DrumBeat: February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Cheap Oil to Last, "Doomsday" Fears Overblown, Author Says

People usually assume that the planet is thoroughly explored [for oil], but this is not true. The United States and Canada are the most thoroughly explored, and the latest discovery by Chevron in the Gulf of Mexico demonstrates that they are not really so [thoroughly] explored.

Other parts of the world are really not explored at all. Even today more than 70 percent of the world's oil exploration wells are concentrated in the U.S. and Canada—countries that hold only 3 percent of the world's oil reserves. Conversely, only 3 percent of the world's exploration wells are drilled in the Middle East.

Many countries, Saudi Arabia in particular, have discovered oil fields in the past but have never developed them because of their fear of creating excess capacity.

No one knows how much oil there is. But all the hints we have—for example surveys made the U.S. Geological Survey—indicate that the world still has really huge oil resources in its soil.

Hybrids, Biofuels and Other False Idols

The planned obsolescence and massive production of consumer objects in the overdeveloped countries is responsible for catastrophic climate change and species extinction. The question which we obviously need to address is how to improve the quality of life while decreasing the quantity of useless junk and not throwing anyone out of work. But unflinching loyalty to a growth economy prevents corporate environmentalists from searching for serious transportation options.

Big Oil joins the debate

Hofmeister and his executives toured 25 U.S. cities last year conducting meetings with local residents and public officials. The results were sobering, he said.

"I was shocked at how many people actually believe in the peak oil theory," said Hofmeister, of a point of view held by some that the world is at the tipping point of supply and that extreme worldwide crude oil shortages are looming.

Spinning Straw into Black Gold

We may be out of oil, says Chevron CTO Don Paul. But thanks to new technology, we'll never run out of fuel.

Exxon Mobil's Tillerson says focus is on meeting global demand for oil and gas

Exxon Mobil Corp.'s CEO says the world's largest publicly traded petroleum company is not in any hurry to find alternatives to oil and gas. If anything, the company must scramble to keep up with rising global demand for fossil fuels.

Oil E&P Confront 53% Increase Over Past Two Years

Oil exploration and production costs have climbed 53 percent in the past two years as prices for everything from drilling rigs to labor continue to surge, according to a new price index released Monday.

UK O&G Activity Report Prompts Questions about North Sea Competitiveness

The UK Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA), the representative organization for UK oil and gas producers, has called for Government and Industry action to address signs suggesting that the UK offshore oil and gas province is becoming less competitive and less able to attract the investment needed to sustain future production levels.

Fossil Fuel Watch: The Giant Sucking Sound, Revisited

Remember the metaphorical “giant sucking sound” that Ross Perot invoked in the 1992 presidential debates? Perot employed that image to characterize the rapid exodus of jobs to Mexico that would surely result from ratifying the North American Free Trade Agreement. Fifteen years later, that vivid phrase could appropriately describe the increasingly desperate circumstances befalling Cantarell, Mexico’s largest oilfield, situated about 50 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The giant sucking sound you might hear at Cantarell is what happens when hundreds of oil wells begin drawing gas and water from the very reservoirs that used to yield copious quantities of petroleum. It’s the sound of an oilfield rolling over its peak.

Activists shut down construction of LNG gas terminal in Milford Haven

Protesters against the continued and unrestrained promotion of fossil fuel projects by the UK government have blockaded the main vehicle access route into the new LNG pipeline terminal near Milford Haven, South Wales. Their aim is to highlight the serious environmental and safety issues surrounding this project, and to call for a more sober approach to the impending energy crisis.

Possible energy crisis threatens Namibia

Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba has urged the country's parliament to pass the Electricity Bill before it without further delay in order to avert an "impending (energy) crisis".

India on the front line in energy war

While the United States has been stealthily finessing a pretext for launching a military attack on Iran, it has also been prevailing on its close allies and friends to stay clear of bilateral political exchanges with Tehran. Isolation and containment of Iran and a "regime change" in that country have become the leitmotif of US foreign policy in the remaining two years of the presidency of George W Bush.

But Washington either made an exception for India, or India after all didn't belong in the gallery of Washington's close or "natural" allies. At any rate, New Delhi acted in its best interests when Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee paid a two-day visit to Tehran on February 6-7.

Lithuania Pushes Plan To Outrun Russia Energy Blockade

In a scene reminiscent of the Berlin Airlift during the Cold War, Lithuania's president said Tuesday he is working on a plan to circumvent Russia's energy hold on Eastern Europe by opening its ports for oil transports from elsewhere.

Turkey Plans Oil, Gas Exploration in Eastern Med

Turkey will start oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, the energy minister said, according to a TV station, weeks after Cyprus announced similar plans in deals with Egypt and Lebanon.

Putin in Jordan, offering alternative to US

Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the last leg of a Middle East tour of three US allies, was to meet Jordan’s King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday in a clear show of Russia’s regional ambitions.

Gulf states urged to invest in infrastructure

Bahrain and other countries in the Gulf must not overlook the opportunities that increased oil revenues has helped to give the property market, said Works and Housing Minister Fahmi Al Jowder.

British Energy calls for partners to build new wave of nuclear plants

British Energy called yesterday for partners to help build a new generation of nuclear plants by 2016, fuelling expectations that the government will give the final go-ahead within weeks for more atomic power.

New Technology Makes Biofuel From Any Renewable Oil

Diversified Energy Corp., an alternative and renewable energy company, announced Tuesday an exclusive licensing agreement with North Carolina State University for Centia, a “100 percent green” biofuels technology that produces high performance fuels from any renewable oil.

LS9 Launched to Create Renewable Petroleum(TM) Biofuels

LS9 Inc., the Renewable Petroleum Company(TM), announced its launch today. Founded in 2005, the company is pursuing industrial applications of synthetic biology to produce proprietary biofuels. LS9's products, currently under development, are designed to closely resemble petroleum derived fuels, but be renewable, clean, domestically produced, and cost competitive.

Solar Power Breakthrough: IAUS Hits Milestone Previously Thought to Be Impossible

International Automated Systems, Inc. (OTCBB: IAUS - News) announced today that it has successfully finished its first high-volume run of its new breakthrough solar panels. Nearly 1,000 Kilowatts of IAUS's solar panels were manufactured in a short 24-hour run. On a 24/7 operating schedule, an estimated 350 Megawatts of IAUS panels can be produced annually. In comparison, a traditional photovoltaic (PV) solar module manufacturing plant with a yearly capacity equal to IAUS would cost an estimated $840 Million to construct.

Madrid Temperature Could Top 50 Celsius by 2100

ummer temperatures in Madrid could soar to 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) by the end of this century if global warming continues unchecked, an Environment Ministry report said on Tuesday.

Citizenre: A House of Cards?

There has been a buzz in the air lately. It's the sound of U.S.-based Citizenre, a new multi-level marketing machine targeting solar power. Their plan? Build "the world's largest" solar cell and module manufacturing plant with the stated intention to install 100,000 residential systems annually. Their pitch? You can have solar electric power for the same price that you currently pay for electricity. Sign up now and they will do the installation in September as long as your state offers net metering.

Bipartisan Coalition to Introduce Legislation to Increase Transparency and Oversight in Energy Markets

U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) today joined with a bipartisan coalition to introduce legislation to increase transparency and oversight for the electronic over-the-counter trading of energy commodities, such as oil, natural gas, coal and electricity.

The Renewed Stake in Oil Shale

Oil shale is about to make another break for the energy spotlight. The U.S. has just given the green light for development, but utilizing Colorado's massive reserves has always been a risky venture.

A little valentine from Al-Qaeda: Al-Qaida threatens Canada's oil facilities

Al-Qaida has called for terrorist strikes against Canadian oil and natural gas facilities to "choke the U.S. economy."

An online message, posted Thursday by a the Al-Qaida Organization in the Arabian Peninsula, declares "we should strike petroleum interests in all areas which supply the United States like Canada," the No. 1 exporter of oil and gas to the U.S.

"The biggest party hurt will be the industrial nations, and on top of them, the United States."

Oil has peaked, but where's the data? analyst asks

One of the leading exponents of the peak oil theory that reserves have gone beyond maximum production and entered irreversible decline urged the world's oil industry to build a data base to prove whether he is right.

Energy investment banker Matthew Simmons, chairman of Houston-based investment banking firm Simmons & Co. International, has argued world crude oil supply probably peaked in 2005.

Russia: A Critical Evaluation of its Natural Gas Resources

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and its replacement by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), prominent among which was the Russian Federation, was a welcome event around the world. However, the subsequent development of Russian resources – particularly natural gas – has been disappointing. And the future of the Russian gas sector could be even worse. Contrary to widely-held beliefs, if current trends continue, Russia will have a severe natural gas shortfall by 2010. This prediction is astonishing given that Russia has more gas reserves than any other country, and one of the largest reserves-to-production ratios.

Brazil sees biofuel demand as unsustainable

Loek Boonekamp, head of the OECD´s commercial and marketing division, told attendees at Agra FNP's Outlook Brazil conference in Sao Paulo that plans to boost biofuel production often cannot be justified in economic terms and may be unsustainable.

Chevron CEO calls for U.S. to triple ethanol use

Chevron Corp.'s top executive called on Tuesday for the United States to triple the amount of ethanol it uses for transportation in the next decade, a target short of President George W. Bush's own plan to boost use of the biofuel.

Flannery: Coal can't be clean

Australian of the Year and leading scientist Dr Tim Flannery has questioned the viability of clean coal technology, saying it may be made redundant by cheaper and greener energy resources.

China coal producers cut exports

Chinese producers have cut thermal coal shipments to South Korean and Japanese power utilities on tight supply and high domestic prices, a move likely to spur price gains in an already tight Asian market.

The news follows data Monday showing Chinese coal exports fell by nearly half in January from the previous month, raising fears the country's voracious appetite for energy will turn it into a net coal importer this year.

Analysis: Increasing oil sands production

Over the next 10 years, oil production from Canadian oil sands is expected to just about double to nearly 3 million barrels per day.

Sustained investment and continuing advances in technology are indicators of exponential growth in the market, said Jeff Collins, director of exploration and production strategies for Cambridge Energy Research Associates, at CERA Week in Houston Tuesday.

Life on the Ethanol-Guzzling Prairie

What is happening here is a vision that many in rural America see as their salvation: high-performance moonshine from amber fields of grain, and a “grass station” in every town. It may be a chimera. It may drain precious water from the arid plains and produce less energy that it uses.

But it has the undeniable power of an idea in ascendancy.

Green buildings need more incentives in U.S.

When it opens next year, the 54-story Bank of America Tower in New York will be the most environmentally friendly office building in the United States.

It will produce most of its energy at an on-sit cogeneration plant. It will capture and reuse waste water and rainwater. And it uses recycled materials in its construction.

The building is the latest in a trend toward office buildings that use less energy and cause less global warming. But developers say that trend is being held back by insufficient government support.

Groups sue to protect marine mammals

Two conservation groups sued the federal government Tuesday claiming marine mammal regulators are not doing enough to protect polar bears and walruses against the combined threat of oil and gas exploration and global warming.

The Progressive Crises: Global Warming and Peak Oil

Every Progressive should recognize and incorporate, deep in their soul, the plain fact: Peak and Global Warming are the most serious threats to Progressive ideals, concepts, policies, and aspirations through the 21st century ... AND today.

The Ghawar Oil Field: How Much is Left?

Back in 2001, before the issue of energy scarcity ever entered my mind, I read a chilling online article called "Ghawar Is Dying" that bluntly speculated about the massive global upheavals modern industrial society would suffer if the largest oil field in Saudi Arabia were indeed running dry.

The article represented an eye-opening, paradigm-changing revelation for me, as I began to understand how very fragile the way of life that millions of people take for granted actually is.

Export Land Model in Action

Moscow Now has Sprawl Suburbs

The unpaved, unlit roads are clogged with traffic. Getting to and from work in the center of Moscow is a 90-minute crawl each way


I have a slight modification to the Export Land Model. When poor nations, with little else to export, reach near zero exports, they will surpress domestic demand in order to sustain the remaining limited exports.

Indonesia is a small net oil exporter by $ (as UK may still be) and an importer by volume. Export high quality oil, import lower quality oil.

Last year Indonesia went without electricity rather than power oil fired stations with imported bunker oil. They were waiting for completion of Australian coal fired generation.

Best Hopes,


Russian oil production is reportedly up year over year, but domestic consumption is growing even faster, thus. . . lower oil exports. Russia should soon--probably this year--start reporting lower year over year crude oil production. Note that even though oil exports were down, cash flow was up (because oil prices went up faster than exports fell). This will change as domestic consumption gets closer to production.


Customs: Russia's crude oil exports down 2.4% on year in 2006

MOSCOW, Feb 13 (Prime-Tass) -- Russia's crude oil exports decreased 2.4% on the year to 227.539 million tonnes in 2006, the Federal Customs Service said Tuesday.

In monetary terms, oil exports increased to U.S. $96.675 billion in 2006 from $79.216 billion in 2005.

Of the total, oil exports to countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States amounted to 211.171 million tonnes worth $90.755 billion in 2006, compared with 214.436 million tonnes worth $73.826 billion in 2005.

"This will change as domestic consumption gets closer to production."

I assume you mean cash flow from crude oil exports. Russia could increase foreign earnings even as exports plunge, if they used oil in domestic industries which generated exports or substitutes for imports. But given the amount of local ethanol consumption and assorted other issues, this is an unlikely scenario. So you are probably right.

That little graphic is so cute.

I live in Halifax, England. The other day some al qaida types were arrested 100 yards from my house. Our kids play with their kids, then their kids go off to the islamic education centres ,that are dotted around the town, for extra tuition. I try to be open minded about things but there isn't too much lurv between our two communities at the moment.

"there isn't too much lurv between our two communities at the moment"

That's one of the reasons I see Europeans as being more reluctant to confront radical islam in general. The fact that there is a sizable community within your own neighborhood that "might" be a direct threat to yourself is frightening and makes you less likely to want to antagonize them.

In the 70's there were two groups in the area where I grew up that were openly violent - one of which had radical, fundamentalist christian ties (100 %caucasian), the other a seperatist ethnic group.

It's not pleasant growing up within a community where there is little trust between neighbors. Especially during difficult economic times.

Good luck to you and your profound locale.

radical islam is not as big of a threat as it's blown up to be. the religious nuts you have to worry about are the Christian fundies and bush.

It remainds me about something i saw on television about IRA sometimes they used torture to get information and there was someone who said that he had reported one of his neighbour that he know was not a member.

replying here to get upthread real estate

The term thermo-gene collision has been thrown around here since I've been reading TOD. Like I was supposed to know what they were talking about. Never having been a regular reader of dieoff.org since it was a sort-of ugly website and the subject matter wasn't appealing, I hadn't read much of Jay Hanson's writing. Today I followed a link to one of his essays, so here goes for similarly ignorant TOD readers:

“Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.” – Charles Darwin, 1871

We have seen that thermodynamic laws promise us less-and-less, while our genes are demanding more-and-more. Although these biophysical laws are now politically
incorrect and suppressed from public discourse, these laws will not go away. Roughly fifteen years from now, the thermo/gene collision will cause people to revert to a fundamentally different set of behaviors. These are the ancient behaviors that we evolved during the many periods of overpopulation which have occurred in our millions of years as animals. Those in power will use every tool at their disposal – including nuclear weapons – to increase their fraction of the remaining energy thereby maintaining social hierarchy (social advantage) for their children.

The “thermo/gene collision” will ultimately kill billions of people worldwide as nuclear wars, starvation, and social system collapse grip the planet into the future. When our subconscious feels our fitness is best served by lying, cheating, stealing, raping, or killing, then we will do so. It is our genetic legacy.

replying here to get upthread real estate

I really wish people wouldn't do that. It's confusing enough trying to follow the discussion without people jumping in randomly just to be higher up on the page.

I agree!

Properly chastised, I shall never do that again. Now all you need do is convince the other 9,999 upthread hangers-on.

Hi DIYer,

Well, this leaves me with the dilemna of where to reply. I'd like to comment on "It is our genetic legacy."

What constitutes "our genetic legacy" is a matter of on-going study and understanding.

"our genetic legacy"

Which I have just demonstrated by latching onto an upthread post.

( however, I shall endeavor to avoid becoming a troll )

Yep! When overcrowded, the behavior of rats changes radically, They start attacking each other, eating their own and others' young, etc.

Acting like people are starting to in some areas now.

