Drumbeat: May 25, 2013

New Computer Attacks Traced to Iran, Officials Say

SAN FRANCISCO — American officials and corporate security experts examining a new wave of potentially destructive computer attacks striking American corporations, especially energy firms, say they have tracked the attacks back to Iran.

The targets have included several American oil, gas and electricity companies, which government officials have refused to identify. The goal is not espionage, they say, but sabotage. Government officials describe the attacks as probes looking for ways to seize control of critical processing systems.

Crude Caps Weekly Drop as Investors Weigh Stimulus

West Texas Intermediate crude fell, capping its biggest weekly drop in more than a month, after rising U.S. durable goods orders bolstered concern that the Federal Reserve will scale back stimulus efforts.

Gasoline Slips on Speculation Demand to Fall After Memorial Day

Gasoline fell as equities declined and on speculation that demand will drop after the U.S. Memorial Day Holiday.

Futures headed for the biggest weekly decline since April 5 as the summer driving season began today with the start of the four-day holiday weekend. Demand rose 5.4 percent last week, and averaged over four weeks is down 3.3 percent from the year before, according to Energy Information Administration data. The S&P 500 slid 0.6 percent to 1,640.58 at 9:57 a.m. in New York.

Primorsk June Urals Crude Shipments Lowest Since at Least 2008

Russia, the world’s largest energy exporter, plans to ship less than one million barrels a day of Urals crude from Primorsk port on the Baltic Sea for the first time since at least 2008, a preliminary loading program showed.

Bolivia to boost incentives for gas exploration

Santa Cruz (Bolivia) (IANS) Bolivia's government, which asserted greater state control over the Andean nation's natural gas sector seven years ago, says it will issue a decree to encourage investment in exploration.

'State-run oil companies to gain more from new gas price'

NEW DELHI: Oil minister M Veerappa Moily on Friday said any revised price set for domestic natural gas would also apply to state-owned companies such as Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Oil India , even as he joined issue with Left MP Gurudas Dasgupta to refute allegations of favouring Reliance Industries.

NY trial may clean Mexico’s oil mess

A trial in Manhattan federal court may help push Mexico to free its decaying oil industry from the state-owned monopoly known as Pemex, for Petroleos Mexicanos. And that’s good news for both sides of the border, indeed for the whole world.

Greece modifies DEPA privatisation terms to accommodate Gazprom: source

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece agreed to change some terms in the planned privatisation of natural gas distributor DEPA, opening the way for Russian energy giant Gazprom to bid for the firm, a senior official directly involved in the sale talks said on Saturday.

Russia to cancel Gazprom’s liquefied gas export monopoly

Liberalizing liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports will take place on a legislative level once Novatek and Rosneft reach preliminary agreements with their international partners, according to Arkady Dvorkovich, the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of fuel and energy. He predicted the changes would take place this year.

Iran Sees Self-Reliance as Top Priority for Oil Industry

TEHRAN (FNA)- Deputy Iranian Oil Minister for Research and Technology Mohammad Reza Moqaddam said self-reliance and indigenization are among the Oil Ministry's top priorities.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Membrane Technology Center Moqaddam said, "Today is an important day in the history of Iran's petrochemical industry."

Ineffectiveness of Sanctions Proved by Oil Industry

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's oil industry has proved ineffectiveness of the sanctions, Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi said.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of a membrane technology center, four catalysts and three technical knowhow at Petrochemical Research and Technology Company, Qassemi said, "Relying on their knowledge, Iranian researchers have been able to thwart sanctions imposed against the country and take great strides towards self sufficiency and indigenization oil industry equipments."

Gloomy predictions overlook change

A new assessment of the world’s oil reserves predicts a surge of supply from North America, mostly from new, unconventional sources. This will transform the global supply of oil and help ease tight markets.

By 2018, the International Energy Agency projects, global oil production capacity will grow by 8.4 million barrels a day — a significantly faster pace than demand. The headline reads: “Peak Oil Is Dead.” Peak Oil is a theory that at some point global oil production will peak, then steadily decline as oil reserves are depleted.

Almost everyone will be glad to know that this theory is dead.

Is peak oil never going to happen?

You can make a coherent, logical argument for cars that don't burn gasoline without once mentioning global petroleum supply. You can talk about international relations and the power of gasoline exporters (just read the first three paragraphs of this for a bit of history). You can talk about climate change. You can talk about the health effects of CO2 in the air. But the fact remains that gasoline (or diesel) remains the go-to fuel for almost every passenger vehicle on the planet, so the question of how much black gold is out there is an important one. The answer, though is not so clear.

Using up our finite resources will make us dependent on foreign oil

Regardless of the varying beliefs about climate change and whether mankind is impacting the climate, surely we all recognize that there is a finite supply of fossil fuels. At the same time, we can all agree the worldwide demand for fossil fuels will continue to grow along with population growth and with increased industrialization of countries in Asia and Latin America.

As demand for fuel grows, new sources are routinely being discovered and developed, but we know that there are limits to what is “out there.” We also recognize that many of the new fuel sources require greater resources for their development, and the capture of these fuels can have significant impacts on the environment.

Big Coal Faces Big Opposition In Pacific Northwest

Earlier this month, grassroots climate and anti-extraction activists in the Pacific Northwest scored a victory over one of the world’s most powerful industries. Kinder Morgan, an energy company that operates 26,000 miles of pipelines and owns 170 largely energy-related export terminals, announced it is scrapping plans to build a large coal export terminal on the Columbia River. The company has downplayed the role of community opposition to its terminal, claiming logistical considerations led to abandonment of the project. But local activists see more to the story than that.

Illinois proposes fracking tax that is lower than in other states

In Illinois, oil producers will enjoy their lowest tax rates when oil is flowing at its peak and tax rates would be about half that of some states with fracking operations.

The state would receive estimated $725,508 in taxes on each fracking well, assuming a life span of 10 years and a price of $85 per barrel of oil. A separate tax that would go to the local taxing districts in which the well is located would generate about $555,481, according to an analysis for the Tribune by Mark Haggerty of Headwaters Economics in Montana.

British Villagers, Fearing Fracking, Protest Plan for Drilling

BALCOMBE, England — Despite the stakes, there was almost a festival spirit in this wealthy little village nestled in the hills of West Sussex. Children buzzed around an open-sided tent by the street and families spread blankets on the tiny village green.

What brought them together on Thursday evening, though, was not a spring fair but deep worry. Cuadrilla Resources, a British energy company, is on the verge of drilling an exploratory oil well just down the road. Villagers see it as a possible precursor to the environmentally controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Is Nuclear Energy's Lightbulb Dimming?

Not only is dropping nuclear power a complicated issue, but it also challenges very recent data that show just how painful that endeavor could be. Advocates of a nuclear-free future should consider what would happen to the electricity bills of consumers in such a scenario. Meanwhile, the data may support the idea that exposing your portfolio to nuclear fuel won't be as radioactive to your portfolio as once thought.

Green phoenix rises from the ashes as Japan shifts its focus

The word "Fukushima" may be synonymous with nuclear meltdowns, ghost towns and contaminated rice fields.

The north-east region of Japan, however, once famed for its green mountains and fresh vegetables, is in the midst of the most ambitious of rebranding projects: it is attempting to transform itself into a global green energy hub.

Europe must get its head down

One professional judgement on Europe's advances in providing power from renewable energy sources reads a little like a promising but inconsistent pupil's school report card: "Makes steady progress but could do better."

The detail of the assessment may become clear when delegates meet in Vienna for a three-day European conference, hosted by the Renewable Energy World and Power-Gen and starting on June 4.

Ernest Moniz, Natural Gas And The “Forgotten Renewables”

In a town hall meeting with staffers last week, new Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz dropped a bombshell and a hint. The bombshell, at least as far as fans of natural gas are concerned, is that Moniz sees natural gas not as a permanent fixture in the U.S. energy landscape but merely as a temporary “bridge” to a globally competitive, low carbon future that is well within our grasp.

Better Place to file for bankruptcy

FORTUNE -- Electric car company Better Place is planning to file for bankruptcy within the next several days, Fortune has learned.

The move will come seven months after the ouster of charismatic founder Shai Agassi, and five months after his successor -- Evan Thornley, CEO of Better Place Australia -- also departed.

Car sharing with strangers a growing business in US

Los Angeles (IANS/EFE) The sight of a hitchhiker on the curb trying to hail some charitable driver could be a thing of the past as the practice of car sharing grows.

