Open Discussion about Site – December 3, 2010

What should I be writing about? Are there things I should be doing differently? I thought I would ask early on, and perhaps get some input.

I plan to write some kinds of articles of the types I often do–overview articles, and articles talking about the relationship between energy and the financial system, and articles analyzing particular issues that come up, like rapidly rising oil prices. Sometimes it is interesting to come at questions a totally different way. For example, in Honda’s “Racing Against Time” series, I looked at different challenges the auto industry is facing, and responses to these challenges. If readers have particular suggestions, I would like to hear them. Also, if there are folks interested in doing guest posts, I would consider the idea.

The Oil Drum’s new approach to accepting articles makes it difficult to run articles that follow very closely on current events. Today, I expect to run Heading Out’s (Dave Summer’s) post about some of the challenges that the UK is facing with respect to energy right now. Let me know if you like reading this kind of thing.

One thing I like to do is write posts that bring interesting academic papers to readers–trying to make the results understandable to a lay audience. If folks have particular suggestions as to academic papers relating to our current predicament that they think are relevant, let me know. Sometimes the original author will write an introductory post, but sometimes I need to write something, and have the author review it.

I have been trying to bring articles to readers about some of the general issues surrounding our predicament, like food and population. If you have suggestions, either as to interesting topics or as to good authors, let me know.

Another type of article relates to how we respond to the issues we are facing. I am not sure how many of these I will do, but if there are particular questions of interest, I would be interested in hearing them.

Way the Site is Set Up

I have been experimenting with this WordPress “Theme”. It is fairly flexible. One thing I have listed at the top in the sidebar is various categories of posts. I can make indented subcategories as well, once I have enough posts. For examples, under “Alternatives to Oil,” I could list such categories as “Coal,” “Natural Gas,” “Wind,” and “Solar”.

Another thing that is flexible is categories across the top. I was experimenting with this. I started a “glossary” (which only goes to “B”), and I put up a tab for Peak Oil Announcements. Any thoughts as to what you would like to see?

There are various settings I can choose for comments. Are these working OK?

Frequency

At this point, I am not quite certain. I am thinking more or less five days a week, perhaps less over the holidays.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to inadequate supply.
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25 Responses to Open Discussion about Site – December 3, 2010

  1. Don Millman says:

    I would like to see an article where Gail lists her ten favorite books relevant to this website. Then in comments, perhaps readers of this list could list their three favorite books, ones that were not on Gail’s list.

    The winter is a good time to read a lot.

  2. wotfigo says:

    I agree with Stormy & RobM above.
    We need a blog site that pulls all the tech & academic views on societal structure wrt collapse into the one site. These include Oil Depletion (The Oil Drum), Financial (The Automatic Earth), Thermodynamics (Tim Garrett), complexity (Tainter), social (Orlov) etc
    The recent Oil Drum decision not to involve that site with future scenarios of the results of oil depletion gives Gail a tremendous opportunity to expand her views into a coherent science based approach to possible (in my view, probable) rapid decline in civilization.
    It is interesting that Stoneleigh at The Automatic Earth was a past editor of the Oil Drum (Canada) & also could not find a forum there to express her (financial) views on collapse. TAE is mandatory reading IMO.
    Pull it all together Gail. There is a need for this site.

  3. Kitegal says:

    Gail,

    The things you were writing about in the past and the way you presented your thoughts were one of the impressive and important parts of the oildrum, for me at least. I would be very interested to read more write-ups like you did in the past.
    A different side of the story I would like to hear about – is more solution oriented, but not the “same old same old” like grow your own food and get solar roofs. No. There is certainly more. I have not seen yet a lot of thoughts along the lines of how our current achievements especially around knowledge, technology, a web-based society, education, creativity may help to evolve and shape new paradigms which ultimately increase our “productivity” enough to compensate for the productivity we are losing by decreasing cheap oil/capita – which was our old productivity booster.

    So – for example. Obviously the future will be “distributed-collaborative”. Today everything is central (I don’t know how to express that better)….we drive to an office building or a factory to go to work, we drive to the mall to shop, food is produced in large areas and transported from there out into the world – this is not sustainable. And how necessary really is such a model in these days? It is often more a habit and a state of mind that we work in an office – but we can work from home in many jobs, technology allows that nowadays beautifully (I and my colleagues do this since many years). Think about it – do we really need to commute? Many don’t, believe me, between email, intranet, webmeetings, smart-phones, videochats…why do you need to be physically present?

    Mankind has learned a lot. We know how to generate electricity, and there is much more than just solar, wind, oil, gas, nuclear, ….there is biomass (all varieties, including cellulose ethanol) and the geothermal energy, there are energy sources like wood-gas and even gyms generating their own electricity from biking classes. I want to hear about tools which would be helpful in a distributed lifestyle, like for example the Sterling engine (DeKa) development might be and there are certainly plenty more.

    We do also know now a lot about how to grow food organically on a pretty large scale with quite reliable harvests. It is not the medieval times any more as it was pre-oil. We are post-oil but we gained a lot of knowledge which we can put into work even more, many do it already. I want to hear more about that side of the story. Look at the impact of hi-tech to create new energy by also saving and restructuring our society. Do we really need mega-farms and ranches? Rather not I would say….can we migrate and how to a society in which large cities are no more but smaller communities, creating their food, their energy, but connected with the whole world and still working globally?

    Last but not least – maybe I sound a bit too “rosy” in my vision above but I would like to see facts which support or dismiss and invite to discussions.

    Cheers! – Sylvia

  4. RobM says:

    I forgot to mention. Please invite Jason Bradford and Nate Hagens to visit on a regular basis. They always have interesting integrative things to say. Jason in particular should be a role model for all of us.

  5. Pops says:

    I’ll add my vote for a focus on “non-denominational” ways of doing the transition on a personal or community level.

    The web is replete with sites pushing their own particular brand of transition, as well as sites not necessarily “aware” but very deep in specialized knowledge and experience. But there is no impartial overview site for people feeling their way forward. One that understands energy depletion and also understands there is no one, right way to cope. Not everyone is going to be a farmer or gardener, or is able to roll their own wind power or move to an intentional community or spark a Great Unleashing.

    One of your strengths I think, is the ability to address various ideas with an open mind, I think that is what is needed.

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