Drumbeat: August 19, 2013

10 Years After Record Blackout, is U.S. Any Better Prepared?

Electricity grid operators knew hours before the Northeast power failure at 4 p.m. on August 14, 2003, that things were going badly. One called his wife, predicting accurately that he would have to work late, and another complained it was "not a good day in the neighborhood."

The largest blackout to hit North America left 50 million people without power and largely without communications, but some engineers knew that the blackout could have been prevented.

As the official report from the crisis makes clear, troubles were building up during the day with computers, communications and coordination. The August 2003 blackout culminated from control systems that were out of service, inflexible schedules at generators and a grid operator who was unable to require necessary flexibility from market-based electricity providers.

Saudi Arabia and Iraq Cut Oil Exports in June: JODI Data

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, shipped less crude in June and exports also slid in fellow OPEC members Iraq, Kuwait and Nigeria, according to official data.

The kingdom delivered 7.32 million barrels a day, down from 7.79 million in May, according to figures the governments filed with the Joint Organizations Data Initiative. Daily Saudi production fell by 20,000 barrels in June to 9.64 million.

WTI Crude Fluctuates as Goldman Raises Brent Forecasts on Supply

West Texas Intermediate oil swung between gains and losses near a two-week high. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised its price forecasts for Brent, citing supply disruptions in Libya and Iraq.

Futures fluctuated in New York after capping the longest rising streak since April last week as unrest in Egypt fanned concern that Middle East shipments may be at risk. Defense Minister Abdelfatah al-Seesi said yesterday the military won’t allow the country to be destroyed after a week of violence left hundreds dead. Global oil inventories have “tightened substantially,” according to Goldman Sachs. U.S. refinery rates fell in the week to Aug. 9, a fourth weekly drop.

“Brent is still supported by supply disruptions and geopolitics,” Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital in London, said in an e-mail. The drop in U.S. refinery runs shows “summer demand is easing,” he said.

Militants kill 25 Egyptian policemen execution-style

CAIRO — At least 25 policemen were killed Monday when assailants ambushed two mini-buses carrying security personnel in Egypt's North Sinai Peninsula, which shares a border with Israel and the Gaza Strip and has been a restive center for militant activity.

The attack is among the deadliest in the peninsula since the 2011 overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak and part of a larger backlash against the state over what militants view as a slew of injustices.

Yemen Says 18 Foreign Oil Firms Qualified to Bid for 20 Blocks

ADEN, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Yemen has allowed 18 international oil firms to bid for 20 onshore and offshore blocks in the sixth auction issued by the Oil Ministry, the state news agency Saba said on Sunday.

OMV Pays Record $2.65 Billion for Statoil North Sea Oil, Gas

OMV AG, the biggest central European energy company, paid $2.65 billion to Statoil ASA (STL) in its largest deal on record for stakes in four North Sea oil and gas fields as it seeks stable output after disruptions in Libya and Yemen.

The deal includes 24 percent of Statoil’s Gudrun and 19 percent of its Gullfaks field, and options on 11 exploration licenses, the companies said today in separate statements. Statoil seeks to free up cash to invest in new developments.

Exclusive: Indonesia oil regulator suspends energy tenders amid graft scandal

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's energy regulator has suspended all oil, condensate and natural gas sell tenders as it reviews internal procedures after its chairman was caught taking an alleged bribe from an oil trader last week, an agency official said on Monday.

The suspension is the first evidence that the graft scandal engulfing SKKMigas is starting to impact day to day operations for Indonesia's huge oil and gas industry.

Fracking live: latest news as UK protests spread

-Protests continue in Balcombe
-Cuadrilla’s offices in Lichfield shut down
-Activists unveil banner outside Cuadrilla PR firm Bell Pottinger

Emirates powers ahead with the nuclear dream

As Japan continues to struggle to contain radioactive water leaking out of its Fukushima nuclear plant following the 2011 meltdown, confidence in atomic energy across much of the world is at a low ebb.

The UAE, however, is among the few countries bucking the trend as it advances its bid to become the first Arab nation to safely harness atomic energy for peaceful means on a commercial scale.

Nuclear reactor building in the United States stagnates as costs clog the machine

"The only reason the share of energy produced by nuclear power over the last 20 years is that a few reactors have been decommissioned and no new ones have been built while other [energy] generation sources have grown," says Gerry Runte, the managing director of Worthington Sawtelle, an energy-focused consultancy.

"Proliferation of reactor designs and the nuclear regulatory review process exacerbated the cost equation," he adds. "Nuclear power plant construction is not very efficient in competitive markets, especially in the US, even with government support and subsidy."

Fukushima and Chernobyl haunt atomic future

In the long shadows of Chernobyl and Fukushima lurks lingering uncertainty over the global nuclear energy sector as arguments rage about safety and cost-effectiveness.

Europe has been severely affected by a reluctance to invest as concerns grow about the reliability of some nuclear plants and the hefty costs of construction, operation and waste disposal.

Trash Into Gas, Efficiently? An Army Test May Tell

The centerpiece, a waste gasifier that’s about the size of a shower stall, is essentially a modified blast furnace. A chemical reaction inside the gasifier heats any kind of trash — whether banana peels, used syringes, old iPods, even raw sewage — to extreme temperatures without combustion. The output includes hydrogen and synthetic natural gas that can be burned to generate electricity or made into ethanol or diesel fuel. The FastOx is now being prepared for delivery to Sierra Energy’s first customer: the United States Army.

US fuel retailers call for lower biofuel mandate

The US is in the grips of a biofuel dispute, as the American Petroleum Institute (API) calls for a halt to a federal biofuel mandate increase for 2014, expressing concern that the policy could cause serious economic problems.

Source of Boy's Mysterious Lead Poisoning Was in an Unlikely Place

The pellets likely came from the geese the boy’s family regularly hunted and ate, they later told the doctors. The boy and his siblings said they had been eating the pellets as part of a game the played, to make the pellets disappear.

..."One important question to ask is, why not use copper pellets?" Zardawi said. The pellets used to kill the birds usually stay inside the animal, and the lead can be dangerous to other animals and to whoever eats the meat. The whole family had high levels of lead, he said.

Bare Trees Are a Lingering Sign of Hurricane Sandy’s High Toll

In storm-damaged neighborhoods throughout the city, where homes have been repaired, furnishings have been replaced and millions have been spent on recovery, another toll of Hurricane Sandy is becoming starkly clear. Trees, plants and shrubs are dying by the thousands.

We Need a War on Coal

Worldwide, the poor leave a very small carbon footprint, but they will suffer the most from climate change. Many live in hot places that are getting even hotter, and hundreds of millions of them are subsistence farmers who depend on rainfall to grow their crops. Rainfall patterns will vary, and the Asian monsoon will become less reliable. Those who live on this planet in future centuries will live in a hotter world, with higher sea levels, less arable land, and more extreme hurricanes, droughts, and floods.

In these circumstances, to develop new coal projects is unethical, and to invest in them is to be complicit in this unethical activity. While this applies, to some extent, to all fossil fuels, the best way to begin to change our behavior is by reducing coal consumption. Replacing coal with natural gas does reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, even if natural gas itself is not sustainable in the long term. Right now, ending investment in the coal industry is the right thing to do.

China's shift may mean coal's days are numbered

China's renewal of its carbon reduction targets, as well as reports that it is clamping down on coal production, has led analysts to turn bearish on the outlook for coal, claiming that peak demand for the fossil-fuel could be behind us.

Brazil And Germany Help Poor Communities To Become More Resilient To Natural Disasters

DHAKA – More than 10,000 people in the poorest and most disaster-prone areas of Bangladesh will be able to participate in training that will help them, their families and communities become more resilient to natural disasters and the effects of climate change, thanks to a contribution of 895 metric tons of rice (valued at US$430,000 / BDT3.3 crore) from the Federative Republic of Brazil to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

Programme participants, 70 percent of whom are women, will receive 22.5 kg of rice and BDT650 in cash per month in exchange for the time and effort invested in training sessions on disaster preparedness and response, hygiene, sanitation and nutrition.

Old permafrost carbon released

Using indicator molecules, a team of researchers headed by ETH Zurich demonstrates that carbon stored in the Arctic permafrost is being mobilised in Eurasian river basins.

Increased flooding may cost the world $1 trillion by 2050

Flood damage in the world's major coastal cities may top $1 trillion a year by 2050 due to rising seas and subsiding land, according to a new study.

The startling figure is "not a forecast or a prediction," but rather a means to "show that not to adapt and not to improve protection is impossible," Stéphane Hallegatte, a senior economist with the World Bank in Washington, D.C., and the study's lead author, told NBC News. "We have to do something."

Task force: Coasts should prepare for rising seas

NEW YORK (AP) -- A presidential task force charged with developing a strategy for rebuilding areas damaged by Superstorm Sandy has issued a report recommending 69 policy initiatives, most focused on a simple warning: Plan for future storms in an age of climate change and rising sea levels.

The report released Monday by the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force says coastal communities should assume floods are going to happen more frequently and realize that spending more now on protective measures could save money later. It calls for development of a more advanced electrical grid less likely to be crippled in a crisis, and the creation of better planning tools and standards for communities rebuilding storm-damaged areas.

Fast Ox above sounds like a good idea. Run the trash thru a blast furnace and get fuel. Better, run it thru a solar focal point and ditto.

I like the idea in general, and extracting the energy from the incredible amounts of waste is appealing, as is the idea of reducing all that plastic that ends up in the ocean, the soil and our bodies. But the article is written from a glowing praise, look at these wonderful entrapenuers point of view. It contains stuff like this:

Gasification is more efficient than incineration and eliminates toxic byproducts that come from burning trash.

What about metals? How much carbon is produced? Is it of net benefit to release the carbon stored in that plastic or to let it stay sequestered in those (dangerous) tiny particles?

Seems that the Swedes and others are doing similar stuff with garbage and actually scrambling to find enough input. Their things are located in cities so they must have answered those questions. ?

One of the reasons they don't have enough garbage is they produce relatively little compared to the U.S. I'd guess the metals are recycled before the enter the garbage stream.

Right. The US is a huge planet-to-garbage machine. So the garbage-to-fuel play should be easy here. And metal separation oughta be easy. Metal sinks faster.

A lot of the metal is in stuff like dyes and paints. Slick color advertising paper, check. Painted objects, check. Hard to sort it all out.

In the next, say, 50 or 100 million years or so, it might prove to be an especially fine time to be around on the planet. While I'm not a geologist, I'll conjecture that, by then, all the human detritus-- the plastics, metals, mined materials, etc., along with everything else-- will be reduced to a "strange dust" across the planet that turns into a mere and insignificant width of fossilized material in stone, in the geological record-- likely overlooked by any new species that comes along that might have otherwise been interested. By then, all the nuclear waste will have hastened evolution to more quickly replace what was lost, with all radioactivity having long decayed to ambient levels once again. By then, perhaps all those previously-mined and large fields and viens of oils and ores will have been spread relatively uniformly around the planet to settle and sediment into an oblivious line in the marble.

