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Old 09-29-2011, 04:21 PM   #41
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Absolutely, chapter $16 is devoted to food, and it's addressed in other chapters too. See table of contents in post #1.
That does it. It is going on the winter reading list.
Thanks.
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:34 PM   #42
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Hope you enjoy/find it worthwhile...
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:02 PM   #43
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Heck, I remember when I was a kid that you could get a gallon of gas for 25 cents... even when I was a young adult I could fill the car for $10 to $15...

So, in 40 to 50 years I bet gas will be $20 per gallon... without any major changes to how people do things...

We will only change when gas as a percent of our spending starts to rise.. IOW, I can pay $50 per fill up without thinking about it that much... as long as my salary goes up at the same percent I don't care if gas goes to $100 per gallon..

It is all relative...
It should be noted that the price of Gas in 1920 and the price of gas in 1972 were about the same, particularly when the increased taxes are factored in.
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Old 09-30-2011, 01:55 PM   #44
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I'm about 2/3 the way through the book right now. I think it may overstate the case in many of the scenarios presented so far (I think I'm at the $14 or $16 gas chapters right now).

People will adapt to higher gas prices. For example, take gas mileage. If gas were $20/gallon, I imagine there would be many more cars that get 50+ mpg. At that combo of gas price and mpg, gas costs $0.40 a mile. Not a lot higher than gas costs today if you drive a 11-13 mpg gas guzzler. I certainly wouldn't be curtailing my trips to stores beyond what I do today, since I only go out shopping when I need to. And I would continue to make multiple stops on my trips out, to save gas and time. Considering a trip to a store 5 miles away would cost $4 in gas costs in my 50 mpg gas sipper, I would certainly be making that trip just like I would now (maybe slightly less on the margins if I was just going to grab a gallon of milk or dozen eggs or something really cheap). However the author proposes the complete demise of big box retail stores like Walmart. I'm not sure how running around town to multiple retail outlets saves one's gas versus going to a one stop shop. Maybe I am just living in the right location (in the city) because I have probably 5+ walmarts, 4 targets, multiple lowe's, Home depot's, and many other retail outlets and dozens of grocery stores within 5 miles. I guess I might have a lot more neighbors soon, huh?

Of course the author does point out that living way out in the country (the exurbs) may not be as feasible as it is today.

Interesting read - yes. A likely portrayal of what would happen - your guess is as good as mine!
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Old 09-30-2011, 02:05 PM   #45
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The author doesn't speculate on when gas will reach $20 per gallon, he knows that would be foolish/impossible. And I am sure he doesn't literally mean cars, planes, trains, re-urbanization, food or energy will coincide directly with the stepwise rate of each chapter's $2 increase. I am sure it will all happen gradually.

But we've seen the modest beginnings of this, and IMO there will be dramatic changes. We can argue when gas will become scarcer/more expensive (10 ys, 100 yrs, sooner or later) - but I don't think there's any argument if it will happen, only when. Some of what the author discusses have occurred to all of us I suspect, but there were other outcomes in this book that I hadn't stop to think of.

It's by no means all bad news, in fact the author concludes that while the transition may be painful, we'll all be better off in the end.

For those interested in this sort of thing (admittedly me), I thought it was an interesting thought provoking read, irrespective of whether you agree with the author. It is not a hand-wringing negative scare book.

The $64,000 question for our generation is whether we should be planning for some of this, or won't live to see any of it, I'm inclined to plan for it to some extent. If I'm wrong, at least maybe we've tried to leave the world a slightly better place...

Table of Contents
$4 Prologue: The Road to $20 and Civilization 1
Chapter $6 Society Change and the Dead SUV 17
Chapter $8 The Skies Will Empty 52
Chapter $10 The Car Diminished but Reborn 81
Chapter $12 Urban Revolution and Suburban Decay 113
Chapter $14 The Fate of Small Towns, U.S. Manufacturing Renaissance, and Our Material World 141
Chapter $16 The Food Web Deconstructed 170
Chapter $18 Renaissance of the Rails 198
Chapter $20 The Future of Energy 224
$20 Epilogue 247
Given that NY area gasoline prices in the early 1960's were about 35 cents per gallon, the $3.50 - $4.00 we are seeing today is commensurate with the long term decline in the purchasing power of the US $.
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Old 09-30-2011, 06:05 PM   #46
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Here is an example of why I am optimistic. MIT researchers have developed an artificial leaf with cheap materials that generates hydrogen and oxygen when placed in water and exposed to sunlight. This won't transform life as we know it but it shows what pops up out of left field. Here is an excerpt from the article:
"The artificial leaf a silicon solar cell with different catalytic materials bonded onto its two sides needs no external wires or control circuits to operate. Simply placed in a container of water and exposed to sunlight, it quickly begins to generate streams of bubbles: oxygen bubbles from one side and hydrogen bubbles from the other. If placed in a container that has a barrier to separate the two sides, the two streams of bubbles can be collected and stored, and used later to deliver power: for example, by feeding them into a fuel cell that combines them once again into water while delivering an electric current...