As a result of the recent economic crisis, the US has seen a wide range of companies ready to convert any and every car into a rental vehicle and provide its proprietor with extra income, while offering clients much lower prices than what a taxi or a rent-a-car like Avis or Hertz would charge.

Clemson police officer charged with theft of gasoline from motor pool

A Clemson University police officer is out of a job and faces multiple criminal charges.

The State Law Enforcement Division arrested Sgt. Jason D. Cassell, 39, of Pickens on Thursday on a charge of stealing gasoline from the university motor pool, according to a press statement from the university’s media relations office.

Bearing down: How safe is that bridge you're driving over?

To make all necessary repairs to America's bridges, the Federal Highway Administration estimates it will cost $76 billion.

Who's going to pay for that? Taxpayers? No thank you, say most of the Americans who answered a recent Gallup poll.

Two thirds said they're against paying more in gasoline taxes to fund bridge and road repairs in their own states. And it didn't matter if the respondents were Republican, Democrat or independent.

These 6 States Have the Most Dangerous Bridges

With help from the ASCE's report, let's look at the six states that have the greatest number of bridges that qualify as structurally deficient and therefore require substantial maintenance, rehabilitation, or replacement, with regular inspections to ensure continuing viability. We'll also look at some of the financial resources those states have to help pay for necessary work.

Floods could overwhelm London as sea levels rise - unless Thames Barrier is upgraded

There is significant risk of London being hit by a devastating storm surge in the Thames estuary by 2100 that could breach existing flood defences and cause immense damage to the capital, a study of global sea-level rise has found.

Melting of polar ice sheets and mountain glaciers could increase sea levels significantly over the coming decades leading to a 1 in 20 risk that the existing Thames Barrier would be unable to cope with an extreme storm surge, the study concluded.

Does anyone know where I can find the latest oil production and consumption figures for Malaysia, Australia, India and Indonesia?

You used to find the data on http://omrpublic.iea.org/

But they are rebuilding the website "and in the meantime, we have stopped publishing the PDF charts"

how handy to not have information available on production and consumption in an era whre oil production/consumption may peak.

Not oil related, but I'll ask here for help anyway.
I use Google Reader to keep track of my news streams. (And web comics). Now Google have been announcing for a while they will cancel the service due to declining usage. I know a lot of people here are regularly following news streams from all over the web and guess some of you use RSS for keeping track.
Question: What RSS reader do you guys recommend as a replacement?

Hi Jedi,

I recently switched my Google Reader RSS subscriptions over to my Wordpress.com account. The Wordpress Reader has a simple Google Reader importer too. Quick and easy.


I've switched to theoldreader.com -- not so snappy response as google but gets the job done. You can import your google feeds, they seem to be running the loads in the background and it may take a week or more for them to get yours processed, but once they do the feeds are current.

I tried theoldreader. It seems to work well. Took some fiddling to get it to work (not to intuitive) but now it looks good. Gonna switch over to this one if it work without issues.

Are Savages Noble?

Modern anthropological research may be settling the great debate between the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes and the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Was the state of nature a “war of every man against every man” in which life was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” as Hobbes wrote? Or did “savages” live in utopian bliss, thanks to “the tranquility of their passions and their ignorance of vice,” as Rousseau believed?

Two new books, Marlene Zuk’s Paleofantasy and Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday, examine the data on how hunter-gatherers and subsistence farmers have eaten, loved, socialized, fought, reared children, and lived. Both side mostly with Hobbes.

It's an interesting article. A main point is the cause of death in tribal societies coming from violence. Without the abundance we've reaped from our endeavours tribal societies would have had more cause to fight for constrained resources. Our modern society has overcome the resource restriction (for now)so conflicts occur for other reasons. I don't think our modern society will be quite so peaceful if it becomes resource constrained.

Another point they discuss is whether tribal societies were any more in synch with their environment than we are today. Tribal societies being resource constrained maintained their population levels in relation to the resources - without a change tribal societies would most likely endure until external factors dictated otherwise. Modern society when resource constrained attempts to draw even more heavily on resources and maintain the population level. I'd say tribal societies win on that debate.

I don't think the idea of the noble savage is a valid one - there are definite elements of tribal societies that can be respected but their lives are definitely shorter and harder than ours today. I don't think the argument should be whether they are noble or not - in the end if one style of society can endure for thousands and thousands of years and another burns out within it's first few millenia then it's a moot point. Tribal societies in my opinion are better suited to our long term survival.

I'd happily say I fall in to the doomer camp. I think given time you'll see the return of city states, some kind of happy medium between a tribal society and modern society.

I agree it is an interesting article. However at the finish, the author looks out the window and happily purveys the progress of modern man. We must be looking out through different windows. How does he reconcile 400ppm CO2 and the havoc it is wreaking on our decimated forests and oceans with this "progress". Beats me.

As regards intertribal warfare vs lesser levels of modern violence, I disagree. The former was because earlier man valued the idea of turning out warriors. Raiding parties kept both tribes in a state of alertness and awareness. But despite loss of life, I would not call it "violence" as we see violence today, ie psycopathy. Today we have less deaths because instead of rearing boys to be warriors or to at least have a warrior spirit, we raise them to sit and drink large hot chocolate in Costa/Starbucks. So you can have less deaths, more comfort but what kind of person do you have then?

A book everyone should read is "Crazy Horse". Then come back and tell me our society could produce people with spirit like that, and with an attitude like those people had, and that is before you ever get to their attitude to nature.

"Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one" - Bruce Lee.

I think our modern societies still value warriors very highly, a perfect example is the British reaction to the soldiers death.

The difference is that our modern society doesn't require so many of them because they've become more efficient. Warriors are produced for different reasons; in tribal societies they serve a two-fold role, defending their resources and also keeping the young men from messing things up at home too much (men who are idle find inconvenient ways to occupy themselves). In modern societies men are typically occupied by work so aren't such a problem - in my opinion as unemployment goes up you'll find the military recruiting more people to keep them occupied.

I haven't read Crazy Horse and probably never will. I think a good example of warrior spirit in modern society would be the Japanese. Their culture was heavily based around honor and it was not difficult for their military government to create an exceptionally loyal and potent force.

I feel as society breaks down those who are militarily trained will increase even further in standing. I'm sure we'll be able to maintain our society for a while longer but the perceived need for soldiers will be greater as the idea of protecting our precious resources increases.

Japanese. Their culture was heavily based around honor and it was not difficult for their military government to create an exceptionally loyal and potent force.

Loyal, -beyond a fault. I'm not sure they were so potent. The kill ratio in Pacific fighting US versus them was something like ten to one. Sure our equipment was better, but I think a big part was attitude. Better to have soldiers, who think they can survive, and that they deserve to survive, then those committed to losing theirs for the cause. The later throw their lives away on foolish bonzai charges, while the former usually live to fight another day, then another.

"The later throw their lives away on foolish bonzai charges, while the former usually live to fight another day, then another."

In the movie "Patton", which starts out with a rewrite of this speech, the character Patton starts out with "I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country...he won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country."

"Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bulls**t. Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight. When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American."

George S. Patton June 5, 1944

Of course Hollywood is rife with war propaganda.

"Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state."
~ Noam Chomsky

"...[Chris] Hedges draws on classical literature and his experiences as a war correspondent to argue that war seduces entire societies, creating fictions that the public believes and relies on to continue to support conflicts..."
~ Wikipedia

"The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other - instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals."
~ Edward Abbey

"Species move from competition to cooperation because they discover the economic value of cooperating. It is cheaper, more efficient... All you have to do is look at our pentagon budget and see that a tiny fraction of it would really develop countries that we've been levelling instead... Very much more cost-effective to make friends of them than it is to keep them as enemies."
~ Elizabet Sahtouris

Fighting (for others) a manufactured decentralized amorphous enemy by remote control in an endless war ('you couldn't make this stuff up') seems to push things toward full-circle, manufacturing a potential enemy out of just about anyone, anywhere, anytime. (But then, what kind of manufacture, what kind of fiction, is a state government?)

Death and taxes.

Worth remembering that compulsory military service was only phased out in most of Europe during the 90's and still exists in a number of countries which interestingly includes most of Scandinavia.


Sweden ditched it like 2 or 3 years ago. A friend of mine was in the last draft group to leave the army and then the draft system was over. The tradition in Sweden has been to stand alone during the Cold War so we had an over-proportional war force.

