It takes only 48 hours to distill a barrel of whiskey. The next decade is spent making it taste good. The liquor undergoes constant chemical changes, some from the charred oak of the barrel itself, which acts like a sieve, trapping the large-molecule forms of alcohol (methanol, butanol) that give young whiskey such a rough edge. The process takes years, and as a result good whiskey is old and expensive.
Oil won't run the world forever, but it will for the next few decades--so how do we get from here to the next energy economy?
By Paul RobertsPosted 07.12.2011 at 10:16 am 45 Comments
For all our talk of an online future unbounded by physical limits, life in our increasingly global economy still requires the movement of actual people and things, often over long distances. And without a steady supply of prehistoric hydrocarbons, that movement would come to a halt. More than 95 percent of the vehicles on Earth--from cars to trucks to freighters to jumbo jets--run on oil products, and without them we'd be hard-pressed to commute to the office or import our gadgets, much less till our fields or get food from the farm to our kitchens. For now, we must have oil.