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The Oil Glut At The End Of The Universe
Professor of Physics, MIT, Russel Seitz ^ | August 30, 2006 | Russell Seitz

Posted on 09/01/2006 3:01:17 AM PDT by Texas Jack

Last Gas Before Pluto


The Hydrocarbon Lakes of Titan - Courtesy of the European Space Agency

The Oil Glut At The End Of The Universe

By Russell Seitz

The Rolling Stones are not alone. This summer’s nostalgia binge includes The Beachboys and the return to TV of Paul Ehrlich, of population bomb’ fame . At the height of the last ‘energy crisis’, the great Neomalthusian sage predicted that Mick Jagger’s 40th birthday party would be attended by global starvation and the implosion of natural gas supplies . No such luck, so Ehrlich recently turned to joining Al Gore in warning of a mass extinction of Republicans . But before most could heed the call to mend their ways by trading limos, Lear Jets and Escalades for Segways and Amtrak seats, a space probe landed on a smog shrouded moon of Saturn. Everything has changed, again. Civilization is about to clash with a Titanic oil glut.

The Huygens Lander has found Titan uninhabited, but awash in liquid hydrocarbons, which means finders keepers for NASA’s proprietors , which means us. Early camera returns show a planet-scope so stunning that it might have been painted by Albert Beirstadt to decorate the board room of Standard Oil. Sure it's cold outside, but there’s some kind of atmosphere on Titan-- a mixture so rich that the rain on the plain is mostly methane.

Right now it’s merely drizzling, for spring is in the air on Titan, where spring lasts about seven years. But sure as Vivaldi’s four seasons, there will be some serious thunderstorms when summer rolls around and temperatures in Titan’s southern hemisphere soar into the minus one hundred and seventies. Ten years from now, Titian red thunderheads will let loose a barrage of propane hailstones and torrents of LNG will fall, filling Titan’s great lakes with enough unleaded High Test to float a supertanker. If all the methane condensed Titan would be thirteen feet deep in gas, not counting sea level rise due to global warming.

Eat your heart out, Ibn Saud. There’s more oil on the South Slope of Titan than a Nigerian politician could steal – 150 million barrels per capita for every man woman and child on earth, Texans included. Glory be to NASA, we have seen OPEC, and it is us.

This leaves Gore fans in the Oil Patch feeling conflicted and Halliburton execs very glum indeed. Houston, we have a problem - oil too cheap to meter. So great is the extraterrestrial gas glut that were everyone in China and India combined to acquire two Hummers and a Rolls , the supply would still last for millennia . Needless to say such a gas glut would worsen the CO2 problem - not the Greenhouse effect, but how to get oxygen enough to burn it all. It takes loads of oxygen to run a car. What use millions of tons of alien oil per capita when Earth only has a tenth the oxygen needed? Before we haul our jet skis to the balmy beaches of Hudson’s Bay to celebrate global warming in earnest, we have to figure out how to keep them idling smoothly.

At last inspection, there was about a million tons of air per Earthling, which works out to only about 200 thousand tons of O2. That’s scarcely enough to let us emulate Al Gore’s gas consumption, even though he’s downsized from a 747 to a non -presidential Lear Jet to advertise his small is beautiful bookman has already told Letterman: “We’re filling the sky with CO2”, but how are we going to live long enough to oblige him when 10% CO2 will asphyxiate a lab rat?

Literally driving oxygen to extinction would give vegetarians cause to rejoice, for plants would inherit the earth. But carnivores would face what Greens style the Tragedy of the Commons. The porterhouse consuming classes would be caught between gas heap enough to cruise all summer in a Hummer, and the difficulty of lighting charcoal enough to grill out in an atmosphere rendered incombustible by conspicuous consumption. Where will the nation find air enough to grill out? Be of good courage -- Ronald Wilson Reagan knew what he was about in signing the Montreal Protocol into law-- ozone may be good for something after all-- it can light a barbecue in a trice without sacrificing trees to make newspaper for kindling. Since pungent ozone is constantly replaced by stratospheric sunshine, not a drop of Titan's bounty need go to waste.

The best is still to come. When the Huygens Probe scrunched down on a beach of hydrocarbon sorbet last winter, the sound of breaking waves was distinctly audible in the background.Providence has so abundantly endowed the Titan Pipeline scene with the smell of napalm in the morning that few doubt tit is the manifest destiny of our nations dudes and dudettes to check out the break.

Why wait for earthly seas to boil dry as the sun goes nova in a billion years when Titan beckons today? It may be a trifle chilly just now, but before the sun goes postal, the place will rival Bondi Beach , and surfers will doff their space and wet suits amidst the endless summer at the end of the solar system. Who wants to colonize Mars when body surfing beckons in the LNG crashing on Titan’s gnarly shore —O brave new world that has such octane in it!

Copyright 2006


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: algore; fossilfuel; oil; renewableenergy; titan
<SARCASM>

Now I'm confused... Does this mean that long ago dinosaurs roamed one of Saturn's moons, died when... err ah, a meteor hit the Gulf of Mexico right off the Yucatan, and then decomposed into what we now call "fossil fuel"?

Or could it be that the liquid hydrocarbons we call "fossil fuels", aka non-renewable energy, are really a product of the earth's molten core and we have a never ending supply of it?

It's so confusing. Next, we'll probably find out that there is not such thing as global warming. I suppose I'll just have to wait to see what Al Gore says about this.