In the next, say, 50 or 100 million years or so, it might prove to be an especially fine time to be around on the planet.

No, the cities will be the new resource equivalent of "Ghawar oil field". There's so much high grade metal in reinforced concrete it's hard to fathom. Another civilization will have a merry time mining the cities, perhaps a superpower will come up on the American sub continent by mining the metal from cars and buildings.

One of the most productive things I did with my saturday science seminar kids was bring them to the dump to see for themselves what the town was throwing away. The kids were astounded by the huge amount of it, and by its contents- fully functional home appliances, a near new set of encyclopedias, and so on. Years later these very bright kids, now grown, told me they never forgot what they saw, and had continually puzzled on what to do about it.

I am guessing that a typical town dump here is the richest copper ore on the planet.

Fair enough, guys, but would these dumps or cities still be in the same spot or condition-- erosion, oxidation & other chemical reactions, decomposition, mixing, diffusion, continental drift, volcanism, etc.-- and after such forces, or even before, how did or would they compare to "naturally occurring" fields/concentrations/purities?

Cities and dumps have a whole lot of stuff, and they're mixed with a whole lot of other "unlikely" stuff. Growing up, it always felt somehow odd to be throwing organic waste together with batteries, plastics and aluminum foil, etc.-- same thing with what goes down the toilets and drains and where/how it all ends up.

But some are lost due to waste. The next civilisation will have less ore to start with. They then remake our mistakes and leave an even smaller pile of trash behind. After a few cycles, there is not enough ore left to build an advanced civilisation, and the cycles end.

If that's what kind of pans out, it would then seem like we are living the Easy Fruit Civilization, which could bode well in a way for the subsequent: Basically, have us scramble/diffuse the surface of the planet, knock us out and pave the way for The Noobs. Maybe The Noobs will be more of a plasticy than metallic civilization if there's new oil. Or maybe our weird dumps and ocean sediments will create unexpected deposits/materials. Perhaps The Noobs will tread a somewhat different path because of differences in their brains and social structure, etc. and are able to manage some things better, like systems complexity... Wow, I wish I could travel in time... although I might end up more or less at the same kinds of things as they are now.

Late 80's in the midwest US those that protect us started getting more fussy against those of us who dumpster dived. WOW - the functional things you could get out of the dumpster as college wound up. Twas another reason sheltering the homeless got less fun.

In an apartment these days I do enjoy seeing the blase reactions to people hitting dumpsters these days in Winnipeg. Nice folk whao are too lazy to take their beer bottles back for the refund just put them next to their blue box or dumpster.

Darwin's grandson attempted to address the next million years during the early 1950's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Galton_Darwin

Interesting! However, I think I already detect what may turn out to be a fatal flaw in his basic premise...

...analogy here is obviously the earth itself. From geology,
we know a great deal about this; for example we know
that it has had roughly the same climate for hundreds of
millions of years, so that it is nearly certain that the
climate will stay the same for one more million

Perhaps for extremophile bacteria the range of variation in climatic extremes might be considered stable enough. As for some potential future species of the genus Homo, I highly doubt it.



After the energy capital is dissipated, might there be some latitudes on the planet with energy income sullicient for survival of smaller numbers of humans?

The first Climate Change Denier?

Louis Agassiz published his first books on the ice age about 1840.

If you read further, or perhaps more closely, you'll see that he considers the last four Ice Ages, and the inter-glacials that were warmer than it is today, to be part of the "roughly the same climate". To me, that seems so broad as to be meaningless, but I suppose we did survive the last Ice Age, so he does kind of have a point.

In 100 million years, dolphins will have worked out how to work the land and any distant human relative will be sent packing.

Dolphins would have to survive the Anthropocene first which I find doubtful.

If the Anthropocene proves to be something like the Permian-Triassic extinction event, my ethical currency might be on something like the mouse again. Or a bug that mutates to transcend this apparent oxygen-spiracle limit and grows big and larger-brained.

I vote for raccoon successors.

Or the decedents of that bear seen on the news pulling an entire dumpster off to somewhere more convenient for plundering.

Ok :) but bear ;) in mind that the animal also has to survive the extinction event. That said, are you still going with the raccoon or the bear, or what else? Now that I mention it, Guy McPherson, if recalled, in one or more of his lectures, mentions the shrew as being one of the only animals that is able to regulate its body temperature above some critical level dangerous to other animals, including humans. (Wet bulb?)

BTW, I once hand-fed a racoon. It actually took the food with its hand and as we touched hands, I was surprised at how soft its hand was. So if your creature evolves from racoons, it might very well retain its soft hands.

These schemes wok fine for reducing complex organic molecules into simpler and (usually) safer ones. But metals like lead and mercury are not reduced and concentrate, and of course the carbon is released.

Landfill nation: What makes consumers less likely to recycle?

... "Although products that have changed shape are still recyclable, the likelihood of a consumer recycling a product or throwing it in the trash can be determined by the extent to which it has been distorted during the consumption process," write authors Remi Trudel (Boston University) and Jennifer J. Argo (University of Alberta).

The authors looked at how consumers treat products that have gone through physical changes during and after consumption that "distort" the product (but do not affect its recyclability). For example, a piece of paper might get crumpled up or torn into smaller pieces, or an aluminum can might get crushed or dented. And when that happens, people are less likely to recycle.

There is a FUD factor - Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt - driven by the notices on recycling bins that contaminates destroy the cycle. When I pick up road trash shredded by a mower, how much mud and grass is acceptable? The recycling staff does not know, and if there is any question it goes into the landfill stream

My county is considering a single hopper for all trash and hiring sorters to do the recycling. Might solve that problem, also it would give the surplus tattooists and laundry workers badly needed jobs.

The Scandinavians have been in the USA trying to secure rights to our garbage. Apparently the cost of transatlantic shipping is low enough that it may be profitable to ship our garbage across the ocean.

And that draws the immediate question . . . "If this is so lucrative then why are we not doing it?" Environmental reasons? (I can't imagine the exhaust and ash are all that good.)

I think there's just an entirely different attitude there. They have the political will to do it. Just as they have the political will to sort and recycle, and so produce less garbage to begin with.

Also we believe polluting causes pollution here.

There is now way building piles of waste is better for the environment (or the environment in taxpayers wallets) than burning them for heat and electricity.

I think the author displayed a lack of understanding about the process and energy in general. For starters, where is the source of the oxygen and how much energy is required to provide it? Then too, mixing oxygen and steam into an organic mix would likely result in hydrogen and carbon monoxide, as in, synthesis gas. That gas could be burned in various stationary machines, but it wouldn't be very useful for mobile equipment. The author writes:

But pure oxygen made the system too hot, so they added steam. This gave the furnace a third product: hydrogen, which can be used to produce electricity in fuel cells.
Sierra plans to license its technology and to sell systems to make electricity or ethanol from the synthetic natural gas produced by the FastOx.
The military’s cost of petroleum, when the costs of transporting and guarding it are factored in, can run as high as $50 a gallon.
The appeal of Mr. Hart’s Pathfinder system is that it would produce fuel on site, eliminating the need to truck in fuel to dangerous military outposts.

The product gas stream will be a mixture and separating hydrogen would be an added step. While methane might also be included in the mix, I would still think a large fraction of the mix would be carbon monoxide. All that O2 injected must appear somewhere in the output and if it's not in the gas phase, it would likely appear in the solid slag left over form "burning" metals, such as aluminum. Another little problem might be the chlorine compounds which would result from burning plastics such as PVC...

E. Swanson

OK, right about all that metal and etc. comment. So we have a problem. What to do about our Swedish friends who are gobbling up garbage like arctic wolves and turning it into electricity? We warn them that they are killing themselves, or, do we go over there and check out how to do it too?

Or, do we do it the real american way and just keep tossing it over our shoulder?

By all means look, and maybe even this scheme could be made to be of net positive impact. But just because people point out real, actual problems with a scheme like this is no reason to get your nose out of joint. It is hardly a trivial problem to "burn anything and everything" and have some kind of controlled result.

That it isn't a panacea should be obvious, and the article is in the business section and clearly designed to attract business interest (i.e. investors). The article didn't mention one significant negative - how big a board do you need to be hit with before it becomes obvious?

For every complex problem there is a simple answer - that is wrong.

Quick! Apologize, apologize, Truly.

I knew full well the guy was blowing smoke (haha) , and I didn't have any part of me out of joint, just trying to have a little joke.

Wrong! Jokes by me always bounce. Will I ever learn? No, way too old.

Of course the problems with trash burn you folks pointed at are real. No question. I was saying that we might learn something from those who are doing it--like you said.

I now crawl back under my rock, confident that the swedes, etc. can defend their actions full well without any help from me.

And I came off like an ass. Sorry! Having one of those days.

I agree, Twilight. This is one of my "favorite" lines:

Gasification is more efficient than incineration and eliminates toxic byproducts that come from burning trash.

Statements such as this may win prizes in business graduate school; however, claims such as this are soon shown in their realistic light in a reputable engineering course. I recall having a similar experience in an air pollution control engineering class. The idea of converting trash into usable energy, without "toxic byproducts," is compelling. An assignment to design a system to minimize the dioxin concentration of reactor effluent showed the difficulty of the process. Chemistry is working to make toxic compounds all the time. The engineering goal is to minimize this production by controlling reactor conditions, such as temperature. Slight changes in temperature can have large changes in unwanted byproducts.

Here is a cartoon of the FastOx process; here is a promotional video of the FastOx gasifier. I wish the engineers well in their research.

10 Years After Record Blackout, is U.S. Any Better Prepared?

An article that seems to skim over the problem area. Of the 13 large scale power outages it mentions, 11 of them are in the US. Look at them rearranged by severity :

Jun 1998 : Ontario/US : 0.052m people : 19 hours
Aug 2003 : London : 0.25m people : 30 mins
Jul 1996 : WC : 2m people : hours
Sep 2011 : Cal-Az : 2.7m people : 12 hours
Oct 2011 : NE US : 3m people : 10 days
Jun 2012 : Derecho : 4.2m people : 10 days
Dec 1982 : WC : 5m people : days
Aug 1996 : WC : 7.5m people : 6 hours
Jul 1977 : NYC : 9m people : 26 hours
Oct 2012 : Sandy : 8.2m people : 2 weeks
Nov 1965 : Ontario/US : 30m people : 13 hours
Aug 2003 : NE US : 50m people : 4 days
Jul 2012 : India : 100m+ people : 2 days

I don't know about you but my take home would be

  1. Things haven't got better, the last 3 years has seen 5 major outages.
  2. The first two hardly count, and the last is an exception (with it's own particular causes).
  3. Europe, despite having an equivalent number of people, and weather that can be just as bad, basically hasn't had any events.
  4. The expectation should be more large scale events (5-10m), lasting multiple days/weeks, within a year or two, in either NE US or California.

