Drumbeat: June 28, 2013

What natural gas glut? Just export, baby, export!

Drill, baby, drill! Energy companies are doing that all over America right now, sparking fears of a natural gas glut.

But the experts are not concerned, saying demand -- especially from overseas -- is increasing and the United States needs to simply export more of the natural gas it is producing.

Israel mulls natural gas exports. Is that a good idea?

As the United States contemplates exporting natural gas to the rest of the world, previously energy-poor Israel seems about to jump on the export bandwagon. The current government is seeking approval to export about 40 percent of the production from its newly discovered offshore natural gas fields.

In an era of high volatility in energy prices and supplies and in a country surrounded by unfriendly neighbors, one would think that Israel would want to keep this valuable energy prize all to itself. Current estimates suggest that the remaining 60 percent of production will allow Israel to supply all its needs for 25 years.

WTI Crude Oil Heads for Longest Gain Since April

West Texas Intermediate rose for a fifth day, its longest increase since April, on that signs of economic recovery in the U.S. and Germany will support fuel consumption.

WTI futures climbed as much 0.8 percent. German retail sales rose more than forecast in May, adding to signs that a recovery in Europe’s largest economy has gathered pace this quarter. Fewer Americans filed claims for weekly unemployment benefits and consumer spending rebounded in May, U.S. government data showed yesterday. Brent’s premium to WTI shrank after closing at the narrowest since January 2011.

U.S. Natural Gas Heads for Second Monthly Drop as Supplies Rise

U.S. natural gas traded near a four-month low, heading for a second straight month of declines, after a larger-than-expected jump in supplies yesterday drove prices to the biggest retreat in three weeks.

Futures swung between gains and losses, with volume about 55 percent below the 100-day average. The Energy Information Administration in Washington said yesterday inventories rose 95 billion cubic feet in the week ended June 21 to 2.533 trillion cubic feet. Analysts expected a gain of 90 billion, according to forecasts compiled by Bloomberg.

Reliance, ONGC Surge After India Raises Gas Price

Reliance Industries Ltd. and Oil & Natural Gas Corp., India’s biggest energy explorers, led Indian stocks higher after the nation’s cabinet agreed to increase the price of natural gas.

Reliance rose as much as 5.2 percent to 873 rupees, headed for its steepest gain since Feb. 20, and traded 2.6 percent higher at 851.50 rupees as of 12:03 p.m. in Mumbai. ONGC surged as much as 10 percent and Oil India Ltd. 9.2 percent. The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex climbed 1.9 percent.

China to lift non-residential natural gas prices

BEIJING - The government will increase the price of natural gas for non-residential use on July 10, China's top economic planner announced Friday.

BP Says Adriatic Pipeline Choice for Azeri Gas Driven by Prices

BP Plc, the lead developer of Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz natural-gas field, said its decision to send the fuel to Europe through the proposed Trans-Adriatic Pipeline was driven by prices.

The move, which ends four years of competition with the Nabucco pipeline project, was based on “commercial factors, including the cost to get the gas to the market and the market prices,” Al Cook, BP Azerbaijan president for Shah Deniz, said in an interview in Baku, Azerbaijan. “We saw a difference between the two pipelines measuring in billions of dollars.”

Gazprom Eases Stance on LNG Monopoly as Putin Urges Competition

OAO Gazprom, Russia’s natural gas export monopoly, conceded some arguments for allowing competition in shipping liquefied natural gas abroad after President Vladimir Putin called for easing.

“Arguments can be found, concerning LNG and the monopoly, on the possibility of preparing a program with Gazprom’s participation,” Gazprom Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev told reporters today in Moscow.

Gazprom Wants to Supply 15 Percent of World's LNG - Miller

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom is planning to boost its exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to corner up to 15 percent of the world market for the fuel, CEO Alexei Miller said Friday.

The Russian gas giant is turning to lucrative Asian LNG contracts against a backdrop of growing domestic competition and falling demand among its mainstay European customers. It currently supplies just 5 percent of the world’s LNG.

India to Eclipse China as World’s Coal Power, Buoying BHP

India is burning coal in power plants at the fastest pace in 31 years.

At the same time, domestic supplies of natural gas that are the main alternative are falling at the quickest rate in Asia, data from 2012 compiled by BP Plc show. Both trends run counter to those in most major economies and give India clout over global coal prices.

Lights out as risk of blackouts doubles

Energy watchdog Ofgem says we don't have enough capacity to produce energy - and has suggested rationing might be the only solution.

Does the UK really face electricity blackouts?

Britain could face a return within 18 months to 70s-style power rationing to prevent blackouts, screamed one tabloid front page on Friday, conjuring up a vision of coalminer militancy and the three-day week.

The irony of the latest scare is that the big employers in this scenario – the energy companies – have partly created the threat of electricity disruption by using too much coal too quickly and mothballing their gas-fired power stations.

CNPC Said Set to Buy $5 Billion Stake in Largest Kazakh Field

China National Petroleum Corp. plans to pay about $5 billion for a stake in Kazakhstan’s biggest oil field, people with knowledge of the matter said.

CNPC is planning to acquire 8.33 percent in the Kashagan project from state oil company KazMunaiGaz National Co., two of the people said, asking not to be named before the deal is public. An announcement may be made as soon as next week, two of the people said.

Saudi Arabia Barricades Its Border, U.S.-Style

From a new stone tower overlooking the border with Yemen, Saudi soldiers send out patrols in search of illegal immigrants drawn to the biggest economy in the Arab world. In the past year, dozens of observation posts have gone up along a 1,100-mile stretch in the southern province of Jazan, some positioned on mountain ridges, others just yards from where Yemenis herd goats through sand and brush. Lieutenant General Meladaan al-Meladaan, who’s responsible for protecting 52 miles, says his patrols catch as many as 70 people—from Yemen, Ethiopia, Somalia, Bangladesh—trying to sneak into the country each day.

Many more are able to get past the guards, a steady influx of cheap foreign labor that’s made it difficult for some Saudis to find work. Saudi citizens represent only 43 percent of the country’s 10.6 million workers, as 6 million foreigners build oil pipelines, fix cars, and bag groceries. In a report last month, EFG Hermes Holding (EFGD), citing government data, said that people living in Saudi Arabia illegally may represent 30 percent of the workforce.

Oh, Canada: How America's friendly northern neighbor became a rogue, reckless petrostate

For decades, the world has thought of Canada as America's friendly northern neighbor -- a responsible, earnest, if somewhat boring, land of hockey fans and single-payer health care. On the big issues, it has long played the global Boy Scout, reliably providing moral leadership on everything from ozone protection to land-mine eradication to gay rights. The late novelist Douglas Adams once quipped that if the United States often behaved like a belligerent teenage boy, Canada was an intelligent woman in her mid-30s. Basically, Canada has been the United States -- not as it is, but as it should be.

But a dark secret lurks in the northern forests. Over the last decade, Canada has not so quietly become an international mining center and a rogue petrostate. It's no longer America's better half, but a dystopian vision of the continent's energy-soaked future.

If You Remember 'Peak Oil' And 'Peak Wireless Spectrum,' You're Laughing Now

Be wary of predictions about complex systems such as technology and natural resources. Trust in innovation and free markets.

Colorado’s Binz Picked as Obama Nominee for FERC

Ron Binz, a former utility regulator from Colorado, is President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The White House said in a statement today that Obama intends to nominate Binz, an advocate of clean-energy technologies who served as chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission from January 2007 until April 2011. He is now a consultant on energy and telecommunications issues.

CEZ to Update Temelin Timetable After Czech Government Collapse

CEZ AS, the state-controlled Czech power producer, will update the timetable for its $10 billion Temelin nuclear-power expansion after the government collapsed in the middle of bidding by contractors to build the project.

“The tender is still on,” CEZ’s spokeswoman Barbora Pulpanova said today in a telephone interview. “Negotiations with bidders should enter the next phase next week, and we’ll make an announcement regarding the timetable of the tender.”

UAE energy chief calls for nuclear consensus

The UAE energy minister has painted an optimistic picture of nuclear power two years after the Fukushima disaster in Japan but cautioned other nations to step up liability and safety practices.

