Drumbeat: August 24, 2013

Nuclear Operator Raises Alarm on Crisis

TOKYO — The operator of Japan’s tsunami-hit nuclear power plant sounded the alarm on the gravity of the deepening crisis of containment at the coastal site on Friday, saying that there are more than 200,000 tons of radioactive water in makeshift tanks vulnerable to leaks, with no reliable way to check on them or anywhere to transfer the water.

The latest disclosures add to a long list of recent accidents, leaks and breakdowns that have underscored grave vulnerabilities at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant site more than two years after a powerful earthquake and tsunami set off meltdowns at three reactors.

The New Nuclear Craze

Before we all become pro-nuclear greens, however, you’ve got to ask three questions: Is nuclear power safe and clean? Is it economical? And are there better alternatives?

No, no and yes. So let’s not swap the pending environmental disaster of climate change for another that may be equally risky.

Should Fukushima's radioactive water be dumped at sea?

On an international level, even if all the waste from Fukushima was dumped neat into the Pacific, dilution would eliminate any radiation risks to distant countries like the US, says Simon Boxall of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK.

The ocean would be the safest place for the waste water, says Geraldine Thomas, who runs the Chernobyl Tissue Bank at Imperial College London. "But to make that politically acceptable they have to talk to the local population. They have to make people understand that low levels of radiation don't matter because we're all exposed to it all the time."

Oil Gains as U.S. Home Data Eases Concern on Stimulus

West Texas Intermediate crude climbed the most in two weeks after a drop in purchases of newly built U.S. homes last month bolstered speculation the Federal Reserve will defer tapering stimulus measures.

Futures rose 1.3 percent after government data showed sales of new homes fell by the most in more than three years. Minutes from the Fed’s July policy meeting recorded that members were “broadly comfortable” with curbing bond buying this year if the economy improves. Fed Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said the bank should pledge not to raise the benchmark interest rate as long as inflation is below 1.5 percent.

“The market rebounded after the release of the pretty-horrific July home numbers,” said Kyle Cooper, director of commodities research at IAF Advisors in Houston. “The housing data appears to have put fears of a quick end of stimulus to rest. Housing has been one of the stronger sectors of the economy recently.”

Are Natural Gas Market Fundamentals About to Change?

Unconventional, or shale, natural gas production has driven the market to a position of oversupply in recent years. US shale gas production increased sixfold to 265 billion cubic meters last year from 75 billion in 2007. Five years after hitting a low of roughly $2.00 per mcf in 2008, natural gas prices are still weak, trading at approximately $3.50.

Some experts say that there are signs that this production boom will slow down and that natural gas prices are preparing to rise. Let’s explore two items that help back this case. Both relate to the supply side of the market.

Coal Gets No Relief as Aussie Slide Deepens Glut

Coal miners are taking advantage of the tumbling Australian dollar, boosting production even as a glut of the power-station fuel drives prices to the lowest in almost four years.

Iraq-Turkey oil flow resumes - Iraqi officials

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Crude oil flows have resumed through a pipeline running from Iraq's Kirkuk oil fields to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan in Turkey, two officials from Iraq's North Oil Company said on Saturday.

Why Japanese exports could break out of a 5-year slump in 2013

Regarding real versus nominal export and import data as described in the above graph, it’s important to note that the price of oil peaked at $145.30 in July 2008, was at $50 per barrel in 2005, and fell closer to $25 per barrel in 2000. Japan imports significant amounts of crude oil, which provides over 40% of Japan’s power needs. As such, when focusing on the future trend of “real” versus “nominal” export or import data, “real” data prior to the 2005 base year is subject to significant adjustments related to intermediate goods-related inflation or deflation. These adjustments include crude oil imports as well as other exchange rate–related factors.

Silicon Valley can’t save America’s dying economy

Gordon’s challenge: “There was virtually no growth before 1750, and thus there is no guarantee that growth will continue indefinitely.”

Rather, he says, “the rapid progress made over the past 250 years could well turn out to be a unique episode in human history,” a collection of “one-time-only inventions” that Silicon Valley cannot and will not repeat.

U.S. oil boom puts Saudi ties on shifting sand (video)

The oil-for-security bond that has defined U.S.-Saudi relations for 70 years is fraying, as the United States looks to a future that does not depend on crude from the Arab power.

China's oil demand meets North Sea supply

China already has around 8% of the North Sea's producing capacity. Sinopec recently formed a joint venture with Talisman, from Canada, and another state-owned company, CNOOC, has paid nearly £10bn to buy the Canadian firm Nexen, with its major stake in the huge Buzzard field, off Aberdeen.

The Chinese strategists are now putting Addax into Europe's energy capital to look for more opportunities, which could include joint ventures, acquisitions and equity stakes.

U.S. Forces Are Ready to Act on Syria as UN Envoy Arrives

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel indicated that U.S. military forces, including naval vessels, are positioned in the Mediterranean and ready to act if President Barack Obama calls on the Pentagon to strike Syria.

“The Defense Department has a responsibility to provide the president with options for all contingencies,” Hagel told reporters yesterday while en route to Kuala Lumpur, where he starts a week-long visit to the region. “That requires positioning our forces, positioning our assets to be able to carry out different options, whatever option the president may choose,”

Iranian Navy Dispatches 27th Fleet to High Seas

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian Navy dispatched its 27th flotilla of warships to the high seas to protect the country's cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates, Iran's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said.

Official: Iran to Build Oil Refineries in Africa, Asia Soon

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran has signed fruitful agreements with several African and Asian countries on the construction of small refineries in those states, an informed official announced.

Head of Iran's Syndicate of Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Products Exporters Hassan Khosrojerdi said that Iran's private sector is planed to build 9 small refineries in Asian and African countries.

Pertamina edging toward minority stake in Iraq

PT Pertamina is one step closer to purchasing a 10 percent stake in one of the largest oil fields in Iraq, with talks underway between it and the oil field operator.

Pertamina investment planning and risk-management director Afdal Bahaudin confirmed on Friday that the state oil and gas firm was currently waiting for American oil and gas giant ExxonMobil to decide on its 60 percent stake at the giant West Qurna-1 oil block.

Iraq pushes for investment as India seeks more crude oil

NEW DELHI, (Agencies): Iraq’s prime minister on Friday pitched for investment from India to rebuild his war-shattered nation, which is a critical energy supplier to New Delhi. Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri Al-Malaki said there were “great opportunities” for Indian firms to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure — constructing ports, highways, housing, railways, schools, hospitals and investing in oil production facilities. “There is so much potential,” said Maliki, who is on a three-day trip to New Delhi and Mumbai. Iraq is still struggling to rebuild its broken infrastructure since a 2003 US-led invasion ousted president Saddam Hussein and led to massive sectarian violence. This is the first head of government-level visit between the two countries since 1975, when then-prime minister Indira Gandhi visited Iraq.

Toll in Vizag HPCL refinery fire rises to 10

Hyderabad (IANS) The death toll in the major fire that broke Friday in the state-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) refinery in Andhra Pradesh's coastal city of Visakhapatnam rose to 10, police said Saturday.

Six charred bodies were recovered from the mishap site Saturday, taking the toll to 10. Two bodies were found Friday night while two injured succumbed at a hospital.

Review of Keystone Contractor Won’t Be Complete Before January

The investigation of an alleged conflict of interest by a U.S. State Department contractor reviewing the proposed Keystone XL pipeline won’t be complete until January.

The State Department’s Office on the Inspector General announced today that it was reviewing whether recommendations it made in a separate February 2012 report into conflict questions about another Keystone contractor are being followed as the department conducts an environmental review of the $5.3 billion project.

Four Dead in Helicopter Crash Off Scottish Coast, Police Say

Four people were killed when a helicopter carrying 18 people for French oil company Total SA (FP) crashed into the sea off the Shetland Islands.

Police said the aircraft went down shortly before 6:30 p.m. yesterday, 2 miles from Sumburgh airport, which was closed for use by emergency services. The bodies of three people have been recovered and the search continues to find the body of the fourth, Police Scotland said in a statement today.

Downside from boom in the energy patch: fatalities

Job growth in the oil and gas sector is vastly outpacing total private sector growth, but so too are the sector’s work-related fatalities. Have safety practices slipped in the energy industry?

Ethanol blend a problem for lawn mowers, etc.

The push to increase the amount of energy that comes from corn poses a threat to a lot of equipment that is common around the home, such as lawn mowers, chain saws, trimmers, snowblowers, boats and generators.

Yosemite Wildfire Sparks State of Emergency in San Francisco

A wildfire in northern California has spread to Yosemite National Park and prompted Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency for the San Francisco area because of the potential effect on its utilities.

The blaze, which originated in Stanislaus National Forest, has reached a wilderness area of Yosemite, according to the park website. Temporary interruption of electricity and water delivery to San Francisco is possible, Brown said in a statement yesterday.

Yosemite Is Burning...Here's How Climate Change Makes Wildfires Worse

Big wildfires like Colorado's thrive in dry air, low humidity, and high winds; climate change is going to make those conditions more frequent over the next century. We know because it's already happening: A University of Arizona report from 2006 found that large forest fires have occurred more often in the western United States since the mid-1980s as spring temperatures increased, snow melted earlier, and summers got hotter, leaving more and drier fuels for fires to devour.

Greenpeace says its ship enters Russian Arctic

MOSCOW (AP) -- The environmental group Greenpeace says one of its ships has defied Russian authorities and entered Arctic waters to protest against oil drilling.

Greenpeace says Russia this week denied permission for its Arctic Sunrise ship to enter the Kara Sea, a section of the Arctic Ocean off Siberia. But the ship entered the waters on Saturday morning, Greenpeace said in a statement.

