps toward our own extinction or perhaps we will learn how to be better stewards of the environment. This is a fascinating journey! Wishing to not know, is not an option!

  21. Wharf Rat says:

    Temperatures Could Rise Far More Than Previously Thought If Fossil Fuel Reserves Burned

  22. Hickory says:

    Kauai is getting a PV plant built by Solarcity that will have a big battery component to supply evening demand.
    The electricity is being provided at 14.5c/kwh (including the lithium battery cost-supplied by tesla). Not shabby. They have no fossil fuels on the islands (other than imported).

  23. Heinrich Leopold says:

    Doing my democratic duty, I have to report that this spring has been one of the coldest in my meomory: snow in the Alps and major cities below 10 C and this since months. If there would be any objective reporting, there should be now a wave of articles wondering why we have such a cold weather.

    To me this looks like the academic elites and politicians are increasingly out of touch with reality – obviously not even watching out of their windows. Living in Europe feels increasingly like the life during the times of former DDR and dictator Honecker when the elites were completely out of touch. We all know what happened as a consequence.

    Luckily I am not alone in my assessment:

    • Fred Magyar says:

      If there would be any objective reporting, there should be now a wave of articles wondering why we have such a cold weather.

      Um, it’s called local weather! If you want to know why it is unusually cold in the Alps this spring consult a meteorologist. The global climate on the other hand continues to warm and beat all previous records.

      Here’s some more weather news from around the world:

      Temperatures in parts of western India exceeded 50C on Friday. The record – a scorching 51C – was set in the city of Phalodi, in the western state of Rajasthan. The previous high was 50.6C in 1956 in the city of Alwar, also in Rajasthan.

      Indian weather officials have warned of more frequent heat waves as the scorching temperatures cause an increase in dehydration and heatstroke cases, as well as triggering widespread power cuts as surging demand overwhelms supply grids.

      Hundreds of people have died as crops have withered in the fields in more than 13 states, forcing tens of thousands of small farmers to abandon their land and move into the cities. Others have killed themselves rather than go to live in urban shanty towns.

      Now here is some climate news:

      Overall, the world’s oceans are warmer now than at any point in the last 50 years. The change is most obvious in the top layer of the ocean, which has grown much warmer since the late 1800s. This top layer is now getting warmer at a rate of 0.2°F per decade.

      Now as the climate changes and the planet warms the oceans get warmer it effects weather patterns all over the world which are predicted to become more extreme. That is more powerful storms, droughts etc…

      • Bob Nickson says:

        Fred, you’re such an optimist!

        After so many attempts to educate Heinrich on the difference between global climate and local weather with no discernible effect, many would lose hope. But not you!

        You’re a credit to our species.

        • Heinrich Leopold says:


          Thanks for your comment.

          It confirms very much my point as people running out of arguments are turning to sarcasm and getting personal.

          • JustSaying says:

            Hey Heinrich, the way I see it. The snowboarding is going to suck, but the surfing is going to Fantastic.

      • Heinrich Leopold says:


        Thanks for your reply. I am aware of the argument of weather and climate.

        However, the current ‘outlayer’ is too significant to be just an outlayer. We are waiting now years that the catastrophe, which was announced by Al Gore will finally happen and now we get this. New York is not yet underwater. London, Amsterdam…… still there and not submerging and more important up to 4 m snowcover on glaciers in May?

        The argument with local weather does not count as well as there is spring snow in Canada and the weather in North America is from what I can see from maps way too cold as well.

        There are now hundred of millions people in Europe shaking their heads what authorities and the establishment are saying and what really happens here. The central heating is still on in many households, we still have to wear winter clothes….in May. After months of record cold temperatures, it is absurd to say this is an aberration as this is way out of any statistical noise.

        This situation reminds me very much to the situation of communism, when the government and elites stubbornly created an image of a strong economy and wealthy citizens and 99% of the population lived in very poor conditions.

        It is not only about climate, but also about the economy when many people here in Europe are told that the economy is strong, that they are ‘rich’ …. and in reality many people face an extreme fight for survival, social and economic decline. This is totally absurd and I am flabbergasted that authorities are still clinging to their positions. It is like in communist times and it feels like the former DDR was not taken over by West Germany, but the DDR took over Europe. A very clever move by the guys there. Merkel and de Maiziere – the leading figures of European policy are actually from the East Germany. So, I have a point here.

