Drumbeat: May 27, 2013

New Frontiers: Suddenly, the oil and gas potential of the Arctic looms large

The harsh environment itself seemed to isolate the region from those who would seek to exploit it for oil and gas exploration, especially offshore. And the mass of ice, which receded only for the blink of an eye during the Arctic summer, kept the area locked.

But global warming has changed all that. Companies such as Shell, BP, Rosneft, ExxonMobil and others are venturing into the Arctic. Countries are sending ships, for the first time, through the newly opened central route, linking Asia with markets in Europe, the US and beyond.

“As a reflection of that fundamental change, I will tell you that in every meeting I have had in the last 18 months with the leaders of India, China, South Korea, Singapore, the first item they brought to the agenda was the Arctic,” Grímsson said.

WTI Extends Losing Streak as China Signals It May Slow Growth

West Texas Intermediate crude fell for a fifth day, the longest run of declines this year, as China signaled it may accept a slower economic growth rate. OPEC is expected to keep its supply target unchanged this week.

...“We have slowing Chinese growth and demand and plenty of supply coming online in the U.S., so the feeling is that the market is oversupplied,” Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said by telephone today. “There is a bit of risk.”

UAE oil minister: Current oil prices no threat to economic growth

DUBAI: Current oil prices are "appropriate and fair" and no threat to economic growth, the new energy minister of the United Arab Emirates told the UAE's state news agency on Monday.

Output cut needed to stabilise Brent above $100

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia may have to persuade other members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) to cut output to keep oil prices above $100 a barrel for the rest of the year, according to the kingdom’s largest unlisted lender, National Commercial Bank.

OPEC almost off radar of risks for oil market

Oil traders should not lose too much sleep worrying about what OPEC, often unpredictable and quarrelsome in the past, will do when it meets next week.

The producer cartel, say delegates who attend meetings, is odds on to leave output policy unchanged. As a risk factor for oil markets, its May 31 gathering in Vienna barely features on traders’ radar.

Kenya: UK soldier killing suspect arrested in 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A suspect in last week's savage killing of a British soldier on a London street was arrested in Kenya in 2010 while apparently preparing to train and fight with al-Qaida-linked Somali militants, an anti-terrorism police official said.

Nigeria Police Rescue Four Kidnapped Oil Workers

ABUJA — Nigerian police say they have rescued four expatriate oil workers who were held hostage for a month. The men have been released in good health, but the kidnappers remain at large.

The men, two Russians and two Ukrainians were kidnapped on April 22 off the coast of Bayelsa in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Police say they are still searching for the kidnappers.

Oz to continue important role in energy market

The International Energy Agency’s chief economist, Fatih Birol, believes Australia will continue to play an important role in global energy markets but noted there were three issues the country needed to pay attention to.

Speaking to reporters at the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association conference in Brisbane on Monday, Birol said competition from coal for use in power generation was one issued the industry to consider.

Oil storage terminal in Fujairah ready for start-up

A new US$100 million oil storage terminal in Fujairah will start operations this week as the eastern emirate's strategic location attracts increased investment.

Ukraine may greenlight joint gas transportation with Russia

Ukraine may reportedly allow Russia into its gas transportation system in return for lower prices. The price Ukraine pays for Russian gas has been a bone of contention for the two countries and this may bring them a step closer to better energy relations.

Gazprom's monopoly soon a thing of the past?

Russia's energy giant Gazprom is finally facing real competition. More Russian gas producers are aiming to get a foot into global markets. For consumers, this may have the pleasant side effect of lower energy bills.

Iran offers insurance to India refiners to spur oil sales

(Reuters) - Iran has offered insurance for Indian refiners to boost its crude sales, industry sources said on Monday, as the Islamic nation looks to counter a fall in revenues hit by tough western sanctions.

Iran Offers Oil Fields at Lucrative Terms to India

Rattled by India sharply cutting down purchase of its oil, Iran today offered oil fields on lucrative terms and routing gas pipeline through sea to avoid Pakistan, provided New Delhi raised oil imports.

Yaran Oil Field Boosting Oil Production

TEHRAN (FNA)- Managing Director of Petroleum Engineering and Development Company (PEDEC) said Iran's oil production capacity would rise by 90 thousand barrels per day.

Nader Qorbani said the figure will realize after development of Northern and Southern Yaran oil fields.

Gas projects face 'significant challenges'

Australian Resources and Energy Minister Gary Gray has warned of the challenges and increased cost pressures facing liquefied natural gas projects.

Speaking at the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) conference in Brisbane, Queensland, Gray told delegates major LNG projects around the world had faced deferrals, cost overruns, and cancellations as a result of infrastructure inadequacies, project management failures and regulatory delays.

Floating LNG most viable: Woodside

Woodside Petroleum chief Peter Coleman says the unproven floating LNG technology is shaping up to be the oil and gas industry's future, all but conceding that the high-cost environment means it has no other viable alternative to developing the Browse mega-project in WA.

Kuwait oil minister quits ahead of parliament grilling

Kuwait City: Hani Hussain, oil minister in Opec member Kuwait, has resigned apparently to avoid being questioned in parliament over a $2.2 billion (Dh8 billion) penalty payment to US Dow Chemical and other alleged irregularities, a newspaper reported on Monday.

Overweight rig project with Statoil weighing down Aker Solutions

Statoil said that an oil rig project under development with Aker Solutions has overshot its budget and target weight.

The Category B rig, which aims to improve recovery rates from oilfields, has run into design problems, raising questions about the project’s viability.

Peak Oil: It's Dead -- Again?

“The IEA says Peak Oil is Dead. That’s Bad News for Climate Policy,” blares a Time magazine headline.

But there’s just one problem.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said no such thing.

Argentina's YPF loses arbitration case over natgas exports to Brazil

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's state-controlled energy company, YPF, has lost an international arbitration case over the suspension of natural gas exports to Brazil, the company said on Monday in a statement to the Buenos Aires stock exchange.

US trader planning to sue oil majors over fixing claims

A US commodity trading firm plans to sue the oil giants, together with Norwegian firm Statoil, following the launch of a Europe-wide investigation into claims the three companies “colluded in reporting distorted prices”.

Alberta’s bitumen loss could be B.C.’s shale gas gain

CALGARY – British Columbia’s shale gas fields stand to gain as buyers flee landlocked bitumen reserves in neighboring Alberta.

Make sure fracking is done right

(CNN) -- American energy production is skyrocketing, and pundits are promising everything from millions of jobs to energy independence. All of this could be put in jeopardy, though, if we don't get serious about the accompanying risks and make sure that oil and gas development is done right.

Fracking: How risky for us?

Fracking might taint groundwater and pollute the air. California has two additional worries: water consumed and the potential for earthquakes.

Why Koch and sand go hand in hand

Wisconsin, along with neighboring Minnesota, has some of the best frac sand in the continent, and Koch Industries is heavily invested in natural gas extraction using a technique known as hydraulic fracturing.

Abu Dhabi breaking ground on second reactor as nuclear power vision takes shape

Abu Dhabi breaks ground on its second nuclear reactor tomorrow as it moves ahead with the construction of the Arab world's first atomic power plant.

Yoon Sang-jick, the South Korean minister of trade, industry and energy, is set to visit the construction site at Barakah in Al Gharbia tomorrow for a ceremony in which he will be flanked by Emirati officials leading the work on the US$20 billion power plant, which it is hoped will meet up to a quarter of Abu Dhabi's energy needs within the next decade.

Japanese Lab Workers Exposed to Low Levels of Radiation

TOKYO — As many as 55 workers at a national laboratory may have been exposed to low levels of radiation after an experiment overheated, releasing radioactive particles into the air, the agency operating the lab said Saturday.

While the size of the accident was small, it received intensive coverage in Japan’s news media, a reflection of the anxiety over nuclear safety since the Fukushima accident two years ago. The president of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, the government agency which runs the lab, resigned last week over a separate scandal involving inadequate safety inspections at an experimental breeder reactor.

Worry less about how energy is produced, more about how it’s wasted

For people who are serious about greenhouse gas reduction, their focus should be less on who’s supplying energy or how it’s produced, and more on who’s wasting it.

This latter group includes everybody — especially Canadians, who are among the most profligate energy users on the planet.

Israeli Venture Meant to Serve Electric Cars Is Ending Its Run

JERUSALEM — The vision was ambitious. Better Place, an electric vehicle infrastructure company, unveiled plans more than five years ago to pioneer a system of quick-service battery swapping stations across Israel to enable unlimited travel.

The company’s founder predicted that 100,000 electric cars would be on the roads here by 2010.

But on Sunday, Better Place announced that its venture, a flagship enterprise of Israel’s image as a start-up hub, was coming to an end.

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."

Britain resists EU bid to set new target on renewable energy

The UK government will oppose attempts to set a new renewable energy target within the EU, in a move that could put at risk tens of billions of pounds of green investment and tens of thousands of new jobs.

But in a sop to environment campaigners, ministers will agree to tough greenhouse gas emissions targets by 2030.

Chill breeze of politics stills Australian renewables

BUNGENDORE, Australia (Reuters) - On a line of low hills standing sentinel beside a dry lake bed near Australia's capital, giant turbines turning slowly in a chill winter breeze give no hint of a multi-billion-dollar storm building around renewable energy.

Infigen Energy's Capital Windfarm, built five years ago, was a vanguard for wind power as Australia sought to wean itself from cheap fossil-fuel power in the face of climate shift blamed in part for Lake George's transformation to a vast plain.

But big plans to expand the Infigen renewable energy project near Canberra and others like it have been put on hold awaiting the outcome of an election in September.

Turbine Plans Unnerve Fans of Condors in California

The California condor’s slow 20-year climb back from the brink of extinction has long been a fragile not-quite-success story in the conservation world. So when the news came on Friday that developers of a wind-energy project near the Mojave Desert would not face criminal charges if the blades killed a single condor, environmental groups expressed grave concern.

“This blindsided folks,” Kelly Fuller of the American Bird Conservancy said in an interview, adding that the public was not aware that allowing unpenalized condor deaths was being considered there.

A Fossil Fuel-Free New York State by 2050

The Northeast is still reeling from the impacts of Superstorm Sandy's fury. Costs for Sandy could exceed those for Katrina and if they do not, Sandy will be the number-two all-time most costly weather disaster in the United States - and this ranking is normalized for things like increasing population, increasing wealth in coastal areas and inflation.

Research out of Stanford and Cornell has given us the most detailed plan yet for converting our society to fossil-free energy sources and beginning to address the new climate pollution -caused or -enhanced weather extremes. The plan is for New York State. Even though some officials and media outlets have dismissed it as too aggressive and overreaching, its benefits far outweigh the costs.

Seeking Food Ingredients That Aren’t Gene-Altered

Pressure is growing to label products made from genetically modified organisms, or “G.M.O.” In Connecticut, Vermont and Maine, at least one chamber of the state legislature has approved bills that would require the labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, and similar legislation is pending in more than two dozen other states. This weekend, rallies were held around the globe against producers of genetically altered ingredients, and consumers are threatening to boycott products that are not labeled.

And so, for many businesses, the pressing concern is just what it will take to gain certification as non-G.M.O.

Feeding Frenzy by Paul McMahon; A Greedy Man in a Hungry World by Jay Rayner – review

Paul McMahon's is a straight food apocalypse book, no jokes, one recipe: a four-ingredient plan to feed the planet.

IEA says U.S. gas prices of US$5 could spur return to coal

U.S. gas prices of around US$5 per million British thermal units could prompt the world’s largest economy to step up use of coal, after years of cutting back on its consumption in favour of cleaner-burning gas, the West’s energy agency said on Monday.

The United States’ shale revolution has driven up domestic gas production and led to a drop in gas prices.