Report: Puerto Rico unprepared for climate change

Environmental officials and scientists warned Friday that Puerto Rico is dangerously vulnerable to the effects of global climate change and urged it to prepare by better-regulated coastal development, and perhaps even by building artificial reefs.

The storm-caused floods and erosion that have always affected the U.S. Caribbean territory are expected to grow worse as temperatures and seas rise, perhaps by 22 inches (57 centimeters) by 2060, according to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study.

How scientists at NOAA are mapping New York’s watery future

When Hurricane Sandy hit, New York’s flooding maps were 30 years out of date. NOAA scientists are ensuring this never happens again.

The Next Hurricane, and the Next

Hurricane Sandy, the monster storm that hit the Atlantic Seaboard on Oct. 29, left at least 159 dead and caused $65 billion in damages. But as a presidential task force made clear this week, Sandy cannot be considered a seasonal disaster or regional fluke but as yet another harbinger of the calamities that await in an era of climate change. With that in mind, the report says that individuals, local governments and states that expect federal help cannot simply restore what was there but must adopt new standards and harden community structures to withstand the next flood or hurricane.

Coal Gets No Relief as Aussie Slide Deepens Glut

I'm not sure how how the Aussie dollar went from $1.06 per $US 1.00 to 82c in about four months. You'd have to think faceless people are manipulating the exchange rate in ways not based on economic fundamentals. As for coal exports it seems the tonnage is going up as the $US equivalent price weakens. That must be good for the climate. Not that we can find fault in market based economics.

It's a shame TOD is closing and will be unable to report the likely September 7 change of government in Australia. The new government will be committed to axing the $24/tCO2 carbon tax. Presumably they will give every blessing to increased coal exports. Some of that coal may go to green-or-bust Germany whose new coal plants are mainly designed for lignite but one (Karlsruhe) will rely on imported hard coal. Another big coal importer is Japan whose recently increased gas fired generation has been too costly.

I understand even the US is de-mothballing coal plants as the NG price gradually returns to historic levels. When will the world start seriously reducing coal use?

It's a shame TOD is closing and will be unable to report the likely September 7 change of government in Australia.

World events are getting very interesting as autumn approaches. Who wants to predict what the next couple of months will bring to the Middle East? Petroleum prices are already at a 3 year high in the US. Blow the top off Egypt and Syria and its anybody's guess as to what will happen to the price of crude.

Would be ironic if TOD went silent precisely when the price of oil spiraled into the stratosphere? Last time, a world recession precipitated a downward adjustment. Nothing is predictable in this game, but I must confess it has been very interesting to follow.

I will miss TOD. I learned a lot here.

Thanks for the wisdom!

Tom Henderson (A periodic contributor from the Annapolis Valley region of Nova Scotia, Canada.)

The world will start seriously reducing coal use when there is little coal which it is economically viable to mine left (note of the some western countries are starting to cut coal use now--but this decline will be made up by increases in usage in third world countries)

Re: Ethanol blend a problem for lawn mowers, etc.

A couple of years ago, I burned up a weed eater, a chain saw and an old lawnmower. I think the problem was the result of using gasoline with ethanol. Since I don't mow very often, the fuel sits in gas can, which I keep outside because of potential fire issues. Any moisture which enters the gas can due to expansion/contraction will cause the ethanol to separate from the mixture and settle to the bottom. Later, when the fuel is poured into the mower or weed eater, the now low octane gasoline from the top of the tank enters the machine and the ethanol/water mix stays in the gas can. Running the machine with lower octane fuel would tend to make the engine run hot or suffer pre-ignition problems. In my machines, the pistons expanded and seized against the cylinder walls, destroying the engines. The article doesn't mention this mode of failure.

These days, some of our local gas stations are selling ethanol free gas for those of us who use small engines, which I use when I can find it. The zero ethanol fuel tends to sell out rather quickly around here, as lots of folks use small engines for lawn and tree work...

E. Swanson

re: fuel problems, etc

I buy purple gas....marked farm gas....for all equipment. It is a win win. It is a little bit cheaper than regular (road tax reduction), and the octane is a medium blend rather than the 80/87 ethanol 10% regular. Hard to find these days in urban settings, and rural gas stations don't sell enough to keep a tank anymore unless you are in farming country.

I have an almost new Yamaha 4 stroke OB that will be my last boat motor. It is only a 30 hp but I will simply not replace it if it destructs. I just purchased a new Stihl power saw for $800 and simply cannot accept that using poor fuel will damage it as it is a required tool for our life. 800 dollars is a lot of money as far as I am concerned. In our nearest city/town of 35,000 pop. there are just three pumps where I can purchse farm gas. If they shut down I will have to buy drums from a bulk plant which would be a hassle as bewteen all equipment we don't use a drum per year.

I think a bigger problem for equipment destruction is that even once reputable brand names now substitute low priced Chinese junk for which were once good products or parts. If you pick up a Kohler 7 hp horizontal shaft for $225.00, trust me...it is no longer the Kohler of old. It will be a Chinese piece of crap designed to throw away when it breaks down, (which it will). If you buy equipment from dept. stores like Home Depot or Costco it will be lower end and destined to fail. Poulan used to make good chainsaws. The Canadian Tire product currently sold is absolute crap and several of my deal seeking buddies ended up replacing failed Poulan firewood saws with Stihls and Huskies.

It is worthwhile checking out fuel additives as well that may negate the effects of ethanol. We all know getting lead out of gas was a good thing, but when they lowered the lead content in aviation fuel our old radial engines required an additive to keep seals and gaskets from burning out.


Check out a product call RED ARMOR for 2 cycle, Loggers use in the Ozarks. Solves a lot of problems. You can get it on Amazon if you can't get local. Since using my pro log saw has never failed to start with an improvement in productivity.

Ethanol in the fuel is a huge problem for user of small engines such as lawnmowers, chainsaws, and outboard engines. They simply are not designed to handle it. It dissolves the cheap plastic parts in the fuel system, among other things.

The biggest problem is that people leave them sitting in unheated sheds over the winter, and the ethanol in the fuel attracts water from condensation. When they start them up in the spring, the water destroys the engine. Hint: do not leave fuel in these engines over the winter. Dump it into the car in the fall, and put in new fuel in the spring.

Cars can tolerate more ethanol, up to 10% in the older models and unlimited amounts in the new ones - but the new ones are designed from the ground up to run on high alcohol mixtures. However, DON'T leave cars sitting over the winter unused with fuel tanks half-full of gasohol. The fuel still attracts water from condensation. Manufacturers and gas stations rely on you replacing the fuel on a regular basis.

I think aircraft engines would be a huge problem if owners can't get ethanol-free avgas. Because they are expensive to replace, owners tend to keep them running forever rather than replace them every few years, and you simply cannot replace some of the good old radials in bush planes without going to new, very expensive gas turbines burning jet fuel. The old piston engines were not designed to tolerate alcohol and I'm not sure the new ones are either. It's one thing to burn up your lawnmower engine mowing the lawn, but it's quite another to burn up the engine in your bush plane at 10,000 feet over Alaska. BTW, I believe that all the gasoline sold in Alaska is ethanol free - there are a lot of chainsaws and outboards there, not to mention bush planes; and getting ice in the fuel line of your 4x4 in the middle of nowhere at 40 below is not a good thing either (speaking from Canadian experience).

If it's an issue for you, there's a site called pure-gas dot org that purports to list ethanol-free gas stations in all states and provinces in the US and Canada. BTW, I notice that the list of ethanol-free stations in BC includes "All fuel docks in BC". So, if you are in BC and want ethanol-free gas for your chainsaw, run down to your local marina or government dock. Water condensation in the fuel tanks is a big problem for boats.

Sounds like a great set of reasons to get electric lawn-mowers, chain saws, and leaf-blowers when the application allows it. (Near electrical source and not too large of area to cover.)

I must confess I that I always hated the concept of electric mowers and chainsaws and considered them toy versions of the real thing. But my thinking has changed considering the low-maintenance, reliability, and energy efficiency of the electric versions. How often do you have problems or do maintenance on your refrigerator motor? Pretty much never.

I can remember spending hours growing up working on engines for recreational vehicles, chain saws, lawn mowers, etc. I now have an electric lawn-mower that I got used from someone for free that I have used for over 8 years without a hitch. The only problem is when I'm not paying attention and run over the extension cord. :-) Some electrical tape fixes that in 5 minutes.

One note on quality of electric power tools. If possible look at the brush holders before buying.

Top quality tools will have machined brass brush holders. Medium quality will have stamped from brass sheet, and the ones to stay away from will have plastic resin holders.

To not run over the cord, is kind of like painting a floor. Start at one side, then always go away from where the cord is coiled, then wont run over it ; )

I still own and use a 20yr old Black and Decker M300 electric lawn mower. Only thing that has needed replacing is the blade.

Our Sears Craftsman electric is twelve years old -- we're on our third blade and that's basically it. No messing with gas and oil, no annual servicing, and no pollution. And at 0.15 kWh per mow, our operating cost is about 2-cents.


Jeez, that's my problem. I go around in an ever smaller spiral. I guess my problem is that I just mowed the same way as I did with a gasser. How stupid of me.

I grew up with a B&D electric in the '70s [edit: It was a Toro]. Loved it, never cut the cord. My brother hated it and cut the cord several times. It had really good suction, like a vacuum cleaner. We had acreage but only a small lawn front and back. If you ever needed to cross the cord, it had a bar on the handle that the cord ran through. You flipped the bar to the other side, slinging the cord over the mower.

I have two 24 volt DC B&Ds with dead batteries which I may rig for cords; mow around the solar arrays PV direct. They're quite powerful (20"), but people abandoned them when the batteries died. Problem was, folks didn't plug them in immediately after use; killed the SLA batteries, and they likely weren't charged when folks decided to mow the lawn. Can't just add gas.

High RPM electrics make a really fine cut when sharp, but don't let the grass get too high.

