Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The mind simply boggles at the ignorance

Reading TOD these days has become an exercise in self-discipline, enforcing a "do not reply" zone around the idiots, morons, and scientific illiterates that populate the place. So there I am reading a comment in Drumbeats and the responses just get me laughing til I cannot stop. One each theantidoomer is raving like a lunatic about electric charging stations and how "easy" it will be to put these everywhere. Then Twilight dutifully takes him to task, walking him through the insane math of the situation, showing why such charging stations simply cannot exist, at least not easily nor quickly. And then the ignorant replies begin, starting with theantidoomer himself who simply dismisses the physics of the problems with a wave of his hand and then asks why not (on charging stations)?

Is it any wonder why these morons who believe in magical technology are considered scientifically illiterate dreamers? Replies like this just leave you shaking your head. Of course we might be able to build the recharging stations to do this but as Twilight points out, it is one massive hellacious engineering problem! It is non-trivial in the extreme and it shows why we need to move to electrified mass transit rather than more cars. Yet there are the defenders of the suburban craziness inventing even more nonsense out of thin air to defend their non-sustainable way of life.

Meanwhile, right there on TOD, Rembrandt has published Oil Watch Monthly - August 2007 and the data sits there, ignored by the cornucopians. Global exports are down by nearly 5% year over year. That's 5% in the second year post-peak if May 2005 was the actual peak. This is when all the happy faced people insisted that decline would be so small as to not be noticeable yet we have 1.6% decline in actual C&C production and over 5% decline in exports. It sure looks like Jeffrey Brown's "Export Land Model" (ELM) is kicking in to me!

And then the massive ignorance of the financial system that surrounds us and controls us! Capital is just not written off to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars. It cannot be. It has been invested and the world is relying on those investments producing more real products that can then be reinvested downstream. If those products never come forth there can never be a conversion to alternatives. If we cannot amortize the costs already invested, we cannot get our money out to reinvest! This means we go broke and have no capital with which to invest. But hey, the techno-geeks just gloss over this too and assume that where there is a will there must be a way. Yet if a doomer decries the capitalist system, these same people who shrug off the limits of that system arise immediately to defend it. It's absurd comedy. You couldn't make this stuff up and our survivors descended from us won't even be able to understand the depths of this insanity.

At the end of it all you don't know whether to laugh or to cry, the replies become so absurd, like Roger Connor building straw men to knock down to dismiss the doomers. Hey Roger! Have a clue - it does not matter how many straw men you knock down! When mother nature comes to call for you, she is still going to haul away your ass to the fertilizer pile somewhere. Be afraid, Roger. Be very afraid, because the future is looking to feed on people just like you.


sjn said...

So true. I don't often comment for this very reason.

Most people are indifferent to reality, they live in a bubble of unreality maintained by the MSM and popular culture.

The bubbles are begging to pop now...

Adam said...

The large scale infrastructure programs take a lot of time, even for those which aren't delusional by their very nature. This has been a clear message for at least the last 5 years (about when I started paying attention). There was always a 10-20 year "window" where steps might be taken to address the oncoming problems without having a period of severe disruption as the older infrasctucture becomes unusable. If the majority of these people were right, that window is closing fast, and possibly is already shut.

I don't think a lot of people realize the scale of the projects that those calling for them meant. These are projects on the order of electricifying the country again (because those old power lines aren't gonna' cut it), or putting down the highway system again, or rebuilding and adding onto the railways. LARGE projects. Labour would have to be diverted to the industries required, young adults would have to be trained. High enough pay would have to be offered to convince people to do it (barring a forced labour "draft"), meaning a reversal of all pay trends in the middle/lower classes.

Who's going to build all those rechargable outlets that run on magical energy? The furnace guy still needs to work on furnaces. The plumbers will be really busy keeping this generation of infrastructre working. Those trained in mechanical physical jobs are already doing them, and tend to be well paid. I suppose they must just assume (subconsciously) that the Chinese will export them to us, or something.

The only thing more hopeless than a doomer who doesn't anything can be done is a cornucopian who thinks the problems will sort themselves out without any major problems.

Greyzone said...

Exactly, Adam. These people do not realize the size and scope of the money necessary to do this. People point to the $130 billion spent on the national highway system but they don't realize that this is a simple grand total, not corrected for inflation.

From 1959 to 1966, we completed 14834 miles of the proposed 33,858 miles of the interstate highway system at a cost of $4 million per mile yielding $59.336 billion (unadjusted) dollars total cost over this period. If I adjust that for 1966 inflation numbers (the kindest adjustment I can make) then today that portion of the highway system would cost $376.344 billion dollars.

From 1966 to 1970 we completed 8067 miles of the system at a cost of $5 million per mile yielding an unadjusted cost of $40.335 billion which adjusted for inflation is $213.629 billion dollars.

From 1970 to 1975 we completed 5849 miles at a cost of $7 million per mile, yielding an unadjusted total of $40.943 billion, which becomes $156.390 billion in 2007 dollars.

After this the costs shot up into the double digit millions per mile and I'm not going to cover the entire build out but suffice to say that we're talking nearly a trillion dollars here to replace it.

And this is just one of the infrastructure systems that must be replaced to address peak oil, never mind climate change, resource depletion, biodiversity loss, soil erosion, etc.

References: CBO: The Interstate Highway System (PDF)
Federal Reserve Bank Inflation Calculator

Step Back said...


Keep up the good work on TOD.

If you inject enough grey matter, maybe some of it will take root?

I'm most amazed that hardly anyone on TOD is commenting about the magic FOMC wand today. Make a wish. Wave a wand. And poof, the economy is cured. The Market has spoken. Don't ya just love it?

Human nature, what a gas.

Charles E. Owens Jr. said...

Greyzone, There is one problem with TOD the new folks half the time are there only to debunk us doomers. There are a few hardline old timers who hardly ever post, like Odograph. I am sure they run out of time to post, I know I have a lot less time most days to read through 200 posts. I am not trained in economics, or Oil related for that matter. Being an Author of Sci-Fi I usually write about how things have been solved, not how they are going to fail. Though I have a megalomanaic type of story in the works, but He is a space alien come to take over the place, and has ways around most of our problems. ( kills off all the men and takes all the women for their life-forces)

WE could cure the problem that way I am sure, see if 3 billion women can live together in peace. Got to ask the ladies at TOD if they think they can run things better.