1. Classic, although I wonder if this is just the result of some context driven ad-sense type program seeing energy and linking to an energy related ad.

  2. It could also be the result of Shell just being a NYTimes advertiser – it’s possible that you’d have gotten the same ad viewing an article reviewing a Broadway Musical, or a local eatery, or discussing world politics.

  3. The point is that when it comes to energy, instead of reducing the depencency on limited and imported fossil fuels, all we hear is conservation and efficiency. The most energy efficient thing is to stay at home, sit in the dark and do absolutely nothing. If solar and wind energy would promise to produce abundant energy, that would be great, but instead they are always tied to energy conservation, and “smart” appliances and so on, because they don’t work.

  4. I believe they get added value by using the ad sense software to target the advertisements to keywords in the article, like “Energy”. Shell, and other fossil industries really are trying to ‘frame’ the energy issue to ossify energy development such that they’re guaranteed to remain the most power dense source of energy .

  5. Virtually ALL of the ads you see on ANY internet web page are determined by the “Cookies” your web browser stores. How many Nuclear web sites, that have big ad campaigns have you visited? Now how many fossil fuel energy related web sites have you visited? Which will get the highest bidding on your cookie list?
    Load something other than MSIE that allows no cookies, removal of ALL browser history and search history. and then look at the web page again.
    Six weeks ago I was doing research on a new home security system. To this day, I am still getting ads for some of the systems I looked at – and I have cleared my MSIE history twice. They do not show up in “Chrome” though.

    1. I’ve noticed ads for certain things ‘stalking me’ all over the web a few months ago. In particular, there’s a computer game called “Eve Online”. I hadn’t played it for a long time, but decided to try it again, so went to the Eve website. Well, after visiting the Eve Website, I swear that something like 50% of web pages I viewed started showing me Eve Online ads. It was a bit disconcerting. Also, since I had *already* subscribed, it was a complete waste of money/opportunity on the part of the websites, advertising networks, and Eve Online. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to relentlessly market to someone who has already bought the product, and we’re not talking about a consumable product like beer or hamburgers here, where continued advertising might lead to continued sales.
      So, the point of all that was, I think Rich is right – Shell might just be stalking you, Rod. *grin*

  6. I’d like to post something which might be a little off-topic, but kind of related:
    There’s currently a story running at Ars Technica, which is a review of a comment published in Nature, about the possibility of the world reaching “Peak Coal” sooner than most people might expect. I dunno that I’d give a great deal of credibility to the original comment published in Nature – it was from a group called the “Post-Carbon Institute”, who I’m not familiar with, but sort of sounds like it might be a bit of a fringe-science source.
    Still, interesting article with interesting discussion in the comments. (I tried to plug nuclear power in the comments; overall ars is the sort of place where a lot of the readership is probably already more pro-nuclear than the general populace, so it might’ve been a little bit of ‘preaching to the choir’, I suppose).
    One thing I got to thinking about – I wonder if mankind runs the risk, if we don’t start building nuclear reactors ‘soon enough’, of getting ourselves stuck in a position where we don’t have enough readily available energy to quickly build a lot of nuclear reactors – that is, I know we won’t ever *completely run out* of energy, but I suppose there is a possibility that if we pass a ‘fossil peak’, energy might get scarce enough and expensive enough that building out nuclear reactors, once everyone comes around to the need, takes a very long time, during which energy is extremely expensive.

    1. This is all my opinion…
      …but I find arguing about peak anything as being kind of futile. We don’t know where the real carbon peaks are, and won’t, until we go over them…at which time it’ll be too late. Best to start marginalizing fossil carbon now and moving up the technology scale to technologies whose peaks are either in geological time (as in nuclear) or non-existent (as in genetically-engineered biofuels), and even beyond into even more advanced technologies when such are ready, proven, and cost-effective, to avoid non-positive outcomes. (Though people here aren’t generally algal biofuels fans, and though I ultimately believe that algal biofuels are much more inherently limited than nuclear is, needing oxygen to function, I think there’s a tremendous amount of potential there, especially with using genetic engineering.)
      Besides, I reject the whole paradigm of peak-whatever as being messed up as it implies that there are “hard limits” to growth. It might sound arrogant to say, but I believe – using sufficiently advanced technology – that there are no real limits to growth save the particle horizon of the universe itself. We live in a universe of abundance, and the only limits there are, the “soft limits” of growth, are the limits we choose to make for ourselves. These include zoning restrictions, choices not to utilize certain technologies, or to not utilize them to their fullest extent, and various aesthetic, sumptuary, and environmental regulations, that we choose to impose on ourselves. But assuming that we continue to advance technology and advance our capacity to utilize it – I do not believe there are “hard limits” to growth.
      And – in terms of the only “hard limit” to growth – the particle horizon – we – as in intelligent information processing – will not reach there for an extraordinarily long time. Billions of years.
      As for preaching to the choir – most of “the choir” are broad supporters but not particularly deep ones. We need to convert them into deep supporters through education as to the potential of nuclear power as well as education in dispelling false beliefs – false beliefs like that nuclear power is uniquely dangerous, or that a high percentage of wind and solar actually will work on any kind of real electrical power grid.

