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Petey's Pipeline E-zine

Issue #44

January 15, 2007


Contents

Business First Living in Interesting Times
Random Ramblings & Miscellaneous Musings National Security—Safe or Sorry: Food Security (Part III)
Write Thinking Punctuation – the Marks of Professionals (the Colon)

Business First (Editorial)

Living in Interesting Times
by Phil Hanson

An ancient Chinese curse goes something like this: May you live in interesting times.

No doubt it was intended that the recipient of said curse should live in times of great turmoil—wars, plagues, famines, or a litany of natural disasters that might include such things as the effects of global warming and the ensuing global climate changes.

Cursed or not, few can deny that we are, indeed, living in interesting times. We have our wars, and global warming, and it's only a matter of time until we have plagues and famines, too.

Many will carry on with business as usual, oblivious of changing conditions until it's too late to do anything about them. Then, they'll make angry demands for someone to do something to save their sorry asses.

Some will give in to their fears and admit defeat without so much as a whimper. Others will obsess over the "End Times," and do everything possible to hasten them along, making the end a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Then, there are the entrepreneurial visionaries who are sharp enough to know that one person's problem is another person's opportunity. They'll take whatever lemons life hands them and use them to build better mousetraps. These are the foot soldiers on the front lines of civilization's struggle to survive.

Which camp are you in?

You can lead, or you can follow, but you can't stand still.


Copyright © 2007 by Phil Hanson
All rights reserved.

• • •

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Random Ramblings & Miscellaneous Musings

National Security—Safe or Sorry: Food Security (Part III)
by Phil Hanson

The End of Big Oil

The era of plentiful and cheap fossil fuels ushered in an era of cheap and plentiful food. Mechanization, refrigeration and transportation were the keys to an abundant food supply for an increasingly industrialized nation. But the technology made possible by fossil fuels and other sources of cheap energy had a negative side effect; it relieved people of the notion that self-sufficiency, as it relates to food, is a good thing.

Mechanization meant that fewer people could grow more food on larger tracts of land. Refrigeration meant that food could be kept fresh for longer periods of time, and, when coupled with complex transportation networks, that commodities could be grown in central locations, shipped to distant locations for processing, then transported to other distant locations for warehousing and retail sales. Such a system of food production and distribution wastes huge amounts of energy and other resources, but when energy is cheap, it's both feasible and profitable.

Truck farms vanished as monocrop agriculture became the only profitable way to farm; centralized food production resulted in fewer consumer choices, longer shipping distances, excess packaging, and more wasted energy, all of which pose various threats against national food security.

Big Oil is at, or near, peak production capacity. When we reach that point, as global demand for oil increases, oil will become more expensive and less available. Eventually, it will take more energy to extract the remaining oil than can be derived from it, and at a price no one can afford to pay. When there are no longer ample supplies of affordable fuel to run the machinery of production and distribution, food supplies that nourish global populations could be in serious jeopardy.


Related articles:

Will the End of Oil Be the End of Food?

Fossil Fuel For Breakfast

Fill 'er Up – With Food

Killing the Golden Goose

Economic incentives arising out of applied technology put society on a collision course with physical reality. Competing forces vie for access to, or use of, finite resources, straining natural capacities beyond all reasonable limits. Mankind's relentless pursuit of more things and greater profits (always greater profits) is leading the species, and perhaps all species, to the brink of extinction.

Greed blinds us to truths we don't want to face. By our labor we earn the right to consume; our thoughts made real entitle us to the good things in life, even though most of us have lost sight of what the good things are. When the thought of global warming gets too depressing for you, fly off to an extended vacation in a tropical paradise so you can forget about it. If you don't like living in a crowded city, move to the suburbs to escape the teeming masses. Should you not like the riffraff moving into your suburban neighborhood, you can always move to that 10-acre hobby farm way out in the country that you've been longing for. Buy an SUV for the extra carrying capacity you'll need to transport groceries and all the other consumer goods necessary for living your vision of the country lifestyle.

Does anyone else see the irony in this? Our every attempt to escape the problems only adds to the problems. Traveling from the country to the city to buy food that was grown in the country seems a little surreal—and totally absurd—to me.

We've made many erroneous assumptions and, because of these, based our economy, society and culture on unsustainable cycles of production and consumption. We're systematically destroying the environment and all the ecosystems that support it.

As industrial processes spew their toxic byproducts into the environment, polluting air and water and contaminating the soil, the people with the most power to halt the environmental destruction seem oblivious to it. They're more concerned about financial security than they are about food and water security.

Coming in issue #45: Part IV of Food Security.


Copyright © 2007 by Phil Hanson
All rights reserved.

Write Thinking

Punctuation – the Marks of Professionals

Getting punctuation right is critical to making your writing intelligible and coherent. As with misspelled and misused words, misused or missing punctuation takes your message off track and confuses your readers. To help you avoid the avoidable, the next few installments of Write Thinking deal with punctuation marks, in all their many forms, with example sentences provided for clarification.

The Colon (:)

• Follow the salutation in a formal letter with a colon.

Dear Ms. Davis:

Dear Senator Smoot:

(Note: A comma can follow the salutation in an informal letter.

Dear John,

Dear Mom,

Never use a semicolon after a salutation.)

• Precede listed numbers or items with a colon.

The following cars were disqualified because of spec violations: No. 7, No. 16, No. 41, and No. 58.

• A colon divides the parts of titles, references, numbers or formulas.

I'm looking forward to reading Democracy at Risk: Rescuing Main Street from Wall Street, by Jeff Gates.

The winner finished the race in a record time of 01:53:27.864.

• A colon precedes an appositive phrase.

The rules of engagement are simple: shoot first and ask questions later, shoot anything that moves, shoot to kill.

(Note: When typing material, no space precedes a colon, and only one space follows it.)

Copyright © 2007 by Phil Hanson
All rights reserved.

Disclaimer

The articles appearing in Petey's Pipeline E-zine are based on information believed to be true at the time of publication. Neither Perfecttext.com, Petey's Pipeline E-zine nor their publisher assume any liability or responsibility as to the accuracy or efficacy of any information, products or services that are submitted, advertised or rendered by contributors to Petey's Pipeline E-zine. While we make every effort to screen out scam artists and bogus offers, you should still do your homework. Caveat emptor!

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