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The End of the Oil Age

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the glug-glug dept.

Businesses 1100

geekstreak quotes "'The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil.' Ways to break the tyranny of oil are coming into view. Governments need to promote them."

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FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299779)

Read 'em and weep, biatches. Lunix sux0rs!!!

Oil isn't going away anytime soon. (4, Insightful)

hedon_elite (559044) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299849)

Technology has existed for some time to curb our need for oil, but our government won't promote this. The whole 'restucturing the Middle East' agenda is based around trying to procure our oil on the cheap, and many more of our armed forces are going to have to die (it will probably take a major, MAJOR conflict with heavy losses before the US government decides to start seriously looking for alternatives). I'm glad I didn't join the Air Force a few years ago when I was contemplating it. I went to MEPPS and everything. Lucky me.

First Oil Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299781)

Olive Oil gives me the shits


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299784)

g_______________________________________________g_ _
o_/_____\_____________\____________/____\_______o_ _
a|_______|_____________\__________|______|______a_ _
t|_______`._____________|_________|_______:_____t_ _
s`________|_____________|________\|_______|_____s_ _
e_\_______|_/_______/__\\\___--___\\_______:____e_ _
x__\______\/____--~~__________~--__|_\_____|____x_ _
*___\______\_-~____________________~-_\____|____*_ _
g____\______\_________.--------.______\|___|____g_ _
o______\_____\______//_________(_(__>__\___|____o_ _
a_______\___.__C____)_________(_(____>__|__/____a_ _
t_______/\_|___C_____)/INSERT\_(_____>__|_/_____t_ _
s______/_/\|___C_____)__COCK_|__(___>___/__\____s_ _
e_____|___(____C_____)\_HERE_/__//__/_/_____\___e_ _
x_____|____\__|_____\\_________//_(__/_______|__x_ _
*____|_\____\____)___`----___--'_____________|__*_ _
g____|__\______________\_______/____________/_|_g_ _
o___|______________/____|_____|__\____________|_o_ _
a___|_____________|____/_______\__\___________|_a_ _
t___|__________/_/____|_________|__\___________|t_ _
s___|_________/_/______\__/\___/____|__________|s_ _
e__|_________/_/________|____|_______|_________|e_ _
x__|__________|_________|____|_______|_________|x_ _

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299788)

Maybe this will sap the arab world of their funding for terrorism. This was an inevitable posts, of course. And in Soviet Central Asia...OSAMA HUNTS YOU!!!

Err.. King Bush II is an Oilman (-1, Flamebait)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299789)

Didn't anyone notice?

Re:Err.. King Bush II is an Oilman (0, Offtopic)

dolo666 (195584) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299859)

Hee hee. You might like our project [] .

Re:Err.. King Bush II is an Oilman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299894)

Wow. If only the layout of your site didn't suck so badly in Mozilla.

Re:Err.. King Bush II is an Oilman (1)

JPelorat (5320) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299885)

Mod +1, Psychopathic Pavlovian Response!

Re:Err.. King Bush II is an Oilman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299903)

Who the fuck is King Bush II?

You might be refering to President Bush. You see, in the U.S., we don't have kings. We have presidents. Feel free to research the topic.

I'm curious, does everyone outside the U.S. have such little knowledge of other cultures? You would think that something like this would be taught in your schools.

Re:Err.. King Bush II is an Oilman (1)

wayward_son (146338) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299937)

Only took 1 post to bash Bush.


Re:Err.. King Bush II is an Oilman (1)

Rooktoven (263454) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299992)

too few in my opinion.

HydrogenMan defeats OilMan (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299945)

They're 'Energy Companies' now, not 'Oil Companies'. They'll be just as happy making billions of dollars selling bottled H2 as they are selling gasoline. Plus, they won't have to settle for OPEC's finicky pricing schemes - they'll be able to raise prices without restraint.

How hard would it be to install a nuclear reactor on an oil rig in international waters and start splitting seawater?

My car (1, Flamebait)

didipickles (566798) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299795)

Blah Blah Blah...
I am going to drive my car until the pump won't pump no more. Or the goverment pay's me $$ to drive something different..
And i think that view is very very common...

Re:My car (3, Funny)

bcolflesh (710514) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299837)

They'll pry my steering wheel from my cold, dead hands!

- National Oil Association

Re:My car (1)

cablepokerface (718716) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299869)

Just the title alone 'My Car' makes me think your bit is pure poetry ...

Re:My car (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299887)

I take it you belive that the pumps will stop working in 5 years? Few people keep cars longer than 5 years. (I don't know what the average is, but it has to be about that) Cars do not last forever, between crashes and mechanical wear.

Re:My car (5, Insightful)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299988)

Actually, as any sensible motorist will tell you, cars will last as long as you're willing to maintain them. What usually happens is that a) after 5 years, the car loan is paid off and you fancy a new one, so you sell the car and b) after 10 years, it costs more to service the car each year than the car is worth, thus making it prohibitively expensive to INSURE.

In fact, it's MUCH more economical to buy a high quality car that's 5 years old and maintain it until it gets damaged beyond economic repair, the maintenance costs do not even approach the level of depreciation you get on a new car.

The car industry knows this, and plays us accordingly (that's why it costs $200 to replace that door seal on your 10 year old Honda Accord with 150 000miles on the clock).

Re:My car (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299944)

I`ve seen a lot of that attitude, especially in the US. It seems to manifest itself most strongly when the cars in question are sports cars, (or -bizarrely- SUVs. As a motorsport geek as well as a computing one, I don`t see any reason why a hybrid/fuel cell/electric car can`t be made to perform as well, or as interestingly as a car with an IC engine.

eg.: 02/page025.html

People will buy "green" cars, it`s just a case of convincing them that they don`t have to drive a glorified milk float

So it goes... (4, Funny)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299796)

Governments need to promote them.

And Oil Industries need to subdue them.

Famous Quote.....or not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299895)

"The world is littered with the bodies of people that tried to stick it to ole J.R. Ewing!"

Off topic question about smart cards. (-1, Offtopic)

TribeDoktor (629092) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299801)

Is there any other use for the smart cards that have recently been used to steal digital satellite TV? With all the lawsuits flying around about them there has to be some kind of "oh I was using it for something else" loop hole.

End Of Oil Age??? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299802)

...Then what will KFC fry their chicken in?

Re:End Of Oil Age??? (1)

borgdows (599861) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299847)

you are evil to make fun of a good ol' man fast food!

Re:End Of Oil Age??? (2, Funny)

MooCows (718367) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299855)

...Then what will KFC fry their chicken in?

Hydrogen of course! It's the future!

Re:End Of Oil Age??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299901)

Don't worry, America has a virtually inexhaustible supply of morbidly obese individuals who can be rendered down to cooking lard.

Hydrogen fuel cells (5, Insightful)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299805)

The article mentions hydrogen fuel cells as a way to break big oil. But last I heard, the most effecient way to make hydrogen is from coal, which is a dirty nasty process. (Or so I hear). Am I wrong on this?

