Drumbeat: August 16, 2013

Foreseeing Trouble in Exporting Natural Gas

MIDLAND, Mich. — As Dow Chemical’s chief executive, Andrew N. Liveris has made himself into something of an outcast among his fellow business leaders.

The reason? He is spearheading a public campaign against increased exports of natural gas, which he sees as a threat to a manufacturing renaissance in the United States, not to mention his own company’s bottom line. But many others say such exports would provide far more benefits to the country than drawbacks, all part of a transformation that promises to increase the nation’s weight in the global economy.

WTI Oil Trades Near Two-Week High Amid Unrest in Egypt

West Texas Intermediate crude traded near the highest price in two weeks as an escalating conflict in Egypt fanned concern that oil shipments through the country may be disrupted.

Futures were little changed after rising for a fifth day yesterday, capping the longest stretch of gains since April. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood urged supporters onto the streets after noon prayers to protest the killing of hundreds of their number. A weather system heading for the Gulf of Mexico has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next two days. Crude and fuel export terminals in Libya remain closed, while Iraq’s oil ministry said the nation plans to increase exports in September.

“The market isn’t sure of future direction and is looking at the news on balance,” Ole Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said by phone. “The market is now better prepared for disruptions than before, as we see more supply elsewhere.”

With Energy Costs Lower, Producer Prices Were Flat in July, Evidence of Little Inflation

WASHINGTON — Producer prices were flat in July, providing further evidence of very little inflationary pressure in the economy.

The Labor Department reported on Wednesday that a drop in natural gas and gasoline costs left its seasonally adjusted producer price index unchanged for the month. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a 0.3 percent increase.

Stuart Staniford: Saudi Arabian Oil Production

The above graph shows Saudi production of crude and condensate (ie oil) from 1995 through July. There are several data sources, but the black line is the average. The red curve is the number of oil rigs working in the country, and is a rough proxy for the level of effort being made to maintain or increase production.

In the middle of the price spike in 2005-2008, Saudi Arabia began to reduce production, rather than increasing it, and at the same time increased drilling over the very low level they had traditionally maintained. This suggested to some of us difficulty maintaining production (probably due to long-standing under-investment in developing new resources to replace aging fields).

Major oil companies' emphasis on gas is growing ever deeper

When Shell announced the successor to its chief executive Peter Voser, it set a few tongues wagging. Ben van Beurden, the current head of refining, had not been among those tipped to lead the company come January.

Mr Van Beurden's role in the downstream business sits awkwardly with the company's focus on upstream projects, and the struggle to replace the crude reserves on its books. But a closer look sheds insight not only into Shell's strategy, but the industry trend that defines it.

More clashes feared as protesters vow 'Friday of anger' in Egypt

Cairo (CNN) -- As Egypt faces the gruesome aftermath of clashes that left hundreds dead, demonstrators plan to defy an emergency order and take to the streets to mark "Friday of anger."

The Muslim Brotherhood promised huge protests, and Egypt's military government showed no sign of easing its crackdown, setting the stage for what could become another catastrophic encounter of security forces and protesters.

"The struggle to overthrow this illegitimate regime is an obligation," the Muslim Brotherhood said on its website Friday, while urging people to protest peacefully.

Dana Petroleum monitoring growing unrest in Egypt

Aberdeen-based oil firm Dana Petroleum has said it is continuing to monitor events in Egypt after pulling non-essential staff from the country amid growing political unrest.

Dana stated it had taken the step to ensure the safety of staff.

Iran intercepted Indian oil tanker for pollution concerns: spokesman

TEHRAN (Xinhua) -- Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday that the country has intercepted an Indian oil tanker in the Gulf for pollution concerns, Press TV reported.

On Tuesday, Iran's Navy intercepted the Indian oil tanker, MT Desh Shanti, which was carrying 140,000 tons of crude oil from Iraq to India through the Gulf.

“Iraq will not sell crude to India at a special price”: Shahristani

Iraq, the second-largest supplier of oil to India, has ruled out offering any special price to the country because its laws don't allow it to do so.

"Our laws do not allow us to offer any special pricing to anyone. We can sell crude only at the existing market- determined prices," Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain Ibrahim Saleh al-Shahristani said.

Libya threatens to bomb ships loading stolen crude oil

TRIPOLI (AFP) – Libya has accused striking guards who have seized oil export terminals of trying to make shipments for their own profit and threatened military action against any unauthorised vessel that docks.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan issued the warning late on Thursday, three weeks into the action by the security guards that has halted virtually all loadings at key terminals on the central coast.

Military Crackdown Worsens Pollution in Nigeria’s Oil Region

The Nigerian government’s military crackdown against the theft of crude in the Niger River delta has left more than a 1,000 makeshift refineries in flames, worsening pollution in the area, authorities said.

A military taskforce deployed last year to stop theft and protect facilities in Africa’s top oil producer has destroyed 1,819 makeshift refineries, set ablaze 861 boats carrying as much as 20,000 liters (5,277 gallons) each of illegally refined crude and 51 tanker trucks, force commander Major General Bata Debiro said yesterday at a conference on crude theft in Lagos.

Oil Pipeline From Kurdistan Makes Gulf Keystone Target

Todd Kozel’s adventure in Kurdistan may soon pay off.

The American chief executive officer of Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd. has dealt with angry shareholders, an ex-business partner’s lawsuit and byzantine politics for six years pursuing billions of barrels of crude in the northern Iraqi region. Now, his $2.5 billion exploration venture is a being called a takeover target as the world’s biggest oil companies look for untapped fields.

Turkey plays big in Kurdistan’s energy game

Ankara, Reuters—Turkey has quietly built up a large presence in Kurdistan’s oil and gas industry, teaming up with US major Exxon Mobil, as Ankara bets on Iraq’s semi-autonomous republic to help wean it off costly Russian and Iranian energy imports.

A state-backed Turkish firm was also set up in the second quarter of 2013 to explore for oil and gas in Kurdistan, according to three sources familiar with the company.

Warren Buffett’s Suncor stake may be ‘turning point’ for oil sands stocks

Warren Buffett’s massive stake in Suncor Energy Inc. could spark investor interest in the battered stocks of Canadian oil sands’ companies, according to analysts.

Montana Oilmen Baffled by Bay Area Opposition to Keystone

In Montana, Commissioner Richard Dunbar of Phillips County, the U.S. entry point for the pipeline if it is built, said he could only wonder why distant towns oppose the project.

“That just baffles me,” Dunbar said in an interview. “Why would they have an interest in something that doesn’t go through their county or state?”

