TaaL: Armies of fossil helpers are the best helpers ever. Far stronger than human workers and demanding nothing immediately obvious in return. It seemed a cruelty-free sort of slavery, and indeed hardly slavery at all, for who suffered? Was it coincidence that after thousands of years, most human slaves were freed exactly when fossil energy began to displace the need for free labor? I wasn’t here then, but as an out -of-towner, I find that to be a suggestive coincidence which may or may not be attributable to the better angels of your nature. Yet as older and wiser civilizations in the galaxy have found, in the long run fossil carbon slaves can be the cruelest slavery of all, for after a brief span of benefits it can subjugate and impoverish one’s descendants for a million years in an altered world. The Bottom Line: Stored carbon and hydrocarbons enabled a shift to industrialized societies served by what are in effect, armies of zombie energy workers.
The Strength of Superheroes
Summary: What does this stuff about fossil energy armies really mean? Well, imagine taking a road trip with three of your buddies. You pick them up, stop at a gas station and for ~$50, fill up your 20-gallon tank and head for the countryside. You drive for hours, talking, watching the scenery roll by and having fun. After about 500 miles, your vehicle rolls to a stop, out of fuel. How many hours/days/weeks would it take the four of you to push your truck back to your starting point 500 miles away? If the road was reasonably flat, and you had reasonably good weather, and you were
reasonably strong, you might push the truck two miles per hour. Doing that ten hours per day, it would take you almost a month to push it back to where you started. How much would you have to pay your friends to do such a boring,
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