I had a B&D, but after a few years, I think it got rained on once. After that it kept tripping the GFI, until it was no longer usable. Now I use a simple pushmower.

One thing I love about my electric lawn mower is that anytime I want to sharpen the blade I can just flip it over without having to worry about spilling fluids. This seemingly minor thing means that I sharpen the blade more frequently as the hassle is largely gone.

It's also quiet; I can listen to music while I mow, and it starts and stops instantly every time.

For cord management I fastened a carabiner to the cord near the mower end which I attach to my belt loop. Mowing away from the cord as MrFlash describes eliminates any worry of running over the cord.

An Electric Weed-whacker is a nice accompaniment to this process.. while my main mowing is still with a Hand Push Rotary mower. The great thing about that is that my neighbors all seem to subconsciously smile when they see me using it. It must resonate on a deep level!

I bought a Troy-Bilt plug-in electric weed-whacker several years ago and it works great. Has high and low power level settings and I rarely need to use the high.

B&D (AKA, bondage & discipline), Troy-Built, Torx, Toro, Sears Craftsman, Neuton, Cub Cadet, Ryobi, Red Armor, Yamaha, Kohler, Home Depot, Costco, Poulan, Canadian Tire, Stihls, Huskies, Leafs, Volts, Twizzies.... BAU-Wow... sounds like this Drumbeat™ has been commercially-spammed or something. ;)

...I let my front lawn fallow early summer, and promptly received a letter by a member of the town-mob telling me I had to mow it-- but not before I found out what was growing on it. Next year, if I'm still here and not in Peru or Timbuktu or pushing up daisies, I will tastefully and decoratively rearrange (a la, for example, Dan Phillips of Phoenix Commotion, and how he does it with his recycled-material homes) almost exactly what was growing, that the little finger of the state, the town-mob, wanted mowed, and then see what they do. If they do nothing, which is suspected if I can pull it off well, I might send hand-deliver them a letter of thanks for approving of my Nouveau Wiid rearrangement, with a nice sample bouquet attached. Maybe open a business out of the house with the same name.

I bought a TORX rechargeable weed eater two years ago and the battery is more than adequate for our city lot. Replacement batteries are expensive though. Someday they will sell rechargeable mowers too.

There are several rechargeable mowers available. See "Neuton", Cub Cadet, Toro, Black and Decker, Ryobi, others. Search 'electric-lawn-mowers-review'.

Methanol-water injection was used in WWII for aircraft power boost.
See Methanol Institute

China is rapidly increasing production of methanol from coal including using in vehicles, including 100% methanol.

We talking methanol or ethanol here? water solubility is quite different between the two.

Methanol-water was likely stored in its own tank, was not mixed with the main fuel except when was going into the intake, on demand.

DLH, that is correct, however, the life span of a German fighter engine was only a few hours in 1944, therefore, technology was accepted that is IMHO not useful in a peace time application.

LOL - the Poulans are made in the US. Virtually all of the aftermarket parts in your car, and many of the original ones, are made in China. Almost all of the semiconductor parts and most of the electronic products. They can make parts and products of any quality you are willing to pay for.

Consider these things in light of the inevitable supply chain disruptions of our future. The US empire is ultimately in competition/conflict with the rising Chinese power.

This is why I keep and use several 42cc Poulan chainsaws and have lots of spares. It is the most common saw in the US by a large margin, and there will be spare parts available for a long time. I can keep one running and keep my family warm.

Two of my chainsaws have a label: USE NO ETHANOL (actually, the older Homelites say "USE NO GASAHOL" - an indication of their age). I buy ethanol-free gas for my equipment, always add stabilizer, and try to not store it for long, especially when mixed for 2 cycle engines. I use small (1 gallon) containers that get used up quickly, for chainsaws, etc.

The idea of putting in blending pumps seems quite problematic since, not only do the pumps have to be replaced, but another tank must be added (buried) and the plumbing must be modified. We have how many gas stations in this country? Will they be forced to make this change? Job creation, to extend and pretend. Perhaps it would be better to spend the money and resources to put charging stations everywhere. Requiring or incentivising gas stations to 'upgrade' to blending pumps, and not requiring charging stations, says a lot....

We are, collectively, so cleverly clueless.

I quit using gas chain saws long ago, gave them all to son in law who is happy to cut wood for us. This certifies me as totally innocent of any knowledge of them. I got an electric chainsaw which does exactly what I want here in the shop.

I now have Qs for all you experts (I wear my flak jacket at all times so don't mind sounding stupid or being called anything).

How about diesel chain saws? Modern diesels go like crazy and the extra weight helps condition you for the tough times ahead.

How about a little cart following you around, with an IC generator on it burning wood gas to drive an electric saw? Added advantage- you get to ride on the cart to and from your tree slaughtering.

Using an ICE generator to power to an electric chain saw is just not efficient at all. If you do most of your chainsaw usage within extension cord range then that is an acceptable technique for the few remote chain usages. But if most of the time you are far from electricity, then just use a gas chainsaw . . . you'll burn less gas that way.

HOWEVER.. using your Solar Elec. golfcart, like one of our Southwest posters has, or is seen in this John Howe video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFYpNrbyKCA or using your solar electric Pickup Truck with plugins for electric tools, as Pete Seeger has done, is a fine way to make use of a good MagnetoSaw with a portable power source, since it can carry the batteries, the tools, the WOOD and YOU!!

Pete Seeger’s Guide to Surviving the Recession

One Is Enough
'He owns one banjo, drives a used, electric-powered truck (bought from Electric Vehicles of America twelve years ago), powers his house and truck with solar collectors, and chops his own firewood: “It’s one reason I’m alive that I still like to split wood. That’s my idea of a pleasant half-hour.” '

We had a large tree felled recently. I noticed the contractor used a single generator and ran electric chainsaws off it.

That . . . . is very clever. They then only have a single ICE to maintain and can run several chainsaws off the single generator. And most of the time, they probably don't even need the generator because they can just plug into a local AC outlet.

Using an ICE generator to power to an electric chain saw is just not efficient at all. .... That . . . . is very clever.

Lads and Lasses - TOD changes minds. In 6 hours or less or double your money back.

Indeed. I am quite happy to learn things. However, let me note that those two things were not the same. A single generator for a single chain saw is not the same as a single generator powering multiple chain saws. The latter is an improvement in that it reduces the number of ICE engines that must be maintained.

Um, I was thinking of the fuel, wood vs ff, not efficiency. Never heard the words -chainsaw- and -efficiency- put in the same sentence before, if what is meant is thermodynamic efficiency.

When I first started using a chainsaw, I weighed the woodchips produced and calculated that it was putting out way more woodchip energy than it needed to run. So, all we needed was a simple little gasifier--- etc. That brought me to the ICE cart idea.

I don't want to bother any sort of debate on this bit of total trivia, but I note, from my own experience, that a chainsaw is a pain to keep running, while an electric motor is nothing. And a big ICE is less of a pain than a little one.

But enuf.

Yair . . . A typical application around here is fencing. In Brahman country fences are mostly driven hardwood posts with four or five barbs which require inch and a quarter holes.

It is much nicer working all day drilling those big holes with a nice Makita two speed (with reverse) than one of those horrible chainsaw drilling attachments.

To drive it we use a 5kva Honda powered generator that is just coming up to four thousand hours and has never been touched apart from normal service.

Having said that I see several setups around where fellers are using inverters to drive the drill and electric chainsaw from their ute or tractor . . . convenience is the issue not efficiency.


not so much trivia, but I agree that those small engines are a PITA. When I first started cutting wood - I had a small stove - the quantity of chips (wood, not potato) I produced was huge in comparison to the firewood I made. Certain for smaller logs blades are much less wasteful than chains. I had to get a backup chain, a chain sharpener, a couple of stones - for some intra day sharpening - and I realized that the BTU efficiency question (whether wood was really so much cheaper to heat than oil) was not clear. Add to that the different wood species I dealt with. Although Oak supposedly is higher in BTUs than Maple the latter is much easier to split, so all in the BTU balance is not so clear.

Size matters. look at the huge diesel engines like the Wartsila-Sulzer RTA96-C which are very efficient but not appropriately sized for a chainsaw..... From what I understand a large diesel can be 50% efficient.


Would be even better if it were run off a battery cart charged from PV.

Have you seen the Raven lawn mower? It's a Chinese pile of feces - but the basic concept is interesting. Its a series electric (fatal flaw - they didn't include a charger) - but its final drive and mow deck are electric and it has an inverter to run power tools off of - or your house should you so desire.

I ran across it after I was eyeballing how to turn my lawn mower into a generator - figured it was a hell of a waste having such a nice engine sitting over the winter with nothing to do. I wouldn't be surprised if the people with the GE Elektrak mowers have all converted them into mobile power centers and home backups.

Funny that you should mention this. My GE ElecTrak E15 has a 3600 watt inverter/charger mounted where the old charger used to be. I solar charge it from a dedicated 2 panel PV. I can charge it from either it's PV or any other source that makes 120VAC. 6 golf-cart batteries will run power tools for quite some time.

I purchased one of these Amazing tools off Amazon in2009. Makita UC3530A Commercial Grade 14-Inch 15 amp Electric Chain Saw with Tool-Less Blade And Chain. Slices Ozark hardwoods quicker with less effort than the $750 Sthil pro saws with pro hard chain. TIP Cut hardwoods for firewood while green. That tip should be in The Notebooks of Lazarus Long - As close as it gets to a user manual for the Living.

It all depends on your wood source. I have a stihl with a 24" bar and often need to use my neighbours with 32" bar. We get cut-offs and culls from a dryland sort. Our biggest chunk was old growth douglas fir with a 5' diameter. 2'-3'yellow cedar and hemlock are the norm, with occasional balsam (white fir) and doug fir. Our loads come in huge dump trucks that hold approx. 12-15 full cords after splitting and stacking. Cost....$350 per load. One load provides me 3-4 years worth of heat, so the cost of purchasing, running, and maintaining a ice chainsaw is simply not worth putting in the equation.