Beyond Keystone XL: 3 Controversial Pipelines You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

While the national debate remains largely focused on President Obama’s impending decision regarding the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, communities across the U.S. and Canada are grappling with the oil and gas industry’s rapidly expanding pipeline network — cutting through their backyards, threatening water supplies, and leaving them vulnerable to devastating spills.

Ecuador Plans to Tap Crude From Amazon Reserve as Economy Slows

Ecuador, where the rights of nature are recognized in the constitution, plans to develop crude deposits in an Amazon area declared a biosphere reserve by the United Nations as existing fields age and economic growth slows.

President Rafael Correa will ask the country’s congress to allow drilling in the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini oil fields located in eastern Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park, he said yesterday in a speech broadcast live on public television station ECTV.

Yasuni: Ecuador abandons plan to stave off Amazon drilling

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa has abandoned a unique and ambitious plan to persuade rich countries to pay his country not to drill for oil in a pristine Amazon rainforest preserve.

Cuadrilla Halts Well in Southern England on Anti-Shale Protests

Cuadrilla Resources Ltd., a U.K. oil and gas explorer, suspended drilling at Balcombe in southern England in the face of an anti-shale protest camp.

“After taking advice from Sussex Police, Cuadrilla is temporarily scaling back drilling operations ahead of the event,” the Lichfield, England-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. “We plan to resume full operations as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Church of England in 'fracking land-grab'

The Church of England has begun legal action to claim ancient mineral rights beneath thousands of homes and farms, prompting fears the church could seek to cash in on fracking.

Nagasaki Bomb Maker Offers Lessons for Fukushima Cleanup

Hanford Engineer Works produced the 20 pounds of plutonium for the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. It’s among the most toxic nuclear waste sites and the place Japan is turning to for help dealing with melted reactors in Fukushima.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has sent engineers on visits to the Hanford site in Washington state this year to learn from decades of work treating millions of gallons of radioactive waste. Hanford also has a method to seal off reactors known as concrete cocooning that could reduce the 11 trillion yen ($112 billion) estimated cost for cleaning up Fukushima.

Appeals Court Blocks Attempt by Vermont to Close a Nuclear Plant

WASHINGTON — States cannot shut down nuclear plants over safety worries, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled on Wednesday, upholding a lower court’s decision that allowed the Vermont Yankee plant to keep running despite a seven-year effort by the Vermont Legislature to close it.

“The nuclear power industry has just been delivered a tremendous victory against the attempt by any state to shut down federally regulated nuclear power plants,” said Kathleen Sullivan, a lawyer for Entergy, which owns Vermont Yankee.

Report: U.S. nuclear plants remain vulnerable to terrorists

Washington (CNN) -- None of the 107 nuclear facilities in the United States are protected against a high-force terrorist attack, and some are still vulnerable to the theft of bomb-grade nuclear fuel, or sabotage intended to cause a nuclear meltdown, a new report says.

The Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project (NPPP) at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas released the report Thursday. It wants to shine a light on the security gaps that still exist more than 10 years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

U.S. to Bring Gas Mileage Rules to Era of Hybrids

DETROIT — Federal regulators are planning changes to vehicle fuel-economy ratings after the Ford Motor Company said Thursday that it was cutting the miles-per-gallon rating on one of its popular hybrid models.

The Environmental Protection Agency said it would update its labeling rules — which date to the 1970s — to resolve disparities among the growing number of hybrid and electric vehicles on the market.

Intermittent Nature of Green Power Is Challenge for Utilities

The 21 turbines at the Kingdom Community Wind farm in Vermont soar above Lowell Mountain, a testament in steel and fiberglass to the state’s growing use of green energy.

Except when they aren’t allowed to spin at their fastest. That has been the case several times in the farm’s short existence, including during the record July heat wave when it could have produced enough much-needed energy to fuel a small town. Instead, the grid system operator held it at times to just one-third of what it could have produced.

“We were being told to turn on diesel-fired units that are very expensive and dirty and told to ramp down what is renewable, cost-effective energy for our customers,” said Mary Powell, chief executive of Green Mountain Power, the utility that owns and operates the wind plant. “We should go with the sources that can have the highest value, especially during peak times.”

White House goes green with solar panels

The White House is going green. Solar panels are being installed on parts of the residence, a US official said Thursday—making good on a pledge that dates back to 2010.

Ethanol quotas pump money from your pocket: Our view

Because of a decline in gasoline consumption — driven largely by a new generation of fuel-efficient cars — the only way to burn that much ethanol is to blend more into each gallon of gas. This is bad news for your car because automakers won't warranty their engines when they run a blend higher than the current 10% ethanol.

Refiners are left with only one viable option: buying credits known as RINs (for Renewable Identification Number) that provide an out. Under the bizarre ethanol law, each RIN that a refiner acquires is a gallon of ethanol that it doesn't have to blend.

Those RINs, which cost a few pennies last year, have traded for as much as $1.40 this year because of the mandate. Major refiners have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on them, enriching speculators and passing along their additional costs in form of higher fuel prices.

Biofuels could increase UK motor costs by £224 million per year

Mixing biofuels into petrol and diesel could cost UK motorists £224 million more each year than the government previously estimated.

ActionAid-commissioned research indicates the government’s plans to increase the proportion of biofuels in UK petrol to meet EU targets is contributing to land grabs, exacerbating global hunger and costing motorists more than the government had previously stated.

Armed to teeth, goats keep weeds in check across U.S.

The use of goats has been around worldwide for centuries, but they're now "catching on" in the eastern part of the country as a sustainable method to clear land, and more companies deploying the animals are popping up across the nation, says Brian Knox, president of Sustainable Resource Management, which focuses on the protection and management of natural resources.

"We're seeing them more and more as a relatively inexpensive way to clear these areas," says Knox, who is also the supervising forester for the Maryland-based company Eco-Goats, a company that brings in a herd to help clean up areas.

Farms are gigantic now. Even the “family-owned” ones.

Even while the average size of farms is going up, there are more small farms than ever, especially in small states with farmland preservation programs like Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Community-supported agriculture, plus the local and organic food movement, are starting to show up in the numbers. It’s the mid-sized farm, between 100 and 500 acres, that’s disappearing.

Overdevelopment widens Florida sinkhole problem

Sinkholes may be as old as the earth itself, but the increase in sinkhole activity is new. The rush to reason why has put scientists, engineers and real estate developers at odds.

Some geological experts believe the sinkhole activity is increasing because developers are pumping more water out of the ground for new projects or for agricultural use. While acid in the water itself is what causes the limestone under much of Florida to dissipate and create the holes, the water also acts as a support. Add water from heavy rains on the top soil, and you've got a bigger problem.

