RIP Cap’n Crude

Peak oil. We’ve all heard about it. The late great Captain Crude got kicked off The Oil Drum for writing about it, albeit in a soggy way reminiscent of Joe Hazelwood’s piloting style. Gulf-of-Mexico hurricanes sometimes shut down or mess up the oil importing / refining / distribution infrastructure here in the United States, resulting in a fleeting, evanescent awareness here that perhaps the continued flow of oil isn’t as guaranteed as we’d like to think it is. A month or two after the troubles go away, American yeasties resume their habits of living large on the sugar that keeps flowing into their petri dish, secure in the knowledge that “other people” are taking care of any potential problems.

Here in America we use energy quite liberally – or “librully” if you prefer the pronunciation favored by the militant-moron sect. It matters little whether we belong to the party of Tweedle Dum or the party of Tweedle Dee, or which end we break the egg on, or whether we call ourselves Christian or Muslim. Those of us living here in America are continuing the same rapacious consumption rates thought of as moral rewards by our ancestors who flocked here. There’s been a foolish attempt to export this sort of lifestyle to other places, with the inevitable result of more yeasties in more places using more sugar than before.

Few energy usage sectors are as disastrously ill-conceived as the present system of asphalt roads and individually-owned motor vehicles as exemplified here in the United States. This arrangement wasn’t accidental; if anything, it’s enormously profitable to fuel companies, tire companies, car companies, asphalt companies, and companies that sell and service the machines necessary for maintaining all that asphalt. Here in the land that perfected the “no billionaire left behind” policy, big business faced no natural impediments when it decided to buy up and scrap light passenger rail systems across the nation, all in the name of improving those quarterly profit statements. The profits are privatized, and the losses (health, environmental problems, the costs of maintaining all that road space) are socialized. Here in the United States, the transportation sector is more than 95% dependent on liquid fossil fuels – the same stuff that’s going to be more expensive and slower-flowing when PO hits.

Luckily, there are things that you can do about this! Since we haven’t yet devolved to the level of corporatism (or fascism, if you prefer) by which governmental policies strongly encourage people to use cars while strongly discouraging them from seeking transportation alternatives, you are still free to exercise some individual choices when it comes to transit modes.

(This is not to say, of course, that by the time Stimulus IV rolls around, and GM is given another $100Bn in free government money, and no one will buy their junk even at zero-down 0% loans, etc, that Xe won’t get a no-bid contract to force people at gunpoint to buy GM products, all under the sick, twisted, failed delusion that what’s good for big business is what’s good for the country. Stay tuned. Both major parties are fully-staffed with total whack jobs blinded by the notion that they can “manage things” “back to normalcy”. Uhh, no, they can’t, but they don’t know this yet.)

Even better, you can look good (and get fantastic exercise) while going carbon-lite or -neutral on transportation modes.

This entry was posted by nudged.

143 thoughts on “RIP Cap’n Crude

  1. yeah, my own flexible rules of thumb have been somethng like:

    under a mile(roundtrip) – walk
    under ten miles – bike
    anything over 10 miles – find another means

    about 10 years ago i gave up cars, for awhile. at the time i had about a 20 mile, each way, commute. doin it on bike everyday was brutal. the nearest train station is about 6 miles away. but they wouldn’t let me bring my bike on the train during the morning rush. so i ended up with 2 bikes, one for each end of the trip.

    about 5 years ago i got a car from one of my uncles, a 96 chevy cavilier. i ended up giving it to one my gf’s. it was a great car. as good as anything any jap or korean could build, in my estimation. kinda funny, i guess, but she ended up giving it to her exhusband, for some reason. he uses it daily and says it’s a great car.

    a couple of years after that, one of my aunts died, and i got her car, a 1998 doge neon, another great car by my estimate. i gave it to one of my kids. she beats the shit out of it on a daily basis.

    my father died a couple of months back, so now i have his car, a 1991 buick century. it’s about the best car i’ve ever owned. it’ll probably be the last car i ever own, unless i can find someone else to die and give me a car.

    anyway, detroit, as if anything is actually made in detroit these days, makes a prefectly fine product, as least as good any of the rolling junk being made out there, anywhere, these days. for whatever any of that is worth.

  2. bicycles are usefull and can be fun in thier own right; just like a car is, or can be, useful and fun in it’s own right. bicyles are just another artifact of the industrial age and won’t be around much longer than cars, i think. they have the same manufactureing and supply chain issues that cars have, i think.

    none of this means that you souldn’t go ride your bike, or drive your car, while you can, in my mind anyway.

  3. some years ago, i was driving down the nj trnpk on friday afternoon in the summer, beach weekend for nyc. i was in the middle of a miles long solid phalanx of trucks and cars. the entire mass of exhaust spewing metal behemonths was traveling in unison at about 70 mph. all i could think was something like: “wow, this is great, look at all this oil we’re buring and our combined entropy production is through the roof. all this, and we’re all going to pound cocktails on the beach for a couple of days to boot. maybe i’ll, get to fuck the shit out of some drunk girl monkey with huge fake tits. we are the greatest species ever.”

  4. Dave wrote: “bicyles are just another artifact of the industrial age and won’t be around much longer than cars, i think. they have the same manufactureing and supply chain issues that cars have, i think.”

    Verbiage fail.

    No, they can be made on a much smaller scale, and were in fact available at least a decade or two before cars were. The requirements of numbers of people involved, ores, energy, and size of manufacturing base are all much more compact with bicycles. To say nothing of energy consumption post-manufacture.

    Cap’n Crud needs to let me get at the settings page so this place can be redecorated.

