Drumbeat: June 3, 2013

Fracking Tests Ties Between California ‘Oil and Ag’ Interests

By all accounts, oilmen and farmers — often shortened to “oil and ag” here — have coexisted peacefully for decades in this conservative, business friendly part of California about 110 miles northwest of Los Angeles. But oil’s push into new areas and its increasing reliance on fracking, which uses vast amounts of water and chemicals that critics say could contaminate groundwater, are testing that relationship and complicating the continuing debate over how to regulate fracking in California.

“As farmers, we’re very aware of the first 1,000 feet beneath us and the groundwater that is our lifeblood,” said Tom Frantz, a fourth-generation farmer here and a retired high school math teacher who now cultivates almonds. “We look to the future, and we really do want to keep our land and soil and water in good condition.”

“This mixing of farming and oil, all in one place, is a new thing for us,” added Mr. Frantz, who is also an environmentalist and is pressing for a moratorium on fracking.

Brent Crude Futures Extend Earlier Gain to Exceed $101

Brent crude rose after dipping below $100 a barrel for the first time in a month. Signs of a slowing Chinese economy and OPEC’s decision to maintain production led prices lower earlier, amid speculation supply will outstrip demand.

Brent advanced as much as 0.8 percent to $101.20 a barrel. Chinese manufacturing indexes showed small businesses struggling, sapping momentum in the economy of the world’s second-biggest consumer of oil. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries kept its output ceiling of 30 million barrels a day at a meeting in Vienna on May 31. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reduced its Brent price forecast.

Saudi Arabia may cut July crude prices for Asia

Singapore/Beijing: Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is expected to reduce the official selling prices (OSP) for most of the grades it sells to Asia in July due to weaker Dubai prices, a Reuters survey showed on Monday.

Saudi Arabia may drop the OSPs for Arab Extra Light and Arab Light by 15 and 45 cents per barrel respectively, while Arab Medium and Arab Heavy could see cuts of 60 and 50 cents, according to the median of estimates from eight refiners, traders and an analyst.

Russia Pumps 10.48 Million Barrels a Day of May Oil, Data Show

Russia, the world’s biggest oil producer, increased monthly crude output by 0.3 percent in May to the highest level of the year, preliminary data from the Energy Ministry’s CDU-TEK unit show.

Flooding Closes Rhine River to Barges Upstream of Koblenz

The Rhine River, Europe’s busiest inland waterway, was shut to barges upstream of Koblenz in Germany as water levels along some parts of the river rose to the highest in at least seven years after heavy rain.

The level at Kaub, Germany, is about 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of Dusseldorf, rose to 6.61 meters (22 feet) as of 7:30 a.m. Berlin time, the highest since at least 2006, data from the German Federal Institute of Hydrology show. As a result, the Upper Rhine is inaccessible to smaller tankers and boats that ply the route to cities such as Cologne, Frankfurt and Karlsruhe in Germany and Basel in Switzerland, according to energy researcher PJK International BV.

Claims that landlocked oil costing Canada billions in revenue are ‘bogus’, economists say

Energy economists say that the situation is not nearly as cut and dry as the politicians pretend. Some call the claim “bogus.” World prices are based primarily on quality and so Canada’s bitumen, which has the lowest quality of the heavy oils, naturally fetches lower prices. Sending the oil sands bitumen to Gulf Coast refineries is not going to change that fact, they note.

Natural Gas Trades Below $4 a Second Day on Milder U.S. Outlook

Natural gas futures in the U.S. fell for a sixth day, the longest losing streak since January, on forecasts for milder weather in June that would reduce demand for electricity to power air conditioners.

IMF Recycle Peak Oil Theory

Nevertheless, while Kumhof re-stokes interest in Peak Oil, nowhere in his modeling does Peak Gas figure - for easily understood reasons. Peak Gas is already a lost cause, due to the stranded gas boom, featuring deep offshore conventional and unconventional gas resources, and the shale gas boom. Even taken separately, these two "new gas resources" hold mindboggling quantities of gas for potential future gas supply. Global shale energy resources are geologically located in the world's Hercynian-Variscan orogenic zones. These also include deep coal, and therefore coalbed methane potential. As one single example, there is the Rhenohercynian Basin stretching from Cornwall and South Wales, in the west, to Belgium, Germany and Poland in the east. This contains massive amounts of deep coal which is presently not recoverable, and linked coalbed methane resources, which probably are. Fear and anguish about world gas resources "running out" is mightily difficult, these days.

For Kumhof and his team at the IMF, however, they are rock-solid certain that oil production will decline - but oil demand will not - leading to permanent and extreme high oil prices.

Nigeria Seeks Advantage in Drop in Oil Sales to U.S., Sambo Says

Nigerian Vice President Namadi Sambo said decreasing oil sales to the U.S. are an opportunity to create jobs by building refineries and developing markets closer to home.

Nigeria, an OPEC member, lacks refining capacity and depends on imported fuel to meet domestic demand. The country is set to lose its position as Africa’s biggest crude producer for the first time since 2009. Its shipments to the U.S. slid to 194,000 barrels a day in February, the lowest in more than 18 years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Gazprom says Yuzhno-Kirinskoye field reserves comparable to Shtokman: report

Moscow (Platts) - Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom estimates that reserves at its Yuzhno (or South) Kirinskoye field, included in the Sakhalin 3 project offshore Russia's Far East, are comparable to reserves at its Shtokman megaproject, Russian daily Kommersant reported Monday, citing Andrei Kruglov, head of Gazprom's economics and finance department.

Lebanon plans for a gas-fuelled but sensible future

'So far, so good," says Sami Atallah, the director of a Lebanese think tank. Since the giant discoveries of offshore gas in neighbouring Israel and Cyprus, the country is attracting attention for more than fashionistas, finance and feuding politicians. There is a palpable sense of relief - and surprise - that Lebanon has progressed so far in creating a framework for its embryonic gas industry.

Despite a very slow start, the country has passed laws, established a petroleum authority, covered its waters with high-quality seismic data to reveal the geology and attracted 46 companies to qualify for its inaugural licensing round. Among them are giants of the industry such as Shell, Chevron, Statoil, Petrobras and Petronas. Now it needs elections and a new cabinet to pass two crucial decrees by the autumn.

South Sudan says Total partners with Exxon Mobil in oil exploration

JUBA (Reuters) - French oil company Total will partner with U.S. major Exxon Mobil and Kuwait's Kufpec in South Sudan to search for oil in the restive Jonglei state, a senior lawmaker in the African country said.

More than 1,000 killed in Iraq violence in May

(Reuters) - More than 1,000 people were killed in violence in Iraq in May, making it the deadliest month since the sectarian slaughter of 2006-07, the United Nations said on Saturday, as fears mounted of a return to civil war.

Nearly 2,000 people have been killed in the last two months as al Qaeda and Sunni Islamist insurgents, invigorated by the Sunni-led revolt in Syria and by Sunni discontent at home, seek to revive the kind of all-out inter-communal conflict that killed tens of thousands five years ago.

Iraqi Kurd leader says Baghdad talks last chance

(Reuters) - Iraqi Kurdistan will be forced to seek a "new form of relations" with the central government in Baghdad if negotiations fail to resolve their disputes over oil and land, the president of the autonomous region said.

Masoud Barzani, who has hinted at full independence from Iraq in the past, told Reuters the current round of talks, which started last month, marked the final opportunity to end a feud that has strained Iraq's uneasy federal union to the limit.

China Is Reaping Biggest Benefits of Iraq Oil Boom

BAGHDAD — Since the American-led invasion of 2003, Iraq has become one of the world’s top oil producers, and China is now its biggest customer.

China already buys nearly half the oil that Iraq produces, nearly 1.5 million barrels a day, and is angling for an even bigger share, bidding for a stake now owned by Exxon Mobil in one of Iraq’s largest oil fields.

Donald Trump rages on China and Iraq oil

Donald Trump on Monday lit into Washington for allowing China to access oil in the Middle East while the U.S. gets “nothing” after the war in Iraq.

While discussing on “Fox & Friends” how deadlock in Washington is a “a real mess for the country,” Trump brought up a Sunday New York Times story reporting that China is the biggest beneficiary of the Iraq oil boom and he called it “a scandal that is unbelievable.”

Iraq to lower oil targets with foreign firms: Minister

BAGHDAD: Iraq is in talks with foreign energy firms to lower long-term oil production targets agreed several years ago because of sagging global crude demand forecasts, the country's top energy official told AFP.

Shell rues upsurge in oil theft in Nigeria

Lagos (Platts) - Shell Nigeria's oil production is significantly hampered by rampant oil theft and pipeline sabotage in the Niger Delta, which apart from loss of revenue remains a major environmental concern, a Shell official was reported as saying by Nigeria's state news agency Monday.

Nigeria lays out plans to privatise 10 power plants

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria will privatise 10 more state power plants by mid-2014, advisers to the government said on Monday, as part of plans to overhaul the country's feeble electricity sector.

President Goodluck Jonathan pledged nearly three years ago to privatise the bulk of Nigeria's electricity sector, in an effort to end chronic power shortages that are the biggest brake on growth in Africa's second largest economy.

Rows over Syria, energy cloud Russia-EU talks

YEKATERINBURG, Russia - The European Union and Russia kick off a two-day summit on Monday overshadowed by rows over Brussels' decision to lift its arms embargo on the Syrian rebels and resolve to loosen Moscow's grip on EU natural gas supplies.

Iran Swaps over 1.3GW of Electricity with Neighbors in One Day

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran exchanged 1.32 gigawatts of electricity with its neighboring countries on Sunday, the Energy Ministry announced.

The country exported 931 megawatts of electricity to Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Armenia and Turkey, and imported 389 megawatts of electricity from Armenia and Turkmenistan.

UK may crack its energy dilemma

Britain could be on the cusp of a new boom along the lines of the North Sea oil bonanza of the past few decades. But fears over extracting the country's potentially huge reserves of shale gas threaten development.

Britain could be on the verge of a second energy boom - another North Sea oil-style bonanza - but the country is strangely reluctant to take the plunge.

Green and pleasant land might be at forefront of gas ambitions

Best known for its bucolic scenery - the chocolate-box villages of the South Downs - and for its genteel seaside towns, the English county of Sussex is an unlikely location for an oil boom.

But the village of Balcombe, not far from Gatwick Airport, is the site of new exploratory drills by Cuadrilla, the only company in the UK to have so far drilled for shale gas.

Japan Carriers Resume Dreamliner Flights as 747 Era Ends

The Dreamliner’s success is crucial for the two Japanese carriers as they have ordered 111 of the plastic-composite jets with ANA being the world’s largest airline customer for the plane. Carriers such as Singapore Airlines Ltd. have retired their fleets of four-engined 747s as higher fuel costs prompt companies to seek more efficient aircraft, helping Boeing rack up about 840 orders for the Dreamliners.

Tesla's Ambitious SuperCharger Infrastructure Build Is SuperExpensive

What will be a surprise coming from last week's announcement is that investors will eventually realize that Tesla's SuperCharger infrastructure build-out is going to be SuperExpensive when analysts rework their models to account for ALL costs associated with providing "free" charge-ups and building the network to make it viable.

Steady but Modest Progress Found on Renewables Adoption

The world has made “steady but modest progress” in improving global access to electricity and safe cooking fuels, increasing energy efficiency and adding renewable sources to the world’s energy mix, said Vivien Foster, energy unit sector manager at the World Bank’s sustainable energy department, at a recent briefing in London.

Masdar chief urges US on renewables

Sultan Al Jaber, the Masdar chief executive, has urged the United States to maintain its commitment to renewable energy in an open letter to the new secretary of energy.

The Masdar head addressed concerns that the booming production of US shale gas will undermine the development of the renewable energy sector.

Solar power in the UAE soon to be more than a mirage

Is solar power fake? Is it like a fairy tale we tell our kids but deep down we know it's not real? For years we have been hearing about how the solar era is coming and how it will change everything we do. Yet if we look around us we see lots of sun but no solar power.

Trade winds drop, and Hawaii gets muggy

Chu said the most important consequence will be declining rainfall and a drop in the water supply, particularly as Hawaii's population grows and uses more water.

Trade winds deliver rain to Hawaii when clouds carried from the northeast hit mountainous islands built by millions of years of volcanic eruptions. These rains, together with rainfall from winter storms, are the state's primary sources of water.

Climate change to affect liveability of remote Australia

People living in remote Australia are likely to be more severely affected by climate change than other sectors of the national population.

A new study, released today, by the CRC for Remote Economic Development (CRC-REP) and Ninti One warns that communities and outlying settlements on Cape York, in Central Australia and the Kimberley face greater risks to their wellbeing as the climate warms than people in other parts of Australia.

World faces mounting damage from disasters

The UN has estimated the direct economic cost of disasters since 2000 is roughly $1.4tn, cautioning that the total price tag on people's livelihoods and the wider economy are never fully counted.

"There's now rather convincing evidence that climate change has brought about, if not more frequent, at least more vehement expressions from nature, and that we should be prepared for this," UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson said at the conference.

Time to switch to 'Plan B' on climate change: study

Climate policy makers must come up with a new global target to cap temperature gains because the current goal is no longer feasible, according to a German study.

Limiting the increase in temperature to 2 degrees Celsius since industrialisation is unrealistic because emissions continue to rise and a new global climate deal won’t take effect until 2020, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs said.

What do you think about this?
"In the article I question the most basic assumptions that have become “common wisdom” in our culture in regard to the celebrated “cost effectiveness” of fossil and nuclear energy products and the view that renewables are not a suitable replacement due to alleged “low” EROI (Energy Return on Energy Invested – sometimes shown as EROEI in the literature). I even question the assumptions used in the EROI methodolgy for quantifying exothermic chemical processes (how much energy is released when rapid oxidation, otherwise known as an explosion, occurs in a given energy product).

Here's the whole article: doomsteaddiner(.)org/blog/tag/eroi/

Edited to remove excessive quoting.

Jeez. You cannot quote that much from an article. For both copyright and bandwidth reasons. Quote a brief excerpt and provide a link, or summarize in your own words. The comments of someone else's blog is not the place to post a five-page excerpt of an article.

Sorry about that.

Overcomplexity in the hands of, fundamentally, a human tribe or band doesn't work and probably never will. For renewable energy, how about sitting out in the sun?

World faces mounting damage from disasters

The UN has estimated the direct economic cost of disasters since 2000 is roughly $1.4tn, cautioning that the total price tag on people's livelihoods and the wider economy are never fully counted.

Looks they have to add a couple of billion to the bill as of the last few days alone...

Torrential rains across central Europe have led to the worst flooding in decades, claiming the lives of 82 people.

This feels like part of the building Climate Chaos. Think about the storm chasers killed in Oklahoma -- storm chasing is hazardous duty, yes, but this crew were expert at it. The tornado behaved in way they did not expect.

Similar to last summer, the storm that hit the country music concert in Indiana killing several people. These are just anecdotes of course, but I file them away under 'weather behaving in extreme/unexpected ways.....'

"but this crew were expert at it."

Storm chasing has become a popular past time in recent years. Latest craze is to "armor" the vehicle, this may protect the people inside a little from minor debris but does nothing for a direct hit.

Just beacuse you work for a tv production company does not make you an expert or even smart enough to stay in the right place. It has also been noted we are begnning to see traffic jams of chasers around severe storms, making movement out of the way even more difficult. Most chasing take place out in the countryside on gravel and dirt roads barely two lanes wide with one lane bridges.

Sorry but the experts are either chasing with multi million dollar doplar trucks, that they keep miles from the central track or are prepping low cost expendable drones to pull realtime data. Driving in an SUV with a cool logo and maybe a little kevlar and some extra steel, does nothing when you become a projectile.

Yeah, I think it's a bit of a reach to pretend that there's an urgent scientific need to chase tornado's in armored SUV's. I think the "probes" were invented after the fact to justify the activity, which is a thrill. The world is full of this sort of rationalization.... someone will come up with something fun or "personal triumph-like" to do, and then add on some researchy component to give it respectability. I've seen it a lot over the years... someone decides that they need to sail to antarctica in a cement sailboat they built in a garage, and announces that they're doing it to survey whale populations and take krill samples. Or a bunch of rich MBA's will decide they need to climb some mountain in order to take "important" GPS fixes of potential dodo-bird habitat. Or a person will announce they are going coast-to-coast on a pogo stick... to benefit Muscular Dystrophy. So what is the theme connecting pogo sticks and muscle wasting? ""We pogo for those who can't"?"

There is pretty much no endeavor too halfassed to get positive media coverage when it's claimed to serve either science or some cause.

At this point in human existence, we get our dopamine where we feel like it, and come up with rationalizations. We're REALLY good at it...

Yeah, 'nish... what Wharf Rat said. I deeply respect your comments and presence here, but I thought that was a bit harsh on a guy just killed who seemed to be a genuine scientist. I do acknowledge that there are lots of cowboys (and girls) out there these days. He doesn't seem to have been one of 'em.

Not tryin' to be harsh to the dead, but to the extent my comments have any worth it's due to calling stuff as I see it. I'm sorry these fellas got themselves dead, but I'm not really buying it as necessary research. One can do peer-reviewed studies on any silly thing, and what is reviewed will generally be the methodology and not the premise.

I've watched a couple of the shows. Great entertainment, fun TV. But I never could buy it as necessary.

Could be I'm just a harsh person. I also made fun of the Red Bull event when that fellow did the balloon skydive to break the freefall record. That was billed as "important science" too, but there was nothing new and important about it, it was a Red Bull TV stunt which could have been done just as well by a pumpkin.

Sorry if I've offended, but there's so much important research NOT being done on this planet that I hate to see the devaluation of the public perception of "research" by entertainers & thrillseekers. Near as I can tell, that's what these guys were. Goofy-looking vehicles? check. Reality TV contract? check. Only claim to fame? Check, I think.

Admittedly I may be in an overly-annoyed mood - turns out I've been having berry smoothies with african hepatitis virus for the last month, and am hoping my feeling rotten the last few days isn't due to that. Ah, globalization.

I've got your back on this one, greenish. There's a lot of tilting at windmills with these folks. Not that these windmills aren't Giants to be feared; it's just that the idea of seeing them as adversaries is foolish. They just are. If they're anywhere in your area, get below ground or to the safest place you can. That's all we need to know. Prediction technology is pretty remarkable, warnings generally pervasive. Chasing these things down won't change that these monsters take one house, one school, and leave the next, and there are limits to predicting the weather.

