Posts Tagged ‘Energy’

Sentences (#101)


I’m just trying to think about the future and not be sad.

Bonus rocket porn.

May 19, 2017admin 40 Comments »
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The Islamic Vortex (Note-11)

Could the escalating Sunni-Shia War (intensified by the fracking revolution) take out Saudi Arabia?

(Cold Western indifference would be nice.)

October 22, 2016admin 16 Comments »

Chaos Patch (#78)

(Open thread + links)

Hard history. The new man (and also). Odd comparisons. The medium is the message. Pan-nationalism (and ideological genetics). The Norman hypothesis. Restoring virtue ethics. Why I am not a propertarianist (related). Against horrorism. Democracy in question. Meanings of immorality. Is updating imaginable? The weekly round.

The Fed-media disconnect. More cultural libertarians and stuff. Totalitolerance. Culture war escalation. Politeness works.

“Austrian-like perspectives on China are looking pretty good these days.” Plus, a China-slide primer. ZH on the yuan (1, 2). Stockman on local government debt. Some Chinese counter-spin. Investing in failure.

Nervous about the Norks. Italy’s 15-year flatline. Twitchy Pakistan. Silent in Bangkok. Grimness in Gaza.

Germany rolls over. European comedy hour. Image analysis. International fencing champions. Opportunities. Better still. The Australian way. What people are reading.

Trump fear and loathing watch (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).

Implications of contingency. “If you like your religion, you can keep your religion.”

Computers can’t solve communism. Closer to fusion gain? Exploding batteries. Dehumanized (and retro-chronic) Singularity. Complicated dark matter.
Dead ends. Genes from junk (see also), and synthetic bug bits. Smarter people (or not). Cellular skepticism. HBD blogging season.

Scales of conflict. Solitude or death. Trustless biology. Demand crunch. Talking tools.

What‘s your poison?

September 6, 2015admin 14 Comments »
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Chaos Patch (#65)

(Open thread + links)

Gnosticism and civilization. The tinkered Canon (work in progress). Logic and absurdity. Anticoncepts. Economic pseudoscience. Awkward geezers. Genetic failure. Cat lady culture, and a dead nation’s dead. Deep state jitters. Religion and homosexuality. Modern feudalism. Tabulated doublethink. At the dark gate. Fables of the deconstruction. Mirror of obscurity. Main business of the week. Friday fragments. The weekly round-ups.

Gun control is dead (it’s all about crypto now). A tale of two Elons.

Perversity. More democracy doom signal (seen upside-down by the left). Kicking the can.

OPEC death spasms. Who wants Rohingyas? SA in decay (1, 2). Sweden is just about done. The bit of Europe that’s working isn’t, really. Trudeau was a fascist (figures). “… this bubble is literally too big to pop.” California drying.

Observed evolution. Re-mainstreaming IQ. Let’s talk about global warming (also). OK, we know. A taste of tomorrow.

While we may be able to observe other galaxies movements from the outside, the machinations of our own we have to watch from the inside, a task that NASA compares to ‘trying to create a map of your house while confined to only the living room.'”

Relaxed on human extinction.

Accelerating left lunacy watch (satire and reality long ceased to be distinguishable). The comparatively sane left wants the red guards to just die.

June 7, 2015admin 52 Comments »
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Trough Oil

The oil industry hasn’t even started to go seriously deep and dirty yet. Beneath the Canadian tar sands alone there are 500 billion barrels of bitumen carbonates. It’s way past time for peakers to abandon all hope that hydrocarbon reserves are simply going to peter out from their own finitude.

ADDED: Energy innovation round-up.

April 14, 2015admin 64 Comments »

Oil Pulse (II)

Given two finite natural commodities, one a consumable energy resource undergoing accelerating absolute depletion, the other an indestructible precious metal, there can be no question about the fundamental trend of price divergence, surely? Except, apparently there can. Pure reason (or principled intuition) fails once again:


The world seems determined to thrash us into empiricism.


If there is a trend, it shows up more persuasively in the erratic sequence of consistently-escalating negative oil price shocks.

ADDED: Patri Friedman helpfully points to Hotelling’s Rule.

January 30, 2015admin 31 Comments »

Oil Pulse

Given the price flatline over the half-century to 1973, it’s not easy to be confident that the market has settled into a steady rhythm, but the investment side of the oil business certainly seems to have:



Something like two decades of low energy prices ahead, if the established pattern is prolonged. There’s either a valuable futurist building-block there, or a provocation for futurological discussion.

January 27, 2015admin 34 Comments »

Oil War

This contrarian argument, on the resilience of America’s shale industry in the face of the unfolding OPEC “price war”, is the pretext to host a discussion about a topic that is at once too huge to ignore, and too byzantine to elegantly comprehend. The most obvious complication — bypassed entirely by this article — is the harsher oil geopolitics, shaped by a Saudi-Russian proxy war over developments in the Middle East (and Russian backing of the Assad regime in Damascus, most particularly). I’m not expecting people here to be so ready to leave that aside.