  5. well, 10 years before cars is still well into the industrial age. and, the bikes of the 1890’s, for example, were way different creatures than the bikes you see today. i kinda doubt they had hardened steel ball bearings to roll on, finely drawn tampered butt steel tubing is hardly a cottage industry. even back then, tires releied on a 10,000 mile supply chain of rubber from either the congo or brazil, or maybe indonesia. and coal powered steam driven ships were making this supply chain possible. and once you got the rubber there was vucanizing and shaping, valve stem manufactureing, ect., etc. i’m sure there will be cobbled together handmade contraptions called bikes around for awhile, but a serviceable bicycle, with readily available spare parts and such, nah. better stick to your prius, you’ll have just as good luck getting batteries and bearings for that after industry collaspes, say halleluia.

  6. Gee, Dave, since it’s a fact that serviceable locally-made bicycles existed before we had that 10K mile supply chain for rubber, doesn’t that suggest to you that perhaps there are other materials that people used back then (and may use again in the future) in lieu of rubber?

    Keep digging for Buick justification. You’ll find it eventually. In the meantime, have some kim chee and do whatever ya do during the warm weather, k? :)

  7. I tell ya running and walking are the way to go. I should learn the cobbler trade. We could be making shoes out of pieces of tire tread and leather scrap for a long time.

  8. Gee, Dave, since it’s a fact that serviceable locally-made bicycles existed before we had that 10K mile supply chain for rubber, doesn’t that suggest to you that perhaps there are other materials that people used back then (and may use again in the future) in lieu of rubber?

    sure nudge, horsehide and cast iron maybe? that’ll work good on hand shaped wooden spoked wheels that you slap on to yuor cast iron frame. let’s make some ball bearing outta pebbles and dog teeth maybe? god, the only thing worse than fucking idiot is an idiot who knows how to type.

  9. people walk, nothing wrong with that. i do most of my getting around town on my 10 yo mountain bike. i like that. but i love my buick. it has crushed velour bucket seats, amfm radio, fuel injected v6 and ac that dosen’t work. so fuck you.

  10. wow, some folks seem to can’t wait until we enter the scavenging stage of human history. as pour moi, i’d prefer enjoying what’s left of JIT 10,000-mile supply chains.

    relax dave, the dieoff will actually be like a giant manufacturing boom for all those spare parts that won’t have any demand because the potential buyers are all dead.

    speaking of dying, i guess the only sign we’ve had that JR has not overdosed on something is he keeps playing with that naked tity girls on the beach photo, resizing it, now you see them, now you don’t pixelation, etc. maybe Katya offed him, and now she lurks here in his place at the blog?

  11. “i’d prefer enjoying what’s left of JIT 10,000-mile supply chains.”

    Hear, hear.

    Got a note from my beef supplier. He’s reducing his herd size next season, and jacking up the buy-in. Going to have to work a deal with a crony or fambly to split my buy-in.

    Fall planting under way. Probably a bit late for a couple of things, but jeebus, it only just stopped being 100+ degrees here. Hopefully I can get some green beans and peas frozen up for winter.

  12. Dave wrote: “.. the only thing worse than fucking idiot is ..”

    Coming from a guy who can’t be bothered to use the shift key now and then, these words are delicious irony. Kinda like Palin sketching Jeebus riding a dinosaur as proof of her holiness and intelligence.

    Dave, regarding bicycle transportation in the future, I’m glad for you that you’re able to stick to your opinion even though bicycles are the default simple & low-energy & low-maintenance transportation choice in all but the most industrialized nations, and have been for many decades now.

    LOL on the ball bearings. Like there aren’t gazillions of machines & devices out there that won’t be running post-oil & -electricity and that have salvageable components?

  13. “LOL on the ball bearings. Like there aren’t gazillions of machines & devices out there that won’t be running post-oil & -electricity and that have salvageable components?”

    Like I said Nudge, PO and the coming dieoff will make the entire world a giant yard sale for all things industrial. Stuff will seem incredibly abundant and cheap, for awhile….

    BTW, it’s already started. I get deluged almost daily now with internet offers to by cheap laboratory equipment and supplies. Seems some of them are closing shop or downsizing.

  14. This Glen Beck thing is like too many people took the brown acid.

    Its always twisted when media gives the headlines to their own, instead of reporting news.

  15. Doom it was me that swapped and shrunk the beach photo because I was sick of the other one, and was too lazy to write a post that would move it down the column.

    The editor-in-chief has not been present here for a couple weeks. Hope he’s off enjoying himself with some wholesome summer fun, and has not gotten into a pickle with the bookies, cops, Jack Daniels or the Russian mafia.

    Nudge I really LOVE the 7th bike photo down (B&W of girl riding as passenger on back of bike). The one below it of the denim shorts and black stockings I posted here a couple years ago in a post about Copenhagen. Those photos are from Copenhagen Cycle Chic. Great stuff.

  16. “This Glen Beck thing is like too many people took the brown acid.”

    Bif, I don’t wanna know, but I’m getting that queazy feeling that he’s auditioning for corn-pone Nazi leader.

    So, JR really is on vakay, or gone off the deep end. Let’s hope he’s enjoying Greece and/or Monrovia with Katya, or something like that.

  17. It’s always the same with “Born Agains”. Most eventually get over it.

    Beck is a fucking wanker. Palin? Political pr0n.

    You guys and your corn-pone Nazis. Jeebus.

    “Petraeus’ obvious option will be to break with Obama during the late spring or early summer of 2011 over Obama’s intent to protect his own vulnerable left flank in the Democratic Party base by initiating an Afghan pullout, which Petraeus and his neocon backers have already branded as Obama’s cut and run policy. Petraeus will be able to wave the bloody shirt of the US Afghanistan dead, condemning Obama for making their sacrifices vain for his own self-serving political purposes. Petraeus will be able to claim that he is reluctantly leaving his military post because the appeaser and weakling Obama has tied his hands to the point that he has no other alternative but to take the issue to the voters in the primaries and in the presidential election itself. Ironically, the worse the military situation in Afghanistan becomes, the better this strategy would work.”

