Drumbeat: August 23, 2013

US petroleum demand hits 3-year high

(IANS) The overall petroleum demand in the US jumped in July to the highest level in three years, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said.

The total petroleum deliveries, a measure of demand, rose 1.7 percent in July from a year ago to average $18.9 million barrels per day, Xinhua reported.

"The summer travel season brought greater demand for several fuel types last month than we've seen in the recent years," API chief economist John Felmy said Thursday.

Crude Rises From Two-Week Low as Jobless Claims Fall

West Texas Intermediate crude rose from a two-week low as the fewest U.S. workers in more than five years applied for unemployment benefits over the past month, bolstering optimism that fuel demand will accelerate.

Gulf Coast Gasoline Weakens as Seasonal Fuel-Grade Switch Nears

U.S. Gulf Coast gasoline weakened versus futures for the first time in four days as the summer driving season draws to a close and the transition between summer and winter grade gasoline begins.

Crude Options Volatility Slips as Oil Rises From Two-Week Low

Crude options volatility slipped to a three-day low as the underlying futures bounced back from a two-week low.

Implied volatility for at-the-money options expiring in October was 21.25 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:15 p.m., down from 22.71 percent yesterday.

Gasoline Gains on Speculation Outages Will Reduce Fuel Supply

Gasoline gained on speculation that unplanned refinery shutdowns and slowdowns will crimp supply as the nation nears the Sept. 2 Labor Day holiday.

PetroChina foresees hefty gains from gas price hike

HONG KONG (Reuters) - PetroChina Co Ltd , which has bled billions of dollars from selling imported natural gas at deep discounts, is turning optimistic about its natural gas business after the government's first gas price hike in three years.

China's dominant energy producer expects the price hike in July to narrow its losses from selling imported gas and boost its profitability by 20 billion yuan ($3.27 billion) every year from 2014, President Wang Dongjin said on Thursday.

Motiva Port Arthur Crude Unit Said to Stay Shut as Barges Scarce

Motiva Enterprises LLC’s Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, may keep its largest crude unit offline because vessels able to transport its output of vacuum gasoil are in tight supply, a person familiar with operations said.

PTT complex braces for protest

Staff of companies in PTT Complex on Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road were told to leave offices at noon, as a group of people plan a protest against LPG price hike at 3.30pm.

Protesters wave Thai flags during a protest outside the headquarters of the headquarters of the Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) in Bangkok

Several hundreds of people protested against the government's plan to raise the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Five theories on US LNG exports (and why they’re probably wrong)

DOE officials have remained tight-lipped about when the next approvals may arrive, but that has not stopped the speculation. Sources have said they wouldn’t be surprised to see a half dozen or more approvals before the end of the year. Others have said it’s not outside the realm of possibility that there will be only one more approval in that time.

In truth, no one may know for sure, but with rumors rampant, let’s take a look at five theories we’re hearing and look at why they may be wrong.

Libya to Resume Oil Exports From Brega as Protests Ease

Libya said it will resume oil exports from Brega, one of four ports where it declared force majeure this week, as protests that shut the facilities since end-July eased.

France's Technip to lay world's deepest gas pipeline in Gulf of Mexico

French firm Technip is to lay the world's deepest gas pipeline for energy giant Shell in the US Gulf of Mexico, a company statement announced Friday in its second big deap-sea pipelaying announcement in 10 days.

The deal is "an important engineering, procurement and installation contract for the development of subsea infrastructure for the Stones field," at a depth of about 2,900 metres, Technip said.

Jeff Rubin: Canada’s race to build pipelines won’t spell relief at the pumps

Canadian drivers may think that TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline, which will allow Alberta to ramp up oil sands production while boosting the flow of oil to eastern Canada, will translate into lower pump prices. Think again.

By connecting land-locked oil deposits in Alberta and North Dakota with world markets, pipelines and railways aren’t just letting industry pull more oil out of the ground — they’re also connecting those oil flows to world prices. That’s something this continent hasn’t seen much of lately. Earlier this year, for instance, Western Canadian Select, the benchmark price for bitumen from the oil sands, traded at nearly half the price of Brent crude. Such a steep discount set off alarm bells in Alberta, as well as in finance minister Jim Flaherty’s office.

Canada's oil pipelines will not build a nation - they are a great swindle

The defeat has been barely noticed by the media. Amidst the rolling hills of Quebec's lush farm and wine region, the small town of Dunham has beaten the oil giants.

It's here that Enbridge and Portland-Montreal Pipe Line – owned by Imperial Oil, Suncor and Shell – have been trying to construct a pumping station to pipe heavy crude over a nearby mountain range. The infrastructure is integral to Enbridge's plans to ship Alberta tar sands, via Quebec, to the eastern coast of the United States.

But when Enbridge quietly initiated this project in 2008, a coalition of local farmers, residents and environmentalists formed in opposition. They marched, launched legal challenges, and organized Canada's first UK-inspired climate camp – which ended in promises of civil disobedience.

The Peak Oil Crisis: A Review of Richard Heinberg’s ‘Snake Oil’

Richard Heinberg has been following and writing about peak oil for a long time. In the last decade, he has published 10 books on peak oil and related resource depletion topics as well as given some 500 lectures warning about the hard times ahead. The subtitle of his recent book, “How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future” captures “Snake Oil’s” theme in a lucid phrase. This is an angry book, for it is intended as a rejoinder to the avalanche of half truths and optimistic estimates concerning the future of our energy resources which have filled our media in the last few years.

As the evidence accumulates that man is destroying the atmosphere by ever-increasing carbon emissions and bankrupting his economic systems by continued reliance on increasingly expensive oil, realistic appraisals of our true energy situation are being lost.

The Association for the study of Peak oil and gas announces Eagle Ford Shale – a snapshot of today’s activity

Southwest of Texas’ capital city Austin and towards the Mexican border there is a large area of shale called the "Eagle Ford Shale”, EFS. For those interested I can mention that there is a good website “Eagle Ford Shale” where one can find all sorts of information on Eagle Ford. Figures in this report are from that website.

Afren says H1 oil output up 13% on rise in Nigeria production

Lagos (Platts) - UK-listed independent producer Afren said Friday its oil production rose 13% in the first half of the year to 47,653 b/d of oil equivalent, driven largely by increased output from its offshore fields in Nigeria.

"We recorded a year-on-year increase in underlying net production of 13%, principally from our greenfield developments offshore Nigeria," chief executive Osman Shahenshah said in a note on the company's 2013 half year results.

Nigeria state revenues tumble 42 pct in July due to oil outages

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria's government revenues slumped 42 percent in July due to oil theft and production outages, the accountant general said on Friday, underscoring how oil theft is damaging public finances this year.

State revenues fell to 498 billion naira, the lowest monthly earnings this year and down from 863 billion naira in June.

Obama tells CNN key decisions nearing on Syria, Egypt

(CNN) -- The time is nearing for a potentially definitive U.S. response to alleged Syrian government atrocities and an increasingly violent military crackdown in Egypt, President Barack Obama said in an exclusive interview broadcast Friday on CNN's "New Day."

The U.S. remains "one indispensable nation" in the volatile Middle East and elsewhere, Obama told "New Day" anchor Chris Cuomo.

