Drumbeat: August 26, 2013

Richard Heinberg: Was the Oil and Gas Industry Promoting Peak Oil to Make Maximum Profits?

The change in our public conversation about energy is predicated on new drilling technology and its ability to access previously off-limits supplies of crude oil and natural gas. In the chapters ahead, we will explore this technology—its history, its impacts, and its potential to deliver on the promises being made about it. As we will see, horizontal drilling and hydrofracturing (“fracking”) for oil and gas pose a danger not just to local water and air quality, but also to sound energy policy, and therefore to our collective ability to avert the greatest human-made economic and environmental catastrophe in history.

WTI Trades Near Four-Day High Amid Economic Recovery

West Texas Intermediate crude traded near a four-day high amid signs of economic recovery in Europe and speculation that western governments may launch a military intervention in Syria. Brent’s premium to WTI narrowed.

Futures advanced as much as 0.9 percent in New York. Economic confidence in the euro area probably rose to the highest level in 17 months in August, adding to signs that the currency bloc’s recovery from a record-long recession is gathering pace. U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain is convinced President Bashar Al-Assad is behind last week’s chemical weapons attack in Syria, and there’s agreement with the U.S. and France on the need to respond.

“There’s a surprisingly robust economic recovery,” said Eugen Weinberg, the head of commodities research at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “It’s supporting prices but not catapulting them to a new level.”

U.S. Gasoline Falls to $3.5586 a Gallon in Survey

The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps fell 3.99 cents in the past two weeks to $3.5586 a gallon, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.

In bustling Houston, it's a case of 'Build, baby, build!'

(Reuters) - With Texas one of the few bright spots in the U.S. economy, the skyline of swaggering Houston is where the action is as builders and global oil companies, from Phillips 66 to Exxon Mobil Corp, look past previous busts and spend billions on gleaming new buildings.

The U.S. shale oil and gas revolution - which has already changed industries from railroads to pipelines and refineries - is helping drive the voracious appetite for office space needed for the expanding workforce in the world's energy capital.

Why Has Big Oil Struggled to Catch on to the Shale Boom?

The experience of the oil giants in the shale revolution should be a cautionary tale for investors: not every company will benefit. So picking the best companies for your portfolio is akin to picking a needle from a pile of rusty needles.

Sudan earns $236 mn from South Sudan oil fees

Sudan earned more than $230 million in fees for the export of South Sudanese oil this year, official media reported on Sunday, days before a Khartoum deadline to shut the pipelines.

"The government of South Sudan sent the fees for oil transportation to the Sudan Central Bank," the official SUNA news agency quoted the bank's assistant governor, Azhari al-Tayeb al-Faki, as saying.

World Powers Seek Syria Action as UN Probes Allegations

World leaders from Washington to Istanbul denounced what they said was the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and called for action even as United Nations inspectors attempted to probe the allegations.

U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain is convinced Assad was behind the attack and that there was agreement with the U.S. and France on the need to respond. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his country will join a “coalition” against Syria if the UN fails to act.

U.N. chemical weapons team vehicle fired on in Syria

A vehicle used by U.N. chemical weapons investigators was shot at Monday by snipers, a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says.

China urges 'cautious' approach on Syria chemical weapons

China called for a "cautious" approach to the Syrian chemical weapons crisis Monday, as pressure grew for international action in the wake of an alleged gas attack near Damascus.

Egypt’s Military Does No Wrong in Eyes of Weary Citizens

In the last two weeks, Egypt’s military-backed government has killed almost a thousand Egyptians, placed Cairo under curfew, and lined roads with soldiers, bridges with tanks, and some roofs with snipers.

If all that bothered anybody in this crisis-weary city, they made little fuss about it.

“The Egyptian army works for the interest of the nation,” said Amany Hassan, a 45-year-old government employee whose father was in the military. “They got rid of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptians love anyone who protects them.”

Libya Says Oil Exports From Brega Resume as Protests Ease

Libyan oil exports resumed from Brega, one of four ports where force majeure was declared last week, as protests that have shut the facilities since the end of July eased, according to officials in Tripoli.

The tanker Vallesina departed two days ago for Italy with 630,000 barrels of Brega-grade crude, Ibrahim Al Awami, director of measurement at state-run National Oil Corp., said in a telephone interview. Deputy Oil Minister Omar Shakmak confirmed by phone that it’s the first export from Brega since the Aug. 22 lifting of the force majeure.

Deteriorating security stifles Iraq's economic promise

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - In the past month, bombs exploding down the street from Fawzy Hassan's snack shop in central Baghdad have frightened away many customers, and those who do still come to stock up on fruit, potato chips and candy are spending less than before.

"People bought one kilo before - now they only buy half," said the 73-year-old Hassan, who has worked on the street since he was 10 years old. "People are suffering financially because year after year, making a living gets more difficult."

Shell blamed for Iraq's $4bn oil losses

Iraq's oil ministry, struggling with sputtering output, blames the Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell over US$4.6 billion in lost revenue due to production delays, a letter revealed yesterday.

The document, dated July 21, sharply criticises the foreign energy firm for shortfalls in oil extraction at the giant Majnoon field in southern Iraq and comes as oil exports have fallen to their lowest level in 16 months even while Baghdad has looked to cement its role as a key global energy producer.

Sinopec Beats PetroChina as Refining Profit Boosts Net

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Asia’s biggest refiner, posted a 24 percent increase in first-half net income after its refining business returned to profit, outperforming PetroChina Co.

India firm buys stake in Mozambique gas field

India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp has agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in a gas field offshore Mozambique from Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp for $2.64bn.

ONGC is aiming to offset diminishing supplies from domestic gas fields by buying overseas assets, according to the Reuters news agency.

ONGC May Raise Overseas Debt for $2.64 Billion Purchase

ONGC is leading India’s push to get access to oil and natural gas reserves around the world with $6.14 billion of deals this year as a growing population and industrialization drives up energy demand in Asia’s third-biggest economy. Funding the acquisition with overseas debt will help ONGC skirt the effect of a sinking rupee, which has dropped 14.17 percent this year, the worst decline among its Asian peers.

Peak oil is finally on scene

Two hundred years ago, Thomas Malthus predicted that population growth would outstrip food production, leading to inevitable misery and famine. “The power of population is so superior to the power in the Earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race,” he wrote.

What he overlooked was humans’ ability to adapt through increased agricultural yield. The long-term energy story may be similar. Auto giants from General Motors to Toyota have doubled down on fuel efficiency. New jets from Boeing emphasize fuel efficiency. Buses, trucks and factories have all become more efficient, and in some cases are switching to new fuels entirely. Energy analyst Daniel Yergin points out that the United States uses less than half as much energy per unit of gross domestic product today as it did in the 1970s.

Australia’s future Infrastructure Prime Minister will increase our oil vulnerability

What you vote is what you get. More road tunnels and neither rail nor public transport projects. And this despite Tony Abbott being a cyclist.

As the Australian election campaign enters its final stage polls suggest that Tony Abbot is to become the next Prime Minister. He has styled himself “Infrastructure Prime Minister”. But which infrastructure? More highways and road tunnels. More than what we have seen in the last 6 years under an ALP government? The word “rail” does not even appear in the Liberal “plan”. Neither does the word “oil”. So we’ll become even more oil dependent than we are already now. June 2013 statistics of BREE show that Australian crude and condensate production dropped by 11.5% pa between 2011/12 and 2012/13

Ambitious gas pipeline plan is dilemma for Pakistan

Pakistan is facing a conundrum. Led by the prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the new government is being pressed by the United States not to proceed with a US$7.5 billion gas pipeline project with Iran. But gas imported from Iran could avert the worst power crisis in Pakistan's history.

How can Mr Sharif go ahead with what is considered the country's energy lifeline, without damaging its relations with the US?

Canadian Documents Suggest Shift on Pipeline

OTTAWA — Ever since President Obama said in June that a litmus test for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada was whether it would “significantly” worsen global warming, Canadian government officials have insisted it would not.

They reasoned that because the pipeline would not have any major effect on rate of development of Canada’s oil sands, as a State Department environmental review concluded in March, it would not significantly raise the amount of carbon emitted.

But documents obtained by a Canadian environmental group suggest that the staff at Natural Resources Canada viewed Keystone XL as an important tool for expanding oil sands production. The documents were released to the Pembina Institute, a group based in Calgary, Alberta, after a request made under Canada’s Access to Information Act.

The two agendas against fracking

What has become clear over these past few years is that two different agendas drive opposition to fracking. These agendas are fundamentally different, though not mutually exclusive.

New York's choice is a natural one

Now that President Barack Obama and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have toured New York, it is worth considering the goals we should have for the 21st century, the role natural gas could play and what is broadly at stake. The world is watching New York.

As the Earth's population grows from 7 billion to 10.5 billion, meeting future energy goals requires that the global energy supply expand from 15 terawatts to 75 terawatts. Because energy is prosperity, the expansion of supply must also be steady. Prosperity delayed, like justice delayed, has a high social cost.

Chinese Oil Executive Under Investigation

A vice president of China's biggest oil company, state-owned CNPC, is under investigation on suspicion of unspecified "severe violations of discipline," the government said Monday.

The investigation of Wang Yongchun marked the second time this month an executive of a major government company was the target of such a probe.

Thai Officials Play Down Effects of Oil Spill

Thai officials immediately played down the environmental impact of what was the country’s third-largest oil spill. An executive with the state-owned oil group, PTT, speaking a day after the July 27 accident, told reporters that “everything was restored to normal.” A day later, when a thick black tide of crude filled a bay of this popular resort island, the same executive, Pornthep Butniphant, said the oil would decompose naturally and have “no effect on the environment.”

But it has taken far more than nature to remove the crude from the shoreline. Military units have spent the past three weeks decontaminating the bay. The soldiers have been joined by dozens of contractors who have been brushing rocks with dish-washing liquid to extract remaining traces of crude. A leading marine biologist said it would be years before marine life returned to normal in the worst-affected area.

Japanese government to take over Fukushima nuclear reactor

The Japanese government has finally lost patience with the bungling efforts of Tokyo Electric Power Company to get the crippled reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant under control.

Russia Offers Fukushima Cleanup Help as Tepco Reaches Out

Russia repeated an offer first made two years ago to help Japan clean up its accident-ravaged Fukushima nuclear station, welcoming Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)’s decision to seek outside help.

As Tokyo Electric pumps thousands of metric tons of water through the wrecked Fukushima station to cool its melted cores, the tainted run-off was found to be leaking into groundwater and the ocean. The approach to cooling and decommissioning the station will need to change and include technologies developed outside of Japan if the cleanup is to succeed, said Vladimir Asmolov, first deputy director general of Rosenergoatom, the state-owned Russian nuclear utility.

Gulf nucelar emergency plan ready

Manama: A Gulf emergency plan to tackle nuclear leaks in the region is ready and will be implemented in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will this week hold a meeting in Vienna and will discuss the emergency plan that will deal with nuclear leaks in the Gulf or elsewhere,” Mohammad Mubarak Bin Daina, vice chief executive of the Supreme Council for Environment in Bahrain, said in remarks published in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Norway opens doors for a major onshore wind power boost

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's oil and energy ministry said on Monday it has granted licences to build eight wind power farms with a combined 1,300-megawatt capacity in a major boost for wind power development in the Nordic country.

The ministry said investment into newly licensed wind farms was expected to come to around 20 billion crowns ($3.32 billion), one of the largest investments ever on its mainland.

Cave Collector in Minnesota Hunts for Additions to His Empire

Since the mid-1980s, Mr. Ackerman has been traveling to southeastern Minnesota from his home in the Twin Cities area to explore and acquire caves. He is the largest private cave owner in Minnesota and might be the largest in the country, but nobody is certain because not all of his caves have been fully explored to determine their extent.

Where Sand Is Gold, the Reserves Are Running Dry

Constant erosion from storms and tides and a rising sea level continue to swallow up chunks of beach along Florida’s Atlantic coastline. Communities have spent the last few decades replenishing their beaches with dredged-up sand.

But in South Florida — Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties — concerns over erosion and the quest for sand are particularly urgent for one reason: there is almost no sand left offshore to replenish the beaches.

Making Some Effort, but North Texas Continues to Run the Water

Concerns over wildlife habitats derailed plans for a massive reservoir in East Texas. Most recently, the United States Supreme Court struck down North Texas’ effort to buy water from Oklahoma reservoirs after that state resisted. The next big idea — the proposed $3.4 billion Marvin Nichols Reservoir — has met fierce opposition from environmentalists and rural communitiesin northeast Texas who say that 70,000 acres would be lost to the reservoir, including farms, forest and wildlife habitat.

All this has left critics asking: Will the region finally get serious about conserving water, or will it simply build its way out of the problem?

Stopped Cold: Mercedes Sales Blocked in France

The French environment ministry ordered the ban in response to the German carmaker’s defiance of a European Union regulation on the refrigerants permitted in automotive air-conditioning systems, and the ministry says that it won’t back down until Daimler, the parent of Mercedes, complies. The European Union, though supportive of France’s position, has agreed to step in and referee to keep the squabble from spreading.

Greenpeace: Russian officials board ship during Arctic protest

MOSCOW — The environmental group Greenpeace says that Russian authorities have boarded their ship which is in the Arctic to protest against oil drilling.

The group is protesting offshore oil exploration conducted by state oil company Rosneft and ExxonMobil in the Russian section of the Arctic Ocean off western Siberia.

Ocean Acidification Will Make Climate Change Worse

As we emit more carbon dioxide, the oceans will become more acidic. That will be bad for sealife—but it may also speed the rate of global warming.

Hudson River shoreline threatened by Greenland ice thaw

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — Up and down the Hudson River, and along Long Island and the New Jersey shoreline, many communities are preparing for one of the most consistent trends reflecting the world's changing climate: sea-level rise. The impacts range from higher tides that may inundate some riverfront areas of the Hudson, to more devastating storm surges.

More than 9,000 acres in the Hudson River Valley and as many as 3,600 households could be inundated by 2100 just at high tide, if global sea levels rise by as much as 6 feet, according to a recent report from Poughkeepsie, N.Y.-based nonprofit Scenic Hudson.

UN set to predict drowning of coastal cities by 2100

A leaden cloak of responsibility lies on the shoulders of UN scientists as they put the final touches to the first volume of a massive report that will give the world the most detailed picture yet of climate change.

Due to be unveiled in Stockholm on September 27, the document will be scrutinised word by word by green groups, fossil-fuel lobbies and governments to see if it will yank climate change out of prolonged political limbo.

Re: Egypt’s Military Does No Wrong in Eyes of Weary Citizens in DB ...

In the last two weeks, Egypt’s military-backed government has killed almost a thousand Egyptians, placed Cairo under curfew, and lined roads with soldiers, bridges with tanks, and some roofs with snipers. ... “They got rid of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptians love anyone who protects them.”

Egypt Widens Crackdown and Meaning of ‘Islamist’

Having crushed the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian authorities have begun cracking down on other dissenters, sometimes labeling even liberal activists or labor organizers as dangerous Islamists.

Ten days ago, the police arrested two left-leaning Canadians — one of them a filmmaker specializing in highly un-Islamic movies about sexual politics — and implausibly announced that they were members of the Brotherhood, the conservative Islamist group backing the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi. In Suez this month, police and military forces breaking up a steelworkers strike charged that its organizers were part of a Brotherhood plot to destabilize Egypt.

Prosecutors had already begun investigating Mohamed ElBaradei, the liberal former United Nations diplomat, for “betraying the public trust.”