Suhail Al Mazrouei spoke alongside counterparts at an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) summit in St Petersburg as nuclear energy faces obstacles in public-safety fears, competition from low gas prices in North America and reduced access to credit for funding expensive reactors. In three years, renewables such as solar and hydro are set to produce double the amount of electricity generated by nuclear, according to some forecasts.

But from the perspective of the UAE, which will be home to the Arab world's first civilian reactor in 2017, atomic energy is moving along just fine.

Fusion energy dreams smash into hard economic realities

The old joke about nuclear fusion is that it's the "energy source of the future, and always will be" – but budgetary realities have raised new questions about just how much of a future fusion power has.

A campaign to get to the long-sought break-even point in a fusion reactor fell short last year at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's $3.5 billion National Ignition Facility. Now it looks as if NIF will be turning its focus more toward nuclear weapons applications.

Meanwhile, the U.S. contribution to the international $13 billion ITER fusion research project is coming under increased congressional scrutiny. There's a chance that federal funding will be held up just as the decade-long effort is due to hit its stride.

Renewable power to eclipse natural gas within 3 years, says IEA

Clean power is set to eclipse gas-generated electricity by 2016, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast in a report that challenges conventional knowledge about economic hurdles to renewables.

The number of gigawatts generated by hydro, solar, wind and other renewables is set to increase by 40 per cent in the coming five years, making them the fastest-growing segment in the global energy mix.

“As their costs continue to fall, renewable power sources are increasingly standing on their own merits versus new fossil-fuel generation,” Maria van der Hoeven, the executive director of the IEA, said at a presentation in New York.

Chinese Firm Is Charged in Theft of Turbine Software

WASHINGTON — China’s biggest wind turbine company and two of its executives conspired with an employee of a Massachusetts wind company to steal the American firm’s software for controlling the flow of electricity, causing $800 million in damages, according to an indictment on Thursday.

Republicans Eye Splitting Farms, Food Stamps for Measure

Republican leaders in the U.S. House are exploring divorcing farm subsidies from food stamps to revive an agriculture bill, breaking up a political alliance that for decades expanded spending on farmers and hungry families.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, is considering the possibility of advancing a slimmer, farm-only plan that can win enough Republican votes to pass, according to a party aide who spoke yesterday on condition of anonymity. A bill without food stamps wouldn’t need support from Democrats, who have championed the nutrition program for more than three decades and joined Republicans to defeat the bill last week.

Food security weakening "on a scale we haven't seen" - expert

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Population growth, rising affluence, water shortages and climate change are combining to create unprecedented pressure on the world’s food supply - pressure that is likely to play out both as slow rises in hunger and as famines linked to extreme weather events, a leading agriculture expert says.

“We have yet to grasp what climate change means in terms of food security,” says Lester Brown, an environment and agriculture specialist and president of the U.S.-based Earth Policy Institute. “We’re looking at changes on a scale we haven’t seen yet.”

Bee crisis: UK government launches 'urgent' review

The government has launched an "urgent" review of the crisis facing bees and other pollinators in the UK and pledged to introduce a national pollinator strategy.

"As we all recognise, pollinators play a vital role in the security of our food supply and the quality of our natural environment," said Lord Rupert de Mauley, minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). "In safeguarding their future, we can secure our own."

Every nation must shift to sustainable growth - debate

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The pressing need to limit damage from climate change means that all countries must start running their economies in a way that shares the world's resources more fairly, experts told an online debate hosted by Thomson Reuters Foundation and CARE International on Thursday.

"Addressing climate change requires addressing the unsustainable consumption and production patterns of rich countries," wrote Amina Mohammed, special advisor to the U.N. Secretary-General on post-2015 development planning. For example, while energy is wasted in many places, there are 1.3 billion people without access to electricity, she noted. Food waste is another huge problem, panelists said.

While Congress sleeps: Barack Obama offers stopgap measures to slow global warming

IN THE full glare of Washington’s summer sunshine, Barack Obama unveiled what he called “a co-ordinated assault on a changing climate” on June 25th. He promised to deploy almost every green weapon at his disposal, from better insulation in public buildings to loan guarantees for clean energy. To engage the enemy as quickly as possible, he is relying solely on authority already granted to him by Congress. Yet most of the munitions in his atmospheric arsenal are less than fearsome—and Congress, which could provide reinforcements, prefers not to.

Insurers welcome Obama climate initiative

Insurers and reinsurers have welcomed a new initiative to combat climate change, announced by President Obama early this week, which includes a proposal to convene an insurance sector group to focus on best practices and processes for assessing climate risk.

The insurance market has reacted positively to the news that the Obama administration is focused on combating climate change.

Methane Scrutiny in Obama Climate Plan May Cost Drillers

Riding shotgun in a Toyota 4Runner rigged up with a carbon-fiber pipe and a spectrometer, Duke University researcher Rob Jackson trolled through Washington searching for evidence that natural gas is not quite the climate champion President Barack Obama claimed this week.

He was replicating a study he did in Boston, measuring leaks from creaky natural gas pipes. In addition to being a possible safety risk, methane, the key component of natural gas, is 25 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. And leaks may undercut much of the climate benefits of gas.

Natural gas fracking critics find fault in Obama's speech

PITTSBURGH — President Barack Obama's speech this week on climate change forcefully rejected some key arguments made by opponents of natural gas fracking, upsetting some environmental groups that otherwise back his climate goals.

The Myriad Benefits of a Carbon Tax

Few goals in Washington have more bipartisan support, at least in theory, than cleaning up the tax code. Republicans and Democrats say they want a system that is simpler, fairer and more efficient. Put simply, they want a system with fewer special tax breaks and lower rates.

Yet one of the best ideas for advancing all of those goals – and also heading off catastrophic climate change — isn’t even on the table. I refer to a carbon tax, which would impose a price on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

World’s Highest Carbon Price Bedevils Australia’s New Leader

Kevin Rudd, sworn in yesterday for his second stint as Australia’s prime minister, may seek to amend his predecessor’s flagship clean-energy policy that’s left the nation with the world’s highest carbon price, analysts say.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance joined RepuTex in Melbourne and Climate Mundial in London in predicting Rudd will try to deflect attacks on Australia’s fixed carbon price, set to rise next month to almost four times the European rate, by pledging to speed up the shift to a market-based trading system.

EU plans to make it mandatory for ship owners to measure carbon emissions

Owners of large ships using EU ports will have to measure and report annual carbon emissions from January 2018 under new European commission proposals published on Friday.

The plans stop short of including shipping emissions in the EU carbon market, but the commission says they can still have an impact and are part of its work towards global emissions agreements.

Energy Secretary Optimistic on Obama’s Plan to Reduce Emissions

WASHINGTON — The short-term plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that President Obama outlined this week is achievable with some new programs and better management of existing ones, the new energy secretary, Ernest J. Moniz, said in an interview on Thursday. But he said reaching a longer-term goal would require bigger reductions as well as action from Congress.

Humans Play Role in Australia's 'Angry' Hot Summer

Human influences through global warming are likely to have played a role in Australia's recent "angry" hot summer, the hottest in Australia's observational record, new research has found.

The research led by the University of Melbourne, has shown that global warming increased the chances of Australians experiencing record hot summers such as the summer of 2013, by more than five times.

RE: Food security weakening "on a scale we haven't seen" - expert

No mention of oil supply in the article which I believe is the driving force behind the recent increases in food insecurity. I crunched the numbers once (as best I could) and the affect of biofuel production on calorie availability dwarfed how food supply has been negatively affected by recent climate events.

Also, I am under the impression that countries like Saudi Arabia could have continued growing grain except for the fact oil exports became more valuable since they were using it to desalinize the water for grains. Is that mostly correct, too?

Interesting, because the "expert" quoted is Lester Brown. He is very much peak oil aware. I wonder if Reuters decided to leave out the oil connection, or if Lester Brown has decided that climate change is a more important issue than peak oil.

I expect Lester is choosing his battles more carefully. While he understands the race to the bottom for many of our systems, messages can get mucked up with too many variables. He also understands the overarching problem is population. From the article:

The best thing the world could do to reduce its risk of growing hunger, he said, is to “make sure women everywhere have access to reproductive healthcare and family planning services.”

