[ExI] Peak Oil -- Amory Lovins

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu May 31 15:17:37 UTC 2012

>... On Behalf Of Dan
Subject: Re: [ExI] Peak Oil -- Amory Lovins

On Wednesday, May 30, 2012 12:32 PM spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
>> ...Kelly I have been toying with this idea for a long time.  My own 
> outlook might be colored by a daily commute to work I have been doing 
> for the past 17 years...  I think it peaked right around 1999...

>...This has all the markings of problems with anecdotal evidence...

Ja.  There is a way anecdotal notions can be useful: when there is some kind
of observational multiplier.  A perfect example comes from the medical
world.  Doctors have every observation multiplied many times over because
they see a lot of patients.  They understand trends because of a privileged
viewing platform that multiplies their observations.

Consider the ultra-weird headline from a few days ago: Miami police shot a
naked guy who was in the process of chewing on another naked guy's face.
Most bizarre headline I ever saw, had no idea what to make of it.  Yesterday
a doctor was on the radio when it was mentioned, and explained, in the big
cities there is a new drug fad, especially popular among homeless people
because it is really cheap.  It causes the patient to feel hot and makes the
skin hypersensitive, so they commonly tear off all their clothing.  Then if
the dosage is sufficient, they go wild and do completely unpredictable
actions, such as tearing his doper buddy's goddam nose off.

Now that formerly incomprehensible headline makes a lot more sense, ja?
Doctors have a million of those.

Traffic patterns are an example of an observational multiplier.  We can't
learn anything by observing a particular car, but we learn a lot from a
million of them.

>... Imagine a similar argument about peak coal... In my entire lifetime,
I've only seen one home that used coal at all and this was an old burner and
hopper that were no longer in use. (I've heard coal is still used in some
homes, but I've yet to actually see one up close and personal.:)... Dan

I get to tell one cool story here.  My wife and I do genealogy.  Long story
short, we ended up going up into the hills of Tennessee, looking for a
family cemetery near a waaaay back place called Thorn Hill.  This was in
1990.  Found the graves, met some people who turned out to be direct
descendants of the ancestors in those graves, so they were distant cousins,
then in their 70s.  Clearly they were puzzled to see people like us way the
heck off the beaten path.  They invited us to their cabin.  They had only
gotten electricity back there in 1985.  The only thing I saw in their house
which used it was a radio, which didn't pick up much of anything.  We
explained we were aerospace engineers.  They didn't know what that is.
Satellites.  Not a flicker of understanding.  Their small home, built in
1890, was coal heated.  The thing I noticed about it was a distinctive odor.

Years went by.  We received a package which was a book.  The cousins had
passed away, and had left instructions to send us this book.  As soon as I
opened that package, I was immediately reminded of the experience because of
the smell of that book.  It smelled like coal.  We still have that book, and
after all this time it still smells faintly of coal.  I don't know why it
is, but there seems to be a direct line between the nose and the memory, for
whenever I smell that, I remember details of their cabin and that
distinctive smell.   


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list