Al Gore & Guy Dauncey's Energy Challenge to the World

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Sat Jul 26, 2008 7:19 pm

Well, then if there are noisy ones and quieter ones, I think I know which ones will get built near housing. A fair number of people live pretty close to the 2 wind turbines in Hull, MA, and I don't think any of them are complaining -- they do like their very low electricity bills, though.

There are a lot of sea birds along the coast of New England -- I saw no dead birds at the base of the wind turbine; and the citizens of Hull will be building 4 more much larger wind turbines about 2 miles offshore.

And that's just it -- they do not have to be near housing. The energy source is free, it is plentiful, and it will be here in the future. What's not to like?
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Post by Trip » Sat Jul 26, 2008 8:05 pm

Bluefront,

once Obama-Messiah is elected, they'll be defending his every action and you'll be attacking him.

Then, you'll be the "honest one" :p

Me, I'll remain "honest" as disliking both twins, Bush and Obama.

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Post by jaganath » Sun Jul 27, 2008 1:51 am

wind power is not always (or even often) cheaper than conventional electricity, especially offshore wind which is significantly more expensive than onshore. also, how are they dealing with the intermittency problem?
[size=75]JFK:
What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean...someone who looks ahead, who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions,who cares about the welfare of the people, who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad...then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."[/size]

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:16 am

Hi,

The issue of intermittent power has to be dealt with by diversity of location, and you need to use other renewable power sources in concert. Solar PV and solar heat -- and both wave and geothermal do not have this. To use this we would need to upgrade our grid, so that power can be moved -- efficiently, from where it is available to where it is needed.

Energy storage is another strategy -- the Scientific American "Grand Solar Plan" published a few months back, discussed both the distributions and the storage of energy from the peak periods when there is an excess, for use when the need is greater than the supply. They propose using air pressure in underground caverns to do this.

Free energy, with the means to collect it in various ways, good efficient distribution, and some localized storage, as well as efficient use of power; all contribute to a viable, long-term sustainable energy source -- that doesn't export the profits, and doesn't lead to conflict.
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Post by aristide1 » Sun Jul 27, 2008 8:53 am

NeilBlanchard wrote:What's not to like?
The fact that you once again proved over generalizations don't have a foothold in reality.
People who put money and political ideology ahead of truth and ethics are neither patriots nor human beings.

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:20 am

Hi,

Another point: why do T. Boone Pickens (oil man who financed the Swift Boaters) and Al Gore agree on this?
Last edited by NeilBlanchard on Sun Jul 27, 2008 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by brainykid » Sun Jul 27, 2008 1:06 pm

The fact that 2 people agree on something doesn't make it true.

I like to think that we are all capable of making our own decisions, without needing chums like Al Gore deciding for us.

Whats my solution? ? ?

Nuclear. It is the obvious solution as it is not overly expensive and is safe.

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Post by jaganath » Sun Jul 27, 2008 1:44 pm

Whats my solution? ? ?

Nuclear. It is the obvious solution as it is not overly expensive and is safe.
nowhere in the world has there been a nuclear plant constructed on time and on budget without government subsidies or some other kind of state aid/intervention, ie by the private sector. the UK taxpayers who are picking up the GBP78 billion bill for waste disposal and decomissioning might disagree with the moniker "cheap". as for safe, no rational economic analysis could apply that label to a process that as a matter of course produces waste that is lethal to humans for many, many thousands of years.
[size=75]JFK:
What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean...someone who looks ahead, who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions,who cares about the welfare of the people, who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad...then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."[/size]

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Post by qviri » Sun Jul 27, 2008 2:16 pm

Please name the largest public undertaking which was completed on time and budget within the last 50 years that you can think of.

Oh, and carbon dioxide is toxic.
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Post by aristide1 » Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:04 pm

Trip wrote:.....once Obama-Messiah is elected..
Well Trip, seeing that you set yourself apart from your colleages by taking the "high road" of well researched facts and historical accuracy only a response of equal effort can be acceptable. Yes, it's a tough road I take, but hell, you set the standard.

So to you I offer the well earned and deserved:

"Sticks and stones may break their bones, but names will never hurt them."