The Unintended Consequences of Exporting Natural Gas

I also doubt that the candidate who in 2008 ran on a cap-and-trade plan and promised to make climate change a top priority thought that he would go down as the driller-in-chief. And yet—without taking anything away from Obama’s very real accomplishments in supporting renewable energy and efficiency—that’s exactly what’s happening. Domestic oil and natural gas production have boomed under Obama’s watch, and even though he was hardly the cause—most of the new fracking is happening on private land largely outside federal regulation—neither had Obama done much to stand in the way, at least according to his increasingly frustrated environmental allies. Greens want Obama to stop the proposed Keystone pipeline and halt the expansion of fracked oil and natural gas—but as Obama begins his second term in earnest, that seems unlikely.

Future warming narrowed down

Scientists from the University of Melbourne and Victoria University have generated what they say are more reliable projections of global warming estimates at 2100.

The paper, led by Dr Roger Bodman from Victoria University with Professors David Karoly and Peter Rayner from the University of Melbourne and published in Nature Climate Change, found that exceeding 6 degrees warming was now unlikely while exceeding 2 degrees is very likely for business-as-usual emissions.

Sea level rise: Drowning in numbers

We urgently need to know how far and how fast the sea will rise, but the latest attempt to put figures on it is dangerously misleading

Security warning over potential national resource scarcity issued by U.S. intelligence

(NaturalNews) Climate change coupled with a dwindling supply of natural resources is likely to trigger major conflicts in the near future, U.S. intelligence agencies are warning.

"Demand for food, water, and energy will grow by approximately 35, 40 and 50 per cent respectively, owing to an increase in the global population and the consumption patterns of an expanding middle class," says a new report released by the Office of National Director of Intelligence titled, Global Trends 2030, which was made available online at the agency's website. "Climate change will worsen the outlook for the availability of these critical resources."

From global warming to fluoride: Why do people deny science?

The potent combination of our powerful intelligence with our massive reality denial has led to a dangerous world. Less obvious, but in the long term more dangerous, are threats resulting directly or indirectly from technological developments that have permitted us to increase our numbers well beyond the carrying capacity of the natural world. More efficient agriculture and the invention of artificial fertilizers permitted humans to produce food sufficient to support numbers that would be unthinkable for other animals of our physical size. Public health measures, vaccinations, antibiotics, and other medical advances also permitted population numbers to explode. The world is overpopulated already and is becoming more so at an alarming rate. And although we pay lip service to the resulting problems, we do relatively little to address their root causes. Indeed, some religions continue to promote the unrestrained propagation of their flocks. Planet Earth is sick, with a bad case of “infection by humans.”

Meanwhile, from the political front, here's a commentary:

The Oil Extremists

E. Swanson

No Better Place: battery venture fails

Using google on the above line it becomes obvious what has happened. Better Place has often been quoted by cornucopians here as the way of the future, touting how well they were going in Denmark and Israel. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I saw the article in yesterday's drumbeat and noticed the deafening silence of all the EV promoters on this debacle.

From wikipedia about the firm:

Battery switching versus DC fast charging

The main alternative technology to the battery-switching technique promoted by Better Place is DC fast charging. A nationwide fast charging infrastructure is currently being deployed in the United States that by 2013 will cover the entire nation

All of those US battery stations are where?

Fast charging will require larger more expensive battery chargers. I make my living on battery, it sound like a great idea.

However battery switching requires a number of batteries quite larger than the number of cars, the cost of that battery inventory gets very significant.

OTOH if you aim to do load ajustement using the batteries, you need that anyway. But then the question is of how economically you'll manage to handle the whole cost of it.

Fast charging also means higher power, which in turn means higher voltages and/or currents. Higher currents mean greater I2R losses. Voltages that are significantly different from the battery charge voltage require conversions, which also entail losses.

In particular higher power is required which is very nice if you make your living on battery chargers.

I^2R losses will be higher although in general high power systems are usually more efficient. I expect fast charging to be less efficient compared straight of but if there is limited amount of time for charging need for extra batteries may be reduced.

Oh please. Yes, another EV startup has plonked, a large and noisy one at that .. this is entirely to be expected, even if ABP had some successes. This doesn't mean the idea of EV's is unworkable.. just that it is surely a challenging sort of business to create where the incumbent transportation infrastructure is so prevalant and currently still so available and affordable.

EV mfg has an uphill battle with a headwind.. and in part, it's struggle is going to include the generally unacknowledged fact that the economics of Owning Vehicles and for society of maintaining roads IS, as many of you point out, going to be impossible to finance 'AT CURRENT LEVELS'.. while I don't for a moment believe that means that we'll therefore end up with NO roads and NO Cars..

But mainly, and as ever, I'm nonplussed by the harping discussions that keep rounding off into the opposite corners of the ring with the battle cries of 'If it can't be Everything, then it must be Nothing!', and 'There's NO reason we can't still have it all!' (Which really comes from maybe two posters at most) It ends up sounding like we're getting all of our debating cues from this Polarized Congress that has had such wasteful and extreme exercises in Ideological Absolutism for the last decade and more.

What are the poles anyway? Or, what is 'having it all' or 'having nothing'? What do those things mean? From what is understood, a lot of our needs have been manufactured too. So maybe we would do well, even if only as an exercise, to strip all the cruft of civilizational thinking and see what we can come up with.

Ok, let me try... Umm... fresh air, clean water, good food, decent shelter, good community... Did I miss anything? I don't see EV's or plasma TV's in there... Ok, let me try again... fresh air, clean water, good food, decent shelter, good community... Nope. Still no EV's or plasma TV's. Damn. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. And where is everybody? Did the vagaries of civilization, like spam, cast them off?

Anyway, your turn... Fire away, I'm reading...

Ok, let me try... Umm... fresh air, clean water, good food, decent shelter, good community... Did I miss anything? I don't see EV's or plasma TV's in there...

You don't see because you are choosing not to see.

EVs are one expression of transportation and there will be transportation so long as Humanity has the ability to make Copper wire, smelt and shape steel. If chemicals for gas-expansion based transport are more expensive than electrons - EVs will thrive.

plasma TV

Pretty much dead.


Panasonic's latest television, the ZT60, is the best plasma the company has ever made. It will also be the last plasma panel to come out of the company's research and development department, which means Panasonic will never make a higher-quality plasma television.

"OLED is one of the key future products"

1) I note your restrictive framing and choice of a technology who's time has come and gone so that you can be "right" about the future. A future with few plasma TVs.
2) Plasma or LCD displays are how information gets to a Civilization these days. How many read TOD on LCD?

Not that I endorse this idea:

Did the vagaries of civilization, like spam, cast them off

Did you have a point to make?

Because Spam sales are still strong.

Sales of Spam -- that much maligned meat -- are rising as consumers turning more to lunch meats and other lower-cost foods to extend their already stretched food budgets.
What was once cheeky and silly is now back on the table as people turn to the once-snubbed meat as costs rise.
Spam's maker -- Minnesota-based Hormel -- saw its profits rise 14 percent in the most recent quarter. The company says it's getting many new Spam customers.

(could not find many current articles on SPAM and really didn't want to waste alot of time on caelab)

My point about the lower-case 's' spam is in part as a metaphor/indicator/symptom of or for the larger dynamic/system. Like, the whole system creates spam of different kinds and at different scales that mucks things up. Self-similarity. Like real spam but that isn't Spam. Like the blighted landscapes and communities that Kunstler laments over.

Next-to-impossible hamsters-- at 7 billion+ stone-- have increasingly-limited room to maneuver, incidentally. This is important to consider when talking/thinking about whatever industrial discharge or affluent effluent that strikes your fancy.

(I don't care about plasma TV's, by the way, they just flowed/rhymed with EV's.)

Thanks for your time.
~ Cae

Quantum dot displays make your TV brighter than ever

Your next TV might be a quantum one. Sort of. Light-emitting nanoparticles called quantum dots are finally coming out of the lab and into our living rooms, bringing better colour to LCD flat-panel screens. The first TVs with the new technology, Sony's Triluminos sets, reached stores this month.

Reds are "rich, vibrant and vivid, green grass looks like grass, and scenes of the Caribbean are stunning", says Seth Coe-Sullivan, founder and chief technology officer of the company behind the quantum dots, QD Vision based in Lexington, Massachusetts. A reviewer for TechRadar website agreed, writing: "colours enjoyed both a wider, richer tonal range and more subtlety in their blends than LCD TVs normally deliver."

What's on TV these days?

Yes, you did something wrong.

What 'having it all and having nothing' meant in my earlier post pretty clearly means is that we push these arguments out towards the impossible extremes, just as you have done with 'Fresh Air, Clean Water, etc etc' ..

No matter how much you want those to be the starting point, THIS is the starting point where we are at today, and if you or we awoke tomorrow morning without such 'cruft of civilizational thinking' as some Stainless Steel Spoons and Glass Bowls in the kitchen with which to prepare some of that Good Food, or a Fridge that is holding that food fresh, or a Stove that can cook it, a phone to connect with somebody, a Front Door, a Roof, a way for People and Goods to get to the front door... you/we'd be stuck.

Now sure, there are alternatives to Spoons, Roofs and Cars.. but really, apart from the fact that almost nobody in your country is even ready to accept that industrial manufacturing is something to be left behind in the first place, there is still the fact that even for you, and the computer you are working on right now.. it will take some work, time and some other tools with which to enact the transition, be it yours or some hybrid between yours and mine and theirs..

In short, it isn't idealized extremes. It's complex, nuanced mixes of what we've got to start with, and what it takes to shift things.

"Did I miss anything?" Yes. How did that good food get to us, and what is it being stored with, cooked on? How many phone calls, emails and car trips were involved in the production of that food?

You're soaking in it.

Ironically perhaps, the "extremes" of chaos and diversity will be the moderating forces of decline/collapse where everything will be done and tried, and we end up back with fresh air, clean water, etc., and no EV's or plasma TV's, except as anthropological artifacts.

Not (a need for) a lot of those things in an ecovillage either. Maybe 'transition' for some could be as swift as a trip to one.

And what do we need to build our ecovillages? Will that take transportation, will these be likely to want spoons and hammers and wheelbarrows and Pickups? Typewriters, Sewing Machines, Pianos,

You're getting very comfortable tying EV's together with Plasma TV's.. It's worth noticing that they are quite different uses of technology, and saying that involves a bit of spinning to make them partners .. in any case, the point still remains, there are people and goods that need to be moved.

Nature well may bring extremes to the table.. the question is what are we bringing? If we keep offering up absolutes, we won't get to any place where we can find a livable spot between them.

Many ecovillages are already built or in-process, and many of their buildings are made of local materials and with relatively limited and rudimentary tools. We can write without typewriters and make music without pianos.

I think there's room, even a necessity, and in the interest of true moderation, for different, even extreme, narratives/perspectives/actions/etc., in part, such as where other kinds might form a bit of a drag and/or distraction on certain desired changes or thinking. (Purchasing the fruits of a corporatocracy seems almost like an endorsment of all that which comes with it, incidentally. Also, in that context, some EROEI analyses can seem almost pointless in context with, say, a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.) While LED's and EV's are all fine and nice in a manner of speaking, haste may prove increasingly warranted, and its necessity may make some discussions, preoccupations or actions seem like frivolous luxuries in retrospect.

Olduvai could be lurking right around the corner, a corner that may have already been turned. (For my eric; here I refer to Duncan's 'Olduvai Theory'... Yes, I realize there's not an actual corner...)

With regard to Black Dog's comment's quote in this Drumbeat (my emphases)...

Professor Karoly said the study reinforced the importance of strong action on climate change.

"Our results reconfirm the need for urgent and substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions if the world is to avoid exceeding the global warming target of 2 degrees needed to minimise dangerous climate change," he said.

...I'm reminded of the expression, 'Desperate times call for desperate measures.'...