For all he says the system design is now better, the evidence doesn't seem to bear it out.

Of course, the answer is to throw more complexity at the system(s). That's what we do, collectively. Is it lack of imagination or some (natural) law attached to growth?

"Of course, the answer is to throw more complexity at the system(s). That's what we do, collectively. Is it lack of imagination or some (natural) law attached to growth?"

Economics. It's cheaper both in capital and operating expense to add fancy control systems than to add standby and redundant systems. And most of the time the control systems can handle the usual problems. It's the really big problems that will cause them to fail, where a few breakers and switches in the right place and a big spinning reserve can handle those big problems, at least keeping the core system up.

But when things are normal (99% of the time) then you are paying a big fuel and maintenance cost to maintain the extra switchgear and the spinning reserve. The only place I've been where everything electrical was backed up was a submarine. And there cost is not the main issue of concern.

And even that only had one reactor.

"And even that only had one reactor."

The LA class sub I was on also had a diesel generator, tons of compressed air, hydraulic accumulators, a 1.8 MWh (IIRC) battery, and a helluva crew to make it all work. But, as you said, costs were secondary.

My systems are similar, but my 'one reactor' is the sun. Not so sure about the 'helluva crew' part :-0

A more diversified energy supply with more distributed power generation inherently helps reduce U.S. vulnerability to blackouts.

Really? I get the concept, but does this work in practice? If there is insufficient generation on line (not enough Watts/Hz) you can trip off portions of the grid as there is simply not enough available power to support the load if you lose input from some other part of the system. In other words, some ad-hoc island created by a partial system failure isn't able to support its own local load.

For the statement above to be true you would have to have enough distributed generation to have changed that situation, and the control and protection systems to take advantage of it. From what I have heard I do not think that many areas have the ability to island at a very local level. If you get hit by a storm like Sandy or the Oct 2011 Halloween storm, you've got lots of damage spread out over a wide area.

One utility who's territory I drive through on the way to work has spent quite a bit of money over the last year on tree trimming and pole replacement to raise wires. In contrast, my utility has done zip, as usual. IMO these are the kinds of things that will result in real improvements in reliability - actually spending money on the basics, rather than throwing technology at it. It is largely a lack of investment in physical infrastructure (i.e. "deregulation", or asset stripping for personal profit) that has reduced reliability.

I think that whatever small improvements have been made, these are outweighed by the increased severity of climate change fueled storm systems. I am working on an upgraded generator service entrance right now.

Our local municipal utility (not investor owned) spent a full summer of tree trimming and line upgrades since the Halloween storm. This helped a lot in the last mile, where most of the failures occurred. Our neighboring town has investor-owned utilities, and they did nothing at all.

Our utility purchases power from ISO-NE and that in turn buys from a variety of sources. I've seen little change on that side in the last ten years, except the portion generated from natural gas has increased a lot. Less CO2, maybe, but is it more reliable?

With some utilities actively discouraging DG among their customers, what does one do? Microgrids (spanning multiple customers) are said to be illegal, but when the power is out, I see a lot of extension cords between houses, even here.

I don't see any reason to believe big utilities will act to improve their infrastructure resilience. It would take someone with a big stick to change anything.

At the moment distributed PV adds to the potential instability. The anti-islanding hardware is programmed to cut off the system if a significant voltage/frequency disruption is detected. The problem is, all the inverters have the same criteria, so an grid event could trigger them all almost simultaneously, giving enough of an additional kick to cause a system wide failure.

The cure is easy enough, vary the shutoff criteria for each inverter, so they don't all kick off at the same instant. This requires changing the current standards. Germany may have to spend $300M to retrofit (reprogram) its inverters. For solar detractors, note $300M to retrofit 30GW, is $.01/watt. Hardly a bank buster, even having to do it after the fact, rather than as new equipment is installed.

That list misses out the great blackouts of Italia and Sweden/Denmark the same year, 2003. The latter made 2 capital cities, Stockholm and Copenhagen, go "Earth Hour" for a few days.

One major improvement I can attest to (at least in upstate NY) is the tightened coordination between the grid operator and large scale electric power users. My employer is in that category, and several times this season we have been asked to reduce our usage to a specified level for a specified period of time (usually from around 1:00PM to 6:00PM but it varies). They are serious about it and we have regular drills where we have to back off to some target level for an hour just to verify that we can and will respond effectively. After each event our facilities manager sends out an email with a plot of our demand profile for that day so we can see how we did. Seems to be working so far...

Or the U.S. could bury the power lines (visitors from Europe remark about the ugly wires strung hither and yon), but that would be expensive, and require higher rates, or that horror of horrors, somewhat denser housing than just spreading homes out thin like a hobbit over some old ring.

I am sure electric vehicles and electric cherry pickers and electric saws were used by the electric companies to trim any pesky branches... no? Carbon spree, right, carry on.

I read last month that a county (Shenmu) in China had shut down the majority of its coal production due to falling prices (a symptom or the cause of China's credit crisis). Even with the Chindia market slowdown we see continued high oil prices.

Rupee falls to new record low against the dollar

The Indian rupee has declined by nearly 16% against the US dollar since May. The drop has coincided with a slowdown in the country's growth rate.

Asia's third-largest economy grew at an annual rate of 5% in the 2012-13 financial year, the slowest pace in 10 years.

The BRICs haven't had a stellar year:

BRIC markets left in the dust

Markets in Brazil, Russia, India and China -- known as the BRICs -- have suffered greatly this year, as troubling economic conditions pushed investors to look elsewhere for returns.

Brazil's Bovespa index has been among the world's worst, losing a fifth of its value since January.

The Shanghai Composite is down 12%, Russia's Micex is 7% lower and Mumbai's Sensex has declined by 1%.

"I would say the BRICs are going through a period of indigestion or perhaps a bit of a hangover," said Sean Darby, chief global equity strategist at Jefferies. "Sometimes the quality of growth produced by rapid development means that subsequent periods aren't all that great.

...and, last week, India puts restrictions on imports of commodities, mainly oil and gold. Meanwhile, a major 'correction' in US markets is likely baked in:

A sobering gut check for the market

What a rigorous metric called "EVA" says about the value of stocks. Hint: it ain't pretty:

FORTUNE—Forget P/Es. Trailing, forward, westward or eastward, the venerable price-earnings ratio tells you little more about the value of a company than its marketing budget. Or (ugh!), its "consensus analyst rating."

The best measure of how companies perform for shareholders is a wonkish tool called Economic Value Added, or EVA. The advantage of EVA is that it corrects the gap, so to speak, in regular GAAP accounting by gauging what's really important: whether shareholders are getting returns superior to what they'd garner putting their money in another, equally risky stock or index fund....


...Just how big is the potential drop? Corwin isn't making any predictions. But he did provide FORTUNE with a series of forecasts showing what would happen given various changes in the cost of capital and profitability. Let's assume that the 10-year Treasury bond returns to a reasonably normal level of 4.5%. That would drive the cost of capital from the current level to around 7%. Even if the return on capital remained steady at the current 8.9%, stock prices would drop by 25%.

It may not happen. Companies could find new ways to enhance their profitability. But don't bet against EVA.

That's a big 'IF', IMO. Perhaps those here who've predicted another meltdown, @ 2014-2015, can see these seemingly smaller storms coming together into a more perfect storm, just over the horizon. My sense is that the costs of producing tight oil won't be supportable in the near future. Got alternatives?

I told westexas a year ago that he'd have to remove India from Chindia. Looks like it will happen soon enough. Oil is getting unaffordable here, car sales are down in the dumps and businesses are getting hammered. Not much of a growth potential here.

The only silver lining is the outsourcing business which gets stronger every time the currency weakens, but that forms only a miniscule fraction of the economy. Everywhere else people are getting really desperate.

Front page WSJ article on India this morning:

WSJ: Fear of Fed Retreat Roils India
(For link, search for title)

India's situation is particularly precarious, because it relies on huge energy imports to fuel its economy. Investment has ground to a halt because of the government's failure to push through clear rules meant to open up sectors like retail and aviation to foreigners. . . .

"The single biggest factor making investors nervous on India is the currency," said Jyotivardhan Jaipuria, a research analyst with Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Mumbai. . . .

After a growth spurt from 2006 to 2011, when gross domestic product rose by an average of about 8% a year and raised hopes of India becoming a new Asian tiger, the country lapsed back into a plodding pace as economic reforms lost steam. Economists have recently cut their target for India's growth to as low as 5% for the year ending March 31, 2014, versus an expectation of 6.5% earlier this year.

At a test cricket match when the Indian captain tossed a coin at the start, one wag commented it's the only time he's seen the Rupee rise.

Shale Grab in U.S. Stalls as Falling Values Repel Buyers


Violence in Oakland forces residents to seek private security

With budget cuts forcing Oakland to trim its police force by a third, residents decided to pay themselves for private security patrols, which is understandable when you hear this from Hetherington.

"A car came down the street, three guys got out with a gun. There was a gun battle three blocks over. And I did hear actually a bullet went through somebody's house."

That routine gunfire turned tragic last month.

"Our neighbor Judy, who lived in the next block to me, was shot and killed," said Hetherington.

I expect Trayvon Martin was just the beginning. Fear and loss of trust can be infectious.

Beginning of what? Trayvon Martin's death is just one in a string of many historical deaths attributable to disposability of black teens by mainstream culture in the US.

I was thinking along the lines of 'justifiable neighborhood watch' killings where the threat is perceived rather than eminent; "Stand your ground" laws" and the spin that got Zimmerman off. While Stand Your Ground ultimately wasn't used by Zimmerman's defense, it was apparently (as required by Florida law) included in the jury instructions. While race certainly plays a part, all one really has to say is "I feared for my life" to create reasonable doubt. From Wikipedia:

Self-defense laws in the United States, particularly regarding justifiable homicide, vary by state. Florida law, as of 2005, includes a "stand your ground" provision, under which a person who reasonably fears death or great bodily harm (the ordinary deadly self-defense requirement) is relieved of the common-law requirement that one first attempt to retreat, if one can safely do so, before using deadly force.[309][310] In almost all states, such laws exempt people in their own homes; Florida's version extends the no-retreat doctrine to vehicles and public places. In at least 17 states, including Florida, there is no duty to retreat before using force.

It seems clear that Martin "didn't belong in our gated community",, in Zimmerman's mind.

"...just one in a string of many historical deaths attributable to disposability of black teens by mainstream culture in the US." doesn't seem to fly too well in courts these days.

As for "culture in the US", it's astounding the number of recent movies I've seen where "the [racial minority] always gets it". Things haven't changed much, it seems. Fear and uncertainty only make it worse.