Re:Hydrogen fuel cells (4, Insightful)

tiled_rainbows (686195) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299872)

Yeah, that's what gets me, too. All this talk about "the hydrogen economy" yadda yaddda yadda tends to assume that people will be charging their fuel cell up from renewable energy sources. But surely, in a free market, they'll be charging it up from the cheapest energy source, which will be the same as the variety of (generally non-renewable) sources that drive today's power grids. So it won't make a blind bit of difference. And I bet that OPEC et al are looking into the most efficient way to convert oil into hydrogen - I mean, what else are they going to do with it once eveyone starts driving fuel-cell powered cars?

Anyway, point of this slightly incoherent post: Fuel cells are cool, but, unlike oil, they are not an energy source and therefore will not replace oil. Hopefully something will, though.

Re:Hydrogen fuel cells (1)

watzinaneihm (627119) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299876)

It depends on what you want to use it for. Cracking coal to create hydrogen might be a useful way of liberating energy stored up from earths past, but if we have enough energy, say from sunlight we could use it to generate hydrogen from water. we are really not generating energy from hydrogen, but using hydrogen as a carrier for Solar energy since hydrogen is easier to transport and can run cars for longer than batteries.

Re:Hydrogen fuel cells (1)

MooCows (718367) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299893)

IANAS, but as far as I know you can simply extract Hydrogen from water using electrolysis(sp?)
Of course, you need electricity for that first.

But also (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299927)

Is that necessarily effecient? Hydrogen is clean, but as you point out, the energy to make it has to come from somewhere. Even even if that somewhere is relatively clean, you don't want to use an ineffecient processes to convert it. How effecient is electrolysis?

Re:Hydrogen fuel cells (1)

2marcus (704338) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299922)

Well, coal isn't oil.

But yes, most fuel cells run off of fossil fuels. Methane -> reformer -> H2 -> fuel cell is common. FutureGen is the Bush administration $1 billion dollar coal -> H2 with CO2 sequestration experiment (so theoretically it won't contribute to global warming, though it also won't wean us from fossil fuels).

However, switching to hydrogen for our transport sector at least gives us the _option_ of generating the hydrogen by a non-fossil fuel route (ie, nuclear, solar, wind power can be used for the electrolysis of water). Biofueled or electric cars are other options, though they have their own drawbacks (biofuel can be dirty, and we don't really want to use all our agricultural land to power our cars, electric vehicles are limited by battery technology and still require the non-fossil-fuel power source problem to be solved)


Re:Hydrogen fuel cells (1)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 10 years ago | (#7300013)

I don't know if you're wrong or right, but oil and coal have nothing to do with one another, at least as far as supply goes.

The largest oil reserves in the world are in the Middle East. There are coal reserves pretty much everywhere -- a brief (and probably wrong) Google search indicates the largest being in Russia at 905 bt (billion tons), one in China at 870 bt, and others scattered everywhere. Australia is apparantly the world's largest coal exporter -- and that's from a field of "only" 41 million tons (which yielded 1.2 mt last year). There are much larger fields in the US, Europe, and Asia.

Of course, mining for coal is dirty and dangerous, and burning coal isn't exactly clean either. But I'm not sure that coal is the best way to get hydrogen either -- natural gas would seem like a much better candidate.

Oil is here to stay (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299810)

Oil is here to stay as long as greedy and powerful corporations conspire to keep it that way.

I love the Economist. (4, Insightful)

YanceyAI (192279) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299811)

What is more, because hydrogen can be made in a geographically distributed fashion, by any producer anywhere, no OPEC cartel or would-be successor to it could ever manipulate the supplies or the price. There need never be another war over energy.

Nice sentiment, but I'm sure some big corporation, or perhaps some lobbying coalition of corporations will probably patent the technology, then lobby to make certain patents never expire. Even much of major university research is now funded by corporations and results in patents.

Think I'm paranoid? Ask the RIAA how long they think a copyright should be good for. So no wars, just draconian lawsuits that continue the inequitable distribution of energy, food, and wealth.

Re:I love the Economist. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299866)

Fuck you commie. I work hard for the energy, food, and wealth I have. I realize that you're a fucking idiot and don't remember what the Soviet Union was like so instead of educating you, I will think hateful thoughts about you all day long.

I hate liberal scum like you. Go fuck yourself.

Re:I love the Economist. (1)

UltraSkuzzi (682384) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299926)

Did you even read the article dude? This isn't about forcing people into buying Yugo's and go around blowing up SUV dealers. I agree that we shouldn't federally mandate high petrol prices, like Brittan does in order to encourage public transport. But we do need to encourage new technologies like the Hybrid cars, and soon, the Hydro powered ones. Because in a capitalistic world ,if the consumers don't buy, these technologies will soon be in yesteryear.

Re:I love the Economist. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299965)

Did you even read the fucking comment I was replying to "dude"? I'll quote it since you're obviously stupid: "So no wars, just draconian lawsuits that continue the inequitable distribution of energy, food, and wealth." - INEQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION FUCKTARD, that socialist piece of trash tried to sneak in his little communist bullshit there and I called him on it. There is no inequitable distribution because wealth is distributed by how hard you fucking work. FUCK YOU FOR BEING A MORON! THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN THAT FUCKING LIBERAL SCUM IS YOU FOR BEING TOO FUCKING STUPID TO RECOGNIZE IT!! FUCK YOU MORON!!

Re:I love the Economist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299970)

please don't feed the trolls.

Re:I love the Economist. (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299980)

Yeah. I work for a large chemical who makes olefins/polyolefins, but some fuels as well. We happen to have two plants in the middle east because it's awfully cheap labor, and we get to pollute someone elses air. No matter what the fuel source, it will likely be made in larger quantity overseas, although possibly owned by US corporations.

Advice for Unemployed Geeks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward +1 (645038) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299813)

Some advice for the newly outsourced, downsized, and generally unemployed

First of all, welcome to the nouveaux pauvre (that's "new poor" to you. Your french phrase days will gently fade into happy memories, like some other things.)

The purpose of this thread is to help you understand some of the changes that accompany this new chapter in your life.

For those of you who still have savings, early withdrawn IRAs, homes or automobiles to sell, or other assets that you have not yet liquidated and spent, you may wish to print this page out and save it. Depending on how hotshit a coder you were, it may be months, for a few of you, either a couple of years, before you need it.

For those of you who have already passed through that "well honey thank goodness we have enough to keep going for a little while" to the "hm, I think we've got enough equity that if we sell the house, we can get enough to tide us over" to the "holy shit! We have a total of $700 to our name, no income coming in, and this $1200 apartment I thought we'd be in for a month or 2 is now asking for month 6 of the rent" phase, some of you will now transition to the "I guess we can go back to Peoria to stay with the folks for a while" benchmark.

Print this and save it. You are very fortunate.

Now those of you are left are the ones who have already sold and spent everything you had, you don't have folks to go stay with for a while, and you have just made a new and important discovery: Your new "survival jobs until.." are not enough to enable you to afford housing. In other words, you are now priced out of the housing market.

If you are lucky, you may find something with a roof that with one more shift you can afford, where you will learn many new things, and so will your kids.