"We have to think through strategically what's going to be in our long term national interests."

Asked by Cuomo whether the U.S. government is now facing a "more abbreviated time frame" on key decisions in Egypt and Syria, Obama repeatedly gave a one-word response: yes.

Sanctions biting but Iran not budging

WASHINGTON (AP) — New signs are emerging that international sanctions are taking a deepening toll on Iran's economy — putting billions of dollars in oil money out of the government's reach. Yet there is no indication the distress is achieving the West's ultimate goal of forcing the Islamic Republic to halt its nuclear program.

Iran has proved adept at working around sanctions and if oil prices don't plummet, U.S. analysts say the country probably has enough economic stamina to reach what the West suspects is its true intention — producing nuclear weapons.

Apache's Egypt quandary symbolizes tough business call

Apache Corp faces a difficult choice in Egypt: whether to sell its substantial oil and natural gas operations in the country or wait out the recent bloodshed.

The Texas-based energy company has said it is assessing the value of its Egyptian interests, which account for roughly a fifth of its global oil and gas production and 27 percent of its revenue last year.

Angola Urges Diversification Amid Stable Oil Prices

Angola, Africa’s largest oil producer after Nigeria, needs to cut its reliance on crude to buffer the economy as prices for the commodity are set to remain stable over the next three years, a central bank official said.

Arab strife pushes big prize oil search to Morocco, Malta

LONDON (Reuters) - Middle East turmoil has given a fresh spur to energy companies looking for big finds further afield to more stable and inviting hosts Morocco, Malta and Spain.

Close to known reserves and large markets, they offer tempting terms for explorers without the risks of production in Syria, Libya or Egypt.

Putin Energy Czar Igor Sechin Acquires First Shares in Rosneft

OAO Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin bought his first shares in the state-run company, now the world’s largest traded crude producer by output, that he has led for almost 10 years.

Sechin, who heads an energy commission formed by President Vladimir Putin last year, bought shares worth 0.0075 percent of the company’s charter capital, according to a regulatory filing by the Moscow-based company today, which also listed six other managers that bought stock. The stake is worth about $5.6 million, based on Rosneft shares, which rose 0.82 percent to 236.41 rubles at 2:22 p.m. in Moscow today.

India, Iraq to discuss rupee payments for trade - minister

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The government will discuss with Iraq the possibility of settling trade payments in the rupee currency, the trade minister said, in a move that will also help stabilise the troubled currency.

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is visiting India to finalise a deal to sell India more crude oil.

DNO reports surging production

DNO, the Norwegian oil company operating in Iraqi Kurdistan, reported a production increase of nearly a third during the second quarter on the back of record flows from its first horizontal well in the region.

A well at Tawke, an oilfield located near the borders of Syria and Turkey, flowed at a rate of 25,000 barrels per day (bpd), compared with the previous record of 10,000 bpd at another well in the same field.

Exxon to sell over half of Iraq oilfield stake to PetroChina, Pertamina-Iraq minister

(Reuters) - Exxon Mobil is selling over half of its 60 percent holding in Iraq's West Qurna-1 oilfield project to China's biggest energy firm PetroChina and Indonesia's Pertamina, Iraq's oil minister confirmed on Friday.

"25 percent (stake) to PetroChina and 10 percent to Pertamina," Abdul Kareem Luaibi told Reuters on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting here.

Statoil to bet on Angola, Russian shale in exploration

OSLO (Reuters) - Statoil, one of the most successful oil explorers in recent years, sees offshore Angola and Russian shale as the industry's next big plays and considers U.S. shale oil overhyped, its exploration chief Tim Dodson said.

Argentina Prepares China Shale Deal to Boost Gas Reserves

YPF SA, Argentina’s state-owned energy company, said its next shale oil and gas partnership will be with a group including China’s Cnooc Ltd.

China’s biggest offshore energy explorer probably will sign next month a definitive deal to explore and develop deposits in the Vaca Muerta formation, either as part of its Bridas Corp. joint venture with the billionaire Bulgheroni brothers or with the Bridas-run Pan American Energy LLC, YPF board member Hector Valle said in an interview.

Indonesia oil regulator suspends energy tenders amid graft scandal

(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.

BP spill claims deadline may slip by year or more

LONDON (Reuters) - The April 2014 deadline for compensation claims against BP over its U.S. oil spill is almost certain to be extended, say both side of the legal settlement that governs payouts, possibly into 2015.

The last date for claims, part of the oil company's settlement last year with individual and business claimants, was always potentially moveable, but like the open-ended nature of its cost that hit home earlier this year, the indefinite extendibility may not have been fully appreciated by long suffering investors, analysts say.

Tear gas used on protesters in Oman

Muscat: Security forces on Thursday fired tear gas to disperse protesters in Liwa town, about 235km north of Muscat, according to Monitor of Human Rights in Oman (MHRO).

The independent human rights group has posted photographs of protesters running helter-skelter after security forces fired tear gas. Gulf News could not independently verify the claims.

The protests, led by Dr Talib Al Maa’mari, Shura Council member from Liwa, were held by local residents, including women and children, to oppose growing pollution in the area due to the Sohar Industrial Estate.

County bans drilling waste

Albany, NY - County lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Monday to ban gas-drilling waste, specifically the chemical cocktail produced by hydrofracking, from county water treatment plants and from use on its roads.

The measure targets drilling's highly salty and often radioactive liquid byproduct, said Guilderland Democrat Bryan Clenahan, the ban's chief sponsor. Gas companies have marketed the liquid as a tool to keep roads from icing over in the winter.

Anti-Fracking Protestors to Appeal Directly to Obama During Visit to Shale Country

President Obama’s welcome on his trip to Pennsylvania and New York this week may not be as warm as he’d hoped. Anti-fracking citizens in both states, dismayed at the President’s decision to embrace natural gas development as a major energy priority, plan to protest his visit to shale country. They join a growing number of Americans living in the gas industry’s path with real and substantial concerns about what the President’s policies might mean for their future.

Fukushima inspectors 'careless', Japan agency says, as nuclear crisis grows

HIRONO, Japan (Reuters) - The operator of Japan's wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant was careless in monitoring tanks storing dangerously radioactive water, the nuclear regulator said on Friday, the latest development in a crisis no one seems to know how to contain.

Tepco testing tainted earth at No. 1 plant

FUKUSHIMA – Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Friday started digging up soil tainted with highly radioactive water discharged from a storage tank at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to test its radiation levels.

The utility will dig areas measuring 12 sq. meters in total to a depth of 40 to 50 cm where pools of leaked radioactive water formed, and then measure levels to determine how far the contamination has spread and how much soil needs to be removed.

Japan's Abe to visit Middle East in nuclear push

TOKYO (AFP) – The prime minister of energy-poor Japan heads to the oil-rich Middle East this weekend in his latest push to promote nuclear technology exports, a spokesman said Friday, despite growing problems at the crippled Fukushima plant.

Shinzo Abe was due to leave Tokyo on Saturday for a six-day trip that will take in Bahrain, Kuwait, Djibouti and Qatar, with discussion of Japan's nuclear know-how expected to be on the agenda.

Daily life shapes sustainable transportation

Imagine your life recreated in data, every car trip, bus ride, grocery store stop and burrito run—including when, why, and with whom you went—represented by blips on a computer.