WSJ: Communities Struggle to Break a Grim Cycle of Killing
(For link, search for title)
August, 2012

Mr. Martin's death is a racial aberration, according to data kept by the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Law-enforcement officials nationwide are battling a far more widespread and intractable problem: the persistent killing of young black men by other young black men. Homicide victims usually are killed by people of their own race and ethnicity. The pattern goes back at least a generation.

Bureau of Justice Statistics data show that from 1976 to 2005, white victims were killed by white defendants 86% of the time and black victims were killed by blacks 94% of the time. Then there is the matter of who is dying. Although the U.S. murder rate has been dropping for years, an analysis of homicide data by The Wall Street Journal found that the number of black male victims increased more than 10%, to 5,942 in 2010 from 5,307 in 2000.

Yes, my thoughts exactly. We seem to be headed into an age of fear run rampant and it's likely that minorities will bear the brunt of it.


You might want to take a look at this article by a black writer before saying minorities bear the brunt assuming you mean white on black violence.

"What the Hell Happened? Violence and Moral Decay in Black Communities!"



I'll read it, but no, I don't necessarily mean white on black violence - obviously there is plenty of black on black and white on white violence, and both are actually far more common than violence between races or ethnicities. I mean that minorities bear the brunt of fear via programs like NYC stop and frisk and actions like being stopped for walking and driving while brown, suspicion via neighborhood watch, etc. - suspicion that Trayvon Martin encountered that wasn't really necessary or even justified. And why attacks on black youth by white or other races may increase.

After reading the above blog, which promotes some pretty stereotypical and popular views of black on black crime and perpetuates fear and white privilege, I'd like to present a couple of opinion pieces that show a little more thoughtful and fact-based views about what black on black crime statistics really are and really


"Crime is driven by proximity and opportunity, writes Jamelle Bouie—which is why 86 percent of white victims were killed by white offenders."

". . .Overall, figures from a variety of institutions—including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Justice Statistics—show that among black youth, rates of robbery and serious property offenses are at their lowest rates in 40 years, as are rates of violent crime and victimization. And while it’s true that young black men are a disproportionate share of the nation’s murder victims, it’s hard to disentangle this from the stew of hyper-segregation (often a result of deliberate policies), entrenched poverty, and nonexistent economic opportunities that characterizes a substantial number of black communities.


Yes. The reason people tend to attack and be attacked by people of their own race is because we have self-segregated, and most criminals don't travel far to commit their crimes. There are exceptions (Israel Keyes comes to mind), but in most cases, the perpetrator lives near the victim (if not with them).

Often the victim and perp are known to each other. Often in fact they've been involved in the same illegal activities.

Which perhaps comes full circle back to the embedded/operational violence of the corporate-state apparatus that people accept, perhaps somewhat like how a victim often accepts being in an abusive relationship.

"The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people." ~ Noam Chomsky

"Control the oil and you control entire nations; control the food and you control the people." ~ Henry Kissinger

Control control control... and kisses.

It was a sad commentary, and the racism is obvious.
However, one must still be street smart, and not let ideology put one in a serious situation.
I've been the victim of 2 armed robberies, one by young black men, and another by older caucasians.

What Jesse Jackson REALLY thinks about Trayvon Martin ( well, sort of..)
(For link, search for title)

Jesse Jackson, as quoted in the NY Times on12/12/93, by Times columnist Bob Herbert ( who is also black):

“Jesse Jackson is travelling the country with a tough anti-crime message that he is delivering to inner city youngsters. In Chicago, he (Jackson) said:

‘There is nothing more painful to me at this stage of my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

Zoneminder and cameras that clearly see faces, features, and license plates.

Then provide the timestamped video evidence to law enforcement/youtube/social media.

Here is how it's done ...


An analyst or law enforcement officer can "run" a selector in PROTON and visualize the social network of correspondents associated with that selector in a visual format. The user can select and display most frequent numbers called or have called, duration of call, and other functions familiar to social network analysis. An analyst may choose to look at the network in terms of who called who: persons of importance typically have allot of people calling them so we can build a network based on that to determine centricity. We can build a network based on call duration, frequency, date---pick a variable. Sometimes it's useful to look at the outliers which may be hang-arounds to some drug trafficking organization. We can task NSA or DOJ for collection on these hang-arounds and begin network deconstruction from the ground up.

These calling networks include family, friends and other non-target persons. Non-target persons, like family members, are very useful in developing the target and as leverage. Non-target communications provide intelligence from things spoken between people in confidence who may not be aware of the targets activities or associations, like the location of a fugitive who has ceased using his known selectors, but communicates with his mother through her known selectors.

Zoneminder as software isn't all that good however.

But it is one of the only open sourced platforms however.

It is interesting the lack of comments about the latest Bakken production figures, both here and elsewhere. For an additional 153 producing wells, the daily production only rose 10,650 bbl/day.

Since December, only 52,828 bbl/d have been added, even though there are an additional 840 wells since then.

Comparing different years, in 2010/2011 from December to the following June, a 19% increase in the number of wells lead to a 17% increase in oil production.
In 2011/2012 from December to the following June, a 27% increase in the number of wells lead to a 27% increase in oil production.

However in 2012/2013 from December to the following June, a 16.6% increase in the number of wells only lead to a 7.5% increase in oil production.

The Red Queen is going to have to run faster very soon, just to stand still.

Maybe the lack of comments is because it is entirely expected - at least here.

Maybe the lack of comments is because it is entirely expected - at least here.

Peak speak has peaked.

Preaching to the choir. I can generate an Amen if you like, but it would only be news if the trend would break.

Ron is covering this over at his new blog

A good place to go if you're looking for OPEC stuff as well. Ron is always on top of that.

I've created a bookmark folder called "TOD refugees." Got Ron now, thanks. Any more links folks know about are appreciated.

The faster the Red Queen runs, the less energy delivered to the economy. A rate increase will cause inflation then contraction, then debt failure.

Check out Dr. Michael Dale's presentation at the Global Systems Conference. He talks about how the rate of growth adjusts Net Energy downwards and points out that at current rates of grows PV is a net energy loser. For PV to get net positive, the rate of installation must slow (or EROI must jump up radically).


Wells in the Bakken suffer the same issue. They don't produce that much energy. Assuming a 5:1 energy return, and a maximum energy reinvestment of rate of 20% (meaning 20% of the energy produced is reinvested as new wells) you get a maximum growth rate of 19%. 20% is really way too high though. That would assume that basically no energy was left to actually do work in the economy. Something like 4% is more physically possible. And that puts the maximum drilling increase at about 3.9%.

Essentially, if the Bakken is going to deliver energy to society, it must grow so slowly that we would see a tiny production bump. We are getting a spike because our monetary systems keeps mis-investing capital. Shale gas is likely to be similar. Our economy would do better if the drilling rate *slowed* and we cut back usage slightly.

That's a good point. In a sense, QE holding down interest rates is making Bakken comparatively attractive. If QE were to end and rates increased, financial ROI, not to mention EROI, may inhibit development. Unless oil prices increase, of course.

And the reduced oil output would crash the economy thus causing the Fed to reduce rates again.

I know the Fed is signalling that they plan on raising rate soon but I suspect they are still just planting the seed in people's minds and that they won't do it yet because the economy is still floundering. As long as asset bubbles are not getting out of control, I don't see much point in raising interest rates yet.

yes but isn't there a point at which the FED can't control interest rates? A loss of confidence in the governments ability to do anything then a hording of cash..deflation on the upswing...oil down to $40 a barrel...then who knows...

"...oil down to $40 a barrel...then who knows..."

A lot of bankruptcies in the fracking industry.

I made a resolution to just lurk and learn but sometimes i can't restrain myself .

Now is it happens- as things are NOW in the real world of not only physics but also people- it simply does not matter if pv is net energy positive- and it won't matter for a long tome yet to come- probably several decades.

Consider this:
A huge part of all the expendable ff energy we are using today is utterly wasted. We are recklessly running thru our inherited capital of fossil fuels like a drunken young man who has inherited his Daddy's estate.

It is a big net plus for our species, and by extension our planet, when some of this otherwise WASTED energy is diverted to a useful purpose- even if the conversion process is a net energy loser.

I will go so far as to argue that even if manufacturing and installing pv results in a net energy loss even after another decade or two of development, which will continue to lower the energy input cost of it, there will at that time still be plenty of coal and ng being burnt to no good purpose.

We will still be heating and cooling inadequately insulated buildings and delivering beer and potato chips - rather than hops and potatoes- by truck- hundreds and even thousands of miles. Every ton and cubic meter diverted from such uses will be a long term net gain for PRACTICAL purposes.

Hence I argue that the net energy return of pv simply does not matter for the fore seeable future.

By the time it does matter, we will most likely no longer be able to manufacture anymore pv anyway as the ff age winds down ; the manufacturing process depends on a functional industrial economy.

And as an aside:

Unless the economy collapses rather suddenly , there will never again be be a significant number of abandoned automobiles left to clutter the landscape as they rust away. A large automobile in any condition whatsoever is worth over three hundred dollars today cash on the spot at a wrecking yard for a simple reason.The steel and other recoverable materials in it can be recycled with far less expenditure of energy and money than new metals can be manufactured from ores.

So long as there is a need for steel , and energy is expensive, cars WILL be recycled.

Folks without jobs around here are quite willing to put in a long ,hard ,dangerous day's work dragging an old car out of the woods and hauling it to town on a trailer behind a pickup truck to net a couple of hundred bucks for the day. As a matter of fact, they are many cases of such "abandoned"cars actually being stolen from rural homes and farms.Some of these cars have been set aside by the owner as a source of parts for running vehicles and collectible older cars.

Great to see you back OFM,

I had beater cars stolen from my compound yard at the school shop I ran...two years ago? If we left any steel outside, it would be nailed overnight.


Sometimes I can't restrain myself either.

I go bicycling sometimes with a guy who obviously retired as a millionaire. He and his wife are quite athletic and this summer they took a two-month bicycling tour of Europe - 100 km/day - but every night they stayed in a four-star hotel. He made his millions running a junkyard, or as he would call it, an "automobile recycling facility". The latter is apparently much more lucrative.

I hit a deer with my Toyota Tercel some years ago, and the insurance company wrote it off. I really liked the car and would have been happy to have them repair it. However, I did the math and the car was worth $4000 before collision and would have cost $3000 to fix, but it was worth $2000 as parts - a good engine, transaxle, doors, suspension parts, rear body panels, trunk lid, etc. etc. They were $1000 ahead by giving me $4000 cash and recycling the car for parts and scrap metal. There's a lot of cash value in wrecked cars.

Somebody up above talked about seeing fully functional home appliances in a garbage dump. Some years ago I bought a house, and the previous owner left an old clothes washer/dryer set behind. I had my own, so I hauled the old ones to the dump. As I was about to dump them, one of the staff said, "No, no, those go in the 'white goods' section." As I later learned, the staff had first dibs on the appliances. If they could get them working, they sold them. If they couldn't, they stripped them for parts and scrap metal. No doubt many of them had small appliance repair businesses on the side.