Followed up with what, one can only hope, will be almost as thought provoking as your words:

"Nah-nah, nah-nah, nah, nah."
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Post by brainykid » Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:18 pm

jaganath wrote: nowhere in the world has there been a nuclear plant constructed on time and on budget without government subsidies or some other kind of state aid/intervention, ie by the private sector. the UK taxpayers who are picking up the GBP78 billion bill for waste disposal and decomissioning might disagree with the moniker "cheap". as for safe, no rational economic analysis could apply that label to a process that as a matter of course produces waste that is lethal to humans for many, many thousands of years.
The reason nuclear plants are hard to build is the rules and regulations (here in the US, anyway... I remember there was one plant being built that got about halfway through construction when the regulations changed and their existing work was worthless.). If the rules weren't changed so often, and we had a basic set for nuclear plants, things would be much more effective. Also, it doesn't help that we have all these "environmentalists" harassing any progress towards achieving our energy independence. Seriously, wind generators and solar cells wont cut it, at least anytime soon. And about this whole nuclear waste thing, there are ways to work around it. Load it onto a rocket and blast it into the sun, never to be seen again. Or something else, but lets stop talking about the toxicity of it and start finding more ways to get rid of it. It is entirely doable, the US Navy has been taking full advantage of nuclear power for a while now.

Thanks

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Sun Jul 27, 2008 6:02 pm

Hi,

Nuclear power is a very pricey way to boil water. I'll take solar heat, thanks.

Where does the radioactive waste get stored? If they ever approve Yucca Mountain, then it will be filled up, and they'll have to look another 50 years to find a secure place.

And, they'll have to monitor Yucca Mountain for, oh about 50,000 years?! That should be cheap enough!

It's those pesky regulations that kept us protected from usury lending and oil speculation -- oh wait...

Seriously, solar PV and solar heat, wind turbines, geothermal, wave power, biomass, and high efficiency HVDC transmission -- they are all ready to go, right now.
Sincerely, Neil
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Post by aristide1 » Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:13 pm

Why would one put a fuel with a half-life of what? xxx or xxxx years into a building designed for what? 25 years? 50 years? What's wrong with this picture? I'm not against nukes, I just have never gotten an explanation for this tiny discrepency.

The pros of nukes are they do what they do no matter the load on the system, so nukes would be the perfect device to create electricity required to make clean hydrogen 24/7. No power lines, just a liquid to be carted off to crowded cities. The trucks could use the same fuel. Coal or oil plants pollute, but they can gear down at night, no need for nukes to gear down, and probably little if any savings. The hydrogen could run fuel cells to create electricity in cities that now use oil and coal to supplement high demand. Could the results be cleaner cities? Whoda thunk?

Or

Let's say we drill more and have the government, in their infinite and un-coerced (no lobbying) wisedom, hand over money for drilling to the most profitable companies on the planet today, so that in 3-5 decades we're in the same position, except that oil will cost how much at that time?

These government giveaways sure sound like bleeding hearts from here. Corporate welfare never seems to be an issue for certain political parties, more of that double standard again.
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Post by Bluefront » Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:02 am

Neil...I think many people are tricked into this solar/wind thing because on the surface it looks attractive. Free renewable energy from the sun and wind, etc. But neither is a 24/7 solution, unlike nuclear. I use a car battery to store my little solar energy for use at night. Not the best solution....future solutions might be better, but they're much further off than Gore's ten years.

Maintenance costs on a single nuclear plant, should be much less than on a wind farm producing the same amount of energy. Start-up costs? Take your pick....regulations raise the cost of nuclear significantly, without any safety gains. The Calaway nuclear plant in northern Missouri has never had an incident that hurt anybody. Current regulations would prevent it from being duplicated. That's bad, considering our present energy needs.....
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:35 am

Hi,

Plutonium has a half life of 24,000 years. It is radioactive enough to be dangerous for ~ two half lives IIRC, so ~50,000 years.

It is also extremely poisonous.

So, if the costs for the storage problem -- which we have NOT "solved" yet, is factored in -- there is NO WAY that nuclear is anywhere near as cost effective as any renewable source you care to name.

You cannot forget the security risks of having a bunch on plutonium around, either -- dirty bombs or nuclear bombs can't be made without radioactive material.

You keep leaving geothermal out of the equation: it is certainly 24/7/365 -- and it doesn't require any fuel (uranium mining and enrichment ain't free!). It can happen anywhere: a lab at MIT has developed a method of drilling very deep holes (7-8 miles down), that can be used to boil water very easily. Wave power is another constant source that can be used.