Clearly, though, the attempt to strangle the new tight-oil industry in its cradle is a blatantly telegraphed dimension of the present Saudi oil-pricing strategy, and one conforming to a consistent pattern. If Mullaney’s figures can be trusted, things could get intense:

… data from the state of North Dakota says the average cost per barrel in America’s top oil-producing state is only $42 — to make a 10% return for rig owners. In McKenzie County, which boasts 72 of the state’s 188 oil rigs, the average production cost is just $30, the state says. Another 27 rigs are around $29.

If oil-price chicken is going to be exploring these depths, there’s going to be some exceptional pain among the world’s principal producers. Russia is being economically cornered in a way that is disturbingly reminiscent of policy towards Japan pre-WWII, when oil geopolitics was notoriously translated into military desperation. Venezuela will collapse. Iran is also under obvious pressure.

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December 4, 2014admin 47 Comments »
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The Outer-Right, in all its principal strands, has a horrified fascination with decline. Is this basic proposition even slightly controversial? It’s not easy to see how it could be. This is a zone of convergence of such intimidating enormity that even beginning to heap up link support seems futile. Taking the Trichotomy as a rough guide reveals the pattern starkly:
(1) Religious traditionalists see a continuous decline trend from the Reformation to the most recent frenzy of evangelical hyper-secularism.
(2) Ethno-Nationalists see a process of accelerating demographic destruction driven — or at least lucidly articulated — by left-wing race politics.
(3) Techno-Commercialists see the systematic destruction of capital by cancerous Leviathan and macroeconomic high-fraudulence, undermining economic incentives, crushing time-horizons, and garbling price-discovery into fiat noise.
In each case, the online-ecologies (and associated micro-cultures) sharing the respective deep intuitions of progressive ruin are too enormous to conveniently apprehend. What everyone on the Outer-Right shares (and I’m now hardening this up, into a definition) is the adamantine confidence that the basic socio-political process is radically morbid, and is leading inexorably to utter ruin.

No surprise, then, that John Michael Greer finds many attentive readers in our camp. His latest (and still incomplete) series on Dark Age America resonates with particular strength. The most recent installment, which discusses the impending collapse of the market system, through quasi-Marxist crisis, on its way to many centuries of neo-feudalism, is bound to raise some tech-comm eyebrows, but it nevertheless occupies the same broad forecast space. If people are stocking their basements with ammo, silver coins, and dried beans for Greer reasons rather than Stockman ones, they might cut back a little on the coins, but they’re not going to stop stocking the basement. Differences seem to lie in the details.

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November 8, 2014admin 27 Comments »
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Quote note (#110)

Dig beneath the facile moralism, and Tom Engelhardt offers sentences (even the embryo of an analysis) to delect in:

Since World War II, we’ve generally been focused on the Great Concentration, while another story was developing in the shadows. Its focus: the de-concentration of power in what the Bush administration used to call the Greater Middle East, as well as in Africa, and even Europe. Just how exactly this developed will have to await a better historian than I and perhaps the passage of time. But for the sake of discussion, let’s call it the Great Fragmentation.


The Great Fragmentation has accelerated in seemingly disastrous ways in our own time under perhaps some further disintegrative pressure. One possibility: yet another development in the shadows that, in some bizarre fashion, combines both the concentration of power and its fragmentation in devastating ways. I’m thinking here of the story of how the apocalypse became human property — the discovery, that is, of how to fully exploit two energy sources, the splitting of the atom and the extraction of fossil fuels for burning from ever more difficult places, that could leave human life on this planet in ruins.

Think of them as, quite literally, the two greatest concentrations of power in history. One is now embedded in the globe’s nuclear arsenals, capable of destroying numerous Earth-sized planets. The other is to be found in a vast array of oil and natural gas wells and coal mines, as well as in a relatively small number of Big Energy companies and energy states like Saudi Arabia, Russia, and increasingly these days, the United States. It, we now know, is capable of essentially burning civilization off the planet.

From this dual concentration of power comes the potential for the kinds of apocalyptic fragmentation it was once thought only the gods or God might be capable of. We’re talking about potential exit ramps from history. The pressure of this story — which has been in play in our world since at least August 6, 1945, and now in its dual forms suffuses all our lives in hard to define ways — on the other two and on the increasing fragmentation of human affairs, while impossible to calibrate, is undoubtedly all too real.

This is why, now in my eighth decade, I can’t help but wonder just what planet I’m really on and what its story will really turn out to be.

September 18, 2014admin 4 Comments »
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