You always knew that there were neighborhoods like this, but you never thought YOU'D be living in one, especially not with kids, who you have had to take out of the progressive alternative school and place into the one with the metal detectors and the very reasonably priced nearly new Glock swap meets in the parking lot, from which they will return every afternoon to discover their new neighborhood while both of you work your second shifts.

There is no one way to explain to them that everything you taught them about calling 911 is no longer applicable, because the only way the police will come here at all is if you yell "officer down!" into the phone, and frankly, nobody at the precinct is buying that any more because they know that no officer goes there. It's an opportunity to grow in your parenting skills.

There will be some dietary changes. As soon as your car is repossessed or stolen, you will be reliant on your feet and public transportation, and in combination with your new 5 AM to midnight 7 day schedule, you will notice some differences in your food choices. Instead of riding out to the big supermarket with the produce section, grocery shopping will now mean picking up some loaf bread and stale peanut butter at a convenience store for about twice what you paid for it at the supermarket. The plus side is that it is open 24 hours, and you can walk to it!

Hot meals will now be available at McDonald's. You will soon find that this is both more economical and practical than trying to make a hot meal out of a dusty can of peas and a small $4 pack of beef jerky from the convenience store.

Another big change will be health care. You have probably been accustomed to take the kids to the doctor, even go yourself, in the case of illness, and made a point of making sure that the whole family gets in for regular wellness checks and preventive care, like an annual physical for those of you who are over 35 or so.

While that will no longer be possible, what you can do is discover that while some illnesses and injuries are painful and uncomfortable, they eventually get better and/or heal on their own.

You can also know that you are participating in the free market system, and your education will come in handy to help you realize that neither you nor your children have any value at all on the free market, and it is in fact not in the best interest of the insurance industry or your employer to provide any usable health insurance for you, and that even if one or more of your "survival" jobs comes with a "benefit package," in most cases, it is far cheaper to pay out your burial policy than your health care claim, and simply replace you, as the amount of "training" your replacement is negligible, as is the new hire paperwork, and for every "survival job" you have, there are dozens if not hundreds of people clamoring for it if you expire.

This is an especially good economic fact to remember if you should ever be tempted to share your opinions on the conditions of your employment with management.

Coming soon - Part II: How long will your child be held for the first offense seeing you can't pay bail money?

Well, it happened. You come home at your usual time, a little after midnight, to find one less kid than you had when you left this morning at 5:30.

How long the police will hold your child for a first offense will vary, not only according to the offense itself, but local precinct customs as well as individual officer idiosyncrasies.

When you first arrive at the police station, especially if you are white, expect an assumption on the part of the desk that you will be in a position to part with a sum of money in order to obtain your child's release. There may even be some scepticism on their part when you inform them that sadly, this is not the case, and here some of you will be fortunate enough to be able to call on a friend or relative to provide some money, which will of course take some time, during which time your child will remain in law enforcement custody.

The conditions of this custody will also vary. Some precincts will, especially if your child is white, has not yet lost his middle class speech patterns, and your hot water has not yet been cut off, permitting him to maintain a grooming standard not too far from what he had been accustomed to, make an effort to keep your child in an isolation cell.

Once it is clear that no funds will be forthcoming, however, your child will in all probability be moved, and how long he (or she) is held may vary from a few days to a few months.

The public defender will be able to discuss with you the legal aspect of your child's case, pleas, range of sentence, etc, but it will be up to you to help your child adjust to life after some of his incarceration experiences, which will undoubtedly be ones that you would prefer had not happened.

While there are theoretically free or sliding scale mental health clinics, both logistics and the quality of service available will without a doubt seem to you beyond inadequate to the situation, and you will in all probability experience some anger at the reaction of anyone "in authority" you can get to listen to what happened to your kid in there, but on the positive side, you will not have to see this reaction much, as few of those "in authority" see any difference to what happened to your kid and what happens to thousands of them every day, if not in jail, at home or on the street, and statistics that you remember as having found disturbing in the past, when you had time to read about disturbing statistics, will come into a much clearer focus for you.

Once again, your previous education will pay off, as you will already be aware of many of the effects and manifestations of the aftermath of your child's first encounter with the justice system, and as the sequelae increasingly and negatively continue to impact your other children, your spouse (if applicable) and you, over time you will come to regard his subsequent arrests and eventual subsumption into the justice system as the inevitability it is, and although it is sad to say, probably better for his little sister, as having him out of the picture may give her a few more months, or even years, before she either follows the same steps as her brother, becomes a mother (unless you happen to live in a state that pays for abortions for indigent pre-teens and teens), or contracts her first sexually transmitted disease.

While some negative emotional reaction on your part is understandable, especially given the different expectations you had entertained regarding your child's pre-adolescence, it is important to realize that as inmates, your children are able to make, in their own way, a much greater contribution to the overall economy by helping to keep the corrections industry one of America's strongest and most growing, than they would working alongside you, for a similar wage.

This is also the time to acknowledge some conflict and remorse you may be having when on occasion you recall yourself saying things like "well when you have parents who are irresponsible enough to have kids they can't afford to feed and keep out of trouble...," or "listen, everything I have I worked for, and let me tell you, if you work hard in this country, you CAN succeed!"

The latter is particularly liable to trouble you after your first 2 or 3 per cent raise from one of your survival jobs, as your keen mathematical skills allow you to instantly see that you will now be bringing home a total of $00.14 more every two weeks after taxes, and can be an especially hard memory to banish as you wait for the third bus which will take you to your second full shift, where you are frequently complimented on the assiduousness and rapidity with which you pack the boxes, and in fact, it is your obvious work ethic and desire to succeed which has gotten you that raise.

But banish it you must, for arriving at home at your usual time of 12:20 AM, there is a notice on the door - proof that you DO have rights - the landlord MUST give you 60 days notice that the rent will be raised by $50 a month.

Coming Soon - Part 3: What does "working homeless" mean?

You should be proud of yourself. And you are. Even you don't know how you've managed to come up with the rent every month, money for the electric bill most months (although to be fair, it helps that you're not home much and you don't have an air conditioner or a computer).

It's been over two years now, and while your rent has gone up almost $300 during that time, the sum of your monthly take-home from all 3 survival jobs has gone up $48.37.

Your kilowatt rate has gone up, too, as has bus fare and the price of everything at the convenience store. You've managed to hang on to a prepaid emergency only cell phone, but it is getting hard to justify, as police aren't going to come to your neighborhood anyway, and the area around your workplaces are although on the other side of town and then some from your apartment, reasonably safe to wait for the bus in.

Even if you cut the phone, though, and swallow your pride and get your meals from the leftovers from the manager's trays at one of your jobs, you just don't see how you are going to pay rent, and electricity, and bus fare, and you have discovered that even the finest athletic shoes wear out eventually, and do so pretty fast when purchased used from the gooodwill, and while $8.00 for shoes every couple of months looks a lot different to you now than back in the day when you used to drive over to footlocker and buy 3 or 4 pairs and hand the cashier your VISA card.

Because you can take the progger out of the middle class but you can't take the middle class out of the progger, you try to talk to your landlord. Maybe you could do some maintenance for part of your rent? You've surprised yourself how handy you've gotten, fixed the conveyor belt yourself when it glitched up a couple times at the chicken plant..

