The Moment You’ve All Been Waiting For

Oil at $100 a barrel.

Happy 2008!

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

31 replies on “The Moment You’ve All Been Waiting For”


Cost me $60 to fill the truck last night. WHere the frig is my fusion powered landspeeder?

Well, you could always get that home mini-reactor you’ve always wanted!!

Yep. We just paid $800 to have our oil tank filled. Then we promptly turned the temp in here down to “wear long underwear and 2 sweaters” level. I’m frickin freezing.

Makes me glad I moved from freezing cold, snowy, expensive in the Winters New England, to sunny, warm and temperate Southern Calfornia. Only thing that goes up is our electrical bill for the heat.

My Massachusetts loving mother, however, *enjoys* the chilliness of 58F nights, and 68F days. She kept turning our thermostat down while she was here last week. Cold habits die hard.

Not gonna happen Don. It’s that whole supply and demand thing. The supply of ignorance is huge but for some reson there is no demand for it. I’m in San Diego so I am clueless on the whole fuel oil furnace thing. How long would that $800 tankful of oil last? See there’s more ignorance. And I am trrying to get rid of it for no charge.

I don’t feel so bad now paying the equivalent of $2 a gallon for petrol over here in the UK, but then the exchange rate has been working in our favour for months.

World, meet Sun. I mean come on. We’ve got a giant fusion reactor constantly on that we can tap into. For all practical purposes, it is unlimited energy! How about we fund some intensive R&D to increase solar power efficiency, instead of being so reactive to foreign oil production? I mean, the first few companies to make solar power really cost effective stand to make just obscene amounts of money.

As for me, I’d be happy if we were allowed to drive Vespa scooters at speeds greater than 25mph. That’d be 60 mpg I could be using on my daily commute. Anyone know why there are laws against scooter speed, when motorcycles can go however fast they want? Is it all a clever ploy to keep the public roads free of scooters?

We live in MN. It gets COLD here. We are replacing our furnace & AC w/ a geothermal heatpump in the Spring. It is much more reliable than solar for our climate. :-)

I made my girlfriend watch “Strange Days” last night. There’s a oh-we-live-in-dystopia line about how gas was three bucks a gallon. She laughed, and I told her that back in the mid-90s, that was an awful lot.

They did in Indiana back when I was getting my driver’s license (and thus had to study all the rules). Of course, that was 15 years ago and I haven’t actually checked it again since… *mumble* was hoping someone else would do my research for me *mumble* *cough*


I noticed in I Am Legend, the character is filling up his SUV in the daytime, and the prices at the gas station were left at $6.9x or so. Apocalyptic NYC is awesome.

My sister’s mother in law just had her chimney re-inspected and put in a wood stove for heat (they’re in SE Missouri). Last year, they used 3 tanks of natural gas to heat through the winter, but this year the first tank cost more than the last three combined. OTOH, sis and hubs have 400 acres of heavily wooded farmland to pull wood from.

MWT, could you be thinking of a moped instead of a scooter? I seem to recall that you didn’t need a licence to drive one. Not positive on that. It’s been even longer since I studied for a DMV test.

Becky @11

Yep. We just paid $800 to have our oil tank filled. Then we promptly turned the temp in here down to “wear long underwear and 2 sweaters” level. I’m frickin freezing.

But is this the goal: To put an end to Global Warming?

Todd Stull @17

How about we fund some intensive R&D to increase solar power efficiency, instead of being so reactive to foreign oil production?

What? You don’t think people are working on that?

The going rate for solar power in the 1980s was around 95 cents per kilowatt-hour. That price has decreased significantly, falling to between 20 and 25 cents per kilowatt-hour as of 2007.

The problem, of course, is that coal costs you 4 cents per kilowatt-hour and natural gas costs around 8 cents.

A nuke plant can generate electricity for about 3 cents per kilowatt-hour and a hydro-electric plant comes in at about 1 penny per kilowatt-hour.

Of course Hydro-electric plants are probably harder to build these days than a nuclear power plant.

So this is what these alternative sources are competing against.

To round things out, they’ve managed to get energy from wind turbines down to about 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour but these things need room, and the area has to be conducive to their use. But beyond that, you have to get environmentalists to stop putting up road blocks. When you have problems getting wind turbines built in Vermont, California, and Ted Kennedy’s back yard, you know you have a hard row to hoe.

Interestingly, while Vermont has a hard time getting wind farms built, Texas can claim the largest operational wind farm in the world.

Go figure.

The engineer in me gets annoyed when people call wind and solar and geothermal energy “free”. Aside from the fact that it costs a lot to develop and build the infrastructure to harvest that energy, it still isn’t “free” in the sense that using it has no side effects.

The U.S. uses an obscenely huge amount of energy, most people don’t really appreciate how incredibly massively huge our energy consumption is. If you could draw that much power out of the wind you can bet it would have an impact on global weather paterns. And solar? Using current photovoltaic technology you would have to cover all of Nevada with soloar panels to provide power to parts of California. Clearly that would have an environmental impact.

The point is, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Truly, if someone could come up with new technology to make this stuff more efficient it’d be a boon to the world, but it’s just not that easy of a problem to solve. Dumping more money into it won’t necessarily fix it.

MinstrelOfFunk: I agree. I also take issue with the idea that cow farts are somehow “free.” You not only have to buy, breed and maintain the cows, you must also feed them a not-so free lunch.

#24 – Yes, the outbreak happens in 2009, and the storyline takes place in 2012 (with flashback to the outbreak). In the movie, anyway – I don’t know when the novel is set, and this is obviously rather unlike the novel. Too bad they keep messing up the cool ending of the novel. *sigh*

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