        • Bob Nickson says:

          You’re right Heinrich, sarcasm isn’t an effective argument, but it does have its sinful pleasure when data and argument appears to have no effect. You say you are “aware of the argument of weather and climate”, fair enough, but is it reasonable to cherry pick local anomalies and extrapolate those anecdotes to conclude what the global situation is?

          The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration does report that:

          “March temperatures in France and the United Kingdom were 0.8°C (1.4°F) and 0.2°C (0.4°F) cooler than their 1981–2010 average, respectively.”

          This is within the context of the following data however:

          “The mean March temperature for Australia was the highest in the country’s 107-year period of record, at 1.70°C (3.06°F) higher than the 1961–1990 average. “

          “New Zealand reported its sixth warmest March in a period of record that dates to 1909, at 1.3°C (2.3°F) above the 1981–2010 average. “

          “The March temperature in the Kingdom of Bahrain tied with 1958, 1980, and 2014 as the fifth highest since records began there in 1902, at 1.7°C (3.1°F) above the 1961–1990 average.”

          “March was warm for Denmark as well, with the monthly temperature 1.7°C (3.1°F) higher than the 1961–1990 average and 0.8°C (1.4°F) higher than the average for 2001–2010. “

          “March in Sweden was also warmer than average, with temperatures as much as 3–4°C above the 1961–1990 average in northern Värmland and Dalarna and in Lapland and Västerbotten.”

          “Norway was 3.0°C (5.4°F) warmer than its 1961–1990 average, making this one of the 12 warmest Marches since national records began in 1900.”

          “In the Arctic, several stations saw March temperatures well above their average, according to Meteorologisk institutt. Jan Mayen and Bear Island were the mildest stations reported here: 3.8°C (6.8°F) and 5.3°C (9.8°F) above normal, respectively. Sveagruva was the coldest station reported here, at -10.0°C (14°F) but was 6.2°C (11.2°F) above normal. Other large departures from average include: Hopen +9.3°C (+16.7°F); Svalbard Airport +8.8°C (15.8°F); and Barentsburg +8.0°C; (+14.4°F). “

          But perhaps those are cherry picks of heat extremes. The important thing is the global average. Here is what that data looks like, also from NOAA:

          Global Average Temperature January – March 2016
          Land +2.05 ± 0.17 Historical Rank (out of 137 years): Warmest 1st
          Ocean +0.82 ± 0.15 Historical Rank): Warmest 1st
          Land and Ocean +1.15 ± 0.16 Historical Rank): Warmest 1st

          But those are government data, and in your reply to Fred you seem to imply that the temperature data is some kind of propaganda. The notion that there exists a global conspiracy involving governments and climate scientists to falsify the data and perpetrate a hoax on the public is just, frankly, difficult to take seriously.

          And meanwhile in India:

    • Hickory says:

      I concur Heinrich.
      For example, even though the days have been warm this May,
      each night it seems to get very chilly.
      We even use blankets.
      I thought that with global warming all the days would be warmer,
      and the nights would be too.
      I want my money back.

  24. Oldfarmermac says:

    I don’t pay any attention to what people call me, so long as it’s not something such as “nazi”. It’s all part of the game when you enter the opinion jousting tournaments.

    Mostly I think of my self as a conservative. Conservatives are not necessarily R republicans, and they are not necessarily ignorant, or stupid. Stupidity and ignorance are not necessarily the same things. I know enough basic science to understand that global warming is real, that environmental destruction is real, and VERY bad for everybody, etc. I don’t really give a shit if Adam has the hots for Steve instead of Eve.This means I have a better shot at a relationship with her myself, less competition ya see, lol.

    Socialized medicine? Check, because it has been proven to work BETTER than the ( so called non existent ) free market medical industry we actually HAVE here in this country. Welfare for the truly destitute and those who really ARE unable to look after themselves, either temporarily or permanently? Check, there is such a thing as a moral obligation.

    I just can’t think of myself as a liberal, unfortunately, because I have so seldom met a liberal who really knows shit from apple butter about human nature. Clean water laws? Check, it is far cheaper to keep water clean than it is to repeatedly clean it up for use in downstream communities.

    Right now there are liberal thinkers out there who are advocating simply giving everybody enough money to enjoy a basic dignified standard of living. If there has EVER been a WORSE idea to come out of an ivory tower, I can’t remember it right off the bat.

    Within a few miles of my home out in the boonies, where people are thin on the ground, I know dozens of people who are quite content to just barely get by, day to day, and week to week , and year to year, so long as they don’t have to WORK.

