Drumbeat: August 30, 2013

Fuel Supply-Demand Deficit Widens Without Iran, EIA Says

Excluding Iran from the global oil market increased the shortfall between worldwide supply and demand, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.

Global petroleum use averaged 2.2 million barrels a day more than output in July and August when Iran is excluded from the calculations, the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, said in a report today. Iran can help reduce the deficit by 1.5 million barrels a day as the country’s production outpaced demand, the EIA said.

Global Crude Oil Market Is Adequately Supplied, IEA Says

The global oil market is adequately supplied and doesn’t require the release of emergency stockpiles, according to the International Energy Agency.

The agency is monitoring the market and “stands ready” to respond if there’s a major supply disruption, the Paris-based adviser to 28 energy-consuming nations.

WTI Drops for a Second Day as U.K Lawmakers Reject Syrian Action

West Texas Intermediate fell a second day as U.K. lawmakers rejected a motion for military action against Syria, reducing the prospect of an imminent strike and easing concern of disruption to Middle East exports.

Supply picture signals limited upside for oil prices, analysts say

As fears over Syria eased on Friday and oil prices edged back from recent highs, most industry watchers think further upside is limited with one saying it could be time to take profits.

According to Richard Martin, managing director at IMA Asia, the supply picture for crude oil remains intact, which means the rally in prices is unlikely sustainable.

Will oil price rise choke off stock rally?

NEW YORK — A barrel of oil for $150. Ouch. It's not out of the realm of possibilities if the USA's expected military strike at Syria reverberates through the Mideast, sparking a larger supply disruption in the volatile oil-producing region.

That market call, authored by Michael Wittner, an oil analyst at Société Générale, received its fair share of attention on Wall Street, where anxiety is running high as geopolitical risks rise.

Gold, oil: Syria is playing a small, tenuous role

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Syria does not rule the outlooks for gold, silver and oil.

These markets have other just-as-important factors in place that will dictate what direction they take next, analysts said.

For oil, the rally has a lot to do with the conflict and ongoing unrest in other parts of the Middle East, but the global economic recovery plays are a large part of the market too.

How Syria conflict could hit oil markets: best and worst cases

Western military strikes on Syria present a complex set of possible outcomes, and all of them make problems for energy markets to one degree or another. But some scenarios are worse than others.

Saudi Oil Output to Stay Near 10 Million Barrels a Day

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, will probably keep crude production in September at similar levels to this month and July, a person with knowledge of the kingdom’s oil policy said.

The world’s biggest crude exporter produced 10.03 million barrels a day in July, and taking into account inventory movements it supplied 9.9 million barrels a day to the market that month, the person said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Output won’t vary much unless market conditions change, the person said.

Ras Tanura Oil-Tanker Capacity Seen Falling 19% in Latest Week

The combined carrying capacity of oil tankers calling at Saudi Arabia’s Ras Tanura fell 19 percent in the week ended Aug. 24, vessel-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The implied capacity of vessels calling at the world’s largest crude-export complex declined to the equivalent of 7.79 million barrels a day from 9.61 million barrels for the prior week, according to signals gathered by IHS Fairplay, a Coulsdon, England-based maritime research company. The data may be incomplete because not all transmissions are captured.

Motiva Port Arthur Said to Perform Minor Repairs on Hydrocracker

Motiva Enterprises LLC’s Port Arthur, Texas, refinery is performing minor repairs on a hydrocracker that caught fire Aug. 17 and expects to restart it, along with the plant’s largest crude unit, in a week or so, a person familiar with the work said.

Irving FCC Restart Sends N.Y. Gasoline to One-Week Low

New York spot gasoline dropped to the weakest level against futures in a week as Irving Oil Corp. restarted a unit at its Saint John, New Brunswick, refinery.

Irving’s Saint John plant returned a 70,000-barrel-a-day fluid catalytic cracker to service yesterday after an unplanned outage Aug. 23, according to a report by Genscape Inc. The 298,800-barrel-a-day refinery exports over half of its refined products to the U.S. Northeast.

China announces a 3% rise in fuel price amid rising tensions in Syria

China announce a 3 percent increase, or up about 0.17 yuan per liter, in fuel prices today after crude oil prices rose on the international markets amid rising tensions in Syria.

TABLE-China retail gasoline, diesel prices since 2009

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will raise its retail ceiling price for gasoline by 235 yuan ($38.4) per tonne and that of diesel by 225 yuan from Saturday, the National Development and Reform Commission said on Friday.

India May Block Higher Gas Price for Reliance, Document Shows

India will seek to prevent Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) from benefiting from a doubling in natural gas prices by capping rates at its biggest fields, according to a draft proposal seen by Bloomberg News and confirmed by two government officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Forties Crude Cargo Heads to Asia for First Time in Three Months

A very large crude carrier has been chartered to load North Sea Forties crude on Sept. 21 to Sept. 23 for South Korea, the first shipment to Asia in more than three months, according to reports from shipbrokers.

North America's shale boom a threat for GCC fertilizer producers

North American shale gas threatens to erode a core market for the Arabian Gulf's fertilizer industry, warned an industry association.

GCC members export half of their fertilizer production abroad, and North America is their second biggest market after Asia with orders totalling 1.7 million tonnes a year.

Those trade flows could shift against the region's favour as North American competitors take advantage of cheap raw materials unlocked by fracking, said the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association, an industry group based in Dubai.

How Much Recoverable Oil Do We Have?

Oil's availability is of course of immediate concern to every driver, especially at a time when gasoline prices are high once again. The much greater concern, however, is whether we are reaching a limit where oil can no longer be recovered at prices consumers are willing to pay.

If something like that turns out to be true—a scenario that generally goes by the name of "peak oil"—then long-term economic growth may be constrained across the industrial world. At the same time, to look at the brighter side of the picture, long-term carbon emissions may be lower than previously projected.

As it happens, expert opinion is radically divided on this key issue.

Heresy of the week: The spectre of peak oil still looms over us

Huge sums are being invested in new extractive technologies, but it remains to be seen whether these efforts can shift oil prices downwards or whether such investment depends on oil prices remaining high.

Meanwhile, it’s worth remembering that conventional oil production will continue for some time to come. In particular, major oil fields in countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran have yet to be exhausted. Thanks to high oil prices they provide their owners with a fat profit – and a means of funding the slaughter of Syria’s unfortunate people.

China Oil Giant Sinopec Buys into Strife-Hit Egypt for $3.1 Billion

SHANGHAI - Chinese oil giant Sinopec (IW 1000/333) is entering Egypt despite the country's political strife, announcing Friday it is buying a $3.1 billion stake in an existing operation as China scours the globe for energy reserves.

US says Iran can't access oil money

WASHINGTON: The US government has concluded that nearly half of Iran's monthly earnings from crude oil exports are accumulating in accounts outside the country because of sanctions that restrict Tehran's access to the money.

The estimates, provided to The Associated Press by a senior US official and never released before, are the latest indication that new sanctions imposed in February are deepening Iran's economic distress and making it increasingly difficult to access billions of dollars in vital oil revenues.

Chevron Nigeria withdraws from Olokola LNG project

IBADAN -- Chevron Nigeria has withdrawn from the Olokola LNG project intended to exploit Nigeria's vast gas reserves after it failed to become operational.

The CMD of CNL, explained that the business decision to withdraw from OKLNG is based on a review of our investment portfolio, the lack of progress on the project and a reprioritization of resources to focus on growing domestic gas supply, Deji Haarstrup, Chevron's general manager, policy, government and public affairs said.

East Timor makes new pitch on stalled Woodside gas project

Reuters) - East Timor is offering to invest $800 million to build a pipeline to take gas from the Timor Sea to the tiny nation, as it makes a new pitch to resolve a dispute with Australia's Woodside Petroleum over how to develop huge fields in the area.

East Timor has insisted for a decade that a liquefied natural gas plant to process gas from the Greater Sunrise fields should be built on its shores, bringing with it much-needed development. Woodside says the plan is uneconomical and wants to use a floating LNG plant.

North Dakota saves for the future with today's oil riches

A savings account North Dakota created to preserve a portion of its oil and natural gas tax dollars for the future has exceeded growth estimates in its first two years and could swell to $3 billion by the time state lawmakers decide how to spend it.

Turkish energy minister fires back over Taqa power project delay

The Turkish energy minister has fired back at Abu Dhabi National Energy (Taqa) over delaying an investment decision on a US$12 billion coal megaproject over what he called "political reasons."

Low-priced electricity

Officials of Korea Electric Power Corp. monitoring the daily peak-time power usage should be breathing a sigh of relief as the heat wave begins to recede. Yet, they cannot afford to lower their guard, because the possibility of rolling blackouts cannot be ruled out during the next several weeks.

On the contrary, blackouts can strike the nation during off-season maintenance, as they did in September 2011. An unseasonable heat wave, when put together with a breakdown at one or two power plants, is a good recipe for a blackout.

Missouri town escapes crushing electricity contract tied to coal-fired plant

More than 200 cities, towns and utilities invested in the $5 billion plant in southern Illinois in the early to mid-2000s, hoping to protect against electricity price swings and save money in the long run. Peabody Energy developed the project – which it billed as a state-of-the-art power plant next to a high-sulfur coal mine – and eventually sold 95 percent of it to eight utility consortiums in nine states, though most of the cities are in Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

But construction cost increases, lower natural gas prices and other factors erased the project’s competitive advantage in the short term and left some of the cities with power that’s far more expensive than current market rates.

China slaps oil firms over pollution

BEIJING – Environmental regulators have taken the unusual step of blocking China’s two biggest oil producers from expanding their refining capacity after they failed to meet targets for reducing pollution.

The penalties for PetroChina and Sinopec are a fresh blow to China’s state-owned oil industry following this week’s announcements that four senior executives are under investigation for unspecified offenses.

Explosion, Rig Fire in Eagle Ford Shale East of San Antonio

A drilling rig explosion was reported in Petersville, Lavaca County in rural South Texas Wednesday evening.

There were no reports of injuries in what was being described as a “well control incident and fire,” and all personnel were safely evacuated, K Leonard, manager of public relations for rig operator EOG Resources Inc. told Rigzone.

Inspections Target Fracked U.S. Crude Shipped by Rail

U.S. rail-safety regulators began a “Bakken blitz” of inspections of crude oil tank cars this week as they seek to prevent a railroad disaster in the U.S. similar to July’s fatal inferno in Quebec.

Inspectors from the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are examining rail cars moving crude from North Dakota’s Bakken region, Cynthia Quarterman, PHMSA administrator, told reporters today during a break in a Washington meeting to discuss U.S. rail safety risks.

BP, Louisiana Officials at Odds over Restoring Coastline

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council held a meeting Wednesday discussing the current status of coastal restoration projects, which are being funded by civil penalties in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon incident.

The council approved an initial comprehensive plan laying goals for ecosystem and economic recovery within the five Gulf of Mexico states that was affected by the Macondo oil spill in 2010. The governors of those states – Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida – serve on the GCER council with federal officials. Council members also promised that the first projects could be approved by June 2014, the beginning of the next hurricane season.

BP accuses Louisiana leaders of 'political grandstanding' over oil spill

BP and one of the US Gulf states most affected by pollution from the Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2010 have become embroiled in an acrimonious slanging match over the oil company's clean-up record.

A senior BP executive has accused the leaders of Louisiana of "political grandstanding" and making "patently false assertions" about the environmental record of the group since the oil spill in 2010.

Greens use Keystone XL backers' words to undermine pipeline

(Reuters) - Environmental groups on Thursday used statements by supporters of the proposed Canada-U.S. Keystone XL pipeline to undermine the argument that Canada's tar sands will be developed without the project, so the impact on greenhouse gases will be the same.

A report put together by more than a dozen green groups compiles statements by industry and government officials, financial analysts and green groups to argue that the 830,000 b/d oil pipeline is essential for the development of the tar sands, and would in fact increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Fracking brings climate debate closer to home

For the first time in decades, prosperous, well-connected people in this country are having to face the reality of fossil fuel extraction, and they don't like it one bit. Some of us have long been arguing that oil, coal and gas do far more harm at every stage of production than most forms of renewable energy. Now the fracking companies have obligingly chosen to demonstrate it.

Road rage: States get creative to fund highways

Yet with cars becoming more fuel efficient, and miles driven declining — 2.938 trillion miles traveled in 2012 compared with 3.031 trillion in 2007 — federal and state fuel tax revenues are increasingly insufficient to build new roads and maintain existing ones. Electric cars, a favorite of President Obama, use no gasoline at all, so their drivers do not pay for road use.

In the future, roads will need another stream of funding. Although residents don’t like tax increases, some states are taking matters into their own hands and creating their own sources of revenues for roads.

Tesla success helps push green car program back in gear

You can't argue with success.

Tesla developed an electric car and paid back a nearly half billion dollar loan nine years early. Now the government is reviving the controversial automotive loan program that helped Tesla -- with $15 billion still available to kick-start the development of electric and other alternative powered vehicles.

Bike shops: The new Starbucks?

While more people are riding bikes—cycling in New York City alone has more than doubled since 2005, with at least 500,000 residents biking—fewer are buying new ones. Unit sales fell 5% in the first half of 2013, with revenue down $88 million compared with the first half of 2012. And recently added bike-sharing programs in cities like Boston, New York and Chicago have put a dent in shop-based rentals. Bike shop locations have decreased by nearly a fifth in the past decade. Now, the $6 billion U.S. bicycle market is trying to lure new customers, especially women and families, with extras ranging from poetry readings to open-mic nights and even weddings.

China to raise subsidies for clean power generation

China will raise subsidies for cleaner forms of electricity from September 25, the state planning agency said on Friday, in a move that could help thermal power plants meet the country’s tough new air pollution standards.

China’s power plants have lobbied the government for more subsidies, saying they cannot afford to install new equipment to cut emissions because fixed power prices do not allow them to pass on the cost to consumers.

Graph of the Day: China’s future generation mix

China – already the world’s second largest electricity market, largest carbon dioxide emitter, and consumer of half the world’s coal – is on course to more than double its power market in size by 2030. But with increased awareness of environmental pollution, a potential price on carbon emissions and increasingly competitive renewable energy alternatives, how will it meet the challenge?

Cheap Corn Deters Buyers in U.S. Sugar-for-Ethanol Plan

A glut of corn has damped interest by biofuel makers in a U.S. government program to sell surplus sugar for ethanol, potentially decreasing its effectiveness in propping up sugar prices.

Building a Drought-Proof Farm

At Brown's Ranch, just east of Bismarck, N.D., the community has gone 70 days with less than half an inch of rain. Yet Gabe Brown, the owner of this 5,400-acre farming and ranching operation, is looking out on a deep green field of sunflower, vetch, corn, clover, buckwheat, savannah grass and other crops.

"It's not how much rainfall you get," explains Brown. "It's how much you can store."

The soil on Brown's land, thanks to some innovative, soil-enhancing farming techniques, holds about three times as much water as a conventional farm. This makes his farm more able to withstand hot, dry weather or soak up heavy rainfall. This means less water is wasted — and it also means that Brown, who received a 2012 Growing Green award from NRDC, doesn't need to rely on federal crop insurance to cover his losses in times of drought or other weather extremes. All the insurance he needs is in his soil.