“It is up to the courts,” Nabil Fahmy, the interim foreign minister, said in a recent interview. All will be handled “in accordance with the rule of law,” he said. [... see also Sondergericht

- First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.
- Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
- Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
- Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

Seraph, awesome!!!

Who will speak up for the Christians and Jews being attacked by the Moslem Brotherhood who have burnt more than 60 churches and monestaries? Who speaks up for Christians martyred by Islamists?

At this point the Eqyptian army.

No one. They better emigrate to a christian majority country or a country that tolerates minorities. Speaking from personal experience.

Islamists killed the last christian in Homs (Syria) about half a year ago. Most who flee from Iraq are christians. Outbreaks against christians i Egypt are no news. Etc.

But there are examples of the other way. In egypt last year, islamists stormed a church and burned it around easter time. They promised to come back and kill everyone who served the easter worship that season. When the islamist came back, they found the local muslims had formed a human wall around the ruins. The christians had their worship. The islamists where denied acces and had to go home.

I don't mind islam, but islamism is the pest of this world. (Islamism is a minority among most muslims, but they are active.) Few know that islamism is one of the roots of nazism. Yassir Arrafats uncle was a personal friend of Adolf Hitler. Hitler learnt a lot from his friend. Thats the connection. I am surprised about how this is edited out of the history books.

My girlfriend has a lebanese muslim father, and a syrian christian mother. Wich means I have future relatives in Syria. Who are christians. When Assad falls, they will pay a heavy prize. I am deeply worried.

As the fast/slow collapse begins due to resource depletion, I wonder how race and religious persecution will play out accross the glode. Seems this can only end badly, best wall y/ourselves in defendable positions with like minded individuals or head for he hills. Most animals natural agression can be supressed with a full belly, and so it seems our veneer of civilization is just the same.

As resources become scarse wars are common. A major disadvantage with a sought after resource are the greedy neighbors. They will come up with a "good" reason to go to war like USA or simply just take it.

Taking oil just does not work. Perhaps one good thing to come out of the pointless Iraq war is that people may finally learn the lesson that war to steal oil will not work. It will cost you more for the war than what the oil is worth because you simply cannot defend the thousands of miles of pipelines, refineries, ports, wells, pumps, rigs, generators, roads, etc.

As always, you need a big enough army or stick with these with less powerful friends.

Though the Muslim Brotherhood has committed many atrocities, sometimes things are not always what the appear to be.


It's interesting how the Egyptian military can put down a popular uprising efficiently. Yet the Syrian military is really struggling to put down the CIA sponsored uprising. If not for the backing of interested foreign parties, the Syrain uprising would have been long over.

No, it is not a power thing, it is a legitimacy thing. The Egyptian people like & trust their military and thus won't really fight it. The Syrian people don't really like their military/dictator.

Why do you think its sponsered by the CIA? It looks like a spontaneous arab sping event, that was put down by excessive brutality, leaving a lot of people to conclude they had no choice but to fight.

Syria is not a client of the USA (or Brittain, or France). It is state client of Russia, and Iran. Admittedly USA and Israel would like to end that client state status, but I see no evidence they are behind the uprising. Things don't always happen because empires make them happen. Sometimes things happen for other reasons, and all the empire can do is respond to the chaos.

Israel and Russia do not want Assad to go. They know that when he go, islamists will come. Assad are after all better than the islamists. OTOH, war is worse than islamism so there are no "right" choises.

That is precisely how I would see it. Assad is a brutal dictator, but an Islamic theocracy would be even worse, and that is what we shall probably end up with.

Physicists Suggest Electrical Networks More At Risk of Cascading Failure than Thought

A team of physicists from Israel and the U.S. has discovered that mathematical modeling suggests modern electrical networks may be more vulnerable to cascading collapse than has been previously thought.

... The problem with mathematical models that are used to demonstrate how a network might continue working when failures occur, or when they don't, the team writes, is that they are used to describe networks with nodes randomly spaced. The Internet, they note, and electrical systems are not randomly spaced because of population density differences, geography, etc.—taking out randomness results in orderly lattices that lead to more critical nodes. That in turn, of course, leads to less stable networks.

Hi Seraph,

And that's without the EMP, right? (insert half-smiley here.)

Glad to see your smiling moniker in these last few days!

I owe you an email. In case you haven't seen my posts, it's been an interesting summer for me.

But it's ok. I blame Peak Oil, of course!


$111 !! What's up with this? Is it the Speculators, the Dictator Haters, or the Sewer System Gators? (which I am now assured are caused by fracking!)

Yes, it will be interesting when the next X-19 CME lites up the national grid like a fireworks show.

Where Sand Is Gold, the Reserves Are Running Dry

That commentary shows how seriously misguided people are. All those people living along the beach in South Florida apparently don't understand that that beach isn't going to be there much longer. As the sea level rises, the coast line is going to retreat inland, returning the present beach to the ocean bottom. I've been doing a bit of reading on the geology of Florida and it turns out that Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades were below sea level as recently as 6,000 years ago during the Holocene Warm Period. Yet, those with a much shorter time horizon want to hold back the erosion of the beach, not realizing that it's too late to stop a considerable rise already in the pipeline due to mankind's recent additions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

They also don't want to think about the effects of a really big hurricane on their lives, like the one in 1928, which produced a massive storm surge. Jeff Masters had a discussion of the Okeechobee dike problem on his web site over the weekend...

E. Swanson

Does anyone know where the sand goes?

We get some of it here North of Cape Canaveral. Carried north by the Gulf Stream.

Hi Filip
The better question is: Where does the sand come from?
Here in the Western USofA streams and rivers have been dammed so seasonal storms no longer flush sand and gravel to the coast. Ocean currents would move this material to beaches and even as sand would erode, powerful winter waves would move sand back to the shore. Gravity eventually prevails and the material is gone.
Now some reservoirs are so full of "silt" that their storage capacity is reduced by half. There's your sand.
I used to visit a place in Central California where you can pan for gold on the beach. One year a sandy beach, another time there were cobblestones, then another visit and there was a sand.
There's a project to remove some dams in a watershed on the California / Oregon border and engineers are trying to decide what to do with all the sediment. More later.

Even without human "help" many California beaches change with the seasons. During the summer, when waves are usually relatively small, the sandy beaches tend to grow as sand that was located a short distance offshore is gradually transported inshore to the beach. The winter storms bring large waves that, overall, reverse the process, moving sand *from* the beaches and depositing it out beyond the surf zone. Thus the rocks that were covered in the summer are often exposed in the winter.

It is true that dams have reduced some of the sediment supply from inland locations, but accelerated erosion of the stream channels downstream from the dams tends to make up most of the difference if the dam is more than, say, 50 miles from the ocean and the channel isn't composed of concrete or erosion-resistant types of rock.

Thanks gw.

Mostly out onto the coral reefs which are then smothered...

Tom and Fred are on the right track. Keep in mind also that wave action tends to produce "rivers" of sand from north to south along both sides of the United States. Thus, anyone building a jetty or seawall to build up their beach in say, New Jersey or Delaware, is effectively "stealing" the sand from points farther south.

The "Goodbye Miami" in Rolling Stone is a great article about how bad off southern Florida will be with rising seas and how it's all basically being ignored.

We have vacationed on the Outer Banks in NC, and I have been sympathetic to those who wish to preserve something from the endless development - but the whole thing will soon be gone. So many places along so many coasts that will simply be under the sea.

Hammocks Beach State Park on Bear Island - it's still in a mostly natural state (though a fire took out the trees many years on back) it has dunes that are 30 - 40 feet high. It's really amazing how much protection those provide to the land behind it. Just across the inlet though is "Emerald Isle" which I think should be renamed "Ruined Isle" which is chock full of hotels and flattened like a pancake.

The world simply does not stay the same even without human intervention. On this site we talk about drilling thru layers of sedimentary rock kilometers or miles thick. A lot of the small lakes formed during the last ice age have transformed to swamps a long time ago and is now torf or forest. In most small lakes I guess it's possible to see a difference over a man age.

From today's WSJ, behind their pay wall:

Pipeline-Capacity Squeeze Reroutes Crude Oil

More crude oil is moving around the U.S. on trucks, barges and trains than at any point since the government began keeping records in 1981, as the energy industry devises ways to get around a pipeline-capacity shortage to take petroleum from new wells to refineries.
Oil delivered to refineries by trucks grew 38% from 2011 to 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, while crude on barges grew 53% and rail deliveries quadrupled. Although alternatives are growing rapidly, pipelines and oceangoing tankers remain the primary method for delivering crude to refineries.
The heavy trucks moving Eagle Ford crude are causing headaches for residents and local officials, ripping up roads and causing traffic tie-ups.

"These are rural roads built for 10 cars an hour, and now it's 100 vehicles an hour, and 75 of them are 80,000-pound trucks," says Tom Voelkel, president of Dupre Logistics LLC. The Lafayette, La., company started hauling crude in Eagle Ford in November 2011 and has more than 100 drivers full time in the region.
In North Dakota, trains move 69% of the state's 800,000 barrels a day of crude, according to state figures. Energy companies say they value rail's ability to deliver crude to the highest-paying markets.
The American Association of Railroads says it is prepared for growing crude shipments because it has long carried hazardous cargoes. In 2008, major U.S. railroads carried 9,500 carloads of crude, the association says, and are on pace this year to carry 389,000.

E. Swanson

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Issues for Congress

... While the United States and other governments have said they believe the Assad regime has kept its chemical weapons stocks secure, policymakers are concerned about what could happen to these weapons in the course of the civil war, such as diversion to terrorist groups or loss of control during a regime collapse.

... During conflict, the intelligence community and Special Forces units would likely play a major role in locating and securing such weapons in a combat environment. The nature and recent course of the conflict in Syria suggests that rapid changes in control over critical military facilities may occur.

Egypt in Crisis: Issues for Congress

... At this point, Egypt’s trajectory is highly dependent on the outcome of the government’s crackdown. If it succeeds in suppressing Muslim Brotherhood anti-government activities on a mass scale through arrests, violence, and various restrictive measures, then Egypt could revert to a state of semi-normality, albeit one that would probably be subject to periodic low-level Islamist disruption. Such an outcome might resemble the decades before the ouster of Mubarak.

On the other hand, if the government’s crackdown does not succeed in suppressing protest and in fact bolsters the Islamists’ cause, then the prospect for prolonged and heightened civil conflict, even civil war, grows more probable.

On a broader level, many observers are concerned that the situation in Egypt does not bode well for Islamist stewardship over or integration into fragile democracies elsewhere in the region.

Mexico’s Peña Nieto Administration: Priorities and Key Issues in U.S.-Mexican Relations

... Peña Nieto has proposed reforms aimed at helping PEMEX boost production. The proposal would maintain state control over the company, but allow it to enter into profit-sharing contracts with private companies. The reforms would require a two-thirds vote to amend Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution, which prohibits the government from granting any private concessions for the development of oil or gas. Former President Calderón sought to reform Article 27 in 2008, but his proposal was watered down by the PRI-led Congress.23 With the PRI and PAN now agreeing on the need for private involvement in PEMEX (the PAN favors a deeper reform than the PRI that would permit private concessions and production-sharing agreements), some argue that the prospects for enacting energy reforms are better than in the past.24 Skeptics caution, however, that Mexico’s deeply held nationalistic concerns about maintaining sovereignty over its hydrocarbons resources could still derail reform efforts

Financing Natural Catastrophe Exposure: Issues and Options for Improving Risk Transfer Markets

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a key policy question for Congress is whether the federal government should intervene in U.S. risk transfer markets to ensure the continued availability and affordability of homeowners’ insurance for all residents. Advocates of federal intervention in property catastrophe insurance markets argue that an inevitable mega-catastrophe event will exceed the financial capacity of private insurers and reinsurers, as well as state insurance programs. Thus, they argue, the federal government should consider establishing a national catastrophe risk-financing program to transfer diversified pools of risk to the capital markets to help states achieve better terms with regard to the cost of insurance protection.

In essence, advocates argue that state residual property insurance pools would benefit from global diversification by transferring government’s catastrophe risk to capital market partners through catastrophe swap or directly to capital market investors through (catastrophe) bond issuance, or the purchase options on their exposure to extreme weather events (weather hedge). These options would presumably reduce pressure on public budgets and help improve insurers’ access to capital to ensure adequate capacity and solvency of the insurance industry to meet consumer needs. [… commodifying disaster?]

Defense Surplus Equipment Disposal: Background Information,/a>

Re: Financing Natural Catastrophe Exposure: Issues and Options for Improving Risk Transfer Markets

Rethinking investment risk

Financial innovation is supposed to reduce risk — in theory, at least. Yes, new financial instruments based on the housing market helped cause the financial crisis of 2008. But in the abstract, those same instruments have the potential to spread risk more evenly throughout the marketplace by making it possible to trade debt more extensively, rather than having it concentrated in a relatively few hands.

Now a paper published by MIT economist Alp Simsek makes the case that even in theory, financial innovation does not lower portfolio risk. Instead, it raises portfolio risks by creating situations in which parties sit on opposing sides of deep disagreements about the value of certain investments.

In a world in which investors have different views, new securities won’t necessarily reduce risks,” says Simsek, an assistant professor in MIT’s Department of Economics. “People bet on their views. And betting is inherently a risk-increasing activity.”

Seraph - Where are you going to be posting such articles a week from now?

I have the same question.

"During conflict, the intelligence community and Special Forces units would likely play a major role in locating and securing such weapons in a combat environment" ... oh I hope they send in a different team than went into Iraq after all those WMDs, unless this is just another stinking pile of b.s.

Gee - you don't think they'd lie abut weapons of mass destruction a second time do you !

Well they seem to be in a bit of a panic to attack before the UN can establish who carried out the chemical attack (strange a sniper disabling the lead UN vehicle and delaying them). So I guess they're going to give the weapons of mass destruction replay a miss this time and just cut strait to the chase.

Lets face it, democracy and the People are out of the loop, so why bother lying. They no longer need the acquiescence of the population to get on with the work of empire. In a Technocracy, technocrats make the decisions.

In a Technocracy, technocrats make the decisions.

you say this like its a bad thing.

(in a proper Technocracy, one has competent Technocrats.)

It is a bad thing. Technocrats are essentially technicians administering and maintaining the system via its intrinsic rule set. They're there to serve the System. Reinforcing and maintaining what works, eliminating redundancy, constantly adjusting and improving for maximum technical efficiency. They're not servants of the people, they're servants of the System where technical advancement is not a means but an end in its self.

Every problem becomes a technical problem with a technical solution and the technical solution becomes and end in itself. So we get technically efficient buildings that are unfit for humans and have to be fixed with environmental controls. Cities built for cars rather than humans. Very advanced computer systems with incredible interfaces that baffle even the most computer literate. Foods devoid of nutrition, colour or taste (until they're chemically fixed) designed sole for efficient technical handling and processing. A financial system that fleeces and bankrupts its clients. Labour saving devices that are useless and fall apart but have awe inspiring design and manufacturing processes, supply chains and logistic networks. Etc.

Technocracy is the next step in the technological evolution of the System, where everything is put at its disposal regardless of the cost to Nature, the Environment or Us.

Well said.

The Technocracy movement in the 1930s was quite the opposite of dystopia, being very aware of external costs and the limits to growth. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technocracy

In fact M. King Hubbert helped write the study guide, http://www.technocracy.org/study-guide

The Technocracy movement in the 1930s was theoretical and utopian. The Soviet Union was an early attempt at Technocracy as is China today. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The Technocracy developing now is very different from the various man made attempts. This one is emerging naturally from the technological milieu, as an evolutionary development to fill the void between the legacy political system of government and the exponentially expanding technological system that's taking over. Think of it as a dysfunctional personnel department (Democracy) being upgraded to an ultra efficient human resources group (Technocracy) to better handle human affairs to the benefit of the system.

