DrumBeat: February 16, 2007

Oil crisis constant concern

"The oil crisis will be here in three years. I don't know many people who think we have ten years, anymore," said Seppo Korpela, an Ohio State professor of mechanical engineering who has been trying for five years to raise public awareness about peak oil theory.

Korpela said the theory holds that when the world's production of oil peaks, it will then decline, causing serious economic and social disruption unless viable substitutes for oil are found.

Hubbert's Peak Theory Points to Dwindling Oil Supply

HUBBERT'S PEAK IS not a mountain, but it's just as good at hiding whatever's on the other side. One anonymous day in the not-too-distant future it will be the most crowded place on Earth. And coming down won't be nearly as much fun as going up.

Peak Oil Passnotes: Born to Be Mild Weather

The week has passed relatively uneventfully apart from some tightening fundamentals. As yet no one has dropped any explosives on Iran, peace is just about being maintained in Lebanon and although Al-Qaida have said they intend to target oil installations they appear to be about as effective an armed group as the U.S. Army. Not very.

U.S. warns of Nigeria militant plots

The United States warned Friday that Nigerian militants may be planning to expand their activities beyond the country's restive oil-producing southern regions.

Light, sweet crude prices rose more than $1, to settle above $59 a barrel, in part because of worries over the warning.

Ex-oil minister despairing of Iraq oil future

Former Iraq oil minister Issam Al Chalabi paints a bleak picture for the future of Iraq's oil industry, panning the result of the US-led war, its insistence on passing an oil law, and the situation aboveground hampering development of the resources below it.

..."They cannot increase; the only way is for production to go down," said Mohamed Zine, Middle East regional manager for energy analyst firm IHS. "There has been no improvement, nothing," said Zine, whose views on the situation in Iraq are often less dramatic than Chalabi's. "It is getting worse."

To Fuel Russia's Growth, Gazprom Turns to Coal

On Tuesday February 13, University of Houston Professor Michael J. Economides released a report claiming that Russia faces a huge shortfall between natural gas supply and demand in the next three years.

Chubais Spots Gas Shortage in Russia

Russia will face the gas shortage of 4 billion cu meters in 2007, RAO UES CEO Anatoly Chubais announced with reference to the gas balance of the country passed by the government. The shortage will widen to 8 billion cu meters in 2008 and reach 40 billion cu meters in a few years, Chubais predicted as quoted by Interfax.

Bodman: All Nations Should Open Energy Markets

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman on Wednesday called for all nations to embrace a "new paradigm of energy security" that must include open markets for energy trading and investment.

"History has shown that an unfettered market is the most effective and efficient way to determine price and allocate resources based on supply and demand," he said in a speech at the Cambridge Energy Research Associates' annual conference in Houston.

Big Oil frets over rising costs, tough access

Surging oil prices have brought energy companies record profits in recent years. But the boom has also pushed up the cost of doing business and emboldened oil-producing nations to restrict access to their reserves.

Cobalt: Aggressive Governments Unexpected Obstacle

Joseph Bryant, chief executive of Cobalt International Energy LP, doesn't buy the below ground version of peak oil - a theory that global crude production has entered a period of unstoppable decline.

But as the head of a two-year-old exploration company looking to acquire its first leases outside the U.S., he knows all about how politics above the surface can get in the way.

Weekly Offshore Rig Review: Improving Productivity

Evaluation of rig productivity like this signifies clearly the engineering advancement generations of engineers, drillers, operators and contractors have achieved . In simpler terms, it appears that an average rig today can do what two rigs could do in 1949.

India: Will fuel price cut stop inflation?

Prices are rising sharply in India and in a desperate attempt to control inflation, the Government has cut fuel prices.

Turkey Warns Cyprus to Cancel Exploration Tender

"We expect Greek Cyprus to end its initiatives to launch international tenders which violate the joint rights of the island's two communities and amount to a fait-accompli," Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Levent Bilman said in a written statement.

Nuclear debate needs fresh source of energy

Tony Blair has had nearly 10 years to face up to the growing threat from climate change and the inevitable consequences for how we power and light our homes, work and public spaces in future. Our existing stock of nuclear stations, still generating a fifth of all the UK's electricity needs, is well into middle age, heading for retirement.

British Millers Worried by Impact of Biofuel Subsidy

British millers are worried that government subsidies to promote biofuel intensifies competition between using grain for food or fuel and damages their industry.

Kiwi lambs poised to be processed into bio-diesel blend

United Kingdom bio-diesel producer Argent Energy is investigating, with oil companies Shell and Chevron, a plant to process 75,000 tonnes of the lamb chop trimmings to produce 85 million litres of bio-diesel a year.

Internet claims role in fighting global warming

Companies are starting to capitalise on reducing travel costs as well as CO2 emissions by using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

Peak Oil Theory Could Distort Energy Policy and Debate

The “peak oil” debate continues to rage without any obvious progress. In essence, the peak oil lobby suggests, as it has been doing unsuccessfully for many years, that global production will soon reach a peak and then decline rapidly thereafter with dire global consequences. The “market view” of Cambridge Energy Research Assocs. (CERA), based on 2 decades of research, is also not a view of unlimited resources, but concludes that a plateau rather than a peak will occur — although not tomorrow — and that supply will not “run dry” soon thereafter. We hold that above-ground factors will play the major role in dictating the end of the age of oil.

Water found under Antarctic ice to raise sea level forecasts

Scientists have detected a network of lakes and rivers of rapidly moving water under the thick ice sheet of West Antarctica, a discovery that will force a revision of predictions of global sea levels as the sheet melts due to climate change.

OPEC Cuts Non-Member Supply Forecast on Mexico, U.S.

OPEC, the producer of 40 percent of the world's oil, cut its forecast for 2007 supply from non- members mainly because of delays at North American projects and left its world demand estimate "broadly unchanged."

Chinese oil companies to set up reserves

China may ask state-owned energy companies to establish oil reserves as a supplement to a national reserve being set up as the Asian giant struggles to fuel future growth, state media said on Thursday.

Study Questions Prospects for Much Lower Emissions

As Democratic leaders in Congress prepare to put climate change legislation on the agenda, some in the utility industry are arguing that it will take decades of investments and innovation to get substantial reductions in their emissions of greenhouse gases.

Another spin on the server energy use story: US servers now use more electricity than color TVs

Between 2000 and 2005, server electricity use grew at a rate of 14 percent each year, meaning that it more than doubled in five years. The 2005 estimate shows that servers and associated equipment burned through 5 million kW of power, which cost US businesses roughly $2.7 billion.

...If current trends continue, server electricity usage will jump 40 percent by 2010, driven in part by the rise of cheap blade servers, which increase overall power use faster than larger ones.

Dodge joins stampede into China market

Big name automakers have set their sights on China and other fast-growing developing markets to help offset legacy costs and provide sales growth missing in the U.S. and other Western markets.

Hybrids lose their luster

Sales of big vehicles have recovered - General Motors' pickup and SUV sales rose by almost 33% one month last fall - and the huge demand for high-mileage cars has slackened. What had been an interesting national conversation about weaning ourselves from oil has been muted.

Until the next time prices spike.

Gore announces climate-change concerts

Al Gore announced on Thursday a series of worldwide concerts to focus on the threat of climate change, with a powerhouse lineup from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Snoop Dogg to Bon Jovi.

The 24-hour event on July 7 is part of a kickoff campaign, Save Our Selves — The Campaign for a Climate in Crisis, that promoters hope will trigger a broad movement to address what the former vice president calls a "planetary emergency."

Rising sea levels present China with 'unimaginable challenges'

A report released recently by the State Oceanic Administration has warned of a rapid rise in sea levels that threatens China's densely populated east coast, the China Daily reported.

"The speed is astonishing," said Lu Xuedu, the deputy director of the environmental division of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Vanishing glaciers offer clear evidence of climate change

Climate change is likely to melt one of Peru's biggest glaciers within five years and is threatening ice packs on some of the world's most famous mountain ranges, scientists have said.

Climate change has accelerated the retreat of glaciers at rates not seen for thousands of years, glaciologist Lonnie Thompson told reporters at the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences' annual meeting.

Politicians sign new climate pact

Leading international politicians have reached a new agreement on tackling climate change, at a Washington summit.

Offshore Wind Farm Could Blow Away Energy Needs

Wind power could supply all the energy needs of much of the East Coast and then some, if a phalanx of wind turbines running from Massachusetts to North Carolina were installed offshore, a new study concludes.

Florida makes it easier to build nuclear plants

The Florida Public Service Commission adopted new rules this week to encourage the construction of nuclear power plants within the state.

Government forced to rethink nuclear power plans

The government's plans to build a new generation of nuclear power plants have been dealt an embarrassing blow by a court ruling in favour of environmental group Greenpeace.

Greencore condemned for rejecting ethanol move

Much of the criticism at the company was delivered by Allan Navratil, a beet grower from Cork, and a founding member of the Biofuels Initiative, which includes Colin Campbell, of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (APSO) on its board.

Oil majors question Bush biofuel plan

Exxon, Chevron CEOs say technology to increase biofuel production remains well out of reach.

Michael T. Klare - Global Warming: It’s All About Energy

But global warming is not an “environmental” problem in the same sense as these others – it is an energy problem, first and foremost. Almost 90% of the world’s energy is supplied through the combustion of fossil fuels, and every time we burn these fuels to make energy we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere; carbon dioxide, in turn, is the principal component of the “greenhouse gases” (GHGs) that are responsible for warming the planet. Energy use and climate change are two sides of the same coin.

Emissions from commercial planes prompt concerns about regulating greenhouse gases

As the debate over global warming heats up, airlines, regulators and environmentalists agree that emissions from commercial aircraft are a growing source of greenhouse gases and need to be brought under control.

Their problem: how to cut toxic emissions without cutting into the economics of the financially vulnerable airline industry.

State-owned companies are the future of the oil industry

The future of the oil industry lies in the hands of state-owned companies in the sector, and they tend to become increasingly global.

Saipem wins new contracts worth more than 1 billion euros

Saipem SpA said it has won three new contracts, two onshore in Saudi Arabia and Tunisia and one offshore in waters between Algeria and Spain, worth more than 1 bln eur.

The first contract, awarded by Saudi Arabian state-run energy group Saudi Aramco, is for the expansion of the Quarayyah Sea Water Plant facility, about 250 km southwest of Dhahran.

The Desperation of George W. Bush, Part II

How desperate are they? Desperate enough to lobby the IPCC and ask them to include in the summary for policymakers some nutty strategies for dealing with climate change, such as putting giant mirrors or a giant sunscreen into orbit, or pumping tiny droplets of sulfate, or reflective dust, into the atmosphere as “important insurance” against rising emissions.

The Heated Debate Over Citizenre

How an emerging company has created a storm of controversy in the world of solar energy.

Population growth plays a key role

Global warming is "unequivocal," according to the recently released report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The most likely culprits are people - all of us. Yet there never has been much public discussion about the role of human population growth in global warming.

Doesn't it seem likely that there is no real intention to produce Iraq oil at this particular time?

Bottle it all up. Control the territory, by force if necessary. 14 "enduring bases" plus the Green Zone should do it.

Too much Iraqi oil supply at this time would have deleterious effect on price of oil -- too much already on the market.

The ice on this planet is melting like an ice sculpture at a Florida wedding. Be afraid.

Thanks for the climate stories, Leanan.

Hopefully many people will read them and start thinking for real. I saw you made a late comment on the Valentine Drumbeat about Tainter's and Diamond's assertions of problems being "too complex for everyone to understand".

When it comes to climate change, I think that should be anyone, not everyone. Nobody seems to understand where we're at.

People should start to realize that climate change is an issue that has been left alone for so long that it will run its course no matter what. In that light, it's exasperating to read headlines that suggest America is finally waking up and that sort of message.