    “Petraeus is likely to cross the Rubicon in about a year or less, this time around.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/chairman-joint-chiefs-staff-says-national-debt-biggest-threat-national-security#comment-550707

    McChrystal is a wild card.

    [in my best Scottish brogue] It’s that literal interpretation crowd that’s going ta bruise your balls laddie.

    The pendulum is going to swing back the other way and I am pretty sure half the country isn’t going to be too fond of that either.

    Choir practice anyone?

  18. If we’re gonna have a dictatorship, might as well be a former general. I kinda liked Alex Haig for that job, but he’s too old or dead by now.

    How about a three-way with Petraeus (third party), Obama and McCain?

    McCain-Palin ticket one more time!

  19. Well, maybe we could prop up his corpse like El Cid….

    xhttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/us/politics/21haig.html

  20. Coming from a guy who can’t be bothered to use the shift key now and then, these words are delicious irony. Kinda like Palin sketching Jeebus riding a dinosaur as proof of her holiness and intelligence.

    Dave, regarding bicycle transportation in the future, I’m glad for you that you’re able to stick to your opinion even though bicycles are the default simple & low-energy & low-maintenance transportation choice in all but the most industrialized nations, and have been for many decades now.

    LOL on the ball bearings. Like there aren’t gazillions of machines & devices out there that won’t be running post-oil & -electricity and that have salvageable components?

    salvageing industristrial artifacts is still using industrial artifacts. when they’re gone, they’re gone for good. just like cars, bikes are an artifact of industry. they will be around for a limited time after industrial collapse, whenever that may be and howevre that may happen. some components, bearings for instance, may be available for a longer time, maybe not. others, such as tires or cables maybe, won’t be avaiable for as long in my mind. isn’t that what i said to begin with?

    what does my typeing have to do with my reasoning? are you really so fucking stupid that you can’t follow a train of thought available to any fifth grader? this reminds me of a conversation with dale.

  21. i think it was huxely who said something like: “the only thing we learn from history, is that we never learn anything from history.”

  22. Dave, regarding bicycle transportation in the future, I’m glad for you that you’re able to stick to your opinion even though bicycles are the default simple & low-energy & low-maintenance transportation choice in all but the most industrialized nations, and have been for many decades now.

    nah, people walk, always have, always will.

  23. unless they can grow themselves some nices horsies and such. see, the horsies fuck then eat grass, then they fuck and make more horsies. horsies don’t need bearing. bearing are made in factories. factories don’t eat grass and then fuck and make more factories. i don’t know why, cause i’m a fucking retard who knows how to type.

  24. Dave, regarding bicycle transportation in the future, I’m glad for you that you’re able to stick to your opinion even though bicycles are the default simple & low-energy & low-maintenance transportation choice in all but the most industrialized nations, and have been for many decades now.

    anyway, this, at a minimum, assumes that there is a functioning industrial base to available to supply and resupply said bicycles. so, i don’t know how this assertion, if it is true, which i’m not sure how true it might be, so maybe you might want to explain your assertion, not that you’re capable of that of course, since you a re a proficient typist and somehow, at least in your case, typing proficiencey and reasoning ability seem to be mutally exclusive, has anything to do with any opion i may or may not have expressed.

    my only opion(s) expressed so far is that: a.) bicycles, and by extension thier various components are industrial artifacts. b) as such, they will not be available for use indefinately after there is no industry to support thier continued function.

    to make to issue as concrete as i possibly can, your bike. tires, to stick to one and only one component, cause you’re easily confused, cause you’re such a good typist, how long will you be able to reliably get tires that function on your particular bicyle after the tire factory, whereever that maybe, stops functioning? what is your opinion?

  25. the statement that i love my buick is a fact. i can assure you theat i love my buick and two of my 3 cats. i’m only fond of the third cat. since i am the only arbitrator of the truth component of these statements, these are facts, not opinions.

    now i’m worn out. i’ve typed more than i’v typed in in years. if i was real good and real stupid typist, like nudge, this wouldn’t be a problem. but in fact, it is a problem, not an opinion. nudge, do i need to explain the diference between a problem and an opinion? well you’ll just have to wait. i’ve done all i can do for 1 day.

  26. i’m sorry, one final thought, the statement: “nudge is very stupid, and/or mentally defective, despite being a, or possibly because she is a proficient typist”, is arguably a fact, based on overwhelming evidence. i’ll leave said evidence to another time.

  27. dave, you forgot to mention that the road conditions for biking far and wide may be suboptimal, to put it mildly, in said de-industrial future. if roads everywhere devolve to say, the conditions that many are in in present-day Costa Rica, well, we will all marvel at how a road can apparently continue to exist when there are moron potholes in it than pavement.

    if i recall correctly, bicycle tires and wheels are even moron prone to damage from rough roads than car tires. plus, it is a challenge to keep the bike upright whilst avoiding all the holes one can manage, plus cars and trucks.

    gravel roads are fun too, as passing cars/trucks will throw gravel. best to stick to a dirt bike path and forget the roads and streets.

  28. yeah, tires, bearings and thier races, cars, oil spills, bicycles, nice flat pavement, jet planes, etc., etc., they’re all part and parcel of the same thing.

  29. nudge, just so you know, not that i like to brag or be pretentious or anything, but, i’ve toured on bicycles, bicycles have been one of my primary transports for well over 30 years. i’ve worked as a mechanic in bicycle shops. i used to work for the huffy bicycle corp.. i have designed and built frames from scratch. i have recieved training as a bicycle builder and mechanic, etc. i have publicly debated bicycle advocates, and basicly told them that they should shut the fuck up, stop complaining, and go ride thier bikes, if that’s what they like to do, cause you ain’t doing the rest of us any fucking good. i don’t do public anything anymore.

