Drumbeat: August 12, 2013

Amid Pipeline Debate, Two Costly Cleanups Forever Change Towns

MARSHALL, Mich. — As the Obama administration inches closer to a decision on whether to approve construction of the much-debated Keystone XL pipeline, costly cleanup efforts in two communities stricken by oil spills portend the potential hazards of transporting heavy Canadian crude.

...“All oil spills are pretty ugly and not easy to clean up,” said Stephen K. Hamilton, a professor of aquatic ecology at Michigan State University who is advising the Environmental Protection Agency and the state on the cleanup in Marshall. “But this kind of an oil is even harder to clean up because of its tendency to stick to surfaces and its tendency to become submerged.”

Fracking Is Just The Beginning: The Rise Of Extreme Energy

With oil prices still sky high and the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration surpassing 400 parts per million for the first time in human history this year, the facts on the ground remain grim. What has altered radically is the level of spin deployed to counter this reality, as even the pretence of action has all but evaporated. Now the focus is on the appearance of plans for action, principally through the promise of techno-fixes, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) or geo-engineering, in the far future.

Behind all this smoke and mirrors, there is a real world not amenable to such trickery. On one side increasingly extreme weather hints at what climate change has to offer, while on the other rising energy costs mark the ongoing depletion of fossil fuels.

But fossil fuels are not like a petrol tank of a fixed size, which we are burning up and will eventually simply run out. Tar sands, Arctic drilling and fracking demonstrate that as easy-to-extract resources are depleted there is always some more difficult-to-extract resource to take their place, if you are desperate enough. These harder-to-extract fossil fuels come with additional costs beyond their carbon emissions, however.

WTI Trades Near Four-Day High Amid Signs Europe Recession

West Texas Intermediate crude traded near its highest level in four days amid estimates that the euro-area edged back to growth last quarter for the first time since 2011.

Futures fluctuated in New York before data this week that will probably show gross domestic product in the 17-nation region expanded 0.2 percent in the three months through June after shrinking for the previous six quarters, according to the median of 21 economist forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. Iraq’s North Oil Co. said it boosted supply through an export pipeline to Ceyhan in Turkey, to make up for interruptions. Bijan Namdar Zanganeh pledged to raise Iran’s output if he becomes the country’s oil minister.

“The worst is over for Europe but we expect growth to remain shallow rather than a return to impressive growth,” said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “I don’t see an environment for prices rising further at the moment. We need to absorb the oversupply first.”

U.S. Average Gasoline Prices Fell 7.61 Cents in Last Two Weeks

The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps fell 7.61 cents in the past two weeks to $3.5985 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.

Saudi Arabia raised oil output to 10 million bpd in July

Saudi Arabia produced around 10.0 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil in July, up from 9.6 million bpd in June, an industry source said on Saturday.

The world's largest oil exporter supplied a total of 9.99 million bpd to the domestic and export markets, he said. When Saudi output is higher than supply, the difference typically goes into storage.

Iran’s Zanganeh Plans to Boost Oil Output If Made New Minister

Iran’s Zanganeh Plans to Boost Oil Output If Made New Minister By Ladane Nasseri - 2013-08-11T10:01:24Z Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, a former Iranian oil minister who has been nominated by President Hassan Rohani to take over the ministry again, pledged to boost Iran’s oil output should he be approved by the parliament.

“My first action will be to bring the country’s oil production capacity back to 2005” levels, Zanganeh was quoted as telling Shana, the Oil Ministry’s news website. At that time Iran wasn’t subject to United Nations, U.S. and European Union sanctions against its nuclear program. The measures, imposed during ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s time in office, have restricted international companies’ ties with Iran and the country’s crude exports.

Mexico aims for NAFTA-style growth boost from energy reform

Mexico’s plans to break a 75-year state monopoly on energy could boost flagging growth and double foreign investment, potentially providing the biggest leg-up to its economy since the North American Free Trade Agreement two decades ago.

The government is finalizing proposals to lure private investors into the oil, gas and electricity industries in order to boost production and lower energy costs for manufacturers, which are up to twice as high as those paid by U.S. companies.

Oil minnow GS Energy has become a player in Abu Dhabi's coveted fields

Yet this minnow among South Korea's chaebol, as the nation's family-controlled conglomerates are called, has managed to lay its hand on some of the world's most coveted oilfields in Abu Dhabi.

Last year the company signed an exploration agreement, together with its partner Korea National Oil Corporation (Knoc), for three blocks in the emirate - a landmark deal in a place where the last new country to gain a concession in the emirate was Japan in 1968.

DOE warns Forum Energy on drilling near disputed waters

MANILA - Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla cautioned an exploration company from proceeding with drilling operations after getting the nod of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development to explore 880,000 hectares of seas, 80 nautical miles from Palawan for oil and natural gas.

OPEC Governor: Iran’s Crude Oil Exports Exceeding Envisaged Figures

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s OPEC Governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi underlined ineffectiveness of the US-led sanctions against Tehran, and said Iran's crude export has exceeded the figures envisioned in the country’s budget bill.

India's MRPL to receive Iranian cargo after 4-month gap

(Reuters) - India's Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd said on Monday it expects to receive an Iranian oil cargo by the end of this week, the firm's first purchase from the sanctions-hit nation since April.

Gunmen kill 5 Yemeni troops guarding LNG plant-official

ADEN (Reuters) - Suspected al Qaeda militants killed four Yemeni soldiers in their sleep early on Sunday in an attack on forces guarding the country's only liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal, a local official said.

The assault follows an escalating campaign of drone strikes by the United States over the past two weeks and warnings of militant attacks that prompted Washington to close embassies across the Middle East and evacuate some staff from Yemen.

Libya's two largest oil export terminals closed again

LONDON (Reuters) - Striking security guards again halted loadings at Libya's two largest crude oil export terminals, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, after operations had resumed briefly following a two-week outage, trading and shipping sources said on Monday.

The port outages, coupled with strikes and protests at other oil installations, have caused the worst disruption to the North African OPEC member's oil industry since the civil war in 2011.

Venezuelan refinery ablaze after lightning strike

(CNN) -- Firefighters were battling a blaze at a Venezuelan refinery Sunday after a lightning strike, a top official in the country's state oil company said.

Lightning struck Sunday afternoon at a Petroleos de Venezuela refinery in the northern city of Puerto La Cruz, causing an explosion and subsequent fire, company Vice President Asdrubal Chavez said.

Irving Oil’s plans for land worry environmentalist

A Saint John environmentalist is worried about Irving Oil Ltd.'s plan for thousands of acres of land in east Saint John.

Clean air activist Gordon Dalzell suspects at least some of the estimated 4,000 acres could be used to build a marine terminal if TransCanada Corp.'s west-east pipeline project goes ahead.

Disgraced British ex-energy minister lands job with US firm

(Reuters) - Former British minister Chris Huhne has taken up a senior job at a U.S. renewable energy firm, less than three months after he was released from prison where he was serving time for lying to the authorities about a speeding offence.

Insight: California aims to 'bottle sunlight' in energy storage push

(Reuters) - California, whose green ambitions helped the solar and wind industries take root, is taking an essential next step by proposing a sharp rise in energy storage to better integrate renewable power with the rest of the grid.

Power from sun and wind fluctuates dramatically, so capturing it for later use makes the supply more predictable.

"We can't just rely on sunlight," Governor Jerry Brown told the Intersolar conference in San Francisco last month. "We've got to bottle the sunlight."

Albany, Long Buried in Paper, Resolves to Save a Small Forest

In June, after years of inaction even as other states moved to reduce legislative paper consumption, New York lawmakers gave their final approval to a measure that would allow the Legislature to publish bills electronically, rather than on paper.

However, nothing in Albany is ever simple. An obscure provision in the State Constitution requires that bills “shall have been printed and upon the desks of the members” for three days before a vote can be taken. So delivering bills to lawmakers on tablets or laptop computers, as it turns out, requires a constitutional amendment, which the Legislature will put before voters on the statewide ballot next year.

Using the Law to Battle Zebra Mussels and Other Unwanted Pests

One way zebra mussels are introduced to new waterways is by boats that are not cleaned properly. Legislation passed this spring aims to increase awareness among Texas boaters about how to prevent the spread of the mussels and other invasive species.

To be certified to use a boat in Texas, people must take a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department boating education course. The department certifies about 12,000 boaters a year. The new legislation adds test questions to existing courses on preventing the spread of invasive species.

On Fate of Wild Horses, Stars and Indians Spar

Free-roaming horses cost the Navajos $200,000 a year in damage to property and range, said Ben Shelly, the Navajo president. There is a gap between reality and romance when, he said, “outsiders” like Mr. Redford — who counts gunslinger, sheriff’s deputy and horse whisperer among his movie roles — interpret the struggles of American Indians.

“Maybe Robert Redford can come and see what he can do to help us out,” Mr. Shelly said in an interview. “I’m ready to go in the direction to keep the horses alive and give them to somebody else, but right now the best alternative is having some sort of slaughter facility to come and do it.”

Investors in agriculture ignore environmental risks at their peril

A new report on the environmental risks faced by agriculture spells out risk factors for investors and food companies.

Oil-Sands Industry Turns to Algae to Appease Obama

Canada’s response to President Barack Obama’s challenge to reduce emissions of global-warming gases from the oil sands starts with sewage and algae.

The paste-like crude extracted from oil sands is softened by heat and steam to make it flow though pipelines. Burning natural gas to process the fuel creates carbon dioxide that researchers say can be mixed with waste water and fed to algae, which can be processed into cattle feed and other products.

A Very Short History of How Americans Use Energy at Home

Let's take a quick tour of how Americans use energy at home. Per capita energy consumption has stayed fairly stable over the past thirty years, but how we use energy has changed.

Insulation improvements and efficiency gains in heating and cooling have made the task of temperature management less energy-intensive. And these improvements have been offset by the proliferation of electronic appliances and gadgets.

While appliances and electronics have grown in their share of total energy consumption, the single biggest energy drain remains heating, as well as cooling in warmer climes.

Enviros not happy with Calif. carbon offsets

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A component of California's landmark offensive against greenhouse gas emissions is not sitting well with some environmental groups.

Areas of Sacramento will be inundated as sea rises over the years, study says

It could take a few hundred years – or even 2,000 – but the eventual, permanent flooding of low-lying areas in Sacramento is guaranteed if greenhouse gases are not deeply reduced, according to new research.

A rising sea level due to climate change is expected to dramatically alter the future landscape of many of the world's coastal areas around the world. A new study shows that the largest U.S. cities highly threatened by future sea level rise are Miami, Virginia Beach, Va., Jacksonville, Fla., and Sacramento.

While Sacramento is not a coastal city like the others, its numerous waterways make it particularly vulnerable.

Extreme energy is the next key issue that faces us. A fossil fuel depletion realist would not normally be interested in climate change because the resources are dwindling and the CO2 emission projections may look too optimistic . However, when one considers that some breakthrough may exist whereby very low EROEI resources can be exploited through a bootstrapping process (such as via kerogen oil shale), the CO2 emissions may shoot through the roof. To maintain an equivalent oil production level (in BOE : barrels of oil equivalent), the low EROEI resources will waste huge amounts of energy in the process. We are seeing the start of this with the significant flaring of natural gas during Bakken operations. This needs to go in to the EROEI equation.

The Bakken example is the tip of the iceberg. The bootstrapping process for oil shale is to use the refined oil from the kerogen to power the operations that extract and refine the oil shale. This is a recursive process that leads to a low EROEI but when that value is still above unity, it means it may still be practical. The only problem is that we may release huge amounts of CO2 in the process.

The issue of how to count on-site produced energy being siphoned back into the production, as in this example, or the burning of sugarcane baggase to power sugar-to-ethanol conversion, etc, is a complication in EROEI calculations. Does the usual "fraction of the economy" interpretation of EROEI apply in such cases? E.g., if the EROEI (including the on-site energy use) is 2:1, does it still imply that half of us would be employed toiling at that process? Not so if the process is mechanized and automated? But what about the energy, money, and labor costs of building and maintaining the mechanized system?

This question applies to the impact of such low EROEI on "the economy". The climate impact of course does not care about such hairsplitting, just like it does not care about "offsets", or fanciful percent-based goals for renewables.

One of the considerations that may prevent this is the possibility of other limiting factors, such as labor that you mention, or something like water throughput. Out west, water is in short supply so that may prevent a very effective regenerative siphoning process .

I'm hoping the "market" might kick in, as energy from renewables is gonna be cheaper than energy from heroic-hydrocarbons. That and when people start to accept this, political pressure against fracking and friends should only increase.

This is an example of where a carbon tax would fail.

You might argue that taxing the excess CO2 that a barrel of shale oil would represent in its manufacture might deter consumers from buying it.

But, in theory, carbon tax money is paid out to consumers so there is no net harm to them.

And, if they are so desperate for oil that they are cooking kerogen to make it, that means there is no reasonable alternative. They have to have liquid hydrocarbons.