Businesses Back Greenhouse Gas Emissions Law

As Texas Republican leaders continue their drumbeat against what they say is federal overreach by the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency remains a primary target.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, a candidate for governor, trumpets the fact that the state has multiple lawsuits targeting the agency, and other candidates for statewide office are also pledging to protect Texas from what they see as encroachment by the E.P.A.

But a new law that comfortably passed the State Legislature this year reflects a different reality — that Texas businesses have to live with climate change regulation, regardless of the politics. House Bill 788 orders the state to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases. It had the support of many of the companies that need permits related to greenhouse gas emissions from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to expand or construct facilities.

Australia Carbon to Survive Rudd-Abbott Standoff

Electricity markets are showing Australia’s biggest polluters will have to pay for their carbon emissions regardless of who wins the Sept. 7 election.

With Prime Minister Kevin Rudd seeking to reduce the cost of CO2 permits to an estimated A$6 ($5.48) a metric ton and his rival Tony Abbott vowing to scrap carbon prices altogether, power futures signal the cost of emissions will be about A$10 a ton by 2015, up from A$7 two months ago, according to Deutsche Bank AG and Westpac Banking Corp.

New Zealand reduces carbon emissions target

(Reuters) - New Zealand scaled back its target for reducing carbon emissions on Friday, saying the move was an interim step ahead of a new United Nations pact from 2020.

The government said it would commit to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. It had previously indicated that it would look at a cut of 10 percent to 20 percent.

Limbaugh: ‘If You Believe In God, Then Intellectually You Cannot Believe In Manmade Global Warming’

And while evangelical Christians have historically been less willing to tackle the issue of climate change, scientific evidence is starting to shift perceptions in the pews. Polls now show that roughly half (50 percent) of white evangelical Protestants agree that the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence of global climate change, and groups such as Evangelical Environmental Network and Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA) are increasingly making their voices heard at environmental protests and rallies. Most of these faithful see their activism as a direct expression of their faith, with the YECA website arguing that overcoming the environmental crisis is a “part of our Christian discipleship and witness.”

In fact, despite Limbaugh’s claims, many people of faith appear to be balancing their intellectual understanding of climate change and their belief in God rather well: some 200 self-identified evangelical scientists from secular and religious universities sent a letter to the U.S. Congress last month, citing their faith as they urged elected officials to take action to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment.

Democrats turn up heat on Republican climate-change skeptics

Thanks to California Sen. Barbara Boxer, the White House and environmental groups, some Republican lawmakers are on the defensive over an issue that hadn’t been on their August radar.

As wildfires raged in Southern California last week, Boxer, a Democrat who leads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said climate change was making the problem worse and that Republican skeptics needed to “get out of the fringe lane.”

Climate report urges Delaware be proactive

WILMINGTON — Two state business groups are questioning why Delaware officials are considering policies that could hurt the state’s economy in an effort to address sea level rise forecasts.

“Many of the recommendations in this report could lead to actions in the near future that will have immense economic consequences,” Richard G. Collins, director of the conservative Positive Growth Alliance, said in a dissent filed with a state report released Thursday, “yet it will not be known if those actions are truly necessary for decades.”

Ireland to experience huge temperature rises, says expert

Ireland will experience “huge increases” in temperatures over this century, according to a leading Irish expert on climate change. Average Irish August temperatures are projected to have increased by “two to three degrees Celsius by 2050, and by six to seven degrees Celsius by 2100”, according to Prof Colin O’Dowd, director of NUI Galway’s centre for climate and air pollution studies. The rises predicted are significantly higher than most current forecasts.

New shipping route shows China's Arctic ambitions

The maiden voyage to Europe by a Chinese merchant ship through the "Northeast Passage" will help the world's biggest exporter speed goods to market and is a symbol of Beijing's strategic ambitions in the Arctic.

The emerging Arctic Ocean shipping route north of Russia has been opened up by global warming and cuts thousands of kilometres (miles) -- and many days -- off the journey from China to its key European market.

Extreme heat waves to quadruple by 2040, study says

The type of heat waves that wilt crops, torch forests — and kill people — are expected to become more frequent and severe over the next 30 years regardless of whether humans curb emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, according to a new study.

Re: Foreseeing trouble with exporting natural gas

It might have helped if the reporters had mentioned that the US was still, as of 2012, a net natural gas importer.

Of topic, but I must say that you and Sam deserve a lot of credit for basically predicting where Egypt was going to be heading...

That prediction might have been the high point of all the TOD prognosticators...

Well done...

Any idea about where you will be posting in the post-TOD universe?

Thanks, but I'm not sure we made any specific predictions. I assume you are taking about this article:


I'll probably be spending most of time on the new ASPO-USA website, but also contributing to Ron's website, Peakoilbarrel.

Azurest talks up bid for 360-megawatt plant

"Using United States gas, which is the cheapest gas in the world, allows us to pass on enormous fuel savings to Jamaican consumers and we think that we can take prices across the grid down by roughly 30 per cent. Whatever the (current) price is, we can take that down to north of 15 to 20 cents (per kilowatt-hour)," Allen said.

Currently, the cost of electricity to Jamaica Public Service (JPS) customers stands at approximately 42 cents per kilowatt-hour.....[snip]

LNG barge proposal

Azurest Cambridge Power is proposing to use natural gas-fired power barges which would be fed with liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a fleet of smaller LNG supply vessels.

Its LNG would be sourced from suppliers in the US at "one-third the price of Trinidad and even less than other LNG sources".

At the time of this post, the top comment, by a poster calling themself "Peak Oiler", asks some very salient questions.>;-)

edit: Did "Peak Oiler" see the lead article and Jeffery's top post in today's DB?

edit #2: In response to the questions raised by "Peak Oiler", James R writes:

These guys have Trini gas and a shortly afterwards US gas supplies. Estimated prices for gas in the US will remain flat for the next 8-10 years. Yes there is increasing demand but much faster increases in supply from US producers so overall the price should be stable. If it's really the cheapest gas in the world by a large margin, Jamaica can only benefit that much more compared to gas from other countries.

Now no red blooded peak oiler is going to let something like that slide so, "Peak Oiler" responds and all I can say is that, I am somewhat surprised that the moderators at this newspaper web site have given someone calling them self "Peak Oiler" the kind of latitude to express doubts about the reliability and/or affordability of future Natural Gas supplies.

Either these thoughts gel with their pro coal stance, or a softening of their stance towards the idea of resource limits is taking place.