GOP Hearings On Climate Change May Threaten Entire Green Economy

The most important part of any financial analysis is understanding the risks that a firm, industry, sector or economy faces. The markets are defined by "Black Swan" events where previously unknown risks emerge and overnight the markets are down 10, 20, 30% or more. 1929, 1987, Long-Term Capital Management, Barings Bank and of course 2008 and the mortgage crisis. In hindsight, all the warning signs were there, the markets simply didn't recognize them until it was too late.

Because of that I always try to identify and discuss risks in my articles, and one risk I always try to highlight is the political risk embedded in the green economy.

Greg Hunt not giving the full story on climate research

Opposition Climate spokesman Greg Hunt has cited CSIRO research to defend the Coalition's "direct action" policy on climate change. Mr Hunt says the research shows emissions can be reduced by 20 per cent over 40 years using nature, soils and trees. ABC Fact Check takes a look at what the research is saying.

Gulf Coast marks 8th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

In New Orleans, a group of elected officials, community activists and religious leaders gathered Wednesday to urge rebuilding of the state's coastline and called attention to the impact of climate change, according to The Times-Picayune.

The group, part of an interfaith prayer breakfast, said climate change has touched off rising sea levels, disappearing coastline and more frequent storms, according to the news organization.

As Floods Ravage Sudan, Young Volunteers Revive a Tradition of Aid

“We saw that the heavy rains and floods were going to impact the lives of many, and we felt we had a social responsibility to help people,” said Muhammad Hamd, 28, a Nafeer spokesman. “The idea came out of a discussion on Facebook among friends.”

A “nafeer” is a Sudanese social tradition that comes from an Arabic word meaning “a call to mobilize.” The group’s formation was all the more important because the Sudanese government was slow to respond, some critics say.

Healthcare Needs to Lead the Fight Against Climate Change

As people continue to learn more about climate change, they are beginning to realize that it fundamentally is a health issue that will affect everyone in the world.

How climate change is damaging to health depends on where people live. If they live in Beijing or Baton Rouge, climate change looks like air that's so thick and poisoned they can't go outside their homes. If they live in the Midwest of the United States, climate change looks like extreme weather that rages through communities and heat waves that destroy crops and cause heat exhaustion. If they live in New York City, climate change looks like a massive hurricane, which flooded streets, trapped people in their homes without power, and shut down hospitals.

Greenland has its own Grand Canyon deep under ice, study says

Running from deep within the island's interior north to Greenland's northwest coast, the canyon measures at least 470 miles long, six miles across at its widest, and up to 2,600 feet deep – reaching its widest and deepest points near the coast. The Grand Canyon, by comparison, is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and 6,000 feet deep.

The portrait points to how little scientists know about what lies beneath the world's great ice sheets. It also could help researchers understand how the ice sheet and melt water are working together to feed outlet glaciers along a coast where glaciers have been thinning at an increasing pace within the past decade.

Special report: Experimental climate fixes stir hopes, fears, lawyers

(Reuters) - Last year the Haida, an indigenous group in Canada, set out to increase their salmon stocks and save the planet. Helped by American businessman Russ George, a group of villagers dumped 100 metric tons (110.23 tons) of iron dust from a boat into the Pacific Ocean.

They wanted to see if the iron would cause a bloom of algae that could promote fish numbers and absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Instead, in March, they were raided by Canadian officials for illegal dumping at sea.

Mutually Insured Destruction

To fully grasp how our changing climate affects their downside, the insurance and reinsurance industries need new ways of modeling risk — systems that look at what’s happening now rather than what happened decades ago. That drive is leading insurance wonks to join forces with climate scientists, who might have found a solution.

re: "How Much Recoverable Oil Do We Have?"

Interesting that an electrical engineering society is asking these questions and not a petroleum engineering society.

The closest I can come is this recent paper from the Society of Petroleum Engineers:
C.-M. Tien and D. McVay, “Quantifying the Uncertainty in Estimates of Ultimately Recoverable World Conventional Oil Resources,” SPE Economics & Management, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 79–92, 2011.

This is behind a paywall.

From the abstract:
Both the mathematical modeling and the multiple-experts analysis indicate that there is considerable uncertainty in estimates of world conventional oil URR. Our best estimate is a P10 - P90 range of 1.8 - 4.4 trillion bbl with a mean of 2.9 trillion bbl. Because of some conservative assumptions in our analysis, we believe the uncertainty is actually greater than indicated above, and the additional uncertainty is in the upside, resulting in larger P90 and mean values. In short, we do not have enough information at this time to say with reliability what the ultimate world conventional oil recovery will be. It could peak soon, somewhere in the distant future, or somewhere in between. It would be wise to consider all of these possible outcomes in planning and making decisions regarding capital investment and formulation of energy policy.

The article references an article at Huffpo by Michael T. Klare: The Third Carbon Age; made a point of referring to Huffington Post as "the left-liberal online publication".

Jim Kunstler interviews Klare on this week's KunstlerCast, over at Kunstler.com.

Here is an interesting passage which is found in the last paragraph of the textbook "Elements of Petroleum Geology" by Richard C. Shelley, published 1997

The combustion of fossil fuels is popularly believed to contribute to global warming. Though the mechanisms that control climatic change are not well understood, abundant data shows that it happens, and happens quickly on a human timescale. Global warming, however, may be preferable to another ice age. It could he argued that we should keep the home fires burning, and the internal combustion engine throbbing, less our grand-children freeze to death in the dark.

The publisher's blurb says that "It is also an excellent introductory text for a university course in petroleum geoscience."

An interesting comment indeed. The latest scientific thinking is that the Earth won't enter another Ice Age for several thousands of years. Trouble is, all that CO2 will have been sequestered in the world's oceans by then and there probably won't be any more fossil fuels left to burn. That there are still many uncertainties with such thinking is evidenced by the recent finding of a rapid increase in sea level at the end of the Eemian, which was likely the result of massive melting of the ice over Greenland. The important question here is what caused the transition back into Ice Age conditions at the end of the Eemian. If the warming and melting over Greenland had anything to do with it, our present path toward a warmer Earth might not turn out to be much like that projected by the climate model experiments...

E. Swanson

What's a few thousand years among ice ages?
Nothing really to prevent a pliocene type climate for a millennia or two - we are about at pliocene CO2 levels just now. Perhaps 20 plus metres sea rise (70 feet) and some erratic & very disturbing weather patterns very unlike anything experienced by humanity so far in this Holocene, followed by a deep dive into the next ice-age?

Phil H

As an aside, some of you more geologically oriented folks may find this interesting:

Huge canyon discovered under Greenland ice

One of the biggest canyons in the world has been found beneath the ice sheet that smothers most of Greenland.

The canyon - which is 800km long and up to 800m deep - was carved out by a great river more than four million years ago, before the ice arrived.

It was discovered by accident as scientists researching climate change mapped Greenland’s bedrock by radar....

...The ice sheet, up to 3km (2 miles) thick, is now so heavy that it makes the island sag in the middle (central Greenland was previously about 500m above sea level, now it is 200m below sea level)."

So Greenland may have more ice than was previously thought, much of it currently below sea level.

Even several thousand years from now enough of the CO2 will remain in the atmosphere to prevent the next scheduled ice age. We are going to skip one ice age and have to wait several tens of thousands of years.

The comment obviously didn't believe in the greenhouse effect as they think warming is observed, but of mysterious origin. Basically just trying to pretend the science doesn't exist, therefore uncertainty means burn it all.

Read "The Long Thaw" by David Archer. The next ice age is due to start in 3,000 years, but we have probably short-circuited that one. The next trigger conditions after that will occur about 50,000 years out. And that that one will probably take effect unless we burn everything even theoretically burnable.

However, if we were brighter, we would stop burning coal now and hold it in reserve for about 45,000 years from now. Then we would burn it in kilns to roast limestone, and bury the lime in the underground workings where the coal came from. The coal ash could be spread on the winter's snowfalls about March to help them melt off.

Anyway, it's an interesting book.

The Energy Xchange Now Live

The interim version of ASPO-USA's new website The Energy Xchange is now live at energy-x.org.

Pipeline is our news compilation and discussion feature.

We invite TOD contributors and readers to reunite at The Energy Xchange after The Oil Drum goes on hiatus.

Please stay tuned for launch of the full version of the site later this fall.

Registration does not seem to work, but that may be intentional as this is an interim version?

Thanks WHT. That's not intentional and it should work. Tested it several times but will check again.

If anyone has problems, please feel free to email me at jmueller@aspousa.org. Thanks for your patience. Jan

The registration worked for me - I left a comment on the Pipeline post.

Thanks for reporting your success.

I was thrown for a loop when I expected energy-x.org but instead got an email response from theplanetbeat.com.

Before that I tried to use a university email account and that was rejected, so I ended up using my yahoo email.

In any case, I am set now, so thanks

For WHT and anyone else, after you register, you should receive an email to verify your email address and reset your password.
If you don't receive an email, remember to check your spam folder. If that doesn't do it, please let us know, jmueller@aspousa.org

In the last couple of days, we have discussed how CNBC seems to have completely lost touch with reality regarding the oil markets, as one anchor (Simon Hobbs) claimed that the US is now a net crude oil exporter (whereas most recent data show that we net imported about half of the crude oil processed in US refineries) and as Senator John McCain on the same day noted that we are much less vulnerable to global supply disruptions since we are now a (presumably net) energy exporter (possibly basing his assertion on Simon Hobbs' flagrantly false claim that the US is now a net crude oil exporter).

What these sorry examples illustrate is how desperately we need a continued reality based analysis of global energy markets, since many members of the MSM and many politicians now seem to be full time residents of Fantasy Island.

I think he is confused by the fact that we recently produced more than we net imported. But why would we think that a financial commentator would have any facility with simple math or logic? Especially on CNBC.

There may also be confusion resulting from the fact that we are now a net exporter of finished motor gasoline (refined from imported crude!)

Yes, this is the issue. We now export a lot of refined and a lot of people wrongly assume that we are now an 'energy exporter' when we are really just import crude and export refined product.

Ironically, this fact should clear up another common myth . . . the myth that we lack sufficient refining capacity because how could we export refined product if we lacked sufficient refining capacity. But instead of clearly up that myth, it instead creates a myth of us exporting energy.

Clearly, people will believe what they want to believe and not the inconvenient truth.

Registration _seems_ like it does not work, nothing happens when you press the button, but check you email and you'll see that it worked.

My first impression of the site format is: the font is too small and its color is gray (low contrast). Although these settings are currently fashionable, they are hard on my aging eyes. I like the TOD fonts much better... I can make the font bigger by zooming in, and the text wrapping adjusts to fit the window margins (good) in the front page, but in the thread page when zooming in (in MSIE8 at least) the line breaks stay the same and the text width gets smaller (bad).

Thanks VTP. We are aware of these font issues and intend to rectify/enhance. Our IT person is working pro bono and he will address as soon as he can. In the meantime, not sure how you are enlarging, but CTRL and the "+" key works best for my aging eyes (CTRL and "-"(minus) to reduce). Thanks, Jan

Following the tradition here at TOD, I suggest we give the The Energy Xchange the handle TEX!

"Round up the herd!"

This got confusing really fast...a search for The Energy Xchange brought up: http://www.energyxchange.org/

This is not the TEX you're looking for! It is interesting however.

EnergyXchange's mission is to apply the use of renewable resources and practices for educational opportunities and economic development in the fields of art and horticulture.
66 EnergyXchange Drive, Burnsville, NC 28714

The two-county area is home to some of America’s most creative artists and beautiful native plants. The EnergyXchange site is an ideal location to develop craft incubator studios to support developing artists and greenhouses that cultivate endangered flora while utilizing the landfill gas.

energy-x is hard to find. e.g. 1 million hits.
Worse is energyx gives 1.3 million hits.
EnergyZ has only 99,000 hits is alot easier to find.

Per below, Energy-x.org is very close to energyxchange.org
energyxchange has 1.09 million hits.

energyx.org has been registered with a demand for $1400 to buy it.

May I recommend changing to energyz.org which is available and easy to remember.
ie. to discuss all the energy from a to z.

Bye bye, TOD. It has been a long, enjoyable, and to put it mildly, informative ride.

Tom Street
Estes Park, Colorado

All the cool guys are named Tom, I know more today than I did yesterday thanks to TOD.
Please don't bomb Syria.

All the cool guys are named Tom...

Yes, fully agree!

Tom Henderson
Three Mile Plains, Nova Scotia

... I know more today than I did yesterday thanks to TOD.

Yes, one of the best and most reliable sources of resource and international news and commentary, bar none! More than a few of us will miss our regular fix.

Please don't bomb Syria.

Amen, brother. But it looks like Barry is going to go ahead. After listening earlier today to surreal US media talking heads, I wonder if any of them has any inkling that this could seriously backfire.

Thanks, Tom.

Tom Klimek
Lemon Grove, California
"You can't bomb to create peace."
-T Lemon
Unusual weather here in South California today, 99 Fahrenheit and 80 percent humidity.

Weather here pretty decent for late summer, calling for a high of 26 degrees Celsius (about 78 Fahrenheit) tomorrow. Then calling for a spot of rain for Labour Day and into the coming week. My garden is parched so it will be a welcomed change.

Your unusual weather isn't helping the fire situation. Here's to cooler days ahead.

As to the situation in Syria, here's to cooler heads.



When is the last day of TOD?
I think I have a post in the queue, but since I have not received any feedback yet, I am not sure.

I may be better off just pasting my farewell post as a comment in case the site goes dormant in the next day or so.

They've got so many key posts that there will be new content to about Sep. 6-7. Comments will remain open for the usual 7 days after the thread goes live, so it won't be a sudden thing.

Speaking of which, my "farewell post" is now up at
Thanks to JoulesBurn for posting this and to the rest of the TOD staff.

Re. Drought-proofing the Farm

It never ceases to amaze me how "old stuff" just keeps coming around as the new thing. I happen to re-reading Malabar Farm by Louis Bromfield which is the story of his farm in Ohio and what he did to revitalize it; among other things using cover crops. When was the book published? 1947!! For those who like real-life farm success stories, he wrote also Out of the Earth in 1948 and it is less wordy (my copy is from 1950*).

His farm eventually went bankrupt after he died and is now a state park and it's still a working farm. One thing I've always been sorry about is that I went to a college that was only an hour or so from his farm and he was still alive and I could have visited it. At the time I was studying chemistry and didn't know I should have been an Ag major/farmer - that only took another 30 years.


*I love books and have thousands of them. I wonder how many Kindle "books" will be around in 60 years. :-)

From the article: "This makes his farm more able to withstand hot, dry weather or soak up heavy rainfall. "

Due to our high rainfall this year (over 52 inches, ytd), I've stopped mowing many of the areas I usually keep mowed (moderate amount in a normal year). My neighbor, a mowing fanatic, was asking how I've manged to keep our gravel road in such good shape during the heavy rains, while the runoff has undermined his paved drive, clogged his culverts, and caused quite a bit of erosion. I told him I stopped mowing. It slows the water down and lets the ground absorb more. He said he thought I was just being lazy, or couldn't afford the fuel. I told him I'm xeriscaping. His mowing is not only increasing runoff, but disturbing the damp soil. I told him his real estate is being washed away, glad I'm upstream. His place looks nice though, like a freakin' golf course.