I have some new, particularly psycho, neighbors now. And that brought an epiphany - the old public service justification for ham radio, being licensed, "an amateur's station and skills are always at the service of their community and country" and all that old stuff......that's all gone now. I've had one break-in attempt so far and things are pretty tense around here. We share a common walkway and they seem to have the old "us or you" attitude.

Needless to say, I'm at a higher alert level lately....

So, what I realized is, hell, I don't want to help out my community in case of disaster, I want to see the disaster wipe most of 'em out! Help a neighbor who's pinned under a fallen house or tree limb? Most likely, I'll help 'em out all right, by standing on their neck.

Ham radio is no longer about public service. I am no longer about public service. All my ham stuff is for sale, I will get a decent shortwave because I like to listen, may be fun listening to the edges of Empire unravel, then the center hehe. I don't need Icom or Yaesu or Kenwood, happiness is a warm gun :-)

I wonder if it's too late in life for me to work on studying on the creation and dispersal of viruses that will give Mother Earth the 90% trimdown in humans She needs?

Hi fleam,

"Needless to say, I'm at a higher alert level lately...."

It sounds tense. I hesitate to offer anything other than empathy. Still, this being the forum for sharing of information and all...

Here are a few links. The top one I posted the other day, when you were talking about TV, because I thought you might enjoy it. (And I was saying how much I enjoy the TV-free lifestyle.)

The "CNVC" thing - all I can say is, I've seen it work. It doesn't mean it has to work or always works, just that I've seen it.

And, I don't know...your area may be too crowded for any of this. But the more I read the Ashland CERT newsletters, I'm still amazed and in awe of what they're doing there. Anyway, check it out - maybe more fun than virology.

http://www.tvturnoff.org/ - Used to be called "TV-Free America".




And we are all sweet on Leanan, of course!

Happy Valentine's Day, Leanan!

No shortage of honey dripping here.

No, petroleum is going to run short, I hear.

Also, the honey bees are dying, so we will have to be sweet to one another.

"The beautiful creatures are going away...."



and check our E. O. Wilson "The Creation."

Our rather unloving species has had a cumulative effect on the planet similiar to a large meteor strike, according to Wilson. By 2050, over one-fourth of all species will be gone, by 2100, over one-half of all species will be gone.

Meanwhile, the political elites of our various nations are maneuvering to win a "last man standing" resource war.

Darn, so much for the honey dripping. I think I just wet myself.

I do not control others or the planet. Most of the time I barely control myself. i do try to do my bit for a peaceful and just world tomorrow, even so. I sure do not control the outcome of how tomorrow will be.

But hey, Happy Valentine's Day!

I recall that honeybees experienced an epidemic a few years ago caused by a bacteria. Unlike us mammals insects can adapt to and bounce back from environmental challenges quickly.

I guess you missed that article about Rwanda going from genocide to overpopulation (again) pretty darn quick. They are mammals too. :)

If the other posters in TOD don’t mind, I’d like to continue a thread that I started in Drumbeat yesterday (2/13/07).

I posted this in response to a post where Westexas brough up the “Export Land Model”:

Westexas, how does your “Export Land Model” apply to Iran, where they export oil and are required to import refined gasoline? Another article I read said that they are currently rationing gasoline internally within Iran. Based on the assumption of your model, Iran should be cutting exports to maintain current internal consumption. Instead, they exports are continuing, but they are rationing imported gasoline.

Maybe the “Export Land Model” does not consider geopolitical necessities that do not follow typical business logic. What if exporting countries are “forced” to continue exports at the expense of their internal citizens due to political persuasion through military or economic means?

This was Westexas’ response:

Iran's problem is that they don't have sufficient domestic refining capacity, so they have to export oil and import gasoline and other refined products. Also, Iran, like Saudi Arabia and many other exporters, hugely subsidizes domestic consumption. In any case, on a net petroleum basis, Iran is clearly a net exporter (at least for now).

For a number of reasons, I would assume that Iran's domestic consumption is growing quite rapidly, while their oil production is flat to declining. Some studies have suggested that Iran may be a net oil importer within 10 years.

I am not so sure that in all cases, governments of countries will always fully satisfy internal demand first before resorting to exports.

To grow the wealth of a nation, you must have exports to build a positive trade balance, which allows the central bank of each country to build a reserve of foreign currency. In many Middle Eastern countries, oil is their only exportable product. In the case of Iran, if they were to simply cease exports and all oil produced will be utilized for internal consumption, the local economy of Iraq will simply be an exchange of fiat currency between the internal consumers and internal producers with the government and the nation getting none the richer.

In the case of the government of Saudi Arabia, the United States provides protection to its leaders (both from internal SA and external to SA threats) in exchange for guaranteed oil exports. If oil production declined in Saudi Arabia and its leaders had to make a decision between satisfying internal demand 100%, or rationing internal demand and continuing exports which will increase the country’s wealth and guarantee continued security from the United States to remain in power, which do you think the leaders will chose?

While I think that the “land export model” makes logical sense if all players behaved rationally based on typical free market business behavior, I believe that it is to simplistic to account for the sometimes non-rational behavior that can be enforced through military, economic, and geopolitical means.

I have proposed Phase One and Phase Two in oil exporting countries.

Phase One: lots of net oil exports and rapidly growing cash flow.

Phase Two: as domestic consumption gets perilously close to domestic production, governments will be in a quandary, between meeting domestic demand and curtailing domestic demand in order to export oil.

As Alan pointed out, Russia is in Phase One, while Indonesia is in Phase Two.

However, the key point is that the net oil exports from countries approaching Phase Two status will be negligible. So, actually it won't really matter a whole lot whether domestic demand is curtailed in favor of exports.

In any event, at this point in time, most large oil exporting countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Russia, are showing very rapid increases in domestic consumption.

BTW, we are going to see this Export Land effect within countries. Net energy producing areas will tend to do somewhat better than net energy consuming areas.


Have you ever thought or written about the convergence of the Export Land Model and the Olduvai Theory?

What I'm thinking of is this:

Richard Duncan, in his latest paper, to which a link was posted here recently, defines "e", as energy production per capita. In the papaer, he uses the US as a model for the world, with a time-shift:

US "e" peaked in 1970, and had a "stagnation" period till 1998, defined as a 0.6% yearly decline. From '98 to now, there is a 1.8% yearly decline.

Of course the US still seems to be doing somewhat alright, but, and here we come upon ELP, it managed to survive, as is, only through increasing energy imports (and printing money, and sucking suckers into mortgage debt)

According to Olduvai, world "e" will stagnate from 1979 till 2008-2012 (at a plus 0.2% rate), after which a decline comparable to that of the US will set in.

And as world energy per capita declines, less is available for export, and hence for import by the US. In other words: the US will be hit very hard by ELP, because it depends on imports more than most nations.

Except for:

(I tried to explain this somewhere last night, and concluded with:)

".. post-2008, countries have two options: buy printing presses, or invade other nations."

Down the thread, I rhetorically asked what the current count is for the number of aircraft carrier battle groups in or headed to the Middle East.

1/ 3 groups means war, only 5 exist

2/ that's no answer to the question about the similarities bewteen ELP and OT

Ex-CIA officials see outbreak of conflict with Iran looming


Better link to original Harpers blog article -->


Hello New Account,

My Al-Jazerra link late last night on the bombing deaths of 18 Iranian guards into martyrs doesn't help either. They pointedly suspect UK and/or US involvement in radical political groups inside Iran. I certainly hope this is not true. Infuriating if it is true.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello TODers,

Defending U.S. intelligence that has pinpointed Iran as a hostile arms supplier in Iraq, Bush said, "Does this mean you're trying to have a pretext for war? No. It means I'm trying to protect our troops."
A possible tipping point on the global teeter-totter?

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

once iran is attacked, all bets are off. tptb would of at that moment sealed our fate on the 'last man standing' path.
because even now if the u.s. got on it's knees and begged other country's to help and in return help them deal with these issues well we might have a chance to peacefully deal with allot inevitable decline.

Yes, because the US/UK condone bombing people in a terrorist manner all over the world :rolls eyes:

Bring out the US/UK flamers and their ridiculous comparisons.

hothgor, how many civilians were bombed in iraq while the us/uk was busy searching for wmds?

None intentionally, and no where near as many as were killed during Saddams Regime. Apples to oranges here...typical liberal nut.

and how many wmds were found ?

Actually they did find a cache of chemical warheads, though their usefulness had long since expired, they were still in violation of the 17 UN resolutions for disarmament. But you are correct that they never found the massive WMD stockpiles that the Intel predicted would be there. Of course that doesn't change the fact that the vast majority of the democrats currently in power voted to authorize the war. Blame must be shared equally, or none can be assigned at all.

does the us/uk invade every soverign country in violation of un resolutions ?

Not at all. However, I suppose you think the UN should ignore all of its sanctions and resolutions. Who is up for a nuclear shopping spree in Iran!?



Hi Hothgor,

Thanks for bringing this up.

"Of course that doesn't change the fact that the vast majority of the democrats currently in power voted to authorize the war. Blame must be shared equally, or none can be assigned at all."

Well, it seems there's plenty of blame to go around. And responsibility may be a little different than blame. Yes, many people share responsibility for this invasion, perhaps we can apportion it in different ways.

It seems the larger point is to learn *how* to take responsibility and act in a responsible manner.

no where near as many as were killed during Saddams Regime.

Prove it.

Hothgor, The U.S. is the biggest terrorist menace in the world. I fear our own government more than the so-called "terrorists" and I live in the U.S.A. The government is meddling, subversive, murderous, torturous, scheming, backstabbing, larcenous, evil, foul, and morbid. Do the words depleted uranium, white phosphorus, water boarding, carpet bombing, etc., etc., mean anything to you?

I guess we should halt all funding to the UN again. Its amazing how the entire world comes groveling to the 'biggest terrorist menace in the world' when they need help or peacekeepers somewhere. Depleted uranium isn't even dangerous. White phosphorous was used once and was halted due to public outcry, and I would rather water board someone then die in a suicide attack. If you hate America so much, why not leave?

Oh thats right, you smooch off the perks, but hate the system.


Depleted uranium isn't dangerous?

This mental midget cannot even get basic facts straight.

The worse thing is his charge that liberals hate America. The repugs have gutted the budget, thrown away the surpluses, hate Americans so much that they refuse to countenance universal healthcare; they rape the environment, give welfare to corporations while squeezing the poor for every damned dime, send thousands of good jobs overseas in thrall to that pathetic shibboleth "globalization," send troops to die for lies, bed down with the oil companies, the drug companies, and the insurance companies and then have the unmitigated gall to accuse "liberals" of hating America.

Their tactics are those of the fascist, the totalitarian. Their tactics are those of Stalin, Saddam, Pol Pot, and Hitler. The repugnicans want America to be driven to penury, to the level of Mexico and its 100 families. They want to see our people dirt poor, the police to be their enforcers, and any hope for a country that actually is by, for and of the people quashed.

There will come a day when people who once identified themselves as republicans will be spit upon, perhaps hung by their heels like Mussolini, chased down like dogs and beaten while cursed for their selfish evil deeds. There will come a day when republicans will deny they voted for the creeps who ruined the world, and these repugs will slink around feverishly hoping no one finds out. If we are lucky, when these evil cretins come begging at the gates of liberal lifeboats, someone at the guardtower will recognize them as one of those evil steaming piles of rightwing offal, and will do what liberals do so well, let them in and feed them. For it will not be the liberals who string them up, deserve it though they may, it will be repugnicans turning upon each other, demonstrating their evil, dishearteningly inhuman nature.

Let us hope that their invisible sky-being has the perspicacity to doink these weevils on their pointy, little heads and make them reform their spectactularly evil ways.


It takes massive amounts of depleted uranium with a long exposure time before it can potentially cause any kind of lethal side effects. I can guarantee you that more people would die from faulty unfired munitions that the DU shells replaced long after the war then what will be killed by the DU shells left behind. Once again you over-exaggerate the danger. DU saves more lives in the long run, and doesn't have enough radioactivity to be harmful to 99.9% of those around it.

Hothgor's lies and mentally-retarded gymnastics can never change the truths Cherenkov has written here. Only a lunatic or filthy subhuman can call themselves republican and be proud of it - any sane or moral individual has by now realized they have been hoodwinked by their fascist right-wing media.

Except I'm not a republican either! My my, these labels are certainly interesting. You people seem to know so much about me that I apparently didn't even know myself! But thank you for proving my point: the Lunatic fringe on all FOUR sides scare me, and they give moderate members of each parties a bad name. Veganmaster, you are obviously a liberal extremist.

The media is predominately liberal in slant, only Faux news has a true conservative slant, but even they don't go to the extremes that some outlets do. 27 days of the AG scandal on the front page of the NYT anyone?

Following the first gulf war, scientists at the Basra hospital and university have monitored the incidence of leukaemias and other malignancies among children in the Basra area, and of congenital malformations in newborn children. The data for the period 1990-2001 show an incidence increase of 426% for general malignancies, 366% for leukemias and of over 600% for birth defects, with all series showing a roughly increasing pattern with time.


It couldn't have anything to do with the sanctions that were in place, the lack of medical treatment and education on expecting mothers. No no, lets blame the DU used by the evil American Empire...

WOOPS! It was a UN opperation!!

And it's amazing that people forget the most critical part of that word: Depleted.

Hi Hothgor,

When you say, ""I would rather water board someone then die in a suicide attack." - I'm wondering if you'd look at some references?

These are important things to think through, carefully.

The "either/or" premise is misleading. I'd rather have universal human rights and mediation, with conflict resolution. (I want no torture *and* no suicide attacks.) I want no one to make these kinds of choices, and in fact, they are false choices.

A couple of suggestions: One is to do some reading up on different opinions about the ethics and efficacy of torture. For example, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2005/0...

The US military "Judge Advocate Generals" have made public statements. These are very important and worth checking out.

One article is here: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051226/hajjar

Another suggestion is http://asiapacific.amnesty.org/apro/aproweb.nsf/pages/knowTorture

Hello Hothgor,

Please consider that you will be in the window of a military draft for quite some time. Then think if you want to support a short-lived detritus powered Empire or a long-lived global network of Biosolar localized Jeffersonian communities. Your mortality will depend upon the choices of your young generation. I am glad that you agree with other TODers that detritus decline is inevitable. It will be difficult for you to pedal a bike or push a wheelbarrow if your limbs are missing from some foreign adventure. Lets work towards a more hopeful alternative because the future belongs to the young, always has, always will. You do not want to be loading bullets into your offspring's pink teddybear backpack.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

In a few months, Ill be out of draft age. If they increase the range to 42 years, I have maybe a 1 in 50 shot of ever being drafted, and about a 1 in 20 chance of ever seeing combat. Fortunately for me, I'm intelligent enough to not waste as fodder.

"Fortunately for me, I'm intelligent enough to not waste as fodder."

Fodder. Now we see what the great defender of the American dream thinks of the thousands who have lost life and limb in the service of their country.

Why don't you post your street address, bright boy; I'm sure some of the fodder, or perhaps their survivors, would like to chat.

Contempt for the military is another sign of a decaying, increasingly class-based Empire. As recently as WWII, the wealthy considered it honorable to serve in war, and you die, you die. But you'd have the guts to go out there and do it. That's changed now, and those who serve are the econmic draft, the "fodder" according to snotty little middle class kids like Hothgor, "slow students" etc.

They've raised the age to 42, and that means draft age too.

People who think like Hothgor will carry the day in 'Merka though, which means likely a draft is coming. Let's hope he's drafted and doesn't spend most of his time in the brig, we need him out there absorbing DU.

They haven't raised the age to 42. One Democrat form California wants to, but it wont ever get off the ground, just as it hasn't the past 5 years. And as for your concerns over the 'fodder' comment, I suppose that if I had used the liberal slang of 'jarhead' you would have accepted it without question. My my, both sides apply needless labels! But the truth of the matter still stands: my technical aptitude would most likely guarantee that I would never see front line combat. Likewise, I expect most people on this site to also fall under that category. Its unfortunate but that is a fact of life.

And how do you know Im some snotty little middle class kid? I could just as easily be an underprivlaged minority, or one of the 'elite puppet masters' your so fond of bashing. Either way you know nothing about me, and as such are unfit to comment on the matter.

Hello Bob:
I missed that link and couldn't find it on yesterdays Drumbeat.

Was that in reference to US/UK sponsored activity inside Iran? If so there have been other reports of similar activity, both the sponsorship of organizations opposed to current Iran government and also reports of "survey groups" attempting to get a better fix on Iranian atomic activity.


