Friday, February 17, 2006

whale juicer

Oregon Coast (Reuteres) – It is an unseasonably warm day, in a small town just south of Portland. A grove of beachfront orange trees planted in 2010 fill the air with their fragrant bouquet. But today a new scent is on the wind: blubber. The first whale juicing plant on the West Coast has opened, capable of producing up to 100 barrels of oil a day.

Plant Supervisor Gary Dumlick surveys the beach. “Here comes a fresh batch.” he says, as the waves carry in a sickly clutch of whales, which then shortly begin to convulse on the sand. Workers quickly lash the mammals and tow them inland. “You know, we were certified as a source of green energy by the government because we are using one hundred percent beached whales, unlike the Japanese.”

Green, environmentally friendly oil isn’t the only benefit of the whale juicing plant. Over the past few years, the seabird populations along the coast have been decimated. Mysterious, unfathomable changes in the ocean currents apparently have had the effect of baking ocean plankton into an inedible crust, and plankton is at the root of the food chain.

To combat this, formerly unemployed Oregonians have been given bird tending jobs due to the President Rice Full Employment Act of 2008. Cheeks loaded up with minute chunks of blubber from the whale juicing plant, swimmers make their way out to nesting grounds where they spit the nutritious food out for the birds.

“It is dangerous work,” says Dumlick, “we’ve lost three swimmers this month. But it sure beats mining coal, or living in the Phoenix slums. I just worry what will happen when we run out of whales. Seems like no one is thinking that far ahead.”

That day may come, but for now, Gary Dumlick drives around town in his refurbished Hybrid Jeep with a “Powered By Blubber” bumper sticker, and prospects look bright for the local community. Perhaps even now the waves are washing ashore another dying whale, grist for the mill.

5 Comments:

At 5:36 PM, February 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They erstwhile knew how to distill alcohol and they knew how to extract oil from plants, but they found it more productive to sail off into the ocean for three or four years, throwing spears into whales from rowboats!

 
At 3:24 PM, February 18, 2006, Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

Whale oil made better light than vegetable oil, and IIRC they also brought back salted meat.

I wonder how many white LEDs it takes to equal the light from the typical sperm-oil lamp?  We're obviously not going back to that; we've moved on.

 
At 4:28 PM, February 18, 2006, Anonymous Arif Akhundzada said...

No I don't think we will (go back to whale oil lamps)... Many reputable "Peak Oilers", authorities who should know better - horrify people by saying we'll "go back to the stone age". Those are very irresponsible comments indeed. Petroleum as we know it, was discovered in 1859. Does that mean that the early 19th and 18th centuries were "stone age"? Or does that imply that even ancient Greece and Rome were such, 2000 years earlier? I might say that a lot of people still live in true stone age conditions in Asia and Africa. They won't be affected by Peak Oil to say the least. (Such people live just 25 miles from the city where I do, in North West Pakistan). It is only North American civilisation, and post-1945 Europe - that will be badly affected. But I have reason to believe that the regression of advanced societies won't be further back than early 20th century life. Petroleum will STILL exist (it will ALWAYS exist); but not in the quantities that the decadent modern Western consumer is nowadays used to. It will be a substance on which the state authorities exercise exclusive control - and will be available ONLY to power the Armed Forces' tanks, trucks and aircraft. And it may be otherwise available to a few limited elite sections of society. Aicraft as such will also be an exclusive preserve: air travel for the common man will be nonexistent. Cars will be rare, even if they are non petrol. The world's population will "die-off" dramatically to may be 1.5 - 2 billion, as it was 100 years ago, and stay at those levels... I believe we will regress to early 20th century - late 19th century standards for the common citizen, but even then it will not be the 19th century of the past that we know from history books: aside from coal, steam power and sailing ships as standard fare, we will have nuclear energy for various uses, and electricity, radio & TV, and most electronic stuff will be there...it will be a "mixed up", funny seeming time indeed. As far as capitalism and its consumer excesses are concerned, they will be gone: advanced societies will come to resemble communist style ones where state control is again paramount, with controlled economies and rationing. That stands to reason. For when man was given the opportunity of capitalist "freedom", what did he do with it but rape his planet and deplete its resources with a feverish madness...

 
At 4:31 PM, February 18, 2006, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

I own a couple hand cranked LED flashlights. Sure, they aren't as bright as a mag light, but I'm not doing police work here... By 10 such flashlights, no batteries needed, and one is pretty much squared away for the apocalypse.

Part of the waste in any average american home is dangerously overpowered outlets. These standards were designed fifty years ago, and they suck.

 
At 1:34 AM, February 19, 2006, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

arif:

!!

Deffeyes wasn't being literal, he was trying to get peoples attention.

In practical terms, your ideas of the future are pretty reasonable.

 

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