So they will keep buying shale oil. The tax won't be any deterrent.

Carbon taxes only work if there are reasonably-priced alternatives available. I think they are a boondoggle and a waste.

There are always alternatives available. For example people are much more willing to switch to electric vehicles or change jobs or move closer to work or get a smaller vehicle if gasoline is $10/gallon instead of $3.50/gallon.

But carbon taxes are going to be more effective in electrical generation--first in switching from coal to natural gas, then later to renewables.

(Chart from Gas Buddy for Tampa, FL.)

In 11 years gas prices rose from $1.30 to $3.40, a rise of 260%. Has there been any appreciable drop in gas consumption? I don't think so.

If you applied a 260% tax to $3.50 gas, that would bring it to $9. If it made little difference before, why would it make a big difference now?

The problem is
1. There is currently no viable alternative to the gas-fuelled motor vehicle for most people; and
2. Any tax big enough to force a change in behavior would be politically impossible to impose.

So they'll have little dribbles of taxation, not enough to hurt, but something they can point to as the administration taking action. And those little dribbles will accumulate into a big pool of cash somewhere, and you can bet the 1% will have their snouts deep into that pool and you will know nothing about it.

Another thing. If taxes make one source of energy significantly more expensive, it creates an opportunity for other sources to put up their prices, which will defeat the incentive effect.

The response is not proportional but there is a response. People have to get to work but they will reduce excess travel, move closer to work, get more efficient vehicles, etc. VMTs are down.

Your #1 is just not true. The alternatives may not be attractive to many people but many alternatives do exist. Use public transport, move closer to work, bicycle, get an electric vehicle, telecommute, etc.

But #2 is the real problem. A gas tax is viewed as political suicide in the USA. We have a lot of people that think tax is slavery while demanding social security, medicare, and a massive military.

The Republican legislature in NC has decided to tax the yearly registration of hybrids ($50/year) and EVs ($100/year) rather than increase the gasoline tax 1 penny. It makes me wonder when they'll be taxing bicycles and feet next.

I don't buy your argument. Sure on average the carbon tax is refunded. But what about the incentives as seen by a single purchaser? She could keep her refund, and avoid the carbon tax by using PV to charge an EV. If she thinks that is the better deal for her she should do so. The carbon tax makes it a marginally better deal.
The CO2 tax isn't about forcing people of fossil fuels because they can't afford them any longer, it is about changing the slope of the playing field so that a nonFF decision is more likely.

A carbon tax would work. And there are reasonably-priced alternatives available.

Taxes on cigarettes do reduce smoking. Taxes on carbon would reduce their usage.

Yes! The new term for Peak Oil is, "Extreme Energy."

Farther downthread we see that in Texas the choice seems to be, "communities or oil." Guess what, folks? Unless and until oil companies can sell those communities, they will sell the oil.

Anyone want to buy a community? Cheap?!


Re: Areas of Sacramento will be inundated as sea rises over the years, study says

One wonders what will happen to the canal system which which moves water from the Sacramento delta to southern California. If the delta floods, that would hit the source waters for the canal.

Of course, we know for certainty that the rise in sea level will most certainly take at least 90 more years, plenty of time to adjust things. What could possible go wrong? {/sarc}

EDIT: Here's a link to the source of the SacBee report, along with a neat mapping display. Click on the map and one can zoom to a local map of interest.

EDIT #2: There's also a new study released in NATURE which points to evidence of a 9.5 meter higher sea level back during the last Interglacial, the Eemian. The climate deniers, such as Marc Marino at Climate Depot, claim this is just another example of "natural" climate change, thus the present situation is nothing to worry about (some graphics here). Unless of course, one happens to live within the area which would (will?) be flooded by a 9.5 meter rise in sea level.

Eric S.

Re: A Very Short History of How Americans Use Energy at Home

Electric water heaters, dishwashers, and clothes dryers are some of the highest wattage items—meaning that they draw a lot of electricity when running—and the percentage of households with such appliances has hugely increased over the past thirty years.

However, wattage is misleading as a guide to total consumption, since some items are run infrequently and use less electricity than a lower wattage appliance that is permanently on. When measuring overall consumption, refrigerators are revealed as one of the biggest culprits guzzling energy, despite massive efficiency improvements since the 1980s.

Not quite. A conventional electric water heater might consume anywhere from 4 to 15 kWh a day depending upon the number of household occupants and their patterns of usage, whereas a modern-day refrigerator is likely to consume between 1 and 2 kWh a day (less than some cable/satellite receivers/decoders/PVRs).

... a study conducted by an Austin-based research group found that it may be cheaper for households to use gas instead of electricity in appliances that consume lots of energy, such as dryers and ovens.

We cook with induction and a typical main meal for our two person household runs us between 0.3 and 0.5 kWh, or 4 to 7-cents at current rates. If we were to prepare this same meal using our gas cook top, we'd be looking at 10 to 15-cents; more, after you factor in the cost of running the extractor fan and related space conditioning costs.


I agree, I can't imagine how they came to those results. Due to the high heat capacity of water, appliances that heat a lot of water end up being the ones that use the most energy - the water heater and the clothes dryer. In most households that is the lion's share of energy use outside of direct heating/cooling of the structure. The refrigerator didn't even come close when I looked at my uses.

If you include the 25year old fridge that the homeowners just couln't part with, and which is in an uncooled uninsulated garage, refrigeration could still be a big user.

I think gas water heaters are more common than gas dryers.

But, I fully agree, that anything that uses good ald fashioned resistance heating is really powerhungry.

20 years ago I opted to replace a failed electric water heater with a propane-fired one. Later I learnt that around here, since 2008 anyway, propane (unlike natural gas) costs almost as much as electricity, on a per-heat-unit basis. Moreover, the typical American gas-fueled water heater is a water tank with a chimney through the middle, lined with metal fins to enhance the heat transfer from the flue gases to the water. When the flame is off (most of the time), guess what that "chimney" is doing, even if the fan that blows through it is then shut off?

I still heat water on propane now, but using the on-demand water heating mode (via a heat exchanger) of a European-made high-efficiency low-mass wall-hung boiler. Relative to our winter heating needs, the water heating (and cooking) propane use is minor.

As for drying clothes, we rarely use the (electric) dryer. Rather, we use our solar-powered fabric dehydration system, otherwise known as a clothesline. And choose to wash clothes when the weather is right for that. In the winter we use indoor racks, placed in front of the wood stove.

As of 2009, 26% of American households have a second refrigerator, almost always an older, much more inefficient model than their primary refrigerator, and often, as you pointed out, kept in an uninsulated garage. This is up from 15% of households with more than one refrigerator in 1997. Refrigerators and freezers typically consume 1/6th of the electricity in American households. It's estimated the typical second refrigerator consumes about 750 kwhs/year, or about 2 kwhs/day. I can't convince my own mother to unplug her second refrigerator even though she only uses it to keep cans of soda cold for when she has guests.

It can be a reasonable use of excess off-grid solar, via a timer during sunny hours.

For the 0.6 percent of US households that are off grid with solar, I agree.

Only if you don't run the numbers. I'd bet the cost of enough panels to run an old inefficient fridge, is greater than the cost of enough panels, plus the cost of an efficient fridge.

This is what happens because installers don't want to ask awkward questions of their clients. They'd rather just install a large system, then risk losing the client by trying to sell a smaller system plus make some efficiency changes.

Not sure you're grokking the concept of "excess" vis-a-vis off-grid solar.

Anything more than what you're using to top off your batteries is "use it or lose it". If you don't plug it into something, it doesn't do anything.

Most off-grid systems aren't built by installers, I think, and most are modestly sized. They tend to be more for resilience than efficiency. Mine was built with donated panels and cheap parts.

Anyone with off-grid solar will probably want some options on what to do with spare power. Making ice or preserving food isn't that bad a choice.

Indeed. As we have heard Ghung talk about sending the surplus into his hot water, it's more of an issue than many may expect, what to DO with the power, once you've harvested it.

It makes that grid-tie into a bit of a no-brainer, unless you have other reasons to not to join into that collective.. Meanwhile, knowing that this precious power is rolling in, and basically spilling over the causeway of your battery bank that has reached Trickle charge too soon in the day, is a painful stab of inefficiency in a system meant to be a harbinger of wise use.

resilience than efficiency. ... Anyone with off-grid solar will probably want some options on what to do with spare power. Making ice or preserving food isn't that bad a choice.

Looking at processes that can be started and stopped along with no "ill" effects if they lack power for some time are also an option.

Things like forced aeration of compost would be such a process.

Once you have an extra freezer, and store stuff in it, its no longer optional, but part of your "baseline". You might be able to advance/delay usage by a few hours, but you can't turn it off for an unexpectedly cloudy week.

"...but you can't turn it off for an unexpectedly cloudy week."

Of course not. My wife won't turn off her TV either. PV is our base, batteries our storage backup, and when needed we switch to more expensive production, in our case the generator and propane. The expense (and noise, and environmental impacts) of running the generator provides an incentive to maximise useage of PV production in realtime => make sure batteries are happy => have a cue of other uses (dishwasher, laundry) => dump to hot water tank with plenty of storage. Propane becomes a more valuable, storable commodity to be used judiciously.

This also incentivises efficiency measures like adding insulation to our freezer, keeping refrigerant coils clean, battery water topped off, turning things off (really off), air drying clothes, etc. Prioritizing becomes habit, especially off-grid where there is no grid safety net. Our system is now constructed to provide adequate energy during less than nominal conditions, while also providing a certain level of redundance and resiliency. The satisfaction of having come this far is well worth the cost, and the habits (mindset) aquired trickle over into other aspects of life. One learns to take ownership, and consider the consequences of ones lifestyle and consumption. It's far from perfect, but where's the fun in perfect?

If our local utility decided that they would pay the costs of a grid connection and buy our surplus at a reasonable rate, I would likely decline at this point. Too many flies in their ointment.

Anyone with off-grid solar will probably want some options on what to do with spare power. Making ice or preserving food isn't that bad a choice.

How about a solar powered mig welder?


Hmm.. wonder which rock Sméagol is hiding under today? He has to stay hidden from the elves.

Amount of use matters too. We got one of those front loading wash machines about 6 years ago and cut our electric dryer use by 1/2 to 2/3rds. The front loaders, using cold water, really wring the moisture out. Jeans go on the drying rack and are ready in the morning. 6 months of the year or more, its the clothes line. Along with CFL lights, we've cut our electric by more than 1/3rd, though still cooking with electricity.

My sister replaced her front loader about a year ago. The new machine rotates so fast on the spin cycle it's scary. It sounds like a jet plane taking off. But it sure gets the moisture out.

She got rid of her dryer. An afternoon on the line in summer, or overnight on the line in the garage in winter, and the laundry is dry.

Full Disclosure: She has an old fridge and a freezer in her garage. No wonder it's nice and warm in there and her electricity bill is still high. I take note of the wastage, but keep my mouth shut. Relationships are more important than energy saving.

Our new CEE Tier 3 refrigerator is using 0.91 kWh/day as compared to our old refrigerator, virtually identical, same manufacturer, that was about 8 years old, which used ~1.15 kWh/day. Refrigeration is still our largest user of kWhs. Since I super-insulated our small freezer, it uses less than 250 watt-hours/day.

We still cook with propane (because I'm the chef, who likes gas, and huge loads aren't a good option for off-grid). Our clothes dryer is also propane, though it is quite efficient, and we line dry some stuff. Considering our gains in other areas, I'll live with our fairly small propane use (< 100 gals/year). Hot water is solar/solar/wood.

I've been shopping for a good induction cooktop since we often have a surplus of solar. It'll come in handy while canning (I'll need a canner that works with induction), or if propane is unavailable in the future. Our dishwasher is a wash (ptp), since it is run on surplus solar and uses solar pumped and heated spring water, and likely uses less water than hand washing/rinsing, certainly less time. Of course, all of our energy slaves have environmental costs that are easy to ignore.

Hey Ghung,

Our portable induction unit is a Vollrath 59510 which I picked-up through kijiji for either $200.00 or $250.00 (I bought it from the owner of a coffee shop that had just gone out of business, and was virtually brand new). Oftentimes, you can purchase a commercial grade unit such as this at a fraction of the cost through an on-line buy and sell service or restaurant supply house.

Unless we're bringing water to a rapid boil or preparing stir-fry, we generally operate it about 30 to 50 per cent power, which means that it draws anywhere from 400 to 700-watts; when you simmer, the draw is closer to 180-watts. Power demands are fairly constant unlike a conventional electric hob that cycles on and off at full power, so you can decide just how much or how little power you want to draw from your PV system.

It's a really well-built product and conversion efficiency is said to be 90 per cent. The only thing I'd note is that you should unplug it when you're done because it will continue to bleed three or four watts in standby mode.