Around the world, hundreds of millions of women want to plan their families and space their children, effectively curbing population growth. But “they don’t have the means to do that,” he said.

Meanwhile in places like Texas, general family planning is being held hostage to the abortion issue. After the Republicans and Perry cut funding for family planning/womens' health centers (quite dramatically), seems the Texas Democrats are agreeing to back down on abortion providers and Planned Parenthood to get centers that don't provide abortions refunded. Some background:


One wonders how many of these are the same folks that say the Chinese and Indians 'need to stop having so many damn babies' :-0

One wonders how many of these are the same folks that say the Chinese and Indians 'need to stop having so many damn babies' :-0

The complaints about China & India aren't half as funny as when they start ranting about the over-reproducing lower classes in their own home cities/states.

The complaints about China & India aren't half as funny as when they start ranting about the over-reproducing lower classes in their own home cities/states.

I'll go one further. This law will end up forcing pregnant undocumented aliens into having "anchor babies" that they so abhor.

They really just don't think these things all the way through. Actually, it is probably more of a schism within the GOP between the theocrats and fiscal conservatives. A lot of the fiscal conservatives (at least elsewhere around the country) are probably not happy with such policies. But I guess the Texan GOP has a high percentage of the theocrat variety.

They really just don't think these things all the way through.

There. Fixed it for 'ya.

Right. Ideology instead of reason.

Saudi Arabia had a major irrigation program to be self sufficient in food based on mining fossil water. The ground water ran out.
Ground water mining for wheat to be phased out in Saudi Arabia
Desalination by oil is too expensive.
Better to use oil for fuel and solar for desalination.

Thanks. Although SA desalinates half of the world's supply of desalinated water, very little was actually used for growing wheat.

Wheat roughly supplies 1/6th of the cereal grain calories. As of 2011, the SA's elimination of subsidies effect on cereal supply is less than 0.05%. This is a very minor factor in the current level of global food insecurity.

Ethanol production in the US is now really close to last year's levels. I am not even sure how this is possible with so little corn in the pipelines -- I would have thought we would be at MOL for ethanol production a month or two ago. Instead, we have reduced exports and livestock numbers. Nothing seems to add up except it is clear that ethanol will take a greater percentage of corn supply in 2013 than any other year by a large margin.

I guess corn grown for ethanol may as well be used as food if necessary and this may add to food security. As is now exports and livestock numbers have decreased so there may actually be someone who have been priced out of the market and starve right now.

In worst or best case depending on quality it will also be possible to consume the ethanol.

Until I did the math, I dreamed of flowing ocean water through a system of shallow, covered trenches, generating fresh evaporated condensate. Low-tech, solar-driven, lovely! We might optimistically capture 50% of the incoming solar energy in the trough-collector, so that each square meter receiving about 5 kWh/day of incident energy could result in one gallon of water. Producing 10% of California’s demand would then require an area 60 km on a side, or a strip of land along California’s entire coastline about 2.5 km wide. Let’s call that infeasible. Darn.
- See more at: http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/10/the-energy-water-nexus/#stha...

With 100% efficiency heating 1 gallon of water from 15 C to 100 C requires:

3785 g * 4.186 J/gC (100 C - 15 C) = 1.347 MJ = 374 kWh

If the solar collector is 50% efficient, it should be able to vaporize about 7 gallons of water per day per square meter. The efficiency ought to be better because one could capture some of the heat when condensing the water vapor by preheating cold input water.

Saudi Arabia thought it would be easy to use ground water and desalinated water to grow grain rather than import it. The actuality was that the ground water was used up and de-sal water was more expensive than imported grain. And a huge waste of oil.

Libya is drawing down a huge sub-Saharan freshwater reservoir to irrigate land as well, as is Egypt, and that will be gone in less than fifty years. All over the world unreplenishable ancient groundwater resources are being consumed for industry and food.

Add in world deforestation, for various reasons, and the continuing increase in population, and the only conclusion I can draw is to live life for now - today - because tomorrow isn't going to happen. As for oil, well, that's just one more nail as far as I can see.

As I recall Saudi Arabia's water for irrigation came from a non-renewable water reservoir which finally ran out. We face the same issue in the US from the Oglala reservoir which is
also running out.

Re the Ogallala:


I posted this comment at 5:48 PM - I'm assuming the above link will cause a delay as the spam blocking software flags me for review - but sometimes nothing beats the convenience of a link -

Leanan - do you think there may be a way to structure a comment, if it includes links, to reduce the chance it will be flagged for review? I don't see a pattern so far - other than a link seems to activate the software most of the time. Maybe a link at a particular position in a paragraph is better, a particular size of sentence that includes a link is worse, a certain number of links is preferred, I don't know. Certainly though it is not a random process, and it stands to reason that since I am not a spam bot, there would be a way for me to write a comment that includes one or more links that would keep the software happy. Thanks -

- Dean -

the only conclusion I can draw is to live life for now - today - because tomorrow isn't going to happen.

Thank you for saying this. I think if some newbie listened to my endless diatribe about how the world is going to hell in a hand basket, and asked me, "Well, if it's that bad, whatever shall I do?", this is the advice I would give them.

Not in any kind of hedonistic, "let's trash the place and live it up" kind of way, but if today is a good day, be grateful and make the best of it. Enjoy it.

It looks like hard times ahead. How soon isn't clear, but potentially soon, and it doesn't look like anything is going to change fast enough to stop it. I for one, am going to live comfortably and enjoy modern amenities while the livin' is easy.

I'm not that happy to be a Consumer, and a part of the problem, but I think my ancestors would be proud and more than a little jealous.

I'm a human. Guilty as charged.

We're all human.

On the bright side, both Arabia and Libya have much more solar than oil.I kind of like the idea of covering MENA with solar panels for desalination.

Tickets for bike riders up 7% in Manhattan, 81% in Brooklyn: NYPD

The blame is being place on Citi Bike stations, as the 12 Manhattan precincts with them reporting a jump in citations. In Brooklyn, four precincts with stations and three that neighbored them, saw tickets rise from 282 handed out to 510 during the same period year-to-year.

Citi Bike cyclists have already taken 528,000 trips — and pedaled approximately 1.28 million miles, according to NYC Bike Share, operator of the program. ... police have ramped up their efforts with the rollout of the popular bike-rental program.

Despite the increased enforcement, a poll released Thursday shows overwhelming support for the bike-share program.

Wonder what the ticket rate for autos is?

I'm guessing a bigger factor is that the bike program is encouraging a bunch of newbies to bike.

Bikes are a huge issue in NYC. In most cities, it's the car drivers hating on cyclists. In NYC, it's the pedestrians who hate cyclists.

And that both the design and the rules of the road do not suit human-powered vehicles. In Seattle, the police recently tried posting a cop at Brooklyn Ave NE and the Burke-Gilman trail, due to stop signs that request bicyclists stop, which will virtually never happen--I observed two bicycle cops, a few weeks later, cross the natural way, in direct contradiction to the law. This way, if at all possible, does not include the energy waste of stopping, as sore legs and an empty stomach will quickly make one mindful of such inefficiencies.

In NYC, it's the pedestrians who hate cyclists.
Do you think its the newbies and commuters, or the bike messengers? NYC bike messenegers are famous for their aggressive riding.

I think it's just that NYC is really crowded.

Sometimes, in some parts of NYC, there are so many pedestrians it's hard to even walk. Cyclists trying to ride on the sidewalk, or plow through a crosswalk that's wall-to-wall pedestrians, are a disaster. Better to be run over by a bike than a bus, but it still sucks.

It's just fashionable to hate people, I don't think they are any more aggressive than in say Amsterdam.

I suspect they are. Cyclists in the U.S. in general tend to be more aggressive than in Europe, mainly because they are largely young males.

This was a point of controversy with NYC's bike share program. Some wanted to require helmets, but others argued that helmets do more harm than good. Requiring helmets makes cycling appear to be dangerous - something for only 20-year-old spandex-clad thrillseekers. That's not true in Amsterdam. There, you see people of all ages wearing normal clothing while biking. And that, some claim, makes it safer for everyone to bike.