    And while I give old Bill C credit for doing a LOT to reform our welfare system, once a person is on it, he often figures out a way to STAY on it, permanently. You learn the rules, and you play by the rules, and you get your housing assistance, your health department clinic, your free school lunches, your food stamps, etc, etc, your disability check, more or less permanently. The incentive is to STAY IN the system, rather than work up and OUT of it.

    Turn off the necessity of working in order to stay warm and dry and to eat, and people by the millions are going to quit working tough low wage jobs in order to live on a little less money, on paper, but with many times as much free time. And as far as that free time is concerned, it can be put to profitable use running yard sales, cleaning houses, cutting grass, peddling dope, doing a little painting or fixing a few cars, etc.

    Been there, seen it, don’t need the t shirt, I know the system personally because my some of my neighbors and part time helpers trust me and make no bones about how they live. Some of the people gaming the system are close enough kin I would have a hard time avoiding inviting them to a family reunion. For that matter I have closer relatives who are VERY well off due to double dipping retirement systems while still working and making very good money.

    An impartial observer does not have to bring value judgements into a discussion of such lifestyles. If a niche exists, life expands to occupy it. It would be foolish for anyone who understands basic biology to deny that when society creates such niches, they will remain empty.

    No doubt some folks will flame me. Good. I am BORED.

    • JustSaying says:

      So lazy (Nazi) Mac, your “BORED” and with your spare time you enjoy condemning your friends, relatives and self-

      “people by the millions are going to quit working tough low wage jobs”.

      “Some of the people gaming the system are close enough kin”

      “Been there, seen it, don’t need the t shirt, I know the system personally because my some of my neighbors and part time helpers trust me and make no bones about how they live.”

      Maybe Lazy Mac is the problem and should paid his hard working help a living wage with benefits. Then the government wouldn’t have to support lazy Mac’s wages by making up the difference with welfare.

      • Oldfarmermac says:

        FIRST off XXXX you and the horse you rode in on as well.

        I don’t appreciate having the word nazi associated with my name, but I mentioned it remembering old Futilista who got into the habit of calling me that . I spent the best years of my life married to a Jewish woman who lost all her known European relatives in the Holocaust.

        I am not in a position to pay the sort of wages our more touchy feely liberal citizens think everybody who hires help ought to pay. If somebody would pay ME that much locally, I would probably go back to work myself and use part of my earnings to pay somebody to stay with my old Daddy, who is now senile. In would be less stressful for me working than looking after him constantly.

        Small scale farming has seldom generated as much income even for the WORKING OWNERS of such farms as those same owners can make off the farm, working construction in construction or factories, etc. One of my neighbors shut down his farm last year to take a job as the janitor at the nearest elementary school. Just about all of them have given up farming, and gone to work doing whatever they can find that brings in a regular check with the insurance bennie.

        I shut down the farm because I was running in the red for the last decade hiring out the part of the work Daddy used to do, while working harder than ever at it myself. I wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance on a red hot stove of breaking even one year in ten paying a so called living wage and hiring most of the work done. If not for some outside investment income, the result of off farm work years ago, I would have to sell out just to live. I drive a 1999 model Ford Escort and a 1991 model Chevy truck. Rich I ain’t , but otoh I don’t have to kiss anybody’s ass on a job.

        Working class rents around here are about four hundred bucks to put things into perspective. I have been paying ten bucks cash on the spot for casual help, for instance loading firewood on the truck as I saw up the trees, which is the more dangerous job, and just as hard.

        Most of the time I have to pick up my helper, which ever one is motivated enough by lack of tobacco, alcohol, pot or meth to bestir himself to get out of bed before noon. Then I have to him back home as well.

        It’s VERY easy to tell other folks how much they ought to pay for help. As my favorite female of the political sort , Margaret Thatcher, used to say, the problem with socialism is that you run out of other people’s money.

        If I had more, I would quit burning firewood altogether, and install the long delayed heat pump, and get my exercise doing something that is more fun, such as fishing and hunting.

        The object of my little earlier comment was to point out that if you want lots of something , the best and most efficient way to get it is to SUBSIDIZE it.

        Methinks thou art somewhat lacking in reading comprehension, or else just enjoy flinging out gratitious insults without thinking.

        Incidentally I am spending quite a lot of time supporting Sanders campaign, because I want to DO something about all the things that are wrong here in the USA and the world as well.