Get a weather radio and a plan. Err on the side of caution.

Thumbing one's nose at a tornado is like what we are doing on a larger, planetary/time scale-- at every disaster now and in the future. Like stuffing 7 billion+ into a storm-chasing unit...

(Best with your smoothie issue, greenish.)


I actually "get" the cool aspects of seeing tornados from a vehicle. I'm sure I'd enjoy it.

I grew up in northside Indianapolis and close calls with tornados were a part of life. Never did get a good look at one, though a big one jumped over our house & spared it, blew the windows outwards and woke me with spikes of pain in my ears. Now that I'm old, I wouldn't mind seeing one in person.

We pretty well know the max wind speeds and how low the air pressure drops... the race to put "probes" into the path is something I see as a classic macguffin - the Alfred Hitchcock term for an arbitrary plot device used to motivate a story without discussion of why it's important in the first place.

I've often been approached by grantseekers who want money to do something silly, as well as others who need help to do real science that should be done. It becomes pretty obvious which are which.

I agree with all your twister tips. Be careful out there!

The Tornado Tanks are certainly primarily for capturing video (and human drama) for entertainment...but as to their protective qualities I think this video speaks for itself: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/28/storm-chasers-inside-tornado-ka...

turns out I've been having berry smoothies with african hepatitis virus for the last month

That reminded me of one of the saddest stories that I've read.


William Beach loved cantaloupe -- so much so that starting in June last year he ate it almost every day. By August, the 87-year-old retired tractor mechanic from Mustang, Oklahoma, was complaining to his family that he was fatigued, with pain everywhere in his body.

On Sept. 1, 2011, Beach got out of bed in the middle of the night, put his clothes on and walked into the living room. His wife, Monette, found him collapsed on the floor in the morning. At the hospital, blood poured from his mouth and nose, splattering sheets, bed rails and physicians.

He died that night, a victim of Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that can lead to a blood infection and damage to the brain and spinal cord, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its November issue.

I don't know why it strikes such a chord for me, but I get choked when I think about this old guy who loved eating cantaloupe and it wound up killing him. It's just so sad.

The Weather Channel's "Tornado Chasers" SUV was demolished by a tornado three days ago. The vehicle was picked up and thrown 200 yards, but everyone inside walked away. I find that amazing. They had seatbelts and airbags, but still.

Curse government and their safety regulations! /sarc

That's pretty impressive. With the rollover standards of ten years ago that would have looked like a pancake with some human squish inside. I like that it says "Tornado Hunt 2013"...the hunter becomes the hunted.

The tornado tanks (like the "TIV") have airbag or hydraulic suspensions so that they can drop to the ground to keep pressure from building underneath to prevent getting them airborne, as well as Earth anchors to assist in that and keep them from sliding.

There is so much VERY CHEAP research that is not being done.

ELA -experimental lakes area - nigh 30 years of data being shelved because it costs $3 million. Etc., etc., etc.

As below - get a weather radio, get a plan. Enough of the adrenaline junkie TV shows for people who sit on their butts.

The 'shelving' of the Experimental Lakes Area looks increasingly less likely.



Yes, but what percentage of the previous researchers will unable to continue? And what percentage of the new Canadian researchers will be muzzled?

I still remember the thrill of reading about the ELA in "Science" while doing cyanide analysis on soon to be declared superfund sites back in the early 80's. Sorry to have such a white hot passion against Harper and his dwarve minions over the ELA.

"turns out I've been having berry smoothies with african hepatitis virus for the last month"


Illnesses were reported in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California. Hawaii health officials are also investigating three cases of hepatitis A in people who have eaten the frozen berry product.

"hoping my feeling rotten the last few days isn't due to that."

Symptoms include fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.

"Ah, globalization."

"In addition to the United States and Turkey, the agency said the Townsend Farms berries also included products from Argentina and Chile."

Those are some well traveled berries. Well, at least we know your urine and stool color stoutness. Looks like it's supposed to hit older folk pretty hard - hope you weather it all right.

"and then add on some researchy component to give it respectability." In person I prefer research of female sexuality.

The norwegians are different and go without concrete http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jarle_Andh%C3%B8y http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amundsen

I do agree that thats a big part of the attraction. And I do question how much any data collected really helps advance the science. There was probably some justification in earlier data-poor years, but I suspect the remote sensing tools have gotten so much better that the rationale for doing it should be revisited.

"Sorry but the experts are either chasing with multi million dollar doplar trucks"

Or, possibly, you aren't an expert on experts.

Tornado science loses a pioneer
Tim Samaras had been a tornado scientist for over 25 years. He was the founder of TWISTEX, the Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in Tornadoes Experiment, a 2011 field experiment designed to help learn more about tornadoes and increase lead time for warnings, which resulted in many peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations. One of Tim Samaras' most widely recognized contributions to tornado science is his placement of an aerodynamically-designed probe in the path of an EF-4 tornado near Manchester, South Dakota on June 24, 2003. The probe measured a world-record pressure fall of 100 mb over a 40 second period.


I stand corrected, so they were experts. Does the frog in boiling water analogy work better then.

"Does the frog in boiling water analogy work better then."

Depends on the kind of frog...

Humans Are Not Like Slowly Boiling Frogs...We Are Like Slowly Boiling Brainless Frogs


I previously mentioned something to the effect of stripping away the cruft of civilizational thinking, even if only as an exercise. (top down/bottom up thinking?)
Part of my point was that, while some might think/talk about simply trimming civilization here and there, for what has sometimes been called 'BAU Lite', (in hopes for a nice'n'easy slide down the other side), it might be good, maybe better, to consider things more from the other end.

Centralized, large-scale industrial production, infrastructure and distribution, etc. take lots of energy and seem relatively unholistic, undemocratic or ununified, etc., and yet they/their fruits are often taken out of their contexts, as though they're not a concern. But of course they are. (LED's, for example, as small as they are, still come in plastic housing and packaging, etc.)

What would it take to manufacture LEDs and solar cells in a BAU-lite or post industrial society? I know that silicon fabs are big investments - often exceeding 1 billion dollars and that the manufacture process is complex. According to Wikipedia there are only a 100 plus such fabs in the world (search for list of semiconductor fabrication plants). I do see a role for LEDs and solar cells while we still more or less have BAU, but think that such tech will be far beyond the capabilities of a post industrial society.

It's really impossible to gauge this sort of thing each time we premise the question on this completely squirrely phrase 'BAU' .. it carries a number of impressions and assumptions that are going to be different for each of us.. the conventions and systems that are 'Usual' at the moment would have been seen as unbelievably radical only a short time back.

Women with the Vote, A Black American President, A computer not just in most homes, but now in most pockets..

Sure, many of the key aspects of the economic and banking systems persist, while we know they have been in flux as well, and their relation to yesteryear now has key 'flaws' that would have been unthinkable in the 60's or the 80's.

The argument challenges 'Industrialized Society'.. but really, that is no monolith either.

There will be serious changes coming at us, but unfortunately, they'll only come in too slowly, or too quickly.. they'll be too small to matter, or others will be phenomenal and terrible.

Everything is going to change, and yet it'll be sameold sh!t also.

Pangaea is gone. It's a lovely memory, but the continents aren't coming back to that garden, and they aren't staying in this one either. Our many tools are now our lifeline, and whereever the Earth isn't just shaking it all apart, people will be preserving and rebuilding these tools in any way they can.. and the Books and the Memories and the Samples are all over the planet in untold numbers of habitats, not all of which are going to be tossed, I'd have to guess.. and those useful tools will be highly sought-after trade goods, as will the plans for how to make them.

It's really impossible to gauge this sort of thing each time we premise the question on this completely squirrely phrase 'BAU' .. it carries a number of impressions and assumptions that are going to be different for each of us.. the conventions and systems that are 'Usual' at the moment would have been seen as unbelievably radical only a short time back.

I wonder what Bucky Fuller would have thought of LED technology lighting up his Fly's Eye Dome?

June 3, 2013, New York City - On the occasion of the International Festival of Art of Toulouse, held in Toulouse from May 24- June 23rd 2013, the global technology innovation company Philips designs and showcases a spectacular lighting design of the Fly's Eye Dome, a monumental work of the visionary architect and American inventor Richard Buckminster Fuller.

At nightfall, with Philips LED solutions, this geodesic dome in the heart of the pink city in Port-Viguerie, changes, sets in motion and comes to life. Color contrasts and shade and light effects offer visitors a new interpretation of this visionary prototype of what Fuller described as "an Autonomous Dwelling Machine".


Paging HereinHalifax! Hey Paul that looks pretty cool don't you think?

Pretty cool, indeed, Fred. Thanks for sharing.

Earlier today, I was reviewing the pole lighting at an auto dealership, one of a dozen or so owned by the same firm.

As this particular dealership, there are eight-eight 1,000-watt metal halide heads for a total connected load of 96.8 kW. I'm recommending that we retrofit these fixtures with Philips 330-watt AllStarts and new pulse start retrofit kits, which would drop that down to 31.7 kW (we did this at another of their other dealerships with excellent results).

This one measure would save 285,226 kWh per annum, and retrofitting their 400-watt metal halide wall packs with 205-watt AllStarts would bump that up to just under 305,000 kWh. The simple payback (without any financial assistance from ENSC) is approximately four months. Lamp life doubles (24,000 hours versus 12,000) and the CRI increases from 65 to 90, so colours are reproduced more accurately. If we can replicate this across their entire portfolio, we can cut their annual CO2 emissions by about 3,000 tonnes. [And that's just their exterior lighting.]


BTW according to Phillips:

"This advanced lighting system is also very efficient since it consumes only 1,9 kW, which less than 20 cents per hour of operation."



.. so the question persists.. 'What level of manufacturing, of metallurgy, of precision engineering, of financing, of materials sourcing, of high-energy production can we (and MUST we) continue to support?'

It is a real and critical question.. and I don't think anyone can answer it.

Electronics for global communications aren't ALL that hard to continue, while they may be a large step down from Instant Satellite Video and Computer Comms in the more dire scenarios.. but making Shortwave Gear work is orders of magnitude easier than Computers and Satellites, and will help hold a lot of political, scientific and literacy options open for us, if we are otherwise greatly fractured by transp. disruptions or Wartime barriers, regional collapses, etc.. while I have to believe that such a fracturing would actually save individual areas, as the 'self-buoyant' ones would be somewhat freed from the subduction of the failing areas.

You can make PV cells with late 1800's early 1900's technology. Probably end up about 50-70% of the wattage per sqaure meter that you get now. The huge downside is the amount of wasted material to get one good panel will skyrocket and your efficeincies will take a huge hit. The amount of energy needed for production is going to go up as well. At least most of the waste would be able to be recycled. Thin film is probably off the table as well.

One thing that could/would hit an advantage inversion is Solar Thermal, which could gain a serious foothold as all energy costs rose, and Ultra-pure electronics fabrication also escalated for related reasons, while copper and glass, steam generation, etc would still be managable by much simpler and more locally supportable tools.. and the raw materials could be recycled from the mountains of overbuild that we have around us.

This doesn't answer the supportability of the overall financial, talent-pool and customerbase that the electronics industry is suspended from.. but I'd also be careful not to paint that dependency as an all or nothing requirement, either. There are already a couple generations of legacy toolsets that exist to support these technologies at present and recent levels. Parts of it can only survive with the energy-regime we've had around us, like the intensive R&D that has brought these generations of Processors in the way they have.. but it's not really clear how much of a backslide is baked into the cake, or how many options would still be 'good enough' to keep us going (ahem, NBAU .. 'not necessarily BAU') as we went into the war-footing of rebooting from a hard hit, if we found ourselves picking from tools of the 80's, 60's or 40's... etc.

Much of the cost of electronic fab plants has to do with constantly pushing the envelope. So a billion$ plus fab, goes from state of the art to run of the pack in a couple of years. But, once you reach steady state, that fab might stay state of the art for a decade or more. So the capital costs will b allocated over a much longer production run. I don't think this stuff is going to just go poof -rather the rate of improvement will just keep sliding (which woulda happened anyway, because physics only lets you push it so far).

To add to that, fabrication is not a 100% accurate process, sometimes you just have to pray to god that the batch gives satisfactory yields. Many a times we get bad batches and then we have to run the whole thing again.

Semiconductor Yield

As far as pushing the boundary goes, Intel is the pack leader in this regard and they are currently using 14 nanometers. Others are way behind, we are still using 22nm in our devices. But there is obviously a limit to how much you can go, which in this case is the Atomic radius.

Or batches, which can be sold as being usable in some sort of degraded mode -some cores turned off, slower clock rate etc. These can be sold at a steep discount, and may be perfectly acceptable for some applications.

Manufacturing things like LEDs and PV cells is quite different from ICs. It is really pretty amazing what you can do with transistors, diodes and wire wrapped around magnetic material. No, it won't keep an internet running, but it could be possible to preserve a thriving production of solid state equipment - certainly including radio and long distance communications.

A wise society would be ensuring that the capacity to produce (locally) such basic discrete components is preserved, but we are not so wise. Such parts are all made overseas.

Or decades as the race for the new changes to just trying to have something that does the job adequately.

Do you have any references for PVs made with late 1800's early 1900's tech?

Wikipedia is your friend;

The photovoltaic effect was first experimentally demonstrated by French physicist A. E. Becquerel. In 1839, at age 19, experimenting in his father's laboratory, he built the world's first photovoltaic cell. Willoughby Smith first described the "Effect of Light on Selenium during the passage of an Electric Current" in an article that was published in the 20 February 1873 issue of Nature. However, it was not until 1883 that the first solid state photovoltaic cell was built, by Charles Fritts, who coated the semiconductor selenium with an extremely thin layer of gold to form the junctions. The device was only around 1% efficient. In 1888 Russian physicist Aleksandr Stoletov built the first photoelectric cell based on the outer photoelectric effect discovered by Heinrich Hertz earlier in 1887.[2]


I heard some time ago, that, apparently, you can run email(/etc.?) over ham radio/shortwave or something, and that it's slow but works. Unsure it's part of or taps into the main internetwork, or if its its own though.
I once looked into (for internet access in remote locations that still had payphones) an old modem that physically hooked to the phone headset where I could dial my local internet account (long distance charges) but still get internet access with my non-wireless laptop in a world where wireless was still not too common.

You can also use pigeons. See RFC2549.


Reminds me of sneakernet.

Or what you do is take a nice sailing boat and deliver yourself, full of information, myths, stories and legends, to some place nice. ;)

Or what you do is take a nice sailing boat and deliver yourself, full of information, myths, stories and legends, to some place nice. ;)

Add a couple of cases of good whiskey and maybe some other tradable goods like spices and you should be quite popular just about anywhere you decide to drop anchor.

"Add a couple of cases of good whiskey..."

Except for Muslim countries...then you'll be very popular in their prisons.

A thousand curses!

Reminds me of sneakernet.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a sailboat carrying a person full of information, myths, stories and legends!

What would it take to manufacture LEDs and solar cells in a BAU-lite or post industrial society? ~ woodincreek

It would take thin strips of you.

Seriously, I doubt anyone knows because we've never had it, at least on a global scale. Sure we can guess...

As minimal as my new bike is, there is no bike shop in my small town, and within the space of only a year and a half, there are already signs in various places on it of impending wear and/or failure. Sure, I have some money and there's online ordering, etc., but that's just me and a simple bike and as things are now. But what if I had very little money and more expensive systems to repair or replace (and the global industrial infrastructure was continuing its decline...)? Many around the world are becoming unemployed, food costs are rising and there's increasing political instability, etc....

In short, sure solar panels and LED's, etc., seem cool on the surface, but how will things really unfold and work out and how might it relate to what is imagined/hoped? You might have a really nice system, but what happens when there's a house fire, forest fire or hurricane, etc.? And they become progressively next-to-impossible to replace? Ok, maybe not in our lifetimes, but then again, maybe.

That's why bottom-up thinking, (if that's the correct term), has been suggested-- of beginning from nothing and working from there.

The crew that was killed, was one of the most professional of all. these were not amateurs hoping to score some valuable video. I agree, the vast increase in amateurs -and storm-chasing tourism is a cause for concern, but these were bona-fide scientists.

Storm chasers killed in OK? Seems my goal to disconnect from the world-at-large this weekend was successful. No news, just glanced at TOD briefly, read some fiction, did chores - burned about 10 gals. of diesel reclaiming some pasture adjacent to where we cut hay last week; planning for goats...

I'm examining the line between staying informed and indulging in voyeurism, so I missed the big stories; prominent storm chasers die, big fire in California, etc. (what else did I miss?) Sometimes too much awareness weighs heavily on the psyche; must strike a balance.

One thing I did was to take a Google Earth snapshot of our place to help with planning. I discovered that their view of our house has been updated in remarkable, and scary, detail (speaking of voyeurism). I was able to determine within about an hour when the new view was taken due to conditions on the ground. Nowhere to hide these days, it seems. The older view was much lower resolution; one could see the structures but not really determine what they were. Now I can count the individual PV panels. I'm sure it'll help the county tax folks; save then time on the ground. (Nothing to hide here)

That ties in well with some things I've been considering lately. At 49 most of my life was spent without the Internet or certainly constant smartphone access to it. What was it like living in my head then? How have my thought patterns changed given constant instant access? I love the information I can access whenever I want, but what are the downsides?

I suspect my mind was not simply empty back then, during the time I would have to spend waiting to talk to someone or researching something, I wonder what has been lost and am thinking of turning away from connectivity for a time - or at least reducing it heavily. I am an information junkie now, so this will be quite a challenge.

This year's college freshmen don't remember a time before the internet. I've seen toddlers throw fits over having their iPads taken away. What will happen to that segment of the population when the magic screens stop working?

My daughter is one of those freshmen. I think that in many ways it is unhealthy, but then I think people are pretty adaptable. It will cause some problems for sure but some will be OK. As far as I can tell there will be a lot of people that cannot adapt to the coming changes for many reasons - this will only be one of them and maybe not the most difficult.

The magic screen is rather simple to use. I am engineer and could solve most technical problems with or without it.

Of course what kind of information is being accessed? BillyLatexFinger's Video Response to a Parody of Gangnam Style video? It depends on the individual too, but the irony may be that, if the internet does go away, it might be used toward its end by empowering people to live without it.

"In 1801, Joseph Marie Jacquard made an improvement to the textile loom by introducing a series of punched paper cards as a template which allowed his loom to weave intricate patterns automatically. The resulting Jacquard loom was an important step in the development of computers because the use of punched cards to define woven patterns can be viewed as an early, albeit limited, form of programmability." ~ Wikipedia

(You might notice what might be a loom behind Richard Heinberg in one of his You Tube videos.)

