What, Me Worry?

Here's one more, and then I'll switch partners.

Conservative Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, Chairman of the Projection Forces Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee, gave an hour long presentation on Peak Oil to the US Congress on Monday. Here's the transcript.

This quote about sums it up:

But I tell the Members if the problem of Social Security is equivalent to the tidal wave produced by the hurricane, then this peak oil problem is equivalent to the tsunami.

Congressman Bartlett will again be speaking on the subject of Peak Oil (it just looks more important with caps, doesn't it?) somewhere around the second week of April.

Peak oil is also the cover topic of this month's Infinite Energy magazine. However, judging from the title of the magazine, these guys have probably been laying wishful bets that Peak Oil is going to happen sooner rather than later, imagining themselves starring in the role of "science nerd-turned-hero" and wondering whether to return Claudia Schiffer's or Jennifer Lopez's grateful phone calls first. The editorial is a bit more optimistic than Congressman Bartlett's speech, and downright Pollyanna when compared to the Peak Oil site I linked to below. I was even breathing more easily for a while, looking at my minivan with a creative eye, wondering how it would look with a little windmill on top. (Could I get one in the same shade green as the factory paint?) Then, I noticed the back cover ad for a DVD outlining all the latest and greatest on cold fusion research.

I have no idea what "cold fusion" is. Best guesses: either a new Norwegian-Thai cuisine, or some sort of way hip jazz melange.

I was enlightened by the resident genius at work (really, he is) who tried to explain it to me several times, and then dumbed it down to third-grade level after my blank stares overpowered him.

Mr. Genius: You know that a nuclear power plant generates energy...electricity, right?

Me: Yup. Electricity. Good for lights, computers, pluggy-inny things...I'm with you so far. Go on.

Mr. Genius: Sigh. Okay. You know how Three Mile Island is a nuclear plant and remember it released...well, do you know what radio-...do you remember how TMI got really, really hot one day?

Me: Oh yes! That was bad, right?

Mr. Genius: Yes. That was bad.

Me: I remember. They made a movie with Cher and Meryl Streep. Cher was so good in that.

Mr. Genius: Uhhh...I'm not sure...was that about Three Mile Island?

Me: I don't know...are there dingoes in Harrisburg?

Mr. Genius: Anyway, TMI got really hot which was bad, even though it produced electricity, which we need.

Me: Which is good.

Mr. Genius: Which our current society needs. I didn't say it was good.

Me: Are you still reading Noam Chomsky?

Mr. Genius: So, cold fusion could possibly, maybe, be used to produce roughly the same kind of energy as TMI, but without needing to get quite so hot.

Me: It would be cold.

Mr. Genius: Well, not exactly cold, but less hot.

Me: So warm fusion.

Mr. Genius: No. Cold fusion. Technically warm, but relatively cold.

Me: (Crickets)

Mr. Genius: Anyway, it's all a bit of a Holy Grail. Some scientists think that cold fusion is pie-in-the-sky. There have been a few claims of cold fusion in the lab, but nothing that has been replicated."

Me: What flavor pie? (Me here: I love that joke)

Mr. Genius: I have to shelve some books now.

So there you have it. The only optimistic report I've read comes from a group of guys who are wearing not just tin foil hats, but entire tin suits, their heraldry emblazoned with

Holy Grail indeed.

You can just fill my Holy Grail with something bubbly and pass me a piece of pi.

By the way, just kidding on the scientist/nerd thing. I know plenty of scientists aren't the stereotypical eyeglass-wearing, pocket-protector-owning geeks.

Why lookie, here's a sexy scientist right here:

Oh wait, that's Jeff Goldblum just playing a sexy scientist. With glasses. Here's one for real.

David Suzuki

Okay, maybe the eyeglasses are an apt stereotype. But just look at that...fig leaf.

Next blog entry: Something completely different.


Michael Plank said...

You so crazy...

Oh, and we're out of whale blubber.

josetteplank.com said...

You won't be laughing so hard once I buy a push mower, Mr. Pluggy-Inny.

anne said...

Ha! That is NOT David Suzuki - it's Kenny.

josetteplank.com said...

ROFLOL!!!!! You're RIGHT!

Anonymous said...


Where do you find all of this stuff? I tried to explain this to my mother and father-they think I'm a loon. I told Maryann that she's going to have to tend the fields and be in charge of making pies, jaring and canning as well as helping with the bee-keeping, and she dismissed me. I'm not quite convinced I should allow her into the compound. (there is a possible opening here for you)-I know I can count on the old lad to kill things and gut them and stuff like that.

I asked Nancy if she thought we should get a wood fired stove or an old coal stove for in the kitchen. She told me that we are getting a regular nice electric stove and to get over all of my nonsense-that this oil news is nothing new. And yet she just dismisses my proposed solutions. I told her that it's going to take an awful lot of solar panels and wind mills to power that dam stove.

Another question mark as far as entrance into the compound.


p.s. I just orderd a used copy of the U.S. Army field manual on wilderness survival.

josetteplank.com said...


The name of our camp will be "The Tin Foil Compound". Let them laugh! Call us Cassandras! Oh, I remember well the story of the grasshopper and the ants....

The Harrisburg Patriot News just ran a story on Peak Oil in this past Sunday's Review section.

Heck, I don't know whether or not it's going to come to killing boar with our bare hands (I'll leave that to your dad, too.) But even the Dept of Energy admits that this will happen...just not quite so soon. 2040 is the date they're aiming for, I think. The question is to what extent we've transitioned. Or have been able to get at the hard-to-get-at oil.

Right now, I just have my ant antennae up. And it never hurts to have an extra bit of rice and beans on stand-by, anyway.

And there ain't nothing wrong with having a solar panel or two. Check out this: http://www.solarhouse.com A home completely fueled by solar. And in Maine. Now, why aren't these things being built instead of the McMansions up the block?

Invest in BP Solar! Invest in Scwinn! Buy Dr. Bronner Soap! ALL-ONE-GOD!

I just bought Tom Brown's Guide to Wilderness Survival. Get it. This guy was trained by Stalking Wolf. Very spiritual and well as practical stuff. You'll dig it. I've only read two chapters, and already I know I could make an insulated lean-to if I had to. (There's a song there.)

Sorry I missed you last week. Daughter had last-minute baseball practice. We'll be up soon.


Anonymous said...

Boy, that husband of yours really DID go to WMS didn't he? I recognize his 'tone' in his comments.

That was mad cool, by the way.


Joey K said...

I don't think it's David either, only Kenny could grow a palm leaf that size in Sch Co

Anonymous said...

Thats a funny write up....

I think that pic is computer generated.

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