Saturday, September 11, 2010

AS WE KNOW IT












41 comments:

  1. Wow, John. This was an epic piece of work. Being only vaguely informed of the notion of peak oil, your recent strips (and especially this one) have been real eye openers. It seems our society is getting more and more desperate while feeling an increasing sense of entitlement and, personally, it worries me constantly. I often wonder if our quality of life will continue to dwindle and if my children's generation will inherit a hopelessly screwed up planet. You're doing some incredibly important work.

    On a technical level, this comic is gorgeous. It looks like you're using a textured paper now and it gives your stuff a really great look when combined with the computer coloring. You're use of shading with color is really well done, too. Of course, I always love your big "splash page" statement panel at the end of the comic.

    You're a unique talent, John. Thanks.

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  2. haha! jesus dude. very awesome, and the last panel is amazing. your comics always seem to end so well. very good.

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  3. I might be totally missing something, but isn't it supposed to be "Your iPod.." and "Your family, friends" and not "you're"?

    Other than that, gorgeous drawings. I think I'll keep this around in Google Reader.

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  4. Rad. I hope he's wrong, but He's probably right.

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  5. damn john, what a story.

    i like the paper texture.

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  6. The more I learn about peak oil the more it scares the shit out of me. Great comic

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  7. Awesome comic John. Absolutely terrifying, but awesome.

    I could totally see you becoming the new Joe Sacco or a comics Michael Moore (for want of a better example of a political documentarian).

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  8. great stuff man, introspection and suffering lead us deeper into ourselves and makes us grow

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  9. Wow, I really enjoyed the use of graphical overlays in the comic. It was unique.

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  10. I have to say that I am not sure oil running out (which it probably will) equals billions of people dying (which in my opinion, probably won't). Sure, the transition away from oil will be difficult. Yes, there'll be a lot of hardships. But humanity has a way of surviving these things. William seems like he added two plus two and got five.

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  11. Thanks for a great comic and for another dose of the awakening!

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  12. Solar energy.

    http://www.archi-ninja.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/surface-area-required-to-power-the-world.jpg

    Wind power.

    Tidal wave power.

    Nuclear power.

    Problem solved.

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  13. I worry about this often. Th power went out for a a few hours once, thugs drove up and down the streets with flashlights looting carts. That was just 6 hours of no power mind you.

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  14. The "mythical they" you're talking about is probably chemists/biologists and engineers at major universities, and the idea that all alternate forms of energy are years away from breakthroughs disregards the fact that if peak oil apocalypse becomes a SERIOUS issue at any point in time, pressure will be put on scientists and engineers around the world to combine efforts to produce real solutions at faster rates, and they will finally have more than enough money to do so in that situation. this has happened in different forms many times throughout history. If you take any idea to an extreme, of course it ends in apocalypse or just general absurdity. that's more or less the basis of all science fiction

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  15. Correct premises do not always yield correct conclusions. Yes, his information on peak oil is correct, but why should the fact that we have reached the peak and production of that particular resource is on the decline mean that "millions of people will die?" Is our entire future dependent on oil? Is there absolutely nothing we can do? Is technology not increasing daily?

    I think the answers to those questions are quite simple. Yes, there are people working on new fuel sources and new technologies. In the comic, William says that "...all forms of alternative energies are years behind in breakthroughs." There's a reason for that. It's called politics. People don't understand and are scared of new technologies, so they don't want them. Guess what? There's something we can do about that: go out and vote, and educate people. Don't just go pack a bunch of rice in your basement.

    No, oil won't be around forever, but our lives won't revolve around it forever. Besides, even as we're producing less oil, we're also producing more fuel-efficiency.

    In reality, you should be looking this stuff up instead of listening to some guy with a beard who thinks millions of people will die. In fact, why not start here:

    http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4100

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  16. Your cynicism is refreshing, thanks for being bold and... fearless? Comparatively fearless? Well, analytically fearful, anyway.