And to his credit, the landlord listens to your suggestion and explains with what is to him, anyway, courtesy, that the management company does all the hiring of maintenance people, and you are welcome to apply there, although you should know that they, like that security guard job you were looking at a couple of weeks ago, do require you to have private transportation.

Although you've made a special effort at all your jobs to try to fit in and not come across as snobbish, when you begin to wonder how the people who work beside you are making it on the same money you get, you realize that you really haven't gotten to know any of them well enough to know much about how they live.

Once again, you dip into your legacy of education, this time into the rusty old social skills bucket, and start striking up conversations on your breaks - (you had not realized that your state requires two ten minute breaks for every 8 hours worked, and they really come in handy, because as you get older you discover that it isn't easy to wait 8 hours to pee, and one of the first things you learned at the plant is that while in theory, you CAN go to the bathroom any time, either you call over a supervisor to take your place while you do it, or the whole line shuts down, and with the new production bonus system having the potential to raise your take-home as much as 8 dollars a pay period, nobody had to tell you that indulging your bladder would not make you very popular)

When you find out that Eusebio lives in a one bedroom apartment with 2 brothers and 9 cousins, you almost don't believe him, but then you remember hearing something about that - that that is how people are able to work these jobs for so little and still send money for a sack of beans or two back home to Mexico every week, and you have to admit that he is doing better than you are, with the different shifts, someone is always there to cook beans, and one of his cousins has the use of his crew boss's pickup truck to bring home a sack of beans and one of rice for the US based branch of the family.

You don't know if you could live in one room with 11 other people though, and Eusebio tells you that no, you probably couldn't, but since back home there were 18 of them living in a house made of leaves and sticks until the first ones came north and sent back enough to make a cement block house..

This puts you in a thoughtful mood. All that education you had, and so many things you never knew.. but you don't have much time to be thoughtful because break is over, and the belt starts up again.

Implementing your new uptrended socializing strategy at your other jobs, you don't really know what to say when DeWayne, who is technically your supervisor, and makes at least $2 more an hour than you, tells you matter of factly that he lives with his wife and 3 kids in a 1987 Chevy Blazer that he tries to keep as close to work but out of sight as he can, and you can't help but be touched and humbled when he asks you to please keep it under your hat, because of course, if it were known that he doesn't have an address, he'd lose his job.

Waiting for the second leg bus for the ride home, which is always late, especially when it is cold and rainy like it is tonight, you notice two things.

One, you aren't sure when you began to feel a vague, unreasoning resentment as you stand there, hands aching, ears numb, feet wet, watching the people in their cars go by. Heated cars. On their way to houses in nice neighborhoods, without rats, or roaches, or people selling crack and teen-aged girls in the hallways, going home to eat nutritious, attractive meals and sleep in soft beds without springs coming through the mattress, and Two, DeWayne is in a way, better off than you are, too, because he doesn't have to pay rent, he can give his kids a little more food...

The rent is due in four days. You are short $50. What can you sell? You tried to pawn your TV once, but they told you you'd only get $18 for it, and then you'd have 30 days to buy it back for $33.86.

You try talking to the landlord again. In his own way, he is understanding. It's not like he hasn't heard this before. He tells you how it works. Rent is due on the first. You have one grace day. If the full amount isn't in by the third, the management company files a notice. Then you'll have ten days to pay the rent and a $75 late fee. At the end of ten days, you get an order to evacuate. After that, depending on how busy they are, at any time the management company can do what they call "assume occupancy of the premises." That means they come in and take your stuff out, if it's still there, and put it on the street.

You got to get ahold of a shopping cart for that stuff, advises Angela, your morning job co-worker. That's where she keeps her change of clothes, her soap and toothbrush, all in a little plastic shopping bag she changes as often as she can so the gas station people don't get suspicious when she takes it into the restroom every morning. Angela seems to feel sorry for you, she offers to help you find a cart, and even a bicycle lock for it.

Coming Soon - Part IV: This is not the best time for a pregnancy

Why is it, you wonder, that everything you have to do, everywhere you have to go, seems to require a minimum 2 hour trip each way on multiple buses?

One of your jobs, the only one where you're an employee instead of an independent contractor, (big savings for companies- especially if their benefits package is decent, and if they didn't restrict employee status to management, they'd never be able to afford it) thankfully gives you 12 sick days and a week of paid vacation a year, so you're able to visit your son. It breaks your heart that you can't see him anymore behind those eyes, and if you could see him, what he has become - you can't really think about it too much, funny you always thought of yourself as a strong person, you never thought you'd be able to survive the kind of things you have learned to live with. Milestones, like applying for food stamps, when you finally realize that no matter how you slice it, you just can't afford enough luncheon meat, Chef Boy Ar Dee, milk, and much less at convenience store prices.

You've also learned that your monthly allotment of stamps will only buy food for about a week, and that you can't afford to spend all the stamps on food. You have to sell some for 50 cents on the dollar, for the non-food items like toilet paper, soap, aspirin.

You lived through the first time you saw the look in the eyes of the well-dressed woman in the next line, as she ordered her 20 dollars on pump 4 and glanced over at you, using your stamps, and you lived through the pain of your wife's tooth that went bad, and the humiliation of asking your old dentist for help, or asking his receptionist for help, rather; she gave you the name of an indigent clinic. Sarah really couldn't stand the pain any more, and you learned that in your state, the only procedure available for adults without funds is extraction.

A milestone. Sarah was lucky, she kept her job, although she was moved to the stock room. With a missing front tooth, she can't wait on customers any more. It's a policy you both understand, after all it's a business. But you had both let yourselves get carried away with this notion that with her exceptional knowledge of electronics and her personality, her smile that would light up the world, maybe one day she'd be made supervisor...

You know you can't really know what it's like for her, taking a sick day of her second shift every six months for the ride out to Planned Parenthood, waiting in the auditorium - she says that's the only thing you can call it, although technically it IS a waiting room, sitting there on an unpadded folding aluminum chair among the teenagers, some with their mothers, almost all with squalling infants and toddlers with runny noses, like all rooms full of poor, and like all rooms full of poor, smelling of urine.

She wouldn't meet your eyes the day that she took your daughter with her, and if there's one thing you're good at, it's always looking for the best in any situation, as your bus took you to your first shift, you fought back your tears with the thought that neither of you ever got to spend time with Caitlin any more, and at least mother and daughter would get a day together.

A part of you still clings to the thought that all of this is just temporary, although it was a hard thought to cling to that first night that the three of you huddled together around your cart, quite literally having no idea where to go.

Your co-worker Angela may have saved your life. Sure, she said, there are shelters, but you don't want to go there. For one thing, you'll have to split up. You'll go to one, Cat and Sarah will go to one across town. You have to be in line by 6 to have a chance at a cot, so that would mean each of you giving up a shift of work, you can't take your cart, and whatever you take in a bag you might as well just kiss it good-bye.

Angela showed you which dumpster had the best selection of boxes and packing materials, and walked with you, cart piled high, to the place, behind the fences and pilings of the highway cloverleaf. You are surprised that the newspapers and bubble wrap really do help keep the wind out. Angela tells you you'll have to find your own place to wash up in the morning, though, she seems ashamed about asking you to please not use hers, the Quik Trip people might start to notice, and you realize that Angela, too, lived differently, once.