We have two loads waiting to cut up at all times, just in case the high production logging declines. If that happens then the sort is used by smaller contractors who then allow people to cut wood from their junk piles. A sawmill has no use for a 6' chunk of clear yellow cedar, but I cut lumber and posts from them....or awesome firewood. You just have to get it small enough to haul to a friends mill in a pick-up.

I used to use an electric chainsaw in construction for cutting out bottom plates in doorways. That is all I found them good for. Reciprocating saws cut through anything and do it better and routers do window openings cleaner than you could measure and cut out with a skilsaw.

If there is a future world with declining portable fuel I will have to switch to using alder for heating fuel and will probably try an electric saw at that point, but I can't really see it happening. I have stockpiled hand tools for that as well.


Using a sawzall for branches 6" and less works great. I used to put the generator in the back of the truck and have the wife drive me around while I cut the offending low branches. An aggressive blade 12" long cuts roots in the dirt great also. PVC pipe manufacturers have used sawzalls for their production facilities for decades.

Small diesel engines just aren't practical. Yes they do make model airplane diesels, but they are rare and high maintenance.

The big problem is making injectors and injector pumps that small. The orifices are so tiny that the smallest of contaminants in the fuel which will pass through normal filters, will plug them up.

It is my experience that the only hope of getting good service out of cheap ice tools burning e10 is to fuel them up when you use them , run them dry ,and store them dry anytime they will not be used again within a few days.

The more expensive, commercial grade newer models may still giver reasonably dependable service burning e10 but I hear a lot of people complaining that their supposedly top of the line chainsaws , etc, are suffering fuel system breakdowns.

it is also my experience that a couple of all the many so called cures in a bottle actually do work. One of them is fuel stabilizer, which is a bargain if you need only a few gallons of small engine gas a year.
The other one is "water out' which is usually mostly just methanol so far as I know.

If you have gotten a small amount of water in your fuel tank due to condensation and the hydrophilic nature of ethanol, a bottle of it will usually suffice to disperse the water throughout the fuel, so you can avoid draining the system. Use this stuff very sparingly, the methanol itself is hard on plastic and rubber.

When it is practical to do so, I strongly recommend installing a clear ( transparent) plastic inline fuel filter between the tank and the carburetor, with the inlet end of the filter down . This may require adding a few inches of fuel line to a generator or tiller or mower etc- it is generally not practical to do this to a chainsaw or other hand held tool.

I add such a filter to every machine I touch- it's sop in my shop.The payoff in avoided trouble is a world class bargain!

Very high quality filters of this type can had at motorcycle shops for five bucks or so. They have a much finer mesh than most o e filters, and because they are clear you can actually see water and the junk of various sorts coming thru your fuel line.

They actually trap water- not all of it, but enough to save a lot of trouble, because when the filter fills up with water , the engine starves for fuel, and stops- with a carburetor that is still clean.

And I don't care how careful you are- _ I promise you that after a few tanks of gas, you are going to see some crud and water in the filter.

Some people don't like plastic fuel cans at all, but I love the ones that are translucent, because you can hold them up in the sun and see the crud that inevitably finds it's way into a fuel can, and know when you have succeeded in rinsing it out- you can also usually see water in the bottom under the gasoline if any is present.

The good folks saying you need to use up small engine fuel asap are dead on- even with stabilizer, you should just run it thru your car or truck after a few months at the most, and a couple of months at most without stabilizer.

"A couple of years ago, I burned up a weed eater, a chain saw and an old lawnmower."

Two years ago my carburetor was all gummed up and I had to take it apart and clean it, and this year my mower literally exploded. When it was running a metal chunk the size of your fist blew out of the engine block from fatigue.

I sometimes wonder just how much ethanol really costs people. These sorts of costs are all pushed onto the consumer, and aren't accounted for when ethanol lobbyists crow about how much money ethanol is saving you.

I buy "race gas" for my dirt bike. High octane and no ethanol.
My mower was hard to start and the engine would surge, etc. but since using VP 101 it runs like a champ.

There were a lot of posts on EVs this past week. There's an interesting quote in the September-October Mother Jones magazine in an article about Elon Musk and subsidies, "...Matthew Stepp, a senior policy analyst for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, "People in Europe, their gas is about $8 or $9 a gallon, and they are not driving electric cars..."

I didn't check to see who ITIF is but I don't think it's important at this point.

Ok. Why is this the case in Europe when it is argued that high priced gas will drive consumers in the US to buy EVs?

I know the gas tax is used for a lot more than transportation in Europe but still.


It could be that Europeans have smaller high mileage diesel and petrol cars and don't drive as much; less incentive to change. They are also more urban; fewer places to install charging stations (the apartment dwellers on TOD brought this up).

I expect they'll adopt more electric city cars like Renault's Twizy, rather than the compromised, larger cars that Americans insist on.

I'd say it's all that, plus the fact that electricity in the United Kingdom is two to three times more costly than what we typically pay here in North America, thereby negating much of the price advantage of going electric (Economy 7 users being one possible exception).


As I discovered playing around with figures a week or so ago if you multiply the dollar amount of kWh (I guess it would be Pound amount...) by 12 it seems to be somewhere in the neighborhood of right. So for us in the Northern Americas ~ $0.12/kWh becomes $1.44 gasoline equivalent. For the UK that would mean electricity prices would have to be around $0.67/kWh to be around $8/gal equivalent.

Maybe one of the TOD Europe folk can chime in as to what their rates are in the neighborhood of.

The Renault Twizzy is interesting - it could be done much better - actually having doors, amongst others. Better aerodynamics, a slightly larger motor and it'd be highway capable and wouldn't cost much more - essentially a tandem seat Smart, but better. Renault has got to be making out like bandits with their "rent the battery" program. They'll make their money back in 4 years and it'll be a gravy train for 10 years thereafter. At a generous $350/kWh capacity the 7kWh battery would cost only $2,450...they're selling for ~10,000 so the purchase price would rise to $12,450. They're making a version where the rear seat has been replaced with sealed and lockable storage - expected to be used for delivery service.

...and the tax money stays in the country to be spent on things that in the US have to come out of the taxpayer's hide in addition to the cost of gasoline. So higher prices here are in addition to other taxes. If you add it all up Americans drive farther, have less economical vehicles, overall are taxed nearly as much, and then notice hikes in oil more severely because it is much more visible. So the price of gas is both economically and emotionally more visible.

Car fuel efficiency hits record high 24 MPG (in 2012)

Record-high gas prices have led to record-high fuel efficiency in cars and light trucks bought in the U.S. For the first time ever, the average U.S. fuel efficiency went over 24 miles per gallon in March 2012, as drivers grappled with soaring prices at the pump to select increasingly efficiency vehicles. . . .

Concerns of U.S. consumers are mirrored in other countries around the world, where fuel economy has been improving at a similarly rapid rate, if not even faster. In the UK for instance, fuel economy had risen by 29 percent over the last ten years, yielding an average figure of 52.5 mpg (4.48 l/100km) for a new vehicle late last year, an all time record.

There are always lots of variables, e.g., total miles driven and other costs associated with cars, but if we focus solely on average fuel costs per mile, there is probably not a much difference between the US and Europe.

That still seems really low and unsustainable if gas prices go up. The average american car goes 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year. So at $4/gallon that is (12K miles/24MPG)* $4/gallon = $2000 per year on gasoline alone. That is lot of money, IMHO but tolerable for now. But what happens if the price rises . . . it starts to become unmanageable for many people. And there is nothing people will be able to do about it because they are stuck with the car that they bought. They can try to sell it to get something more efficient but lots of people will try to do that such that the value of their gas guzzler will have dropped.

But it is even worse the economy as a whole since even though we produce more domestically now, we still import a very large fraction of the oil we use. Thus, as gas prices go up, more money is shipped overseas to pay for that oil thus harming the domestic economy. This is a huge problem for Europe, Japan, Korea, China, etc. but it is still a problem for the USA too. North Dakota and Texas are getting rich though.

The cost of solar PV has got to go down relative to the cost of gasoline. I don't suppose there's much debate there here, so?

I got 7kw worth of PV by good luck and a little DIY, for the price of a good 10 yr old toyota of the kind I just sold, since I have quit driving. I am planning to get an EV for my wife who hardly ever uses a car more than 30 miles per day.

And, of course, what we never say but what we all know full well,-if we quit kidding ourselves about costs, and add in the cost to the planet, which we happen to be sitting on, then there is no contest re ff and solar, and never was.

Watch the used EV market. I suspect leased Leafs, Volts, and other EVs will start hitting the used market. A nice thing about the used market is that the $7500 tax-credit totally helps the used market big time. Who's going to buy a used Volt for $27K when you can buy a brand new Volt for $35K and take the $7500 tax-credit? Thus the tax-credit massively pushes down the value of used EVs making them relatively affordable. If you can find a used Mitz-i, it will probably be real cheap.

Thus the people that say "Why should we subsidize the toys of rich people?" don't get it . . . the subsidies help everyone.

Whats the expected battery life of these battery powered cars? How much is going to cost to replace them. I expect battery powered cars to be cheap because the batteries are flat.

The Volt currently has an 8-year warranty on the batteries. The current costs I see to replace them is 3K plus labor.