Well, guys, it's too late, the sheets are on fire. You can compare it to a severely neglected case of diabetes: you may eventually live, but you won't be your old selves anymore, more likely a nation of blind amputees.

Emissions from decades ago cause the melting in Antarctica and the Andes from the articles above, as well as all over the planet, emissions that were but a fraction of what we spew out today. The earth in a few decades will have unrecognizably changed, we have disturbed a whole system full of fine-tuned balances way beyond recovery. It won't be like it was when you grew up for at least thousands of years, if it ever will.

What we see now is yet another deluded mass lulling themselves to sleep by purchasing hybrid cars and efficient lightbulbs and seeing Al Gore's misleading take on the subject (green business opportunities, my a$$, Al). These things don't matter anymore, you should have done that 40 years ago.

The situation has run so out of hand by now that an entirely different set of measures is called for. We have to move people away from the coastal areas of the world, for starters. We can see where the droughts will hit, from Africa to California, and the floods, from Bangla Desh to Western Europe and China. It's time to start making provisions for these disasters, or we'll be too late once again.

PS one more thing: from the China story comes this line:

"China could face "unimaginable challenges" if global warming continues and the oceans keep rising"

That is misleading. Global warming will continue for another 100 years even if all emissions stop right now. It's high time to face that truth.

If you read this "if global warming continues" line, know that there is no IF. It's done.

Another avenue of lulling the public to sleep: Technology can save us!

For example, from Eric Berger of the Houston Chroncicle:

Benford has a proposal that possesses the advantages of being both one of the simplest planet-cooling technologies so far suggested and being initially testable in a local context. He suggests suspension of tiny, harmless particles (sized at one-third of a micron) at about 80,000 feet up in the stratosphere. These particles could be composed of diatomaceous earth.

And the argument:

Why don't we just do something about it, instead? Yes, long-term, doing a lot of the strategies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions -- such as ending fossil fuel use and living sustainable lifestyles -- will be very good, environmentally, for the planet. And in my view, that's a very good thing both for nature, animals and humans. But those kinds of changes are going to happen slowly. And the effect on cooling the planet will take a long, long time.

Shorter term solutions will require more radical engineering. And they may not win any Greenpeace awards because temporarily solving the problem by putting small particles into the atmosphere will encourage many people to continue their business-as-usual energy practices. But these engineering solutions probably could address the problem a lot more quickly.

My personal view is that a number of skeptics see global warming both through a political lens, and as an effort by environmental organizations to force their views down the throats of everyone. If the skeptics are right, then you would expect environmental organizations to oppose practical solutions that don't improve the overall environmental condition of the planet.

Reducing carbon emissions, evidently, is out of the question. So we have no choice except to radically modify the atmosphere.

Needless to say, the solution offered above is extremely energy- and resource-intensive and could not possibly continue forever. Humankind's prospects become dimmer with each passing day.

If humans will not stop polluting, Nature will stop humankind.

Perhaps it is already too late.

David Mathews

Yeah, it's just my luck, I guess, that the village idiot is the first to respond.

They don't even make you take your early morning pills anymore? I see your sort on the street every day, and I do give quarters and bucks, but I don't want you in my home or office, because that's not pleasant, you have no manners or regard for others if you stop taking your medicine. I could deal with the drooling, it's the shouting that gets to me.

You're in luck that there's no editors on this site, boy.

But for scores of other people that's a big drag.

You have cost this site a lot of readers and posters by now, but no-one here seems to care about them. You can go on till there's no-one left here who matters to any serious discussion..

Hello HeIsSoFly,

Yeah, it's just my luck, I guess, that the village idiot is the first to respond.

That's a pretty ironic statement coming from a person named "HeISSoFly".

They don't even make you take your early morning pills anymore? I see your sort on the street every day, and I do give quarters and bucks, but I don't want you in my home or office, because that's not pleasant, you have no manners or regard for others if you stop taking your medicine. I could deal with the drooling, it's the shouting that gets to me.

You need to describe your own life to me, "HeIsSoFly".

You have cost this site a lot of readers and posters by now, but no-one here seems to care about them. You can go on till there's no-one left here who matters to any serious discussion..

If I had that sort of impact upon this website I would have done the Peak Oil movement a big favor.

And what sort of serious discussions did you have in mind. I cannot envision any sort of serious conversation occurring between anyone and a person named "He Is So Fly".

David Mathews


I will grant that Mathews has a rather hopelessly grim view of the future, but I think this particular post was completely germane to the topic you brought up. You announced that warming is a fact and there is nothing we can do about it. Mathews confirmed what you said and then wrote about some of the possible responses to this problem. He then merely set forth the not very novel idea that nature bats last.

And then you assert that Mathews is an idiot and an insane, drooling homeless person. That seems like an overreaction on your part.

I would suggest that if people don't agree with Mathews that they refute his statements or arguments directly or they ignore him. He is an extreme doomer, but then, there are and have been other doomers on this site.

I like how certian viewpoints have been relegated to intellectual ghettos if they do not toe the happy, happy we-can-engineer-ourselves-out-of-anything cornucopians who dominate the site.

1939: Yes, he hates the NAZIs and accuses them of all sorts of atrocities, but he is a pessimist. I prefer to belief that the films of all those happy jews are true!

1956: Of course the Potemkin village is representative of Soviet society! Don't be so negative!

2000: Global warming? That just means we all get to be warm in the winter. No big deal. Besides, we got plenty of airconditioners. Don't be a party-pooper!

2007: Don't listen to them, they are "doomers." We got technology, dude!!

Yup, nothing like realism coated with a creamy, sweet coating of wishful thinking and techno-fantasy.

He is an extreme doomer, but then, there are and have been other doomers on this site

He is worse than a doomer. A doomer is convinced that the coming situation is going to be very bad, and nothing can stop it. Dave is eagerly awaiting the coming bad situation, and is cheering it on. I bet he leaves his car running all night to try and speed up the end of the world.

Anybody that is happy at the thought of the death of billions of people is seriously messed up.

He is a Genophobe.

Hello enviro attny,

He is worse than a doomer. A doomer is convinced that the coming situation is going to be very bad, and nothing can stop it. Dave is eagerly awaiting the coming bad situation, and is cheering it on. I bet he leaves his car running all night to try and speed up the end of the world.

Am I the one cheering on this situation?

Don't you imagine that the oil, auto & power corporations bear some responsibility for the consequences of their extremely profitable behavior?

I advocate humankind ceasing all of these activities which are destroying the Earth. If I wanted billions of humans to die, I would invest in the oil industry and trade oil futures. Profiting from the crimes and pollutions of the oil industry seems like a reprehensible, evil activity to me.

And, no, I do not leave my car running all night nor leave my lights on when not in the room nor use the air conditioner/heater except when absolutely necessary nor eat any more than enough to keep my body running.

I am not in favor of anyone dying, but I know that billions of humans are already fated to die because of the crimes against Nature committed by humankind.

Anybody that is happy at the thought of the death of billions of people is seriously messed up.

But what of those who seek to profit from the deaths of billions?

David Mathews

What astonishes me most about Matthews is his ability to type so fast. Kind of reminds me of when my daughters were toddlers. Very prolific at speaking many words per minute for hours on end but rarely saying anything profound.
Better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak and prove it. One of my wife's favorite sayings and who am I to disagree.

Hello Thomas,

What astonishes me most about Matthews is his ability to type so fast. Kind of reminds me of when my daughters were toddlers. Very prolific at speaking many words per minute for hours on end but rarely saying anything profound.
Better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak and prove it. One of my wife's favorite sayings and who am I to disagree.

I say whatever is on my mind. I don't care whether the readers consider the statements profound or not.

The Oil Drum is not a forum devoted to profound thoughts. Those seeking profundity should visit websites devoted to philosophy or religion.

The Oil Drum is an oil industry website which is especially addicted to mathematical models, graphs and charts describing oil production statistics both historical and speculative. There is nothing especially profound in all of these charts and graphs. That's why the arguments here always follow essentially the same form and ultimately reach the same conclusion.

I have followed discussions on The Oil Drum for over a year and can say for certain that nothing whatsoever profound was ever expressed in these discussions. Fortunately for me, I visit a diverse group of websites in order to investigate Homo sapiens from every available angle of thought, word, and action.

When I need a profound thought, I seek out the Scriptures:

"Behold, my eye has seen all this, my ear has heard and understood it. What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you.
"But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue with God.
"But you smear with lies; you are all worthless physicians.
"O that you would be completely silent, and that it would become your wisdom!
(Proverbs 13:1-5)

David Mathews

Your response confirms my point. You out worded me 5:1 and even unneccesarily repeated my comment while adding a Bible passage.
I have encountered many profound statements on the Drum such as very informative postings explaining the science and engineering aspects of our energy challenges. I found the Cubic Mile of Oil concept to be a profound image about the magnitude of oil use. Engineer-Poet's postings with all the mathematical backing he brings to his comments are very profound. The concept of Energy Return on Energy Invested is an extremely profound concept that must be taught to the body politic so good public policy can be realized. As for my comments, most of what I post are just the musings of a lunatic. At least that's what my psychiatrist says.

To pick a nit, that's not Proverbs it is Book of Job

I suggest simply not responding to him on this issue today. Even I don't want him to waste 'your' real estate space with his nut-job outlook. And don't worry dmathew1, we all know your cryptic response of 'I don't care what you say, na na, boo boo' is incoming.

Hello Hothgor,

Even I don't want him to waste 'your' real estate space with his nut-job outlook. And don't worry dmathew1, we all know your cryptic response of 'I don't care what you say, na na, boo boo' is incoming.

I really do care about you, Hothgor, I do.

David Mathews

I do not understand your problems with Dave. He is entitled to his opinion and in my view many times it is spot on.

Cherenkov and tstreet hit it on the nose. Dave's comments were appropriate to the post and he is entitled to his opinion.

I found his "particle" post to be interesting. I have no idea whether it is doable or not, but it is interesting. So why all the flack? Does that make me a nut because I found it interesting?

Anyone with a negative view of the future does seem to get relegated to the nut-pile--no matter that a negative outcome for humanity is certainly possible. Most of us like to think it will be otherwise, but there are no guarantees and we won't know until we get there. That's why politicians never tell the truth if it is bad news--they know it will ensure they won't get re-elected because people never want to hear the truth if it is bad news. Everything must be sugar-coated.

Personally, I think we will blow ourselves to smithereens in resource wars long before climate change or peak oil get us. It has been the human condition throughout the ages to "covet" thy neighbors resources. But along the way we will have other painful adjustments to the problems coming down the pike.

I don't care for the religious parts, but then I don't care for it when it comes from our president and self-righteous congress-critters either. So, I've learned to tune them out when they start down that path. If his posts bother you that much, don't read them and don't respond.

not that i agree with all of dmathew's points.
though to be frank, he has not once cussed out, called anyone else names, or otherwise derided people who reply to him. no matter how much they do it to him.. so please grow up and act like a adult, you might not like what he posts but that gives you no right to act like you have and so many others.
sure you can disagree and i hope have a nice rational discussion over it. though you do realize by posting a post like this you are the troll not him.


More importantly, who owns Anna Nicole's body? Or, as put forth by Inhofe during the global warming hearings, what we really need to worry about is the impact of fighting global warming on those small oil men who own stripper wells. It is alleged that taxes on carbon will ruin the small oilmen of this country. First, does this ring true? Second, if it is true, which is more important, the future of the planet or the marginal oil producers of this country.

But I guess I digress. According to your post, it is way too late to do anything about global warming. True, but now we are not talking about preventing warming, we are talking about just mitigating it. Somehow, I think that the concept of mitigation will fail to capture the imagination of the American and the rest of the world's people.

