Sunday, May 07, 2006

Hoofing It

In Saudi Arabia, there's an oft-spoken proverb: "My grandfather rode a camel, my father drove a car, I fly in my own jet, and my son will ride a camel."

Here's the American version.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And just how does that hay get made?

You need a tractor, sickle bar mover (to cut the green alfalfa, wire rake (to put the cut alfalfa into the nice rows for the baler), hay baler (to make the hay bales), wagon, manpower, time, and you hope and pray the weather cooperates. You make at least 3 passes on each field to cut, rake, and bale. The tractor runs on diesel, you'll need oil and grease for the mechanical parts, and oil to make the tires.

A horse does not live on hay alone. A horse and harness getup is not cheap.

Of course there is the Amish way of doing things.

It'd be cheaper to ride a bike, isn't that what we see in 3rd world countries.
You provide the power, and you only need to feed yourself and worry about your own waste.

We get the point, but a horse is an ignorant reactive response. How about we start with encouraging folks not to drive hummers and SUV, demand the car companies produce fuel efficient cars and alternative energy cars, build smaller energy efficient homes, etc., etc.

5/07/2006 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We don't have to sacrifice until Bush is out of office.

5/07/2006 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kind of hard to get to work in a horse carriage, but very romantic on weekends.

5/07/2006 2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I think the point is that the US prospered and grew before OIl, we can still prosper and grow. Your point about buying fuel efficient vehicles, homes, etc. is spot on, though. If we could get over the need for a 3800 pound, 450 horse-power, leather interior, satelite radio and navigation endowed penile extension in every garage, we would drive our oil import needs through the floor.

5/07/2006 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This scenario reminds me of a sci-fi short story I read years ago where the grandpa is telling the kids what it was like when he was a boy, only instead of the old "walking to school in the snow, uphill (both ways)" tall tale, his story is about how a big yellow bus came to pick him up, and he didn't have to walk (unlike his grandkids), and how, in the winter the bus had heat, and the school was lit up with electricity, etc. In the short story, the children think grandpa is just making it all up. People have been talking about running out of oil and peak oil since the 70's at least, and it has not happened yet (maybe, with respect to peak oil), but it seems awfully plausible these days. And a world without petroleum is going to be quite a challenge to our lifestyle. We'll need replacements for fuel for cars and planes, and fertilizers, plastics, you name it.

5/08/2006 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TCR, let's lay off the stories about rising gas prices until NASCAR feels the pressure. Then it'll be a real story.

5/08/2006 6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff, Peak Oil is not going to be the end of the world. Oil is just going to get a lot (or maybe not so much) more expensive. We will not in the long term see the equivalent of multi-hundred dollar per barrel oil (at least not 2006Q2 dollars). The reason is that we can reform just about any carbon source; we have vast reserves of coal for example, and everyone seems to love biomass. The Germans made gasoline from coal 65 years ago, and we can do it today. I've seen estimates that such fuels would be economically competitive even at oil prices of less than $100/bbl. The possibility of short term price spikes to lunar levels, prior to getting such plants online exists, but is not assured. Peak oil will not be fun, but with decent energy policy (good luck on that...) doesn't have to be an economic disaster. It could be an economic disaster, but it won't be a return to the stone age.

5/08/2006 9:02 PM  

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