And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

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And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

Financial crisis? That's nothing

 

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

if i am not mistaken i believe m.king hubbert worked for shell

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

With gas prices having plunged, this is the perfect time to implement a higher gas tax that can be directed ONLY towards the funding of clean and renewable alternative energy. I'd hope that people would not complain about this, as long as it's a reasonable amount, say 2 or 3 cents a gallon.

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

Matrix,

I appreciate your comments. 

I consider that the one-two punch of our current financial scene coupled with a peak in oil production will be completely unmanageable by current world governments and most of the population.

I have been involved in designing and building solar and energy efficient sustainable buildings for 35 years and there is much that can be done. But the numbers are just not there to support the idea that we can convert to a sustainable life style by simply investing in some solar thermal and solar electric panels and maybe an electric car and all will be good.

Until a few years ago I would have disagreed with the point I just made above. But understanding exponential growth and looking at the resources we have available and the sheer size of the population ..... we are definately in trouble. Chris has done an incredible job of putting the facts together for "Joe the Plumber !"

My wife comes from a California farming family who immigrated to Australia in the 60s to farm cotton and wheat. They are very aware of the reliance on oil for their existence. The one thing more dear than oil of course is water. The droughts have decimated their farming businesses. When oil moves into a drought condition, watch out. Basic survival and having enough food to go around will be key issues.

I can only conceive of a de-industrialization of our modern society as a workable solution. I think it is possible to do on a voluntary basis in theory. It will happen in any event, perhaps on a kicking and screaming basis or worse. It does not have to be that way. Horticulture, permaculture and bio intensive farming whether in the urban or rural areas will carry the day if we can prepare ourselves rapidly enough.  Spreading the word and taking action are our best weapons. DVD's here we come !!!!

My major concern is that the wealthy elite will do whatever it takes to make sure that they have enough (of whatever ) to see them through a perceived crisis.( Send the masses to their misery but preserve my lifestyle.)  History tells us this is true. We need constant vigilance on this point to avoid being sold into slavery so to speak. Or maybe that allready happened in 1913!.

So we will dig out now. Keep swingin ! 

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...
ckessel wrote:

Matrix,

I appreciate your comments.

I consider that the one-two punch of our current financial scene coupled with a peak in oil production will be completely unmanageable by current world governments and most of the population.

I have been involved in designing and building solar and energy efficient sustainable buildings for 35 years and there is much that can be done. But the numbers are just not there to support the idea that we can convert to a sustainable life style by simply investing in some solar thermal and solar electric panels and maybe an electric car and all will be good.

Until a few years ago I would have disagreed with the point I just made above.

 

WOW......  that IS amazing, because I used to run a business doing the exact same thing.....  and I too no longer believe  "that we can convert to a sustainable life style by simply investing in
some solar thermal and solar electric panels and maybe an electric car".

I think you need to have had some experience working in the energy field to get a feel for what it actually is, and the numbers involved.  Energy is such an intangible thing...

I don't think we should give up trying to achieve some form of sustainable energy, but anyone thinking we can run Business as Usual with alternatives is simply dreaming... 

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

While Matrix and his fellow doomsdayers think backwards, China is looking forward.

  • Mainland China has eleven nuclear power reactors in
    commercial operation, seven under construction, and ten more about to
    start construction.
     
  • Additional reactors are planned, including some of the
    world's most advanced, to give a sixfold increase in nuclear capacity
    to at least 50 GWe or possibly to 60 GWe by 2020 and then a further
    three to fourfold increase to 120-160 GWe by 2030.
  • The country aims to become self-sufficient in reactor design and construction, as well as other aspects of the fuel cycle. 
  • Electricity demand is growing very rapidly. 
  • Mainland China is starting to rely heavily on imported uranium to fuel its nuclear power program.

Nuclear Power in China

As for the US:

In my earlier articles on
nuclear power, I reviewed how fissile Uranium-235 drives a nuclear reactor, and
how Uranium-238 participates in the process by transforming into Plutonium-239,
which is fissile like Uranium-235. This phenomenon of nuclear physics lies at
the heart of a conceptual blueprint by which the United States once and for all
can end its energy dependence on fossil fuels and the unstable Third World
nations who export petroleum.

Nuclear Waste and Breeder Reactors

Wiki on Breeder Reactors

America's problems are political and sociological, not technical, geological or economic.

Plenty of info on the web if you take the time and interest. Or do you prefer to keep running around in circles shouting "the sky is falling!"