Alan from the islands

I emailed the editor of the Gleaner a while back (never got a response) with information about the sham that the "shale revolution" is, net exports "export land," and my calculations on the potential for wind and solar on the island - particularly pointing out the profitability of Wigton even at the low feed-in rates that it was getting - a small fraction of the retail electricity cost. Jamaica has such an amazing chance to go with wind and solar and not only reduce electricity costs but lock it in for decades. I also wrote them that every dollar that's spent on oil is sent out of your country and will never be used in the local economy again.

Essentially I tried to point them in the right direction and unleash them to discover things on their own. It sounds like someone over there is getting it. It would seem to me that if Jamaica is looking for a new industry to get into - they might want to look into building hurricane-proof wind turbines and photovoltaics. They'd be able to sell them internally at subsidized prices and wind up way ahead of the game - keeping wages in the country and at the same time reducing trade deficits because every PV panel that goes up and every wind turbine installed means that Jamaica isn't buying oil from foreign countries.

Thanks for taking the time and making the effort. Maybe if they hear it enough from different sources they'll start to think about the possibilities! If only we could get a German "Technical Assistance Team" for example, to visit the island and come to the same conclusions you did. That would probably sway them quickly. Nothing like a high powered technical team from a leading industrial nation to open peoples eyes!

Alan from the islands

Regarding the Limbaugh article: It looks like Rush hit a new peak in stupidity. I thought after being on a career long stupidity plateau, he may have started on a 2% to 6% terminal decline. Of course, we will only know his true peak through the rear view window.

Come now, Fuser. Cornucopianism does have its place. The gas giant Limbaugh contains infinite supplies of fascist horse manure. Peak analysis does not apply.

Yeah, I'm a cornucopian when it comes to the production of verbal BS. It truly is an infinite resource because it is merely entropy.

However, I do at times wonder if Limbaugh has jumped the shark in his popularity. There are stories of radio stations dropping his show. But perhaps it is just wishful thinking on my part.

Worry not! If Hillary Clinton becomes the new Dear Leader, then Limbaugh and his "Grrrr! Clinton!" Schick will matter once more.

I agree with Dow's Andrew Liveris, an Aussie I believe. Once cheap methane is gone there is no getting it back. Believers in the magic of the market seem to think like this; you go to the closing down sale of the candy store with $5 in your pocket. As you walk away you wonder where your next lot of more expensive candy will come from. You reach into your pocket and there's $10. Where did the $10 come from? You just have to believe that's all.

We need methane to make ammonia based fertiliser such as urea, to run peaking plant in extreme weather, to load balance wind and solar, for hot industrial processes involving metal and ceramics and as CNG diesel replacement in trucks and other distance vehicles. We can use electrically driven heat pumps and microwaves for HVAC and low heat apps such as food processing. Sure there is shale gas, coal seam gas, scrubbed biogas and synthetic e-gas but I doubt they can replace conventional natgas for long. There is also the sunk infrastructure cost in the existing gas grid.

In Australia's case we use about 20 Mtpa of domestic piped gas, export another 20 Mt as LNG but want to increase that to 60 Mt. When diesel gets too expensive I guess we could use 10 Mt for transport. The east Australian spot gas price of around $5 per gigajoule is expected to double with east coast LNG exports from late 2014. Already the populous state of New South Wales expects industrial gas to be unaffordable by 2015. My guess is there will be a gas crisis by 2020. But hey the market knows what's best.

Ammonia is made from hydrogen, nitrogen, heat and pressure in with the appropriate catalyst. Methane is not required. It is however a good source of cheep hydrogen and heat. Before world war 2 most ammonia was made with just electricity. Electricity was used to make hydrogen from water, to separate nitrogen from air, and it supplied the heat and pressure needed to make ammonia.

I have read a report on a small ammonia factory that was powered by a single utility wind turbine. When the wind was not blowing the plant just shut down (it didn't have any back up power). It apparently was working well.

The Wikipedia article on the Haber process asserts that the world uses 500 Mtpa of nitrogen fertiliser which in turn supplies half the protein in the human body. The alternatives to natural gas based N-fertiliser manufacture (Haber-Bosch process) appear to be
-organic composts and manure. Problem is faecal contamination and the huge bulk many times 500 Mt.
-hydrogen split from water to make ammonia. Problem is the cost of energy.

Suppose by 2030 the remaining natural gas is used to make jet fuel for the military but there are 8-9 bn people to feed. It will make what's happening in Egypt look like a picnic. I think we should save plenty of natgas for later. Exporting LNG and burning piped NG in baseload power stations (a job for nukes) is short sighted.

Using lignite is also a reasonably common way of manufacturing urea.

Or one can consider http://www.azotictechnologies.com/index.php/technology#features

Our nitrogen fixing bacteria:

Provides every cell in the plant with the ability to fix nitrogen
Replaces around 60% of plant’s nitrogen needs
Is environmentally friendly and contains no toxins
Is different from other inoculant technologies and products on the market
Our technology is NON-GM
Offers a cost benefit to the grower through a reduction in the use of nitrogen based fertilisers
Our patented technology comes with a powerful provenance based on 20 years research

A bacteria that is able to Nitrogen fix for plants other than legumes.

Indian villages lit up by off-grid power

Sixty-five years after India's independence, it is estimated that more than half of the country's more than 1.2 billion people do not have access to electricity.

For many like Sukhrani, it is a reality they have come to accept.

"I've heard that some people have electricity but I've never experienced it, so I don't even know what it's used for," she says.

'Nice and bright'

But just five km (three miles) away, in the neighbouring village of Jangaon, it is a completely different picture.

Ashraf Ali, a bangle maker, lives inside a hut almost identical to Sukhrani but it is bathed in the white glow of a solar lamp.

An electrical fan is on next to him, also powered by solar energy.

Petroleum Corporation accepts three bids for solar energy project

The PCJ says it refused several late submissions which missed yesterday's 3 p.m. deadline.

The systems will be configured at 15 schools and three public sector agencies as part of the Corporation’s drive to improve energy efficiency in the Government Sector.

The submissions will be evaluated by a panel of experts including representatives from the Ministry of Education, the Government Electrical Inspectorate and the PCJ.

Some things worthy of note about this situation. This is a bid for the supply of equipment only. I can only assume that the design and specifications for the system have already been decided. I am not aware of any RFPs for the design. While several bids were refused for being late, only three ended up making it in time. A commenter going by the name "Solar Man" has raised some issues:

It would be interesting to know who [are] the individuals that are on this "panel of experts". I was not aware that Jamaica was home to a body of expertise on grid connected solar PV systems especially in the public sector.

The standard offer contract permitting the use of grid connected Solar PV systems has only been in place since September 30, 2011 and the regulations that I have seen from the Government Electrical Inspectorate, are not up to par with the latest US National electrical code and thus rule out the use of some of the latest available technology.

