Expanding our moral universe

Energy is a fundamental necessity for life, let alone a vigorous society or civilization. This fact has been recognized by humans for a very long time — Sun, Wind, Fire and Water (in the form of rivers and waterfalls and rain), worshipped by most cultures, are manifestations of energy in one form or the other. The main difference between pre-industrial times and the present day is that we have restricted our worship only to Fire, neglecting the others almost entirely. Why this became the case, and as humanity again pays due attention to the other Gods again, what entities must again return into our moral equations, is what this essay tries to describe.

The motion of the ocean – updated

With the exception of tidal energy, our focus thus far has been on land-based energy sources. Meanwhile, the ocean absorbs a prodigious fraction of the Sun’s incident energy, creating thermal gradients, currents, and waves whipped up by winds. Let’s put some scales on the energetics of these sources and see if we may turn to them for help. We’ve got our three boxes ready: abundant, potent, and niche (puny). Time to do some sorting!

ODAC Newsletter – Oct 21

As temperatures dropped in Britain this week, the political heat over rising energy bills intensified. Prime Minister David Cameron hauled in the utility bosses and demanded action. Cameron claimed “everything that can be done will be done to help people bring their energy bills down…

As nuclear falters, here is a practical, affordable (and safe) clean electricity plan

In the wake of the Japanese nuclear debacle, we need a practical and affordable clean electricity plan that does not rely on new nuclear power. This article presents just such a Plan. New nuclear is absent from the Plan not because of any safety concern, but simply because it fails the “practical and affordable” test. President Obama called for “80% Clean Energy” by 2035. This Plan presents how we can do it right.

Review: Twilight in the Desert by Matt Simmons

A year ago peak oil author Dave Cohen christened 2009 “A Year We Will Live To Regret.” But as it happens, 2010 has brought its own mother lode of discouragement, failure and tragedy. It began on the heels of the bungled climate change summit in Copenhagen, a major blackout in southern France and news of a disastrous crash in Yemen’s oil revenues. Before the year had rounded its halfway mark, it had presided over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. And as if all this weren’t enough, 2010 also saw the sudden and unexpected death of one of the very icons of the peak oil movement, the revered Matthew R. Simmons.

Renewables & efficiency – Feb 25

-Does Facebook deserve the hell it’s catching from Greenpeace?
-Saudi Arabia to export solar power soon, US says
-Energy expert Lovins brings conservation message
-The new wave: Harnessing the power of the ocean

Job Losses Push Need for Energy Bill

Millions of job losses are pushing the U.S. Senate to consider a Jobs and Energy bill, even though Cap and Trade appears to be on life support. What are Five Key Measures that must be in a new Bill to avoid being a “half-ass..d” effort? (term from Sen. Lindsey Graham descrbing limited climate bill)

Throwing our energy at impossible dreams…

“as mankind proceeded to get bigger and bigger we silently crossed a threshold”

Resources and anthropocentrism

Evolution demands short-term thinking focused on individual survival. Most attempts to overcome our evolutionarily hardwired absorption with self are selected against. The Overman is dead, killed by a high-fat diet and unwillingness to exercise. Reflexively, we follow him into the grave.

United States – July 28

– California votes down offshore project
– How Can Obama Pay for Healthcare Reform? How about Linking it to a ‘Manhattan Project for Energy Efficiency’?
– Lessons learned from General Motors’ collapse
– Climate Change and the Future of Southern California: Peak Oil and Climate Change Scenarios
– Is the ocean Florida’s untapped energy source?