I like your export land model. I too have wondered if exporters can keep it for themselves or have to export to fund the gov operations. I think Mexico will answer these questions. I do not relish what kinds of problems they will have to deal with. Kind of like stuck between two rocks.

I do have another thought about something you have said receintly about keeping you assets in the bank as opposed to the market which I do agree with, however I'm stating to think the dollar will continue to decline and it might be better to purchase those goods that you can afford and will use in the future. Any energy creating device might be a "good deal" even if expensive(PV). Could be considered part of your ELP.

I personally want to be prepared before the critical masses become peak aware. Once that kicks in and the mad rush starts I think we will all have a harder time finding materials/parts/supplies or get price increases similar to anything copper(solar panels) or steel presently.

Buying something you need in the future today, though not very flashy, might be one of the safest things you could do, and the money you save (or "make" if you get my drift) is not taxed, unlike interest from the bank. This would be my only suggested addition to the advice you have given lately.

Ancedontal agriculture price story- One of my employee has horses. Grass hay prices were @90 ton 2 year ago currently $200 ton (usual winter increase $15- 25 or $105/$115 in winter 2 years ago) Same with plain old wheat straw $1.50 a bale 2 years ago now $4.50- $5.50 He also said that beef prices usually fall with hay price increases as farmers send thier cattle in to butcher because it cost too much to feed them. If the run up in corn prices for ethanol is increasing cattle food prices, then hay as a substitute will rise as well. You cannot have your corn fuel and eat it cheaply too evidently. :(

All the best,


I was listening to Rick Steves' show on NPR recently, and one of his guests was an American expatriate living in Spain. She said she was shocked at the increase in food prices in the US, when she visited after not being here for a couple of years.

To the extent that you can, I think that it is a good idea to try--at least to some extent--to be a food and/or energy producer, or at least try to work on the non-discretionary side of the economy.

Remember a billionaire named Rainwater, who is increasing his ability to grow his own food and integrating himself into small town life in the Carolinas:

Who hasn't spoken a word about Peak Oil in over a year, and who has continued his merry investment ways to get rich faster. Yes, be sure you remember his name.

I like how your anecdote takes the effect of increased feed prices one step further than most people would consider - from increased prices for feed to the liquidation of beef herds...

It reminds me of a recent story about the effect of the drought in Australia on sheep-herders. They were all trying to reduce their herd size at auction at the same time and some could not sell them at all.

We are likely to see whiplash between inflationary and deflationary effects on prices in various areas of the economy over time as Post Peak Chaos T1 gains steam.


I take a much different approach. I don't believe in banks or PMs or the lastest place to shelter "money".

What I do believe in is "stuff" that will help you make it through bad times or a collapse. For example, I bought a larger freezer last year (much to my wife's consternation) so we have 30 cu ft of freezer space. I used a ton of stock money (for me) to put in a large PV system almost 8 years ago.

Here is a "test" I've thrown around other forums. I call it the Container Test:

You know with a certainty that society will collapse within two years. You have unlimited money but anything you buy has to fit into a standard 8x8x40' shipping container. What would you put in it?

If this were a prep or survival forum I'd list my "stuff". I'll give a few hints. It isn't fancy things but rather basics we take for granted like clothes and shoes, tooth paste, soap, etc.

I think it's a fun way to prioritize what is important to your life.



I'm geting to the point where I wonder if contributing to a 401K or such is sound. Looking at the fall in the value of the dollar and the possibility of more of the same, I'm considering "stuff" like you might put in that container, or a PV system to be a better investment.



Here's the way I look at it: Part of this is because of my age. I'm 68 on a fixed income and cannot replace capital. Real inflation is running at 10-12% by most objective measures. I cannot find an investment paying even that rate without taking serious risks.

I find it better to concentrate upon "investments" that move me away from consumption toward production or "stockpiling" items I will use anyway at a later date. My PV system moves me away from being tied to the market by producing a lot of my own juice. I've had juice when there were power cuts in CA. I didn't notice because I wasn't on the grid at that time.

But, equally, a chain store was selling their London Broils at $2 a pound this summer...cheaper than hamburger. I bought 60#, vacuum packed them and stuck them in my freezer. We can have several fancy meals from each or, in a pinch, I can grind them into hamburger. Now, I already saved money on the meat but the purchases also more than accounted for inflation...with no risk. Does this make sense to you?

It's like tools. You can never have enough tools IMO...assuming "you" know how to use them. I have the tools to build a house (which I have done on many occasions) or overhaul a motor (which I have also done more than once). I have tools from my grandather that are close to 100 years old and they still work.

So, we each have to make basic decisions as to where we are going.



I agree with your approach 100%. I have "invested" most everything into my land, my home, my barn, my gardens, and... lots of tools.

Andrew Tobias, years ago, in one of his books, recommended buying in bulk in the manner you describe...in financial terms, if you get a 20% discount on a bunch of stuff you'll have to eventually buy anyway, it's better than a 20% return on your money. Good advice back then, when inflation was high, and also now, when (understated) inflation threatens to return.

I also think that we are seeing two phases to the Net Oil Export Bidding Wars. Phase One was against consumers in regions like Africa. Phase Two will be against regions like the EU and China.

My guess is a little different.

The US 'wants' 2% more/y, both because of 1% population growth and because of decent gdp growth. Lately, however, rising price has persuaded us to settle for what we had last year even as china's imports are growing 20% yoy. What is happening is that high growth economies are out bidding slower growth ones, with high prices slowing growth everywhere over what it would have been had supplies grown and prices been stable. So, china will continue to increase imports and consumption as the US and EU decline, albeit slowly. And, the EU might even maintain consumption as we make sacrifice to accommodate china's continued expnsion; oil costs to EU consumers will not go up much, even if oil continues to be priced in dollars, because the dollar will continue to fall. OTOH, if oil is priced in euros, then the main (only?) prop under the dollare will disappear, and our prices will escelate rapidly.

Looking at it another way, higher oil will not price china's goods out of our markets, so they must have the energy to continue as our goods producer.

As noted down the thread, US consumption is now up year over year.

This is a plot of the four week running average of Total US Petroleum Imports that Khebab did: http://www.theoildrum.com/uploads/28/Data_4weeks.png

Based on the HL plot, the US is 85% depleted. To just keep our imports at our current level, our consumption has to drop, every single year, at the same volumetric decline that we see in domestic consumption.

The general consensus view among the population at large seems to be that we can increase our total petroleum imports, forever, at about 5% per year (doubling about every 15 years), against a finite resource base--while all of our current data suggest declining net oil export capacity worldwide, especially right next door in Mexico, where they are already eliminating and/or cutting crude oil deliveries.

In the case of Iran, if they were to simply cease exports and all oil produced will be utilized for internal consumption, the local economy of Iraq will simply be an exchange of fiat currency between the internal consumers and internal producers with the government and the nation getting none the richer.

I think that oversimplifies things, and makes at least these two dubious assumptions: that nothing is produced within Iran other than oil, and that foreign currencies (such as the US$) are less of a "fiat" currency. In fact, Iran is an industrialized country that has even gotten as far as making its own fighter jets.

I agree with you that "satisfying domestic demand" is a nebulous concept, as that demand depends on the degree of subsidy given to domestic oil consumption (or, in the case of Norway, a high tax). And what's "rational" depends on the local situation. The core idea of the export-land-model is that domestic consumption, to some degree, must be met for political reasons, not economic rationality.

Take for example Saudi Arabia. You wrote:

If oil production declined in Saudi Arabia and its leaders had to make a decision between satisfying internal demand 100%, or rationing internal demand and continuing exports ... to remain in power, which do you think the leaders will chose?

- I think that rationing internal use there would likely increase the chances of a revolt against the princely class. As it is, the per-capita income is plummeting and unemployment is very high. The most they'd do when exports start declining is reduce the subsidy a bit.

"The core idea of the export-land-model is that domestic consumption, to some degree, must be met for political reasons, not economic rationality."

This hasn't always been true in the case of food. Consider the typical Central American model. Lots of bananas and coffee produced for export at the expense of subsistence foods. This probably applies also to palm oil. I guess it depends on what "to some degree" means, and where the real power centers are. In Saudi Arabia, the power centers are the elite, and the Wahabbi clerics. The latter are more concerned with the people's spiritual purity than physical well being.

"In Saudi Arabia, the power centers are the elite, and the Wahabbi clerics."

You forgot to mention the American embassy.

"To grow the wealth of a nation, you must have exports to build a positive trade balance, which allows the central bank of each country to build a reserve of foreign currency."

No, to grow the wealth of a nation, you must have efficient and productive industry. The rest follows. The problem for nations of few resources whose economic development followed the discovery of copious amounts of oil relates to the difficulty of establishing competitive businesses in other areas. The export of oil drives up the value of the local currency, making imports cheap, and undermining local enterprise. For all its Oxford, LSE, Harvard, etc., graduates, what industry exists in Saudi Arabia besides a few cookie factories.

All of the oil export dependent nations would have been better off severely restricting the export of oil, while encouraging the establishment of industries which aimed at exporting products with oil as an embedded factor.

But then, any natives with these ideas quickly learned that the long arm of Washington, London, Paris, and so on, pointed the assassin's gun.

The problem of resource rich countries not developing value adding industries is that classical economics professors have taught them the concept of Competitive Advantage. Banana republics should grow as many bananas as possible and use the profits to buy other foods. OPEC countries should plow most their profits into new wells and refineries. A bad year for bananas or the collapse of a major oil field results in deeper debts in banana republics and extremist revolutions in oil kingdoms.

When the United Banana company and the small local group of beneficiaries of United Banana had problems with local 'troublemakers' proposing alternative arrangements for local resources they did not pull out textbooks to calm the situation.

It is not 'classical economics professors' whom the House of Saud relies upon for support for their regime.

On the other hand, some economics professors are always willing to take the fee to address meetings at the State Department or the CIA to help rationalise the repression and murder in which they have been and are systematically engaged.

I'm going to keep hammering on the demand side of the equation. If we don't cut back on excessive consumption we will never solve our long-range resource problems.

In honor of St. Valentine's Day: this stat via the BBC: spending on "stuff" for today's holiday in the US is $17 billion. The UK is also doing it's share at $3 billion.

The holiday is starting to catch on in China and Japan as well where it is also becoming associated with giving presents. Imagine what the holiday would look like if people demonstrated their affection for others directly through some act of kindness or care rather than a mass produced and impersonal item.

Apparently we have enough money to spare that we can spend it on ephemeral stuff but not on children. The US and the UK just scored at the bottom of all advanced societies in a UN study of the environment for children in their countries.

responding in part to the comment from the first article,
where the IOC leaders were 'sobered' at how many people were already Peak-Aware or convinced (perhaps a skewed polling, as this might reflect 'people who go to local talks on energy'..)

.. but as it relates to R Feinman's question of demand, I was wondering what aspects of my lifestyle, were it expanded into an analysis of 'public purchasing trends' would signal my being convinced of Peak Oil or at least of our 'demand crisis' in this country (I'm in NEastern US).. Compared to 5 yrs ago, I have, with my wife and child, 1 car where we, in NYC, once had none. I buy heating oil, albeit for a 3-unit house (8 people in 2000sq ft, 700', 700', 600'), I have been to Home Depot and other home improvement places a lot, while I wouldn't expect my purchases to necessarily signal that I am steadily 'greening' my house. Today, for my wife's valentine present, for example (ha-ha), I'm installing the 4th energy-efficient window in the downstairs apt, complete with lots of insulation stuffing and other tightening of that unit. The drafts that had been trickling into that apartment while I typed earnestly on TOD are truly embarrassing to acknowledge, but I'm dragging this 150 yr old house forward as well as I can. I also bought 2 laptops and a decent camera and tripod last year, as I make our home office and my video company both more current and capable, while using FAR less current from the wall, but as an outside economic indicator, I am a consumer showing great confidence and possibly no discernible fear about the future of energy or the economy, while in fact, this conclusion couldn't be farther from the truth. Looking at ALL my purchases, of course it would also come to light that I got $1500 in Solar Electric equipment, too. But does that get used in someone's equation for 'overall purchases'?

Bob Fiske

"We have to kill consumption before consumption kills us."

Happy valentine's day, Leanan.

I bet you're cute in addition to being so rich and so smart :)

I am watching an absolutely gorgeous sunrise out my east window.

All this talk of peak this and peak that, and the mirage of "controlled fusion" to save us....

There is endless energy just 93 million miles away, and it is all free! Until about 200 years ago, that is what people depended on. With the industrial development of hydrocarbon energy, we managed to addict and enslave ourselves to chthonic forces beyond our control.

With mindfulness and humility we can reconnect to the light, but it won't be easy. Kudos to the OilDrum for pointing the way.

No sunrise for me today. It's a whiteout.

I heard on CNN this morning that Albany, NY might get as much as 50" of snow. o_O

Snow is a good insulator. Completely wrapping your house in snow should reduce your energy consumption (certainly gasoline consumption is WAY down in Albany).

So have a Happy Valentine's Day :-)

Best Hopes,


I am not in Albany, though. I'm getting sleet. They are predicting this area will be encased in 3-4" of ice before the day is over.

Valentine's Day is pretty much a bust around here. Everything's closed. Even the American Heart Association events have been postponed.

And relatively heavy. I was suprised to see on news reports how flat many of the roofs were in that part of the country. One man stated he was shovelling his roof every day to keep the load down. Wonder what he will do when the snow level is higher than the eave of the house. I wouldn't be suprised to hear of collapses over the next few days. I think the perfect roof in Albany would be very highly pitched like a Swiss chalet.

Albany doesn't get all that much snow. It's western NY/Buffalo that gets socked (lake effect snow).

Even chalet-style roofs accumulate snow. But yeah, the roofs are pretty flat, even in western NY.

WOW, Hope everyone is prepared and of course some won't be. Looks pretty when its not on my roof.

Hello Everyone,

I received a question & comment via e-mail:

You should read the Bhagavad Gita. I think it would
change your opinion on both God and your fellow man.

As a matter of fact, I read the Bhagavad Gita and was impressed. Beautiful book. Wonderful Scripture. Profound message.

I am not known
to evil-doers, nor to foolish ones,
nor to the base and churlish; nor to those
whose mind is cheated by the show of things,
nor those who take the way of the Asuras.
Four sorts of mortals know me: he who weeps,
Arjuna! and the man who yearns to know;
and he who toils to help; and he who sits
certain of me, enlightened.
Of these four,
O Prince of India! highest, nearest, best
that last is, the devout soul, wise, intent
upon "The One." Dear above all, am I
to him, and he is dearest unto me!
All four are good, and seek me; but mine own,
the true of heart, the faithful -- stayed on me,
taking me as their utmost blessedness,
they are not "mine," but I -- even I myself!
Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita is a great book. I have read it numerous times and shall read it again, carefully.

The question took the following form:

Why you choose to feel and think the thought patterns that you do is beyond me? Why anyone would choose depressing thoughts over happiness is beyond me.

Happy thoughts are wonderful and depressing thoughts are necessary. Nor is happiness an effective antidote to depression:

"Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, and the end of joy may be grief." (Proverbs 14:13)

"Sorrow is better than laughter, for when a face is sad a heart may be happy. The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning, while the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure. It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man than for one to listen to the songs of fools." (Ecclesiastes 7:3-5)

When looking at this world filled with oppression, poverty, violence, warfare, pollution, environmental degradation, extinctions of numerous species and addictive materialism ... isn't sorrow the only appropriate response?

Mourn for humankind. Mourn for the sad fate which awaits us all. Mourn for all the foolish choices that have worked together to make the apocalypse possible.

If I am happy at all it is on behalf of the sunlight. The sun has shined for four billion years and it will continue shining for at least another four billion years. The sun is very good. Humankind is a tragedy, though, but only the most temporary sort of tragedy. Humankind is a self-extinguishing fire. Here today, gone tomorrow, forgotten eternally: That is humankind. But the sun is wonderful. A very reliable star and it has powered four billion years of Nature.

David Mathews

Why was this comment placed on The Oil Drum?
Seems way, way off topic to me.


Hello Rick,

Why was this comment placed on The Oil Drum?
Seems way, way off topic to me.

I doubt that any religious topic is out of place here at The Oil Drum. The Oil Drum has a long (and dismal) history of engaging in all sorts of religious discussions, and the vast majority of these are often from a distinctly anti-religious perspective.

Besides, the question came from the TOD community. So the answer is given here. If the author of the question has something specifically in mind regarding the Bhagavad Gita, I would love to hear it here.

The subject of humankind's past, present and future fate is religious in nature, just as it is also scientific. I am interested in this topic from both standpoints.

