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Since I became unemployed on Jan 10, 2012 I have had no interviews and no prospects because employers in the Denver Metro area just don’t hire older people, I’m over 50. Due to the lack of money I rely 100% on free WiFi hotspots. I hope to start posting again on a fairly regular basis.

Thanks

According to an article IBM has designed a dish to concentrate sunlight onto Photovoltaic cells keeping them cool using water. Ahhh, maybe people have a really short memory but this is nothing new. Moving onward….

My preference is sill using a dish to focus sunlight onto a stirling engine which gives and impressive 25-35% efficiency in converting sunlight to heat and electricity with far less effort. Stirling engine also last a fairly long time with little maintenance. What IBM is proposing is good for areas with water or that could use the dish to desalinate water but not in a desert, but stirling engines with concentrating mirrors are perfect.

I’ve now been unemployed coming up to 2 1/2 years and I am finding new freedom in the lack of work. I just have to get use to being so poor.

Disasters are never fun and neither is having your daily routine upset in order to survive one. It can be stressful and full of things that can go wrong.

I’ve been checking out a variety of blogs and websites advocating a variety of ways to survive a disaster. Most people who prepare for a disaster tend to follow textbook advise by supplying themselves with modern conveniences and technology. For a short-term disaster that is often fine but not if it should last six months or more. What do you do then?

Here is an example of what someone might do to prepare themselves:

Buy a diesel powered electric generator, either a tracktor or plow and stock up lots of canned
food and other personal care items. So along comes someone who didn’t prepare but has weapons and takes what you have which took you so long to stock up in the first place. Then what?

If your scour blogs like I do you will come across those people who advocate that you militarize yourself with weapons and follow military survival techniques. Although helpful will not help you survive if there are also other people competing for the same resources in which case you both fight it out until one is dead, one gives up or you both decide to work together. That’s a lot of wasted energy and it only perpetuates the very mindset that created the problems in the first place.

Here is why I don’t recommend following prescribed plans for surviving a disaster:
For all modern things that require a liquid fuel such as a generator or tractor need a huge supply
of liquid fuel which means a large tank to hold it. Eventually you will run out then what?

Then people think about getting a plow and an animal, horses or buffalo to pull the plow which requires a large amount of feed (namely grasses and other plants) or large enough field for them to graze in. Don’t forget you have to train the animals and yourself too. That only adds to the work needed.

Instead here is what I recommend:
I say do away with conventional thinking and do the work yourself in small manageable sized plots. Figure out how much you can work in a day then figure out how much you need to feed yourself and that is the amount of land you need. Masanobu Fukuoka – a Japanese Permaculturist – said anyone can feed themselves on a quater acre by following his [permaculture] principals.

It is actually not that hard to feed yourself by building a quarter acre food forest which grows a large variety of edible plants which has built in resiliency. What does that mean?

When the potato famine happened in Ireland it wiped out the single type of potato they grew. If on the other hand they had grown a variety of potatoes like Peruvian people do then they would have survived the potato famine because not all of the potatoes would have been effected. That is what resiliency is about. If one thing fails not everything fails that means you don’t fail either.

So, if you are going to prepare yourself to survive a long-term disaster, which means you can also survive short-term disasters, you prepare yourself in such a way that includes resiliency in your plans. It also means not relying on any modern techniques, machines, technologies and so on. That way if someone with weapons should pass your way you stand a better chance of surviving because you don’t have anything worth stealing.

Whenever I bring up the topic of Peak Oil people often tell me we have so much oil left we have nothing to worry about. I’m not sure where they are getting their information from other than what has become the rhetoric after 2007 when the way reserves are calculated which include oil from synthetics (like pyrolysis), Canada Tar Sand, and shale. First oil from pyrolysis depends on waste or trash and if we produce less trash there is less syn-oil. Second is Canada Tar Sands which is a mix of heavy oil with sand that requires millions of gallons of water and a huge amount of natural gas to become something liquid enough to put into a pipeline, but no one ever mentions that. Last Shale oil is not even in production at this time that I know of, but its still counted.

Turning trash or waste into oil has maybe a return of 2 or 3 to 1, Tar Sands after refinement and ready for sale of 1:1 at best and Shale would have the poorest of all returns in the negative, using more energy to bring it to market than it would return. Relying on these fuels is a definite sign we are running out of petroleum faster than politicians, economists or the industry will admit.