Similarly, some people I know put a good used tricycle out by their garbage can. As the garbage truck drove away, they noticed that their tricycle was riding up front next to the driver. Most likely he had kids of his own, or knew someone who could use it.

Now, in many towns garbage dump employees are not allowed to scavenge through the garbage, but this was not the case where I lived, so a lot of good stuff was recycled by them. However, it's a process of "high grading", so what is left over after they get their pick is truly garbage.

The dump in Prince George, British Columbia has a building where you can leave items that are still usable. There's always people in there looking for useful items they can take for free. Sure saves a lot of stuff from going into the dump!

Many towns in New England have such a put'n'take at their dumps, even my tiny rural town. We call ours the "Mini-Mall". I've gotten a lot of good books there, but also lots of other useful stuff.

Strictly forbidden at my local "transfer station". Everything gets trucked away. I used to sneak things out, but now there's a stiff fine if one gets caught.

There's a collection of old buildings in my town here that occupy about a block, and that appears to be, at least in part, an old foundry. It's apparently for sale, although the For Sale sign is so old, that the phone number is no longer legible... except at a certain angle in the sun. :D While passing it again one day, I had a spontaneous fantasy, if I had the means to acquire it, to turn it back into an old-style working community foundry and repurposing plant for selective throwaways specifically to service the town and vicinity.

to turn it back into an old-style working community foundry and repurposing plant for selective throwaways specifically to service the town and vicinity.

It is called a Makerspace.

Form a 501(c3) non profit, ask for the land and building as a donation and go.

Cool, eric, thanks for the tip.

Yeah, we had that until the new DPW head convinced the selectmen to charge people for bulk items. Since the change (July 1) the place is just dead; you dump your trash and recycling and get outta there. I suspect when people realize how much it has changed, it will swing back the other direction.

Strange. This is not good for the consumption based economy. How can we have an economy that benefits from wasting resources?

I can't tell if you're joking or not. We have a waste-based economy. If you can't recycle things then you *must* buy new stuff - GDP! If you recycle or re-use something then the business owner can't sell you something new. Consumer Waste = Company Profit.

I have made this point myself for years. I a guy choses to spend his cash on energy sanitize his home, he is not a loser. He would otherways have spent the cash on waste like a blue ray or beer. Same goes on the society level I guess.

We are recklessly running thru our inherited capital of fossil fuels like a drunken young man who has inherited his Daddy's estate.

This is one of my favorite analogies to our fossil fuel situation. We are literally burning up buried treasure. And we haven't wasted it all. We have used that energy to do scientific research and invent new things. But we are quite wasteful and someday it will end. And we now know that spending those treasures is bad for our health and the health of the planet . . . yet we keep doing it with reckless abandon.

There will eventually be a reckoning.

Hi Old Farmer Mac,

I agree with you that here in the beginning it does not matter if PV is net negative. One of the great gifts the Germans have given the world is to be the first to demand enough "net negative" PV and Wind to drive down energy costs dramatically. Wind is performing quite well.

TOD has a much more realistic view on energy descent than most. Some don't believe in peak oil at all. And the rest think that a 50% growth in PV will solve any decline.

This paper is helpful for those of us who argue we should stop expanding the highway system. Stop investing in new airports. Stop planning new football stadiums. And maybe, just maybe, plan for a day when the average middle class person cannot afford to maintain a 2000 sq foot home, 2.5 cars, and the miles and miles of asphalt that takes them to and fro. And it won't be maintained by solar PV.

You are right. Far better a PV array than another large screen plasma TV. At least the electrons are moving in the right direction!

The usual letter to the editor supervisor at the WSJ must be gone, and an assistant let a rational analysis of the oil market be published as a letter to the editor. Notice some familiar themes?

WSJ: Low-Priced Oil Is Really a Mirage*
It is an illusion to think oil production will rise enough, long term, to lower prices.

Daniel Yergin's "China's Big Commodity Chill" (op-ed, Aug. 9) may well be another example of a contrary investment indicator. In a 2005 Washington Post article, with oil at $60 a barrel, Mr. Yergin told readers not to worry, as capacity would expand significantly. Since 2005, oil production has only grown 0.7% annually (BP Statistical Review) after growing at 2.1% annually from 1999 to 2005....

John R. Hummel
AIS Futures Management LLC
Wilton, Conn.

*For link, search for title

Holy smokes . . . how did such heresy get published at the WSJ where the free market is generally believed to solve EVERYTHING?!?!

Two other points made by Mr. Hummel:

If countries such as Saudi Arabia had significant excess capacity, they could easily drive prices down to stop new high-cost exploration. The fact that they aren't says volumes about the tightness of global oil capacity . . .

Current optimism about tight oil production increases is like the crew of the Titanic bragging about how fast the ship was pumping water out.

40 maps that explain the world

... Map 24. More than half of humanity lives inside this circle ...

The Future of Freezing

This map shows climate model projections for how areas with monthly average temperatures below freezing are expected to shrink over time. Scientists’ expectations depend on how much more greenhouse pollution gets in the air.

The table just below summarizes key projection results for affected states, and the sections below that explain how the maps were developed.


The president of Iraqi Kurdistan vowed Saturday to defend the large Kurdish population in neighboring Syria from al-Qaida-linked rebel fighters, highlighting the potential for Syria's civil war to morph into a full-blown regional, ethnic and sectarian conflict.

But Barzani seems unlikely to risk a direct military intervention. Such a move would likely trigger a furious reaction from Iraq's central government as well as neighboring Turkey, which has been wrestling with its own Kurdish insurgency for decades.

Although the Kurdish authorities are unlikely to directly intervene IMO there is a high chance of unofficial Kurdish militias crossing in to Syria to defend the Kurdish communities there. As demonstrated by Lebanon the conflict can easily spread with retaliation attacks being carried out in regions not directly affected by the war.

As far as I can tell from reports here Iraqi Kurdistan is a more stable and productive region for oil than other areas. A spread of the conflict to Iraqi Kurdistan could not only damage infrastructure but also confidence of oil companies investing in the region.

Egypt no longer owns the Nile

For 200 years, Egypt has dominated its region and the countries that are the source of its crucial water supply, the Nile. Ethiopia and its Renaissance Dam will change that.

Mohammed Morsi, then Egypt’s president, said in June “Egypt is a gift of the Nile, and the Nile is a gift of Egypt,” and promised that he was ruling no options out concerning that river’s future. This reaction to the decision to construct the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile is unsurprising, since life in Egypt is dependent on the river.

"Proliferation of reactor designs and the nuclear regulatory review process exacerbated the cost equation," he adds. "Nuclear power plant construction is not very efficient in competitive markets, especially in the US, even with government support and subsidy.

As a nuclear fan, I have to admit that nuclear has stagnated while all other technologies have advanced. It is almost criminal that mankind's most promising new technology (IMO) has not developed at the same pace as aircraft, engines, materials science, control systems, etc etc. All the basic technologies that keep industry going. They are far better than they were. But nuclear is still being built to 40- and 50-yr old designs.

With a long enough development, objects start resembling each other as they converge on the optimum design. Boeings look like Airbuses; if it wasn't for cosmetics the small hatchbacks would all look alike; Formula 1 cars have different engines, chassis, and aerodynamics, yet are only 0.1 seconds different in lap times.

But we still haven't settled on the best reactor designs. They are still proliferating. We should have arrived at the optimum years ago already. And that goes for the whole nuclear cycle, including reprocessing and disposal.

I believe the strangulation of the nuclear industry will be regarded as almost as big a crime as the promotion of the fossil fuel industry by TPTB.

We need a high price on carbon if we want nuclear to progress since it is expensive to build those nuclear plants. With cheap coal and cheap natural gas available, nuclear just can't compete. But many of those that favor nuclear would oppose a carbon tax. It is only a relatively small slice of environmentalists that like nuclear power who would advocate for a carbon tax and more nukes.

"Formula 1 cars have different engines, chassis, and aerodynamics, yet are only 0.1 seconds different in lap times."

Actually the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile sets very strict parameters on F1 cars: All engines must be 2.4 liter V-8, naturally aspirated, no exotic metals; Transmissions must have 7 fwd gears, 1 reverse, rear-wheel drive; aerodynamics are tightly controlled as is downforce (they put a 10mm plank of wood on the bottom of the cars which must measure no less than 9mm at the end of the race); fuel is essentially ordinary petrol, albeit carefully controlled; much more...

Then, again, nuclear reactors aren't redesigned/rebuilt every racing season, and Formula 1 cars aren't licensed for 20-30 years.

Looks to me like an ideal app for the incredibly powerful new design tools. Don't waste time and money in concrete and steel, do the evolution in the computer- tremendously faster and cheaper. Could have several highly competent and well-funded teams working independently to provide cross-checks. Cheap!

I have no doubt there are nuke designs that I would go for, and that they would be cheap and reliable and hard to harm-- and fast to arrive at with modern tools.

My son recently took over management of all my assets, to my great benefit, and one of the things he showed me was this super speedy simulation software, that turned my tricky bike transmission design into something fast and fun. That CVT tranny has a lot of heavy analysis in it that was done by the design simulation in an eyeblink.

Nukes could be great. Trouble is, how do we get rid of the madman problem?

Answer is obvious- tell the computer to do it's job on man-design,--and then recycle all those old designs.

Validation of Nuke design is a real issue. Only a fully validated computer program can be used. And the validation program takes a great deal of time and money. If you have to so much as recompile the program it has to be revalidated. Most engineering software is continually upgraded -because the commercial customers always have more challenging problems to solve. I was peripherally involved in selling a computer once. It was an archaic computer. The customer claimed "we only have the binary, we've lost the source code". Most likely it was "lost" on purpose, because no way in heck were they gonna do the revalidation -better to spend big bucks on an obsolete computer.

So you can use twenty year old algorithms and implementations -that are considered validated, -or you can do state of the art simulation, but you can't use the later to legally pass validation.

The Department of Energy is trying to catch up.

Modeling and Simulation For Nuclear Reactors Hub

The Nuclear Modeling and Simulation Energy Innovation Hub will apply existing and/or newly developed modeling and simulation capabilities to create a user environment that allows engineers to simulate an operating reactor that will act as a "virtual model." The model will be validated by “real physical” reactor data obtained from at least one reactor. The "virtual model" will address important questions about the operations of and safety basis for the reactor(s).

Peak Internet?

Amazon.com website goes offline

Amazon.com has become the latest high-profile website to go offline in recent days.

Visitors to the US shopping site were greeted with a message saying: "Oops! We're very sorry," alongside a "500 Service Unavailable Error" report.

The site returned online about half an hour after the problem was first flagged by users of the news site Reddit. ...

...It follows Google's two-minute downtime on Friday. That affected the firm's main search page as well as its Gmail email service, YouTube video site and Drive storage product.

