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The Virtue of an Oil Change by wisconsin_cur on Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:33 pm
It is a shame that, for the most part, we have stopped changing our own oil. I'm not saying thing itself is so important, but rather the virtue that arises from doing such a small, technically simple but high consequence task for one's self. Changing oil is a straight-forward affair, within reach nearly everyone. When it is completed, one is left with the consequences of their own work. If you forget to put on the filter and oil spills to the ground as you re-fill it, there is no one to blame but the mechanic. If the plug comes loose after forty miles, there is no one to sue but the person swearing in the rear view mirror.

He who changes his own oil also comes face to face with his own waste in a manner that is all too rare these days. Dirty oil must be placed in a bottle of some sort, usually the empties your new oil came in, and carried with all its weight and volume to be recycled. It does not magically disappear like when the speedy lube does the job while you drink coffee and watch...

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2 Comments Viewed 51430 times
The Bridge by wisconsin_cur on Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:56 am
A few weeks ago construction unceramoniously threw me off of the interstate and back into the neighborhoods of Minneapolis/St. Paul. As I followed my route and drove through a very nice (and expensive) neighborhood of St. Paul. I enjoyed the older, modest bet very well kept homes of that upper 10% of the metropolitian area which chooses to live within the traditional boundaries of St. Paul. Had I driven through at a different time the scenic path near the river would be full of beautiful people jogging and biking, talking and sauntering. All fairly oblivious to their privlidge and what lays beyond the natural boundary that I was seeking to cross.

Crossing the river into Minneapolis one immedietly enters a space of high rise apartments occupied, primarily, by immigrants. Three hundred yards from executives, consultants, tenured professors, lawyers and surgeons live cab drivers, hospital cleaning staff and the lady who gets you your latte.

On one side of the bridge are the people...

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1 Comment Viewed 48501 times
Oil consumption vs. Energy consumption by Jack on Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:17 pm
We get an ongoing flow of oil consumption numbers. Isn't it interesting that despite substantial drops in global economic activity - including transportation and shipping - that the amount of oil hasn't declined much? If we in the U.S. face unemployment of 9.8% and U6 unemployment around 17%, then it seems odd that the oil used remains about the same.

Are we, perhaps, applying the wrong metric? Should we, instead, consider the energy we consume? Now if we examine our oil consumption through that lens, then the use of net energy has declined from previous levels. How so? Simply this. Old fields have produced oil with a low energy cost (a high EROEI). Often, new sources have a high energy cost (a low EROEI). So even though we're consuming as many barrels of crude as before, our actual consumption of energy has declined.

Suppose this notion is valid. What does it imply? If (if, not when) a recovery occurs, then the demand for energy must increase. But the available net energy...

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0 Comments Viewed 9587 times
The biggest bubble by wisconsin_cur on Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:59 pm
Globalizations come and go just like other economic bubbles. They just inflate at a much slower rate, often over decades or centuries, so they become an even greater ingrained expectation than other bubbles. The deflation can be as quick as the outbreak of the First World War or as drawn out as the death of the Roman Empire. Like any bubble, however, the way down is as dislocating as the way up is infatuating.

In today's Telegraph Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reports on a story that may well answer the abiding question of when we shall fall from the plateau of our current globalization and begin the roll down the backside into the toilet bowel beyond. China, it seems, is considering the very rationale move of banning the export of many rare earth metals, and restricting the export of still more,...

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0 Comments Viewed 49468 times
Warning signs of the next stage of collapse. by the48thronin on Wed Sep 09, 2009 1:09 am
So those of you who know me, know I am a truck owner driver. My wife and I each own and drive a truck with our own trailer. We are independent, but have an "agent" who chooses "with" us which and books our loads from the people who are trying to book the truck. He gets our signed contracts for each load before we go to pick up the load and negotiates all details of pay insurance requirements etc. He also does the credit checks on customers and decides which will have to pay in advance and which have the credit to pay after delivery instead of before delivery. We do not move households, only industrial, museum, government loads. The customer I am working for now is a years long steady customer who booked the load suddenly this morning when he realized I was empty in the area.

Tonight I am sitting half loaded in a ghost town, a 10 block by 20 block office complex. I am in Irvine California.

Image...

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0 Comments Viewed 3344 times

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