Growth of wild plants on our place has been phenomenal; we're being surrounded by native lifeforms during this cool, wet year, and probably converting a lot more carbon than normal. If the rain slows after the first frosts (doubtful), I'll knock some of it down with the bush hog, though the wildlife is loving it; birds and insects deafening this morning, deer on the hill behind the house, and a bear paid us a visit about 6 this morning.

I don't want to hear about bears - I've had bear trouble in my orchard all summer. We didn't have a good crop this year so I didn't have a culvert trap brought in like I've done before.

An additional problem with the bears is they crush the fence which lets in the damn deer which cause more problems. I put up a section of plastic deer fence (about 300 feet) because it gets old trying to straighten out metal fencing. Although the plastic fence is easy to put back up, it's still junk compared to metal fencing. I wouldn't use it again.


My PEL Supercharger (pel.co.nz) has done a good job of keeping bears out of the garden and chickens. New Zealand sheep farmers use them to keep thousands of miles of fence hot, and I'm just charging a few thousand feet or so. It'll knock a guy flat. I'm running it off of a 75 watt panel, a marine battery and a cheap 150 watt inverter. One zap, and the bears go somewhere else (my sisters, usually ;-) I keep spare parts and do my own repairs (rarely needed).

I also have permission to shoot nuisance bears, something I haven't resorted to yet.

I agree on the plastic stuff; not worth the money or effort. Even rabbits will chew through it, though the electrified stuff (connected to the above charger) works ok for fowl or small livestock. My perimeter fence is all 12.5 gauge high-tensile, high-tension four or five strand, earth-grounded, posts spaced 20 feet. I added grounded strands along the road for good measure. Great system, recommended by your government folks about 30 years ago.

How do the bears respond to an electric fence? I'm thinking of a simple single wire on the top of your other fence. Powered with a solar charger, one could be installed just about anywhere. Just curious, although we do occasionally have bears in the neighborhood. A friend of mine got the job of removing a bear from a local house a while back...

E. Swanson


If this is any use, my neighbour had deer trouble in his orchard so hung a few peanut butter baited tin plates attached to a high voltage generator. That might work for both of your problem beasties.

We've had plenty of rain here in eastern PA as well, which has become normal in recent years. The invasive plants have just gone nuts - the oriental bittersweet is growing over the wineberries, multiflora roses and autumn olive, as well as every other type of tree or bush, native or otherwise. Meanwhile the Japanese stiltgrass is filling in everywhere else. I've lived in this region for almost 50 years now, but I really don't recognize these woods anymore - this is not the Pennsylvania I grew up in. I now walk the woods with a machete in order to get through, where as a boy I could pass through most woods quietly with no tool.

It is clear to me what needs to be done - the same as was done before the Europeans got here: burn it off every year. The stiltgrass in particular burns like crazy once dead and dry. Ultimately this will become common practice again.

Unfortunately, that article was light on details, and seemed to promote the herbicide-friendly version of large-acreage no-till farming, although it didn't use the h-word.

I think that grass is the answer to many of our environmental problems.

Grass, mowed infrequently (about every 10-16 inches of growth), either by rotational grazing or by machine, builds organic matter in the soil, far more than continuous grazing or repeated mowing. Way-oversimplied, the mechanism is that the roots grow much deeper as the grass grows taller; when cut, there's no longer enough photosynthesis to support the entire root structure, and a lot of it dies and is converted to organic matter.

This greatly increases the soil's ability to hold water, and as you've said, is great for erosion control, and as the article said, is great to reduce the effects of drought. In addition, the primary element in that organic matter is carbon, and it gets that from CO2 in the air. Which would we rather our carbon sink be, the soil, or the ocean ?

The numbers add up. If we were to take all of the farmland devoted to growing grains for herbivores (something over 70% of farmland is used as grains for all animals in the US; I'm not sure what it is for just cows, but it must be at least 50%), and put it into rotationally-grazed pasture, we would not only be able to support more cows (we'd have to, since it would take a few more months to get them to market weight), but the carbon sink would more than offset our fossil fuel usage.

This would be a one-time thing, because the carbon sink potential would diminish as the land improved (years 5 through 15 or so would be the best). And, I think coal could overwhelm it if we keep burning like we are over the next 200 years, but this is still our best bet to have a chance against AGW. At least we would have time to deal with the coal situation instead of being overwhelmed, with no politically viable options, as we are now.

Other advantages:
- reduced fertilizer (natural gas), herbicide, and pesticide usage
- reduced run-off of fertilizer and herbicides/pesticides into the water supply
- reduced erosion
- healthier cows
- healthier people due to healthier cows, reduced herbicides/pesticides
- less fossil-fuel use for farming
- less dependence of farmers on grain cartels, feedlot cartels, and fossil fuels
- less dependence of farmers on weather and climate variations

- more management-intensive for the pastures (however, this is much less work than all that grain farming)
- since corn production would be much lower, ethanol production would be even more variable than it is now (is this really a disadvantage ?)
- lots of laid-off Dupont, Monsanto, and Cargill employees
- ???

Why won't we do this ?
- it puts more power into the hands of farmers and less into the grain cartels and the feedlot cartels

And so it goes...

I'm putting my money where my mouth is, and am starting to implement this, and spread the word as much as I can. The biggest resistance I've seen from farmers is that our take-care-of-me mentality has even spread to a lot of them, and as much as they complain, many of them *like* the grain and feedlot cartels. Thomas Jefferson would roll over in his grave.

Thanks, alto. We're certainly on the same page. I've taken a series of courses on rotational grazing and pasture management which I'm implementing soon on our land, which has been mostly fallow for several years, except for some hay cutting (for winter feed at a grassfed cattle farm nearby). Some of my pastures only get cut in late winter while the grasses are dormant. We had been rotationally grazing for several years before my parents died and the cattle were sold.

The plan is for a few cows and a herd of meat goats in rotation. We also have some steep marginal land that the goats should love. I've spent the last couple of years developing our water so we can keep livestock out of our streams and springs, another big problem that causes erosion, especially with our high rainfall. Having a good buffer makes a difference, though some farmers feel it's a waste of pasture. We have two local butchers that do their own slaughtering (one USDA, one pending) who are working to develop a market for local meat; already selling a lot of local beef and some lamb. My wife wants sheep (we both love lamb), but I'll be the one having to deal with them, and they're pretty dumb. Goats will also help control some of the invasives such as multi-flora rose, and keep the brambles under control. Blackberries have gone crazy this year.

The extension agent was out a while ago, and said we have about the best mix of grasses, broad leafs, and clovers he's ever seen; something I've encouraged (re-seeded clovers several years ago - the bees are loving it).

My plan is to go full throttle, post-TOD, when things dry out a bit (if ever), and cool off. Wife says no goats until I finish her home upgrades (waiting for tile grout to dry now). All part of my resilience plan. I figure herding goats and a few cows is as good as anything I could do in my later years. I hear mutton barbecue is the latest rage, and has been a tradition in western KY for a long time, and imports have been rising due to demographics. I won't get rich, but won't starve either, and it'll help with taxes.

All the things mentioned in this article have been considered "best practices" for a long, long time, with the exception of no till, which has really only began to catch on in a big way in the seventies.

I taught all this stuff three decades ago in ag classes in a rural public high school.

Now no till does depend on herbicides.

But otoh, it also results in a considerable savings in fertilizers, irrigation water, fuel, etc, and reduces runoff and thereby erosion and pollution.

Overall, no till is generally considered to be a more environmentally benign way of farming than the only real immediate alternative- going back to the plow.
The total amount of pesticides used is not far different from farming the same crops on the same land using the former method of plowing and disking and then seeding.

It can be less.

It generally helps to increase yields.

Now farmers aren't stupid- the ones who are still in business have been subjected to a brutal competitive culling process for generations.

Farmers are price takers in wholesale markets. (One horse farmers may have some pricing power if they sell direct to the public, otherwise they accept what the wholesalers offer too- if they can even get a wholesaler to talk to them.)

As a general thing, farmers do what they do because that is the only thing they can do and remain in business.

Following best practices is the right thing to do in the long term.

But in the short term, these practices are all too often a direct route to bankruptcy since the farmer is producing commodities for market in competition with thousands of others who have fine tuned their short term plans to minimize costs, boost current yields, and maximize short term maximize profits.

The sweet spot, from a profit stand point, is mono cropping with a heavy application of fertilizer ( and irrigation too if needed and possible) in most cases- the next most common case is a shorter rotation such as between corn and soybeans , etc.

If the farmer is out of the sweet spot- he will likely soon be out of business.

The long run is an academic question for farmers who fail to survive the short term.

The sweet spot includes being on the public tit collecting as many freebies as possible including heavily subsidized crop insurance.

There are exceptions .

When prices are up, a farmer who has his land and equipment paid off, etc, can still make some money following the best practices.

Now all this said- if this guy hasn't had any rain for sixty days, he is going to come up short at harvest .

Growing cover crops, sod planting, and rotating crops are sound strategies. But with the exception of alfalfa, which has very deep roots, sixty days of hot weather without rain will put a whammy on almost any major crop you can grow in that area, and no mistake, no matter the techniques used.

I suspect the writer got a little carried away. The article has a bit of a cornucopian flower child smell to it.

These remarks should not be construed in any way as criticism of the efforts of individuals such as Ghung to follow the best possible conservation practices.

But Ghung is going too eat his goat and lamb personally, and share them with family and maybe neighbors.- thereby cutting out all or most of the usual middlemen.

Since he seems to live near some very prosperous communities ( there are a lot of very well off people -recently arrived- in the very scenic mountains of northwest NC) he might even be able to sell directly at a premium price to some upscale restaurants and markets thru his local USDA approved butcher.

He can come out smelling like a rose doing things his way.

But he would lose his shirt selling his labor intensive low impact animals thru ordinary commercial channels.

Am I right, Ghung?

Here's a useful link for those who want to read a bit more.


Yeah, Mac, I'm not interested in going to sales; too far away, and middle men take a big cut. I'm more interested in a value-added local market, which is growing around here. I'm also thinking about aquaponics; fresh herbs and mountain lobsters (crayfish). They're a lot sweeter and not as funky as bayou bugs.

We have a rather unique blend of old mountain culture and more worldly money folks here. It's pretty cool, since they seem to be meshing more than clashing. Those who try to change things too much end up more as converts. I'm right in the middle; feet in both worlds, and accepted as something of an outlier as well.

Some who come here expecting culture shock end up being surprised. Some good restaurants, always looking for something new and local. One of the best used to be the gas station in town, like where Gomer worked in Mayberry. We had fresh gulf oysters and lamb there a couple of weeks ago. Less than 80 bucks, including drinks. Try that in most cities. Kind of crazy for us, as we're generally homebodies.

I do wish my banker neighbor would stop flying his helicopter so low up my valley. Pisses the dogs off.

Along the lines of Nature knows best, I've been letting the weeds have a roll in maintaining the soil. Obviously I don't want the weeds crowding out my produce, but I do want them to be part of the solution. The question is how?

Letting them grow then strimming them back (weed whacking) seems to be the easiest solution. This provides nutrients to the crop, mulch, organic material for the soil and inputs for biological activity. It also leaves the weed root systems in place to bind the soil and stop compaction. Weed roots also break up the soil and create deep pathways that the crops roots can follow. They also compete with the crop, so its a case of finding a beneficial trade-off.

I need to design and fabricate some tools to make the job simpler and more efficient.

I went to a talk a year or so ago at which the main speaker was a SPIN farmer from up North. He had built a small version - to fit his 2-foot wide beds - of a roller-crimper to flatten/kill cover crops, and he'd had great success with it. Maybe something like that would work on your weeds. There's a pdf from NRCS about a larger one here: http://soils.usda.gov/sqi/management/files/sq_atn_13.pdf

Why do you say "This would be a one-time thing, because the carbon sink potential would diminish as the land improved (years 5 through 15 or so would be the best)"?

Why would the grasses cease to sequester carbon by sacrificing roots when grazed after year 15?

Any land change carbon storage simply changes the equilibrium amount of carbon per square meter. Once it approaches the new equilibrium further uptake stops.

Unless you are creating a peat (or permafrost) deposit, which can just keep getting thicker.

I've been making this point off and on for years here at TOD. We converted our smaller ranch, 350 acre, to all pasture and livestock years ago, all the grain did (before we owned it) was lose dirt and money.

One of the biggest expenses is haying, specifically, the machinery for it. It just doesn't pencil unless you are selling dairy quality or better, or haying several hundred plus tons a year. That's alot of acres if it's average production dryland grass. I know, alot of folks get old equipment, keep it running with baling wire, but they better have a sharp pencil too. Pay for the repair parts, the machinery, your time, fuel and lubricants and twine, keep that pencil sharp. And as we go forward, as we all know here, that fuel will just be a bigger and bigger problem.

Strip grazing and saving pasture, if you can make it work, cutting livestock to the ones and breeds that pay, is a better way to go. Our place is such with snow depth we could never stockpile enough pasture for winter, but know of plenty even into Alberta, where either wind or low snowfall lets it work. For much of the south, this seems a no brainer, but I've never worked there.

We've cut our hay consumption way back, and upped our livestock units raised, with strip grazing. Another facet we use is sheep, and we've been breeding our own for over a decade, trying to obtain a more resilient animal. Most sheep breeds today have been developed for the feedlot, same as cattle. There are several cattle breeds still around that do real well on just grass, but in our feeling, the modern sheep breeds have had their natural immunities bred out, along with most maternal instincts. We have stressed the opposite, and now have a sheep flock who we never even worm, or use any meds. Lambing is a pleasure with these, and we don't shear. We've bred for self shedding, that trait still expressed in the oldest breeds. Wool is rarely worth the fuel to get it market, just a back breaking job, and we never cared for goats or hair sheep. Should we want any, it's easily collected.

With strip grazing with a couple species of livestock (and a few horses at times), our pastures are in much better condition, and produce alot more lbs. There's quite a bit out there any more in terms of resources, workshops, manuals and books, etc to help you make it work. A little publication I've liked for years is the Stockman Grass Farmer.

I wonder how many Kindle "books" will be around in 60 years.

It's data, where would you expect it to go? It's going to last forever, because there will always be a copy somewhere. Personally, I have my e-book collection (together with my digitised music collection) stored on three separate hard-drives, in three separate places a few hundred miles apart. If your house burns down, your book collection is gone. My collection on the other hand will survive anything short of a global nuclear armageddon :-)

And people will wonder about the curious metal artifacts of the former age and likely have better luck reading the FORTRAN punch cards. Remember when the U.S. didn't rent time on the Russian space program? Took some doing to recover data from those missions:


Sorry, doesn't work that way. Any current format can be effortlessly converted to any other in a few minutes. You can print ebooks to paper if you want, you can burn music to CDs. There is not going to be an overnight apocalypse, and the current IT infrastructure is more-or-less stabilised, hasn't fundamentally changed in two decades, and will not change anytime soon. And if it does fundamentally change, then it will be a very very slow change taking decades to implement. Comparing it to the age of punch cards or space program is meaningless, as that was a time of extremely rapid innovation, today is completely different.