My first day as a pedestrian tourist in Amsterdam was unnerving; trains, trolleys, buses, cars, scooters, bikes - all together, all at once, hurtling towards you with no regard for your personal space or decorum. It didn't take long to learn to pay close attention before straying off a pedestrian path.

As New Amsterdam transitions to a biking city, ubiquitous bike paths will become necessary, but who concedes territory for that to happen? The cars, obviously. So it's understandable that the urban motorists might be peevish.

In NYC, it's not really the motorists who are peevish. It's the pedestrians. Hundreds of pedestrians are hospitalized after being hit by bikes in NYC each year, and some have even been killed.

NYC is different. As jokuhl alluded to, the bike lobby is powerful and very reluctant to give any ground. In many states/cities, bicyclists are required to get off their bikes and walk them across if they are using a crosswalk. Bicycles in a crosswalk are considered pedestrians, but if you ride across at top speed, you're going faster than any pedestrian, which causes safety issues. In NYC, there's also the problem of how crowded crosswalks are. Think of a football game crowd all pouring out of the stadium at once. That's how it is on the sidewalks and crosswalks of NYC sometimes. So asking cyclists to walk their bikes if they're behaving as pedestrians - crossing in the crosswalk - is reasonable. But it's not happening in NY. Bike lobby is too powerful.

I'm walking the Hudson River Bike path every morning and evening right now, and the streets as well, of course. There are more and more bikes, and I'm watching the bike share traffic and behavior. It is certainly an issue of newbies and of tourists taking advantage of this system, but undergoing a 'learning curve' as the Bike Culture in NY continues to develop, and cars and pedestrians similarly adapt to changing balances and things to watch out for.

I keep stepping into the bike lanes on Avenues, for example, forgetting to check both ways for bikes, while the avenue is either North or Southbound only. I'm a longtime veteran of slapping shoeleather in this town.. its a bit different. No blood or gunfire yet, but bikes and peds are very tough bedfellows. Bikes are fast, often hard to see in the visual hubub, and silent.. Peds change course and speed without warning. It's ASTEROIDS meets ANGRY BIRDS! and yet, the riverside bike highway is a true delight. It's quiet and very human, even where it runs right alongside the west side highway. Kids play on rocks right by the water, young and old folks both getting where they're going, but also enjoying the park spaces.

The messengers really had a heyday in the 80's-90's, but with internet subsuming a lot of document travel (I'm guessing).. I really don't see that character buzzing the intersections the way they used to. I can't say I've really noticed a single one, while the food delivery bikes and E-scooters are rampant.. at the very least across Manhattan. There are still no end to aggressive cyclists, be they couriers or not.. something about parts of the more Tightly Tuned Biking Culture can be very terse and self-centered, and they understandably but unfortunately become really insistent about hanging on to their momentum, but here in an environment that demands a lot more expensive use of the brakes than they're sometimes willing to offer.

You'd maybe all also be stunned at the variety of Bikes being ridden! It's like watching Evolution in Action, as people mix and blend different configs, wheel numbers, wheel sizes. I fully expect to see some of these new forms grab hold soon.

No bike for me here, owing to my transient situation, and borrowed couches.. but I just bought a new pair of sneaks tonight, and am nursing a modest blister or two from so much walking in old ones.


One of those advice columns took a turn I didn't expect. Pretty routine problem: someone sends her relatives gifts, and is annoyed that they never acknowledge them. Typically, the response is, "Yes, they're rude, stop sending them gifts." But this one went further.

While it is rude to not acknowledge a gift, and while there seems to be an epidemic of silence by gift recipients, I think it’s oversimplifying to add 1 + 1 and declare an epidemic of rudeness.

I think something else important has happened that doesn’t get enough credit for the clear trend toward unacknowledged gifts: Stuff matters less.

When I was a kid about 1,700 years ago, it was a big deal to unwrap a sweater. New clothes were special. Now, even for many who struggle financially, it’s a yeah-whatever experience; people can get sweaters (or books or knickknacks or any goods within the purchasing power of a gift card) at all hours, often without leaving home, sometimes so cheaply that a kid’s dog-walking money can cover it.

As a result, many kids — and even adults — are immune to their possessions. Despite the recession, Americans are largely staggering under the weight of their stuff. I want the people who love me to show it by supporting my effort to not accumulate more and more and more. If not for my sake, then Earth’s.

THANK YOU. Yes I feel this way but my parents and in-laws (well let's be honest - really my mother and mother-in-law) can't get it through their thick skulls that my wife and I don't want any more crap. For years we've been telling them that we don't want any christmas or birthday gifts or money but they don't care. We always end up getting some trinkity crap that we just turn around and freecycle or throw out. Just last weekend my parents visited and my mom brought some random cheese-dipping plate as a gift. My wife and I looked at each other when we saw it and were like "what the hell are we going to do with this thing?".

We tried getting them to donate to our local conservation group in lieu of presents for christmas last year but that failed miserably as well. So now we don't even acknowledge the gifts anymore (we live about 600mi from our parents so rarely see them in person). I'm hoping that eventually since we just stopped writing thank-yous that they'll get the point, so far it hasn't worked.

And the comment in the article about "It's the thought that counts" is complete BS. The only reason 75% of christmas presents are purchased is gift-giver's guilt, same with b-days. Great, my parents spend $100 on me so now I'm supposed to do the same for their b-days? If my parents were really being thoughtful they would listen to my requests to stop giving me presents in the first place!

I've had a number of old relatives die where we literally had to rent a dumpster to clean their house out so it could be sold, people have too much junk as it is. Another pet peeve I has is my parents and in-laws trying to bring loads of our old childhood crap out to drop off every time they visit. No-way, I haven't seen it in 20 years, don't know it exists, don't bring it out and drop it off at my house. My mom literally gave me my own dried up umbilical cord last year. Like WTF am I going to do with that? Compost it?

Sorry, rant over.

Stuff yes - its difficult to choose fro someone elses tastes

Money - no - if you don't want it you can give it to charity yourselve

or use it to pay off debt or buy food or fuel

my 2 pennies worth


PS: " ...umbilical cord...." oh yucky ! no offence , but was she trying to say something ?? can't imagine what....

Maybe you need to give them a X-mass list? Solar panels and micro-inverters please.

... mounting hardware and copper wire.

Yeah . . . a LOOOONG stretch of unspliced bare 8 AWG needed for grounding.

I highly recommend the Soladeck enclosure box. Makes for nice pretty installs by running the conduit in the attic. But man . . . it is brutal working in the attic when it is hot. I need better ventilation for my attic. Stupid pyramid shaped roof has no gables. Learning to bend conduit has been fun though.

You don't have a conduit bender? I forget what my uncle calls the the metal tubes he uses in houses, but they make these odd tools that you , just thread them onto the conduit and make all sorts of bends in them, without kinks. Or are you using the flexible stuff, He says some of that isn't up to some area's specs though. but if you are just needing it for a project that isn't going to be inspected it works too.

As to the gift giving. I just tell folks that I take food items, not objects, unless they are willing to give me hand tools, like wood working ones. The trailer court doesn't have much in the way of gardening area, but I am going to a local open garden where you rent space, and I'd take seeds for planting as gifts.


My wife's Aunt (and Uncle) are 80. Wife is 58. And they still send $5.00 birthday checks to her and on other anniversary, religious holidays, etc. A time or two we have simply forgot to deposit a check only to be "reminded"...Dunno what it is, but at 80 it's better to let it continue than to push back I think.


I once tried to package an old chocolate box as christmas gift then my wife found it was to old and got rather pist off, otherwise it might have ended up there it came from.

Request a video as a present? As in that they get out a camera (or cell phone) and take you for a video tour of their garden or bridge club or favorite park or family photo wall etc? That way they get to give something and you have a light-weight digital file that can help to preserve a fond memory.

When I was a kid about 1,700 years ago, it was a big deal to unwrap a sweater.

That was a good response in that column - how our culture has changed - I remember about 4 stuffed animals when I was young - my kids I think have about 80+ apiece. Or did - they are old enough that we have managed to Goodwill a few finally. So many relatives when they were young felt they had to get them something, and you feel you can't get rid of that sort of gift for so long as the kids are young and the relatives may stop for a visit. My son has so many, many nerf guns also.
The sad thing is I think my generation had more fun. We would go outside to play, and would spend a lot of time outside. We did not have video games or social media, we had a lot of person to person time.