This is a difficult area. As someone pointed out, the new EVs come with 8-year 100K mile warranties so there is that. But eventually, they will lost capacity and it remains to be seen how it plays out. It will depend heavily on what batteries cost several years down the road when it becomes an issue. Here are some possibilities:
1) Some people may just accept having reduced range and continue to drive the EVs for a long time with old batteries that have a short range.
2) Individual cells that are weak may get swapped out one by one thus keeping a battery in relatively decent shape for a long time.
3) People could fully swap out a battery with a new one and thus give the car another 8 years. Maybe battery prices will have dropped such that it only costs a few thousand to give an old car a new life.
4) Perhaps 'remanuafactured' batteries may be swapped in which are kinda like (2) . . . used batteries with weakest cells replaces.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out . . . I'm glad the new EV generation got going a few years ago so we can start learning. There are already some EVs with pretty high mileage (70K or so) that are still doing just fine.

It really depends on what you mean by "expected." The batteries could potentially last 20 years - but they're going to lose a good bit of capacity over the course of that time. A few weak cells may need to be removed during that time, but with good system redundancy and warnings in place you should be able to lose a cell and continue on your way without it being a show stopper (this is how Tesla has set up their packs).

Watch the used EV market."

I've mentioned before that they're turning up on AutoTrader - I was confused for a while as to why people would be giving up 25K mile cars until the math struck me - they're coming off of leases. The problem is as you mention - the recent price drops of ~$5,000 for both the Volt and the Leaf kind of screwed the secondary market since those cars were purchased/sold for/leased at a higher price. The new ones in the pipeline are going to sell on the secondary market for much less. But...all that notwithstanding - if you didn't qualify for the tax rebate - the second-hand car hopefully has had that trimmed out of it already and you can still get the benefit.

Fully updated tables of European energy prices of all types is available at www dot energy dot eu

Many potential EV users in Europe are already using public transport.

Energy, whether petrol, diesel, natural gas or electricity has always been more expensive in Europe when compared to the US, hence the different lifestyle choices enjoyed on the two continents.

The generation of EV's with a comfortable 100 mile range will become popular in Europe.

There is currently a government sponsored EV trial in play in Ireland, on the Aran Islands to be precise, since 2011. I recently spoke with one of the people who has been part of this trial for the last two years, this year he had to retreat to his diesel car and he simply couldn't believe that the cost of filling his car with diesel last June was equivelent to half his total motoring costs for the previous year in the EV.

It is the cost of fuel which will drive the uptake of EV's.

Indeed . . . Europeans have really high gas prices so why haven't they adopted EVs? I have spent a lot of time looking into this paradox and have talked to some Europeans and I have set of reasons. Here they are kind of in order of importance:
1) Many Europeans live in 'flats', apartments, condos, etc. where they park on the street such that they have no garage or regular parking spot. Without a regular owned parking spot where you can charge up at night, EVs are pretty useless. Having an overnight parking spot is critical for EVs.
2) Many Europeans use public transportation, bike, or walk to work such that their car is more for long weekend trips. EVs are GREAT for weekday commutes and suck for long weekend drives such that they are not the right vehicle for many.
3) The Europeans have always had high gas prices so they've already adopted more efficient habits by buying really small cars, diesels, etc.
4) Inexpensive EVs have not available until very recently. And recently they've been in an economic slump so they haven't been buying many cars at all.

The above are probably the most important reasons. But here are a few more:

5) European gasoline is expensive but so is their electricity, so the advantage may not be as big as you think.
6) Nationalism. There have not really been many European branded EVs until recently. Renault has been leading the effort. The only EV Germany has produced is the Smart ED and that just came out. But they are finally coming out with more.

I was surprised to find that they manufacture EVs here in Bourgogne. Exagon Motors. Seemingly they sell mainly to the Middle East oil rich countries and are very pricey.

I only found out about Exagon when I met one of their managers at at a friends garden party.

EVs aren't popular here in Europe because they don't really see any need for them. My 10 year old Fiat Punto just passed its Contrôle Technique with flying colours and I get 5.5ltr/100km (42.8 miles per US gallon) out of it. So yes I would like a more economical vehicle, but I plan to get another 10 years out of the one I've got. So from a cost point of view I'm not going to change vehicle, then there is the issue of utility. EVs seem to provide less utility than conventional vehicles and require quite a leap of faith to convert to them.

Well you do have to replace cars eventually.

I think the Americans and Europeans use cars differently. Americans drive their cars mostly back & forth to work, shopping, pick up the kids, etc. In Europe many people have cars but ride public transport to work, walk to work, ride a bike to work, etc. such that cars are for long trips to the mountains or the beach. Other than the Tesla or PHEVs, pure EVs are useless for that. EVs shine as commuter vehicles . . . and that is where they'll do best. Europe is just less of a car-commuting place.

It is basically the fact that Europe has always had really high gas taxes such that they built their transport infrastructure and habits based on high gas prices thus they car commute less. The USA has traditionally had very low gas taxes and thus built up a transport infrastructure and habits based on low gas prices such that we have this car-commuting culture. It may seem ironic but the higher oil prices probably hurt Europe less since percentage-wise, their gas prices went up less whereas Americans had to deal with the shock of going from less than $2 per gallon to $4 per gallon.

And also, we like carpooling and hitchhiking here... which is greatly eased by smaller distances between towns...

Downside from boom in the energy patch: fatalities

The industry has grown so the casualties will go up with it. But has the number of casualties per well gone up? Perhaps a little due to less experienced people entering the biz but I suspect the main reason for increased casualties is merely that there is more drilling. The casualties per barrel has probably gone up though since so much more drilling is required for shale oil.

I remade my graphic of the top ten list of global average temperature. This new version is much smaller (both in pixels and bits) and can now be glanced upon in one screen. Only little scrolling needed.

For those who missed it last time it is a list of the top warmest years ever recorded, but in a way so you can go and check any year wich years was on the list. You can easily see how long a year that made it into the list survived, and how frequent years made into the list in different periods.

Also the "the world has cooled since 1998" crowd will get a thing or two to think of when having the data represented this way.

Diagram here:

Jedi - this is a very interesting presentation of data. But why does the time series go down? Seems counter-intuitive to the message being conveyed regarding temp increases. How difficult would it be to invert? I think that would add to the power of the message conveyed.

Perhaps it is an ominous sign that the dark side of the force is attempting to mess with another Jedi.

And it makes it easily spot on, that in recent years, the rate at wich a year "slides" down in the top 10 of warmest years, has been upwards.

Well, a year that make it into the list will gradually slide down and off the list. I think it makes sense to have the list beeing directed downwards, so the years slides down and out.

I'm baffled. I don't understand it at all. What happened between 1906 and 1914? There seems to be a gap in the graph. 1998 is the biggest record break ever. I don't see anything big on the graph. What am I reading wrong?

According to the chart the average global temperature in 1998 broke the prior record in 1997 by (.58 - .41) = .17 C.

As for 1906 to 1914 he either made a mistake or the global average temperature in those years did not enter the top 10.

Al years not represented in the chart means that year did not make it into the list. Often those years had temperatures that would have made it into the list a fea years earlier. See for example 1992 and 1993.

This is a representation of the top 10 list. Not all years made it into the list. Those years are "sliding" off the chart. Since they did not make it into the list, they are not represented on the graph.

Regarding 1998: Every time a record is broken (the warmest year ever at that time) it breaks the old record with some amount. Every other record breach has been in the range from 0.01 to 0.1. 1998 the old record was broken by a staggering 0.17. That is simply hughe.

Facts? Numbers? Who cares ... no one is checking anyway!

Re: Are Natural Gas Market Fundamentals About to Change?

Five years after hitting a low of roughly $2.00 per mcf in 2008, natural gas prices are still weak, trading at approximately $3.50.

And here is the year 2008 from the EIA Henry Hub Gulf Coast Natural Gas Spot Price (Monthly)

 Year    Jan     Feb     Mar      Apr     May     Jun     Jul    Aug     Sep     Oct     Nov     Dec
 2008	7.99	8.54	9.41	10.18	11.27	12.69	11.09	8.26	7.67	6.74	6.68	5.82

The mind boggles at how someone writing an energy article could pick the year with the highest annual average price and write that gas prices hit a low that year and are still weak. And, no, it's not a typo. It's the entire introductory clause.


The quality of the media has dropped massively. As I'm sure you know, newspapers are collapsing and television news is also a struggle.

So how have the adopted? Well, one way is by instead of paying smart people to write good articles, you publish low-paid or no-pay articles. HuffPo runs on a lot of free-blogger articles. The Motley Fool now runs on a lot of user-submitted articles and the quality is crap. Forbes runs those hard-right-wing advertorials. Fox News has built a very profitable system by running the news that cable news viewers (cranky very old white people) want to hear instead of actual objective news.

And we've seen the rise of just crazy stuff because there is a market for it. Alex Jones has built a small media empire based on completely fictional conspiracy theories. Glenn Beck, World Net Daily, and NewsMax have built media empires based on the Christian-right persecution complex.

Instead of the old 3 TV network system with neutral public service news, we now have fractured information system where confirmation bias has run rampant. There are some good aspects to this change since unheard voices are now available. But I wonder if it has largely been a turn for the worse considering the quality has gone downhill.

Quote from Terry Pratchett novel:-
“Be careful. People like to be told what they already know. Remember that. They get uncomfortable when you tell them new things. New things…well, new things aren’t what they expect. They like to know that, say, a dog will bite a man. That is what dogs do. They don’t want to know that man bites a dog, because the world is not supposed to happen like that. In short, what people think they want is news, but what they really crave is olds…Not news but olds, telling people that what they think they already know is true.”

According to the referenced EIA data, the lowest monthly price at Henry Hub since 1999 is $1.95 / (million BTU) in April 2012.

Switching to daily data, the lowest price since $1.69 on Nov 16, 2001, is $1.82 on April 20, 2012, but it was $1.83 on September 4, 2009.

You may not want to read this essay if you're having a really good day:

Coping Skills

This list is less than 1/10th of all the things I read, listened to and watched. The more I was exposed to the more I understood. The more I understood the more confused I became. All these people / institutes / philosophies were very clever. Which ones were right? One? Some? None?? The more you know, the less you understand. “Through a scanner darkly”. It is unwise to dig too hard for the truth. Eventually you will discover that there is nothing that is absolutely true, leaving the tatters of your sanity lying at your feet.