Your new neighbors are impressed that both you and Sarah have managed to hang onto your jobs this long, and sympathetic about the loss of food stamps, which while not enough, were still something, but of course, without an address...

And now Sarah is late. Very late. Nauseous in the morning, tender breasts late. No need for you to take a sick shift for the bus out to the strip mall with the drugstore to steal an EPT test. (Yes, you have become a thief. Sometimes it is necessary).

Sarah needs to take a sick shift and go to the indigent clinic, but you both just took one to visit your son last week, and she doesn't want to risk taking another one so soon. Especaially since something like a routine pre-natal visit is a pink ticket, which can mean coming back every day, for three or four days, before she actually gets seen by anyone.

Her W-2 job does have a catastrophic hospitalization policy, pays 80% of everything beginning on day 7 of consecutive in-patient care, even if it's a complication of pregnancy. Sarah doesn't even have to pay for the insurance, it is 100 per cent employer-provided.

This is not a good time for a pregnancy, and although you had both hoped to have more kids one day, you both feel that under the circumstances, the best choice is to terminate. Sarah somehow manages to sneak some phone calls from her job, she knows there are resources for women in this kind of situation, and she soon learns that they do not include free abortions, although if she carries the pregnancy to term, the indigent clinic will provide free pre-natal care (provided she has 3 or 4 free days a month to wait for it), delivery, a 12 hour post-partum observation period, and a 6 week checkup.

You haven't really seen anyone from your old life since you left the $1200 apartment. It had gotten to be an uncomfortable situation, even before that, and now you rack your brains. It's not that you didn't have friends, just that for the ones who didn't get downsized, once you had been out for a while, it was as embarrassing for them as for you, and those that did have either moved in with relatives out of state, or they could be in the same boat you are, and neither of you has been anxious to see people you used to work out and eat brunch with pushing a shopping cart around and living under the expressway.

Sarah does have a cousin she hasn't seen since college, a few Christmas cards over the years, she thinks she remembers her getting a pretty good job at a Loral office, and as the days pass, and nobody else comes to mind, she tracks her down and makes the call.

You never forget that you have a lot of advantages that most people in your situation don't have, like even one relative who is "rich" enough to give Sarah the thousand dollars. A thousand dollars. That used to be your weekly paycheck, gross at least. Today even a hundred dollars might as well be ten billion.

Sarah has never been the weepy type, and it's disorienting to see her after she talks to her cousin. You know that you are a very lucky couple to be able to get out of at least this latest mess, and you are grateful to Sarah's cousin. She will wire the money to an office where you can pick it up. All you can do is hold Sarah, hope Cat won't wake up and see her mom like this, and tell your wife over and over again that it is not her fault, and that even with all the problems you have, the cousin is wrong. Making love is not irresponsible behavior.

Coming soon - part 5: OK if you really can't get a better job, Why don't you just get on welfare? Then you'd get a free apartment, wouldn't you? ;; This buffer is for notes you don't want to save, and for Lisp evaluation. ;; If you want to create a file, visit that file with C-x C-f, ;; then enter the text in that file's own buffer.

Re:Advice for Unemployed Geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299990)

How about saving some oil to boil the parent poster in it.

Wait your turn, eventually there will be a Topic that your comments would relate to.

They really think this will work? (2, Insightful)

spitefulcrow (713858) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299815)

A gas tax would do nothing but piss off everyone in the States while the oil corporations whine like crazy over it.

Re:They really think this will work? (1)

paitre (32242) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299907)

You -do- realize, of course, that a significant portion of what you pay at the pump is already taxes, right? The US national average in 2002 was $.42 per gallon in taxes. So that 1.50-1.89 you're paying right now is -already- 1/3 to 1/4 taxes, and that's not including that portion of the sale that ends up going to the Feds as income taxes.

So, no, actually, increasing taxes on gasoline may irritate people, but you're not going to see Americans driving less...might see more hyrid-civics and prius' on the road, but that's about it.

Re:They really think this will work? (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299910)

Not true.

A American "gas" tax would also raise an enormous sum of money.

Re:They really think this will work? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299967)

It would also raise prices for nearly EVERYTHING. Distribution costs would rise, which effect everything down the line. This was already evident when the gas tax was raised in the early 90's.

Re:They really think this will work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7300012)

So ? and will you do then ? stop buying oil ?
Or maybe are you going to do major demonstrations, like frenchmen do ?

The real cost (2, Insightful)

melonman (608440) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299816)

Surely the problem with all these wonderful schemes is that they involve a reduction in our standard of living, at least in the short and medium term, if only due to increased taxation, and there is little evidence that this is a vote-winning idea. Sure, we can blame the politicians, but if the electorate was begging for higher taxes on fuel, I suspect they would be happy to deliver.

Middle East (5, Insightful)

1000101 (584896) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299818)

You think the situation in the Middle East is bad now? Wait until the world no longer relies on them for their oil and their economies fall apart. It will be a complete disaster. I would like to not have to rely on oil as much as the next guy, but I think it's going to cause just as many social problems as it will solve environmental problems.

Re:Middle East (1)

curtisk (191737) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299862)

MODS mark parent as Insightful

Let me flip it on you also, wait until the middle east has had it with our shit, and witholds their oil, that would be a complete disaster as well. There would be a unapologetic, no fluff war-for-oil then. The middle East has us by the short and curlies as far as oil goes.

Re:Middle East (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299943)

If that happens, we can always ask our Israeli lapdogs to conquer them on our behalf, massacre them all and take all their land - that way Israel gets lots of free land to dump parasitic Jewish settlers in, and the slaughtered Arabs (whose lives will not have been worth living anyway) won't have to suffer the effects a huge crash in their economy would have on their quality of life. Everyone's a winner!

Re:Middle East (1)

gilmour14 (693816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299947)

Not to mention, no one will care what happens there anyway once theres no more oil.

Re:Middle East (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299957)

Somewhat, but we have more options if they dont' hold something we want. When we don't care about their oil, we can ignore a lot of it. Other than Iseral (which is an issue for completely different reasons) there is nothing in that region that the average person cares about. Let them fight each other all they want. And if they do go after us, we can go in a lot easier. When France no longer has under the table oil deals, they won't care what anyone else does as a pre-emptive strike. Or at least they won't care enough to do anything about it. (don't read this as a defense of the US war with Iraq)

Too big - alot of work (1)

curtisk (191737) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299825)

It can be done, hell there's cars that can run off of used cooking grease [] (well, oil, vegetable oil). But the same old problem comes up, it's too big of an industry, with too many "power" people involved making their fortunes from it. Just like tobacco and the hellish medical insurance industry here in the US.They would not, and have not, taken the phase out of crude oil sitting down.

Water and Oil Don't Mix (0)

Walrus99 (543380) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299826)

I thought, accoriding to recent news reports, that we will be able to get energy from water. I guess it will take a few years for science to do this, but technology will take care of everything. Don't worry about all that entropy and molecular energy level stuff. It will all work out, and we will soon be able to just pump sea water into our gas tanks.

