Monday, July 06, 2009

Bronze Nails

I intended to blog tonight, and I even made a bit of an effort to think of decent ideas for once, but obviously this plan has not come to fruition. Please forgive me. I've just spent a cozy two and a half hours snuggled up to my Greader. So many blogs and articles and essays all queued up for me by topic or author. I have barely gotten through half of it. What a pleasure. If only I could read it on the couch.

The major distraction tonight was catching up with new posts from Club Orlov. One of the things I love about this blog is the "been there, done that" nature of the analysis and information. Just because the big big mass of Russia is a long way away (in all the different nuances that hang around after the cold war) doesn't mean we can't learn a lot from their recent history and experiences. It is one thing to look at a bunch of graphs and say, "This is going to be bad" and another to hear exactly how bad (and I don't mean just having to live on cabbage). There are little tidbits too, such as the value of bronze nails.

"It also makes sense to establish stockpiles of non-perishable materials that will preserve their usefulness far into the future. My favourite example is bronze nails. They last a over a hundred years in salt water, and so they are perfect for building boats. The manufacturing of bronze nails is actually a good use of the remaining fossil fuels - better than most. They are compact and easy to store."

I didn't even think about the possibility that nails might be made of stuff that erodes. I mean, that's a stupid idea, right?! What a perfect example of how our thinking as a system is faulty. Not that I'm ever going to be able to build a boat. Or even that I can use a hammer without hurting myself. Who am I kidding anyway, I'm almost certain to die off as soon as the chocolate supply gets dodgy. I've got three lightfittings in my house where I can't even get a lightbulb to work. Plus, I live nearly 150 kloms from the ocean. And I don't eat fish. Now. I reckon if rotten cabbages get on the menu, pretty much anything goes.

But I digress.

It's not just the handy hints towards a happy post-peak-oil-life that I enjoy and it is more than the fabulously footnoted details, it is that Club Orlov presents with a fabulous sense of humour. Anyone who can make me laugh involuntarily about global economic collapse due to the denial of the (easily projected) minimum production volumes and maximum affordable costs of energy has to be clever, resilient and fundamentally very, very funny.

I don't want to spoil it for you in case you have the urge to explore for yourself, and maybe you won't think so, but I'm still chuckling now. Anyway, that's the reason there will not be a blog from me tonight. I've been deliciously distracted and suddenly it is past my bedtime and time to don jammies and sleep. Ah, but my mind is spinning, trying to recalibrate my plan to take in all the knowables, the unknowables, the things we don't know we don't know and now to do all of this and yet remain flexible, with lots more humour!


MsJaye said...

Like all things, making nails from bronze, instead of the modern galvanized steel is a trade off. Certainly bronze is impervious to corrosion, but it's also considerably weaker than steel. Given that nails tend to get embedded in things where corrosion takes a long time, I'd say that the added strength of steel is a reasonable trade off for most structures: just not for making boats.

J9 said...

That's why I love having a think-tank on hand.
Thanks for the informed analysis on the comparative strengths Jaye, anyone want to pitch in on relative ease of smelting?