Sunday, December 11, 2005

advancement of topic for alternative fuels

We live in a time of impending doom. Actually we’ve always had impending doom, just now we’re aware of it. Let’s lay it out: fossil fuels will not last forever. Using them has led to some huge problems such as global warming and war. But these fuels have become a necessary tool to making our busy lives work, so to say “hey this stuff is bad for us” when our very well being depends on it is an open invite for criticism from all sides. The truth is, we must break the addiction or suffer greater wars and have a dirtier planet- whether it kills us or not. This issue can be divided into two classes: transportation and industrial. So far the best, practical solutions are nuclear power and boidiesel. The benefits from utilizing these sources are: energy independence, clean, safe energy, and affordability. These are practical because they are currently available and have fifty and a hundred years, respectively, of engineering experience and improvements on their technologies.
Before we get into all that, some history is required to better understand where we are and why. The industrial revolution has created within our civilization an appetite, a momentum of consumption that encompasses the whole menu and threatens to eat the menu, and the restaurant as well, if we don’t do something soon. The irony here is that the industrial revolution was meant to set us free by having machines do the work for us, and now with the impersonalized and computerized climate we see today, it seems we are working for them, shoveling coal into a doomed locomotive that’s running full steam toward the edge of the world! Wait, we’re just getting started. Out of the need for more was created the diesel engine, replacing the ungainly and wasteful steam engine. Parallel to it’s invention was born that mighty dreadnaught; the automobile.
1 one hundred years of darkness was to follow
2 soon multiple competitors were to wave their penises in the world’s first hundred year gasoline-based erection war
3
The first patented automobile was the three wheeled Benz Motorwagen, sporting a sleek one horsepower engine. Within the year of 1886 a more powerful car built by Gotlieb Daimler was introduced, and the race was on! (Tim Guiles) Hear the modern world-tummy rumble as the smoke of that fossil-fueled barbeque being fired up wraps its rich, carbon dioxide aroma around the planet! As Tom Robbins so elegantly puts it “any Bozo on the riverbank could have told us that if you keep feeding and feeding and feeding a bonfire, sooner or later you burn up all the fuel and the fire goes cold; or else the fire gets too huge to manage and eventually engulfs the countryside and chars its inhabitants.” Since the industrial revolution we have been consuming more and more as a society and individuals, meaning bigger power plants and more of them. Power generation has come a long ways, but for the most part it is still on those tracks fueling our doomed train, smoking away like there’s no tomorrow. Some day it just may be right. The average westerner today consumes three hundred fifty times the energy of a person two hundred years ago. Our population is immensely larger, too, about ten times larger. “To put it another way, in one year we now consume more than our society did in the whole period from the rise of ancient Greece to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.” (Peter Russell)

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