        But only a FOOL could possibly be dumb enough to think that giving away a living as in the form of an ENTITLEMENT will result in any net improvement in our society.

        Hopefully somebody else who is a more capable thinker can tell me how such an income support system can be organized so as to provide an actual dignified living to the recipient, without also providing the recipient with an overpowering INCENTIVE to do absolutely everything in his power to STAY a recipient.

        Every body he knows who still goes to work every day for a modest wage doing a tough job will soon be thinking that if he can’t lick’em he might as well join’em and start scheming to get on that same program.

        I have relatives who are engineers, professors, MD’s, lawyers, and the owners of successful businesses of various sorts, as well as bums. Most people have a few bum relatives, but most people don’t mention the bums in public. The ones of us who work and donate to charity have VERY little use for the ones who made the decision to go the other route. The only time I ever see them is at funerals, as a rule.

        Of course I make value judgements about such lifestyles, we all make value judgements, especially those who pretend they don’t .

        But I can put aside my us versus them prejudices, and THINK like a biologist. The people who take advantage of the system are just playing by the REAL rules in the card game of life. They are no more to be BLAMED for their choices than a cat is to be blamed for eating baby rabbits.

        My better off acquaintances all think they are well off due to their own hard work,, and this is true to some extent. But it is MORE true and more often true that they are the beneficiaries of a rigged system, being the children of parents who were well enough off to get them a good start in life.

        If you want to UNDERSTAND naked apes, the very first thing you must do is FORGET value judgements. Values are relative to circumstances. As some sage put it long ago, an empty belly trumps principles every time. It is not hard to understand that a person who is a bum by MY PERSONAL STANDARDS feels no guilt about gaming the system. He sees the system being gamed by everybody, from his point of view. He comes to see the world as a sharks and minnow game, and concludes he might as well be a shark, to the extent he can, as a minnow.

        There are lawyers to be found at every country club who follow precisely this same philosophy. They care not a whit about justice, or morality. They are out to extract the maximum amount of loot from the system they can, and to hell with the consequences, so long as the consequences are borne by others. I have just as much respect for the kid who sells dope on a street corner as I do for such a lawyer.

        If there are any easy answers, they escape me.

        The system is rigged in favor of my relatives kids who are getting a free ride courtesy of their parents to a good university, and against the kids of cousins who are farm hands, burglars, and dope merchants.

        I think maybe Sanders has a really good idea when he proposes that higher education should be free to everybody. We can cut back some on the military, or subsidies that are paid to BIG farmers ONLY,etc, to pay the bill.

        Any good replies may eventually be incorporated into my book. IF I ever finish it.

        • JustSaying says:

          Lazy Mac, your opinion flips back and forth like a fish out of water or in today’s political terms you give Donald Trump a run for his money. In one sentence you condemn free loaders and the next you favor free education.

          As a financially secure progressive liberal who believes in personal responsibility. I pay a lot more in taxes than I receive in benefits and will not condemn those of misfortune until the economy produces enough living wage jobs for everyone.

          Yes the system is rigged and the biggest reason is because red state conservatives keep voting for the 1%. Who for the last 60 years cut their tax rate and have waged a war on the FDR New Deal. You’ve been conned and if conservative elect “The Donald”. They will deserve their own misfortune.

          Hillary believes in affordable higher education, not free. Maybe if you and your conservative friends could get over your hate for her. Maybe your minimal standard of living would progress.


      • Oldfarmermac says:

        Maybe lazy Mac is an honest sob who tells it like it is and hopes for an intelligent response.

        Go off in a corner someplace and play with yourself.

        I would still be running the farm if I could hire help and expect to clear a few bucks from one year to the next.I am too old to do all that much physical work personally, and I can’t hire all the actual physical work out and break even .

        If somebody would pay ME a so called living wage locally, I would go back to work and spend the money for a nurse to look after my old Daddy. Working would be a lot less stressful for me.

        You can’t pay out more than you take in and survive. I am not hard up, but if it weren’t for some money coming in from work I did OFF the farm over the years, I would have to eat beans as a matter of necessity rather than as a matter of choice.

        I would get my exercise fishing and hunting rather than sawing and chopping firewood, hire the grass cut, and trade in my ninety one truck and my ninety nine car for newer ones. IF I had more money, lol.