Questions regarding the morality of humankind's present behavior are intrinsically religious too, even among those who adamantly reject religion. The behavior of the oil industry is subject to moral and religious criticism. This materialistic drug-addicted oil-addicted morbidly obese society is also subject to moral and religious criticism.

Finally: TOD needs more viewpoints expressed and more subjects worthy of discussion. The oil "debates" have all become exercises in repetition at this point. So why not approach this subject of humankind's behavior from a religious standpoint?

David Mathews

I disagree...any non-oil topic is out of place. Let's just agree to disagree.


I doubt that any religious topic is out of place here at The Oil Drum.

I doubt that any chance for you to post a very long narrative, that only you and maybe a couple others will ever read, will never be missed.

Stop posting. If you must post, keep it to under 25 words.

You are writing just to read your own stuff. And to chew up bandwidth.

You are doing your best to make TOD unreadable.

Samsara: A number of posters have been accused of being paid trolls (Hothgor for instance) but IMHO Dave Mathews has been more effective in dragging down TOD than anyone to date.

Hello Samsara,

I doubt that any chance for you to post a very long narrative, that only you and maybe a couple others will ever read, will never be missed.

Whether people read or do not read is not my concern. There are a hundred thousand books at Borders that I have not read and will not have an opportunity to read. There are a hundred million websites full of information that I have never visited nor will ever have an opportunity to visit. There are a hundred billion billion stars that have shined for billions of years, I won't notice a single photon from any of these throughout my life.

I don't encourage everyone to read all the posts at The Oil Drum. I don't. People read what is relevant to their own self. I say what is relevant to my own self. I argue with whomever wishes to argue, I agree with whomever I wish to agree, and I tolerate all differences of opinion.

There are 6.5 billion people on this Earth. Those who imagine that their opinions are significant haven't yet paid attention to the thoughts of the other 6.5 billion people who are not *your own self*.

David Mathews

I gave up reading your posts a while back, too much repetitous mantra. May I suggest that whenever you get the irrational urge for another post here you spend your time more productively by reading the tao te ching:

There is a preamble of several pages, the first verse is here:

"Thus, the True Person acts without striving
and teaches without words."

Hello Agric,

I have read the Tao Te Ching. Excellent and very influential book. I encourage everyone to read it.

David Mathews

Whether people read or do not read is not my concern.


I think you should be concerned... Communication is a goal. Leanan's news links, the contributors essays, the readships' responses represent communication. To post that you don't care if you are contributing, or that your thoughts might be irrelevant to many readers is contrary to the very purpose of TOD. And it diminishes the community here.

Hello Will,

I think you should be concerned... Communication is a goal. Leanan's news links, the contributors essays, the readships' responses represent communication. To post that you don't care if you are contributing, or that your thoughts might be irrelevant to many readers is contrary to the very purpose of TOD. And it diminishes the community here.

Leanan's news links are wonderful. But does anyone read them all? I didn't think so. Leanan's news links are informative in that they reveal what Leanan is reading. I have my own sources of news and visit websites reflecting numerous different political, religious and moral viewpoints.

The discussions here include a whole bunch of posts. No one reads them all. At least ... I hope that no one reads them all. People read what is relevant to their own self and discuss only those topics which they have a particular interest in discussing.

There are two hundred channels on my cable, I make a point of not trying to watch them all. Or any, most of the time. There is simply too much information for everyone to absorb. We cannot help but ignore most of what we see, hear & read.

Only the Omniscient pays attention to everything and everyone.

David Mathews

dmatthew1 is a serious troll with his own agenda, ignore him the best you can.

Par for the course with our Enfant-terrible, tragic-muse, warrior-poet Dmatthew.

He keeps us connected with the 'Great Irony of Wretchedness', and while I feel a TINY bit of his pain, I don't mourn the human race, and I rejoice in coming here to hear people using their hearts and minds to work out some understanding and some solutions to a number of truly frightening challenges that we face.

His anger and his fear may be distracting and discouraging.. but it's hardly a surprise, considering the implications of the spiny prongs on this pitchfork that we mere blades of hay are facing.. Energy Falloff - Food Supply/Ecological Collapse - and Climate Imbalance. Yikes!

'.. for yesterday is only dream, and tomorrow but a vision,
but Today, well-lived, will make every yesterday a dream of happiness,
and every tomorrow, a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to This Day!' - from sanskrit

Bob Fiske

More religious voices regarding Peak Oil:

Any Douglas Adams fans, I think it’s the second “Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” sequence where he’s describing a cricket match taking place at Lords, and an alien spaceship lands and nobody pays any attention. Because each of them says “It’s somebody else’s problem.” So the SEP field surrounds the alien spaceship and makes it invisible. Somebody else’s problem. These are the things we face. Do we say, “It’s somebody else’s problem, I can’t cope with it, I’m not going to worry about it.” Do we way, “Something’s going to turn up.” You know, what are we putting our faith in? That there will be a technological solution, which is worshipping a different God. We’ll say “I’m alright Jack.” George Bush, his ranch in Crawford in Texas is entirely energy independent. Most, I say most, a great number of the American leadership have independent houses which have been covered in solar panels and wind turbines and so forth. The American government has known about this for quite some time.

An excellent, and religious response to Peak Oil.

Religion has a lot to say about this subject and it is not a happy message.

David Mathews

And we wonder why CERA gets so much credibility - and the Oil Drum none???
Well Duh - it is all these non oil useless posts that make the PO folks
look totally idiotic.
You want the credibility of CERA - then you got to earn it.

Hello beechdriver,

And we wonder why CERA gets so much credibility - and the Oil Drum none???

The folks at CERA are not anonymous. That is why there is a difference in credibility.

Well Duh - it is all these non oil useless posts that make the PO folks
look totally idiotic.

Apparently, you haven't read The Oil Drum very carefully. About 80% of the posts here are not oil-related and the 20% which are are needlessly repetitive.

You want the credibility of CERA - then you got to earn it.

To begin with, those who want credibility must (1). Identify their own self by name, and (2). Reveal all actual & potential conflicts of interests. Without these there is no credibility whatsoever.

David Mathews

Prof. Goose, and the editors:

It takes a lot to surpass my tolerance threshold, but lately the signal to noise ratio has gone much higher on this site. I don't even bother reading messages like the above, but it still considerably detracts from the site. Would someone who makes the decisions please resolve this issue? I know it is a slippery slope to start restricting posting, but you can always ease off on restrictions if you find it raises issues.

As an example, one of the discussion lists I subscribe to is the Electric Vehicle Discussion List. On this list any discussions that are political, religious or generally off-topic are strictly off-limits. I acknowledge that this will be harder for TOD because of the topic, but I think it is still possible.

I stopped reading peakoil_dot_com particularly for this issue. It would be beneficial to have a peak oil / energy discussion site that is informative and can be confidently shared with friends/family/coworkers.

Thank you for making this site available.

Where is that EV list?

I was out walking yesterday, thinking I might start using the "Without Comments" option for a while. There is plenty to read in just the articles and Drumbeat links. I had decided to wait and see what TOD had in mind for QC.

BTW, the Valentine candy graphic was cute.

IMO here are the reasons CERA has and retains credibility:

0. They are doing what they do to make money. They are therefore perceived as having skin in the game.

1. They keep very tight control of their message. Nobody except employees gets to speak under the CERA banner. They rarely display any signs of debate - they don't argue, they pronounce.

2. They have obvious industry ties - their "real" product is viewed as insider information, and the financial barrier to entry preserves that air of realism.

3. Look at who quotes them. They are referenced by people in the business and those in regulatory or legislative positions. This happens because they have cultivated those relationships and have presumably demonstrated some value to those people.

A forum like TOD, as valuable as it is, will never achieve the level of official credibility accorded to organizations like CERA regardless of what posters we permit or ban: we have no financial stake in the game; we open the floor to all opinions in the interests of a full and open debate; we may have industry insiders here, but the organization itself is viewed as being outside and having little influence; look at who quotes us - so far it's mostly been other bloggers...

TOD has tremendous value, but to bemoan our lack of CERA-like influence is to utterly misread our role in the debate. We're a very high-end, extremely technical blog, that attracts a wide range of opinions on a diverse range of topics and with wildly varying degrees of technical soundness. As such, we can and do contribute heavily to the debate, but our influence will remain indirect. TOD will not get to be directly involved in shaping policy, though our debates will influence those who do.

I think our lurking readers make allowances for the fact that we have the occasional loose cannon rolling around the deck. We are not expected to be pinstripe-wearing, dossier-carrying advisors to power. We are strong and well-informed debaters in the very rough and tumble environment of the Internet. More power to us, that is a very potent role to be playing right now.

Hallelujah and amen.

Hi Glider,

"... debates will influence those who do."

In view of Heading Out's post on CC, prompted by a need for more action, I'd like to see some discussion (if not debate) on optimal energy policies - US, World.

Yes, and happy hearts, Leanan.

I think the recent 'conference call' that XOM held that included Drummers is an indication that this website is starting to sting the powers that be.
The power of the Internet was instrumental in the fall of the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia a few years ago. The Chinese oligarchy has placed restrictions on use of the Internet because it has demonstrated its political power. Even the Bushies are trying to remove our anonimity as part of the so called war on terror.
Keep the discussion going.

I've thought about that call a few times and I also wonder how much XOM was "feeling out" their antagonists. They learned something by engaging the folks at TOD that may help them "frame" their PR in the future.

Hi Dragonfly41,

How did the explosion recovery go, by the way?

re: "They learned something by engaging the folks at TOD that may help them "frame" their PR in the future."

(See Markham quote.)

Hello Aniya,

The smoke lasted about 30 hrs. and only two people injured. Pretty amazing really. All is fine now in KC...just bitterly cold...4 degrees this morning.

Where is the Markham quote?

Hi Dragonfly41,

Glad everyone (almost) was ok. I was just trying to support Bob's comment to DavidM. Who knows, it might work for the possible PR fishing expedition. (Greetings, if you're watching!)

He drew a circle that shut me out
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout
But love and I had the wit to win;
We drew a circle that took him in.

Edwin Markham

I tried to find a story from long ago, about a gov. infiltrator into Greenpeace, who - after a few months, "came out" of the spy closet and said he'd never felt so loved in his life (as being part of that group).

"When looking at this world filled with oppression, poverty, violence, warfare, pollution, environmental degradation, extinctions of numerous species and addictive materialism ... isn't sorrow the only appropriate response?"


"Mourn for humankind. Mourn for the sad fate which awaits us all. Mourn for all the foolish choices that have worked together to make the apocalypse possible."

I do.

And yet, I'm usually happy. Why? I don't rightly know. I'm not a "religious" person. Maybe it's some Daoist thing. Maybe it's not "happiness".

I teach ecology, environmental science, sustainable gardening, etc. courses, and the classes can get pretty "doomer" sometimes - it's interesting to see how people take it. As hard as it might be for TODers to believe, most folks "out there" have not been exposed to PO, or really even to GW in any serious way.

Some people just totally suppress thinking about. Some people get very thoughtful. Some people even seem to change a little. I know that several of my students have changed their majors from, say, business management, to environmental studies. One person at a time...

These years, in addition to teaching, I work in my garden, I work in my woodlot with my big ol' horse, I play my guitar with my band and my friends. I guess I'm happy, or content, or something. But it's a dynamic thing, something that I try to share, and not some self-satisfied solipsistic trip. I have good friends, which might be the key right there.

But I mourn, all right. I mourn every old patch of forest that gets cut down (they're logging adjacent to me right now). I mourn what we do to the world, and the peoples of the world. And to ourselves. It could be so beautiful...

Dave, I regularly scroll past your posts, but today, I forgot to check the name at the top before reading.

The experience was so terrible that I was immediately and strongly motivated to prevent such an event from recurring. What follows are the solutions that I considered.

I knew I wouldn't be able to stay away from TOD for long, so leaving wasn't a solution; and as they don't seem to be willing to ban you, my first option was to stab my eyes out, so that I wouldn't be able to read your garbage ever again. It subsequently occurred to me that stabbing out my eyes wouldn't prevent someone reading your posts aloud to me or slipping me a copy of your post in braille when I wasn't ... looking. This would be unacceptable. Even if I had my fingers and eardrums removed, I would probably eventually be driven insane by the thought of other people suffering while reading your material, sort of like if all school playgrounds were equipped with landmines. Also, I like living, so suicide is not an available solution.
Some people resort to violence when they have problems, but in this case, that is not an option because I would risk hearing you speak or reading somthing you had written hardcopy. Also, I think it would be more difficult to read TOD if I was in jail.

This is pretty much the end of the solutions that I can implement. But solutions do exist!
You Dave, can solve my problem.
You can stop posting on TOD. Now.
Do not reply to this post. Do not reply to any post.

If you are astute, you might have picked up on a flaw in my suggestion. There exists the possibility that you might write something somewhere else that I might read, or you might go on a vacation, and I might hear you talking. Also, there are all of the people with whom you interact regularly to consider. I therefore recommend that you have your vocal cords and your fingers removed. This way, no person has to suffer if you decide to open your mouth or pick up a pen or keyboard.

Dave, when you consider this suggestion, think of the feelings of the people around you, and especially on this website. Thank you very much for your consideration.

I offer my apologies to my fellow drummers in case you feel that your time has been wasted. Hopefully you were able to derive at least a weak chuckle from my post.

Dave's posting can be a bit, ah, tedious at times, but it doesn't get under my skin the way it does to some of you folks. But there are some posters that DO get under my skin, so I know the feeling, and the wish that there was something to be done about it... It seems there are downsides to just about anything that gets proposed.

Just be grateful that the poster's name is at the beginning of the posting, not the end, like at CFN (Kunstler's blog). You're reading along, and suddenly realize something terrible has gone wrong... scroll down to the signature... aieee! Dangerbird! (or OEO, or whoever).

Pickyreader, I suggest you don't post again, as your posts are absolutely useless. dmatthews is at least provocative and often interesting.


David is not a novice at this sort of stuff. He is along time poster on the Yahoo Energy Resources group as I'm sure Ron Patterson and John Samsara can attest. He continues to post there even though he is typically ignored. And, he will continue to post here, unless he is banned. So, assuming he doesn't join Oil CEO, you only have two choices: ignore hime or feed the beast.


Hi Todd,

Jokuhl/Bob upthread had a response I'd categorize as Markham-like:

He drew a circle that shut me out
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout
But love and I had the wit to win;
We drew a circle that took him in.

Edwin Markham

Hello Todd,

David is not a novice at this sort of stuff. He is along time poster on the Yahoo Energy Resources group as I'm sure Ron Patterson and John Samsara can attest. He continues to post there even though he is typically ignored. And, he will continue to post here, unless he is banned. So, assuming he doesn't join Oil CEO, you only have two choices: ignore hime or feed the beast.

Ron Patterson is a name that I recognize. John Samsara is not. What difference does it make to me what these people think?

David Mathews

Hello pickyreader,

I knew I wouldn't be able to stay away from TOD for long, so leaving wasn't a solution ...

That's too bad, pickyreader. You would do yourself a favor if you found a way to stay away for long.

David Mathews

The Life After The Oil Crash Forum might be a good place for posts like this - it's got lots of different subforums, and a *lot* of activity.

Solar Power Breakthrough: IAUS Hits Milestone Previously Thought to Be Impossible

International Automated Systems, Inc. (OTCBB: IAUS - News)

Notice this "OTCBB"-listed company has no insider buying - but does have an endless list of insider SALES ...

Yeah, this IAUS company has always seemed pretty questionable to me. Their products are "self serve fast food machines" and, oh yes, revolutionary solar power. But their product is not actually solar cells, it is magnifiers. Thin film plastic magnifiers. Their big "breakthrough" is that they can manufacture sheets of these things. You still need some solar cells to put behind the magnifiers, plus lots of aiming equipment to keep the sun focused on the small solar cell. It's only one part of the solar puzzle and it is far from certain that this will turn out to be a good, cost-effective way to generate solar power.