The System is advancing along with Moore's Law in computing which means massive strides are being made. Like the pond with the exponentially growing lilly pads, it takes 29 days for the lilies to cover half the pond, but only one day to cover the remaining half. The changes are going to hit us at an ever faster rate and we're already spinning like tops unable to get our bearings or make sense of what is happening to us. The wet assets, us, need to be managed carefully and integrated without distress (or revolt) into the rapidly evolving system which essentially means far greater control, inter-connectedness and of course monitoring.

Syria has been invited to join the collective, but refused, and is now going to be assimilated as a result.

Like the pond with the exponentially growing lilly pads, it takes 29 days for the lilies to cover half the pond, but only one day to cover the remaining half. The changes are going to hit us at an ever faster rate and we're already spinning like tops unable to get our bearings or make sense of what is happening to us.

Fortunately, I don't see it playing out like that. I think the move from conventional oil to unconventional oil makes it such that instead of hitting a brick wall, we hit rising hill. Oil is more expensive now and harder to extract but society continues along. And we improve our efficiency, reduce our waste of oil, and we work on alternatives like natural gas & EVs. Thus, we will change.

With regards to Syria . . . that is more of a Sunni v. Shia war than anything else now.

But it is playing out like that.

The examples you give are examples of the rapid pace of technical change. The rules are changing with the pace of technological progress and we have to adapt and follow the new rules. We didn't make or change the rules, they're a result of technological progress and they're imposed upon us.

The pace of change is going to accelerate and existing political and social systems are incapable of handling it and will fail... are failing. Whatever replaces them will have to have extremely fast response and adaption capabilities.

Triggering regional war was one of the explicit forecasts by many who knew the area before the Bush II Iraq invasion. (Follow-on into Syria was advocatated at the time by some US hawks.) So it goes.

So we get technically efficient buildings that are unfit for humans

An interesting claim.

Do you have an actual modern Technocracy you can show as an example of this?

Cities built for cars rather than humans. Very advanced computer systems with incredible interfaces that baffle even the most computer literate. Foods devoid of nutrition, colour or taste (until they're chemically fixed) designed sole for efficient technical handling and processing. A financial system that fleeces and bankrupts its clients. Labour saving devices that are useless and fall apart but have awe inspiring design and manufacturing processes, supply chains and logistic networks. Etc.

The same goes for this list. Where is this government based functional Technocracy that has these things?

Because your larger list has been seen in Fascist States and in States following a plutocracy model. It has even been seen in the United States of America, which follows whatever model the US follows.


China is put forth as a historic example.

But are you making a modern claim with your 1 word response?

So we get technically efficient buildings that are unfit for humans

Well, students recently complained that the building was too cold—sweater by summer, t-shirt by winter is my policy—and there was a design firm in doing a review to think about doing something about all the noise problems in the common atriums (this just in! hard, flat surfaces reflect noise!). Europe I've heard has better noise design than American buildings, so apparently they're not listening to the vents rattle away all day long. If you step outside to try to enjoy the natural environment, well, more noise from the building air conditioning systems (plus a nice sheen of noise off I-5 in the distance—too bad snow days shut that beast down so infrequently). At least this building can actually be walked to, and occupies what passes for a pedestrian refuge in America.

But the building is not very efficient! Lights are left on, I hear there's solar panels down in the basement for research (tossing M% of your grants into overhead easily leads to such distortions), outside air is not used to cool the computer rooms, the custom elevators break a lot, etc. So I'd pin things less on a conspiracy of Technocrats, and more on humans bumbling their way around per usual.

Well - I'm not sure we're quite there yet - usually a figleaf is required - in this case the mysterious "chemical attack".

Gee - you don't think they'd lie abut weapons of mass destruction a second time do you !

Lots of people are trying to make this analogy but it just doesn't work.

In Iraq, we had inspectors in the country working for months finding pretty much nothing and destroying what little they found. In this case we have already had 2 incidents of chemical weapons USAGE.

And all we are going to do is lob some cruise missiles in there and do some air attacks at most. No one would support putting troops on the ground. I think what people don't like is that we will not be able to 'win', we are just going to inflict some punishment. And lots of people don't like the idea of getting involved not to win.

Yes, and I remember the cheerleading for what was done to the Libyans too. They are so much better off now. The lies and fake moral outrage are so transparent, but the ever increasing transparency of the pretexts is not a bug, it is a feature. In short order the pretexts become so transparent there is no longer any need for them at all - one can simply mouth a few symbolic phrases and get right to business. Apparently we're there.

A militaristic empire cannot permit a small nation to thumb their nose at it, regardless of if that nation has desirable resources or not. Once it is seen that the empire will not or cannot use force to enforce its will, then thugs that we pay off to allow us to strip their nation's resources will begin to wonder if the empire is really tough enough keep them in power, and maybe they might be better off looking for someone else to prop them up.

There was never any question about the US empire allowing Assad to prevail.

I don't think there is any case for doubting that the regime has chemical weapons. But, we haven't generated a climate of fear (of those weapons), like was done for Iraq. Nor, is anyone clammoring for a ground invasion. At most some hawks would like us to take out the Syrian air force. If anything, the empire wants to steer clear of this, and is struggling to figure out how to maintain credibility (of stuff like RedLines) without getting pulled into that tar pit.

The only external forces I see psuhing this thing are, on one side Russia/Iran/Hezbollah -who are all supporting the government hoping to keep their client. And on the other side, mainly the Saudis and some gulf states, who are acting mainly on Sunni solidarity. True those states opposed to the Russia/Iran/Hezbollah would like to take Syria down several notches. But, the risks of instability far outweigh any benefits.

Yeah, it doesn't get mentioned much because it is not politically correct but much of this fight is a Sunni v. Shia fight. Iranians/Hezbollah/Alewites are Shia. The Gulf states are mainly Sunni. That is the unspoken battle line. Russia has a Naval port in Syria and Syria is a client state for them so they are on that side.

It is a weird quirk of history that the USA is more on the Sunni side. We once had a great relationship with Iran and Al-Qeada is a Sunni group. But history has twists & turns.

The Alewites in Syria practice a form of folk Shiism. The hard core Shiites probably consider them to be apostates. The regime isn't just Alewite, it also covers Christians and secular minded minorities (including secular minded Sunnis). Quite a complex mix.
Those minorities fear what would happen to them if Assad and company falls. Iran supports Assad, primarily for power projection purposes. Hezbollah depends upon Assad to provide a conduit for Iranian arms and other supplies, so keeping him in power is crucial for them. Of course Shia, and Sunni in the region are also taking sides. This is why I think prolongation of the civil war is the worst outcome. In addition to being a catastrophe for millions of Syrians, it risks destabilizing Lebanon and Iraq. Chaos is not our friend.

I think the US is heavily influenced by Israel, and secondarily by the Saudis. Israel is afraid of Iran. Syria was unfriendly, but could easily be lived with. But if you look at it through the lense of Arab spring; people versus the regime, the Saudis might want to think twice before helping the rebels.

Considering the UN inspectors blamed the first usage on the rebels, and have found a rebel chemical weapon storage depot, there is more to this then meets the MSM eye. Also the rebels are Al Qaida, and Qatari mercenaries. If you look at images from Syria, you could safely assume they are punishing themselves quite well on their own.
There is the possibility that this about breaking the Gazprom monopoly on European gas markets, via a new gas pipeline transporting Qatar gas. There is also the issue of the mutual defense pact between Iran and Syria. Russia is using Syria to block the pipeline.

Same old SNAFU.

Well..... ummmm .... ah I'm not saying THEY WILL lie of course, since we have clearly been promised "the most transparent administration in history" iirc.

But if they do, there is as usual a bit of silver lining somewhere about every cloud.

In this case, if they lie, and are found out, a few million people marginally capable of independent, crtiical thinking just might possibly finally realize that in a whole lot of respects there isn't a dime's worth of difference between our two major parties.

We need a political revolution in this country, but of course the odds of our getting one are slim. And if we do get it, then the odds are very very good that we will be worse rather than better off, afterward.

We simply don't seem to have any leaders who are both well informed in the broad sense, and also honest- which is no surprise of course to anyone except disillusioned young people .

There are some who understand our fiscal mess is going to destroy us unless it is honestly addressed with both spending cuts and tax increases(although they are reluctant to talk about the tax increases ) but unfortunately they seem to understand nothing at all about the physical and life sciences and thus will do nothing to address climate change and overshoot .

There ARE SOME who do understand the sciences and advocate for responsible environmental policies, but none of them seem to understand that money really doesn't grow on trees.......

And nearly every last one of both camps is well and truly deep in the pocket of one or more big's - big industry, big labor, big finance , retirees, military, agriculture, education.

What could possibly go wrong? ;-)

OFM, I think a big reason we won't have a political revolution is because the population is too large for that to happen. The US population in 1776 is estimated at 2.5 million. According to US Census, in 2012 there were over 60 metro areas over 1 million. As of July 1, 2013 the Resident population is estimated at 316 million. What number would represent a critical mass for a revolution to occur? Let's pretend and pick 10%, then and now. 250,000 vs 31,600,000. Oops!

Probably will happen in the US when the circuses (TV, etc.) and bread (food stamps, etc.) end.

Young adults and driving: 'Ain't nobody got time for that'

More than a third of young adults who don't drive say they are too busy to get a driver's license—and more than a fifth have no intention of ever learning to drive, say researchers at the University of Michigan.

... Other top reasons (primary and secondary) for not having a driver's license: 22 percent prefer to bike or walk, 17 percent prefer public transportation, 9 percent are concerned about how driving impacts the environment, 8 percent communicate or conduct business online, and 7 percent have medical/vision problems or disabilities

Full Study: The Reasons for the Recent Decline in Young Driver Licensing In the U.S.

I know a few youngsters who say the same thing.

But learning to drive is not something that takes all that big an investment of time, , especially considering that most high schools offer driver's ed .

Money is not listed as a top reason? Just who do the pollsters think they are fooling?

Among the ones I know well enough to make an informed guess, I know for a fact that most of them simply can't afford a car- but very few of them will admit it.

I had a conversation with a student headed for medical school a while back who said she had no intention of ever learning to drive.

So I posed her this question- How many times is somebody going to die over the course of your career because you cannot get to the hospital in a hurry when there is a major multi victim accident, or when you need to transport somebody personally after suffering a stroke or accident?

She changed her mind on the spot.

Now maybe I'm just a cynical old cloud of smelly digestive gases , but I think about seventy to eighty percent of the kids surveyed are telling white lies..

The total cost of car ownership is simply too much to handle for them.

Of course some of them are living for the present in places where a car is nearly useless, such as college campuses where the closest student parking is a long walk away, and others are living in high rent districts where everything is within an easy walk or bike ride .

The five hundred to a thousand or more or more they save every month by forgoing a car goes a long way towards paying the invariable exorbitant rents in such places.

Nobody should be so naive about human behavior as to expect status conscious young adults to admit they can't afford a car as well as all the other expenses they must bear, or choose to bear.

Nevertheless some of them are truly motivated by environmental considerations, and some of the others are making a conscious decision to spend the money saved on a car on other lifestyle enhancements.

The trend away from cars is encouraging.

I expect it to continue- Good jobs are scare and getting scarcer, while at the same time , the choice of alluring and expensive grown up substitute toys and status symbols is growing constantly.

So I posed her this question- How many times is somebody going to die over the course of your career because you cannot get to the hospital in a hurry when there is a major multi victim accident, or when you need to transport somebody personally after suffering a stroke or accident?

Maybe humanity needs to slow down just a wee bit, given that cars are and remain a leading cause of death for those under 30-something, and are likely leading causes of death for those over 30-something, from the accumulated cardiovascular stresses of breathing all that carfug during the mad rush to try to save those ruined and maimed in other accidents due to other mad rushing about?

(Disclaimer: do not know how to drive, last time I was in a vehicle was in July? 2012 (laughing uproariously at all the folks likewise not going anywhere on I-5 while the driver swore up and down it "isn't usually this bad"), last time behind a wheel was in 1998 in a geology van careening backwards down a field somewhere in Montana as I tried to find the stoppy thingy (the other students did not believe I did not know how to drive).)

In todays world, I think knowing how to drive is an important skill even if one doesn't own a car. I was fishing on one of our remote rivers some time back and came across a family that were camping. The woman was freaked out because her husband had slipped and smashed his head on some rocks. He was clearly in a bad way, in and out of semi-consciousness. She didn't even know how to start their big SUV, much less drive. Somehow she had managed to get it into reverse before trying to start it. There was no way she was going to drive the miles of mountain roads out of there, with a bashed up husband and two kids.

He was in shock and she hadn't even gotten him out of his wet clothes. She was also shaking him, trying to get him to wake up (with a head injury?!). No cell phone service. We got him undressed and into a sleeping bag and I drove until we got a cell signal and called the EMTs who met us about half way to the hospital. They said I likely saved his life, but I never heard back from the family. I had to call a friend to get me back to my truck, after I gave a statement to the police who were called (probably in case the family wanted to sue me).

Here in the boonies most kids learn to drive early, especially farm kids. I was driving our old Willys when I was twelve, checking on the cattle and stuff. I taught my kids the same way. My daughter learned to drive a manual transmission and use a clutch like she was born doing it. My step daughter,, well, some folks weren't born with whatever passes for a driving gene. I've been some places where it seems no one was :-0

IMHO if you can't drive a manual transmission...you can't drive.

One nice thing about my manual transmission car in college was that I could get it started with a dead battery.

I suppose jump-starting an EV with regen brakes would take a pretty long hill.. or you could put a model T crank on it somewhere..

Amen, Brother

I do a lot of camping in the middle of nowhere and I'll never forget the morning we woke up and the automatic was dead. We also had a manual. So we took the battery out of the dead automatic, drove it up the hill in the manual, swapped batteries at the top of the hill, bump-started the manual with the dead battery and put the good battery back in the automatic (and slept at home).

I'm worried most folks don't know how to drive a manual transmission these days. And I don't ever want to be in the woods without one.

Jump starting is a great plus, what we truly love about a standard transmission is the control. Stuck in snow, there's nothing like having a clutch to barely ease forward or reverse. With an automatic, you're invariabley spinning your wheels.

They seem to be getting rarer. It took a while to order, and a lot of talk to the dealer, to get our last Subaru without an automatic--variable trans I think they call it.

That brings back memories of a VW Thing I used to start by pushing it and jamming it into gear with a dead battery in the late 70s.

I drove a VW for many years in my early business days, and took pride in the fact that every time I got back from some fruitless trip to some awful place, and found my bug dead at the airport of one or another illness- and under a pile of snow, I was always able to revive it by anywhichwayicould and get home, albeit covered with salty slush or whatever.

This gave me lotsa ammo for big fibs to my kids about my prowess as a fixitman. It also taught the kids an important lesson- always keep your BS detector fully charged.

My daughter learned to drive on a manual, and took her driver's test on one. Very, very few of her generation (she is 19) know how to drive one, either guys or girls. It is actually a minor sensation among her friends that she can.

Overall I think knowing how to drive is simply a skill people should have in a place where the automobile is the primary transportation system. It's just a piece of equipment and one should know how to use it regardless of whether you own one or even like the idea of it.

