Sunday, March 06, 2005

fleas on the hippo

We love metaphors here at Peak Energy blog. Depletion is a tricky subject, sometimes a good mental picture is worth a lot of verbiage.

Imagine you were a flea on a hippo, and your civilization had subsisted for years on energy deposits nestled in the fleshy folds of the truculent beast.

One day, a group of big brained fleas tells you, "Hey! We think we know where to find infinite energy to fuel our civilization, if only we can extract it."

"What's the catch?" you might ask.

"Well, if we dislodge too much energy at once from the nether regions of the Hippo, there may be a tremendous explosion, surrounding the beast in a miasma of methane gas, killing us all. But don't worry about that - it isn't at all likely. In fact, we only brought it up so we could enjoy a good laugh at how unlikely it is."

So much for Hippos.

US DOE Commissions Voyage of Discovery for Vast New Resource
a 35-day voyage of discovery that is part of an effort to map a virtually inexhaustible supply of energy - the methane hydrate that may represent up to 200,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. (...) Today's recoverable non-hydrate methane resource pales in comparison at an estimated 1,400 Tcf.

Voyage of discovery? Get lost, chimps. There is an expiration date attached to burning "endless" carbon.


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