Thursday, May 6, 2010

Warning: Don't read before your morning cereal...

I just read that a box of cereal would cost as much to deliver to the grocery store as an empty box. Basically, the energy spent to get the box there is worth more than the actual food inside the box so whether or not the box contains anything is meaningless as far as energy is concerned.
My theory is that for every frivolous invention like DVRs and iPhones, the exact amount of time and energy will have to be expended to undo the invention. Asbestos is a good example. Every fragment of asbestos has to be reclaimed from the urban world it plagues. Every minute spent inventing and installing asbestos insulation is more than spent locating and removing it. Time can not be saved by expending energy. It's the opposite. Energy has to balance out one way or another. Is there a law of physics related to that? Or is that Oggy's Law? Energy, even energy used to produce Hannah Montana backpacks, is not translated into time saved. The energy used must be renewed and that takes an equivalent amount of time either spent by the earth (taking millions of years) or spent by man (taking millions of lives). There is no time saved ever.

Like, to process oil from slate tar sand it costs two barrels of oil to get one barrel. So for every three barrels of oil you refine from tar sand you have to use two of those barrels in the process of refining and recovery and delivery. And since tar sand refinery is super destructive you could almost claim that refining tar sand has no advantage since all the barrels of oil will be used exclusively in activities related to the refining of tar sand. And as I watch all the boats and resources using oil and gas to recover the oil spilled in the gulf I wonder if it's possible that one day civilization will simply be one gigantic clean up effort. I suspect it will be. Like, all energy will be devoted to restoring the environment to something animals can live in. Which would mean that whatever energy source we invent will be exclusively used to repair the damage done by our use of energy now...which includes the recovery of oil and the current efforts to contain oil (energy) spills. It's cyclical in my mind. We will need energy to repair the damage caused by our use of energy. A generation will devote itself to restoring the world to a pre-energy state, but they will have to use energy to do it which will sentence a future generation to another term of repair and more energy used. It can't ever end. It'll just self-replicate until we live in caves again and shield our skin from the radioactive sun, crawling out to gather bugs when it gets dark. We're all part of gigantic failed experiment by Apple. I think I'm in the control group. What group are you in?

Interesting fact: in 1942 America banned the sale of new cars so all production could focus on guns and planes and tanks. That decision was made after Pearl Harbor. Is the Deepwater Horizon "incident" the new sneak attack?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A possible law of physics, I think it is Newton's third, simply states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Thus, if a car runs into a wall, it will experience a force equal to that it gave to the wall. For every bad deed, ultimately there will be a reaction. Hopefully, this also holds true for every positive deed. I doubt that Newton was looking at his law as pertaining to humans, but I believe it does - the difference is that with humans there may be a delay before payback time, but sooner or later, there will be payback. I think the time frame for the payback is getting shorter and may be escalating at a nonlinear rate - take a look at the population curve. Somewhere in all of this is the notion of Tipping Point, i.e., when you have done a sufficient amount of acting (i.e., producing Hannah Montana dolls), a tipping point is reached, and the land fills fill up, garage sales of Hannah Montana dolls drop off, and the world ends!!

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.