It's recently been done in Southern California, the daily to-do's of 18 million people tracked, logged, mapped and analyzed. Baltimore is now getting the same treatment, and Seoul, Korea, may be next.


The massive undertaking is all in the name of sustainable transportation, and some UC Santa Barbara geographers are central to the mission. With colleagues from the University of Texas at Austin and from Arizona State University, they're collaborating with some of the nation's most crowded municipalities to inform emissions policy through data collection, synthesis, and analysis.

July best ridership month ever for Amtrak

Amtrak announced that July was its best single ridership month ever.

“Amtrak is delivering record ridership across the country and serving as an economic engine to help local communities grow and prosper,” said President/CEO Joe Boardman.

Tesla begins selling the Model S in China

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - Tesla has officially entered the Chinese auto market.

"As of now, TESLA Model S reservations are being accepted," Tesla said Wednesday on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site similar to Twitter.

NY EV market evolving with truck incentives

New York has launched a $19 million Truck Voucher Incentive Program to encourage the purchase of battery-electric commercial trucks and other energy-efficient transportation, including hybrid and compressed natural gas trucks that will drive innovation in the commercial vehicle sector and help meet federal clean air standards.

Bike & Go: road testing the new national bike hire scheme

A nationwide public bike sharing scheme launched this month, providing bikes at railway stations across the country.

Fossil Fuels Contain Buried Risks; Look To SolarCity For Growth

The gap between government goals and Exxon's projections means that something has to give; either global governments stick to their plan of maintaining a global temperature increase under 2° mainly through the shift to renewables from fossil fuels; or global governments fold to the oil and coal companies and allow global climate change to continue mostly unabated.

Wind Farms Take Root Out at Sea

BREMEN, Germany — In a warehouse district on the outskirts of Bremen in northwestern Germany is a big, well-lighted work space dominated by the massive top section of a wind turbine called a nacelle.

It is here that Siemens, the German power systems giant, trains new employees and gives refresher courses on how to work safely on modern windmills that can rise 90 meters, or about 300 feet, and weigh more than 100 tons.

Building inspector: Covanta probably not to blame for Falls rat problem

NIAGARA FALLS – The city’s chief building inspector said Friday he doesn’t think Covanta Niagara’s energy-from-waste incinerator has caused a recent rat infestation in a nearby neighborhood.

Dennis F. Virtuoso, who also is a Niagara County legislator, said he thinks the source of the problem is the reconstruction of nearby Buffalo Avenue.

Is Al Jazeera America Going to Change the Way Networks Cover Climate Change?

On its first day of broadcasting, Al Jazeera America devoted 30 minutes to climate change—more time than top shows on CNN and Fox News have given to this issue in the past four-and-a-half months, combined. In fact, the full half-hour (24 minutes, plus commercials) of broadcast of Inside Story was equal to about half of the coverage climate change received in 2012 from the nightly news on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox, combined. For a network that promised to provide "unbiased, fact-based and in-depth, journalism," this seems like a promising start.

California ‘Freebies’ Drive Carbon to 2013 Low

Carbon prices in California have slumped to the lowest level this year as the state weighs increasing the number of free permits offered to polluters in an effort to kick-start the fledgling market.

State aid formula brews new storm

Upstate communities saw more than their homes, roads and bridges wash away with Tropical Storm Irene two years ago.

They also lost millions of dollars in property tax revenue as the value of storm-damaged homes and businesses declined — and in some cases disappeared.

Fiji official: Climate change hampers development of island nations

SUVA, Fiji (UPI) -- Climate change is one of the biggest barriers to sustainable development for small island countries, a Fijian official said Wednesday.

Speaking at a climate workshop in Fiji's capital Suva, Esala Nayasi, director of the political and treaties division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the adverse effects of climate change are a security threat to Pacific island countries (PICs), China's Xinhua news agency reported.

Climate change may be baring Mt. Everest

A warming climate is melting the glaciers of Mount Everest, shrinking the frozen cloak of Earth’s highest peak by 13% in the last 50 years, researchers have found.

Rocks and natural debris previously covered by snow are appearing now as the snow line has retreated 590 feet, according to Sudeep Thakuri, a University of Milan scientist who led the research.

Is climate change humanity's greatest-ever risk management failure?

Humans are generally very risk-averse. We buy insurance to protect our investments in homes and cars. For those of us who don't have universal health care, most purchase health insurance. We don't like taking the chance - however remote - that we could be left unprepared in the event that something bad happens to our homes, cars, or health.

Climate change seems to be a major exception to this rule. Managing the risks posed by climate change is not a high priority for the public as a whole, despite the fact that a climate catastrophe this century is a very real possibility, and that such an event would have adverse impacts on all of us.

Amish farmers adapt to climate change

“Not everybody, in agriculture, industry or government, agrees on what is happening. But they’re finding that they have to address adverse weather conditions,” said Dale Arnold, director of energy policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau.

While Amish communities in Ohio have a well-established reputation for resisting change on a variety of levels, they are adapting some of the same new agricultural practices as their English neighbors as they strive to remain productive and viable.

Northeast Passage: Russia Moves to Boost Arctic Shipping

The earth has rarely been as warm as it is today -- and it has never been this small. In the distant past, traveling from Hamburg to Shanghai by ship meant sailing around Africa, a journey of at least 28,000 kilometers (17,400 miles). A short cut became available in 1869, with the opening of the Suez Canal, an event so epochal that Giuseppe Verdi was asked to compose a hymn for the celebration. After that, the Hamburg-Shanghai route measured only about 20,000 kilometers.

Now another hymn could be needed, albeit a Russian one. Global warming has led to the rapid melting of Arctic sea ice. Where the thick ice pack stretched off the Siberian coast in August only a few years ago, there is nothing but the gray and cold Arctic Ocean today.

China could be the future of Arctic oil

The Arctic may contain 10-15 percent of the world's undiscovered oil reserves, with most of that oil located in the seabed of the Arctic Ocean. And China, thanks to its financial rather than military strength, could take the lion's share.

The US Geological Survey estimates there are 90 billion barrels of conventional oil north of the Arctic Circle, enough to fuel the entire world for three years at current consumption rates.

Australian floods of 2010 and 2011 caused global sea level to drop

Rain - in effect, evaporated ocean - fell in such colossal quantities during the Australian floods in 2010 and 2011 that the world's sea levels actually dropped by as much as 7mm.

Rising Seas

As the planet warms, the sea rises. Coastlines flood. What will we protect? What will we abandon? How will we face the danger of rising seas?

Greenpeace to defy Russians, enter Arctic seas without permit

The crew of a Greenpeace icebreaker says it will ignore Russian law and sail without a permit into that country's northern waters to protest offshore energy development.

Russian authorities had denied the icebreaker Arctic Sunrise entry to the Northern Sea Route, citing questions over the vessel's ice strengthening, Greenpeace said in a statement.

It said the Arctic Sunrise has a higher ice classification than many of the more than 400 vessels that have been granted access to the northern sea route this year.

"This is a thinly veiled attempt to stifle peaceful protest and keep international attention away from Arctic oil exploration in Russia," Greenpeace campaigner Christy Ferguson said.

