DrumBeat: March 29, 2007

Castro condemns U.S. biofuel plans

In Thursday's article Castro said more than 3 billion people in the world were condemned to die prematurely of hunger or thirst from plans by his ideological foe, the United States, to convert foodstuffs like corn into fuel for cars.

"This is not an exaggerated figure, it's more likely cautious," Castro wrote in the ruling Communist Party's daily newspaper.

Mosul hit by fuel shortage

The Iraq fuels commission tasked with providing fuel to the north of the country said the city of Mosul is paralyzed by a shortage.

Syria suspended fuel shipments March 22, which compounded the already heightened shortage brought about by war, smuggling, insurgent attacks and lack of refining capacity.

Azerbaijan should pump gas to Georgia in crisis only, Azeri Energy Minister says

"The agreement, we have with Georgia, is expiring in April. We are supplying Georgia with associated gas coming from Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli Field. The gas exports were planned for winter, was aimed to bail Georgia out of energy crisis. I think we should help Georgia when it sees a crisis. But, Azerbaijan should think about itself now too. The more we pump to Georgia, the less we will have for our needs," he underscored.

Senate seeks energy pacts with India, China

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved two measures seeking formal agreements with India and China on international energy crisis response mechanisms and engaging them in a dialogue on climate change.

Thailand looks to deadly nuts for biofuel

On a large tract of land in Thailand’s dusty northeast, Suwit Yotongyot hopes to make a fortune on jatropha, a plant with a poisonous nut that might hold the key to the nation’s energy troubles.

Power plant repair delay spells energy crisis in Bulgaria

Bulgaria may face electricity shortages because of delays in the rehabilitation of a major lignite-fired power plant, an official said Wednesday.

CCID Consulting Reviews China's New Energy Industry

Mexico overcomes skepticism about Brazilian biofuels

Brazil and Mexico agreed to expand cooperation in trade and energy, preparing for possible joint oil exploration and the development of ethanol fuel, the foreign ministers of both countries said Wednesday.

Getting off the Biofuel Bench

What is needed is an honest look at the resources available on a local scale, with each part of the United States and each part of the world doing its own calculus based on logistics and logic.

If the best "renewable" fuel we can think of costs more oil and water to produce than oil itself would cost, we should think again.

Book review : The Last Oil Shock by David Strahan

David Strahan’s book ‘The Last Oil Shock’ smartly covers the subject of Peak Oil in a way that makes it very educational to newcomers but at the same time sounding fresh and interesting to those well-read on this topic.

Ghana: Replace all energy consuming bulbs

The Energy Commission has recommended the replacement of six million incandescent lamps with contact fluorescent lamps throughout the country as a measure to conserve energy and help save the nation from the current energy crisis.

Hell and Hydrogen

No matter how well they're engineered, hydrogen cars offer no real answer to the imminent threats posed by global warming.

Odessa-Brody oil pipeline project not anti-Russian - Polish President Kaczynski

The Odessa-Brody oil pipeline project, which would ship Caspian oil to Poland and Europe, is not an anti-Russian project, and there is technical justification to include Russia in the project, Polish President Lech Kaczynski said Thursday.

Study adds to case for electrification of Auckland Rail

“The study develops a model to examine the impact of peak oil on different kinds of urban development and shows that urban forms with higher densities and better public transport, as opposed to urban sprawl, are best able to cope with escalating oil prices,” says Russel Norman, Green Co-Leader and Economics Spokesperson.

Strike continues to block oil tankers in France

Strikers at France's Fos Lavera oil hub are meeting port and Gaz de France officials on Thursday in a fresh bid to find a way out of a 16-day strike threatening fuel supplies to motorists and exports to U.S. markets.

Some refineries could start shutting down as soon as Friday if the dispute is not resolved, operators said.

"Greener" buildings could slow global warming

Better architecture and energy savings in buildings could do more to fight global warming than all curbs on greenhouse gases agreed under the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, a U.N. study showed on Thursday.