Critics of Hubbert like Bjorn Lomborg, Michael Lynch, and Dr. Michael Mills disagree with the Peak Oil view, or Dr. Marion King Hubbert who came up with the Hubbart’s Peak on oil. They believe the Peak Oil argument, decline in oil to be flawed. Not sure how that can be since resources all go through the same path of discovery, increase in use, and decline. All resources. Instead they believe that a rise in price of oil will bring new supply and demand into balance as not to result in intolerable economic damage. This makes no sense if a resource is running out and there is no more to be had. John Hofmeister, former President of Shell Oil when interviewed on CNBC in February of 2012 said, “I think OPEC is about maxed out. When people talk about spare capacity in OPEC, I don’t see it. I just don’t see it coming through and I’m not sure it’s there. And it’s not just that they’re greedy, but they’re really producing what they can produce.” Followers of Hubbert’s Peak believe what’s left is much smaller than actually reported. As oil becomes scarcer and more expensive, critics of Peak Oil believe its increased price will encourage an advancement in technology to develop alternatives. Just what these “alternatives” is a big question. In the U.S. if we were to convert all the farmland into fuel production like biodiesel and alcohol from cellulose we would just meet 50% of our liquid fuel needs. Where’s the other half coming from? Some claim a land mass the size of Texas could meet all our needs in liquid fuels, that would be for cars only not trains, planes, ships or anything else. Also no one bother’s to address the other half of a car that is made from petroleum like lubricants, wire insulation, seats and carpeting and so forth.

Lomborg, Lynch and Mills must have blinders on or promote a very narrow view of reality. It is such detractors that are keeping the world from moving forward. Unless we address the fact so many things in our society are made from or are dependent on petroleum we will never find an answer to the decline in oil and prices will not over come the fact that we are running out of oil. I would like to see a real conference where every view brought forward their data and information openly discussing, debating and publishing the information. We can’t go on someone’s word that something like price will cause some magical increase in oil finds or production. These types of views need to brought out for what they are, lies and distractions from reality.

I use to love Mother Earth News in the past but this recent edition leaves me wondering if they haven’t sold out. I won’t be kind so if you like the magazine avert you eyes and visit someone else on the Internet.

I picked up a recent copy of Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series devoted to “Green Cars.” Every car in this edition gives false hope, is nothing more than “Green Washing”, and is pure junk. Here is why I say this:

  1. Everything about the car is dependent on petroleum from lubricants, seats, carpeting, dashboard, wire insulation, hoses, belts, lenses in the lights, bumpers, dials, steering wheel, electronics, filters, fan(s),  inside door panels, handles, knobs, buttons, and parts not named. This is at least half of every car, even an electric one and no one is working on replacing all that plastic with something better that is not petroleum.
  2. Flex fuel or alternative fueled vehicles are a joke. If we would have had them in the late 1970s or even early 1980s it would have been different. Now we can’t even grow enough food to feed the world with increasing droughts, lack of water, land degradation, over use of chemicals, salting of the land. Need I give an example – Australia which is now known as the canary in the coal mine because all these conditions exist right now in Australians which can no longer feed itself.
    One more thing: We will never be able to grow  our way out of any liquid fuel crisis without committing suicide and bringing about our own extinction. (I dare anyone to try fuzzy math on this one.)
  3. Algae the magical bio-fuel. It takes more water, energy and to feed it than it gives back. Sure there are some interesting solutions like using sewage to feed the algae but that still leaves the huge energy input and water needs (even sewage needs to be diluted and if it has too many industrial chemicals it can’t be used). Then there is all the petroleum that is still used from the lubricants, plastic in which the algae is grown, tubing and things not mentioned. Algae has some of the worst returns among all the renewable fuels, less than 1. This would includes growing it in the lab then transferring it to production, and finally turning it into biodiesel. Not a money maker, a money sink hole. [http://environmentalresearchweb.org/blog/2011/01/the-eroi-of-algae-biofuels.html]
  4. In many articles I have come across authors want to state how much in bio-fuels we could produce.  Well hold onto you seats because you will be surprised by this: 25 to at most 50%. Yeah, that’s right. Even the most optimistic which have us converting all unused farm land, and then some, claiming we could produce only half of our liquid fuel needs. Get ready to say goodbye to the automobile as we can’t produce enough for you, the very rich and industry too. All of you poor schleps will have to walk or find another way around. It will be the final coffin nail for family farms too.