Thanks, Paul, since you've mentioned it in other posts, the Vollrath is tops on my list. Keeping an eye out on Ebay and Craigs list, and I have a friend who deals in used restaurant equipment keeping an eye open for one. $615 on Amazon :-0

My induction cooktop operates in the same power range as yours when cooking (500 W to 700 W) and simmering ( < 500 W ). Ghung, get something that has many power settings below 500 W for simmering. Most units have too many unnecessary power levels over 700 W that are only useful for bringing water to a boil quickly. Also HereinHalifax's experience with the Vollrath using grid power may be different from yours when using an inverter.

I have seen the new TV informercials on some new induction cooking gadget.


Anyone have any experience with these?

When doing research on induction cooktops, the nuwave seemed good technically and there were no technical complaints. However, there were numerous complaints about devious sales tactics, such as buy one and get a second one free with the shipping for the second unit costing $100 or second units never being shipped.

I just finished canning 14 quarts of blueberries and 12 quarts of crushed tomatoes. I use a propane King Coil outdoor burner. It is fine for boiling water canning but I am not sure it has the fine flame control for pressure canning. All of the pressure canners I know of are aluminum and won't work with a induction cooktop. I am going to try canning using a rocket stove. Sounds tedious but might be OK if I run out of propane.

I am using solar as the primary HW source with the Geyser heat pump providing the makeup for poor solar days. Average around 1 Kwh daily total for 30 gallons/day.

My wife loves ice and insists on on keeping the 22 cu/ft side by side @2 Kwh/day. I am curious about how you insulated your small freezer since most have heat exchange coils on all the sides except the top.

I’ve been using an outdoor campmore propane burner for years to do my boiling water canning..tried it for the first time this morning with my pressure canner. You are absolutely right about the lack of precision flame control--couldn’t get it low enough to only maintain the pressure, so probably wasted a bunch of gas (still better than heating up the house with the electric cooktop).

I have an outdoor burner that came with a turkey fryer that has pretty good control. Still a little high for the small canner but fine for the 23 quart canner. One can always use a small fan to try and regulate temp, but it's still a waste.

I may try an "Induction Interface Disk", (available at Amazon) with my aluminum canners and an induction cooktop.

Our little freezer is a Kenmore model 564-29****, 5.6 cuft., and it has the coil on the back. The coil has 2" screwed on standoffs and plenty of slack in the ref. lines, so I was able to get 1.5" foam board between the coil and cabinet, leaving about 3/4" clearance. Two inch foam on all sides and door, well sealed with 4" HVAC foil tape (prevents condensation). I used expanding spray foam underneath except around the compressor. At some point I'll build a cabinet to make it look better, but it's in a cool utility room where it's out of sight. The evap coils are built into the shelves. After I insulated it, I thought I had broken something since it didn't run for a couple of days after I loaded it back up. No temp adjustment on this model; @ 5-10 degrees fixed. Adding all that insulation cut its energy use by more than half.

I see they still have a similar, newer model available, and a 6.5 cuft. model, both with external coils.

This is exactly the type of conversation I will miss when TOD is gone. In a single thread we can go from the theoretical to the "how do I make difference today" practical. Many thanks to everyone for contributing to what I consider the best "great conversation" on the web.

I totally agree! Other sites that just cover "Prepping" or "Alternative Energy" or "Gardening" or "Back to the Land" just don't tie everything together in the way that commenters here do. I keep hoping that Greer's Green Wizards site will at least partially be able to substitute.

I plan on spending time on Green Wizards again - I have to recover my login info off an old hard drive.

So an aluminum pot won't work with an induction cooktop? I thought the whole idea of inductive cooktops was that the object to be heated looked to the cooktop like a shorted secondary winding of a transformer. I was of the idea that the cooktop acted as the primary of a high-frequency AC transformer, with the secondary winding being the pot. 1-turn. Shorted. With a fraction of a volt and probably thousands of amps ( hundreds of watts ) circulating in it.

I was of the understanding that anything that conducted electricity would work, and likely stainless steel would work better than aluminum because the stainless steel was a worse conductor. ( conversely a silver pot would not work very well, and a hypothetical superconducting pot not work at all ).

So, do these things cook by inductively coupling a current into the pot, then the induced current flow through the electrical resistance of the pot material results in the heat, or is it some sort of hysteresis loss, such as the losses when a material with poor magnetic characteristics is used as a transformer core?

I have seen TV infomercials on these, and have seen them work at the buffet I frequent, but I have yet to take one apart or see schematics detailing exactly how these work. Face it, those informercials are not written for technical folk. And I have been misled by so many marketers that I find it very hard to take them seriously anymore.

My family switched to Induction several years ago - we bought a GE Induction/Range - a bit expensive - but we'll never go back to gas or radiant. For canning, we purchased an induction compatible waterbath canner. They sell the one I bought at williams sonoma. It works perfectly - the old enamel kind are worthless on induction - but this new one is very, very efficient and the only heat generated remains inside the pot and not the rest of the house. Making applesauce is far from the steamy old affair it used to be.

Induction works by exciting the ferrous metals in the base of a pan to generate heat. We own a Controlinduc (Demeyere) frying pan - this thing's made of a metal compound that loses its magnetic ability as it gets hot - causing it to never be able to get warmer than is safe for Teflon - it's safe for a house full of parrots! The startling drawback though is as it gets close to that point of "shutting down" the pan screams ... waaaiiiiahhhgh!!! It's unbelievable.

We now own no aluminum cookware - just Stainless Steel - mostly Spring Switzerland promoted by Dr. Weil - absolutely fantastic cookware, 5-ply, rolled edges, identical for all purposes to All-Clad D5 but with better handles. You can often pick up a good Dr. Weil pan on eBay for much less than you'd think. "Tuesday Morning", a discount store, is another great place to find Induction cookware (Scanpan, Weil) and cheap portable induction hobs. TJ Maxx will have a good deal occasionally.

Induction cooktops are kid safe as well. The better cooktops indicate presence of cookware - and will turn themselves off after about ten seconds of losing contact with the cookware - our stove will blink the level indicator - until the cookware is returned or the stove times out. At first, to preserve the cooktop, we used parchment paper between the cooktop and the pan but laziness won over and we no longer do - but for messy projects, it's certainly a good idea as it saves cleanup time. Unlike gas and radiant, the surface never reaches 451 degrees fahrenheit - the burning point of paper. Another benefit we've noticed is the cooktop continues to look new - there's no burnt on food - no char rings - nothing. It's a wipe and go surface. Looking closely, one sees the fine scratches, but stand back and its obsidian surface gleams still. If I ever tried to start a fire on my cooktop, I think I'd fail.

Energy-wise, it's the most efficient way to cook. The pan is as hot as it's set for, and nothing else is heated except the pan meaning that there's no heat running up the sides or anything. I can melt chocolate by choosing "1" on my cooktop - it gets no warmer than my armpit. Full boil is quick. A bowl of Oatmeal cereal is less than five minutes. Induction cooking has proven to be a joy I've found.


That cleared that up for me.

These things then work like my METCAL soldering iron. Magnetic hysteresis heating. I thought it might have been eddy current heating, but you described magnetic hysteretic heating exactly. Interesting use of use of metals with appropriately alloyed curie point to limit their temperature ( my METCAL works by this principle to keep its tip temperature stable ).

Thanks for the pointers to where to look. I figured AliExpress was the place to go to look for this kind of stuff, but I never thought of Tuesday Morning... and there's one down the street from me. I figure when I re-do the kitchen, a lot of stuff is going to go. I have considered my range to be a terribly inefficient fire hazard and mess-maker since the day I first used it.

Bottom-line: the safety features on induction cooktops interfere with cooking. They would be better without the dumb microprocessor interfering with the decisions made by the cook.

The resistance of aluminum, silver and copper are too low. These materials would have to be made very thin, like foil, to have a high enough resistance to generate significant heat making pots too weak. The ferrous nature of iron forces the induced current to flow in a thin layer near the surface of the pan reducing the effective cross-sectional area of the conductor and greatly increasing the resistance which allows it to heat. Aluminum foil placed on an induction cooktop set on high power will supposedly melt.

Ghung, my portable induction cooktop is very finicky about the quality of the power supply. My Trace 2012 modified sine wave inverter powers it, but it will not turn on if my battery voltage is above 13.2 V. My inverter simply multiplies the battery voltage by 14 which makes the peak AC voltage vary with the battery voltage. Watch out for cooktops that have an over-voltage detector. When I use my cheap 2000 W MSW inverter, the induction coil will not energize. It also does not operate well when other things are running in the house, such as my refrigerator, computer or incandescent lights above 60 W. Watch out for cooktops that must be operated using a separate circuit because that is code for it does not operate well with other gadgets. My cooktop outputs a reactive pulse that my inverter reflects back. The inverter must have a heavy transformer to accomplish this. If your inverter outputs a stable, clean sine wave, has a big transformer and possibly electronics that apply impulse phase correction, then a portable induction cooktop will probably work well provide you do not have other things running that consume more than a few hundred watts.

Think one of those SOLA ferroresonant voltage regulating transformers might help?

I almost wince as I type this because I have used them before and they weren't very efficient, but they did hold the output pretty steady.

When inputting a rectangular wave instead of a sine wave, I suspect the efficiency of a ferroresonant transformer would be degraded even further which would defeat the purpose of using an induction cooktop. If efficiency is irrelevant, one could get a single coil electric resistance cooker for under $20. It would probably be cheaper to buy a sine wave inverter.

I have a Max Burton 6000 1800w induction cook top that works well with a Exeltech 1100 sine wave inverter. If I start to draw over 1100 watts the inverter will start clipping the waveform and become more like a MSW inverter. I havn't really pushed it to see what happens when the inverter output quality deteriorates.

For anyone wanting a bulletproof small inverter I can recommend the Exeltech. Expensive for the size but made in the USA.

I have been thinking about getting an Exeltech XP-2000 2000 Watt sine wave inverter when my 22 year old Trace inverter finally fails. The cheap MSW inverter is supposed to be backup for the period between failure and replacement.

Have you tried running your Max Burton with something else, like a 75 W incandescent bulb, running off the inverter simultaneously? My Sunpentown 1,300 W does not like most other things running when it is on.

I have not run anything else at the same time.

My off-grid friend has a Nuwave(?) induction cooktop running on an Outback FX 2024; runs great. All Outbacks are pure sine.

Why Does The American Middle Class Continue To Struggle Financially?

The Myth of America's 'Culture of Consumerism': Policy May Help Drive American Household's Fraying Finances ... A brief summary:

- Household spending on goods that fulfill pleasure, self-esteem, or social status needs have generally been falling, including personal care items, apparel, home furnishings, and automobiles.

- ... consumption spending has risen most in four product categories that shape families' health, safety, and economic viability: health care, education, housing, and commuting costs. Prices in these four product markets have greatly outpaced both wages and prices in general.

- Americans may be systematically pressed to overspend on housing because access to better schools, public services, and transportation infrastructure varies considerably across communities, and better-heeled communities often restrict affordable housing developments. Americans may face a relatively high well-being penalty for living in more modestly-priced homes.

- Compared to other highly-developed countries, the U.S. does considerably less to control the personal financial burden borne by households to ensure access to these products and services essential to well-being.

- ... our penchant to blame household spending problems on wastefulness or frivolities obscures the fact that Americans increasingly face a lose-lose dilemma in which they must choose between sustainable finances and access to quality schools, child care, medical care, public safety, and employment opportunities.

- Household spending on goods that fulfill pleasure, self-esteem, or social status needs have generally been falling, including personal care items, apparel, home furnishings, and automobiles.

- ... consumption spending has risen most in four product categories that shape families' health, safety, and economic viability: health care, education, housing, and commuting costs. Prices in these four product markets have greatly outpaced both wages and prices in general.

This basically means living standards are going down. I live in a house renovated during the seventies and at that time it was brand new but the situation is not totally comparable since I spend quite a lot of money to reduce debt and it will reduce to zero rather fast unless something unexpected happen.

Not sure about that- my guess is that the cell phone bill for many households matches their car payment. In the last 20 years households have effectively added another car.If they had done that I am sure we would have characterized it as a spending problem. Is a cell phone "essential for well being"? Another example- with the advent of digital off the air TV why do people even have cable?

Another example- with the advent of digital off the air TV why do people even have cable?

Because 250 channels of crap is "essential for well being".

I can understand how it is regarded as a frill.. but the phone thing is probably a little more complicated than that. In this socially and geographically fractured society, this is one of the key ways people feel that they can be acceptably connected to their friends and family.

Yes, I know that it's not without possible alternatives.. but it's also worth trying to look at this with some awareness of our need for connection and inclusion, and how this (and TV, sadly) are the tools we are left with to accomplish this task.

It's the same brittle and brutal complexity that Michael Pollan is describing when he says, 'With modern agriculture, we've taken the Solution, the classic multispecies family farm, and divided it into numerous, separate problems..'

'What a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to transceive'

I can understand how it is regarded as a frill.. but the phone thing is probably a little more complicated than that.

At one time there were studies cited about how just having a cell phone made a difference for getting hired in a job. Alas, I can not find that now.

I would imagine having a cell phone is mandatory in landing a job.

