Friday, February 24, 2012

Oil Scarcity

As of now, the price for a gallon of gas seems to be at around $4 a gallon.  This is the point where people start to lose it, as we've seen before, back in '08.  But what if you couldn't get gas, at any price?  Supply chains drying up has the potential to be very real, and this is a good read from 3 years ago outlining a scenario that was based on what happened in the southeast U.S. back in the fall of '08.  This is an especially good article, as it could have been written today and I wouldn't have known the difference. 

My only point of contention is that the author assumes that "over an extended period of time", alternatives like solar panels and electric cars will be available and we'll be able to return to some degree of normalcy.  I strongly question this.  Implementing these alternatives, especially on a massive scale, would be very difficult in a crisis like the author is describing.  Some would say it'd be difficult in a relatively stable situation, as our time to transition to a system and infrastructure dependent on a different type of energy is long since past. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Proof That A Broken Clock is Right Twice a Day (and That Many are Still Clueless About the Energy Situation)

Out of the presidential candidates vying for Obama's seat, the only one I really like is Ron Paul; thus, he won't win.  Everyone else I couldn't care less about, and Rick Santorum is probably the one I'd want the least.  However, even he can say things that make sense, at least to me.  He recently said on the campaign trail that gas prices helped cause the financial collapse of 2008.  This perspective on the crash has gotten scant perspective, if any at all.  It's usually allotted to subprime mortgages and things of that nature, which on the surface, probably has a lot of merit.  But if you are aware of peak oil and other energy matters, I don't feel that high gas prices can be totally dismissed, as ThinkProgress and the commenters on that website are doing here.

My personal theory on the crash, is that while a lot of people may have been having problems paying their mortgage back in '08 due to already being underwater on their homes, they were making do, albeit by the skin of their teeth.  Eventually, there probably would have been a crash anyway.  But what really brought these events to a precipice were the gas prices.  When gas was over $4 a gallon (and it's heading back there again, as anyone reading this now can attest to), many people had to make the decision on whether to pay their mortgage or put gas into their car.  Each decision can have fateful consequences.  But at least you can miss out on a mortgage payment or two without inviting dire events, aside from the interest going up and bad news on your credit score.  But if you don't buy gas for your car?  It's almost like I don't need to outline the results.  It would be, at best, very difficult for one to get to their job, to shop, to do any number of things without a car, in this country.  So most people decided that not paying the mortgage was a comparative no-brainer, and the economic crash was a result of that.  But at that point in time, gas prices played a role in bringing on that crash, no question about it. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Video of Large Blast in Russia

This is an incredible video; I wonder what was going through those motorist's minds when they saw that extended flash of light.  As for me, I would have been probably thinking "nuclear blast" or "alien invasion".  Also, listen to what I presume is music coming from the driver's radio or CD; a little ironic, in the light of events. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

An Especially Cynical Act by a Rich Man, and That's Saying a Lot!

I don't want one to think that I hate or envy the well-to-do.  I don't begrudge anyone for being wealthy and being able to live well, particularly if they got there through hard work.  But in many cases, that doesn't seem to be what happens.  They're either born into it, or they, frankly, cheat.  I don't know the story behind how this guy made his millions, but judging from this story, I'm pretty certain that he got his riches through one of the two methods I just described. 

This guy, John Goodman (not the actor), is a founder of a polo club in Palm Beach.  A couple of years ago, he was driving under the influence, ran a stop sign, and hit another driver, killing him.  The driver's parents are suing Goodman for wrongful death.  Mr. Goodman came up with a novel idea to protect his wealth.  He adopted his 42-year old girlfriend as his daughter.  This new "daughter" will be entitled to a third of the money in a trust set up by Goodman for his two actual children.  This plays off as a shallow, cynical move by some rich prick to protect his assets, and I really hope whatever court this goes to doesn't fall for it.