Thermal storage in conjunction with solar thermal can be quite dependable, too. Molten salt only loses a little bit of heat.

Biomass is another renewable energy source that can be "controlled" so -- when you add it all up:

Wide geographic distribution

Diverse sources: solar PV
solar heat with storage
wind turbines
geothermal
biomass
wave power

Efficient distribution, via high voltage DC

...you get a robust energy plan. Solar can produce up to 70% of what we use. Wind can also produce up to 70% -- we are already up to 140%! Geothermal is only limited by the number of bore holes you can drill, wave power keeps on going and going...and biomass includes: biodiesel from Jatophra, wood alcohol from fast growing willow trees, algae, methane from manure/sewage -- the list is growing.
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Post by qviri » Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:35 am

NeilBlanchard wrote:You cannot forget the security risks of having a bunch on plutonium around, either -- dirty bombs or nuclear bombs can't be made without radioactive material.
Can we cut the fear mongering? If you're looking to kill a large number of civilians, any method involving nuclear energy and explosions is dumb at best given the amount of control and oversight over nuclear matters these days. There are so many easier ways of doing this -- water supply, subtly poisoned mass-produced food (milk, anyone?), wind-carried bio-weapons, lead paint on mass-consumed items, Los Angeles basin...
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Post by Bluefront » Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:43 am

Neil....all of the energy solutions you mention are conceivable in the future. But Gore is talking about replacing all our present energy sources with these new solutions.....in ten years. Ridiculous.

Just today, Ameren/UE (owner of the Missouri Calaway nuclear), filed the necessary paper-work to construct a second nuclear plant in northern Missouri. In light of our present energy crisis, I hope they get the permit, and the funding. Maybe there's a chance our lights will still be burning at night-time in 2018, when the winds are calm.
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:43 pm

Hi Carl,

Is it impossible because you think it is?

The Scientific American "Grand Solar Plan" says all the technology is ready now.

In "Plan B 3.0" Lester Brown proposes using existing technology.

T. Boone Pickens (oil man that he is) is proposing similar use of renewable energy sources.

We need to start trying -- if we throw up our hands and say "it's too hard" then we have already failed. If we try, and it takes oh, 12 years, or 15 years, or 18 years, or even 42 years, then we will have accomplished something that we MUST do -- and the sooner the better.

I think the winds blow pretty steadily in the Dakotas, and the sun shines very consistently in the southwest, and waves are always happening offshore, and geothermal enrgy never goes away. Distribution of collection, distribution from source to the users, and distribution of sources.
Can we cut the fear mongering?
It is a real risk, and it would be a bigger problem to not mention it. Have you ever heard of a solar-bomb? Or a wind-bomb? Plutonium could be used to poison a water supply -- it is extremely poisonous. A couple of grams could kill everyone in a large city, if it was put into the water supply.
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Post by aristide1 » Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:39 pm

NeilBlanchard wrote:Hi Carl,

Is it impossible because you think it is?
Some people interchange "thinking" and "assuming" as if they are synonyms, just like over-generalizing, if one wind turbine is noisy then they are all noisy, if one person on welfare is a thief then they are all thieves, and so on to infinity, with that brand neural activity.
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Post by Bluefront » Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:44 am

Neil...there's a town in Northern Missouri of a thousand people and a few small industries, that supposedly gets all it's electricity from wind generators. What they don't mention.....they have no energy storage at all. When the winds are high they pump energy into the grid. When the winds are down they draw from the grid.

This is what they call being on 100% wind power. Don't think so.

I'd like to see a Gore-type project built using present technology, for a city of 100k people......a project that doesn't rely on the grid for anything, at any time. If such a project was successful and cost effective, there would be some hope. Perhaps all the Liberals that believe in such a plan could finance this one project......as a show-piece for the technology. Care to donate?

Gore himself, has been unable to pull this off for even his own single home. And he has enough money that cost effectiveness need not be considered. What does that say for the rest of us?
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Post by aristide1 » Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:50 am

They can average zero costs, sell excess power into the grid, later use some when they need it. There's no requirement to get by in total isolation. Interdependence is a difficult concept for many.