Analytics firm GoSquared reported the fault caused a 40% dip in worldwide internet traffic. Google has not explained the cause.

40%? New York Times, Intel, and Microsoft's Outlook.com (three days?!) all went down at some point last week. I've also had trouble with BBC, most recently when I tried to test the hyperlink to this article :-0

Interesting. I'm not sure which is the bigger problem - actual outages or the fact that it seems to become more useless by the day.

NSA kill-switch testing, most likely ; )

CIA documents acknowledge its role in Iran's1953 coup

The CIA has released documents which for the first time formally acknowledge its key role in the 1953 coup which ousted Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadeq.

The documents were published on the independent National Security Archive on the 60th anniversary of the coup.

"The military coup... was carried out under CIA direction as an act of US foreign policy," says one excerpt.

Time to let bygones be bygones. We did that in 1953 and they were jerks in 1979 to get back at us.

Now get over it everyone. Do a grand bargain and move on.

That's a disappointing attitude, and the kind of diffident stance that keeps the hatred burning.

We the US and Iran and others have continued to live under the miserable consequences of that and too many similar blunders, while we talk around it, hide it or deny it.. it's petty and shameful.

'They were jerks' ?! .. We hurled them from a Democracy (that was trying to nationalize their oilfields), into a Dictatorial Theocracy. We made our bed, and as you can see from the shape of the Middle East and our continued relationship with Iran, it's not something you 'move on' from unless to take it on, and not just keep trying to sweep it out of sight.. Sounds like how our funding for the Mujahideen has worked out for us.

Disappointing attitude? It is a good attitude! Why are we all allowing ourselves to live in crappy world due to the sins of our fathers. We didn't make them a dictatorial theocracy, we made them a secular dictatorship. They overthrew that and created slightly-democratic-but-largely-dictatorial theocracy.

But we can all change for the better if we decide to do so. We can both gain from changing and cooperating . . . or we can just keep the pissing contest going. It appears that both sides will stupidly choose the latter.

Would you have the same attitude of "get over it" if, for example, Russia had engineered a similar coup in the US and continued to to talk about "regime change" today? Seems to me the talk of "get over it" always comes from those who perpetrated the injustice and want the subject to get over it.

I have an even friendlier attitude toward the British who we broke free from in a bloody revolutionary war.

People in Iran still chant "Death to the USA" or "Death to the Great Satan" but I can get over it. They held our embassy people hostage for 444 days but I can get over it. They had an anti-American museum in former embassy in Tehran but I can get over it.

Is this cold war helping them? Their economy is collapsing under sanctions.

I believe the vast majority of regular folk, especially the young people, in Iran are actually friendly towards the US...it's really just the Mullahs and Irans version of the Republican party who are hostile...unfortunately, they're the ones who have control.

Indeed. It is the theocratic-hard-right in both countries that prevent matters from being resolved. Both groups call their mirror image group a bunch of crazy evil people that can't be trusted and push fear-mongering. This fear-mongering helps keep them in power, keeps their military contractor friends well-funded, and prevents resolving issues. Obama can't make much of a peace effort without being denounced as 'soft' by the conservative right. Iran's PM can't make much of peace effort without being denounced as 'weak' by their hard-liners.

Majorities in both countries would probably want to resolve these issues . . . but let's just keep the stupidity going.

Left or right, if it's coercive, then it's likely wrong. There's ethical coercion, such for preventing your child from getting hurt, or against someone poisoning the well-- like the corporatocracy-- but coercion, say, from cradle-to-grave by a kool-aid-dispensing governmob is probably wrong. By the way; who says you're American? Or Iranian, for that matter? Those sound like flavors of kool-aid from poisoned wells.

Speaking of which; economic sanctions are essentially one mob holding hostage the imprisoned population of another mob, and even their own. If you strip away all the legalese, and political doublespeak, etc., ostensibly often designed to impress and/or confuse, it's almost kindergarten-level. Hey kids, want some good food, water, air, sex, sleep, play? I know I do. And I don't need a nanny state for any of that either.

This fear-mongering helps keep them in power, keeps their military contractor friends well-funded, and prevents resolving issues.

Damn right!

I give out when people talk about crime going up, but the numbers are definitely down. And if you go, “The numbers are down”, they go, “Ahh, but the fear of crime is rising.” Well, so f@cking what? Zombies are at an all-time low level, but the fear of zombies could be incredibly high. It doesn’t mean you have to have government policies to deal with the fear of zombies.
Dara O’Briain

Unfortunately most governments seem to operate on the principle that having government policies to deal with the fear of zombies is quite a bit cheaper and therefore more effective in controlling their people, than dealing with real problems...

Is this cold war helping them? Their economy is collapsing under sanctions.

And capitulating to the imperial wealth pump (asset stripping by US corporations) would work out better? There are no good options when your assets are targeted by the worlds primary militaristic empire.

I think such things will keep happening until our civilization evolves to have a single global government.

We stopped at 'countries', but it seems we need to create one more level higher. (city/town -> county/burrough -> states -> countries -> *MISSING - a global governing body*)

The European Community is the best example of this and it hasn't been working out very well.

it hasn't been working out very well

Really? Based on what criteria? Anyone who thinks that the individual countries would be better off economically alone, instead of being part of the world's largest economy, is a fool. I live in a EU country, and everyone I know realizes this... I would gladly see the UK leave the EU (and then Scotland separate from the UK and join the EU) just to prove the point. The whole "EU is falling apart" thing is vastly overblown by the world's corporate media, the reality is completely different.

How does this all fit in with stuff like resilience, relocalization or even democracy, etc., though? Maybe if there was true free flow of people and capital...

70 years ago, the generation of my grandparents was slaughtering themselves by the millions on the battlefields of Europe. Less than 25 years ago, people could (and did) get killed while attempting to escape through the Iron Curtain into the west, right in the city where I live.

Today, I can hop on my bike and cross the border to two different countries to have a beer and a chat with the friendly neighbours... in fact there is no real "border" to cross anymore. I can move over to live there, I can travel across 26 different countries without even a passport. I call that a f***ing miracle, and if that is not a prime example of resilience, I don't know what is.

Alas, things have been going backwards over here in North America. The Canada-US border used to be the longest undefended border in the world. Now at American insistence you have to have a passport to cross the border.

Yeah, the US is definitely turning into a fascistic police state of the worst possible kind.

In comparison back in the late 70s I was taking a diving course in Italy and I hopped on a train to visit my relatives in Hungary. All kinds of border control and checking of passports along the way and finally Russian soldiers came on the train at the Austro Hungarian border. I remember walking through a narrow passage between barbed wire fences with guards high up in their towers pointing their AK47s at us as we crossed.

Fast forward to just two years ago I drove from Munich through Austria to Budapest and not once was I stopped or asked to present any documents.

The spirit was freedom and justice
And it's keepers seemed generous and kind
It's leaders were supposed to serve the country
But now they won't pay it no mind
'Cause the people grew fat and got lazy
And now their vote is a meaningless joke

They babble about law and order
But it's all just an echo of what they've been told
Yeah, there's a monster on the loose
It's got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there watchin'

Steppenwolf - Monster/Suicide

Hey Fred,

I recall my first flight into Rome back in March of '77. There were two soldiers standing abreast with machine guns, about every six metres, the entire length of the terminal (the days of the Brigate Rosse, if I recall correctly). It was an eye opener.


"...While we bullied, stole and bought our homeland...

America where are you now?..." ~ Steppenwolf - Monster/Suicide/America

America is a flavor of kool-aid that, in part, tells people there that they are American (as if it's some kind of big ol' happy tribe). It comes with a flavor-crystals packet on what that means, with instructions on how to be 'American'. Just add the packet to a pitcher of depleting/fracking-proximity aquifer water, and stir. ("Oh yeah!")

America is still there, Steppenwolf. It's still there...

Technically, via car or boat, just a US certified birth certificate and picture id will get you into Canada from US. But getting back might be something of being snowed-in (bad pun yes)

Or an optional "enhanced" drivers' license (apparently contains RFID) if you happen to be a NY state resident.

So maybe we've progressed from some regressions and some of us at least can finally do what our species got to do ages ago. Break out the party hats and those things that roll out when you blow in them so you can poke your bankrupt slave-without-a-wage friend in Spain in the head with it. (Is there a Walmart or Starbucks in your town yet?)

It's like talking to a fellow tribes/band-member-of-the-past, maybe by Skype, and telling them with pride that you went grocery shopping and bought all organic. "Organic? What's that?", they ask. You reply, "I never feel like you understand or appreciate me!".

We'll need all the miracles we can get... Like maybe Greece et al.'s debts and civil unrest will also hop a bike and cross a few nonexistent borders, spreading cheer and good will to all who receive. And that UK-Ecuador-Embassey's Assange.

Which elements of the EU were involved with the war in Iraq or Afghanistan by the way? One would have imagined that after the other wars, they'd be a little reluctant.

Actually, the border that I'm crossing leads into Burgenland, Austria. The first region in the world to become 100% renewable-powered. And those people there are mostly resilient local farmers and wine-makers. No Walmarts or Starbucks anywhere to be seen and very few slaves-without-a-wage. Little industry, but lots of green fields and there are bicycle paths everywhere you want to go. That's the real future of Europe, and even Spain or Greece will get there, in time.

And regarding Iraq, it was Germany's chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who told Bush to f**k off with that stupid idea. Only the UK went along, and as I said earlier, everyone would be happy if the UK would finally leave the EU and take their rightful place as the 51 state of America.

You may find this fourteen segment series of interest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1kDZTxinRI (originally aired on the 50th anniversary of Britain's declaration of war against Germany).


That was the noble part of the project. But just because it worked to bring stability and openness to important client states of the rising new empire during an age of incredible abundance (i.e. the age of oil that kicked into high gear after WW2), do not assume it will work so well during the decent. The present actions of the EU are driving right back to borders and conflict.

Following two devastating wars, one of the objectives of creating the EEC was to discourage future wars by tying countries together economically. I would say that has been a resounding success as it would be inconceivable to see former adversaries such as France and Germany get into an armed struggle. The political and economic ties are too strong to enable such a condition to evolve.

The European Community is the best example of this and it hasn't been working out very well.

Why? . . . Because the economy isn't so great? How many wars are they having? None. Any economic sanctions against each other? None.
Seems to be working pretty well to me. Sure there are places that are having economic problems there. Have you seen Detroit?

Am I hearing the royal "We" in your comment? "We", who happen to be near the top of the pile, both politically and economically, don't give a rats ass about "the little people", who are fated to live on the bottom of life's economic ladder. "We" can change, since "We" have the education and economic power to make a jump, to meet and work with other "We's" who are also similarly blessed.