Interestingly, the world was statistically a more dangerous place when I was young - the violent crime rate was quite a bit higher and the police system was much less efficient at catching perpetrators. An offender could skip state and the law likely would not catch up with someone as there were no computer records, no pictures on driver's licenses, everything was on paper. If a criminal left state in time, the crimes could be committed again and again. This was widely known, I remember many occasions where skipping state would be a topic of discussion

Now so many families keep their their kids on such a short leash, perceiving that the world is a more dangerous place that it once was, yet that is not so - the change is merely a cultural change in perception, and in how we raise our kids, perhaps fueled by changes over time in how media operates. I really think we have done our children a disservice, if anything the kids should have the ability to be more independent for a given degree of safety, and feel quite safe when on their own.

I live on one of Maine's largest rivers - my wife would never consider letting my teenage daughters canoe it alone, or take a walk after dark. In comparison, my brother in his early teens had his own lucrative trap line, and in his later teens started his own wood business, owning a skidder and dump truck before the age of twenty. He made quite a lot of money, more than most adults at the time - and still does - he owns a San Francisco custom cabinetry shop.
A generation earlier, my father would help to feed his 8 siblings by hunting - we have a photo of him at the age of 7 with a shotgun and several ruffed grouse, he would hunt after school nearly every day, alone. It would be incomprehensible in today's world to let a child grab a gun and go hunting alone before the age of ten. He went onto have a mink farm in his teens, (he live trapped the first few, then learned how to raise them), the business did well. In his twenties he started a chicken business raising chicks for Jack DeCoster (Jack became - well - a chicken Bill Gates - if you live in the US and have eaten brown eggs, you've eaten his eggs. He became the world's largest brown egg producer - sold under many brands) in his twenties. My father went on to write two books on hunting, one sold very well and helped fund property purchases that helped support him well for a lifetime. He owns a Texas game ranch now.
I have been primarily self employed for my entire life also, and have managed just fine.

I think promoting independence is a good thing for a child's long term well being - yet it seems to me the opposite is happening, compared to the past, in today's America.

It's interesting how times have changed. 60+ years ago when my buddy and I were around 9 years old, we used to hitchhike to the kiddy movie show since there wasn't any public transportation in the country. No one thought anything of it.

I, too, had a trap line. In my case it was muskrats. I didn't have any firearms but I did have two BB guns and a pellet piston that also shot darts. Oh, yea, I also had a long bow and hunting arrows. I still have the long bow; I brought it out to California on the airplane when my wife and I moved here many years ago. Imagine going through TSA carrying a bow :-)!

We all had various knives/axes and spent most of our time in the woods or skinny dipping in a pond or creek. My favorite knife was a 10" butcher knife. I got my first axe when I had my tonsils out when I was around 7. My mom brought it to the hospital and laid it on my chest while I was waking up.

Yup, time sure have changed - for the worst.


I think partly to blame for this obsession with protecting "kids" (until they're about 50 years old) is the American media obsession with pedophiles.

Now, I don't doubt that real pedophiles exist, and indeed there was that recent case of the three girls who were rescued after being abducted for 10 years. Very sad indeed - the pervert who imprisoned them should get the death penalty, though he won't.

However, if you were to believe the media, there are pedophiles gathering on every street corner, lurking behind every tree. I've heard of this stupid reality TV show (which thankfully I've never seen) called "To Catch A Predator." So I guess the implication to to keep your own kids locked up, don't let them use the Internet, don't let them do anything without adult supervision 24/7.

I've read about the "sex offender registry," which I guess proves that the perverts are indeed lurking behind every tree. I've also read about how easy it is to get on that list - in some cases teenage girls being put on the list after being charged with "disseminating child pornography" because she emailed a semi-nude photo of herself to her boyfriend. The boyfriend, too, gets put on the list for receiving child pornography. The two "children" are age 17 and have been sleeping together - if the parents knew and allowed it, they too can get put on "the list." Cases of adults charged with possessing child pornography because they have photos (of themselves, as children) playing naked in the bathtub. At least one case of a man getting put on the list because he urinated in the bushes after drinking too much.

Of course, it's not only pedophiles that are out to get your kids, but also "terrorist." Even if the terrorists are kids too. Some great examples here:


Why? Maybe because it's profitable. The (now privatized) prison-industry complex seems to be the fastest growing industry in America. How much longer before 50% of the population finds itself on "the list?"

Vividness of the horrendous result is what matters in terms of its salience for the brain, actual adds of occurrence don't figure in. And the more something is tweaked by being seen on TV, the more vivid it becomes. So if the choice is driving the kid to school in an SUV, or letting him walk to school, the highly improbably danger averted by the former trumps the high danger the kid might become overweight and come down with diabetes.

Childhood is really prolonged in our culture. Perhaps because we have fewer children?

There have been some interesting anthropology studies on this topic. In other cultures, children are trusted with adult tasks much earlier. For example, in some Polynesian cultures, a child as young as three can use a machete to husk a coconut. Here, anyone giving a machete to a three year old would probably be charged with child endangerment.

They've done studies of tasks children do in various cultures. They expected to find that some things were just too difficult for kids to master. But that wasn't the case. For tasks that require knowledge and skill, like fishing, trapping, weaving, or sewing, children are just as good as adults (in societies where they are expected to be so). Where they fall short is in tasks that require physical strength. Because they are just too little.

childhood prolonged - hmm thats what we do with cats and dogs isn't it ?

makes them more freindly and easier to control

bother ! where's my tinfoil hat when I need it !!

easier to control humans - must be our Alien Overlords ......


For example, in some Polynesian cultures, a child as young as three can use a machete to husk a coconut. Here, anyone giving a machete to a three year old would probably be charged with child endangerment.

And for good reason. Why on earth would you give a machete to a 3 year old in an advanced western country?

Also, their culture of trusting kids has more to do with circumstances than choice. There's a long tradition of romanticizing the "noble savage" in the West. Oh! They live so close to nature etc. I'd wager that most of those kids would trade in their machete for an iPad every day of the week.
And if given the choice, most would prefer a comfortable Western lifestyle than running around in the woods doing not too much with their lives.

That isn't to say they're unhappy. People need remarkably little to be happy and some of the happiest people in the world reside in places like Nicargua.

But it's also a myth that people in the West are unhappy. The biggest studies examining countries, recently by the OECD, found that large majorities found their lives satisfactory. And the happiest people in the world happen to reside in Denmark, a modern welfare state.

I don't see what this has to do with my comment. I did not say anything about their being happy or unhappy. Nor did I post any noble savage fantasies.

All I'm saying is that children are more competent than we realize. So much so that it's shaking up theories of human evolution. If small children are that competent intellectually, why is childhood so long? The theory used to be that we needed that long childhood for the brain to develop, and to learn all the skills needed for survival. But now some researchers believe a long childhood is so we don't compete with our parents sexually.

"All I'm saying is that children are more competent than we realize."

Then again, many adults are less competent than we give them credit for (at least expect them to be), and world views seem to become less accurate, more corrupted. I suppose it's how one defines 'grown up', but I know plenty of adults that make far less sense to me than their children. Perhaps they've just "become comfortably numb".

This is probably a good explanation of why every parent I know thinks their child is a budding genius.
We underestimate what children can do.

"And the happiest people in the world happen to reside in Denmark, a modern welfare state.."

Lest you fall victim to a bit of romantic mythologizing yourself, I'd be careful about buying into such evaluations. It's hardly a myth that we have been creating situations out of our very modernness, be it our way of doing war, education, mental health, economic 'fairness', that have undoubtedly ravaged simply vast numbers of people. We create palliatives like TV, Antidepressants, Twinkies and IPODs, so that people can self-medicate themselves into a 'happyesque, comfortably numb' state which might very well be confused with Happiness by some researchers, while simultaneously deciding that parents going through the hells of raising hellions and being married are 'UNhappy'. Fighting through those kinds of struggles can make you just deliriously happy, but possibly in ways that no researcher is ever going to try to squeeze into the right field on his database.