Perhaps people are still using the word "if", because the use of the more correct word "when" would plunge us into an even deeper level of despair and/or apathy.

Inhofe probably believe an old dog can't learn new tricks. This may be true about Inhofe but he should apologise for insulting the intelligence of these small oil men. The owners of these stripper wells could be hired to convert those depleted fields into geothermal power generators.

You must have THE computer model. We understand warming will continue regardless additions/reductions of CO2, but saying that reductions in consumption now are worthless, is indeed worthless.

saying that reductions in consumption now are worthless, is indeed worthless

I never said anything of the kind.

We can choose to prepare, as much as we can, or we can choose to just keep fooling ourselves for yet another decade, buy a hybrid and be surprised to find it, and ourselves, under water one day.

Buying a hybrid car in 2007 is a sign of denial.

Reductions in consumption can no longer reverse climate change, and that is what's still promoted; it will cause us to lose more precious years of preparation.

Well said. Die-off is on the way for sure.

You're probably right about the fact that much of the warming we are and will be seeing is the product of emmissions past; already in the pipeline. And it may be that even if we could magically stop all emmissions now, we'd still have hundreds of millions of climate refugees, etc.

But the reason - the point - in people being comparatively optimisitic by discussing climate change as if we can now do something about it, is because (1) if it is inevitable, where does that lead us? Not empowering. And if you want to be defeatist go ahead but (2), what we do now will affect the ultimate severity of climate upheaval 100 years out. It may not be a total lost cause 100 years down the road, though without mitigation and a sense of defeat you can be sure it will be then.

Does anyone have a good understanding of the underlying topography of Antartica? Stuart covered it somewhat here-->


Totonelia brings up the Bentley SubGlacial Trench is the deepest point on earth not under seawater at 8326 ft below sealevel. Is this trench filled with water?

I thought the two major ice shelves were floating on the ocean and that the interior ice sheet was fixed on a mountain range. Are these lakes contained within the subsurface mountain terrain?


Edit to add missing ? in last para.

There are subglacial lakes all over Antarctica. Wikipedia:

"Antarctica is home to more than 70 lakes that lie thousands of meters under the surface of the continental ice sheet. Lake Vostok, discovered beneath Russia's Vostok Station in 1996, is the largest of these subglacial lakes.

It is believed that the lake has been sealed off for 35 million years. There is some evidence that Vostok's waters may contain microbial life. The sealed, frozen surface of the lake shares similarities with Jupiter's moon Europa"

The basic mistake is to think of the ice as a soild frozen compact "cube". There are lakes, rivers and streams, and water flowing and trickling all over and through. That suggests very strongly that the melting could be much faster than predicted in computer models so far, decades instead of centuries. Water can move from top to bottom in seconds, something that was thought impossible until very recently.

What's important for the ice masses that float on the sea, the ones fed by inland glaciers, is that the warming waters also induce melting from the bottom up. So you got melting going on, and increasingly so, at the top, side, bottom and everywhere inside.

What's important for the ice masses that float on the sea, the ones fed by inland glaciers, is that the warming waters also induce melting from the bottom up.

He: Not too worried about those as they displace their own weight in water and their melting will not impact sealevel.

Did find this image of sub-glacial terrain features and now have a better understanding of relationships between lakes and ice:



Not too worried about those as they displace their own weight in water and their melting will not impact sealevel.

Thing is, their melting incresases both speed and melting of the land based ice moving towards the sea. They function as a kind of bolt that keeps the inland ice in place. Once they're gone, it's like opening a closet stacked to the hilt with ping-pong balls.

I havn't seen this picture before! The continent is in fact a lot smaller than the ice on it... No a lot of chance to compense there the ground lost elsewhere due to ice melting...

I had the same reaction to the image. My original understanding was that there were two floating ice shelves but that the main body of Antarctica was a mass of rock raised above sea level with 3 km of ice frosted on top. The lakes would be distributed through the rock mountain range at various elevations much like Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and others found in the Western Cordillera

If I interpret the image correctly then the "lakes" are not contained in bowls at some altitude in mountains but are in fact at sea level and open on to the sea at the periphery. This would imply that much of the main body of the ice is subject to being undermined by warmer water in the manner described by He above.

Lake Vostok is known to be a freshwater lake. This is located roughly above the text "aurora subglacial basin" and appears to be isolated from the other subglacial lakes.

The melting point of ice is related to the pressure it is under. A layer of ice miles thick lowers the melting point some 20C. The weight of the ice also causes the land to sink putting some of these lakes well below sea level.

When I read stuff like what Peter Jackson of CERA says in the very first link provided today by Leanan, I always find myself asking the following questions with considerable puzzlement:

Does this guy actually believe what he is saying? What exactly is the psychology involved in obfuscating a wealth of hard evidence with clever sophisms, as he and many other cornucopians do?

Re: Does this guy actually believe what he is saying?

I believe he does.

Perhaps we're in the Age of Self-deception and Wishful Thinking. The number of Ambien sleepwalkers amongst us is climbing. Practical thinking is on the wane.

Any thinking is on the wane.

OK, fellow TODers, here's my shameless plug for the MPR show "In the Loop" that airs tonight at 9 PM and features....

me on my pedicabs and cargo trikes -- talking with reporter Sanden Totten as I carry him along for a ride in zero degree weather in Minneapolis.

The show is about global warming and how people see it and what some of us are doing about it.

The website is here:


or you can just google "in the loop mpr" to find it as well -- if that is easier.

Also, I'll soon be a published writer in a small local paper. I wrote a short essay about the environment, tying my observations as a trike rider together with reflections on E.O. wilson's "The Creation."

The paper is the South West Journal of Minneapolis. I'll let you know when the article comes out.

Yes, I know we are doomed and all, but I still am trying to do my little bit, in hopes that many little bits will make room for good things to happen. Even if they don't, the many little bits are a good thing in themselves.

ELP! Permaculture-ize! Bike and walk! Have some fun while you are at it!

Thanks for your efforts! If you can ride a trike in cold Minneapolis, we should be able to ride bikes where it isn't so cold.

More evidence that this is the golden age of the American automotive industry:

Chrysler Said to Seek Help From G.M. on a Big S.U.V.

DETROIT, Feb. 15 — The Chrysler Group and General Motors are holding discussions about a joint project that would provide Chrysler with a version of the big Chevrolet Tahoe sport utility, people with direct knowledge of the talks said Thursday night.

Chrysler, whose lineup is weighted heavily toward S.U.V.’s, pickups and minivans, has talked about building a large S.U.V. for more than 20 years. But it has not been able to find a way to justify the expense of developing a big S.U.V., which it probably could sell in only limited numbers.

S.U.V. sales peaked in 2002, but have fallen since then, especially after gasoline prices spiked above $3 a gallon in 2005 and 2006. The drop in S.U.V. sales was one reason G.M. lost $10.6 billion in 2005, prompting the company to initiate its own revamping efforts.

“It’s ironic that both of them are in financial trouble because they’re too dependent on big vehicles, and now they’re talking about doing a big vehicle together,” said Kevin Smith, editorial director of Edmunds.com, a Web site that offers car-buying advice.

All these American auto corporations might as well go bankrupt and cease to exist. They cannot break the SUV addiction. Obese Americans cannot break the oil addiction. And the American government cannot break its addiction to aggressive militarism.

The sooner that this world comes to an end, the better.

David Mathews

Just wondering, when this world does come to an end what will you be doing Dave?

RE: “It’s ironic that both of them are in financial trouble because they’re too dependent on big vehicles, and now they’re talking about doing a big vehicle together,” said Kevin Smith, editorial director of Edmunds.com, a Web site that offers car-buying advice.

That is an excellent point. Now they want to collaborate on exactly what got them into trouble. What are they thinking??? Or maybe the question is actually, "Are they Thinking????"

Leanan, Thank you for the update and the great work that you do.

With regard to the article "The Desperation of George W. Bush, Part II", Global Conflicts looming... Climate change upon us... Perhaps the plan is that we can cure "Global Warming" with a Nuclear Winter

I'm afraid there is no plan.

I think the Raise the Hammer people might be right. They're just "chasing their losses."

Like an inveterate gambler who has lost every previous round and now faces insolvency, Bush seems poised to wager everything on one last throw of the dice.

Nuclear winter is just the carbon compound particles and sulfate particles introduced into the stratosphere. These particles, unlike the CO2 that would be released as well, will sediment out in a few years. Over these few years (less than 5) the oceans will not have enough time to cool down and the CO2 and other greenhouse gases will stay in place. So nuclear winter will be nothing more than a short-lived transient. It would cause famines as crops fail year after year but that is another issue.


This new bike sounds great. I wonder if it has an airbag.

I'd love to get a Twike but I mostly walk around town and my weekend travel needs require a longer range vehicle.

Legislators - with the strong support of Comptroller Peter Franchot - are pushing for Maryland to start constructing more energy-efficient buildings, a plan backers believe will protect the environment and save the state money.

For the second meeting in a row, Franchot grilled state administrators coming before the Board of Public Works yesterday on how much thought they have given to "green building" standards. He asked Gov. Martin O'Malley to revive an executive order from former Gov. Parris N. Glendening requiring more green buildings and sent a letter to legislators endorsing bills to do the same thing.

"I've always been told we can't have a green building or can only have a green building under very limited circumstances because it costs too much," said Franchot, a former Democratic delegate from Montgomery County. "Yes, there may be a small premium, but there are significant life-span savings."

Five green-building bills were heard yesterday in a Senate committee, but some lawmakers questioned whether the measures are as fiscally wise as their backers claim. With a backlog of hundreds of millions of dollars in school construction, they said now is not the time to enact rules that make buildings cost more on the front end.

"The increased cost could decrease the number of capital projects we budget," said Republican Sen. David R. Brinkley, the minority leader from Frederick County. "We're already behind the eight ball. I recognize the long-term benefits, but we've got problems here in the short term."

O'Malley, who sits with Franchot on the Board of Public Works, expressed support for the comptroller's focus on the issue, saying he wants to look at Glendening's executive order and make green buildings one of the elements of government that is measured through the StateStat program.

But later in the day, administration officials testified against the bills that would require more green buildings, saying the state needs more time to study the issue.

One of the bills discussed yesterday would extend an existing tax credit program to encourage private development of green buildings. The $25 million in credits authorized under current law have already been used by 18 projects around the state, and the bill would authorize the state to award $25 million more. No one raised objections to that proposal in the hearing.

But the other bills under consideration would either require the state to make new projects more energy-efficient or to give price preferences to high-performance designs on major construction projects. In either case, that would mean that the construction cost would not be the only criterion when the state decides on a building design.

Some of the legislation under consideration would also require the state to rent energy-efficient office space or to use environmentally friendly techniques when renovating a building.

Green buildings are designed to be environmentally friendly in a variety of ways. For example, some are designed to reduce the energy used for heating and cooling or for light. Others recycle storm water to reduce runoff.

Sen. James Brochin, a Baltimore County Democrat who sponsored three of the bills, said the increased construction cost for green buildings could be as low as 2 percent.

"These things pay for themselves in as little as three to five years," in reduced energy costs, he said.

Chadwick B. Clapsaddle (!), the head of capital projects for the Department of Budget and Management, and Lee Wildemann, the legislative liaison for the Department of General Services, said legislators should reject the bills until the state knows more about the effectiveness of three existing green building projects.

"We would like the opportunity to take a look at some of these projects and come back to you with a program that makes sense," Clapsaddle said.

Regardless of the fate of the legislation, Franchot said he intends to raise the issue every chance he can in the Board of Public Works, where he has one of three votes on whether to approve virtually every state contract.


For $26000 I hope it has an airbag. Basically an electrified recumbent bicycle with doodads. Better be good doodads.

The aerorider looks pretty similar, but is about $10,000.
Do you suppose Chrysler could buy the design and mass produce it for $4,000? Probably in our dreams.