Better use of concrete, metals and timber in construction and less use of energy for everything from air conditioners to lighting in homes and offices could save billions of dollars in a sector accounting for 30-40 percent of world energy use.

Many large cities at risk of rising seas

More than two-thirds of the world's large cities are in areas vulnerable to global warming and rising sea levels, and millions of people are at risk of being swamped by flooding and intense storms, according to a new study released Wednesday.

In all, 634 million people live in the threatened coastal areas worldwide — defined as those lying at less than 33 feet above sea level — and the number is growing, said the study published in the journal Environment and Urbanization.

Scientists say Antarctic ice sheet is thinning

A Texas-sized piece of the Antarctic ice sheet is thinning, possibly due to global warming, and could cause the world's oceans to rise significantly, polar ice experts said on Wednesday.

Australia launches forest fund to fight global warming

Australia Thursday committed 160 million US dollars to launch what it hopes will become an international fund to protect forests and fight global warming.

Prime Minister John Howard said the initiative would achieve a greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions than if Australia bowed to pressure and signed up to the Kyoto Protocol.

More U.S. college students studying clean energy

Concern over global warming has more U.S. college students looking into careers in alternative energy, leading U.S. universities to add new courses on clean energy technologies and the environment.

Globalists Love Global Warming

We have a similar situation to the Peak Oil scam, which was created by the oil industry as a profit boon to promote artificial scarcity, and yet is parroted by environmentalists who grandstand as if they are in opposition to the oil companies.

Billions needed for Mozambique energy crisis

Mozambique will need about $5-billion (about R36-billion) invested in projects aimed at solving the energy crisis in the country, Vista News reported on Thursday.

Energy minister, Salvador Namburete told reporters in Maputo that the government was seeking to augment electricity generation in the country by opening up new hydro-electric and natural gas projects.

Ethanol won't yield independence

Unfortunately, there is no way to replace the 13 million barrels, not gallons, of oil we import each day. "Energy independence" using food crops is a slogan, not a policy.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Alternatives #1 – Wind Power

Very soon we are going to have a more electrified civilization with the energy coming from the sun, the wind, the sea, the molten core of the earth, biomass, and perhaps exotic biological reactions. Until these new technologies come into widespread use —a transition that will be expensive and will take decades to accomplish— there will have to be serious conservation to see us through.

Utility TXU slapped with $210 million fine

State regulators on Wednesday recommended $210 million in fines against TXU Corp. after an investigation accused the state's largest utility of manipulating the electric market to its own benefit.

The alleged market abuse was observed between June and September of 2005, according to the Public Utility Commission. It wound up costing consumers $70 million and earned the utility $20 million in extra profits, according to an outside expert whose report was released by state regulators two weeks ago.

Why Iran matters to oil markets

Tehran is ensnared in a growing dispute with the West. Traders are nervous it might pull its oil off the market.

The dirty secret about clean cars - Automakers push flex-fuel vehicles, get around efficiency standards

Canada wary of nuclear power for oil sands

Plans for nuclear power plants to supply electricity and steam to the Alberta oil sands should be put on hold until the full repercussions of using the technology are known, a Canadian parliamentary committee advised.

Ethanol: Time to steer away

A new paper by The Heritage Foundation's Ben Lieberman road tests the latest boondoggle from Washington and finds that its earth-friendly claims are seriously overblown. So, too, is the notion that using more ethanol reduces oil imports and lowers prices at the pump. Worse, increased ethanol use drives up other consumer costs.

World Biodiesel Output Growth May Slow

Global biodiesel production rose sharply in 2006, but growth should slow in the coming year as new German taxes cut demand, analyst F.O. Licht said in a report on Wednesday.

Energy companies rethink palm oil as biofuel

Once, palm oil was seen as an ideal biofuel, a cheap alternative to petroleum that would fight global warming.

