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View Diary: Official: Oil 'like a girlfriend' - leave her before she leaves you (196 comments)

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  •  EVERYTHING is an energy loser (4.00)
    2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

    The amount of energy lost in any conversion from one form to another is always greater than zero.  This is called "entropy."

    The amount of energy we are getting out of oil looks like we get 20 units for every unit we put in to produce it, but that is because we ignore the millions of years of solar energy that supplied the decayed animals and plants that make up the oil.  If you included that energy, oil would be an abysmally inefficient energy storage.

    I like to explain entropy with a simple (sloppy) analogy:  You can't get something clean without getting something else dirty, but you can make something dirty without getting anything else clean ;-)

    Most of our best shots at having energy in the future lie in the fact that the amount of energy falling on the lighted side of the planet and the amount radiated back into space are nearly equal. All life on earth lives on the tiny difference between the two.

    Wind, solar thermal, solar PV, and hydro are all ways to tap into that supply.  In fact, oil is a way to tap into a billion-year backlog of that supply.

    There are also biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel.

    No matter how you look at it, we will have to use a lot less and diversify into all of these if we want to maintain an advanced modern civilization.

    The crunch is coming, and the longer we wait to do anything, the worse it will be.  Bush must go.  We must elect leadership.

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