Talking heads on CNBC can't ever seem to report the correct numbers. Another big draw of commercial inventories this week is reported by CNBC as bearish because there was a bigger than expected build in gasoline inventories! Hmmm Here is what the report said:

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic
Petroleum Reserve) declined by 0.6 million barrels compared to the previous
week. At 323.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper
end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline
inventories fell by 2.0 million barrels last week, but remain above the upper
end of the average range. Distillate fuel inventories declined by 3.0 million
barrels, but remain above the upper end of the average range for this time of
year. Most of the decrease was seen in high-sulfur distillate fuel (heating
oil) inventories, while diesel fuel inventories (both ultra-low-sulfur and
low-sulfur) declined slightly. Propane/propylene inventories dropped by 4.8
million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories plummeted by
11.3 million barrels last week, but remain above the upper end of the average
range for this time of year.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged nearly 21.2
million barrels per day, or 5.0 percent above the same period last year. Over
the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged nearly 9.1 million
barrels per day, or 3.6 percent above the same period last year. Distillate
fuel demand has averaged 4.5 million barrels per day over the last four weeks,
or 7.0 percent above the same period last year. Jet fuel demand is up 5.6
percent over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last

Total Product Supplied: up 5%
Gasoline Demand: up 3.6%
Distillate Fuel Demand: up 7%
Jet Fuel Demand: up 5.6%

Based on the plot that Khebab did, the US needs, on average, about 5% more Total Petroleum Imports every year, because of increasing demand and lower domestic production.

Total US petroleum imports for the first six weeks of 2007 (average of 12 mbpd) are down relative to the first six weeks last year (average of 12.7 mbpd).

IMO, if we wish to keep consuming petroleum products at the current rate, we are going to have to bid the price up. But this time, IMO, we are going to be bidding against regions like the EU and China, instead of regions like Africa.

What's the latest count on the number of aircraft carrier battle groups in or on their way to the Middle East?

How can total petroleum imports be down but total product supplied be up by 5%?

Inventory draw downs.

Inventories were at high levels last year, but they have been drawn down significantly, and there are limits to how far we can draw inventories down.

Compared to last year domestic production is up some ~4% due to recovery after Katrina and there has been a significant draw down of total inventories at some ~10 mln.brls.


This allows for lower imports and more product supplied for the time being.

We have seen a rebound in US oil production, because of the recovery from Katrina, but as you implied, this is temporary.

For US imports to just stay constant, we have to reduce our consumption at the same rate that our domestic production falls--and we have to reduce our consumption at that same rate every single year.

Based on the HL model, the US is about 85% depleted.

I am really surprised at the +5% demand growth number for all products but imagine the weather is distorting that a bit. The bigger surprise is the continued drawdown of the inventories this week at 11.3 million barrels. This would lead me to believe that you are correct sir and we are finding it harder to find sellers at these prices as witnessed by the OPEC cuts, and lower Mexican supplies. Again the $64,000 question is what's available at $78? The knot of fear in my belly is getting larger as the oil supply appears to be getting smaller. Meanwhile the genuis trading community is bidding the price down again.
While it may take a day for the market to digest this report the latest "Experts" are declaring winter is over so we need not worry.....as demand will be dropping soon? Huh? they may never figure it out!

The key metric that I keep hammering is that the average monthly Brent spot price in the 20 months after 5/05 was about two-thirds higher than the 20 months prior to 5/05.

And the cumulative deficiency, through November, between what the world would have produced at the 5/05 rate and what we actually produced (EIA Data, C+C) is on the order of 320 million barrels.

We are simply seeing, IMO, a serious of bidding cycles for declining world crude oil production--and more importantly--for declining world net oil exports.

Keep Hammering. Any guess as to when or if the exporters like KSA, Iran, Mexico, Hugoland, or others would impose a ceiling on internal consumption? While that could be political suicide the need for cash could necessitate this. It could always be dressed up in a nationalistic smokescreen for at least a couple of those countries. I seem to remember Iran tried to raise its internal price last year and the natives got pretty restless.

"Any guess as to when or if the exporters like KSA, Iran, Mexico, Hugoland, or others would impose a ceiling on internal consumption?"

I talked about it up the thread. My guess is that by the time that exporters start trying to crack down on internal consumption, their exports will be so low that it won't make much of a difference either way.

Right now, domestic demand in most large exporting countries is increasing rapidly, especially where petroleum products are subsidized--talk about pouring gasoline on a fire.

Iran is not worried so much about oil supplies – but gasoline. The drive to reduce gasoline consumption within Iran is driven by the fact that it imports 60% of its gasoline. In the event of a military conflict leading to the total cut off of gasoline imports, Iran would be in a bad position.

However even Iran obtusely acknowledges occasionally that the age of oil will run out, and they will have to rely on natural gas and other forms of energy – such as nuclear. Therefore we see the tentative and only minimally successful attempts to reduce consumption.

'Cantarells Postulate' - "Declining per capita oil production must equal emigration to maintain the status quo".

...and we think it is bad now...

'Mooroils Law' - "You get to drive half as far or pay twice as much every two years".

Jeffery and Khebab - Still looking for rules to name after you two.

"Khebab's Conclusion"....
"Brown's (?)"

Keep hammering? Why? Perhaps to get the price of futures contracts up? It seems to me that if one takes seriously the various criticisms of TOD expressed above, that anything said here is unlikely to affect large players in the oil business, so what's the point of hammering away at these supposed shortfalls and inconsistencies?

What's the latest count on the number of aircraft carrier battle groups in or on their way to the Middle East?

Two carrier battle groups with the Ronald Regan eight days distant and believed to be proceeding to ME after Kitty Hawk completes a refit in Japan.

Also one Marine Expeditionary task force on scene with a second enroute.

During Iraq War I and Iraq War II there were never more than two carrier groups assigned. Marine task forces may be intended to clear the area around Straits of Hormuz if there is a conflict.

At the start of Iraq War I, there were six carrier battle groups involved: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War

This morning, before the plows freed me from the icy grip of my neighborhood, a CNN analyst commented that there were reports of a 3rd carrier battle group being sent to the Gulf. I believe the analyst referenced a Newsday report, but I didn't see anything about it on their website.

Newsweek has the following sentence in their current week cover story:

"A second Navy carrier group is steaming toward the Persian Gulf, and NEWSWEEK has learned that a third carrier will likely follow."


newsDAY, newsWEEK...

my mistake, thanks for clearing that up

And then there's this:

Meanwhile, Middle East trading sources said Saudi Arabia has steeply raised the amount of its jet fuel earmarked for the US military, which is expanding its presence in the Gulf.

They said state oil company Saudi Aramco may have put aside upwards of a million tonnes of the aviation fuel for possible use by the US military this year, compared with around 200,000 tonnes in 2006.

“I believe that Saudi Arabia was warned in advance of the increased US military activity starting early 2007 and may have allocated 1mn to 1.2mn tonnes of jet fuel for possible use by the US military during 2007,” one source said.

The Pentagon dispatched a second aircraft carrier strike group to the Gulf last month.

If my math is correct, 1.0-1.2 million tons of jet fuel is about 8.0-9.6 million barrels, or roughly a quarter of the fuel used in the 295 days of Desert Shield/Storm. Any idea how much fuel would normally be stockpiled before launching a major Middle East operation?

Also of interest in the link above:

Moreover, “during ODS/S Saudi Arabia and the UAE supplied fuels without charge (1.5 billion gallons), whereas Bahrain, Egypt, Oman and Qatar charged for the fuels,” adds the Rand report.

Did Saudi Arabia and the UAE report that fuel as export? Did the US report it as import? Was it counted as Saudi or UAE domestic consumption? Or Was it counted as the US consumption?

I am afraid the answers to those three questions are No, No, No and No!

But that amount was surely counted in production.

After trying to get a handle on the subject of US military fuel use in the ME, my impression is that the amount used is counted in neither US consumption nor imports. I further suspect that the year end unaccounted inventory differences that result between IEA world supply and use levels is also related to military use (and not from floating inventories, which would reach some type of practical limit fairly quickly and not vary much year to year). If someone has evidence to the contrary on these matters, I would like to know. Thanks.

IEA does have a Misc supply/usage component. But rather being unknown military usage that i was looking for, the last three years (2003-2005) were unknown Supply. The amounts were 0.1, 0.6 & 0.7-mbd respectively. After 3 qtr's, 2006 was 0.5-mbd. The conspiracy theory vein in me would speculate unreported OPEC sales.

0.7-mbd equates to 256,000 barrels of crude in a year

or it could just be a rounding issue

Why do you post this information? Is it because TOD is really a tout sheet for oil futures?

Hello energy pals,

I recently had a short discussion with "new accout" and mentioned the name "Hermann Scheer". Later I did search the entire blog for this person's name and did only find one entry.

Because I think this man did change more in the "energy world" than any other within the last 2 decades, it is worth to post this contribution.

Further her is obviously starting a U.S. book tour on February 15th in San Francisco.

...Hermann Scheer, the architect of the German feed law, begins a North American book tour February 15th in San Francisco. Scheer, a member of the German parliament and an outspoken advocate of solar energy, is the author of Energy Autonomy: The Economic, Social, and Technological Case for Renewable Energy....

It is the feed law which triggered the swift growth in renewable energy industries. This law - so far - was copied in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Scheer, who also won the alternatvie nobel prize and who is president of Eurosolar is certainly a man whose ideas can be discussed controversially. He also mentions in his books the coming scarcity in energy supplies by fossil fuels and describes the globalization as a result of securing exactly this energy supply from all over the world (free trade)...

Feed laws could play a huge role if adopted in the US. Is anyone going to the tour and could you please post a recap here???

Re: Citizenre

They're obviously a pyramid scheme. There's several comments after that article and the CEO of Citizenre even chimes in, requesting people have 'faith'. He also replied to the challenge about availability of silicon for PV manufacture that they were also going to build their own PV silicon wafer foundry -- with the whole shebang's groundbreaking in April and completion nine months later.

Sad to see this happen.

Yes. It sounds like a scam to me.

And it's bad news for the whole industry. Their "too good to be true" promises are stealing customers from legitimate solar businesses, and may turn them against solar for a long time.

I jumped on the bandwagon when they first started. Since early November they promised they'd break ground "real soon, by the first of January we'll be able to show everything!" As the date came closer and nothing was happening I challenged their sales director on their promises and his reply was, "How do you know we haven't broken ground yet?" They lost me right there. Installations were promised by September of this year, and now it's January at the earliest (if ever).

I still can't tell if it's an outright scam or if they are just biting off WAY more than they can chew. If you read down the comments Dr. Richard George (who's Citizenre ad was on TOD for a while) is very critical of their promises. He was with the company and the one who validated the company enough in my eyes to give them a try. It's good to see that he's out now too.

Time will tell if they were overly ambitious or just plain crooks.

I pulled up this link that you had listed at the top of the thread,

"The Progressive Crises: Global Warming and Peak Oil Email"

and read through it. When I finished I happened to notice an ad on the left hand side of the page right at the top. I said to myself, I wonder. Yep it was. I agree, the whole thing looks like a standard MLM scheme to me, my only question is. According to their ad, you don't have to put up any "up front" money, you only have to sign a contract. In that case I would read that contract from front to back, and then read it again to see if I had missed anything.

the old hermit
"you can cure ignorance, but you can't educate stupitidy"

I saw a chart somewhere showing the breakdown of energy inputs into food production. I know nitrogen production (fertilizer) by far exceeded the next source (diesel fuel). Does this ring any bells?

Pimentel & Giampietro(1994) cover this in detail in "FOOD, LAND, POPULATION and the U.S. ECONOMY":

Dale Allen Pfeiffer quotes their data in "Eating Fossil Fuels" (2004), which is more accessible and well worth a read:

In the United States, 400 gallons of oil equivalents are expended annually to feed each American (as of data provided in 1994). Agricultural energy consumption is broken down as follows:

31% for the manufacture of inorganic fertilizer

19% for the operation of field machinery

16% for transportation

13% for irrigation

08% for raising livestock (not including livestock feed)

05% for crop drying

05% for pesticide production

08% miscellaneous8

Energy costs for packaging, refrigeration, transportation to retail outlets, and household cooking are not considered in these figures.

Thanks much.

I don't suppose I could trouble you with one (or anyone) more question. I keep seeing the number 10 cal of fossil fuels to produce 1 cal of food. It is pretty much stated but without justification. My only source is The Long Emergency and I can't even find that. I'm having a bad "finding" day. Thanks in advance for any help on this one.

I am having a "discussion" on these issues with someone who told me "that can't be true; no way."

I found it in Pfeiffer's aritcle: "In their refined study, Giampietro and Pimentel found that 10 kcal of exosomatic energy are required to produce 1 kcal of food delivered to the consumer in the U.S. food system. This includes packaging and all delivery expenses, but excludes household cooking).20 The U.S. food system consumes ten times more energy than it produces in food energy. This disparity is made possible by nonrenewable fossil fuel stocks."

:-) Pleased to be of help

May I suggest some mp3s? Global Public Media is a good source:

Julian Darley's "Letter from Earth #1" is an excellent start, even suitable for older children:

Richard Heinberg speaks well on PO and food:

I'd recommend this on in particular, "Threats of Peak Oil to the Global Food Supply":

The January 2007 UK Soil Association focused on PO, these speeches are shorter, about 20 minutes, and all worth a listen:

Be gentle with them (the discussing person), PO is not an easy thing to come to terms with, expect them to get angry and try not to take that ill.

I think I saw that 10:1 ratio first in an article called "The Oil We Eat" which is a good introductory article to how dependent we are on oil, very readable.

"agriculture accounts for only about one-third of total energy used for U.S. food production" http://www.ssu.missouri.edu/faculty/Jikerd/papers/SFT-Peak%20Oil.htm

So synthetic fertilizer provides about 31% of 1/3rd, or about 10% of exosomatic energy used to bring food to the table, or car seat, in the US. US agriculture (as opposed to the agriculture-food complex) actually uses about 3kcal of fossil energy for each kcal of food energy. This 3 to 1 ratio is as high as it is because of the emphasis in agricultural production on meat. In the US, according to the paper referenced above, and other sources, 15 kcal of fossil energy is expended for each kcal of meat energy.

Peak oil threatens the existing industrial agriculture, manufactured meat, prepackaged portion, prepared food model. It does not threaten the capacity of the United States or other countries to produce adequate amounts of food energy for the current population or even the population that the earth will carry when it reaches peak population sometime in the next 70 years. Climate change is likely to pose a larger risk to food security.

The notion that agricultural production expanded because and only because of vastly expanded inputs of fossil fuels is an illusion, albeit a persistant one, if I may paraphrase Einstein.

Agricultural production expanded because the demand for food, and over time the demand for meat, expanded. The demand was enabled by the wealth created by industrialism, which in turn was supplied by a drawdown of nature's bounty. Industrialism required plenty of labour and benefited from cheap food. It imposed a logic on agriculture.

Fossil fuel fired industry provided a model for agriculture that became impossible to resist, except in cases isolated from modern market economies (command economies had their own methods to destroy competitive models). It is not that a farmer could not in the era of declining fossil energy costs produce as much or more from a given tract of land using human and animal energy, but that he or she could not do it economically, read competitively. In my experience, growers attempting to farm with minimal reliance on fossil energy inputs, tend to be those not burdened with a mortgage.

High fossil fuel costs, assuming the market is not distorted by bio-fuel welfare programs, will support the expanded use of human and animal energy in agricultural production. It is one of the truly hopeful aspects of the end of cheap oil. The real issues are land reform and terms of employment; i.e. who is going to own the land and under what conditions agricultural labour will be performed.

Edit: added "costs" to the line above beginning, "It is not that a farmer in the era of declining fossil energy 'costs'...

from pimmental and Giampietro's study:

Archived on dieoff-dot-org


Based on a 10/1 ratio, the total direct cost of the daily diet in the U.S. is approximately 35,000 kcalories of exosomatic energy per capita (assuming 3,500 keel/ capita of food available per day for consumption). However, since the average return of one hour of labor in the U.S. is about 100,000 kcalories of exosomatic energy, the flow of exosomatic energy required to supply the daily diet is made accessible by about 20 minutes of labor.

In subsistence societies, about 4 kcalories of exosomatic energy (basically in the form of biomass) are required per kcalorie of food consumed. Thus, the total direct cost of the daily diet is much lower in absolute terms, approximately 10,000 kcalories of exosomatic energy per capita (assuming a food supply of 2, 500 kcal/day per capita). On the other hand, because of the limited access to fossil energy, the average return of human labor in subsistence societies is low. In such a system up to 5 hours of labor are required to supply the daily diet. In terms of human labor, in subsistence societies the daily diet costs 16 times more than in the U.S. food system.

31% for the manufacture of inorganic fertilizer

Speaking about people actually doing something to help keep us eating-- at least here in the U.S -- post-peak oil:


A nitrogen plant in East Dubuque, Illinois says it could soon help re-define energy policy in the United States.

