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Slate and other thoughts

Slate magazine has been running a series on ideas for efficient energy usage.  The latest installment is here.  It’s all good, clean fun and all useful stuff.

But then we have the West Virginia mine disaster and everybody assures us that coal will be needed for, oh, ever to make sure we have “cheap” energy.

West Virginia, April 8, 2010

West Virginia, April 8, 2010

It happens elsewhere as well – China of course, and Turkey:

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China, Nov 2009

Turkey, Feb 2010

Turkey, Feb 2010

At the other end of the world a coal bulk carrier, hauling the stuff from booming Australia to booming China runs onto the Great Barrier Reef.  It was 10 (or something like that) miles of course.  What are “they” thinking?  Why the hell is a bulk carrier even using the inside passage?  Without a pilot?  Why don’t they route the bloody things a hundred miles off? (For the sarcastically challenged: these are rhetorical questions!  The answer is that rerouting costs money, as do pilots, as do more watch keeping officers, as do improved navigation aids, as does increased surveillance.  China needs cheap energy.  The world needs cheap energy.  And coal is apparently the answer.)

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Oh well – back to “reality”.

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