For a country with such a pacific reputation, Sweden sure manufactures a lot of high end weaponry. Of course if we go back far enough with have Sweden as a former superpower, even further the Vikings. Attitudes have changed immensely over time.

In the USA it seems to be going the other way. The military's promotion program through the glorification of "warfighters" seems to be having the intended effect. Popular entertainment, which for a few decades had been pushing back because they were embarrassed by how much propaganda they produced during WW2, seems to be going the other way now. War (and anti-terrorism) films are moneymakers, and the military makes facilities available on the cheap, as another form of promotion.

Don't forget that Sweden is the mining nation of Europe, and for a very long time we produced 1/3 of the total global iron ore. Sweden was the Saudi Arabia of iron. Plus we have timber as well, which is a good combo.
And with iron you can make cannons, with cannons war and with war empires. We'd e nothing without the iron. And we build our industry and economy with it in modern times. Oil is temporary, iron is for ever.

The reason we are pacifists here goes back to when our war luck ended. The last war (in a long losing streak) in 1807 ended with the russian army on the streets of Luleå. We lost our will to fight once we begun losing the wars.

"And with iron you can make cannons, with cannons war and with war empires. We'd e nothing without the iron. And we build our industry and economy with it in modern times. Oil is temporary, iron is for ever."

Lack of natural resources may be good reason why Norway have been so peaceful but now with the oil they are flying to Aghanistan to fight. Then the temporary oil is gone we vill be back ruling again.

I once read master plan in case Sweden is attacked by Norway is, they are democratic country just give up and wait for the election.

Oil is temporary, iron is for ever

I hadn't realized Sweden was such a big supplier of European iron. Although I note that Swedish iron ore, exported via the Norwegian port of Narvik -and British attempts to cut it off, were a prime motivation for the German invasion in 1940.

But, iron isn't forever, it's a nonrenewable resource just like oil. Detroit became the world leader in the early automobile age because of the then plentiful iron ore in the upper peninsula of Michigan, and in Northern Minnesota (easily shipped via the great lakes). But these high grade ores have been used up.

Iron or even rust if easily collected is possible to recycle but it will of course not help the nations with iron ore. It will still be possible to produce/manufacture oil then all fossil fuels are gone but the energy is only possible to use once. Algae oil from sugar, anyone?

Even though old iron or even rust could theoretically all be recycled, some is inevitably dissipated into the environment in a form not concentrated enough to recover. This is essentially entropy (thermo second law) at work wrt. materials.

I was paraphrasing the expression "Diamonds are forever" but iron lasts longer than oil. Not only can you use it over and over while oil is a one use item (if you use it for energy) but also, reserves last longer. We've been mining iron in Sweden for a millennia. When we closed down the Sala silver mine a bunch of years ago, it was at the time of its closage the oldest operating silver mine in the world with 1000 years under its belt. Oil is a short blip in comparison.

iron lasts longer than oil.

Because the Human use case for Iron is different than oil. Most of the time Oil is of use because one can break chemical bonds and destroy the oil.

The use case for Iron is mostly non-destructive.

Well yes ...
Given the chance, the biggest bulls**ters will rise to the top.

When and why then did America (or at least the bulls**ters with 'attitude' still living off the back of their own Civil War and having thus defined 'America') start losing war after war?

Bunch of losers?

Somebody (Wiseman?) pointed me this morning to an article by David Graeber with a different take http://www.thebaffler.com/past/practical_utopians_guide

Yeah that's me, different alias.

Graeber is a anarchist anthropologist with incredible insight and primary experience, and I highly recommend his writings.

He coined the meme "1% vs the 99%" that arose during the Occupy movement.

I'm not sure of his energy literacy, but he is science based.

Graeber's considering 1968 as more important than 1990 seems wrong, as does his omission of 1870. Counter-revolutions are as important as revolutions in assessing historical change.

1870 and the adjacent years marks the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War, the unification of Germany and of Italy, and the Meiji Restoration in Japan. Economically, the US experiences the Panic of 1873 and Great Britain begins the Great Depression of 1873-1896. This causes a major realignment of power in the world, without which WW I and WW II would be unlikely, and history would be much different.

Similarly, the years around 1990 mark the end of the Soviet Union, the renaissance of China, the beginning of the Eurozone, and the Gulf War. The Gulf War consumed a lot of left over Cold War munitions and began the period of hostilities between the US and the Islamic world, which would cost trillions to little effect. Meanwhile the developments in Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Asia consolidated the new economic system of government control of their economies through manipulation of financial systems. This new economic approach, post-capitalist and post-socialist, is the real revolution since WW II.

I think we should first think a little bit about the difference between a warrior and a soldier. Then some "issues" are solved.

Compare the behaviour of Japanese forces ion 1904/5 and 1937/45, completely different, what changed. The Japanese in WW II often behaved like warriors who fought agianst soldiers, not good.

And to lable soldiers as warriors in the modern US army is crap.

As an American veteran I can only thing of our current crop of soldiers as victims; victims of lousy foreign policy, victims of lousy economic policy, victims of poor education.

Many years after leaving the service (as a short-timer NCO)I finally decided that a military career did have the potential of being an honorable profession. Yet after watching the abuse of American soldery during the past 10 years I now think that it takes a much more honorable government than we have to enable an honorable military.

Very well said. They have been taken for granted and neglected upon discharge. Apparently, honour only works one way.

Are the current veterans being treated worse than Vietnam and Korean War veterans?

The main difference may be that then more died, and fewer survived extremely bad wounds as invalids.

I searched Amazon for "Crazy Horse" and found three with different authors. Can you give us the author's name of the book you refer to?

The review at the link discusses how both Zuk and Diamond found a high proportion of death in 'primitive' or pre-state societies was due to 'human violence'. I can't help but wonder if deaths due to such things as mercury and other heavy metal poisoning, cancers, automobile accidents, black lung & other mining & industrial deaths are considered to be the result of 'human violence'? And that just regards human death. Regarding human life, what, besides the threat of violence, leads us to kowtow to the tax man, to not trod the Earth we were born on because someone else 'owns' it, to live in our boxes and obey what the box on the wall tells us? And regarding all other life, what might the corals and the phytoplankton and the wolves and all the rest have to say about 'human violence'? Just some questions on a quiet, apparently peaceful, Saturday...

Limits to human population can take many forms, most are not kind. Amazing how we get used to certain things that might otherwise seem appalling.

We now simply have 7 billion more savages running around at greater levels and/or scales of energy-access, violence, technology, systems complexity and rapaciousness.

I seem to recall the two Jameses (Lovelock and Hanson) advocating, at least at some points, geoengineering-- two (otherwise?) intelligent guys.

But ok, you want geoengineering? How about humanity mobilize to get up early tomorrow morning and start enhancing the regrowth of native vegetation and care of Earth and of people? Call it 'organizational technology' if it makes you happy.

"In 1839 Alphonse Karr... started a monthly journal, Les Guêpes, of a keenly satirical tone, a publication which brought him the reputation of a somewhat bitter wit. His epigrams are frequently quoted, for example 'plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose'— 'the more it changes, the more it's the same thing', usually translated as 'the more things change, the more they stay the same,' (Les Guêpes, January 1849). On the proposal to abolish capital punishment, 'je veux bien que messieurs les assassins commencent'— 'let the gentlemen who do the murders take the first step'."
~ Wikipedia

One of the African customs here is initiation schools, which males go when they are about 16. They get instruction in various things, and get circumcised by traditional practitioners. More than 30 have died this year, mostly from the circumcision going septic. It's a tribal custom I'm glad I don't have to undergo.

Yeah, the whole 'noble savage' thing is a mushy-headed myth. Their cultures have plenty of brutal practices. And when these so-called noble savages get access to western technology, they abuse it just like everyone else.

The noble savage thing is so obvious and is being so distorted.

When there was low population density and great abundance humanity manifested a noble presence as was documented within the native american narrative of The Seventh Generation. They even husbanded their resources knowing they were finite.

Obviously there were exceptions.

Where population densities increased and resources were constrained is where the worst of humanities potential has been brought out.

Same with a dog. You get 10 dogs in a confined space, restrict their food supply and you will see the worst of what dogs can be. Do we condemn all dogs? No we make sure they are not put in that situation and they are "Mans best friend".

