Wrote a 2,300 word first draft on the plane, “The Delight of Bright Water”, solicited for a Sekrit Projekt. I’m going to noodle with it some, then schlep it out to first readers.
Forgot to mention this morning that a guy in front of me in the Eppley Field security line recognized me. He stopped to chat as we cleared into the gate area — turns out he’s the manager of a restaurant I regularly eat at when I’m in Omaha. Do I spend too much time in that town or what?
Finally, I was having a worldbuilding discussion with calendula_witch via email today. We were talking about fuel sources in a post-collapse environment. Assume no further petrochemicals extraction, and no feasible industrial-chemical method of recycling plastics etc. One could presumably provide a limited amount of essential fuel through ethanol distillation from biomass, even with very low tech so long as the engineering expertise were available. One could presumably maintain some nominal petrochemical feedstock with the new strains of oil-producing bacteria which are emerging, pace the Gold hypothesis, assuming a bit more progress in biotech between now and the putative point of collapse, and maintenance of the relevant engineering expertise.
But what does one uniquely need petrochemicals per se for, really? My best answer is lubricants. It’s my understanding that even very good vegetable oil lubricants don’t hold up under heat and mechanical stress like petrochemical lubricants. Any comments from the engineering wing?