But second thoughts are wracking the power industry. Can the fruit of the palm tree help save the planet — or contribute to its destruction?

Go West, oil hunters, but go mob-handed

HERE'S a good message for the domestic oil and gas industry: When looking for the goods in West Africa, it is better to hunt in a pack.

So says Beach Petroleum, Baraka Petroleum, ARC Energy and Adelphi Energy who have formed an alliance - which also includes the unlisted energy consulting and engineering firm Advanced Well Technologies - to take on the better equipped majors in the rush to lock up land both on and offshore in West Africa.

Canada looks to double oil sands output

Greg Stringham, vice president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said they have two possible outlooks for the future of Canadian oil sands; both involve increased production, it's just a matter of how much.

"Conventional oil production is slowing but oil sands will grow," Stringham said at the Energy Information Administration 2007 Annual Energy Outlook in Washington Wednesday. Under ideal conditions, by 2015 production is predicted to be between 2.9 million and 3.5 million barrels a day and between 3.3 million and 4 million barrels per day by 2020. In a constrained scenario, the number is slightly less.

T. Boone Pickens was on CNBC this morning. It was the first time he has been there since January when oil was just a tad above $50. He said his collar was a little tight then because he had earlier predicted that oil would hit $70 before $50. It never closed below $50 but did have an interday low below that number.

He said the only spare capacity OPEC had was heavy, high sulfur, crude. And he said Saudi Arabia was porducing every barrel they could possibly produce and they were drilling like crazy just to stay where they are. (Or words to that effect as I do not remember his exact words.) He said 85 million barrels was the max we would produce. He never used the word "peak".

And his latest prediction: $75 before $55.

Pickens' video on CNBC is now available on their web site:

Ron Patterson

In search of Arab Heavy

FF is privy to gravity and sulfur content data for the above reservoirs. They are as follows (feel free to make this into a legible table and repost)

Field API Sulf Cont,%
Ghawar 34 1.7
Shaybah 42.4 .7
Safaniyah 28.0 2.84%
Abu Safah 30.0 2.7
Hawtah 49.3 .03
Khursanyah 31.0 2.5
Berri 30-38 1-2
Zuluf 30.60 2.3
Marjan 32.4 2.5
Qatif 30-36 1.6-2.5

Of the 10.35 MMBOPD shown in the above pie chart, which of the "heavy" oils above don't the Chinese want???

Field API Sulf Cont,%
Ghawar 34 1.7
Shaybah 42.4 0.7
Safaniyah 28.0 2.84
Abu Safah 30.0 2.7
Hawtah 49.3 0.03
Khursanyah       31.0 2.5
Berri 30-38      1-2
Zuluf 30.60 2.3
Marjan 32.4 2.5
Qatif 30-36 1.6-2.5

I guess Abquaiq is completely watered out, since it does not show up in this pie chart. Ghawar next?


Pickens..does he lurk here? Sounds like WT, FF and SS. '.....Saudis are stuggling with old production, trying hard to bring on new production, lots of infill drilling, just to keep it about where it is'

Meat and potato quality here but for the CERAbrally blinded a bombshell!

('scuse C185 wrong spot)

c185 (great plane by the way)

Sometimes the combine Ghawar with abqaiq it seems.

I think everyone can agree with the following from the above chart and the last several day's discussions:

As goes Saudi Arabian oil production so goes the world,

As goes Ghawar- so goes Saudi Arabia,

As goes Ain Dar/Shedgum and Uthmaniyah - so goes Ghawar.

Are there any critics of the above conclusions ... who wish to speak up???

I would like to hear from the CERA experts about the above specifics... more than anything.

To dampen the hysteria a bit:

As you move up to larger and larger areas, the effects get smaller / slower. So if Ain Dar / Shedgum drop by 4%, SA would drop by less as a result of the AD/S drop - perhaps 2%, and the world would drop by even less (less than 1%). So your statement is probably directionally correct, but is misleading in its implications.