Interesting anecdote: The sports team I coach recently went through a battery of psych tests. It turns out the kid who lost her phone and won't be getting a new one any time soon is the most popular, but feels rejected by her peers. The three kids with the biggest fanciest phone things were forgotten/ignored by the group.

When we travel and are outside easy cellphone/internet access it is nice to see how they suddenly revert to interpersonal communication and games. They won't willingly sever connection to the net, but when forced to they get along just fine, and the more experience they have the less fuss is involved.

And I think it will be less of a deal if -everyone- is losing their connections all around. It is largely a peer thing.

It's definitely a time to keep a diverse portfolio, in social connections as much as anything else.

My thoughts about the depth and value of a young person's online social ties gets easily and unfortunately drawn into demeaning stereotypes, while the personalities I have engaged with here, almost exclusively as mere text-files, either through TOD or in Emails tells me a very different story about what can be achieved with this set of tools. We'd surely survive without it, but to have a living discussion with six continents and a number of Archipelagos to boot, and the perspectives that come with them has been a very rich a encouraging experience for me.

I'm still on foot, having engaged directly with a number of Willing New Yorkers face to face.. ( boy, the retail places on the upper east side are breaking my heart! Several key retailers from my old 'hood are going and gone. The Tramway Diner, where I sat as the towers burned and fell, the Multiplex, Le Sans Culottes, 'Holby Temp Control Valves', The Toy Store.. etc etc.. yikes! ) .. but I still have my real world.. and my virtual face time in this one.

Interesting point.

I was probably one of the last university students to finish my degree without owning a laptop (I did own a desktop).

I also remember in my last year at high school getting a cellphone which were still relatively new at the time.

The level of connection now is unbelievable. I think this lends some perspective: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/internet-year-technology-writer-paul-mi...

"I am so much more productive; I do in two or three hours what I would typically do in a full workday. I write more and in longer stretches and my mind is less cluttered. There is less to distract me while I am writing. There is no Internet to jump in and out of."

"He says he finds himself at the bookstore a lot, researching topics or buying books. In fact, part of this year's mission was to start to learn about other areas and read more.

He also uses the phone. While he has traded in his smartphone for a basic cellphone, he does make phone calls -- though he won't use text messages. He calls up sources to write articles rather than emailing them. He even calls people to get other people's numbers since he cannot use Google or the White Pages. "

"At 49 most of my life was spent without the Internet or certainly constant smartphone access to it. What was it like living in my head then?"

I used to subscribe to a stack of magazines, and spent a lot of time in libraries where even more information was available. And had my own copy of the CRC reference and such. All that is replaced by the internet.

As for the smart phone, still don't have one. Or an ordinary cell phone. I get interrupted enough as it is. I don't need a phone going off while making a low-clearance cut with the table saw. My fingers are more important than anything you have to say.

But even my millennial daughter seems to have no trouble disconnecting for a week at a time when we go camping. It's just a change of mental gears.

Ease of access is the main advantage with internet but the information is basically still the same.

Education take time you can't just grab a book about mechanics and start doing calculations of mechanical strength. There are however software which can do but without knowledge you will often end up trying to do the impossible.

At 49 most of my life was spent without the Internet

System III xenix on Z80, UseNet node from A news on 286 Xenix box.

What was it like living in my head then? How have my thought patterns changed given constant instant access?

Why not ask what media does?

When you watch TV, brain activity switches from the left to the right hemisphere. In fact, experiments conducted by researcher Herbert Krugman showed that while viewers are watching television, the right hemisphere is twice as active as the left, a neurological anomaly.1 The crossover from left to right releases a surge of the body’s natural opiates: endorphins, which include beta-endorphins and enkephalins. Endorphins are structurally identical to opium and its derivatives (morphine, codeine, heroin, etc.). Activities that release endorphins (also called opioid peptides) are usually habit-forming (we rarely call them addictive). These include cracking knuckles, strenuous exercise, and orgasm. External opiates act on the same receptor sites (opioid receptors) as endorphins, so there is little difference between the two.

In fact, strenuous exercise, which produces the nominal “runner's high”—a release of endorphins that flood the system, can be highly addictive, to the point where “addicts” who abruptly stop exercising experience opiate-withdrawal symptoms, namely migraine headaches. These migraines are caused by a dysfunction in opioid receptors, which are accustomed to the steady influx of endorphins.

Indeed, even casual television viewers experience such opiate-withdrawal symptoms if they stop watching TV for a prolonged period of time.

Want to know what the internet does to you?

Build yourself one of these:
hook yourself up and see for yourself.

I rarely watch videos on the web, and reading and interacting is a much different activity than the passive mode of watching TV. I have learned and grown a lot from what I have studied thanks to the internet. Still, it seems like there must be some impact from all the instant information and interaction we're exposed to now. Whatever our minds were occupied with then is different now - perhaps more time to consider fewer things in greater depth?

I sometimes wonder what we're doing to our Stone Age brains in the age of silicon.

There are some interesting data points suggesting that dementia might be linked to how hard the brain has to work. The parts of the brain active in our "default state" are the ones that fail in Alzheimer's. There's also a curious link between hearing impairment and dementia. Perhaps one gene controls both...but it's also possible that people who are constantly trying to understand words they can't hear "wear out their brains" faster.

The constant stimulation provided by TV and the Internet is addictive; our Stone Age brains don't understand that those pretty people on the screen are not our neighbors and their activities should not interest us. At least not to the point of selling your blood and spending the money meant to buy food for your kids on movie tickets. It probably is changing our brains, which were designed for a far slower pace. For good or ill, I'm not sure.

"...Stone Age brains in the age of silicon."

Stone Age brains in the age of Fancy Sand. :)

I sometimes wonder what we're doing to our Stone Age brains in the age of silicon.

According to Dr Lambros Malafouris of Cambridge University whose field of study is archaeology of mind and the anthropology of the brain artefact-interface (BAI), we are pretty much rewiring our brains.
His area of study covers the following:

– covering topics extending from early stone tools and the ‘exographic’ symbolic technologies of more recent periods, to the latest developments in neuro-prosthetics and cognitive enhancement. My research aims at developing ways to understand the long-term implications and causal efficacy of material culture in the functional architecture of the human brain and the evolution of human intelligence (especially with reference to human capacities related to self awareness, memory, theory of mind, agency and the body schema). For the last few years I have been working on the Material Engagement approach to the study of mind and the archaeology of extended and distributed cognition.

From what I have read both TV and accessing the internet can be addictive, however I'd certainly like a link to the studies suggesting that dementia might be linked to how hard the brain has to work. What little I've read on this topic seems to indicate the exact opposite.

Curious note:

The new study, available online in Annals of Neurology, still implicates amyloid beta in causing Alzheimer's dementia, but not necessarily in the form of plaques. Instead, smaller molecules of amyloid beta dissolved in the brain fluid appear more closely correlated with whether a person develops symptoms of dementia. Called amyloid beta "oligomers," they contain more than a single molecule of amyloid beta but not so many that they form a plaque.

Oligomers floating in brain fluid have long been suspected to have a role in Alzheimer's disease. But they are difficult to measure. Most methods only detect their presence or absence, or very large quantities.

It might be interesting to find out if how hard the brain has to work has any bearing or influence on the production of those amyloid beta oligomers. From what I have read I'd bet the answer is no.

Here's a couple of news links:



It's not proven yet - just an interesting idea. It does not necessarily conflict with the studies that suggest using your brain actively helps prevent Alzheimers.

If the problem is often-used pathways in the brain "wear out" over a lifetime, then learning new things might move your brain off those pathways. If the brain wears out in much-used areas, like a carpet in your house, learning a new language or new skills might be the equivalent of re-arranging the furniture in your living room, so the part that was under the sofa now takes some of the traffic.

Thanks Leanan, interesting, if day dreaming is correlated with developing Alzheimer's then I think I'm probably toast >;-)

Though I wish I had a link to this study I heard about on NPR maybe a couple of months ago.

They had studied a group of elderly nuns who were all quite young when admitted to the convent and at the time they had to submit an essay as to why they wanted to become nuns.

What they found was that the richness of the vocabulary used in the essays, which the authors of the study correlated with creativity and intelligence of the subjects, seemed to allow predicting with a very high degree of confidence which nuns would or would not later develop Alzheimer's.

They seemed to imply that the more creative and literate a person was, the more diverse connections were created in those individual brains and the less likely they were to develop dementia and suffer losses in their cognitive abilities later in life.

I my own case I tend to equate periods of daydreaming with highly creative mental states. So hopefully that might confer some immunity on me.

The obvious thing to do is to simply stop thinking, so as not to wear out the little grey cells!

Either that or pickle the little buggers with copious amounts of ethanol!

That's my plan in a nutshell ;-)

Kill the bad ones first, I have felt myself.

“There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.”
-- Sir Joshua Reynolds, artist, 1723 - 1792

Edison liked the quote and posted it around his factory.

I would think that living in a convent for lengthy periods would also entail activities such as meditation and/or prayer where the brain doesn't have to do much and gets to "chill out" for a while on a daily basis, or maybe multiple times daily.

The nun study:



It may be that this is simply inborn: some people have better language abilities than others, and this gives them a reserve that helps their brains age better.

More and more, it's looking to me like a lot of neurological diseases are present from birth or earlier, they just don't manifest until later in life.

It sounded odd at first, but more connections from learning is not incompatible with too much activity.

If you are doing the same shallow, limited things repeatedly day in and day out then that could wear bits of your brain out. That is far different to engaging your entire brain for short amounts of time (such as learning a musical instrument).

It's like the difference between repeatedly tapping your foot day in, day out and full body exercising 3 times a week.

I read a news article a few years ago on BBC's website that claimed people that were really bad automobile drivers when they were young have significantly less dementia in old age. Same sort of claim, that the alertness required for good driving overused some pathways in the brain.

I sometimes wonder what we're doing to our Stone Age brains in the age of silicon. ~ Leanan

Probably similar to what we're doing to the planet at large, with the idea that the brain echoes the world around it... Which makes me think how this might create distorted perception, thinking, decision-making and behavioral feedback loops (which is kind of frightening).

It is a well know fact that we are not made for the world we have made for our self. The reason that many people feel alienated in this worldis that we are aliens in our own world.

"burned about 10 gals. of diesel reclaiming some pasture adjacent to where we cut hay last week; planning for goats"

Dude...goats first! Goats first! Those things are like magical eating machines. They generally prefer brush and crap over pasture/grass...you probably just wasted 10 gallons of diesel cutting down everything they would have preferred to eat.

Myth. Goats won't eat anything you want them to eat, whatever it is.

They'll eat blackberry, multi-flora rose, thistle, buttercup and grapevine. That's good enough for me.

LOL - ours wouldn't touch any of that.

Some of our goatherd friends (BoerX) have had great success with their's keeping the more invasive plants controlled. They just had to cut back on the goat chow, and they only supplement some in winter, and lactating females. They run a few cows behind the goats and their pastures look great, as do the animals. The trick is to cut back the mature brambles and the goats will eat the new growth that follows (if you don't offer them goat candy at the same time).

Chief Brody: You're gonna need a bigger goat!

I've seen them eat old cement bags on a construction site.

My neighbor raises goats, uses them to clear brush regularly, just keep the tractors locked up. they also eat radiators, he lost one.

The way things grow around here it isn't an issue. I'm going to need a lot of goats,, may take a while.

Thanks for sharing, Ghung. Indeed, adorable little solar panels. Interestingly, one side of the house has rounded lines (material?) and the other side, squared. I also wonder if, where a hip roof pop-out seems to be, that might have been the original dwelling that was then built around.

With regard to your ostensible concerns for keeping a low profile, there's some discussion here and there about why America's citizenry is so quiet, relatively speaking, and some ideas seem have to do with the inculcation of fear. Maybe also the incursion of fat.

I wonder what direction Manning's trial's going to go, such as given Guantanamo's hunger strike; Occupy's spirit living on/metamorphosing; Assange's embassy heel-cooling; etc.; and general increasing anti-gov't sentiment. Flash-/Tipping-points can be hard to predict.

And certainly the hunt can become the hunted; the fearful, the feared... So, drill baby, drill, keep 'em satisfied/passified...

I think Manning will be recognized as a hero,.. someday. For now, he'll be the scapegoat to help assuage the tensions of an unmanagable time.

And as you say, (I think) his hunters already know that they are under that great hanging sword. It can make people pretty freakish to know that they're being hunted by gravity and the other undeniable forces.

I think so too about hero, which suggests that an attempt at scapegoating at this stage of the game may serve to increase, rather than decrease, pressures against government-- which it is probably keenly aware of. Many governments, predictably perhaps, seem to be coming under increasing and unprecedented pressures. It's a fascinating time to be an anarchist, too, which most everyone is of course if they believe in true freedom and democracy.

Maybe. But, for now, all they gotta do is assert that his leaks endangered some soldiers lives. That will turn our warrior-loving society thoroughly against him. The bad vibes can then be directed as lessor categories of truth revealers, such as Jeremy Hammond:
Truthdigger of the Week: Jeremy Hammond

A Chicago native, Hammond was programming video games by age 8. He won a first place science award for computer programs he designed while a student at Glenbard East High School. Hammond had a moral sense in addition to intelligence. He organized a walkout the day George Bush invaded Iraq and started a student newspaper opposed to the war.
In 2004 Hammond entered the University of Illinois in Chicago on a full scholarship. In the spring of his freshman year, he found a vulnerability in the computer department’s website while hacking it. He brought the flaw to the administration’s attention and was thanked by being banned from returning to the school for his sophomore year.

...Permanent suspension did not endear Hammond to authority...

...In December 2006 he was sentenced to two years in federal prison for breaking into the computer system of Protest Warrior, a group that aggressively targeted anti-war activists...

...Like other disclosures made by the whistle-blowing site, the records stand as proof of government and corporate deception and wrongdoing. In one, a Stratfor analyst claimed that up to 12 members of Pakistan’s intelligence agency knew of the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden before his capture...

...For helping to bring those revelations to the global public, Hammond faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison...

The 'squared' part of the house is earth bearmed 8.5 feet into the hill. The 'front, curved part is designed to catch the sun in winter, shade in summer; offset-framed walls, lots of glass, 9 foot ceilings, except the hip roof (great room) vaults to 16 feet, has 16 awning windows to let warm air out in summer(passive cooling). All works remarkably well. Front view (from the south) here, side view (from east) here.

Form follows function,, no neighbors close enough to impress.

What I'd like to know is just how much of the increase in damages is due to economic growth. Disasters are becoming more frequent, but there's also more and more human stuff in the world to get destroyed. The article mentions this fact, but doesn't offer any analysis of which factor may be dominant. Also, one would expect the dollar value of damages to increase just due to inflation, which is unmentioned. How do these three different growth rates compare?


Increase in damages is a foregone conclusion as every year there is more 'stuff' to destroy.

Isolated extreme weather events are not unusual and cannot yet be linked to climate change. The recent OK tornadoes are completely normal and expected.

It's when extreme events repeat continuously over long periods that they become unusual. We are talking years or even decades to get anything statistically conclusive.

Munich Re, the big reinsurance compan, controlled for this effect by comparing damage from earthquakes, vulcanoes etc. to weather events. True enough, earthquake damage is rising, but all the weather-related stuff more so. The difference can be attributed to climate change.

Interesting, thanks.

My info came from Twitter conversations with Philip Duncan, Head Weather Analyst for weatherwatch.co.nz and probably applied to the NZ situation more so than anywhere else. Although:

"Dr James Renwick told me the EF5 tornado in Okla last week wasn't climate change - one off events are just that, one off"

The fact that Donald Trump has a voice on energy issues in the MSM rather than someline like, say, Jeffrey Brown, is the 'unbelieveable scandal'...

Or, just another day in the decline of Empire, actually.

Dumbest wannabe billionaire on the planet.

I don't understand Trump. He's gone bankrupt several times, but never went broke.

I'm thinking cold hard physical assets, like real estate. Just a guess, mind you.

You remember the old line, "if you owe the bank a million dollars (that you can't pay) the bank owns you. But, if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank."
Basically he is a master at teh art of gambling (in realestate) with other peoples money.

Get green! - Opposition spokesman Mair proposes all gov't buildings be solar powered

Opposition spokesman on Industry, Commerce and Energy Gregory Mair is proposing that the administration make it mandatory for all government buildings to be fitted with solar photovoltaic systems.

"Every government building must have solar panels energising their lights, fans and other equipment. Not only will it bring savings in foreign exchange used by JPS to purchase fuel, but it will also reduce the electricity bills of Government and stimulate the growth of an industry of which Jamaica could become the Caribbean leader," Mair pointed out during his contribution, last week, to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament.

This should have been a headline last Friday! Instead the editors of this newspaper thought this politicians call to Reduce fuel prices for all Jamaicans that I posted on Saturday, was a bigger story.

Incidentally, this is an idea that some guy calling himself "Peak Oiler", floated in a comment to an EDITORIAL - PetroCaribe and Jamaica's energy future in this same newspaper published on March 11:

Jamaica ought to use the Petrocaribe funds to reduce it's dependence on imported fuels in as many areas as possible.The investment in the Wigton Wind Farm is an example of an excellent use of the funds, reducing our dependence on fuel imports while providing very good return on investment. With the current trajectory of the prices for solar PV systems, the fund could be used to invest in grid tied, solar PV systems to significantly reduce the electricity bill for government offices and institutions.

It is my sincere hope that this type of comment in the pages of newspapers could plant ideas in the minds of people that can carry the debate forward and possibly produce some tangible effects. Whether or not this particular comment was the genesis of this idea is up for question but, I'm sure "Peak Oiler" would be flattered if it was!

edit: Despite having three links, this post appeared right away. Has something changed? Is the spam filter "learning" or is it something else? Just curious.

Alan from the islands

Sometimes the spam filter allows my posts with links and other times it ques them for moderation. I do not see a pattern.

Yes. Don't assume all comments with links will be blocked. Some are, some aren't. And some comments with no links are also blocked.

I've had people get ticked off at me assuming I did not approve their comment because they see other comments with links, and assume I was around to approve them.

Not so. Some comments with links get through the spam filter.

And speaking of spam... We're getting hammered again. 16 spam comments appeared in this Drumbeat in the first few minutes. There are now more than 60 spam comments. They are all the same, so I'd guess it's one very busy person. Dozens of different accounts, all created around 30 weeks ago, and all very long comments. What a pain.