The expectations and definitions are far too woolly to be able to slap on conclusive stickers to one place or another like that.

If so happy, why ever increasing, world leading suicide rate?

The population is self-selecting for happiness.

Survival of those with the best developed sense of denial.

(Had been looking up a good quote from Confederacy of Dunces.. so apropos of nihilism, I'll toss this one in...)

“I suspect that beneath your offensively and vulgarly effeminate façade there may be a soul of sorts. Have you read widely in Boethius?"
"Who? Oh, heavens no. I never even read newspapers."
"Then you must begin a reading program immediately so that you may understand the crises of our age," Ignatius said solemnly. "Begin with the late Romans, including Boethius, of course. Then you should dip rather extensively into early Medieval. You may skip the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. That is mostly dangerous propaganda. Now that I think of it, you had better skip the Romantics and the Victorians, too. For the contemporary period, you should study some selected comic books."
"You're fantastic."
"I recommend Batman especially, for he tends to transcend the abysmal society in which he's found himself. His morality is rather rigid, also. I rather respect Batman.”

― John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces

All hail Ignatius! (or was it 'Aww, Hell, Ignatius!')

Modern America no longer values freedom like it pretends to. The way people raise kids is just one more example of it.

Toy excess is sickening. But just another example of the huge fraction of present resources going into essentially worthless stuff/activities, at the expense of the planet and future generations.

With a fraction of that waste, we could pave our cities with PV.

Some Americans are cooling off on global warming

A complaint-worthy winter has led to a drop in the number of Americans who believe that global warming is real, according to a University of Michigan survey.

Other findings include:

- Of the 22 percent of Americans who do not think there is evidence of global warming, a growing number cite their personal observations of cold and snowy winter conditions as the primary factor influencing this belief (31 percent versus 18 percent last fall).

- Among Americans who express doubt about the existence of global warming, 16 percent cite religious factors as the primary reason for their skepticism, compared to less than 1 percent in fall 2008.

- The spring results provide continuing evidence that while weather conditions may play a role in shifting individual positions on the existence of global warming, more often they tend to confirm existing beliefs on the presence or absence of global warming.

New laser to detect methane leaks

Researchers are developing a new type of laser system that will monitor methane, the main component of natural gas, levels across large areas. This will provide a useful tool for monitoring greenhouse gas emissions.

The system has the potential to detect methane leaks from long-distance underground gas pipelines and gas fields, including coal seam gas extraction operations, and to measure methane emissions from animal production.

"This will give us an ability to map methane over an area as large as 25 square kilometres in a very short time. At the moment current technology only allows detection at a single point source as it blows past the detector."

If this pans out, it would be like weather RADAR for methane.

They already can do this for CO2, and the end result is nothing. Sif this will have any affect on greenhouse gas emissions. I'm LOL at the idea of getting fined for farting.

Oregon Resilience Plan - Executive Summary

Oregon is far from resilient to the impacts of a great Cascadia earthquake and tsunami today. Available studies estimate fatali­ties ranging from 1,250 to more than 10,000 due to the combined effects of earthquake and tsunami, tens of thousands of build­ings destroyed or damaged so extensively that they will require months to years of repair, tens of thousands of displaced house­holds, more than $30 billion in direct and indirect economic losses (close to one-fifth of Oregon’s gross state product), and more than one million dump truck loads of debris.

A particular vulnerability is Oregon’s liquid fuel supply. Oregon depends on liquid fuels transported into the state from Washing­ton State, which is also vulnerable to a Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. Once here, fuels are stored temporarily at Oregon’s criti­cal energy infrastructure hub, a six-mile stretch of the lower Willa­mette River where industrial facilities occupy liquefiable riverside soils. Disrupting the transportation, storage, and distribution of liquid fuels would rapidly disrupt most, if not all, sectors of the economy critical to emergency response and economic recovery.

Business continuity planning typically assumes a period of two weeks to be the longest disruption of essential services (i.e., util­ities, communications, etc.) that a business can withstand, and service disruptions lasting for one month or longer can be enough to force a business to close, relocate, or leave the state entirely. Analysis in the Oregon Resilience Plan reveals the following time­frames for service recovery under present conditions:

Resilience gaps of this magnitude reveal a harsh truth: a policy of business as usual implies a post-earthquake future that could consist of decades of economic and population decline – in effect, a “lost generation” that will devastate our state and ripple beyond Oregon to affect the regional and national economy.

Full Report; The Oregon Resilience Plan - Reducing Risk and Improving Recovery for the Next Cascadia Earthquake and Tsunami (13.5MB pdf)

Re: What natural gas glut? Just export, baby, export!

What's it gonna be - exports, cheap resource to promote domestic manufacturing, or bridge fuel? Cause we can't have all of these at once.

My take is it'll probably depend on the efficacy of Obama's climate proposals, which will damper all this export hype pretty quick if effective. But if the "free market" has it's way, we'll burn, baby, burn everything we can pull out of the ground.

It's interesting (even encouraging) how many of the comments are calling these articles' authors out, not toeing the BAU line. Only 4 comments below If You Remember 'Peak Oil' And 'Peak Wireless Spectrum,' You're Laughing Now, link above, all taking issue with the premise of the article. I've been advocating for more TODers to jump in and challenge the BAU party lines when possible. Seems others are doing the same, and some are becoming less pious in their religion-of-growth views.

Hi Ghung

re: "I've been advocating for more TODers to jump in and challenge the BAU party lines when possible."

I don't know about this one, Ghung? Of course I will explain!

Lately, I have noticed a kind of resigned acceptance or sadness about events in folks that actually do know we are experiencing decline. In a few cases people have remarked to me that they know what is happening, but for their own health, state of mind, ability to cope, whatever, they consciously choose not to think about 'those things', and instead concentrate on putting their own house in order.

Another mindset I have noticed is an increase in denial. For example, in a conversation just yesterday my sister remarked that Krugman says we will be stopping the QE too soon. That if it just continued the economy would return to its state of healthy growth. For her, Krugman is the man and what he says must be true. One other thing, becaue it is Obama Dems doing the tapping/listening and drone strikes these things are done for our safety, and must be necessary. However, I know that if the Republicans were in office the same folks would be howling for blood about the same activities. When politicians from both parties agree on arresting Snowden, I just have to shake my head.

My point is that this apparent undulating plateau of oil production seems to be mirrored in mainstream attitudes. I don't think much notice or change will occur until 'something big' happens. For climate change it will have to be a few more 'Sandy's, another Katrina...but must be in a place like Miami where rich condos are destroyed and not poor black neighbourhoods. For Ponzi debt finance it will have to be another or bigger collapse than the 2008 debacle. (After all, the orchestrators are still deciding policy and no banker has yet been charged.....and probably never will be). Peak Oil will simply not be believed until $4.00 gas is normal and higher spikes create anger and more noticeable hardship.

I heard just the other day that some new leader would be the next "Thatcher" and would put their country in order. I have yet to hear about the cost of oil in that decade. Energy cost and availability regarding growth is never discussed outside PO or Limit(s) circles. Never, in my experience.

Last night my brother remarked that he was doing what I am, that is to say, focusing in on our own sphere of influence and interactions, preparing in our own way for what will be inevitable. In other words, psychologically preparing for a world that will not return to growth and that will undergo a hangover reset. Taking the 'hangover' analogy further, as a whole we are the saps with empty turned out pockets, needing a ride home to see if there is a phone message telling us there will be work tomorrow and another paycheque to keep it all moving.

You have your panels and gardens, tools and skills...as do we. As do many others. For the most part, people in denial do not want to listen to challenges about BAU. I think we are better off putting that energy into personal preparation and in creating and maintaining relationships. We all hope to be the maker of the persuasive argument that turns things around for those we know, but such challenges often turn people off. I think we are better to live in purpose, explain when asked, and lead by example.

I said, "You must know the answer"
She said, "No but I'll give it a try"
And to this very day we've been livin' our way
Here is the reason why
We blew up our TV, threw away our paper
Went to the country, built us a home
Had a lot of children, fed 'em on peaches
They all found Jesus on their own



... I think we are better off putting that energy into personal preparation and in creating and maintaining relationships

I agree Paulo.