I would prefer to know that the people evaluating these bids actually had some experience and specialised training in what is an extremely technical and dynamic field. New equipment with new capabilities is constantly being brought to market.

Just wondering if any of the members here who are more familiar with PV might agree with this comment that, this "panel of experts" might be out of their depth without help of some people outside of the island with more experienced with these matters. The way things are going, Jamaica might well not get the best deal available in this instance.

edit: I'm also wondering how this was publicised. Seeing as how the whole grid tied PV thing is relatively new to the island, one wonders whether an advertisement or two in a couple of appropriate publications in source countries (USA, Canada, Germany, Italy and China), would not have brought in a higher number of bids from suppliers outside the island, with opportunities for garnering a better deal.

Alan from the islands

The Passive House: Sealed for Freshness

... Nearly 30,000 of these houses have already been built in Europe. In Germany, an entire neighborhood with 5,000 of these super-insulated, low-energy homes is under construction, and the City of Brussels is rewriting its building code to reflect passive standards.

But in the United States, since the first passive house went up 10 years ago, in Urbana, Ill., only about 90 have been certified. Why aren’t they catching on here?

Higher fuel prices and energy taxes in Europe provide a major incentive to embrace passive standards, which are complicated and make construction more expensive. In this country, it could be a decade or more before the energy savings someone like Don Freas enjoys in his 1,150-square-foot passive house in Olympia, Wash., offsets the extra $30,000 or so it cost to build.

... Martin Holladay, 58, a respected voice within the building industry, writes the Musings of an Energy Nerd blog for greenbuildingadvisor.com and lives off the grid in Vermont. He doesn’t believe passive houses are right for the American market.

Mr. Holladay favors a more flexible formula called the Pretty Good House, which promotes modest improvements in insulation coupled with renewable energy from solar panels — an approach, he said, that achieves similar energy savings without the additional expense.

In Pursuit of the Perfectly Passive

At Home With a Passive Pioneer (Photos)

"In this country, it could be a decade or more before the energy savings [....] offsets the extra $30,000 or so it cost to build."

And there it is in a nutshell. The average turnover time in home ownership is about 7 years, or it was before the crash. So your passive house will not pay off while you live there. The only way you will break even is if the next buyer will pay more for it. Generally, they will not. In fact, the next buyer will probably want to remodel away much of the passive features to more fully express that they have kept up with and even exceeded the Jone's living standards.

As a side note, I just got back from another camping trip. This campground has a paved road all the way up. We were in the low rent area with a tent. Those sites are too small and steep to take a large RV. The big RVs are limited to the other end where there is room and it's level enough for them to park.

And what monsters they are. They had to burn a couple of gallons of diesel just to get up the road from the highway. $4.00 diesel is obviously no problem. The economy has adjusted. The Bakken has saved us!

Or something.

Notice the house:
Notice the location:
About 50 miles from the Pacific Ocean (Olympia, Washington)
Doesn't this area have fairly cheap electric power?

Frankly what would the energy costs be for a conventional house this size and this location? It seems to me $30,000 would last very substantially longer than a decade for heating/air conditioning costs.

Yes, electricity is not expensive in the PNW. I don't know the exact cost, but it should be somewhere around $0.07 per kWh. We live about 30 miles NW of Olympia and we pay $0.068 kWh for the first 400 kWh and $0.073 kWh for the next 1100 kWh.

For us (we use around 1000 kWh per month), $30,000 would pay our electric bill for 20+ years, but for all our utilities, $30,000 would only cover 10+ years.

That too;

1/3 the size of a proper McMansion. And the climate is very mellow. 90 is a really hot summer day, 30 is a really cold winder day.

Power is $0.086 per kwh, not that cheap.


(This assumes I got the correct power company.)

Saudi king backs Egypt's military

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has called on Arabs to stand together against "attempts to destabilise" Egypt.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its people and government stood and stands by today with its brothers in Egypt against terrorism," he said in a statement read on state TV on Friday, backing Egypt's military leadership.

Saudi Arabia was a close ally of former president Hosni Mubarak and has historically had a difficult relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood.

It pledged $5 billion in aid to Egypt after Mohammed Morsi of the Brotherhood was ousted from the presidency last month.

... going price for a political assassination - $5 billion?

The Saudis will probably quickly earn that $5 billion back in the form of higher oil prices caused by the violent crack-down. There are really scary feed-back loops here that can be exploited by powers if they wish to do so.

Dozens reported killed as clashes break out on Islamists' 'Day of Rage' in Egypt

Morsi's Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement had called for a “Day of Rage” in the wake of a military crackdown that killed more than 600 people.

There were conflicting reports about the number of dead, but official sources put the countrywide toll at about 50 with violent clashes in Cairo, Alexandria and other parts of the country.

The Anti-Coup Coalition, another leading group in the protests against last month's military takeover, said some of the 28 marches toward Cairo's central Ramses Square had come under attack.

Could Egypt be slipping in to civil war?

CAIRO (AP) — With astonishing speed, Egypt has moved from a nation in crisis to a nation in real danger of slipping into a prolonged bout of violence or even civil war.

Egypt has become increasingly polarized since the Islamists rose to power following the 2011 revolution that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Fault lines touching key and potentially explosive issues like identity, the rights of Christians and other minorities, and democratic values have never been greater.

A Christian Exodus

The Middle East is tough on minorities. After millennia of Jewish presence throughout the Arab and Persian lands, almost every country in the region—save for Israel, of course—was emptied of Jews in the last century.

Today it's the Middle East's Christians who are streaming out. For hundreds of years, Copts made up roughly 15% of Egypt's population. Since the Arab Spring, more than 100,000 have left.

Christian churches, homes set on fire in Egyptian riots

Pro-Morsi elements have been turning up the heat against the nation's minority Christian Copts for weeks. According to reports, protestors threw firebombs as the Mar Gergiss church in Sohag, a city with a strong Coptic Christian community.

Attackers also set fire to a Christian youth center in Fayoum. A 4th century church, one of the oldest in Egypt was reportedly destroyed. Scores of other churches and Copt homes were attacked.

A Copt activist told one journalist that over 21 churches were completely burned to the ground, and more were attacked. There are no confirmed numbers regarding deaths or injuries.

"It never happened before in history that such a big number of churches were attacked on one day," Bishop Thomas, a Coptic Orthodox bishop in Assiut says. "We normally used to have attacks once a month or so."

Due to the many death threats to Coptic Pope Tawadros, he has left the papal residence at the St. Mark Cathedral—which was earlier savagely attacked, when Morsi was still president.

... How long before the next crusades?