  30. bicycles can be made with 1820’s tech. no biggy.

    wiki sez:”The captured, or caged, ball bearing was originally described by Galileo in the 1600s. The mounting of bearings into a set was not accomplished for many years after that. The first patent for a ball race was by Philip Vaughan of Carmarthen in 1794.”
    for the chain, use a regular chain, just have big teeth on the sprockets.

    there will be plenty of steel found in the metro-middens.

    tires? use rope. put springs under the seat.

  31. Dave, umm, whatever. The fact that bicycles can be made at a ca1880 level of technology just seems to keep eluding you.

    Is something perhaps bugging you? :)

  32. “In a properly designed Traditional City most people don’t need bicycles.”

    No shit. The point made in the article is obvious and completely useless with regard to our own situation.

    This is America, not some grown up medieval landscape. It’s completely built out to the automobile. There isn’t going to be a properly designed traditional city here so who fucking cares about pictures of old world street scapes. Very little of what we’ve made is at a human scale and yet we are going to have to occupy it at a human scale. That’s going to be difficult and a bicycle could be useful.

    Modern bicycles may only be with us a few years or decades. After that, who knows? Wheels are really more useful for moving cargo. I trust we can agree people will continue to use wheels. Aside from carts and wagons I’m sure we’ll continue to rig up contraptions where we can move ourselves as cargo. Ultimately though it seems people will just have to walk or ride in a boat. Only a few can have an animal for transport.

    During our lifetime at least, I think bike ownership and knowing how to service and maintain them is worthwhile. This may or may not have anything to do with survival prospects in a period of collapsing civilization. But for some period it could broaden one’s possibilities or provide an edge. That edge may be big or small. Like growing a backyard garden or raising chickens, or knowing how to fix things. Regardless of where we are headed these things seem useful things to do anyway. For the moment, riding bikes and growing gardens is more healthy than the alternative and at least lets people feel they have some control of something in their life. In addition to being healthier these things are also a form of rebellion against corporatre forces who would rather you didn’t.

    It’s what we have to work with. Unfortunately what we will not have to work with is “properly designed traditional cities”.

  33. “Its better to not need a bike than to need one.”

    Agree. It would also be better to not need pants.

  34. Dave, umm, whatever. The fact that bicycles can be made at a ca1880 level of technology just seems to keep eluding you.

    yes, yes, like i said at the begining of all this, something called a “bike” might be cobbled together out of almost anything. reference the “boneshaker”, for example.

    here i’ll try again, i used to do this kind of shit with dale all the time. how long do you think you’ll get nice pneumtic tires for your bicycle after the tire factory shuts down? just one simple question, maybe you can handle that, but i doubt it.

  35. Dave, umm, whatever. The fact that bicycles can be made at a ca1880 level of technology just seems to keep eluding you.

    yes, yes, like i said at the begining of all this, something called a “bike” might be cobbled together out of almost anything. reference the “boneshaker”, for example.

    ok, here i’ll try again, i used to do this kind of shit with dale all the time. how long do you think you’ll get nice pneumtic tires for your bicycle after the tire factory shuts down? just one simple question, maybe you can handle that, but i doubt it.

  36. bicycles can be made with 1820′s tech. no biggy.

    wiki sez:”The captured, or caged, ball bearing was originally described by Galileo in the 1600s. The mounting of bearings into a set was not accomplished for many years after that. The first patent for a ball race was by Philip Vaughan of Carmarthen in 1794.”
    for the chain, use a regular chain, just have big teeth on the sprockets.

    there will be plenty of steel found in the metro-middens.

    tires? use rope. put springs under the seat.

    yeah, i’ll ride that.

  37. i remember the archdruid used to post shit like: people will attack steel framed buildings with hacksaws to harvest the steel. all i could think was that this is one motherfucker who never used a hacksaw.

    one of his other ones was something along the line that because medevil alchemists used to make shit like stainless steel in crucibles heated with lenses and mirrors, in quanties of maybe a .5 gram at a time, if they were lucky, we can somehow scale the efforts up to industrial quantities. ok, with me.

  38. yeah nudge, like au says, when there’s no more rubber tires, you can wrap your nice round alloy rims with rope and ride on that. of course you’ll have to find some nice round rims at some point, i guess. i know, you can weld up some of that any old chain that au has been using for a drive chain into a circle and use that.

  39. au, one question, and i’m not trying to fuck with you, at least not too much,. have you ever riden a bicycle?

  40. oh, but shit, you’d have to find a functioning welder to weld the chain into a circle. oh yeah, silly me, the local blacksmith will forge weld it with his hammer and anvil. he just got his 100 lbs of coal for the month delivered by bicycle courier.

  41. then i can fit the old air valve that i found down by the railroad tracks and fit that to the rope. that’ll make a nice smooth ride through the pot holes.

  42. @bif, yeah the whole idea that “traditional cities” had trains is plain silly. the point that i take away from his article is that bikes are not an “answer” to industrialism any more that cars or motorcycles are. but there is a contingent out there who seem to think they are.

    i like bikes. i got nothing against bikes. i’ve owned litterally 100’s of bikes over the years. since i was a kid, i would go to the dump and salvage bikes, to make bikes. but to think that they are somehow magic, that they somehow stand outside the industrial system that created them, is just fucking stupid, imo.

  43. “i remember the archdruid used to post shit like: people will attack steel framed buildings with hacksaws to harvest the steel. all i could think was that this is one motherfucker who never used a hacksaw.”

    Hahaha. Yeah. A hundred guys attack a steel building with hack saws and firece determination. A half hour later the sound of sawing begins to disapate. An hour later everyone is gone and you can hear nothing but birds chirping. The building is covered with a hundred half-inch deep cuts.

  44. of course the big question is something like, at least in regards to bicycles, why would anyone even think that industrial collapse will be arrested at some magical, or arbitrary, 1880 or even 1780 level?