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

To Dampen your enthusiasm a bit:

You would be correct if it were only Ain Dar/Shedgum in decline. And you would be closer if Ani Dar/Shedgum were declining by only 4%. However ALL Saudi existing fields are declining by an average of 8%.

One challenge for the Saudis in achieving this objective is that their existing fields sustain 5 percent-12 percent annual "decline rates," (according to Aramco Senior Vice President Abdullah Saif, as reported in Petroleum Intelligence Weekly and the International Oil Daily) meaning that the country needs around 500,000-1 million bbl/d in new capacity each year just to compensate.

So your conclusion Hindmost, is totally misleading in its implications.

Ron Patterson

Ask me a question about the weather, and I talk about exports.

The one year increase in domestic Saudi consumption was 360,000 bpd to 2.0 mbpd (Total Liquids, EIA), from 2004 to 2005, while their current crude oil production is down about 1.1 mbpd from 2005 to early 2007. It currently takes 100% of the Total Liquids production of the 14th largest oil producer in the world, Brazil, to meet domestic Saudi consumption.

Try an exponential increase in domestic consumption against an exponential decline in production. What you get in a worst case scenario is something like the UK, which went from probably peak exports of one mbpd in 1999 to a net importer in 2005, so they probably crossed the zero line in 2004. Think of it--maximum exports to zero net exports in about five years.

We won't see that in Saudi Arabia, but if, as I suspect, Russian production starts falling later this year or next year, IMO we could easily see a 50% drop in net oil exports by the top 10 net oil exporters within five years.

Apparently, the Nimitz battle group is headed for the Persian Gulf. Pretty soon, US warships are going to start running into each other in the gulf.

The number of ships underway does not appear unusually large but the number of aircraft carriers in the North Arabian sea is unusual. I am not aware of any list of naval ships on deployment or deployment locations. The only way to derive this information would be to watch the above linked page daily and see who drops off the list after being underway. However, you'd also have to try to ascertain whether a ship was underway to or from port at any given time.

If anyone is aware of any additional sources of information about Naval ship movement, I'd be interested in seeing those.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

According to this page the Nimitz is scheduled to relieve the Esienhower in the Gulf this March and has been for some time.


Your link is empty. I double checked the raw HTML and the link is empty. Could you please repost whatever link you intended?

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

very odd. how about this ?

Thanks! That works.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

Link for aircraft carrier locations - don't know how accurate


Maybe a surprise land invasion from Oman's Musandam Peninsula, walking across a floating bridge of US Navy ships? ;-)

The time for games is over?!

U.S. winds up war games in Gulf

The U.S. navy said on Thursday it had ordered an aircraft carrier to the Gulf to replace one of two patrolling the region, as the United States winds down naval war games on Iran's doorstep.

The Nimitz carrier strike group will sail from San Diego for the Gulf on Monday, a navy spokesman told Reuters, to replace the Dwight D. Eisenhower, as tensions mount between Iran and the West over captured British troops and Iran's nuclear programme.

"She (the Nimitz) will deploy to the Gulf region. She is the relief for Eisenhower, who leaves and she replaces her," Lieutenant Commander Jeff Davis said by telephone from Naval Headquarters in Washington.

Strike groups typically include four or five frigates and destroyers and a submarine.

"You are looking at the early part of May that you would have the transition. It would be without any overlap. There is no plan to overlap them at all," he added.

The Eisenhower and fellow carrier John C. Stennis took part in this week's U.S. war games, the largest in Gulf waters since 2003, when the U.S. led an invasion of Iraq.

The drills, which included anti-submarine, anti-surface and mine warfare drills, end on Thursday. For the first time since the Iraq invasion four years ago, two U.S. aircraft carriers were deployed in the Gulf.

Fifth Fleet spokesman Lieutenant-Commander Charlie Brown said there were currently no plans for more.

