Happy New Year 2. The Seattle Times reports gloomily: “Food shortages, cars abandoned, another depression. It’s the stuff of nightmares — and the type of future an eclectic group of engineers, computer experts and others in Seattle believe could await us”.

“Members of Seattle Peak Oil Awareness expect world production of oil and gasoline to peak soon, if it hasn’t already, and hard times to follow”, reports the Times. “Similar groups are popping up around the country from Boston to Portland, despite oil-industry assertions that there’s nothing to worry about”.

“We’re probably going to end up with some sort of die-off in the world, of people,” said Rocky Willson, a Seattle Peak Oil Awareness member with an unsettling outlook.

“You can look at it like a black box,” said Willson, a foosball-table seller who has taken up gardening. “The oil goes in and creates people. When the oil gets cut off, the people go away.”

Other members of the group talk about a financial shock caused by soaring oil prices, followed by something approaching the Great Depression.

“I think we’re looking at recession upon recession upon recession,” but not a complete breakdown of civilization, argues another group member Dave Reid….