    By analytically fearful, I mean- most people walk around obsessed with their own lives, ruled by their insecurities (Where you, instead, confront your insecurities by illustrating them into these wonderful little strips - which are cathartic for me to read, as I hope they are for you to write).

    Or, if people do try to assess the horrors of "the big picture", they come up with something deluded - often of a political or religious nature.

    Kudos on having vision and the energy to share it!

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  17. i really hate learning about stuff like that, i watched like 2/3rds of a documentary about corn and i had to stop watching it because it scared the shit out of me. the world is completely fucked! But anyways the comic looks great as usual, and i also really really like the new paper texture

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  18. A great mentor once told me that people focused too much on the peak. Peak this, peak that. Instead we should look at the area under the Hubbert curve - we have basically used up what was produced in 10^9 years of fossilization in 10^3 years - 6 times a magnitude - which just encapsulates how astoundingly we have used up our resources.

    I find most of the information a little inaccurate - you really must read the International Energy Agency's "World Energy Outlook" or the "BP Statistical Review of World Energy". These are the standard bibles for energy scholars.

    Even then, there is no saying on how fast an alternative energy like wind could develop.In 1998, the International Energy Agency predicted global wind electricity generation would total 47GW by 2020. We reached that number in 2004 and today we are at 121GW, 11 years ahead of schedule. All these analysts are all meta on you - so there is actually hope!

    Carbon markets and Cleantech investment is rising and rising and they will somehow finance and redistribute our resources at alternative technologies - I think ultimately - there might be a little period where we are in an epic economic slump - but we will recover from it in time soon.

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  19. Definitely one of your best strips so far!

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  20. I remember my professor from my freshman Mechanical Engineering course in college covered the oil bell curve during one of our classes. No one in the class really paid much heed to what he was saying nor did he sound concerned while he was doing the lecture. After the class ended I asked him what his thoughts were on the subject he had covered. He was too busy to talk about it after class since he had a meeting with the others in his department about improving their public standing but he said they'll think of something. I think a part of my engineering heart died when he said that and I looked around and "them," my classmates.

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  21. you know what its always worth the wait with you. fuck dana and janice come to canada

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  22. ha, we used to show political comics in my high school government class. I wish this was around back then. Kinda spooky to think about though.

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  23. An excellent comic. However the U.S. is almost uniquely situated to ride out a true world crisis having not only very large reserves of general minerals and untapped energy sources but also clean water and arable land. The real deal would be the political instability as the government nationalized many services and resources and the refugees from the less well off nations both to the south of the U.S. and around the world.

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  24. Peak Oil is one of those strange conspiracy theory that's really based in truth to a certain extent. Sure, peak oil will be reached and may have been reached already. But, the "fallout" is extremely exaggerated. The effects of reaching peak oil will be gradual as hell. It's not like we'll wake up tomorrow and gasoline will be 100 dollars a gallon.

    PS: another awesome comic

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  25. It is supremely coincidental that I happened to watch the documentary "Collapse" on the same day I read this comic. I wonder who came first.

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  26. We have a lot of Peak Oil literature (includes
    videos) going through this campus household.
    A lot of it strives to justify anti-humanitarian
    behaviors of specific subcultures, as if "resource wars" were the only way to manage resources. Depends how retro you wanna be, but some futurists (= science fiction writers) are less pessimistic than others. Yeah, maybe those USAers panicked, but they wasted so much it's not funny. Intelligent planning is the serious response, whereas suiting up to shoot people because "they're too many" just means you get cut out of all the important wheeling and dealing, cuz no one trusts you to keep your head. A lot of the breakthroughs are in lifestyle, not in doubling energy output every year. Believe it or not, buying lots of plastic every day is not everyone's idea of a good time. Plenty of free stuff in the landfill, yesterday's new stuff at WalMart.

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  27. Thank you for this fine comic. Very much appreciated.