 

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

hewittr,

We've reviewed "plenty of information" for years and have come to the conclusion that renewables cannot replace the energy density of oil in a sufficient period of time (if ever) to avoid a worldwide energy shortage.

You do a quick search of articles on the web and consider that "research".  It is nothing of the sort.  It is denial and wishful thinking.  All of the articles you posted demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the
obstacles that need to be overcome to implement nuclear power.

I've posted at length about the limitations of nuclear power, but you always seem to ignore those posts.  Perhaps they are too laden with facts for your liking.

Here, I'll refresh your memory:

-
The mean age of the 439 nuclear reactors in the world is 23 years.  The
"life expectancy" of these reactors is 40 years.  That means we'd need
a large number of nuclear reactors built in the next 15 years just to maintain the same number we have now, not to mention adding capacity.

- According to the Nuclear Energy Institute (a pro-nuclear industry group) we can optimistically expect to have no more than four to eight new plants by 2016
If those plants are working to schedule, within budget estimates,
without licensing difficulties, and with continued public policy
support (all of which is far from certain), only then would a new wave
of construction begin.

-
According to the Nuclear Power Joint Fact Finding Report issued in 2007
by the Keystone Center, we would need approximately 700 GWe of new net nuclear
capacity by the 2050s in order to offset the decline of fossil fuels. 
This would require, on average,the construction of fourteen 1,000-megawatt-electric
(MWe) plants each year.  However, before 2050 it would also be
necessary to replace the retiring nuclear capacity (approximately 370
GWe) which would require construction of an additional 7.4 1,000 MWe reactors each year.  Thus we would need to build a total of 21 MWe new 1,000 MWe plants each year to successfully offset the decline of fossil fuels.  This is not going to happen
The best-case estimate of the NEI (previous bullet point) was adding
4-8 reactors in the next six years, for an average of approximately one
per year.

-
To meet the new demand for nuclear electricity we would also have to
substantially expand fuel-cycle facilities (uranium mines, mills,
enrichment plants, fuel fabrication plants and nuclear waste
repositories).  Roughly that would include 11-22 new large enrichment plants (compared to 17 existing),18 fuel fabrication plants (compared to 24 existing), and 10 nuclear
waste repositories the size of the statutory capacity of Yucca
Mountain.  (Statutory capacity is used because the Yucca Mountain
project has been stalled and no new alternatives have been proposed.)

I
could go on but I hope the point is clear.  Transitioning to a new
source of energy isn't a simple matter of waving a magic wand and
watching it happen.  It requires trillions of dollars of
investments, decades of planning, preparation and construction, huge
amounts of fossil fuel and a tremendous level of political will
.  
 

When
you present evidence with real numbers, rather than wishful thinking,
that these obstacles can and will be overcome, I'll start listening.
Until then none of us is going to take your claims seriously.

 

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

Switters

I'm not ruling out short term energy shortages. That problem has a lot more to do with bad politics, the misallocation of capital and public phobia over nuclear energy.  But to believe that this is a permanent shortage misses the point that there is enough fissionable material to last into the indefinite future. Thorium

The Chinese and other Asian countries aren't buying your can't-do attitude. America is another story.

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

Switters, thank you for the down to earth information and insight. I think another fact we might want to consider is peak uranium, as presented by Chris in the Crash Course.

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

"Mainland China has eleven nuclear power reactors in commercial operation, seven under construction, and ten more about to start construction."

To keep this in perspective, China is building 600 coal fired plants on any given day.

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...
hewittr wrote:

America's problems are political and sociological, not technical, geological or economic.

Plenty of info on the web if you take the time and interest. Or do you prefer to keep running around in circles shouting "the sky is falling!"

 

hewittr,

I agree with you that America has political and sociological problems. 

We also have a technical predicament in that the majority of the population can't do math 101 as regards exponential growth functions. This inability inevitably leads to the conclusion that there simply is no problem because it cannot be seen. (the stadium is 93% empty with five minutes left before you have to get free of the shackles.)  Geological limits of known resources and their rates of extraction also can be examined using simple math.

Not sure about the conclusion that America's problems are not economic. One does not have to run around in circles or shout anything to know that there are definately economic problems in America. I have not noticed the sky falling but there are definately problems related to our system of economics. ( The book "Debt Virus" by Jaikaran is a good read )

My take is that almost everyone contributing to the dialogue on this site is very interested and willing to take the time to  inform themselves and others as to the issues which affect us all.  I am for the most part appreciative of the quality of comments and solutions offered. Several, such as Damnthematrix, switters, krogoth and the authors of this site do a lot of research to inform others on the issues. 