Then I came across Guy McPherson and it finally started to make some sense for me. It was not the technology, philosophy or scientific method. It was not the economic theory, political viewpoint or religious upbringing. The problem is us. The problem has always been us. The great human flaw. If it is us that is the source of the problem, is it the absence of us that is the final solution?

It is not the earth that is terminal it is us. Our technology and our environment has changed faster than we did. When we talk about terminating the current set of living arrangements what we really are talking about is terminating this particular human / social experiment in favor of ??? This is the fire in which we burn.

The future is certain

A good essay, one which resonated with me even though I'm much younger.

The problem with American technological civilization is that the people who built it were misled. They thought they were doing the right thing...making more and better machines that would improve humanity, sent us to outer space, and usher in a golden age.

Instead what we got was internet porn, drones, and Goldman Sachs bankers making billions of fake dollars.

Not exactly the end you hoped for, is it. So if this is the case, you do have to question what you were doing.

Assuming the 'end hoped for' was *at the start* of high integrity and intent, there is no reason to question what you [u]'were doing'[/u].(Really this is just plain second guessing, which is really a sickness of psychology.)

I've been reading the web site of Martin Manley, that guy who spent a year creating a web site about his life, then killed himself on his 60th birthday.

He seems a bit eccentric, but not crazy, nor depressed. He was expecting economic collapse, due to the deficit, but he himself was in a good position, having invested in silver and gold when they were much cheaper than they are now. He had a job most people would consider a dream job. He had hobbies, friends, family, and had suffered no personal setbacks.

The main motivation for his suicide seems to be a desire to die on his own terms, before he became a burden on society. He wanted his net contribution to be positive, and was afraid if he delayed, he might end up waiting until it was too late.

He specifically references that Star Trek: The Next Generation episode with the planet where everyone is expected to kill themselves at age 60.

"Half A Life", season 4. Great episode. My favorite may have been "The Inner Light" where Picard is put into a coma by a deep space probe; lives an entire lifetime on a planet which is dying from climate change (star is increasing radiation in this case).

good idea. Except for me, I'm a lot over 60.

I like an extension of the quaker idea of a clearness committee. Good trusted people are given legal right to decide on the by-by date. This gets rid of the threat of incapacity.

BTW, I died dead a couple of times a while back, nothing-nothing-nothing, Nothing to fear.

Nothing to fear

Do I take it then you had a near death experience and because of it have no fear of what comes afterwards? I ask because of a near death drowning at age 14, in which the flashback on my short life had a commentary to go along with it that explained my importance to other people and then transitioned to someplace that was full of love and acceptance, and as entrancing as it was I found a way to break free from the upside down canoe pasted to the bottom and survive. But will never be concerned for what comes after.

The way I survived by the way is an involuntary reflex in which water coming in the mouth headed for the lungs is shut off by the throat, which in my case caused me to black out and have the flashback. Only by wanting to did I come to with an opportunity to survive. So it's a good physical response for survival, but no one can tell me all the other stuff that happened was my brain's way of providing a delay. I guess you'd just have to experience it to understand.

I'm 57 and have no intention of zinging myself at 60, but do see wisdom and strength in weighing one's own personal situation, conscious of trying to know when enough is enough. I often wonder if a lack of faith (in what comes afterwards) is why people hang on to every moment no matter how painful it may be and expensive to others and society. It seems possible that in a future with a (presumably) higher human consciousness level (possibly arising from lessons learned from a collapse), there will be more of a balance for each individual in determining what constitutes a reasonable point of conclusion.

Lack of faith in that death is just another transition. Probably worse luck to enter this world but we don't know it and have it all backwards.

THat's a bit crazy in my book, unless he had some genetic problem with a chronic disease coming down the pike.

I still like the old the old inuit thing of putting yourself on an ice flow and floating away. Actually, that sounds kinda awful . . . they probably die of hypothermia in the ocean. Well, I guess no way of dying ever sounds good except just dying peacefully in your sleep.

There are few decent way of dying. Most ways are just humiliating. When my mom spent time at the hospital to cure a bacterial infection on her spine nerve, an old woman died in the bed next to her. Her last act in life was to puke up a supper plate of blood on the pillow. In a noisy fashion.

You will most likely not die in a decent way. You can only live decent.

Dying With Dignity and the Final Word on Her Life

She lived in a state with a "death with dignity" law. I think this is going to be a huge issue going forward. New Jersey is considering passing a death with dignity act. Meanwhile, in neighboring Pennsylvania, a woman is being prosecuted for helping her father commit suicide. He was 93, and in hospice care. He asked for all his morphine; she is accused of handing it to him, knowing he was going to take it all at once in an attempt to end his life.

Well, ya gotta pick your way. First, stay out of bed, we all know lots of people die when they get into one of those things.
In my case, I dropped dead from a heart attack while raging at an employee who had just put the entire company in great danger. Was saved by fast work of my very smart HR director who got me pumped back up before my brain quit entirely.

But now I keep having to check myself out to make sure I have not yet slipped into the red ink side of the ledger. But how can I be sure? There's some sort of logical contradiction here, but I can't quite figure out what it is.

It always amuses me that airlines quote death rates per passenger mile. By that metric, a bed is the most dangerous place to be. And the Space Shuttle very safe.

It should be deaths per hour spent in the conveyance. That won't give fast-moving objects a perceived advantage through multiplying by a large miles per hour number.

"It should be deaths per hour spent in the conveyance."

That really doesn't make any sense. If I have to go 10 miles to get to where I want to be...it'll take me about an hour on a bike and 15 minutes in a car. That would give the bike a perceived 4X greater safety factor for the same distance traveled. Citing a bed or the space shuttle as examples is a strawman argument. Comparing "apples to apples" - the saftey of getting from one place to another in an Earthly conveyance - is a matter of distance, not time.

I've seen a few people die peacefully and with as much dignity as is possible in that situation, so it does happen. My father was one. Birth isn't particularly dignified either but can be peaceful - or not.

Injury or the period before death are also traumatic for the onlookers, maybe more so in some ways than for the experiencers. I've been knocked out more than once (felt nice actually) and recall twice being sick enough to experience a curious feeling of peace and even a kind of thought that death would be ok if it decided to come.

Yes, I'm pretty sure transitioning from life to death is much harder for onlookers than the person dying. Although it's probably the opposite for the person being born.

From the ocean to dry land in a few hours. ;)

I think I know what death is like: It is like how it was before we were born. ;)

I don't know about you, but I certainly can't remember a single time when I wasn't around, and I can't really imagine not being around. I think I must be eternal. Whaddya think? ;-)

You'll last as long as the comment section on TOD - from where I sit you've been 'round for almost 7 years.

Good work, fellows! My TOD tenure hits exactly 7 years on the day of the last post. I guess my 7 years of TOD will be my moment frozen in amber! Too funny... ;-)

At that moment, you could have a big load of acrylic resin poured over you and let it harden and then be hosted in some sort of future TOD museum/exhibition. Maybe machined and polished into a lense-shape and placed suspended under a skylight with a bathtub of water within the summer-solstice focal-point.

OMG! That would be awesome!

Actually, I'm going to stick to my original plan, which is all about returning to the food web of my local ecosystem. I don't think the acrylic thing is really me ;-)

Not even if you were given an embalming worthy of the death-of-a-thousand-emperors, that made you look much better than you looked in life, with an Aztec symbol necklace and dressed in a Man From Glad suit with accompanying lazer scribes of all your TOD comments?! OMG indeed! ;)

You drive a hard bargain, sir! I'm thinking, I'm thinking...

No, I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain sgage. (With apologies to JRRT)

I guess no way of dying ever sounds good except just dying peacefully in your sleep.

Dying in your sleep is a fine way to go, unlike the screaming passengers in the car.

I'd say the better way to go is that your passing doesn't kill or maim others physically.

A Navy buddy of mine got terminal colon cancer at a young age (@30), and when it got really bad he told me he was going to go diving and "feed himself to the sharks" (he was a diver), or maybe just go out in deep water and drop his tank. He did disappear soon after. I guess he deep-sixed himself. He had no family that mattered (I mean they were awful). At least he said goodby.

Me? I want to fester along with society. I'm far too curious about how things turn out, especially the next ten years or so. Besides, people still depend on me, at least a little. What's the rush anyway? It only takes a few minutes to crawl out into the forest and shoot one's self in the head, if it comes to that (maybe I should go ahead and dig the hole while I can). Bullets are fairly cheap. And if NTE is baked in, it doesn't matter much if I'm around or not to help move things along :-0

Mr. Manley addresses this at his web site. He admits he's curious about the future, but says it wasn't enough reason to change his mind. He says no matter how long you live, there will always be things you're curious about. You'll always die not knowing the end of the story.

He really put a lot of thought into it, I must say.

You'll always die not knowing the end of the story.

One particular religion claims there is a 'great book of truth' you can read once you die where you can look up any answer and get the truth.

If there is such a book, that would make for knowing the end to plenty of stories.

Oddly, Mr. Manley was a religious man. I gather he left his considerable wealth mostly to the Catholic Church. He said he knew he was a sinner, and hoped god would forgive him. He taped a cross to his hand before he killed himself.

I suppose if you had any belief in an afterlife, be it the Christian heaven, reincarnation, New Age spiritualism, or whatever, curiosity about the future wouldn't be an issue.

Isn't suicide a sin for both Christians? It is for Muslims. Not sure about other religions.

For catholics it is. For the rest brands of christians, there are a multitude of attitudes to this matter.

