Denmark is often lauded as a kind of social utopia. But perhaps we should start thinking about what the end of cheap and plentiful energy-dense fossil fuels might have in store for such platitudes.

Says the rent-a-Prime-Minister: "The TPPA? No don't look at that, look over here, look at this pretty flag debate. And look, a silver fern! A silver fern!"

Being from an English-speaking country where books abound, I'm well aware of the likelihood that I enjoy access to more books on the topic of peak oil (and related topics) in my native language than a person of any other native tongue. This of course has nothing inherently to do with the English language itself, but goes with the territory of being the language of a people with a large population who are significantly industrialized and stratified in their specialties to the point that there is a large enough educated class and agglomeration of bibliophiles for books to proliferate on any and every topic.

That being so, I've often wondered how other countries fare when it comes to books on peak oil, how (un)aware they are of various correlating topics, and how they'll fare if even a minority of them fail to understand the reality and effects of depleting energy supplies. Take India and China for example. Although neither of them speak a monolithic language the way countries such as the US, England, Canada, Australia and New Zealand largely do, they do each have larger populations than all of those five English-speaking countries combined. However, due to a later adoption of industrialization, a much smaller implementation of colonization, as well as various cultural and political differences, it's probably safe to say that neither of them likely has much of a selection of books on peak oil in any of their native languages.

If those hunches of mine are correct, then I imagine that there's even less of a chance of there being books written about peak oil in Vietnamese, Swahili, Sami, etc. There could of course be translations of English titles, although they wouldn't necessarily relate directly to the local societies and ways of living.

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The candidates in New Zealand's follow-up
rent-a-Prime-Minister flag referendum (please vote below)

Chances are that unless you live in or are from New Zealand (or perhaps Australia), that you didn't hear much, if anything, about New Zealand's recent referendum on whether or not to replace its 114-year-old flag. To be honest I found its flag a bit odd when I first visited ten years ago (to WWOOF for a year), and not just because it has a Union Jack on it. For while being blue with a Union Jack in the top-left corner, the only difference between it and the Australian flag is that it has four red stars instead of six white stars. Being Canadian it's not as if I had anything invested in the outcome, but when I heard last year that New Zealand's flag might be replaced, I was rather pleased to hear so. But naïve me, what I didn't clue into was how a mere flag change could be a smokescreen for more pressing matters.

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