The four meme

Four jobs I’ve had:
1. Cleaner of industrial spray paint booths (I coped with that for a week, which I still consider impressive…..)
2. Garage attendant.
3. Primary school caretaker.
4. Database programmer (DB IV+).

Four movies I can watch repeatedly:
1. Blade Runner
2. Pulp Fiction
3. Lord of the Rings
4. First Blood

Four places I have lived:
1. Alnwick, Northumberland
2. Beswick, Manchester
3. Oxford
4. Plaistow, East London

Four TV shows I like to watch:
1. Alias
2. Six Feet Under
3. Buffy
4. Battlestar Galactica

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Vancouver, Canada
2. Ulaan Bataar, Outer Mongolia
3. Jerusalem, Israel
4. Playa de las Americas, MAJORKER :O)

Four favourite dishes:
1. Venison casserole
2. Roast Beef
3. My own vegetarian lasagne(!)
4. Oven baked roast potatoes with Hellmann’s Mayonnaise (other mayonnaise doesn’t work)

Four websites I visit daily:
1. The Oil Drum
2. Football 365
3. BBC news (my homepage)
4. WaiterRant (technically, whenever it’s updated. Another job I’ve done on many occasions)

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. My mother in law’s house (where I’m going tomorrow)
2. Watching Chelsea
3. At the cinema
4. In bed, asleep

Four people to tag:
1. Kathryn (to provide another source of distraction for you)
2. Ian G
3. DBW
4. Preston

Interesting site

If you can cope with the California ‘edge’ have a look at this

“All of this I’ve-arrived-and-you-haven’t stuff is stupid. It suggests that life is about destinations and that once you’ve arrived, you’re done growing and can just relax and sip fruity drinks for the rest of your life.”

Quite so. It’s about the way, not the end.

A fully wired future

Much of the discussion in the Peak Oil community (eg in the Running on Empty discussion groups (ROE2)) is premised upon what is called a ‘fast collapse’, ie one where the various amenities of life on which we rely will rapidly fail. I am finding this less and less plausible as time goes on. My view is that the coming two decades will be very difficult, but that “civilisation” will continue through the crisis and that there is much to be hopeful for in the future. A recent post at The Oil Drum (by far the best detailed information on the oil supply) by the ever excellent Stuart Staniford states: “I continue to believe that all this modelling suggests the future decline rates are within the adaptive capacity of the economy — it’s a slow squeeze, as I put it last month. I’m not saying that there won’t be major economic hard times, but it does appear to me that peak oil is something that society can handle for quite some time to come”.

This makes sense to me. In graphic terms, Staniford provides this:

In his article, Staniford argues that the underlying trend of depletion (how quickly we run out of oil) will be in the green area, ie we will be able to adapt. I suspect it will be harder than that – the transition won’t be smooth, primarily due to the effect of geo-politics (Iran etc) – but I am persuaded that the depletion rate won’t have to be steep.

More particularly, I have been musing on the question of electricity supply. This was a comment from one poster on ROE2: “we must accept that all communication systems based on electronics and electricity will have a “rocky” future to say the least. We do not know what electronic parts will be manufactured in the future, their availability, and repair possibilities. We don’t know if electricity in a readily accessible source and storage will be available.”

I would make the following points:
– there are sources of electrical energy with significantly positive EROEI – as one example, see this article, which I’ve been thinking about a lot;
– there is therefore a capacity for a sustainable and reproducing industrial base;
– the only issue is how much of the world economy is lost before the system as a whole shifts onto the sustainable basis – how deep is the dip?

I keep on pondering the question ‘What will Google do?’ – what is to stop them, and companies like them, ensuring their own energy supplies on a sustainable basis, and thereby immunising themselves from the depression? It’s massively in their interest to do so – and nothing to stop them, once they realise what is going on – so that is what I expect to happen.

Electricity is here to stay – the future is wired, irrespective of Peak Oil.

Hmmm, Moltmann

You scored as Moltmannian Eschatology. Jürgen Moltmann is one of the key eschatological thinkers of the 20th Century. Eschatology is not only about heaven and hell, but God’s plan to make all things new. This should spur us on to political and social action in the present.