Rentech is changing the way it does business. The nitrogen making plant will soon begin making its product from coal rather than natural gas.
Diesch says the steam will also produce power to provide energy to the plant, making the new plant the first in the country to produce nitrogen fertilizer, fuel and power all at the same time.

Won't get finished for a few years but at least once it gets done I think oil and natural gas prices will be high enough that a few more people will jump on the bandwagon.

That sounds a beneficial project, good news. I did a quick google to see what more I could find out, especially about emissions for the new plant. The best I found was "It is expected that in addition to the clean fuels produced at the facility, which will double in its overall product output, the plant will produce an estimated 33% fewer overall emissions than the current plant."

Yet another sign coal is a winner. I wondered if upstream point sources of Nox could be covered under emissions schemes ie the fertiliser manufacturer rather than the farmer. I see the US EPA plans to cap Nox
but doesn't specifically mention fertiliser. If the EPA had remit over CO2 as well they could cover a coal burning nitrogen plant from both angles.

Uganda: Increased Costs of Production Irk Dairy Producers

..He said loadshedding has also led to frequent use of generators which are increasing costs of production arising from fuel costs...


Uganda: Unstable Power Hurts Industries

INDUSTRIAL machines are being destroyed due to unstable power supply, increasing production costs further, James Kalibbala, the Uganda Manufacturers Association's chairman, has complained.

"Our mortars, compressors and other sensitive machines have been burnt or blown up and nobody seems to care," Kalibbala lamented.

... We are facing high fuel costs to run our generators. We are worried that some of us may be forced out of business," he explained.


Does anyone have any knowledge of the IAUS solar panels mentioned above?

I vaguely remember when they made an announcement in the past - probably last fall, and determined that in the past that this company had made things like supermarket scanners and automated entry things for restaurants, so at the time I wasn't terribly impressed mainly because they were branching out quite a bit from their previous areas. On the surface, the latest press release sounds good - they claim to be pushing forward, which implies that the previous announcement wasn't vaporware.

I guess I am wondering if any independent 3rd party has evaluated the panels and the claims to see how much of what they say is accurate. Have they sold any of them, and if so, where and how well do they stand up in the field?

They are not solar panels, they are plastic lenses designed to be placed in front of solar cells. The lenses concentrate the light so you can get the energy from a large area of sunlight using a smaller amount of silicon, potentially saving money. However you pay for this by requiring very accurate aiming and tracking equipment so that the focused light falls on the solar cells. IAUS press releases are not exactly a model of clarity and their rather odd mix of products puts me off.

Somewhere else, I saw a more detailed description of what their product was:


Let me start out by saying that pesn.com isn't exactly the most reliable source in the world either. They have large sections where people go on about "free energy" and other such thermodynamic quackery. So there is another caveat to the story.....

The implication from this article is that they do start with a concentrator with a fresnel lens, but the process for making energy is thermal and not photovoltaic.

The solar collectors do not operate as photovoltaic cells. Rather, the sun's rays focus onto a heat exchanger which then transfers the heat to a highly efficient turbine, which in turn hooks directly to a regular AC electricity generator.

Solar panels resemble magnifying glass lenses. Approximately 1/8-inch thick, resilient material, withstands strong winds.

Though the panels resemble a magnifying glass, they are in fact composed of thousands of microscopic refracting lenses on a thin substrate that is only about 1/8th of an inch thick, and held in place by a frame. The "thin film" manufacturing process is far less expensive than the photovoltaic cell manufacturing process.

The prototype is rectangular in shape, with 15 panels on each half, each focusing on a separate heat exchanger that will reach around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, driving the turbine.

and then later on:

The turbine has several remarkable features. There are no blades on the turbine: it runs on the principle of a supersonic nozzle. This also enables these turbines to be manufactured at one-tenth of the cost of traditional turbines. The ceramic shield thermally insulates the turbine and protects it from corrosion and sediment build-up.

A governor regulates the flow of steam through the turbine to prevent over heating. As the steam exits the nozzles, it is immediately ionized, generating additional electricity, recovering up to 30-40 percent of what is typically lost energy in other systems.

The turbine can run on any quality of steam, or even on very hot water. It doesn't have to be "dry steam", which is usually the case with comparable turbine systems; hence the IAUS turbine doesn't require an expensive boiler. In the case of a malfunction, the panels are designed to turn away from the sun.

One of the other announcements that they have in their odd mix of product has to do with bladeless turbines of some sort, but there isn't much information there either.

I am still tempted to call shenanigans on these folks. If they could identify customer or 3rd party who was field testing these things, it would look a lot more real to me.

Sounds like a Tesla Turbine to me...



Quotes for Valentine's Day 2007:

June 2007 5977
December 2007 6258
December 2008 6405
December 2009 6354
December 2010 6300
December 2011 6368
December 2012 6250

I've just had this e-mail sent to me at work protesting about the UK governments proposal for road charging which it's been said will take 10 years to fully implement.
I replied and explained that he'll be paying significantly more to drive in a few years whether he likes it or not!

I also expalined that there is already a pay as you go road tax...it's called fuel tax.

If he uses a tank of petrol a week (about £40 for a small family runaround) and learns to use half as much he'll have saved the money it would cost for that there tracking device in 10 weeks.

The examples of the poor down trodden rural florist & non working mum on the school run in her car particularly made me chuckle! :-)


Please forgive this group email, but I urge you to read and act upon
the following immediately.
This really is very important and has serious implications for your civil liberties as well as your finances.
There are only 15 days left to register your objection to the 'Pay as
you go' road tax - which closes to petitions on the 20th February
The petition is on the 10 Downing St website but they didn't tell
anybody about it - Democracy in action? Therefore at this time
only 671,354 people have signed it so far and 750,000 signatures are required to stop them
introducing it.
Once you've given your details (you don't have to give your full
address, just house number and postcode will do), they will send you
an email with a link in it. Once you click on that link, you'll have
signed the petition.
The government's proposal to introduce road pricing will mean you
having to purchase a tracking device for your car and paying a monthly
bill to use it. The tracking device will cost about £200 and in a
recent study by the BBC, the lowest monthly bill was £28 for a rural
florist and £194 for a delivery driver. A non working mother who used
the car to take the kids to school paid £86 in one month.
On top of this massive increase in tax, you will be tracked.
Somebody will know where you are at all times. They will also know how fast you have
been going, so even if you accidentally creep over a speed limit in
time you can probably expect a Notice of Intended Prosecution with
your monthly bill.
If you care about our freedom and stopping the constant bashing of the
car driver, please sign the petition on No 10's new website (link
below) and pass this on to as many people as possible.

Oh, man. I can't imagine the reaction if they ever tried that here...

Yeah, I can hear it now: "Pay as you go? Why...Why that's communism!!!"

As reported in a number of UK papers yesterday… another aspect of this story is most interesting.

The UK government set up an e-petition facility on their web site to gauge public concerns on governmental policy. Problem is… it has back fired on them … over 1 million drivers have now joined a petition AGAINST the government’s road pricing schemes… (1,432,092 as of this morning http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/list/open?cat=521 )

One senior government official was supposed to have commented on the e-petition idea: "The person who came up with this idea must be a prat."

Meanwhile one astute comment I read said…

"In other words, ministers don't give a damn about the opinions of the electorate. They seem to forget that it is their job to represent our wishes in parliament and not serve their own agendas".

Myself I find it interesting to reflect that at the dawn of the internet.. there was a lot of talk about it being used for better public-government interaction… e-voting; e-referenda etc… Imagine an e-referendum on Iraq or GW issues…

I'm reminded of something that was implied in Diamond's Collapse: that democracy is probably a lousy way to deal with environmental issues like peak oil. The tragedy of the commons will rule.

I've been saying for awhile that the people here in red red Texas will not "vote" for GW or PO.

Hi Seadragon,

Just putting in a word for the possibility of change:


Hi Aniya,
I think your link does not work. I'm sure there are a few bright spots here, (like wind, for instance) but its hard to be optimistic when viewing the explosive growth of suburban sprawl and subsequent tighter binding to the endless motoring lifestyle here. The insistence on building more coal-fired electrical plants when Texas is number one in air pollution is also a great concern.

Texas is also number one in wind turbines.

Whilst there is little that can be done about urban sprawl, there is lots that can be done about the energy use inherent in that urban sprawl.

This ranges from everything from more loft insulation, through heat pumps, through energy efficient lightbulbs, through to higher fuel economy cars.

Just bringing the US up to European standards of automotive fuel efficiency would increase fuel efficiency by one third (25mpg to 35mpg).

I worry as much as you do about those Texas coal fired stations. Once built, they will be impossible to change, and the technology is the wrong one for carbon capture and storage.

A coal gasification technology (IGCC) would both reduce current pollution emission problems (especially mercury, SO2 and NOx) but also lay the groundbed for CO2 collection and sequestration.

It's a tragedy. Sitting under Texas are the geologic strata from whence came the oil. We could pump the CO2 back down there, in confidence that it would likely sit there for at least 100 years, if not 1000.

TXU also wants to build some nuclear sites which is a modest positive, if it ever happens.

When Texas embraces energy conservation and renewable energy the way California has, I will know we will be on the way to changing the world.

I expect a long and difficult fight to get there.

I kind of feel this is how the Abolitionists, and the Suffragettes, must have felt-- knowing you have to change the world, and knowing the odds stacked against you.


Robert Socolow, a professor of engineering at Princeton, began to think about B.A.U. and what it implied for the fate of mankind. Socolow had recently become co-director of the Carbon Mitigation Initiative, a project funded by BP and Ford, but he still considered himself an outsider to the field of climate science.

Talking to insiders, he was struck by the degree of their alarm. “I’ve been involved in a number of fields where there’s a lay opinion and a scientific opinion,” he told me when I went to talk to him shortly after returning from the Netherlands. “And, in most of the cases, it’s the lay community that is more exercised, more anxious. If you take an extreme example, it would be nuclear power, where most of the people who work in nuclear science are relatively relaxed about very low levels of radiation. But, in the climate case, the experts — the people who work with the climate models every day, the people who do ice cores — they are more concerned. They’re going out of their way to say, ‘Wake up! This is not a good thing to be doing.’ ”....

“I’m always being asked, ‘What can you say about the practicability of various targets?’ ” he told me. “I really think that’s the wrong question. These things can all be done.

“What kind of issue is like this that we faced in the past?” he continued. “I think it’s the kind of issue where something looked extremely difficult, and not worth it, and then people changed their minds. Take child labor. We decided we would not have child labor and goods would become more expensive. It’s a changed preference system. Slavery also had some of those characteristics a hundred and fifty years ago. Some people thought it was wrong, and they made their arguments, and they didn’t carry the day. And then something happened and all of a sudden it was wrong and we didn’t do it anymore. And there were social costs to that. I suppose cotton was more expensive. We said, ‘That’s the trade-off; we don’t want to do this anymore.’

So we may look at this and say, ‘We are tampering with the earth.’ The earth is a twitchy system. It’s clear from the record that it does things that we don’t fully understand. And we’re not going to understand them in the time period we have to make these decisions. We just know they’re there. We may say, ‘We just don’t want to do this to ourselves.’ If it’s a problem like that, then asking whether it’s practical or not is really not going to help very much. Whether it’s practical depends on how much we give a damn.”

Some of the words of those fighters of old must inspire us, perhaps:

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me:
As he died to make men holy, let us fight to make men free,

(Julia Ward Howe, Atlantic Magazine 1862)


Cast off the shackles of yesterday
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray
Our daughter's daughters will adore us
And they'll sing in grateful chorus

(traditional suffragette marching song)

Hi Seadragon,

Sorry about the link. I believe it's also on "Energy Bulletin"...just a story about changing attitudes in some 'burbs in Texas, if I recall.
I hope you can find some effective ways to take action (I assume you're in Texas?) Try this and scroll down the page

The tragedy of the commons will result from any form of government--democratic or authoritarian, so long as the commons (e.g. air for dumping CO2) exists.

The problems of democracy are distinctive:
1. The rational ignorance of voters, because we know one vote is unlikely to make a difference. (So why be informed? Why even vote?)

2. The shortsightedness effect whereby decisions are made with an eye by politicians on the next election--and not much beyond that short horizon.

3. The special-interest effect, whereby groups with narrow interests mobilize to protect them and to block any changes that would hurt them, regardless of the public interest.

Of course, all these three effects work in combination.

Back to the tragedy of the commons: The unique solution proposed by Garrett Hardin is mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon. Democracy is prerequisite for mutual agreement. Coercion without legitimacy is a brittle strategy. As Talleyrand said, you can do anything with a bayonet--except sit upon it.

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
-- H. L. Mencken

the first lesson in the 'real polotik' handbook is.
"the common folk neither know exactly what they want even if you ask them. nor are they willing to put in the work to find out for themselves what they want. so you have to tell them what they want."

WRT point #1:

As the economist Patricia Funk wrote in a recent paper, "A rational individual should abstain from voting."

...from this Freakonomics.com (by Dubner & Levitt) article.

And if it's irrationally time-consuming to inform oneself and vote, that obviously strengthens points #2 and #3. 'Cos it's certainly not irrational (in this specialized sense) for concentrated interest groups to loot the public treasury. Think corn ethanol.

The tragedy of the commons will result from any form of government.

And somehow this does not happen in the absence of government - Anarchy?

I'd love to see a breakdown on this.

Jared Diamond covers this in Collapse. There are two ways to avoid the tragedy of the commons. With very small societies, it comes from a family-style social structure, where everyone feels they have a stake in the commons. "Our stream," "our fields," "our beach," etc.

With large societies, a strong central government can assemble the knowledge and the power to conserve resources.

Medium-sized societies, and, Diamond suggests, large societies with weak central control, eventually collapse into internecine fighting when the resources run out.

Diamond offers another answer.

A transparent society offers the opportunity of the right behaviour. Because when things are brought into the open (DDT, CFCs and the ozone layer) there can be mass democratic action to bring about change.

Economists and other social scientists have infected our philosophies with cynical rational choice models of human behaviour.

But we all know that the best in humans comes from their collective impulses towards the common good.

That is true whether you are a grunt in the US Marine Corps, making your rounds in Fallujah

or a medic in Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors without Borders) working in Darfur.

I don't think this fixes the tragedy of the commons.

The opportunity of right behavior is not enough. If your children are freezing, you are going to burn anything to keep them warm, screw the emissions. Especially if everyone else is doing it. What's a little more, after all?

Moreover, there's something else, that both Tainter and Diamond touched upon: the problems we face are now so complex that not everyone can understand them. That is, indeed, a big part of the collapse issue.

What good is transparency when people are unable or unwilling to understand the issues?

What good is transparency when people are unable or unwilling to understand the issues?

(I just wanted Don to try and explain how a lack of government AKA Anacary would address the 'tragedy of the commons')

And what about the people who have no 'skin' in the game, or don't CARE about what they 'have in the game'? I know more than a few people who understand issues like the limited nature of oil, but just don't care and are going to use it anyway. Because not using the oil based transport means extra effort on their part.

I'm currently reading Garrett Hardin's Living Within Limits. In it he discusses "commonism", "privatism" and "socialism" with respect to the tragedy of the commons. He concludes that effectively managed democratic socialism is the only existing economic/political system that has any hope of avoiding it. Given the allergy the USA has to any and all other systems (and especially to the mere word "socialism"), I suspect privatism and its associated ills will continue to rule the day.

It's a great book, btw.

I'm not sure even socialism can avoid the trap.

One thing Diamond pointed out: if you have a king, he has incentive to manage his kingdom wisely, because he derives his wealth from the entire kingdom...and he wants his heirs to do the same after him.

While it might be argued that we do in fact have a hereditary monarchy of sorts, it's not strong enough for the "kings" to be certain their children will inherit. As a result, their incentive is to loot the system now, while they can, rather than to think about the future.

I'm really not sure how to overcome this while maintaining democracy.

Yeah, we do have a recent example of the citizens of a large, democratic nation being convinced repeatedly to vote against their own best interests and for those of a modestly camouflaged oligarchy.

OK, you're re-convinced me - there's no hope after all. Ah, that feels better - as a rational man I hate those occasional outbursts of irrational optimism.

Sigh. Which best interests?

If you give them Monday night off, they aren't bright enough to find anything to do, save to shovel yet more money and time at sports "stars" who are already enormously rich, in return for yet another transitory bit of inane entertainment. In this manner, money flows uphill hand-in-hand with unwanted responsibility, even responsibility of the most utterly trivial sort. So there can be no prize for guessing what to expect with anything important, especially anything requiring actual thought.