It's amazing to me how quick we are to condemn mankind as greedy, violent, inhumane, yet we are unwilling to condemn the way we have allowed ourselves to be structured. Somehow it must make people feel better about their situation.

I for one do not accept this kind of twisted darwinian brainless thinking.

Well said, EE.

Good comments, eeyores enigma, and I'm inclined to agree.

I tend to agree.

It's probably best near the middle of life's possibilities, where some relative poverty keeps us regularly conscious of consequence.

America, like England and other prior superpowers, have been wild experiments in excessive power, some of it merely a clever redefinition of outright theft and slavery.. and it has NOT made us into that Artistic, Humane Elevated Republic that is painted as the accompaniment one gets with access to great wads of power.

Ever wonder what happens to the Lottery Winners? We have only to look in the mirror.

I agree as well, EEs comment was a very good one.

America, like England and other prior superpowers, have been wild experiments in excessive power, some of it merely a clever redefinition of outright theft and slavery.

I think that implies a cause and effect relationship that I think is reversed in the case of the USA. Our empire (disregarding Phillipines&Cuba) was largely a result of a sense of paranoia created by a several decades long cold war. I think simply being an empire practically forces one towards theft & slavery, rather than the later being the reason for undertaking the empire project in the first place. And the slide down that slippery slope is slow, and not noticed by the majority of the citizenry.

Are giant 'pinkhouses' the future of urban farming?

The future of year-round farming could lie not in farms, but in huge warehouses lit with an eerie pink light, researchers have claimed.

Researchers have found that tomatoes grown around LED lights in the winter can significantly reduce greenhouse energy costs without sacrificing yield - and say the technique could change the way farming works.

One US firm [Caliber Biotherapeutics] is already experimenting with a giant warehouse in Texas, which hides a vast hi-tech pink growing area where 2.2 million plants will only see sunlight at the end of their life.

I am reminded of Jevon's Paradox when it comes to LEDs.

I agree I hear all this talk about how we are becoming so efficient and using less oil blah...blah...high tech will save us etc...but how much energy does google, facebook, yahoo,etc use? Are we becoming more efficient? I don't think so...we either have to keep a lid on the economy or we all underline all have to do with a lot less....I think an economic crash will speed up peak oil rather than slow it down...

I think sometimes its possible that we are not consistent with our logic when dealing with the energy topic, there is a lot going on at the moment, particularly in the electricity game and sometimes we perhaps conflate the decentalisation of our electricity production with the growing energy efficiency movement.

The solar powered escalator mentioned in the previous drumbeat is an example, not alone is it a more efficient design but its powered by the sun rather than the grid. I have a friend whose company earns its bread and butter by attracting data centres to locate in Ireland, a modern data centre is many more times energy efficient than those built even 5 years ago. At one time it was sufficient to show these companies that the energy supply was sufficient for their needs and then Irelands low corporation taxes usually done the rest, but now these companies increasingly want not only a renewable electricity supply but a large component of that supply must be decentralised and local.

I have no doubt that our civilisation is undergoing a rapid change and that over population is a global problem but a major collapse is not baked into the cake just yet.

'Collapse' seems like a bit of a misnomer, evoking images of some creature suddenly falling down and dying, just like that.
Many, including myself, look at so-called collapse more fractally, where there are real collapses here and there, small and large and barely noticeable, interspersed with similar declines, interspersed with growths, some old and stubborn, some new and sustainable and so forth. Like an ecosystem.


Indeed, some time ago you were wont to describe the human race as a cancer, perhaps we are but three years ago I was given a serious cancer diagnosis.

Three years later I am still here, I no longer have the same digestive system as most of my peers and physical work is no longer possible but I judge myself to be still a contributing member of society and I find that one of the positives of my cancer is that it forced me to get off the threadmill.

I now work on things I want to work on such as community energy projects, my earnings are way down but my happiness is way up.

Sometimes drastic enforced changes can turn out very well.

Ah yes, the wake-up call...

The human race seems to be doing a fine enough job of giving itself cancer, irrespective of whether you, I or anyone else might be interpreted as 'wont to describe the human race as a cancer'.

Someone I know just returned from the hospital after cancer surgery, incidentally... and I/we might be joining you two soon enough... best with it.

(Apparently, some cetaceans are classified as toxic waste... I wonder if they have/had cancer, not that they're in much of a position to do much about it.)

Well anyway, here's to just-in-time delivery of wake-up calls, and doing somethings synergistic about them from the get-go...

Before it's too late and we're all half-dead, if we aren't already, by our own hands.

~ Caelan

Right. And so I am thinking we will be shoved off on to the right track when one or another of us hits that brick wall at 120mph and the resulting splatter will scare the rest of us so much that we jump off the ff drag race and on to the nice placid PV chariot standing there waiting for more passengers. I won't mind the crowd, since I'm sure they will find, as I have, the new life so fun and demanding, what with all that running around looking at wattmeters and charts, that it keeps us all out of each other's gardens.

One nice thing about having a short term lease on life- nobody can accuse us of greed- can't take it with you, and all that. I think.

The world per capita energy consumption is still on the way up. This in spite of the fact that the capita's are still increasing. As for more efficient, in many ways we are, which is where Jevons paradox comes in.

The world per capita energy consumption is still on the way up.


It appears we peaked in the 1970s.

"We can see from Figure 6 that per capita consumption of oil peaked in the 1970 to 1980 time period, and has since been declining."

We didn't use more, used a whole lot less when I convinced my wife to go to LED grow lights for her rows of tiny green shoots during marchapril may, when for the past few years her florescents had been doubling my daily electricity usage.

As part of my off-carbon kick, I have put LED's everywhere and I like the light a lot better- and the lighting load is now trivial instead of being a big hunk of all of it.

As a bonus, I now make fewer mistakes washing the dishes, which saves me from triggering yet another pious little lecture on cleanliness next to godliness, etc etc.

I don't doubt that, wimbi...

I had this previously in my previous comment, but took it out. Here it is:

You set up a LED mass-production factory to mass produce LEDs. Then what?

IOW, how does a large-scale LED mass-production factory respond to the system within which it operates, such as with regard to the corporatocracy, nature, profit, demand, margins, advertising, promo, need-creation, product placement, shareholders, resources, democratic input, marketing, legal frameworks, shipping, wages, jobs, human rights, strikes, outsourcing, unions, waste, recycling, etc.?

You're you; a corporate factory grow-op is something else.

We can do without LEDs, fundamentally, but we can't do without natural integrity and "we" are wrecking it, wholesale. For what?

You're you; a corporate factory grow-op is something else.

So then the problem is Corporate Factories?

If it was not for the 'opportunity' to sell mass amounts of LEDs to factory grow-ops, how much research would be spent on what mix of LEDs work the best, what designs work well, and "LEaD" to the mass consumption of LEDs so that TODs leading Stirling advocate Wimbi could convince his wife to go to LED grow lights for her rows of tiny green shoots during marchapril may?

It sure seems to me that the Corporate Grow-ops LEaD to the cheaper prices of the 3 watt LEDS ($2 a pop was the cheapest I've seen) so that wimbi is able to get a "pass" on doing what a Corporate Grow-op does.

So then the problem is Corporate Factories? ~ eric blair

My concerns include scale, context and complexity, and not just with LEDs of course.

LED's seem fine on the surface and we have lots of them always-on in the house even when things are turned off. My laptop's LEDs even do a useless little dazzly light-show every time it's booted up. They use less power, but there are a lot of them, glittering like stars and galaxies all over the home universe. (Have you noticed many homes' outdoor LED lawn/x-mas ornaments/lamps/lights? Ya gotta luv glitter.)

And I'm willing to bet that, if the LED factory guys had their way, they'd have us buy billions and billions of LEDs until our home universes became gravitationally closed and started collapsing in on themselves to their own little Big Crunches, until space, time and money had no meaning.

"A progress trap is the condition human societies experience when, in pursuing progress through human ingenuity, they inadvertently introduce problems they do not have the resources or political will to solve, for fear of short-term losses in status, stability or quality of life. This prevents further progress and sometimes leads to collapse... While the idea is not new, Wright identifies the central problem as being one of scale and political will. According to him, the error is often to extrapolate from what appears to work well on a small scale to a larger scale, which depletes natural resources and causes environmental degradation. Large-scale implementation also tends to be subject to diminishing returns. As overpopulation, erosion, greenhouse gas emissions or other consequences become apparent, society is destabilized."