"This phrase likely originates with a saying of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, which appears in his Aphorisms: 'For extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure, as to restriction, are most suitable.'. A similar phrase occurs in Erasmus's Latin adage 'Malo nodo, malus quærendus cuneus' (from his 1500 book Adagia, which was first published in English in 1545). Another similar Latin saying, 'extremis malis extrema remedia,' appears in print as early as 1596.

desperate times call for desperate measures

In adverse circumstances actions that might have been rejected under other circumstances may become the best choice. ~ Wiktionary

Many ecovillages are already built or in-process,

Please list these places and provide links to them as you seem to have a handle on them.

many of their buildings are made of local materials and with relatively limited and rudimentary tools.

Somehow this sounds more like "shantytown".

But again, you've put forth yourself as a subject matter expert and having knowledge of the MANY locations. Why not post links to these "many" so the rest of TOD readership can judge for themselves the data you base your opinion on?

If anyone would like to kindly/patiently indulge in/spoon-feed eric's inquiry, seeing as he seems unable or unwilling to do it himself, please feel free.

You have a claim that you are unwilling to support with documentation or facts then.

Part of the TOD experience is backing up statements with actual data.

The way that the statement Many ecovillages are already built or in-process, and many of their buildings are made of local materials and with relatively limited and rudimentary tools. is true is if one calls the villages in various 'poverty stricken' areas in '2nd' and '3rd' world locations "ecovillages".

For one, I'm unsure, based on your previous niggling (that got modded, which was a good call, so a nod to the mod), that you are being genuine/sincere. (Forfeit) Maybe you are, but even so, for another, I'm not going to jump through every hoop for you, every time you demand something. Part of the learning experience, in being adult, is to go and get/do some of it yourself. That's what we'll likely have to do more of when our umbilicals snap from this infantilistic culture of ours. But I'm ok with holding your hand once and awhile and trust that you will do the same with mine. That's what good community is for.

Part of the learning experience, in being adult, is to go and get/do some of it yourself.

You posted the claim of the existence of Many ecovillages are already built or in-process, and many of their buildings are made of local materials and with relatively limited and rudimentary tools.

By making that claim, you are stating your awareness of "many" (an actual number like 5 would be nice) "ecovillages" (however that is defined) with "many" (again, actual number and actual building locations) "made of local materials and with relatively limited and rudimentary tools" (again, lets see these "many" along with the limited and rudimentary tools. I've helped build a home out of wood harvested off my Grandfathers land and have an understanding of what power tools were involved in getting the wood to the portable saw mill owned by a chemistry professor along with being on the end of a misery whip, so I want to see what you are claiming exists)

So far this claim of locations and quantity of buildings along with "local materials" are all in your head.

That's what good community is for.

I've asked for you to produce the examples of "many" you spoke of. Now you can either show that your claims are backed up by actual reality with numbers and locations or not. Your call.

For those who are interested: http://www.ic.org/

When clicking on Directory, you'll see you can search based on 'Type: Ecovillages'. Dancing Rabbit and Earthaven are two with which I am familiar that are indeed building structures from earth and other local materials. As am I at my non-Ecovillage.

Note that given the five 'types', there must be many not included in these specific sub-categories, which would be just generic intentional communities, as is mine.

The film 'Within Reach' documents a couple's journey to visit many of these places with an eye toward 'sustainability', whatever that means...

For those who are interested: http://www.ic.org/

Thank you.

If one has actual knowledge of the topic providing that link is a simple task. If you are a poser on the topic - providing that link is hard.

431 entries. 284 of them are "forming"

Hard to make claims about how well materials and living arrangements are actually working out in such a state.

And from that list:
Bay View Ecovillage (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States)

Really? An "ecovillage" in the "middle" of Milwaukee-area .... Wisconsin's biggest port city along with the largest population in the State. And somehow THAT "ecovillage" is going to meet the buildings are made of local materials and with relatively limited and rudimentary tools criteria?

I'll leave it to others to figure out how "many" of the other 147 listed meet the criteria that was established and challenged.

(Google: "ecovillages" --> third hit: ic.org;

second hit: Wikipedia, 'Ecovillage' entry: "Villages... use local materials for their buildings...")

If one has actual knowledge of the topic providing that link is a simple task. If you are a poser on the topic - providing that link is hard. ~ eric blair

That point cannot be stressed enough: It takes actual knowledge of a topic to find a single link in a search engine, otherwise providing it is hard. Damn posers.

Thanks, eric.

(Google: "ecovillages" --> third hit: ic.org;
second hit: Wikipedia, 'Ecovillage' entry: "Villages... use local materials for their buildings...")

And as noted upthread - over 1/2 of them don't actually exist. Just an idea in someones head.

That point cannot be stressed enough: It takes actual knowledge of a topic to find a single link in a search engine, otherwise providing it is hard. Damn posers.

And once again - of the 431 listed 284 do not actually exist as physical things. Over 1/2 are dreams. If one is searching for working examples, how are search engines going to find as claimed working examples with the cited link is over 1/2 dreams? As noted for a definition of Many that gives a ratio:
man·y 4. the many, the greater part of humankind. The "greater part" (over 50%) are just plans. So the citation listed at this time can never meet the criteria cited.

Like the claim Many ecovillages are already built or in-process, and many of their buildings are made of local materials and with relatively limited and rudimentary tools. it is just a dream.

Unless one brands shantytowns and 3rd world structures/existence as an ecovillage. And good luck getting the bulk of the 1st world to sign up for that. Too bad the person who made the claim of Many can't be bothered to show these locations so the 1st worlders reading here could decide that an ecovillage could work.

(an actual number like 5 would be nice)... ~ eric blair


I'll leave it to others to figure out how "many" of the other 147 listed... ~ eric blair



Do you have a point you wish to make?

Just some breadcrumbs to help you backtrack, as you seem(ed) lost down the path of logical fallacy, despite appearances.

I know someone that used to live at Dancing Rabbit in a modified school bus that had dirt packed around it for insulation and a porch built off the back. I keep meaning to visit Earthaven. Curious to get a first-hand look. The last time I scoured their website it seemed like the buy-in and yearly dues were pretty hefty and that the people there were mostly still tied to outside (often tech) jobs...your basic transitional conundrum.

I know someone that used to live

Would it be too much to ask to share why they are no longer living there?

live at Dancing Rabbit in a modified school bus that had dirt packed around it for insulation

So is that an example of a shantytown? The use of dirt is a match for rudimentary tools and local resources.

But I'm wondering how the bus is a 'local resource' or 'rudimentary tool's match.

the people there were mostly still tied to outside (often tech) jobs

Is this a 1st world shantytown or a personality cult existence? Many intentional communities are forms of ego stroking for their owners/participants. IC is a hard task to make work and history has plenty of failed ICs, far more than successes.

Ecovillage scoring so far:

Claims of "many" and methods unbacked by actual facts. (unless one rebrands poverty living as ecovillage!)
Structures that don't meet 1st world building standards without imported materials.
Over 1/2 of the cited "ecovillages" are just someone's dream.
1st world building codes and other 1st world rules are an impediment to implementation.

I've never really grilled her on why she left, but I'm reasonably sure it's due to not being able to make enough money doing the odd jobs that she typically does with a dose of wanderlust thrown in. The place is out in the middle of Nowheresville Missouri and she's never owned a car. She really enjoyed the community there and has been back to visit since she left (she catches rides off of Craigslist). But yeah, a lot of these places seem pretty shantytown-ish. Others seem almost like they're just Golf Course communities with gardens replacing the golf course...though that's potentially a rather substantial improvement.

Fair enough - your input is FAR more honest* than the hand-waving claim that started off this thread. Based on what I understood of the 'ecovillage movement' I asked for clarification and proof for the claim and got back a list where over 50% of the listed items are non-existent (in planning) places.

I looked at a couple of the places on that list - one "ecovillage" is going to be on 5 acres and you can stay in their garage. Some of them are active churches - taking what used to be called a retreat and re-branding as "ecovillage".

*On the internet no one knows if you are a dog.

I like ecovillages, but as far as i can tell they are not self sufffcient and depend on trading with the BAU economy.

Suggesting that many ecovillages are already built or in-process, and that many of their buildings are made of local materials and with relatively limited and rudimentary tools-- all true and easy to confirm if one gets off their thumbs-- is different from implying that they are all necessarily entirely self-sufficient or do not rely on the BAU economy, which has the planet by the ball.

We came this far without BAU and for far longer than it has been around. How did we manage? We managed through self-empowerment that has been pretty much stripped away, so that now we are all, in essence, helpless infants suckling on the teets of BAU, looking up to gangs we don't know to lead/babysit us, typing about Fissure Price EV's, etc., on these useless things we call computers. Bravo. Go us.

"Grown men do not need leaders."
~ Edward Abbey

I'm trying to figure out where these "many" are, along with an actual counting number to the "many". Using vague words and handwaving doesn't support the position about ecovillages.

Having showable, known, working model alternatives to BAU is important.

Otherwise one is left typing about Fissure Price EV's, etc., on these useless things we call computers. with a computer on a computer network and not see how ones position is morally bankrupt.

as far as i can tell they are not self sufffcient and depend on trading

Even historically trade took place. If one is looking at 'construction from local materials done by ones self' the story of Karp Osipovich Lykov comes to mind. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1166194.Lost_in_the_Taiga

Written by Tribe Of Pangaea- First Member:
Did I miss anything?

How about a job?

In what sense? In the coercive oligarchy wage-slave system sense or in the fresh air, clean water, good food, decent shelter, good community sense? I think job is implied in the latter, sometimes referred to as work.

I find it difficult to see how "good community" implies a job. If you are talking about being a farmhand on someone else land paid in chickens and leftover crops, I do not see how you get the first four things on those wages. No one on Earth has fresh air and clean water without applying expensive, technological filtration because pollution is global from China (coal + ?) and Japan (Fukushima nuclear). Good food for 7 billion people means humans wiping out every edible fish species, wrecking every km2 of arable land and failing to achieve the objective. Decent shelter for 7 billion people means unsustainable resource consumption for building, repairing, furnishing, heating and cooling the shelters. To achieve even a perception of good community requires you to ignore what people do that diverges from your ideal.

To achieve even a perception of good community requires you to ignore what people do that diverges from your ideal. ~ BlueTwilight

How possible is that? :(

"I saw the article in yesterday's drumbeat and noticed the deafening silence of all the EV promoters on this debacle."

That's because most EV promoters predicted the demise of Project Better Place years ago for a number of reasons:

1. Swapping stations are very expensive in comparison to charging stations.
2. With home charging battery swapping is very rarely needed as you start each day with a full tank. A QC station or L2 station is fast enough for those other times when you need charging for longer trips.
3. The battery leasing model faces an uphill battle - most would prefer to own the battery or lease the entire car.
4. There's no way you're going to get multiple manufacturers to sign in to a standardized battery module. Without a standard battery format, battery swap stations are a non-starter.
5. By the time that swapping stations get going, battery technology will be good enough that regular QC charging will be good enough for those who need it (see Tesla Model S). Everyone else will stick with plug-in hybrid vehicles.

There's only one good usage for swapping stations - fleet operators like taxis and delivery vehicles. Even then, with 30-50 kWH+ of battery capacity (100+ mi real world range between charges instead of the 50-70 mi of today's affordable EVs) a combination of QC and L2 charging will be plenty without any of the extra cost of battery swap stations.

Battery swapping is dead. But EVs are here to stay.

"There's only one good usage for swapping stations - fleet operators like taxis and delivery vehicles."

Indeed that is how battery swapping stations were used in NYC in the 1890s, to power a fleet of cabs.

"EV owners- good news! We are now bringing to you the newest concept in range extension- the smart power trailer. Whenever you need more than your EV battery can handle, just snap on one of our trailers, and off you go- any range, any performance you desire, since they come with dozens of combinations of battery and engine charger.

Don't know how to drive with a trailer? No problem, our trailers drive themselves. By a combination of elementary newtonian physics and a cheap but fast microprocessor, the trailer can read your mind as you back into that tight parking space, and drive itself perfectly into impossibly tight fits. For a small extra fee, you get one that will drive YOU into that space when you ask it to.

Try it out, we guarantee you will be delighted.