Could one ever expect even to keep "citizens" like that alive, apart from maintaining something like an "oligarchy", camouflaged or otherwise, to run the show?

T A X the loot.

Enact term limits for politicians.

Make voting mandatory...

Make some form of National Service mandatory...

"Make voting mandatory..."

Voting - there needs to be a qualification test first.

Voting is an exercise in futility, only scum run for office.


Or as the fabled little old lady in Maine says...

"I never vote - it only encourages the bastards".

This is not a knock on sgage, but an observation...

Is it not amazing that we do not vote here in the U.S. (in large numbers) but walk that talk as a rational for fighting in Iraq... ie: so that the Iraqis might vote?

It's different over there.

If it worked the same over there as it does here, we could just cut the Iraqis' taxes, and that would fix everything.

That seems to be the solution to everything over here, anyway...

"If it worked the same over there as it does here, we could just cut the Iraqis' taxes, and that would fix everything."

A Hothgor-type (you know, somebody too bright to be put into one of the uniforms that "fodder" wear) was brought to Iraq by the 'provisional authority' in the early days following the mission accomplished phase in order to re-write Iraqi tax law.
Iraqis were soon blessed with a 15% flat tax.

Amazing turnaround in the economy since then. Textbook stuff.

Yeah, sure, Bushco is in Iraq so all the people can have purple fingers, bwahaha!!

Good point Will.

BTW, I was merely quoting the little old lady. :-) Just for the record, I have voted in every election I was ever eligible to vote in - 30-something years now. Can't bitch if you don't vote!

Every human other than yourself is scum.

Having said that, Feingold and Ron Paul seem to be less slime covered than many of the others.

I'd like to see Ron Paul be on the ballot come Nov 2008.


In my contriubution letter, I've asked for clarification on energy issues, because I've liked his votes on other 'big' issues. But he's rather quiet...unlike barrett

Every human other than yourself is scum...

Not sure what you meant by that, I haven't screwed anybody over lately, and neither have a lot of other people. I don't mind being scum either, because I make no decisions that affect others. Most politicians would sell you out in a heartbeat. Anybody good that accidently gets elected will be instantly subverted, or killed. Ron Paul at least speaks the truth on occasion, Feingold? You're kidding, right?

Hi P,

Perhaps he/she is referring to what Paul said above:
"If you give them Monday night off, they aren't bright enough to find anything to do..."

Not sure what you meant by that,

In the sense that "I'm OK everyone else sucks" type of thinking that most people have. Not at all ment that you are scum.

Feingold? You're kidding, right?

Of the universe of suck in Washington...nope. Somehow Feingold had (at one time) 6 differnet internet based 'fan clubs'. He has to be doing something MORE right than many of the others.

He's as much a pro other nations, pro business guy as the next Demopublican.

I favor randomocracy which doesn't need elections. If the legislature is large enough, say 5,000 members, it would come close to having representatives from all parts of society in proportion to the percentage of the population. Without the need for money to finance campaigns means the rich lose their clout.

I favor randomocracy which doesn't need elections.

That's an interesting thought. What if we selected Congress in the same fashion we select juries... by lottery and then filtering the candidates with tests and interviews to determine mental health and intelligence. Each new congressional "class" spends a year trailing the incumbents to become familiar with the issues and procedures. Heck... we could even put them through some formal education... reading key Supreme Court cases, great political speeches, historical debates, turning point issues, etc...

Sure would beat watching the current leadership raise $$$ and tell lies.

The problem of screening tests is that it is extremely difficult to design tests without cultural or racial bias. Mental illness does not mean a person cannot be good at specific tasks such as art, mathematics, and engineering. Schizophrenia didn't stop Salvador Dali from creating beautiful works of art. Aspberger's Syndrome is an advantage in engineering. Even Abe Lincoln suffered from bouts of clinical depression. Intelligence tests tend to emphasize the ability to become a college professor. People with street smarts have a type of intelligence which professors can't quantify.
I believe average people can understand deep issues when they devote their attention to them. Unlike 200 years ago we now have thousands of expert civil servants as well as enormous expertise in academia and NGOs which already provide information to Congress on every imaginable issue.

The environmental record of the former Soviet Union and communist states was horrific.

Much worse than that of the Western democracies and Japan.

Free market capitalism as Americans understand it is actually an aberration, there are other models. European companies, by and large, don't fund global warming Denialists.

My main beef with Hardin's view of the commons is that he is speaking of the unregulated commons. I believe that a good case could be made that in many important cases, the commons were socially regulated, whether by actual written law or social convention. It bothers me that the 'tragedy of the commons' is so often referred to as though it is some kind of gospel. It isn't.

Well, one could argue that without equal and untrammeled access to a resource, it isn't really "common." And even regulation of the resource doesn't ensure that it is managed wisely* -- particularly when you have multiple competing interests. Some rivers in the Western US have to be some of the most regulated bodies of water on the planet and some of the most magnificent -- think "Columbia" and "Colorado" -- have been largely reduced to plumbing. Look at the ongoing fight to restrict or eliminate snowmobile travel in Yellowstone. Now, they've got a cell tower near Old Faithful. It's entirely possible to regulate the life right out of something.

*by wisely I mean the way I would manage it.

McKay, Bonnie, and Svein Jentoft. 1998 Market or Community Failure? Critical Perspectives on Common Property Research. Human Organization 57(1):21-29
speaks directly to this question. They argue that it's the breakdown of social controls on use of common property that leads to the trammeling of the commons, not some built-in, inevitable driver.

for all the 'good' it does. democracy from what i have seen can basically only exist in a good form in times of plenty. any other time it's too slow to deal with any fast moving problem, too bloated with bureaucracy to be able to do anything, and too self centered to do anything about a long term problem till it's right in front of it's face.
yes this even applies to the local level.

Wouldn't it be easier to simply increase the fuel tax? Any idea why the government wants such an elaborate scheme when a simple fuel tax would suffice?

Any idea why the government wants such an elaborate scheme when a simple fuel tax would suffice?

Lets see, why would the government want every car to have a tracking device installed in it?...

It can't be to track every car all the time...that is just too 1984.

Could it?

I'm gonna get the rats, I know it.

If you are the citizen of a western democracy and you also happen to be a "person of interest" to the state, then I suspect your car already has such a tracking device installed.

The UK already has a nation wide array of video cameras covering large areas of public space. This too has airs of 1984 but is really no different than hiring a policeman to stand on every block.

We need more debate on this issue but I would be happy to see motorists charged on a usage basis. I object to my having to pay property taxes to support someone elses motoring habit.

If such tracking devices were installed then you could also bill for speeding in school zones. You could also bill for the additional carbon emissions due to higher speed. I don't see why my child should have to pay tomorrow for your irresponsible behaviour today. After all the entire purpose of auto licensing was to serve as a "tracking" scheme. Putting a transmitter in the car just updates this approach.


Hi oldhippie,

Perhaps others can correct me, but my understanding is that the current gasoline tax is per gallon sold, not percentage of cost. So, with higher prices (and greater Prius-like efficiency) the old "VMT" goes down, hence the total amount of tax revenue can actually decrease.

It seems one obvious solution would be to change the basis of the tax to percentage of price; Someone (Leanan?) had an answer to that one. Perhaps politically unpopularity or something. It seems doable to me. (But then again, so do a lot of things.)

Re: LS9 Launched to Create Renewable Petroleum(TM) Biofuels

This is the second mention I've seen here of this group. But I've yet to read anything that names the feedstock they are working with. I assume that it is plant-derived? Anybody know anything about this?

Okay, answered my own question:

is developing Renewable Petroleum biofuels: new, clean, and sustainable fuels that fulfill our long and short term energy needs. Derived from diverse agricultural feedstocks, these high energy liquid fuels are renewable and compatible with current distribution and consumer infrastructure.

It's another Khosla venture focused on the biochemical conversion of ag waste.

This article discusses the Russian plans to build an oil pipeline to China, and how the cost of the pipeline has increased to $11 billion. The pipeline will ship 600,000 barrels per day to China, and is scheduled to complete in late 2008. They are considering a not yet costed phase 2 of the pipeline which would increase the rate to 1.6 million barrels per day.

I just love it when idiots like Hofmeister blame the high costs on Katrina. It just goes to show that people don't remember their own histories. We should be able to recall the simple fact that we were paying over $2.50/gal for gasoline BEFORE Hurricane Katrina. Sheesh!!

While I'm at it, I'll give out a little Valentine's Day Optimism from a fast-crash Doomer: :-)

I've been fascinated to see the open questioning of the Iran weapons connection. From sources I wouldn't expect, in particular my old fave, the Boston Herald (right-wing tabloid). And the press was actually "pressing the issue" at Bush's press conference this morning. So maybe, just maybe, we'll back down from attacking Iran. It would be "Galadrial's Choice" - whether to use the "ring" to destroy the world, or refuse it and diminish into... well, just what I don't know.

It ain't over yet...

And, speaking of the Herald, they printed a ridiculous anti-GW editorial a few days ago, followed the next day by another editorial warning that GW is the real deal. And then yesterday they printed a letter-to-the-editor saying that the first anti-GW article was a bunch of bull. So, two-to-one, we win!! But seeing all this in the Herald is remarkable!

Leanan - sure hope you don't get 3-4 inches of ice or we won't be hearing from you for a while!

(DaveMatthews - take the band back on the road and leave us alone, willya??)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the last leg of a Middle East tour of three US allies, was to meet Jordan’s King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday in a clear show of Russia’s regional ambitions.

The big mystery of post-soviet Russia is that they want to be a world power again but they lack a well-defined ideology. All they really have to sell the world on -- in terms of why it's a good idea to partner with them -- is that they're not the U.S.

They never stopped being a world power, daily drivel in the MSM notwithstanding. Their "ambitions" are to ensure their own security. The US and NATO are busy trying to encircle Russia and China with puppet regimes and military bases including ABM installations in the moronic hope that they can disable Russia's nuclear deterent by shooting down any Russian ICBM in the boost phase (i.e. the cold war never ended as far as the west is concerned). So Russia does not need some ideology as a fig leaf.

And what would be the US ideology? Spreading democracy in the Middle-East ??? ;)

America uber alles.

America uber alles.

What do you guys and gals make of this story? Is this guy just an idiot or is this deliberate disinformation to keep the masses passified for a while longer?


Oil May Drop to $30 as Investors Flee, Bernstein Says (Update2)

By Nicholas Larkin

Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Oil will drop more than 30 percent to $40 a barrel in March and may drop to $30 as rising prices for storing crude lead to a `breaking point' that forces speculators to sell, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. said.

Oil will slide because greater investment in commodity futures has driven the market into contango, according to analysts led by London-based Neil McMahon. The phenomenon occurs when futures prices rise above spot prices, often reflecting handling or storage costs.

The probability of oil dropping to $40 in March is close to zero, probably no more than 1% IMO.

$50 held when several, and just about all that could, circumstances conspired for a low price in January. The rebalancing of commodity indexes was one and won't happen again until August at the earliest. Short of big oil invested (on the long side) hedge funds going broke $50 is almost certain to hold. Contango is minimal atm, they probably pick March because there will be a minor dip in US crude demand as refineries switch over from distillate to predominantly gasoline production. I'd say $65 is much more likely than $49 in March.

Edit: I just checked oil futures and they don't look in contango to me:

Hello TODers,

Regarding Leanan's toplink on Matthew Simmons:

I think the Deffeyes Group should be given full credit for pressing for data transparency because of their tireless efforts with obtuse data. The data that they have accumulated so far is not only impressive, but also worrisome. I think it is a clever PR strategy of Simmons to shift the whole ball of wax to the producers' side--essentially: prove Peaknow wrong or right, but lets get the facts straight. Makes one wonder how many CERA analysts are longing to jumpship to shift to Simmons International.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

A few more thoughts:

I think it will be fascinating when the investing & banking community square off against the detritus energy producers-- wonder how much it is going on now. If anyone can force data transparency it will be the moneymen.

Simmons, afterall, is a banker first, when the tipping point is reached: he doesn't want to invest in a reverse pyramid scheme where costs skyrockets up, ERoEI skyrockets down, and output drops precipitiously-- would you want to take a mortgage out on a FF-farm on the outside of a riverbank turn that was steadily eroding your acreage? Nope, not if on the opposite bank a totally organic farm with increasing yields and increasing acreage was available.

The first rule is don't invest in an energy sink--it only adds to undesired blowback forces. Data transparency is required for bankers to evaluate investment proposals.

I think it will be a long drawn out process, but gradually investment will shift to biosolar industries as the investment returns will be better and guaranteed for a very long time if managed properly. I can't imagine makers of garden tools, wheelbarrows, and bicycles going broke postPeak. I am sure you can think of other examples too from windturbines, PV-makers, solar-water heaters, etc.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Bob, since 1975, americans have estimated their own URR to be anywhere from 45-Gb to 590-Gb. What makes u think any country would be absurd enuf to invite y'all to estimate theirs??

Some insurance news...

State Farm's not there: No more Mississippi home policies

State Farm said it will stop writing new homeowners and commercial insurance in Mississippi following a legal battle with state homeowners resulting from 2005's Hurricane Katrina.

"It is no longer prudent for us to take on additional risk in a legal and business environment that is becoming more unpredictable," said Bob Trippel, senior vice president of the largest home insurer in the United States.

I guess this is the market-based solution: Exchange to launch hurricane-risk contract

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the largest derivatives exchange in the United States, announced Wednesday that it is launching contracts that will allow insurers and others to hedge risk against hurricane damage.

The exchange, a unit of CME Holdings Inc., is teaming up with Carvill Group, a reinsurance intermediary that will calculate the contracts’ underlying indexes of hurricane data used to calculate damage. Front contracts will expire when a storm makes landfall, with expiration pegged to the index.

John Hofmeister of Shell USA is shocked at the growing awareness of Peak Oil Theory. My question for Mr. Hofmesiter: why mess around then with those messy and expensive Oil Sands? Why drill for oil in harsh climes and with tricky governments, as on Sakhalin Island? Indeed, why overlook all that easy oil, therefore, which surely renders Peak Oil Theory moot?


Hello TODers,

Surely one of the most unrecognized inventions of all time is the precision bushing and ball-bearing races for friction reduction. Long after the very last pint of crude is used: we will gladly resort to using animal fat or some other kind of bio-lube to keep these devices working in bicycles, oxen carts, and wheelbarrows, plus whatever other tools we have functioning post paradigm shift [windturbines, hydro generators, RRs, etc].

If the World never adopts the ASPO Energy Depletion Protocols, I hope that they somehow adopt Biosolar Powerup Protocols that would set minimal standard size production classes for postPeak bushing and bearings. That way all manufacturers could simplify and standardize their own production runs. For example: all bicycles and railbike mfgs could agree on one size bearing for bicycle & rail wheels, wheelbarrow mfgs would have their own single standard, and so on. This way the consumer would have no problem purchasing the exact replacement before damage to the outer wheel or gear sets in.

There are all kinds of other objects that could save design and mfg. outlays postPeak: standard windows & doors, standard PV and Solar hot water equipment, and so on.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Transcript of Keynote Speech by Rex W. Tillerson, Chairman and CEO, Exxon Mobil
February 13, 2007


I thought that commenting on some of Rex Tillerson's opening address could be an interesting challenge.

"Our industry has also enhanced energy security through greater diversity of supplies, enabled by global free markets."
How can Rex make comments about the industry? I think he should comment only on what XOM can do rather than the entire industry which includes state owned oil companies from Venezuela, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Angola is to join OPEC which means that energy security is reducing as dependency upon OPEC increases. Using the context of "global free markets" is just wrong - global markets are not free in any industry. There are complex laws and manipulation. The whole purpose of OPEC is to manipulate price through supply.

"The long timelines inherent to our industry make long-term policymaking an imperative. Measures, for example, that seek to impose additional taxes on the industry or increase governments' take in light of recent high prices will likely have the consequence of impeding investments needed for new, more diverse sources of supplies to meet demand ten or fifteen years from now."
Imposing additional taxes on the industry is not favourable to ExxonMobil but I think that it is beneficial as it can help slow the rate of production which could extend the peak oil plateau by more years. This could give more time for energy efficiency and alternatives to occur.

"Driven by growing prosperity in the developing world, global energy demand is projected to be close to 40 percent higher in the year 2030 than it was last year, reaching close to 325 million barrels per day on an oil-equivalent basis.
A wide range of energy sources will contribute to meeting this growing global energy demand, but the affordability and reliability of fossil fuels will continue to provide the majority of the world's needs over the next quarter-century and beyond."

