You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world.  You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wasting our energy

First, we dig up a lot of rock and crush it.  This takes time, effort, and very heavy equipment that consumes a lot of fuel, which is burned in the engines.  That consumes a lot of oxygen that living things like ourselves need to breathe, but we never worry about that.

Then the rock is transported to a factory, often far away, sometimes across the ocean.  More time, effort, and fuel is consumed.

At the factory, a very hot (200 degrees C) mixture of water and lye is mixed with the crushed rock.  The particulates are filtered out and thrown away.  Lots of energy is used to heat the liquid initially and dispose of the particulate matter.  The caustic liquid is then allowed to cool, causing a solid precipitate to settle out of the liquid.  The precipitate is collected and dried, then it's heated to 1000 degrees C to melt it (lots more energy consumed here).

While melted in this hot liquid state, a strong electric current, using millions of amps factory-wide, is passed through the liquid (lots more energy required for that).  A pure, molten metal is produced.  By the way, the required electrical energy is so great, you need to have your own hydroelectric dam nearby.  I won't even try to explain how much time, effort, and energy was needed to create that hydroelectric dam.  Needless to say, it's HUGE.

The metal is cooled and rolled into sheets.  The sheets are transported (more energy) to another factory where they are formed into containers (more energy), filled with filtered water (more energy to obtain and transport that) and corn syrup (lots more energy to produce, grow, transport, and process that), and then shipped all over the world (OMG, still more energy).

We're almost done.

Individuals, using machinery called SUVs (weighing tons that took enormous amounts of time, effort, and energy to manufacture), purchase and consume lots of fuel (itself produced at enormous energy and transportation costs) to travel to distribution points and purchase the metal containers full of syrup water.  All of these purchases require money, which itself required vast amounts of time, effort, and energy to obtain.  All of these smiling individuals return to their home areas, where they store the containers until they are transported to other locations, opened, and eight ounces of syrup water, known to be disruptive to the proper biochemistry of the body, is ingested.

Then, get this, the flawless container made of highly refined, nearly pure elemental aluminum metal, is THROWN AWAY, after only a single use!  It is often crushed and returned to the earth in a landfill!

If that isn't collective insanity, then I don't know what is.

Surprise, there is also an energy crisis.  And an environmental crisis.  And a health crisis.  And an economic crisis.  And non-stop war, which is a behavioral crisis that greatly contributes to all the other crises.

Geez-us Crises!

We do it for this.

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