"A metaphorical ratchet effect is an instance of the restrained ability of human processes to be reversed once a specific thing has happened, analogous with the mechanical ratchet that holds the spring tight as a clock is wound up. It is related to the phenomena of featuritis and scope creep in the manufacture of various consumer goods, and of mission creep in military planning."


"Path dependence explains how the set of decisions one faces for any given circumstance is limited by the decisions one has made in the past, even though past circumstances may no longer be relevant."

~ all quotes, Wikipedia

What could possibly go/be wrong with getting our food from 24/7/52 LED grow-ops, etc.? As long as wimbi's wife and all other wives, husbands, lovers and lonely singles are all dancing under the glow at '$2 a pop', what does it matter?

My concerns include scale, context and complexity


The Scale is why Wimbi can afford LED lighting. The complexity of making LEDs will be the same no matter of Corporate grow-ops or Wimbi uses the LED lights.

As for "context" - Go ahead and explain this further..

And Wimbi's lighting needs are magically OK, but other entities with the same needs are not OK because they are corporate grow-ops?

~ all quotes, Wikipedia

Is that an attempt at "appeal to authority"? The last time there was a big go-round between you and I was over Biochar - and you made posts like this one where you were just quoting yourself.

And I'm willing to bet that, if the LED factory guys had their way, they'd have us buy billions and billions of LEDs until our home universes became gravitationally closed and started collapsing in on themselves to their own little Big Crunches, until space, time and money had no meaning.

You are willing to bet? Ok I'm game. 5 years of the money it takes to run TOD that "LED factory guys" want people to buy enough LEDs to cause localized gravitational collapses.

What could possibly go/be wrong with getting our food from 24/7/52 LED grow-ops,

One has to be either ignorant, not understand English, or unable to read for comprehension as I've already noted the patent for cycling the light on plants for added growing.

Plants do need darkness to grow. First, in the photosynthesis process itself, there is a reaction known as 'dark reaction' pathway or lately known as 'carbon reaction' pathway where the free energy of ATP and reducing power of NADPH, are used to fix and reduce CO2 to form carbohydrate.*


Under a roof, there's the possibility of separate floors, yes? So what do you say about dark and light at the same time in the same building? Thumbs up?

With all that earth we'll be scorching for biochar™ and nightmarish geoengineering fantasies, rather than using it as and for plain living compost, we'll probably need some sort of PV-powered industrial LED manufactured EV-delivered food source.

But we already exist within a dystopian future/collective hallucination/madness AFAIC, so I wouldn't put it past even a Monsanto dark-reaction bypass hack. Call it faith.

BTW, I realize it's a sacrilegious question, but what do you think is better; tallow or beeswax candles? I'm leaning toward beeswax.

Under a roof, there's the possibility of separate floors, yes?

You have never actually run a business and paid taxes have you? In many locations the free standing plant-growing things brought in from off site translates to a non-taxable event WRT local property taxes.

so I wouldn't put it past even a Monsanto dark-reaction bypass hack. Call it faith.

The proper response was "Oh, I did not understand that plants need a dark period and I was wrong in stating 24X7 lighting was a viable idea for plants. Thank you for enlightening me."

For all your posturing about 'natural cycles' your 24X7 plant lighting comment shows your actual knowledge of plant growing. Perhaps it is your youth or lack of experience of growing from seed in cold areas. ghung/todd/wimbi would be other identified TOD resources on such topics.

Plants do need darkness to grow. ~ eric blair

From what is understood about the so-called dark reaction (Calvin Cycle?), is that certain reactions are light independent...

"The light-independent reactions of photosynthesis are chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide and other compounds into glucose...
Despite its widespread names (both light-independent and dark reactions), these reactions do not occur in the dark or at night."
~ Wikipedia

"The enzymes in the Calvin cycle are... activated in the light (which is why the name "dark reaction" is misleading), and also by products of the light-dependent reaction..."
~ Wikipedia

But in any case, that's a sidetrack. There's a lot we don't know about plants and everything else, and is in part why I (still) doubt that growing plants large scale under LED's in buildings is very bright. We're not even doing a good job out under the sun.

"*answers.yahoo.com" ~ eric blair

Any good?

I am reminded of Jevon's Paradox when it comes to LEDs.

Can you explain why? Or is this more knee-jerk 'technology sucks no matter what' position?

As for people who want to have a real discussion VS 'grr tech!'
LEDs have a couple of advantages for artificial plant light:

1) You can select the wavelengths the plants can actually use VS producing "Green" that the plants can't use.
2) Less wattage is used overall for plant growth.
3) If the new patent is correct - switching on/off the LEDs yield more plant growth.

and elsewhere in this Drumbeat:
How about some real world specifics, like exactly how much energy will these LED warehouses consume in electricity for lighting?

Remember to normalize the 'plant warehouse' for plant density VS other light types. And for "extra" fun normalize the plant production for the square foot tax load.

The following link (if I remember correctly) hold the patent on the spectrum used for plant growing. They have some energy numbers - and remember that one has to "dump" that heat someplace - and avoiding plant overheating is another reason to consider LEDs. They cite other reasons also.


LED's will make cannabis grow houses much harder to find in the future, at the moment they can be found by looking at a street using an airbourne thermal imiging camera. The lights used generate a lot of heat and these hotspots are a dead giveaway for the police.

Inintended consequences. :p

In what way does this reduce gross energy usage?

Plants grown without ever seeing the sun until they are chucked out. The food supply becomes more reliant on globalisation. Unless you expect to see decentralised LED workshops in every town, good luck.

If these are merely replacing and not additional to fluorescent greenhouses, then remember that in most cases the lights are only used to supplement natural light, not replace it. As such the heat you are worried about actually isn't a problem, but a benefit because these systems are predominatly used during winter. The LED greenhouse in this example is still going to need heating during winter.

I doubt people are against technology per se but I think many people actually find it ridiculous the stupid ways people come up with to use the technology. Then there is the blind acceptance that because it is new, and technology, that any way of utilising it is automatically superior.

In what way does this reduce gross energy usage?

Why not read the content of the link http://www.led-grow-master.com/CostComparison.html provided above?

Unless you expect to see decentralised LED workshops in every town

Like most intensive under-lamp operations they are used for high-dollar/high value add applications. Like growing "fresh herbs" for the plate - and that application wants "local" sources...as in "sous chef - fetch me X".

Note also how TODer Wimbi is using them - starting plants. Not everyone has acres of land to have a greenhouse.

If these are merely replacing and not additional to fluorescent greenhouses, then remember that in most cases the lights are only used to supplement natural light, not replace it.

Not only do the pictures on the LED pimp'n sites show no a lack of "natural light" then there is the 'grow fresh greens for your animals' http://www.growerssupply.com/farm/supplies/ProductDisplay?catalogId=1405...

Fodder-Pro 2.0 Feed Systems are ideal for all farms and can be designed to produce any amount of nutrient-, protein- and enzyme-rich fodder daily with minimal water required, all year long, regardless of climate or season.

Whether you need fodder for a commercial-sized operation or a small backyard farm, Fodder-Pro 2.0 Feed Systems will provide you with a better feed option that will improve the health and performance of your livestock and poultry and reduce your feed costs.

I doubt people are against technology per se but I think many people actually find it ridiculous the stupid ways people come up with to use the technology.

If one wants local production, consumption and local waste stream utilization there are cases where stacking the plants high and lighting makes sense given the taxes for land. And yes, there are people who don't like technology. Its why statements like " We can do without LEDs, fundamentally" exist. Because if LED lights are a bad idea in that world-view how is lighting to happen - tallow candles?

And there we have it. Nothing to do with saving energy, just consumer culture 2.0.

There are plenty of ways to have local consumption, production and utilisation of waste streams, this is one of the few that require a highly efficient globalised economy to support it.

And there we have it. Nothing to do with saving energy, just consumer culture 2.0.

Why the HELL should anyone bother posting links to actual data here on TOD to enlighten?

From the link I've posted 2X times:
LED Grow Lights Cost Comparison to HID Lighting
Electricity Costs vs. HPS
KW Hours Per Year
Cost Per KWHR
Cost Per Year



For Smeagle's claim to be correct somehow 183 kWh LED vs 5110 kWh of electricity usage is "Nothing to do with saving energy". Go ahead Smeagle -- show how only using 183 VS 5110 kWh has Nothing to do with saving energy

From TOD's upper-right margin quote:

“Of all races in an advanced stage of civilization, the American is the least accessible to long views… Always and everywhere in a hurry to get rich, he does not give a thought to remote consequences; he sees only present advantages… He does not remember, he does not feel, he lives in a materialist dream.”
—Moiseide Ostrogorski (1902, 302-303)

As such the heat you are worried about actually isn't a problem, but a benefit because these systems are predominatly used during winter.