"Any current format can be effortlessly converted to any other in a few minutes..." if you have the machines and software to do it. We have a Book of Common Prayer (early King James) from the late 17th century, in the fire safe, that survived a rough trans-Atlantic voyage, numerous storms and fires in Charleston, including the American Revolution, survived the burning of Atlanta, and has been passed down for centuries. Still perfectly readable. The same fire safe also has a NAS raid drive in it with all sorts of important (and not so important) stuff, in digital format; books, music, photos, letters, emails, stuff I've written. Some of these things are also preserved on CD/DVD.

I would say you're both right.

"if you have the machines and software to do it"

Yes, I agree. The point that I wanted to re-iterate is that the current machines and technology are not going away. In the 1960s to 1990s, there were many competing incompatible technologies from many different vendors, and a lot of dead-end technology. But today? There are billions of devices with SD/microSD card support and billions of devices with USB, all freely interconnectable. Those interfaces have reached such critical mass (and more importantly, they have reached the "good enough for 99.9% of practical usage" level) that there is no need to replace them.

I was given a set of 3.25" floppies at work and asked to see what was on them. Had to hunt down a USB adapter, scrounge up a power supply that fit the weird connector on one, tried three drives and none of them could pull the files off. Can't tell if they were Mac or PC based, what file format...there were apparently several different types of floppy format - each different enough to not be read by other drives. Whatever is on them - it's lost to time. I have a Windows 98 PC with various odds and ends on it...there's no USB, no burner, and even if I tried to install a burner or something to get the stuff off I'd likely not be able to find drivers to get it to work. If I went through a lot of effort I could probably figure something out...but - things do go awry, and compatibility is an issue.

Getting files from a Windows 98 drive shouldn't be a problem; likely standard IDE drive, DOS format. I have an external enclosure (USB) that has let me recover files from Win95 and Windows 3.1 drives. What you'll do with them is another matter. I managed to recover files from an old ESDI drive that were written with Word for DOS, booted DOS from a floppy and converted them to ASCI text for a guy. He still smiles when he sees me, since they were letters from his Dad who passed away. Even though they weren't formatted as his dad wrote them, the words were the same. He printed copies and sent them to his family for Christmas.

I keep my wife's old Win95/DOS PC (Pentium 1) on the shelf just for that purpose. It has a whopping 100MB drive in it, which was an upgrade, and still has a functional 3.5" 1.44 MB floppy.

I have a closet full of old computers, going back to 1992, just in case. I've got a 5.25" floppy drive on one, I've got 3.5" drives on a couple more, and a Zip Drive of all things on my old ca 1998 Micron!

A couple of months ago, my brother (a former DARPA Project Manager) needed me to get some verra important stuff off of a dozen or so 5.25" diskettes. I was very pleased that I was able to do it. It took my 1992 Zeos 486 machine (upgraded to run Windows 95) to do it, but the deed was done.

Actually, I have an Osborne 1 under the bed should I need to access some old CP/M diskettes. But maybe not - to tell the truth I'm not sure what would happen if I fired her up... been asleep for many, many years.

Yeah, for the W98 machine an external enclosure would probably do the trick. Would actually need to buy one though...and I'm lazy. Those floppies though I tried about everything (they were 5.25"...typo - obviously 3.25 never existed) - just wasn't happening. Wouldn't be surprised if someone hadn't already run them through a degausser or something.

I work with a fellow who, while I was talking about Zip drives with another person, chimed in - "What's a Zip drive?" I thought it was pretty funny. SCSI is on the way out, even for RAIDS...things do seem to be converging on SATA and USB as the primary connections for everything. Even newer drives like Blu-ray are backwards compatible with DVD and CD. Most of the new stuff now is usually built with backward compatibility in mind, so going forward there might be a fair amount of compatibility.

Ghung, I'm going to send you an e-mail at some point. We should get together after TOD goes dark and get a brewski. Mourn the passing and discuss if we're smarter than yeast n' such.

Sounds great Sub. I'll likely be in Hickory at a dog show in October. I'd much rather have a brew with you than be steppin' and fetchin' for a bunch of overweight menopausal women who love their dogs more than their husbands. Are you close? I think Eric the Dog is just up the road, OFM not so far north of Asheville. I'm two hours west of A, but get over there on occasion as well. As they say, "we're at least two hours from everywhere" :-0

So everything we did in the past was wrong, but we've got it right now! Is that what you say? Hmmm... Why don't I believe you?

What? No, that makes no sense. The technology has developed at an extremely rapid pace for a short period of time, and has now settled down, when it reached "good enough" level, that's what I'm saying. Why would you assume that the pace of development in the personal IT infrastructure field will return to the pace of the 70s, 80s and 90s? There is no real reason to assume that. Even today's hyper-modern smartphones use plain old USB as the main physical interface and it's good enough. Are electric outlets in homes changing every few years? No they aren't and they won't, they will most like stay the same for decades if not centuries. Did lightbulb sockets change while we are switching from classic lightbulbs to LEDs? No they aren't, because that would make no sense. And the same goes for our current computer interfaces, as I said, there are billions of them in use around the world and they are good enough for 99% of usage, which means they are here to stay.

hmmm. I'll throw a quick comment in here. One thing I've been doing this last month is trying to save some video & computer archives owned by a nonprofit group. It's easy enough to migrate when something is one or maybe two generations behind the times; but past that you run into cost and complexity issues.

For instance, the large room of stuff I've been working on includes 5" computer floppies in kaypro and IBM format, a mix of single and double sided, 3.5" single and double sided disks in various formats from PC to mac to AtariST, old SCSI hard drives and older, and various semi-orphaned tape-drive backup formats. In terms of video footage, which the group has a ton of, there's 2" reel tape in NTSC and PAL, 1" reel tape in NTSC and PAL, several early digital video formats now orphaned or rare like Sony D1, U-matic & U-maticSP in NTSC, PAL, SECAM and other formats, betacam & betacamSP in PAL and NTSC; not to mentional VHS, SVHS, 8mm, Hi8, D8, miniDV, DVcam & other... in a mix of NTSC, PAL and other formats.

It's still physically possible to read all this stuff if it hasn't deteriorated too far. I even know how to do it. The reality is that there's not only a large investment necessary in making the tapes play smoothly one last time, but laying hands on the older machines, and getting them to run right, is difficult. A lot of these old formats used to eat tapes even when they were young and the tapes were virgin. Feeding 20-30-year old tapes into machines just as old involves a strong element of mashochism. And that doesn't even get into the question of what format and medium to save them to, for both stability and usability. How many of the dozens of digital video codec standards will still be in use in even 5 years?

This underscores the fact that something can be possible but not practical. In theory, we know how to land a man on the moon. In reality, we'd have to start from scratch to do it again. It would be impossible to re-create a working Saturn V, because much of the knowledge which went into making all those millions of parts work was in human minds, back in the days fossil fuels were essentially free. So we won't be landing anyone else on the moon. Some other nation like China may, as a nationalist stunt, but odds are good no human will ever go there again. And thus it is with a lot of these archives.

The reality is that a lot of these masters are going to the landfill, because while it's possible to read them, the investment in time and $$ to get it done is simply not worth the immediate cost. So the reality is that a lot of stuff will be lost... and presumably not just at my place. I have to weigh the future archival value versus the immediate cost & do triage. Of course, had all these been transferred in a timely way, the cost would have been less and the conversions fairly smooth. But humans don't always do that.

And I'm not so sure that even current digital files will be safe. Less so, maybe. At least the old analog tape formats will still give up an image... I've been taking a lot of old tapes apart, scraping off the fungus and patching them with cellophane tape, and getting decent video images off them. If a digital copy dies, it's dead. You're hosed. And I have DVD's which were supposedly archival-quality which are now unreadable, in only a few years of storage. Redundancy is the key to digital storage, but how redundant is redundant enough? I seriously wonder how well today's formats will stand up to 20-30 years of time. SD cards, DVD's, blu-ray and HD's are all subject to failure. At this point, with storage getting cheaper every year, it's easy to dump everything into terabytes worth of drives without sorting. But in 100 years, will there be ways to access terabytes? I'm not so sure.

In 100,000 years, there will probably still be hard drives with the archived TOD site on them, sitting somewhere - a back room of some monastery? - with these words still contained in ridiculously tiny and intricate patterns of magnetization on drives which have not spun up for 99,990 years. They will be the stuff of legend. The wisdom of the ancients, if only one could read it. But like most fossils, they will be passive and silent, like the ammonite or the fly in amber on my desk next to my working HD.

Just a reality-check regarding a project I stuck myself with...


Those examples are from a time of rapid technology development, and that time is over now. Furthermore, most of them are examples of closed proprietary technology, and that should be a big NO is somenone cares about preserving compatibility. Let me give you a counter example: I love music. I have all my music collection archived in lossless and in mp3 (for playback). I'm using FLAC and LAME MP3. Both of those codecs are open source, and you can get them compiled for any device imaginable, most likely including your fridge or washing machine :-))) Furthermore, the binaries (the .exe files) that I'm using on my Windows 7 machine are from 2006 (mp3) and 2007 (flac), so they are 7 years old. That's something that would be unimaginable 20 years ago. And there's no need to update them, they are already good enough. As PCs get faster, those binaries get faster too, but that's it. Windows 7 will be supported for the next 10 years or maybe more, so I will be using exactly the same exe files for 15 or even 20 years. And if something better comes along in those 10 years, it will take me a few hours to re-encode the files for the next 20 years. The key is to ALWAYS use non-proprietary, open and free technology.

Those examples are from a time of rapid technology development, and that time is over now.

Aw, now you're just messing with me, right?

No, I'm not messing with you. When I look at the current state of personal IT, where no one is buying new computers, 10 years old PCs are happily chugging along, all interfaces are standardised, and there are open formats and codecs for everything, I'm pretty much convinced that we'll be using the same USB and the same microSD and the same HDD connectors and the same software encodings in 30 years time and even beyond.

I'm sorry, but I find that to be amazingly credulous of you. I don't believe things have settled down nearly as much as you think.

30 years? I'd like to hear how that prediction is going in 5.

I love the USB thumb drives, but as Greenish put forward in the best way I could have asked for, with ultra-micro electronics and eventually arcane data formats, you're microns, between ALL's Well and HOSED.

These things 'can' endure, but they are essentially 'brittle', in many senses of the word.

What I worry about is the cumulative knowledge and how that will be maintained and recreated as needed. Modern computer systems are incredibly complex and no one individual can really have a grasp of the total system. All work is built upon the work of tens of thousands of other engineers over decades. It is really quite amazing that we can build these complex systems, but the system used to build them is quite fragile. Let me give an example from when I worked at Microsoft on Windows Phone OS.

Windows Phone, as are all other computer systems, is built on years of hardware, code, and build development involving contributions from hundred of thousands of other engineers. Any one engineer's contributions are minimal when compared to the whole. It is very much like the process followed by Hari Seldon in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. The basic rule is do not break the system with your modifications. So the first and daily task of any engineer is to rebuild the system from scratch with any modifications that he/she is making and then test to make sure that he/she is not breaking the system. This process is repeated all the engineers and many of the managers. Note that this process does not require in depth knowledge of the system, it only requires that it succeed. If it breaks then that requires an investigation and a fix with details that are quickly forgotten.

The problem is that this process requires the current functional system. If the current system stops - say by disbanding the engineers - then it looses a lot of its value since restarting with new engineers would be a huge undertaking. And if you suggest that documentation would fix this you are wrong. Engineering documents are never in sync with the system. They are only written during the design phase and are rarely updated during the implementation phase. And in addition they rarely tell the whole story in the first place. For software only the code tells the true story and even then it is difficult to really understand the behavior from just reading the code.

And that is just the software story. There is a similar story for the hardware only its components must not only be engineered, but manufactured using multiple billion dollar fabs in multiple countries. Again the current system and its supply chain must exist for it to continue.

So the best an individual can do to preserve digital information and computing capabilities if the global supply chain is broken is to have complete backup systems and even then they need to realize that they can only extend limited computing capabilities for a limited time. I am not sure that it would be worth the effort.

I read this as "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts".
Like TOD perhaps?


Poppycock! I removed a stack of servers just the other day. They had not lasted even ten years, even with excessive cooling. The systems were rife with memory errors, BIOS panics, and if not there, then sometime during the install the kernel would vomit hex. When computers are not throwaway trash that some child in a Chinese superfund site picks through to eke out the good bits to ship back to America, then maybe, but until then, too much—effortless!—energy will be burnt on churning out new shiny, incompatible, junk.

"new shiny, incompatible, junk."

Really? Any home PC running Windows today is almost 100% compatible going back to 1998, and for many formats even earlier. That's 15 years of FULL compatibility. Is there a specific reason why would you expect that to suddenly change? Especially considering that we see today are signs of a mature stable technology (Windows 8 "improvements" being a colossal failure, PCs being good enough so people have no need to buy new ones, interfaces like USB being good enough so there is only marignal speed improvements, etc...).

Haha! We recently carted away a printer, it had your "100% compatible" USB that never really worked with current USB sticks, I'll leave it as a small problem for you to figure out why that might be. Hopefully the replacement printer will be an improvement, but early signs point to no, with much "turn it off, and back on again" and the usual rubber chicken voodoo during the setup process to get it all working, well, as well as this technology ever does.

As for USB, I do recall much hullabaloo after Apple removed the floppy drive, and what became of that? How easy it would be to say--look, no annoying cables, or where did you put that device (that never really worked, right?), or all that hassle when you can stream from X, Y, or Z, and while PC vendors are gaping like fish for a while, they'll soon be in line, and then USB is history, except as a relic on servers, for a short while.

USB is otherwise junk; I burnt out four USB ports recently--the vendor is too cheap to put in some diodes, and replacements presumably expected to be effortlessly ordered from China--GDP churn on some hedonic metric of what passes for signs of a healthy economy, I suppose.

About 7 years ago I had a conversation with an engineer that did reliability testing for Intel CPU's. He stated that if he received a new CPU design that could last more then 3 years he would shoot the engineer that designed it!!!

Micron size junctions and traces are not stable enough to last more then a few years.


Hmmm...my family has several computers...one brand new, one 5 years old, one 6 years old, and one seven years old.

I am reasonably certain they all have CPUs...they might even all be Intel CPUs.

I have several friends who also have computers with CPUs which are more than three years old...some have towers that are 9-10 years old, with the original CPUs.

As for USB memory sticks and USB ports...I have somewhere North of ten USB drives and somewhere North of ten USB ports on all of our devices (most of the the drives and ports are >=5 years old) ...and we regularly use these...and we have not experienced one failure yet.

I understand that there is variance form the mean, but...

That quote has a scary resonance...back in the 1970's a strategist in the UK TV manufacturing industry pointed out that unless TV's were replaced every 4 years the UK industry would collapse..and he was right, it did.

I have a collection of books, and good number of them bound volumes of computer material relating to my field of interest (railroads), downloaded and printed out onto good quality paper. In 100 years, barring a disastrous fire or suchlike, they will be readable by anyone with a pair of eyes, regardless of what form of IT is available then. IMHO computers are wonderful for accessing vast amounts of information, but if I find something I wish to preserve I still prefer to rely on good old books.