The device, Nocera explains, is made entirely of earth-abundant, inexpensive materials mostly silicon, cobalt and nickel and works in ordinary water. Other attempts to produce devices that could use sunlight to split water have relied on corrosive solutions or on relatively rare and expensive materials such as platinum."
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:04 PM   #47
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On this same theme: Hybrid sales slump. Hybrid car sales: Lots of options, few takers - Sep. 30, 2011

Quote:
[H]ybrid cars also face increasing competition from improved fuel economy in non-hybrid cars, said Todd Turner, an industry consultant with Car Concepts. These days car shoppers can get better than 40 miles per gallon in highway driving from a number of different compact models, and those cars are roomier inside and better equipped than ever.

By stepping down to a smaller car, buyers can save money on the purchase price while still saving gas.
The concluding sentence in the article: For hybrids to take off, gas prices must go up. Agreed.
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:11 PM   #48
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I am optimistic that the market forces will reward innovators that come up with the next big thing in energy.

I recently read an article in the monthly alumni magazine from my alma mater. It showcased a professor (and the father of my former HS classmate!) who had invented some piece of electronic wizzbang component (a diode or transistor of some some sort IIRC??) that has led to trillions of dollars in energy savings and tens of trillions of pounds of CO2 not being put into the atmosphere. I'm sure that is some funny math on the author's behalf, but the point is that some relatively inconsequential invention or innovation that has already happened or will happen could drastically alter our energy future.
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Old 10-01-2011, 05:36 AM   #49
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If I were the Boss, gas would already be $20 because of increased taxes. The government needs the money, and we need to accelerate the development of alternate energy sources, preferably without the government's trying to pick winners instead of leaving it to the market. Increasing taxes on gas is the best solution.
Glad you are not the boss. Why do you always think the government needs the money. Refresh my memory. Please list the track record of all the good things the government has done for the economy, energy, or anything?
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:20 AM   #50
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Glad you are not the boss. Why do you always think the government needs the money. Refresh my memory. Please list the track record of all the good things the government has done for the economy, energy, or anything?
While I agree somewhat with the sentiment, it is overstating the case to say the "the government" has never done anything good. As for why the government needs the money, "we" are in debt up to our eyeballs, and our infrastructure is in dire need of repair, upgrade, or downright replacement. I'm not talking pie-in-the-sky here, but stuff like roads, bridges, the electric grid, oil/gas pipelines, dams, etc. That's not to say that the government would spend the extra revenue wisely...

As for the book, it was not disimilar from "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" in both its predictions and its solutions. I feel like the author gave short shrift to the disruptions likely to occur with rapidly increasing fuel prices. Look at the results of $4/gal gas; both times of late that it approached that level, the economy slowed rapidly.

Frankly, though, I've given up on the idea that "we" can act preemptively, or plan for the future. People react as if you slapped their mama when you suggest we need to stop driving SUVs, or move closer to the city center, or live in smaller homes. It'll happen when there are no other alternatives. Some might say that's the way it should be; you know, that government thing again. But what other large organization on the planet does not plan for the future?
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:53 AM   #51
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Glad you are not the boss. Why do you always think the government needs the money. Refresh my memory. Please list the track record of all the good things the government has done for the economy, energy, or anything?
I didn't say that the government needs the money to do good things. I just said it needs the money. In case you hadn't noticed, our government spends lots of money.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:37 AM   #52
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I didn't say that the government needs the money to do good things. I just said it needs the money.
An important distinction!
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:01 PM   #53
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I didn't say that the government needs the money to do good things. I just said it needs the money. In case you hadn't noticed, our government spends lots of money.
And some of us have a problem with that!
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