Monday, May 26, 2008

Energy Technology and the New Survivalists

The AP has another story on the "new survivalists" who are springing up in increasing numbers. (Previous reference.) This latest story puts the source of the fears at the feet of rising energy costs, casting a Mad Max-ian slant on the previous one's more environmental source. In either case, I still find the ideas fascinating.

Meanwhile, scientists and business men are eying the increase in petroleum cost as an opportunity to explore increasingly competitive alternative sources. Ars Technica looks at recent efforts to allow non-food crops to be used efficiently in generating biofuel. And it wouldn't be a post about energy if I didn't include the latest effort to make solar cells more efficient, this time by using nanowires to connect the surface of the cells to the circuitry underneath.

So keep an eye on the headlines folks, will those who prepare for the worst-case scenario get the last laugh, or will the march of technology and enlightened self interest once again allow us to preserve civilization as we know it?

4 comments:

Lee said...

I think too many things will have to suddenly change for survivalism (is that a word?) to be necessary. I'm not saying it can't happen, I'm just saying the possibility seems remote in our day.

However, I do hope that things like solar panels increase in output and decrease in cost to the point where a significant percentage can get off the grid. Decentralizing our power generation is actually a good security measure.

Brian said...

Yep, you're going to be in trouble when the zombies start cropping up...

But seriously, I'm just fascinated by the mindset that gives rise to such things. It doesn't hurt that I'm both a sci-fi B movie junkie and fascinated by post-apocalypse scenarios.

As for survivalism itself, about all I do is keep a couple of liters of water around the house. But I didn't start that until after my water went out three times in as many years...

Also noteworthy, there's at least one large American church that advocates its members prepare to be self-sufficient for a period of time. And of course I remember a certain motto from my days as a Boy Scout.

Lee said...

Well now you didn't bring up the zombies...

Also seriously, we do have to plan for a few days of no power up here on the mountain, in case of a blizzard. We too have some water on hand along with batteries and an emergency radio (crank power!). We're on a well, so we'll have to go down to the creek for water to flush. We're considering (eventually) getting a propane powered generator so we can hold out up here for a few days with water and heat.

It is interesting the groups/churches that get really wrapped up in this though.

What motto was that? Don't swim downstream from the cow pasture?

Brian said...

I was thinking of "Be Prepared," but yours is worth remembering as well.