For $26,000 I'd rather have a Corbin Sparrow/Myers Motors NMG http://www.myersmotors.com/

It's at least highway capable, will corner without flipping over, and probably won't kill you instantly if you hit something...

Do not pay any attention to national politicians, it only encourages them. They are a colossal waste of time

Dmitry Orlov

After reading Sam Bodman's quote above, or the CERA pulp fiction, it should be clear that Orlov is correct and that his Rule applies to all politicians as well as the great Naked apes running national and international corporations.

History shows The Masses do not wake up from the Delusion. Instead, the masses and their "Leaderz" just keep on insisting that the world continue to function as it has during their lifetimes.

It is only well after the Chaos ends and we reach a new equilibrium that the Masses understand what happened.

Prepare for yourself and your family. Government will be more of a hinderance than help.

(edit - someone should tell Sam Bodman that "History shows a free market" does not prevent chaos at Peak Resources and that no amount of gunboat diplomacy will prevent people from hoarding their resources.)

What should be done along the east coast of the US, is to install wave power systems. With enough installed, beach erosion could be slowed down. You could also install a wind generator and a wave generator in the same platform.

i'm fascinated by the Citizenre controversy and following developments closely.

one significant issue with their model relates to inverters, which are notoriously difficult to manufacture and also don't typically last as long as the life of the entire system (25-30 years). Citizenre plans to manufacture PV modules that each contain a small inverter, meaning a typical PV installation will have 15-25 inverters instead of the typical system today, which has one or two central inverters.

this plan opens Citizenre up to a lot of maintenance and performance problems down the road. i found a very insightful commentary here about the Citizenre plan and recent blogosphere controversy. a good read for anyone interested in this

Oil and war

Fred Fair went to Nixon's funeral with Rumsfeld

And we are working-up a genocide criminal complaint affidavit

small world


Anyone know if pre 9/11 there was any hint of a reconciliation between the Bush administration and Sedam?


Black Bald

Who is Sedam?

Saddam tried -- the Bush Administration rejected him. Reports were that he tried desperately the last few weeks before the attacks. Bush would not respond. Saddam also tried through a bunch of intermediaries to no avail. He stated he was willing to give in to ALL demands and then some in order to stop the attacks. The administration was intent on having their war.

The current administration is all big oil men/women and they have installed big oil men in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is all about seizing the energy to help out big oil.

Too bad they aren't willing to invest in some of the newer technologies to the same extent (such as that special carbon molecule discussed a short while back --sorry, my alzheimers just kicked in). The only alternative to oil that the govt seems interested in is owned by another huge lobby -- the agricultural lobby. And they are hell-bent on corn-based ethanol.

I'm sorry, you were asking pre-9/11, and I responded pre-Iraqi war.

I doubt there were any discussion pre-9/11 since Saddam wasn't involved in 9/11 -- contrary to the spin you often hear.

Cheryl: "It is all about seizing the energy to help out big oil."

That's quite an allegation. The State Dept has announced that total oil revenue for 2006 is $31-Billion, up substantially from 2005. Could u give us a breakdown of the distribution of those funds to Bush Administration friendly Texas oilco's? I couldn't find it in their Shareholder reports.


Thanks for the replies. I should have mentioned that the reason I ask is that if control of the middle east was the reason for invasion then control of Saddam by negotiation should have served GWB much better. If there were negotiations in progress they may have initiated desperate measures on the part of the Al queda or like minded group and therefore 9/11. I also think that there is the possibility that the present 'civil war' in Iraq is instigated rather than sectarian in nature this for the express purpose of making it impossible for the Bush Blair entente from access to the oil.

I also think that I could be very wrong.

Keep on giggling,

Black Bald.

Why We Fight is a must-see, as is The Power of Nightmares.

The articles concerning the coming Russian gas shortage had me sitting up in my chair. It looks like someone in the near future
is going to freeze.
I think we are soon going to see a game of musical chairs played in a small room with each player holding a grenade.

I was very impressed reading through Dave's CERA post this morning, until I got to the discussion.

I haven't seen anyone post it yet today so I'll do my part.

Editors: please clean up this site. I applaud you for wanting to allow anyone to post but this site isn't going to weather this.

Six months ago this place was really something special.

I agree. If it were only up to me, I'd be booting people left and right by now. (Some have been booted, BTW.)

Not all the staff agrees - just because of the work it would involve to police the site. But I suspect they don't read TOD very often. I don't think they know how bad it's gotten.

Perhaps it is time to stop contemplating the ideal solution...

Eliminating 3 or 4 trolls would do a lot of good.

Unfortunately, it's not that easy. They just create new accounts and keep posting.

One thing I would be in favor of: a waiting period, like dKos has. You're not allowed to post right away after you sign up. You have to wait a week, I think.

That would at least make it harder for trolls to come back after being banned.

Ban their IP addresses. Seriously, the drumbeat has been deteriorating rapidly the past few months. Today it hit rock bottom as one troll responded to another. All troll conversations, it can't get worse than that.

Seriously. There are 3 posters who need to be banned ASAP. Either find a way to do it or lose the comments feature of the site. If the comments feature has to go perhaps it could be replaced with blogs for invited contributors.

Unfortunately, it's not at all difficult to fake an IP address.

Also, this might affect those whose only access is through a local library, would it not?

Hello MicroHydro,

Seriously, the drumbeat has been deteriorating rapidly the past few months.

These discussions have deterioted over the last few months?

That's a remarkable thing that you are saying: The discussions at The Oil Drum were good in the past.

I have read the discussions at The Oil Drum for over a year and must inform you: There never was a golden age at The Oil Drum. These discussions were always worthless.

During this time -- more than a year, a very long time -- that I followed The Oil Drum, I reached the following conclusion:

The Oil Drum is an excellent website specifically because it represents the oil industry.

I suppose that all this talk of banning people would serve to get The Oil Drum back on message, i.e. representing the oil industry and promoting its causes and defending it from criticism based upon the pollution and environmental degradation and human rights abuses which the industry commits every day.

The Oil Drum is an oil industry website and therefore not an objective source of information about Peak Oil, climate change, ethanol (and, yes, I am opposed to ethanol), politics, regulations, or anything.

I hope that you don't mind my speaking honestly for a moment. These opinions were formed by my reading of The Oil Drum for over a year. I pay close attention to what people say and also to what these same people do not say.

Those seeking the truth should not limit their information gathering to a single website, even one as excellent as The Oil Drum.

That's my opinions regarding these matters.

David Mathews

I quite like a lot of your writing, David. But this charge that TOD is an oil industry website is completely off the mark. That some who contribute and post have employment in the industry, and others trade in oil company shares does not substantiate your accusation.
Nor does the absence of a daily condemnation of the oil industry from the editors and contributors of TOD justify your charge.

You are not the only one to read widely, from the scriptures plagiarized from the wisdom of ancient Egypt to a variety of contemporary sources. I read widely and spend a great deal of time in contemplation. My view is that there is a good deal of important insight on this site. And, yes, a great deal of repetition. You are repetitive. Not that I mind. Sometimes, the insight you bring escapes me the first time around. And this is the case with the comments of others as well. Frequently a thread follows a familiar path, but because the sequence of the arguments changes, my appreciation of the knowledge being imparted increases.

The main benefit of this site for me, and I believe for some others, is that it allows me to participate in the public policy process somewhat better informed on energy matters and on the lines of the arguments that are to be expected in relation to these matters, and thus enhances my ability to contribute to the building of a little piece of a better future for all of the survivors of this sad and destructive era.

I hope you continue to post, David. I hope you continue to remind us of the price creation is paying because of the avarice of some and the short-sightedness, sloth and even stupidity of others. But please, don't denigrate people with evident good intention, including the people who bring us this opportunity to learn and exchange thoughts and feelings.

Hello toilforoil,

But this charge that TOD is an oil industry website is completely off the mark. That some who contribute and post have employment in the industry, and others trade in oil company shares does not substantiate your accusation.

I wish it were so easy to dismiss the charge. However over the last year I have seen plenty of substantial evidence that The Oil Drum is, essentially, an oil industry website which serves to propagandize and lobby on behalf of the oil industry.

The Oil Drum is populated by oil careerists, traders, investors and speculators. The whole site is a virtual "den of thieves" filled with people who have unstated conflicts of interests.

The Oil Drum's excellence is made possible by virtue of the existence of professionals. These people are not Peak Oil hobbyists. They represent the oil industry too effectively.

There is no objective, trustworthy information here at The Oil Drum.

From an oil industry standpoint, The Oil Drum is undoubtedly fair & balanced.

David Mathews

Hi Dave,

I usually stick up for you. But now I'm confused as to your stance. You said several times that the oildrum is excellent, but now you say that there is "no objective, trustworthy information here..."

I disagree. There are several excellent posters, regardless of their affiliations, who do seem to embrace peak oil, climate change, and that we fact huge, possibly insurmountable challenges.

what i think he is trying to say is it's a good place for information on how the industry thinks of the problem. at least the parts that think there is one.
like it or not he is right many people here either work in the industry or are trader's of their stock. i can't get through a entire week of posts here and /not/ find several that are on stock speculation of the oil industry. or a month without some information about the industry that only a insider would know. not that it's a bad thing it just helps define the problem.
this doesn't make it a bad source of information, just one where you have to keep in mind that all they know about is oil.
also like it or not everyone here has a vested interest to trying to keep things the same, thats why things like 'ethanol' or 'conservation(without taking growth or jevon's paradox into account)' are more liked then saying the damage is done, now we have to deal with it.

I've been on message boards where the moderators could see the IP addresses of posters, and continue to ban the ones who kept trying to come back (at least that was my understanding of how it worked). I'm sure someone with more abilities than I could advise whether that would be a way of keeping the trolls at bay... (edit) never mind, you guys are quicker than me.

That's like the point I tried to make earlier. Freedom is nice and all, but TOD is losing a lot of people this way. From all the happiness at being recognized at the Boston gathering just a few months ago, it's been a steep decline.

There is a substantial group of people with solid involvement here who are being pushed out, and that doesn't even count all those who got their information here without writing them selves, who are now gone because of all the nonsense. And it's not even Hutter or Hothgor, with their loudmouth contrary whatever, it's a bunch of nuts with nothing, not even a wrong, message. Nonsense begets nonsense.

TOD is doing a great disservice, an insult even, to the likes of Dave Cohen, RR2 and Jeffrey, as well as Bob Shaw, Ron Patterson and Roger Connor, and more, and nobody steps in to rectify all this. At a certain point this will be seen, and rightly so, as a measure of how much you appreciate your contributors.

And then everyone will conclude that no-one cares. And that will be the end, which is closer than you all think.

Thank you for posting this. And yes, it is closer than some think.

I had a thought: perhaps article authors should promote particularly good comments or even entire threads to the main body of an article, the way Leanan adds things to Drumbeat.

That way, one could read articles Without Comments, avoid all the trolling and minutiae, yet not miss the cream of whatever useful might come up in the comments section. IOW rather than all of us voting someone down, you, the editors and contributors, would vote specific posts up. Those who want to see everything can still do so, but the better results of the debates will be much more prominent.

I think that might be rather awkward, given the length of the comments on some posts.

But maybe we could give the contributors permission to police their own articles, and delete any comments they felt were disruptive. No justification necessary, no arguments.

But maybe we could give the contributors permission to police their own articles...

I would be very much for that.

I think it would ensure the conversation was respectful and factual.

Furthermore... I think we can count on the contributors to be fair and to be tolerant... after all a one-viewpoint thread gets boring immediately.

Exactly. The contributors want comments, after all. If they get carried away deleting stuff, it will discourage people from commenting at all. They have incentive to be reasonable.