Sounds to me like much of the content on this site is info that maybe you would rather not hear. There certainly is good reason to be pissed off about it. Are you planning to purchase any of the DVD's and help get the word out?

ckessel 

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...
ckessel wrote:

Are you planning to purchase any of the DVD's and help get the word out?

Unlikely. Heck, I think last I heard hewittr said that he had never watched the Crash Course because there was nothing for him to learn or some other such nonsense.

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...
Damnthematrix wrote:

I think you need to have had some experience working in the energy field to get a feel for what it actually is, and the numbers involved. Energy is such an intangible thing...

I don't think we should give up trying to achieve some form of sustainable energy, but anyone thinking we can run Business as Usual with alternatives is simply dreaming...

Matrix,

Are you familiar with the "Earthship" design concepts. The authors name eludes me at this time of night but his work is largely in Taos, New Mexico and is a very unique solution to sustainability. I think his work would interest you from what I have picked up from your posts.  

I agree that we need to continue with alternative energy solutions. I am committed to that and am in the process of updating my website with solutions I have developed for the area I live in.  I also am in the early stages of developing a "permaculture" homestead rather that the "business as usual" landscape solutions.  Lots to do!!

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...
mainecooncat wrote:

Unlikely. Heck, I think last I heard hewittr said that he had never watched the Crash Course because there was nothing for him to learn or some other such nonsense.

HMMMMMMMMM.  Sounds like the fellow may be a part of the problem rather than the solution. Well who knows, maybe he will choose to educate himself by doing the crash course, purchase some DVDs and quit whinin about all of the circles he is running in!

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$US75 'a fair price' for oil: Saudi Arabia

$US75 'a fair price' for oil: Saudi Arabia

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/11/29/2433383.htm?section=justin

Saudi Arabia has identified $US75 a barrel as a fair price for oil,
the first time in years the world's leading crude exporter has cited a
price target.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said oil prices needed to return to
$US75 to keep the more expensive new projects at the margins of world
supply on track.

"There is a good logic for $US75 a barrel," said Mr Naimi. "You know
why? Because I believe $US75 is the price for the marginal producer.
If the world needs supply from all sources, we need to protect the
price for them. I think $US75 is a fair price."

Mr Naimi was speaking ahead of an OPEC meeting in Cairo to review
progress on output restraints agreed in the past two months that aim
to remove 7 per cent of its supply from the world market. Ministers
were expected to defer a further production cut until their meeting
next month.

His comments are likely to come as a relief to major oil consumer
countries hoping OPEC will not seek to push crude prices back towards
$US100 barrel during a recession.

Benchmark US crude closed at just over $US54 a barrel on Friday having
peaked at $US147 in July.

The first priority for the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC) is to prevent prices, hit hard by a slump in fuel
demand in the West, falling any further.

Ministers were expected at Saturday's meeting to call for strict
adherence to existing oil output curbs before considering tighter
supply cuts when they meet next in Algeria on December 17.

- Reuters

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...
hewittr wrote:

Switters

I'm not ruling out short term energy shortages. That problem has a lot more to do with bad politics, the misallocation of capital and public phobia over nuclear energy.  But to believe that this is a permanent shortage misses the point that there is enough fissionable material to last into the indefinite future. Thorium

The Chinese and other Asian countries aren't buying your can't-do attitude. America is another story.

hewittr,

You consistently ignore the facts I present and fall back on plattitudes and wishful thinking.

Please show me how China, Asia, or any other country in the world will overcome the challenges I listed in the thread above.  You have done no such thing.

Peak uranium was only one of the many significant challenges to expanding nuclear power that I mentioned.  Yet it was the only one you even haphazardly addressed, by linking to a Wikipedia entry about thorium.  As far as I know, there are exactly zero operational reactors that use thorium at this time.  It is a conceptual and unproven technology.  Yet you somehow boldly assert that it will somewho solve our energy problem, in spite of the fact that the global energy infrastructure is primarily geared to run on liquid fuel - not electricity - and that the obstacles to expanding nuclear power go far beyond the availability of uranium or thorium.

There's a big difference between a "can-do attitude" and wishful thinking.  You don't seem to understand that.

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

Switters

Time and time again you overrate what you think you know. You see a little part of the whole picture and assume you know it all.

Please show me how China, Asia, or any other country in the world will
overcome the challenges I listed in the thread above.  You have done no
such thing. 

So you think China and Asia don't know what you know? I find that preposterous.