Indeed....the problem with understanding your vehicle and being able to fix it yourself is that you also learn how to drive them when they are malfunctioning, and may therefore feel less need to actually fix them. I also had more than one car that needed to be bump started. I had a chain of cars that I carried my tools in the trunk with, and I suspect I may be one of the prime reasons CAA limited the number and distance of tows you were allowed.

Then I got married. Any noise or discharge from the car will attract her attention, and I better have a good explanation ("It's not broken enough to diagnose that particular problem yet" is usually true, but doesn't make her happy.) She tolerated a year in a Suzuki Swift with no second gear, but other than that, I have had to keep our cars very reliable (and much less exciting.)


That's one thing that I'll miss once I have an electric car. I like driving a manual transmission.

I have mostly owned VWs and I could roll-start them on my own by pushing the door open and then popping the clutch.

The loss of manual transmission is a bit nostalgic but you have to realize that it is being replaced with something much more efficient and better.

Long, long ago I had a 74 Superbeetle. There was a time I could not afford a new battery, went for 8 months without one. Really a battery was just an option, just had to remeber never to park pointing up hill, flat ground or better still down hill was just fine. Good times :)

"The loss of manual transmission is a bit nostalgic but you have to realize that it is being replaced with something much more efficient and better."

The new(er) truck has an automatic, and just like I remember from vacuum controlled shifters back in the '80s, up a mild grade and it's "WEEEEE woooooo WEEEEE wooooo" all the way up, until I get annoyed and force it to stay downshifted. I though the electronic controls would do better, but no.

So I dispute the better, unless you live in the big city. As for the more efficient, I dispute that too. There is no way that all those internal pumps pushing transmission oil around endless loops including the one up to the oil cooler, (which you would not need if the oil wasn't heating up, as in dissipating energy from the drive train). You won't gain enough from the occasional miss-timed shift to offset that.

But we were talking electric. No transmission, not automatic transmission.

My first car was a 1951 studebaker champion with borg warner slushbucket auto trans. WORST CAR EVER and when it got torpedoed by a hudson hornet, and I was recovering in traction, I noticed in the paper an ad for a car I had never heard of, near new but cheap, and when I got out I bought it, a crazy little thing looked like a beetle. Loved it. Way better all around. First one at the NACA lab in Cleveland. The guys joked that it was a roller skate, not a real car. Then they started getting 'em.

"That's one thing that I'll miss once I have an electric car. I like driving a manual transmission."

One curious thing about the Prius, and pure electric should be even better, having the mystical eCVT and the electric motor...it's not like driving a normal automatic. When you're accelerating it's perfectly smooth, when you're going up a hill there are no gear changes - again, perfectly smooth. All of the herky-jerky junk of regular automatic transmissions simply doesn't exist. When you're going along and then get on it to accelerate there's no momentary pause, a gear shift, then a jerk as the gear catches before you accelerate - it's just smooth.

I agree that a significant part of it may be that they can't afford to drive. Still...

But learning to drive is not something that takes all that big an investment of time, especially considering that most high schools offer driver's ed.

The school districts in my state have either dropped drivers ed or charge additional fees comparable to what the private driving schools charge. Liability insurance costs were killing them. After finishing the course and initial behind-the-wheel training, teenagers need to complete 50 hours of supervised driving before they can get a license. There's been talk of increasing that to 100 hours. Serious limits on who can do the supervision; if a kid is living with a single mom, hours supervised by mom's boyfriend don't count unless he's a legal guardian. Quite a bit of the social value of the drivers license has also disappeared here. For a teenager with a new licenses: first six months, no passengers under age of 21 unless there's a parent or other licensed adult in the car; next six months only one passenger under age 21 allowed without supervision; no driving between midnight and 5:00 AM for the first year.

How many times is somebody going to die over the course of your career because you cannot get to the hospital in a hurry when there is a major multi victim accident, or when you need to transport somebody personally after suffering a stroke or accident?

Out in the country, sure (but I suspect that country kids are not the ones going without a license). In my suburb, ambulance response time is less than six minutes, compared to 20 minutes to the emergency room nearest my home in normal traffic. My kids grew up with a cellphone in their pocket/purse all the time. 911 and wait for the ambulance(s) is much more likely to be the right choice for them than putting a seriously injured person in their car. For city kids, the situation is probably even more in favor of the cellphone.

Hi, mccain,

I agree that in most cases an ambulance is the best option, but otoh, they don't always show up.I had a sister die waiting for one-heart attack- She became unconscious half way to the hospital after her husband finally started n the family car with her after waiting for an hour. She would have lived had he just taken her immediately.

MY question to the premed student convinced her mostly because SHE will be needed in a hurry several times over the course of her career, maybe as often as several times in one year if she accepts a position in a small town hospital with a relatively small staff.

The cell phone and the car key in her pocket are the two tools that will get her there quickly in a pinch.

For what it is worth- we should have a federal blanket Good Samaritan law to protect both good samaritans and the people in need of help. There are literally thousands of people who are uynable to affoed ambulances, and simply don't get emergency treratment unless transported by family ,friend, or stranger.

I have personally transported family numerous times, and local non family folks probably a dozen plus times over the last forty years.

So far- no lawsuits -YET.

OTOH, I have left a couple of people hurting pretty bad to wait for the law and an ambulance because I judged them to be the worthless sort who would sue their own Momma .

Most of the people I know these days here in our local boonies are no longer willing to give people not known to us personally permission to fish and hunt or even picnic in large part for fear of lawsuits.

Perhaps a quarter of us of us have taken to preemptively posting no trespassing signs.

I'm getting to be afraid to hire anybody I don't know personally to help fix up things around here for the same reasons - I can't afford licensed and insured contractors fifty bucks per man per hour and up rates.

So sometimes the work doesn't get done unless it is something I am still physically able to do myself- and a handy man in dire need of work is denied the opportunity to earn enough to live on for a few days- from ten to twenty per hour locally depending on the skill level and difficulty is typical handyman pay here .

The result is a net loss for me, for my potential handyman, and for the community. An out of work handy man necessarily lives on welfare and charity.

Fortunately there are still a couple of old local guys working who adhere to the old time ethic- they work for so much per hour and agree to accept the risk of an injury as being compensated for- baked into- their pay rate.

if they are uncomfortable with job site conditions, they just load their tools and leave. They have never sued anybody, and they never will.

And they are very safe workers- Accepting responsibility for your own safety makes safety a habit and a top priority..They are a lot more apt to get hurt commuting than they are working- because they have no control over other drivers..

But every local farmer is ready with a story of being sued personally, or having a neighbor who has been sued- to the extent that we have only one remaining pick your own fruit operation for many miles around.

We all know at least one or two people personally who have managed to get disability benefits-people who we see indulging in all sorts of physically tough activities such as hiking the mountains hunting deer and ginseng, cutting firewood, and painting houses on a regular basis.

The authorities seem to be entirely uninterested in investigating such fraudulent benefits, and working class local people are getting so cynical about govt that I often hear somebody say that if you can't lick'em, you might as well join 'em.

i wonder how many people suffer and die every year in this country because the cost of a visit to a doctors office includes a ten to twenty percent malpractice insurance premium, pricing them out of the care market.

Damned near all of the ob/ gyn docs in the part of W VA near where I live (in Va) have moved their practices into Va for legal reasons having to do with runaway lawsuits and runaway jury awards .

So now W VA women in need of an ob/ gyn either drive a hundred miles or more to see one out of state, or do without.

I am amazed that it is so easy for people to get disability payments when it is possible for many people to work around their disability. My wife has a cousin who lost an arm in an automobile accident. This hasn't stopped him from working outdoors -- running a bait business which involves collecting bait from a dozen lakes, working in the bush and as a hunting and fishing guide. He is able to operate a chain saw with his one good arm -- essential for keeping the ATV tracks open to the lakes he has boats on. He can split wood with one arm (easier in the winter when the wood is frozen he says). You really have to have a lot of respect for this guy!

I have a cousin in Minnesota who drove a logging truck with one arm. Probably couldn't do it here in the mountains, but he worked his whole life, hauling. He got it ripped off when he was a kid sticking his arm out the car window. Guess what we heard our whole lives? Or, my uncle who got his eye blown out throwing a fire cracker. (We still threw 'em).


Used to be there was a job for almost everyone. The deaf guy with no legs? Cobblestone specialist!

I finally pushed driving for my two youngest kids for safety and convenience. They may need to assist someone at some point for some reason.

Oh, yes, I've had quite enough of all that "safety and convenience."

Urban spaces are dead. The gritty concrete, stained and enameled and strewn with torn wrappers and plastics of all kinds, that even during the day is lit by sporadic fluorescents; manicured gardens of invasive grass baffleted by an unholy racket of lawnmowers and weedwhackers and leafblowers; the stale, fetid air trapped above the superfund sites--sit in the stairwell below Kane hall, above that garage, and just breath. One might, on a good day, smell blackberries, or nothing, after a summer shower briefly cleanses the air, or most rare, downtown, near the docks, on a Sunday, early, actually smell the sea--what instead one sees and hears and smells is cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, careening hither and yon with all that same brutal subtlety of Morgoth wielding Grond. Disgusting!

Fukushima raises disturbing questions

... The new leak raises disturbing questions not merely about the durability of the nearly 1,000 huge tanks Tepco has installed about 500 yards from the site’s shoreline, but about the safety and costs, financial and environmental, of nuclear plants the world over. The 2011disaster has profoundly shaken confidence in the future of nuclear power from Taiwan to Berlin, with rising costs exacerbating the situation.

As Fukushima sends shock waves round the world, experts are asking whether developing nations can safely develop nuclear power facilities of their own. Japan is a highly developed nation, so well prepared for disasters. If it can end up in such a mess, what hope do poorer, less well-organized countries have of preventing disasters at nuclear facilities?

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013

Estimated 276 quadrillion Bq of Cs-137 entered Fukushima basements — Triple Chernobyl total release

Can you compare? Decades of Spent fuel pools contain orders of magnitude times the radionuclides than the fuel mass of reactor cores. Wonder what % of the water is for spent fuel cooling. All fuel in casks rode it out fine Casking Should be mandatory for spent fuel as soon as cool enough. but who's going pay? That Japan Times article says it all. Clean it up or else. If it was only that easy.. Macondo was weeks This generations. Perhaps bottle the water for now.

The big news today here in Vermont is that Entergy Corp announced it will shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in about one year. For economic reasons. (The state tried to force them to shut down last year, but they kept on operating while various lawsuits dragged on.) This plant is 41 years old, of the same design as Fukushima's, but with 10x the spent fuel in the attic as none has ever been removed from the site AFAIK.

Alas their "plan" for decommissioning is to mothball it for 60 years while the insufficient fund will magically grow. Yeah right.

It has been amazing how many nukes we have lost in the past few years. Off the top of my head (and maybe this is all of them) but we lost San Onofre due to the heat exchanger fiasco, we lost the plant in Florida due to cracks in the containment, and now we just lost Vermont Yankee. Hopefully we have enough wind & solar to replace all of these . . . but I guess natural gas will cover the rest.

Kewaunee too.

Wow. 4 nukes down in just the last couple years. I guess they are at the end of their lifespans but the NRC seems to have no problem issuing licenses to keep them going. I guess the 'bath-tub curve' of maintenance is hitting them hard and it costs too much to keep them running.

Yeah. Entergy spent $400 million fixing up Vermont Yankee over the last decade, and its current market value is supposedly less than $200 million - and more things break on it all the time. Would you drive a 41-year-old car? (Other than as a hobby.)

But the real nuke-killer has been cheap frack gas. I wonder how it'll feel after the nukes are closed and NG price climbs. Fortunately here we have plenty of hydro power available from Quebec. Unfortunately the old fixed-price contracts are being replaced with contracts tied to the "market price", i.e., to NG.

Above-normal outages of U.S. nuclear capacity persist at the start of 2013

Nuclear outages in 2012 were generally higher than in recent years because of extended forced and planned outages at four nuclear power plants, and they continued into the new year. Coupled with the beginning of spring refueling outages, outage levels in early 2013 are above those seen in the previous five years.

That story is from March 14, 2013, and is still counting all the retired reactors.
Only Fort Calhoun is off line right now, utilization of the 100 operating reactors for Aug. 27,2013 is 97.33% the highest I have seen since I started tracking.

It has been amazing how many nukes we have lost in the past few years.

This is one of the reasons I raise concerns about the Eastern Interconnect in the US. Nukes are a much larger percentage of the electricity supply there, and large in absolute value. In 2011 (last full-year corrected data from the EIA), Texas nukes were 1.0% of the national supply, Western Interconnect nukes were 1.8% of the national electricity generation, but Eastern nukes were 16.6% of the national supply and 23.3% of the Eastern supply. Over the next 30 years, almost all of those Eastern nukes reach the end of their license extensions, and they are generally not aging well. Add together replacing nukes, replacing coal if the country is going to do something serious about CO2 emissions (coal is a significantly bigger fraction of the generation in Eastern states than in Texas or the West), plus demand growth, and it spooks me.

It seems like a hell of bet on natural gas continuing to be plentiful and cheap for a long time. I've advised my kids to stay well away from the East Coast in planning their careers/lives.

60 years is two cesium or strontium half-lives, so there will only be 1/4 of the problem to deal with. Rushing about may make you feel better, but it isn't always the right thing to do.

That said, I think all the Mark 1 BWR should be shut down now. The newer ones should not get lifetime extensions. The design just is not good enough.

Trying to clarify, are you suggesting to let sit (suspended) the more than 5 y.o spent fuel of Mark 1's as opposed to dry casking 5 y.o. in, oh say the next decade? Or just go slow on the other bwr and pwr spent fuel pools, but dry cask the Mark 1's spent fuel?

Yeah every single Mark 1 should stop in less than a year.

Calif city looks to seize loans to ease mortgages

Richmond, working with San Francisco-based Mortgage Resolution Partners, offers $150,000 to buy a $300,000 bank loan on a house that is now worth $200,000 and is in danger of foreclosure.

If the bank agrees, the city and the company then obtain the loan at $150,000. Richmond and the company then offer the homeowner a new loan of $190,000, which, if accepted, lowers the monthly payments and improves the owners' chances of staying.

In such transactions, the company receives $4,500 for each completed sale and splits any additional profits with the city.

If the bank refuses to sell the loan to Richmond, then the city invokes its power of imminent domain and seizes the mortgage. It would then offer the bank a fair market value for the home.

Mortgage Resolution Partners, the company partnering with the city, puts up the money and had promised to pay all Richmond's legal costs. City officials have not said how many homes they hope to refinance through eminent domain.

Newark, N.J., North Las Vegas, Nev., El Monte, Calif., and Seattle are considering similar plans,

Sounds like a win win. Banks who make risky loans get paid in full, people who buy homes they can't afford, so they can keep up with the Joneses get to keep their house. Those who sold the top get to keep their nice profit. The housing market is stabalised at above market clearing rates. Who is actually paying for all this I wonder? Way to go Ben Bernanke.

I just got round to reading an article from a previous drumbeat with following in it:

Coping Skills

May whatever Gods you believe in protect you from the day that Google finally turns evil. Hitler, Stalin and Mao could not dream in their wildest imaginings the power that one company is about to have over the population of the globe. If knowledge is power and Google is the gatekeeper of all knowledge and tracker of all who access it, then the potential for abuse is unprecedented.