Here is a tangental reference which shows that relationships are a more valuable asset in extreme environmental conditions. [It may be more - who you know - rather than what you know]

Monkeys' winter death toll shows true value of friendship in natural selection

Their findings... represent the first known scientific study to establish a correlation between sociality (i.e. the number of social relationships an animal holds within its group) and survival under extreme ecological conditions.

Co-author and founder of the Barbary Macaque Project Dr Majolo added: "We found evidence that it is the quantity, not the quality, of these social relationships which predicts an animals' survival.

This was also borne out by survivors of Auschwitz

It hasn't been an either/or case for me. It doesn't take much time or energy these days to be a smart little fly in the evil doers ointment. As for the unwashed masses, we can witness in small ways. A women remarked to me yesterday that gas prices are going back up.

"Are they?", I asked.

"Yes,, haven't you noticed?"

"Not really. When fuel started getting so expensive, I stopped using so much; drive less; found better things to do with my time and money that don't involve burning stuff."

Hey Paulo,

Just so you know, gas here in NW California (Eureka/Arcata) has been over $4 a gallon pretty consistently since the 2008 spike. It's still the land of huge pick-ups, and it's long since been on the news. People are totally used to it now. FYI, today my local station just dropped from $4.29 back to $4.19, a range it stays in often.

Granted, we're kind of a remote market, so they have us over a barrel. Maybe mid-west folks will balk if gas goes up $1 a gallon, but my guess is they'll get used to it pretty quick.

Love me some John Prine, BTW. Cheers.

Same thing here.

Consumer spending is soft because the consumers have decided to divert money from stuff to gas for the quad-cab pickup and the SUV, preferably Suburban sized "for safety." And if the pickup is pulling a boat, then that uses gas at a significant rate as well. Or the truck may be pulling a trailer with multiple ATV's on it.

Gas consumption is clearly job 1. The days of gas less than $3.75 are pretty much forgotten. "We've always been at war with Eastasia."

I challenge things all the time but I wish I would not bother. It is just a waste of my time.

Even if you have a platform like being on TV, sometimes it just seems pointless:

So Fox News pundit Erick Erickson and Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman get into a back-and-forth about the price of milk and bread—Erickson says prices are soaring, Krugman points out that Erickson is actually completely wrong and that prices are stable. Confronted with the facts, how does Erickson respond? Like this:

Paul's point is correct, but it is an issue of perception of people versus the reality of his chart. He can certainly go tell people milk prices haven't gone up, but good luck getting them to believe him.


What good does getting the truth out there do if the people would rather believe the falsehoods?

Thank you for the replies

re: "I challenge things all the time but I wish I would not bother."

sigh...story of my life, sometimes. How many times do we wish the send button could reverse?

1 and 1/2 weeks straight rain here. (Vancouver Island) We are supposed to get the 'blocking high' influencing so much of the US southwest. The river is very high, had to tie the dock off to a tree to keep the anchors from dragging, and now I am going out to work on the pond to raise the level before the 'heat wave' hits. Plan to work in shorts, rain gear and gum boots. Will be soaked in 1/2 hour. Garden frozen in time...except for the weeds, of course.


"What good does getting the truth out there do if the people would rather believe the falsehoods?"

Quote of the week!

Milk has gone up from 2.49 to 2.79 locally. But bread has been stable at $1.00 a loaf (give or take a dime) for some time.

Price of bread:

June 2009: $1.23
Dec 2010:  $1.18
Oct 2011:  $1.25 
June 2012: $1.38
June 2013: $1.48

Looks like a 4.6% annual increase in the price of bread for the last 4 years which is well in excess of the CPI-U. I am buying fewer loaves to compensate for the rising price.

It doesn't matter what Obama says -- gas will be exported which will drive up the cost to domestic consumers. The first export facilities are under construction at Sabine Pass with an estimated completion time of 4Q 2015. It is somewhat surreal to see the US exporting gas when they are still a net importer (mostly from Canada). There are also a number of proposals to build LNG export facilities on the Canada's West Coast. As more LNG export capacity is added, domestic gas prices will rise and the current trend of switching from coal to gas for electrical generation will end.

A lot of people, especially in British Columbia, are fighting the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline that would carry bitumen from Alberta to Kitimat, BC for export. There likely would not be the same level of opposition to construction of natural gas pipelines to the coast as the risk to the environment would be significantly less. Much of the gas that would be exported would come from BC so the economic benefits to the province would be a lot greater than they would be from construction of the Northern Gateway pipeline.

If North Americans have to pay more for gas this will encourage conservation. Unfortunately, it could also give the coal industry a boost.

It would also boost renewables, as they would start to look like a bargain.

Oil drilling off Santa Barbara coast? House Republicans say Yes

In spite of a White House veto threat, the Republican-controlled House on Friday launched a new effort to open up the California and Atlantic coasts to oil drilling.

The bill, which passed 235-186, would require lease sales by the end of next year for energy production off the coast of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

It also would direct the Interior Department to develop a new five-year plan for drilling in areas containing the "greatest known oil and natural gas reserves,’’ including areas off Southern California, Alaska and the Eastern Seaboard.

Expanded offshore leasing would benefit the large oil companies, which have the resources to finance the high startup costs

Why not? Even with the green-centric CA mindset, they are a terribly car-focused state. It's silly for them not to produce their own oil, on- and off-shore. Note they have a reasonably large area of shale to frack as well.

Because they do not want oil washing up on their beaches and seeping into their ground water. The California coast is seismically active which adds some major uncertainties.

California had that oil spill in 1969 that really poisoned the well so to speak. The Santa Barbara beaches are filled with oil blotches that still exist. Of course many of those are just natural oil seepage but the psychic damage has been done. We don't want to risk it. Tourism is a big industry and we do love our beaches and environment.

That said, I think we'll eventually drill for oil here but I can't say that I'm upset that we don't. But the time we get around to drilling, the oil will probably be worth 2X or 3X what it is today. So what is the rush? If we don't have to drill then don't.

That, and we would have to get something for it. Right now California oil royalty is zero percent -just as Chevron likes it. I could imagine some sort of grand bargain, whereby in exchange for 20% royalties on ALL oil production, they get to do offshore (bet they'd turn it down).

I think they'd take it in a heartbeat. That is some easy oil there and right next to a hungry market for it. Royalty should be higher. And yeah, it is insane that California doesn't get a piece of the action. Those socialist commies in Texas and Alaska do . .

Free trade agreements require that China be allowed to bid on the leases. Republicans, love thy commie.

Major changes needed for coral reef survival

Using results from simulations conducted using an ensemble of sophisticated models, Ricke, Caldeira, and their co-authors calculated ocean chemical conditions that would occur under different future scenarios and determined whether these chemical conditions could sustain coral reef growth.

Ricke said: "Our results show that if we continue on our current emissions path, by the end of the century there will be no water left in the ocean with the chemical properties that have supported coral reef growth in the past. We can't say with 100% certainty that all shallow-water coral reefs will die, but it is a pretty good bet."

Deep cuts in emissions are necessary in order to save even a fraction of existing reefs, according to the team's results. "To save coral reefs, we need to transform our energy system into one that does not use the atmosphere and oceans as waste dumps for carbon dioxide pollution. The decisions we make in the next years and decades are likely to determine whether or not coral reefs survive the rest of this century," Caldeira said.

... Bye, Bye, Coral :-<

Whats coral ever done for me?

Provide habitat for the fish you eat?

Benefits of Coral Reefs

Another form of food insecurity ...

Counterfeit Food More Widespread Than Suspected

... “Around the world, food fraud is an epidemic — in every single country where food is produced or grown, food fraud is occurring,” said Mitchell Weinberg, president and chief executive of Inscatech, a company that advises on food security. “Just about every single ingredient that has even a moderate economic value is potentially vulnerable to fraud.”

... The plot fits a pattern, identified by Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, which says organized crime groups have capitalized on the economic downturn.

“In response to reduced consumer spending power, counterfeiters have expanded their range of products,” a recent Europol report said. In addition to the traditional counterfeit luxury product, organized crime groups “now also counterfeit daily consumer goods such as detergents, foodstuffs, cosmetic products and pharmaceuticals.”

