"Peak Information": Libraries and the End of Oil

As society moves towards "peak oil" and an energy-poor future, what will the impact on libraries be? Will we be needing to prepare for "peak information" too? What of the future of electronic data when electricity is no longer cheaply available?


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Wind, solar , etc...

>Wind, solar, etc, -- none of that comes close to being able to replace the >energy output generated by readily available and relatively inexpensive >petroleum. The watchword of the future is "power down", to reference >author Richard Heinberg.

They don't provide the power to do the things the way we do them now. But in the future I think we will do the same things but do them in a different way. If petroleum becomes super expensive I see people that live within two miles or work might bike or walk. There of course will be exceptions of people that bike or walk from further distances. I think the vast majority will still drive to work. It just won't be in an Escalade that weighs several tons. It may be in a single person electric vehicle that weighs 100 pounds.

People will invest in what they need to invest in to not go back in time in regards to technology. People have been buying $40,000 SUVs just to look cool. You don't think they will buy a $7,000 personal windmill and generator to power their house instead of living like it was 1880?

don't throw away those how-to manuals yet...

I would hold off tossing out all manuals on how to do card catalogs, if possible. Some people have already arrived at the radical notion that the best way to preserve internet content for posterity is--wait for it--print on paper.

At first, maybe things like energy rationing....maybe cataloging/tech services work will have to be done on a night shift, to put less strain on the electrical grid, i.e. off-peak hours...

Wind, solar, etc, -- none of that comes close to being able to replace the energy output generated by readily available and relatively inexpensive petroleum. The watchword of the future is "power down", to reference author Richard Heinberg.

Data centers in the midwest

Here is a picture of wind turbines in Kansas. The picture shows one row of turbines but there are over 100 in the cluster. In the midwest Union Pacific railroad has laid tons of fiber optic cable. The railroad did this because they have the right of way with the railroad so they have a open path across states to lay cable. Other companies that want to lay fiber optic have to get permission from land owners to lay the cable. Potentially you have thousands of land owners to cross a state. The railroad already has the access so they put in cable.

Build a data center in the midwest using the fiber put in by Union Pacific and then put a wind turbine cluster beside the data center.

Note: A friend of mine used to work for a company called Williams Communications. They had a large fiber optic network across the country. My friend said that the company started out as a gas pipeline company. I asked how they got into fiber. The answer: the gas company had easements to run the gas lines through and they ran fiber right beside the gas lines.

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