>Exactly. The contributors want comments, after all. If they get carried away deleting stuff, it will discourage people from commenting at all. They have incentive to be reasonable.

I would prefer an option an "Ignore" option that hide messages posted any user in an ignore list. This will allow people to individually choose which users they wish to see and not to see, and it avoids having staff constantly banning and monitoring for trolls, although this would require some database horsepower to handle this method.

Another option is to create a list of preferred posters (ie RR, Westexas, Stuart, etc) and provide a user enabled option (in profile) to just display links to all of the other messages. To read the full message thread user could just click link. this would probably save a lot of bandwidth, since I doubt most people read all the messages, but they all get downloaded anyway.

Just my two cents.
Thanks for listening

I agree with you, TechGuy. All of the various approaches of dealing with this issue have problems, but a simple ignore function would probably be the easiest to implement for the good people who operate this place, and still get the job done. Then it would be up to individuals to find their own threshold of pain :-)

I would prefer an option an "Ignore" option that hide messages posted any user in an ignore list.

That only works if you're a regular user. Probably most of our visitors are not.

We don't just want to close our eyes to the mess. We want to clean it up, so it's fit for company.

However, if the regular users had an "ignore" button 1) the trolls would not be fed (as often anyway), which would shorten the thread, and perhaps make them go away, or avoid the site to begin with, and, 2) some of our prized regular users would not give up and go away, keeping the site worth visiting.


Oh that would just be a challenge to post faster than the editors can delete. And if I knew there was a delay in permission to post, I'd always keep several identities going well in advance of one being tossed out. I'd say you have about as much chance of beating them as the ISPs have of beating spam.

As I see it, TOD is like a magazine in which *all* the letters to the editor are published, even the ones that are incoherent, off-topic, etc. There is a certain democratic value in the letters being available, but many of us are tired of sifting through all the bad ones on every article. I might want to sift through all comments if the article was about architecture, or bikes, but not usually.

So I still think the very best "letters to the editor" should be recognized, as they are in magazines and journals. I also think that the possibility of recognition (making it to the main article) might encourage better efforts from the posters.

I'd always keep several identities going well in advance of one being tossed out.

I considered that. But I think TOD is looking at 3 or 4 major abusers and perhaps another half a dozen flamer-types. I think that level is manageable. Bouncing these folks will take some effort, but I'm betting Dave Cohen would be willing to knock a few heads to see if it would work. What's to lose?

If the pruning was at the sub-thread node, it would also discourage the bait takers.

Re: Bouncing these folks will take some effort, but I'm betting Dave Cohen would be willing to knock a few heads to see if it would work. What's to lose?

There's nothing to lose. I don't have the authority to ban anyone. I could, and have, made suggestions. There is nothing to be done under current policies.

Would I be willing to knock a few heads? Does a bear shit in the woods? We have reached the no-turning-back stage of all this.

I'd say you have about as much chance of beating them as the ISPs have of beating spam.

I think you're wrong. I know some here think the disruptive elements are paid trolls, but I disgree. I think they're just jerks, as you find at every blog eventually, no matter the topic. They don't have the monetary incentive that spammers have. The point isn't to make TOD troll-proof. It's to make it harder to troll, so the trolls go elsewhere.

The problem, as I see it, is that we're in a sort of "sweet spot" for trolls right now. Large enough to get a lot of eyeballs, but still run a "small blog that trusts everyone" kind of way.

You're more than welcome, Dave.

I must admit I'm surprised you're still hanging in there. In my eyes, you deserve much more respect from this forum. For that matter, the forum itself does too.

Maybe down the line that simply means you deserve a better forum; it's just that for a while it really looked like this was it. There've been some truly good exchanges here.

There's a diverse bunch of smart people gathered here (or used to be), and there's nothing easy nor obvious about it, nor are there obvious places to go for the ensemble of respectful knowledge. People will find an individual spot somewhere, but it's the bouncing-off learning process that makes it worthwhile, I think.

I'm very sorry to see all this go down, and down it is.

There's a lot of talk of how hard it is to get rid of crap, but that's simply not true. The real problem is it gets harder the longer you wait. Like when you decide not to wash for a month, that's close to the feeling I get here.

As I said earlier, nonsense begets nonsense. The blame is not with the idiots, they are what they are. It's the editors here who don't care what happens, who can't be bothered to stand up for the Daves and RR's who have put so much time and energy into making TOD what it no longer is, but once was.

Re: I must admit I'm surprised you're still hanging in there. In my eyes, you deserve much more respect from this forum. For that matter, the forum itself does too

Loyalty is a virtue. It is superceded by self-preservation.

I hear you.

And I hear you.


When you put it that way...

I remember a while back when the S/N ratio here was just outstanding. It is a lot different now.

I agree that there are very special, knowledgable people here that have been sharing a lot of very good stuff, and who could blame them for falling away in the face of whatever-it-is that's going on.

Do certain people simply get voted off the island? What's to stop them from just coming back in another guise?

This happens to every good blog I've ever discovered...

It IS that bad. Really. The space hogs, ranters and attack dogs are just ruining what used to be a gem of a discussion. Please, Leanan, try to convince your colleagues to act before TOD is further ruined--which is just what the trolls intend.

The problem is severe.
Leanan is the staffer doing the nitty gritty where the problem is worst.
Everybody trusts and respects Leanan
Leanan should have carte blanche. My opinion.

I'll second that opinion.

Third that opinion.

If you can round up the people to run it, the realclimate approach of approving comments would work really well for the none Drum Beat articles. Drum Beat makes a decent honeypot for inciteful discussions...

RC seems to achieve a reasonable balance of meaningful discussion / and informed dissent, on an equally divisive subject.

My ¥2.

leanan, you want the truth? it's not changed that much at all in the past six months. the only thing that /has/ changed is the increased amount of people who have thin skins or the lack of mental capacity on the fact people have wildly different viewpoints.
also this 'better oil drum from the past' from my viewpoint never existed. to try to bring the place back to this false state will only lead to ruin.

lets take dmathew for example. while i do not agree on all his points, he is at least civilized in how he posts. though this doesn't stop other people even good members of the community to act like little kids in response to him, even to the point to blatant spamming(ex; the many 'moo' posts they did a few weeks ago).
and to be honest, this has /always/ been the case here. anyone with a viewpoint other then the following.

1. we have time.
2. there has to be something(as in technology only) that can solve this.
3. the same mindset that got us into this problem has to have the solution too.(ex: you can still have your car and house we just need to find a different way to power it all)

has been attacked, derided, and overall spit at in the best way you can on the internet. just because they had a different view. do you honestly think handing censorship controls over to such a userbase would help the situation and turn this into a better place? if you do then you need to sit back and think about one thing. what good would it do turning this place into a intellectual masturbation site where no one's views are challenged(because those who do are eliminated by 'user moderation'). where poking holes in another poster's plans($deity forbid the ones listed on the sidebar) is punishable by the internet's worst punishment, ip-banning from the site.
i ask the other posters here who seem to sit on marble pillar where would they be in life if /everyone/ they talked to absolutely loved their ideas and would go as far as killing those who get near you and doing something so minor as disagreeing or criticizing what you say? because /thats/ what this site would turn into if you turn the controls over to the general posters.
of course this is not counting the same tendency in all of us if we had the power to do the same, i bet heading out would of loved to be able to ip-ban every single poster who expressed their displeasure at his global-warming denial topic. i know he has that power since he is listed as a editor and i have to thank him to have the intellectual balls so to speak to take the punishment of those posts. i really wish more people had that kind of ability, the internet would be a much more civil place.


Your post is precisely what is currently wrong with TOD. I recognize that you spent time composing your reposnse but it is verbose, not concise and wastes the reader's time going through it. I don't think anyone would object to a response that said, "I disagree and here are the links to my position" or in your case, a listing of why you believe what you belive. Rather, we have diarehea (sp) of the mouth/fingers. The assumption being, I assume, is that the more I write, the more powerful my response.

I've been posting a little less than a year when we knew each other's position. In essence, we were friends having a discussion. No one felt it necessary to dump on a friend even when we disagreed. I suggested looking at TOD on another forum and they were amazed by the civility...not just that it could occur but that it occured on an unmoderated forum.

I've posted before that I have seen forums destroyed by this sort of thing and TPTB have to stop it now.


actually, if i wanted to i could of typed quite a bit more on the subject. that is though the basic version of what i see.
also the parallels i was drawing are of 'real life', believe it or not there are people behind each and every post here. and each person to some degree or another would love to have a place where they can go and have their views given applause etc, where no one dares give criticism of these views. that is intellectual masturbation, where your mind is not given the challenge of seeing another point of view which might be more to the truth then your own. this is what the oil drum will become if the mods shift some of the censorship controls over to the populace here while being more heavy handed themselves.
besides, on the subject of being more concise. giving your position out in detail prevents people from mis-interrupting it. the only un-civil acts done, putting aside the one poster who has been baned already, are the people who are good posters otherwise. though the second a person they don't like posts they revert to a little kid and act as such.

No your right. What Rethin did was despicable in that he hijacked Daves thread and turned it into something it was not. For my part, I am sorry I even responded to him. Even my discussions are limited almost entirely to the Drumbeats, and even I think there has been a lot worst deviations into a variety of topics completely unrelated to PO that shouldn't have been allowed to start in the first place.

Six months ago this place was really something special.

I agree. IMO, we are seeing a deliberate--and successful--effort to drive people away from TOD. Of course, on the plus side, my productivity will go up as I spend less time here.

"Of course, on the plus side, my productivity will go up as I spend less time here."

I hear you! It is getting a bit too personal now. But do you really think it is deliberate effort? Or just the typical thing that always seems to happen with the good blogs?

Definitely deliberate. They are too persistent and too good at it to be amateurs. And look at the way a new one pops up as soon as everyone is tired of sparring with the last one. I hope TOD will not permit them to succeed in destroying its usefulness.

Economic rent, in the case of natural resources such as oil and natural gas, is the surplus value, which is generated from the sale of the resource, above and beyond factor payments such as normal profit needs and employee compensation. A jump in the price of the resource normally generates significant economic rent. The question becomes: who is entitled to the rent?

This is the essence of the debate over windfall taxes, royalty regimes and the like.

The extractive/processing/distributive industry will argue that society will benefit if they receive at least the largest share of the economic rent, if not all of it, because, they say, increased investment is required to maintain the flow of the resource to the economy. And obviously in the case of the hydrocarbons, this is a valid point, since, as we know, the low hanging fruit is exhausted, or in a war zone.

But the industry's claim to the economic rent is undermined by the conception of an impending peak and relentless decline in the flow of the resource. The value of industry directed investment comes under scrutiny. The industry might, in whole or in part (Beyond Petroleum), represent itself as the best vehicle to bring substitute resources to market. Nonetheless, the legislator is ultimately forced to confront the suitability of the existing arrangement which sees investment potential captured overwhelmingly by an industry that can no longer assuredly deliver the goods.

To head off changes to the current arrangement regarding economic rent, the industry will primarily emphasize the vastness of the remaining resource, the rising cost of its extraction, and its own privileged suitability for maintaining the flow of the resource. It will also systematically undermine any analysis pointing to a limited resource, to the opportunity cost of investments made to maintain extraction rates, and to the unsuitability of the hydrocarbon industry to deliver substitutes, including alternate arrangements.

Intelligent industry insiders will also recognize that the credibility of the industry's claim on the economic rent is hurt by the conception of declining energy profit, or EROI. This concept logically leads the legislator to wonder how the flow of resources to health care, education, recreation, roads and sewers and to a myriad of non-energy production oriented activities and industries can be maintained. The opportunity cost of hydrocarbon industry-directed investment looms ever larger in the legislator’s calculations. Thus, just as the industry benefits by banishing the idea of an inevitably declining hydrocarbon flow to the margins of the public policy debate, it also prefers to minimize the relevance of EROI in order to maintain its claim on the economic rent at issue.

