Saturday, December 22, 2007

To Ben LiebermanSaturday
December 22, 2007 11:04 PM
From: "Arnold Nelson" <>To:

Mr. Lieberman, your Friday December 21, 2007 article 'No Toilets Left Behind' on made a lot of great points - many more than I'd expect from only 420 words.

My first thots on hearing of ethanol many years ago was finally! a renewable source of energy. But a few years ago it came to me: "Just how often is ethanol renewable?" As far as I know, it's once a year. This is 'renewable? (I must admit I didn't check Amazon on this point - you have probably written a book on it.)

Also as far as I know, it's only renewable in a two-dimensional space (fields) and that of only 30% of the earth's surface (70% is under water.) And I haven't been able to work it out, but damn little of that. I'm sure a big majority of the earth's land area couldn't sustain corn if each stalk had a personal USDA agent watching over it.

OTOH, about that petroleum we're supposedly running out of. It comes from a 3-dimensional space. I think you can go to the most over-pumped area in the world, and I doubt you would find a single driller who would tell you: "Hey, you can drill down 4,000 miles and you'll never find another drop of oil." But I think he will also tell you there are vast areas where we haven't even begun to look for the stuff, with a far higher likelihood of being potentially cheaper to extract than here.

And further, the biggest single area we haven't even tried yet is the 95% of the seabed where we now don't have the technology to even try (we've picked, quite successively, but very selectively, on some of the inshore, knee deep parts. The average depth is 12,500 feet, the deepest offshore well is in 7500 feet.) So thanks again for such an authoritative article. I'll be watching for more.

Arn Nelson in Chicago

PS I think you can add to the US toilet flushing disaster the automatic clothes washer disaster in Euorpe. They mandated front loaders some years ago "to save water", and they are terrible. A strong incentive to come home sooner than I'd planned.

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