PS, anyone with evil thoughts about stealing our trailers, don't even think about it. Remember,it's microprocessor has lots of brain power left over after parking your big fat pickup, and if you try to run off with it, it'll exercise its license from the gestapo and kill you."

Wimbi - Already been done. GM's EV-1 engineers hooked up trailers carrying generators to some of their test vehicles so they could keep on driving and testing even when the batteries were depleted. This experience was why their engineers strongly encouraged the "Extended Range Electric Vehicle" concept for their next EV, the Chevy Volt, which packaged the backup generator under the hood.

And of course, 'Already been done' shouldn't be read to mean 'let's put that one behind us' (err, well, except that it IS a trailer, I guess), as if it was a defeated concept. I think the trailer-borne Range Extender, Even if it just is additional Batteries, remains the easiest way to apply the concept that A Better Place was trying. Hitch Standards are already common and in place, and creating Connection Standards, plus Adapters or interfaces between various brands and types would hardly be a worrying challenge.

Certainly, a quick search on 'Range Extenders' will show anyone that these are being explored and created by the DIY set for Bikes, Velos, Cars and Trucks in a pleasingly broad array.

and creating Connection Standards, plus Adapters or interfaces between various brands and types would hardly be a worrying challenge

until the patent and IP trolls get stuck in.


So then your'e stuck with toting that backup gen around all the time while doing your damnedest to not use it, as so many Volters do.

I like the trailer- use it only when you need it. Besides, I am having fun thinking about the hitch up. At the moment, what's in my head is at least as smart as a dog, who we all know, will follow us around right on our heels all the time with nary a push, pull or twist to keep it there.

So the smart trailer wouldn't need any more hookup than the conductor, and in case of emergency, would get off real fast and out of the way, and/or commit suicide.


One of my favorite examples - the AC Propulsion "Long Ranger"

A 500cc motorcycle engine is used, housed in a small, aerodynamic package. ~20kW DC output is sufficient for extended high-speed travel. The micro trailer incorporates intelligent "BackTracker" steering which automatically maintains trailer-to-vehicle alignment during backing to avoid jack-knifing. There is little question that this 350 pound trailer functioned as planned - sustaining freeways speeds for as long as the 9.5 gallon tank had gasoline. Amazingly, even with all the conversion losses added up, the gas mileage of this combo is comparable or BETTER than the pure gasoline version of the same vehicle.

Nice Rig!

Notable in the commentary..

"There were many obstacles to this project seeing the light of day - most of them bureaucratic. For most practical purposes, the project was a great success that never really saw the light of day before the Rav4EV program was terminated. "

wimbi - wondering if you or others have any insight regarding the following. Have recently converted our Prius to plug in. It charges via an Elcon 2000+, which ATM is supplied via 120v 15A standard household circuit. The charger is 240V capable also. I'm wanting to add the ability to connect to the burgeoning J1772 public charge points for when we're away from home. Exactly how to do this is the question.

Folks at gm-volt.com have several threads on hacking the 120/240 EVSE. I recall seeing some details on the J1772 plug and home grown 240v EVSE. The search engine is a little lame so it can be hard to find anything.
Also see http://www.coultersmithing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=571. He has dissected several EVSE models and has a lot of detail on his website.
In a year of owning a Volt (25k miles) I have yet to use a public charge station. I might some day for the novelty of it.

"I'm wanting to add the ability to connect to the burgeoning J1772 public charge points for when we're away from home. Exactly how to do this is the question."

This looks like a good description. Seems to be do-able but do your homework and "measure twice, cut once."


Thanks much. Very helpful.

"That's because most EV promoters predicted the demise of Project Better Place years ago for a number of reasons"

Not just predicted but longed for their demise...boy howdy did it take a while. "Ding dong" are my thoughts there - I was hoping they'd die out a long time ago. The guy was a good snake-oil salesman...what a waste of time and money.

You've started a good list there, but it goes on for a mile after that. Some other highlights...

BP was trying to get all of the car manufacturers to sign up exclusively with their proprietary stations. Locking all car manufacturers into a stagnant agreement that would have defined how all packs were built, interfaced with the vehicle, etc. and disallowed any rivals...because, y'know, global monopolies are awesomesauce. This would also have hindered design, possibly stopping companies from properly taking advantage of an electric platform or expanding capabilities as tech advances allowed.

The logistics of moving something that heavy that needs to be securely fastened are absurd. As well as are continuously making connections for high voltage and high amperage cables, and possibly coolant lines.

It was a clusterf**k and total distraction from the beginning. Good riddance and sorry to all of the poor fools who bought into the con game.

Re: Future warming narrowed down

From the article and the press release:

Professor Karoly said the study reinforced the importance of strong action on climate change.

"Our results reconfirm the need for urgent and substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions if the world is to avoid exceeding the global warming target of 2 degrees needed to minimise dangerous climate change," he said. [emphasis added]

The press release doesn't give the level of CO2 concentration which the study must be based on. In the abstract, they state that their work refers to the expected level at 2100 using IPCC emission scenarios, which is thus not a maximum warming, only a convenient reference point in time. Their work is based on a "simple" climate model, one which likely has no ocean circulation or sea-ice. The report is behind a pay wall on NATURE.

E. Swanson

This is what their projections for a mean 2.9C doubling of CO2 scenario looks like:

Since temperature change is essentially the log of CO2 concentration, one can estimate the carbon emission growth needed to reach those values. We are growing at 2 PPM CO2 / year currently. They need to get to 800 PPM by 2100 from 400 PPM right now to get a further change of 2.9C. That looks like significant emissions growth.

Many of these papers are inscrutable, and more so when you can't get at them.

To double in 87 years (to 2100) only requires an average emissions growth of 0.8% per year. Given our current rate of emissions, which does not seem to be dropping all that much, I think that 0.8 on average is quite doable.


The growth will have to come from a lot of coal and non-conventional forms of fossil fuel, that's for sure.


"They need to get to 800 PPM by 2100 from 400 PPM right now to get a further change of 2.9C. That looks like significant emissions growth."

Or, achieved by unforseen events found in feedbacks. Rapid methane release, for example, or increased water vapour in a speeded up hydro-cycle, etc. It is my hope that an increase in number and severity of storms will galvanize some action before we reach such high numbers. Sandy was one such event, and in all likihood there will be many others as well as very strange and varied winter weather. Climate chaos.


By the above post I meant the result or influence on climate and not the actual co2 number, of course.


I think your assumption that temperature change is merely a log of CO2 is pretty much wrong. A few other factors to consider “black carbon, a component of soot; methane, the main component of natural gas; lower-level ozone, a main ingredient of urban smog; and hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, which are used as coolants. They account for as much as 40 percent of current warming."

Just on 'significant emissions growth' 1% growth rate will easily get you there in 80 years, not exactly significant given the current rate.

Seriously we know these chemical compounds increase temperatures, trying to guess how much, is a fools errand. Chaos theory was developed by a weather forcaster.

I'll paraphrase Einstein from memory.
'Some things that can be measured are not worth measuring, and there are things that can't be measured that need to be measured'

And lower albedo from less ice in the Arctic

reduced sulfur dioxide emission if China cleans up its air pollution.

I agree about inscrutability and access.
I think they are talking about exceeding the 2 deg C above pre-1990 levels (but I stand to be corrected).
The rate of change in CO2 levels is unprecedented AFAIK in at least the last 6M years and effects such as an acidified stratified ocean ('unmixed' on the relevant time scale) could be more relevant than any mean surface temperature. Similarly, if there was a sudden reduction in sulfates from fossil fuel burning, the result could be a sudden temperature spike - a possibility deemed 20 years ago by Hansen (NASA) as a "Faustian bargain".

Abstract available current Nature article

The future behaviour of the carbon cycle is a major contributor to uncertainty in temperature projections for the twenty first century 1,2. Using a simplified climate model 3, we show that, for a given emission scenario, it is the second most important contributor to this uncertainty after climate sensitivity, followed by aerosol impacts. Historical measurements of carbon dioxide concentrations 4 have been used along with global temperature observations 5 to help reduce this uncertainty. This results in an increased probability of exceeding a 2 ◦ C global–mean temperature increase by 2100 while reducing the probability of surpassing a 6 ◦ C threshold for non-mitigation scenarios such as the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios A1B and A1FI scenarios6, as compared with projections from the Fourth Assessment Report 7 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate sensitivity, the response of the carbon cycle and aerosol effects remain highly uncertain but historical observations of temperature and carbon dioxide imply a trade–off between them so that temperature projections are more certain than they would be considering each factor in isolation. As well as pointing out the promise from the formal use of observational constraints in climate projection, this also highlights the need for an holistic view of uncertainty.

Phil, I agree that the mean or median value of 3C increase per doubling of CO2 is based on the current observational evidence. That is, we have seen a land warming of 1.2C for a 40% increase in CO2.

The future behavior may still emerge based latent effects that we can not yet measure. Those provide the fat-tail on the uncertainty bounds.

You can't simply extrapolate. If we capped CO2 right now at 400 ppm the temperature would still rise until terrestrial heat radiated equals solar heat absorbed.

The way I see it, terrestrial heat can only be lost by radiating away from the top of the atmosphere. CO2 prevents heat getting directly from the ground to the upper atmosphere, therefore it has to be transported by convection and turbulent mixing. The only way to get more heat up there is to start with hotter air in the lower atmosphere, or mix more energetically, or both. This is my model:

That is why you look at land temperatures first.That will not obscure the latent heat sinking of the ocean.

The slow CO2 sequestration model is well known by everyone but the deniers.

I want to just say that the 3C for doubling of CO2 is the mean estimate of many climate models and is something you can calculate on your own from historical observations

The climate sensitivity, currently estimated at 3C per doubling, is for the most part not based on 20th century climate. Thermal intertia of the oceans and uncertainties around aerosols make current observational evidence relatively unsuitable for climate sensitivity estimates.

So, the 3C figure comes from 2 main lines of evidence:

1. The basic physics of the radiative properties of CO2 lead to a warming of 1.2C per doubling. That is very certain. The 1.2C rise increases the water vapor in the atmosphere. Assuming that the relative humidity of the troposphere remains the same, you get in the neighborhood of 3C per doubling. Recent research seems to support this assumption.

2. In ancient climates with higher CO2, temperatures were much higher. The only way we can understand that is with about a 3C climate sensitivity, although with some relatively large error bars. The upward risk (a sensitivity of more than 4.5C) mainly comes from these types of studies.

I'm leaning towards Paulo's position on this. If we only focus narrowly on CO2 I think we miss some fairly, er, noticeable issues which both the IPCC and the overwhelming majority of the models out there have missed so far, namely events like the extremely rapid collapse of arctic sea ice. No one predicted that with anything like any kind of accuracy.

That has occurred with an overall increase of 0.8° C in recent times. No need to double CO2 to get there. The feedback loops, I feel, are just not well represented in the models yet (if they ever can be). That's what's got me nervous about all the methane up there off Siberia and Alaska that seems to be bubbling up more rapidly with each year.

Phil, I know you've looked at that pretty extensively, I think, haven't you? Any further thoughts on it?

I have seen figures of maybe a 15% feedback (CO2 caused warming causing arctic/subarctic permafrost release). That doesn't actually affect the sensitivity as defined warming/(delta(log(CO2))), since it simply adds another CO2 source. Many of these feedbacks have timespans of years to decades or longer. Warming changes vegetation -but it is still slow growing, and may have to wait until seeds are transported. Glaciers melt relatively slowly. Sea ice may melt fast, but most of the extra absorbed sunlight goes into the ocean, etc.

So if we add the additional 15% into the defined sensitivity, does it get us any closer to a backwards prediction for the sea ice in an updated model? Still seems to me that sticking to the mathematically defined sensitivity is fundamentally missing the qualitative ecosystem changes we're seeing. But mebbe it's just me.