White House goes green with solar panels

Yeah! I've read that it is just 32 panels which would be about an 8KW system which would be good-sized system for an ordinary house but it is a pittance for the big Whitehouse mansion. But that said, I'll take it. It is at least a step in the right direction and symbolic victory. And more panels can always been added.

Limbaugh: ‘If You Believe In God, Then Intellectually You Cannot Believe In Manmade Global Warming’

The anti-science bent of the modern conservative movement is quite disturbing. William F. Buckley must be spinning in his grave. He worked hard to discredit the conspiracy-minded Bircher element of the conservative movement but apparently that fringe element has taken control. There is a conspiracy theory for EVERYTHING now . . . Birthers, Agenda 21, secret Muslim, FEMA death camps, etc. :-(

The White House has solar panels again? Is Disco also back? I believe some of the Carter solar panels are over on display in China.

Pakistani newspaper editorials of the 80s (and presuably to this day?) tied most all woes to the "Hindu American Zionist" conspiracy, so those Americans can rest assured that they are in good company.

... but the real threat are the Masonic Zensufi Amish Black Panthers!

The modern conservative movement believes in free markets and less government regulation. Man made global warming could only be halted or reversed through worldwide massive government regulation.

Thus, they are at an impasse. Modern conservative philosophy can not even conceive of a solution to global warming -therefore they deny it exists and carry on BAU. That's the way I see it anyway.

I think that is a very astute observation.

They use the same tactic in other areas as well. For example, most of American conservative movement is strongly anti-abortion. But the concept of denying an abortion to a rape or incest victim is even a bit too much for many anti-abortion proponents and thus causes a consistency problem. To remedy this, many of them use the power of denial to deny that is even a real problem . . . "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. " said Todd Akin. The magical rape contraception system. If can't deal with a problem then just deny the problem exists.

What is modern American conservatism? Where did it originate?

Basically in the early 80s the banks and corporations started the takeover of the country. They co-opted the working class (the very people they were stealing from) through various cultural, religious, and racial grievances. At the same time, the people were convinced to be "patriotic" which kept them showing up to the jobs and manning the security posts and volunteering for the wars, etc.

And thus was born modern American conservatism. Do not underestimate it, it is the most potent force in the most powerful country in the world, has complete control over the political system, and it has gone more than 3 decades unchecked.

Basically it just has to end when it runs out of steam, when there are no more resources or people left to exploit. When the middle classes lose their wealth, it's all over, and belief in the system will fade and we will move to something else. But this period, which is just around the corner, is sure to be full of turmoil that may very well eclipse the European wars of the 20th century.

On the other side we are sure to see an end to American empire, an end to belief in infinite growth and progress, and a worldwide power vacuum.


Note an Atlanta Tea Party group fight the Koch brothers for Solar in GA.

I'm sure the next R prez will make great fanfare out of removing them.

Once again Limbaugh shows he is taking his marching orders from the fossil fuel industry as he tries to convince Christians that believing in global warming is Anti-Christian. When will Christians get tired of these blatant attempts at manipulation by the fossil fuel industry?

The fossil fuel industry makes up only a tiny percentage of the voting public. They had to make climate change a liberal vs conservative issue to have any chance of defeating anti-fossil fuel legislation.

Sadly the liberals have fallen for it as strongly as the conservatives. I see a lot of Republican or Conservative bashing over what is a very carefully orchestrated campaign by very few (though now widely believed by many). I think a better strategy is to work on driving a wedge between conservatives and the fossil fuel companies.

I don't think it is quite that simple. It is not just the FF industry . . . people apparently love their massive cars and wasteful nature. Conservatives often proudly boast about burning up gas in the Hummers but even many liberals that give lip-service to climate change will have a hard time separating from their nice ICE car of choice. A higher gas tax is political suicide in the USA because only a minority supports that.

That could change in a hurry. If gas skyrockets and sticks.

Just saw my first Tesla sport coupe in town. That's a vehicle people will jettison a gas guzzler for. Just quick as can be, sleek and powerful looking, to watch it peel Main was something any teen or boastful conservative might die for.

But how will the roads be maintained for such cars?

"General fund" taxes now maintain such diverse things as libraries, noxious weeds, schools, etc. It'll have to stretch, I think most will realize that.

A tax included in the automobile registration would pay for maintenance. Removing the heavy vehicles from the roads would greatly reduce the wear on roadways. The sooner freight transport using semi-trailer trucks traveling on interstate highways is transferred to trains, the better.

There is a conspiracy theory for EVERYTHING now

The only part of this which is not true is the 'secret' part of conspiracy.

The 0.05% working velvet covered gauntlet with government to obtain favorable outcomes to the gauntlet is rather in the open. The openness is what makes it no longer a conspiracy.

Example you list - Agenda 21. Been on the UN web sites for years.

Catalyzt's Last Rant: I've never understood how otherwise reasonable people still cling to conspiracy theories-- people who intuitively understand that as a general rule, at this stage of our evolution, members of our species have terrible problems cooperating about anything.

That's not to say that conspiracies never happen, but hell, it's almost impossible for four people to decide on a movie or restaurant. I doubt that a cabal of political organizations consisting of hundreds, or thousands, of individuals still has the capacity to execute a well-organized plot. Revolutions these days seem to be pretty chaotic affairs.

I think there were probably more true conspiracies centuries ago, before we'd completely taken leave of our senses, and when we could still execute complex plans and instructions without constantly revising them and making them so gratuitously complicated that we forgot what we were trying to do before it got done. It's kind of an archaic idea that we still cling to, as if we were inhabiting a play by Shakespeare. Today, organizational charts, business plans, technical manuals are more byzantine, cryptic, and obscure than conversations people used to have when they were high on acid.

Of course, sometimes we do all get behind an agenda and execute it, and we follow foolish leaders or subscribe to absurd ideas, but there's usually not a lot of conscious volition involved. It's more of a Ouija Board effect. There's plotting and scheming, but when the planchette moves, no one seems to know, or be able to influence where it's going.

I've never understood how otherwise reasonable people still cling to conspiracy theories

Plenty of people have a theory about how a group of people conspired to use commercial airplanes as a form of asymmetric attack.

In a system under rule of law, one has a public trial with public evidence so that a determination of guilt can be found.

I doubt that a cabal of political organizations consisting of hundreds, or thousands, of individuals still has the capacity to execute a well-organized plot.

And over on cracked they have the "7 Insane Conspiracies That Actually Happened" They don't mention Gladio as that was not a 2008 topic of conversation.