  45. how about collapsing to the same level as pre-fossil fuel use?

    after the cannibals and MZBs are gone, of course.

  46. how about collapsing to the same level as pre-fossil fuel use?

    well, then i would argue that we are no longer talking about a system that might be called “industrial”. “industry”, at least by most(many?) people’s definition, starts with the steam engine. the steam engine is a child of denuded forests and coal mining. “industry” as a system, starts and ends with fossil fuels, unless something else runs out first.

    anyway, the question might then become, what can you make and distribute, and at what scale, without readily available fossil fuels?

  47. personally, i can absolutely imagine, even 200 years from now, some really ingenious, clever monkey finding enough car parts, and putting together a “car”. then, he finds an oil seep and fractionally distills some oil and gets the things running, maybe even rolling around on some metal rims. it will be the marvel of the world for 10 miles in every direction.

  48. here’s what i think: the smartest monkey alive in the future, because he still reads JHK novels about the then-current future, on his hand-cranked “Nook” eBook, will one day stumble, fall and break his last pair of glasses. whereupon there will be much loss of future monkey life, as the smartest monkey then alive can no longer see to read, the ability to grind new lenses will be long lost with the closure of the last Lenscrafters store and forced retirement of the crafters, and therefore there will be no one left than can fractionally distill the La Brea tar pits. the end.

  49. yeah, or like rod sterling will tell you, the end will come when we can’t find the can opener to open our beeferioni, or something like that.

  50. i’m stockpiling can openers, and ball bearings, bicycle tires, wheels, etc. always a greater fool to buy these things, i figure.

  51. yeah, one of the things that dumbshits like nudge, et al, just don’t grok is the shear brute forec that goes into supporting the industrial society. for a singular example, rubber. it’s not the technology, perse, that’s the problem, it’s the volume. given .25lb of latex rubber from a tree, if i could get it from the the congo, and the proper proportion of elemental sulfur, from whereever, if i could get it, i could mix up a lb or 2, if i worked real of vulcananized rubber every couple of days; enough for a single bicycle tire, probably.

    but, couple a banbury mixer to a 100 hp electric motor and i can mix up enough rubber for a 100 bicycles in a day, maybe half a day. if i can get enough raw latex and the sulfur in one place in the right proportions.

    nudge is just a stupid piece of shit. stay away from her.

    do the math, nudge is worthless.

  52. I think elemental sulfur is easier to get than the damned rubber. There are companies starting to make isoprene out of sugar cane and switch grass and stuff like that. But you know how that goes. Too complicated and expensive and the yield is too small for the cost/effort. Vulcanizations seems simple enough but you need a natural or synthetic bio source to make the tire “rubber”. Its just not something a group of local smarty pants types are going to pull off. Iron tires on a wood wheel is probably the best we’ll do in the long term and greased axles. At some point a really well made hand cart will be a really valuable thing. Like the old Mormon hand carts.

  53. “…blocks all truth”

    Dave I don’t want to speak for nudge or anybody but I don’t think its your super challenging point of view thats the problem in these intertube social disconnects as much as your bedside manner.

    Anyway.

  54. i sometimes live for the small victories.

    today, while commuting home form work, my techno-optmistic wife drops the eCar onto me. so, like a cat with their favorite fresh mouse, i listen to her go on about it. then, it’s my turn:

    “honey sweetie pie, who’s gonna have $40K to buy that eCar in a deflationary future with no moron credit? even if you could afford to buy one on your measly retirement income, in about 5 years or sooner, you’ll have to pony up another $20-30K for a new battery pack. those cars are for the rich folks, and for everyone else to dream on about.”

    so she says, “gee, i didn’t know they would cost that much.”

    i said “think high-mileage moped, scooter, eBike. Nudge and Bif will be making them in their garages back east.” (OK, I made that last part up.) :)

  55. Doom, did you remember to reassure her that thankfully the pain of a personal future in which there is greater competition for resources stands at least in part to be mitigated by the economic consequences of die-off(s)?

    dave, pure evil? Maybe pure silly. What happened to all this stuff about defending the honor of your girlfriend and shit? You kinda knew what you were getting into I think.

    Bif, bedside manner, a funny thing that. As to the inconsolable (or unreachable)… best to look seriously at the clipboard for a moment, turn to the patient and calmly tell them that you’ll be back soon, and move on to the next patient. This “these hands have been touched by god” fortuity is a precious resource that shouldn’t be squandered.

  56. yeah, yeah, “pure evil”, that’s what happens when i start some serious drinking at 1 in the afternoon, and it’s 95 degrees out.

    anyways, i’m having drinks, it all goes back to the drinks, and i wander over to nudge’s site. there she is talking shit about me. i mean here’s this fucking idiot who wouldn’t know how to engage in honest discussion, about anything, no matter how sugar coated it might be, talking shit about me. saying that i’m over here trying to justify the use of my buick, or something. like i have to justify my use of anything, or not, to some piece of shit on the fucking internet.

    now i wouldn’t mind any of this, in fact i’d welcome it, if she would let me post at her site. one time, and this is no shit, i tried to talk to doom and biff about some fucking wooden ducks or something like that, and she deleted my posts. tell me that don’t beat all; and yes i do have too much time on my hands, and i thank god, which is everything, except nudge, for that every day.

    anyhoo, in fact, and this is fact, not opinion, if i found out that she sucked one of my dogs’ dicks, i’d have to kill that dog; cause i wouldn’t be able to stand the thought of owning a dog who was that stupid, no matter how much i happened to love that dog. there, i did it again. i said that i love something. i love my dog, and i love my buick. does anyone ever need to justify thier love? how could one even go about it if they had to? i sure don’t know. anyhoo, this all just goes to show what a stupid dog dick sucking, if she could get lucky enough to find a dog who would let her suck his dick, piece of shit that nudge is.