I don’t know if certain people are more than the nincompoops they appear to be. But there is every reason for some interested parties to attack the coherent and thoughtful work of Dave Cohen as “nonsense” , to undermine the insightfulness of Westexas’ contributions and to generally degrade TOD. A lot of money and power is at stake.

EXCELLENT comment toilforoil!!! Very eloquently said.

I have been trying for several years to explain to people why the oil industry and international corporations (as well as politicians) don't want you to know about peak oil. It is just clearly not in THEIR best interests. Their goals are to extract maximum profit. And they would rather keep the public ignorant as to why certain countries are nationalizing their energy resources because they don't want major public pushes in the US for energy to become "nationalized".

Can I borrow this (with attribution to you, of course) in some of my personal email arguments?
Thanks for a great post!

Thank-you, Cheryl. Go right ahead and use it where you will. I think you might be better to avoid the term 'nationalize', even between quotations, because I don't think that is even remotely possible in the US, or Canada. Because the term is loaded and the probability of nationalisation in the literal sense so small, using it will distract from the real issue. The fight is about economic rent, also know in the economics literature as 'quasi rent'. How is it best employed for society and by whom? As always the narrative is the critical battleground. Hence, disinformation, misinformation and a relentless attempt to marginalize the most eloquent and insightful among those who dissent from the ruling narrative.

One should, in my humble opinion, remember that many, if not most, defenders of an existing order or way of seeing things are not invested financially, but spiritually. I can remember, more than four decades ago, campaigning in Canada for universal health care and being verbally abused by a Hutter/Hothgor type who thought his abuse was justified because in a oft repeated contention that which I was proposing was communism. Today, of course, capital C conservatives in Canada defend universal health care. The point is that this person wasn't in the medical profession or in the private health insurance industry. The same situation is playing out in the emerging battle over control of the wealth being and to be generated by the extraction of the remaining hydrocarbon resource. The industry's privileges will be defended by non-invested thugs, as well as articulate hired guns.

"Of course, on the plus side, my productivity will go up as I spend less time here."

I hear you! It is getting a bit too personal now. But do you really think it is deliberate effort? Or just the typical thing that always seems to happen with the good blogs?

WT: Such as your remarkable ability to repeat yourself ad nauseam on the question of KSA's Qt status?

Or yours of calling him on that all the time?
At least he has something to say, you're just empty.
He make san effort, you do not. Pink noise. Go.

I find flaming a silly waste of time and just skip over it.


I am new to the site and would like to know if my question along with the misspelling of Saddam may have been what incited your comment. If so let me know why and if I am not wouldn't it be a good idea to let everyone know what exactly your grievance is? Maybe that would help the site live long and prosper.

It wasn't directed at you or anyone in particular (well ok, maybe a few). I think a great part of TOD is informing new people about what the issues are. And I count myself in this category. But if you don't have anything constructive to add to the discussion (ENERGY), don't post. I've read this site religiously for over a year and I have probably posted 10 times. In most of those cases I was doing what you were doing, asking a question. And I apologize if I have now discouraged you or anyone else from asking future questions.

We need:
1. civility
2. brief posts
3. minimal repetition
4. ability to stay on topic (with some allowance as the discussion drifts)
5. numbers and references, not opinions

Quotes for today!

CL M07 6020 + 47
CL Z07 6242 + 49
CL Z08 6329 + 49
CL Z09 6292 + 50
CL Z10 6192 -1
CL Z11 6149 -1
CL Z12 6200 + 75

Z07 = December 2007
M07 = June 2007

Phil, thanx for posting these. Don't take the lack of comments as indication that it's not watched. IEA spoke to the issue of contango in mid january and predicted that it would shortly start to revert to norms. As the weeks go by, a trend is surely evident.

"At first glance, the sharp fall in US crude stocks and the persistence of the wide contango structure in WTI looks like a speculative-led distortion, but dig deeper and there is some rationality to it. US crude stocks of around 315 mb are close to the trigger point normally associated with a switch of the crude market from contango to backwardation, but the NYMEX WTI contango between the first and sixth month remains high at over $6/bbl. In reality, inventory at the NYMEX WTI delivery point of Cushing in the US Midwest determines the forward price structure. These stock levels have remained high and on this basis, the relationship between stocks and the contango remains intact. It is already noticeable that differentials between WTI and other domestic crudes are beginning to reflect a tightening market. Ultimately, this should
rebalance the contango, but it may take time."


"Since their mid-November high of 341 mb, US crude stocks fell to only 318 mb at end-December, a steeper tumble than is usual at this time of year, and a level that is usually associated with a switch in the forward spread from contango to backwardation. US crude stocks thus end the year 3.3 mb lower than one year ago, or, at 20 days, one day higher than the five-year average on a preliminary basis. This contrasts with the end of 2005 when they stood at
21 days."

For those who live in Western North Carolina, something you should take a look at:

Mountain Voices Alliance: http://www.mvalliance.net/
Goals of Mountain Voices Alliance:

We will advocate to control overdevelopment; regulate steep slope
construction; end ridgetop development; work to create a sustainable
land use plan, including a Mountain Protection Act; and demand strict
enforcement of environmental and development ordinances. We will accomplish this through:

-Community Education
-Legislative scorecards
-Review public policy on state and local level
-Alert neighborhood citizens on development issues
-Assist citizens in the interpretation of ordinances
-Help neighborhoods determine when a developer is not in compliance
-Identify and support candidates for Boards and Commissions
-Become a clearinghouse/research resource for community issues
-Attend city council, county commission and public board meetings and report to citizens
-Train citizens to be proactive and participate in the planning process
-Support affiliate members

To Fuel Russia's Growth, Gazprom Turns to Coal

On Tuesday February 13, University of Houston Professor Michael J. Economides released a report claiming that Russia faces a huge shortfall between natural gas supply and demand in the next three years.

I wonder, as Europe plunges into chaos over the next few years as natural gas exports from Russia fail to meet their needs, if the US population will make the connection to our situation with the approaching export limits from Canada???

Those who make individual preparations now will avoid competing with the bewildered masses later.

I imagine city dwellers will be hit much harder than rural folk. And those relying on wood or corn pellets will learn the meaning of Fuel Twitching as the hoards of Blind Saps reflexively switch to these "Alternatives" and the market fails to meet this demand.

Several of my friends do not want to install solar space heating equipment because they feel it will detract from the asthetics of their properties. It will be interesting to see how important those asthetics will be later when a solar heating system is viewed as a necessity and the petty concerns over asthetics are forgotten.

Ignorance is bliss only until Reality Informs the ignorant.

I have solar hot water and find that it does not detract from the roof. It is kind of "techy" looking. But then, I'm on catchment and my corrugated metal roof isn't very good looking to begin with. But there are lots of nice looking buildings that have solar panels and they don't look bad. A properly installed system does not have to be ugly.

I want a solar pv system, but my house is small and I don't have a lot of roof space left and need to find someplace to install the panels where they will receive ample sunlight. We also have a lot of thieves around here which makes ground installation less than ideal. The latest is stealing catchment tanks. I imagine this will get worse as the resource problem progresses.
Cheryl in "paradise"

Planet in Peril series airs tonight on CNN, 10PM Eastern time, 9 Central time:


It looks interesting.

“So many environmental issues facing the Earth are inter-connected – from deforestation to population growth to global warming to species loss. To fully grasp the extent of these issues, we must examine all of them,” said David Doss, senior executive producer of Anderson Cooper 360°. “We are going to do our best to tackle these issues and offer viewers the complete story.”

I intend to watch it, I hope others do too. This is CNN presents and it may have already aired and I just missed it, I really don't know. At any rate it will air again tonight anyway.

Ron Patterson

I finally bought one of those Kill A Watt power usage meters ($25 at some web vendor named after a big river), and I have been measuring a few things around the house. The computer equipment provided some amusement:

Computer 80-105 watts (86 when doing nothing)
CRT Monitor 100-120 watts

Computer power varies depending on fixed drive access etc. The monitor was most interesting. It is a beast, an 8 year-old 20" Optiquest CRT. The power usage depends on what is on the screen. A completely white page in a browser uses 20% more power than a completely black one, which is suprising but shouldn't be (it does light up a room better). I don't have a comparable LCD monitor, but my 12" Apple Powerbook uses 20 watts total when plugged in. I could replace the 20" CRT, but it's not easy to get rid of. It would probably cost me more energy to dispose of and replace than I would save (plus the medical bills for carrying it). Also, this time of year it helps heat the house.

Question: There are a lot of power-hungry monitors out there. How much energy could be saved if Google inverted their color scheme on their home page?

This is one of the reasons I switched to a laptop. And I switched after using my kill a watt to compare the CPU/monitor combo vs the laptop. I have an LCD screen, but it is still better to use the laptop. Here's hoping for more improvements in power usage in the future.

Question: There are a lot of power-hungry monitors out there. How much energy could be saved if Google inverted their color scheme on their home page?

That would be a fun fact to know.

My computer uses 310-320W while benchmarking in 3Dmark05 (www.futuremark.com) and the monitor on, around 250-260W when the graphics cards (dual geforce 6600 GT) are idle, like when I browse ToD. 180 W when my 5 year old 19" CRT is turned off. It should be noted that my system is tweaked and overclocked to the best of my abilities, I like to push things to their limits and sometimes beyond :) I also run the SoB (www.seventeenorbust.com) client 24/7, if I turn it and the monitor off I read 135W. In other words, I contribute about 0.045*24~1 kWh to the SoB prime hunt every 24 hrs.

Slashdot points to an article stating that US servers now use more electricity than color TVs and also a recent test of actual power usage modern PC's. In the latter article I found this wisdom:

The usage is measured in Watts, and the total usage over a period of time usually is stated in KiloWatts per Hour (KWh).

A KWh is the amount of power a device of 1000W would use in an hour, so for example if your PC would use 250 Watt average, it would use 1 KWh in the space of four hours.

You too can play along at home. Which of the above sentences should the author (presumably an engineer) be more embarassed about?

He should in my opinion be more embarassed by the first sentence. The second one I had to read twice to spot the error, so it was less obvious, at least to me. The second one would be correct if the word "power" was changed to "energy", so it could just be that the author was typing a bit fast. However, the first sentence would be correct if the author was describing the change in power. if P measured in kW is power then dP/dt is the change of the power per hour at that point in time, and kilowatts per hour, kW/h, not kWh, would be the correct unit. Similar example: 20m/s could be the speed of a car and 3m/s^2 could be it's acceleration at that point in time. The problem with journalists writing on technical issues is that you can never know what part of their article is correct, since it's so contradictory. Usually though, like in your quote, it's fairly simple to decipher what they think they are trying to say :P In this case though it's probably written by someone who knows alot about computers, but not theoretical stuff like correct terms when dealing with energy.

The article you quote seems very interesting disregarding the obvious errors. Nowadays one of the easiest ways to go wrong when building a PC is to buy a cheap powersupply, enough power on the 12v rail(s) especially is very important. When I upgrade in 6 months time I will most likely go with the thermaltake toughpower 750w since it seems to be able to deliver what it claims unlike cheaper ones, and is not too expensive at 1150 NOK ($160-190) in my part of the world.

jaha, you said
"The problem with journalists writing on technical issues is that you can never know what part of their article is correct, since it's so contradictory."
"Usually though, like in your quote, it's fairly simple to decipher what they think they are trying to say :P"

o.k., I'll play along.....what did you think you were trying to say?


Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

I thought I was trying to say that journalists often are clueless about what they are writing about.

Re: Weekly Offshore Rig Review: Improving Productivity

In simpler terms, it appears that an average rig today can do what two rigs could do in 1949.

So, what's wrong with this picture?