<< Plenty of people have a theory about how a group of people conspired to use commercial airplanes as a form of asymmetric attack. >>

Fair point. With respect to the events you referenced, my point about the Ouija board is that probably, many powerful people were deeply complicit in the attack who may not have understood the chain of events that they were part of. That part of it seems a little different from the way the game was played in Gesthemane or in Claudius's court.

Or perhaps not-- perhaps it's just a more crowded planet, and the events just play out on a larger stage, so they seem different when you're in the middle of them.

This is pathetic. O promised these panels at least three years ago. And with a trillion dollar budget for Defense, we can't even fully outfit The White House.

I very much doubt that Limbaugh himself believes in God - otherwise, he'd know that he is going to burn in Hell for all the evil he has done. What Limbaugh does believe in is that nice big paycheck he receives. He'll say anything as long as it makes the cash register ring.

Limbaugh is an entertainer, and propagandist.
A part of the Electronic Nuremberg Rallies.

Ancient climate change picked the crops we eat today

The team grew the wheat and barley precursors under varying conditions. One set was exposed to levels of CO2 seen during the last ice age and one to the elevated levels seen when farming first arose. Four wild grass species that aren't eaten today, but were also known to grow in the region at that time, were also grown under the same conditions.

All the plants grew larger under high levels of CO2, but the relatives of wheat and barley grew twice as large and produced double the seeds. This suggests the species are especially sensitive to high levels of CO2, Frenck says, making them the best choice for cultivation after the last ice age.

Frenck says the group intends to look at whether other food staples around the world are similarly affected by elevated CO2 levels.

Student researchers find urban agriculture thriving in Los Angeles County

A group of graduate students in urban planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs has created the first comprehensive picture of urban agriculture in Los Angeles County.

The new report, "Cultivate L.A.: An Assessment of Urban Agriculture in L.A. County," is intended to aid city planners as they learn how to accommodate these new land uses in the nation's most populous county.

In conducting its research, the group contacted more than 3,000 community organizations, schools, businesses and individuals to establish a baseline understanding of:

•Land use regulations for urban agriculture.
•The spatial distribution of urban agriculture.
•The role of Los Angeles County's 761 school gardens in educating students about nutrition and sustainability.
•The economics and geography of farmers markets.
•Distribution strategies for urban farmers in Los Angeles County.

Among the group's findings: ...

New rechargeable flow battery enables cheaper, large-scale energy storage

MIT researchers have engineered a new rechargeable flow battery that doesn’t rely on expensive membranes to generate and store electricity. The device, they say, may one day enable cheaper, large-scale energy storage.

The palm-sized prototype generates three times as much power per square centimeter as other membraneless systems — a power density that is an order of magnitude higher than that of many lithium-ion batteries and other commercial and experimental energy-storage systems.

... By designing a flow battery without a membrane, Buie says the group was able to remove two large barriers to energy storage: cost and performance. Membranes are often the most costly component of a battery, and the most unreliable, as they can corrode with repeated exposure to certain reactants.

In experiments, Braff and his colleagues operated the flow battery at room temperature over a range of flow rates and reactant concentrations. They found that the battery produced a maximum power density of 0.795 watts of stored energy per square centimeter.

According to preliminary projections, Braff and his colleagues estimate that the membraneless flow battery may produce energy costing as little as $100 per kilowatt-hour — a goal that the U.S. Department of Energy has estimated would be economically attractive to utility companies.

the membraneless flow battery may produce energy costing as little as $100 per kilowatt-hour

Can someone explain this to me? Is is just poor reporting / mindless drivel?

They're using the same context as a power plant costing

see EIA How much does it cost to generate electricity with different types of power plants?

... yes, I know, it doesn't produce power. Just make believe.

There are two capacity measurements for a battery, power, and energy. The former is measured in watts or kilowatts, the later is measured in kilowatt hours. So by that measurement a battery that can store a kilowatt hour would cost $100. The Leaf battery is what -24kilowatt-hours, so if it could be made from this stuff, that would be $2400.

Obviously a kilowatt hour of juice only sells for $.10 or so, so this battery would need thousands of charge discharge cycles to pay for itself via grid storage.

"Obviously a kilowatt hour of juice only sells for $.10 or so"

Not so obvious at all. Consider the highest 1%-5% of demand. Utilities have to pay very substantially more for this highest 1%-5% than $.10. You can say, well we will have a natural gas generator we only use 5% of the time. Either this or buying the electricity on the wholesale market when there is a shortage elsewhere is going to be very expensive. So for this situation a battery starts sounding reasonable.

And how does one get the discharged flow recharged?

Is this like the now gone powerballs idea? (Powerballs - put Aluminum in an acid and use the Hydrogen!)

In this case, I would say it's neither 'poor or mindless' writing. It's semantics.. it's perfectly adequate and understandable to say 'he produced an orange out of his pocket'.. and Nobody is going to fail to recognize that his pocket is merely the temporary storage place for that orange, no less than the charge that lives (so to speak) inside a battery.

I don't mind holding reporters up to a high bar for technical accuracy, but we here in the techno-peanut-gallery should also realize that language can bring some flexibility to it and still not be misleading or really wrong.

Fair enough?

Only if you are willing to say the fuel tank in my car produces energy, but that is not a typical semantic usage. In general, most people seem to lack any understanding of the nature of energy and how it is distinct from the material it may be stored in, and how it flows.

I hope the $100/kWh is a mistake; there are industrial lead-acid batteries (fork lift batteries, not golf car cheapies) that come in right about that amount at a 20 hr rate. I don't think utility companies would find it that attractive to have to cycle it 1,000 times to break even at $0.10/kWh.

"I hope the $100/kWh is a mistake; there are industrial lead-acid batteries..."

You're forgetting cycle life. If this is $100/kWh but can cycle 10,000+ times...that's only $0.01/kWh cycle. With PbA it's typically around 500 cycles so at $100/kWh @ 500 cycles it's $0.20/kWh cycle...making the PbA 20 times more expensive on that basis.

The device stores and releases energy in a device that relies on a phenomenon called laminar flow

This is NOT a mobile solution.

The 'Bankization' of America

The share of our national income which goes to corporate profit is the highest it's been since they started tracking it in 1929, while the share going to people -- as salary and wages -- is the lowest. And the percentage of that corporate profit which goes to Wall Street is also the highest on record.

We're becoming a financialized economy. Never before has the manipulation of money counted for so much and the real-world economy of people and consumer goods counted for so little.

And none of it is an accident.

... The money nowadays isn't in manufacturing, or retail, or any of the other traditionally jobs-producing industries. The money now is in money.

Yes, the imbalance between the tertiary economy and the primary and secondary economies is extreme. This situation must, and will, correct.