"We do not expect to have three carriers in the Gulf region ... but we cannot talk about future needs or future operations," he said.

For a list of ships and aircraft carrier strike groups, see:
Massive Deployment of Naval Power directed against Iran

"we could easily see a 50% drop in net oil exports by the top 10 net oil exporters within five years". You have said this a number of times, wt, but what approximate % reduction in TOTAL oil on the open market would that equate to? Presume it's much less than 50%, maybe 25%? Even the latter would be pretty devastating.

Fractional Flow

M.K.Horn in his 2004 update of the Giant Oil fields (932 Oil and Gas Fields with original oil in place of more than 500 mmbls or 3 Tcf of gas) specifically gave Ghawar as 79322 BBOE depleted with 17766 BBOE remaining out of a total URR of 97 BBoe. This would put it about 86% depleted now.
He gave a total of just under 900 BBOE for the whole Arabian Plate

I have given Stuart a number of links on this and hope he does a post on it

Love my 185 FF. Will continue flying so long as 100LL is available. Not much price elasticity for my demand. Paying $3.92 per gallon now. Someday maybe Ghawar will be like the Arbuckle, 99.9% water and lots of downhole pumps. I figure they run away from the water in Ghawar because they can't handle it on the surface and the well won't flow with much more than 70% water. They will need pumps--big downhole ones and lots of surface dewater/desalter. To get 1 million b/d out of Ain Dar/shedgum or uthmaniya they may need to handle and reinject 100 to 200 million b/d of water. The numbers become oulandish. They will need armies of service workers, and where will they come from?
rebuilding pumps, servicing wells, work-overs, etc, etc,
Getting to 9 million b/d with wells that flow 10,000 b/d of oil is one thing, but 10,000b/d of fluid with 99% salt water that corrodes everything--that is anothert animal altogether.

i dont think pumping is a real option (in general). transmitting that much power downhole (electrical submersible or hydraulic pumps) presents some real challenges. rod pumps are probably out of the question. the saudi's have managed their reservoirs to avoid pumping. gas lift is, imo, more likely. gas lift requires a fairly high reservoir pressure. gas lift and water handling infastructure would be massive.

I have a 1973 Cherokee 235 Charger Regular Unleaded.

Back to the original post for you oilfield guys... If these are the fields in production in 2004 and SA has 1.5 MMBOPD shut-in because it is too heavy, where is it??

Could be Munifa (sp Manifa?). If I recall correctly, that's heavy, and also happens to be essentially unsellable due to high vanadium content. I admit that's stretching the description "too heavy". But if the intent of the description is that the oil is undesirable, Manifa fits.

Edited to add:

Oops - I was under the impression that Manifa was ready to produce crude (awaiting only completion of specialized refineries to handle the oil) but some quick checks say that's probably not true, because there's field development in parallel with refinery building.

Besides which, it would have been imprudent to develop the field with no feasible market, so my assumption that it had been developed was unrealistic.

Considering the politicians are (rightly) apprehensive about Nukes for northern Alberta... and Natural Gas from McKenzie seems to be in some doubt.

How the heck is that production going to work if, by 2010, Domestic NG supplies are going to be in serious decline.

One LNG terminal in Kitimat, BC isn't going to do it.

and they are expecting gas for this new 400 megawatt power station. Who is going to be short motorists or homeowners?