Chance of a Cheney-induced oil spill - zero.
Last edited by aristide1 on Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Trip » Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:52 am

We could go green if we deported 2/3 of the population...

It's not reasonable to go Green in the US within 10 years, we're too large, diverse, and poor.

Norway or Iceland might could do it, or maybe Japan (I dunno much about Japan but wanted a nonEuro state) but not the US, at least not easily.

---

Going green is a good idea, but there are more pressing issues in the US atm too. If we cease the war, America-last trade, and mass immigration, then things would likely look better, imo...

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:24 am

Hello Trip,

How would deporting people help? They are going to "need" as much power in some other place.

If we can do this, we will go a very long way to solving the economic problems, AND the war problems, AND the environmental problems -- with a single solution, we can alleviate (at least) three major problems.

As far as the costs go -- we are paying a huge amount of money to keep on burning oil, coal, and running nuclear power plants. Never mind the illegal war in Iraq. The costs that I have seen to pay for this are in the ~500 billion dollar range -- not very much money in the scheme of things! It's roughly equivalent to the cost of just ONE YEAR'S worth of oil...
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Post by Trip » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:57 pm

NeilBlanchard wrote:Hello Trip,

How would deporting people help? They are going to "need" as much power in some other place.

If we can do this, we will go a very long way to solving the economic problems, AND the war problems, AND the environmental problems -- with a single solution, we can alleviate (at least) three major problems.

As far as the costs go -- we are paying a huge amount of money to keep on burning oil, coal, and running nuclear power plants. Never mind the illegal war in Iraq. The costs that I have seen to pay for this are in the ~500 billion dollar range -- not very much money in the scheme of things! It's roughly equivalent to the cost of just ONE YEAR'S worth of oil...
They'll need power elsewhere, but the people in the US could go green if they magically shipped out those who contribute the least. I also think diversity in general is a problem, people tend to fight/not trust/not give back to society, so unless the US Balkanised, I don't think it could ever have the potential of Japan or Norway. Also, whites and East Asians seem to have certain genetic and cultural tendencies that allow them to form certain types of states, albeit while having other problems. So, there are to be differences. (I'm speaking entirely in the abstract, not advocating a policy of course - we can only make the best of the nation we live in, and the end doesn't always justify the means.)

That is to say, the various states of the world have varying potentials, and these will never change unless the people/cultures/diversity within change. And having such diversity of nations is a huge positive in my mind, though that's another topic...

Not to get into an unPC discussion, but the points should be presented to convey my view, however different/wrong it might be.

---

back to the PC :P

The US isn't as wealthy per capita as is widely perceived, especially when factoring in debts, and to pursue such a massive project centrally is nearly impossible. To pursue it in just Oregon or just Vermont alone would be difficult let alone 50 small projects in each state. And a centralised project coordinating all 50 at once would be near-godly, even if trade barriers were raised (as well as immigration ended and other spending cut) and per capita income thus allowed to rise.

Global resources would probably be stressed too. It'd be tough to just get the processes started.

---

Ideals like going green are possible in small states like Iceland or Norway. My vision is for them to go green, set an example, and have others follow as best they can, though some won't be able to.

And to be clear, I'd love for poverty to be resolved, wars ended, the environment protected, etc. I just don't believe it's possible.

---

All of that's necessary to convey the original point of why a central force can't transform the US in 10 years. A central policy couldn't work in the US for the same reason it couldn't work for the world as a whole: We're too large, diverse, and poor.
Last edited by Trip on Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Trip » Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:32 pm

Neil,

I know you're a big believer in the global village dream, but were you to type into the screen "I understand your view, though you're mistaken about the role genetics, culture, community-ties, morality, diversity, etc. play in a society. All that's needed is for the right government policy to work, and even a prison population of the most evil, low IQ, serial killers could produce a green, peaceful society."

Were you to write that, meh maybe reword it with: "i've carefully considered what you're saying, but you're wrong," it would truly make my day. To be understood would be bliss 8)

Though yea, I know you'll never agree with me... By your way of thinking, Zimbabwe could be imported into the US, or the US government and law put in charge of Zimbabwe, and magically Zimbabwe would be as well run as the US. To me it makes no sense, but I'm trying to see it at least.

It's amazing how two people can carefully consider such an issue and come to such radically different conclusions.

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Post by Trip » Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:55 pm

~$500 billion seems to me a huge underestimate.