  57. yes bif, that fucking rubber don’t grow on trees ya know, at least not in akron ohio. which, ironically, i guess, used to be known as as the rubber capital of world, i think. probably because to wright bros. used to have a rubber tree plantation in thier back yard; and you’re gonna tell me that it’s my bedside manner that’s the problem, and not nudge’s brutally ugly, and proud of it, stupidity?

  58. dave, i guess what you’re saying is that you and nudge could never get past the physical stage in any romantic relationship?

    also, do they really grow rubber trees in Ohio? i always thought of them as house plants in that part of the world.

  59. well, since the wright bros. didn’t need a 10,000 mile supply chain to build thier bikes, at least according to nudge, i figure that they must have had thier own rubber trees and a bunch of other shit hanging around in thier back yard.

  60. i guess clutch cargo was doing well in 1900. my guess is they used central or south american rubber. indonesian rubber was big in wwII, as when the japanese (dirty japs, back then) invaded there, usa rubber was in a fix. hence the turn to oil synthetics, i think.

  61. ya, i remember reading someplace how some brits actually stole some rubber plants from the portugese in brazil, who had the rubber trade tied up at the time. circa 1870? anyway, they took them back to the royal botanical society, grafted them onto something or another, and started growing rubber in thier colonies in ceylon and india. but his caused a big stink cause it pissed off the tea growers. anyway, the dutch saved the day, as usuall, and started growing rubber in indonesia, and they were very succesfull, i think.

    of course, after awhile, the firestones stole some trees and couple of million acres in in liberia, and started growing thier own rubber. god, but i would have loved to have been a rubber barron. kinda like a robber baron, only better, i guess.

  62. There are native plants in north america that produce latex. Guayule grows in the southwest US and Mexico. Perhaps the cartels will keep us stocked in condoms and inner tubes, but its going to cost you gringo.

    “In the 1920s, the plant saw a brief and intense amount of agricultural research when the Intercontinental Rubber Company in California produced 1400 tons of rubber after leaf blight decimated the Brazilian rubber industry. Guayule would again become a replacement for Hevea tree-produced latex during World War II when Japan cut off America’s Malaysian latex resources. The war ended before large-scale farming of the guayule plant began, and the project was scrapped, as it was cheaper to import tree-derived latex than to crush the shrubs for a smaller amount of latex.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guayule

    Dandelion and leafy spurge could be other domestic sources for producing sustained but limited amounts of latex. I used to clear invasive spurge from the pasture. Its milky white sap was nasty and toxic.

    I would think that because of cheap third-world sources for gum rubber, and then readily available petroleum for synthetic rubber, there has never been a need or serious attempt to engineer and develop a crop plant in the temperate latitudes for latex production. Maybe someone will do that. A ground floor opportunity.

  63. yeah, i think it’s even worse than i thought for nudge and all those nice lookin’ bike ridin’ ladies. as far as i can tell there’s not a single bicycle tire manufacturer left in the usa. you can just tell all those ladies right now, there’s always room in the back seat of dave’s buick.

    http://www.mtbtires.com/specs/schwalbe.html

  64. yeah bif, i think that only works out to about 85 trillion dandilions for a 26×2.25 knobby. probably only about 50 trillion for a set of racing skins. i’ll let you check the math.

  65. Dandelion Rubber? Researchers Make Russian Dandelion Suitable For Large-Scale Rubber Production

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090910091629.htm

    “We have identified the enzyme responsible for the rapid polymerization and have switched it off,” says Prof. Dr. Dirk Prüfer, Head of Department at the IME. “If the plant is cut, the latex flows out instead of being polymerized. We obtain four to five times the amount we would normally. If the plants were to be cultivated on a large scale, every hectare would produce 500 to 1000 kilograms of latex per growing season.”

    I’m not making any predictions based on this. I haven’t a clue. But it is interesting.

    Googling dandelions. Shows you what kind of Friday night I’m having.

    (No worries. The party starts tomorrow).

  66. Plants for a Future: Edible & Useful Plants for a Healthier World
    by Ken fern

    http://www.amazon.com/Plants-Future-Edible-Useful-Healthier/dp/1856230112

    Looks like maybe a good book. Apparently he has assembled a list of 60 different plants in our temperate climate that produce latex in recoverable and useful amounts.

    OK. Its true that producing large amounts of tires, hoses and other modern “must haves” is not going to come from the north american plant menu. However, I would think understanding and developing these natural sources would be good for things like maybe waterproofing of clothing, or lining of water carrier skins, cloth sacks, storage bags, etc. And condoms of course.

  67. Guayule cultivation in SW U.S. and Chihuahuan desert is 600lbs of rubber per acre or 1300 lbs/acre if irrigated. This is roughly half of the acreage yield for Asian Hevea (rubber tree) operations, according to article below.

    Guayule does well in poor soils and requires minimum care. But it takes irrigation to achieve the needed high yields. Problems for achieving/maintaining this kind of production in the desert environment are pretty obvious (as we’ve been speculating here on a post-industrial world scenario).

    http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1993/v2-338.html

    More apparently going on here than I thought and these alternative bio sources seem to be of interest for medical non-allergenic forms of latex rubber.

  68. has anyone thought of making tequila with that stuff? it looks promising.

    latex and tequila, sounds like an album cover.

    does anyone know if JR is still alive?

  69. if JR’s dead, i guess at some point wordpress or his internet provider will pull the plug on zulu kilo.

    i hope that guy remembered to put my real name in his will.

  70. i don’t know ee, tires are supposed to roll around smash stuff, no matter where they are.

    but yeah, white boys shucking and jiving up on stage, while black folks sit passively in the audience, that is fucked up.