Japan seeds clouds to boost Tokyo rain

Japanese scientists have fired cloud seeding equipment to help top up reservoirs serving the 35 million people of greater Tokyo, officials said Friday, amid a sweltering summer dry spell.

Using a piece of equipment nearly half a century old, the Bureau of Waterworks sent a plume of silver iodide up through a chimney over an area outside of Tokyo, an official told AFP.

Around 17.5 millimetres (two thirds of an inch) of rain was recorded over the following two hours, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

Wonder how radioactive it was?

I first had training as an X-ray technician 1n 1948. I worked as an X-ray technician while at Baylor Medical School then had a long career as a radiologist, which included working with relatively primitive equipment and handling radium needles. I do not claim to be a bonafide radiobiologist but have followed much of the literature on the Linear No-threshold Model and competing models including radiation hormesis. The data is largely buried in a sea of statistical noise, however I am reasonably convinced that the dangers of low-level ionizing radiation are greatly exaggerated

'A little danger here, a little danger there, nothing to be worried about.', implies the tribal elder... The (tree) problem is that it's compounded with (a forest of) everything else, so the exaggerations essentially return and normalize like the increasing temperature of the water of the proverbial pot of frogs.
We don't exist, as a species, as a tens of thousands in villages scattered around the globe anymore, but many seem to think and act as though we still do, like the planet maybe goes on forever, like it's flat and there are no edges. But the hamster is already impossible. Unlike that Impossible Hamster animation, it's not floating bloated in outer-space yet, but it might as well be.

I have the documentary, 'Open Pit'-- apparently about corporate mining in the area known as Peru, which you can find on You Tube-- currently on pause, and in it, it seems that the locals are yet again fighting this monster some of us call the corporatocracy.

"... So money goes toward those who will create even more of it. But, basically economic growth means that you have to find something that was once nature and make it into a good, or was once a gift-relationship and make it into a service. You have to find something that people once got for free or did for themselves or for each other, and then take it away and sell it back to them, somehow. By turning things into commodities, we get cut off from nature in the same ways we are cut off from community."
~ Charles Eisenstein

I might come back to this, but for now will add to Charles' quote that the current prevailing legal system allows people (and entities legalized as persons) with/to have, often through sheer luck, circumstances and/or corruption, etc., more money than others, (and) to turn around and use it to acquire land and resources-- again, by law, by coercion/force.

Incidentally, I've previously read hereon something to the effect of life not being fair... Well, apparently yes and no... Given the above dynamic and its repercussions, already playing out, I would be tempted to argue that, not only is fairness-- love-- a prerogative of life, but it is encoded into its very fabric, and if it is constantly ignored, then (self-made) disasters beyond the usual await. For example; you can have a culture that fairly/lovingly raises and kills animals for food, or it can provide them with a nightmarish existence and death, and watch the disasters, or karma, if you will, unfold from that... It may take awhile, but nature is patient.

I was not entirely sure about karma, but now suspect it has some levels of relevance.

By the way, is that radiation coming from the outside, and/or from internal radioactive particles consumed? And with regard to exaggerated dangers, to what are the dangers exaggerated? The fish, plants and/or other species? Or just us? Lastly, how many nuclear power plants and waste do we have globally, and when are the potential dangers in that regard considered less exaggerated, and by what criteria and by whom? From what is understood, apparently the governmob in Japan raised the maximum allowable radiation exposure limit.

---..."By the way, is that radiation coming from the outside, and/or from internal radioactive particles consumed? And with regard to exaggerated dangers, to what are the dangers exaggerated? The fish, plants and/or other species? Or just us? Lastly, how many nuclear power plants and waste do we have globally, and when are the potential dangers in that regard considered less exaggerated, and by what criteria and by whom?..."

For starters consider reading the two books T. D. Luckey. They are difficult to obtain but are available in many large university libraries. Both have more than 1,000 references. It is somewhat easier to find material by Dr. Luckey (and others) in the journal Health Physics

Thanks for the book and more-than-a-thousand references, which brings to mind a concern about overcomplexity, expert myopia and straight answers.

I'm not sure that there are straight answers when dealing with Bier VII and the various radiation models. Bier VII arises from bureaucratic fiat.

New Radiation Hot Spots Found at Japanese Nuclear Plant

The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said on Thursday new spots of high radiation had been found near storage tanks holding highly contaminated water, raising fear of fresh leaks as the disaster goes from bad to worse.

The announcement comes after Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said this week contaminated water with dangerously high levels of radiation was leaking from a storage tank.

... In an inspection carried out following the revelation of the leakage, high radiation readings - 100 millisieverts per hour and 70 millisieverts per hour - were recorded at the bottom of two tanks in a different part of the plant, Tepco said.

The confirmed leakage prompted Japan's nuclear watchdog to say it feared the disaster was “in some respect” beyond Tepco's ability to cope.

Spilt milk in comparison to what could happen at reactor 4 when they attempt to move the spent fuel rods.

Fukushima apocalypse: Years of ‘duct tape fixes’ could result in ‘millions of deaths’

Since we have been discussing Reactor 4, I'll stick to that problem in particular, but also understand that a weather event, power outage, earthquake, tsunami, cooling system failure, or explosion and fire in any way, shape, or form, at any location on the Fukushima site, could cascade into an event of that magnitude as well.

At any time, following any of these possible events, or even all by itself, nuclear fuel in reactor 4's pool could become critical, mostly because it will heat up the pool to a point where water will burn off and the zirconium cladding will catch fire when it is exposed to air. This already happened at least once in this pool that we are aware of. It almost happened again recently after a rodent took out an electrical line and cooling was stopped for days.

Once the integrity of the pool is compromised that will likely lead to more criticalities, which then can spread to other fuel. The heat from this reaction would weaken the structure further, which could then collapse and the contents of the pool end up in a pile of rubble on the ground. This would release an enormous amount of radioactivity, which Arnie Gundersen has referred to as a “Gamma Shine Event” without precedence, and Dr. Christopher Busby has deemed an “Open-air super reactor spectacular.”

This would preclude anyone from not only being at Reactor 4, but at Reactors 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, the associated pools for each, and the common spent fuel pool. Humans could no longer monitor and continue cooling operations at any of the reactors and pools, thus putting the entire site at risk for a massive radioactive release.

But our luck has held so far, so it's ok to party on knowing our luck just has to hold in the future too. Right?

Although this might need more than luck:

And a newly stated concern is the proximity of melted fuel in relation to the Tokyo aquifer that extends under the plant. If and when the corium reaches the Tokyo aquifer, serious and expedient discussions will have to take place about evacuating 40 million people from the greater metropolitan area.

Apparently Earth is 4.54 billion years old. That seems awfully recent in a universe that's only apparently 13.77 billion years old, don't you think? Why should our planet be, eerily perhaps, as old as almost exactly a third (4.54 x 3= 13.62 billion) of the age of the entire universe? (Is there a fractal pattern in there somewhere?)
Given the question about life on other planets, maybe it is indeed very early in the process and we may be among the first. And so maybe we are part of a grander scheme of things (we are anyway by our very existence) that has to start relatively early and that somehow involves lots of mined and weird and radioactive stuff to be deposited all over the surface of the planet. Perhaps natural evolution is not enough. It needs a boost. Maybe this pattern is being, and will be, repeated elsewhere in the universe.