No different than accepting credit cards is mandatory for retail businesses, unless you want to run the ice cream truck.

But then, I can see absolutely no difference whether you have one one of those $10 "consumer cellular" phones, an "ObamaPhone", or one of those fancy $200 plans - I do not think the caller has the slightest indication of how much you pay from your end - all he knows is he dials your number and you pick up. If you do not pick up, he dials more numbers until he gets someone who picks up. No different than when we have need to talk to a business and we have trouble getting a person.

Who said that giant McMansions with empty rooms are a necessity? Who said that an endless array of pharmaceuticals and surgical procedures are a necessity? Who said that getting more college and postgraduate degrees is a necessity? Who said that commuting 50 miles in an SUV or truck is a necessity?

I simply don't buy it. Even in the areas of housing, healthcare, education, and commuting costs, Americans could cut back and cut back significantly.

Americans don't want to choose anything. Avoiding choices is the American way. Americans want everything, all the time.

A "lose-lose dilemma"? Welcome to life on planet earth.

energyblues, housing is NOT easily cut back. Most people in the US don't live in McMansions. Many of them, me included, live in apartments. Health care, similarly, is pursued by many Americans not as a choice but as a last resort - I have knee pain, and have never gone to the doctor for it, as I simply can't afford to. I had several fillings done this year because my parents insisted and sent my a bunch of money to pay for it. A very large percent of Americans are in the same boat.

As for degrees, people get those because they are mislead into thinking that the degree will pay for itself in better job opportunities. This is still true, overall, but increasingly the cost-benefit analysis breaks down. But you're a fool to blame people for doing something that is not a luxury but necessary to survive in many cases.

Now, on the last point, commuting costs - guess what? Those are very often tied to housing costs. I won't argue that many an American has a truck when they should have a Prius, as it's quite obvious many do, but in general the places with short commutes ("in town" as they say here on Oahu) are places with much higher rents for much less housing. I take the bus and bike, which would be much harder or impossible for me to do if I didn't live in town, but in return my rent is that much higher.

I think you might be mistaking upper middle class Americans for all Americans. A lot of us are poor or lower class. And those of us below the upper middle class have a lot less room to maneuver on housing, health care, education, and commuting than you think.

You could always travel to another country (somewhere in latin America) and get the knee looked at, my friend in US had a very bad toothache which was not covered under his travel insurance, the rate (Root canal + crown) without insurance was obscene, something like 2000$. He had no choice but to bear the pain till he came back, he did the same thing here for 100$ in a clinic with all the bells and whistles one would get in US.

Heat Flow from Earth's Mantle Contributes To Greenland Ice Melting

The Greenland ice sheet is melting from below, caused by a high heat flow from the mantle into the lithosphere. This influence is very variable spatially and has its origin in an exceptionally thin lithosphere. Consequently, there is an increased heat flow from the mantle and a complex interplay between this geothermal heating and the Greenland ice sheet. The international research initiative IceGeoHeat led by the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences establishes in the current online issue of Nature Geoscience (Vol 6, August 11, 2013) that this effect cannot be neglected when modeling the ice sheet as part of a climate study.


There is floating magma below a rather thin crust and cold on the top so it should be pretty obvious for anyone who understand something about heat conductivity to figure there is a heat flow. It is just a matter of how deep the static melting point of the ice is located. If the static point is above rock inside the ice it will melt.

So now the usual suspects will simply say, the icecap is melting because of the earth -not because of humans. In fact, they've been trying to make that claim for years. Now it just got easier.

Now, this sound likes really important work. If they really can model the ice sheet as well as they claim. Including some areas with basal sliding (non frozen base), would make predictions of ice sheet more accurate. Right now we don't have much confidence in the timescale for meltdown.

This was just what I had proposed to do for my thesis many decades ago -but I never got to do. Good to see that it is now being done.

Extinctions of Large Animals Sever the Earth's 'Nutrient Arteries'

A new study has demonstrated that large animals have acted as carriers of key nutrients to plants and animals over thousands of years and on continental scales.

In the study, the researchers use a new mathematical model to calculate the effect of mass extinctions of big animals around 12,000 years ago, focusing on a case study of the Amazon forest. They estimate that extinctions back then reduced the dispersal of phosphorus in the Amazon by 98%, with far-reaching environmental consequences that remain to this day. The model also enables them to forecast the likely environmental effects of the extinction of large animals currently under threat in Africa and Asian forests.

Put simply, the bigger the animal, the bigger its role in distributing nutrients that enrich the environment. Most of the planet's large animals have already gone extinct, thereby severing the arteries that carried nutrients far beyond the rivers into infertile areas. We can also predict the effects of further extinctions – a fate fast approaching many of the large animals that remain – and examine the likely impact thousands of years into the future.'

... loss of bird species are having a similar effect

IIRC the salmon have had a major effect in redistributing nutrients in the Pacific Northwest. With salmon populations waning, this cycle will cease.

Isn't the combination od Salmon plus bears. Without the bears the salmon deived phosphorus would simply wash back down stream. But, the bears eat the fish, then poop far away from the stream.

Of course sea birds, pooping over land is another return route for soluble nutrients.

Study links forest health to salmon populations; also bison feritilized tall-grass prairie; and passenger pigeons fertilized N. American forests

... What the observers imply, but do not record, is the action of the birds [passenger pigeons] in concentrating nutrients from the surrounding territories onto the soils of the larger forest tracts. For the birds always sought out large unbroken woodlands for their roosts (so much so that late 19th-century deforestation together with commercial hunting almost ensured the pigeons' doom). No more perfect description of a nutrient pump ideally matched to the demands of the shallow-rooted deep-forest dominating chestnut could be conceived. The birds, which began their nesting in mid-May, would lay down a thick mat of mineral-rich manure just ahead of the chestnut's June-July bloom, a delivery of trace elements well-timed to support the chestnut's profuse flowering, its white blossoms giving the mountains the appearance of freshly fallen snow at mid-summer.

The thesis that these two great American extinctions [passenger pigeons and American chesnuts] may be causally linked appears to have received little attention. Popular historians and ecologists of every stripe list them in virtually the same breath as landmark, human-generated events, yet the ornithologists seem to not be communicating with the forest biologists. Ecologists might seem a likely group to have given this notion a passing glance. Surely a few have at least entertained the thought.

It's going to take nature hundreds of thousands of years to fix what we leave behind.

This is considered a key aspect to the removal of Dams on the Penobscot, and allowing a dozen or so species of Anadromous and (?? the other type) of fish to help transfer nutrients through the freshwater and ocean ecosystems. It's a very broad range of Water, Air and Ground species that have long been part of this cycle.. but the River movement is a major lynchpin (Typo was "Lunchpin"!) for this process.

'Round these parts if they're not anadromous, they're "resident". This is most often used for Steelhead Trout (anadromous) and Rainbow Trout (resident), which except going to the ocean or not, are basically the same fish.

Thanks, WW.. I had to go find out.. so they said Catadromous was the other I didn't get.. glad I didn't say Deciduous!


The baby eels, 'elvers', are a popular value catch during the spawning season, fetching a very good price.. but of course there are other reasons to give the little blighters a fighting chance!

Lunchpin. No, the nutrient transport won't work if too many fishes end up in your lunchpail.

I know of one species of large mammal with a rapidly expanding population that is very effective at redistributing minerals and nutrients from the land into the sea.

I predict that forms of life unknown to science will eventually be found in garbage landfill sites. They contain a mixture of materials never before found on earth, and they lie undisturbed under soil. Given time, unique organisms that exploit the unique habitat will involve.

Heat Wave Plagues Cities Across Asia

A record-setting heat wave across North Asia is straining power grids, killing and sickening residents, and raising concerns about farms and water supplies.

... In South Korea last week, the government issued a warning of power shortages and the highest temperature ever recorded by the Korea Meteorological Association was hit: 39.2 degrees, reached Saturday in Gimhae in the country's southeast.

"This is a very critical situation where, in case just one power generator gives way, we may have to resort to rolling blackouts…" the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement Sunday.

... These record recent temperatures have had devastating impacts on residents in Asia, with heat-related deaths and hospitalizations reported across the region. According to Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency, more than 21,000 people were hospitalized for heat stroke last month.

... besides the unusually hot temperature, the lack of rain is also disturbing. "If this continues we could be seeing some serious water shortages,"

So when I see reports like this, I think- what else do we need to get us going on a national emergency effort to get OFF ff and do it asap?

Alas, when I talk with my family about this, the usual response is " Wow, look at the size of that woodpecker on the feeder ". And these are educated smart people, so what can I expect from the beerbelly crowd?

I have had hopes that China will leap to the fore on this one, given their decision-making process not affected by the masses, but I see little sign of it.

Alright, I go down with the ship-- more likely even worse- I go down ahead of it and don't even get to watch the ship go down. doubledrat.

So when I see reports like this, I think- what else do we need to get us going on a national emergency effort to get OFF ff and do it asap?

Get off FF? Surely you jest. We need to burn FF harder to power more AC!

For a start try, just try to get your city council to do something relatively simple that makes perfect sense, like banning highly air polluting, noisily-gratingly obnoxious two-cycle gas leaf blowers. It ain't easy.

I once saw two workers using leaf blowers attempting to move small round decorative stones off a driveway and back into the edging where they had come from. It didn't really work and took a very long time. I would have pointed out that a rake would have been about 10 times easier, but they couldn't have heard me. And they had no rakes.

How about this:

Give PV and Wind a sexy image.
Stick a half naked girl on a panel?

Show the homes of the beautiful people with panels on the roof and turbines in the back yard?


Sell it like we do cars.
Get financing, installation and service, in one convenient location.

Offer a number of models and options with minor and major differences between the products.

Planned obsolescence, the "keeping up with the Joneses effect" you want this years model because last years model is....well last years model. This would have the effect of creating a seconday market making it more affordable to everyone.

Standardization of some (not all) parts.


Power distribution boxes?


National standards for installation, California will be different of course. :) It is very important to make the pricing the same nationally (adjusted for the cost of living in the area), when the subsidies end everyone should pay the same on average for the parts and only have local labor costs as a variable.

Finally a nationally mandated buy back program from the utilites, but only up to what you pulled from the grid that month, if the utility wanted they could buy back more. Cap a grid connection fee to the utility company at <$50.

This would be a way the throw BAU back at them.

Badger, I like your thinking. So here's another challenge for you- how to sell the idea of putting the true price on energy, equal to the true cost, including ruining the planet.

If people had to pay the true cost, the PV would move with less need for so much investment in half naked girls --they could be diverted to other tasks.

Yep... I made this visual comment a while back!


How Ironic that I just brought a new 4x4 for about that price, and I didn't even consider what was worth more to society.

Your graphic is showing its age Fred.

That looks like about a $16k array these days.

... and the truck about $35k.

$35k for a 2003 F-150? Even if tricked out, it can't be worth that much.

Alan from the islands

Tru dat! I created it a couple years ago. I guess I must have spent a long time hanging out over here...

First of all why only half naked?
Secondly why only standardise some parts. There is already too much different crap in the world. Everything comes in metric and imperial, or internal diameter/outside diameter, or the Honda parts wont fit in a ford etc. etc. It's all a load of crap, there is no reason for so much of this stuff to have different fittings.
Someone needs to be in charge of this to make sure you get a quality product with easily replaceable parts.

How about this for a cartoon?

Disheveled couple in the foreground. Studly man, and beaming woman talking to a disheveled couple in background, which is a defeated-looking man and an angry and disappointed woman.

Caption: "I love a man with renewable energy."

Nothing will be done when we have idiots like this on the House Science Committee:


"Just so you'll know, global warming is a total fraud and it's being designed because what you’ve got is you’ve got liberals who get elected at the local level want state government to do the work and let them make the decisions," Rohrabacher said. "Then, at the state level, they want the federal government to do it. And at the federal government, they want to create global government to control all of our lives."

The friendly town hall audience seemed to agree with Rohrabacher's contention that humans were incapable of changing earth's climate, giving a collective chuckle.

... and voters that agree with him.

AC demand in developing countries could put chill on energy supply

The United States uses more energy for air conditioning than all other countries combined, but its status as the world's largest AC energy hog may soon be in jeopardy, said a University of Michigan researcher.

"Several developing countries rank among both the most populous and hottest areas in the world," Sivak said. "As personal incomes rise in these countries, use of air conditioning will likely go up, leading to an unprecedented increase in energy demand. Rapid increases in the ownership of air conditioners are already occurring in many developing countries."

The top three—India, China and Indonesia—could surpass the U.S. by factors of 14, 5 and 3, respectively, if they adopt American standards of cooling, Sivak said. And future demand in all countries of the world has the potential to exceed demand in the U.S. by a factor of 50.

Cooling outside the USA is already having a major impact on energy markets and economics. Specifically, the gulf states now do so much cooling that their oil exports are reduced due to all the oil that is burned to operate air conditioning.

That is hilarious. The US uses more AC then the rest of the world combined. Plenty of fat to trim there.