Chill breeze of politics stills Australian renewables

Every opinion poll suggests the Gillard government will be thrown out on September 14 to be replaced by a party that has pledged to abolish the carbon tax. Their leader Tony Abbott has said 'climate change is crap'. Electricity demand has flatlined in Australia partly due to price increases from the carbon tax, the ~20% renewable energy target and increased network charges. However manufacturing industry has also declined. The carbon tax is $23 per tCO2 rising to $24.15 in July and wind generators get a subsidy currently 3.5c per kwh.

If/when Abbott wins in September the theory is that modified farming practices can absorb most of the half billion tonnes of emissions Australia has produced for decades, a lot for 22m people. I suspect this soil carbon ruse will be a boondoggle like corn ethanol in the US. If it's what the voters want.

The claimed lowering of wholesale power prices is yet to be reflected in retail prices. The wind towers in the article were supposed to offset CO2 in powering Sydney's desalination plant. Weirdly Sydney has had plenty of rain off the Pacific Ocean but the rest of Australia has had little rain off the Indian and Southern oceans.

Meanwhile the oil and gas conference in Brisbane is packing them in. Some 3100 delegates paid but 3400 showed up. The big question seems to be 'what if fracking isn't enough?'.

I suspect that Australia will hit the ground with a bump over the next year or two. I see all of the signs displayed by the Irish Celtic Tiger economy circa 2006 being reflected in the current Australian economy.

When the $250,000 salary of a cook working on an offshore rig is being discussed in parliamentary debate, then its time to reconsider your bets. In Ireland in 2006, a carpenter or plumber was expecting to earn enough to enable him to support multiple mortgages in a rapidly inflating housing market, his home and a few buy to lets as an "investment" all predicated on a property market that could only go up, it couldn't last and it didn't, today those tradesmen are mired in deep negative equity and toiling in Canada or Australia if they are lucky.

Will the Aussie cook still be earning more than the Prime Minister when the Chinese economy slows down as it seems to be starting to do at the moment. Throughout the world energy demand is stalling whilst prices go up, how long can this dynamic continue ? Even the BRICS have a break even point.

More efficient agriculture and the invention of artificial fertilizers permitted humans to produce food sufficient to support numbers that would be unthinkable for other animals of our physical size.

This was especially true of the USA in the 1930s

“They applied manure as it was available, rotated legumes when it was convenient. But they had no strategy for the very long term. By the 1930s, Rooks County fields had been planted, cultivated, and harvested sixty times without rest. Soil nitrogen was about half what it had been at sod-breaking and crop yields declined steadily. And now no western frontier remained. From the vantage of 1930s, crop agriculture in Kansas does not appear very sustainable. All the arable land in Rooks County - and in the nation for that matter – had been identified and plowed. Soil nitrogen and organic carbon drifted steadily downward, and with them yields and profits. Faced with this dilemma, farmers implemented a dramatic innovation in soil nutrient management. Rather than adopt one or more of the ancient strategies, farmers (and the industrial nation behind them) created a new option. They appropriated abundant cheap fossil-fuel energy to import enormous amounts of synthetically manufactured nitrogen onto their fields. …” page 219, ‘On the Great Plains: Agriculture and Environment’, Cunfer 2005; preview in googlebooks

From two articles posted in today's Drumbeat:

DUBAI: Current oil prices are "appropriate and fair" and no threat to economic growth, the new energy minister of the United Arab Emirates told the UAE's state news agency on Monday.

Current oil price is no threat to economic growth? Hmm, maybe the UAE oil minister hasn't been following news on OECD economies struggling to generate growth (and probably wouldn't have any in the US without QE). But thanks for the pep talk anyway.


Output cut needed to stabilise Brent above $100

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia may have to persuade other members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) to cut output to keep oil prices above $100 a barrel for the rest of the year, according to the kingdom’s largest unlisted lender, National Commercial Bank.

Not only can we handle current pricing, but the ante can be upped by forcing a higher price, and as you can see there are no excuses for not achieving healthy growth. Sure, there may be reduced demand but that's all part of the descent from peak demand. /Sarc off.

The latest from our friend JHK:

Let's All Go Medieval

Bison-Loving Billionaires Rile Ranchers With Land Grab in American West


I had no idea the plan to return the Bison had backing like this behind it. What a great and hopeful story, it would be truly amazing to think of the Bison roaming the Great Plains again. Lets hope it comes to pass.

Now here's a serious argument against fracking!

Fracking could ruin German beer industry, brewers tell Angela Merkel

Speaking of Germany, I found this article from Der Spiegel very interesting.

The Price of Green Energy: Is Germany Killing the Environment to Save It?

Ironic isn't it. More accurately Germany is killing nature to preserve it's own habitat.

If you cite or use a Spiegel article you have a good chance that you use nonsense:

1) The first part about bio gas is still quite good, here the authors should have gone more into details like EROEI and use of waste heat of bio gas fuled turbines used by the farmers, then they should have compared the costs with alternatives and provided existing alternatives, i.e. they should have delivered constructive critique. This part is a nice example of a missed opportunity.

2) The second part is dishonest. The authors first connect chopped beeches with UNESCO sites, which is not true, there is no economic activity inside the reservates, nice spin.
The second spin is to correlate the higher demand of wood with the Energiewende. Most wood goes into the production of heat. This development is a result of higher oil and NG prices. The same would have happen in other conventional scenarios, too. The authors sell correlation as causation, great.
There are much better discussions of the positive and negative developments in German or Austran forrests in the net, simple translation would have provided a much better result, but solid work is not as sexy as spin espacially for Spiegel reporter.

3) The third part about the "bird sactuary" and the chopped trees is simply stupid. The authors are in fact talking about areas that were used by WP ground forces as training areas or as huge air bases between 1945 and 1990. The soil is usually highly contaminated with ammunition, fuel, heavy metals and lubricants, some parts very likely still contain degradation products of chemical warheads.
These areas were inhabited until WWII and later the people living there were relocated. All these areas were shaped by economic activities of their inhabitants for hundreds of years.
BTW, the forrests in Germany are still growing and to chop trees for PV has obviouly no negative net effect and the open ground PV farms are not longer supported. :-)

I am really suprised at this. You would think the Germans might have had more sense and conscience than to bulldoze a UNESCO World Heritage Site of its ancient Beech. When the indonesians do it, ok its largely corruption but they can still make some weak claims to be trying to lower povertly levels, but in a very country like Germany, well they have no excuse.

The article makes an "interesting" connection, the chopping of beeches and the fact that some beech forrests in Germany forrests are World Heritage Site. If you read corrctly the beeches that have been chopped were NOT part of the preserved woods.

Germany should use biomass for peaking electrical power, not baseload power, which would reduce the burden on biomass.

I think that's the only longerterm way to do it. But, for now it may be more economic to use it to replace baseload.

I can't seem to find the article, but New Belgium that is locating a brewery here wrote an article in the paper arguing in favor of keeping the REPS standard NC has, first on the grounds of water quality - their main ingredient, then legislative stability - bad precedent to rip the rug out from under a growing industry, and also as a company being committed to sustainability that it also helps them to more easily afford to be good stewards (they plan on using a lot of solar).


So keep your ears to the ground.....


Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz is reported to be clinically dead as the monarch is not recently seen in the public.

A Saudi journalist working for London-Based Asharq Alawsat says the Saudi monarch has been clinically dead since Wednesday.

He also quoted medical sources in Saudi Arabia as saying that the king’s vital organs, including his heart, kidneys and lungs, have stopped functioning.

What are the implications if he dies/is dead? Does the Kingdom just install the successor and carry on without a hiccup, or is there potential for some upheaval? I don't really have a sense of politics in SA myself...

No one must have told Foxy News :) who just told the world - Saudi king changes national guard into ministry, appoints son Mitab as minister

Of course is there any difference in accuracy between Faux News and PressTV LOL

Let me see .ir is the TLD for... and their feelings towards the House of Saud is... ?


The King is also 88 years old and eventually any early reporting of his death will be correct.

If one has no pulse, one is considered dead in Texas. Yet, was there not a man in high office who had no pulse and is still considered living today?

(and really I'd rather see a chat about what sgage brought up.)

Ariel Sharon since January 2006?

On 27 January 2013, it was reported that Sharon had undergone tests at Soroka Medical Center with a functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) machine during which he was shown photos of family and was played a recording of his son Gilad's voice. The testing showed "significant" brain activity, although further testing was unable to demonstrate awareness.

The testing showed "significant" brain activity, although further testing was unable to demonstrate awareness.

As the brain decomposes all sorts of chemical activity is going on but it does become somewhat less aware of it's surroundings >;-)

Yes, this does seem to be the next technological step up from Lenin's Tomb for the indefinite preservation of political leaders.

From up top "Abu Dhabi breaking ground on second reactor as nuclear power vision takes shape"

Two nuclear power reactors are under construction and plans have been submitted for two more on the shores of the Persian Gulf. One core meltdown and containment breech would halt the flow of oil through that region. I wonder if the various strategic petroleum reserves around the world would be sufficient to compensate for such an interruption. More risk... more stupid humans... what to do?

UAE: 65.5 people/km2 of land
no water
10,734 people/km2 of arable land

Two nuclear power reactors are under construction and plans have been submitted for two more on the shores of the Persian Gulf. One core meltdown and containment breech would halt the flow of oil through that region.

Worry not! Did not the sainted pro-nukers of TOD tell us all to just accept meltdowns and what comes with them?

And if the oil stops flowing, just build more nuke plants to compensate.

Perhaps TemplarMyst can research your question and come up with an answer?

TemplarMyst is hanging out. I'd think they would have run those scenarios by now, but who knows. If my reading is right it'd have to be a pretty nasty meltdown to be a serious problem, but we've been down this road. One has to draw one's own conclusions on radiation.

And besides, you don't need a nuke melting down to cause chaos in that part of the world. A few well-placed conventionals would make a mess of things too, and disrupt the oil flow quite nicely.

What gets me, really, is why the Saudi's are even looking at nuclear when they've got all kinds of desert and all kinds of sunshine and all kinds of money. They could build out solar there to the absolute nth degree. Desalination to desert modification, they could prolly power it all with the sun. If there's one thing they've got as much of as they've got oil, it's sunlight.

Mebbe they've got a weapon in mind, but so long as they stay friendly with us the US Navy will handle any and all issues they might face. And if the Navy needs a little backup, the Marines, Air Force, and Army are not far away at all.

Good thing they are on out list of good-guys countries, otherwise we would be sanctioning their economy and threatening a military attack unless they abandon their Nuclear program.

On the meltdown issue. Does it matter if a sand only desert is uninhabitable sand dunes, or it its glow in the dark uninhabitable sand dunes?

On the meltdown issue. Does it matter if a sand only desert is uninhabitable sand dunes, or it its glow in the dark uninhabitable sand dunes?

It matters because the radioactive material don't stay in the one place.

See Chernobyl and Fukushima as examples.

Just monitor your closest EPA RadNet station, and hope for the best outcome(s) possible.


Because the only water source in that area for cooling the nuclear power plants is sea water, I assume they are located at the sea shore and drawing in sea water. See Fukushima Diichi NPP for what happened to the Pacific ocean after triple core meltdowns. The Straight of Hormuz is small and nearby. Fallout from the air and radionuclides in the water would make an oil tanker passing by radioactive. The U.S. Navy moved an aircraft carrier task force farther from Fukushima to avoid radioactivity. The evacuation zone is supposed to be a 50 mile (80 km) radius around the plant.

How about glow in the dark oil and tailpipe emissions?

It's a third generation design so it should be safer than most existing nuclear plants. Just like you are safer driving a recent model car than a 1960's car.

so it should be safer

Which means nothing when the present used plants suffered from things like shock absorbers installed upsidedown or sleeping security guards.

The technology could be 100% correct, but flawed humans put that together and run it.

So far there has not been an upgrade to humans to avoid their flaws.