  71. i don’t know, but i don’t see any real advantage to fucking around with growing rubber in n. america. no matter where you grow it, you still have to gather it, process it, make it into stuff, then distribute that and such. it’s just as hard to get it from the middle of the desert someplace as it is to get it from africa and such places. plus, if the rubber trees already have higher yields….

    as far as latex suits for those nice looking, but a little too skinny girls, i think i can get just as creative with them stripped down naked and couple of pieces of rope and some dirty rags, just sayin’.

  72. That was a great viddy on “tyres,” dave! My favorite thing was the narrator referring repeatedly to the “carcass” of the tire. And the last part of the process reminded me of one of my favorite Terry Gilliam films.

    P.S. You need to look more closely at that clip of Jonas Brothers singing McCartney’s “Drive My Car”… Stevie Wonder, Michelle, and her mother are all whirling in their seats, despite all the white and semi-white folks surrounding them. (Who are those old fossils sitting to the right of Paul McCartney?)

  73. EE, I think you are a very smart lady that nevertheless is living in the same bubble as those clueless folks in the Jonas Brothers video. Please be careful, as the rest of the country is not faring nearly so well, and their mood is growing uglier all the time, just read the links below.

    http://blog.cheapmotelsandahotplate.org/2010/09/03/a-nation-in-decline-part-2-signs-of-distress/

    I think at some point DC will end up like Versailles did during the French Revolution You might want to be visiting relatives somewhere else at that time.

  74. Doom, are you suggesting that enough Americans out there are aware of the Corporate Capitalist Communism meme, by which the richest are artificially made richer (on government largess) while the rest of us go broke? According to Pox News, all the money is really going to black people, Muslims, and illegal immigrants, and they’re the ones making the country broke. DC might be safe after all, just saying.

  75. wow, it’s not only still brewed in the usa, it’s pretty good, apparently. will have to seek some out at a liquor store. we also have a store here that specializes in beers from all over the world. wonder how much longer it will stay open when shipping costs go stratospheric.

  76. I guess it’s time to email JR and see if he’s still alive and interested in reading and writing on his blog. Anyone have a current address and/or telephone number?

    We could threaten to have dave drive his Buick up from Connecticut, but dave is generally powerless until winter arrives and the lakes freeze over, providing ice holes to stuff uncooperative blog hosts into, upside down, of course.

  77. yeah dave, probably right. i’m concluding there are two basic types of knowledgeable folks out there contemplating the future. those who think that life in the cities and large towns will continue to be OK, with basic services still be provided by a benevolent and self-organized “government”; and those who figure the best place to be is in as low a population area as is possible, doing as much stuff as possible to feed and provide for themselves. the latter ones will have a hard time of it regardless, the former ones have probably resigned themselves to waiting in long lines for just about everything. i think they make the riskiest assumptions, however, about how bad things might get. see latest Orlov post for a clue.

  78. yeah, my own thoughts are something like: the more things that you can do for yourself, the better off you are. also, positive mental attitude,(PMA is one of my mantras if something goes “wrong”, whatever wrong might mean.) is crutial. these are kinda subjective general principles; but they do make me lean more towards the lower population density option. i’m also loathe to join groups, committees, clubs, organizations, etc, i’ve listened to my full of jabbering idiots, no more.

    anyway, if you’re more comfortable in a city, then i’d say that you should stay where you’re comfortable. fuck, if you like the suburbs, stay there.

    Take DC for example. i can kinda see a lot of effort, ultimately wasted of course, but a lot of effort nonethelss, going into preserving that shithole as the eye of the shitstorm that we currently like to call the usa. NYC, is kind of a showcase, so its’ lights may stay on longer then the surrounding suburbs, or philadelphia, for example. of course i make no claims to knowing how any of this will go down, just that it will go down.

    the bottom line is that over the course of the next 100 years or so, industrial civilization is going down. i don’t see that happening without some discontinuties.

    you place your bets and you take your chances. that’s way it’s always been; that’s the way it’ll always be.

  79. as far as just thinking purely SURVIVAL, which is way overrated as a concept in my mind. if you can be one of the last men standing, no matter your environment, you will have resources. and, concomitantly a better chance of seeing your fucking inherantly worthless genes embodied and expressed in and as some dumbass who’s just gonna go out and do a bunch of stupid shit anyways, so…

  80. But more importantly, the technology to build a basic 20 pound bike is now almost ancient. If we can produce a decent quality of steel tubing, most of the rest of the serious work involved in frame-building can be done with hand tools and a TIG welder. Spokes can be made straight from steel wire. Bearings, cups, and bolts are all produced in town already.

    so, anyway, i pulled the above paragraph out of this article:

    http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2010-09-05/steel-cycling-and-steeltown

    while the whole article as an example of some type of mish mash thinking designed to make bicyclists (at least a certain sort of bicyclist) feel good about themselves, i thought that this p was kinda key, so i decide to pull it apart a little.

    first, having the technology does not translate into having the ability. you can have all the lathes and all the knowledge about lathes in the universe; but with power to run them, stock to work, sharp tools, ect., ect., ect., all you have is the technology of a boat anchor.

    the author then tips his hat towards the fact that bicycles are made of tubes, and that tubes are an industrial product, so he might not have tubes to make bikes. but, and this baffles me to no end, as long as he has tubes, he’ll have tig welders, and thier anicilaries available to weld them. iow, tig welders are magic.

    spokes can be made from steel wire. but the fact that steel wire comes from similar places that steel tube comes from, seems lost on him.

    then, because certain other components are made in town, they are also somehow immune from an overall industrial unraveling; like the in town factories eat grass and shit out raw fucking materials or something.

    anyhoo, i could go on like this for a long time. but i’m probably just talking to myself, and i don’t really give a fuck about what i might have to say anyway.