Because the profit margins for foodstuffs are often within single digits, “if you dilute by 2 percent, that’s a big deal.” Shaun Kennedy, associate professor at the University of Minnesota, estimated that 10 percent of food that consumers buy in the developed world was adulterated

And yet, the farmer sees only 15% of the price the consumer pays

If you remember from earlier this year the EU had this horse meat scandal. Horse meat was found in all kind of food stuff, often labled "100% beef" or "100% pork". Except those meat pies from Iceland who turned out to be 100% vegitarian. The producer claimed to have no idea why there was no meat in his meat pies.

And yet, here in the U.S. Republicans have been gutting FDA enforcement by slashing staff and budget since Reagan. Now we have one inspector for every 223 thousand people --plenty, right? Or... maybe not.


Over here - It's 'What's for dinner ...

Feds approve horse slaughterhouse in NM, say permits coming for Iowa, Missouri companies

Federal officials cleared the way Friday for a return to domestic horse slaughter, granting a southeastern New Mexico company’s application to convert its cattle facility into a horse processing plant.

In approving Valley Meat Co.’s plans to produce horse meat, Department of Agriculture officials also indicated they would grant similar permits to companies in Iowa and Missouri as early as next week.

Valley Meat Co. wants to ship horse meat to countries where people cook with it or feed it to animals.

... or they'll ship it to Europe

I thought Horse meat was taboo in US.

Not really taboo but viewed in revulsion by the vast majority of Americans. Smoked horse is legally findable in most large American cities and raw meat is also available.... even some very few restaurants have it on their menus.... all imported.

When the last horse abattoirs were legally forced to close in the US led to 'unintended consequences'. Unless near either the Canadian or Mexican borders and their abattoirs some far crueler treatment of unwanted horses occurred ---- they were very often released to survive on their own and most slowly starved to death if not hit by cars.

I think the assumption in much of the developed world, is that horse meat is largely from old diseased horses, that on average have consumed a lot of drugs. So the modern revulsion may be well founded, and not just based on romantic notions of heroic free roaming stallions.

Horse meat is food, and i don't mind eating it. I just want the pack tocontain what it says on the label.

Weather report for my piece of Arizona:

10 am: 94 F and clear. It looks like it will be a hot one.

11 am: 102 F and scattered clouds. Same as yesterday's high temperature around 4 pm.

11:15 am: 98 F. A thunder cloud has formed and blocked the sun.

11:30 am: 96 F and overcast. Turn refrigerator off because there is not enough power from the photovoltaic panels for it.

11:50 am: 92 F and overcast with thunder rumbling from within the clouds.

Quick start for the monsoon. Usually it is hot for several days to a week before the thunderclouds form.

High elevation or lower desert? I lived in various counties and environments in AZ for over three decades. Love the monsoon season, which became gradually unpredictable during my last decade there.

My last home was in Yavapai County. When I moved there in 1993, not many people needed anything more than a swamp cooler during the summer in the high desert grassland (rarely above 90 F), but it gradually became hotter - and had a lot less rainfall in the summer.

Where are you - Tucson, Yuma, Prescott? Phoenix is already over 111

A friend who lives at 4500' in central Yavapai County just noted on Facebook that they're having a "weather anomaly" with a temp of 106 F there at 11 AM. The temperature at 1:30pm spiked at 109.6 F. THe record for this date is 100 F.

Many years (decades) ago, I lived in that part of the country. We had a joke:

Q: Yavapai?
A: No, Hasayampa.

I guess you had to be there. ;-)

LOL. I get it. I lived up there for 17 years.

More news on Stasi 2.0 ...

FBI Document—“[DELETED]” Plots to Kill Occupy Leaders “If Deemed Necessary

... in documents obtained from the FBI and Homeland Security by the PCJF’s FOIA search, the Occupy Movement is classed as a “terrorist” activity.

That movement swept the US beginning in mid-September 2011. When, in early October, the movement came to Houston, Texas, law enforcement officials and the city’s banking and oil industry executives freaked out perhaps even more so than they did in some other cities. The push-back took the form of violent assaults by police on Occupy activists, federal and local surveillance of people seen as organizers, infiltration by police provocateurs—and, as crazy as it sounds, some kind of plot to assassinate the “leaders” of this non-violent and leaderless movement

Sniper action by law enforcement officials in Texas would not be anything new. Last October, a border patrol officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety, riding in a helicopter, used a sniper rifle to fire at a fast-moving pickup truck carrying nine illegal immigrants into the state from Mexico, killing two and wounding a third, and causing the vehicle to crash and overturn. It turns out that Border Patrol agents, like a number of Texas law enforcement organizations, had been receiving special sniper training from a Dallas-based mercenary-for-hire organization called Craft International LLC. It seems likely that Houston Police have also received such training, possibly from Craft, which has a contract for such law-enforcement training funded by the US Department of Homeland Security

Alessi, who hails from a law-enforcement family and who ran last year for sheriff of Houston’s Harris County on the Texas Green Party ticket agrees "I believe the sniper attack was one strategy being discussed for dealing with the occupation.”

... the agency’s evident failure to take any action regarding a known deadly threat to Occupy protesters in Houston, will likely make protesters at future demonstrations look differently at the “suppressed” sniper-rifle equipped law-enforcement personnel often seen on rooftops during such events. Would this indicate they have no plans to take responsibility for any shots silently fired? Or that they plan to frame someone else?

... now where did I put my tinfoil hat.

We may not be as far from a Syrian type situation as we think.

China to Increase Natural Gas Prices for Non-Residential Use

China will raise natural gas prices for non-residential users to reflect demand for and supply of the fuel and to conserve resources, the National Development and Reform Commission said today. Authorities will refrain from raising residential prices this time to avoid affecting the daily lives of the people, the commission said.

Natural gas import prices climbed 69 percent between 2010 and 2012, CNPC said on May 10, while average domestic gas retail prices in provincial cities gained only 24 percent in the five years to 2012. The resource currently accounts for 5.4 percent of China’s energy mix, the company said.

Indian Gov’t Announces Doubling In Price Of Natural Gas, To Start April 2014

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs said the price of domestically produced natural gas should rise to $8 per unit, from the current $4.20, in April next year.

India's government aims to double the proportion of natural gas to 20% by 2020.

The rise will have a knock-on effect on the cost of electricity, transport fuel, fertiliser and cooking gas.

More evidence for (and against) groundwater contamination by shale gas

Few topics in the realm of energy are as publicly charged today as fracking, the process by which natural-gas-bearing layers of shale are hydraulically fractured to create pathways for the gas to be extracted. To some, it’s simply a major boon to the US economy and energy independence. To others, it’s a short-sighted resource grab that will leave drinking water resources poisoned for decades. As research in areas where fracking is already prevalent has slowly plodded ahead, what we’ve learned hasn’t fit neatly into either of the black-and-white narratives of the political debate. The realities have, unsurprisingly, been complicated.

Its looks like Cal ISO is trying to figure out incentives to move geothermal from baseline to dispatch-able.
California Grid Operator Asks Geothermal to Help ‘Feed the Duck’

California’s 33-percent-renewables-by-2020 mandate is becoming a reality, and the state’s electricity system operator wants the geothermal industry to help keep the grid stable as more generation comes from variable resources.

Instead of the present maximum ramp in demand from 19,000 megawatts to 25,000 megawatts, Edson said, the ISO could need the capability to ramp from 11,000 megawatts to 25,000 megawatts by 2020.

"But geothermal has the ability to move in response to conditions and provide system operators with flexibility,” Edson said. “This industry needs to rethink its baseload generation model.”

By 2015, she said, the flexibility geothermal potentially offers will be “essential for us.”

Damn. That 7pm load is the killer. I guess everyone gets home, turns on the AC, turns on the TV, and fires up the electric stove to cook dinner. They should be encouraging everyone to point their PV panels to the Southwest to increase the afternoon production.

Looks like a TOU problem. I'll bet a lot of people are waiting until the evening when the rates go down to ramp up whatever they're doing. Probably just a matter of adjusting the TOU rates to tamp down the evening spike - obviously worked for the daytime peak.

As PV gains more of the market the cheap power is going to wind up in the daytime.