New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize
Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity
Journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Publisher Springer New York
ISSN 0090-4341 (Print) 1432-0703 (Online)
DOI 10.1007/s00244-006-0149-5
SpringerLink Date Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Abstract: Health risk assessment of genetically modified organisms
(GMOs) cultivated for food or feed is under debate throughout the
world, and very little data have been published on mid- or long-term
toxicological studies with mammals. One of these studies performed
under the responsibility of Monsanto Company with a transgenic corn
MON863 has been subjected to questions from regulatory reviewers in
Europe, where it was finally approved in 2005. This necessitated a
new assessment of kidney pathological findings, and the results
remained controversial. An Appeal Court action in Germany (Munster)
allowed public access in June 2005 to all the crude data from this
90-day rat-feeding study. We independently re-analyzed these data.
Appropriate statistics were added, such as a multivariate analysis of
the growth curves, and for biochemical parameters comparisons between
GMO-treated rats and the controls fed with an equivalent normal diet,
and separately with six reference diets with different compositions.
We observed that after the consumption of MON863, rats showed slight
but dose-related significant variations in growth for both sexes,
resulting in 3.3% decrease in weight for males and 3.7% increase for
females. Chemistry measurements reveal signs of hepatorenal toxicity,
marked also by differential sensitivities in males and females.
Triglycerides increased by 24.0% in females (either at week 14, dose
11% or at week 5, dose 33%, respectively); urine phosphorus and
sodium excretions diminished in males by 31.5% (week 14, dose 33%)
for the most important results significantly linked to the treatment
in comparison to seven diets tested. Longer experiments are essential
in order to indicate the real nature and extent of the possible
pathology; with the present data it cannot be concluded that GM corn
MON863 is a safe product.

This is probably my biggest gripe with the Clinton Administration and Dan Glickman as Secretary of Agriculture. The full speed ahead of GMO's without any thought to the consequence of drift, organic contamination, seed source monopoly, what were they thinking? Paid lobbies will be the death of us.

If the plant itself is toxic? Lets make "corn" that you can over spray with roundup to kill the weeds in the cornfield. Roundup is a translocated herbicide so will it be in the the leaf, root, cob, the kernal?
Round up in your childrens corn flakes?
Next we will need GM people to eat this stuff.

"Next we will need GM people to eat this stuff."

Yes, I believe that's the general idea.


Not to worry. The ethanol folks will make sure there's not much left for eating. Also on CNBC today; there is record corn planting which is crowding out soybean planting. CNBC said there's lots of money to be made here and, of course, that's all that's really important.

The largest corn crop the United States has seen since 1946.

The tractors are idle as the first day of spring arrives. However, in a few short weeks, farmers will begin to prepare their lands for the largest corn crop the United States has seen since 1946.

Across the Corn Belt, farmers are clearly leaning toward planting more corn and fewer soybeans. Although the shift may not be dramatic for some producers, others near zones where more ethanol plants are being planned will plant at least two-thirds of their farmland to corn.

The American Soybean Association predicted recently that at least 5 million fewer acres of soybeans will be planted this year. That would mean the other 5 million acres would come from cotton, alfalfa, conservation lands or other crops.

However, even if the corn crop hits the trendline yield estimates of 153 bushels per acre this year, the carryout situation gets tighter for next year. The markets, sensing a shortfall this year if the weather does not cooperate, continues to push new crop prices higher. On Tuesday, December ’07 corn was at $4.09 on the Chicago Board of Trade. Any weather scares like heavy rains in April or hot weather in July will keep the trade pushing prices higher.

Here in the midsouth they have been planting for a weel or two already.Its been a very very warm spring and the rains have been just right so far in my region.

Its going to be one hell of a year. The only thing looming on the horizon is possibly very hot weather when the pollen is falling. High temps kill the pollen.

I cannot believe that we are running air conditioners and having 85+ temps in the 3rd week of March!!!!

What I hear is that corn is down as well as beans due to all the traders fussing with oil futures instead of crop futures. Overhead listening to a commodity consultant the other day. Fact is that it appears to be changing daily.

All quiet now about new ethanol plants .. Perhaps its already a forgone conclusion that they are in the works. If it folds though and the farmers with huge input costs see a very down corn market,,,then that could spell trouble.

Land rent is up. Fertilizer is way up and nh3 is bouncing around $500 I am told. Seed costs are always high and right now some is in short supply. Like I said..going to be a hell of a year out here.