</SARCASM>

1 posted on 09/01/2006 3:01:20 AM PDT by Texas Jack
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To: Texas Jack
Some one should send this article to Rush,,, he would have a field day with this one.
2 posted on 09/01/2006 3:05:51 AM PDT by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM 53 : 1 The FOOL hath said in his heart , There is no GOD .)
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To: Texas Jack
We may find more than just gas...


3 posted on 09/01/2006 3:08:41 AM PDT by Dallas59 (ISLAMOFASCISM!!!!)
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To: Texas Jack

Zactly! Wonder where Titan got all those fossils?


4 posted on 09/01/2006 3:20:40 AM PDT by azhenfud (He who always is looking up seldom finds others' lost change.)
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To: Texas Jack
"Now I'm confused... Does this mean that long ago dinosaurs roamed one of Saturn's moons, died when... err ah, a meteor hit the Gulf of Mexico right off the Yucatan, and then decomposed into what we now call 'fossil fuel'?"
5 posted on 09/01/2006 3:22:56 AM PDT by familyop
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To: Texas Jack

Oops...the reply.

Oh, but there were decomposing plants, too! ...must've been really crowded on Titan. Lefty could probably come up with some sort of piled life theory to explain that.


6 posted on 09/01/2006 3:24:02 AM PDT by familyop
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To: Texas Jack

Landing there could pose a problem.


7 posted on 09/01/2006 3:30:37 AM PDT by DainBramage
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To: DainBramage
It's only "a problem" to the rest of the world.

For REAL Americans...it's just "a challenge".

8 posted on 09/01/2006 3:34:25 AM PDT by KeepUSfree (WOSD = fascism pure and simple.)
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To: Texas Jack
few doubt tit is the manifest destiny of our nations dudes

MIT Freudian typo? Also, it should be "nation's". Oh, well. At least they can do science.

Thirteen potential feet of condensed hydrocarbons certainly would seem to indicate it didn't come from plants and animals.

9 posted on 09/01/2006 3:36:49 AM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: Texas Jack

well i think they have gas and methane can be made a lot of ways..


also i have aproblem with this...titan isnt exactly next door now is it..so i think shipping it might be a tad more expensive....


10 posted on 09/01/2006 3:38:14 AM PDT by Irishguy (How do ya LIKE THOSE APPLES!!!!)
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To: KeepUSfree

Funny you use the term Challenge, almost like Challenger.


11 posted on 09/01/2006 3:38:42 AM PDT by DainBramage
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To: DainBramage
"Stuff happens" when dealing with space travel. We will perservere, sacrifice, learn, overcome and succeed.

Always have....

12 posted on 09/01/2006 3:49:38 AM PDT by KeepUSfree (WOSD = fascism pure and simple.)
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To: Texas Jack
This leaves Gore fans in the Oil Patch feeling conflicted and Halliburton execs very glum indeed. Houston, we have a problem - oil too cheap to meter. So great is the extraterrestrial gas glut that were everyone in China and India combined to acquire two Hummers and a Rolls , the supply would still last for millennia.

For who? It's impossible to bring it back here.

13 posted on 09/01/2006 4:17:16 AM PDT by raybbr (You think it's bad now - wait till the anchor babies start to vote.)
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To: Texas Jack

"...150 million barrels per capita for every man woman and child on earth..."

I need that number expressed in terms I can understand - how many chickens and green peppers would that barbecue on my propane grill?


14 posted on 09/01/2006 4:35:54 AM PDT by sergeantdave (Gov. Jennifer Granholm's campaign slogan: Four more years of Uncle Joe and Uncle Ho)
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To: sergeantdave
I need that number expressed in terms I can understand - how many chickens and green peppers would that barbecue on my propane grill?

Think leave it on all the time so you could grill up a midnight snack! :)

15 posted on 09/01/2006 4:46:08 AM PDT by Hazcat
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To: Texas Jack
The column seemed promising at first, but in the end it's unfocused. Titan's oceans could be ready-to-pump 87 octane, but that doesn't help me and of course it won't shut up algore.

If his larger point is the plenty of hydrocarbons beyond earth - well, that's nice.
16 posted on 09/01/2006 5:27:08 AM PDT by clyde asbury
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To: Prophet in the wilderness
"few doubt tit is the manifest destiny of our nations dudes..."

Good line, caught my attention, but it seems the rest of the article did not meet my expectations.

17 posted on 09/01/2006 5:42:09 AM PDT by joshhiggins (O you who believe! do not take the MUSLIMS for friends; ...surely Allah does not guide the unjust...)
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To: Texas Jack

The guy makes it sound like atmospheric oxygen is lost forever when used in combustion.


18 posted on 09/01/2006 6:23:08 AM PDT by CPOSharky (MSM - Live hizbozo = freedom fighter. Dead hizbozo = innocent civilian.)
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To: Texas Jack

Mars has an abundance of oxygen in its soil. Its the carbon and hydrogen that are missing. Adding CO2 and hydrocarbons to Mars' atmosphere might warm the place up a tad. Time for some creative terraforming innovations!


19 posted on 09/01/2006 6:23:31 AM PDT by darth
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To: Texas Jack
Sure it's cold outside, but there’s some kind of atmosphere

The professor slips in a reference to the theme song to Red Dwarf. Sweet.

SD

20 posted on 09/01/2006 6:36:58 AM PDT by SoothingDave
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

...at $2 a gallon...


21 posted on 10/20/2006 10:44:31 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Dhimmicrati delenda est! https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Texas Jack

I calculate the wellhead price at about $ 0.10 per barrel, but the delivery charge could add, oh, another $10,000,000 per barrel.


22 posted on 10/20/2006 10:52:54 AM PDT by DeFault User
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