Maybe the spammers are commissioned by the big oil companys, trying to stop the truth from being known.

It seems odd that they continue, in spite of nothing to show for their efforts.

Its probably cost/benefit, the cost of having an automated bot send one more spam comment to a site -practically zero. The chance it might get through and some fool actually buy something "priceless".

Yes, Turnbull, I agree that the amount of continuing spam Leanan describes suggests it is an attempt to wreck this site. The attack continues because TOD responded with a harsh spam filter that is chasing regular posters away making the attack successful. If the spam filter had a list of allowed posters filled with the names of regular posters, the exodus of members would not have happened.

I've got a question for discussion that doesn't have much to do with any of the Drumbeat articles, but I think it's interesting and many TOD posters will be able to shed some light on the subject.

What do you suppose is the Earth's carrying capacity for humans, assuming little or no input by fossil fuel-derived fertilizers and pesticides, mineral phosphates, or anything else in limited supply? Suppose that any modern permaculture techniques that have been developed are used to keep crop yields as high as possible, while not depleting or eroding the soil.

I keep seeing claims that the carrying capacity is on the order of 1 billion (if not less) and that we will inevitably see a population collapse (either fast or slow) towards a number in that ballpark. But what are the reasons to believe that? It seems that some techniques in permaculture can actually produce crop yields not far from the yields produced by industrial agriculture, while also not causing soil depletion or requiring non-renewable resources. Limited supplies of fresh water in many areas and climate change may pose big problems, as will food distribution problems, but I doubt that they alone could cause an 80+% population crash. Is there something I'm missing?

You might start by Googling these topics:

Ecosystem. Thermodynamics. Aiko Huckauf

Global Footprint Network :: HOME - Ecological Footprint - Ecological ...

Paul Chefurka thermodynamic footprint

Then form your own conclusions.

Back in 1997, there was an article in Scientific American called "Global Population and the Nitrogen Cycle."

You can read it here:

Part 1

Part 2

From the article Leanan cited:

The combination of recycling human and animal wastes along with planting green manures can, in principle, provide annually up to around 200 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare of arable land. The resulting 200 to 250 kilograms of plant protein that can be produced in this way sets the theoretical limit on population density: a hectare of farmland in places with good soil, adequate moisture and a mild climate that allows continuous cultivation throughout the year should be able to support as many as 15 people. In practice, however, the population densities for nations dependent on organic farming were invariably much lower. China’s average was between five and six people per hectare of arable area during the early part of this century.

From Wikipedia, total arable land in the world is 1,387 Mha.

So total sustainable population should be 7 billion at 5 people/hectare.

This seems optimistic. Maybe it ignores weather patterns and the like.

Arable land is basically cropland. Then you get 3,521 of permanent pasture, orchards etc, total 4,908 Mha of agricultural land.

China is currently at about 11 people/hectare of cultivable land.

Fun fact from Part 2 that I was unaware of:

The increasing use of nitrogen fertilizers has also sent more nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. Concentrations of this gas, generated by the action of bacteria on nitrates in the soil, are still relatively low, but [snip] in the troposphere, nitrous oxide promotes excessive greenhouse warming. The atmospheric lifetime of nitrous oxide is longer than a century, and every one of its molecules absorbs roughly 200 times more outgoing radiation than does a single carbon dioxide molecule.

One indication might be obtained from perusing the list of intentional communities at http://directory.ic.org/iclist/
For the most part these people express a desire for self-sufficiency. Filter for established communities and look at the number of people, size of land, and percentage of food produced on-site.

Typical numbers seem to be 10-50% of food produced on-site, the larger number when there are a couple of hectares per person. So a quick estimate for sustainable population might be 4,908 Mha of world agricultural land divided by 5 or around 1 billion people...

That is a good approximation in some ways. I fear that it would assume that the land has been set up and is being used systematically. Unfortunately, what we are doing is haphazard, and the actual sustainable population may be a good bit lower, at least on the onset of the decline.

Also, there is the St. Matthews Island experience. It is not unreasonable to expect the rebound from excess population to drop as far below the sustainable level as the earlier increase went above. Perhaps, in some places (we can only hope not all) the population will drop to zero.

Not pleasant thoughts. Only thing that makes them likely is the total lack of thought given them. It is just too important for some to make lots of money, gain lots of power, have lots of women, whatever...

Strange species, homo sapiens sapiens. Wonder if they'll be missed.


There is a very real possibility that the "carrying capacity" decreases the longer we carry on with BAU. By consuming more none renewable resources and creating more pollution the number will probably decrease!!

Exactly DoubleD

"Each year, 12 million hectares of land, where 20 million tonnes of grain could have been grown, are lost to land degradation. In the past 40 years, 30 percent of the planet’s arable (food-producing) land has become unproductive due to erosion. Unless this trend is reversed soon, feeding the world’s growing population will be impossible."


Goes to show just how productive big ag actually is.

Limited supplies of fresh water in many areas and climate change may pose big problems, as will food distribution problems, but I doubt that they alone could cause an 80+% population crash. Is there something I'm missing?

You are missing the decline of petroleum availability. When farmers have to go back to producing all their own energy (and it will NOT be oats and hay for horses, it will be oil seed and sugar producing crops to make their own biofuels on the farm) it will take approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of their present crop land to produce all their own energy to power their tractors, combines, trucks, heat their houses and barns, etc... Technology is not going to just disappear.
So, there is at least a 50% drop in crop availability to feed people. The financially well off will still eat, but the bottom section of society will likely starve to death or die in food (lack of) riots.

You are missing the decline of petroleum availability.

In the US of A the "common" %age quoted amount of oil used by ag is 2% to 5%.

Would the military give up its jet fighters to instead give that oil to keep Big Ag powered up?

I don't think we can make a decent guess by assuming the carrying capacity would be similar to the preindustrial population. History/culture/technology has hysteresis. And this contains terms of both signs. We have the benefits (liabilities) of intensive plant breeding. I don't think we are going to lose our non biological energy slaves either -i.e. we should still be able to harness wind/solar/water much more efficiently then we did three hundred years ago. But, we also have to deal with depleted soils, and probably climate chaos. It could go either way, but my money is on greater carrying capacity than say 1710!

When farmers have to go back to producing all their own energy (and it will NOT be oats and hay for horses, it will be oil seed and sugar producing crops to make their own biofuels on the farm) it will take approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of their present crop land to produce all their own energy to power their tractors, combines, trucks, heat their houses and barns, etc.

On-farm activities require approximately 2%[1] of US energy use, and a slightly lower percentage of oil use. In rough terms, US farms consume 100Mbbl/yr.

US farms produce about 300Mbbl/yr[2] of ethanol, or about 200M boe.

Hence, directly replacing farm oil use with ethanol would require 50% of the ethanol crop; however, ethanol uses about 40% of the corn crop, which in turn is less than half of US agricultural output, suggesting that farms could replace their oil consumption using <10% of their output.

(Additional energy is required for fertilizer, heating, irrigation, and such, but that's more efficiently provided by electricity than ethanol.)

[1] http://www.bigpictureagriculture.com/2013/05/usdas-report-energy-use-agr...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel_in_the_United_States

Because corn ethanol production is heavily dependent on natural gas production, it fails to free the farmer from the use of fossil fuel.

The crops would still have to be transported to market which might be provided by electric rail to every large farm.

Distillation only depends so heavily on N Gas because they haven't bothered to employ Solar to help with the job yet.

Even electric rail gridded broadly through the major farming areas would go far towards reining in the amount of Tranps fuel is needed.

Like an ethanol refinery at the base of a solar power tower. Since the refinery will have to be located among the corn fields, you have to subtract the area used by the array of mirrors from available agricultural land. It ought to be more efficient than pasture for draft animals.

Or maybe it will be wind, in Iowa anyway.

Can they grow the tractors too? Without the "bottom section of society" and a functioning industrial economy, there are no tractors.

Actually, in places where there isn't enough food, there are no oxen or horses, either. Even animal labour is a luxury that allows farmers to have much better lives at the cost of food that could otherwise go to people.

50% of the population isn't just going to die quietly.

How quietly people die depends in part on how old they are. The population is rapidly aging.

Mankind had enough time to develop and grow (by numbers) before, lets say, AD1800. That makes 1 billion people before the industrial revolution. Take that as the natural carrying capacity. Simple assumption is that every extra man/woman since than, was the product of the industrial revolution and thus of fossil fuels (FF). Long enough after the FF will have gone, when the modern era renewables like PV, big scale hydro etc have faded away, we will turn back to that level. Minus the reduction of the carrying capacity due to erosion, pollution, degradation of biodiversity... Plus the increase of the carrying capacity due to permanently obtained knowhow about some basic sanitation, hygiene, pasteurisation, maybe some antibiotics, ... 1 billion is a good guess, I think.

"Fertilizer generated from ammonia produced by the Haber process is estimated to be responsible for sustaining one-third of the Earth's population.[6] It is estimated that half of the protein within human beings is made of nitrogen that was originally fixed by this process; the remainder was produced by nitrogen fixing bacteria and archaea.[7]"

From the Wiki entry for "Haber_process". It also says that 3-5% of the natural gas production is used to fix nitrogen by that process.

Gas is a handy way to drive the Haber-Bosch process, but all you really need is nitrogen (air) and water and lots of electricity.

Less than 1 billion people because that was the population around the start of the industrial revolution.

It isn't so simple as that. A lot of technology which we have is effectively 'free' given the fact that they are cheap to deploy and the development costs have already been paid.

But the natural systems and resources that underpin all of it are more damaged, or more damaged in more places. The soils and forests of Europe were in bad shape at the discovery of North America, and now NA is damaged too.

One of the things I learned from the excavations of the Roman battle site near Kalkriese in Northern Germany is that two meters of topsoil have been added in the region since Roman times. This was cause by the "Esch" farming, which I think was called asc in Old English. It involved harvesting peat from swamps and spreading it on fields.

The current system is based on the consumption of stored resources, such as fossil fuels, fossil aquifers, deposits of raw materials and plentiful fish. Because there are not enough renewable trees to do it all, humans have switched to many other materials, such as vehicles made from steel and plastic instead of wooden wagons, and buildings with steel beams, concrete floors and gypsum interior walls instead of wood. These types of substitutions have allowed human population to expand far beyond the long term carrying capacity of Earth.

How long will economic deposits of the ingredients of cement last?

How long will it be economic to transport high density materials such as concrete and steel over large distances?

Will the economic deposits of bauxite outlast trees? Maybe, because anthropic pollution might kill the trees before people can extract all the bauxite.

Before the industrial revolution, the human population was predominately surviving on renewable resources and thus the population at that time is likely the level for the long term carrying capacity.

Recently I was reading about someone famous who came up with the theory of omnicide, the wish of all to cease to exist. Pretty bleak stuff.

You know, it isn't worth being bothered by gloomy thoughts.

How many will be left or how many will still be here.....

it is unknown and the time frame is also unknown, really.

I can recall being a bored frustrated 10year old, and wanting the sun to blow up! For me these were thoughts that passed with my youth. But, I wonder how many have them as adults.

We all construct a copy of what we believe the Universe to be in our own minds. If you destroy that copy, effectively from your perspective the Universe is destroyed.

"In Japan, electric vehicles seem to have run out of juice"


Who would have thunk. From a distance, Japan looks like the ideal market for EV's. Short Range commute, high pop density, lacking in oil reserves, a well maintained grid.

I have been thinking about the problem of finding charging stations, is it possible to have large mobile trucks which carry a lot of batteries being used as portable charging units. They can go from place to place and provide services till the infrastructure comes up. Just a random idea.

Charging-station payment convenience is key to EV adoption

The proverbial velvet rope may do wonders for trendy nightclubs, but it's apparently hurting the plug-in vehicle industry. While the lack of available public charging stations is largely viewed as a hurdle to broader EV adoption, research firm Frost & Sullivan says membership-based payment systems a big hindrance.

While the membership model, in which drivers are required to "join" a network to use a particular type of charging station, is great for the folks who build and deploy the stations, it's inconvenient for people who simply want to pull in and "fill up" just as they do at gas stations.

One solution is the broadened use of so-called near field communication (NFC), which would allow drivers to simply use their smartphones to get their payment sources authenticated. Frost & Sullivan calls NFC a "game changer" for plug-in adoption.

While reading this article it dawned on me that this subscription model for charging stations is really dumb from the perspective of EV drivers. With the limited roll out of charging stations, it's not very reassuring to know that you'll need to be a member of a particular charging network to be able to use their chargers. What happens if you're out of juice and the only available charger is on a network you are not a member of? Some smart entrepreneur needs to come up with a membership that gives their subscribers access to all networks or better yet, why don't charging points just switch to accepting major credit/debit cards like gas pumps do?

Alan from the islands

it's inconvenient for people who simply want to pull in and "fill up" just as they do at gas stations.

How about the little detail of the time involved? Gas stations are often coupled with convenience stores where people may go in for coffee or other snacks, but still people are not expecting to spend much time there. What is the model for charging an EV? Will people sit in the cars, or should there be some waiting area? What if the weather is unpleasant - hot or cold or raining or snowing?

Don't you think it likely that EV recharge will be done overnight, and the range of an EV will be the effective one day trip?

Or, there will be a two hr. recharge, whilst you enjoy lunch and peruse the local amenities, thus doubling one day trip distance.


I personally think it likely that EVs will never be a significant factor at all, but in regard to your specific question - take your pick. Neither one looks much like filling up an ICE automobile at the local gas station. Therefore at a minimum the business model will need to be different too.

It is still all about that pesky Time term in the equation for electrical energy that just won't seem to go away. And that in turn is due to the basic difference that with a fossil fuel powered vehicle the energy is already stored in the physical media, all you need to do is move it (which is easy to do since it also happens to be a very portable form), while with electric energy you must transfer the energy itself into the media which takes time. It's the same issue that has been a problem with the EV since the dawn of the automobile.

Remember, it took millennia for the oil to form... basically to charge the fuel.


Yup - that time has already been invested. Then we burn it, release the energy, convert it to mechanical energy and then to electrical energy, transmit it through wires to the EV, and must put it back into some form of portable media.

How long? It depends.

The older Leafs have 3.3 kW chargers in them. To re-charge takes about 8 hours on an L2 charge station. The "standard commercial charge station installed at public parking spots, etc. are L2. Charge Point and Blink are the two big commercial vendors. This will get you about 80 miles.

The current Leaf has a 6.6 kW charger in it, so the L2 charge time is about 4 hours. This will get you about 80 miles of travel.

As you can see, these are very long times and don't work well if one is in the "gas station" mentality. Frankly, I don't see much future for for-profit L2 charging businesses.

To improve charging speeds, Leafs also have DC fast charging capacity. There are some DC fast chargers around in urban areas that can charge the battery to 80% in 30 minutes. Currently, these are only in a few areas along main corridors, though, as the chargers require large electrical services - they draw over 40 kW of power. DCFC will get you about 60 miles of travel in a half-hour.

In reality, EV's still are best used for nightly "at-home" charging, perhaps supplemented by "at work" charging. In Japan, with such a dense population base, home recharging may be difficult.

One needs to forget the "gas station" paradigm for EV's. Instead, think the "farm/ranch" paradigm. Most farms/ranches have big gas tanks that a delivery service keeps filled. The farmers/ranchers re-fill both their equipment and their personal vehicles at home. How often do they use a gas station? Rarely, usually only when on long trips a few times a year. I know. I lived on a rural ranch for 14 years.

As Elon Musk is learning from his Tesla user base, a 200-mile battery combined with a DC super-fast-charging network along the main highways for long trips (re-charge time 200 miles charge in 1 hour) makes the concept more viable. Think "truck stop" paradigm, which is where I believe a lot of the future DC fast charge stations will end up. Drive 200 miles, stop for lunch/recharge, then finish your next leg for a 400-mile day.

Right now, Tesla's Supercharger system is proprietary to Teslas only, but this game is still very, very young.

The Chevy Volt gets around the battery range/capacity issue and relative lack of DC fast charging network by using nightly "farm/ranch" charging paradigm for local driving and sticking with the "gas station" paradigm for long-distance trips. Their new all-electric Spark EV will have a DC fast-charging option.

For what it's worth, I've become an EV believer. I bought a Volt 8 months ago and it works as advertised. Nightly recharging is way easier than filling up with gas every week, not to mention cheaper. It is a dream to drive. It changes how you think of transportation and what you think of a car. Elon's vision is right on the money - with a 200-mile battery and DC chargers in very community, most of us really could go anywhere without a danged gas engine.

We have to change something. There is so much dialog here in the forum about "if only the US would become more urban, more like Europe". But we aren't. Our towns, our roads, our rails, our very culture, isn't set up that way. Ours is a mobile culture, based on personal vehicles. Yes, we do need to pay attention to Europe and Asia as models, but it will take a lot of time and huge financial/cultural pressures to morph into something else. In the mean time, we need to start a transition from oil-based transportation. We must adapt our current transportation systems as much as possible (rail/auto) to our universal flexible energy currency - electricity. Our electrical infrastructure, as fragile as it is, is still the easiest-to-change element of the puzzle.

I always loved how Rockman focused on the "capex" in the oil patch. Follow the capex and understand the business. Watching shale gas capex returns and the latest trends on Bakken capex, in my mind and in some real capex-holders, there are a lot better investments than another over-priced soon-to-be empty hole in the ground. The IEA/Maugeri/Yergin fables will be seen for what they are all too soon and the capex flow will shift accordingly. With my bike and my Volt, I think I've got my transportation solution in-place. I just need a PV system to inflation-proof future fuel-costs. Ghung thinks the same with his home power situation. How about you? where is your capex flowing?

Don't forget that there are other technologies besides lithium catching up fast in this game. One of these is flow batteries particularly Vanadium redox, the energy density of vanadium redox has now increased to approx 33% of lithium and the reactor tech has improved immeasurably over the last decade. Lithium batteries have an energy density of 100whrs per litre several universities are now working on new chemistries to increase the energy density of vanadium to at least 80whrs per litre. But the density is sufficient for buses or delivery vans at present.

Van redox has the advantage that the vehicle can be recharged at home or the depleted electroylte can be exchanged for charged electroylte within a few minutes at a modified gas pump.

