1846: The Year We Hit Peak Sperm Whale Oil

Energy experts predict that the global production of oil will soon start to decline, what's referred to as peak oil. Now while we may not be there yet, there was a time in our history when we did reach a similar plateau, but it was a very different kind of energy source — one that could only be extracted from the… » 7/31/12 7:00am 7/31/12 7:00am

1920s engineers believed the Electric Age would die a quick death

Our electrical infrastructure spans the globe, lighting up every place on Earth. But it all relies on one singular metal: copper. And back in the early years of the 20th Century, many economists and engineers worried that we would run out of copper in no time. » 5/03/12 3:25pm 5/03/12 3:25pm

Optimistic Visions of the World After the Oil Runs Out

Our whole economy and way of life is based on the idea of cheap petroleum. So what happens when the oil starts to run out? Most scenarios assume that it will be catastrophic — rioting in the streets, governments collapsing, Mel Gibson fighting guys with big mohawks. » 4/20/12 12:09pm 4/20/12 12:09pm

Your next ocean vacation could be on an abandoned oil platform

What do you do with an oil platform after it has outlived its usefulness? You've got this giant structure, set up for people to live and work on it, and it's solidly sunk into the ocean floor. » 5/17/11 8:00am 5/17/11 8:00am

Lloyd's Of London warns businesses to prepare for peak oil

Venerable financial institutions Lloyds of London and Chatham House issued a dire warning to UK businesses. Energy shortages and peak oil are going to be major issues for insurance markets in coming years. » 7/13/10 8:30am 7/13/10 8:30am

May's New Books: Football Zombies and Votes for Vampires!

May books bring zombie football players, migrations across deep space, and elegiac short stories. Plus, a Jazz-Age social worker campaigns for equal rights for vampires, and a young man travels through a post-scarcity Gulf Coast. » 5/05/10 2:20pm 5/05/10 2:20pm

The Only Way To Save The Environment May Be Setting An Oil Slick On Fire

This white, foamy oil slick appears almost beautiful in this satellite image — but it's set to become the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The Coast Guard is considering setting it on fire to save the environment. » 4/27/10 2:38pm 4/27/10 2:38pm

This Waterfall Represents The Amount of Oil We Use Every Second

The world reportedly uses 40,000 gallons of oil every second to keep the globe a-whirring. But what would this river of Texas Tea look like? The amount of water per second that flows down India's Jog Falls. » 4/26/10 11:16am 4/26/10 11:16am

The Perfect Near-Future Novel To Get You Through The Recession

Need a book to get you through another year of unemployment, glacier melts or maybe even another oil crisis? World Made By Hand could do the trick. » 1/25/10 3:31pm 1/25/10 3:31pm

Love Mad Max? You Could Be Living It Soon Enough

Mad Max's vision of a shattered world where social order has broken down, and everyone fights over the last drops of oil, could be reality soon. Oil prices are starting to tick upwards again after coming down from summer 2008's heights. Imagine what would happen if oil reached double the price levels it hit a year or… » 10/27/09 9:30am 10/27/09 9:30am

How Do We Get New Science Fiction Stories? Have New Nightmares

Tired of the creaky entertainment machine churning out copy-cat stories of zombies, superheroes, apocalypses and cyborgs? Then you need to conjure new dreads and fantasies in the real world, since that's where all our science fiction cliches come from. » 8/04/09 1:10pm 8/04/09 1:10pm

Experts Say Oil Wars Will Hit in 2-5 Years

Oil prices are set to double between 2010 and 2015, and the Guardian's Michael Meacher says this might spark the global oil wars that scifi writers and futurists have been predicting for decades. He's got hard statistics to back up his claims, and some interesting ideas for solutions. [ UK Guardian » 8/22/08 11:28am 8/22/08 11:28am]