Tuesday, May 2 2006
Today Matt Rogers sent me an article about peak oil that scared the bejesus out of me. After reading it, I felt like everything was already lost, like everything I cared about or had put any effort into was trapped in the fleeting membrane of a bubble. And of course, that's exactly correct. I saw something recently on the History Channel's Modern Marvels (which I now Tivo) about bathrooms. Despite the absence of soap, bathrooms were advanced during the Roman Empire, though most of that technology was abandoned and forgotten after Rome fell. How did Western Civilization forget how to build aqueducts and public baths? The guys with the skills to do those things suddenly found themselves out of work and earning their keep doing the simpler things required by life among unwashed barbarians. This left me wondering how precarious our technologies are, and whether anyone will remember how to fabricate a microchip or read a DVD once modern times hit the skids and 80% of Americans die off in a prolonged famine (the kind suffered by an obscenely overweight population). Is that an extreme prediction? That would still leave us with double the number of Americans we had in 1860. By the way, can anyone point me to a clear graph of America's population starting from, say, 1790? I've found all kinds of graphs, but most of them are basically lies told with statistics that leave out critical numbers.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
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