Thanx for asking POT; Before Colin Campbell amended this graph with the ExxonMobil data, it comprised a total of 1900-Gb of Discoveries. Unfortunately, concensus is that present URR is 3172-Gb today, 1292-Gb greater than the ASPO estimate.

While the ASPO figure did equate with concensus in 1997, it has steadily grown over the past ten years whereas ASPO does not reflect that allocation.

My TrendLines URR Estimates graph gives the correct representation of the realities of your Schlumberger article. In time this self corrects as 2P & 3P "resources" are brought over to the 1P "reserves" column.

Thanks for your answer Freddy.

What always amazes me is that with the greatest longest oil price collapse in world history beginning in 1982, people are AMAZED, AMAZED! to see that exploration went down! :-O

I ask them, if you were fighting for your own survival as a company, as a businessperson, and in fact as a viable industry due to a collapse in the price of what you sold, and a roaring flood of the stuff pouring in from the North Sea, Saudi Arabia, South America and deep offshore, would you spend money you were trying to survive with to go out and take wildcat chances looking for EVEN MORE?

They usually stand slack jawed looking like a deer caught in headlights. You can tell the issue of income and investment being somehow important to the oil industry NEVER occured to them. Most people (many here, you can tell) think that oil production is a public service, done solely for the benefit of the driving baby boomer. It is Peak idiocy.

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom.

Uh, would that be like those who ignore BP's R/P ratio? Despite it being at 40 yrs like forever, despite annual draws, despite zilch discoveries ... we have those shouting from the rooftops for more exploration and rigs and wells.

Like now we need a 50 yr reserve? or a 60 yr reserve?

BP knows all about reserve growth. Very few understand the ramifications of their graph. Very few know about the graph.

not sure where this is going to end up on the list/thread, but here goes...

i just don't think being a doomer is anything but slightly pessimistic realism. we --planet-- have some BIG "opportunities" (read: near-insurmountable challenges, i.e., problems) confronting us that none in power are seriously addressing. the big 2: peak oil and global climate change. both are real and inevitable at this point, the only questions are the timing and extent of the impact.

so now fly girl (sorry, couldn't help myself) says human-impact climate change is coming no matter what we do now and we have to deal with it. dave mathews (first album still the best) says not only that, but all this "technology will save us" talk only lulls us into not doing the heavy lifting. then the name-calling begins...

excuse me? you guys are agreeing, though coming from slightly different perspectives. grow up and get along, since you're on the same team, and the world needs everyone to work together, not throw mud because someone is more pessimistic than someone else.

and i think both of you, and most here, even hothgar, make valuable contributions to the discussion, even if only as a foil to the more cogent.

have a nice day,

PeakOilPete said

"and i think both of you, and most here, even hothgar, make valuable contributions to the discussion, even if only as a foil to the more cogent."

Pete, if that's your own line, then go forth and become a comedy writer....whoa! One of the slickest backhanded compliment/insults I have heard in years, I laughed for the better part of an hour! :-)

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Hello PeakOilPete,

and i think both of you, and most here, even hothgar, make valuable contributions to the discussion, even if only as a foil to the more cogent.

I know a lot of people here think that they are cogent although they are not. The Oil Drum isn't a place filled with glorious intellects. Most of the people here are neck-deep in the oil industry. They are defending their wealth by defending their industry.

The Oil Drum's daily threads routinely degenerate into gibberish because The Oil Drum is filled with small minds arguing over a narrowly-defined topic which is by necessity speculative.

David Mathews

Let’s see, three of the four top suppliers of crude oil imports into the US are showing lower crude oil production. Mexico is eliminating and/or curtailing crude oil deliveries. No problem here. Continue with your plans to buy the SUV.

FEB 15 IEA: Lower Oil Output, Capacity Problems in Venezuela

Excerpt: Venezuelan oil production dropped 5.5% last year to an average of 2.56 million barrels a day, the largest drop of any Latin American oil producer, according to estimates released this week by the Paris-based International Energy


Venezuelan oil imports at 12-year low

CARACAS, Venezuela

U.S. crude oil imports from Venezuela hit a 12-year low in 2006 amid increasingly strained political relations between the two countries.

Preliminary data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Friday showed that Venezuela still ranked as the fourth-biggest supplier of U.S. crude imports last year, behind Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

The world's largest oil consumer imported 1.139 million barrels a day from Venezuela in 2006, down 8.2 percent from 1.241 million barrels a day the previous year. It was the lowest level on record since 1994, when the United States imported 1.034 million barrels a day, according to EIA data.

President Hugo Chavez's administration has been at odds with the U.S. government and has threatened to cut off Venezuelan oil shipments to the United States -- its top export market.

Not adding much light, but I thought you all might enjoy a good comic for a change of pace:

From tonight's Detroit News. Cheers.


Purely by accident, I dropped in on my profile page tonight, and saw that I have been registered here at TOD for one full year (one year and two days actually). There are times it seems like only a few weeks ago that I discovered TOD, and others it seems like I have been coming here for years. At least, some of the arguments seem almost endless/timeless.

But, I kept coming back. Even though in one of my earliest fits of annoyance, I chose the user name "ThatsItImout" and proposed bailing out, I kept coming back. Why?

TOD is unique place in the virtual world. It is individualistic, independent, and allows the chatter and discourse to pretty much run it's course. In that, it makes one think of a neighborhood bar or pub. They each have their own sound, their own level of tolerance, their own (cliche'ed word, I know) "atmosphere". In that, they differ from the "chain clubs" and nationwide restaurant chains, which are designed to look, feel and sound no matter where they are. A Shoney's in Michigan will feel pretty much like a Shoney's in Texas, a TGI Friday's will feel the same no matter where it is. This is becoming true of more of the virtual world, with "discussion groups" and "boards" becoming a bit more homogenized each year.

But TOD....hard to duplicate. Like a good neighborhood bar, we may get annoyed at it sometimes, and swear it off. It's too loud, it has too many know it alls, or too many asinine rubes who don't know what they are talking about....and what's with all the charts and endless numbers chasing on thin data? Can't they see it's pointless? But....a certain type takes to the mix. Not everyone. I have sent friends here who visited about twice and never felt the urge to return. But for some of us, it works.

Some posters (dmatthews comes to mind) wail about the complete futility of the posts, claiming he doesn't read them, but then he replies to them (?), and says he has been here over a year. Other's bemoan the "technofixes" and then only a few posts later, get into a technofix debate about some proposed solution. Still others bemoan the doomerism, but when they go to the "bright and sunny, "all's well" type boards and blogs, they are put off by what seems like a fantasy Pollyannaism that is almost unbearable. So, they, as I do, come back here.

But, I like to think that my time on the web is spent learning, so what have I learned here that I did not really know much about before, and that I think is valuable? Each person will have a different answer to this one, but here's mine, in ascending order of importance, with the best, the absolute best, for last:

*EROEI. The concept of EROEI had always been vaguely with me, but it was at TOD that I was really compelled to think about it. I have seen it as an often abused concept, used to shut up any effort, and I complained that it is applied differently to newer alternatives than it is to already capitalized fossil fuels. But, I still cannot dismiss it. Ethanol has brought the EROEI debate to the front and center, and the theoretical thought exercise, "what if the industry had to provide it's own power and run on it's own inputs, would it be energy positive?" This of course is impractical of any industry, relying as they do on various inputs from many industries, but as a purely mathematical exercise, does it tell us what we need to know? An area for continued study.

*Anti-Modernism/Neo Primitivism. I was astounded at the degree to which a deep seeded "Neo Primitivism" is still alive in America. When I was in high school, I first became aware of the "Noble Savage" myth. A literature teacher pointed out the myth as it existed in Tarzan, Conan, and other mythical tales, and in motion pictures such as the "Mad Max" movies. I was assured, and felt in my own mind that the lure of "neo primitivism", "Luddite-ism" and deep anti modernism had long ago died in the real world, and that no one really believed such primitive fantasies were possible. TOD has caused me to see otherwise. I know that I have seen a contingent who see Peak Oil as the ultimate gift, the destroyer of what was thought to be indestructable....the modern technical society. And these people, far from seeing Peak Oil as a bad thing, urge it, push it along, dream of the day when the horrific modern world will die a horrible death. These people see all advance called "civilization" as essentially bad, a mistake. To me, it is a fantastical view of existence, but, I now know it exists, even among many who sit at the computer, to me, the ultimate contradiction, like the Mullahs of Iran who decry Western thought, and then fly to their next engagement on a Bell helicopter!

*Deep seeded hatred of capitalism and market economies. Again, this surprises those who think that capitalism is accepted by all and viewed as the ultimate essential solution. I have been astounded by the hatred of American business, American industry, American finance. In fact, the number of people who seem to hate America itself, and to a very deep level, while enjoying it's benefits, astonished me. Truly a surprise.

*Free thinking technicians. Such statisticians and technicians as Stuart Staniford, Robert Rapier and Khebab, among contributors who really enjoy the chess game of looking for a solution are almost certainly what has kept me coming back, and overcome much of the "angst" I sense from many others. Robert Rapier and Khebab offered me two of the great recent education breakthroughs I have found here, and cleansed my guilt of having spent ("wasted"?, nay, not now.... :-), a year coming here. I now have a new tool to deal with, and a new concept to work with, so the grand prize winners of what I have learned are....

*Bio-butanol. I had no interest in alcohol. Absolutely no acceptance of the concept of "biofuel" was within me. I had never heard of "bio-butanol".

But after being introduced to the concept by a post by Robert Rapier, I have spent many, MANY hours after work at night and in early morning reading about and discussing with fellow like thinkers things I have NEVER given a damm about before...such as
the bacterium that can produce bio butanol, about recent fast moving developments in microbiology and genetics, and about alcohol, not just ethanol, but all the families of alcohol (there are only 5 major types I learned) and about 1,2,3, and four carbon alcohols, (butanol is the 4 carbon) and why 4 carbon alcohol is one of the greatest substances as a fuel, and the great overlooked alternative possibility, and the barriers to butanol production, and how these are rapidly being overcome, and how BP and DuPont Chemical have moved with almost blinding speed on bio-butanol, about how an industry was born in WWI, and is now being reborn in revolutionary fashion....and on and on.

After months of study, I now feel that bio-butanol could never completely replace our national liquid fuel consumption, but that it could become one of the greatest fuel industries in history, at least as big as Diesel fuel, and be America's "civil defense" fuel, the core American produced fuel to fend off sudden and unexpected shocks, and keep critical automotive/transport services going, and a great market leverage fuel, used in conjunction with gasoline and current ethanol as a part of a new era of manufactured fuels, possibly in conjunction with LPG and methane recapture....for the first time, I can see how it could be done. The EROEI issue is still big, the capital investment issues are still there, but for the first time, we are starting to see a viable alternative LIQUID FUEL industry, non just a solar/wind electric power production one, and it is liquid fuel that is the critical issue soon.


*My last great find at TOD was recent, and it was BIG, REVOLUTIONARY. This was Khebab's recent post (January 18, 2007) on a way to visualize the amount of oil the world uses yearly:

To this date, for me, this has been the single most disarming, disorienting, educational, and re-educational post I have ever read at TOD, and in fact one of the most thought altering set of words and illustrations I have encountered relating to energy. It was astounding.

In 1969, as an 11 year old boy, I watched the landing on the moon in the company of an 88 year old man, a country farmer. He was bored by the whole thing, and went to bed halfway through the coverage. He thought it was a "movie", a work of fiction, or one of the clever "mock ups" by the news media. He did not accept it as real. He thought we were silly to believe such a thing could be possible, man landing on the moon! They'll put anything on TV nowadays! Clever the way they did, I will admit.....
We thought he was a silly out of touch old man. He just couldn't stay up with the modern world.