The other folks, particularly those outside the US and especially those living in the oldest civilized regions on Earth around the Persian Gulf, don't have the luxury to change. "They" live with a world view which is several thousand years old and their religion does not allow for any dissenting opinion or interpretation. "They" were forced into a world of nations for which the boundaries were arbitrarily set after WW I, the winners of a war drawing lines on maps in Paris without considering the tribal and cultural realities on the ground.

"We" set up their governments to keep them under control so that "We" could take their oil and other resources for our own use. Do you really expect that "They" will change or compromise, just to make is possible for "US" to continue to live in happy motoring land? I think that "They" have decided that "compromise" is no longer in their best interest and are willing to die to drive home their point...

E. Swanson

Cnurchill's Folly tells a good portion of the Middle East "disaster." There's a pretty good summary at this Amazon link:


From that summary:

"Churchill created the nation called Iraq and made the Hashemite leader, Feisel, king of a land..."
~ Amazon.com book summary for; 'Churchill's Folly: How Winston Churchill Created Modern Iraq'

'The (founding) father(s) of all kool-aid'...

Do you consider yourself Iraqi? American? Canadian? Why? What do these things really mean? Who came up with them? How? What if, instead, we thought of ourselves as Terrestrian? How would that change our perspectives/behaviors?

"We announce the birth of a conceptual country, NewTopia, citizenship of the country can be obtained by declaration of your awareness of Newtopia. Newtopia has no land, no boundries, no passports, only people. Newtopia has no laws other than cosmic. All people of Newtopia are ambassadors of the country."
~ John Lennon, from the film, 'The US vs John Lennon'

"The philosophy is basically what we call intercommunalism-- we're not nationalists, we don't believe in nationalism. Nationalism or nationhood is... akin to superiority, is akin to racism..."
~ Bobby Seale

"Democracy consists of choosing your dictators, after they've told you what you think it is you want to hear."
~ Alan Coren

"Behind Boetie's thinking was the assumption, later spelled out in great detail by David Hume, that states cannot rule by force alone. This is because the agents of government power are always outnumbered by those they rule. To insure compliance with their dictates, it is essential to convince the people that their servitude is somehow in their own interest. They do this by manufacturing ideological systems..."
~ Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

"Patroitism is, as we know, the last refuge of a scoundrel. Now we're talking about real scoundrels, like Nixon"
~ Gore Vidal

"It is useless and... futile for us to continue talking peace and non-violence against a government whose reply is only savage attacks on an unarmed and defenseless people..."
~ Nelson Mandela

From N55's No Borders Campaign... Google N55 if you want to know who they are


Borders between nations, and nations as such, are ideological constructions that exclude other persons socially and prevent them from sharing land, water, food and other resources. To exclude other persons in this way is not in compliance with the fact that persons should be treated as persons and therefore as having rights. It makes no sense to talk about persons and persons' rights if persons are not allowed to participate in society, stay on the surface of the earth, drink the water etc. If we want to respect persons and persons rights' we must try to share the land and resources of the world.
It is not possible to accept borders between nations or nations themselves and at the same time respect persons and persons' rights.

The problem is that of land use and ownership. Borders are similar to land boundaries, which the US and other countries have defined with great accuracy. On the small scale, if everyone had to defend their claims to land against all intruders, without the benefit of the governmental system of deeds and property surveys, the result would be a considerable increase in conflict. If someone decided to cut your trees, eat the fruit from your trees or trample your crops, you would have no recourse but to use force to evict the intruder(s). Why would anybody try to farm a parcel of land if there was no gain possible as the produce would be taken from the farmer without compensation by whomever wanted to take it?

Forgetting for a moment that humans think they are a special species, isn't this rather like saying that rats and insects have a "right" to consume what ever they need to survive? It's a problem as old as civilization and the notion that a person has the "right" to a "share" of whatever is produced is hardly new. The argument is the same as the old one between the capitalist and communist world views and we've seen how that's worked out...

E. Swanson

Of all people Bush worked out a grand bargain in 2002. It made perfect sense, must Sunni terrorism is directed against Shia (Iran is the big Shia Islam power), AlQaeda is Sunni fundamentalism -and they consider Shia's as apostates. The enemy of my enemy, meant our security interests had great commonality. But, Israel wanted no such bargain, and got the senate to demonstrate it could pull the rug out from under him.

After that Iran decided the US was an untrustworthy negotiating power, and the moderates were marginalized as naive. As long as Israel has veto power, and as long as they don't want a deal made, there will be no deal. So in a very real sense, the hardliners were right.

This was the event that sent the US down a very nasty path, and the blowback is for all to see.
Next was Guatemala in 1954, overthrowing another elected democracy.
And so on and so on------

The US imperial project started long before 1953. That those on the input end of the imperial wealth pump (as Greer put it) are not doing well and are not too happy with the empire should be no surprise. For 5% of the population to garner 30% of the world's wealth means quite a few others must go without. We did whatever was necessary to get their stuff, and they didn't get it. Now they don't like us - and people wonder why!

All empires fail when the marginal return of keeping it going gets too small, and we are there. There are a host of issues driving up the cost of maintaining our empire, energy being one of them. We will keep trying to take what we can until we are forced to stop - until we fail. This is how it always goes.

No doubt about it--
We occupied Nicaragua numerous times over the las century.

But this was a different model-----------

" For 5% of the population to garner 30% of the world's wealth means quite a few others must go without. "

And the 5% of those 5% have something on the order of 80% of that 30%.

There are a host of issues driving up the cost of maintaining our empire, energy being one of them.

Rachel Maddow did a great piece yesterday on how paved roads in parts of Texas are being converted to gravel roads with 30mph speed limits. The reason these paved roads are crumbling? Heavy and numerous trucks supplying fracking. When the Texas state legislature brought the topic up of increasing fees/taxes on energy companies using these roads, it was immediately nixed. So she said, where is the loop there? You've got private energy co's making money using public roads, but not paying for their wear and tear, their damage?

I would add, apparently there is a great deal of fear that if fees/taxes were raised it might not be competitive to frack and then where would America's two hundred years (sarc) of NG be? But this shows just how desperate the red queen syndrome is getting. The willingness to sacrifice infrastructure for a few more btu's should be a major warning sign, but evidently only some are noticing.

Reports: Most Egypt military aid cut off

CAIRO — U.S. military aid to Egypt has been temporarily cut off, reports said, as Egyptian authorities continued a swelling crackdown on the group that previously ran Egypt.

The U.S. has not stated publicly that a July 3 military takeover in Egypt was a coup, but the government decided privately to act as if it was, temporarily suspending most forms of military aid, the office of Sen. Patrick Leahy told The Daily Beast.

An interesting coalition:

WSJ: Allies Thwart America in Egypt
(For link, search for title)
Israel, Saudis and U.A.E. Support Military Moves

The U.S.'s closest Middle East allies are undercutting American policy in Egypt, encouraging the military to confront the Muslim Brotherhood rather than reconcile, U.S. and Arab officials said.

The parallel efforts by Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have blunted U.S. influence with Egypt's military leadership and underscored how the chaos there has pulled Israel into ever-closer alignment with those Gulf states, officials said. A senior Israeli official called the anti-Muslim Brotherhood nations "the axis of reason."

Israel and Saudi Arabia cooperating? This world is getting stranger by the day...

For now, until the news reports calm down and the public's attention is diverted to the next distraction. But I think Egypt faces a continuing spiral of crisis. The army may seem to be in charge now, but all of the issues are still there to be dealt with and I don't see that the army will be able to solve any of it. Beyond that, it looks like a big split between major groups of the population. As things deteriorate due to overpopulation and lack of resources, people's sympathies may well change.

The Atlantic: How Resource Shortages Sparked Egypt's Months-Long Crisis
The country has battled water shortages, rising food prices, and declining oil production, and it's fueling the current conflict.

A major turning point for Egypt arrived in 1996, when Egypt's domestic oil production peaked at about 935,000 barrels per day (bpd), dropping since then to about 720,000 bpd in 2012. Yet Egypt's domestic oil consumption has increased steadily over the past decade by about 3 percent a year. Since 2010, oil consumption--currently at 755,000 bpd--has outpaced production. It is no coincidence that the following year, Hosni Mubarak was toppled. . . .

And those systemic issues are hardly unique to Egypt. A similar confluence of climate, energy and economic factors are amplifying political polarization, in turn fueling conflict, in Syria and Yemen. While each must of course be understood in their own unique local contexts, their common drivers must be recognized. . . .

By around 2020, Saudi Arabia will be unable to increase production , confronting instead a future of decline--indeed, its oil exports have already begun falling as it increasingly uses up production for domestic needs. That in turn would mean a catastrophic loss of state revenues, not just for Saudi Arabia, but for the other Gulf powers which have much smaller reserves.

Note that both Egypt and Indonesia maintained energy consumption subsidies, even as they slipped into net oil importer status. Link to above Atlantic article:


The Oil Drum board may have chosen a very "interesting" time period in which to shut down, perhaps interesting in the same sense that the Summer of 1914 was "interesting."

Indeed. Call me blind, but I just don't see that anything has materially changed with regard to the basic P.O. premise. Most of the original projections I first read going back almost eight years now didn't have us getting into deep trouble 'til sometime in the mid-to-late teens anyway. And the view from here is that we're right on track. It isn't like there aren't all kinds of vexing problems around that simply wouldn't be an issue if there were still 7mbpd or more of REAL spare capacity and plentiful, cheap to produce crude was selling for $22.50/bbl. I can just see Dr. Hubbert chortling down from above over all the charts posted with the NG & other liquids & tight oil & tar sands that seem to have some convinced that there's a shortcoming in his theory, when all they've done is buy us a handful of years while we're literally scraping the bottom of the barrel. If we could find the conventional crude like we were 45 years ago we wouldn't even think twice about Athabasca & the rest. Looks like he nailed CO&C extraction stalling from a half century out. None of what is going on would even make a blip on his chart from 5000 years ago to 5000 years ahead with that little fossil fuel spike in the middle. Never mind that we really need to stop pumping carbon into the atmosphere yesterday if not sooner. But that's OK, let's burn it all (as we will). CO2 at 450-550ppm will reduce hydrocarbon depletion to a mere footnote in future histories, if there are any.

Rodger that. Thanks.

So much discussion about us cutting off aid to Egypt but it really doesn't matter much. All this huff & puff over $1.3 Billion but Egypt just received over $8 Billion from the Gulf states. Sometimes we think we are more important than we really are.

Egypt's generals following Algerian playbook?

In case it was not already clear, in an interview with the French daily newspaper Le Monde, the Egyptian General Amr said with remarkable frankness that he is prepared to oversee a campaign that would essentially be aimed at “purging” Egypt of political Islam.

There are 90 million Egyptians and there are only three million [members of] the Muslim Brotherhood. We need six months to liquidate or imprison them all," said in the interview, published on Monday.

... “Afterwards, the tourists will come back, and so will foreign investors. And Egypt will be in peace for centuries to come,” he told Le Monde.

