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Musings of an Energy Nerd

Scary Stories for Halloween

The Great Disruption is coming — are you frightened yet?

Something is coming to get you.
Image Credit: First photo: Karyn Patno

What’s scary for a green builder? Mold in the crawl space?

Naw — mold is a routine problem. What’s really scary is the end of the world as we know it.

A decade or two ago, the end of the world as we know it was a matter of concern for a few nutty survivalists in Idaho. Now it is a matter of discussion at academic conferences.

Several mechanisms have been proposed for the coming economic collapse. Some are based on New Age nonsense, while others are based on hard science. If you’re a pessimist, you can pick from a long list of possible doomsday mechanisms:

  • Ancient Mayan predictions of impending doom;
  • Peak oil;
  • Global climate change;
  • World-wide food shortages;
  • Military conflicts caused by water shortages;
  • Rising sea levels;
  • Ecological degradation caused by deforestation;
  • Widespread resource shortages caused by overpopulation;
  • The collapse of the world financial system due to our sudden realization that dollars and euros are just cheap pieces of paper.

Most of the items on the list are perfectly capable of turning the world upside-down. As Robert Frost wrote,

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To know that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

Solar storms ahead

Clearly, Frost was talking about emotional states rather than the literal end of the world. But in a pinch, his perception can be stretched from the metaphorical back to the literal. Although many of us may assume we know what’s going to cause the coming Great Disruption, Frost was right: other doomsday mechanisms are “also great and would suffice.” In today’s blog,…

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  1. Chris Brown | | #1

    Your Halloween story
    Gee Martin, here I am sitting around worrying about energy consumption vs. production; geo-political pressures regarding the world's energy reserves; impending code improvements; American consumers being largely ignorant of and/or disinterested in energy efficiency in their homes; reducing carbon footprints and whether or not my house might get egged Monday night!
    What was I thinking?

  2. Lucas Durand - 7A | | #2

    Silver lining...
    As the grid is bursting into flames, look skyward - the potential for viewing once-in-a-lifetime aurora borealis will be peaking.

    Speaking of peaking, for anyone interested in learning more about one of the wolves that is actualy in the yard, ASPO-USA has an upcoming conference "Truth in Energy" in Washington D.C. Nov. 2-5.

    The line-up of speakers for this year's conference is impressive and there's even an open letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, inviting him to provide some answers to some pertinent questions.

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    Response to Lucas
    You're right about the aurora borealis. According to Sonya Buyting of Spark Radio, "There are thousands of eyewitness reports from people who witnessed a hell of a dazzling aurora borealis display [in 1859]. Even down in the tropics, the sky was blood red. People thought massive fires were burning nearby, which was not the case."

  4. GBA Editor
    Allison A. Bailes III, PhD | | #4

    What?! No interwebs?
    Thanks, Martin. I was starting to feel a bit too complacent because here it is 2011, and we've already survived two scheduled Raptures just this year. Now, on top of peak oil, the Middle East troubles, and the 2012 end-of-the-world predictions, I've got to start figuring out how I'm going to blog without the internet. Or a computer. Or lights. Maybe even without a house.

    Happy Halloween to you, too!

  5. David Meiland | | #5

    if that happens, it won't be during the World Series or the NFL playoffs. That would suck.

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