"Thanks to our patented Electric Vehicle Refuelling System (EVRS), an electric vehicle powered by an ENIFY vanadium redox battery can be rapidly recharged by removing the spent electrolyte and simultaneously replacing it with charged electrolyte. It’s just like refilling a diesel vehicle, except that a four-way sealed nozzle system is used to extract spent electrolyte and introduce fully charged electrolyte at the same time. There are some differences compared to diesel – the fuel is not flammable or hazardous to handle, it is not burned and does not give off harmful emissions, and it is continuously reusable once it has been recharged."

3w's dot poweringnow dot com/applications/electric-vehicles

Expect to see this tech making an appearance for cars within 5 years

There may be a successor to lithium for improved battery energy density, but it's likely that complex, relatively proprietary recharging systems such as EVRS electrolyte-replacing systems will run into the same logistical issues as Better Place, which went never could find a viable business model in the rapidly-changing EV battery technology world. Flexibility, simplicity, and adaptability will probably govern the electric energy storage future. That probably means the battery in each EV will remain fixed as-installed at the factory and all you pump in are electrons. Wires, electronics, and electrons are easier to adapt to both legacy EV's and whatever GM, Tesla, Nissan, Toyota, BMW, etc. decide is next "winning" EV energy storage technology than locking in on a single proprietary electrolyte chemistry.

The Volt is not an EV. For the money you invested in it you did not have to compromise on the utility of it, and the issue of fast charging is moot.

I guess the part I find curious is that while you've become a believer in EVs you put your money into a series hybrid.

As to where my capex is going - I have very limited funds to spend on capex. Our newest car is 7 years old and was far less expensive than what these things cost. What spare money we have goes toward keeping the home up and raising the kids. I have no intention of taking on debt to buy another car.

That's right, the fast charging and utility compromises are moot - which is why the Volt is unique, it is is an EV that morphs into a series/parallel hybrid when the battery is depleted. In the 8 months I've had it, I've driven it 7000 miles - 4500 miles in all-electric mode (the 150 HP electric motor drives it up to 102 mph in all-electric mode.) and 2500 miles in hybrid mode, using about 70 gallons total in the 7000 miles. So what is it? A 100-mpg series hybrid? An electric vehicle that gets 35 mpg in hybrid mode? GM calls it an extended-range electric vehicle.

Nonetheless, the Volt is not the goal, but it is on the path. Some have compared it to an EV with training wheels. Pure EV's, with the infrastructure to support them, are the goal. Once I lived with my Volt a while and realized that "home charging" really solves about 80% of the re-charging issue, even with only 40 miles range, I saw how by just increasing battery capacity to 200 miles and adding fast charging capacity scattered about the nation would resolve more like 99% of the recharging issue. With those features, I and most of America could let go of the backup engine generator and go pure EV.

It changed my perspective. When I first started hanging out on TOD, I was a PO doomer. I've been a doomer since the Carter years, living off-grid in my back-to-the-land cabin for 14 years. I still see all the depressing numbers. Driving a Volt daily, though it actually gives me hope. We actually can engineer working solutions that make really major improvements in oil consumption reduction during the transition. Can we do enough, fast enough? I don't know, but right now, you can buy a great car that goes anywhere without that infrastructure and takes 70 gallons in 7,000 miles to do it. Just two more known steps and that could be zero gallons in 7000 miles.

I don't think the Volt is so unique in terms of plugin capability. There are now several entrants in the plugin car market, with all-electric ranges from about 10-40 miles. And hybrid only mode mileage can be an important factor too (the Volt isn't so good at that). But, which vehicle is best depends upon the driver. I recommend doing the math with your best guess of your distribution of drive ranges, before buying.

"And hybrid only mode mileage can be an important factor too (the Volt isn't so good at that)."

This is something that's driven me bonkers since Volt Day 1. GM obviously made a decision external to technical reasons to drop an engine in that was completely absurd for what it needed to do...twice the power, twice the number of pistons it should have had, and the excess weight, volumetric efficiency and frictional losses that come along with that.

I suppose I might be falling into "Tiny Details Exaggeration Syndrome." Though if they'd done it (the way I think is) right - they wouldn't have had much if any criticism over the difference in on-engine fuel economy between it and the Prius. It would have been hands down the overall winner with no talk of "crossover mileage" after which a standard Prius does better. The higher the fuel economy the less bite it takes out of the average number as well. If 1,000 out of 11,000 miles is on the engine for the 32mpg volt that is about "350mpg" but for one getting 45mpg it is "500mpg"...TDES, but 500 looks better and the more the gas engine is run the more difference it makes.

In regards to your "Get a tow" post below...if the car has flubbed out only a few miles from a charge point and towing is unsafe ("redneck" towing usually is) an alternative, since a lot of these vehicles seem to be offering full-power outlets is to just charge one car from another...at max 1,500 Watts, that's going to be a slow proposition...but the point is to just limp to somewhere with an outlet. In the land where gasoline still exists you could just get a buddy to swing by and drop off a generator and put a few kaywattz in to accomplish the same. A 1,000 Watt generator would give you about 3mph.

To GM the Volt is a boutique vehicle - like the many other specialty cars and trucks they sell to boost their image, and people buy to boost theirs. It has to have the kind of performance that people expect in an image machine. It's already at a disadvantage without a 250hp V6.

I feel like referencing one of GM's past looks into plug in hybrids. It had lead acid batteries used for accelerating from rest and for town driving, it had a small motor for freeway driving and it had an on-board charger that works off 115 volts AC. It's a fascinating idea, and I would be interested to know how much this concept could be improved using modern technologies.


Or Google "...and a Commuter Car with Hybrid Drive"

The Volt is a series hybrid. Yes, you can charge the battery offline, and they allow the engine to direct drive at high speeds (which is technically a parallel hybrid), but this mode does not usually operate.

For me the Volt is not a goal nor on the path to anywhere I find appealing, and no automobile could be.

right now, you can buy a great car that goes anywhere without that infrastructure

No, YOU can buy a great car, thanks to incentives from the government (partially funded by my taxes) and by GM's willingness to sell it a low or no profit. And you can drive it on infrastructure massively funded by taxes as well. I, however, cannot afford/rationalize a new car of any type.

I am not alone in that either. New car sales are presently being inflated in another financial bubble, bought by people foolish enough to take on debt in the belief there is a recovery about to happen. The things they are buying are the big trucks and high profit vehicles that allow GM to sell the Volt at the price they do.

IF EVs and hybrids are going to have an impact they must displace a significant portion of the ICE automobiles. At higher volumes the government incentives won't be viable and corporations will need to sell them at a profit, so these vehicles will have to stand on their own at real prices. At the same time the auto sales bubble is popping and the economy is tanking, fewer people will find the much less favorable price to performance/utility ratio of these vehicles attractive.

At higher volumes the government incentives won't be viable and corporations will need to sell them at a profit, so these vehicles will have to stand on their own at real prices. At the same time the auto sales bubble is popping and the economy is tanking, fewer people will find the much less favorable price to performance/utility ratio of these vehicles attractive.

I actually wish the incentives would come off of the cars and go towards building a fast-charge highway network and some incentives for employers to put in low-current charging in the parking lots. If the public charge network is there - the cars will be bought. I believe, from all of the numbers that I've seen, that Nissan could do a Leaf-sized vehicle with a 100 mile range and sell it for <$35,000 unsubsidized. I also believe a VW XL1 sized vehicle could be built with a 150 mile range for the same <$35,000. The tech used in the Volt will migrate to more vehicles and the incremental cost will drop. If they introduce an EREV small pickup and courier van they'll have their doors beaten down by people trying to buy them.

There is a new bubble it'll be interesting to see how long it lasts this time - unfortunately people are once again loading up on SUVs and Trucks.

... EREV small pickup....

I am waiting for one of those with at least a 6 foot long bed, 1500 pound load and a king cab.

There is a much faster very low-tech fast charge available to all electric vehicles with regenerative braking. Just pull it with a truck, and engage the braking system. My Prius gains a goodly fraction of a KWhour in a couple of minutes of downhill. So an emergency battery recharge could be a tow! Or rather than use a direct electric recharge -which requires expensive equipment on both the station and the vehicle, run the vehicle on a set of powered rollers, and simulate regenerative downhill braking....

... then finish your next leg for a 400-mile day.

For many years I put on 800+ miles per day in my old diesel car. Total 650,000 miles when the odometer failed, and drove 2 more years after that - total of 10 years!

No way an EV would have worked for that.


1. Stop driving 800 miles a day.
2. ???
3. Profit!

Perhaps not.

Reportedly Tesla's Supercharger station technology is already being updated to provide 3 hours of driving time in just 20 minutes of charging.

Their station build-out schedule is:

Today – 8 stations
Summer 2013 – 27 stations
Fall 2013 – Most metropolitan areas
Winter 2013 – Coast-to-coast travel
2014 – 80% of the US and Canada
2015 – 98% of the US and Canada

See the map at teslamotors(dot)com/supercharger

So, 800 miles of travel will require one hour of rest stops for charging presumably. Hardly hardship, especially considering there would be no fuel costs, so that saves you $80. a day. That'd pay for the car and lunch too wouldn't it?

I love how Musk is systematically demolishing every objection to electric cars. Musk hasn't announced a specific release date yet for a mass market Tesla, three years-ish he says, but when Musk brings a $25k to $30k electric car into a market with coast-to-coast free charging stations.... look out! His biggest challenge at that point will be ramping factory output quickly enough to keep up with demand.

I've mentioned before that I'd prefer to live in a civilization that was not built around cars. I think we will get there. Vélib, Boris bikes, Citi bikes all point to an urban future with less cars (or shared ones, which still means fewer). In the mean time, I see electric cars as a viable means of transition. Widespread adoption of cars with 100 mile ranges could bring an ancillary benefit of increased support for passenger rail. Once there is a viable intercity and interstate passenger rail network, people might decide that they only need one car. Then they might notice that if they got electric bikes, they wouldn't need a car at all. Then they might notice, after a while, that they don't even need the motor, as they feel great out in the world moving about under their own power. It feels good! It puts a smile on the face and a song in the heart! Listen to those birds! Look at those flowers! Somewhere along the line they've also noticed that those people in the cars, they aren't smiling. In fact, they seem really grumpy; angry even.

I wouldn't say I'm optimistic. My doom and gloom meter is often pegged at full Darwinian, but if the fossil fuel companies don't believe there are viable alternatives to their product, then why the relentless and intensive anti-renewables, anti-electric propaganda campaigns? It sure looks like we are at the beginning of an energy transformation to me: solar power at grid parity in some markets, electric car programs underway by every single major manufacturer - many already on the market. A major tipping point appears to be on the near horizon.

The up front capital cost may be prohibitive right now, but the total cost of ownership for a solar powered electric car is already less than a fossil fuel ICE car over it's lifetime. EV leases are cheap. Anybody with good credit and a job can opt in now.

At what point does Mr. Smith stop ranting about the non-viability of electric vehicles long enough to notice that his neighbor Mr. Jones hasn't gone to a gas station in five years, leaves home every morning with a hundred miles or more in the 'tank', and has a solar PV roof that powers everything, including his air-conditioner which is set to 68 degrees all summer long. They just sit there, those panels, day after day, producing power. What's it been now, thirty years?

Isn't this what an energy revolution would look like in the beginning? Wouldn't it look just like this?

Mr. Smith will take his old ways to the grave.

Come now - self transportation makes a difference.

Look at the effect of effective bicycles on its period. And how about trains? (the one eyed cyclops said that some worried about the health of humans going over 20 MPH)

The road system going "POOF!" due to a lack of funding for raw materials (due to energy/money based on a lack of almost free energy) seems to be the limiting factor.

At what point does Mr. Jones figure out why simply switching energy sources for the automobile was not sufficient to keep the automotive transportation system working in the face of real resource limitations, and the failure of the industrial society in general?

If the simi-trailer trucks are moved off the roads to the rails, then the maintenance of the roads will decrease considerably. By the time industrial society fails in general both Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones will have lived long lives and probably died from something else.

Exactly:) +1.

hvacman writes in typical American fashion:

We have to change something. There is so much dialog here in the forum about "if only the US would become more urban, more like Europe". But we aren't. Our towns, our roads, our rails, our very culture, isn't set up that way. Ours is a mobile culture, based on personal vehicles.

The US IS already urban according to the Federal Highway Administration 79% of Americans already live in urbanized areas! Furthermore the US has 230,000 miles of existing Rail probably within a few miles of most of you in the US reading this post which could be restored to service or actually run frequent service. According to a Brookings study in May, 2011 ALREADY without building anything 70% of working age Americans in 100 US Metro areas live only 3/4ths mile from a Transit stop.

Rather than reiterate documentation I have repeated many times here I would urge you to visit my past comments on this in the Drumbeat:




The best exposition of why GRID electrically powered public transit is critical is Transport Revolutions : http://transportrevolutions.info

The best history and analysis of why Auto Addiction is a disaster which cannot be sustained is Stop Signs: Cars & Capitalism ― On the Road to Economic, Social & Ecological Decay
By Bianca Mugenyi & Yves Engler


Actually, I agree with everything you say. Re-introducing passenger service on existing rails, electrifying our urban transit ala SF Muni, electrifying our freight rails and shifting truck traffic to rail as Alan in Big Easy advocates, all of it... I grew up in the SF Bay Area and used bike, AC Transit and BART every day to get to/from work in my early adult years. It is possible to live a very good life in many parts of the US without a private vehicle. We don't need and can't afford all this massively-paved urban infrastructure and need to start unwinding that dependency.

But I now live in a different chunk of California, in Redding. Though it is the biggest city within 150 miles, the city population density is half of Fremont and a 10th of SF. Bus service is poor, passenger rail almost non-existent. Local cyclists are making in-roads one bike lane at a time, but man, it is slow sledding. Personal transportation is vital for most. And a look at the map shows Redding reflects a huge chunk of the US. OK, the US dream of a full-size SUV/pickup in every driveway is insane. but even in Europe, with culture, bikes, and state-of-the-art public transit aplenty working for them, cars are everywhere and a prized possession for most.

That we can cut the "typical" US driver's dependence on oil by 75%-100% today, right now, with something as simple as just paying a few $K more for a different type of car and adapting a dryer outlet to charge it -that's profound. And knowing that Toyota, GM, Nissan, etc. are spending billions more to develop the next generation of car that will do all that a whole lot cheaper within the next 2-3 years - when it comes to EV's and plug-in hybrids, I'm a believer.


Glad to hear you see the need for Green Transit to replace Auto Addiction.

But as usual you are too pessimistic about the possibilities to invest NOW in
Green Transit rather than continuing to support Auto Addiction via electric cars.
I suspected that as with almost all of America's populated areas that there were already Railroad tracks close to Redding and not only are there tracks but there is an Amtrak station. Redding is part of the California HighSpeed Rail project which is not only aiming at HighSpeed Rail but for an INTEGRATED Green public transit system which will save greenhouse emissions and reliance on fossil fuels as outlined in the following article:


High-Speed Rail Is Definitely Green
A recent UC Berkeley study shows that an efficient high-speed rail network in California will reduce pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions.
Oxera, an independent London-based consultancy, found that CO2 emissions for high-speed rail per passenger per kilometer traveled are three times lower than automobile travel, and that gap is expected to double by mid-century. Airplane CO2 emissions per passenger per kilometer traveled are four times higher than high-speed rail. The estimates account for future improvements in car and airplane engine design and construction materials. The Oxera report also showed that in 2006, short-haul flights burned nine times as much CO2 per passenger per kilometer traveled than high-speed rail did.
Hydroelectric power produces the bulk of the electricity for the Swiss High-Speed Rail network.

To me the question is - why spend $7.5 billion on $7500 per car mostly for affluent car buyers for electric personal cars when this could go to running buses or shuttles? Why invest many billions on a huge infrastructure of distributed electric charging stations again when you could just run the trains we have, and add buses and shuttles tomorrow?

It takes 5-7 years for car fleets to turn over. In just 3 years with the political will the US quadrupled Green Transit usage from 1942-1945!

Sweden tried the electric and alternative fuel personal car route and it failed!
See the below article which I have also cited before on TOD:


ublished on Friday, June 10, 2011 by CommonDreams.org
The Green Revolution Backfires: Sweden’s Lesson for Real Sustainability
by Firmin DeBrabander

What if electric cars made pollution worse, not better? What if they increased greenhouse gas emissions instead of decreasing them? Preposterous you say? Well, consider what’s happened in Sweden.

Through generous subsidies, Sweden aggressively pushed its citizens to trade in their cars for energy efficient replacements (hybrids, clean diesel vehicles, cars that run on ethanol). Sweden has been so successful in this initiative that it leads the world in per capita sales of ‘green cars.’ To everyone’s surprise, however, greenhouse gas emissions from Sweden’s transportation sector are up.

We need to cut oil usage and greenhouse emissions NOW!

Electric battery vehicles make sense possibly for shared public shuttles or taxis or buses which would have charging stations at fixed points on their routes as part of the Green Transit buildout. And people truly in rural areas (NOT Reddington, CA) like farmers will adapt. But I fail to see why we should be investing public money in this rather than running and expanding Green Transit. The fastest way to reduce pollution in Reddington for a transition is to run buses and shuttles. Looking at the Rail map the Railroad already goes right by major highways - why not take a lane out of those and run local Light Rail on it?

My experience is that Japan has excellent public transport as well as a huge bicycle culture, so the people who are targets for EVs in America just walk, bike, or take a train. Which leaves those that live further out where an EV doesn't make very much sense.

I want to make a more detailed response to some of the other posts in this thread (don't have time at the moment) but you've hit one of my biggest peeves: The CITY car.

All of these electric cars are being promoted as "city cars." This is how they justify their pitiful, god-awful range - but guess what? People who live in cities don't f**king need cars! When they do it's usually to travel long distances. Why would you pay so much for something you don't need and isn't useful to you in any circumstance? You don't! These manufacturers need to get their head out of their nether regions and realize that "city cars" don't exist. The market is for cars that get driven into, and out of, cities from places that demand more than 80 miles of range.

People who live in cities don't f**king need cars

I shall channel someone who works "downtown"

Less than 8 miles to work.
City Bus - 1.40 hours and 2 transfers.

Biking 1 way DOWNHILL:
2 times I was called to pick them up via their own car - once due to a wipeout.
many, many times driving to thier work and loading the ELECTRIC assist bike int their car.

"need" in the above case is all from their own POV.