Guess you fellers don't remember this whopper:
Air Conditioning The Military Costs More Than NASA's Entire Budget


It costs $1 billion more than NASA's budget just to provide air conditioning for temporary tents and housing in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Gizmodo. The total cost of keeping troops cool comes to roughly $20 billion. That figure comes from Steve Anderson, a retired brigadier general who was Gen. Petraeus' chief logistician in Iraq.

NASA's total budget is just $19 billion.

At the risk of sounding callous, maybe this is not altogether a bad thing. It has occurred to me for some time that solar energy and air conditioning are a good match. Air conditioning is needed most when the solar resource is abundant and trust me, I.m not the only one who's noticed this.

Problem is, none of the better known manufacturers of small commercial and residential air conditioners seem to be looking at making an air conditioner that can run of sunshine alone. The potential market is huge, starting with the middle east, who's rulers are likely to prefer exporting their oil than burning it to run air conditioners.

With the area suffering this heat wave being home to the likes of Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Sharp, Sanyo and Fujitsu, not to mention all the cheap Chinese brands, maybe one or more of them will bring something to market with a little more urgency now. Such creatures do exist and I have seen examples at almost every solar trade show or renewable energy expo I have been to. Problem is, same as above. They are all made by some unknown outfit in China and I have had a bad experience trying to get support for an unknown brand from China. Even if it's made in China, it needs to have the backing of a trusted brand to get my money.

Over to you, established Asian manufacturers of sir conditioners!

Alan from the islands

I don't think its quite that good a match (though better than just about any other load). Demand tends to peak hours after the sun peaks. Especially in humid climates -like most of the places referenced in the article. Some of that can be overcome by smarter timing of the use, overcool the building with excess PV before noon, then during the late afternoon/evening let the building warm up a few degrees.
There are two issues regarding the USes rate of AC use:
(1) Overuse. Cooling to 72/70/65F or whatever.
(2) Pure waste: Leaving store doors open so customers will be lured in following the stream of cool air.
(3) Poorly insulated building. Rarely a thought given to sun exposure. Not taking advantage of cool night air etc.
(4) Dualing thermostats, running the heat at 6AM to maintain a preset thermostat temp, then running the AC from noon to midnight.
Hopefully these new AC customers can largely avoid these sins.

Alan my last AC cost a whooping $95 new. Not horribly worried about how long it will last. Given leakage in air ducts, I'm guessing it is at least as efficient as out central air, and I can avoid cooling unused rooms. With central air, blocking off ducts just increases backpresure on the duct system, so leaks and air pump amps go up.

I guess I'm thinking ahead of myself, to a time when choices become more limited and an "off grid" air conditioner looks like a much better idea than it does now.In addition, I remember reading about cost saving technology for air conditioners. One interesting one was a system that would use ice to store coolth by freezing the ice at night to make use of lower night time electricity rates and then using the ice to provide cooling during the day when electricity costs are higher. I think that the same idea could be used to store the effect of solar energy for use when it's not otherwise available.

So, a solar air conditioner could freeze water during the high solar irradiance periods and then use that ice to extend the cooling effect after dark. Of course, any such system is going to be far more complex and expensive than a simple compressor based unit but that's because electricity produced by burning fossil fuels is still relatively cheap and the external costs of burning fossil fuels to run air conditioners have not been factored in. I'm sure all of this is technically possible, it's just that winning the FF lotto has made a lot of the more sustainable options not worth the bother. If things were different.........

Alan from the islands

White House warns of rising threat to power grid from ‘extreme weather’

Power outages from severe weather events have cost the nation an average of $18 billion to $33 billion annually, according to a new Obama administration report that stresses the threat of climate change.

The report, which was prepared by the White House and the Energy Department, argues the nation needs to strengthen the power grid in response to the "increasing incidence of severe weather."

"These costs are expected to rise as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and other extreme weather events," the report says.

This is a big problem with getting people to recognize climate change costs. They don't get a bill each month saying 'climate change cost increases'. Instead they get higher insurance premiums from more storms destroying things. They get a slightly higher utility bill from the utility having to repair the infrastructure. They get a slightly higher food bill from crop failures due to droughts. And so on. Climate change costs get divvied up into small increases around their budget so they dont' see it.


A natural and environmentally friendly solution
N-Fix is neither genetic modification nor bio-engineering. It is a naturally occurring nitrogen fixing bacteria which takes up and uses nitrogen from the air. Applied to the cells of plants (intra-cellular) via the seed, it provides every cell in the plant with the ability to fix nitrogen. Plant seeds are coated with these bacteria in order to create a symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationship and naturally produce nitrogen.

Sounds like a fairytale to me, due to be released for general sale right after the cold fusion home generator.

Many of us expect US shale gas output to decline due to diminished drilling, as the current selling price is well below costs. But meanwhile the industry is working hard to get LNG exports approved and the facilities built. What will happen if they can sell enough of the gas at world prices? Will the shale gas bubble be extended for some years? For how long?

I few years ago they spent money to build LNG import terminals. Once upon a time USA exported oil and only time will tell which LNG terminals will be most useful.

In the long run it could be expected import terminals will be most useful because of depletion but other countries will eventually also deplete. If north america and at least the northern part of middle america deplete slower than the other countries the export terminals may be most useful.

Although they've reduced shale gas drilling, shale oil drilling is going ahead full steam. And with that shale oil, they also get shale gas. In North Dakota, much of that gas is flared away (such a waste). But in Texas where they have infrastructure much of that shale gas is captured and supplements the gas supply. So despite a decrease in explicit shale gas drilling, there will be more gas produced from shale oil wells.

Once sufficient export facilities have been built, the net effect will be that the domestic price for gas will rise and fall in sync with the world price. As there are significant costs in liquifying gas for export, the domestic price should not be as high as what other countries would be paying to import it. The high volatility in pricing that has characterized the North American gas market will be a thing of the past. From the perspective of the gas companies this will be a good thing as they will be able to keep drilling shale gas drills without having to worry that the price can plummet as it has in recent years.

EDITORIAL - Fingers crossed for Mr Paulwell

At a cost of around US$0.42 per kilowatt-hour, electricity in Jamaica is among the most expensive in this region. Indeed, high electricity cost helps to make Jamaican industries uncompetitive and is a major drag on the economy.

Part of the problem is that a large chunk of our electricity-generating capacity is old and inefficient. More critically, our power plants are fired by expensive oil.

The most important factor in lowering the cost of power and giving the Jamaican economy a fighting chance, therefore, is for more efficient facilities that use a cheaper mix of fuels.

For more than a decade, Jamaica procrastinated over what that mix should be. When we finally settled on natural gas, we bungled the bidding exercise, to the point of casting shadows over the integrity of the process.

A comment from someone going by the name "Peak Oiler", has pointed out how delays and confusion are likely to be the result, if forecasts from the IEA, EIA and IHS CERA are used as the basis for long term planning. The suggestion is made that, forecasts from ASPO should be considered since, they have been less of the mark than the others.

Alan from the islands

Just a question for the mods. Is it okay to reply to ones own post in an effort to highlight the fact that it has now appeared and is really new although not flagged as such? Anyone who uses the method of reloading the page and then using their browser's "find" function to locate new posts, would not see a post once it was submitted before their last reload. For the post above, anyone who visited or reloaded the page within the last almost 3 hours as of the time of this reply, would not see it.

Please don't take this as a criticism of the mods but, more an observation of the effects of a defect in the system. Just wondering what one is supposed to do in a case like this?

Alan from the islands

Please don't. Often, the reply is also caught in the spam filter. Then what? Reply to the reply? And if that reply gets caught in the spam filter, too?

Yes, it's a defect, but it's not worth fixing at this point.

Not everyone refreshes the thread every two minutes. It will appear as new to those who have been away for a couple of hours, or haven't clicked on the thread yet.

Leanan has discouraged my trying to retag posts as "new" in the past, or replying to my own posts to show they're new; said it causes more problems. Only about 3 weeks left anyway :-(

Only about 3 weeks left anyway :-(

Speaking of which, where is everybody going? Ron's site, peak oil dot com, zero hedge? Zero hedge is an interesting site for it's take on the economy, but the comments by posters are short and often laced with expletives which I don't like. Neven's blog is great for Arctic ice melt and other AGW topics on their message boards. Peak oil.com does not flow like Drumbeat, with postings occurring more sporadically. Ron's site is just up and we'll see if it can get more traffic. Going to miss the oil related discussions of the Drumbeat and the quickness of the thread postings. No other site seems to mimic it very well.

I remember during the first Bush jr. term Yahoo had a great message board for political banter, with quick exchanges between posters which seems to be the key to success. Hopefully something will effectively replace Drumbeat.

with quick exchanges between posters which seems to be the key to success.

This is how I think in essence spam has made TOD somewhat less of a conversation. In the case of my post above, what kind of a conversation can take place when what is "said" isn't "heard" for the next two and a half hours?

What I think is a shame is that, since the site is based on an open source platform, it is quite likely that once the problem (defect) is identified, all sorts of creative solutions will emerge, given enough time. I have floated a suggestion to have white-lists and blacklists of posters, for example and this case has me thinking the system could add a time stamp to the posts to indicate when it was released from the filter by the mods.and use this time stamp to establish newness. Depending on how these timestamps affect the flow of the posts, one or the other could be used to determine the order of appearance of posts on the page.

At any rate, as Ghung said, there's only three weeks or so left anyway.

Alan from the islands

What I would do if it were up to me is do it the way RealClimate and Greer do it: every comment goes in the moderation queue, and does not appear until and unless it is approved. And only comments that add to the discussion would be approved.

I realize that would be a real damper on the social/conversational aspect, but these days, social media has taken over that element of online interaction, and has a lot more tools for dealing with it than we ever could.

One reason we've had trouble getting people to write key posts is that the response is often disappointing. They do all this research and spend days or weeks writing an article, and the comments are so often unhelpful: silly jokes, snark, etc. It did not used to be that way.

The RealClimate spam filter is really bad however. As is the reCaptcha, which in my case erases the input buffer if you don't pass.

To stay in touch and share news; discussion invited - TOD Refugee Registry:


[edit to correct link]

How Two Reservoirs Have Become Billboards For What Climate Change Is Doing To The American West

As soon as Monday, the federal government’s Bureau of Reclamation will announce the results of some very serious number crunching and model running focused on falling water levels in Lake Powell. It is widely expected that the bureau will announce that there is a serious water shortage and that for the first time in the 50-year-history of the dam, the amount of water that will be released from the reservoir will be cut. Not just cut, but cut by 750,000 acre feet — an acre foot being enough water to cover an acre one foot deep. That’s more than 9 percent below the 8.23 million acre feet that is supposed to be delivered downstream to Lake Mead for use in the states of California, Nevada and Arizona and the country of Mexico under the 81-year old Colorado River Compact and later agreements.

Lake Powell is a moneymaker in other ways. Glen Canyon Dam and its hydroelectric turbines, produce 1320 megawatts of electricity, enough for about 1.3 million people. That yields something like $125 million every year, and that pot of money pays for the operations of much of the entire Colorado River Storage Project, and a host of vital environmental restoration programs.

Long term, the outlook is particularly grim. Late last year, a joint study by the Bureau of Reclamation and the seven river basin states looked at water supply prospects over the next half century. It projects average yearly imbalances between supply and demand of 3.2 million acre feet by 2060. An acre foot is about what a typical suburban household uses in a year.

Glen Canyon Dam / Lake Powell

Projected increase in potential evaporation in North America through 2100

"We consider a 1 mm/day increase in potential evaporation to be an 'Extreme' event for fires, something like 2012 in Colorado," NASA's scientists explain ... By these projections, fire years like 2012 would be the new normal in regions like the western US by the end of the 21st century.

1 mm/day is about 14" a year. That'll make a difference to dam yields too.

I remember my first computer model I ever did. It was to estimate the yield from a proposed dam in Namibia. Basically, you input the area covered at various depths to get the volume stored, apply synthetic rainfall and calculate runoff over the catchment area and any spillage during floods, and see how much water you can withdraw on a steady basis without running dry.

My first run produced a very satisfactory yield, and I was all excited as I reported to the boss. He didn't believe my results and told me to do it over until I came up with a figure his experience told him was reasonable.

Eventually I figured out I hadn't allowed for evaporation. In Namibia, evaporation can be 3 m/year. It made a huge difference to the yield.

fire years like 2012 would be the new normal

Only if there are trees left. I suspect a lot of these areas will no longer be continuous forest. Its the transition that will be traumatic, not the end state.

Study finds novel worm community affecting methane release in ocean

Scientists have discovered a super-charged methane seep in the ocean off New Zealand that has created its own unique food web, resulting in much more methane escaping from the ocean floor into the water column.

"We didn't discover any major 'burps' of methane escaping into the atmosphere," said Andrew R. Thurber, a post-doctoral researcher at Oregon State University and lead author on the study. "However, some of the methane seeps are releasing hundreds of times the amounts of methane we typically see in other locations, so the structure and interactions of this unique habitat certainly got our attention.