Moltmannian Eschatology










Left Behind




What’s your eschatology?
created with

Disappointed that Left Behind didn’t get a big fat nothing, but not bad otherwise.

PetroDollars and the Iranian Oil Bourse

Good, hard headed and sober analysis pouring cold water on the conspiracy theory here; taking aim at an analysis here.

Since writing about this before, I’ve grown more sceptical – but I’m not yet completely convinced that it will have no effect on the exchange rate of the dollar.

As much as anything else, I see it as having a psychological effect – knocking the dollar off its pedestal – and along with many other reasons for dollar weakness, I can see it contributing to a more or less gentle decline in dollar value.

We shall see.

UPDATE: see also here.

Shockingly rich

(Sermon, Evensong 15 Jan 06 – Isaiah 60 & Hebrews 6-7)

We are shockingly rich.

I do not mean that as a criticism of any one individual here, but as something which applies to us all, as a community, here in West Mersea, in England, in the West as a whole.

Let me tell you a story which will bring out what I mean. A former tutor of mine used to work in Southern India, where he lived for seven years, before returning to England. On his return, on arrival in their new home, his wife went to purchase some basics – bread and milk. Yet she couldn’t complete the purchase. When she looked at the prices for a pint of milk she couldn’t help translating it into what it would have meant for her friends back in India – that this purchase of a simple pint of milk could have fed a family of four for many days. She was so staggered by the difference in wealth that she had to return home empty-handed, to give herself time to get over the shock.

We are shockingly rich.

So should we despise our wealth? I don’t believe that it is as simple as that. The Scriptures are really very clear that wealth in itself is a good thing. The vision of the promised land is one of a place flowing with milk and honey; our reading from Isaiah is clear about the materiality of the good things promised from God: “Instead of bronze I will bring you gold” God has a very positive view of material wealth – indeed of materiality as a whole – that’s what the Incarnation means. What he most emphatically does not have a positive view of is great wealth next door to great poverty. Think of the story of Dives and Lazarus, for example.

The Scriptures are crystal clear that we are to love our neighbour as ourselves, and that this means we are not to let anyone fall by the wayside, abandoned and deserted by the community. For the poverty which most shocks God is not the absence of possessions – hardly that – but social exclusion. The inability of one member of a community to share in the common life of that community. Scripture is clear that this is what offends God deeply, and Scripture is also clear about what follows when a society embraces that pattern of life: there is judgement, and calamity, and the walls of Jerusalem are broken down and the people of Israel are taken off to Babylon.

When I consider our shocking wealth, and the degree of poverty and exclusion experienced by so many in our world, I tremble at the thought of our coming judgement.

Scripture is also clear about what gives rise to social exclusion – idolatry. It is when the community ceases to worship the living God, and erects another idol in His place, that is when the right relationships between the members of the community break down. So what is the idol that has been worshipped in our community? I believe that the idol is wealth, or, more specifically, economic growth. What politician could succeed by saying ‘we shouldn’t concern ourselves with economic growth so much’? There are politicians who say such things – yet they are not listened to, for our hearts are fearful, fearful of a return to hardship and starvation and unemployment and breadlines and soup kitchens. So we do not trust in the living God, we trust in growth. Yet growth is an idol. Think of what it means to say that a part of our life (the economic part) must grow and keep on growing forever. That is not indicative of health, it is, in fact, the definition of cancer – a group of cells that just keep on growing irrespective of the needs of the whole. Our economy has turned into a cancer in our common life.

God says ‘you will drink the milk of nations and be nursed at royal breasts’.

We say ‘gizza job’.

Those of you who came to my talk about oil the other day will be aware that I believe we are headed for a time of extreme economic hardship. I do not believe that we need be frightened of this. We need to be weaned away from our shocking riches and come back to the promises of the living God, who promises us life, life in all its fullness. The riches that God promises to us are the riches of a human community, made in His image, and sharing his likeness. That is what is promised to us, and that is what we can trust in. Not in our possessions, our accumulations of wealth, but the promises of the one who made us and redeemed us. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure”.

So let us resolve to work together through whatever comes – trusting in the one who is faithful to his promises, and who will lead us to the promised land of Christ’s kingdom.