        People who make such remarks as you have made usually pay the lowest possible wages to the people who work for them.They justify these wages on the basis of not being able to pay more of course, due to the competition.And most of the time, they are telling the truth.

        A dollar an hour more or less for the hired help can be the difference between making it and losing it in the small business world. Small business men seldom have any PRICING power. We are price TAKERS , rather than price MAKERS.

        I actually KNOW lots of people from the lower strata of society, on a PERSONAL basis. I grew up among them, and I have spent a lot of time with them over the years, and I am welcome in their homes. I don’t actually judge them personally, which IS WHY they accept me, and they know I NEVER rat anybody out to the cops or to social services.

        Hopefully somebody who has some ideas about how welfare systems can be made to work without morphing into entitlements that destroy the incentive to work will chime in . There are some very good thinkers in this forum, thinkers who can get outside the usual intellectual boxes.

        I post some provocative stuff hoping for out of the box comments.

        • Fred Magyar says:

          Hopefully somebody who has some ideas about how welfare systems can be made to work without morphing into entitlements that destroy the incentive to work will chime in . There are some very good thinkers in this forum, thinkers who can get outside the usual intellectual boxes

          While not a direct answer to your question. Here is a video that touches on some of the answers. The Dutch are a society of out of the box thinkers.


        • JN2 says:

          OFM, here in the UK, you lose your welfare benefits if you take a job. Not a great incentive to find work unless it pays *much* more than your benefits.

          Imagine instead a basic income scheme; everyone gets $x per month. Now if you get any job at all you are *much* better off.

  25. Oldfarmermac says:

    From WIRED, an excerpt from an interview with AL GORE:

    ” I conducted a training in Miami last fall during one of the highest high tides and saw fish from the ocean swimming in the streets in Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale on a sunny day.”

    • Fred Magyar says:

      Yep, I’ve seen it with my own eyes! Happens in Hollywood where I live as well. Tonight is almost a full moon high tide could flood A1A along the intra coastal and Hollywood beach. I never drive to the beach at high tide anymore. I walk in my flipflops…

  26. Caelan MacIntyre says:


    “I asked for your definition of the term industry, this thing that you revile. What is it?

    And also, where is the line to be drawn between appropriate technology, and inappropriate?

    Can we have a spear but not a plow, or a plow but not a tractor?

    No quotations required. How about just your original thoughts?” ~ Bob Nickson

    I like to offer my comments sometimes with quotations as a value-added and supportive gesture, and am not necessarily interested in doing otherwise just because someone asks it.
    Besides, I could have comments alone, and someone may come along and suggest they be backed up with quotations.

    For what it’s worth, when I come up with an idea, I might go online to see if its been arrived at before and/or been elaborated on…

    The context within which industry/technology exists is now, and, say, the ‘high(peak?)-energy (global-industrial) crony-capitalist plutarchy’, or ‘(etc.) empire-and-friends’, if you will.
    Is this context appropriate? And is its industry and technology appropriate?

    A spear is more rudimentary than a plow, which is more rudimentary than a tractor, and each comes with its own contexts, such as energy-access, social setups, and levels-of-complexity and population.

    Also, because we are animals with almost all of our history spent more or less without technology, this also poses a big problem with how it is managed and even understood.
    Lastly, because we are 7 billion-and-counting with a whopping industrial footprint that is ‘flattening everything’, we have far less wiggle-room for messing about.
    A billion+ naked apes driving around (where are they going, such as if there’s been a fundamental cultural energy transition?) in a billion new electric cars with new power-systems to boot doesn’t make for a pretty picture from my perch.
    But the maximum power principle may nevertheless have our collective eyes by the balls and so it looks like we are going to forge blindly ahead until such time as we simply can’t.

    at the outset of the Industrial Revolution

    …the UK was sitting on a bigger hydrocarbon energy resource than Saudi Arabia has now, we used that to thrust outwards and build a global empire, using coal, iron ships and cannon.
    indigenous peoples were subdued or wiped out.
    Every empire, however briefly existing, must do the same thing, either use its own resources, or steal someone else’s.
    the Roman empire sustained itself by outward thrust, looting subject nations to sustain the central core. They sucked in the grain and slaves of Africa as their prime energy source.
    The USA might appear to be different, but not so. Just like the Romans and the Brits and many others, it was an empire that began and expanded by subjugating aboriginal peoples, and using resources as they became available and expansion progressed.
    The current extraction of shale oil and gas is effectively the stripping out of the last available energy resources on the continent. The oil wars of the middle east are the last struggle to keep energy sources available and flowing.
    When those resources have gone, the American nation will disintegrate, just as the Roman and British Empire did, and then (following the righteous dogma of the theo-fascists) begin to declare war on itself for the last remain energy source, the land itself.
    That will lead to the secession into 5 or 6 nation states–maybe more as time makes the situation more desperate.
    think how many nations the Roman Empire dissolved into—constantly warring with one another for 1500 years.” ~ Norman Pagett


    noun: apotheosis; plural noun: apotheoses

    the highest point in the development of something; culmination or climax.” ~ Google Search dictionary