One dead horse (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299827)

Commence beating! []


I, fooor one... (hic)... (2, Funny)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299831)

weellcome our (hic) neww bio (hic) bio (hic) bioethanol supplying overlawrds... (burp)...

Sucking hind tit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299838)

It looks like someone has not been getting enough quality dietary intake. Where did all that oil come from? Do you believe the fossil record? And do you seriously the governments who are in the back pockets of the oil industry will do anything to promote this crap? Dream on Linux weenies!

9th grade lesson (0)

castleguardian (711240) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299839)

My 9th grade history teacher told me about 15 years ago to buy up cases of motor oil and store them in the attic, claiming that we'd be out of the stuff in 30 years. With the new alternate fuels and new methods of oil extraction (eg. steaming oil sands in Canada), doesn't look like that's going to happen too soon... ...good thing he's sticking to studying the past and not the future. *grin*

All your oil are belong to US (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299840)

I vote we wipe out all the sand niggers in that Middle-Eastern armpit of theirs and take all their land, and any oil they might have.

Ten ways to defeat the oil industry. (2, Funny)

dolo666 (195584) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299843)

1. Wait.
2. Buy stuff from only your home town.
3. Eat less.
4. Shop less.
5. Buy an electric car.
6. Walk.
7. Run.
8. Bike.
9. Have lots of sex. (ok these aren't in order)
10. Make fun of people who drive or buy things from far away or shop too much or don't have much sex.

And don't forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299933)

11. Don't invade a country for the sole purpose of getting cheap oil and lucrative contracts for your buddies in the oil industry.

if anyone.. (1)

teemu.s (677447) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299863)

.. provides me a keyboard made of wood or any alternative (which are as cheap as the old ones)
, Ill stop using _plastic_ ones ..
I dont think the author thought about the point that gasoline isnt the only product made out of oil.

If it's ready to happen, it will, despite gov't (2, Insightful)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299873)

Ways to break the tyranny of oil are coming into view. Governments need to promote them."

Did governments need to promote the alternatives to stone? A thing whose time has come shouldn't need "help". In fact, I'd argue that having government in your corner is often the worst thing that could happen.

Purpose? (1)

gregarican (694358) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299875)

What is this article doing on /. anyway? This is such hippie crap I feel like putting on my Birkenstocks, donning my tie dye, and walking down the Pearl Street pedestrian mall in Boulder, CO. All the while cramming discarded cigarette filters in my back pocket. Jeeeeezus!

The tyranny of oil? WTF?! If it wasn't for such dinosaur remnants we wouldn't have progressed into an industrialized society for Chrissakes. Come on. The evil of industrialized countries relying on fossil fuels. Countries that have no other natural resources (and who cannot cultivate food because they live in fscking sand) negotiating profits with their native oil supply. Big deal.

It would be great if other alternative energy sources were mainstream. Having choices is great, and as a member of a free society I can appreciate that. But I can spare the granola shit.

Re:Purpose? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299924)

The tyranny of oil? WTF?! If it wasn't for such dinosaur remnants we wouldn't have progressed into an industrialized society for Chrissakes.

You could substitute "oil" for "slavery" in your rant too, but most people today feel that slavery is tyranny.

Re:Purpose? (1)

gregarican (694358) | more than 10 years ago | (#7300003)

Good one but a little inaccurate. Actually slavery helped us at the end of ours days as an agricultural society. Slaves picked cotton and performed other cultivar tasks. Slavery was wrong and I can't see many modern day people who could take issue with that.

What I take issue with is what this topic is doing on /. since it has nothing to do with the IT world. Also, while we're splitting hairs, those Jesus-freak flower children out there who hate the evils of oil should swear off everything from Olean to polyester. Perhaps look up what a myriad of products we all use every day are derived from petroleum-based processing. Most ignoramuses though just equate it with their hippie ass VW busses, Geo Metros, and Hondas. Shows the depth of perception.

Turkey guts! Turkey guts! (1)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299878)

The sooner the rest of the world stops subsidizing monarchies with lousy human rights records (i.e. Saudi Arabia et. al), the better.

I, for one, am looking forward to the day when our economy runs on turkey guts [] , so I can welcome our new non-petroleum based overlords.

Stick that in your madrassa and smoke it, Osama!

Gas Tax (1)

mopslik (688435) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299879)

The proceeds from a gasoline tax ought to be used to finance cuts in other taxes.

"Ought to" usually means "never will" in situations like this, no?

I'm all for clean alternatives, but I can't see the government funneling a whole lot of their cash cow into new fuel sources. Wouldn't tax breaks (for those who choose clean) be more appropriate than tax increases (for those who don't)?

Oil is the wave of the future (4, Interesting)

tyler_larson (558763) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299884)

Thanks to rapid advances in thermal depolymerization [] , oil will likely be the fuel of the future. Only, we won't be getting it out of the ground. Instead, we'll be manufacturing it the same way the earth does: heat and pressure. But instead of taking millions of years, it takes just a few minutes.

And what can you make oil out of? Pretty much anything. Sewage, yard waste, paper, plastic, road-kill...

Recycling at its best. And this isn't theoretically-possible technology. This is currently-profitable-and-expanding technology.

Too late (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299891)

As far as I'm concerned, the end of the oil age WILL happen when we run out of oil, and not before.

This article makes the point that there will be no significant inroads from alternate fuels for a decade or two. Even that might be optimistic. However, I'm not sure our oil reserves are going to last another 25 years, and certainly not the century required to move entirely away from being a petroleum-fueled world.

I fully expect to see in my lifetime, a crisis of epic proportions which will force the beginning of a real change in fuels. Nothing else will do it. (and even that's iffy)

Re:Too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299964)

People have been predicting we would run out of oil for the last 30 years. We now have more known reserves than any time in history. Read "The Skeptical Environmentalist" Oil supplies will not run out in the next century.

Re:Too late (1)

b-baggins (610215) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299976)

People have been saying for the last twenty-five years that the oil reserves will only last another twenty-five years.

Get some education. There is more oil available now than there was 25 years ago, thanks to improved technologies. Heck, we've got oil literally seeping out of the ocean floor all the time all over the world. We're practically swimming in the stuff.

End of oil? yeah right (1)

Manos Batsis (608014) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299892)

Oil will stand aside for other power tech when interests of enough big players become established.

Right now the situation is (as a sysadmin would say) "working, so why bother changing".

Anyone care to talk on who's interests are not there yet?

Governments need to promote them? (1)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299900)

Why? When providers make them more economical than the oil-based alternatives, the free market will adopt them. I'm sure not going to pay more money to get the mere equivalent of something I'm already getting. I'm not so naive that I think government subsidies don't come out of my pocket, too. If these new technologies want promotion, let them get an investor that believes in the long-term ROI to run some advertising campaigns. If it's not worth the risk of a private individual/company, why foist it on a public who have no say in it?

NEVER (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299905)

My family makes money off of the oil industry and we are very prosporus indeed, the reason alternative fuel does not succeed is that banks will rarley lend out money to promote funding for it. If they do that then the multi-million dollar oil companys would put their money into other banks thus devistating the lending bank. YOU PEOPLE NEEED OIL, so that people like me can drive around in nice cars and wear nice clothes.