Apparently Earth is 4.54 billion years old. That seems awfully recent in a universe that's only apparently 13.77 billion years old, don't you think?

Not when you realize celestial bodies like Earth are composed of mass compressed in dying stars. So the Big Bang happened, then billions of years passed as stars were born, then billions more passed as those stars burned their hydrogen converting it to helium, burning out, and in some cases imploding. Depending on the size of the star it compresses into a black hole, neutron star, white dwarf, pulsar, etc., and remnant portions spew out in some cases to form solar systems with planets. A whole spectrum of possible types of stars and planets. Welcome to the Universe still expanding, in fact at an ever faster pace, and to its younger Earth. As a side note, all the calcium in our bodies is from stars.

Pretty much everything in our bodies except hydrogen and lithium is from super-novas. The big-bang created only H, He, and Li. Everything is made within stars.

I understand the composition, but that's the thing; in order to get something like an Earth forming at such a seemingly relatively-early time in the universe as it did, I wonder how many supernovae, etc., iterations and amount of time are necessary. It might even be calculable.
Also, what was the earlier universe like 4.54 billion years ago? Or 9.08 billion years ago? Probably not much there to at least form much in the way of a stable environment for something like Earth, so they would not have likely formed, or been stable for long enough. Things would have been closer, hotter and more active... Gravity, radiation, heat, collisions... 4.54 billion years, and relative to the universe's surprisingly young age, is a hell of a long time to get to where we are right now, and our own relative ephemerality is already under revision.

Wow. You just gave me the answer to the Fermi paradox. Yeah, we are probably one of the first planets with intelligent life. First you had the big bang, then you had lots of cosmic evolution. Then lots of stars had to form, burn, and then go super-nova in order to form the heavier elements. So it probably took a good 7 to 8 billion years until there were enough heavier elements to even make life possible. Our planet then formed and life started. It took some 4.5billion years to evolve us. Any other intelligent life out there (which is probably extremely rare) probably hasn't been around much longer than us. And even if they are out there, it is no surprise they haven't mastered long-distance space travel given the near impossible physics of it.

Yes, that's what I'm thinking, and thanks for the elaboration, which helps.

I still think Greer may be right about this.

It's hard to guess precisely how the removal process will work, but my guess is that a crane equipped with a grapple expressly designed for the job will be used to pull the spent fuel out vertically, since the possibility of keeping the remaining fuel covered with water as the job progresses seems to be slight to negligible except by bringing the fuel out vertically.

I have seen a spent fuel pool, and if remember correctly, the water level was maintained during the handling ( putting fuel into the pool, removing it) of fuel by a lock system similar to the locks used to operate canals.The fuel rods/ bundles were moved by trolley cranes mounted overhead, above the water.

Repairing all the wiring, plumbing, and moving parts of the lock system- assuming there is a lock system-- would appear to be mission impossible, given the extent of the damage and the radiation levels.

Once debris is cleared way adequately to bring the crane close enough , the crane itself can be used to remove any remaining debris on top of the fuel such as portion s of the collapsed roof, etc. my assumption that a crane will have to be maneuvered close enough to do this is based on another assumption- that repairing the remains of the existing fuel handling apparatus will not be possible.

This will be an incredibly tricky job for the people actually hands on, but as I see it , the authorities in charge have no real option other than to go ahead with it.

The choice appears to be one between a potential immediate disaster, and a virtually guaranteed one within the easily foreseeable future, given the inevitable future storm, earthquake, equipment failure, human error , etc, that simply must occur, sooner or later.

Given the known conditions on site, my guess is that "sooner" is likelier than 'later". :-(

Iodine 131 has a haf life of 8 days. So after 80 days all of it would have decayed to Xenon 131 which is not radioactive. So the iodine emitted after the reactors meted down no longerexists. The cloud seading didn't release any new radiation.

So the iodine emitted after the reactors meted down no longerexists

All of it? All the 36 other possible isotopes of Iodine are just not mathematically possible?

So after 80 days all of it would have decayed

You you are claiming ALL, not one atom?

Do show the math to prove 0. Because that was your claim - 0.

Actually it would be more like 99.9%. And during the next 80 days about 99.9% of the 0.1% would have decayed. (A simple qualifier would have been useful.)

I agree - there would be a great reduction. But not the claimed 0.

But the original poster, like the media and most everyone else, doesn't seem to understand that the event is ongoing and there has been recurring critical events from the initial failures.

Even the language 'melted down' is not correct for all of the damaged reactors.

"But the original poster, like the media and most everyone else, doesn't seem to understand that the event is ongoing"

No the cleanup effort is ongoing. Nuclear fission in reactors 1,2, and 3 has stopped. The Hydrogen explosion have vented reactors 1,2,and 3. If fission occured in these reactors iodine 131 would be released in to the air and would detected in North America as it was detected a couple of weeks after the meltdown. On the day of the meltdown most of the fuel mixed with melted steal, zerconium, and possibly some of teh cement that surounds the reactor. When that happened at 3 mile island and Chernobyl the the density of uranium 235 dropped to subcritical levels and fission stopped.

The situation in reactor 4 is less certian since no one can get to the temporary storage pool for that reactor. When the wave hit reactor 4 was shut down and no fuel was in the reator. Some of it's fuel was placed in the long term storage pool becasue they had consumed most of the Uranium 235 in the rodes. The rodes that still had 235 left were placed in the temporary storage pool. If a criticality event did occure in the temporary pool how could it be any worse than then events that played out in reactors 1, 2, and 3 in one day? The temporary pool in reactor 4 has no more than 1/3 of the fuel that the other reactors had when they melted down.

The cleanup of the site is going to be an ongoing mess because the radiation is preventing anyone from getting to the source of the problem, the damaged reactor of 1,2, and 3. After a couple of decandes of radioactive decay the radiation field may be small enough to allow some access to the damaged reactors.

---"But the original poster, like the media and most everyone else, doesn't seem to understand that the event is ongoing"---

Assuming that I was the original poster, then I consider the above statement incorrect. Any ongoing local events or other problems -atmospheric and oceanic pollution for example - have little if any relevance to the validity of various radiation models.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't...

HS2 costs could mean rail nightmare, says Darling

Ex-Chancellor Alistair Darling has warned of a potential "nightmare" on England's existing railways if the multibillion-pound HS2 line is built.

He was in the cabinet when the high speed rail scheme was approved in principle but has now changed his mind.

A rise in its budget from £32bn to £42.6bn would drain cash from other lines, he said.

But Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin hit back by saying not building HS2 would be a nightmare.

He said "massive growth" in passengers and freight meant the line was a necessity...

..."The simple fact is, Mr Darling says that it would be a nightmare if we do HS2. It would also be a nightmare if we didn't do HS2 because what we have seen is a massive growth in [passengers and freight on] our railways over the past 20 years."

This is the problem as I've seen it: How to build new infrastructure when societies are financially strapped in maintaining current infrastructure; what I mean when I point out that we've invested in too many of the wrong things for too long. We'll muddle through, perhaps.