Ahh, and here we have the Dragon, condemned to posses but not enjoy the music. Disagree? When was the last time you listened to all that perfect, lossless music? How many weeks or months would it take? Would the music play only during waking hours, or around the clock? Or would bandwidth be doubled, perhaps Coltrane in one ear, and Tallis the other, to halve the playback time? Or are particular bits favored, like the Arkenstone? Would you fly into a rage should even one bit be damaged? Geographical redundancy and checksums are doubtless innovations a Dragon would envy. Having listened to all the music--then what? Start another round, this time perhaps shuffled differently for variety?

Tallis's Spem in alium, in particular, cannot readily be reproduced by mere speakers, however hi-fidelity and gold-plated the set, as it requires eight choirs of five voices each, and a particular arrangement of such in space. But it can be encoded as lossless, free FLAC, and loose much in the process.

"When was the last time you listened to all that perfect, lossless music? How many weeks or months would it take?"

This has been explained a million times before in similar discussions on other sites. The huge size of one's music library is not about listening to it all sequentially. It's about replacing radio and similar brainwashing advertising forms of media. I'm listening to my iPod all the time, putting it on full shuffle and enjoying the random assortment of songs it throws at me from hundreds of artists that I love. It's quite a liberating experience, you should try it sometimes :)

And be a consumer consuming semuta to soundtrack my life? Thank goodness I've moved on. For a real change, try deleting the music. All of it, the backups, the redundant copies, all those useless piles of gold just lying around. It's quite a liberating experience, you should try it sometime--the starlings were quite vocal today, and a solitary leaf falling through the trees suggested an addition to something I'm working on.

Well? Have you canned all that canned music yet? Could you?

Well, I spent most of today bicycling in a natural park, watching birds and wild deer and rabbits. When I got home, I listened to some music. I have no intentions to become a fanatical puritan, thank you. Your black and white view of the world is quite sad.

I expected as much for Smog.

Additional thoughts on USB: given the frequency with which our Windows admin (there used to be two and a manager—budget cuts, you know) collects USB sticks from the labs, for at least some percentage of the student population these sticks likely occupy the same mental space as the candy wrappers they also leave behind—easily used, soon discarded. This might be worrisome, except for only in the short run to those who profit off the manufacture, distribution, and sale of such.

At dinner yesterday, there were not less than five people trying first, to even turn the TV on, and second, to get the football game up—some important home-opener, refurbished stadium, etc (the Romans built the Colosseum after sacking Jerusalem; I wonder how this one was paid for—deficit spending and military adventurism and overconsumption come to mind). Two calls to the cable support, another to a wife, and a check on the sports-bar next door revealed several magical numbers, but the critical magical number, the account number on the cable line, was not available at the restaurant, so nothing could be done. Wow! How long have we had TVs, cable channels, and support for such? Why is it headless chicken comedy gold, except for those trying to use them? But the scene was not a total loss, though, as lacking TV, an interesting conversation ensued over a tattoo. I am also pretty sure I am exonerated for not helping—"too many chefs in the kitchen" would be a good defense—though there might be material there for a rebooted Luke 10:33 involving someone with a broken iPhone.

Now, should stereos once again exist, that last decades, and come with circuit diagrams to facilitate repair, and not be Chinese puzzle boxes to open—those self-stripping squarish hex screws with the leftwards curving number 6 squiggly bits are right out and oh geeze did they just glue that heat sink onto the casing??—then maybe. I'd wager such might be well more than most could readily afford. And like Americans kicking their Carbon habit—no less than three choppers whopping about that stadium—I'll believe it when I see it happen.

That's where we get the phrase "chiseled in stone", eh?


New 1,000-Year DVD Disc Writes Data in Stone, Literally

Instead of using an optical dye, the Millenniata M-Disc literally etches data in stone, or at least a rock-like material. That material, of course, is Millenniata's secret sauce. However, the company descries it as being made up of inorganic materials and compounds including metals and metalloids, and contains several of the materials and compounds common to rocks including silicon dioxide and carbon. It's also stable to 500 degrees Centigrade, Millenniata said, and is also stable in the presence of oxygen, nitrogen, and water - important for surviving both fire, and floods.

Don't think too much info was saved in stone - a bit pesky to work with. Would take a week to write even a quick stone mail! There are works of art that are being lost even now due to acid-rain enhanced weathering. AFAIK the Egyptian hiero/petrogylphs are just a bunch of pharaoh grandstanding and silly religious nonsense. It's likely, given Murphey's Law, if anyone recovers any data from our broken civilization they'll find a bunch of LOLcats :)

In 100,000 years, there will probably still be hard drives with the archived TOD site on them, sitting somewhere - a back room of some monastery?

Maybe by the Albertian Order of Leibowitz?

5D optical memory in glass could record the last evidence of civilization

Using nanostructured glass, scientists at the University of Southampton have, for the first time, experimentally demonstrated the recording and retrieval processes of five dimensional digital data by femtosecond laser writing. The storage allows unprecedented parameters including 360 TB/disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1000°C and practically unlimited lifetime.

Coined as the 'Superman' memory crystal, as the glass memory has been compared to the "memory crystals" used in the Superman films, the data is recorded via self-assembled nanostructures created in fused quartz, which is able to store vast quantities of data for over a million years. The information encoding is realised in five dimensions: the size and orientation in addition to the three dimensional position of these nanostructures.

Professor Peter Kazansky, the ORC's group supervisor, adds: "It is thrilling to think that we have created the first document which will likely survive the human race. This technology can secure the last evidence of civilisation: all we've learnt will not be forgotten.

Some other interesting approaches:




This next place is real...I knew a guy who circled it once in the fancy helicopter he was flying for his Uncle...he was called on the carpet as the reward for his sight-seeing!



From another site about the facility:

Internal Revenue Service records show that Scientologists spent $13 million in 1992 to preserve Hubbard’s fiction and non-fiction writings on 1.8 million stainless steel discs, and recorded his lectures on 187,000 nickel records.

I read on another web site that allegedly the audio recording disks (the nickle ones) can be played using something as primitive as a thorn for the stylus if need be, and of course some way to spin the disk (not too high tech either).

Yet another site I read states that a duplicate archive of stainless steel and nickle disks in underground in concrete/steel bunker at some ranch in California.

On to other examples of attempts at long term storage (not LRH's bunkers):


There are firms other than than the one at the two links below that are in this same type of business:



This place is impressive:


I would hazard a guess that there are other places like it in the World....especially with the maturation of Tunnel Boring Machines.

I have often wondered how many nation and civilization 'redoubts' exist to attempt to preserve certain knowledge for the long term (say, thousands of years?)in the World...perhaps something designed to survive a total nuclear war, or worse, a 'biosphere-altering' comet or asteroid strike?



Really interesting sci-fi-like stuff...

Thank to TOD fols for pointing out Greer's Star's Reach on-line fiction and also Alan Drake's budding efforts along that line...I will certainly make the time to read those...

I hope that our civilization has some hideaways of information and artifacts that will survive the depths of time, through the ocean of years, to be discovered on the shores of tomorrow by someone/thing else!

I have read and posted to occasionally TOD over the course of many years (not quite since inception)...I find this site to be interesting enough to read quite regularly...with such uncertainty in how things will unfold, I am truly sorry to see it go.

EDIT: Hopefully at least a few of however many modern cultural and technical/scientific information/technology redoubts will fare better than the Library at Alexandria.


Also, I read a few chapters of Stars Reach and all of Alan's Stars Reach Scandinavia...interesting reads, worth checking out. Keep up the great creative efforts!

So how is that linear A decoding going? Not so well? At least we can even see those markings. Or are these computers, and all the effort and energy it takes to keep all the metaphorical plates spinning up in the air juuuuuust right somehow expected to defy the odds that every prior civilzation has flunked with fallen colors, and still be available not mere trifling decades but a few thousand years down the line?

As for your effortlessly, I recall our webmaster swearing up and down about data conversion just recently; he managed to cobble something together with ffmpeg, but that took well more than a few minutes, and well more effort than your less—some tripe about clean coal, so I did get a good laugh out of the whole affair.

Oh! And for the future, imagine, hypothetically, an electrical engineering graduate student asking for help installing a computer power supply. Because that's the state of things.

"every prior civilzation has flunked with fallen colors"

There was never a global civilization before. If the current global civilization prevails, then current technology prevails with it. If it goes down, then it will go down with such a bang, that any discussion about preserving technology is meaningless as there won't be anyone left to care. It's a completely different situation from the past, all of those fallen civilizations were local, so there was always someone "on the outside", who: a.) was unaffected by the collapse and b.) would be interested in the fallen civilization's information in the future. That will not be the case in the present, when there is just one global civilization and nobody outside of it.


Linear A is undecoded, so there is information apparently nobody was interested in (or was, but lacked the spare time and energy to—effortlessly, I believe the term was—translate it). Need more examples? Various techniques such as how to cast free-standing bronze statues, the art of concrete, and the first analog computers were all not saved by the adjacent civilizations, so much less one can expect for the little metal and plastic trinkets of this day.

As for the assumed apocalyptic bang, there are humans outside or well outside the present civilization (who I cheer in their efforts to throw spears at the noisy interloping helicopters), and good reasons to suspect a slow, withering decline—we've already slashed NASA a little, first that moon program, and then the whole shuttle thing, and now sequestering—what is next on the list of a thousand cuts? And it need not even be the loss of high-quality energy inputs and ecosystem pressures distracting humans to more urgent concerns; at least one human doubtless desires to deploy (and profit from) whatever comes next to render your billion bandwagon USB devices so much scrap.

Raspberry PI or some Arduino to save the day? Doubtful, from what I've seen of their reliability. An open source chip foundry, perhaps? Well, good luck with the economics of that. Compilers of 2033 cannot even build the USB libraries? Quelle surprise!

Not always the case, in the 1980s the BBC did the domesday project, but the storage methods were unique and in a relativly short period of time they realised that all the data was in danger of being lost due to the hardware failing.


Digital media has the same flaws as any other form of data storage if the process of migrating it to a current form is not carried out. There's nothing worse than having a gold mine of information but no way of reading it.

Yes you can print to paper but there are limits. Wikipedia, for example, is all but too large to print and that is true for the internet in general.

Wikipedia English alone includes over 4 million articles. At one page per article (many are 10's of pages) a printed version would be the equivalent of more than 4000 volumes of 1000 pages each or more than 200 sets of encyclopedias. And to that you would need to add a printed index which would alone would be more than 40 volumes. The scale is mind-boggling not to mention that a printed version looses dynamic update, search, and hyperlinks, so it is in no way equivalent to the digital version in terms of ease of use.

BTW: Does anyone know how large The Oil Drum archive is?

IIRC, SuperG said it needs three dedicated servers.

Does anyone know how large The Oil Drum archive is?
IIRC, SuperG said it needs three dedicated servers.

That does not show how LARGE it is. Take a 400 comment drumbeat size and multiply that by 10500.

Probably a lot smaller than the average home PC's media (musoic & films) collection.

Throttle back, man. For people unaware of all the technobabble a "server" might sound like something. In reality, a person could set up a "server" on a Netbook running from their house on dial-up...or you could set up a "server" on a "proper" server chassis running dual-quad core processors and 128 gigabytes of RAM attached to a Petabyte SAN with twin fiberchannel cards running on a T1/T3 trunk. One of those "servers" could handle a few simple web pages/ftp traffic and a dozen hits a day, the other could handle a huge archive and serve tens of thousands of hits a day...they're both "servers."

The question that I think was being asked is "How much disk space does TOD occupy."

I'm aware of all that, actually, but I honestly don't know how much disk space it takes. I answered with what I do know.

That does not show how LARGE it is. Take a 400 comment drumbeat size and multiply that by 10500.

This drumbeat (162 comments) saves as a 462 kB text file.

When it is archived they strip out some of the html code (for replies etc which are no longer relevant).

So say the average page is 500 kB x 10,500 pages total x 2 to allow for the few images stored in a graphics directory = 10,500 MB or 10 Gigs, plus minus. Certainly well under 50 Gigs. Peanuts.

There should be several requests to Super G to archive TOD to create a Torrent, so people can download the whole archive.

Considering an HD movie might be 5 GB, then the whole TOD archive would be roughly 10 HD movies if Aardvark is correct.

With recent advances in open source Natural Language Processing (NLP) packages in python and R I'm sure that more than a few people would be interested in having a downloadable version of the full archive, perhaps split into chunks of a few hundred nodes each.

Anybody interested in doing "sentiment analysis" on TOD archives?

A la Kiwix ? Supposedly WikipediaEN (from 2010) minus the pictures can be torrented down - about 10GB


I think there would be copyright issues with that.

It depends. It does fit on a 64GB thumb drive but to print 50 Gigs is all but impossible if it is all text. At 2500 characters per page, 50GB of text would be around 20,000,000 pages.

A terabyte drive is under a hundred dollars. So several terabytes, no problem.

Hello Leanan,

Is there any discussion about compiling all TOD content, including offsite storage of graphs, figures, and tables, into a DVD (or DVD set) for sale?

I think it would be very interesting to compare past figures and current figures to see the change in thinking, growth and shrinkage.

On a different note, I have contributed funds to TOD in the past. If you had a penny for each time anyone of us accessed the site, I assume this site would be well funded. But since that is not the current Internet model, do you need any additional funding?


We don't need funding.

And a DVD for sale would not be possible. Copyright issues would bar that.

But thank you so much for the kind and generous offer.

I doubt if there would be any real point in preserving more than a quarter ( a quarter being my wag) or so of the total content of Wikipedia.

The other three quarters might be of some interest to a future historian of trivia but basically worthless to any future person trying to recreate a technically oriented society. Of course it would still take a heck of a lot of archival quality paper and ink to print out that quarter, and a lot of space to store it long term.

I agree and I did start a personal project to extract and print only "important" parts of Wikipedia. Unfortunately, I have decided that even that is not really practical. For as long as my computer lives I have decided to rely on Kiwix, an offline reader for Wikipedia. If you are interested search for Kiwix and download the complete compressed English version. Unfortunately, it is without images because with images it would be way too large to download.

Scrolled down, sorry about the duplicate. I was reading how to root a Kobo Glo, saw Kiwix - but you are faster than me.

4 000 volumes in a library equals to about 5 books high * 30 books on each row 14 book shelfs with books on both sides. I guess a configuration with 2 rows of book shelfs with 7 book shelfs in each row would be a more common configuration.

Any current format can be effortlessly converted to any other in a few minutes.

Not with DRM in the way.

You're not kidding there - have you seen any of the controversy behind TPM 2.0 and Windows 8? Woof.

Amazon is announcing a new program that allows you to get a Kindle version of a book you previously bought in dead-tree format, for a low price or even free.

I suspect most people won't care if they can't read a book 60 years from now. Most people do not re-read books at all. As for me...I'm kind of torn on e-book vs. dead tree book. But whether I'll be able to read the books 60 years from now is not a big concern. I might not even be alive by then.

The good thing about dead tree books, IMO, is that you can sell them, lend them, borrow them. While you can lend and borrow Kindle books in some limited circumstances, you cannot re-sell them or give them away, and frankly, most of the books I read end up being donated. Just not worth keeping around.

It's also nice that you can read a paper book in circumstances where electronic devices are not allowed or convenient, like while a plane is taking off or landing.

