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The GOOD 100: The Oil Drum

We're running out of oil, but search for the phrase "peak oil" on the websites of 31 major U.S. newspapers, and you'll get a mere 941 hits, total.

Crude Blogging

We're running out of oil, but search for the phrase "peak oil" on the websites of 31 major U.S. newspapers, and you'll get a mere 941 hits, total. That's the kind of thing the Oil Drum would like to address. The online think tank, launched in 2005, is filling that void with grounded writing on natural resources and energy.According to co-founder Kyle L. Saunders, a political-science professor at Colorado State University, "We started off like a relatively normal blog, but then, because of our complex subject matter, started discovering a lot of other people concerned about resource depletion and sustainability." Before long, the Oil Drum had attracted a roster of expert contributors that included engineers, physicists, and security analysts.Posts on the Oil Drum-often supported with compelling charts and data-can be dazzling in their scope and depth. A recent post explored how reward pathways in the human brain have been "hijacked" by advertising and a status-obsessed culture to drive compulsive consumption, compounding the strain on our natural resources.At its best, the Oil Drum is the perfect blend of blog, research journal, and newspaper. And it isn't alone. A few other sites-including the Baseline Scenario, which focuses on economics, and the Tehran Bureau, a source of news on Iran-are providing original, authoritative analysis on a regular basis. This could be a model for the future of media. If we can listen in on the discussions of experts, the landscape might not be limited to lazy bloggers and expensive, old-school reporting after all.For now, however, Saunders is focused on a different goal: "We want to provide a comprehensive picture of what is going on with regard to our energy future-and try to sound a clarion call that steps need to be taken as quickly as possible to soften the landing."


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