They grow in winter because hot lights in Summer would over-heat the plant/s and winter electric rates are much cheaper. However with LED's, Summer grows will now be possible because they will not over-heat the plants and the draw is so much less than HPS or MH (which also lose energy via the ballast). The jury is still out on LED's for that purpose though, because there are many factors to be compared.

The jury is still out on LED's for that purpose

I do not believe the jury is out. (Feel free to weigh in Wimbi - what LEDs do you have and how did it work out?)

When looking for plant growing information online there are 2 vocal communities
1) Tomato growers
2) pot growers
Both of those communities are reporting back "LEDs work".

The only part of 'jury is out' on is who's get the better light as some seem to do 'nothing' and others claim 'brand x' works.

There seems to be a presumption among some that, once industry's factories have their price-points all sorted out and everyone's finally got every gizmo, widget, thingamajig, doohickey and whatchamacallit they absolutely need-- life or death and all that-- and are living contentedly with them doing their little benign local activities, that the factories will all happily shut down-- kill the lights, punch out and go home-- for a few days, weeks or even years... Well, that might in fact happen, only unhappily... It's already happening...

'World Made By Hand'; love him or hate him, Kunstler, its author, might prove to be correct and some might want to take a second, better look at such things as, say, tallow/beeswax candles.

"In the Middle Ages, tallow candles were common for everyday household use, but beeswax candles were reserved for use in churches and ceremonies because they had no objectionable odor." ~ off The Grid News

Keeping the topic on actual LEDs and power consumption I present pictures of plants:


Average weight of HID plants: 51.9 grams
Average weight of LED plants: 52.7 grams

Total power used for HID: 210.7 kilowatt-hours
Total power used for LED: 61.3 kilowatt-hours

Compared with beeswax, The LED is a one-trick pony.

How about some real world specifics, like exactly how much energy will these LED warehouses consume in electricity for lighting? I assume this is mostly a hydroponics or misting system for water and nutrients.
What is the true cost in energy and resources. Is it really going to be offset by the fact that this produce doesn't have to be shipped 1500 miles to the table? How about some numbers instead of the usual blah, blah, blah!

Pondering pointing person's peculiar peddle-pusher pants-- previous purplish-pink picture...

Well, get them out of there at the end of the day-- ok, keep our peddle-pusher pal, he looks danceable/bikeable/car-poolable-- roll out the corn ethanol murphy-bar and have an after-hour 'happy hours' nightclub to help cover costs and more. Those library geo-map tables look about right for a few chairs and drinks. The extra carbon dioxide, humidity and wastes from the patrons could also go toward recycling to help feed the plants. Use Ed's clipboards as drink trays; beakers as fancy cocktail glasses. Maybe have him et al bar-tend in lab jackets. Far out, groovy.

Club promo poster: 'Dance among the plants in an L. E. Dee trance'.

You got me stuck on a GREASE tune, now..

"Look at me I'm Ellie Dee, Dripping with Humidity,
Greenhouses got Pink, no it's not what you think,
It's just old Ellie Dee!"

.. alright, enough artificial light and light posting.. the sun is out, I'd best go get some of the real thing.

GREASE, of course. Nice one. As crazy/greasy as it sounds, though, it really does seem quite feasible/reasonable. The first permaculture/resilient/regenerative nightclub. I was in the middle of editing the post, by the way, when your comment permission-denied it. I was adding a computer-/music-controlled system for the LED's to control their on/off, colors, dimmings, flickering etc.. How could I forget!?

A shorter updated version of Jean Laherrère oil and natural gas forecasts synthesis:


Key graphs in the paper:

Reserves :

All liquids world :

All liquids Opec and NOpec breakdown :

Natural gas world :

We will continue at a hundred miles per hour and slow down when we hit the brick wall.

Yes, or we will slow down (already the case) and crash without even acknowledging the reason for it (for the vast majority).

Tomorrow 3,100 delegates, 100 speakers and 200 exhibitors show up for the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference in Brisbane Australia. Google APPEA conference. The program has a big emphasis on unconventional sources like shale gas, coal seam gas and deepwater with one offshore area to be discussed 4 km deep.

Some heavy hitters will be there like the Shell CEO. The list of official discussion topics perhaps masks an unspoken agenda on topics like future LNG export restrictions, how far can gas replace coal, CO2 penalties, declining EROEI and so on. I notice OPEC nations appear to be taking a back seat. The undertone seems to be things are getting serious from now on.

What about that 233 billion barrel kerogen find at Coober Pedy? Is anyone going to talk about that?

Call me old fashioned but somehow the juxtaposition of the words 'barrel' and 'kerogen' just does not work for me.........

Well, as long as you accept that nowhere is it written that a barrel has to contain liquid... a barrel of low energy content rocks?

One speaker is to talk about 'kerogen LNG' whatever that is. Recall yesterday's Drumbeat about the borderline economics of a 500 km rail line to the Galilee Basin coal deposit in Queensland. Since the Adelaide-Darwin rail line runs near Coober Pedy an outback coal deposit may prove more viable
Penrhyn sounds like a castle in Wales, UK but it's outback desert if you look at the gallery on the link. The coal will power a crushing plant for iron ore to be sent to China. There are big uranium deposits closer to the cities than these coal deposits but it is evidently easier to get finance for coal development, carbon tax or not.

Some afterthoughts.

1) The line from the movie about 'build it and they will come' may prove strangely true in a world of declining EROEI. If a nearby rail line already exists that helps the economics of new mines along that rail corridor. The Adelaide-Darwin railway was criticised as a waste of money a few years back. Now it carries or will carry not only liquid fuels but copper concentrate, manganese, rare earths and iron ore. All because the rail line was already built. The operator is a company called Genesee & Wyoming. Check their website.

2) there is a kerogen-to-oil pilot plant 2,000 km from Coober Pedy, this time about 20 km from Gladstone Qld where they are building the first east coast LNG export hub. Not sure how the economics compares to Canadian tar sands. Google QER + kerogen.

They may as well wait until Sep 14th

Australia must support LNG with positive tax, regulatory policy: Voser

ROYAL Dutch Shell's global chief executive Peter Voser has warned Australia needs better tax policies and regulatory set-ups if it is to capture billions of dollars of potential new investment as worldwide liquefied natural gas demand doubles this decade.

He has a point to some extent.
I read recently that wages for a Cook on one of these projects was $200,000 pa

I usually avoid faux news, however this article posted on Google appears unbiased.


’State report shows downed bridge had gouges, impact damage months ago’

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – Officials in Washington state performed a special inspection six months ago on the Interstate 5 bridge that collapsed because there were indications it had been struck by a different vehicle.

The inspection report also details a variety of other problems with the bridge, including vegetation growing in panels, and rust. It also summarizes a variety of parts on the bridge that have been subjected to "high-load" hits.

Yesterday when this accident occurred, some suggested the bridge would have fallen even if it were brand new. Myself and some other posters were of the school of thought that wear and tear over time had contributed to it’s collapse. It turns out wear and tear in the form of rust and hits by other vehicles prior to yesterday's (straw that broke the camel's back collapse event) all played a role in weakening the structure.

Will it come to pass that an analogous situation will occur via a post peak oil event that will cause collapse? Similarly, the final event will have been proceeded by numerous dings to the economy with mounting debt, QE, increasing divide between the have's and have not's, foreclosures, bankruptcies, increased cost of energy, lower tax revenue, etc., but when that event occurs will many in society blame that particular one as the culprit? But most importantly does the analogy suggest a single event could tip the scales to bring down this house of cards?

I've been reading the Mr Money Mustache blog since it got posted here and he's quite an interesting fellow. One of these days I'll probably try to have a back and forth about peak oil and possible financial collapse scenarios and see how he responds - but one of the things that pretty much every sprung back with on TOD when it was posted was:

What if Everyone Became Frugal?

In the ongoing debate over early retirement, frugality, investing, and simple living, one point is often brought up by our detractors. It usually goes something like this:

Well, maybe spending less and investing more works for you, but if everybody did it, society would collapse! Our economy is driven by consumers – without them, we are nothing!