A Kindle book, OTOH, has a pretty good chance of lasting longer than a paper book. The average book is not printed on acid-free paper, which means it can crumble or fall apart in only a few years. Never mind the possibility of damage via fire, flood, mold, insect damage, animal gnawing, etc. With an e-book, you can back it up on the cloud, and replace it any time you need to. You can also access it from anywhere with an Internet connection.

I like being able to search the text on keywords, and write notes without permanently damaging the book. Being able to change the text size to whatever is comfortable is very convenient for aging eyes. And many who suffer from ailments like arthritis find it easier to hold an e-reader than a paper book.

But what I find most compelling is that e-books don't take up space. It's the reason they are so insanely popular in Japan, where apartments tend to be very small. If you love books, you can keep far more in electronic format that you can in paper format, even if you have a huge house. And if you travel a lot, e-books are a no-brainer.

"But what I find most compelling is that e-books don't take up space."

Unless DRM comes into the picture you can also get a lot of out-of-copywright stuff over the internet (like from Gutenberg döt örg) and just read a whole bunch of random stuff for free. You can get really weird stuff from turn of the century, and things you'd never have purposefully bought, or so obscure you'd never be likely to run across a hard copy of it.

Is this the last Drumbeat?

At any rate, many thanks to Leanan, Kate and the Oil Drum Board Members. I've learned alot over the years. I'm in awe of Leanan's skills at keeping us informed. I've also found her comments to be very thoughtful and frankly, wise. Also thanks to Seraph for their climate/environment posts. I'll be trying out the ASPO site. The times continue to be lively and will provide us with plenty to talk about.

I'm a climatologist and there's really little doubt about Global Warming. We should be transistioning to renewable energy, I doubt that we'll do it. I've learned alot at the Oil Drum about energy issues and how deeply fossil fuels pervade our lives.

Thanks all,


Not the last.

The last was originally scheduled for tomorrow, but I might put it off until Sunday. Then maybe have one more, with links to other peak oil sites/personal blogs. Need to ask the rest of the staff about it. They might be planning something of their own.

Okay, it seems I have the go-ahead. They still haven't decided what we're going to do with the front page...there may be a key post pointing to other blogs eventually...but for now, I'm going to handle it via an "extra" Drumbeat.

The next Drumbeat, originally scheduled for tomorrow, will be pushed back to Sunday. After that, I'm planning one extra, to appear mid-week, which will contain a list of links to other peak oil sites/contributor blogs.

If you would like your blog or web site included, you can e-mail me the link. Or post it yourself as a comment, once the post goes up.

As a climatologist, you might be interested in the impact of vertical cloud stacking on models.
Clouds already were about 98% of total uncertainty. Vertical stacking just doubled the cloud uncertainty. See Atmosphere’s emission fingerprint affected by how clouds are stacked

PS Any validated portion of warming due to anthropogenic warming compared to natural warming since the Little Ice Age?

Video: Time lapse of Rim Fire viewed from Yosemite National Park, August 2013

Time-lapse photography shows various perspectives of the 2013 Rim Fire, as viewed from Yosemite National Park.

Designer sugarcane, not switchgrass, being retooled to produce biofuels

… "Unlike corn, or even switchgrass, sugarcane is unique in that it can be crossed with different species, including sorghum, to create new plant varieties with favorable traits that are competitive with corn in producing biofuels," he said.

"What we end up with is a sugarcane-based plant with biomass that is at least nine times more efficient in producing ethanol than corn biomass."

… Among the major genetic improvements to sugarcane for biofuels must be its ability to grow outside its comfort zone.

Fog harvesting: How to get fresh water out of thin air

Fog harvesting, as the technique is known, is not a new idea: Systems to make use of this airborne potable water already exist in at least 17 nations. But the new research shows that their efficiency in a mild fog condition can be improved by at least fivefold, making them far more feasible and practical than existing versions.

The researchers found that controlling the size and structure of the mesh and the physical and chemical composition of this coating was essential to increasing the fog-collecting efficiency. Detailed calculations and laboratory tests indicate that the best performance comes from a mesh made of stainless-steel filaments about three or four times the thickness of a human hair, and with a spacing of about twice that between fibers. In addition, the mesh is dip-coated, using a solution that increases a characteristic called contact-angle hysteresis. This allows small droplets to more easily slide down into the collecting gutter as soon as they form, before the wind blows them off the surface and back into the fog stream.

Report: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/la402409f?journalCode=langd5

China's hottest August for more than 50 years

China has experienced its hottest August for more than half a century, weather authorities said, after a summer heatwave that saw meat cooked on pavements.

A map on the website of the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) shows large parts of central and eastern China, and the western province of Xinjiang, had average daily maximum temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) between July 31 and August 29. The highest temperature recorded was in Xinchang, in the coastal province of Zhejiang, where the mercury reached 44.1 degrees on August 11.

The average national temperature over the period was 22.3 degrees Celsius, the CMA said—the highest since it began compiling records in 1961 and 1.3 degrees higher than average.

Average national rainfall was 89.5 millimetres, 7.3 percent below normal, it added.

No problem. Just build more coal plants to run more air conditioners. What could possibly go wrong?

Don't forget to not include any pollution controls on those coal plants - because that might slow the economic rise by 0.000000000000001%. Sure you'll horribly pollute the land, sky, and food supply - but good lord, don't you dare slow economic progress!

Roger Rapier writes: King coal gets fatter while the US goes on a diet

Just 20 years ago China’s share of coal consumption was only 17%, but in 2012, China consumed 50.2% of the world’s coal. The US was the second leading coal consumer last year at 11.7% of the world’s total, . . .
From 2007 to 2012, global coal consumption increased by 530 Mtoe. Coal consumption in China increased by 553 Mtoe during that period, which means that once more outside of China, world consumption of coal actually decreased over the past five years. The country leading that decrease was once again the US, which saw coal consumption decline by 136 Mtoe over the past five years.

And you couldn't pay me to live in one of their cities.

Climate Change: Rare Medium Is Well-Done

As the world warms, and the environment changes around us, it’s good—for a sufficiently broad definition of “good”—to see the media starting, just barely starting, to take the issue seriously.

For example, MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” ran a segment where he had climate scientist Michael Mann as a guest, as well as Republican strategist Chip Saltsman. Matthews repeatedly hammered Saltsman on Republican denial of climate change, which was refreshing; usually a denier is brought in for false balance, not to show how out-of-touch the party is on this particular piece of reality.

More public natural gas fueling stations are coming to Kansas City

Kansas City on Thursday introduced an ordinance that would award Clean Energy, a company majority owned by oilman T. Boone Pickens, a 10-year contract to build and operate a station to provide fuel not only for the city’s natural gas vehicles but the public’s as well. A City Council committee is expected to discuss the contract next week. The public station would be only the fourth in Missouri and could help break a logjam that has prevented more natural gas vehicles from being used in the area. ... Clean Energy would design, build, operate and maintain the station. The city will receive a nickel for every gallon sold to other customers.

... Natural gas prices have plummeted in the U.S. in recent years as more of it is recovered from underground rock formations. Some large fleets are buying the fuel for as little as $1.10 per gasoline-equivalent gallon after a 50-cent federal incentive. The U.S. Department of Energy recently posted the average price for the fuel in the U.S. at $2.10, which is still a deal with gasoline prices at $3.55 a gallon and diesel even higher.

But a natural gas dispenser, along with a compressor and other equipment, can cost as much as $330,000. ... A fill-up will take about the same time as for gasoline or diesel.

Athens sets opening of only compressed natural gas station on Birmingham-to-Nashville corridor

Athens, Alabama - The fast-fill station along the Interstate 65 corridor was built to serve the public and a new fleet of CNG vehicles bought for City of Athens departments.

Greenland Grand Canyon story from CS a little short on sites to go to, pcitures.

Stab here to rectify


Bibliographic information: Jonathan L. Bamber et al. 2013. Paleofluvial Mega-Canyon Beneath the Central Greenland Ice Sheet. Science, vol. 341, no. 6149, pp. 997-999; doi: 10.1126/science.1239794


Original source is at Science

Thanks for the links. I mentioned a BBC link, above, and am wondering how this changes analyses of Greenland's future; how quickly the land mass will rise as more of this ice melts, the overall assumed density of the land mass, melting rates, all that. There's still so much we don't know. Seems there is a much larger volume of ice than originally thought; an entire Grand Canyon full of it. From Leanan's CS link:

...but it also represents a pathway for ocean water to migrate inland to continue melting the glacier from underneath if the Petermann ice shelf breaks up and the glacier retreats.

Is this the largest glacier on the planet? Seems Antarctica's Lambert is still king.

New from Congressional Research Service [CRS] ...

Bee Health: Background and Issues for Congress

... Reported annual loss rates of managed honey bee colonies from all causes nationwide are as follows:43

• 31% in the winter of 2012/2013;
• 22% in the winter of 2011/2012;
• 30% in the winter of 2010/2011;
• 34% in the winter of 2009/2010;
• 29% in the winter of 2008/2009;
• 36% in the winter of 2007/2008;
• 32% in the winter of 2006/2007.

Other information from USDA’s 2012/2013 annual survey indicates that 70% of responding beekeepers reported losses greater than 14% — the level of loss that beekeepers say allow them to remain economically viable as a business.

European Union Wind and Solar Electricity Policies: Overview and Considerations

... To control escalating surcharges on consumer electricity bills, German policy officials have been rapidly reducing financial incentives for solar PV and have instituted a solar PV capacity support limit of 52GW, at which point incentives will no longer be available for new projects. Similarly, Italy has placed limits on financial support—also paid through consumer surcharges—for all renewable electricity generation.

In 2012, Italy’s renewable electricity surcharge represented approximately 20% of the average electricity bill. As of June 2013, financial support limits for solar PV in Italy were reached and feed-in tariffs are no longer available for new projects.

Spain has completely suspended FiT incentives for renewable electricity and has implemented retroactive incentive reduction policies that affect revenue, cash flow, and investment returns for existing operational projects.

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

The unique characteristics of natural disasters represent a challenge to mitigating risk incident to economic activities (property damages), financing the remaining residual risk, and compensating disaster victims. The key policy question that emerges is whether catastrophe losses are insurable.

Traditional insurance principles suggest that a risk is insurable if the insurance market is able to cover potential losses reliably—and profitably—at a premium rate that customers are willing to pay.

The problem is that to cover catastrophic risk, insurers must (1) assemble a sufficient number of similarly insured objects to allow a reasonably close calculation of probable future losses; (2) estimate the probability of the risk events (timing, frequency, intensity); and (3) limit an exposure to simultaneous destruction (where many policyholders experience losses at the same time).

... Some finance experts may also be concerned about projections that catastrophic losses will likely double every 10 years and the present government insurance approach might not be adequate.

Back the truck up! I thought solar PV was making power cheaper for everyone? It was free power. Now you tell me it's making power more expensive? What a shock.

" I thought solar PV was making power cheaper for everyone?"

Not sure where you got that idea, unless you consider all full cycle costs, including environmental. IMO, paying clean energy forward is a bargain, but economies don't usually see it that way.

I'm not sure, maybe some comments like 'solar is going to slaughter FF', and 'the price of solar is negative, that means you get paid to take the electricity'. Plenty moar insinuating if not directly stating that PV was putting FF out of business because it was so cheap.

Secretary of State John Kerry is making a detailed statement on Syria:

Clear and compelling evidence that Syria used chemical weapons multiple times this year.

My comment:

Seems to me that Obama will feel he has no choice but to attack. Kerry is clearly trying to build a case for the attack.

I think people are making a bigger deal out of this than it really is. As far as I can tell, all that will happen is that we'll lob in some missiles like Clinton did at times against Al-Qeada and Saddam. This is no Iraq, Afghanistan, or even Libya.

Will that be an effective move? Who knows? I think such moves don't do much against non-state terrorist groups like AQ but against a state actor, it can be effective. A state has more targets that can be easily hit if they continue to act in defiance.

That's certainly the best case, but there is always a very strong possibility of unintended consequences.

I'm not comparing the actions, but I don't think Gavrilo Princip intended to trigger a world war.

As an analyst said on TV, the US is facing an array of bad choices. The question is which one is least bad.

all that will happen is that we'll lob in some missiles

Oh, no problem then. Just a little lob, a few missiles. Then we'll have tea.

At the other end of the lob, people die.

Language is important. Using such terms to describe acts of extreme violence and war is the propagandist's tool. When I read such things in comments I wonder why the poster is using these techniques.

Yeah, poison gas kills people too . . . much more effectively. Missiles lobbed at targets that have been given weeks of warning don't tend to kill that many people.

How much of your family is it okay to kill?

My goodness, Syria attacked the US with poison gas? I must have missed that.

You have no idea what happened there, and the idea that all the targets will be identified and evacuated is obvious nonsense.

These are powerful missiles, rockets and bombs. They are weapons, they are not lobbed, they are equipped with various types of payloads that cause massive destruction in a variety of ways. Many will die. No doubt some will be equipped with DU, which will powder and leave toxic residue everywhere. Later, we can pretend the massive increase in birth defects in the region has nothing to do with it, just like in Iraq.

Twilight, you and I were on opposite ends of the discussion on Libya over the NATO strikes against the Gaddafi regime . However this time around, I couldn't agree more.

You have no idea what happened there, and the idea that all the targets will be identified and evacuated is obvious nonsense.

Syria is such a quagmire that anything could be happening on the ground. The Saudis are involved up to their eyeballs. And US intelligence, especially information supplied through rebel and Israeli sources, hardly raises one's confidence in its credibility.

The collective wisdom of the British House of Commons seems to have prevailed this time. Too bad, Mr. Obama wouldn't take his case to the US House of Representatives to debate and decide.

Always feel bad with no win scenarios, wish there was a way to be able to keep the ones not involved safe.

Opitons (please tell me of others)

1. U.S. does nothing. ~50,000 real people die every year that the civil war goes on, some due to chemical weapons, mostly people just like you and me who are only trying to find food an shelter and stay out of the crossfire.

2. U.S. picks a few dozen "strategic" targets, launches cruise missles and detroys those targets. ~50,000 real people die every year that the civil war goes on, some due to chemical weapons, mostly people just like you and me who are only trying to find food an shelter and stay out of the crossfire.

3. U.S. picks a few dozen "strategic" targets, launches cruise missles and detroys those targets. U.S. then sends in troops to secure known chemical weapons. ~50,000 real people die every year the civil war goes on, mostly people just like you and me who are only trying to find food an shelter and stay out of the crossfire. Now the death toll includes maybe a few dozen U.S. troops.

4. Full scale U.S. invasion, similar to Iraq. Death toll drops dramatically but does not go to zero. 100's of dead U.S. soldiers.

A lot more people are going to die and nothing will stop it, it's now only about the least politically damaging option, the economics of how many dead U.S. soldiers or Syrian civilians and troops is acceptable U.S. public.

Or the West could stop training, funding and arming the rebels. Bang a few Gulf States heads together to do like wise. Pull out US, Israeli, etc. special forces and the hand picked specially trained rebel units they've created. And let the uprising they inspired fizzle out so that the Syrian State can regain its Sovereignty over its lands and people and end the war.

They could even broker a peace to end the fighting for good measure when they're done. And they don't even have to kill anyone. But if they really feel they need to do some killing they can help get rid of the Al-Qa’ida terrorists (remember those guys) in Syria. They could even use their beloved drones.