The "bankization" of the USA has been going on for quite some time. Actually, for so long that it amazes me that this House of Cards hasn't collapsed by now.

Actually, we have experienced a series of collapses, requiring taxpayer bailouts. None of these collapses were fatal, but the damage has been done. There was the S&L crisis in late 1990s, Long Term Capital Management collapse in 1998, Enron (no real bailout - for once the shareholders had to eat it), the popping of the dot-com bubble in 2000 ("bailed out" mainly by dumping all financial regulations and allowing an orgy of mortgage fraud to inflate share prices). And finally the mortgage-fraud bubble burst, and was bailed out directly by taxpayers. That bailout is actually still a work in progress (currently known as QE3) to the tune of US$80 billion per month.

When (not if) the current "bailout bubble" bursts, it's hard for me to conceive what financial trickery can be used to resurrect the bankster economy. Seems to me that we are running out of accounting tricks. Anyone would have to be an idiot to invest in an economy that produces nothing but bad IOUs. But maybe I'll be surprised yet again.

It was John Maynard Keynes who said, "The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent."

"When >"(not if) the current "bailout bubble" bursts, it's hard for me to conceive what financial trickery can be used to resurrect the bankster economy.

Things get bad enough, someone will invent a new shooting war.

Rethinking the value of sewage sludge

Researchers from the Plant Nutrition Group at ETH Zurich have been evaluating methods to develop an efficient and environmental friendly phosphate fertilizer from sewage sludge ashes. A new thermo-chemical process that extracts heavy metals could be the answer.

One of the main benefits of using sewage sludge as a fertilizer is that valuable plant nutrients are recycled from society back into the agricultural system – in this respect, completely sustainable. The downside, however, is that there is also a risk of introducing potentially harmful chemicals into the soil, posing a risk to both the environment and human health. In fact, using pure sewage sludge to fertilize an agricultural field was forbidden in 2008 in Switzerland for this very reason.

also PHOSKRAFT: Development of a phosphorus fertilizer from sewage sludge ashes

Much better if we introduce potentially harmful chemicals into the ocean instead. Posing no risk to then environment or human health. That being said, recycling human manure is the only possible way to have sustainable agriculture.

Resilence had a really good presentation on the collision course of peak energy and declining mineral quality = peak industrialization.


He introduced a concept new to me: Multifactor productivity. I did some google searching and found this project called rccORE by the Australian government to radically reduce the energy usage in mining. They had this fantastic quote:

Productivity improvements are not offsetting the decline in grade, and in the near future the industry will reach a tipping point where mass processing of low grade deposits using conventional technology is no longer viable.
These pressures directly threaten the economic viability of mineral extraction, and the situation is set to deteriorate further as social expectations and new environmental legislation continue to target the industry.


They cite a 60% increase in energy use and 40% decrease in mining productivity. This is anti-efficiency. You can see the accelerating feedback loop that is going to form: As mining gets more expensive via rising energy use, things like oil drill pipe get more expensive, which makes energy more expensive, which makes mining more expensive.

Suddenly we get exponential rates of change like this one for the cost of constructing upstream oil and gas:


A sharp rise in cost faster than people can make up through efficiency and we get a peak. Tada!

This ought to be generating more buzz, because I think you've hit the nail on the head for where the crack in the system forms. The thing is, while this feedback loop is iterating, the collapse will look like it is happening in food prices and on the streets as people riot due to unaffordable prices.

But the feedback loop you identified here is really what will cause the rioting.

While driving has anyone noticed heavy-duty trucks that have spike-type lug nuts? What purpose do they serve? To look mean and to be cool? My understanding is these are usually covers (some plastic and some metal) which attach over the regular lug nuts. Aren't these things hazardous?

Spiked Lug Nuts on a Semi-Truck. (a 20-second YouTube video)

The Honolulu Police Department is seeking a ban (concerned about spikes that are up to 2 feet long)

What is next, bayonets on the front bumper?

In all of the Fukushima responses, the failed safety system was never fully explained as to how many relays and valves should have been working and how.

This "gem" at least mentions the (perhaps grossly incorrect) theory of the collection of valves and how they are to interact.

The reactors were designed to run at 1150 PSI, and the valves release at 1160 PSI unless they get a command from the controller to stay shut, and if told to stay shut they never open. Since these valves function automatically unless they are told not to, I'd like to ask how 39 of them simultaneously failed at Fukushima.

Yes..... how did 39 fail at once? A very acceptable answer would be "there ain't 39 to fail at once, only (some number far smaller than 39)"

It was an interesting read until I got to the part about the Israelis and "Ziopress." I see, so it was the Israelis who destroyed Fukushima? Of course, after all Japan is a Muslim country and enemy of Israel...not. Further down, he's got another rant about a train derailment in Spain, and he KNOWS it was Israel because "the Jews are at war with the Catholics."

Well, we know that whatever bad happens in the world is always caused by the Israelis! They are responsible for Pearl Harbor, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and cancer too.

It was an interesting read

His theory is it was Stuxnet and odds are the return audience listens for what you read and tuned out for.

I'm far more interested in the debunking of the claims that the gauges were not giving the correct readings VS the dog whistle.

The New York Times reported that Stuxnet targeted Siemens controllers and other "reporting" has the same controllers used in Fukushima along with discovery of Stuxnet in Japan before the failure. Further claims that may be baseless (or may be 100% correct) had text like this: "Remember that the first problem following the quake was that the automated shutdown systems failed to operate at some of the reactors, because pumps failed and valves would not open even while running on batteries; the very sorts of mischief Stuxnet supposedly was designed to cause at Iran's power station."

These are answerable questions by examination of the controllers in the plant - but it would require honest people who'd bother to look at said controllers and report on what they find.

One can focus on the emotional derail about a religious/political State or one can look toward engineering documents, known parts lists and other forensic evidence and then ask if the claim is possible.

If the targeted controllers were in charge of the valves - a possibility exists. And given how truthful TEPCO/others has been, what level of proof would one need to accept their word?

I don't know how many valves were in the Fukushima reactors but given 4 reactors failed it could easily be over 50, and wee know all of them were not working. There was no power or compressed air to open them. Furthermore many of the critical valves are in the containment building were radiation levels are always lethal. So with no power or access to the valves they couldn't be opened or closed.

The above statements do not address the claim the instrumentation was showing incorrect data.

If there was no power/non working valves - having a readout saying "You are hosed!" is the correct state to be in VS "Everything is fine, Don't Panic. Don't Panic."

My reading of the original link is the output was not "Panic!" but instead was "Don't Panic." And my understanding of stuxnet is the output was jiggered with as a feature of the attack.