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Sand over Oil

chuck kottke

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Replace the word oil with sand, and see what emerges!



For example:


Today there was a major tanker accident, with over 400,000 gallons of sand spilling into the ocean. Containment was rapid, but over 20,000 gallons of the contents washed ashore, covering the beaches with sand. Rescuers worked frantically to save fragile marine and near-shore environments, washing sand from the feathers of stranded shorebirds to save their lives, and a major cleanup effort is underway to suck up as much of the spilled sand as possible.


In other news, major sand exporting countries vowed to restrict their sales of crude sand, prompting sharp price increases for consumers at the pumps. Sand refineries are gearing up for an unusually cold heating season, where peak demand could send shockwaves through the economy. Market speculation over sand futures sent prices soaring further, as the risk of war in major sand exporting countries fueled speculation of future shortages. The sand cartel agreed to increase production, but only after stalled talks were restarted in Riyadh. The primary reason may be due to fears of inflation if the volatility of sand prices continues to rise as it has.


Also today, a major sand refinery fire has slightly diminished production capacity, even as consumer demand grows. Putting in new refineries is a major industry undertaking requiring large capital outlays, and few investors are willing to forgo a drop in quarter profits for adding new refining capacity. "the price has to start to cause some major pain" said one analyst, adding that the price of crude sand could again top $120 a barrel before any new capacity is added.


I guess what I'm hinting at is this: if we put into the equation all the uncertainties, environmental risks, control issues, market instabilities, and our dependence on fuel commodities such as oil, there's a lot of problems, besides the issue of climate change. Switching to a solar :sunny:economy means no monopolizing the resource, and much less problems with the base materials.

Storage problems with solar? Oh sure - but there are answers: lithium iron-phosphate batteries, advanced flywheels, thermal storage, hydrogen storage in zeolites, pumped storage, biomass, and others.

And that's not even considering the demand side of the equation. 90% of the energy is simply wasted from inefficient designs and layouts - and has nothing to do with our quality of life - it's simply waste, like a leaky faucet!

Anyhow, just me on a soapbox.:P:bulb2: Food for thought though...

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Oh God you still post here?


At times I have read through your oddly phrased posts and agreed with some of what you have to write, but the way you alienate everyone in the tone of how you write it and especially how you reply to comments means that I just stopped reading your posts a long time ago.


And bumping a thread 20mins after you made it doesn't help.

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but the way you alienate everyone in the tone of how you write it and especially how you reply to comments means that I just stopped reading your posts a long time ago.


This. Except for the "a long time ago" part, I try to read a lot of his posts, but I quickly get lost.

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