Yes, people are quite often the weak link in an accident. The need for better human factors design was one of the important lessons from the Three Mile Island accident. The TMI control room was patterned after what you would find in a coal fired generating plant and it failed to provide the operators with the information they needed to understand the seriousness of the situation they had and identify the source of the problem. The airline industry is another example where people are a weak link and a high portion of accidents are the result of pilot error. The crash rate for airlines in western nations has dropped significantly since the 60's and 70's in part due to human factors design that helps ensure that pilots get the information they need to avoid a crash.

Why tell us about the controls when the mentioned "human factors" are sleeping security guards and assembling the parts incorrectly at build time?

... It's a third generation design so it should be safer than most existing nuclear plants.

S. Korea Halts Two More Reactors Over Faulty Parts

South Korea on Tuesday shut down two nuclear reactors and delayed the scheduled start of operations at two more, prompting government warnings of "unprecedented" power shortages.

The latest move, part of a widening investigation into a scandal involving parts provided with fake safety certificates, means 10 of the South's 23 nuclear reactors are currently offline for various reasons.

"Power shortages on an unprecedented scale are feared this summer," the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement, adding that replacing suspect parts could take up to four months.

... The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said it had shut down two reactors—one at the Gori nuclear complex and another at the Wolseong plant—after learning that both had used parts supplied with forged warranties.

The scheduled resumption of another reactor under maintenance at Gori, and the start of a new reactor at Wolseong were postponed for the same reason, the commission said.

- Shin Wolseong No. 1 and No. 2, two new (960 kW) OPR-1000 type pressurized water reactors - a Chinese development of the CPR-1000, originally based on the French 900 MWe design (Generation III)

- Kori reactors are of the OPR-1000 design (2), and APR-1400 design (2) - an advanced PWR design evolved from the U.S. System 80+, which is the basis for the Korean Next Generation Reactor - (Generation III+)

The difference between the airline industry and the nuclear industry is that airplanes crash often enough to actually learn most of the failure modes. We can't afford that many failures with nuclear energy.

For balance, it should be mentioned that humans have prevented the occasional disaster and airline crash.

Human or mechanical factors are a bit of a moot point. It's their country, they're going to do what they're going to do.

Since they're going to do it, it'd be optimal to have some newer technology and some folks who can implement it, and it'd be even better if another set of folks monitored and audited it. I haven't read enough about it to know if there's a snowball's chance in hell of that happening, but my suspicions are the House of Saud has been in quiet conversation with the House of White on these matters.

Best I can tell the newest technology still can fall to human mistakes or to human sabotage. And there is always the rock from space/coronal mass ejection from the Sun where the failed nuke plants just add to the killing load and perhaps be the extra load to kill off Man if not the biosphere.

No question even the best and latest technology can fall to human frailty. So far as dead nuke plants being the final straw in an asteroid/comet/coronal mass apocalypse, we've discussed the toxicity of radiation pretty extensively. We ain't likely to change each others mind on it at this point.

I suppose the reason Abu Dhabi is going nuke is because they have so little land to work with, being just one of the Emirates (and not a very big one at that). They've got some pretty impressive solar arrays too, but without enough land I imagine they just can't build it out enough. Energy/meter2 just ain't there I imagine.

Energy/meter2 just ain't there I imagine.

And the energy density arguments are why cargo ships that are nuke powered have been suggested in the past on TOD by posters like Alan.

The United States founding vision of 'yeoman farmers' was really based on land being used to harvest solar energy. Without land and sea ports - nations don't do as well as other nations. And if humanity moves to solar powered lifestyle again, land and its solar influx will matter once again.

And, again, the argument for and against nukes comes down to one's assessment of the toxicity of the radioactivity involved. The Savannah ran without incident as a cargo vessel. And if it had an incident we'd still be arguing over what the effects were, because we just differ on it.

Places like Abu Dhabi, which just doesn't have the land area needed to make solar work, will probably continue to look towards nuclear to some degree because they can't get the energy density they need from anything else (that isn't hydrocarbon based).

So far as the US yeoman farmer, the trade-off between panels and turbines vs plantings and irrigation has yet to be worked out real well, but folks are working on it. Unfortunately the hydrocarbons still win on a purely economic level. Whether we ever find a way to deal with their externality costs is anyone's guess. But so far as returning to an eighteenth century level of subsistence farming, you've got to do some serious population reduction to get there. Not a pleasant thought.

Tying this back into the discussion you're having with Tribe on the ecovillages, I'm working with some folks on a similar concept, the Transition Town meme. So far the ecovillages and the transition towns share one thing in common for me. I don't see how they scale very well. Viroqua WI is about 4,000 people, give or take. Some cool things they've done there, for sure, but I don't see how they'd work so well for Grayslake, IL, at 21,000 souls. Still, it's all worth looking at.

ecovillages, I'm working with some folks on a similar concept, the Transition Town meme. So far the ecovillages and the transition towns share one thing in common for me. I don't see how they scale very well.

And what I've seen is a term "ecovillage" used without any concrete examples of whats being called an 'ecovillage'. Any town council or group can call themselves an ecovillage, so without many examples to compare/contrast it is feel double plus goodspeak.

Scaling isn't the issue that convincing people who like living in Chicago for what big cities are/mean would have to give up to exist in a Viroqua.

Viroqua WI is about 4,000 people, give or take.

Don't they have a wal-mart and glass windows? Last I knew there were no locally made plate glass works 'round those parts as an example of 'non local' materials.

Besides, isn't the only reason Virquoa on your radar is because 1 permiculturalist lives there and gets additional income into his permaculture farm by driving about and having people pay him to tell them about permaculture?

No, Viroqua is on my radar because the band of locals I've been hanging out with know more about it than any other similar place, and a couple of them have been there and got a guided tour of some of the more successful businesses run on a more or less green model. A very large, and now regional, food coop, folks providing renewable energy both on and off grid, a women who has developed a home model kit which is incredibly efficient, that sort of thing.

And yup, they've got a WalMart, and all the other trappings of civilization too. They're just looking into more options for a post-carbon society than most. I personally think it'd be pretty nice to still have a grid and some level of industry and some sort of transit system. If we collapse to the point where we're living an eighteenth century lifestyle things are going to be pretty bleak. Not only will we have somehow gotten through the food riots, and resource wars, and the plagues, and acclimating to insane weather, but we'd then also have the total joy of having to make absolutely everything ourselves while at the same time hopefully producing enough food, and fighting off enough disease, to survive.

Mebbe that'll be our future. I'm hoping not. Anybody's guess what will actually happen.

No question even the best and latest technology can fall to human frailty

Here is another example:

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea said on Tuesday that it was turning off two nuclear power reactors and delaying the scheduled start of operations at another two after its inspectors discovered that the reactors used components whose safety certificates had been fabricated.

Fake Safety reports.

Now how do "we" know about this?

An anonymous whistle-blower led government investigators to uncover the latest problem, in which control cables that had failed to pass a safety test were given fake certificates and supplied to four reactors, the country’s Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said Tuesday. The control cable is used to send electronic signals to a reactor’s control system in the event of an accident.

That's right - someone on the inside decided to inform others.

And good for the anonymous whistleblower, and good for the government investigators who actually followed up. I've posted my gripes about the way corporations are run in past DBs, and suggested we need to amend our Constitution here in the States to get a better grip on things. A nuclear plant needs to have a very transparent management paradigm, to be sure.

And I've also posted my interest in pursuing renewables more aggressively than nuclear for all sorts of reasons, but I just don't automatically rule nuclear out is all. Here in the States I don't think there's going to be a big push for nuclear anytime soon. We can't control what Abu Dhabi or anyone else is going to do, so if there are going to be more nukes, I'm hoping we move towards that more transparent management of them. Probably a vain hope, but it's still a hope.


You wrote

I suppose the reason Abu Dhabi is going nuke is because they have so little land to work with, being just one of the Emirates (and not a very big one at that).

That's not correct; the Emirate of Abu Dhabi comprises 87% of the UAE by area, and is by far the largest of the 7 emirates of the UAE. The city of Abu Dhabi (which I've visited twice recently because my son is there) does not have enough available undeveloped land, but the Emirate of Abu Dhabi most definitely does.

Perhaps you're thinking of the Emirate of Dubai? It's the 2nd largest of the emirates but is nonetheless only 5% of the UAE by area. The city of Dubai is the largest city in the UAE, with the city of Abu Dhabi being the 2nd largest city.

Again,relative to the other 6 emirates, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is big, and has PLENTY of land with which to work if the emirati want to build out their nuclear capability.

My bad, good point. I just Googled Abu Dhabi, and it apparently laid out the bounds of the city, not the Emirate. If they have the land I think they'd be better off going solar, personally. I think it was Adamx who called nuclear a "fussy" technology. Which it is. I think we can handle fussy, but if we can get enough juice from non-fussy, that's probably preferable.

Anyway, Abu Dhabi is going to do what they're going to do. We don't get to have much say in it, so far as I can tell.

I'm just glad there are no radical terrorist organizations in the region that might try to cause damage or steal nuclear materials /sarc

Energy Attack on U.S.

Based on tips we received, the reported attack on U.S. energy sector mentioned this week @WSJ is based on a joint investigations by DHS and FBI on a DOE hack last year, which recently surfaced again with a threat to release NNSA (National Nuclear Security Agency) documents.

Our source provided document from a privileged area of an underground forum proving the attacker attempted to gain access to various power facilities inside the U.S. These particular plants are using nuclear materials to produce electricity and the hack motive, apparently, was damage to U.S. nuclear and controlled hazard sites which in this case are providing electrical power.

The UAE wants nuclear. Saudi Arabia wants nuclear. Two top oil producers want nuclear. Now, what does this imply about oil production for the future?


Perhaps it implies at the very least, that the oil-producing states want to use a very expensive technology to reduce their use of oil so they can sell it at very high prices. The more they can reduce domestic use, the more they have to sell. I'm sure that the Saudis don't believe that oil production will increase ad infinitum, especially with the trends in the last eight years.

That would imply they see a future of rising prices which would suggest... ?


Is nuclear energy or PV really expensive compared to the current situation? I doubt it. As long as SA produces electricity by burning oil, the price of a kWh electricty is very high due to the oppotunity costs. They could very likely live with 100 USD per barrel AND buy nuclaer power plants and PV at the same time.

Look on the bright side. It would stimulate research into rapid remediation after a core meltdown.

I think it will be more likely that certain oil importing countries will be burning radioactive gasoline and diesel in their vehicles while media proclaims that low levels of radioactive smog are harmless. That is why I have a conundrum about how to deal with it. Gas mask?

How do you expect the gasoline and diesel are gong to get radioactive?

They are shipped and stored in enclosed tanks and would not get contaminated by fallout from a meltdown. the deck of the ship would get contaminated by fallout, but once out of the fallout zone a bit of hose work would clean the decks off.

To activate the oil itself you'd have to put it through a running reactor so it could absorb neutrons, and that would get you mostly deuterium and carbon 13. Maybe if it was high-vanadium heavy oil you could get something interesting, but the vanadium will still drop out in the refinery, leaving the gasoline and diesel no more radioactive than usual.

The feedstocks come from deep underground, they won't be contaminated, unless you pump the N waste into the oil fields.

Gamma radiation penetrates steel hulls and pipes. Contaminated sea water would be injected into the injection wells and mixed with the oil. Can desalination plants purify radioactive water, or will there be a shortage of fresh water?

Blue, I've posted in very recent DBs on the apparent inability of all those nasty hot particles to do much damage to much of anything, given time and a reasonably low intensity. The plants at Fukushima should be crispy, and the animals at Chernobyl should be dust. But they ain't. Which, I admit, is just plain counterintuitive. I've been all over the literature on this. If you could point me towards something that would disabuse me of my current thinking would appreciate, o'course. If needed, I'll backlink to recent posts for you.

Alas, the slides have to be 'prepared' with 'majik' but:


Researchers and physicians in the field could soon run on-the-spot tests for environmental toxins, medical diagnostics, food safety and more with their smartphones.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed a cradle and app for the iPhone that uses the phone’s built-in camera and processing power as a biosensor to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other molecules.