      1. I have done some work with growing algae. I am not optimistic about a monoculture of algae being more than a supplement energy source. Photosynthesis is limited in its ability to trap solar energy. Remember that solar energy is diffuse.Photosynthesis has the same limitation as PV and thermal solar; it needs a lot of area. Mutual shading of cells, virus infections, limitation of nutrients (including carbon dioxide and nitrogen), stirring and maintenance of pH are a few of the needs. Photosynthesis on the planet captures only about 0.25% of the solar energy. I suppose that amount of sunlight captured could be increase by building vertical or slanted growing surfaces. While genetic modifications may improve the efficiency of oil production, there are basic limitations that can only be addressed with a large expenditure of energy and natural resource.
        It is hard to come up with any alternative to nuclear energy because of its inherent energy density. Recall that energy from fission of uranium is on the order of three million times more energy dense than soft coal. Uranium has an energy density that is 19 times that of soft coal. Since our minds eye pictures volume, the image we see is 19 times 3 or 50 plus million times greater quantity of energy in uranium.

        1. John – I agree that photosynthesis and fuels based on that are far more limited than uranium is, but uranium has its own limits, too. We can’t (cost-effectively) put reactors in cars, light and heavy trucks, or in light aircraft, and putting reactors on commercial aircraft and locomotives may be a step too far until we can get society over its case of radiophobia. Even the most advanced batteries aren’t – and will very likely never – be up to the task of propelling high-mass vehicles cost-effectively, or propelling aircraft, at all.
          What this means is that, IMHO, barring some breakthrough in portable energy storage that can increase portable energy storage density to perhaps 1/10th or 1/5th that of oil on a volume and weight basis, I don’t believe liquid fuels will ever be obsolete. I don’t believe any such breakthrough in energy storage is around the corner. So that means we’re stuck with liquid fuel for liquid fuel’s applications even in a mostly-nuclear future, as we need the portability that liquid fuel provides for the applications where it is appropriate.
          Now – algae is limited. But I prefer fuel that can grow itself in a minimum of space fed by air to fuel you have to drill out of the ground in politically unstable lands. Costs may be high for algae right now, but that first light bulb they hooked up to EBR-I wasn’t exactly hooked up to a low cost source of electricity either. It’s the possibilities of the future that made the EBR-I engineers hook up that generating set, even though the electrical production of EBR-I would never amortize the cost of EBR-I, just like with algae – the first algal fuel you buy may be wicked expensive, but as time goes by, costs will undoubtedly come down.

          1. katana0182 (Dave)
            You are right about liquid fuels. Climate change, peak oil, and the industrialization occurring in developing countries are driving up energy costs and threatening to bring on critical shortages of liquid fuels. With petroleum production dropping and advanced generation nuclear reactors still under development it is critical that affordable short term substitutes for liquid fuels be found.
            Canadian oil sands are not profitable at the current price of crude oil. High petroleum prices drove our economy into recession. It is apparent that our economy cannot stand much higher priced oil. Oil sands will soon be needed as petroleum dwindles. Oil sands products can be produced at a rate capable of replacing half of the current petroleum output.
            World crude oil output is dropping by 6.4% per year. It is frightening to realize that in just ten years the drop in crude oil production will exceed Canada

            1. John – well, I’d love to see the DOE budget for R&D increased. I don’t think that line item can ever be too high. Moving DOE to NIH levels of funding would likely produce NIH levels of research, and NIH levels of usable and commercializable ideas – which are unrivaled by the rest of the world.
              It would also be nice for us to settle onto several research paths and pursue those constantly at generous funding levels regardless of what direction the political winds are blowing in. I know that the AEC was torn apart and fed to the dogs just as it was starting to bear very large scale fruit with the HTGR program (Fort St. Vrain), the Clinch River project, as well as all of those Generation II reactors, most of whom are still producing power even today – NE has been having more luck with funding lately, but it still isn’t being generously funded; the Synfuels Program was terminated in 1985 because the price of oil went down (apparently people forget that what goes down will go back up), and though fossil energy gets funded, it ought to get more just because of the potential for synthetic liquid fuels, coal gasification, and the like, to eliminate foreign oil; further, the fusion program has been hurting for funding ever since TFTR was closed…though the public has been hurting for actual net energy gain from the fusion program rather than plasma research; and it seems that out of all the DOE programs, only renewables has been constantly invested in, probably because they don’t offend anyone, but then again, if they don’t offend someone, I have to assume that they don’t work, except in limited cases like biomass gasification. I mean, from what I understand, the coal gasification plant in Illinois with CCS, “FutureGen”, gets semi-canceled or reinstated on a weekly basis depending on the whims of Congress, what faction is waxing and which is waning, the coal people, the oil people, the gas people, the electric people, or the environmentalists.
              I don’t know who was responsible for canceling Nixon’s Project Independence ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Independence ) – or if it just kind of faded away – but that was a very sad move – if we pursued energy independence – and by energy independence, I mean non-“cardigan-based” solutions for energy independence – with half of the dispatch we pursued, for instance, “homeland security”, we would have been energy independent decades ago.
              It would be nice for Congress to get their act together, decide which directions they’re going to pursue, and then pursue them with all dispatch, rather than playing favorites when it comes to energy. We need to get serious about energy in our country, and start making consensus decisions like we do with defense, and then continuing on the path which we start on until the end of the project rather than the party du jour changing, the political winds blowing in a different direction, and the project getting canceled.