The way I see it, I helped create this mess, so I'm obligated to suffer through with all the rest of you folks, at least as long as I can, and maybe offer a little comfort to others where/when possible. Besides, I have plenty of sins to atone for, and certainly wouldn't want to miss history's greatest chance to say 'I told you so' to a few a'holes who insist I'm crazy. I may even stand at the top of my little mountain like Charlie (Woody Harrelson) in 2012: "Bring it on!!" You heard it first from Ghung, or something like that.

Perhaps I just want to die with at least a hint that humanity has a chance to turn this thing around, and checking out early on my offspring seems like dumping a dog on the side of the road. Anyway, I hope to see it coming; plan to die laughing.

As Bette said; "Old age ain't no place for sissies".

My mother got terminal colon cancer in her 40s. It has given me a horror of radiation and chemo. I never want to go through what she did, looking like a human skeleton, gaga from the drugs. Offing myself is infinitely preferable.

My own mother narrowly missed that kind of cancer, as well as all that therapy. This time. Naturally, all our numbers eventually come up.

But do we exactly die, or do we simply continue to be a, if more dissipate, part of the giant brain-creature that might be the universe? (Notwithstanding other possible connections with other universes, perhaps through the "fractal-buddings" of black holes.) This is Gaia Theory on the largest scale.

Maybe our big bang was or is the other side of a black hole. Infinite matter and energy. For our EV's. Infinite happy motoring. Wow, ya.

I believe we are like water droplets. We die, and run into the great spirit ocean, evaporate, and come back as something else.

I don't worry about the details. I believe Someone is taking care of it.

Grandfather beat cancer with a rope and a tree. Ha was scared of doctors and hospitals, since he was tortured by a soviet doctor during WWII, when he was a POW for a few days, so he refused treatment.

I was 11 years old.

I'm far too curious about how things turn out, especially the next ten years or so.

George Mobus is on a podcast with Kunstler on JHK's website (scroll down the podcasts to find it) and he puts collapse happening at 5-10 years from now. Had to think of that when you mentioned ten years. Yes, I'm very curious too and all good health provided will observe and experience with all the rest of us still on two feet something truly historical and remarkable.

5-10 years is complete nonsense. People tend to forget that resource scarcity is a function of population. If we ever come really close to a true collapse, then western governments could just use its military powers to eliminate a few hundred million people or a billion in other parts of the world, maybe not by killing them directly, but simply sealing them off and pretending they don't exist. There are many ways in which a neo-fascist western society could avoid collapse for centuries to come, and the western population will gladly support it. We haven't seen nothing yet, the west still lives extremely comfortably, regardless of the economic crisis. When americans or europeans are as desperate as the egyptians are today, they will be very eager to support a new Fuhrer to get them out of that mess at any cost.

I am in general agreement unless there is an overwhelming shock to the global economy. When we make predictions that extrapolate from the present, it is very easy to ignore the potential responses from TPB with a 'take no prisoners' incentive to keep BAU.

It seems to me that we should be 'war gaming' predicaments with one side playing TPB to see what the range of responses could be before making predictions.

After giving the nature of our coming collapse a great deal of thought, based in large part on what I have learned here over the last few years, I understand completely that there is no sure way of predicting what will happen.

Collapse could indeed be sudden and world wide, and it could come within a decade or two, or maybe even tomorrow, but the odds are it won't.

it is far more likely Strummer is right at least in part.My favorite pastime is to read as many great books as I can ,including history books.

I can with complete confidence say after reading whole shelves of them over the last half century that there is only a minuscule chance we are going to go down peacefully.

War is baked in as irrevocably as resource depletion, overpopulation, and global warming.

I used to think those of us who survive collapse would revert to a simpler society and technology, maybe even a preindustrial society, and then gradually rebuild civilization to some extent , within the limits permitted by resource constraints.

But that was merely wishful thinking on my own part, the sort of thinking brought on by unpleasant realities and cognitive dissonance.

The unthinkable is going to be the reality.

The Four Horsemen are going to trample countries that are militarily weak like parade ground grass , and those of us lucky enough to survive the fighting and to live in countries powerful enough to not only survive but also powerful enough to engage in wars of conquest are going to find ourselves living in wretched police states, and living none to well at that.

Never the less, the odds are high that there will still be trucks and cars, telephones and internet, movies and food in the supermarkets and consumer goods of most kinds -in places like the US at least, for those sufficiently far up in the pecking order.

I can't come up with a good vision of how long such a society can potentially last, but it can outlast any of us here today.

It might last for centuries while gradually losing the most advanced and complex technologies.

If I had kids, I would try to make sure they understand that the safest and best career in such times as are coming is probably a technical one in a critical branch of the govt.

The guys who repair cop cars will probably be kept on, without missing a day, thru one change of leadership after another- and not all the changes will be peaceful.

Cops who make the mistake of backing the wrong faction during a coup will be exiled, imprisoned, or simply shot.

Sometimes I'm glad I'm already old!

Various sorts of decline and collapse-- species, economic, environmental, climate, political, etc.-- are of course already underway.

I'm curious as well...but I can't help wondering if we peak oilers will all die thinking that things are about to get very interesting "soon," and we're missing it. From those who have already passed on, to those who still have 50 years left.

I'm thinking climate change and other environmental factors will have us all wondering how we got so worked up about peak oil. While that's testing our mettle, we'll likely get really grumpy and have a few wars over resources and territory, maybe The Great War of the Arctic or somesuch.

Planet's getting kind of crowded, running out of stuff, excepting carbon...

Right. Always puzzled me about TOD - didn't everybody see that climate messing up was orders of magnitude bigger than oil? Oil running down bothers only the rich ones who use a lot of it, like me and us in USA. Climate going ape is a big bad for everybody and every thing for ever so long-- far far worse deal.

Don't allow a 10 to 30 year long plateau in oil production lull you into complacency. Compare the likely weather in the 2030's to the oil production and net exports.

If you look back over the archives, we've had some rip-roaring arguments on this topic, with some people being quite rude about the intelligence and rationality of those who imagine climate change could possibly be a more urgent problem than peak oil. Peak oil will be a Mad Max collapse, while climate change is so gradual it won't be a problem in our lifetimes.

I suppose some people still believe that, but I'm guessing it's a lot fewer. In fact, a lot of doomers seemed to have moved from peak oil to climate change.

Yep, remember all that. Yet another puzzle about TOD. Lots of smart people with good science backgrounds, and still yelling at each other like grade school kids? Does logic get better if delivered with louder noises? Maybe so, let's give it a try.

And yet another one- in our lifetimes. Whose? Mine? Not enough left there to fit in anything but real little problems . My grandkids? Sure, peak whatever, and then what? Ok, solved the chainsaw fuel problem alright, but getting kinda hot around here.

There's a saying that 'academic disputes are so heated because the rewards are so small'.. might apply to the intensity here, too.

Nah....academic disputes get really nasty and personal. People trying to kill other professor's livelihood and reputationsdsd.
No matter what happens here on TOD people are unlikely to lose jobs over it.

Peak resources? Climate change? Political impotence? Overshoot?

Synchronicity.... all of the above. Interesting times. Too many claims on too few resources.

Bingo. I do not see these issues as separate. Seeing the connectedness of these issues was a major stage of my education, much of that thanks to TOD.

Yes. I think the majority of TOD readers have moved to this position and we would like a TOD successor forum which reflects this. But nothing comes to mind. Suggestions?

The main motivation for his suicide seems to be a desire to die on his own terms, before he became a burden on society. He wanted his net contribution to be positive, and was afraid if he delayed, he might end up waiting until it was too late.

But he determined that inflection point wherein he became on balance a drain to 'society' was age 60?
Not that I am opposed to self-destruction on principle. But a preemptive strike against fate is the height of folly. How could he have possibly have known what sort of redemption still awaited him? He could have communicated his passion for music or literature, shown some lost youth how to complete a difficult task, helped a fellow lonely soul through grief or heartbreak.
Maybe when they come to take your car-keys or you have lost control of basic bodily functions, intractable pain or suffering... but turning 60?
He doesn't deserve the attention.

But he determined that inflection point wherein he became on balance a drain to 'society' was age 60?

No, not at all. Rather, he wanted to do it well before that time.

So as long as you can drive, you are a net positive to society? Seems a bit ironic on this site...

In classical Hinduism there are four stages of life from Student to Sage. The last one begins around the age of 65-72. The emphasis is on withdrawing from life and going on pilgrimages with the stated goal of achieving moksha or spiritual oneness.

Pilgrimages are tough here for the elderly even with fossil fuels, so it's actually just a proxy for getting rid of yourself and stopping one from becoming a burden on the society.

I saw a documentary about a nomadic ethnic group in Asia somewhere, that undertake an arduous yearly migration with their animals. When they got to a mountain pass with a raging torrent of a river to cross one of the elders decided it was time to call it a day.

He told everyone and they made their goodbyes. He then simply sat down on a rock as everyone left on their journey. Unbelievably sad, everyone looking back with long lingering glances at the lonely figure on the other side of the river as they left, getting ever farther away. No argument, everyone accepting that when you can no longer undertake the journey time was up.

Grass: A Nation's Battle for Life (1925)? Bakhtiari tribe of Persia (today Iran) as they ... cross the Karun River and... the Zagros Mountains...(from wiki) Excellent doc for many reasons, but I have forgotten the part you note.

All this reminds me of the Bruce Lee quote Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one

I don't think most people living in the comfort of the industrial world even have an inkling of idea how hard life is without FF.

... or how hard life with fossil fuels is going to get. We're frying the planet on a massive scale while talking about things like making batteries better and more affordable so people can keep driving their cars, as if humans are actually going to stop burning stuff.

Sometimes the futility makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time, so it would be better if I go install the (salvaged) cabinets my wife wants for her Veg-O-Matic and mean-lean-fat-reducing-grilling-machine,, or is that lean-mean...