Although the cradle holds only about $200 of optical components, it performs as accurately as a large $50,000 spectrophotometer in the laboratory. So now, the device is not only portable, but also affordable for fieldwork in developing nations.

http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2013/lc/c3lc40991k - A paper about the technology.

For the Seattle folks, obviously :-) Please join the co-op this coming Saturday, June 1st, 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM @ The Ballard Library for the sail transport season kickoff!

Light snacks, coffee, and tea provided


  • 2:30- 2:45 Welcome and card-signing for gift baskets of Washington local goods for newcomers Vermont Sail Freight (Vermont – New York City) and Dragonfly Sail Transport (Lake Michigan)
  • 2:45 – 3:45 State of the Cooperative
  • Recap: 2012 accomplishments and 2013 goals
  • New routes: Bainbridge Island and Whidbey Island
  • Infrastructure: 501(c)4 creation, co-op bylaws, Code of Conduct, and Board
  • Member benefits and responsibilities: co-op credits and equity, tool library access
  • Sign-up: sail trips
  • 3:45 – 4:30 State of the Dream
  • Kickstarter discussion: building a scow (S/V Mercury)
  • Grants discussion: Long-term fiberglass (two boats)

SB, for what its worth, now or in the future:

I live in Edmonds and we have a fairly nice marina, a nice spring/summer farmers market on Saturdays, and for the first time this summer a Wednesday afternoon farmers market very near the marina. Oh and also a lot of wealthy folks that might be interested in local goods.

Have a great sail transport season, Cheers!

Kudos to Dave Reid for making this happen. SB would not be able to promote its ownership of this if it were not for the work, dedication and demonstration by Dave.

Sure, he was a great catalyst back in 2008. The co-op is hoping that Dave will consider an advisory position; specifically, as we build out the sailboats.


Tesla Model S Vs Chevy Volt: Owner Compares Electric Cars

Bottom Line

If I could keep just one car, which would it be?

I guess if you put a gun to my head, I would reluctantly give up the Volt.

The style, performance, and overall pizzazz of the Model S are simply too compelling to give up.

The Tesla's charms would far outweigh the annoyance of having to rent a noisy gas-guzzling combustion-engined car for long trips.

I guess if you put a gun to my head, I would reluctantly give up the Volt.

Ok - so the 2 cars are almost the same......

The style, performance, and overall pizzazz of the Model S are simply too compelling to give up.

Wait a minute.....one moment one needs a "gun to the head" and the next - one is "simply too compelling"?

A wealthy imperial citizen samples the latest luxury wares available to show his social fitness:

By this measure, the Tesla almost always wins. It's hard to resist the sleek, powerful, head-turning Model S, which Consumer Reports recently raved about--saying it "performs better than any car we've ever tested."

The Volt, yesterday's faded plumage, is relegated to his teenage kid, while his wife to the old status symbol of a Mini Cooper:

The Volt has been mostly relegated to duty as my 17-year-old daughter's student-driver car, as well as an occasional long-distance back-up for trips beyond the Tesla's range. (My wife, a fanatical stick-shift devotee, stubbornly clings to her 2008 Mini Cooper.)

This is a wonderful article for showing what this is really all about. It's like reading a review of the latest chariot from a resident of Rome from May of 410.

I road my sleek Dahon folding bike this morning down my rough dirt road this morning and noticed that while few heads were turned, I did receive a number of friendly waves.

Sad to see that not much has changed about people's attitudes about cars. It all seems to be about some sort of surge apparently emanating from the groin area where our great thoughts appear to arise.

No doubt Jay Gatsby felt the same sort of joy and pride heading to New York in his Rolls Royce.

And yet we ARE hearing that there are significant changes showing in car ownership and attitudes.. but I'd hardly expect us to find it in the pages of any sort of Car Journalism, however green they claim to be.

Yeah - see the thread immediately below on Overspending Has Become a Modern Form of Mating Deception

Overspending Has Become a Modern Form of Mating Deception.

Video from TYT where they talk briefly about how many males are overspending during the courtship phase in order to project a higher status to attract the females. As well as overspending to maintain identity within a certain social group.

Also some related commentary on primitive brains being bombarded by the unfamiliar notion of debt and shiny things.

So who is the US of A in a mating ritual with WRT its military spending then?

. . . many males are overspending during the courtship phase in order to project a higher status to attract the females.

This is not exactly news.

Many years ago a young man worked with my brother on an exploration project, where they worked six weeks and had two weeks off. This man repeatedly spent his entire time off at a luxury resort, burning through two month's pay in two weeks. The purpose, he told his co-workers, was to land a rich wife.

The scheme worked.

Shortly after the marriage, he found out his new wife was using exactly the same plan.

His co-workers thought they deserved each other.

This has existed since humans walked the planet. I bet early cavemen fought each other for the shiniest club.

Deers have antlers, we have Ferrari. No difference.


From my web comic I had for a few years.
The light bulb in the first panel say "today we will learn how to avoid fighting among animals".

That's funny and cute. It works well even without the lightbulb or words.

It's easy to be glib.

The difference now is that we have 7 billion humans who are burning massive amounts of fossil fuels, and the entire thing is powered by the biggest debt bubble in human history.

What does this mean? It means that all that stuff that is used to impress...is not paid for. None of it is paid for. It's all waste and most of it won't last, except for perhaps a few diamonds and gold jewelry.

I admit to doing this but don't think it's modern. For goodness sakes you know when you're in the midst of landing nirvana and throw everything you've got at it. I'm sure men have been doing this for many thousands if not millions of years. I bought her a big ruby/diamond ring, a trip to Hawaii for two weeks, a trip down the coast, numerous dinners out, you name it I turned into Donald Trump until we got married. Then life went back to normal, but we're still happily married 25 years later. I think women are smart enough to know when a guy's going overboard to land her and just take it as a sign of wanting to make a commitment.

Hey, Perk Earl, You're so right! My husband did something like this - a big diamond ring, a new car, and soon a house! Wow! Swept me right off my feet! I surely did believe he was really committed to me. We had 27 happy years together till he died recently, and laughed many times about his extravagant gestures. (He was a pretty nerdy math PhD guy but I thought he was very cute besides being really smart too!) Oh, yes, I almost forgot -he took me to Hawaii too - all in a 3 month whirlwind courtship... So - good moves there, Perk Earl, and all you single lonely guys out there - listen up! (This thread is a bit more fun than reading the EV and nuke comments.)

Glacial, very good for you, and I do think your advice is more useful than my anecdote to add to the chat! :)

I was actually laid off from an aerospace firm, had burned through my 401k, was happy, single, in debt, and having a riotously good time. Then a gal, who knew me through a common friend, was assigned AT (Advanced Training) out at Camp Pendleton, CA.

For reasons which still baffle me, she decided to call when she had some leave. I drove down to meet her, in a rented car (mine had been busted, like, forever, and I took public transit everywhere), and met her at the Oceanside Amtrak station.

She was a talented, professional, accomplished woman. Three steady jobs, a house. The whole nine yards.

I figured it'd be a quick drink, maybe a five minute chat, and she'd send me packing in short order.

We've been married 12 years now.

And I still have no idea what I did to deserve this. Nope. Haven't a clue...

TL, She probably just thinks you're really cute. Plus, like many of the TOD folks, you seem pretty smart and interesting. Maybe that's it..... Anyway, lucky you!

What is "modern" about it? It was ever thus. Young woman are impressed by displays of wealth and success, therefore young men do what they do.

That would be 'some young women'.. and 'some young men'.. I do still see people with other priorities out there.

Well, I'll toss in my confirming anecdote here.
So long ago that young women were called "girls" and Radcliffe was a girl's school, I went there to pick up the ones who had signed up for the mixer, since I was the only one in the grad house with a car, small and ratty tho it was.

After playing a rather cruel joke on me, an even more than normally social-simpleton, the five of them piled in and we drove the short distance while they gabbed with each other as if I didn't exist,

"Why are we going to this mixer? Engineers are Boooooring"
" True, but a good one could fix things around the house"
" And a bad one?"
"Have we not agreed to avoid painful subjects on Friday?"

Anyhow, when it came to that magic mixer- moment, when one has 20 seconds or less to try for the win, the young lady, to my surprise, asked only one, unexpectedly simple, question-" Can you fix my bicycle?"

"Yes I can, and I will".
The winning move. I could and I did, and the rest is history.

Blocking Keystone Is Like a Carbon Tax

Dean Baker, Tuesday, 28 May 2013 04:57

My friend Jared Bernstein rightly points out that blocking the Keystone pipeline will not keep the tar sands oil in the ground. There are other ways to bring the oil to market and the industry will undoubtedly pursue these channels if proponents of the pipeline are successful.

But there is an important point here. These other methods of getting the oil to consumers are more expensive. We know this because the industry would not be pushing the pipeline if it was not the lowest cost way to get the oil to the market.

In this way opposition to the pipeline is effectively raising the cost of tar sands oil. That is exactly what we should want to see. In a sane world we would have a carbon tax, which would discourage the use of oil in general and in particular oil that was associated with large amounts of carbon emissions.

For political reasons, a carbon tax seems a non-starter at the moment. With the failure of Washington to act responsibly, the Keystone protesters are effectively imposing their own carbon tax on tar sands oil by raising its price. It's far from perfect, but it's certainly a reasonable course of action under the circumstances.

Seems like a rather pathetic accomplishment, if it is an accomplishment, given the whole picture of all carbon sources. This won't keep one barrel in the ground and the reduction in consumption will be immeasurable.


‘Drug resistance in new China bird flu raises concern’

The new bird flu strain that has killed 36 people in China has proved resistant to Tamiflu for the first time, a development scientists said was "concerning".

In one patient, the gene mutation responsible for resistance appears to have arisen after infection took hold, probably as a result of treatment with Tamiflu, leading to concerns that medication may be the trigger for resistance to develop.

“The apparent ease with which antiviral resistance emerges in A/H7N9 viruses is concerning; it needs to be closely monitored and considered in future pandemic response plans."

Scientific studies of the virus have established it is being transmitted from birds - probably mostly chickens - to people. But experts have yet to identify the source of the circulating virus - the so-called "reservoir" - that is leading to chickens contracting it and sporadically passing it on to humans.

The flu is under control in China from isolating patients and shutting down poultry markets. What we have to be worried about in a possible future outbreak is if it mutates into an easily transmissible virus between people.

Earthquake Scenarios Show Potential for Huge Damage, Loss of Life

... Collectively and individually, the scenarios offer snapshots of the turmoil that would follow a major quake anywhere in Washington state:

-A magnitude-7.3 quake on the Saddle Mountain Fault, which angles between Yakima and Richland, would cause an estimated 1,300 breaks in water, sewer and gas lines.

-Anacortes and Mount Vernon would experience some of the strongest shaking from a magnitude-7 quake on the Devil's Mountain fault, leading to 652 casualties and three dozen deaths.

-A moderate, magnitude-5.5 quake on a fault near Spokane would leave nearly 1,500 buildings at least moderately damaged, at a cost of more than $360 million.

-The Tacoma Fault scenario forecasts 176 fires triggered by the quake, accounting for $1.7 billion in property damage and displacing more than 21,000 people.

-A month after the hypothetical Seattle Fault quake, more than 137,000 households would still be without water.

-Bellingham and Whatcom County would absorb $95 million of the $105 million in property-related losses expected from a magnitude-6.8 quake on the Boulder Creek Fault, near the Canadian border.


also The Big One: Preparing for Mid-America Earthquake

It’s a bleak scenario. A massive earthquake along the New Madrid fault kills or injures 60,000 people in Tennessee. A quarter of a million people are homeless. The Memphis airport — the country’s biggest air terminal for packages — goes off-line. Major oil and gas pipelines across Tennessee rupture, causing shortages in the Northeast. In Missouri, another 15,000 people are hurt or dead. Cities and towns throughout the central U.S. lose power and water for months. Losses stack up to hundreds of billions of dollars.

Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food

Studies published within the past 15 years show that much of our produce is relatively low in phytonutrients, which are the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia.

... Each fruit and vegetable in our stores has a unique history of nutrient loss, I’ve discovered, but there are two common themes. Throughout the ages, our farming ancestors have chosen the least bitter plants to grow in their gardens. It is now known that many of the most beneficial phytonutrients have a bitter, sour or astringent taste. Second, early farmers favored plants that were relatively low in fiber and high in sugar, starch and oil. These energy-dense plants were pleasurable to eat and provided the calories needed to fuel a strenuous lifestyle. The more palatable our fruits and vegetables became, however, the less advantageous they were for our health.

... SUPERSWEET corn, which now outsells all other kinds of corn, was born in a cloud of radiation. Beginning in the 1920s, geneticists exposed corn seeds to radiation to learn more about the normal arrangement of plant genes. They mutated the seeds by exposing them to X-rays, toxic compounds, cobalt radiation and then, in the 1940s, to blasts of atomic radiation. In 1959, a geneticist named John Laughnan was studying a handful of mutant kernels and popped a few into his mouth. (The corn was no longer radioactive.) He was startled by their intense sweetness.

The United States Department of Agriculture exerts far more effort developing disease-resistant fruits and vegetables than creating new varieties to enhance the disease resistance of consumers. In fact, U.S.D.A. plant breeders have spent a decade or more developing a new variety of pear or carrot without once measuring its nutritional content.

Similar article in Prevention which is often ahead of the MSM in reporting such things (also Rodale Institute). It lists some particular foods, and how to select, prep and store produce to reclaim lost nutrients.

One finding that I read, but can't find a link to right now, has to do with bruised fruits and vegetables. We got sold on buying only unblemished produce. Yet, if bruised by nature while still on the plant/vine/tree, then produce floods itself with phyto-nutrients (e.g., anti-inflammatory compounds, anti-oxidants). Better to eat blemished but not rotting produce.

Dandelion leaves are as bitter as you can stand, and full of goodness.

The USSR and US Came Closer to Nuclear War Than We Thought

A series of war games held in 1983 triggered "the moment of maximum danger of the late Cold War." ... Americans learned in detail this week, for the first time, from declassified documents

... To the Russians, it could easily have looked like a genuine preparation for a nuclear strike, the documents revealed: A total of 40,000 U.S. and NATO troops were moved across Western Europe, while 16,044 more U.S. troops were airlifted overseas in 170 missions conducted in radio silence.

More ominously, U.S. and NATO officers practiced the procedures they would have to follow to authorize and conduct nuclear strikes in an unpublicized exercise called Able Archer 83, shifting their headquarters as the game escalated toward chemical and nuclear warfare. In communications, they several times referred to non-nuclear B-52 sorties as nuclear "strikes" -- slips of the tongue that could have been intercepted by Soviet eavesdroppers.

In a coincidence that could have proved catastrophic, the script for the maneuvers dovetailed snugly and perilously with the Soviets' fears that they were under threat, coupled with nagging doubts about their ability to protect themselves from U.S. military might.

... for two years prior to Able Archer 83, KGB agents had been scouring the world for evidence of what the Soviet leadership in general -- and Andropov in particular -- believed were U.S. preparations for all-out nuclear war against the U.S.S.R.

"This episode should be studied more because it shows that U.S. leaders might not have learned as much from the Cuban missile crisis [about avoiding accidental conflict] as they should have," Jones said.

... change the dates to 5-10 years from now and substitute China for the USSR

That was during the Reagan presidency!

That was the same Reagan that started one of his weekly addresses with the quote ...

My fellowAmericans,I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.


It seems the mentality was "we know we are the good does, and would never initiate a Nuclear war, -so we don't have to tell the other side -since they already know we are the good guys". Of course we had paranoid old men running the Soviet gov, and but for some critical thinking by a few lower level Russian operatives some detected false signals would have generated the Big One.

From CNBC ... Even in an Oil Boom, Production Growth Is Slow

Could the U.S. energy revolution fall prey to the law of diminishing returns?

Oil depletion, or the rate at which a new production is sapped from existing wells, is a hot topic in energy circles. It was common fodder during the years where some analysts ominously warned about demand outstripping oil, but is rarely mentioned in the context of America's budding energy boom.

... "You've definitely experienced a slowdown in production growth. It hasn't peaked but it's close to plateauing," said John Hummel, president and chief investment officer at AIS Capital Management. Saying that the U.S. is "living off our inheritance," he cites figures showing that exported oil is on the decline, due in large part to depletion rates.

... "Even if you have a decline, this can continue for decades," John Felmy, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute said [... we'll lose a bit on every sale, but make it up in volume]

Teardown: LED light shrinks size, cost with non-isolated driver

LED bulb prices are dropping. A year ago you could expect to pay $50 for a Philips dimmable 60W-replacement LED bulb, while today you can go to Best Buy and purchase its house brand 8W, 800 lumens Insignia 60W-replacement bulb for just $17. What has changed in LED bulb design to allow this price drop? Tearing apart the bulb gives us a look into some design trends in LED lighting, such as how the LEDs are placed within the bulb and what driver architecture is used.
In summary
- Placing the Cree LEDs on the three heat sinks that were part of the surface of the bulb. This quickly gets rid of the heat and keeps it separate from the power electronics.
- Forcing the bulb to meet the same, familiar envelope of the incandescent light, which in turn forced the power control electronics to fit into the tiny base.
- Going with a non-isolated buck topology to lower the parts count. Fewer parts = lower cost, smaller size, and greater reliability.
The Insignia bulb is currently one of the best values for an LED bulb on the market.

I'd really like to know if those are 85oC electrolytic caps or 105oC caps, what their lifetime rating is and how hard they're being pushed with regard to their ripple current rating. Electrolytic caps are by far the shortest lifetime electronic component type.

Twilight, people would not believe the amount of electronic gizmo's of all descriptions which can usually be brought back to life simply by replacing the dried out electrolytic caps !!

I just finished restoring a Sony 4 band radio cassette recorder of 1970's vintage and the sound quality is out of this world compared to a modern transistor radio.

The case was made from real aluminium, they sure don't make them like they used to.

Yes, but contemplate the global supply chain that brings those capacitors to you. Their shelf life is finite too.

Contrary to popular myth, electronic devices do not last forever and all component types have failure modes. Especially now with lead free solder unless it has a heavy conformal coating.

I looked seriously at eliminating electrolytic caps from my designs. I had already eliminated tantalum caps because they are fragile and much of the material comes from tantalum mines in places that are unstable. The problem is with rectified singe phase line frequency power supply inputs (like with these bulbs), even when a full wave bridge is used - the voltage just goes away for a very long time (electrically speaking), and you must have a relatively large local storage reservoir. Just for grins I tried designing a magnetic storage (i.e. inductor) for the front end of one of our power supplies to replace the capacitor - it gets ridiculously large!

Just for grins I tried designing a magnetic storage (i.e. inductor) for the front end of one of our power supplies to replace the capacitor - it gets ridiculously large!

Yes, back in the vacuum tube days when things weren't so small, choke input filters were quite common. Only a 4uF oil/paper capacitor and a big "swinging" choke. If less ripple needed, followed by another "smoothing" choke and another capacitor. Much longer lifetime than electrolytics!

I have to thank you for that - I had never looked at the "swinging" choke and had not thought about intentionally making a crappy inductor. It's an interesting way to do it and I will look into that - I was thinking in terms of low-loss fixed inductors, but this may have been wrong-headed. It might just work with the low power supplies I design. They are switching power supplies and I don't need the output of the filter to be perfectly smooth, just something other than zero would be good!

I am constantly amazed by how inventive people were when the components they had to work with were so much more limited.

The $12 Gongkai Phone

Welcome to the Galapagos of Chinese “open” source. I call it “gongkai” (公开). Gongkai is the transliteration of “open” as applied to “open source”. I feel it deserves a term of its own, as the phenomenon has grown beyond the so-called “shanzhai” (山寨) and is becoming a self-sustaining innovation ecosystem of its own.

Just as the Galapagos Islands is a unique biological ecosystem evolved in the absence of continental species, gongkai is a unique innovation ecosystem evolved with little western influence, thanks to political, language, and cultural isolation.

Of course, just as the Galapagos was seeded by hardy species that found their way to the islands, gongkai was also seeded by hardy ideas that came from the west. These ideas fell on the fertile minds of the Pearl River delta, took root, and are evolving. Significantly, gongkai isn’t a totally lawless free-for-all. It’s a network of ideas, spread peer-to-peer, with certain rules to enforce sharing and to prevent leeching. It’s very different from Western IP concepts, but I’m trying to have an open mind about it.

Interesting concept. Seems to be somewhere between Open Source and outright piracy. In order to make a $12 phone someone is not paying for IP development costs.

Coming soon: gongkai weapons systems.

Today on the French channel "Arte" there was a TV show entitles "le sable" (the sand) with the comment that sand has become a resource as much sought after as oil.
Quite a lot of interesting data: Sand is the most traded material by weight after water:
Over 15 billion tons a year... and we are running out of sand, at least good quality one. Peak sand might be close and most beaches in the world are likely to disappear by the end of the century.
For example, Dubaï had to import sea sand from Australia for its artificial island projects because nearby sand was not adequate. Worse is that sand is now harvested from sea floor, often illegally destroying absolutely everything on the way.

Saudi Aramco Output Rose to Record 9.51 Million Barrels a Day


They are probably pumping more to supply their domestic electricity generating needs for the long hot summer. Like last summer, it's unlikely we'll see an increase in exports, just more domestic consumption to keep all those AC units running.

An incredibly stupid article; and where does he get these numbers?

Do We Still Need the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?

I agree with the article, but for a different reason.

The truth is that a "strategic petroleum reserve" is a misnomer. A petroleum reserve is something that is below ground. Once you extract it, you have to use it, you can't store it forever. Petroleum has no use sitting still.

Gold, on the other hand, is forever, and its use is precisely in sitting still. As long as we vault it, it performs its function as a store of wealth.

I'm much more concerned about what's in Fort Knox than how much is left of the so called strategic petroleum reserve.

In 2007, the US produced 1.8 million barrels of oil a day, last year the average was 2.3 million barrels of oil a day – and climbing, according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA).

In 2007, the US consumed 7.5 million barrels of oil a day, last year it consumed just 6.7 million barrels a day, according to the EIA.

Yes, the author, Joel Kurtzman, can not even get basic data correct. In 2007 the annual average production of C+C was about 5.1 Mb/d and the annual average total petroleum consumption was 20.7 Mb/d. At the end of last year U.S. production of crude oil and condensate was approaching 7 Mb/d while the annual average total petroleum consumption for 2012 was 18.6 Mb/d.

So the U.S is still importing 11.6 Mb/d?...how can the media still continue to spin this story of the U.S being independent?

So the U.S is still importing 11.6 Mb/d?...how can the media still continue to spin this story of the U.S being independent?

The same way they can blame "fuel efficient vehicles" and EVs for DOT budget shortfalls while the federal gasoline tax hasn't been raised since 1993, and most states haven't raised their gasoline tax enough to compensate for increased costs (if they've raised them at all in the past decade). As well as a drop in VMT due to a variety of factors - putting the VMT, and thus tax income it generates, at 2005 levels with 2013 costs.

Because it's the patriotic, fall in line, groupthink, never question authority, rumbling-bumbling-stumbling, who-rah, propagandize, conformist thing to do (if they want to keep all those advertisers happy).

Written by sparky8:
So the U.S is still importing 11.6 Mb/d?

Sorry, no, because the volume of finished petroleum products is not equal to the volume of crude oil plus condensate used to make them. Refinery gain and maybe biofuel is included in the finished products.

U.S. average annual import of crude oil and lease condensate for 2007 is 10.0 Mb/d and for 2010, 9.2 Mb/d. The EIA's International Energy Statistics does not this have data for 2012.