:How to build new infrastructure when societies are financially strapped in maintaining current infrastructure;

You mean it's difficult to increase complexity while going down the net energy ladder? And the mentality goes something like this; if only we can borrow just a little more before the party is over, maybe we'll be fine the rest of the way down. Keep QE in place just a little longer!

It's really starting to seem like peak BAU these days with all the countries QEing (with at least the US floating the idea of tapering to see the reaction by the markets), oil over a hundred bucks, the budget impasse coming in Sept., infrastructure degrading without funds to replace, yet fast rail in the UK (where they are also past their domestic peak oil) seems like a panacea for further growth, more BAU. Like rocking back in a chair, not falling back but not falling forward either. Do we invest in growth, or just try and replace/fix infrastructure or try to pay off old debts? Such a quandary of hard choices at the peak.

Thanks for mentioning it Ghung!
Here in UK we are still not where we were with GDP back in 2007.
Lots of lobbying by powerful interest groups and we did rather rely on the Finance 'industry', which went from being a nice earner to a liability, but still seems in pole position.

HS2, Airports, Nuclear, all are stalled at the moment. My guess is most if not all will never get built.Replacement for obsolete coal power plant is coming up soon; my guess is that we will try to string out the old as long as possible. On the othar hand a few grid interconnectors might get built.

Fracking has attracted some totally delusional support in mainstream press - takes our mind off collapsing local North sea oil & NG. Art Berman though suggests 30,000 wells would be needed to develop the main shale formation, assuming it is comparable with Bakken. This is a bit more than "4000 holes in Lancashire".
Government vacillates but plays clever cards. Our utilities change hands with international consortia who make a bet on being able to extract returns from citizens tied to existing infrastructure.

There are quite a lot of 'non-negotiable' high priorities. Our rail service is subsidised and absolutely London would cease to function without a maintained legacy of both overground and underground rail. It would also cease to function if the Thames Barrage was not maintained against very high tides.

Groundwater Contamination May End the Gas-Fracking Boom
Contrary to the numerous statements of some of the much respected TOD comment section residents (and geologists!):

In Pennsylvania, the closer you live to a well used to hydraulically fracture underground shale for natural gas, the more likely it is that your drinking water is contaminated with methane. This conclusion, in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA in July, is a first step in determining whether fracking in the Marcellus Shale underlying much of Pennsylvania is responsible for tainted drinking water in that region.

Contrary to the numerous statements of some of the much respected TOD comment section residents (and geologists!):

I can think of one prominent moniker now, but alas I'm too nice to mention it. Him and I went back and forth many times with his contention being that as long as the used fracking fluid was disposed of correctly, it was impossible for it to contaminate well water. This just goes to show us all that no one knows it all. We all come together to share information to understand a complex topic better.

"as long as the used fracking fluid was disposed of correctly, it was impossible for it to contaminate well water."

Translation:' As long as the used fracking fluid doesn't contaminate well water, it is impossible for it to contaminate well water.'

Researchers Granted Patent for System That Fuses Human And Computer Intelligence

In complex crisis situations involving military situation awareness, homeland security and other time-sensitive scenarios, teams of experts must often make difficult decisions within a narrow time frame. However, voluminous amounts of information and the complexity of distributed cognition can hamper the quality and timeliness of decision-making by human teams and lead to catastrophic consequences.

Two professors from Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) have devised a system that merges human and computer intelligence to support decision-making in crisis situations. ... The approach adopted in the researchers’ invention is to develop a cognitive-aware software system that can act as decision aids of human team members in varying ways, including context-sensitive anticipation of others’ information needs, proactive information/experience sharing and collaborative situation assessment.

see also Skynet

... Are we still an effective team? - Oblivion - 2013

I've been wondering how long it will take the military-industrial complex to suddenly see invalided soldiers as a resource. And start to weaponize humans into demi-bots.

I suppose it would be better than ordinary bots collating billions of pieces of sensory data and then making a decision as to which action to take. We know how that usually works out.

I wonder if Stuxnet and PTSD will find a way to cross-breed into a Super Human-Machine Hybrid Virus.

What would be really intriguing is if the machines were ACTUALLY guided by reason and calculation, and they came up with the War Games solution that our emotion-laden souls have never managed to. "The only solution is not to play" (at war, that is..)

I wonder if a super computer will be out there talking US off the ledge someday? THAT would be funny!

Can we save our urban water systems?

Existing urban water systems are at the end of their design lifetimes. New, innovative solutions are needed, and these must combine technology and engineering with an understanding of social systems and institutions. The challenge of innovation is sharpened by inertia in the water industry.

The article, entitled "The Innovation Deficit in Urban Water: The Need for an Integrated Perspective on Institutions, Organizations, and Technology," [full article] contends that for new innovations to be implemented successfully, engineers must understand the social, economic, institutional, and political mechanisms that underlie the human-technology interface.

The articles in this special issue of Environmental Engineering Science, and the field of environmental engineering in general, rightly focus on technological aspects of innovation. Such hardware technology systems comprise the material core of urban water services provision, such as sewers, toilets, and water treatment facilities.

In contrast, innovation systems focus on different, but equally important aspects of innovation, namely, the actors, networks, and institutions that develop new products and technologies. The distinction between the two and the resulting analysis of the importance of context for technological innovation underlie a key concept: technological inventions are necessary, but not sufficient, for innovation, and the success of each is strongly influenced by context.

Leak at Hanford leads to worker evacuation

Workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation’s C Tank Farm were evacuated and other workers were ordered to take cover Wednesday night after an unusual radiation reading was detected near Tank C-101.

Workers were evacuated from the C Tank Farm, a group of 16 underground tanks, after the radiation was detected at 9:35 p.m.

Other workers were ordered to take shelter. That included workers in the 200 Areas in central Hanford and nearby and those near the K Reactors along the Columbia River.

Hanford has a lot of experience with these tank leaks and they are helping TEPCO with their Fukushima problems.

That is ironic and yet very hopeful . . . the place that made the plutonium used to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki is now working closely with Japan to help solve their common atomic problems.


Humanity Is Getting Verrrrrrry Close to Extinction

If you want to freak yourself the f**k out, spend a few hours trying to refute the mounting evidence of our impending doom compiled by the man who gave the Near Term Extinction movement its name: Guy McPherson, who runs a blog called Nature Bats Last. McPherson is a professor emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona who left his cushy tenured academic career and now lives in a straw house on a sustainable commune in rural New Mexico in an attempt to “walk away from empire.” There are a lot of interviews and videos available of Dr. McPherson talking about NTE if you want to boost your pessimism about the future to suicidal/ruin-any-dinner-party levels.

If people could still survive on Easter Island after they cut down all the trees, then I'm sure humans will survive as a species. Civilisation is going to end, because it is inherently unsustainable. Fantasies about near term extinction are not new, Christians have been fantasising about it for the last 2,000 years. It's part of what I call human nature, the instinct to do nothing, because of a subconscious fatalism. Whether it is a certainty of doom, or technocornucupian, anything to avoid changing behaviour.

This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone given the extensive research done that proves how self delusional humans are.

If the worst climate predictions come true, then no, humans as a species will not survive. It would be physically and biologically impossible, that's what the article is about. Once you reach 35 degrees wet bulb temp, we die. There have been plenty of periods in Earth's history with those (and higher) temperatures when humans weren't around yet.