  81. “anyhoo, i could go on like this for a long time. but i’m probably just talking to myself, and i don’t really give a fuck about what i might have to say anyway.”

    naw, dave, at least i’m reading and appreciating the logic. it’s like a whole bunch of folks have left the denial and anger stages, and are now stuck in the bargaining stage. we’ll have to put up with this for awhile. acceptance will come along about the time the grids begin dropping out and our pc laptops become useless.

    i’m starting to appreciate richard duncan’s pov. modern western civilization depends upon vinny and jose being able to get to work and then drive 40 miles in their utility truck to fix some transformer gizmo that blew when mrs. o’leary’s cow licked the line tower to get a salt lick. the cow gets a mild shock, the transformer blows, and vinny and jose must be able to get there to make the vital repairs, or cascading events will bring down the entire grid. only no gas. such ends modern western civilization. the end.

  82. such ends modern western civilization. the end.

    sounds like a pretty good way to go, as good as any other anyway.

  83. So it sounds like you see industrial civilization falling off a cliff and descending at free-fall speed at least into the early 1800s,… bumping its head on a granite ledge on the way down, so that when the dust settles you find yourself in 1827 and you and everyone around you are hopelessly retarded and useless, so you eat each other until one guy is left. And that’s just the first week. Maybe so. I wouldn’t be surprised. Or maybe instead of freefalling from a cliff into the post-industrial age there’s going to be more of a messy slog down a more gradual (or less steep) slope. In that case a monkey might consider the range of possible scenarios and hedge his bets. This could involve stashing bike parts in secret places. Heh heh.

  84. Moonshine.

    JR, white courtesy phone. Yesterday.

    JR, did I mention I just got my 4-CD longbox set of The Red Army Choir? Gomez digs the Spanish parts. No habla Roosky. Those comrades can sing.

    Drives the locals crazy – they keep having flashbacks.

    Prolly get the Christmas CD next. Oh come, all ye Infidels…

  85. In that case a monkey might consider the range of possible scenarios and hedge his bets.

    ya place your bets and ya take your chances, that’s what i always say anyway.

  86. thanks remus. i do my best every fucking day. most people think this shit is easy, decimating and disipating the truth day in and day out. of course they’re absolutely correct. any retard with a little spare time on his hands could do what i do.

  87. the really funny thing about bicycles, i think, is how people fixate on the frames. except in maybe the case super light wieght racing bikes and such, the frame is the easy part.

    durable, well functioning, light wieght, interchangeable, and personally i’d stress interchangable, components are the hard part.

  88. As has been said before, the universal standard form of personal transportation is putting one foot in front of the other. The human body is one hell of an awesome machine, and even if it isn’t, its the only one you really own.

  89. A good frame and wheels are key. Everything else can be scrounged.

    yeah, a good set of wheels is almost impossible to find at the dump, or even buy used, in my experience anyway. but a frame? nah, they’re easy to find. people are always throwing out well made bikes with bent rims and broken cables and such, but with perfectly good frames.

  90. also, up to a point anyway, the whole frame sizing/geometry agrument is kinda weak. with the right seat post and handlebar stem and a couple of other adjustments maybe, a 19″ mtb frame can fit just about anybody from 5’4″ to 6’4″, imo.

  91. to me, the most important frame design consideration is standover hieght. that consideration can almost be made moot by simply dropping the top tube where it joins the seat tube. even with a fully loaded touring rig, if you can get off the seat and stand flat footed, without leaning the bike, you’re pretty much good to go, to simplify the issue a little anyway.

  92. of course if you need a lycra suit to ride a bike, then just forget about anything i might have to say.

  93. “no, i’m always funny.”

    fun·ny1    /ˈfʌni/ Show Spelled [fuhn-ee] Show IPA adjective, -ni·er, -ni·est, noun, plural -nies.
    –adjective
    1. providing fun; causing amusement or laughter; amusing; comical: a funny remark; a funny person.
    2. attempting to amuse; facetious: Did you really mean that or were you just being funny?
    3. warranting suspicion; deceitful; underhanded: We thought there was something funny about those extra charges.
    4. Informal . insolent; impertinent: Don’t get funny with me, young man!
    5. curious; strange; peculiar; odd: Her speech has a funny twang.

  94. Why is a simpleton minister of a 50-person congregation suddenly in charge the place. Maybe things aren’t what they seem. I hope this isn’t some stunt for introducing us to Sarah Palin’s running mate.

  95. EEofDC
    “no, i’m always funny.”

    fun·ny1    /ˈfʌni/ Show Spelled [fuhn-ee] Show IPA adjective, -ni·er, -ni·est, noun, plural -nies.
    –adjective
    1. providing fun; causing amusement or laughter; amusing; comical: a funny remark; a funny person.
    2. attempting to amuse; facetious: Did you really mean that or were you just being funny?
    3. warranting suspicion; deceitful; underhanded: We thought there was something funny about those extra charges.
    4. Informal . insolent; impertinent: Don’t get funny with me, young man!
    5. curious; strange; peculiar; odd: Her speech has a funny twang.

    yeah, that sounds about right.

  96. i say let ’em have thier fun. tribal bonding rituals are just as rational as anything else any monkey ever did. some like to burn korans, other like to burn us flags. everybody demonstrates just whose side who is on; it’s all good.

  97. it used to amaze me that many people still look at the us as the good guy, and the terroists as the bad guys. but then i screwed my eyes around just right and found that when i looked at gobal industrialism, with the us as both the spiritiual and secular leader of this movement, i knew that they were right. we are, without dobt, a force of good and must use our might to spread that good thoughout the world. then i had to join in with cry to kill all infidels; moslems, drug users, communists, terroists, fucking dirty socialists, hunter gatherers, subsistance agriculturealists, and otherwise.

  98. dave, don’t forget all other wild, unpredictable, crawly creatures, those must be eliminated also, least they threaten our progress toward a bright and safe new day.

  99. dave, don’t forget all other wild, unpredictable, crawly creatures….

    of course, sure, let’s kill ’em all.

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