Mother Earth News provides no real solutions for use to use rather it pushes only the “keep things as they are status quo.” Mother Earth News I am really disappointed in you. You used to be so progressive and forward thinking.

I’ve now been saying for the last two years at least that we need to stop hanging onto the current shit and find other, better solutions.  Here are some of my suggestions:

  1. Improve public transit that gets rid of the bus and puts in its place PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) systems within city limits that ties into light rail and finally a comprehensive rail system – all of it electric.
  2. A heavy comprehensive Food not Bombs-Raised beds-Permaculture-Food not Lawns-Victory Gardens education to grow more food right outside the door where people live. Even apartment dwellers can grow food. And HOA’s who are against such things they can just … (you fill in the blank).  Growing food where it is eaten reduces our energy needs from huge factory farms and the thousands of miles our dinner travels to get to our table. Convert streets to green spaces growing free food for anyone and everyone,  and much more.
  3. Decentralize everything, especially energy (electricity & methane) production. Have every home, apartment building, business make their own renewable energy with excess fed into the grid where a central office mainly run by computers control the flow. Excess electricity can easily be stored as compressed air (which is better than batteries) and in other ways to meet spike in demand or overnight.
    A full across the board decentralization of everything is needed because it is the centralization of everything that has put us in the mess we are in.
  4. Here’s a big one, we have to drop all our current ideas of how things are to be done and create whole new ones. This includes getting rid of all economic, profiteering, money or wealth making ideas. That’s right. We have to drop all of that, and more. Things can no longer be done for the sake of making money but rather we have to do things for the sake of survival and something better than war, killing, slavery and the like. Profiteering has to come to an end. We have to get rid of the notion that the only driving force to get things done is for the sake of making money. We have to create a new currency, one based on human and planetary needs. If you have any doubts that this can be done just look at how cooperatives work, why people volunteer, and the new exchange or barter taking place in both Greece and Detroit after their crisis. People just rolling up their sleeves getting things done because they have to be done not for money.
  5. Finally the only thing that will allow us to create a truly Sustainable lifestyle is to get rid of “Planned Obsolescence.” That’s right, we have to create things that last virtually forever, can be repaired over-and-over again, or can be broken down in such a way that it can be reused – even at the molecular level. We have to follow Mother Nature’s way of doing things and create “zero” waste. It will mean the final coffin nail in economic thinking and any notion of making a profit or business as usual. We will have to rethink what it means to work, live, and play. Why not have a 20 hour work week, lots more time with our family and friends, and never have to worry about being able to feed, house, cloth ourselves, or anything else for that matter. Once profit motive is gone everything is possible because nothing will be unaffordable or “too expensive.”

These are just some ideas floating around. All I have done is put them down here for you to see. I make no claims that they are all my own, I just take what I learn and find relationships. I hope it has been of help to you.

 

I have been working for the last month very hard to find gainful employment and I have come to the conclusion that there is none. It no longer exists and we are not out of this continued recession, depression. In my book, Recession Survival Guide self-published in 2009 I said it wouldn’t be over before 2015. Now it looks like it will never be over. Anyone who thinks they are being told the truth by the news owned by the companies that manufacture the news is dumber than shit and ought to be composted. At least that would create something of value. The U.S. has an enormously large number of dumb people as compared to other industrialized countries. Reagan even lowered the I.Q. scale by ten points to raise the national I.Q. level.

The future on the current path looks very bleak. I have to back up for just a moment before going forward.

Robert Hayes who likes to comment on everything I post followed me from Facebook where all he did was post negative shit and now he is here doing the same. Here is my response to one of his comments he posted – a quote from Wikipedia:  “Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production is expected to enter terminal decline. Every oil well and field exhibits similar characteristics of being discovered, the logistics to extract the oil being put in place, a peak or plateau of production, followed by a decline.  US domestic oil production peaked in 1970. Global production of oil fell from a high point in 2005 at 74 mb/d, but has since rebounded, and 2011 figures show slightly higher levels of production than in 2005, as the definition of “oil” was changed in 2007 to include synthetic liquids.”   [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil]

So yes, the world oil production has gone up only because of fuzzy questionable bookkeeping not because there was anymore oil found all of a sudden which had peaked in the 1960s. We have only found less and less oil fields and wildcatters are coming up with more dry wells each year. Robert Hayes only finds enough information to support his point of view and doesn’t spend hours reading or cross references to see what he is saying is factual or supportive.