I find it more sad than anything that it takes them well over an hour and two transfers to get 8 miles. What are the the people involved in mass transit doing? Shouldn't that be much, much easier and faster? I have come to think much public transit fails on the implementation - bus routes that overlap too much, buses that come too infrequently, the tendency toward a "hub and spoke" rather than a "grid" model of routes... Heck, even the fact of buses sharing the road with traffic - make them streetcars with their own right-of-way and speed things up!

It would be much easier for us to get rid of "city cars" if we did a half-decent job with public transit. Big cities tend to do OK but otherwise it tends to not go nearly so well.

The transformation of Summit, New Jersey into a true transit hub shows what is possible without huge expense. When I first started taking the train to Summit if I did not ride my bike, there was a NJ Transit bus which connected Summit train station on one Rail line to Murray Hill on another Rail Line to Plainfield train station on another Rail line. Bell Labs helped subsidize it to get it started and it started out as a 15 person jitney and one of the few shuttles to the Summit train station. Today that bus is a full-sized bus (schedule unfortunately still should be increased), and the Summit train station is crammed with shuttles to the local hospital, Verizon, 2 Pharma companies, Lexus-Nexus etc.
So many I do not know them all but the train station is packed with them at peak hours.

Unfortunately while businesses and schools have run these shuttles, NJ Governors Corzine and Christie both cut train service frequency even as it was increasing by double digits in 2008. Corzine cut 21 weekday trains to Hoboken and did not raise fares, Christie cut another 7 weekday trains to Hoboken and raised fares by as much as 60%.

According to NJ Transit operations it costs about $1 million per year for each train so they saved $28 million and cost about 75 fulltime jobs running the trains. Meanwhile 2 miles from my house about $20 million was wasted on one highway interchange project which slightly improved safety but actually takes a half mile further to navigate. And of course Gov Christie borrowed another $1.4 Billion to cut more trees on the Garden State Parkway for widening while usage is declining on top of the $3 Billion he took from NJ Transit.

If we wanted we could double or even quadruple public transit ridership in 3 years as the US did during WW II from 1942-1945

FYI for bicycle riders or potential bicycle riders:

There is an equivalent to AAA for bicyclists called the "Better World Club" which provides emergency pickups if needed for bicyclists.


They also put out a newsletter called "Kicking the Asphalt".

The advantage of a city which actually runs frequent Green transit is that you do NOT need to spend the average expense of $9300 per year to own a car. My daughter moved to midtown Manhattan and with her Metro card monthly membership can take all subways and buses in all 5 boroughs of NYC for only $1200 per year!
I bought her Zipcar membership but so far she has never had to use it as she can take NYC transit all over NYC or take train or bus to New Jersey for visits.

Zipcars and car sharing are another way to bridge the gap and reduce car usage to when you really need it saving oil, the planet and your own dollars.

For 5 years I regularly rode my bike to work 3 1/2 miles in the Jersey suburbs from the train station where I had a bike locker. It was a great way to start and end the day!

I would like to agree with you unreservedly, but unfortunately here in the US we've made an art of creating cities where you can't get around without a car. Older cities (those built before cars) tend to be much, much more walkable/bikeable, so the cities in the US that ARE nice are older ones like Boston. Japan has one advantage in that many of the cities retain traces of their past (despite being bombed) - the streets are still often narrow and neighborhoods are very compact. Not only that, but simple things like bike lanes are neglected in most US cities.

It's a bit amazing, actually, how we've managed to make cities so unlivable.

I live in Honolulu (without a car). This whole place, the street design, everything, is built as though the idea of walking or biking is foreign. This despite being forced into a limited land area by geography (mountains and ocean) and having a climate that is pretty well suited for walking and biking, especially if shade is provided and optimized. Actually bothering to design for walking would make everything much, much easier. And this is FAR from the worst place I've lived - Pinellas county, Florida, was much, much worse.

Also, 50 or 60 miles is a quite a long way - and most electric cars can do 100+ miles, so a round trip of that distance. Our perception of them as being "short distance" is a product of our perception of distance and time being warped. I think EVs are very viable, and will become much more viable, but only after our expectations shrink to fit reality (which is to say, when oil supply really starts to decline). We should keep in mind that horses can't do nearly that distance, and certainly not at speed, yet civilizations existed with horse-based transport and agriculture for millenia. Our problem is not a shortage of capabilities but a longage of expectations.

Also, 50 or 60 miles is a quite a long way - and most electric cars can do 100+ miles, so a round trip of that distance.

Yeah, I've never quite understood thinking about 100 miles as a severe limitation for a mode of transportation.
When was the last time the average person hiked or even biked say 30 miles. If they did, they be pretty happy with a vehicle that transported them 100 miles at 50 mph... oh the horror of that!

Besides the Teslas, what magical 100+ mile electric cars do you'uns refer to?

Leaf - 72 miles, iMiev - 63 miles, FitEv - 82 miles, SparkEV - 80 miles.

Those are rather like "wind at the back" numbers which can potentially halve in the winter. There'd be less concern on my part if they really did have that extra 20 - 40 miles of range you speak of. But they don't.

All of the pages of people that I've run across of people with Leafs, in particular, are people that are suburban and commute into the city, and out at the end of the day...they're suburban. Suburban people go places in cars and usually the distances are pretty large and add up quickly.


Take a look at the daily driven distribution chart near the bottom of the page. Find the 50 mile mark and follow it up...that's the range anxiety threshold for today's EV's. If they really did get 100+ they'd cross a magical psychological threshold, and utility I believe would increase greatly until around 120-150 miles of range when it starts to be less important. Once they know they can leave the house with a full charge and do everything they want to do but a long trip (200+ miles) and not have to worry about range or finding a charge point or anything until they get home - that's when the EV can gain wide acceptance.

The Older RAV4ev's are still getting 100+, running on Nimh Batteries that have been lasting for 100k+ miles at least one owner has reported 150k miles on the battery, with 200k on the car.

It's clearly not an unattainable goal, and there was a good deal of unmet demand for it even then.

1 "oops, I ran out of charge" event – I did a full range test at 90,000 miles (7/06) and ran out about 3 miles from home (after 140 miles!). I was able to complete the journey by turning the car off, waiting a minute and then back on to go the last mile on the turtle at about 10 miles an hour.


Maybe exorcising a decade of denialist journalism that has undercut the technology would also go a good ways towards opening up the market. The Hippies will have their day.. but like Bradley Manning, it will sadly be after they've long been in the ground.

Yes, you often bring up how well the old RAV4 EVs are working - so why do you think these are not in widespread production? Why are newer designs so much less capable?

I'll tell you why . . . because NiMH batteries are not as good as modern Li-Ions. They cost more and they are heavier. Those RAV4 EVs were sold at a hefty loss.

And the current crop of EVs that have EPA ratings of 70 to 80 miles can go 100 miles if you drive them at moderate speeds on flat terrain.

As Tesla has shown, we can easily build long-range EVs with Li-Ions . . . but the companies have just chosen not to because they are trying to make EVs that they can sell and make a profit with. So they put the smallest battery in there that they can get away with and still get a usable range. Mitsubishi clearly pushed it too far with their 16KWH Mitsubishi-i with its 62 mile EPA-rate range . . . that thing has flopped. 75 to 82 mile range EVs seem to do OK for now but only the early adopters will accept that. Eventually they'll have to make them go further. Putting in more battery is the obvious solution but I would hope that they put more effort into more aerodynamic designs and lighter materials. BMW is apparently working hard on the lighter-material route and it will be exciting if they surprise everyone by succeeding.

"BMW is apparently working hard on the lighter-material route and it will be exciting if they surprise everyone by succeeding."

I wish they'd stop and work on aerodynamics instead. "Weight reduction" and "lighter materials" tends to be a fancy way of saying "expensive" and it only takes a couple of porkers to undo. Gains are somewhere around a few percent for several hundred pounds.

On the Model X prototype just replacing the rear view mirrors with cameras was worth something like a 5% aerodynamic improvement (and will be scrapped because of regulatory requirements).

Consider the relative values as well.

"Air" weighs about 1.2 kg/m^3...that's about 2 pounds per cubic yard (2/27 lbs/cuft).

The Nissan Leaf has a coefficient of drag of 0.28 and frontal area of 24.8 square feet for a flat-plat equivalent area of 6.94 square feet. (Sorry Metric peeps!)

If you take a ten mile drive in the Leaf you will have to displace:

(10mi*5280ft/mi) * 6.94 ft2 * .074074 lbs/ft3 = 27,143 pounds of air (12,312 kilograms)

If we increase the aerodynamic efficiency of the Leaf by a Cd of 0.05 to 0.23 (a reasonable number I believe), resulting in a flat-plate equivalent area of 5.7 square feet it works out as:

(10mi*5280ft/mi) * 5.7 ft2 * .074074 lbs/ft3 = 22,293 pounds of air (10,112 kilograms)

A difference of nearly 5,000 pounds in 10 miles with a decrease in Cd of 0.05. Over its 70 mile range the Leaf would have to displace about 35,000 pounds less air. Which I'm guessing would add about 12-15 miles to the range at almost no additional cost. Toss in 6 more kWhrs and you've got a car that'll do over 100 miles for less than $35,000 UNsubsidized.

Aerodynamic resistance so largely overwhelms the equation that weight is nearly not worth talking about. The biggest problems with weight come with ICE inefficiencies - when you have a heavy car, it typically gets coupled with a large engine because you need more power for the same acceleration. The "carrying costs" of that extra power are large in an ICE but barely existent in an EV. With an ICE you wind up with positive reinforcement...lose weight > downsize engine & keep same performance > efficiency combines. With an electric it's...lose weight > motor size doesn't matter much > Meh.

For metric types roughly 10.8 square feet is a square meter.

Weight probably matters a lot more for jerky drivers -who are always adjusting speed by alternating between the accelerator and the brake. Even in EVs this is inefficient.

Also worth considering is that EV's would more likely be local and 'Town Cars', as much as some will rankle to hear that.. and if you're in that sort of a stop/go environment, then Weight WILL be a more important factor than Wind Resistance, or at least AS important to keep firmly in the design process. (As if weight is ever NOT central in the design criteria..)

Low Weight doesn't have to be from high-cost materials.. we also can reduce vehicle size.. There are markets for such vehicles.. the Suburban Cowboys can keep on Truckin' if they must. Good Luck!

I'm missing the v2 term in your analysis. Depending on the velocity, pushing that air may take very little energy.

The intent was to point out the relative value of improving aerodynamics versus lower weight. No one is going to be going slow enough to make up for the difference between a few hundred pounds of vehicle weight (adding $thousands) versus swirling around tens of thousands of pounds of air. When Bubba and his cheese doodles hops in - the advantage evaporates, unlike aerodynamics. A fully humaned Leaf could be ~900 pounds heavier.

My Prius versus my CRX stacks up something like this:
Prius, Cd 0.26, CdA 5.83, 5 seats, 3,200 pounds, 44mpg
CRX Si, Cd 0.30, CdA 5.57, 2 seats, 2,000 pounds, 40 mpg.

Atkinson/hybrid versus Otto, 16 years of engine management difference, total combined horsepower is the same...but it remains that the Prius is 1,200 pounds heavier and gets about 4 mpg better. So how much does weight really matter? I don't even have LRR tires on it - just standard all-season (bought it that way).

Interesting. Some comparable numbers from Wikipedia:

0.29 	Toyota Prius 	2001
0.281 	Chevrolet Volt 	2010
0.26 	Toyota Prius 	2004–2009
0.25 	Toyota Prius 	2010
0.24 	Tesla Model S  	2012 Manufacturers estimate

Easy to see where Toyota has put its efforts.

Well, making a product that is profitable is sort of important. In our system there is no other reason to do it.

Lighter materials will only drive up the cost further.

How would I know?

I'm willing to listen to the testimony of the owners as a useful piece of information to work from.

I have heard that the Patents for these Nimh Packs were bought from Toyota/Ovonics?, and ended up in the hands of Chevron, make of it what you will. I've also seen EV auto blogs with engineers talking about how rugged their Nimhs were, saying 'you just can't kill the things'.. alas, that discussion became unfindable some time ago, though others might manage it where I could not.

For a broad summary of the claim,

As far as Spec's speculation, I would surely expect that a run of some 1500 vehicles would hardly cover the development costs of the Electric model, nor that such a small run would allow the pricing to start to reflect any advantages from scale, particularly for a new combination of Nimhs.

All I've got is what these owners have been saying about their own experiences with these vehicles. I have no reason to think they are lying.

I do think the NiMhs are very robust. However the round trip energy efficiency (power out over power in) doesn't come close to matching Lithium chemistries. Also the power/energy density is about half. And decent sized batteries take up a lot of volume and space.

And yet, experienced owners of these vehicles can't seem to sing their praises highly enough. Lithium does surely have advantages in most areas, apart possibly from price, which would still suggest that one of those 2002 Rav4EV's upgraded to a new pack would fare even better.. but as they stand now, what hasn't been proven about their viability, apart from not having the chance to see what their price-points would have become with a broader run?

They are working for highly contented people, a great many of them fueled by the same PV that is running these people's homes, forming a very concrete sort of Energy Storage integrated into their grid-tied systems.. Yes, a Very steep startup cost at the time, but NO LESS regaining ground with every mile driven, every oil-change, air filter, fuel filter, catalytic converter, coolant refill and gas station stop and idling at a light - that is averted. Oh.. and the absence of a stream of pollutants washing up over your and my kids every time they pull into the neighborhood.

Frankly, I think the big news in EV's will be scooters and scooter Trikes. Already, the number of experimental two and three wheelers out there is becoming mind-boggling, and I have to think that even if they're from major manufacturers, this scaled down vehicle class is perched to do a major end-run around the SUV's and PU's that we still have been obsessing on, from both sides of the argument. Those Handicapped folk in Mobility scooters might well find a lot more traffic at their scale, but not at their speed pretty soon.

There is only one logic solution to oil dependency.

http:Delete this//imageshack.us/photo/my-images/141/zombiemobile2.png/

Go Green.

"Trade winds drop, and Hawaii gets muggy" from uptop...

It's the dang truth, though this is the first article I've seen on it. The trade winds are much less dependable than they used to be. Not that anyone here will get much sympathy for the weather, but it's less pleasant.

No way to say if it's AGW-related, except that all weather is at this point, of necessity. Just looking around, it seems to me that the northeast trade winds have been pretty stable long-term. The shapes of the tuff cones Diamond Head, Koko Head, and others show that trades were blowing on average during their eruptions 150k or so years ago.

I don't pretend to be any weather expert, but it seems like the disproportionate high-latitude heating will lower the absolute temperature difference between tropics and poles, and thus slow down the convective cells. I'm probably over-simplifying... but I know I'll be sitting in front of a fan today. (powered by offgrid solar - running a fan in real rime during the sunny hours is IMO one of the very best uses of PV).

And another muggy day dawns here...

No way to say if it's AGW-related

It’s due to a transitional period, a switch from La Nina to El Nino ocean currents.


Every three to seven years, these ‘trade winds die’ and the warm water that was once pushed westward is allowed to shift back towards South America.

Scroll down until you get to the pic with the caption; ‘This image shows the current El Nino's split personality’ (which shows the trade winds cancelling each other out).

The world’s weather is on the cusp of going back into El Nino! Should be a wild ride.

Thanks Earl, am aware of nino/nina thing - quite conscious of it actually, since El Nino conditions are worse for Hawaii hurricanes. I was speaking of the trend which seems to be lighter trade winds on average from my perspective across decades.

Of course, it's interesting to wonder how the added AGW heat forcing may affect the El Nino and La Nina conditions in terms of a "new normal".

Ok, I wasn’t sure if you meant recently or over many decades. Here is why:


In the first study of it's kind, scientists have determined that Americas winds are have slowed dramatically since their recorded peak in the 1970's. In some parts of the Midwest, average peak wind speeds have dropped as much as 10%. That's 10% less wind to capture with wind turbines, 10% slower return on investment for wind farms. EDIT: Actually, as commenters below pointed out, there is a cubic relationship between wind speed and wind power. So a 10% drop in speed means nearly a 30% drop in wind power.

Ever-cautious scientists, of course, say that it's too early to determine whether this is a real trend or not. But a very preliminary attempt at defining the mechanism of this decrease in wind speeds involves global warming. As the poles warm (and the poles have been warming at a greater rate that the rest of the world) the difference in temperature between the poles and the equator decreases. This temperature gradient is one of the Earth's largest wind-generators. So, it could indeed be that global warming is, in itself, making the fight against global warming more difficult.

The description in the 2nd paragraph above explains why the jet stream amplification, that is the alpha waves pattern as it crosses the planet has accentuated into larger waves causing it to move slower. That’s why there are more floods and droughts, because weather patterns get stuck longer than they use to and why overall wind speeds have dropped.

"Midwest, average peak wind speeds have dropped as much as 10%."

So wind power turbines are operating off a dwindling resource! Going to H in a handbasket!

ENSO prediction isn't really reliable more then 6 months ahead, but it sure looks like ENSO will remain neutral to cool for the rest of the year (between -0.5 and 0.5 is considered neutral).

But I agree, I expect the next El Niño to be a real whopper (and the next start date for the warming-has-stopped crowd).

In the last Drumbeat we had begun to explore the role that local community energy co-operatives might play in the switch from a fossil fuels based economy to an electricity based economy.

Energy co-operatives are now really beginning to make an impact in Europe, this raises the probability that distributed renewable energy generation will now begin to supplant the established centralised generation business model.

This is a workable halfway business model between individual off grid applications and the tried and true and its not only private householders taking part, businesses are also taking part, could this also be the beginning of a pushback from globalisation with local economies backed by local energy generation beginning to play a bigger role.

Any thoughts on this subject from TODers

Unless the parts for the power station are manufactured locally I don't see how this is a push away from globalisation, more of an embrace of globalisation. Power stations tend to situated either near an energy source ie a river or near the end consumer, increasing efficiency.

Speaking of energy co-ops, on a similar note...

I seriously doubt the sustainability of intentional communities and eco-villages.

First off, their growth is hindered by the fact that their brand of communalism is often rather authoritarian and collectivist, which will inevitably put people off. I've been to several intentional communities and eco-villages, and I'll just say that they're not the most inviting places. The people at Alpha Farm had a pathological obsession with how much time each "intern" (people temporarily staying at one of these places to try it out) spent inside each day.

Secondly, these eco-villages and intentional communities often have proportions of elderly/middle-aged people well past their child-bearing years to young people who can and will bear children that are incredibly high. There just aren't enough young people. It would be almost impossible to prevent some kind of inbreeding.