Yet you somehow boldly assert that it will somewho solve our energy
problem, in spite of the fact that the global energy infrastructure is
primarily geared to run on liquid fuel - not electricity - and that the
obstacles to expanding nuclear power go far beyond the availability of
uranium or thorium. 

Yeah yeah yeah. They used to say man would never fly either. Breeder technology changes everything.

There's a big difference between a "can-do attitude" and wishful thinking.  You don't seem to understand that. 

I take you and your fellow doomsdayers with a grain of salt. You're descendents of Paul Erhlich, always so sure of yourself and always wrong.

Fast-breeder
reactors more important for India
One among many.

 

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

Breeder reactors?

I am still patiently awaiting word on how those will actually be deployed.  And I don't mean in a thought-piece in Scientific American. 

I mean the real world where concerns over fissile material are real and where lag times, resources, and capital concerns are factored into build-out scenarios.

To my knowledge there have been two actual breeder reactors built - SuperPhoenix in France and a test plant in Japan.  Both are now more or less decommissioned due to numerous accidents and a failure to demonstrate the sort of unlimited power that they were hoped to deliver.

My goal for this site is to have good, solid, fact-driven debates that conform to reality and make liberal use of numbers and knowns.

So in the case of breeder reactors I think we've heard quite enough about how great they are and are ready for the next level of that discussion.  

Please take the time to add up a few numbers (like Switters has done for nuclear). 

  • How many will be needed? 
  • How much do they cost? 
  • How will the security issues be handled? 
  • Where will the fissile material come from?   Who will control it?
  • What's the build-out schedule (how many need to be built per year)?
  • Who will do the building?  How many skilled workers do they have?
  • Assuming we are now moving to an electric society, what sorts of changes to our transportation and electric infrastructure will be needed?  How much will this cost?  How long will it take to get there?

In my case when I run these questions through my rough understanding of how the world works I come up with answers like "$$$ trillions" and "decades".

Which means I see an energy dip in our future and then I wonder how an economy based on perpetual growth gets through that period with enough gas in the tank to build out all these super-duper, massively capital intensive projects.

 

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

Sounds to me like much of the content on this site is info that maybe
you would rather not hear. There certainly is good reason to be pissed
off about it. Are you planning to purchase any of the DVD's and help
get the word out?

No. I've recommended it a couple of times to no avail. If they can't look up the website, they're not going to watch the DVD.
I've donated to this site and I post here regularly. That's my contribution.

Unlikely. Heck, I think last I heard hewittr said that he had never
watched the Crash Course because there was nothing for him to learn or
some other such nonsense.

I've seen the first 16 which told me nothing I didn't know already. The one new thought that I learned from Chris was the exponential function, which I read on his previous website. The exponential function fits well into Austrian Theory which maintains that injections of money into the economy lose effect with time. Karl Denninger made an acute observation that in a couple of years, new money will have a negative affect on GDP. That's when it really gets nasty.

 

 

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...
hewittr wrote:

No. I've recommended it a couple of times to no avail. If they can't look up the website, they're not going to watch the DVD.
I've donated to this site and I post here regularly. That's my contribution.

Well let's not over do it!

As an aside, your effectivness in communicating to others may improve with an attitude change but I do understand .....I'm sure it's the other guys fault in any case. 

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

Chris

We could apply questions like that to any technology of the past when they were in their inchoate stage. They are best answered through market forces as they evolve. The spector of peak oil is driving an interest in nuclear technology, with lot of money and brains behind it. It's something to watch as I've been doing. I subscribe to the observation that need is the mother of invention. It will happen because the need is there.

In my case when I run these questions through my rough understanding of
how the world works I come up with answers like "$$$ trillions" and
"decades". 

That's about right. From what I'm reading, the return on investment is there. What is especially appealing is that nuclear energy has an energy density that far surpasses fossil fuels. 

Which means I see an energy dip in our future and then I wonder how an
economy based on perpetual growth gets through that period with enough
gas in the tank to build out all these super-duper, massively capital
intensive projects.

I attribute that problem to a severe misallocation of capital, a predictable consequence of Keynesian Theory put to practice. At #5, I posted what China is doing and linked to India's goals at #16.

These two books caught my fascination.

The Bottomless Well

Underexposed: What if Radiation is Actually Good for You?

 

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

Well let's not over do it!

As an aside, your effectivness in communicating to others may improve
with an attitude change but I do understand .....I'm sure it's the
other guys fault in any case. 

You'll have to learn the hard way like I did.