I say all this to show how so many people keep saying that we have lots of oil left for(ever), a long, long time. Discovery peaked in the 1960s and the entire planet has been surveyed so the question is where, or how, are people finding “new” oil. It is scientifically impossible.

So much for that.

The closer we get to the end of cheap fossil fuels the fewer choices we have or time left to act. Former president Clinton, Matthew Simmons an energy investment banker and adviser to George W Bush, and Dick Cheney all have said in one form or anther that we are running out of oil. Whether directly or indirectly stated we are on the downside of the Peak Oil curve and headed downward at an alarming speed. As Cheney said, “That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day.” That means replacing that which we have lost due to decline. There has been plenty more people in the last decade that have come forward to say the same thing from former geologists, oil explorers, and people who worked with oil production information (like the U.S. Energy Dept.).

No one agreed when Peak Oil will or has happened. That doesn’t matter so much as it will, or has and we are doing absolutely nothing to prepare for no more oil! Technology will not save us like some white knight or some savior, they don’t exist. Technology is utterly dependent on cheap energy to work or for its production. Without oil absolutely everything collapses. Do a mind exercise and research to find something that isn’t dependent on oil in some way or another. (I’ll give you a hint: You find a single thing that isn’t dependent on oil.)

I am afraid this country is being pushed into a Mad Max scenario where people will fight over whatever scraps they can find.  In the book, Raising a Nation of Whimps by Hara Marano, editor-at-large and the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, has been watching a disturbing trend: kids are growing up to be wimps. [from Amazon]

People in the U.S. have little or no backbone or character worth acknowledging.  That said I have come across some very remarkable people but when it comes push to shove many of them would whimp out.  Too many who would give in to anyone doing violence.

What does the future hold for us. Nothing good. There will be those who will know how to grow food, process fiber and produce enough energy for their needs. They just lack the ability to defend themselves against the people who would rather steal what they need than produce it on their own. My wish that everyone learn to defend themselves, be able to produce what they need, create a strong reliable resilient community in order to survive the decline in cheap and once abundant fossil fuels. It will be through these communities that people will be able to not decline to far into a dark age and find solutions for a real sustainable  future based on the principles Nature has set forth where there is no waste, everything has worth.

My mantra has become: Learn to grow food & fiber. Learn to become energy independent (that doesn’t mean using only trees for fuel or you will see a localized Haiti effect).

 

My last post asked what will happen with people who have a disability and I got exactly what I expected no reads and no comments. That speaks volumes.

I a very short time I will have to take a dead-end job just to pay the bills because Not the governor of Colorado not any city I contacted here where I live care about creating any sort of transition plans or real sustainability, durability, resilience policy. It seems the state I live in could care less what happens after cheap energy is gone and that will happen soon.

A now former CEO of Shell just a few years ago predicted we will have $3 per gallon gasoline by 2010 and we did, and do.  He also said to expect by 2015 the price to be $5 per gallon of gasoline.  We are heading that way and I have no doubt we will reach it.

Former president Clinton said in more than one speech or interview that we were headed for Peak Oil soon.  That was in 2006.  He also gave a deadline of 2030 as the year we can expect to run out of oil.  He may have let the cat out of the bag.

Here are some links.  You decide for yourself.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/warning-oil-supplies-are-running-out-fast-1766585.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil
http://business.financialpost.com/2011/04/01/oil-may-run-out-by-2060-hsbc/?__lsa=dcb8baa2
http://www.theinsider.org/news/article.asp?id=0423

At this point the U.S. is fu–ed.  There isn’t enough time to do anything really so here are my suggestions:

  1. Get some land, even within a city.
  2. Reduce your consumption of energy by super insulating your home.
  3. Learn to grow food and save seeds from one year to the next.
  4. Connect with people near you, within walking distance, to barter and exchange whatever you need.  This would include skills.
  5. Learn to grow fiber, process it and make cloths or whatever else you need. Also learn to grow dye plants.
  6. Grow some plants for easy fuel like sunflower for oil to burn in a lamp. Honey bees for honey and beeswax. Grow your own fuel.

That’s it people.  The other option to fight and defend precious resources is not the answer because those who rely on war and violence will die at some point when they can’t steal anymore because the people who know how to grow food, fiber and fuel will live far enough away for violence to reach them.

The future will change dramatically and we are not prepared.