Contamination sprayed on men at Fukushima plant — Alarm sounds over radioactivity levels — Worker: They never told us Reactor 3 building was steaming, “I found out about it on TV”

Korea Times: Quarter-billion liters of Fukushima contaminated water flowed into Pacific — Japan cover-up could violate international law — Hid global issue of environmental concern

NBC Nightly News: Urgent situation after frightening discovery at Fukushima — Planned ice wall shows Tepco is grasping at straws and can’t stop plant leaking like a sieve — Now almost 900 straight days of contamination flowing in Pacific

in other cover-ups ... The WHO must release report on Iraqi birth defects now

Today, increasing numbers of birth defects are surfacing in many Iraqi cities, including Mosul, Najaf, Fallujah, Basra, Hawijah, Nineveh, and Baghdad. In some provinces, the rate of cancers is also increasing. Sterility, repeated miscarriages, stillbirths and severe birth defects - some never described in any medical books - are weighing heavily on Iraqi families.

Last October, the Independent (UK) said that the WHO report was due to be released in November 2012. However, that report remains undisclosed to this day. ... a BBC documentary aired in March 2013 offered a glimpse at the WHO's report on the prevalence of birth defects in Iraq. A senior official at the Iraqi Ministry of Health, speaking on camera, told the BBC that "all studies done by the Ministry of Health prove with damning evidence that there has been a rise in birth defects and cancers" in Iraq. During the same interview, two other Ministry of Health researchers confirmed that rising levels of cancers and birth defects constitute a "big crisis" for the next generation of Iraqi children.

The repeated delays, and fresh excuses for more delays, have left many observers puzzled, and deeper concerns are being articulated. Critical faults in the design of the WHO study have now entered the spotlight, principally the study's avoidance of any inquiry into causation [depleted uranium].

The WHO must release report on Iraqi birth defects now

Radiation doesn't have to be the killer. The heavy metal effects of Uranium is nasty.

I'm sure a lot of things have contributed. The degeneration of the health system, and the food system. Badly damaged infrastructure contaminated food/water. Stress of the population etc. The epidemiologists could have a field day. But, I suspect certain to remain unnamed forces don't want stuff that embarrasses a certain country to get out.

Wait, wasn't it the WHO that assured us that there have only been a handful of deaths from Chernobyl due to Radiation, too?

Why would they ever misrepresent such important stories to us? They're a 'Health' Org, not a Political one, right?

The WHO must release report on Iraqi birth defects now

Radiation doesn't have to be the killer. The heavy metal effects of Uranium is nasty.

Three things that all exacerbate.

Ingestion of alpha-emitters like Ur-238.

Teratogenic, mutagenic and carcinogenic CHEMICAL properties of Ur: Ur-238 is as detrimental as Ur-235 in this regard. Chemically Uranium may have an affinity to bind to DNA. Ur savages the kidneys also.

Third is the extreme heat of the pyrophoric Uranium when it burns. The heat and speed of the process can result in particles so fine that a major method of the particles movement is brownian motion. Colloids and nano-particles have lots of interesting side-effects in physics, chemistry and in vivo biology.

I know 10 people who went to Basra between 95 and April 2003 and met the pediatric oncologist at a Basra hospital. Everyone came back different. I still remember Brians slide I saw in 1996.

Interesting in a sick way is possible similarities of diseases that might be linked to DIME weaponry which does not use UR but does use other heavy metals. Properties and components are still quite secret - which makes research on these weapons effects more difficult. Not to mention the fact that the heaviest preliminary usage was in Gaza. This would fit in with the chemical properties.

A Texan tragedy: ample oil, no water

Fracking boom sucks away precious water from beneath the ground, leaving cattle dead, farms bone-dry and people thirsty.

... Across the south-west, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted.

Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry's outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse.

In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Chinese businessman's plan produces few cars, jobs

In October 2009, GreenTech Automotive Inc.'s owner, Chinese businessman Xiaolin "Charles" Wang, unveiled four prototype cars during a flashy ceremony and promised to build a $2 billon plant in Mississippi, the poorest state in the U.S.

The company said production of fuel-efficient vehicles would start in three years, and foreign investors who paid at least $500,000 would get the chance to live in the United States. Meanwhile, the area would get desperately needed jobs and tax revenues.

But today, the company is under a federal investigation, and about the only thing on its land is a construction office. The company says it will be producing cars by April, but its plans have changed dramatically, from a goal of 250,000 a year to 30,000.

... Some analysts say foreign investors may have been more interested in an easy way to get a U.S. visa and a chance at citizenship.

Mexican president proposes historic changes to state-owned Pemex oil monopoly

MEXICO CITY —Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto proposed historic changes to this nation’s state-run energy sector Monday, cracking open the door for global oil giants such as Exxon Mobil and Shell to invest in this nation’s lethargic 75-year old state oil monopoly, Pemex,the eighth largest oil company in the world and a symbol of deep nationalist pride.

In an address highly anticipated in oil capitals from Houston to Rio de Janeiro, Peña Nieto stopped short of offering foreign oil firms what they really want: a right to own and sell the oil they drill in Mexico.

Instead, he proposed constitutional changes that would allow for risk and profit-sharing partnerships between foreign firms and Pemex, a move aimed at luring the money and technology necessary to exploit Mexico’s immense but hard-to-reach deep water and shale oil fields. At the same time, Peña Nieto emphasized that Pemex would remain the sole owner and manager of Mexico’s oil.

But fossil fuels are not like a petrol tank of a fixed size

No. More like a roast chicken. Slice off the breast fillets, then the drumsticks, then the lesser cuts. One day we will be at the stage of boiling the carcass to extract the last bit of nourishment, then gnawing the bones.

And as far as oil goes, the breast fillets are gone.

Elon Musk has released his proposal for a high speed transport system. The plan involves an enclosed tube mounted on pilons and individual "pods" which run inside. The idea is to partially evacuate the tube and use a turbine to shift the air in front of the pod to the rear as it traverses the tube. He posted a 57 page PDF of the concept on his blog:


E. Swanson

I admire Elon Musk but I sometimes wonder if he's a good thing.

Wealthy people, who are generating enormous quantities of CO2 heating their several houses and making their many plane trips, are the only ones who can afford the Tesla. It might reduce their CO2 consumption a tiny amount. But will garner a lot of government money in incentive payments and green credits.

The biggest social problem in the world today IMO is un- and under-employment. Public money should go to reducing it.

Have you seen a Tesla factory? Robots, robots, robots. Scarcely a worker to be seen. And the most expensive part, the 7,000-odd cells in the battery pack pack, is manufactured overseas, undoubtedly in a highly automated factory.

Speaking of battery packs for the Tesla, it is my understanding they are using lithium-ion 18650 cells... that's right - the same ones commonly used in flashlights, power tools, and laptops.


The currently selling Tesla Model S was purposely designed to be a high end car. It will reduce CO2 emission compared to the equivalent type of vehicle (Think BMW 5 series, Mercedes S class, etc) while selling the virtues of electric drive - clean, quiet, fast and efficient.

The next generation vehicle will be a car that much of the masses can afford, though still only something that relatively wealthy people can afford (think BMW 3 series).

Finally, the generation after that should provide truly mass-market vehicles.

Tesla has always aimed to produce the best electric vehicle with minimal compromises.

I'm sure that other manufactures will step up in the mean time and produce electric vehicles that most can afford, but it will mean further compromises, primarily reduced range between charges.

One question some ask is an activity truly environmentally sustainable, or is it actually a clever public relations attempt at "greenwashing." What do you define as green?

I believe that Americans will probably travel less in the future in general, and will probably own fewer cars. Some say it is unsustainable for anyone to use any car, and hope that Peak Oil will make cars disappear. I want help my city become more pedestrian, bicycle, and public transit friendly, but I do not begrudge people who want to drive a car.

The US Department of Transportation has accumulated statistics that correlates age groups with vehicle miles traveled. As Americans age, they tend to travel less. Women are tending to have children at a later age. My sister had her daughter at the age of 30. In the 1950's, American women had children in their 20's, right? Demographic patterns are shifting so that we are on average older, we will drive less, and have fewer cars. I believe even if somebody invented some high tech cornucopian sustainable technology, this demographic change will still reduce the total number of American cars. However, even though I believe we will use fewer cars, I do not trying to get rid of them.

Musk is involve with a solar panel leasing company, in addition to Tesla Motors. He is finding a way for people to reduce their energy bill, and reducing their carbon footprint at the same time. If this Hyperloop concept works out, which I am still skeptical, it will be a make a trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco take only about half an hour and cost about US $20, and it will use solar power and not burn any petroleum. This is an incredible claim, but some how he combined taxpayer money with his business skills to make Tesla Motors a profitable company in 2013. In interviews, he says that burning fossil fuels is a real problem, that it will cause global warming and catastrophic ocean acidification. Part of his life's work is to develop sustainable energy generation, and sustainable transportation. He is partially involved with Solar City and fully involved with Tesla Motors.

The Federal government has given so much money to everybody, including American car companies that overwhelming produce gas guzzlers. A Tesla factory has tons of robots to replace workers, similar to factories owned by GM, Ford, and Chevrolet. Unemployment caused by automation is a real problem, but I am not sure if cutting funding to cat companies will really help. I have read estimates that if the Big Three were allowed to go under in 2008, that the unemployment rolls would have risen by 3 million people that year.

I am beginning to see many more EVs around near my city, which I attribute to Elon Musk and his competitors. I see solar panels on many more roofs. The reason for those electric vehicles and solar photovoltaic panels is partially public money and partially private business. However, this "free market" is more a theory than reality, and government has been involved with business in the US for a long time.

I believe Elon Musk is a good thing. He is creating businesses that reduce fossil fuel use, and he is creating a few jobs. There may be ways of spending public money to stop using oil, and to create more jobs, and I am willing to listen.

Tesla Motors stock is a bubble and it's business is a scam. Elon Musk is a genius of the worst kind. I'm sure he won't hesitate to sue me for saying that either.

If Tesla Would Stop Selling Cars, We'd All Save Some Money

Tesla didn’t generate a profit by selling sexy cars, but rather by selling sleazy emissions “credits,” mandated by the state of California’s electric vehicle requirements. The competition, like Honda, doesn’t have a mass market plug-in to meet the mandate and therefore must buy the credits from Tesla, the only company that does. The bill for last quarter was $68 million. Absent this shakedown of potential car buyers, Tesla would have lost $57 million, or $11,400 per car. As the company sold 5,000 cars in the quarter, though, $13,600 per car was paid by other manufacturers, who are going to pass at least some of that cost on to buyers of their products. Folks in the new car market are likely paying a bit more than simply the direct tax subsidy.

Heretic! You are not supposed to look behind the curtain.

Oh pfffft. You are looking at it wrong. The Tesla Model S is not the endgame, it is merely a stepping stone on the way to broader market acceptance. The Tesla Model S is merely a Halo car for EVs. It is a high-end luxury EV that proves EVs cannot only be as good as gas cars but better than gas cars. But Elon and everyone else knows that the Model S is just a tiny niche early stage market. The long term plans are to build less expensive cars for the broader market. Whether they succeed or not remains to be seen.

And, yes, he is taking advantage of the existing laws. That is not a 'scam', that is playing by the rules. The point of those rules is to encourage ZEVs to be built and to grow the ZEV market to the point where mass manufacturing scale reduces the costs such that EVs can be purchased by everyone. And these incentive systems HAVE BEEN SUCCEEDING IN THAT GOAL. When EVs first made their modern return with the Tesla Roadster, batteries cost more than $1000/KWH. Batteries are now down below $500/KWH. By some accounts they are down in the $200s/KWH. You can now go buy a Chevy Spark EV WITH NO GOVERNMENT INCENTIVE for $27K. Expensive . . . yes but it is in the range of affordability to the buyer of an average car. (With current Fed & CA incentives, the net price for the Spark EV is a mere $17K . . . easily affordable by the average car buyer.) PV panels cost $5/watt just a few years back and incentives were used to help people adopt their usage . . . were they a scam? No, just an earlier stage desirable technology getting helped with incentives. You can now buy PV panels for less than $1/watt.

So, yes, the Tesla Model S is high-end luxury EV Halo car that is not affordable by most people. But it is not a scam and it is not the end point. It is a stepping stone to the future.

And if you want to cite Forbes propaganda then why not cite the recent Tesla-bashing by often-wrong Oil Cornucopian Michael Lynch too?

It is the universal assumption that the Tesla products are a stepping stone, because we all believe in the religion of progress and we know that things always get cheaper, higher performing and all around better as time goes on. The only limits are human ingenuity.

But this is just an article of faith with nothing to back it up, and 100 years of development work to show that it isn't happening. And in the real world there are actual limits.

Tesla started with the expensive cars because that is the price point where it can be made to "work" - where you can afford the expensive light weight materials and the processes to make them that are required to get acceptable performance. It does not follow that this can be extended downward in price.