Oil is mighty (1)

gspr (602968) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299908)

The problem is just that the oil industry is so very mighty. Take for instance my own country, Norway - with one hand we're "all for" new sources of energy, and with the other hand, our entire budget is based on the oil we have.

It's never about oil (1)

b-baggins (610215) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299909)

These articles, opinions and rants are never about oil. They're about capitalism. If we shifted to a pure hydrogen economy, in fifteen years, these same people would be calling for the overthrow of the evil hydrogen cartel and fear mongering about the horrible climactic changes brought about by introducing millions of tons of water vapor into the atmospehre. Then they would call for government action to force people into a new lifestyle, and there's the key.

Note how these people always wind up arguing about how it should be the government forcing people to change their lives.

And the slashdot crowd, the same group who screams the Patriot Act is a police state waiting to happen, jump up and shout: Hallelujah! All praise to the government!

The tyranny that makes you feel morally superior is the tyranny you embrace.

How does this work into the News for Nerds angle? (1)

sielwolf (246764) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299911)

Maybe I'm being naive here but is this really /. material? Or is this entire discussion -1 Offtopic?

I know, oil's bad and it can be attributed to pollution, terrorism, third-world poverty, the elevation of the rich, the desolation of the poor... and this deals with IT how?

Re:How does this work into the News for Nerds angl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299984)

So nerds are only interested in IT?

I guess there weren't any nerds 10 years ago?

As Mr Burns once said: (5, Funny)

ellem (147712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299913)

Oooh, so Mother Nature needs a favor?! Well maybe she should have thought of that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys! Nature started the fight for survival, and now she wants to quit because she's losing. Well I say, hard cheese.

Interesting subject (1)

bigjnsa500 (575392) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299917)

This is a subject I feel deeply about. I do my part to make the world Greener. I drive a 12 year old car that gets 50+ mpg (Honda CRX). I recycle all my plastics and beer cans. But I am just one person out of millions that really gives a damn.

Look at the vehicles produced in America. They get bigger every year. Vehicles today get about the same gas mileage as they did in the 70s. Where is technology?

I live in Texas where the best selling vehicles are trucks, suburbans and H2s. And you know what I've noticed? Most of the time, these vehicles haul one or 2 people on the highway or in town. That's it!

Simple equation makes oil immortal (1)

fleener (140714) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299918)

1) Oil cartel buys politicians.
2) Politicians make laws.
3) People continue to eat yummy oil.

Hell, we have oil men running the country now. Anyone hoping for green technologies to win out is smoking crack.

Oh yeah (1)

fleener (140714) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299968)

Oh yeah, and we recently invaded and conquered two countries for oil. I forgot to mention that little tidbit. Yep, oil's days are numbered.

The government is the reason for the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299930)

Get rid of all the subsidies, free land giveaways, and price controls. Oil is too cheap for the market to develop alternatives. Oil needs to become much more expensive before American consumers start demanding alternatives. I would think something called 'The economist' would come to this conclusion.

Governments can save us by BUTTING OUT. (1, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299936)

Governments need to promote NOTHING. That is the problem: we have given up the most powerful feature an individual has: the power to vote with one's dollar.

Oil is big not because of "big business" but because of big subsidies and big tariffs and big embargoes and big regulations and big requirements: all government interventions that prevent other technologies from being promoted or even discovered.

Big business never lasts -- look at what happened to the kerosene industry: it fell apart before the government could call it a monopoly.

Articles such as this refuse to show the real cause for monopolies and technologies that refuse to die even though they are outdated: government.

Continuing to vote Democrat or Republican or Green will only lead us down the trail of more tyrannical choices made for us under the guise of "democracy." We are not a democracy, we are a union of States where the individual should never be trumped by the masses -- unless that individual is harming another in visible and provable ways.

Don't blame the gas companies, they are only taking advantage of what you and your ancestors did: allow government to reach its evil hand into my life.

Oil is only part of the problem (2, Insightful)

grvsmth (247601) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299938)

I guess I'll have to keep posting this for the rest of my life, because people don't seem to hear it:

Yes, oil dependence is an economic and political problem. Yes, fossil fuels are an ecological disaster. But switching to cars powered by hydrogen, solar or whatever is not going to stop us from turning the world into a place where you can't walk to the corner grocery store without worrying about being run over. Can we put some geek energy towards solving that problem, please?

It will happen eventually (3, Interesting)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299940)

The problem with humanity in general, except in rare occasions when a truly forward thinking person comes into power, is that they usually won't do anything until "it's just about too late."

So yes, oil dependance for the world is a problem. It's allowed a single section of the world to weild incredible economic power over others, and has allowed a group of religious extremists more money than they really deserve. Saudi Arabians (not the entire country, mind you - just folks with way too much money on their hands) exporting schools to Afganistan with a branch of extreme Islam that pretty much hates, well, everybody, Iran putting a gigantic bounty of Salman Rushdie's head because he wrote a book he didn't like:

"We will make the proper decision about the increase of the bounty at the right time and considering the circumstances," the Iranian Jumhouri Islami newspaper quoted Ayatollah Hassan Sanei, head of the 15th Khordad foundation, as saying.

"Thank God we have the necessary finance to pay for the bounty," he said. (Brief on Iran No 839 [] .

So here's what I see happening:


United States: Oil good!

World: Oil good, pollution bad!

United States: Fuck you, Kyoto Treaty!

OPEC: Ka-Ching!

50 years from now:

United States: Oil good!

OPEC: Damn - we're running out. Oil now $50 a barrel!

United States: Fuck oil! Hydrogen and ethenol - good!

OPEC: Damn.

Religious Extremists Groups: Anybody got change for a rocket launcher? Anybody?

Rest of the World: Damn it - now where are we going to get fuel from?

Iowa Corn Farmers: Ka-Ching!

It's a simplistic view, I admit - but I figure nothing will be done on a US national scale, let alone a global one, until there is A Problem With Oil Supplies.

Which, I'm guessing at around 50 years. Perhaps by then we'll have fusion systems or some other cool way of gathering energy. Until then, nobody really wants to do anything because it will cost too much money.

And in the end, that's what it's all about, isn't it?

Of course, this is just my opinion - I could be wrong.

Where are the Cars? (2)

Tetsugaku-San (717792) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299958)

well until I can actually buy one of these wondor cars that need no oil (No lubrication?) I'll stick to 70 MPG with a SMART car thanks v much :)

damn the oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299959)

i miss the rocks, lets go back to using rocks...

Government needs to do LESS. (0)

p0on (669866) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299960)

Governments don't need to promote anything. The government never promoted steam engines. The government never gave subsidies and tax credits to people buying internal combustion. There weren't research grants given to Westinghouse to develop power reactors. When fossil fuels are no longer economically viable a competitive substitute will appear. If you have a political motive for generating the substitute fine by me, just make it cheaper than oil or have some other marginally beneficial attribute (i.e. not being from the middle east) and I'll buy it. Until then keep government out of my economy.

Not likely (4, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299969)

Oils are used as a base ingrediant in plastics. While we may someday move a hyrdogen economy, and we might even eventually get away from the internal combustion engine. Were not about to stop using plastics. Petroleum products go into a whole lot more than our gas tank, something many people are oblivious too.