That's what gets me, all this continuing talk about how we can keep on doing the crap that got us into this mess we're in! Even if it was somehow magically affordable, which it isn't, all it does is help us to make the problems worse at only a slightly slower pace.

I'll go and get back to work building the shed I need and on which the ElecTrak PV panels will be mounted.

Yeah, Aug, sometimes I think we're like the folks in 'On The Beach', in slow motion. Meanwhile, enjoy creating something useful.

Sort of like TOD's passing?

I saw a documentary on You Tube recently (mentioned previously hereon) about a tribe in the Amazon, where, in one scene, an older woman, completely nude like the rest of the bunch, was still very much present and part of the tribe, and being rubbed/massaged, maybe in part at least for some of the aches and pains. Maybe that older guy in your tribe, unbeknownst, sneaked away to another with a different approach, or to an older girlfriend or even a collective of older people, also hanging out in the middle of nowhere-- which, naturally, becomes somewhere.
The older folks know a thing or two that many of the younger do not, and perhaps cannot. A wise tribe or society might do well to learn about stuff like that so that it may become, in part, less of a drag on itself.

Like civilizations, we all grow old and pass on, but how many of the younger, perhaps locked, myopically, into the present, really come to grips with that?

There's another side to the story, here's it's strictly voluntary, even suggesting that parents take that route is considered a grave sin, the son in the family is supposed to take care of his elderly parents no matter what their condition, it's considered a sacred duty.

This mythological story might put things in perspective


"The main motivation for his suicide seems to be a desire to die on his own terms, before he became a burden on society."

When I was younger, I wondered why more people didn't do this as they got older and started to have health problems. As I got older, I started to understand that most people are simply never ready to die. I remember my 88-year-old grandpa, dying of cancer, telling me "I just wish I could have one more year." And I realized then that no matter how old you are, most people are simply never ready for it to end.

Yeah, the desire to live is built into us. If it wasn't, we would have failed as a species. That's the way evolution works. I'm afraid of dying . . . but I'm not afraid of being dead though.

That's why I like the clearness committee idea- the chosen group looks over the situation, and if they decide it, I wake up dead. Never felt a thing.

Like my old dogs. Give 'em their favorite meal, and while they are at it, a 22 short hollow point thru the back of the head. Then out to the ridge for the vultures to be happy.

Same for me? I'm fine with that.

There are certainly worse ways to go, but I don't think I'd choose that for myself.

One thing I found appealing about Mr. Manley's decision is that with his exit date set, he could make preparations. He gave away most of his possessions, and timed his death for when it would be most convenient. He killed himself two weeks before his apartment lease ended, and just before his car insurance and registration expired. He wanted to make it convenient for his family and his landlord. And he wanted it to be during summer, because he hated winter.

That was one reason he chose to do it when he did: he wanted to be sure he'd still be capable of it. Not just the act itself, but taking care of all those details.

I have seen the future and I am content.

As a youngster I saw the first Sputnik, and have been a space and science fiction nut ever since. I wanted to see a man on the moon, the return of Halley's comet, the year 2000. I've seen them.

I wanted to see the canals of Mars and the beautiful women in the steaming jungles of Venus. They turned out to be a bust. But some of the images from Hubble and the interplanetary missions have been beyond expectations.

Looking at today's world, what wasn't foreseen in 50s and 60s science fiction? Live HD broadcasts of sporting events, medical imaging and joint replacements, genetic engineering, GPS systems, the internet, Google Maps and Street View, 3-D printing. Off the top of my head.

Is there anything I look forward to like I wanted to see Halley's comet, a man on the moon, and the year 2000? Not really. I can't think of anything exciting that I want to hang on into old age to see. I will be content to go at any time, confident I have lived through humanity's best years.

Written by aardvark:
Live HD broadcasts of sporting events, medical imaging and joint replacements, genetic engineering, GPS systems, the internet, Google Maps and Street View, 3-D printing.

medical imaging: medical tricorder

joint replacements: Dr. McCoy knew how to do that

genetic engineering: Khan

GPS: the gold pins on their shirts were transponders to locate them for beaming. They had systems that could pinpoint objects on the surface of planets without a constellation of satellites.

the internet: the Enterprise has interconnected computers

Google Maps: scanners

3-D printing is a primitive matter replicator.

Star Trek....

I saw most of that as well. There are things I never managed to do, climb big mountains...
But, mainly i want to see civilization make a big commitment to a sustainable future. I'll try my best to help that happen.

I'm not so sure we've seen our best, although are descendents won't have a very friendly climate to live in. But I see certain high tech things coming together, LEDs, PV, potential for decent energy storage.... We really could make it if we could give up on the religious wars and get down to brass tacks.

The operator of Japan’s tsunami-hit nuclear power plant sounded the alarm on the gravity of the deepening crisis of containment at the coastal site

And its not like the TOD shutdown will deny the "there are no problems with Japan's Fukushima reactors" people the chance to come back and said "Hey, it turns out I was wrong".


the USDA’s Rural Development Agency is forbidding Rosie, an industrious 4-year old girl in South Dakota from using a small, unused area outside her subsidized housing unit to grow green vegetables.
Rosie started the garden in May 2013, but now the property management company has ordered the garden be removed this week!

The reason?

Gardening apparently goes against the rules set by the USDA’s Rural Development Agency which forbids residents to have structures of any kind within landscaped areas.

The article is not clear about who owns the land. I suspect this is a case of the landlord, the U.S. government, saying the tenants may not disrupt the landscaped areas.

A question:

Using a realistic 'median' average, is the total volume of natural gas found in shale rock per cubic meter of rock equivalent to the amount found in 'conventional' rock (conventional natural gas plays) ?

If not, what would a ball-park ratio be?

(I am acutely aware that asking for a blanket comparison is almost impossible... just want to get a handle on whether shale holds a similar total amount of gas as conventional. Please note, I am taking total resource, not reserve or ultimately extracted volumes.)


Using a realistic 'median' average, is the total volume of natural gas found in shale rock per cubic meter of rock equivalent to the amount found in 'conventional' rock (conventional natural gas plays) ?

This is of course an impossible question to answer.

Shale is frequently the source rock for conventional natural gas accumulations, and there is not reason to think that the amounts involved would be significantly larger or smaller in an unconventional shale play. However, in a conventional accumulation the gas has migrated out of the source rock and has been trapped in a reservoir. Once it starts to migrate, some of the gas is almost certain to be lost, either in reservoirs too small to be produced, or by escaping to the atmosphere as a gas seep.

So in effect conventional accumulations have less gas than shale accumulations where the gas has never migrated. In practice, the lower recovery rate of shale accumulations usually makes them smaller than conventional accumulations which have migrated from a similar volume source rock.


If I’m right, then the under- and unemployed masses will grow ever more frustrated, angry, and resentful of the distant and decadent elite who reap all the wealth and benefits of this Great Devouring. (I think we can all agree that San Francisco’s already getting pretty decadent.) The rich will in turn will presumably accuse the masses of trying to freeload on the immense wealth generated by their disruptive innovations. And instead of taking the first few faltering steps towards a post-scarcity society, i.e. a better world with fewer jobs, we’ll charge headlong into class warfare.


Giant Robotic Mining Trucks Love the Australian Desert
Iron mines are where mega-bots like these trucks are finding a home, but the Pentagon is also interested in the technology

And if those self-driving cars ever get off the ground, watch companies extirpate those expensive drivers from their payrolls posthaste, followed by the invisible backhand of early retirement, savings drain to retrain, or unemployment. Well, a few rich folks might trickle down a job or two where for eccentric reasons they want a real human driver (fun fact! Yutaka Sada had to learn to drive for his role in "Tengoku to jigoku"), who would then probably be tasked with not actually touching the controls...ahhh, progress!

... speaking of which, what exactly has all that technological progress won us since Tengoku to jigoku was released fifty years ago? How's poverty, crime, and inequality going?

a few rich folks might trickle down a job or two where for eccentric reasons they want a real human driver

And Google with their google auto-drive cars has dumped money into uber - seems to be an attempt to break the local taxi monopoly and is trying to be 'classy taxi's and upscale delivery services.

instead of taking the first few faltering steps towards a post-scarcity society, i.e. a better world with fewer jobs, we’ll charge headlong into class warfare.

There still has to be people with jobs to pay for the stuff that produces wealth.


If I have a robot that produces something and I sell it to another person with a robot producing stuff and he sells stuff to others with robots producing stuff etc. And to facilitate the efficient trading of goods we use a Kilowatt as the unit of currency. So I can both acquire goods, services, run my robot or get a robot to build more robots.

I would no longer need people with jobs to buy my products, just other people or corporations with robots and eventually just other robots. As long as I get my goods and services that I need, plus plenty of kilowatts in the bank, there is no reason to include other humans or even corporations in the business transaction at all.

There is a limit to stuff that we personally need, so to keep all the robots busy and the economy working, production increasingly moves into supplying stuff for robots rather than humans. And if you don't have a robot making stuff then you're not part of the economy or of society.

In a world where barriers to progress (legal or otherwise) are now easily ignored, undermined or destroyed and the System advances exponentially with Moore's Law we're going to be living in "interesting times".

Anyway, I better get back to my automated food production system design.

During these waning days I wanted to post links to some podcasts I find informative wrt the topics covered here on TOD:

http://www.ecoshock.org/ - climate change focused, pretty hard-hitting at times

http://fromalpha2omega.podomatic.com/ - global perspective from Ireland

http://c-realmpodcast.podomatic.com/ - pretty broad, including lots of stuff many will consider off-topic, but KMO is a great interviewer, and has fascinating guests

http://extraenvironmentalist.com/ - young, hip and in some ways guileless, but if you can get past those traits, they talk to many of the right people about the right things...

http://kunstlercast.com/ - a much better version of Kunstler than his weekly blog