The general’s affirmation is eerily similar to comments heard from the mouths of the Algerian “eradicators” – those within the regime who, advocated that any means necessary should be used to wipe out political Islam. This toolkit included any means necessary, with torture, killings and a complete disregard for basic human rights.

Smaïl Lamari, the notorious head of the Algerian intelligence service known as the Department of Counter-Espionage and Internal Security, reportedly made a similar comment eleven years earlier.

... The Algerian generals were themselves borrowing directly from the playbook from the strategy used by the French half a century earlier, during the Algerian War, Samraoui wrote. The theory behind this strategy is based on “Modern Warfare” [pdf], written by the French counter-insurgency theorist Roger Trinquier.

Lovely. Not that I would love fundamentalists of all stripes to just vanish. But this will almost certainly go very badly. Sounds like the Roman approach (wipe them out). Mere suppression only tends to breed yet more and angrier ones. I think the way that has worked best, is to let them have power for a while -then they become unpopular. Morsi's year was probably not long enough to do the job.

Worked well in Iran. The same experiment in Russia took 70 years to come to frutation.

"I think the way that has worked best, is to let them have power for a while -then they become unpopular. Morsi's year was probably not long enough to do the job."

This might work if your fundamentals are already established, but Morsi was re-writing the entire code for the country and quickly consolidating power. Had his "presidency" gone on for much longer it's likely he would have anointed himself the new Mubarak and established a Theocratic fiefdom with himself as king. They were already starting to push for laws oppressing women and anyone non-muslim. Once you let that go on too long it becomes established as the norm and would become difficult to break. As far as Rocks & Hard Places - this was one tight squeeze and the overthrow was likely the best of the bad choices they had available. What's going on now though...a bit of over reaction.

As far as a year not being long enough...I think Pat McCrory has managed it in less time. A year was plenty for Morsi.

The book "Modern Warfare" was written in 1961 and the English translation was published in 1964. Having not read it, I wonder how it compares with David Galula's book, "Counter Insurgency Warfare", also published in 1964, which later became the centerpiece of US military doctrine. Galula thought that the US was going to lose the war in Vietnam because of our tactics, after his experiences in Algeria and Indochina. I'd say he was correct in his assessment...

E. Swanson

Fukushima nuclear plant: Radioactive water leak found

Radioactive water has leaked from a storage tank into the ground at Japan's Fukushima plant, its operator says.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said the leak of at least 300 tonnes of the highly radioactive water was discovered on Monday.

A puddle of the contaminated water was emitting 100 millisieverts an hour of radiation ... "a radiation level strong enough to give someone a five-year dose of radiation within one hour."

Oregon's GOP Chair Wants to Sprinkle Nuclear Waste From Airplanes

After months of in-fighting, the beleaguered Oregon Republican Party elected a new chairman last weekend. His name is Art Robinson, and he wants to sprinkle radioactive waste from airplanes to build up our resistance to degenerative illnesses. Robinson, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress against progressive Rep. Peter DeFazio in 2010 and 2012, took over after the previous chair resigned in advance of a recall campaign over her alleged financial mismanagement.

Robinson, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry, has marketed himself for the last three decades as an expert on everything from nuclear fallout to AIDS to climate science in the pages of a monthly newsletter, Access to Energy,which he published from his compound in the small town of Cave Junction.

… On nuclear waste: "All we need do with nuclear waste is dilute it to a low radiation level and sprinkle it over the ocean—or even over America after hormesis is better understood and verified with respect to more diseases." And: "If we could use it to enhance our own drinking water here in Oregon, where background radiation is low, it would hormetically enhance our resistance to degenerative diseases. Alas, this would be against the law."

Video: Rachel Maddow- Robinson (1) 'I'm not a politician_ I'm a scientist'

… Bat $**t Crazy

Wow. There have probably always been nut jobs in national politics, but the concentration seems to be rising exponentially. We're a long way from peak idiocy.

Robinson is a Fundamentalist Christian and has made a living by publishing a set of books for home schooling kids. His efforts to deny the science of global warming included that OISM petition, which he started circulating along with a tract which was made to looked like it was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. There are numerous bogus names on the petition, in addition to many people who have no experience in the study of climate. Yet, the OISM petition is regularly cited as "proof" that there is a large number of scientists who disagree with the main stream climate research.

Robinson is one of the folks whom I would label as a "denialist". I suppose he doesn't like Darwinian evolution either..

E. Swanson

Here is a link to the US NAVY's patent on a LENR (cold fusion) process to burn nuclear waste.


Until now there has been a general block on patents related to LENR, but this one has been granted.

Generated particles may be captured by other nuclei to create new elements, to remediate nuclear waste, to treat cancerous tumors, or to create strategic materials. Previous efforts to create a reproducible method and corresponding system to generate particles during electrolysis of palladium in heavy water have been unsuccessful.

Very interesting - thanks for posting it.

I would be very interested in a layperson-level review/critical analysis/feasibility study about this.

It's the same people behind the GENIE hybrid reactor http://globalenergycorporation.net/Tech.aspx

This process uses LENR as a trigger to speed up the natural decay of Uranium, even unenriched or spent uranium can can burned. It's much safer vs a traditional fission reaction because it can be shut off quickly in an emergency. The rumor is the new nuclear reactor they were talking about building in Atlanta would be based on this technology. Since the uranium burns completely, it never needs additional fuel. These are mainstream nuclear scientists, people who build reactors for air craft carriers and submarines.

Its also nice to see all the references in the patent, kind of a who's who of LENR research.

This would make at least 2 sides in the LENR "debate" "right".

The ones who say it exists, and the ones who said it'll never generate a useable level of power.

A new reactor doesn't address human factors like sleeping security guards however.

From a quick scan, it is only a method of electroplating that will produce a cathode that gives better results in their experiments. It is not LENR as we understand it.

Scores dead as floods and rainfall hit China

China's Xinhua news agency described the floods in the north-east as the "worst in decades".

The floods have caused crop failure across 256,000 hectares of farmland in the region, which is one of China's major bread baskets, Xinhua reports.

Russia’s Far East hit by biggest floods in 120 years

... The floods have been triggered by a month of heavy rain, and aren’t set to stop until the beginning of September, the head of Russia's hydrometeorology monitoring service told RIA Novosti news agency.

Floods Recede in Manila as Thousands Evacuated

... Throughout the sprawling, low-lying capital region of 12 million people, offices, banks and schools were closed and most roads were impassable. People stumbled through waist- or neck-deep waters, holding on to ropes strung from flooded houses.

... According to an assessment from the Department of Science and Technology, rainfall reached 600 mm (23 ½ inches) in and around Manila Bay on Sunday alone — more than a month's worth of rain in a day. That's compared to the disastrous 2009 Typhoon Ketsana, the strongest to hit Manila in modern history, when 455 mm of rain fell in 24 hours.

Glencore Xstrata writes down $7.7bn in assets

Newly-formed mining giant Glencore Xstrata has written down the value of Xstrata's assets by $7.7bn (£4.9bn), and reported a drop in revenues.

The firm, which was created in May, said the write-down reflected tougher conditions in the mining sector. The sector has been hit by falling metals prices, and rival BHP Billiton posted a 30% fall in full-year profits.

The fall in prices for industrial metals has come as demand from China has softened, as the country's economy slows and reins in its four-year-long construction boom.

... Separately, Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton reported a 30% fall in net profits to $10.9bn for the year to 30 June.

India starts subsidised food plan

The Indian government has launched a programme to provide subsidised food to two-thirds of the population.

The food security scheme launched by Congress Party head Sonia Gandhi aims to give 5kg (11lb) of cheap grain each month to about 800 million poor people. [... over 10% of global population]

... a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage?

How could this possibly go wrong??

It proposes to provide a kilo of rice at three rupees, wheat at two rupees and millet at one rupee.

The measure will apply to 75% of Indians living in rural areas and 50% of the urban population.

Price controls are likely to lead to shortages. Cheap food encourages increasing population.

Bob Shaw's question: Are humans smarter than yeast?
India: 405 people/km2 of land
3837 people/km2 of water
847 people/km2 of arable land
Source: CIA World Factbook, 2012 data

Texas Police Hit Organic Farm With Massive SWAT Raid

... Members of the local police raiding party had a search warrant for marijuana plants, which they failed to find at the Garden of Eden farm. But farm owners and residents who live on the property told a Dallas-Ft. Worth NBC station that the real reason for the law enforcement exercise appears to have been code enforcement. The police seized "17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants ... native grasses and sunflowers," after holding residents inside at gunpoint for at least a half-hour, property owner Shellie Smith said in a statement. The raid lasted about 10 hours, she said.

Local authorities had cited the Garden of Eden in recent weeks for code violations, including "grass that was too tall, bushes growing too close to the street, a couch and piano in the yard, chopped wood that was not properly stacked, a piece of siding that was missing from the side of the house, and generally unclean premises," ...

After Today, Humanity Will Spend The Rest Of 2013 Taking More Than The Earth Can Give

Today is Earth Overshoot Day 2013: the day humanity uses up all the natural resources the planet can sustainably provide for a given year. Our ecological footprint — our pollution, fishing, agriculture, fresh water use, greenhouse emissions, etc. — uses up the planet’s biocapacity — the ability of an ecosystem to regenerate resources and absorb waste. After today, the former will overwhelm the latter for the rest of the year. We’ll be in ecological deficit, inflicting more damage on the global ecology than it can naturally repair.


But now a study led by Lu Baorong, an ecologist at Fudan University in Shanghai, challenges that view: it shows that a weedy form of the common rice crop, Oryza sativa, gets a significant fitness boost from glyphosate resistance, even when glyphosate is not applied.

Goldman Issues Mistaken Options Orders, Roiling Prices

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. sent waves of erroneous orders into the stock-options market on Tuesday morning, the latest technical glitch to roil market prices and bedevil traders and regulators.

The orders, placed for options on stocks and exchange-traded funds with ticker symbols beginning with the letters I through K, drove some prices sharply lower. U.S. options exchanges notified traders on Tuesday that officials were reviewing the trades and might cancel some.

Still, Goldman's potential losses on the mishap could run into hundreds of millions of dollars, according to people familiar with the matter.

Goldman traced the false orders to changes made Monday to an internal software program ...

If anyone knows a reason why, I would appreciate it.

EIA from Alberta for oil sands, mining, etc were posted regularly at


Nothing new on the site since May. Is there a huge slow down in future mining and oil sands plays or have they moved it to a new site?

wget with wildcards for what I did not want yielded a trove of information for specific developments for me to digest.

i am not driving 130 km all around Winnipeg anymore for job (changed back to a residential program from the day program for mentally challenged individuals). So I am not able to gauge as much the volume of oil tankers going through Winnipeg on CP and CPR. But it does not seem any slower, especially on CN and CPR headed south to US. 80 cars of oil and 40 cars of SK potash still seen regularly strolling south.