After that I read ZeroHedge and came across this bit of information:

Julian Assange Reveals "Google's Covert Role In Foaming Uprisings"

Documents published last year by WikiLeaks obtained from the US intelligence contractor Stratfor, show that in 2011 Jared Cohen, then (as he is now) Director of Google Ideas, was off running secret missions to the edge of Iran in Azerbaijan. In these internal emails, Fred Burton, Stratfor’s Vice President for Intelligence and a former senior State Department official, describes Google as follows:

“Google is getting WH [White House] and State Dept support and air cover. In reality they are doing things the CIA cannot do…[Cohen] is going to get himself kidnapped or killed. Might be the best thing to happen to expose Google’s covert role in foaming up-risings, to be blunt. The US Gov’t can then disavow knowledge and Google is left holding the ****-bag”

My, how things are changing fast. This has got to go in the hard to differentiate between government, corporation and criminals category.

hard to differentiate between government, corporation and criminals category

That category has already been well defined, by a certain Benito Mussolini. It' called "fascism".

I started to post the link to this Forbes article when I originally posted the link above, but it was straying off topic. Since you brought it up:

Ditch Your Passwords -- USPS Service Enables Online Access to Multiple Federal Agencies

The Federal Cloud Credential Exchange (FCCX) is designed to enable individuals to securely access online services —such as health benefits, student loan information, and retirement benefit information—at multiple federal agencies without the need to use a different password or other digital identification for each service. The first federal agency to use it will be the Veterans Administration...

...“The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), signed by the President in April 2011, states, ‘A secure cyberspace is critical to our prosperity.’ This powerful declaration makes clear that securing cyberspace is absolutely essential to increasing the security and privacy of transactions conducted over the Internet. The Identity Ecosystem envisioned in the NSTIC is an online environment that will enable people to validate their identities securely, but with minimized disclosure of personal information when they are conducting transactions.”

Online identities are already merging and exchanging your info (Discus, Google, Facebook, etc., Seems the gatekeepers of the cyberkingdom are merging with governments as well. The best way to control content is to control access, all under the 'promise' of protecting your privacy. Sure...

I use a little Firefox extension called 'Collusion' which shows graphically what other websites the site you're on is sharing your info with. Pretty scary, especially some of the news and social sites. Just for fun, I went to a popular free porn site, and it wasn't sharing info with anyone (although I didn't log in or anything). Perhaps the XXX providers are more concerned with your privacy than Google, or nobody wants to collude with them. Funny, that. That said, NOAA wasn't sharing info either (yet).

Virtual mark of the beast?

There's that word "Trusted" again. ROFL! I think "Trusted" is going to end up meaning compromised in the vernacular lexicon.

By Microsofts definition "trusted computing" means you hand controll over your devices over to them. You trust them. Not that you CAN trust them, but that you DO trust them.

Anyone actually productive with Windoze 8? You just never know what it's going to do, focusing on critical task at hand is next to impossible. Can't buy a win7 Notebook and just spent weeks fussing to get drivers working for W8. For small business, this may be a more serious issue than gas rationing. Large business can afford to have armies of geeks to baby sit this disaster. I'm pushing all the Solar Controllers suppliers to design embedded web servers for User Interface.

Use Win 8 at work (office worker for the time beeing). Linux at home. I own no more modern version of windows than 3.11.

How to make Windows 8 look like Windows 7


A quick search of google will reveal dozens more.

Microsoft should have had more options to adjust the GUI and other interfaces on install, than ramming the default one down our throat.

Used computers running Windows XP are cheap. And almost as fast.

XP is still the best Windows. 8 is just a marketing tool, optimized for pads.

And "pads" are, what? Why would one want a pad? I still don't get it. I call it the "i-fad". Perhaps it's the "computer" for those who grew up on smartphones and don't know how to use anything else?

I have some older clients who prefer their pads to their computers and who aren't fans of cell phones. I think it's the portability factor.

Windows Xp, in between up to Windows 7 and Linux are very similar and they all work great most of the times.

Pads are light, have great battery life, and no keyboard/mouse. Browsing the internet on anything else is a pain.

I find browsing without mouse and keyboard to be a pain... A "netbook" is almost as small as a Pad and far more capable. And cheaper to boot.

"Google's Covert Role In Foaming Uprisings"

Presumably they mean fomenting uprisings. "Foaming uprisings" sounds like beer forming a head.

Spelling Nazi sneers aside, I find this hard to believe.

Believe it aardy. Here's the State Dept. cables ...


and a more nuanced article here

Okay, now I believe it. That article is pretty damning about Cohen.

If you want to be friends with an 800-pound gorilla, you have to feed it a lot of bananas. Employing an ex-State Dept. guy like Cohen in a senior position is presumably worth a bunch or two.

Perhaps one should not use their legal name?

One such company, Lenddo, determines if you’re friends on Facebook (FB) with someone who was late paying back a loan to Lenddo. If so, that’s bad news for you. It’s even worse news if the delinquent friend is someone you frequently interact with.

“It turns out humans are really good at knowing who is trustworthy and reliable in their community,” said Jeff Stewart, a co-founder and CEO of Lenddo. “What’s new is that we’re now able to measure through massive computing power.”

16And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.

Whatever faith ye may be, the Revelation still ought to give one pause for it is stranger than fiction.

TOD is going to end in a few days--yet I have no sense of where people are planning to go. Anyone?

I expect I'll be hopping around more once The Oil Drum is done. I plan to keep an eye on the new ASPO-US discussion area, once it's launched. Also Darwinian's blog peakoilbarrel.com, Gail's OurFiniteWorld.com, theoildrums.com, and resilience.org.

Big Gav has been posting some interesting things at Peak Energy.

Thanks - I'm trying to be a bit more frequent with my posts again now TOD is disappearing.

But I don't think PE will ever be a great place for long discussions - I'm thinking Resilience or the new ASPO "energy exchange" or whatever they decide to call it are best placed to provide that community atmosphere (Resilience posts a lot of the articles written by current and ex TOD contributors so it seems like a natural haven).

Big Gav- Thanks ever so much for all your good work over the years. And thanks for this comment. I will follow your suggestion and focus on Resiliance- as I already do- and ASPO.

AS for me personally, I have never had so much fun as now- My son took over my long moribund business assets, and sold a lot of what I had thought was nothing but millstones, and so now I can help all the locals who really want to do good stuff in sustainability but don't have the up front money. There turns out to be so many of them that now I actually see a little hope glimmering thru the doomgloom.

Thanks, wimbi, for all your efforts. You might consider documenting your work and publishing it on-line. It could help inspire others to do the same.

My back has gone wonky on me so I won't be going out in the field today. I have a couple hundred cases of LED lamps being delivered to my home later this morning, and I'll be removing the lamps from their packaging to help speed our installs and make life a little easier for the guys. I was doing the same yesterday, and marvelling at how we can replace a 60 or 90-watt halogen with something that draws just 13-watts (a Philips EnduraLED Retail Optics). The lamps that I'll be prepping today will, collectively, cut our client's lighting loads by 60 to 75 kW. And, then, tomorrow, we'll do the same again.

BTW, all of these lamps are being provided to our clients at no cost (materials and labour), with Efficiency Nova Scotia picking up the tab.


I have several sites bookmarked. The ones Hugh notes, along with:

(those first two from Gail's recent post): http://www.theoildrum.com/node/10182#comment-974363


While each has its merits, it'd be nice if a consensus devloped and a critical mass of TODers wound up primarily in one place...

The ASPO site seems the most suitable candidate (or perhaps Ron's oil barrel), but is the ASPO TOD takeoff up and running as yet?

And I also wonder aloud if/where Seraph & his excellent supplemental links will land?

As soon as TOD finishes up, I will be posting a lengthy series of articles on environmental modeling and energy topics at http://ContextEarth.com.
I plan on posting every couple of days as I have a significant backlog from the project I was working on the past couple of years. I haven't pulled the trigger yet because the key to a successful blog is to keep the information flowing.

Good for you - will be glad to see you posting.

See answer further down the DB

I was going to save this until tomorrow but...

A minimalist interim version of The Energy Xchange (hosted by ASPO-USA) can be found at energy-x.org.

A news compilation feature that we are calling the "Pipeline" will start later this week. This will be our initial focus for content but we will welcome other posts as well.

There are still a few tweaks to be made, but feel free to check it out, save it to your bookmarks, and register as a user/commenter.

FYI, the site is being hosted on the same platform as The Planet Beat--many thanks to Yohann (Zurk) for his generous help and support with this effort.

A more sophisticated version of The Energy Xchange is still in the works and will be launched this fall as soon as possible. In the meantime, we hope this will help keep thoughtful discussions among The Oil Drum community going.

Thanks, Jan

Besides what everybody else has mentioned and the blogs of some of the editors, I've started a forum (theoildrums.com) which intends to be participatory and let the knowledgeable readers contribute articles and news. We're also getting new content like an article on electric cars and their integration on the grid last week.

"Richard Heinberg: Was the Oil and Gas Industry Promoting Peak Oil to Make Maximum Profits?"

In a word, "No." Most of them denied that peak oil is a concern. ExxonMobil has ridiculed the idea of peak oil for a very long time.

Well of course. But I think that title refers to a common myth out among Heinberg's target audience - a myth he hopes to dispel.

For the record, AlterNet invented the title for that piece without consulting me. I was taken aback when I saw it, but hope that folks actually read the content before assuming that the answer to the question in the title is "yes."

The title certainly had me confused, especially after reading the article; didn't seem to fit. I guess someone felt it needed a 'hook'. Anyway, great stuff! Ordering the book, which will have a place on my "historically significant" shelf. Thanks!


Already have read most of your book (Snake Oil)on my Kindle. Really well done. I have already stopped calling it shale oil or tight oil and started calling it Snake Oil. An apt description.


"For the record, AlterNet invented the title for that piece without consulting me. "

I have had that happen to me many times. The worst is when they change the title to imply exactly the opposite of what the article says. Then you know who read the article by whether there comments reflect the inaccurate title or by what's in the article. I never cease to be amazed at the number of people whose comments reflect only the inaccurate title.

Good reminder to retain veto rights over the title.

My articles end up getting reprinted all over the place, with many sites changing the titles. So it would be tough to keep up with.

In the case of Richard's article above its not such a bad title to have - if someone types that question into a search engine that article will presumably appear quite high in the results (no doubt amongst other articles claiming it is true).

Yeah, "the oil companies are making up peak oil to raise prices!" conspiracy has a simple logic to it in that it would benefit them to raise oil prices. However, as the more sophisticated audience knows, oil companies are generally valued on the size of their 'reserves' and thus peak oil would mean their reserves are weak such that their stock prices would collapse. Thus, no, oil companies do not promoting Peak Oil because that would crush their stock prices.

Of course, that raises the question of "Do the oil companies deny the reality of peak oil to keep their stock prices high?". I don't think that is really true but they probably exaggerate things at times and have been caught doing so occasionally. And they probably have a bit of an over-optimistic thinking . . . as the Upton Sinclair quote goes "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!". I don't think there is any conspiracy. Just confident optimism and bravado.

A couple of years ago I was distributing peak oil flyers in front of the UNSW university in Sydney. One student asked me whether I was from OPEC.

Re: "In bustling Houston, it's a case of 'Build, baby, build!'"

I just moved to Houston a year ago because of my wife's job. The entire time, a thought has been on my mind that Houston's prosperity is basically coming from all the money siphoned from the rest of the country via high gas prices. Politicians here, including 2016 hopeful Ted Cruz, Governor Perry, and our Democratic mayor always downplay the oil boomlet and say it's Texas' friendly business climate that makes us successful. They point to a drop in the percentage of our economy based on "mineral extraction." However, I don't think they're including construction, shipping, and manufacturing jobs related to on- and off-shore drilling, as well as the shipping of refined products to South America.

Just remember what your gas money is paying for during the primaries! Very few articles about Houston's economy mention the oil boom like that Reuters article.

I'll also add that it's depressing to live in a city where:

  • 25% of Texans lack health insurance, but Houston is home to an elite medical city-within-a-city where the Bushes and Bidens have recently been for special treatments.
  • The city is not legally responsible for the upkeep of sidewalks. Therefore, our neighborhood is one giant tripping hazard, where there are even sidewalks at all.
  • Many new highrises are going up, some even with mixed use development, but they are placed in random spots, so there is no critical mass of urban activity anywhere

Good summary, to which I'd add:
--virtually everyone is armed with concealed weapons
--Incredibly regressive politics, where intellectuals, libuhrals, minorities, gays, women* (*the "mouthy" type), scientists, etc. are not particularly welcome.

There are many perfectly reasonable criticisms of Houston (and I've made most of them), but your additions come across as very emotional and not based on reality. I think it would also be useful, if you're prone to painting with such broad brushstrokes, to make claims that are not so easy to refute by simple google searches.

The city of Houston is contained within Harris county (population 4.2 million), which was a blue county in the 2012 presidential election, despite having some extremely red suburbs and exurbs (Katy, The Woodlands, Cypress). If your critique is of those suburbs, then I won't argue with you. I stay as far away from them as possible.

Regarding minorities, Houston has the most diverse metropolitan area in the US, based on 2010 census data and analysis by Rice University.

Regarding gays and women, the mayor of Houston, democrat Anise Parker, is openly lesbian, and very active in the gay community. She is favored to win her third term as mayor in the upcoming election. Houston's gay community, centered in Montrose, is massive, and within the city itself, a great source of pride.

The core of the city, outside of the old money districts, is very progressive and full of liberals, including yours truly. Go to Rice Village, the Heights, Montrose, downtown (outside of business hours), or any of the old wards, and you will have a very difficult time finding a conservative republican.

Scientists and intellectuals are numerous within the city, mostly because scientists and intellectuals often take the best jobs. The Medical Center, Rice U, the museum and arts district aren't exactly full of Neanderthals.

I'm not from here, and were it not for my job, I would not be living here right now. And I'm not exactly proud of saying I live in Houston. But all things considered, this is not a bad place to live. I rode my bicycle this morning from my house to downtown on one of the many new bike trails. Progress is going too slow for my tastes, but it's happening. So pardon the strong response, but there is nothing I'm more offended by than egregious untruths.

Please stop posting your POV, or even facts.


So, I've heard Austin decsribed as a blueberry floating in tomatoe soup. Sounds like parts of Houston may be similar.

I spent a week at Rice in the mid eighties. Plus a couple of overnights to visit oil majors. Other than that, I've stayed away.

Sorry if I mischaracterized Houston --or at least the parts of it that resemble a "blueberry floating in tomato soup" (nice one, enemy! ;-)). Night after night of listening to hysterical right-wing tirades from Texans like Louie Gohmert, Joe Barton, Lamar Smith, Rick Perry, etc. has colored my perception of the Lone Star state.

I'm actually from Austin, and now live in central Houston. So I've spent the majority of my life in liberal areas in Texas.

There are lots of blueberries. Every major metropolitan area in this state save for Ft. Worth (Tarrant County, west of Dallas) is a blueberry. It's urban vs rural/suburban in Texas. There is a massive cultural divide, very similar to what is happening in the rest of the country. Look at the county map:
All those blue counties not on the predominantly Hispanic border are the blue metro areas: Austin (Travis County), San Antonio (Bexar), Dallas (Dallas), Houston (Harris). And El Paso in the far western corner.

I am not necessarily saying that blue/Obama = good. It just means that blue/Obama = NOT right wing Republican. This is a touchy subject for me, so again, pardon the firm response. I travel in Europe and other parts of the country quite a bit, and I've been getting progressively worse responses when I tell people I'm from Texas. Absolutely ridiculous stereotypes. I know why they exist, but most of them take very little effort or critical thought to disprove.

One woman in Germany thought there weren't any trees in Texas, an area as big as France. Like, none at all. The whole thing is desert and oil wells apparently, even the parts next to the Louisiana swamp.