There is this thing called airconditioning. I would expect a substantial percentage of the industrialized countries to survive (who are mostly in temperate climates), while those in the tropics (mostly poor) will die.

I dunno. If climate change gets really bad, air conditioning won't help. There's a non-zero chance we'll become Venus. And even at levels far below that...what will the rich eat? (Besides each other.) Climate change will wreak havoc on our food production. And who's going to work the fields, even if we can find crops to grow? Will the fields be air-conditioned, too?

Will the fields be air-conditioned, too?

According to the occasional poster who'd drift in to talk about vertical farming in buildings - yes.

Alex Smith has a good podcast on this. It can be found on Radio Ecoshock, and is called "Air conditioned Hell" or something like that...

The worst case scenario is the burning of every FF on the planet. There are a few good reasons why this wont happen, mainly the EROEI is too low, which makes the economic costs too high. The Earths average temp today is 14C so you are talking of an increase of 20C, sure it is 'possible' but not in the 'near term' and there will still be areas where the temperature will be well below average, just like there are today. Realistically, as opposed to idealistically I'd give humans a pretty good chance of survival even in a worst case scenario.

Humans will not go extinct easily, we rank right up there alongside rats and cockroaches as an invasive species, we are an exterminators nightmare.

It's funny how comforting that statement is to me!

Of course with our own perverse nature, it's appropriate that we seem to set about with the goal of exterminating ourselves from time to time.

I wonder how Bashar al Assad looks at such things right now?

A little less obviously than that, I have Jack Nicholson's voice in my head, from Prizzi's Honor, "Do I marry her? Do I ice her? Which of these?"

I don't agree.

We have been around for but a blink of an eye by evolution's standards. Many of our closest relatives are extinct, or soon will be. We are not the kind of species that is extinction-resistant.

For one thing, we are too large. Large animals go extinct more easily than small ones.

Societal suicide does not seem like a very good trait.
Maybe we should look to lemmings for the answer.


The Late Pleistocene extinction event saw the extinction of many mammals weighing more than 40 kg.

This was less that 15,000 years ago. Those of us weighing more than 40 kg, be afraid. Be very afraid.

From your Wiki link:

Among the main causes hypothesized by paleontologists are natural climate change and overkill by humans...

Yeah, we've got both of those covered pretty well. We've even mastered the overkill by humans part (of other humans and ourselves, along with any other life form that gets in our way).

Due to the fact that 40+ kg megafauna survived in Africa (and a few isolated places) just fine, I tend to believe that the Pleistocene extinctions had little to do with the climate change and everything to do with the spread of humans throughout the world. This comment offers a pretty good summary:


The way to salvation- some undeniably global warming event happens in the near future and kills maybe 50 million white people,-brown or black won't do- and then some real leader grabs the opportunity and shows what we have to do and is given the muscle to do it.

I have often thought I would like to be the guy, but, after further thought, realize I'm a bit old for the job. Surely there are a few here who would be willing to volunteer.

Except it doesn't work that way, so-called leaders aren't leader's at all, they're followers of fashion, of dying trends. Governments are the greater fool that gets left holding the bag. Look at them now, loading up on debt, leveraging their bets on the economy like a day-trader going all in at the peak. No those Muppets aren't going to do anything but harm and there isn't a human being on this planet that can change that.

That's not to say that there's plenty being done and will be done. Just that it hasn't nor will have anything to do with governments or the dead intellectuals whose scribblings they follow.

People like yourself and many others are the vanguard of the new trend. When the time comes the System (which has nothing to do with governments) will shed the old, defunct and unworkable for newer more applicable techniques. These will be found amongst the myriad of innovations and solutions that are currently being worked on by thousands, if not millions, of individuals everywhere.

Solutions are only applicable to problems. The problem comes before the solution, you cannot put the solution into effect before the problem. The problems (climate change, energy availability, economic collapse, etc.) are only just beginning to manifest themselves. There will be an automatic system uptake of new techniques as things get worse. But this is not the rosy scenario that it may seem, millions will still die and the solutions may eventually seem worse than the problems they were intended to solve.

Burgudy, Thanks for the reply, a relative rarity to my wild ramblings.

Leaders, yeah, followers like you say, except when they are real leaders, of whom I have known a few. Real leaders see the problem, the way forward, convince others of what they already knew, then use energy and wit to get it done.

"In the vanguard" ? I had to laugh when I saw that, the immediate image that had sprung to my mind:
"Send Uriah the Hittite to the forefront of the battle that he might be slain". That kind of vanguard.

I'm with you on the millions working on innovations and solutions. I see plenty of it around here. This place can't be much out of the ordinary, so, it's gotta be everywhere. Those people will make it.

I personally have the expectation that, done right, the new worlds can be paradise, no oil, but always gobs of sun, which done right, to few enough people, can do it all.

And millions will die. Gotta be, already baked in the cake, but, another image here " We owe God a death, and he who pays of a Monday is quits for the rest of the week".

I will miss this place, still waiting for instructions on where to go for what.

"...still waiting for instructions on where to go for what." ~ wimbi

I clicked on your nickname and it is missing a listed contact email. Consider putting that in and you might get a ping for one reason or another.
(You have to be logged in to see and open the nickname links.)


I want you to know you have some serious fans- I'm one of them.
Please- either add an email address t0 your member profile, or drop me a note at mine, which is listed.

I used to refer to such events when I was posting regularly as Pearl Harbor wake ups.

I believe as you do our only real long term hope for a controlled soft landing is that we experience several such events- each one adequate to put us on the canvas but not out for the count.

Otherwise we are dead certain headed for a hard collapse which might well involve enough hot war to wipe out industrial civilization .

But I think we will survive even that as a species- between our brains, opposable thumbs, and fire, we are pretty much proof against almost anything short on an anoxic atmosphere. But there might be only a few tens of thousands of us left after collapse brought on by overshoot and consequent chemical , nuclear , and biological war.

The only comfort I can take in this prediction is that I will probably not live long enough to see the worst of it.

Anyone with with a working acquaintance with the life sciences and the branch of these sciences known as evolutionary psychology cannot fail to realize that the opening scenes of Act One , The Very last Show, are playing on the news at this very minute.

Mother nature is running the show, but she is indifferent, and there is no manuscript as such- she just keeps shuffling the cards and rolling the dice.

We are almost mathematically certain to crap out as a collective species before too long, but a lot of us will likely survive as individuals .

But considering that the Inuit survived ,long term, and still do, tp some extent, in the Arctic with only hand made technologies, I think a few tough young folks could make it there even if the temperate latitudes are toast.

Ecosystems are usually delicately balanced, in that a given species is able to survive precisely because it is very well adapted to it's own niche; but this also means it is not able to expand beyond the niche due to intense competition for space and resources, etc, from other species.

After a major extinction event, the surviving species are freed from a lot of the previous competition, and thus able to move into new territories formerly denied to them.

A groundhog for instance can't make it in the far north right now.

But a hundred years from now, the winters may be mild enough, and grasses common enough, for groundhogs to do be as common in the Yukon as they are in here in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The biggest reason all this isn't obvious to more people is that  a decade or two , or even a century or two, to us naked apes is as only a minute or two to Mother Nature.