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  28. Well, nothing lasts forever. Even humans. It would probably be better if Billions of humans did die out in a short period of time. Just being practical, don't you think? We've ruined the air. The seas. The earth. The animals. The birds. The fish. The food. The ice. The weather. We kill millions of our own kind every year. What's the big surprise? Get real, while you stand there silent.

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  29. Your Ipod is only powered 1.1% by oil. What we really need to worry about is peak coal!

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/figes1.html

    With advancements made to electric cars and those coal and nuclear plants generating power, I think we will be able to still drive big SUVs in 20-30 years without worrying about oil. Don't worry, Jesus is on our side.

    Oh and Kat, Trust me he has.

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  30. UNLESS THE "YOU'RE" WAS CHANGED TO 'YOUR' IPOD AND FAMILY AND FRIENDS, THE LANGUAGE APPEARS FINE.

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  31. nicely done - i love your comic! thanks for sharing!

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  32. Thanks for making the back of my head look normal this time. Also, I think these comments from people are fascinating. Guess you don't have to be so scared of Peak Oil anymore. You get to relax!

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  33. incredible work. glad i found the site

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  34. Thank you for opening my eyes to "Peak Oil". Hopefully, everyone can pass the information along to someone they know and we can prepare for the "real" future.

    thank you again! I can not wait for your next comic.

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  35. Awesome work! I saw "Collapse" that talks about peak oil as well. Now I will go check out the movie you mentioned. Thanks!

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  36. Where I grew up (tornado alley) EVERYONE kept at least 2 weeks worth of water and food in their homes, along with a battery powered radio and electric generator, wood,etc.

    I still keep jugs of water, rice, dried beans, canned goods, a propane stove in the house along with other survival supplies. After your town gets flooded or destroyed a few times, you try to be prepared and more self reliant.

    I don't think people (the general american public) will take peak oil and the energy shortage seriously until there is a major crash/catastrophe. No one in my town cared about saving water until this current drought came. Now everyone is using grey water and solar panels. lol

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  37. William is wrong to talk about "when the needle hits 'E'". Oil will never "run out", but with the economic contraction that's already started it may not be technically possible to extract all the oil that appears to be available. That's apart from EROI (if you don’t know what EROI or the ELM are, you don’t understand Peak Oil).

    Oil didn't come from dinosaurs.

    No combination of renewable energy sources can replace declining cheap oil output. We were warned to prepare, and now it's too late for anything except mitigation.

    Yes, too many people, but the real problem is rising demand. The world economic and financial system depends on increasing economic growth, but economic growth is no longer possible. Politicians and economists are in denial. The market will NOT provide a solution.

    The comments here include the usual types of unfounded confidence: "humanity has a way of surviving these things" (it's never faced THIS thing before); "Wind power. Tidal wave power. Nuclear power. Problem solved." (thinking the world can just switch over to renewables with falling resources and a contracting or collapsing economy); "if peak oil apocalypse becomes a SERIOUS issue" (it's already here; the IEA says peak was in 2006 and there can be no economic recovery); "this has happened in different forms many times throughout history" (no, it hasn’t, we're at the summit of human energy use and most people don’t even know); "Is technology not increasing daily?" (you can't run the existing fleet of over 800 million liquid fuel-powered vehicles on technology, and the world economy is shrinking and may see some form of collapse); "you should be looking this stuff up … http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4100" (yes, read that nonsense, and then see it destroyed in the comments that follow it); "It's not like we'll wake up tomorrow and gasoline will be 100 dollars a gallon." (Total lack of comprehension).

    You have to learn about Peak Oil before you can understand it. There are many sources, but I suggest starting here:

    Who Killed Economic Growth?
    http://youtu.be/EQqDS9wGsxQ

    If you think the reasoning in that condensed version is faulty, or have never heard of Richard Heinberg, try this from the Club of Rome (yes, it still exists):

    Peak Oil - Club of Rome
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxIINmkE2eQ&feature=colike

    John, don’t get a big head from all the praise – and please don’t stop.

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