It is the universal assumption that the Tesla products are a stepping stone, because we all believe in the religion of progress and we know that things always get cheaper

No, quite the opposite actually. I am actually quite skeptical of Tesla's claim of building a $35K unsubsidized car with a 200 mile range and have openly mocked the claim. I believe that batteries will get incrementally cheaper but mostly just due to getting mass manufacturing scale. That requires no new breakthrough.

What will certainly make EVs cost effective is the ever-rising price of oil over time. At higher gas prices, people will stop complaining about 100 mile ranges and jump on the EV bandwagon. The current technology levels of EVs will work just fine. But I suspect they'll get a big better.

What will certainly make EVs cost effective is the ever-rising price of oil over time.

And what is going to keep the roads cheap and repaired while oil rises?

I'm not so sure we won't reach 200mile range for $35K. Thats a bit over double the Leaf range. And I expect about a factor of two can be wrung out of batteries. So holding the price roughly the same, we should be able to more than double battery capacity.
I expect this will take several years.

Elon Musk said batteries were improving about 5% a year. This implies capacity will be doubled in 13-14 years.

I have never spent $35k on a car, never even close. That is not trivial money, especially if you consider the state of the economy and what it is likely to be in the next few years. So we're talking $35k for entry level in the brave new automobile transportation system?

But this is just an article of faith with nothing to back it up, and 100 years of development work to show that it isn't happening.

Huh? If the auto industry had even spent a fraction of the effort that, they have spent improving and refining the ICE, on trying to build better batteries, EVs would be a cinch today. The automobile industry has not been the driver of better battery technology. The mobile electronics industry has. Look at the original Motorola Dynatac cell phone and compare that battery to the latest android phones. Significant progress over the 30 years or so if you ask me. Next look at the battery in a car from the 50s or 60s and the current batch. Better packaging of the same basic, flooded lead acid technology that was invented in 1859, with 150 years of minor refinements!

It is illustrative that when Tesla was looking for batteries for their cars, they did NOT look to the traditional suppliers of automotive batteries but to suppliers of batteries for the mobile electronics industry.

Alan from the islands

100 million Panasonic 18650's just for the Tesla S5, Panasonic purchased Sanyo - battery leaders. Check out Ebay's 18650 Battery Buying guide. Price is just a fraction 20 months ago. LED flashlights with 18650's and dies like CREE's XML LED's are ... Brilliant

An analogy was electronics, we had BiPolar (ECL) logic, which was much faster than CMOS. But, CMOS was the right choice for mass consumer electronics. So CMOS got much much more R&D than CMOS, and it improved faster and blew right past BiPolar. Then we had Josephson Junctions which were gonna be the ultimate fast logic. But they never got developed.....

There wasn't a huge effort going into batteries. Now there is.
BTW. The traditional lead acid car battery, and traction batteries are different chemistries, so there is little overlap. Auto companies didn't care about traction batteries until recently.

Each type of battery has its strong point. The strong point of lead acid batteries is delivering a heavy current for a short time, which is the ideal characteristic for starting a car. So the auto companies saw no need to change.

The physics behind semiconductor technologies has little to do with that behind batteries. Why do you assume the development will follow a similar path? That is just faith in progress at work.

There wasn't a huge effort going into batteries.

Why do you assume that? The EV is not the only driver of battery technology. There are and have been a host of industrial and consumer uses.

Batteries have been under continuous development for a massive number of industrial application since the EV failed the first time around. So have electric motors and drive systems. The rest of the EV is an automobile with systems that are the result of the same development as the ICE powered automobile - suspensions, brakes, tires, glass, lighting systems, interiors and accessories. The main difference is that some body/chassis materials must be lighter weight.

The battery is just one issue among many facing the EV-based automotive transportation system. The aggregate time required to transfer energy into the portable storage media(s) and transferring all the energy onto the decrepit electrical grid are two other, more significant issues.

Huzzah! I was looking at it all wrong! You have me convinced good sir, and now that I have seen the light and follow the righteous path set forth by the great Elon, perhaps you would be so kind as to loan me $83,570? (I really need the Performance model)

What gauge of extension cord would I need to run out to the parking lot of my apartment complex to recharge it? Is there a place to install a hitch? I need to install a bike rack so I can haul our mountain bikes to the trails on the weekends. How long until we get Supercharger stations in Iowa/Illinois/Wisconsin? My wife doesn't mind sitting in a hot, humid car for 45 minutes while the car charges, as long as we are fighting the good fight!

Well, as I pointed out, the Tesla Model S is a luxury sports sedan Halo EV. It is not for you unless you earn a bit more money.

But allow me to suggest the Chevy Volt. After the tax-credit, it is now only $27K. If you are gainfully employed I'm sure you can arrange financing. If you have a typical commute, it should be able to handle your weekday commute without burning a drop of gasoline. And on the weekends you can drive up to the mountains on gasoline. I'm sure a bike-rack can be arranged. For an extension cord, I'd recommend a 10 gauge wire. Perhaps you can talk to your apartment complex about getting a charger installed.

Now there's something we can agree on. At least the Volt has the backup of a gasoline engine and it's a shame GM is losing money on the Volt. IMHO, hybrids and small turbodiesels are about as good as it gets.

Arrange financing? Some of us believe in paying cash for everything--and $27K is a very large chunk of cash for many of us.

Financing it doesn't make the amount less, and it is not $27k except for tax money added to the pot. I wonder if the company (baled out by other people's money) really makes money even at that price? If sales were higher that incentive would go away, and only those able to drop that large chink of cash or make big payments will have them.

Then as fuel prices rise (relative to people's ability to pay) the ICE option will also move out of reach of more and more. How long do we pay the enormous sums needed to maintain (even poorly) the road system so an ever shrinking portion of the population can drive?

We're only a couple of years out from the point where the oil price needed to keep extracting the expensive sources that have kept us on this plateau exceeds the price the economy can survive. After that technically producible supplies will be shut in and the economy tanks. This won't bring greater affluence and increased car sales, rather it is likely to bring another round of automakers failing and discussions about baling them out again.

the Tesla and other electric car developments can be useful for Green Transit but
that would mean applying that technology to shuttles, taxis and buses which are actually easier to resolve the range problem as they could have charging stations at train stations, bus stations, and endpoints for a fleet of cars.

But it is not clear that Elon Musk gets that concept as shown by his being miffed at being stuck in traffic in his beautifully engineered Tesla on an LA freeway.


Musk quips that it's easier getting rockets into orbit than navigating his commute between home in Bel-Air and his Space Exploration Technologies factory in Hawthorne.

Funny indeed! Electric cars are not going to resolve the huge waste of space and
resources of Auto Addiction Elon!

Note - I do not have traffic issues using the train to get to work which is 98% reliable getting me there in 30 minutes..
the biggest issue is frequency of service which was cut since 2008 by 28 weekday trains!

Then there is the range problem which there would NOT be for shuttles/taxis/zipcars over limited
ranges pointed out here:


Stalled Out on Tesla’s Electric Highway
Published: February 8, 2013

Washington — Having established a fast-charging foothold in California for its electric cars, Tesla Motors has brought its formula east, opening two ultrafast charging stations in December that would, in theory, allow a speedy electric-car road trip between here and Boston.

But as I discovered on a recent test drive of the company’s high-performance Model S sedan, theory can be trumped by reality, especially when Northeast temperatures plunge.

DUH! As many others on this site have pointed out, the problem with cars only BEGINS with the energy source, it also includes tens of thousands of traffic deaths,
12 x the land use (hence the stuck in traffic problem), and the huge govt subsidized infrastructure of not only roads and parking lots but also traffic cops, traffic courts, ambulances, snow plows etc etc.

Futurama. The real future will be somewhat different....

Yeah, another glossy Disney style fantasy. I think he posted this on his blog so he can get some free technical assessment. There are numerous problems with the design as presented, any of which might sink the concept. But hey, it's sure to make a big splash on Wall Street, where the money is likely to come from (note, this story in the WSJ isn't behind a pay wall). It's the old story again, throw out a grand plan with overly optimistic cost projections to hook the investors, then start the project rolling before anybody with a real understanding of the situation can object. Of course, the costs will climb as things move along and the truth will probably be painful...

E. Swanson

Personal jetpack gets flight permit for manned test

The price of your own personal flying machine is estimated at US$150,000-250,000, although Coker said the cost was likely to come down over time.

It comes with a rocket-propelled parachute if anything goes wrong.

Very cool. There was a mythbusters episode where they tried to build something very similar. They thought it should work on paper, but couldn't get enough lift with their prototype. The mythbusters one used a single ICE to provide power to the two fans.

From Chatham House …

Saving Oil and Gas in the Gulf

The systemic waste of oil and gas in the Gulf is eroding economic resilience to shocks and increasing security risks, including to citizens' health. Success or failure in setting and meeting sustainable energy goals in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will have a global impact.

The six GCC countries - Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, the UAE and Bahrain - now consume more primary energy than the whole of Africa. Yet they have just one twentieth of that continent’s population. Energy intensity in the region is high and rising in contrast to other industrialized regions and is driven by systemic inefficiencies.

Almost 100% of energy in the region is produced from oil and gas without carbon dioxide abatement, and water security is increasingly dependent on energy-driven desalination. If the region’s fuel demand were to continue rising as it has over the last decade, it would double by 2024. This is a deeply undesirable prospect for both the national security of each state and the global environment.


Executive Summary

You know . . . maybe the oil industry is starting to worry.

Oil Cornucopian Michael Lynch has decided that the Tesla is a bad car and you shouldn't buy one.

Is Tesla Motors A Case Of Irrational Exuberance?

So the oil biz is paying their PR flaks to bash EVs now? Interesting.

Maybe, just maybe, EV's don't make economic sense?

Model S 60kWh price: $63,570 ($7,500 of other peoples money included)

My car (used 2003 Honda Civic EX) price: $6,000, ~$40 per week fuel cost

So I could buy one Model S or ten used Honda Civics, or 5 Civics and 16 years worth of fuel, or keep my one Civic and have gas money for the next 30 years (at current gas prices).

Gasoline is still way too cheap, whether people believe it or not.

Jeez, could you come up with a more unfair comparison?
A ten year old used car costs less than a high-end luxury sports sedan EV . . . thus EVs are useless. QED. LOL!

My legs: free. Your car: $6000. Your car makes no economic sense. (I am clearly joking.)

How is it unfair? A Civic or a Model S can do 70mph down the interstate. "Your legs" don't have the speed or the range of either. The Model S is a car. Let's not lose sight of that.

You are right. It is not a fair comparison. My legs can be used indoors, they'll last for like 7 or 8 decades, they are almost maintenance free, I've been able to naturally reproduce them so my daughter has a pair very similar to mine except that they magically adjust to fit her size, and I got mine FOR FREE! No car can compare. :-)

If you want to fairly compare gas & electric you need to look at comparable gas & electric vehicles. Probably the easiest comparison is to look at vehicles where there is a gas version and an electric version that use the same body. Examples include the Ford Focus, the Smart ForTwo, and the Chevy Spark. In all these cases, the gas version can be purchased for much less than the electric version. And in all these cases, the electric version costs much less to fuel and is much lower in maintenance. What is the total lifetime operating cost of each? At this point it is impossible to know since who knows what gas prices will be 3 or 5 years from now. Right now they are probably around even and with the range issues, it is understandable that the public has not adopted them much. But as gas prices rise . . . . the electrics will gain favor.

Ok fair comparison...

2014 Chevy Spark EV 1LT, currently only available in CA and OR per Chevy website. 82 mile range. $27,495

2014 Chevy Spark 1LT, 282 mile range. $14,995

At least for me, the EV can't even be considered since I live in flyover country. Even if I had the choice here, I could easily exceed that 82 mile range if I needed to go somewhere for lunch or stop at the grocery store after work.

With the $10K of incentives currently available in California that drops the price difference to a mere $2500 in California. With that tiny price difference I think people are crazy to buy the gas version. Buy the EV version and sign up for ZIPcar for any time you need a gas car. The EV version will end up being much much cheaper. And the Spark EV has actually received rave reviews from many.

In the long run, those incentives will go away but there will remain a substantial savings in fueling costs.

OTOH. Cut your legs off and throw them in storage. Then re-attach. Ooops, they no longer function. They only work with continuous nourishment, one interruption and they are toast.

How many examples of a brand new Audi A8, BMW 7 series or Mercedes S Class can you buy for the price of the entry level Model S? Answer: none. Are they better cars than the Model S? Not according to the roughly 10,000 rich people who have already bought one. Try again.

Alan from the islands

I don't worry about rich people. They will be fine.

Now how do you go about choosing what makes a car better? Performance is the only criteria? It has to put out >400hp? I think it's more important to look at the value and practicality of the vehicle. All the cars you listed have little value and practicality to the average person. I am more concerned with getting to work and home every day in extremely variable weather conditions throughout the year. I don't need to spend upwards of $80k to do that.

