The Naked Gun
Via The Oil Drum, Ezra Klein references this nutty analogy to the increasingly difficult process of extracting oil:
Imagine it's your 10th birthday, and you really like pistachio nuts. For a present, your folks give you an entire room full of pistachios--a 4-foot-deep sea of tasty, salted treats.
Sounds delicious. At first, they're easy to eat. Pick one up, eat it, and throw back the shells. But over time, pistachios get harder to find. As you eat, there are fewer nuts, and more shells. Eventually you get frusterated, spending more and more time sifting through shells looking for a single pistachio.
This continues until, finally, you give up altogether. It's just too costly to find those last pistachios. You decide it's cheaper to go to the kitchen for a different snack, and abandon the pistachio room forever--even though you haven't "run out" of pistachios in any absolute sense.
When referring to pistachio shells, you must choose the right analogy. The U.S. eats lots of pistachios, so much so in fact that we don't know when to stop. You put them in front of us and we will gluttonously consume every last one -- while in the meantime creating a mound of refuse. Who knew we could combine consumption with the element of time so efficiently?
Expertly played out by Lt. Frank Drebin in the legendary "Police Squad!" pistachio-pile stakeout scene.
Who knew ... that Peak Oilers could set the price of oil?
"The market is riding a wave of sentiment," said Tim Evans, senior energy analysts at IFR Markets. "Actual production is rising, inventories are higher, even the build in distillates is 800,000 higher than last year, so where is the shortage?"
According to Evans, some of the oil price hike is based on chatter about "peak oil," a theory that world oil reserves have reached their peak and will gradually decline until the world eventually runs out of it completely.