Monday, June 2, 2008

It's the end of the world

I want to be an apocalyptic kind of guy too.

Ok, so I'll be an atheist disguised as a guy standing on the side of the street corner in a sandwich board that says "the end is near".

We all know about the hops shortage. Although it hasn't seemed to affect the beers yet, some prices have been raised, but it doesn't really seem like a shortage in the beers themselves. Unless you are a home brewer and are looking to get hops for a beer. The wall at Friar Tucks that last year was covered in dozens of different varieties of hops this year is out. There's no hops there. It's a blank wall. On top of where the hops were, there's a sign that says when they MIGHT get hops in next. They had even implemented a policy where to buy an ounce of hops you had to purchase about 10 pounds of grain. (No IPA's being made in Champaign these days).

Sunday while watching NHRA on ESPN2 (drag racing) they spent considerable time talking about the Nitromethane shortage. Apparently the stuff that makes hot rods go really fast is running out. Nitro currently is only made in China, and with the olympics going there this summer, they are trying to lessen the pollution. They also aren't going to be shipping the hazmat stuff out of their major ports. So nitro in the next few months is going to start to be more and more expensive.

Hops, nitro... so we're looking at some "want" items that are having a shortage.

Everything else in the world is fine... right?


Oh great. I never noticed there was a food shortage because I live in the U.S. (incidentally, the United States of America is the only country in the world EVER where poor people are fat). Apparently the food shortage is hitting other parts of the world. Why?

The whole answer isn't just that in the U.S. we are taking food and making ethanol out of it (although crops being used as gas adds to it)

It would take 450 pounds of corn to yield enough ethanol to fill the tank of an SUV.

According to Wiki answers the average American eats about 4.7 pounds of food a day. So the corn needed to fill the tank of an SUV could feed a person for about 100 days. Theoretically.

Still, gas is around $4 a gallon. I find it funny that back when gas was $1 a gallon for regular unleaded, that it only cost 10 cents more to make it midgrade and another 10 cents more to make it premium. It's funny that it still only costs 20 cents more to make supah premium gas now that gas itself costs $4. It's also funny that one of the reasons ethanol was put on the market was to be a lower cost than gasoline. But still E-85 is nearly $3 a gallon.

Here's something I definitely don't understand.

If oil costs $125 a barrel on the open market. Who is buying this oil?

I thought Exxon had their own oil wells (they do). I thought Exxon had their own refineries (they do). I thought Exxon had their own gas stations (they do). Does it cost Exxon 4 times more today to produce a gallon of gasoline than it did 8 years ago?

They provide their own oil, make their own gas and sell it themselves. Where is the extra price at? It's no wonder they have record profits, their cost is the same as it was before, but they are charging the same rates as the open market (which isn't open at all).

Sorry about that ramble... back to the food shortage. There's corn, rice and wheat shortages. Guess what, there's also Barley shortages. So that means less barley malt for beer too. Starving people around the world are already rioting for want/need of food. We are turning 450 pounds of food into 22 gallons of ethanol. (Granted the byproduct is then sold to ranchers who feed it to livestock, so some of it does wind up back in the food chain.)

They need to figure out how to make ethanol (or some other -ol) from Kudzu.

So we're running out of hops, nitro, food... what could be worse?

A global water shortage.

We'll never be out of water, just out of FRESH water.

If you live in the southern U.S. you know about the water shortage. If you live in parts of southwestern U.S. you know about the water shortage.

States are suing one another now for access to water, and dammed rivers. Where did that water come from? The rivers in the west were fed by melting glaciers and mountain runoff... with glaciers gone, there's no water to feed the river. If you want to blame global warming, go ahead (I believe it to be some form of solar cycle, and not necessarily a man made crisis, although we might be helping a little).

So what does that mean for all of us? So, we're short on water, barley, hops... is there a yeast shortage too? (well, fuck me running, there is)

We're all going to die!


Chipper Dave said...

Time to stock up and barricade myself in the basement then. Oops, I better get a mini-fridge down in the basement first. It's going to be a hot dry summer.

vgrid said...

don't forget some sort of "off the grid" power to keep that minifridge running... when the end comes.