Category Archives: Antecedents

Alternative energy sources have too many fossil fuel antecedents to outlast or replace oil, natural gas, and coal. They will use more fossil fuel energy to construct than they will ever return in energy, a negative return on energy invested.

Making a can of Cola

Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins & L. Hunter Lovins. 1999. Natural Capitalism. Earthscan Publications   Chapter 3: “Waste Not”, pages 49-50. A striking case study of the complexity of industrial metabolism is provided by James Womack and Daniel Jones in their book … Continue reading

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Motherboards in Computers – too complex to make in the future

How can a wood-based world have the supply chains, minerals, electric-grid up 24 x 7, and so on necessary to construct anything this complex?  It’s time to preserve knowledge on something more long lasting than microfiche or acid-free paper. How … Continue reading

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Microchips and Fab Plants: a Detailed description

I recommend reading my overview of how microchips are made before delving into the details below. Introduction to detailed overview of semiconductor manufacturing The crowning achievement of our civilization is the ability to make microchips.  It is by far the … Continue reading

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China controls over 90% of rare earth mineral production

Michael Klare, in “The Race for what’s left” said the Chinese control up to 97% of the production of some of these minerals. Byron King in China’s Leg Up in the Rare Earths Market writes: “Basically, rare earths are exotic … Continue reading

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Antecedents — too much oil needed to make wind, solar, batteries, and so on

Fossil fuels are used in every step of every process AND as a component of material objects from plastics to medicine and 500,000 other products. Any kind of alternative energy you care to name requires fossil fuels from the very … Continue reading

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MicroChips after Collapse: kiss your computer and cell phone goodbye

I encourage you to read about how pencils are made and Thwaite’s attempt to build a simple toaster from scratch before you read what follows.  I don’t even attempt to list the hundreds of materials, rare metals, complex chemicals, catalysts, … Continue reading

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Even Pencils will be hard to make

Most of us are unaware of how complex our society is, how things are made, how food is grown, how stuff is delivered, and the people, energy, transportation, and kinds and sources of materials in every day objects.  This essay, … Continue reading

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Toasters are Toast

Thomas Thwaites’ book, “The Toaster Project” illustrates why it will be so hard, if not impossible, to bounce back from collapse in the future to anything like what we take for granted today.  Thwaites set about trying to make a … Continue reading

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