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November 2013

Other things made of real parts

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If we're going to live without fossil fuel (and, let's face, we are going to live without, or very nearly without), then one thing we have to strive for is products that last a lot longer. Particularly, they have to be reparable. Some things are designed to be reparable, but most these days aren't. It makes me awfully happy when I run across something that I can indeed fix with a suitable replacement part (and extra points if it can be fixed with improvised parts).

Personal Tech Roadmap

Though I spend a lot of time staying on top of the world of computer security (it's my day job), it's only recently that I decided to make some significant changes in how I sort out my various computer and electronic needs. It's really a journey that I'm only just getting started on, though on the other hand I've got years of software development, networking, and security expertise, so I ought to have a leg up on this.

Difficult Projections

By now I've spent some more time with the World Wildlife Fund and Ecofys's Energy Report: 100% Renewable Energy by 2050. It's really pretty impressive, dauntingly detailed, and coming at the "big question" in ways I haven't necessarily thought about. I feel like I could spend really a tremendous amount of time poring through it, studying along the way so that I could make independent judgments about their modeling.

Things made of real parts

This is a picture of the guts of my espresso machine. Or, well, truth is, this is the broken one I bought cheap on eBay for spare parts. And what I like about it, quite visible in the photograph, is that inside the cavity of the machine (which is silver and at least slightly stylish when all buttoned up inside its case) are just a few parts, separately bolted in, attached by clippable wires and some rubber tubing.

The Lateness of the Hour

One question I wrestle with--and I think a lot of people wrestle with it without necessarily talking about it--is whether it's too late. Too late to deal with peak oil in a way that doesn't involve wrenching changes, too late to stop societal collapse caused by global climate change. On the one hand, it's easy to draw some straight-line projections that make it seem just too late. Game over, relax and accept it, you're off the hook. On the other hand, things will change as conditions on the ground change, and change may just make the difference.

Shifting Gears

There's this ironic thing about a great many of the survivalist blogs out there: they are preparing for a great disaster that *could* come in the future, or even one that they believe *will* come in the future. And when they talk about this implosion of life as we know it, it's clear that they'll know it when they see it because things will unwind quickly.

Meanwhile, there's this enormous disaster already taking place (but *slowly*) all around us. And an awful lot of preppers seem to be sharing in just the same denial as most everyone else.

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