As it turns out...he already has a post dedicated to that particular topic.

So you see, there is really no magic to the fact that we are currently buying and throwing away a lot of junk. Far from being a boon to our society, it’s really an enormous tax we place on ourselves, because it diverts our energy away from more beneficial efforts like the ones noted above.

In the short term, a massive switch to frugality would cause an economic depression, as the free market struggled to reallocate everything. Many people would suffer. But by creating a small and constant shift to a new way of living, the system will have time to adjust gracefully over time.

Its an interesting way by which he arrives at this and I'm not entirely convinced it can be juggled so well because of how deeply we've fouled our ways of thinking.

Now a standout paragraph for TOD folks, and the kind of thing I'd like to confront him on is found in something like this:

What is the engine of growth, then? It is the savers and investors. Only by sacrificing current consumption, can people put money into banks or share offerings, which end up in the hands of new and existing businesses who can then use that money to create new technology, factories, or human capital, allowing them to increase their productivity. Capital creates productivity, and productivity is the driver of our standard of living.

I think most people here have red flags that start shooting up when they run across something like this...because money - capital - is nothing without energy and a livable planet.

True, and I'd go further...saving is not enough to create the kind of growth he wants. Saving was what we did in the old days, where the economy was basically steady-state, and charging interest on a loan was a sin unto murder.

What is the engine of growth, then? It is the savers and investors. Only by sacrificing current consumption, can people put money into banks or share offerings, which end up in the hands of new and existing businesses who can then use that money to create new technology, factories, or human capital, allowing them to increase their productivity. Capital creates productivity, and productivity is the driver of our standard of living.

Except that money for loans can be 'created' from 'nothing' via the loan process and fractional reserve banking. No real need for the depositors.

because money - capital - is nothing without energy and a livable planet.

But up until the end, money makes the world 'go round. The planet is awash in energy via the Sun and that energy makes the planet livable. The "trick" for man is to learn to live within the ebs and flows of this energy.

Every time I hear this line of chatter I think- it would all be ok if we fixed the big hole in the definition of costs- doesn't take into account all the real costs, and hence gives wrong signal to people making choices on basis of cost.

Cost to environment- any estimate is better than no estimate at all. Here's a simple first order estimate of cost to environment - take the ideal thermodynamic energy requirement to put whatever we did back to where we started, double that because we can not come close to the thermo limit, and then figure the cost to get that much energy from the sun. Add that to all the other costs of the thing, and you will now have a better estimate of true cost, that will then sway decisions based on relative costs this way or that as the case may be.

Do that, and, for sure, we go off coal and on to PV right quick. Because coal "costs too much". HA HA!

Ultimately, there is only one engine that powers everything - the sun. It powers the natural systems that produce the things we need to survive. Investing is not what powers growth, it is enabled by growth, and growth in turn is a consequence of finding some stored solar energy and the short-term windfall that provided.

There is still planetary energy which didn't derive from the sun. If fact Nuclear, and geothermal are using energy created by a supernova (or possibly more than one) that happened before the sun and the planets formed. The earth also derives some power from gradual gravitation contraction. Extremophilic life forms living off heat and chemical energy at mid-ocean ridges can best be thought of as independent of solar energy.

I understand that much of the heat generated in the earth's interior is actually the result of radioactive decay with tidal forces adding a bit.

The San Antonio river crest at 52.34 feet is the 6th highest crest recorded. There have been 3 crests nearly 10 ft. higher and an equal crest occurred 100 years ago.

I am sure that 100 years ago there was several billion sq feet of surface in the 400 sq miles surrounding San Antonio that were not covered by roof tops or concrete.

IMO the three recent higher crests are due to mans modification of natural drainage.



IMO the three recent higher crests are due to mans modification of natural drainage.

As opposed to what, climate change? There is a phenomenon known as amplification of the jet stream, and higher arctic temperatures are reducing the difference in temperatures between the arctic and mid latitude tropics, increasing amplification of the jet stream, effectively blocking i.e. causing weather patterns to remain in place longer than when amplification was less. This leads to more droughts and flooding. But don’t take my word for it, read this link which explains it very thoroughly.


Don’t let the title in the link; 'skeptical science' fool you. Their bi-line is ‘Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism.’

Here is an example of why I have been sitting on the climate change fence for most of my life. I spend as much time researching climate change as I spend on Peak oil. With peak oil I am on about the same page as Darwinian. As a matter of fact I found the oil drum while reading real climate back in the summer of 2005 and skeptical science is right up there next to real climate on my favorites list under climate. I plotted the data from the Nenana ice classic and the linear trend line for ice break up has advanced from about May 8th to May 2nd over the past 97 years.



I spent forty years with an oil service company as a development engineer (Sonde development) and have now been retired for 14 years.

dipchip, I was not able to draw any kind of conclusion from your links. But I'm also wondering if manmade water control, diversion infrastructure etc. isn't just as good if not better than it occurring naturally. Fact is, too much water is going to flood an area no matter what.

This is my analysis of Minnesota Ice-Out over the last 150 years.

I didn't include this year's ice out yet. It is obviously very late but if you take a look at the data, it does have a large variance. Nevertheless, there is indeed a strong trend toward earlier ice-outs amidst the noise.

This is a neat image I made showing how the early ice-out dates move north:

Watch the yellow dots along with the year to get a bearing

WHT, very nice! My only suggestion is to increase the individual frame display time a bit, at least in my case I'm finding it just a tad too fast.

Good research - clear and in-your-face trend.

You need to know the source and location of the water and the rate of rainfall and/or snow melting. You need the readings from gauges upriver of San Antonio to get some idea of the contribution from storm drains. I do not see how your conclusion follows from the reading of one water depth gauge.

That’s precisely what I did. First go here.


Select 7 days because the rain was more than 24 hours ago. Then NWS WPO’s Austin/ San Antonio. Then activate cities, rivers, and counties Now you see where the rain fell. Then Google maps and match the river gage map as shown before with the Google map and you see that the San Antonio river passes thru the heart of the city and is the river walk. The river gage is just to the edge and southeast of the city.

Flood Statement Last Issued: 1037 PM CDT SUN MAY 26 2013


Some good advice there.

Visit The World's Largest Lake Made Of Asphalt

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Pictures at the link.

American officials and corporate security experts examining a new wave of potentially destructive computer attacks striking American corporations, especially energy firms, say they have tracked the attacks back to Iran.

And at one point "government officials" claimed a water plants SCADA system was 'attacked by Russia'. Turns out it was not true.

This reporting doesn't say WHO made the claim, just 'officials and corporate security experts'. Nor does it compare the level of potentially destructive computer attacks VS other locations/nations. And "potentially" - a ping could be the start of a destructive computer attack.

Where is the raw data?

You can find many online SCADA sytems using this


For example just enter cisco-ios, siemens or iPhone into the search bar and hit enter. Good luck.

Nowadays I work on chips which go into SCADA sytems and there is a remarkable lack of enthusiasm about security among the engineering staff, it's as if they never heard of stuxnet. Many of the control systems are in remote locations and as a result they are left online so that management doesn't have to make frequent trips.

The perils of technology.

I believe that security is inversely proportional to utility. You can make things more secure, but only at the cost of making them less useful. To a great extent these systems are ways of gathering data to increase productivity (i.e. less human labor), so things like connecting the systems to means of long distance external communications is required. Which in turn in turn exposes you to exploitation.

And behind that security represents the additional cost of vastly higher complexity driving up the cost of using it at all. Eventually it may be cheaper to just pay some guy to go hang out there.

Keep in mind that this is the smart grid - a high speed data communication system overlaid on the power grid to allow us to push the old system to its maximum limits all the time (i.e. greater efficiency).

Although I wouldn't be at all surprised if Iran was doing this. They do have motive -we attacked them first Stuxnet & others). I'm inclined to believe this one, and chalk it up to the golden rule, "do unto others, and they will do unto you".

"do unto others, and they will do unto you"

...and, I'd be willing to bet, with only a slightly modified version of the code we'd done them with.

(Edited to check time stamp status)

Although I wouldn't be at all surprised if Iran was doing this

Nor I, but I'd also have a lack of shock over the claim being ginned up or even using manipulated data.

But here is an example of "cybersecurity" some are asking Congress to implement.