What is the evidence of CIA (or Mossad) special forces over there? A lot of people are claiming the rebellion is all CIA inspired. I don't see it that way. It was internal political dynamics that at least got this thing going. The puppet master just isn't that good at pulling strings. And the puppet master soon finds out when he needs to push on a string nothing happens.

Now, we know there are for Iranian revolutionary guards. And now some Hezbollah. In addition Jihadists are entering the conflict zone. No muricans or Israelis needed to turn this thing into a mess.

Gulf states, sure, they want the Sunnis to win -and to take Iran down as many notches as possible. And they got more money to spend then we do. If we had any sense, we would stay away. So far we've been close to staying away. Rebels want heavy weapons, we give them small arms and medical supplies.

So who is keen to go? A few fools in the administration. And maybe the French? Well if the French want it, let them do the dirty work. They already have the blood of tens of thousands of Syrians on their hands (from the 20's).

Experts: U.S. Case that Syrian Government Responsible for Chemical Weapons Is Weak [contains lots of interesting links]

The civil war in Syria started in March 2011. And see this.

However, the U.S. has been funding the Syrian opposition since 2006 … and arming the opposition since 2007.

So the American government’s argument that “we must stop Assad because he’s brutally crushing a spontaneous popular uprising” is false. The U.S. started supporting the rebels 5 years before the protests started.

American, Israeli And Jordanian Troops And CIA Agents Have Entered Syria, Le Figaro Reports

According to information obtained by Le Figaro , the first trained in guerrilla warfare by the Americans in Jordan Syrian troops reportedly entered into action since mid-August in southern Syria, in the region of Deraa. A first group of 300 men, probably supported by Israeli and Jordanian commandos, as well as men of the CIA, had crossed the border on August 17. A second would have joined the 19. According to military sources, the Americans, who do not want to put troops on the Syrian soil or arming rebels in part controlled by radical Islamists form quietly for several months in a training camp set up at the border Jordanian- Syrian fighters ASL, the Free Syrian Army, handpicked.

Reading a lot of this stuff something interesting emerges, namely the US, the Saudi's and Al-Qaeda. As we know the US and Saudi's created Al-Qaeda to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. It increasingly appears, at least to me, that the Saudi's still control Al-Qaeda to some extent. And the US has been arming and assisting Al-Qaeda in both Libya and Syria (perhaps even in Iraq against the Shia [Iran]). Which begs an interesting question, Al-Qaeda always seems to pop-up wherever the US happen to have a strategic interest and want a presence, so have Al-Qaeda always been a US asset? Perhaps Osama was just a rogue element that needed to be purged from a rather useful organisation.

Somebody in Syria is using Napalm and "phosphorous bombs", the opposition claim it is Assad. It could be proven statistically almost without any reasonable doubt that USA is involved and they are known to have used this stuff before Phospour in world war 2 and Napalm in Vietnam so I would guess on the opposition. As far as I know the opposition is also in a far worse position than Assad unless they get help from outside.

What is the evidence of CIA (or Mossad) special forces over there?

None that I know of. But given that Assad is a supporter of Hezbollah and Syria a conduit for arms from Iran, and that Israel has admitted to a bombing raid on a Syrian rocket arsenal, we can be pretty sure that Mossad has been in Syria for years trying to undermine Assad.

Where do the rebels get their weapons and finance from?

The Guardian
Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern

In May 2007, a presidential finding revealed that Bush had authorised CIA operations against Iran. Anti-Syria operations were also in full swing around this time as part of this covert programme, according to Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker. A range of US government and intelligence sources told him that the Bush administration had "cooperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations" intended to weaken the Shi'ite Hezbollah in Lebanon. "The US has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria," wrote Hersh, "a byproduct" of which is "the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups" hostile to the United States and "sympathetic to al-Qaeda." He noted that "the Saudi government, with Washington's approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria," with a view to pressure him to be "more conciliatory and open to negotiations" with Israel. One faction receiving covert US "political and financial support" through the Saudis was the exiled Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

Seymour Hersh knows his stuff.

Written by Seymour Hirsch in 2007, the full article is here:

The Redirection

...The new American policy, in its broad outlines, has been discussed publicly. In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that there is “a new strategic alignment in the Middle East,” separating “reformers” and “extremists”; she pointed to the Sunni states as centers of moderation, and said that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah were “on the other side of that divide.”...

...Some of the core tactics of the redirection are not public, however. The clandestine operations have been kept secret, in some cases, by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process, current and former officials close to the Administration said...

...“It seems there has been a debate inside the government over what’s the biggest danger—Iran or Sunni radicals,” Vali Nasr, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who has written widely on Shiites, Iran, and Iraq, told me. “The Saudis and some in the Administration have been arguing that the biggest threat is Iran and the Sunni radicals are the lesser enemies. This is a victory for the Saudi line.”

The section on Prince Bandar is a most read.

This time, the U.S. government consultant told me, Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”...

...Fourth, the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria.

So we are pursuing a policy of destabilization of those we consider to be our enemies, and cowtowing to those we consider to be our friends.

I still think the opposition is mostly indigenous -I doubt it would have got far without a lot of local support.

Seems very very foolish. Instability just causes all sorts of problems and risk. But, maybe these folks need a troubled world in order to frighten us into maintaining and increasing their budgets?

The biggest drawback to every situation seems to be that there will be a period of breakdown of control by the Syrian government which is obviously the intended outcome of all of them as well.

If the Syrian government is unable to co-ordinate an effective defense then the chemical weapons depos are at greater risk of being successfully attacked and their stockpiles dispersed much like happened in Iraq with the conventional weapons they had.

The Syrian government are a quantifiable enemy and their use of chemical weapons can be predicted to a degree. If jihadists get hold of chemical weapons (if they haven't already) then there is a long term effect with possible usage of said weapons across many fields of battle and/or in terrorist attacks in the region.

I personally think Russia have the most sensible position in trying to keep the Syrian regime standing no matter what as if Syria falls the region could implode.

Unless the government who wants to keep those targets (or generate devastating propaganda) stuffs them full of human shields?

Honestly we were sure it was an unoccupied military target. Now you are parading the charred remains of women and children?

Yeah and Syria, Iran, Russia and China better bend over and take it. Or else.

I think people are making a bigger deal out of this than it really is.



we'll lob in some missiles like Clinton did

And will these 'lobbed' missiles be at the correct target?

Considering claims like this:

In an interview with Dale Gavlak, a Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press and Mint Press News, Syrian rebels tacitly implied that they were responsible for last week’s chemical attack. Some information could not immediately be independently verified.

When the 'lobbed missiles' are worth a million a pop (16 lbs of Silver in them - was talked about on TOD a few times), is such "worthwhile" spending and use of resources?

There's clear and compelling evidence that governments lie. Kerry talked a lot, but everything he said has to be taken on the basis of trust as no compelling evidence was provided. And I trust Kerry about as much as I trust Assad or Microsoft.

Different stories are also emerging, telling a different story. Like this one from ZeroHedge.

... from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.

“My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.

Less credible than Kerry's story? Hardly, but still hearsay, for now.

Seems like other countries don't see the evidence that Kerry does. And, well, after Iraq (parts 1 and 2), I can't say I have whole lot of faith in it, either.

Funny thing when you -or your predecessor, lie like rugs to start a war. No one will believe you. Boy who cried wolf story in real life. I'm not saying there is a wolf at the moment. But, if there was one we risk being not believed. They used to say a man's word was gold. Violate the conditions of that trust, and you will have serious problems in the future.

I wonder if Cameron might be secretly relieved that the British House of Commons vote against action gave him an out.

Earlier in the week the media were saying the Commons vote wasn't legally binding. So theoretically Cameron could have still proceeded without Parliament's support. So you could say he has decided to leave Obama with the baby and save his own political ass.

The special relationship is obviously losing its appeal. Another sign of things generally falling apart?

From ZeroHedge:

NATO's turn as Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen tells Dutch TV2 that "NATO will have no role in any military action in Syria."

At least he had a vote, which is what we should do.

Obama is now asking for a Congressional vote.

I wonder if Obama isn't getting frantic calls from other Western leaders, "Barry, don't do anything to push up the price of oil. We're hanging by a thread here, financially speaking."

The US is not trusted. From The Guardian:
Syria crisis: US prepares release of case tying Assad to chemical attack - live

From an interview with Abu Usama, anti-Assad fighter:

If the US strike is meant to debilitate the regime's ability to commit massacres against the civilians, it is most welcomed. But if the US forces want to polish off Syria infrastructure and FSA bases and fighters, we say one thousand times "No". It is highly possible that the US forces want to hit both Bashar and FSA for the sake of Israel.

I believe there is a big game afoot in Syria. If they really want to strike Bashar, they could have launched a strike earlier, not giving Bashar all this time to evacuate his positions and hide his tanks inside the schools and sending students home.

I agree that Kerry is pushing things quite a bit. He used to be anti-war (so we thought was Obama). But, get a high level job with the national security apparatus, and you get captured by them.

This is a bit of a sore point for me, admittedly.

John Kerry has disagreed with our particular conduct in regards to certain aspects of our wars. He is not 'anti-war'. He is very pro war, he just wants it done a certain way.

Calling a war veteran 'anti-war' is a bit problematic. Which day are you talking about? Not the time when he was in the military. Not when he voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq. When he voted against the Kyoto global warming treaty? When he joined Skull and Bones as a young man with the other militarist elites?

I have a problem with the way our media and propaganda-spewers label certain warmongers as 'anti-war' and others as not, then let us choose between which version of war we vote for - the I'm-against-war war or the I'm-for war war.

There is a point of view that it is past time we act as if we were in charge of the world's behavior. My whole life has just been one more worthless, damn war or incursion after another and none of them has done any good, including the fact that our empire mentality has been a massive waste of resources. Our involvement in the Middle East began as an effort to control and protect the flow of oil to the United States. We have reached the point where oil from the Middle East is actually a fairly small percentage of our total oil consumption. The money spent on constant war and the preparation for war could have been better spend on alternative energy and an alternative way of life that is not so wasteful.

I am sick and tired of these wars and especially the Middle East. Let them sort it out as this whole region is just becoming more and more a basket case that we should disengage from.

The benefit cost case for the American Empire has become problematical at best. Reduce, reuse, and retrench.

The Defense Industry is now salivating over the militarization of the USofA's borders. All the big players want to protect their position at the feed trough.
Expand, extend, exhaust.

Linked on Drudge:

Washington Post: Russia sharply steps up criticism of U.S. over Syria

MOSCOW – Russia dramatically escalated its denunciations of American threats to attack Syrian military targets on Saturday, as President Vladimir Putin called the arguments about chemical weapons that underlie the U.S. case “utter nonsense.”

The Foreign Ministry said a U.S. attack would be a “gross violation” of international law.

Speaking out for the first time since an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus on Aug. 21, Putin called on President Obama to find a nonviolent way out of the crisis. “I would like to address Obama as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate: Before using force in Syria, it would be good to think about future casualties,” Putin told Russian news agencies in Vladivostok during a tour of the country’s flood-stricken Far East.

“Russia is urging you to think twice before making a decision on an operation in Syria,” he said. Next week’s Group of 20 economic summit in St. Petersburg would be a good forum for discussing the Syrian issue, he said, “so why not take advantage of it?”

A militarily powerful country attacks an ally of Russia, what could possibly go wrong?

A militarily powerful country, who imports half of its economically critical oil, attacks an ally of Russia, one of the largest oil exporters in the world, what could possibly go wrong?

There ya go. Russia could probably take the US out without firing a shot. Oil export ban for a month? Screeeeech-crash. All Assad has to do to retaliate against the world is target the shipping lanes and oil terminals in the Persian Gulf.

This is one of the reasons that pushing for the electrification of transportation powered through domestically produced wind and solar power is legitimately a national security issue.

When you ride in your non-work truck/SUV alone you ride with Hitler Bin Laden bad people.

Wait, now I'm confused. I thought that the US is now a net petroleum exporter - some member of Congress said so, so it must be true. Ha ha ha ha ha! (If I don't laugh, I'll cry.)

Thanks TOD. Its been a long strange trip.

Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern

The 2011 uprisings, it would seem - triggered by a confluence of domestic energy shortages and climate-induced droughts which led to massive food price hikes - came at an opportune moment that was quickly exploited. Leaked emails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor including notes from a meeting with Pentagon officials confirmed US-UK training of Syrian opposition forces since 2011 aimed at eliciting "collapse" of Assad's regime "from within."

So what was this unfolding strategy to undermine Syria and Iran all about? According to retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark, a memo from the Office of the US Secretary of Defense just a few weeks after 9/11 revealed plans to "attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years", starting with Iraq and moving on to "Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran." In a subsequent interview, Clark argues that this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region's vast oil and gas resources.

Much of the strategy currently at play was candidly described in a 2008 US Army-funded RAND report, Unfolding the Future of the Long War (pdf). The report noted that "the economies of the industrialized states will continue to rely heavily on oil, thus making it a strategically important resource." As most oil will be produced in the Middle East, the US has "motive for maintaining stability in and good relations with Middle Eastern states":

Exploring different scenarios for this trajectory, the report speculated that the US may concentrate "on shoring up the traditional Sunni regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan as a way of containing Iranian power and influence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf." Noting that this could actually empower al-Qaeda jihadists, the report concluded that doing so might work in western interests by bogging down jihadi activity with internal sectarian rivalry rather than targeting the US


Sounds like nuts to me. The odds of the instability spreading outweigh any purported gains. Are we really this foolish? This sounds like burn the half of the ME that doesn't have oil, in order to save the part that does. I can't imagine what could go wrong?

I've read that its about a gas pipeline to provide Europe with an alternative gas supplier to Russia. I'm not sure why Syria is so important in this respect. It's hard to believe that Syria would be the only available route. Perhaps someone could throw some light on the subject?

A nice problem to have… but vexing: how much natural gas should Israel export?

What luck to be Israel or Cyprus, with offshore riches holding out the promise of energy independence and a substantial cash booty as well.

What horror to be Israeli or Cypriot politicians, having to grapple with some fiendishly complicated problems when considering how get these new found riches to market.

First of all, if you’re Israeli, there’s the need to satisfy domestic doubters as to just what the role of exports should be at all. Then there’s the question of whether, if you want to satisfy the natural desire of the companies actually producing the gas to secure export markets, that you do so on your own, or in cooperation with Cyprus. And then there’s the choice that both Israeli and Cypriot politicians must make: do you go for gas export by pipeline, or as LNG?...

...Ah, but there’s the rub. What form should those exports take? One early idea was a pipeline to Turkey....

Perhaps gives a whole new meaning to "Gas Attack", huh?

You didn't say if this is supposed to be an answer to the "why Syria" question above. These gas fields are in the sea near Cyprus and could be connected to Turkey directly much more easily than via Syria. They won't connect to Turkey in any way, because Turkey is hostile to the Greek Cypriots, but that's another story.

After NATO intervened in Kosovo I heard theories that that was for the purpose of pipelines. How did that work out?

After the US and its lakeys intervened in Afghanistan I heard theories that that was for the purpose of pipelines. How did that work out?

And of course Cheney and his gang thought they would get something oil-related out of invading Iraq. How did that work out?