Not only that but the oil companies are smart enough to realize there not in the oil business but the energy business. Point to example, BP/Amoco is the world's largest seller of Solar panels. Why anybody would think that these companies would stand by and not partake in new energy technology is beyond me.

Re:Not likely (3, Insightful)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 10 years ago | (#7300005)

Why anybody would think that these companies would stand by and not partake in new energy technology is beyond me.

Because a monochromatic world of simple good and simple evil filled with shadowy bogeymen and vast conspiracies is easier for many to accept than the more complicated worldview known as "reality".

Wow, the GAY-O just keeps on comin'! Wow! Wow! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299971)

By The WIPO Avenger [] , 2003-10-18 18:30
(To the tune of Day-O by Harry Belafonte)

Gay-o, gay-ay-ay-o!
Hemos cum when they suck his bone!
Gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay-ay-ay-o!
Michael cum when they suck his bone!

Suck all night on CowboiKneel's bum! (Hemos cum when they suck his bone!)
Suck Cliff's cock 'til the morning come! (Hemos cum when they suck his bone!)
Cum, Mr. Taco Man, taco-snot all over! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
Cum, Mr. Taco Man, taco-snot all over! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
It's six foot, seven foot, eight foot COCK! (Jamie cum when they suck his bone!)
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot COCK! (Jamie cum when they suck his bone!)

Gay, me say gay-ay-ay-o! (Hemos cum when they suck his bone!)
Gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay... (Hemos cum when they suck his bone!)

A beautiful bunch o' balls on Pater! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
He likes to play the game "Hide the Hamster"! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
It's six foot, seven foot, eight foot COCK! (Jamie cum when they suck his bone!)
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot COCK! (Jamie cum when they suck his bone!)

Gay, me say gay-ay-ay-o! (Michael cum when they suck his bone!)
Gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay... (Michael cum when they suck his bone!)

Cum, Mr. Taco Man, taco-snot all over! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
Cum, Mr. Taco Man, taco-snot all over! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)

GAY-O! Gay-ay-ay-o! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
Gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay-ay-ay-o! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)

-- The WIPO Avenger []

Batteries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299975)

Hydrogen fuel cells are at last becoming a viable alternative. These are big batteries that run cleanly for as long as hydrogen is supplied, and which might power anything in or around your home--notably, your car.

Since when are they batteries?

Thermal Depolymerization (3, Interesting)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299978)

I think one technology that has great potential for both recycling and reducing our need out foreign oil is "Thermal Depolymerization". Essensially, TDP uses heat and pressure to digest any hydorgen or carbon based organic material into it's base components + oil and gas.

This technology had a couple false starts and inital designs sucked in terms of ROI for energy spent, but company called "Changing World Technolgies" built a demonstration plant that worked and then built a plant next to a turkey processing plant that digests the left overs from the turkey plant into 40 weight oil and gas (which it uses as fuel in the first stage of the digester).

*puts down the pom-poms* I think this technology is great. It's not perfect because it still keeps us dependant on oil (just not oil from foreign contributors) however, I think it's a step in the right direction.

I went looking for the link I read in the Discover magazine and it seems dead, so I've put in the google cache link instead.

Anything into oil []

Fuel Cells?! (0)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299991)

This is ridiculous.

The Economist is some sort of high-and-mighty, very-smart-people magazine, right? So you'd expect their tech summaries to be clear, concise and accurate, right?

Fuel cells are a method for storing energy. Storing. Like a battery. Saying "we'll all run on fuel cells" is like saying "we'll all run on capacitors" or "we'll all run on car batteries". The energy to charge those fuel cells has to come from somewhere. Why is an energy transport technology being touted as the solution to power generation problems?

Furthermore, don't modern crops require petroleum-based fertilizers to maintain their high yields? As in, it takes several liters of petroleum to make one liter of ethanol from corn. Ergo, corn-a-hol is a good idea if we have too much fucking corn---which we do; subsidies make it that way---but have nothing to do with growing cheap energy.

Both of these methods---touted as the end of the oil age---are just ways of putting oil behind the scenes. Whether fossil fuels power the electrical plant that supplies the energy for your fuel cell charging station, or are poured into the ground to make that oh-so-clean ethanol. (Hmm. I wonder if 'cornahol' could catch on.)

--grendel drago

Chickens++; Egg.hatch(); (2, Insightful)

Dr. Bent (533421) | more than 10 years ago | (#7299994)

"The only long-term solution to this connected set of problems is to reduce the world's reliance on oil. Achieving this once seemed pie-in-the-sky. No longer. Hydrogen fuel cells are at last becoming a viable alternative."

Oh fantastic! I just zip right on down to the Ford dealership and pick myself up a Hydrogen powered car. Then I can go to the nearest gas station and fill it up with liquid Hyrdogen. I'm sure it'll be cheaper than the $1.40 a gallon I paid to fill up my car this morning.

Lets get real here, people. Nobody knows for sure if fuel cell cars will actually work in the marketplace. There are lots of hurdles to overcome like safety issues (New for 2005! The Buick Hindenburg XT!), distribution and production issues for Hydrogen, not to mention the fact that fuel cells may be a tough sell to consumers as long as they can buy gas at a reasonable price.

Fuel cells may be a good idea...they may be a fantastic idea. Or they could be the next Segway. A wait and see attitude is more prudent here before we go throwing out 100 years worth of research and development on the internal combustion engine.

Bull S%&T (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7299999)

This article is such environmental crap. How many times does it say we are "addicted" to oil. Addicted? We use oil we aren't addicted. We breath air but no one refers to that as an addiction. Are we addicted to food because we can't live without it? No. We require food to live just as our cars require oil to run.

The whole article was based on a lie repeated near the middle.

"The transport sector is a principal source of global emissions of greenhouse gases."

Cows are a bigger source of greenhouse gases in this country than cars!

And unproven global warming cannot be proven to have been caused by anything we have done.

If the Mt ST Helens eruption years ago had been a man made disaster we would have all jumped on shuttles to go to the moon in fear of our ruined earth. Instead we all watched in amazement as the planet shrugged it off.

I doubt it (1)

Bendebecker (633126) | more than 10 years ago | (#7300008)

"government needs to promote them"
I doubt it will though. It wasn't the government that brought the world out of the stone age, it wa the market. People with stone age weapons were getting bitchslapped by the bronze weilders. The result was they switched to bronze to avoid getting smacked around. Now lets look at this from the prospect of oil. The people with oil are smacking down all these poorer nations who don't have it. You think they are just going to switch? Nope, they'll mainatin there monopoly on oil and more importantly oil derived products. Ever drive a car? Ever use something made of plastic? Chances are your using a perto derived invention. We'll use oil in the same way the gold miners handled gold, tehy stuck with it till they had panned all the easy to get gold. Then they disappeared. The same with oil. We will use till its wither all gone or too expensive to use anymore and then we'll switch to something else. And to those who think by then it will be too late, we still have insane amounts of coal around to hold us over. And even if we use all taht up, we can still use charcoal to make 'water gas'.
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