Saturday, February 20, 2010

Random thoughts

Author nation is down so I'm out and about reading and writing.

One of the most talked about commercials that was aired during the Super Bowl was by the Audi automobile company. They picture the ‘green police’ arresting a man for choosing a plastic bag for his groceries among other horrid infringements (I use the word ironically) of liberties by those who believe that we as people are destroying the planet.

This advertisement is hypocritical in many ways but the first is this: there is no modern automobile that can exist without the extensive use of plastics. Therefore to condemn one use of plastic as environmentally unsound but say theirs is better is at best the pot calling the kettle black.

I don’t know what we will do when we hunt the last ‘whale’ (or oil pool) but so far the anti whale hunting crowd has not come up with any cogent answer except to hunt ‘whales’ (or oil pools) slower. They don’t want to talk about nuclear fission and nuclear fusion for power is still a pipe dream that may never reach reality. Maybe when we run out of oil we will descend into some sort of preindustrial existence? I don’t know the answer to that but one the thing that is certain is that we need answers that are not being explored today. Solar power only works when the sun is out and it is the most inefficient of the sources of power the anti oil people tout. Wind power works when the wind blows and could I suspect be made more efficient but most people would not wish to have a wind farm in their neighborhood. Some power could be harvested from tidal motion along our coast lines but that is limited by the efficiency of the main method of power transmission that is in use today. What shall we do? Burn all the oil and coal we can find until there is no more, then live without? I believe this is shortsighted. I also believe the slow down approach is shortsighted. Most of the answers will not be cheap because we are looking to extract energy from sources that we haven’t had to look to before… in years past we let trees convert sunlight, water and nutrients from the soil into wood and burned it. Or hunted whales and burned the oil that was rendered from them… but there really are only so many whales and there really is only so much oil. We cannot quit cold turkey today but we must not say no to what we know will work in the interim; nuclear fission.

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