On San Onofre, Edison is trying to pull a fast one

... “Edison is asking the [Public Utilities Commission] to allow it to recover about $2 billion for its capital expenditures alone through 2017, including a return on its capital investment of more than 5.5%. The PUC would have to decide how to apportion that sum between ratepayers and shareholders.”

... Edison's basic pitch is that the Wall Street investors who originally put up the money to build and upgrade San Onofre should recover their investment, plus a tolerably decent profit, regardless of what Edison did with their cash (such as sinking it in a nonfunctional power plant).

The investors, Edison said in a filing last week with the PUC, deserve to be "made whole for their original investment over the course of the [plant's] estimated useful life" — for San Onofre, that period originally ran to 2022.

... The letter's key point, buried beneath layers of ad-speak, was this: You, the customer, should bear a share of those costs.

... As to the argument that nuclear power is safer than coal: Imagine three revolvers. One, called “COAL” has 5 bullets in it, the one called “NUCLEAR” has one, and the last, “WIND & SOLAR” has zero. Which one do you want to play Russian roulette with? (h/t -wonkette.com)

Poor analogy. It implies that coal is more assured to kill than nuclear, when in fact we have never developed any way to deal with the nuclear waste, so it is assured to be released into the environment eventually.

The thing he forgot to add was that with the Nuclear Pistol, the banker holding it is allowed to aim it at the customers instead of himself.

I'm off to find a Liquor Store and try to locate that Cask of Amonillado, and hope it isn't leaking.

Wall Street investors who originally put up the money to build and upgrade San Onofre should recover their investment

Uh . . . why? They made an investment into a project that failed. The investment went bad. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. They lost. Why should they get their money back? Do we really need to give lessons about capitalism to Wall Street?

Do we really need to give lessons about capitalism to Wall Street?

Silly you.

You are confusing Capitalism with what happens on Wall Street.

Wall Street is about having the force of Government behind you and your ventures.

You're also confusing commercial nuclear power with private enterprise, when it is in fact socialist. (Don't point that out to conservatives -- they start going all mobius on you.)

Of course they should get their money back. They are part of the .1% in the Pantheon of heroes. The blessed Makers. The rest of us corrupt Takers should pay to make them more than whole!

LEAKED: German Government Warns Key Entities Not To Use Windows 8 – Links The NSA

According to leaked internal documents from the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) that Die Zeit obtained, IT experts figured out that Windows 8, the touch-screen enabled, super-duper, but sales-challenged Microsoft operating system is outright dangerous for data security. It allows Microsoft to control the computer remotely through a built-in backdoor. Keys to that backdoor are likely accessible to the NSA – and in an unintended ironic twist, perhaps even to the Chinese.

The backdoor is called “Trusted Computing,” developed and promoted by the Trusted Computing Group, founded a decade ago by the all-American tech companies AMD, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Wave Systems. Its core element is a chip, the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), and an operating system designed for it, such as Windows 8. Trusted Computing Group has developed the specifications of how the chip and operating systems work together.

Its purpose is Digital Rights Management and computer security. The system decides what software had been legally obtained and would be allowed to run on the computer, and what software, such as illegal copies or viruses and Trojans, should be disabled. The whole process would be governed by Windows, and through remote access, by Microsoft.

Now there is a new set of specifications out, creatively dubbed TPM 2.0. While TPM allowed users to opt in and out, TPM 2.0 is activated by default when the computer boots up. The user cannot turn it off. Microsoft decides what software can run on the computer, and the user cannot influence it in any way. Windows governs TPM 2.0. And what Microsoft does remotely is not visible to the user. In short, users of Windows 8 with TPM 2.0 surrender control over their machines the moment they turn it on for the first time.

No wonder Steve Ballmer is leaving. "Trusted Platform Module". ROFL

Glad I dumped Microsoft a few months ago and converted to Linux. Same goes for any new machines I get.

How about just not using it because it sucks. :-)

I don't see how EROEI can work. If say the eroei is 20:1, that could be converted into a percent efficiency. So, if i understand eroei correctly (useful energy returned/energy invested, same as a percent efficiency ratio), 20/1=20 x 100 = 2000% efficiency. That's not possible. what am i missing

It is not creating energy, it is investing some energy in order to capture a source of energy that is out there and making it useable. i.e. drilling a well to get oil, building a wind turbine to capture wind, fabricating a PV panel to capture photons, etc. That's how you get a multiple.

A more simple example, perhaps...

Electric resistance heater: 1 Watt electricity in, 1 Watt of heat out... EROEI 1:1

Heat pump: 1 Watt electricity in, 3 Watts of heat out... EROEI 3:1

Does involve a change of form though. The heat pump does not "make" heat, but transports it from one place (the outside) to another (the inside) at a multiple of the initial input.

EROEI is not efficiency, it's production. An EROEI of 20:1 means you lose 5% of your energy in the extraction process. It's actually not a linear scale, and EROEI of 4:1 means you lose 25% of the energy, 3:1 means 33%, 2:1 means 50%, and 1:1 means 100%. So the difference between and EROEI of 100:1 and 20:1 is 5% of energy invested, which is bugger all, but it sounds like a huge drop in EROEI. Which is why the EROEI diagram that does the rounds has a logarithmic curve, not a straight line.

You could define such an efficiency and it could indeed be greater than 1. "Useful energy" does not necessarily depend on a thermodynamic process, e.g. pumping the gasoline from a fuel tank takes only a small fraction of the energy it produces in an engine. Extending the supply chain to oil in the ground reduces that efficiency but it still can be much greater than one. This works as long as there is concentrated energy to be mined, the energy is not being created.

On the other hand extracting energy from a thermodynamic gradient can not have an efficiency greater than one but can still eventually produce more energy than it takes to set up the process. In this case, if the gradient occurs whether or not any energy is extracted, then it would be fair to say that net energy is being created.

You have the wrong formula for deriving efficiency from EROEI. The correct formula is:

η = (Eroei-1)/Eroei × 100

So, if Eroie = 20, then η = 95. IOW, a typical 1960's American oil well was 95% efficient - it only used 5% of the energy it produced to operate, leaving 95% of the energy in the final product.

Other examples:
1960's Arabian oil well: Eroei = 100, η = 99% (1% used in production)
2013 Canadian oil sands well: Eroei = 5, η = 80% (20% used in production)
Fuel ethanol from corn: Eroei = 1.3, η = 23% (87% used in production)

So, in reality, EROIE is a highly misleading number. Going from an EROEI of 100 to 20, while it looks impressive on paper, is only a 4% loss in efficiency. An oil sands SAGD well is less than ideal, using up 20% of the energy it produces, but that leaves 80% - which is better than producing no energy at all. The alternative is a Bakken oil well, which is in the same efficiency range due to the energy required to drill huge numbers of horizontal wells and frac them.

OTOH fuel ethanol is highly marginal, with an energy efficiency of 23% and using up 87% of its energy value to produce it. It is really an expensive subsidy to corn farmers, while doubling or tripling the price of corn and causing riots in Egypt (whose poor people are highly dependent on imported grain). It is very unfortunate side effect, and one which was not foreseen by the US government when it wrote the laws.