Thirdly, as you've pointed out, the manufacture of solar photovoltaic panels and cells and wind turbines is an incredibly energy and capital-intensive process. Every last one of these eco-villages is reliant upon globalization and supply chains that literally span the globe.

In the end, I think that eco-villages are largely ineffectual, and I doubt that most people will end up wanting to live or living in one. Most people will probably end up living like people in the Philippines do post-peak, relying on an incredibly diverse set of energies and fuels (overall lower net energy gain, which is another algebraic iteration of EROEI), with a more pronounced polarity between urban and rural areas. None of this romanticized eco-village stuff.

Throughout the world and especially over the last two centuries, populations have become concentrated into cities rather towns. One of the primary reasons is that employment prospects are better in cities but as we have begun to build out our renewable energy resources an interesting dynamic has emerged, most renewable resources are situated away from cities which raises the possibility that industry may begin to locate beside the new energy sources.

Another intriging possibility of the move to renewables is that it offers the opportunity to democratise energy production, heretofore the corporations have owned energy production but as I have already outlined, in Europe especially local energy co-operatives have become popular, the co-op generates and sells electricity to its members, alongside this companies both large small have now begun to generate at least some our their own electricity.

A large scale move to renewables offer the opportunity to change the way our economies operate rather than just our energy supply.

Throughout the world and especially over the last two centuries, populations have become concentrated into cities rather towns. One of the primary reasons is that employment prospects are better in cities but as we have begun to build out our renewable energy resources an interesting dynamic has emerged, most renewable resources are situated away from cities which raises the possibility that industry may begin to locate beside the new energy sources.


When mankind settled down as farmers/herders starting ~11K years ago they occupied the best farmland. In the last two centuries in particular a lot of the most fertile arable soil has been covered with factories, dwellings, parking lots, and roads.

A pendulum can't swing in one direction forever. It either starts swinging back or it breaks. The urbanization pendulum has been swinging in one direction for too long.

Perhaps reversing the trend of living in cities will allow a lot of the inner cities to be dismantled and farmed again. A bunch of articles about urban agriculture especially Detroit have been posted to TOD.


Sometimes we do not think about the future with enough breadth or depth.

New technologies or even new ways of using modified older technologies can have large repurcussions on society, for example James Watt could wander around a modern thermal power station and pretty soon feel at home but the society made possible by a modern Combined Cycle Gas Turbine might leave him flabbergasted !!

Best hopes for a new rural renaissance and sustainable urban living.

I guess I've been kind of thinking in the other direction. Move back into the cities and urban areas. Take the materials from the sub and exurbs with us. Build out rail and electrify the whole deal. Go vertical.

Basically, return as much of the countryside as possible to a more traditional farming approach - let large areas go fallow, farm what's under cultivation more organically, rotate crops, work on getting greater biodiversity, and soil chemistry back on a more sustainable level. Rail the stuff into the cities.

Focus on concentrating the humans and creating as many closed-loop systems as possible. Water and waste reclamation within the confines of the urbanized corridors. Mebbe even do hydroponics for a part of the food supply, to keep the pressure on the country down. Farm fish, but for the purpose of releasing them into the wild to rebuild stocks. Then harvest them sustainably when they're at healthier levels.

Basically, give as much of nature back to nature as possible. Wall ourselves off as much as possible. Let the planet heal itself (which it seems amazingly capable of doing, if we just stop stomping up and down on it in our football cleats).


An energy co-op does not have to form within an ecovillage although it could, most new energy co-ops are formed in an ordinary community and certainly in Europe are inspired more from an economic rather than ideological viewpoint.

Again Europe has always tended to have higher costs than the US and in the era of $100 dollar oil those high energy costs have begun to be countered at local rather governmental level.

But we are beginning to find that what works for energy might also work for other economic endevours.

Right. I live in an ordinary, maybe somewhat poorer than average, rural area. I have been and continue to be astonished at the strong reaction to my rather feeble initiative toward a local sustainable energy group. People have been snapping up the PV I passed on at cost, and they want to know about small heat engine possibilities to boost their solar on cloudy days- gasifiers, stirlings, etc.

All of this is just people getting together somewhat loosely, not any sort of structured commune, sharing ideas on getting their own power.

And they are indeed thinking the same pattern re "other economic endeavors". I have emphasized that I refuse to be involved in any new businesses- too lazy, too old- but would be glad to hand out energy-related business ideas for nothing, and worth every penny of it. Lots of young people have jumped up to take these too.

We shall see.

As I described in the previous Drumbeat, based on discussions with participants, there are a host of good reasons to participate in a local energy co-op. Cost is only one factor, in fact we had a serious discussion to price our energy higher then average in an attempt to get a healthy financial position faster and to be able to do more renewable energy projects, though we finally decided to undercut the majority in hope of getting more customers.

I also see this as a backward swing of the pendulum after a few decades of utilities growing from municipal to free market municipal to national to multinational. People get fed up with the drive to higher profits, bonusses, lack of responsible entrepreneurship, being treated as a milkcow, vulnerability to Putin's mood swings etc. So now we're back at square one: community ownership.

Food is another area where one can see this process as well as trading tools, resources and skills locally without money and other areas.

A summary of the USCG hearings on the grounding of Shell's Kulluk last winter:
Frantic but failed effort left Kulluk on the rocks

Over nine days of testimony that wrapped up last week in Anchorage, witnesses told a Coast Guard panel investigating the Dec. 31 grounding of a Shell drilling rig about equipment failures, fuel problems and human error during the troubled voyage and frantic but failed effort to save the Kulluk. Now it will be up to the Coast Guard panel to determine just what caused the Kulluk to crash onto the rocks south of Kodiak Island.
While Coast Guard investigators and others on the panel had previously interviewed the witnesses, their hearing testimony provided a public accounting under oath. Cmdr. Joshua McTaggart of the Coast Guard Investigations National Center of Expertise in Louisiana is leading the investigation, which includes representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board and federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which regulates offshore drilling. McTaggart also said he draws on Coast Guard experts in towing, offshore drilling units and other specialties.
McTaggart's report is due July 5. He can recommend changes in procedures or equipment to prevent such mishaps, and recommend actions against seamen with Coast Guard licenses.His report must go up the Coast Guard chain to the commandant in Washington, D.C., before it can be released publicly.

Let China pump Iraq's oil

A big chunk of Iraq's oil production is going to China, according to a story Monday in the New York Times. That may be a good thing for both U.S. companies and consumers.

The Times reported on what has been an ongoing trend -- companies from China and elsewhere winning Iraqi oil contracts. According to the story, nearly half of Iraq's oil now goes to China.

The article played up the seeming absurdity in this. The United States and its allies, after all, are the ones that paid heavily (through the loss of lives as well as money) by ousting Saddam Hussein and trying to keep the peace afterwards. That ended the sanctions on Iraq's oil industry, now allowing for a huge wave of investment that's expected to double the country's oil output over the next decade or so.

But the fact so much of this investment is coming from China isn't necessarily bad, which the story acknowledged but did not dwell on.


The best laid plans of mice and men.

China is also heavily investing in Afghanistan taking advantage of the unwillingness of others to get involved in such a potentially disastrous region.

Yes, safety of their personnel seems to be a lower priority. They lost over a hundred in a chicken plant fire today. Also, not being seen by some of the belligerents in the country as the enemy helps a lot.

China is in a joint venture with Saudi Arabia to build a refinery on the Red Sea with a capacity of 400 000 bbl/day. That will be Saudi crude removed from the world market, to be turned into refined products to be sold. This is an example of one of China's efforts right now in addition to buying interests in crude reserves in the ground. China is also building three refineries in Nigeria, one in South Africa (which produces little oil but is right next to Angola where lots of crude is owned by China), Egypt (next door to Libya's oil), and is supplying financing for a refinery in Kitimat, BC, to produce refined products from Alberta crude, intended to be sent to Asia. It looks like Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline has been killed off; if so, the crude will be brought in by rail. The Haisla nation have bought into the refinery, I believe.

Kuwait, with Japan, are setting up for a refinery to be built in Vietnam. Hindustan Petroleum is shooting for one in Rajasthan. Azerbaijan is working with Indonesia to build a refinery there. Malaysia is looking the same way. Producers have finally caught on that the money and any future hopes are in refining the stuff themselves, and every refinery built by or with a producer represents crude that will be removed from the world market. China is more than willing to be part of these refineries, and will have a say in where the refined products go. US companies are barely visible in this business.

Maybe we shouldn't focus on Iraq, but rather on what it is an example of. Lots of work is under way to remove crude from the world market, and the US still imports more than half the crude it uses.

I'm not saying it would have been right or wrong, just that in the old days before globalization and the over-arching need to be politically correct, the US would have simply set up shop after taking control (or whatever control they could muster) in Iraq to pump out the oil primarily for US interests with some profit going to rebuild Iraq. So the question then is; why in today's world political environment would a country volunteer to fake information to manufacture a war that cost over a trillion dollars only to have to compete on equal terms with other countries for it's resources?

In this case China comes across as the hyenas that stole the carcass from the lions, cackling all the way to the bank in their ever larger SUV's, while the US is saddled with another huge chunk of debt far into the future, along with maimed and dead soldiers (not to mention the guilty feeling of having killed a huge number of Iraqi's).

"But if we had to do it all over again knowing what we know now, we'd do it anyway", (or words to that effect) Dick Cheney & Bush jr. These are the people the US votes into power?! Think about it those two knuckleheads ignored information about middle eastern pilots training in Florida prior to 9/11, started two wars put on the tab of long term debt and the Great Recession.

Even worse: he cut taxes to the wealthy while increasing spending on two wars.

As I have been saying for years, the only explanation that makes sense is that Bush 2 invaded Iraq to get revenge against the guy to tried to assassinate his daddy which was accomplished when Saddam was hung. The U.S. did not get anything else that matters from that war.

Quite unfortunately, I agree BT. The ultimate spoiled child exploiting a super power to exact personal revenge. I can just imagine him at those cabinet meetings saying, "I don't care what it costs or how much we have to lie, I want Saddam!", not unlike the super spoiled Varuka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when she said, "But Daddy, I want an Oompa Loompa now!"

Quite unfortunately, I agree BT.

Because BT said that or because the conclusion about the powerful making sure the less powerful get to grasp the short brown sticky end of the stick?

Power and having it tempts the flawed human to use it to punish others for whatever reason.

Fame can become very addictive. I've come to realize that power can be corrosive if you've had it for too long,

I disagree entirely. This idea that Bush ran the US as an all powerful dictator satisfying his own personal whims is absurd. However twisted he may be, he was a tool of the empire and an imperialist as much as Obama is. An empire must use it's military to keep the wealth flowing to the center. The things that are happening geopolitical are not some president's whim, but have a purpose to them whether it works as intended or not.

This empire is still powerful militarily but not so much in other ways. As we fail you see the contest between the interests various powerful, well connected individuals and the interests of the empire itself. You can see this in things such as building pipelines to ship the oil to the coasts where it can be sold overseas to the great benefit to individuals but not to the empire (and sold to the masses as if it were to benefit them).

The empire is eating itself from the inside, and in any given case it is not clear who's interests are being served - one of the various power bases or what's left of the imperial core - or if we just got out maneuvered.

I have the impression that Bush and Cheney each had his own reason - Bush for revenge, Cheney to get money to his corporate buddies. On top of that, both were naïve in their belief that they could have a two-fer, and satisfy those wishes and gain control of a significant reserve of oil.

Overall, we have now had 33 years of uninterrupted trickle down economics and national empire building, during much of which time one party was attempting (IMO) to bankrupt the Federal Government in order to destroy it, since they believe that government is the problem with everything in the world, and markets should be allowed to dictate all.

I do not see any change on the horizon. The edifice is far to large to be destroyed, except through the inevitable economic collapse that is, again IMO, now built in to the system. We, as a world community, simply do not have the political will to do any different. Perhaps that is also hardwired, into our basic make-up as human beings. Notwithstanding the belief of the salt water economists, we are not rational actors.

Score for today: pond scum 150, humanity 0


Between the two parties I see some residual differences on domestic policies, only insofar as they must occasionally pay a little more than lip service to their respective bases, and they are beholden to slightly different factions of elites. But on foreign and economic policy there is only one imperial party. That doesn't mean it is competent, or that even if it were it would could continue to prevail.

I would say on workplace, women's, sexual orientation, and the environment (as long as it doesn't get in the way of main contributors interests) there is a difference.
But from a macro view, it is Pepsi, and Pepsi Lite.

Actually I heard the Shrub started office not caring about Iraq. But the others in the Project for a New American Century got to him.

I think this is true. If you listened to Bush during the first campaign - he had zero interest in foreign policy, and was embarrassingly ignorant about it.

As Heading Out's post makes clear- Iraq is the last large source of readily available oil. The United States had three options- allow Saddam Hussain to stay in power and keep sanctions in place and a very high price of oil, lift sanctions on Iraq while leaving Saddam Hussain in power or get rid of Saddam Hussain.

Leaving him in power while lifting sanctions would have been the most sensible option but was politically impossible. Although if there was anybody who could have done it, it would have been GWB. But he was too much of a cowboy to think that deeply. As to fabricating information how many people would have supported getting rid of SH if Bush had stood there and said "we are running out of cheap oil and it is important that we get Iraqi crude onto the market to keep the price of oil down"?

Oil is global market and its price will be determined by the marginal availability of oil. It is the price of oil that matters to the United States and the global economy. If the Chinese didn't buy Iraqi oil they would buy oil from other source. The only people who are pissed off are the US oil companies who were hoping to get sweet heart deals from the Iraqis on the back of the blood of US troops and treasure of US tax payers.

Agree. The arrogance is mindboggling.

Read it and weep.

The Silverado pickup has been in the works for seven long years. It could deliver up to $6 billion in profit -- a year.

FORTUNE -- For General Motors Co., every new vehicle model consumes gobs of capital and must return a profit. But GM's new Silverado pickup truck is in a league of its own. It is the single-most consequential vehicle in GM's financial turnaround.

Seven years in development, the Silverado sports bold styling, a raft of new features such as a MyLink infotainment package, and three engine options that offer more fuel-efficient technology than previous versions.

GM is blessed with great timing, as demand for pickups is rising,

I've lived in Texas my whole life and still do.

Let me tell you...these people will give up their lives before they give up their pickups. They will give up everything, including their homes. They would rather live 2 miserable years in a pickup, looking for odd jobs to get enough money to fill up the tank and keep their bellies full with burgers, and finally perishing from a heart attack or bar fight gone wrong, than live 20 healthy years in an apartment in a city and drive a small car or ride a bike.

And isn't that what peak oil is all about, in the end? A culture dying and down with it go the people themselves?

Doesn't history prove that this happens over and over again.

Even given the non-stop propaganda people are subjected to, along with the belief in infinite progress we are all immersed in for life and the poor education, in the end adults have to be responsible for their own decisions. If this is what people choose, well then so be it.

Let me offer what I hope is some encouragement. I live in the mid-South very close to the Nissan Leaf factory. We have a significant number of public charging stations in the area. I see more and more Leafs on the local streets. It's not just the stereotypical young urban liberals. Older folks and conservatives are also buying. Just today I noticed on a very conservative website a poster praising his new Leaf. ( I'm probably the most conservative poster left on TOD, and I'm saving up for my Leaf as well.)

At the same time I'm seeing my community and other urban areas pushing toward Bus Rapid Transit (about the only New Start the feds will consider any more). The focus is shifting toward new development around future BRT stations. An understanding is emerging that development needs to focus on corridors that can generate the ridership necessary to make transit work. My professional work involves interaction with developers, and the ones still around (who survived the 2008 crash) are in front when it comes to transit-oriented development. They know their younger buyers want the walkable neighborhoods, to work, shop, and play with as little travel time as possible.

Revolutions always look slow and halting for those who live through them. Sometimes we think our particular cause (mine is intercity rail, yours may be climate change) is the linchpin and that if the revolution doesn't follow our personal script then all is lost. We can champion our personal causes, and I will argue my case for Amtrak and high speed rail with anyone, but we can also support people who are still finding their way.

I grew up with pickup trucks, bologna sandwiches, and the Grand Ole Opry. I just ask folks quietly if we really need to keep sending our children off to war for the sake of oil, and, if not, are we willing to consider a different and potentially better way to live in and care for the world to which we have been entrusted.

Wow, thanks for that story, Dark Fired Tobacco. I've always wondered it was going to be like when Nissan set up the Leaf Factory in deep red state territory. I wondered whether the locals would warm up to them. And I'm glad to hear it happening. I know Lamar Alexander proudly drives one up in DC.

I was actually very annoyed when they announced the name of the vehicle as the 'Leaf'. They pigeonholed themselves as a vehicle only for greenies. That was stupid. The greenies didn't need that name, they already knew that EVs were something they wanted. They should have gave it some futuristic electronic name like Chevy did with the Volt.

Conservatives SHOULD appreciate EVs. EVs provide a great path for getting 100% off foreign oil. They can help deprive states that we are not so fond of such as Venezuela, Russia, Iran, etc. of oil revenues. They can keep us out of unnecessary foreign entanglements. They can be run on 100% domestic electricity. They can massively reduce our trade deficit. They improve our national security by not making us dependent on any foreign nation for oil. So why has the right-wing and Fox News been so damn anti-EV?!?!

Conservative icon George Schultz drives a Nissan Leaf powered by PV solar panels . . . "Take that, Ahmedhinejad!" he says.

The green stuff . . . well, that's just icing on the cake.

"why has the right-wing and Fox News been so damn anti-EV?!?!"

Erm... maybe because they like their oil wars? Gives 'em a chance to thump their chests and denigrate 'others'. Just a theory.

So why has the right-wing and Fox News been so damn anti-EV?!?!

Because the big corporate political money comes from fossil fuel interests such as the Koch brothers.
Because liberals like EVs and green stuff, and you gotta be completely against anything they like.

And for some foreign military entanglements are not something to be avoided, but a great business opportunity.

Let me tell you...these people will give up their lives before they give up their pickups.

It's that non negotiable American lifestyle and it's definitely not just the Texans!

Sometimes I wonder whether the GM bailout was the right thing to do.

I never wonder that. When the present auto loan bubble pops and sales crash again (because 2008 never really ended), will we do it again?

As someone from Michigan, I hope that we don't do it all again. All it's done for us state-wide is delay transitioning to the new reality.

But I doubt there's either the capital or political will to do it all again. So it may be a moot issue.