I'm not saying Texas as a whole doesn't deserve criticism. It does, but it's also very, very diverse. And I think it's intellectually lazy for otherwise intelligent people to believe such blatant falsehoods. The world exists in distributions- shades of gray (or in this case, purple)- and Texas is no different. And with the massive influx of immigrants (from other states and other countries), it's becoming more moderate. Texas will be in play in the presidential race by 2020 at the latest. Maybe 2016. At the very lease, the gap will narrow considerably.

I could write a book on this, but I'll stop now before it gets too long.

Yeah, just write a good Energy blog, and we'll call it square!

At least in terms of nationally visible politicians the right wing gets its way. Maybe the split is 55/45, with the 45 being nearly powerless to resist.

I used to get that climatewise. Lived in the mountains in New Mexico. But everyone thinks no tree could possibly grow anywhere in the state. Heck we even had a couple square kilometers of Alpine Tundra! And of course half the country thought we were a foreign country.....

My favorite response to "I'm from Texas" was in Barcelona. A guy said, "ah, Texas, the most American state!"

Oil money made Baylor Medical School and the Texas Medical Center, the world's largest. But Houston has a long history of booms and busts. During one of the busts the famous heart surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley went bankrupt.

Likely posted before: but hay, ignore the worlds most successful investor in history at your own peril


"Munger believes oil and gas supplies will become "incredibly short and very high priced." As a result, he believes:
-Foreign oil is your friend.
-You want to produce domestic energy assets as slowly as possible.
-The oil you leave in the ground is a national treasure.
-Every barrel that you use up that comes from somebody else is a barrel of your precious oil, which you're going to need to feed your people and maintain your civilization.
-There is no substitute for hydrocarbons: drugs, fertilizers, fungicides, etc. -- all of which China needs to feed its population -- they all come from hydrocarbons."
more ....

-Foreign oil is your friend.

Export Land Model reveals that friend as a fiend.

Well, the point is to burn up other people's oil before burning up your own.

BTW, Warren Buffet's investments have often seemed a big peak oil aware. He invested big time in railroads and that has worked out really well for him. He invested in BYD, a Chinese car company making electric vehicles . . . that hasn't worked out so well yet but Buffet is a long-term investor.

During the 70's when the price of oil was in the very low single digits, there were complaints about why we were allowing imports of cheap Persian Gulf Oil when we could be developing our own more expensive resources. The bickering led to political slogans like "Burn America First", "Strength Through Exhaustion " and "Let the #$%^&*# Freeze in the Dark"

There are other wealthy and well connected people pushing pipelines to get domestic oil and gas supplies to ports, in part so that they can be sold overseas at higher profits if possible. This will ultimately be a conflict between different power bases - to keep the precious energy supplies that enable the empire, or to allow the well-connected to personally profit at the empire's expense?

Wow, for a site that "closed it's doors" a month ago, TOD sure seems to be alive and kicking!
I for one am glad. The forums over at Peak Oil.com and Automatic Earth are just not as good IMO.

The party ends here at the end of the month.

Dude.. you killed my buzz. :-(

I realized today that I am actually a little scared, or have some apprehension about not having my Oil Drum to check in with. I feel like a daily check in at TOD keeps my fingers on the pulse of not just the oil situation, but the economy and life in general. Reading here certainly saved me thousands of dollars when I was able to sense the housing bubble was about to burst in 2007. When TOD is calm, I am calm.

I suppose we will all find a way to get by. Maybe we have talked the topics to death and it's time for us to move on.

But I'm beginning to see how much a part of my life TOD has become, and how lonely? nervous? fed up with the inane and the vituperous/vitriolic? I am likely to be when it shuts down. I guess we'll know soon.

Same here. TOD has been my favorite internet home for more than six years. I was actually a lurker before joining. I probably have more the 1,000 posts in spite of not being an oilman. I suspect that there are posters with two or more times that number. None of the various changes bothered me. Prior to TOD I posted on USENET oil boards then on the Jay Hanson inspired OneList/Yahoo groups. But they generally suffered from poor or eccentric moderation. I certainly plan to give ASPO a try but will initially be a lurker and perhaps an occasional poster at the other available sites.
R Wilson Radiology ret.

Would love to email you, if I only knew how. My address is in my profile.

Almost 7 years for me. Kinda having a panic attack. This site has always been my "goto" for all the latest news PO-related or not.

In a somewhat related vein, I sent out my last, weekly Update Newsletter yesterday (among others, several TODers got it). In my case it wasn't a lack of material but rather the wide spread government spying coupled to an untrustworthy government. I was not going to self-censure to assure I wasn't sucked into the maw of an out of control system so I shut it down - much like a few internet email providers. I was also concerned that the people who got it might get on a list of "people to watch".

I had been doing it since 2010 and it was a labor of love. I'm going to really miss doing it.


Jeez, Todd, you sound like Jerry (Mel Gibson) in 'Conspiracy Theory'). Besides, I'm sure you're already on numerous lists.

Any chance of you making an archive of your newletters available to fellow conspirators?

Hi Ghung,

Gee, that's a toughie since they all went out as emails. Why don't you drop me an email at detz2 at willitsonline dot com and maybe we can work something out such as the topics you might be interested in. I covered financial, the coming crisis, prepping, health, Ag and misc stuff. The problem is the sheer volume of information. Just be forewarned that I'm always weeks behind on email.

As far as conspiracy and paranoia go, take a look at "72 Types of Americans That Are Considered "Potential Terrorists" In Official Government Documents." Here's the link without the http://


Among the potential bad guys are: The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule; Those that are "anti-global"; Returning veterans; Those that have a negative view of the United Nations and on and on.

There is a lot of stuff out there to be concerned about.


Decades ago, I ran across the Freedom of Information instruction manual in the library. That's the one which describes what one must do to inquire about information contained in US government databases. There was also a list of such databases, including some for the CIA. Funny thing, there was a CIA list for people who use the FOIA to inquire about the CIA databases. Given the growth of the MIC state since then, I would expect that all of us who have ever posted on TOD would be included in one (or more) of those government lists...

E. Swanson

Hi Black

If only...they also read the posts.

We might have a chance.

"I was also concerned that the people who got it might get on a list of "people to watch".

I've been worried they might start watching you cuz you knew me.
I'm also worried they don't watch me anymore. That would really be a blow to my ego.

Hey smart guy - wait until I see you at the Grange workday tomorrow. I assume if it gets late enough we'll go to the Nook.


I was also concerned that the people who got it might get on a list of "people to watch"


Probably way too late in the game to start worrying about that at this point!

Cheers! And thanks for everything, Todd.


I realized today that I am actually a little scared

A message from the future: Thank you WaterWeasel for your courage through the dark years. I can't help you with what you must soon face, except to say that the future is not set. You must be stronger than you imagine you can be.

No doubt we will find a way to move on, but I doubt there will ever be another site quite as exciting as TOD was.

Recalling the series of Stuart Staniford, fractional flow, et al for the posts on Ghawar. I believe those to be a major highlight of the site. Prof G was noting that this internet discussion site was finally bringing instant peer review to a subject, missing in academia, Matt Simmons weighed in on the "excellent sleuthing" of the Oil Drum, the comments of one would lead to new insights for others.

I just don't see the internet as so interactive anymore, one of the strengths of TOD.

The "month ago" thing was a mistake. It was supposed to be August 31, not July 31. Someone made a copy editing error.

They have about week's worth of extra key posts, so the site will probably continue with new material until Sept. 6-7. I am still planning for the last Drumbeat to be Aug. 31, but may put up an extra or two if comments roll over 500.

Leanan, do you plan to have a key post for all users to list and discuss other both obscure and well known oily sites?. It would be useful to have these all listed in one place.

I second the motion!

Last I heard, the final key posts were all "hard" posts, and there were no plans for any "goodbye" post. That might change, of course, but if it doesn't, I'll probably put up one last Drumbeat sometime in the first week of September, that people can use for a goodbye post.

It would be a shame to lose your energy information curating skills especially if this is something you enjoy doing. If you need a break or are closing this chapter, its all good.

Maybe you could reserve a blogspot or domain name in case you decide to keep posting.

Sorry if I missed where Leanan said she was going. Honestly it's the drumbeat I will miss the most.

Take care, and thanks for all the fish.

Having looked at some of the other sites, I think that a key difference here on Drumbeats is that with multiple conversations in play across the same long string, it's like you know you are very likely not 'alone' in the page, and I think that has had a profound effect on the sort of topics where one OFTEN feels quite alone. Beyond that, it's still a reasonably quiet place, like the common living room in a big apartment building, where you might see a few familiar faces reading a paper or doing a puzzle, and you can pull up a chair and join into a useful thought for a couple minutes..

I don't think it's nearly as much about activities and 'just the facts' as it is about comeradery and connection.

Yes, it is the access to the thoughts and musings of intelligent, informed people who are, as a group, trying to gain understanding of an extremely large, complex, ever-changing set of interrelated systems (human/Earth interactions) and the ramifications on our lives that I will REALLY miss when the Drumbeat ends. And the *civil* mode of conversation is so nice – many thanks to the moderators!

I have hardly contributed anything to this forum, but became hooked on TOD a few years ago and now feel as though many of the regular contributors and commenters are friends. I suspect there are many others like me that have remained mostly invisible. This site is unlike anything else I have found; I sincerely hope that a good substitute will emerge and the TOD crowd will gather again.

I have found in life that good, effective organizations are often just a happy accident where the right group of people come together in the right way at the right time. That is not to minimize the efforts of those who set it up and keep it going, and who also recognize what is important about the dynamic and carefully enable it.

I have also found that they don't last forever, there is no single recipe, and they are hard to duplicate and/or intentionally set up. It is best to make the most of them when you find them.

Hear, hear! Twilight and Geo.

"It is best to make the most of them when you find them." (No matter what the spouse thinks of it all! Leslie has actually called TOD my Girlfriend!)

I do think I've made the most of it, for better or worse.. I've met three or four TODers in person, and will be meeting another tomorrow..

I do hope people have logged into Ghung's Yahoo Group ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TODRegistry ) .. I don't know what else will develop, but it's one place to leave a calling card.

Sept. 7 is almost Sept 14, which is practically 10/1. How about going to the end of next month?



Peak TOD ..... and then the crash.

Acidizing could rival fracking in Monterey Shale

"We use acid because it's effective," Paul Deiro, a lobbyist for the Western States Petroleum Association, told legislators at a hearing convened by Pavley in June. "And we handle it safely. I'm unaware of any disasters related to that."

State officials still don't have a clear idea how many wells in California have been stimulated with acid. The state agency that regulates oil drilling - the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, within the California Department of Conservation - doesn't keep track, although it might in the future. And while many of the companies fracking in California post information about fracked wells online, using a nationwide website called FracFocus, they don't do the same for acidized wells.

I was surprised to see this in today’s San Francisco Chronicle. Mostly because I hadn’t heard of acidizing, and I’ve been reading TOD for eight years and thought we would have covered it. Did I miss it? I quick search didn’t bring up anything.

It sounds a lot like hydraulic fracking, but with more nasties in the water. Anyone familiar with this process? I know there is still some debate about whether properly disposed fracking fluids can or cannot be a source of groundwater contamination. This would seem to have similar issues, although presumably there is no naturally occurring hydrofluoric acid around, so if it showed up in your well water, you’d know whom to blame.

Yeah, it's really no problem. Once it's in the well water, you just have to get use to the side effects of itchy, burning skin syndrome, loss of hair and delusions of grandeur.

These acids are very reactive, so they'll likely produce water+salt fairly quickly and pose little risk of contaminating groundwater through the stratigraphy itself. However, just as with chemicals used in fracking, problems can arise at the surface and can pose a threat to the rig workers if a release of some kind occurs. There is less risk of problems arising from acids migrating up around a poorly cemented casing, again because of the reactivity of the acids. By the time they reach groundwater table, the acid will likely have reacted already; this is not necessarily true of biocides, which are the most dangerous component of fracking mixtures.

I think the better question is simply the effectiveness of this process. Yes, acids can clear the area immediately around the wellbore to improve flow, but shale wells require long horizontal legs to expose as much of the oil-bearing formation to the well. Maybe the Monterey is more densely fractured due to the tectonic history so it may flow a little better naturally, but still seems like you'll need more exposure within the oil-bearing formation in order to extract larger volumes of oil. Without long horizontal legs, it seems like these Monterey wells will have even faster decline rates than the Bakken.

Could these acids free up toxic stuff from the rocks? Heavy metals or whatever. I hear you about the neutralization of the acid. But, if the treatment can mobilize some nasties, there may be a problem? Also what happens to the well casing decades after its been cemenetd and abandoned. Does it slowly corrode, and then become a pathway for methane, and toxic nasties to migrate upwards?

A small ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark sky:

Lac-Mégantic library to get Maine donations after explosion
Farmington Public Library raises funds to help rebuild destroyed library in Quebec town

Libraries across Maine are collecting donations to help rebuild the Lac-Mégantic, Que., library destroyed in the train derailment and explosion earlier this summer.

Farmington Public Library director Melanie Coombs launched the effort because the Maine community is the sister city of nearby Lac-Mégantic.

The July 6 train disaster killed 47 people and levelled the town core, including the library and its archives.

The derailment and explosion occurred just as the library was preparing to move into a new building for the fall.

Coombs told the Lewiston, Me., Sun Journal that the Canadian community's library lost its collection of 60,000 books, except for the few that customers had borrowed. It also lost irreplaceable records and photos documenting the town's history.


Source: CBC News

Thanks Mainers !


Wow.. I hate hearing when town records have been destroyed! At least with the library, you know there are likely copies of those books.. but so often there are no backups (far as I know) for town historic records.

After all these centuries of town halls and churches going up in smoke with the Parish Files, etc.. you'd think we'd have a tradition of creating a catacomb for them, or a backup system.

Good for Farmington, though.

Heading Out has posted his final TOD Tech Talk at his Bit Tooth site analyzing the accuracy of his very first post at TOD where he gives an analogy to Charles Dickens's book "David Copperfield". After TOD closes he will continue to write Tech Talks at Bit Tooth Energy, though he writes on a wider range of topics at that site).

Nova Scotia bets on economic lift from rising tidal technology

Like clockwork, for almost three decades, the powerful incoming Bay of Fundy tide has flowed through a set of sluice gates into a reservoir at the foot of the Annapolis River. The gates are then closed, and as the tide recedes, the stored water falls back through a turbine, generating up to 20 megawatts of electricity for the Nova Scotia power grid.

After about five hours, the turbine stops, and the Annapolis Royal tidal power plant waits for the next tidal cycle to begin the process again.

Built in 1984, this is still the only power plant in all of North America that uses tidal power to generate electricity, and it is one of just a handful in the world.

But technology now being developed will see dozens – or even hundreds – of small turbines placed directly in the tidal flow on the ocean floor, generating power without the need for big dams and their tremendous environmental impact.

Source: Globe and Mail


WTI shooting upward today. Anybody knows what's going on? Syria?

WTI and Brent both went above their 52 week highs this morning, IIC. PMs also up; gold back over 1400. Most commodities up. I'm sure the US's pending war with Syria gave oil a boost. Some folks may be worried about the US budget impasse in Sept/Oct.

WTI at $108.85

Reuters: Syria Strike Due In Days, West Tells Opposition

AMMAN, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Western powers told the Syrian opposition to expect a strike against President Bashar al-Assad's forces within days, according to sources who attended a meeting between envoys and the Syrian National Coalition in Istanbul.

CBNC is quoting US officials as saying that missile strikes could occur "As soon as Thursday."