    2. “peak anything” is a term used by folks who don’t understand free markets driven by supply and demand, who want a central planned economy. Central planners make plans for the future (predictions) and then try to realize them, while the free market is “laissez faire”, lets the supply react to the demand freely and instantaneously, and perhaps produces some statistics after the fact (like the stock market peak in 2008 – which was quite a headache to the central planners).

      1. Jerry…I’m not talking about free markets. Free markets are a system used to divvy up limited, scarce resources. They do so adequately well, but they produce inequitable outcomes.
        You see, without limits to resources, without limits to growth, without scarcity, there is no need for free markets, and there really is no need for the dismal science of economics itself. What I’m talking about is accomplishing that end: within the next 50 years or so, technologies will come into existence that have within them the potential to end scarcity or, at least, to reduce it to the point where it no longer affects most people, to take society post-scarcity and end the tyranny of the free market, of money, and of wealth, once and for all, by rendering wealth irrelevant, by giving every man, woman, and child all the material goods and energy they desire, upon demand.
        Nuclear power, pushed to its full potential with automation, small modular reactors, and the full range of technologies, can indeed produce power indeed “too cheap to meter”. Algal biofuels, once you engineer the right kind of algae into existence, are self-replicating and only require sunlight, air, and time. Similar technologies, such as self-replicating machines for manufacturing, can engineer an end to scarcity of material goods and resources.
        Why do you need a market to sell something there is an unlimited supply of? That’s the world we’re heading towards. And it will be quite interesting how we get there.

        1. Dave, interesting perspective. Experience tells me that automation always brings with itself the need for maintenance and engineering, but it can certainly make things easier and cheaper. My libertarian viewpoint is that the free market is the solution to many problems we have today, and is fundamentally fair. Most problems with it, such as the control of Big Oil over energy supplies, can be traced back to *interference* in the free market. The way the game is played, is to trick the all powerful “big government” into restricting and regulating the competition. In this case Big Oil funded and controlled parts of the environmental movement to restrict and block nuclear power right at the time when it would have taken off and replaced fossil fuels after the 1970ies oil crisis. Had there been a libertarian government that was not to interfere with or tax anybody’s right to build and operate safe nuclear power plants, oil and gas would be obsolete by now.

  7. Jerry – the Free Market depends upon “Investors” to invest “Capital”. “Smart Investors” try to use all available, credible (e.g. scientific/empirical) evidence to try to make predictions, in order to make smart investments. In the Free Market, to an extent, we are all “Central Planners” of our own/our companies’ futures and fortunes.
    If there really are ‘peaks’ coming for oil and coal production, along with increased prices, then “Smart Investors” might be inclined to invest in Nuclear – e.g. the decisions companies and investors make is, in part, driven by what people believe about the future, and with regards to energy, in the U.S. right now, nuclear is kind of expensive. Those prices might be able to come down – but *someone* needs to be the ‘first movers’. Of course, we do have some company right now like Southern and NRG who are making those investments, and if other investors follow suit, the price of nuclear can come down.
    The key thing here is, being the ‘first movers’ in investing in ‘expensive’ nuclear plants, when other people will be able to later benefit from your investments in the form of being able to build plants (probably) at a cheaper price than you did, is much more justifiable if you think there is evidence that a big price spike for fossil-based energy is coming in the future, and while your plant might be more expensive than future plants, you will be positioned to charge a ‘premium’ on your electricity, which will make up for the ‘premium’ you will pay to build a nuclear plant, currently. So, there is some importance in trying to figure out if the oil/coal ‘Peak Theory’ people are right, even if you are a free-marketeer.

  8. Whilst nuclear energy is opening up Siberia, natural gas, cool, and oil production are the energy products being exploited. It is a curious thing that remote electric generating capacity based upon nuclear steam plants is making possible the booming development of Siberia in the Komsomolsk-on-Amur area producing aircraft, ships and export of oil, gas and coal. I believe, that for a time, the world will demand oil and gas and coal but once it becomes known that nuclear steam energy that made bringing it to market possible is rediscovered the situation will change. The question is….. How long can they keep it hidden? Perhaps the Russian winters will provide a market for any and all energy that is produced by any means?

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