We know a good number mid-level executives and engineers, and more who lost their jobs, at Ford and GM. A decade ago they knew what they were doing couldn't last. The effect 2008 had on the auto industry shook them up but didn't surprise them. Most are astonished they are still in business. Most seem to feel there is room, at most, for one smaller car company.

Apparently these sentiments are not shared by the upper executives (as best I can tell ... we know people who know them, so it's anecdotal at best). I'm not surprised by this; a certain mindset has them rise through the ranks in a Darwinian variation-and-selection process. But they're not far from an extinction level event as best I can tell.

Plant a garden. Soon.

I hope it is not lost on too many that most of the new GM smaller cars seem to be Daewoo designs.

All 'Muricans can design are oversized Trucks and SUVs. Given the history of US designed small cars it's probably best off that we import them from Korea - better quality that way ;) Whenever Ford feels like selling a good small car they tap their Euro division for one.

There are actually two trucks that the US would probably buy if it weren't for our regulations excluding them from the market - the Euro-spec Ranger diesel, and Hilux diesel. Trucks for people who need trucks but not absurdities.

US engineers are perfectly capable of designing small cars, the problem is that even small ICE cars are barely profitable. They keep their limited design staff working on the profitable larger vehicles, and take small cars from other places where they have to make small cars and therefore must keep a design group working on them.

These corporations are barely viable even with costs cut way back, huge taxpayer bailouts and an auto loan financial bubble. Not to mention the subsidies that go into the roads and infrastructure so their products can be used.

From the marketoracle word mash:

Taking solar photovoltaics (and also photosynthetic pigments in plants and algae), these operate through totally non-theromdynamic processes, with zero thermochemical action, and therefore zero increase in entropy.

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains

Amazing how one can have 30 years experience in energy and not know what entropy is. Worthless article.

On to a more interesting question/poll: The Drumbeat features a lot of articles arguing against peak oil/doom/whatever. In your opinion, which sites publish the more reasonable analysis, and which sites put out only empty rhetorics?

A Recipe for Soil Disaster: Flooding + Today’s Farm Policy

By , Big Picture Agriculture, June 3rd, 2013

“Soil is more important than oil and is as much a nonrenewable resource.” — Wes Jackson

--- snip ---

Well, as it turns out, somebody is paying attention, because last week I received a file of photographs from North Dakotan Rick, who calls himself a concerned Prairie Photographer. He has documented for us the erosion of newly converted “HEL” or highly erodible land to cropland in North Dakota and calls this story an ongoing disaster.

The photos he sent are great examples of poor farming practices spurred on by today’s government policy which encourages all out monoculture crop production from fencerow to fencerow. Combined policies of crop insurance and mandated (still increasing) use of corn and soy for biofuels are causing this destruction to one of our nation’s most precious resources, its topsoil.

Unfortunately, this resource is located in flyover country and civilizations are known to take topsoil for granted until it is gone. Chalk it up to human nature.

Note the links at the bottom of Kay's post, about flooding in Iowa and it's impact on this year's crop... from drought to floods. Not much in between anymore.

Probably an appropriate time to post the latest Drought Monitor map.

Also stumbled on the link for the Global Drought Monitor at the Department of Space and Climate Physics, Aon Benfield University College London Hazard Research Centre.

Not a pretty picture globally either.

Any idea why on the US Drought Monitor above the drought is most severe and centered on the panhandle area - TX, OK, NM, se Co & w KS, but on the Global Drought Monitor, the US drought is centered further north - MT, WY, SD, NE?

EIA World Crude Oil And Lease Condensate Production Chart, January 2000 to February 2013

EIA World Crude Oil and Lease Condensate Production Chart January 2000 to February 2013

Thanks for that. Now that the cantankerous one (Darwinian) has disappeared (for shame), the Drumbeats seemed to be getting a bit thin on the old oil production data. Keep up the good work.

*clap clap*

This kind of data production not only falls under the "make TOD what you want to see" posts but also the "open source - scratch your own darned itch" posts.

(now I need to go back to my search engine fu to do an @$$pull of something that crossed my radar so that I can broaden the mind of TODers)

eb, besides having a cornhole obsession if are you disputing the above graph, then bring your best game, let's see your graph so we can pass judgment on it.

if are you disputing the above graph

There are 3 (and perhaps more) ways of responding to this.

1) What in my response would make you believe the above?
2) Isn't my normal pattern if I believe something isn't above board to ask for clarification and then show the moral bankruptcy with their non-response or the actual reponse?
3) **** you and your ****** with a **** ****, **** *** ************* **** *** ** * ***** ****. And then *** * ****** ************* ******** ***.

I'm laughing because you're losing it. Ha! Now try to compose yourself and be constructive.

I think our whole species has lost it anyway, so what the hell... eric, you know I'm a fool for you, but if you don't compose yourself, I won't bring you to that The Party's Over party. Gawd how embarrassing. ;)

Do you have the link to the data?

Thanks for that. Someone needs to take up the mantle of posting oil data since few key posters are missing. It will take at least a few months to familiarize oneself with which links to pursue and which ones to avoid.

Exactly. The biggest energy story in the world that no one seemed to be following (other than Darwinian) is the North Dakota monthly well completion/oil production report. Every widely-adopted cornucopian oil supply scenario is at least partially based on projections of the ND production increases that happened there in 2011-2012. The 2013 numbers to-date that Darwinian reported showed a significant fall-off from that projected trajectory. The actual numbers more closely matched those estimated by DC and a few others here on TOD. It looks like the monthly "Directors Cut" is a great source for this data. Usually released on the 15th.

Ok so I registered with Platts and a few other websites, will start compiling data on a biweekly or monthly basis and posting it here. Will post Indian data as well.

I have been posting these charts of EIA data since early 2012 and intend to continue doing so. I began posting them because I miss the Oil Watch Monthly.

The data is at EIA International Energy Statistics under the tabs Petroleum, Production, Monthly/Quarterly. In the pull down menu labeled "Product," change "Total Oil Supply" to "Crude Oil including Lease Condensate." Change the start year to "2000" or what ever year you desire. Left click on "Update." Click "Download Excel" to download a spreadsheet in Excel format. The EIA updates the data around the 20th of each month, but sometimes the updates are late. If you are interested, there are many other categories of data about energy.

EIA United States Crude Oil And Lease Condensate Production, January 2000 to February 2013

EIA U.S. Crude Oil And Lease Condensate Production Chart January 2000 to February 2013

According to the EIA in February 2013, United States C+C production rose to 7176.93 kb/d.

The Devil dips down in OK photo thedevildipsdowninOK.jpg

Kind of curious-looking, yes? The lightning, for example, provides an outline, to say nothing of the cones, bush or distant crack. Was this doctored? Ok, OKJeanne, you can tell us... nothing to be ashamed of... ;)

I didn't take the photo. I got it off the facebook page of the trail riding group that I ride with often. I really don't think it was doctored. 2.6 miles wide and eventually merged into EF-5 speeds; truly hellatious.

That's an amazing amount of energy in one place, did you see the storm ?

I heard an anecdotal report from a resident. It was especially scary, because the lightning was continuous -the thunder was not lots of booms, but a continuous roar, such as she had never heard before....

Lightning photography is often done as a time-lapse, a composite, or as multiple shutter openings on the same image, so it's conceivable that those are both the same cone as it progressed across the city.. they didn't offer much help at the photo's page.

Whoever you are and where ever that came from...

That is a ridiculously, f'n cool picture.

That's because it's Mother Nature. And she doesn't need a bra, try as we might to put one on her. She will burn it. Just try, wait and watch.

Regarding City Cars.. sort of..

I was due at a meeting on 60th/1st today, my old neighborhood, starting at 98th and West End, some 4-5 miles. Resolved to walk, as it's practically Santa Monica here today, and much of the traverse would be through the Park. Should take an hour-twenty or so.. Heaven, and the park remains just fabulous!

But, I was running late, and went from looking at the 2nd av bus, to diving into a cab. Alas! My first cab ride in a month in the city.

On our way down to 60th the driver was showing me the construction areas where the 2nd av Subway is going in.. at long last. Cities are well-served by a wide range of options.. and cars are part of that mix, even if we can avoid hopping into them a great majority of the time.

Meeting's over, and I'm back on my sneakers again! Later, it will be Seven miles up to my other 'host-site', and as the song says, I'll "Take the A Train"

I'll take Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island too, it's lovely going through the zoo

It's very fancy on old Delaney Street, you know.
The subway charms us so, when balmy breezes blow to and fro.

And tell me what street compares with Mott street in July,
Sweet push carts gently gliding by

The great big city's a wondrous toy, just made for a girl and boy.
I'll turn Manhattan into an isle of joy.

Lyrics by: Lorenz Hart Music by: Richard Rodgers
From the Show: The Garrick Gaieties (1925)

U.S. EPA weakens Protective Action Guides (PAGs) for radiological exposures to humans and the environment

Below the line is an email message sent to me yesterday by a friend. I imagine the links will send it to moderators, which is fine. Leanan, Kate, et al., I'm not trying to stir up the nuke arguments again as they have so far been repetitious and rather boring, in my own opinion. And perhaps this HAS BEEN brought up and discussed already, on days when I missed reading DB. I do think this is stuff that everyone should know about; and after a month and a half, I've not heard a peep of it in the regular or even the "alternative" news media.

Also, TVA is currently, with B & W [managing contractor of the Y-12 Nuclear Security Complex] planning to build several "smaller" nuclear-power reactors at the site where the already-under-construction breeder reactor was defunded, some long time ago. I'd say that the new PAGs make any environmental requirements for their licensing much easier to deal with. Just a guess.



EPA Dramatically Weakens Radiation Protections

April 14, 2013 / by CBG / CBG News, Dirty Bomb, Main Page, Nuclear News, Nuclear Safety, Nuclear Terrorism, Radiation

EPA has just issued (April 15, 2013) new Protective Action Guides (PAGs) for dealing with radioactive releases. The new PAGs are in many ways worse than the extremely weak PAGs Bush tried to push out in the last days of that Administration that Obama pulled back. The PAGs eliminate requirements to evacuate people when thyroid or skin radiation doses exceed certain levels, lift a lifetime limit on radiation from such an event that would have triggered relocation, recommend dumping radioactive waste in municipal garbage dumps not designed for such waste, and propose five options for drinking water, all of which would dramatically increase the permitted concentrations of radioactivity in drinking water, by as much as 27,000 times.

Additionally, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) has published draft guidance for implementing the long-term cleanup portions of the PAGS. The NCRP guidance would allow the public to be exposed to extraordinarily higher levels of radiation than previously permitted, sufficient to cause a cancer in every sixth person exposed. Although public comments are supposedly being solicited, EPA has made the PAGs immediately effective, making the comment opportunity pretty meaningless.


Click here for the report

Group Letters to EPA urging them not to relax radiation protections, i.e., to not take the action they have just now taken:

Group Letter to EPA (August 15, 2011)
Group Letter to EPA (August 5, 2009)

For more information, go to the Nuclear Information and Resource Service: http://www.nirs.org/radiation/radstds/radstdshome.htm

Also see Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility: http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/2013/04/08/white-house-approves-r...

To read the EPA PAGs: http://www.epa.gov/radiation/rert/pags.html
To read the NCRP report: http://www.ncrponline.org

For the full story: http://committeetobridgethegap.org/epa-dramatically-weakens-radiation-pr...

'The NCRP guidance would allow the public to be exposed to extraordinarily higher levels of radiation than previously permitted, sufficient to cause a cancer in every sixth person exposed.'

Really? And on what basis was this remarkable claim calculated?
Clearly the NCRP have not said that they intend that level of illness consequent on excessive exposure.

Nuclear must be very dangerous indeed if it is to manage to even remotely approach the toll for air pollution from fossil fuels, around 3 million a year in Asia alone.

There were less people around in previous decades, but to allow for the whole world call it 150 million or so deaths from fossil fuels in the 50 years or so nuclear has been an option.

Not even the most swivel eyed of the Greens has managed to exaggerate Chernobyl etc to remotely comparable levels.

The world has been littered with wars over the last thousand years. In a conventional war a coal generator blown up leaves the area without power and kills workers at the plant.

How does a nuclear reactor go in the same situation?

I'm going to state decidedly worse, leaving large areas of land uninhabitable while putting huge populations at risk of high radiation levels.

A nuclear future means reactors everywhere. Just because none have been targeted in a conventional war so far does not mean it will not happen.
Nuclear is just too dangerous to be placed in the hands of mankind.

What nuclear future? In the developed world a growing number of countries have either explicitly decided to phase out nuclear power or are simply not building any new reactors. As older reactors are retired, the total number of reactors will decline.

From a longer term view it matters not if they are targeted or blown up, the result is the same - ALL of the waste is released into the local environment. That is the only "plan" that has been made for dealing with it in all the time we've been producing it. It sits on the site in a container until the container fails.

Israel did take out a reactor in Syria. I don't think it was complete yet though.

Unknown entities (take a guess) have attacked various nuclear facilities in Iran through cyber-attack and other means.

Iraq did have a reactor and although I'm not aware of any direct attack on it, I believe some people looted it after the war started and dumped out barrels of radioactive waste just to get the steel barrels. Ugh.

The Israelis bombed the Osirak Iraqi reactor at the Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Center near Baghdad while it was under construction on 7 June 1981.

Iraq never had any others.

Interestingly enough Iran attacked about eight months before that and only did minor damage.

May also be about counting.

A sure way to show success is to choose the metrics or meter yourself.

Enter: DaveW

Sorry to have so upset you, Dave. That was certainly not my intention.

It is what it is.


You haven't upset me.
I simply want to see on what basis you arrive at your allegation that a sixth of people would contract cancer if the guidelines were followed.

I take it you HAVE some basis, however slender, and have not simply thought of a figure?

Perhaps one of those who thinks that nuclear is so enormously more dangerous than fossil fuels would also provide some basis for how it could possibly bump off more people than using fossil fuels.

BTW, those who say that we should 'simply' use renewables instead are not in the real world, as with anything like current technology renewables are utterly dependent on fossil fuels, and indeed build their use into the system for decades, as the supporting NG and coal plants aren't going to be scrapped.

Of course, an alternative popular with some around here is that the population has overshot, nothing will work, and so we had best all die gracefully.

In that case any assumed casualties from nuclear would appear to be moot, as we are all doomed anyway -DOOMED I tell ye!

I must stop watching Dad's Army.

Of course, an alternative popular with some around here is that the population has overshot, nothing will work, and so we had best all die gracefully.

Can you define what you mean by "work"?

Gracefully,, or not.

I didn't allege anything at all, Dave.

I did, apparently, fail to make that clear in my introductory paragraph, I guess. I thought I explained that everything below the line came from an article forwarded to me by a friend -- the links and the introduction to them. My bad. I should have used the blockquote rather than depending on words, which perhaps you did not read.

Obama's Proposals for Protective Action Guides for Radionuclide Exposure in Drinking Water

Obama Protective Action Guides Drinking Water Proposals

Radionuclide EPA Safe Drinking
Water Act Max
Contamination Limit
Obama Proposed
PAG Alt 2
Iodine-131 .111 3000
Strontium-90 .296 200
Cesium-137 7.4 2000
Plutonium-239 .555 50

Bq = Becquerel = 1 (radioactive decay) / second

For comparison background radiation measured by a Geiger counter is about 1 Bq. Radioactive fallout from Fukushima in rain water measured at U.C. Berkeley on March 23, 2011, was 20.1 Bq/L from Iodine-131 or 181 times higher than the Safe Drinking Water Act allows. Keep in mind that measurement was only for radiation from 131I. There should have been other radionuclides in the rainwater emitting radiation.

BlueTwilight, do you have a source for your "Obama Proposed PAG Alt2" data?

Also, a sharper (and revised upward) data set for the contaminated rainwater can be seen here. (The 131I level was back below the safe limit stated in your post on the April 18, 2011 sample date.) To put the radiation level in the rainwater into perspective, the intake of an equivalent amount of water at this contamination level (21.83 Bq/L--upper confidence limit level) can be compared to the radiation dose expected from a roundtrip airplane flight between San Francisco, CA and Washington D.C.: Approximately, 100 liters of contaminated rainwater must be consumed.


21.83 Bq/L * 1.851 e-3 millirem/Bq = 4.041 e-2 millirem/L;

5 millirem/(4.041 e-2 millirem/L) = 123.7 L

Therefore, at one significant figure, approximately 100 liters of 21.83 Bq/L contaminated water would need to be consumed to equate to the radiation exposure expected from a roundtrip flight between San Francisco, CA and Washington D.C.

Would Radiation exposure (gamma?) from a flight be totally equivalent to exposure from ingestion? Would any of the radionuclides ingested be retained in vivo? Are there differences in vivo between gamma vs. beta vs. alpha?

RIP Dr. Rosalie Bertell.

Precisely, consumed 131I concentrates in the thyroid gland and emits beta particles. During an aircraft flight the exposure is from external sources emitting gamma photons and over the entire body. It decays into 131Xe which in turn decays emitting a gamma photon. Beta particles absorb in the body while gamma photons might pass through with some absorbing.

Berkeley is using "the ALI-derived concentration limit for I-131 in water of 1E-6 µCi/milliliter" (= 37 Bq/l) which is the maximum value for effluent concentrations. Where as this is valid for storm drain runoff, this is not valid for ingested water. The table from CBG shows the old limit for ingested water is .111 Bq/l.

ALI = Annual Limit on Intake
1 µCi = 37,000 Bq

Oral Ingestion ALI for occupational exposure to 131I is 30 µCi (Thyroid) = 1.11 MBq according to the table and 90 µCi = 3.33 MBq. Assuming the first value is for the annual concentration in the thyroid gland and the second value is the annual concentration in ingested water, if a person drinks 730 l of water/year, then the limit is 123 nCi/(liter of ingested water) = 4.56 kBq/(liter of ingested water). The numbers are not consistent, so something is not correct. The NRC table was last updated on June 03, 2013, so maybe it contains the new, higher values.

Yes, the source is one of the links in erainh2o's post that started this thread, EPA Dramatically Weakens Radiation Protections, Committee to Bridge the Gap (CBG), April 14, 2013.

Coming from the UKs Ministry of Defence this is something of an eye-opener (apolgies if already posted):

'The report says that depletion of cheap conventional "easy oil", along with shortages of food and water due to climate change and population growth, will sustain rocketing energy prices. Long-term price spikes are likely to lead to a long recession in Western economies, fuelling internal unrest and the rise of nationalist movements.''

Looks like someone in the MoD is wide awake.