BBC: Syria crisis: Russia and China step up warning over strike

Russia and China have stepped up their warnings against military intervention in Syria, with Moscow saying any such action would have "catastrophic consequences" for the region.

A little trip down memory lane, 99 year ago this month, from Wikipedia:

Austria invaded and fought the Serbian army at the Battle of Cer and Battle of Kolubara beginning on 12 August (1914)

The US may think it can launch a surgical strike against Syria with impunity, but it's banking on the law of unintended consequences not kicking in. And it's counting on Russia and China protesting with words alone.

Yes, it was about this time of year 99 years ago, in early August 1914, and again in the waning days of August 1939, that the powers-that-be took risky decisions that triggered catastrophes. I can't help but think of the old saw, "history may not always repeat but it sure rhymes". Let' hope we're not whistling to the same tune down the same road.

Time to dust off and re-read Barbara Tuchman's, The Guns of August.

Russia will remain silent ...

Futile or dangerous? Saudi Arabi attempts to seduce Russia with lucrative oil and gas deal

... Syrian opposition sources close to Saudi Arabia said Prince Bandar, head of Saudi intelligence, allegedly offered to buy up to USD 15 billion of Russian weapons as well as ensuring that Persian Gulf gas would not challenge Russia's gas sales to Europe.

Prince Bandar, head of Saudi intelligence, allegedly approached the Kremlin with a mix of carrot-and-stick approach coupled with a package of economic incentives. “Let us examine how to put together a unified Russian-Saudi strategy on the subject of oil. The aim is to agree on the price of oil and production quantities that keep the price stable in global oil markets,” he said at the four-hour meeting with Mr Putin. They met at Mr Putin’s dacha outside Moscow three weeks ago.

"Bandar offered to intensify energy, military and economic cooperation with Moscow," a senior Syrian opposition figure also told Reuters.

Saudi Arabia could help boost oil prices by restricting its own supply. This would be a shot in the arm for Russia, which is near recession and relies on an oil price near $100 to fund the budget.
[... didn't the Saudis' just cut back production using the shale oil excuse]

... China is content to watch the Western empire waste it's blood and treasure - that makes their job easier. They always practice the 'long game'.

We are not going to waste any blood or treasure. Perhaps we'll throw a few missiles but we already paid for those and we can replace them will new ones by buying less of some useless thing like tanks that the army doesn't want.

"We are not going to waste OUR blood".
Fixed that for you.

For now, we won't waste "our" blood. But blowback has a way of costing future blood. But, this is considered a feature, not a bug. It generates the political climate needed to ratchet up military spending even more.

we can replace them will new ones by buying less of some useless thing like tanks that the army doesn't want.

When have we ever done that? The lobbyists for the tank manufactuers will get some sort of emergency supplemental funding. Wouldn't want to hurt business.

Makes me laugh hard whenever I hear 'balance the budget', sif the US hasn't been running trillion dollar deficits for the past few years. Printing money is the new black, nobody needs to do something as outdated as 'balance the budget' The fact that nations are balancing their budgets through oil income doesn't mean they have to. Japan has massive deficits every year for the last 30 years, still ticking along.

Every Congressman should read "The Guns of August" now if not before. Our debt, two failed wars, and considerable war fatigue in the population add to equation.

Israelis jittery over Syria, stock up on gas masks

... Some Israelis said they were jittery, and there has been a run on gas masks in recent days. The Israeli army said it was making preparations for possible attacks, and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange dropped amid war fears.

... In an interview for the American radio station Sawa in Arabic, al-Muftah, Assad's former propaganda minister, said: "We have strategic weapons and we can retaliate. Essentially, the strategic weapons are aimed at Israel," reported Ynet News in Jerusalem.

Iran also warned it would blame Israel if the United States goes after Assad.

... "If Syria responds with chemical weapons, Israel may respond asymmetrically," he said, alluding to nuclear weapons.

Bring on the asymmetrical warfare.

I know they play the whole "will not confirm or deny" thing. But I personally do not believe Israel has any nukes. The US and Israel want the general consensus in the middle east to be that they have them. Nuclear arms even small "tactical" devices require constant maintenance and upgrades as well as a fairly short shelf life, not to mention the fact that there is just not that much manuvering room, thing ends up sending fallout back over your tiny sliver of a country. Israel is more than capable of defending itself against any "agressor" in the region with conventional means.

But I personally do not believe Israel has any nukes.

That would be a con bigger than Jim Morrison or Andy Kaufman still being alive.

A 25kt air burst at 2000 meters is pretty clean. Instant firestorm in a 2 mile radius - Less fallout than Fukushima.

I heard enough stories when I was at Los Alamos in the early eighties. Prominent nuke scientists who would take a couple of months off to go to Israel... I am 99.99% certain they got um.

Yes, they are awesome in conventional arms. But, they got a fallback as well.

The reason to own nukes is to not need to use them. Israel is rumored to have them, but I don't know (as in "not have the information"). To me, it seems Israels strategy is to make people believe they have them, to confuse people and make their strategic planing harder. If they actually do not have nukes, "imaginary nukes" could be the budget version of the real thing.

But no, I don't know weather or not they have them.

IMO the idea of a nuke will survive 40-50 years after countries have actually lost the capability to maintain and deliver one, at some point someone will decide to call the enemy's bluff and launch a conventional strike, at that point everyone will know that no one has any nukes left.

This is so typically for muslim regimes. If the US attack us, we attack Israel.

They're physically incapable of going after the US - so they'll respond how they can. If they really wanted to get back at the US, however, their best plan of attack would be to go after Ras Tanura/Najmah and any other oil processing/loading facility that handles export within their strike range. The price of oil would fly through the roof, export capacity would plummet, and the US would crumble under it's own stupidity for being so reliant on foreign oil instead of domestic solar and wind.

Hi Jeffrey,

Well, since you brought up "this" (words fail me), have you ever thought in the terms of this blog article (by another Texan - the woman-who-uses-a-fake-name), namely,

That is: "indicators." I'm curious if you and other TODers have thought along these lines - ?

If so, would you pick out the same "signs"?

And what would be your take on the choice of the first four? (EMP we already know about...kind of.)...oil price?

QUOTE: (topic sentences):

1) Interest rates on US Treasuries go up steeply, and/or suddenly

2) Price of oil goes above $120/barrel

(Excerpt:) " If the price of light sweet crude oil stays above $120/barrel then you have only a few months before a major financial crisis unfolds. The financial crisis of 2008 was ‘solved’ by atrocious US Gov’t spending of more than a trillion dollars/year. That particular solution won’t be available to use in the next crisis. Does ‘the powers that be’ have another card up their sleeve for the next financial crisis? I don’t know, but I assume the answer is “no”."

3) Food Prices Predict Rioting And Civil Breakdown

(and finally, closer to the WT homestead...)

4) Category 5 hurricane hits Texas City/ Houston area.

Note that the recent cumulative impact of high global crude oil prices is far more than 2008.

In 2008, monthly Brent prices exceeded $100 for only six months. For the past 31 months, monthly Brent prices have exceeded $100 for 29 of the past 31 months.

Agricultural commodities were rising steeply in price a week or so ago. Seems the estimates of a bumper harvest were a bit off the mark due to climate change.

To trigger a major financial crisis in the U.S., the oil price would currently have to be higher than $150 / barrel because in 2008 the high price of natural gas was contributing to the drag on the economy. From EIA: Natural Gas Prices in dollars per thousand cubic feet:

U.S. Natural Gas Prices

This may have something to do with it …

Rainstorms and floods wreak havoc

… Meanwhile, nearly 600 oil wells in Daqing, one of China's major oilfields, which is about 150 kilometers from Harbin, have halted operation

The field is under 3-10 ft of water

IIRC, there was an article in the DB the past week where the Libyans were reporting that their oil supply was coming back online. However, the oil minister just say differently.

Shut ports limit Libya oil output to half

"In Libya we are precisely producing 665,000 bpd as a result of the strikes and the problems arising. We used to produce 1,550,000 bpd and when we produce now 665,000 bpd we are talking about a big difference," he said in an interview aired by Libyan television channel Libya al-Hurra.

The minister said the oil ports of Es Sider, Ras Lanuf and Zueitina and Marsa al Hariga, which are all in the east where most of the country's oil production lies, remained closed.

Oil have currently risen more than usual today, anybody who have a clue why?

The imminent attack on Syria.

Group wants hurricanes named after politicians who “deny climate change”

The environmental advocacy group 350.org is petitioning the World Meteorological Organization to name hurricanes after politicians who are skeptical or dismissive of manmade climate change.

“The campaign, at www.ClimateNameChange.org, kicks off with a video that brings the proposed naming system to life and features prominent climate deniers like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH),” the 350.org press release says.

and Congressman Says It’s ‘Arrogant’ To Believe In Man-Made Climate Change

Hurricane Inhofe has a nice ring to it, or maybe just "Jimmy". Too bad these same folks control the National Weather Service budget. Actually, most of these polititurds would probably love it.

Would give new meaning to 'TSHTF'

“I think it’s arrogant that we think as people that we can somehow change the climate of the whole earth

These people are such idiots. Our planet once had no free Oxygen and little single-celled plants filled our atmosphere with oxygen. Does that clown think we can't do what single-celled plants could do? (Oh, I know . . . the Earth is only 6000 years old and I'm just talking that evilution stuff.)

I use two counterexamples:

1. Humanity, if it was stupid enough, could easily cut down every tree on Earth in a few years. It wouldn't be hard. Would a world without trees have a different climate? Of course it would.

2. We had the ability to cause immediate and drastic climate change 50 years ago. All that was needed was a serious nuclear war. We could still do it, too. If we have the technology to alter the climate instantly, it's certainly reasonable that we could alter it over 200-300 years.

But really, there's a crazy amount of confirmation bias in climate denialism. Only a small minority of them will ever be convinced.

Its a fundamentalist religious viewpoint. Weather and climate is whatever God wants it to be. I.e. NOT subject to physics. Anyone who say's otherwise is insulting God! They are not subject to logical argumentation. Politicians who say these things may or may not believe them -but they know a significant number of activist voters think this way, and they gotta be seen as one of them.

In the Soviet Union during Stalins days and a bit forward, they did not believe in darwinism, because it did not align with their socialist ideologist.

I have debated climate change with denialists. These people are intellectuals from a prominent swedish university. The exact same people I debated evolution with when I was a young earth creationist. I have now abandoned YEC, and it is both fun and sad seeing these academics now beeing the denialists I was.

They are free trade ideologists, btw.

Very appropriate in that those politicians are full of hot air, and run around in circles!

The cause of Middle East unrest is ostensibly political, but lack of water has a part to play, writes Peter Jones

... Astonishingly, because of colonial-era treaties written by Britain, only Egypt and Sudan have had rights to abstract Nile water for irrigation and consumption. The upper Nile basin countries historically have had to ask permission of Egypt to take any Nile water flowing through their countries. Not surprisingly, they all think this is an absurd affront.

In 2011, Ethiopia started building what is called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, intended as a 6,000 megawatt hydro-electric project which, because of its location, is unusable for irrigation purposes and thus, says Ethiopia, won’t affect Nile flows in Egypt.

In June, Morsi gathered leading politicians to discuss this. Rather astoundingly, they forgot they were on live television and went on to discuss possible military action against the Ethiopian dam.

Minus the dam, the same story of declining oil production, rising food and fuel prices, and drought can be told of Syria in the few years before the uprising against President Assad began. Indeed, it is an arguable thesis that while the uprisings in the region were ostensibly political in nature, the more fundamental causes were oil and water shortages allied to fuel and food price rises.

Could we be seeing, in the convulsions afflicting the Arab world, the first ripples presaging a wave of water wars?

Choke Point: U.S. Water, Energy and the Ohio River Valley’s New Course

Folks should spend some time with the Population Trends databrowser and poke around various nations you read about in the news. For many impoverished countries that do not have a significant resource base to convert to food or exports, it's not a pretty picture:

Melting down now!
Melting down soon?

Maybe Malthus wasn't completely wrong after all.


Amazing! The Russian's really had an affect on Afghanistan population growth, the US occupation not so much. Strange how there followed a population spike afterwards to bring growth seemingly back on trend. Jordan must be really feeling the pressure with the additional influx of refugees.

Given that global rate of population growth is projected to decline until 2050 and still hits 9.3 billion. It is a bit worrying that the actual data up to 2013 doesn't seem to be dropping off as fast as the projection from 2013 onwards. What's your feeling, is 9.3 billion actually an over optimistic projection?

Thanks Jon for a fantastic resource.

I wouldn't take the projections too seriously, because nobody can reliably forecast the development of population numbers 40 or 50 years into the future. Especially not by simply extrapolating a current trend, that can be broken any time by a massive hike in birth rates. Just take a look at France; population was apparently pretty stable from 1890 to 1945 (partially thanks to the wars), but since then has increased by about 50%.

You see, all it takes is a big catastrophe, like a major war, and people begin to reproduce like crazy to counter the expected losses, just like trees, that react with a burst of seed production under stressful conditions.

That said, somewhere in our future lurks an inflection point, and then our numbers will go down for an extended period of time, no matter how much offspring we produce, and I strongly suspect that this will happen way before 2050. But no matter the when, the if is certain, and if anyone wants to get an idea what it takes to significantly decrease human population for more than a couple of years, please take a look at the population trend of Rwanda. Ten to twenty percent of the population were killed during the genocide in 1994 and it took them not even five years to even out their losses. To be honest, I find that outright scary.

In a world of dwindling resources and escalating climate change what will happen at one point or another is a complete readjustment of political goals. The first priority of foreign policy among all global powers will not be to improve the means of exploiting other countries in an attempt to accrue an increasing amount of wealth and power, but the conquering of habitable lands for their own populations, the acquisition of Lebensraum via genocidal warfare.

It may very well happen that some day the leaders of this planet's superpowers will gather for a rehash of the Berlin Conference and divide the Earth amongst themselves, in silent agreement to eradicate the people of their newly obtained property.

Interestingly, from that perspective Adolf Hitler may not've been a megalomaniacal tyrant, but a visionary, who was way ahead of his time. And that is also pretty scary.

I was interested to see the drop-off in population growth in South Africa. The inflection point seems to be 1995, just after the transition from white rule to majority rule.

It suggests that better clinic services, water and electricity, and welfare payments, which the new government introduced, are having a beneficial effect.

It can't be better education, because the education system is no better. But it does give the lie to a common meme here, namely that young girls are having babies to get the welfare grants.

Yes. South Africa shows about the same percentage growth since 2000 as USA. Cuba about 3% over the same time and Venezuela 14%. Europe began serious transition (big drop in fertility rates) back in the 1960s. Not a simple matter though. Eastern Europe including Russia & Ukraine has seen significant population decline since 2000, but see Spain's sudden accelarated rate of increase.

New energy model offers transparency to let others replicate findings

Computer models are used to inform policy decisions about energy, but existing models are generally "black boxes" that don't show how they work, making it impossible for anyone to replicate their findings. Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new open-source model and are sharing the data they put into it, to allow anyone to check their work – an important advance given the environmental and economic impact of energy policy decisions.

The new open-source model, called TEMOA, is an energy economy optimization (EEO) model. EEO models are computer models that inform policy and industry decisions by offering insights into how energy costs and production are likely to change over time. For example, EEO models could be used to identify strategies that would drive down energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10, 20 or 30 years.


No evidence of residential property value impacts near US wind turbines

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) analyzed more than 50,000 home sales near 67 wind facilities in 27 counties across nine U.S. states, yet was unable to uncover any impacts to nearby home property values.