I haven't looked at the proposals because I hadn't thought any of them realistic.

Green power costs far more than ah brown power. It would require the transformation of a society, shifting a great deal more towards producing and maintaining that green power, as well as recycling etc. And there'd be inspectors, regulations, loop holes, volunteer whistle blowing on companies, volunteer peer pressure to ensure fellow citizens act green (government can't monitor everything), etc.

---

Anyway, I'd be happy to spend ten minutes or so looking at what information you've found on it.

Apologies if my previous response went a little far. Maybe in this case the difference between our views is that I believe "going green" to be an enormous ordeal.

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Post by aristide1 » Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:05 pm

Trip wrote:We could go green if we deported 2/3 of the population...
...
So what exactly does "Trip" mean in your native-American tongue of Apache?
Trip wrote:~$500 billion seems to me a huge underestimate.
Well, he's not talking about the Iraq war, and the solid estimates we had for that job, along with the occasional and ever so slight overcharges by Halliburton.
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:11 pm

Hi,

Is Scientific American a publication that would mislead you? Their Grand Solar Plan would build 30,000 square miles of solar collectors in the southwest, build high voltage transmission lines, and underground compressed air storage -- and provide %70 of our electricity needs. They estimate the cost to be 420 billion, which is peanuts.

My guess of 500 billion is probably too low, you're right. But whatever the cost is, it would be a lot less than what we already spend on energy. Buying oil that just goes away when you use it -- or invest in a system that can provide energy for years to come.

I know which one I would rather spend money on.

I do not accept your word that this is not possible. Anything is possible, and this is very doable. We simply must try, and if it takes longer than 10 years -- so what?! We cannot depend on oil forever, anyway -- so why do you think we have to keep on paying LOTS of money to the oil companies? Until we run out of oil?

Saudi Arabia has the most oil, Russia has a lot of oil, and Iraq and Iran have a lot. Do you want to pay them? Or do you want to employ Americans to provide our energy?
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Post by Bluefront » Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:31 am

Neil.....you keep forgetting that the USA is sitting on vast amounts of untapped oil, and known amounts of coal that could last a thousand years. It's simply a matter of having the political will to change the regulations that keep us energy-starved.

And you're now admitting that Gore's 10-year plan is unrealistic, as well as having a certainty of a massive cost over-run. The 420 billion, could turn into 420 trillion. What's next?

I'd prefer to see this technology demonstrated to satisfaction for a single medium sized population area......before we fall off the deep end trying to achieve the impossible. And Gore's plan is impossible in 2008, given his time-frame and current technology.
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:58 am

Hi Carl,

There is no new or untested technology in this proposal. You are misreading my comments -- we should try to do it as fast as possible! Gore picked 10 years for several reasons -- listen to the speech. What I am saying is that if we don't get it finished in 10 years, there is no harm done -- and this would be infinitely better than giving up without even trying!

As for costs: Gore has not spoken of any numbers -- I did though. Obviously, I guessed. Whatever -- this is so important to our long term survival, that if it did cost 1 trillion, then we would be way ahead of what we are doing now. We are spending 1 trillion about every 2-3 years on oil alone, and the Iraq War will probably be 2 trillion by the time it is paid for -- and it has given us nothing but problems.

Spending on energy independence will pay back many times over -- whatever we put into it.

You are exaggerating the amount of oil -- we have maybe 3% of the worlds reserves? If we drilled for it all right now, the conservative estimates are that it would take at least 7-10 years to come into production. Why would you be willing to wait that long?

Coal is very costly: the "mountaintop removal" method is devastating, and regular mining is getting pretty hard to do, since it has killed off many of the miners (as them about "black lung"), and most people today are not willing to risk life and limb for peanuts.

Coal gasification is the untried technology (on a large enough scale) -- it takes a lot of effort to do it, and sequestering the carbon dioxide underground is another untried and probably very expensive technology.

Coal and oil and natural gas are "old sunshine". Let's just use the solar energy directly, and be done with it. The amount of solar energy is unbelievably HUGE -- there is enough energy hitting the Earth in 40 minutes to provide the energy for everybody on earth FOR A YEAR!

All we need to do is collect what we need, and we can continue to do so forever! How long is that oil going to last?
Last edited by NeilBlanchard on Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/

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