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The fragile web by Jack on Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:31 pm
Clearly, the web of supply, demand, and interconnected services is beyond the scope of a single post - or, for that matter, a single thick volume. And yet, sometimes one can glimpse the greater problem by considering a much smaller issue. Let us consider one such example.

On the NBC evening news tonight, the status of the nation's hospitals with regard to H1N1 was discussed. According to the piece, hospitals run a lean operation, with much of the equipment used by intensive care units at 95% of capacity. The discussion pointed out that this could be problematic if large numbers of people contracted H1N1 and needed care.

This tells us something else. Should there be any interruption of the normal flow of goods, the hospitals could face rapid degradation of their ability. If a piece of equipment fails, there are few (or no) reserves to stand in its place. A lean operation also suggests a dearth of spare parts. Thus, any crisis which causes health problems may overwhelm the health...

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1 Comment Viewed 9319 times
Two Mintue Drill by wisconsin_cur on Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:01 am
In (American) football there is the two minute drill. The tactics you bring to bear when you have reached the two minute warning of the second half and are behind by one field goal or touchdown. Due to circumstances you play the game differently and are willing to take some chances to try to win in the end. You play in a way that you cannot afford to the previous 58 minutes.

ALOT of progress has been made over the last 7 years since I first heard the words "Peak Oil." First I researched, then I planned and, as Pops would say, I've worked the plan, but I am still behind where I want to be. Not too far behind, a touch down ties, a two point conversion is a win. I can push myself harder and take an extra chance or two beause I am fairly confident that come 24 months my ability to prepare will be effectively brought to a conclusion. There will still be a lot of work to do then but it will be a different kind of work. Opportunities that I have now will be lost.

I am going...

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0 Comments Viewed 47549 times
The fragile system by Jack on Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:03 pm
Is our civilization fragile or robust? Within this question lies the central problem of peak oil as well as other challenges. If robust, then damage and problems are unlikely to create systemic collapse. If fragile, then a single breakdown could propagate like the break lines in a pane of glass.

In the past, we've seen evidence of remarkable endurance. The various European countries faced enormous hardships during the wars, and yet continued as functional societies. Likewise, Japanese society did not fail despite a pair of nuclear strikes. And we can observe other societies that endure a variety of privations.

On the other side, we might note the systemic breakdown in New Orleans post Katrina. Likewise, a decline in housing prices seems to have cascaded into a global economic crisis - one which may not yet be fully resolved. These may suggest that American society, at least, has some vulnerability.

Perhaps long-term abundance and national affluence leads to weakness among part...

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0 Comments Viewed 7974 times
Ten Years and Done Waiting by wisconsin_cur on Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:50 am
On September 11th 2001 my wife and I arrived home from night shifts at a metropolitan hospital to the news that one of the two towers of the World Trade Center was burning. We followed events closely until we watched the North Tower collapse at 930, a mere ninety minutes later. After a few moments passed she asked, "What now?" "We go to bed," I replied, "we don't know what will be asked of us when we arrive at work tonight or how long it will be asked of us."

With the very notable exception of our men and women in uniform, most of us are still waiting to say "yes" if asked to serve our country or sacrifice for the good of our fellow citizens. The nation is divided because we lack a common vision for a better tomorrow. We are not tackling the problems that face us because our leaders do not think us brave enough, strong enough or, perhaps, smart enough to face them. That day taught us that we are not immune to the realities or dangers of a world...

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1 Comment Viewed 74209 times
An open letter to my friend by wisconsin_cur on Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:19 am
I will call him "Gaston." We have been discussiong energy issues and politics via facebook and that venue has some limitations so I would like to respond to him here. It would be unfair for me to post his comments out of context but we are discussing how transitioning to electic power (nuclear specifically) could help us become less dependent upon fossil fuels. He has graciously given me his plan. Below is my response.


I can not claim to be from Missouri but I have always had a good time when visiting and have adopted a “Show Me” attitude to our political parties. I do not trust either of them.

As far as who is willing to actually do what, we need to look at what state governments are doing. I have been following developments of offshore wind in Maine (Dem government and help from a very Republican private citizen Matt Simmons).

Maine Win...

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8 Comments Viewed 75472 times

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