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

I was listening to an energy guy this AM (don't recall name) who said that, if we hope to smoothly transition to alternatives, nearly half of the energy will have to come from conservation.  No matter how quickly we build out new energy sources, it just won't happen fast enough.  I have long felt that should be our No. 1 priority, but you just don't hear much about new or improved conservation technologies that will save that much.

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

Good point, Doug.

Also, very key point here, conservation (austerity as some see it) is simply antithetical in the extreme to the American way of life.

Many popular philosophies and ideologies within American culture (conservatism ironically and some strains of libertarianism) can't separate the idea of conservation from the idea -- what I feel quite frankly is an absurd notion -- that someone or some group or organization is "telling them how to live."

Typically, part and parcel of these belief systems is what I can only call the peculiar sentiment of the "right to exploit." I think the Western male psyche has worked so hard for so long to "overcome" and "conquer" nature and many of its constituent parts like, say, disease, that to recognize oneself as being part of a larger system that one has responsibilities towards (you know things like a family, team, or business) is beyond the pale for many of these folks. The result is that unfortunately many of them act like petulant, emotionally mal-developed children when asked to do things like conserve. Frequently they then launch into diatribes against "eco-terrorists" and "ethcial mandarins" or some other equally peevish and empty rhetoric.

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

That mentality is targeted in a quip  I  heard the other day.   "Hummers are really just giant middle fingers." ;^)

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...
hewittr wrote:

That's about right. From what I'm reading, the return on investment is there. What is especially appealing is that nuclear energy has an energy density that far surpasses fossil fuels. 

hewittr,

You never cease to amaze me.  Really.

To accuse me of "missing the whole picture" and "thinking I know more than do"  is just priceless.  If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black, I don't know what is.

The irony is that your accusation comes right after I presented "the whole picture" of all the challenges facing the expansion of nuclear power.  Once again you conveniently ignore the facts when they don't support your dogmatic beliefs and refuse to address each point I made on an individual basis.  Why?  Because you cannot.  The only thing you can do is respond with platitudes about the "march of progress" that inevitably happens when the need arises.  

Once again, hewittr, that isn't proof.  It isn't evidence.  It isn't observation or even a reasonable theory.  It is 100% pure fantasy and wishful thinking.

Your statement above reveals how little you understand nuclear power.  Energy density is important, of course, but the real measurement to be concerned about is EROEI.  And if you had done your research, rather than just typing something into Google and selecting the first article that ignorantly supports your beliefs, you'd know that reliable estimates for the EROEI on nuclear are between zero and 11:1, with most estimates falling in the middle of that range.

As a comparison, the EROEI of light, sweet crude which served as the basis for the dramatic expansion of the global economy during the 20th Century was as high as 150:1.

It is true that the methodology for calculating EROEI for nuclear varies considerably, but no serious scientist has ever made the claim that current nuclear reactors achieve anything close to what oil did for the first half of it's supply curve.  

As for future technologies that might happen, well, they're just fantasies until they can demonstrate success in the real world.  This, as both Chris M. and I have pointed out, is much easier said than done in the case of breeder reactors.

 

 

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

Switters

I'm tired of arguing with you.

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

Funny how you always get tired right when facts are presented that conflict with your beliefs.

But I agree.  I'm tired of arguing with you too.  I think I'm done with it.  Everyone here knows what you think - you've made that quite clear.  Those who are inclined to believe what you write about the energy crisis and climate change will probably believe it no matter what facts or scientific data are presented that suggest otherwise.  So it's a waste of my time and yours.  Let's move on.

 

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...
hewittr wrote:

Switters

I'm tired of arguing with you.

Can't handle the heat...?  Ever thought that maybe you might not be right...?

I'm tired of arguing with you too....  so now we're even. 

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...
hewittr wrote:

You'll have to learn the hard way like I did.

Hewittr,

You are definately a piece of work.  How do you go about learning something the hard way. For example, how do you learn about peak oil the hard way?

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Re: And you thought the debt crisis wa bad...

I'll throw this out to see if there is more taste for debate.  I was just listening to This Week with George Stephanopoulos.  George Will suggested the possibility that all this economic doom and gloom is blown way out of proportion.  He noted that 95% of all mortgages are being paid on time and 94% of us are employed, and concluded this all may just be a financial problem that will blow over in a relatively short time.

Of course, he didn't mention the perfect storm of peak oil, limitations on growth and environmental damage in combination with the financial fiasco.  He apparently dismisses all that.  Any thoughts?

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