US entertainment industry to Congress: make it legal for us to deploy rootkits, spyware, ransomware and trojans to attack pirates

There is a formula for calculating how many 'new' tags you should see. Each time you refresh the page it says "XX comments (YY new)" If you refresh at time T1, then again at time T2,

    XX(T2) == XX(T1) + YY(T2)

I have been keeping score for the last 24 hours and the equation has balanced up until T1 = 01:03 PM CAT 26/05 '35 comments (2 new)' and T2 = 12:22 AM CAT 27/05 '78 comments (38 new)'

    78 != 35 + 38

Five 'new' tags are missing due to the posts being in moderation at 01:03 PM CAT 26/05 and I have no way of identifying which they are except from memory of what I have read before.

Note this result only applies to me. Other readers might find more or fewer 'new' tags missing. It all depends on the times at which they access the page.

EDIT: If someone edits a post it will get a 'new' tag, throwing the equation out. So maybe in my above example there were five edited posts which accounts for the difference. I can test this by looking for posts which have a 'new' tag but were posted before 01:03 PM CAT 26/05.


Nope. No edited posts from that time. So there are five new posts without 'new' tags.

As far as I know, no one sees new tags on any comment that the spam filter grabs. Once Leanan or I unhide these posts, the new tag comes off, darn it.


That is a bummer; I rely on the "new" tags a great deal as well.

I wonder if there's some automated way y'all could edit the posts so they are re-flagged as "new" when they are unhidden. (Not that you don't have enough to do already!) You probably would have thought of that already if it were possible/practical.

I'm sure if there was an automated way to do this that Dave and Leanan would have been on it long ago.

If we were to edit and add "New" inside the message then we'd have to go back later and remove it or the threads would be dotted with tags permanently. This would likely be annoying in various ways to various readers. : /

The spam has died down quite a bit compared to the inundation we experienced a few weeks ago when the spam filter had to be added, but some days there's still enough to warrant the filtering. The amount of good comments captured varies from day to day. Usually these have links, but not always. (Spam always has links, but I'm not sure what the deal is with good messages with no links captured. Maybe Leanan knows why - key words that trigger the filter?)

And the spam problem goes in cycles too. We'll likely get another big run in the future. About three weeks ago we had a BP article that has over a hundred hidden spams in it - more than the legit comments and I lost count after awhile. Extra long posts, too, so they're very annoying for moderators to scroll past.


Regarding the Spam filtering -
It's hard to grasp that TOD cannot make a "white list" consisting of real known good human users - say registered before 2012 (or pick a date) - and then supervise all new possible spam users through "the Spam filter" for a period after registration .... 5 cents only

That is what I meant when I said TOD isn't really set up to handle comments well. It's not a message board, and it doesn't have the anti-spam features that Yahoogroups had 20 years ago. I can't move comments that are off-topic to another thread, or drop them down to the bottom of the thread.

Personally, I like the idea of a whitelist and a "graylist" (posting allowed, but all comments moderated). It would give people incentive to up their game. The reward would be getting on the whitelist. And once on the whitelist, to avoid being put back on the graylist.

A lot of times, comments are unwelcome (silly, off-topic, repetitive, trollish) but the commenter is not. It would be nice to have some incentive to think more carefully before posting than banning someone, but that's basically all I've got.

If you add text like "approved" or "unblocked" to the body of the comment, does it reset the time stamp like it would if the comment is edited?

Then the timestamp would match the time when the comment becomes visible.

Maybe just a new line or full point. When a user edits their comment it shows up as new again, a feature some use to bump for attention.


But if you edit a comment that gets stuck in the spam filter, it will get stuck in the spam filter again.

Which is why I ask people NOT to edit comments that were queued for moderation.

That's not quite correct. Posts which are unhidden will have the 'new' tag, provided they were initially posted after the page was last refreshed by the reader.

It's a bit tricky to understand. Maybe this diagram will help.

The reader refreshes the page at time TR1.
Two comments are made, A and B. B is picked up by the spam filter.
Both A and B have a timestamp < TR2.
The reader refreshes again at time TR2.
He can now see A. It has a 'new' tag. He can't see B. It is in the queue.
A new comment C is made which is picked up by the spam filter.
C has a timestamp < TR3.
B and C are now unblocked by the mods.
The reader refreshes again at time TR3.
He can now see A, B, and C.
A does not have a 'new' tag. Correct. He has seen it before.
C does have a 'new' tag. Correct. He has not seen it before.
B does not have a 'new' tag. Incorrect. He has not seen it before.

The reason for this is the software asks, "Was this posted before you last refreshed the page?" If 'no' add the 'new' tag.

The only way around this I can see is for each post to carry two timestamps, Time of Posting, and Time Unblocked (which will automatically equal Time of Posting for posts not caught by the spam filter). Then the software will ask, "Was this unblocked before you last refreshed the page?" If 'no' add the 'new' tag.

Note that posts which are edited also pick up 'new' tags. That is not part of this analysis.

Please, folks. Do NOT use square brackets when referring to 'new' tags. Use quotation marks, or curly brackets, or parenthesis. Anything but square brackets. Do you know what a pain it is when you post a comment with a dozen fake "new" tags in it? Everyone will have to go through each one to find actual new comments. Including me and Kate, searching for comments stuck in the spam filter.

My apologies, Leanan. I didn't realise what problems it would cause.

Note that the above diagram is guesswork. I used to program databases and that's how I think the logic works at Drupal, which hosts TOD. Drupal probably keeps a little database of each TOD member which remembers which TOD pages were accessed and the most recent time of access. That information and the timestamp on the post are enough to determine when to add a 'new' tag according to the current system.

I've come to the same conclusion that you have - though your diagram is almost more confusing than the problem itself :) Having a fourth line at the bottom representing the items being posted might be a little more clear (then you have a linear progression towards the visible page).

I've gone and edited a post that I had upstream - comments that fall into the moderation queue have a stable time-stamp (it stays on the time it was submitted), an edited post does not.

Original: may 27, 2013 - 4:10
::edited post::
New date: may 28, 2013 - 12:42

This is the reason that edited posts show back up as new.

I believe it would be possible for SuperG to add a module which would introduce an "edit" into Leanan's moderation queue on publishing such that clicking "Publish" would reset the time stamp. This would obviously foul up some continuity since the time stamp would reflect when it was published and not when it was submitted, but might be a worthwhile tradeoff.

Not sure this holds up. A 'new' post above showed up for me today that was a reply to a WHT post I did not see the last time I was here. I have closed the page, browsed other sites, powered off and on etc since the last time I looked but the WHT post did not 'new'.


That's exactly the point. The WHT comment was in the moderator's queue the first time you visited the page. It was not visible to you at that time, but the computer assumed you'd read it anyway and so marked it as read - it will always from that point not have a 'new' tag. The reply to the WHT comment, which did carry the 'new' tag, was after your first visit and before the next. That one was always visible to you, and thus carried the 'new' tag until your next page refresh.

The 'new' tags are applied by the server - they're attached to your username and not your personal computer (through cookies 'n such). I suspect many are getting confused by that aspect - and most would not have a reason to even suspect it, but I "computer jump" a lot and the tags follow me as long as I log in. You can clear your cookies, clear your cache, and as long as you log in it will know where you left off because it's tracked by the server. I don't know the specifics but I can guess by what's going on is that it queries your username for the last time that you looked at a thread/comment, it'll check the page access...if there has been one page access after a comment has been posted then it will tag it as 'new'...if there have been two+ page accesses after a comment has been posted it will not be tagged as 'new'.

Since the post carries the same time stamp as when it was posted (not when it was revealed), and also that the server makes no distinction of whether your page access was while it was hidden in the moderator queue or not...a post that was in the queue will be rendered as read after it is revealed the next time you refresh the page.

This is correct.

So, basically, the moderation system is broken. The moderation queue should be ignored by the system so that comments show up when released and show up as 'new'.


It's not the moderation system that's broken. It's the new flags that aren't working as you might wish. Which has long been the case.

It's the same issue as when a thread spills over into more than one page. You don't get any new flags for the second, third, etc. pages of comments. This has been an issue for years, so I assume it's more difficult to fix than it would seem. SuperG did make pages longer - it's now 500 comments before it goes to two pages, instead of 300, so you run into the problem less often - but otherwise could not fix it.

A certain, large software company would call that a feature. I would call it a bug i.e. broken. If the new flags aren't working right then they are broken.