Hmmm! 325 million barrels oil equivalent/day is needed in 2030. From XOM's recent Energy Outlook, about 115 million barrels/day of the above will come from liquids (Crude, condensate, NGL, biofuels, oil sands, ethanol, biodiesel). Rex doesn't say which countries will supply this demand. However, he does say that "Nearly two-thirds of the total energy supply investment will take place in non-OECD countries." This amounts to hopeful wishing that non-OECD countries can magically meet the demand.

"The good news is that abundant oil resources are available to meet the projected growth in demand. According to the U.S. Geological Survey the earth was endowed with more than 3 trillion barrels of conventional oil. This estimate has grown steadily over the years as our industry has developed new and more sophisticated technologies to locate and produce these resources.
If we add estimated "frontier" resources, such as heavy oil and shale oil, this total rises to over 4 trillion barrels. Considering we have used 1 trillion barrels of oil in the history of mankind, the outlook for future supply is positive."

I realise that Rex can hide behind a protective barrier of insurance and legal disclaimers but the statement above should be withdrawn by Rex. The USGS's figures come from unaudited reserve figures from many countries including those in the middle east. Shale oil and heavy oil resources are large but their production is currently small and requires large amounts of energy to extract. In the very least, part of his first sentence above should be changed from "oil resources are available" to "oil resources might be available, accompanied by production challenges,". The assumption that resources can be changed into reserves which can be converted to supply growth to meet demand growth is another example of wishful thinking. Consequently, I disagree with his last sentence above - the outlook for future supply is not positive.

"But the challenge of meeting future demand is broader than recognizing that the resources are available. They must also be accessible. In the United States alone, an estimated 31 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 105 trillion cubic feet of natural gas are currently ruled off-limits."
Rex admits that the resources must be accessible. He uses an example of not being able to access an estimated 31 billion barrels oil. According to his projections of 115 million barrels/day oil needed in 2030, 31 billion barrels even if accessible would supply the world for 270 days. His example is immaterial.

"By underpinning this approach with stable fiscal and regulatory environments in both producing and consuming countries, we can lay the basis to further strengthen the resilience of the energy market to events and disruptions that may occur from time to time."
As XOM's corporate survival depends on securing acreage with attractive fiscal terms, he is really begging for nationalisation of oil assets to stop and for fiscal terms to stop becoming more unattractive. XOM is on its way to becoming an oil service company such as Halliburton or Schlumberger.

"So, we know our climate is changing, the average temperature of the earth is rising, and greenhouse gas emissions are increasing."
It seems that XOM is starting to accept global warming as real but no mention of peak oil yet.

"We live in a world characterized by complexity -- a world of geopolitical uncertainty, of questions about where our future energy supplies will come from, and of concerns about the risk of climate change."
Finally, Rex makes an admission about "where our future energy supplies will come from". He just stated above that "abundant oil resources are available to meet the projected growth". Rex appears to be contradicting himself.

"The state of our industry is strong"
Does he have first hand knowledge of Saudi Aramco's production capacity. How would Rex know the state of the industry? He should speak only about XOM not about the industry. This sentence should also be withdrawn from his speech.

"While we do not underestimate the challenges that lie ahead, I am confident that, by further developing our technological expertise, by supporting responsible resource access and the role of free markets, and by engaging in thoughtful, frank and intelligent debate on policy issues, we can lay the foundation for a bright energy future for our world."
The energy future is rosy - technology, resource access and free markets will ensure abundant energy for everyone on the planet! Buy more SUVs! Is this what Rex really thinks?

Rex's speech is based not on a logical scientific basis but based more upon magical fiction, partly derived from the wizard of CERA. The speech is a poor attempt to promote the self interests and increase the hydrocarbon reserves of XOM while potentially seriously misleading the public with statements which predict a bright energy future for everyone.

Not that this is entirely unexpected but it could be one more nail in the coffin....

Al-Qaida group calls for attacks on US oil supply

Hello Ace,

Kudos! That was an excellent analysis & refutation of his speech.

Thanks, ace,

One of my questions for Matt Simmons is:
re: for example: ""The long timelines inherent to our industry make long-term policymaking an imperative. Measures, for example, that seek to impose additional taxes on the industry or increase governments' take in light of recent high prices will likely have the consequence of impeding investments needed for new, more diverse sources of supplies to meet demand ten or fifteen years from now."
Imposing additional taxes on the industry is not favourable to ExxonMobil but I think that it is beneficial as it can help slow the rate of production which could extend the peak oil plateau by more years. This could give more time for energy efficiency and alternatives to occur."

I wonder about the aging (and need for replacement) of offshore rigs. Matt seems to believe this is an urgent matter, as well.

I wonder where will the money come from? Who will do it? Why haven't they done it 'till now?

Has anyone else noticed the increasing number of hit pieces and rhetoric associated with the so-called Peak Oil 'Theory' starting to hit the MSM recently?

Well, got the February issue of Test & Measurement World and here's an amazing Editor's Note for such a staid, pro-growth hi-tech magazine...


As if there aren't already enough reasons for me to want to never touch a computer again......

Thanks, fleam,
I'll be sending this on...

Hello TODers,

U.S., Britain fare poorly in children report

UNITED NATIONS -- The United States and Britain ranked as the worst places to be a child among 21 wealthy nations, according to a report by UNICEF released Wednesday. The Netherlands was the best, it said, followed by Sweden and Denmark.
If the Govt. pushed Peakoil Outreach: Would families and neighbors cooperating together for the transition change reverse these findings?

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello TODers,


A rather interesting report on windturbines. I am just throwing it out on TOD for the experts to evaluate as I have no engineering expertise in this matter. Using Death Valley in conjunction with a networked grid of windturbines to build a combo biosolar baseload and peaking load system still seems like a good idea to me.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Looking at the two2 fuel-from-garbage startups (Centia, LS9) and one ethanol huckster (Chevron) at the header I am underwhelmed. On the other hand the much maligned Vinod Khosla is quite specific about the Range company cited elsewhere; the feedstock will be forestry waste not stover and the method will be gasification, not fermentation via enzymes. Imagine this
1) the woodchip gasification process works out
2) subsidies and cheap fertiliser for corn are no longer available
He could be a step ahead of the game.

Vinod missed the ticket, but it ain't this gasification wierdness....

Picture this (I know, I am at the bottom of a dead string again, so I'll keep it short)....sugar beet grown along the Mississippi and Ohio River....moved to the river and on barges.....hauled in massive quantity to a series of fermentation plants up and down the river....and producing butanol.


Butanol is the miracle fuel, a 4 carbon atom alcohol that has similiar energy content and properties to gasoline, and in fact can be run as a one to one replacement for gasoline blended with gasoline, blended with ethanol, and all with no infrastructure change needed. It beats ethanol as a finished product hands down, and beats the helll out of methanol, plus, it is already in full development, with BP and DuPont Chemical intending to have it in the British market this year, using surplus suger beets to create gasoline additive, which, get this can be added to the existing gasoline mix in any increment from 1% to 100%, and if ethanol is already there, big deal, it mixes in either way!


The British, in dire need NOW of something to stretch gasoline, and some way to unload tons of sugar beets they are paying subsidy to farmers to grow but with no market for them, see a possible savior fuel. The Americans who have allowed their government to pick winners and losers once again, and once again seen the inevitable result (they not only pick the loser, they pick the absolute worst of all possible alternatives, and then try to fight out the alternatives that would have worked), are getting nervous. Lost time and lost money on ethanol has sucked away much capital and cost us the lead.

Don't be surprised if the smarter privateers like Vinod and Paul Allen of Microsoft fame, who jumped on the ethanol bandwagon, sell at the top and leave the poor sucker farmers with tons of junk...or work fast to try to move to Butanol production to salvage the investment in now obsolete ethanol plants.....as Vinod likes to say, bio-butanol has "trajectory".

This is going to be fun!

Roger Conner
Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom! :-)

The Americans who have allowed their government to pick winners and losers once again, and once again seen the inevitable result (they not only pick the loser, they pick the absolute worst of all possible alternatives, and then try to fight out the alternatives that would have worked), are getting nervous.

Actually the sugar beets that are grown in England and across Europe are another example of government’s picking winners and losers. Beets have only been economical to grow because of government subsidies and supportive tariffs. Since Brazil won a case at the WTO, these tariffs are being removed, so beet production will crash.

While I do think the US support for corn and ethanol is a crime, Europe has generally been the worse offender in picking winners and promoting a strong government role in industrial development.

Hello TODers,

Interesting article: DOE knew 15 years ago that Yucca Mountain would never hold nuke waste.


Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello TODers,

Al Qaeda urges attacks on Canadian & Mexican oil infrastructure. Does this enhance or degrade cooperation for SuperNafta going forward?


Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?


The particular thread on which I am commenting opens with the title
"Cheap Oil to Last, "Doomsday" Fears Overblown, Author Says",
in which a National Geographic interview with author Leonardo Maugeriis (The Age of Oil: The Mythology, History, and Future of the World's Most Controversial Resource), who is quoted saying that there is no need to fear, there is oil everywhere, and humans have not really even began to look for it. Sadly, Mr Maugeriis does not tell us whether or not the nations in which all this unsearched for oil is located will let us come in and search their country for it, but be that as it may, it got me thinking.

I really need a new car. My poor old 80 horsepower 240D is still a dream to drive, but unfortunately, the doors are trying to fall off, the windows are trying to fall out, and Diesel fuel is now the most expensive of premium fuels, destroying the “Diesel advantage”. What to do....?

So I went online for a bit of looking around, the first time I have looked at new cars in years, and of course, humans being creatures of habit, dropped by the Mercedes Benz website to see what their top line looks like today. I was hit with some stats:
MSRP (Retail price) $182,275
EngineAMG-built twin-turbocharged 6.0L SOHC 36-valve V-12 engine
Net Power 604 hp @ 4,800 rpm
Net Torque 738 lb-ft @ 2,000 - 4,000 rpm

Of course, this is the top end, but one must believe that the customer spending $182,000 for a car does not concern him or herself greatly about fuel price. Suppose it was $5 dollar a gallan? Or suppose it was custom made by a small lab and cost $10? Would the “high end” customer really even notice?

604 horsepower. That is over one half megawatt. .5 megawatt encased in a mobile platform, fitting between the two front wheels. Astounding. As a stationary powerplant, this would be enough to power even a power thirsty subdivision of “McMansions”. The hometown I grew up in would easily be electrified with this volume of power, by this one technical artpiece of an engine.

But all indications are that the horsepower race is still on. BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, and Infinity, not to mention the “really top end” makes like Bentley, Bugatti and Rolls Royce continue to push upward, matching, and then exceeding each others highest benchmark. What is the goal?

Who will build the 1 megawatt car? That’s right, we are now getting within sight of a full one megawatt power production encased between the fenders of a moving privately owned automobile. And as we know, what the rich want first, the poor and the Chinese aspire to soon. The question once asked was, can the world stand everyone with an automobile? Looking a bit ahead, I ask, can the world stand and provide the resources for everyone with a 1 megawatt car? Roger Conner Jr.
Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom.

The figure of 604 horsepower is taken from the peak value of the power curve which plots engine revs versus power. As you realise the car does not constantly use 604hp.

I wouldn't worry too much as these cars will remain the echelon a few select beings. In the u.k here new cars are pushing the 50+, 60+ mpg range. It is very encouraging.

As for the 1 megawatt car try the Bughatti Veyron! at 1000+bhp.

I'm currently designing a recumbent faired bicyle with a 0.5hp 4 stroke engine to power assist. Should be good for 350mpg+. As long is there are poeple like me alive there is still hope for society.


As you know, I also have a 1982 240D with a manual transmission. Our cars are QUITE repairable (steel instead of plastic, superb engineering, etc.).

I do not know what specific problems you are having. May I suggest


to answer questions and issues (also search archives). Ot contact me.

I am on an aggressive preventative maintenance/upgrade program. New stainless steel braid w/teflon tube brake lines, improved Bosch Duraterm glow plugs & relay, Moog (improved design) rear sway bar links are the latest. Synthetic fluids everywhere. I expect to get my 240D to last longer than I can safely drive (sans accidents).

We have the most durable and reliable cars ever built :-)

I get 30 to 31 mpg in the city, you ?

Best Hopes,


Thanks for the link and vote of support, Alan.

I am probably just venting, my old '81 240D stick is still nice to drive, simple, a good handling commuter, and all the car I need when everything works!

It made me mad night before last during the 12 degree/30 mile per hour wind snap we had. I slammed the door shut and the driver side glas bursted in the frame and fell into the parking lot....not fell out and then bursted mind you, but just shattered standing straight up in the door :-(

The hood is an issue, in that the body has caught water over the years in a low spot spot where the hood spring just happens to fasten on one side, and the hood spring pull tore it loose from the body, letting the hood move sideway, so when I slammed it shut, it bent the hood latch into an S.
No use replacing until I can get the body patched and reweld a hood spring mount, as it the hood has to be pulled straight by hand to close, and wired down.

The parking brake cables do not work, and after work by two Mercedes shops, I still have no parking brake (annoying on a stick shift.

The gas gauge doesn't work, and the manual sunroof has been welded or sealed shut at some point. It needs shifter bushings, as it won't go into all gears without effort.....oh, and tie rod ends and idler arm on the steering.

I will stop there....oh, one more thing....Diesel fuel is now 28 cents higher than regular gasoline in Kentucky.

But, I still like the old German bitch, so I will probably try to keep her going....:-)

Remember we are only one cubic mile from freedom.

Off Topic

Hood latchs are well known weak spot. I spray silicone on them periodically and keep leaves out.

You need to bring your old Benz down to my mechanic (some are better than others). No excuse for parking brakes. I keep changing stuff when worn but before failure. Next is the brake wear sensors. First thing I changed after buying was the shifter bushings. New ones every 20 years :-)

Best Hopes for Long Life (for your Benz)


Hello TODers,

Is Venezuela through Pres. Chavez's actions catching the Zimbabwe Syndrome to accelerate into the Thermo/Gene Collision?

Chavez threatens to seize supermarkets

President Hugo Chavez threatened Wednesday to nationalize any privately owned supermarkets and food storage facilities caught hoarding inventories or violating price controls imposed on basic goods.

Accusing private companies of hoarding foods such as beef, Chavez warned supermarket owners and distributors that he would nationalize their facilities as soon as they gave him "an excuse" to seize such assets.

"If they remain committed to violating the interests of the people, the constitution, the laws, I'm going to take the food storage units, corner stores, supermarkets and nationalize them," Chavez said during a televised broadcast. "So prepare yourselves!"

Many privately owned supermarkets have suspended sales of beef, milk and sugar in recent weeks after one chain was temporarily shut down for hours for pricing meat above government-set levels. Most items can still be found, but only by paying higher prices at grocery stores or on the black market.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Chavez is intent on the socialist dream. In fact, his fanatacism is just as polarized as Bush's campaign for democracy. Is one better than the other?........

To date socailism appears to be a failed experiment. But the idea of socialism and equality for all seems to be a smokescreen that delineates politically the far right from the far left; fundamentally I see no real diference. It is just that capitalism seems to promulgate better growth rate, which in a scenario with unlimited resources, is perfectly fine.

But this is the rub. Our discussions on this forum are pointing the finger squarely at the fact that this is not the case. The heart of the matter of is that capitalism is incompatible with a peak oil scenario. I am not defending the left. I am merelky pointing out that no left bashing will solve our crisis.


Chavez is intent on the socialist dream. In fact, his fanatacism is just as polarized as Bush's campaign for democracy. Is one better than the other?...

It doesn't matter whether it adopts the costume of 'leftist', 'capitalist', or 'piety'. Tyranny is tyranny.

It happens whenever some a$$#*!3 with enough followers dominates that tragic commons and starts shouting out orders. Or when a machiavellian schemer whispers the orders from behind a curtain.

Distributed/local autonomy is better than centralized/authoritarian control. But it is the nature of, I think a subset, of humanity to try to grab the controls and take over...

Our problem in Venezuela and Iran is that their leaders were elected. While most of us are not fans of democratic socialism, it is a fact life and the right of those jurisdictions to experiment with.

Chavez's case is complicated in that his constitution allows him 18 months of free rein. Will he be a benevolent dictator during this period? He wouldn't be the first one.

Will he pay the IOC's fair value for his share of their oilco's? Will he be challenged in the courts?

Venezuelans just elected him. We are stuck with him. This reflects some of the rhetoric we heard at the congressional hearings recently on Security of supply. And with it comes the inefficiencies of operation as the experts and contractors shun those NOC's.