Study Break

The technologies for extracting and using fossil fuels are really freakin’ cool. You can levitate masses of burning coal and limestone on cushions of air! You can shave the insides of mountains down with a massive razor-like machine! You can heat up crude oil and send the results up through a tower and get all sorts of different products condensing at different levels, from butane down through jet fuel and paraffin and asphalt! There are phase changes and heavy metals everywhere! It’s beautiful.

I don’t say that facetiously. It’s a testament to human ingenuity and power and efficiency and it’s so, so neat. I love it. I’m allowed to in this context. I’m studying for a test in a class that’s designed for mining engineers, not environmentalist wannabe writer-things like myself. Turns out it’s incredibly refreshing to see the other side of an issue that’s painted as The Great Evil in so many of my classes.

I’d go on about shades of gray and inherent complexity and how us-vs.-them mentalities screw us all over and so on, but it’s after four in the morning and I’ve still got fuel cells to diagram.

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