For one of the few times in my life, I got a hint of how it feels to know that you are that out of touch with the "real" picture, when I read Khebab's post.

One cubic mile of oil FOR THE WHOLE WORLD? It couldn't be. If you had told me it was a hundred or even two hundred cubic miles, I would have almost been easier able to accept it. Ten or fifty cubic miles would have seemed realistic, fifty more likely than ten. BUT ONE CUBIC MILE? It was a dizzying unlearning that I have not been able to shake off. I dwelled on it for days. All the pipelines, all the supertankers, all the giant tank farms, all the wells and drills, the giant North Sea industry which I had over the years grown to admire for their daring, the offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, Saudi Arabia!!
All, all that investment, all the effort, let's be honest, all the killing and hate, for ONE CUBIC MILE OF OIL? And think about what could be out there somewhere, think of the volume of the world! You could hide one cubic mile of oil under a hat! Astounding. And alternatives? The volume of sunlight and wind on the Earth would DWARF one cubic mile, and the bio-fuel possibility re-ignited for me....one cubic mile? The tons of waste leaves, limbs, pulps, grass, algae that could be processed, and if done well, nature would not even miss the equal of ONE CUBIC MILE.

And remember, that's one cubic mile for the world. The U.S. consumes 25% of the world's oil, and we waste like CRAZY. That means one quarter of one cubic mile for the U.S. per year. This was even more astounding. If we cut our consumption of oil in half (it would be hard, very hard, but not impossible, and we would still have a "modern" technology by historical standards) by conservation or replacement, we would be talking one eighth of a cubic mile! My brain worked on formulae like this for days.

I have heard some people describe their emotional state on learning of "Peak Oil". They heard of the end of a culture that had taken centuries to build, the end of not only a good life, but an "aesthetic", night lit cities, cars on Park Avenue in the rain, luxury hotels, night plays and shows and concerts, summer at Wrigley Field or Yankee Stadium, or on the lake in large boats....glistening German cars, and clean modern well lit apartments....our age is about MUCH more than just what is needed, it is about what is loved, the sound, the feel of a modern technical age, airliners to the islands for weekends, mistresses and wives and girlfriends with good gowns and good makeup....Ducati motorcycles that are as fast as rockets, Ivy league schools for the brats, brats, but we love them, and want to see their high tech modern careers and lives.

Then "Peak Oil". It all ends. Disorientation. Depression. Confusion. Surely, this can't be. We would have known. We would be planning for an option. But the Peakers say, "there is no option. It's over. Whatever you do, you must adjust to the end of a culture. There is no use looking for "silver bb's", for alternatives. The sun, the wind, bio fuels, hybrids, the grid, these are toys, mirages given to you by the business and power elite to pacify you so you won't become unruly."
It all sounds like those old movies, where the Earth is going to be hit by another planet. There is no use to fight, and no where to flight. It's over. The disoriented feeling is almost uncanny, disabling.

Now, invert that. The more I studied Khebab's post, his sources, his numbers, the more I realized it was TRUE! It really was about one cubic mile of oil for the world! And when consumption DOUBLED, about 25 years or so from now, it would be about TWO CUBIC MILES OF OIL!! In other words, in my last years on Earth, we will be using perhaps a twentieth or a fiftieth of the amount I had been assuming we were using all along! ASTOUNDING.

So, I have began to relearn, to replan, to rethink. My post peak depression is pretty much gone. I feel like the title of the movie by Kubrick, "Dr. Khebab, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Peak." :-)

But there is a change coming. A BIG CHANGE IS COMING. Once you realize that we have tolerated this slavery, this worry, taking this shiiit off of the energy providers, licking the slippers of OPEC, for ONE CUBIC MILE OF OIL??

WE HAVE INDUSTRIES TO BUILD. WE ARE ARE ON THE EDGE OF A REVOLUTION, A POST INDUSTRIAL AGE. Even the so called "cornucopians" cannot conceive of what is coming. They still think in terms of boot licking for oil, they just believe the oil is out there, if we lick enough boots. They still endorse the old slavery, the old methods. They cannot accept the idea of the HARD WORK, THOUGHT, AND COMMITMENT we will soon have to make to live free. This will require a push on all fronts, in the banks, the business schools, the communities, in the media, the political parties, the utilities and regulatory boards, the car and applience makers, ON ALL FRONTS. This is about saving, enhancing and improving a culture, an age. And TIME IS SO SHORT.

The real revolution is in the shops, the labs, the laptops of the technicians, the new generation of engineers and designers and artists (and those words will mean something much more than they have in the past, a new type of fast moving, fast learning, ad hoc organizational and communication skill. There will be NO ROOM ELITIST NARROW SPECIALISTS, NO ROOM FOR TITLES. WHAT WORKS, WHAT CAN BE APPLIED NOW, THAT IS THE MEDIUM OF EXCHANGE.
The boot licking days of oil worship and slavery are over. Oil. It is not that good, and we don't use nearly enough of it in comparison to the volume of our Earth to even fret over. When we decide on freedom, oil will become like coconut oil. Valued for it's purpose, yes. Useful it it's way yes. Aesthetically appealing in the right devices for play.

But never should it have been, or will it ever again be, something to cause concerns about the future of nations. THE END OF A CULTURE DUE TO OIL? LAUGHABLE. The OIL AGE IS TRULY OVER, IN WAYS AND FOR REASONS UNTHOUGHT OF BEFORE.


And the game is just now getting underway. Enjoy. Just being a spectator to this age would be a joy, but no one will get away with just being a spectator.

Roger Conner Jr.
And, remember, we are only, only, one cubic mile from freedom.

Hi ThatsItImout,

Well, a slightly belated Happy first bir(TOD)day to you, hope you don't mind this greeting from a newbie but I quite enjoyed the enthusiasm and openhandedness of your posting. To use a hackneyed term, the 'lifeblood' of a vibrant society is the variety of discussion encouraged. All the best to you.

Black Bald.

P.S About Clostridium_acetobutylicum, bio-butanol; if you are correct in this enthusiasm we would be doing what no previous culture has done in agriculture and that is make it self sustaining. Is that something to think about?

Black B. Gorilla,

Thanks, and yes, you bring up a point that interests me greatly, (per my earlier discussion regarding EROEI), and my longstanding doubt of the validity of biofuel in general.

We are currently in one of the most exceptional times in the history of applied science. Beginning a bit over a century ago, we learned to manipulate the electron....then, a bit over a half century ago, the atom....and a bit over a quarter century ago....the genome. In the last quarter century, we have learned to manipulate at the atomic scale, and work at the "nano" level.

The waves of change (electronics, atomic energy, and now genetic engineering and nano science and engineering) however have not yet reached "confluence", in which one begins to impinge the other.

My guess is that just as we have done "what no previous culture has done" in human flight, in traveling 100 plus miles per hour on the ground, in going into outer space, yes, in agriculture we are nearing a point of astounding breakthroughs. The Earth is blessed in being bathed in a warm bath of energy. Nature could work at geological time scale in creating oil, after all, there was no deadline, it could take a million, or a hundred million years.

We do not have that luxury. We have to invent and develop fast. As far as self sustaining agriculture, I do not know that truly self sustaining agricuture has been clearly defined. The Chinese have farmed in fixed locations for centuries, as have the Europeans (French intensive gardening can use the same property and by composting and manuring continue for a very long time on the same property.) Increase in population will finally put the strain on the agriculture, and the property will be overstressed. Nature on Earth is NOT a closed loop, not a perpetual motion machine, it must have energy input, but luckily, it doesn't have to be. Energy is pouring down on the system daily. We just have to get on that bandwagon! :-)

(side thought: I have just recently been studying bacteria and yeast....do you know how many varieties of bacteria there are on Earth? One source give the number of bacteria on Earth as 10exponent 30, 10 with 30 zeros behind it. Humans have not even seen or catagorized most of the bacteria. Yeasts likewise. The genetic science industry is going to absolutely revolutionize the world....it is promising, but also spooky, humankind is probably by far our own greatest threat right now.

Thanks again for your reply, Roger Conner
Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom.

Hello TODers,

Mexico's economy loses steam

Sluggish manufacturing and falling exports to the U.S. are blamed for the deceleration. Slowing growth could spur emigration.

"When I took a look at some of the numbers I said, 'Uh-oh,' " said Eugenio Aleman, a senior economist for Wells Fargo & Co. in Minnesota. "Things are not looking good."

Mexico's inflation has been rising, its oil production is slipping, and the nation's bellwether auto sector has hit a speed bump.

Unemployment in Mexico has soared. Rising prices on basics including tortillas, milk and eggs have sparked street protests.

Growth in the sums of money sent home by Mexican workers slowed to a trickle in November and December compared with the final months of 2005.

Millions of families rely on the remittances sent home, which have become the nation's second-largest source of foreign exchange behind oil revenue. "That's worrisome," said Christian Stracke, emerging markets analyst with New York-based credit research firm CreditSights Inc.

He said credit should also help keep the Mexican economy moving. Banks and retailers last year extended record amounts of credit card, auto loan, mortgage and other retail credit, which has bolstered consumer spending.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hi Bob, thank you for posting that.

The interesting part was:

"Growth in the sums of money sent home by Mexican workers slowed to a trickle in November and December compared with the final months of 2005."

This explains why the building crash/slowdown is not (hugely) impacting the US economy *yet*. I imagine alot of these aliens working in the construction field were never on the payroll anyway.

I built 15 spec homes in the last 3 years. Sold my last this past summer and now I'm sitting on the sidelines, watching others suffer the fallout from the slowdown.

I can tell you, the name of the game in the building business was to hire as many Mexicans as you could, because they were cheap.

I guess I never considered the ripple effect of the housing slowdown for Mexico. Coupled with decreasing oil exports, Mexico is facing some serious challenges. How long will it take for that ripple to return to the USA? (using the rock in the pool analogy)

Thanks again.

Hello Sandor,

Thxs for responding. Hard for me to tell how the ripple will go because I still can't determine if the North American topdogs want SuperNafta or if NA will instead break up into small regions. But I think we will have a pretty clear idea of the trend shortly after whoever becomes the next US president takes their seat in the White House....unless TSHTF from Peakoil first.

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

Hello TODers,

Mexico's Pemex faces drying field, no funds to update refineries

Pemex now has more than 5,000 wells in production, most of them on Mexico's Gulf Coast. It also has 7,000 service stations and 2,900 miles of oil pipelines. There even is a company town of nearly 6,000 people in the Tabasco state called Pemex City.

All of Pemex's infrastructure is managed by four subsidiaries that run its production, refineries and sales. Many experts say this four-armed bureaucracy is a waste of money.

"There's an inadequate organization, which doubles the costs," said Fluvio Ruíz Alarcón, a legislative adviser on energy in the Mexican Congress.

Pemex also has a huge payroll of more than 140,000 people. Pemex produces 27 barrels of oil daily per employee, or about $1,530 at current prices, compared with 71 barrels in Petroleos de Venezuela, another state-owned company, according to Petroleum Intelligence Weekly. Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's state oil firm, produces 182 barrels per employee.

The large workforce has saddled the company with $34 billion in pension liabilities, in addition to $46 billion in other debts.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello TODers,

Most of us are familiar with the "Got Milk?" to drink ads. This article talks about a "Got Sewage?" drinking campaign.

Imagine trying to keep a big city like Albuquerque growing, if its residents have to drink treated sewage.

It's possible a perfect storm of water miseries could form in the Middle Rio Grande Valley and cause large numbers of New Mexicans to have to drink treated sewage water - like they're about to do in a number of states in Australia.
Yum,Yum! That could sure set off a migrational stampede for Cascadia.

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

No. I don't agree about the oil crisis. We can promote and utilize more of the alternative energy sources. We just need to get people to
understand that we are building a cleaner, healthier, and CHEAPER society.

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