... "Although there have been claims of significant property value impacts near operating wind turbines that regularly surface in the press or in local communities, strong evidence to support those claims has failed to materialize in all of the major U.S. studies conducted thus far", says Hoen. "Moreover, our findings comport with the large set of studies that have investigated other potentially similar disamenities, such as high voltage transmission lines, land fills, and noisy roads, which suggest that widespread impacts from wind turbines would be either relatively small or non-existent."

Bill Moyers: The End Game for Democracy

We are so close to losing our democracy to the mercenary class, it's as if we are leaning way over the rim of the Grand Canyon and all that's needed is a swift kick in the pants. Look out below.

The predators in Washington are only this far from monopoly control of our government. They have bought the political system, lock, stock and pork barrel, making change from within impossible. That's the real joke.

The journalists who could tell us these things rarely do -- and some, never. They aren't blind, simply bedazzled. Watch the evening news -- any evening news -- or the Sunday talk shows. Listen to the chit-chat of the early risers on morning TV -- and ask yourself if you are learning anything about how this town actually works.

Marcy Wheeler: On the US’ waning power, climate change, and the coming neofeudalism

... Her broad answer to the climate question and how it plays out starts at 7:27. Interesting take, and entirely in keeping with her earlier comments. Note that she refers to people ultimately losing access to the consumer-driven lifestyle. In my opinion as well, that’s going to be a major early shock, followed down the road by loss of electricity in some regions and areas of the country.

... comment (at about 10:08) that people will realize that the government is going to take care of “people better than them” is a reference to Our Betters, who are always first in line. When people realize that Our Betters are shoving us completely out of the receiving line when disaster strikes — that won’t be a pretty day.

I really like and respect Bill Moyers, but like a lot of older political observers/reporters/writers, he sees things only from that point of view and misses the real driving forces driving what is happening (resource depletion, including fossil fuels leading to the failure of industrial society, and the climate effects of fossil fuel use). So from that point of view they see the way society is failing, but ascribe it all to political causes.

In fact the political system is simply becoming an irrelevance due to the fundamental energy situation changing beyond what it can accommodate. Naturally the system tries to preserve itself by doing more of the same, but it only makes things worse. For example, the weight of the giant security bureaucracy does more to damage the system it seeks to preserve than any of the people it tries to prevent doing intentional damage.

Repeating my query from yesterday(?) - where will we find your excellent posts/links come next week? Thanks.

Hi clifman - That may seem like a simple question but it's confounded me for the past month - life is not simple.

Anyway, It looks like I will be posting at the ASPO site Energy Xchange www.energy-x.org as soon as I work out some bugs at my end. Give it a few days. I'll continue posting here till TOD goes archive.

Now my turn.

Is there anyway I can improve on the selection of articles posted? I'm open to suggestions. What do you want to see more/less of?

More Doom.

More nuts and bolts, like this one:

Stopped Cold: Mercedes Sales Blocked in France

I'm guessing he didn't post that one because I posted it up top. :-)

seraph, the quality of your article links is that they cover a wide range that should be of interest to thinking people.

Personally I have always viewed your links/stories as great additions to the discussion, I don't see any real flaw, you seem to know what is interesting to follow, and where to find it, as does leanan, in her different perspective, equally solid consistently.

Generally your postings speak for themselves quite well, and I think that's one reason they don't get as much discussion added after each as a rule. Plus of course, they make various shills, particularly the nuclear energy ones, squirm since they are too factual for the talking points the shills are being paid to promote.

By the way, have you noticed that the nuke shills aren't posting on the nuke stuff going on, even though it's increasingly serious? which confirms that all those shill morons/scum who thought they were being so clever with their pretense of being real posters in general were shills, paid, and since tod is now going away, they aren't paid to cover the stuff, so they don't.

I have no suggestions to you at all, you do great links/articles etc, but to the next site, I really suggest they spend a little more time and energy exposing shills who are trying to use the resource to promote whatever they get paid to promote. They are generally formulaic in their methods, and of course, never respond to real points, but sites can do more to expose them than has been done to date, and, once exposed, sites should ban their addresses/locations permanently, as well as trying to expose them, and publish their information as far as available online. I put shills far below other internet scum, like spammers, virus distributors, etc, at least those guys are doing sleazy work in an honest way, shills are just scum, traitors to the human race, plain and simple.

I'm not sure, double-h. I considered that possibility as well, but on balance, I think the idea that nuclear power has proven to be more trouble than its worth was too much of an existential threat to the belief system of those folks. (And I'm not referring to several long-time members who have expressed some support for nuclear power, or raised interesting questions about the New York Academy of Sciences data. You probably aren't either. I'm talking about the people who really ranted, incessantly.)

Anyone who knows the community here would know that an attempt to change opinion with rhetoric or propaganda does not get very far. Who would pay a shill or a troll for such a pointless mission? And what would they hope to gain? I mean, I suppose it's possible, people have paid for far more useless services, but it does seem kind of unlikely.

There was one troll who really drove me crazy in the months after 3/11-- seemed like a really bright guy who knew more about engineering than I ever will. But nothing he said made a damn bit of sense, and his arguments were riddled with logical fallacies. He was actually so aggressive that I wound up going after him.

It was an interesting experience. I wound up actually kind of liking him, because I learned so much from the whole experience... I'm a psychotherapist, and my background in the hard sciences is weak, but I called friends who were physicists, I learned a little bit about reactor design, and found a lot of resources EBSCO host about the effects of ionizing radiation, etc.

And I learned a lot about the normalcy bias, and lies we tell ourselves when we're feeling desperate-- a lot that really shocked me, but I feel better off knowing than not knowing.

I wouldn't mind having a drink with that guy someday, and I have the weird paradoxical feeling that I don't really bear him any ill-will, but I'm kind of proud of being one of the people who helped drive him off. He wasn't "scum," even if he frightened me. I just think he wasn't thinking really clearly, and people here were really trying trying to find some kind of solution to the containment problem. He was being really distracting, and, I thought, kind of dangerous.

But if there's a troll out there, whether they are paid or not, that's the way to deal with them, I think-- not with heavy-handed moderation.

catalyst, the shills I'm referring to are not trolls, they are paid to do a job, and their pattern follows very predictable formats and methods. I actually learned a lot about the PR industry engaging these shills, but after a while, I learned that they are not engaging in discussion, they are essentially doing what all defense attorneys do, spread a pile of manure to create doubt, and hope some of it sticks. You could see this very clearly in almost all major nuclear threads, worst in the fukushima ones, because the nuclear industry had been rubbing their hands in expectation of state subsidized nuclear plant construction (that is the only kind that exists, of course, since they can never get insurance, and the time frames to profitability simply do not fit with capitalism. See Japan's recent takeover of tepco as a realworld example, and the cleanup in any of the major messes in the world, ongoing, and see who really pays for it)..

I found it interesting to note that, as essentially third rate defense attorneys, the shills actually had no idea how to engage anyone in discussion, believing that by selectively quoting and spreading the day's talking points, they were actually being convincing to anyone with a brain that worked beyond high school levels. This of course fits, nobody with any coherence or skill or intelligence would do that type of work, that leaves only dregs and failures, which I realized, is sort of a good thing, because it makes them so darned easy to spot once you see them in action hard core, like we did in the nuclear failure threads. Educational, albeit disgusting. Obviously you can't appeal to their sense of shame, since they have none, by definition, or they wouldn't be paid shills.

There is another group, and I generally would like to be charitable and note that some more troll like supporters of these nuclear talking points simply do engage in constant confirmation bias, a bit too much scifi thinking, coupled with basic stupidity, sort of like the sincere climate change denialists, the ones that lap up the nonsense generated by corporate funded and anomyzed 'researchers'.

So in essence, at a certain point, you want to offer the person two options, to admit that they are gullible people lacking in critical thinking skills, or shills. However, true shills are in general not stupid, they are simply not very smart, and they don't actually repeat the talking points that were disseminated over the past years, they are generating new talking points designed to handle the new crisis. This was particularly obvious in the fukushima threads, where roughly 4 posters here would sort of do the tag team on launching that day's talking point, one way you could always spot them was by looking at their join date, then noting that every day they would put out new talking points, ignoring totally when these talking points didn't fit with the earlier ones they had put out.

Since they think like bad defense attorneys, you can also see by the structure of their arguments, almost always, that they are shills, ie, they focus on picking away at small points to create doubt, rather than do as regular people do, grasp the overall situation and not worry too much about all points being exactly right. This one is a dead giveaway in my opinion, and it's how you separate a shill from a merely stupid person lacking in critical thinking skills, though some shills of course are pretty stupid, and may resemble trolls, I'm sure there is a range there, depending on how much their firms get paid etc.

Then of course there are the drudge report legions, who basically get commanded to inject their ignorant babble into real discussions, with the goal of overwhelming the discussions with garbage and pointless discussion that only someone totally lacking in understanding could believe. Those are different than shills, they are essentially so stupid that they are willing to shill for free, then think that is some blow for freedom and liberty and truth.

But the professionals is who I am talking about, those need to be tracked and exposed, it would be nice if certain websites would create a database of their IP addresses, user names, email addresses, etc, and share that, then expose the guys as they appear, there are not that many, and they are not that hard to find, and they abuse the resources these projects have to maintain in order to generate profit/lobbying power for their employers. Total scum, that is. Lacking totally in ethics, violating all standards of honest human interaction, living off of fraud and deceit, promoting bad things for bad companies. Of all the internet vermin I have encountered, I would put the new class of shill employed by PR firms at the very bottom of the lowlife pile, particularly the nuclear energy/global warming ones, who are directly trying to promote earth destroying activities for their own profit and paycheck. Dante would put these scum at the very inner circles of hell, not the most inner, but deep in there.

It's also worth, by the way, noting that while TOD and other peak oil type sites have over the years attracted many highly competent petroleum engineers who generally talk quite openly and honestly about issues around petroleum extraction, toolpush, rockman, rockymountainguy (although very biased still not a liar), I have never seen any honest voice from inside a nuclear plant who actually agrees with the safety/reliability spin sold by the PR firms, with a few exceptions, where people who used to work in a plant confirm that they are actually worse than you think. I find this extremely revealing, and it's why you can be fairly certain that all people possessing a reasonable amount of engineering data about nuclear energy yet promoting the current nuke talking points are almost certainly paid shills, they do not identify, ever, where they get their information from, unlike say rockman, who is pretty open and honest about what he does for a living, of course, a guy like rockman can be honest because he's not lying for a living, he's just passing the time talking shop in public while watching drilling data scroll by on his monitors.


An old thread, but I have been in transit with screwed up flights, I am home now, hopefully my bag will be sometime soon as well, lol.

Nice to know one's comments are appreciated, even if not everyone agrees with them.

You make a good a good point, there is a total lack on nuclear insiders giving any personal accounts of their activities. Do they all have to sign a code of secrecy?

All the best to one and all, as they say, see you on the flip side.

Well, in addition to seconding what Smeagle said :-p, personally I'd say less nuke & more climate. The nuke debate seems to sidetrack discussion of the larger issue IMO. Folks who otherwise seem to grok that we're facing somewhere between an extrememly challenging and nasty future go at each other like caged animals over whether nuke should be part of the energy mix. Generally, other than an occasional reference to "Into Eternity", which I found hauntingly insightful, I stay out of those debates, 'cause IMO, we need much more to reduce our reliance on BIG energy of all sorts, and learn to do things simply and for ourselves. That leaves nuke out. Also, I think climate is rapidly shifting, and the consequences of that will be biting harder and harder each month, let alone year. Which hits hardest first, PO or AGW? Let's call it a tragic tie. The irony of the timing of TOD's shutting down could hardly be greater. Hope we can all find a place to swap insights and links. See you at ASPO's energy-x.org!

edit - Stuff on arctic sea ice, such as Neven's blog, and the latest from folks like Jennifer Francis & Kevin Anderson, the latter of whom pulls no punches in his climate presentations.

Here is a wild story of Realpolitik

Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria

Saudi Arabia has secretly offered Russia a sweeping deal to control the global oil market and safeguard Russia’s gas contracts, if the Kremlin backs away from the Assad regime in Syria.

The revelations come amid high tension in the Middle East, with US, British, and French warships poised for missile strikes against Syria, and Iran threatening to retaliate. The strategic jitters pushed Brent crude prices to a five-month high of $US112 a barrel.

‘‘We are only one incident away from a serious oil spike. The market is a lot tighter than people think,’’ said Chris Skrebowski, editor of Petroleum Review.
Leaked transcripts of a behind closed doors meeting between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan shed an extraordinary light on the hard-nosed Realpolitik of the two sides.

This is amazing stuff if true . . .

As-Safir said Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord.

‘‘I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the Games are controlled by us,’’ he allegedly said.

Prince Bandar went on to say that Chechens operating in Syria were a pressure tool that could be switched on and off.

Nice Olympics you have there . . . it would be a shame if anything were to go wrong with them.

KSA has that much control over the Chechen resistance? Seems unlikely.

But if that's the deal KSA is offering Russia, what's the deal for us? My WAG: a few hits on parts of the Assad regime's apparatus to shore up the idea that the US will indeed act to contain Iran and its proxies, but not enough destruction to invite retaliation. This is all tactical within the same larger strategy.

If Putin objects to US cruise missiles landing in his back yard (Syria), he might very well engineer an oil price spike in concert with KSA. It's the perfect response. Doesn't harm anyone, no overt aggression, but reminds people of who the big oily gorillas are.

Here's a comment entitled "Monsanto Straw Man" that I posted on the Cincinnati Locavore listserve a couple of days ago:

"The local food movement needs a different enemy, corporatism instead of big Ag. Corporatism is a much bigger badder bad guy than big Ag anyways.

ALL corporations use non-renewables efficiently, not just the food corporations. That's the problem, especially cars. Why is Ford Motor Company a sponsor for Ohio Valley Greenmarket? That's crazy. LOL

If you fight corporatism, what is left after you win? LOL"

There have been only crickets on the listserve since my comment was posted, i.e. car dependent mindset dominates the local food scene. Folks too invested in BAU to speak freely.

It is ironic that as TOD winds down the oil markets heat up. It is almost too obvious now. What is going on. There is really no need for TOD any longer. If you do not know what's going on you haven't been reading TOD long enough. Get your life in order people and good luck with your lot in the future.


Brent Crude May Spike to $150 on Syria Spillover, SocGen Says

Yes, how ironic and bad timing, as TOD will not be up and going for this possible spike in oil price and apparent military events to take place. Also, this coming month will be the showdown between R’s and O on the debt ceiling. Just as things are really starting to heat up again, Drumbeat will be no more. Simply an asterisk, a historical footnote along the peak oil path. Where do we all meet up for a similar thread after Aug. 31st? Got to be somewhere better than the usual suspects.

I still wonder if O will weenie out of taking any action. He tends to be a Gumby, i.e. quick to bend to the will of others (e.g. Russia & China in this case warning against taking any action), so I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing blows over without a whimper.

I created a blog TOD Drumbeat at toddrumbeat dot blogspot dot com. I can't contribute much but if people are interested then I can give them admin rights to contribute links. I can definitely create a new thread on the same days as drumbeat. I think a DB will work even with people just posting comments.

Please let me know if anybody is interested, there aren't many days left here.
My mail id is counterculture84 at gmaildotcom

Lots of people want a place to escape to as TOD winds down. There realy is demand for this. I hope Leanan put up a key post on the subject the last day.

I have created this blog as one of the many alternatives in a post TOD world.

Thats a problem, too many choices, none of which seem to have the flow that the old Drumbeat has.