Neither do I. I currently drive a commercial vehicle, a panel van, that is very useful for carting around my gear but, if I had 80 grand spare cash lying around to buy a car, I know what I'd buy. As for what makes as car better: looks, check, comfort, check, options, check, noise level, check, handling, check, running costs, check, oh and yeah performance too. Judging from the opinions of the US and so far, the German press who have driven the car, it is a very desirable auto-mobile for those who can afford it. There's no denying that.

Alan from the islands.

Well you obviously don't use your car to woo potential trophy wives. Sports cars performance is measured in time to panty removal. Luxury cars are measured in time to betrothal of the selected trophy.

I strongly suspect your Honda's carbon footprint is lower than the model S's. [That presumes embedded energy of especially the batteries].

60MWhour, Thats twenty times what it takes to charge my Prius plugin!

Enviros not happy with Calif. carbon offsets

I thought the California cap and trade scheme was not linking to Europe (but to Quebec) since they thought Euro carbon credits were bogus. To quote Richard Feynman we can fool ourselves but not Nature. Surely the aim of a valid carbon credit is that the world stays on or below a planned CO2e timeline. With tree planting credits the trees could succumb to fire or drought yet there seem to be no corrections when this happens. When refrigerant gas is vented the guilty party should pay an equivalent penalty. If they don't they get a cash reward via selling credits. It's like paying bank robbers not to rob banks. When one part of the world preserves a forest to excuse coal burning somewhere else the net global CO2 flow hasn't reduced, only money has changed hands.

Unfortunately carbon mitigation schemes everywhere seem to be run with the diligence of TV wrestling referees. Maybe this is why they all suck. Pollsters tip the Australian government after September 7th will repeal the carbon tax if they have the numbers. Shame TOD won't be around to report it. I'd put Arnold Schwarzenegger in charge of global CO2 mitigation as he understands 'no pain no gain'.

Anyone know of an online calculator for fixed solar panels at any tilt and alignment?

There are plenty to determine the optimum tilt, but the reality for most roof-mounted domestic installations is the angle of tilt and north-south alignment are fixed, and you have to accept less than optimum results.

Given the panel layout, which may have two or three different tilts and alignments, and given the solar insolation in your area which is available from many sources, you should be able to produce a graph of the output throughout the day and year for any panel configuration.

I use the NREL program PVWATTS V1.0. It lets you select the angle and azimuth. Outputs in CSV for plotting in Excel.

Thanks. Exactly what I'm looking for.

Thanks so much for that link.

That was just the tool I needed at the moment.

Tilt angle and even azimuth affect the output much less than I had assumed.

Great stuff.

I don't think the sensitivity to tilt angle is very much. I once calculated two tilt( winter/summer) versus fixed tilt, and the annual output diff was like 5%. I'd mount the same angle as the roof, because thats less likely to catch wind underneath.

That sounds like a tall order. There are just so many variables. I live on a fairly hilly island that throws a couple of curve balls at any attempt to calculate the output

If you are in a valley or on the side of a hill, depending on which way the hill faces, how steep and how high it is, the hill could affect your early morning or late evening production. Hills/mountains will not affect your mid day production which is the highest proportion of your total.

Weather patterns also matter. If you are in an area that tends to have convection rainfall like where I am, as a rule, your mornings are likely to be bright and sunny with cloud cover increasing throughout the day with a chance of afternoon showers. In that case taking full advantage of the morning sun and ignoring the odd sunny afternoon will probably produce the best results.

Alan from the islands

And a place like coastal California is just the opposite, low marine clouds or fog in the morning, sunny afternoons.
But in any case, the first/last hour don't give you much production.


I'd quote the text via cut and paste but they made is a graphic. Interesting bit - antioxidents help.

Rise in urban beekeeping may have gone too far, scientists warn

University of Sussex scientists are urging people in towns and cities keen to help the honey bee not to buy a hive but to grow bee-friendly flowers instead.

Spurred on by widespread coverage of declining bee numbers, urban beekeeping has never been more popular, particularly in London, but the boom could be bad for honey bees and other flower-visiting insects as it risks overtaxing the available nectar and pollen supply, and potentially encourages the spread of diseases.

... Co-author Dr Karin Alton says: "Our calculations indicate that each new hive placed in London would need the equivalent of one hectare of borage, a plant that attracts mainly honey bees, or 8.3 hectares of lavender, a plant that attracts mainly bumblebees but some honey bees

The Installed Price of Solar Photovoltaic Systems in the U.S. Continues to Decline at a Rapid Pace

Installed prices for PV systems in 2012 fell by a range of roughly $0.30/W to $0.90/W, or 6 to 14 percent, from the prior year, depending on the size of the system. “This marks the third year in a row of significant price reductions for PV systems in the U.S.,” explains Galen Barbose of Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division, one of the report’s co-authors. Within the first six months of 2013, PV system prices in California fell by an additional 10 to 15 percent, and the report suggests that PV system price reductions in 2013 are on pace to match or exceed those seen in recent years.

The report indicates that the median installed price of PV systems completed in 2012 was $5.30 per Watt (W) for residential and small commercial systems smaller than 10 kilowatts (kW) in size and was $4.60/W for commercial systems of 100 kW or more in size. Utility-scale systems installed in 2012 registered even lower prices, with prices for systems larger than 10,000 kW generally ranging from $2.50/W to $4.00/W. The report also highlights the wide variability in PV system pricing, detailing the installed price differences that exist across states and across various types of PV applications and system configurations.

The report, Tracking the Sun VI: An Historical Summary of the Installed Price of Photovoltaics in the United States from 1998 to 2012, by Galen Barbose, Naïm Darghouth, Samantha Weaver, and Ryan Wiser, may be downloaded from: http://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl-6350e.pdf.

A webinar presentation of key findings from the report will be conducted on Friday, August 16th at 11:00 am PDT. Registration for the webinar is at:


That is great news but I suspect that we are going to plateau at least for a bit. With even Chinese PV panel makers going bankrupt, we've probably bottomed on on PV panel costs for a while. The system I'm building using PV parts bought from web sites selling PV components will cost around $2/watt for the equiptment (PV panels, wiring, inverters, racks, etc.).

People keep telling me an Italian utility scale plant was built for $1.20/watt (.9Euro). We got a lot of catching up to do.

Sugar Is Toxic To Mice in 'Safe' Doses, Study Says

When mice ate a diet of 25 percent extra sugar – the mouse equivalent of a healthy human diet plus three cans of soda daily – females died at twice the normal rate and males were a quarter less likely to hold territory and reproduce, according to a toxicity test developed at the University of Utah.

"I have reduced refined sugar intake and encouraged my family to do the same," University of Utah biology professor Wayne Potts, the study's senior author adds, noting that the new test showed that the 25 percent "added-sugar" diet – 12.5 percent dextrose (the industrial name for glucose) and 12.5 percent fructose – was just as harmful to the health of mice as being the inbred offspring of first cousins.

When Can the Military Support Civil Authorities?

The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 generally prohibits military forces from performing ordinary civilian law enforcement functions such as arrest, surveillance, interdiction, search and seizure.

But a newly updated Department of Defense doctrinal publication notes that, despite this prohibition, “There are several forms of direct assistance to civilian law enforcement by military personnel that are permitted under the Military Purpose Doctrine.

The publication introduces a new addition to the DoD lexicon: “complex catastrophe.”

A complex catastrophe (which may “magnify requirements for defense support of civil authorities”) is defined as: “Any natural or man-made incident, including cyberspace attack, power grid failure, and terrorism, which results in cascading failures of multiple, interdependent, critical, life-sustaining infrastructure sectors and causes extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage or disruption severely affecting the population, environment, economy, public health, national morale, response efforts, and/or government functions.”

No problem, simply militarise the police and civilian authorities. In fact that's what seems to be happening.

Yup, and it is pretty far along too.

I keep seeing this cognitive dissonance in issues regarding rights and rule of law. There are endless discussions about what "can" and "cannot" be done, like this one regrading the use of the military, and all of it makes basic assumptions about the universal applicability of the rule of law - and if you look about you'll see that those assumptions were obsolete years ago. How evenly the rule of law has been applied has certainly varied over place and time, but it is pretty clear that there are few limits to the application of force in support of power at this point.

Westerners used to having their personal power amplified by the support of the state are going to be really disoriented for a time. Ultimately attempts to wield central control will be overwhelmed by chaos and social breakdown, but none of that will result in the return of some uniform application of the rule of law again.

Why the World Bank Is Taking On Climate Change

NJ: Why is the World Bank now putting so much emphasis on climate change?

Kyte: We've come to the realization that we cannot achieve our mission, which is to end poverty, unless we slow the rate of climate change. Climate science now shows that we're on course for a 4-degree [Celsius] temperature rise by 2100, that we're going to be 2 degrees warmer by the 2030s. And that's going to have devastating effects on food production, how livable cities are.... It's going to be extraordinarily difficult for the poor, who are the least resilient, to be part of the growth and opportunity story over the next few decades if climate change is unabated.

Climate change, not jobs will force migrants to Britain, warns MP

WAVES of migrants will be forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in other countries due to extreme climate change, a top Labour MP warned today.

He said: "If we get climate change wrong there is a very real danger we shall see levels of mass migration as yet unparalleled."

State DEP Issues Warning About Hazards of Global Climate Change

So how is this news? Anybody who has thought a minute concludes the same about climate change- forced mass migration. And I do mean FORCED, and MASS!

Now, that done, let's go back to thinking about what to have for dessert tonight.

The news is not what was said, but who said it. This is a BIG deal because the world bank affects the flow of lots of money.

200 Years of Books Prove That City-Living Changes Our Psychology

... Rural living, with its subsistence economies, simpler technologies, and close-knit communities, demands of people a greater sense of deference to authority and duty to each other. Urbanization, on the other hand, generally comes with greater wealth and education, and complex technology and commerce. Adapt to life in a city, and a different set of values becomes more important: for starters, personal choice, property accumulation, and materialism.

"When you have greater wealth, you have more choices," Greenfield says. When you live in a city, there are simply more paths to chose, more things to do, more ways you might spend your money. Greater education brings choice, too. In this way, personal choice – and an emphasis on the individual – becomes more central in an urban world to our values, our behavior, and our culture.

This implies that as a society slowly urbanizes over time, its psychology and culture change, too. ... Over these two centuries, America dramatically shifted from a rural country to an urban one, as this graph from Greenfield's paper illustrates:graph

The cumulative results suggest that there's something more deep-rooted underway here than the simple life cycle of words that happened to go in and out of style for reasons entirely unrelated to society's changing values.

There's a link to the Google Ngram Viewer where most of the data in the article was obtained.

According to Ngram, it appears that interest in energy and various energy sources waned some time in the early/mid-80's after a run-up starting in the early '70s:

Ngram data: energy,oil,coal,nuclear

It would be interesting to see the graph of the last 13 years.

Canada train blast: Lac-Megantic rail firm sanctioned

Canada has suspended the operating licence of the rail firm involved in last month's Quebec fuel train disaster, officials say.

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) says the company did not have enough third-party liability insurance.

The CTA's order covers both Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA) and its Canadian subsidiary....

...MMA filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada and the United States last week in the wake of the 6 July derailment.

The company said its insurance was not sufficient to cover liabilities of up to C$25m ($24.2m; £15.7m), when the clean-up costs may well exceed C$200m.

So who pays for 'unfunded liabilities'? Will there be a review of insurance policies in the US?


Saudi Arabia, a major supporter of opposition forces in Syria, has increased crackdown on its own dissenters, with 30,000 activists reportedly in jail. In an exclusive interview to RT a Saudi prince defector explained what the monarchy fears most.

“There is no independent judiciary, as both police and the prosecutor’s office are accountable to the Interior Ministry. This ministry’s officials investigate ‘crimes’ (they call them crimes), related to freedom of speech. So they fabricate evidence, don’t allow people to have attorneys”, the prince told RT Arabic. “Even if a court rules to release such a ‘criminal’, the Ministry of Interior keeps him in prison, even though there is a court order to release him. There have even been killings! Killings! And as for the external opposition, Saudi intelligence forces find these people abroad! There is no safety inside or outside the country.”

Looks like the tropics may start to heat up. I predict a Cat 5 hurricane in the GOM on August 31st. Something crazy is going to be happening when the DB shuts down -- smart money bets hurricane.

What's DB?

Drum Beat (TOD)

An Active Atlantic Hurricane Season Still Predicted by NOAA, CSU, and TSR

As we stand on the cusp of the peak part of hurricane season, all of the major groups that perform long-range seasonal hurricane forecasts are still calling for an active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season. NOAA forecasts an above-normal and possibly very active Atlantic hurricane season in 2013, in their August 8 outlook. They give a 70% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of an near-normal season, and 5% chance of a below-normal season.

I would have thought it is the temperature differential which was important for hurricane strength. If the air is hotter and the water is hotter, don't they cancel each other out?

That would be terrible for anyone in the path of the hurricane, of course, but might be helpful for this community of commenters. People who are hesitant about which replacement group to join would be forced to pick one (or more).