Obama seems to have bent over backward to avoid action on his stated "red line" after the previous, smaller, uses of chemical weapons in Syria. Now he's tied to his words. It's amazing how deeply humans tend to get in trouble due to words, "saving face" and such. Just read the history of how so many countries ended up joining the fight in 1914. There is no need for conspiracy theories beyond that.

It never fails. Someone brings up the oil interests angle to US military moves and gets caught in the conspiracy theory tar baby. Do people think the US leadership is going to sit back and do nothing about peak oil? Of course they are going to do something and we're seeing it happen right before our own eyes.

What a shame this site is closing down right now. So much is about to happen.

Of course there is an "oil interests angle to US military moves". But must there be such in ALL US moves? I believe it was an angle in the Iraq invasion, and nowadays in the confrontation with Iran. But Kosovo?

Yes, exactly. The "red line" was a nice drama enacted to demonstrate "restraint".

"Oh dear!! Now we have to attack...of course we don't WANT to!"

"It's because we are so nice."

"We'll have to spend all that money and get a bigger military budget and it assumes more importance than ever....gee!! Too BAD!"

Then when Syria becomes like Egypt....
"well, sorry, it's too bad. Oh well, now your economy doesn't exist anymore. By the way, may we have your oil since you won't be needing it. Thanks. Because we need it."

"And, by the way, we can decide a lot of people's fates. If we decide you should stop consuming resources so that we may have them, then believe me, that is what you will do."

> get a bigger military budget

But, ... isn't the USofA reaching the debt ceiling in a few weeks? Won't its credit rating go down when it can't pay it's civil servants, medicare, military ... Some irreverent countries could even start to doubt it's funny IOUs.

Oh wait! There's war. Special circumstances call for special actions: raise the debt ceiling!!

The article covers most of these options, and the Turkey/Cyprus issue...

The reason is that waters to the east of Cyprus (if not actually Lebanese or Syrian), may be Cypriot in international law, but in practice a good part of any route taken by a pipeline from Israel to Turkey to the east of Cyprus would have to pass through waters controlled not by the Government of Cyprus but by the self-proclaimed breakaway state which calls itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

...and goes on to describe how any undersea pipeline will be problematic, and costly (politics, geography, geology). The least worst route may be an overland pipe, across the corner of Jordan avoiding Lebanon and the Golan Heights, and straight up through Syria, once the current anti-Israeli regime is disposed of. Turkey doesn't mind doing business with Israel and receiving "Israeli" gas:

The foreign ministry likes the idea because it would help improve ties with an important neighbor. But it still has no clear answer to the question as to whether maritime boundary issues first must be settled–or even a full solution of their 40-year Cyprus dispute.

...and Turkey expects its demand for natural gas to grow, a lot, in coming decades. LNG could end up,, anywhere. As for US getting involved, who's more important to US interests in the eastern Med than Turkey and Israel?

As for "how did that work out in the past", jeez, when was that ever a deterrent? I know; all just speculation about conspiracies...

The gas we're talking about does not originate in Israel (on land), but rather in the sea, well offshore of Israel, near Cyprus. Thus the overland pipeline idea, via Jordan and Syria, seems completely irrelevant. Besides, no matter what happens in Syria in the foreseeable future, it won't be an Israel-friendly regime. Just like Israel cannot currently import oil from Iraq, much as they'd like to. They did have a somewhat friendly relationship with Turkey for some years, but that fell apart more recently, since an Islamist party gained power in Turkey.

As I understand it 1914 was about railways or railway timetables to be more exact. When Russia mobilised, so did Germany. Trouble was mobilisation didn't have the same meaning in both countries and Germany took it more literally.

Their plan was to avoid a two front war by getting rid of the lesser opponent first, France. Then giving Russia their full attention. So when they mobilised they put their plan into action, putting their troops on trains heading to Belgium. When they realised Russia wasn't about to attack, it was too late, they couldn't reschedule the timetables, get all the trains and troops back to where they should be. The chaos that would ensue if they halted the mobilisation would leave them defenceless to attack. And so it began.

As an adjunct, without railways it would have been impossible to keep millions of men at the front fighting for 5 years. Indeed a weapon of mass destruction, the train.

Back in Dec 2012 Russia stated they were safeguarding Syria's chemical weapons and that took the pretext away for an invasion at that time: http://news.yahoo.com/russia-syrian-chemical-weapons-under-control-11143...

In 1914 the Germans wanted to decouple the campains at the westfront and eastfront as much as possible in order to use their advantage of inner lines, this means, tranport a number of army corps from west to east by train (or the other way round in a different scenario) after a few weeks in the war and compensate for their lower numbers. In contrast, the French and Russian armies wanted the opposite, i.e. a more or less simultanous attack of French and Russian forces. Mobilization of the French army was faster than of the Russian army and the French assumed to attack positions, that would hurt the Germans, earlier than the Russians.

Mobilization meant in 1914 for all the same thing, no discussion here. The issue was, that the Russian army introduced a few years earlier a concept of pre-mobilization in order to cut a few days, i.e. be earlier able to attack and support/relieve the French forces. They assumed they could gain time without severe political costs and, therefore, could increase their operational options. As the German Generalstab could not know whether this pre-mobilzation was a real mobilization or not, the clock ticked and the concept back-fired IMHO.

However, this aspect was not the key factor for German decisions in 1914.

Officials OK rule to force fracking on NC landowners


RALEIGH — North Carolina landowners would be forced to sell the natural gas under their homes and farms – whether they want to or not – under a fracking recommendation approved Wednesday that’s expected to be enacted by the state legislature this fall.

A last look at my ALL TIME favorite website...

Goodbye "The oil drum" - i will miss you - probably forever.

It is a sad sad day.

We've been granted a reprieve of a week or two. See Leanan's post, above.

One more day! :] Oops, another week!

....unless war breaks out and crude goes to $150. Then, ya gotta stay and keep us updated with the educated viewpoint...right? Deal? Trying my best to convince you guys to stick around.

Another week? Now you guys are just plain teasing us.

We are carrying on like addicts deprived of their fix. I guess we are, in a way.

Like oil, we'll kick TOD when it kicks us first :)

My last blast of news from the island (maybe).

More pain coming: get used to it

The media were in a frenzy all of last week over new unemployment figures which showed that the rate had reached a 10-year high at 16.3%, with youth unemployment well over 30%. And to deepen that alarm, bus fare increases of 25% were announced effective today.

Our media do a poor job of putting things in context and telling the larger story. But especially in this age of instant communication and information overload, there is a growing need for backgrounding and surgical analysis of issues.

The Sunday Gleaner had an article last week obsessing over the question: 'Can a jobs czar do it?', with the sub-title 'Worrying unemployment rate sparks talk on need for a minister to drive growth'. Why do we believe that reshuffling vocabulary can change our deep structural problems? Or is the problem that we don't recognise the problem?

My favorite commenter, "Peak Oiler" has an interesting perspective but I fear the comment was posted by the mods rather late in the day so it might not have got many eyeballs.


JAMAICA'S LOGISTICS-hub initiative will not be jeopardised if China Harbour Construction and Engineering Company (CHEC) decides against creating the port facility and logistics and industrial park, which it has proposed for Goat Islands, located off the coast of St Catherine.

According to Anthony Hylton, the industry, investment and commerce minister, the Goat Islands project has not been factored into projected investments, which have been measured at between US$10 billion and US$15 billion.

"Goat Island is not the logistics hub. It is a specific project proposal - a significant one - but it is an element of the logistics hub," the minister said.

The Government had earmarked Fort Augusta in St Catherine for the creation of a port facility and logistics and industrial park. However, the Chinese investors said based on the plans they have, that area was not big enough.

They have since suggested that the Goat Islands be the site for the project.

For more background plus links to Google maps of the Goat Islands and the Fort Augusta/Kingston Container Terminal area see a post in the DB of August 21.

Solar-powered learning

The American International School of Kingston (AISK), with its 21st century education model, has taken another step forward with the installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system at the institution.

A PV system converts sunlight into electricity. Among its integral components are the solar panels, inverters, a racking system to hold the panels in place, and electric interconnections.

Boasting 400 250-watt solar panels, covering 7,000 square feet, in addition to five Schneider-Electric 20-kilowatt grid-tie inverters, AISK has become the first school in the island with a system of this magnitude.

This school caters mainly to the children of US diplomats (hence the name) and is extremely exclusive so, it is a far cry from being representative of a Jamaican School. I don't usually visit this paper's web site so I missed this story from June 19 but, I have to wonder if this had anything to do with the governments plans to put PV systems at 15 state funded schools?

Jamaica can triple wind energy output

JAMAICA can triple its electricity generated from wind if it uses up its full potential.

A recent wind resource assessment identified four locations suitable for energy development with a combined potential generating capacity of 212 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually (just over five per cent of total consumption).

The story above was found by following a kink on the page of the story above it and resulted in my following links to the following older stories:

Wigton IDs four wind energy sites

Wigton Windfarm Limited, a subsidiary of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), is reporting encouraging findings from a recently completed Wind Resource Assessment, which identified four locations suitable for wind energy development with a combined potential generating capacity of 212 million KWh annually.

The study, which assessed 24 prospective sites across the island, highlighted four locations which were found to have "excellent energy yield (each) featuring more than 5,300 MWh/a". If these sites were exploited, it could reduce national oil consumption by at least 124,706 barrels per year, which would trim close to $1.27 billion off the annual energy bill, a news release from the Government said.

Wigton to add 62% more wind power

Wigton Windfarm Limited's (WWFL) plans to start expansion this year.

WWFL projects that it will generate additional energy of 63 gigawatt-hours (GWh) per year from an extra capacity of 24 megawatts (MW) by 2015.

That would increase its existing capacity of 38.7 MW by 62 per cent.

Last year, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica said studies indicate that energy from Wigton III can be translated into 72,141 barrels of oil being avoided (saved) annually, as well as 102,248 tonnes of carbon dioxide not being emmitted.

I'm thinking of doing a mini update to my April 9, 2009 key post "Electric commercial Vehicles" if anybody's interested. If so I'll be guided by Leanan as to whether I should post it to one of the final DBs or submit it as a key post.(I think I've left this idea too late for a key post)

Alan from the islands

"I'm thinking of doing a mini update to my April 9, 2009 key post "Electric commercial Vehicles" if anybody's interested."

I'm all for it. I somehow missed the first round. Where do you plan to hang out after TOD closes up shop?

I've registered the same screen name and made my first post over at The Energy Xchange (TEX?). Dunno if that's where I'll end up but it certainly looks like it's TEX for the time being!

Edit: In doing research for my Electric Commercial Vehicle update, I encountered some depressing information but, I unearthed quite a bit of encouraging news so, it has taken a bit longer than I had planned and the only possibility of posting anything on TOD would be a very compact summary to the last drumbeat. Leanan has suggested that we use the last DB to indicate where we will be hanging out or how we van be contacted post TOD, so I'm not sure that posting the summary to the last DB would be a good idea. I may just submit the full length update to The Energy Xchange instead.

Alan from the islands

Goodbye everyone, it was nice to interact with you all. I can't emphasize the importance of what I have learned here enough.

I am always lurking in Greer's and Orlov's comments section under the moniker wiseman.

Once again a big thank you.

Thanks for contributing wise. I always appreciated the regional perspective you brought to TOD. Take care.

I very seldom post, as I feel that my role is learning and my knowledge is limited. I have been exposed to much knowledge over the past five or more years and have appreciated the opportunity. Rather than become effusive over what I feel is one of the very few sites on the internet where actual information is available I would just like to say Vaya Con Dios, Hasta La Vista, Auf Wiedersan, Dos Vadonya. (I also can;t spell.

Noticed this over at Yahoo Finance yesterday:

More signs Abenomics is working as Japan prices, output rise

Separate figures showed factory output rebounded 3.2 percent in July and manufacturers expect further gains in the coming two months, consistent with a PMI survey showing manufacturing grew for a sixth straight month in August.

And the jobless rate improved for the second straight month to hit 3.8 percent in July, the lowest since October 2008.

Household spending edged up in the year to July as the feel-good sentiment prompted consumers to eat out more and spend more on travel and leisure. Wage-earners' incomes also rose an annual 1.3 percent in July, increasing for the fifth straight month.

With domestic demand resilient and underpinning industrial activity, it alleviated some concerns that sluggish growth in emerging markets may weigh on the export-reliant economy.

Might this have something too do with the fact that Japan is going gangbusters on solar PV at the moment? With some 17.5 GW of PV projects in the pipeline, that is registered but, not yet commissioned as of May 31st 2013, Japan is on target to install somewhere between 5 GW and 9 GW for the calendar year 2013! The Japanese domestic solar PV equipment manufacturers are having a great time!

Wouldn't it be ironic (great?) if it turns out that the stronger industrial economies going forward, happen to be the ones that transition away from FF towards a more sustainable, renewable (solar?) economy?

A buddy of mine likes to say,"Dreams cost nothing!"

Alan from the islands

"Alan from the islands"

Just one of the many unique perspectives. Canada, Caribbean, California, India, Japan, Norway, North Carolina, Germany, Texas, so many voices, some many places. Time keeps on rolling ... Thanks all.

And don't forget my namesake from the Big Easy. Another place in the US with it's own distinct culture and set of circumstances. There's also someone who hails from South Africa, I think it's aardvark?

Alan Drake seems too busy to visit here these days, which is probably a good thing!

Alan from the islands

A new standard for naming storms/hurricanes in the pipeline, so why not use the names of AGW-deniers to put things into context?

What about this headline "Hurricane Michele Bachmann is brewing in the Golf-expected to hit Florida with a devastating force"


Some parting quotes for the end of TOD time:

“Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”

“For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?”

“Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power”

“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”

“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power.”

“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

“Big Brother is Watching You.”

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”

Last but not least:
“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”

I love that last one. I have a particular professional reason to love that quote.

I shall not go into the details.

But TOD gets much of the credit.
And Japan...

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”

If you want a picture of the future, imagine knapping flints for The Man -- for a bowl of gruel, with rat stew on feast days.

I was always partial to ...

Hell is Truth Seen To Late.

That's right up there with...

Experience is what you get right after you needed it.

Might add a bit of Amundsen to this collection..

'Adventure is just bad planning..' (or words to that effect)

Experience is what you get right after you needed it.

Or alternatively:
"Good judgement comes from experience. And experience comes from bad judgement."

Goodbye, everyone! Thank you so much for all your hard, thoughtful work and analysis. I've learned so much about the murky and fascinating world of energy production.

In 2008 I began working for a new job 60 miles from home just as oil prices were skyrocketing. My gas bill alone was $500/mo and my whole worldview was rocked as I started looking for an explanation. I came here by way of JHK's podcast and have enjoyed every TOD post since then.

I'm still hopeful we can build a low-energy society via the carrot rather than the stick!

Fukushima radiation levels '18 times higher' than thought

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) had originally said the radiation emitted by the leaking water was around 100 milliseverts an hour.

However, the company said the equipment used to make that recording could only read measurements of up to 100 milliseverts.

The new recording, using a more sensitive device, showed a level of 1800 milliseverts an hour, high enough to prove lethal within four hours of exposure

Quibble, a more sensitive device would be able to read smaller amounts with better accuracy. Too bad the devices weren't analog - someone might have noticed the the meter being pegged out.