    • Ulenspiegel says:

      The featureof historical parallels is of course that one can simulate with ease intelligence. OTOH however there is the real danger that these comparisons may simply display that one has not understood the basics. 🙂

      Of course hard coal was a clear improvement after charcoal: UK was running out of trees in the 18th century. So what?

      To deduce the claim that we now need fossil energy carriers is of course weak and debatable: It is obvious that we do not have an energy problem as we have already the technology (in contrast to 19th century UK) to generate enough high quality energy without fossil fuels, we have “only” to upscale the technology.

      Please, do not sell your personal opibion as fact, when your arguments do not work. Definitions of “highgly intellectual” vocabulary does not improve the situation. 🙂

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        Hi Ulenspeigel,
        I am unsure what you’re talking about exactly. Feel free to elaborate. In any case, my response was not precisely for you, but for Bob Nickson.

        But let me put it to Bob and you this way if this helps (I’ve posted both quotes before, one of which, for example, is here):

        “The ‘iron law of oligarchy’ states that all forms of organization, regardless of how democratic they may be at the start, will eventually and inevitably develop oligarchic tendencies, thus making true democracy practically and theoretically impossible, especially in large groups and complex organizations. The relative structural fluidity in a small-scale democracy succumbs to ‘social viscosity’ in a large-scale organization. According to the ‘iron law’, democracy and large-scale organization are incompatible.” ~ Wikipedia

        “With the environmental crisis, we’re now in a situation where we can decide whether Mayr was right or not. If nothing significant is done about it, and pretty quickly, then he will have been correct: human intelligence is indeed a lethal mutation. Maybe some humans will survive, but it will be scattered and nothing like a decent existence, and we’ll take a lot of the rest of the living world along with us.” ~ Noam Chomsky

        And this is from the Permaea manifesto (so my own words):

        “Self-domesticated Humans– fundamentally wild– ostensibly evolved within simple, small-scale, visceral, laterally hierarchic band and tribal hunting-and-gathering free-roaming contexts. As such, they seem in fundamental dissonance with the symbolic, layered, distancing, detached cage of systemic (‘dystemic’) complexity that they have welded like a prison around and between themselves and nature. Over time, they have managed to become increasingly and dangerously out of scale, out of synch, out of control, and out of touch with their world, their spirit, and their complex manifestations, like Fukushima’s ongoing nuclear disaster, via their capacity for complexity– amplified and exacerbated by their complex sociopolitical/hierarchical and usually-illegitimate contrivances that tap status, control and fear dynamics— king, knight, pawn; leader, police, employee… Where, once upon a time, this ‘superape’ capacity that allowed them to survive and thrive brilliantly on the plains of what is now called Africa has, paradoxically, boomeranged, and is now, by a slow death-of-a-thousand-cuts from a slow-build-of-a-thousand-dubious-decisions and unintended consequences over time, threatening their very survival. Is this the paradox of the human?”

    • Bob Nickson says:

      Thanks for your reply Caelan, but you haven’t actually addressed my questions, but of course there’s no requirement that you do so.

      • Caelan MacIntyre says:

        I have added something else.

        • Caelan MacIntyre says:

          “I asked for your definition of the term industry, this thing that you revile. What is it?” ~ Bob Nickson

          My definition of industry is probably in the dictionary.
          And you can’t separate it or technology from the human, can you? So that’s their context.
          If either are undermining our survival in specific cases or in general, and/or if the point behind industry and technology are to improve human lives, and they are not doing so, how appropriate are they?
          Why don’t you help answer your own questions?

          • JN2 says:

            >> Why don’t you help answer your own questions? <<

            Why don't you help us with your vision of a way forward? Or maybe you have. Permaculture/Organic farms (but without fossil fuels, fertilizers, renewables or anything else industrial)? Is that it?

Comments are closed.