Soybean planting time comes after the wheat is harvested. Or thereabouts. Too early but if all the land is in corn..then you only get to use what is there after the wheat harvest.

So one clue is to look at the size of planted winter wheat acreage.

Here is the CBOT page on midseason outlook:


Farmers are paid a premium for non-GMO corn,however the load has to be tested at the graneries. Last year I hauled some that failed the test.Not much thought because only a few were planting and harvesting non-GMO I think. By and large GMO is becoming far more prevalent...again my opinion based on not having to state that I was hauling non-GMO, which you have to do.

I assume drift was the culprit. Meaning that it was mingling with the GMO in the same areas and not due to combining the two by mistake and putting both in the same truck load.

I could be wrong on this.

I can think of no better place to put this corn than in a gas tank.

AFAIK there is no GMO white corn. To me white corn is preferable to yellow so thats primarily what I consume.

GM corn found in white corn products

04/07/2001 - The genetically modified yellow corn StarLink, made by the Franco-German pharmaceutical group Aventis, and whose presence in food products last fall resulted in widespread recalls, has been found for the first time in a white corn product, The Washington Post reported on July 3.

But traces of StarLink corn found their way into taco shells, chips and other food products, triggering the eventual recall of more than 300 U.S. foods.

It may crossover but what I meant is that they were not producing GMO seed in white. This is what I gleaned on a farming website. I will have to ask the seed salesman tomorrow. They are all over the place lately.

However I found I was wrong. Actually the farmer who told me was wrong. I googled it and found different.

Here is a url showing the truth:


No, I knew what you meant airdale =]

My point was that it's practically impossible to not consume GM products irrespective of one's best attempts.

Duh! I would be stunned if you said anything else. Please take your ethanol promoting self to some advertising site which is where you obviously belong.

That's it? That's the best you can do? I suspect you would need help debating your way out of a wet paper bag.


In support of your concern, perhaps you remember the experience of the Australian biologists in 2001 trying to create a contraceptive to control the mouse population in Australia. If I recall correctly they inserted the gene for interluekin 4 (Il-4), a cytokine, into the mousepox virus. I am not sure why they felt this would create a good means to sterilize mice, but they expected this change would attenuate the virus.

What they found instead was it killed 90% of the mice who received the virus. They then found even in mice immunized against mousepox, 50% died upon exposure. While they stopped there, they noted that a similar change to human smallpox virus would be likely to have a similar effect. The normal fatality rate for smallpox infection is around 33% for unimmunized individuals. So entirely without trying they happened, with a single gene insertion, to create an incredibly more virulent strain to the extent that it was more deadly in immunized mice than the naturally occurring, wild type mousepox was in unimmunized mice. Ooooppps.


This needs to be put into perspective.

Smallpox is one of those history changing disease whose epidemics have played a major role in many civilizations over the centuries. Most recently its impact on Native Americans. I can't reference it off the top of my head, but I believe I read that the population of Mexico decreased by some 90% in the century after contact with Europe in large part because of smallpox. Wikepidia has a nice write-up on the role of smallpox in history.

More recently we know from Russian defectors such as Ken Alibeck that the Russians had a very active bioweapons program throughout at least the 1980s even to the point of putting weaponized smallpox on ICBMS.

It is also interesting in that as you may recall smallpox began the era of vaccinations when Edward Jenner followed up on the cowmaid's claim, "I shall never have the smallpox, sir, for I have had the cowpox". The Il-4 insertion, conversely, somehow led to incapacitation of the normal viral immune response thus leading to its greatly increased lethality. So in summary, yes maybe we should be a little bit more careful with GMOs!

As I'm way off topic, let me write a little on Bird-Flu and why it is followed so closely. The 1918-19 influenza epidemic killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide in 18 months, more than have died in the whole history of AIDS, of course the population was much less in 1918. It likely was a main reason WWI ended - No fun to throw a war when your soldiers come off the boat dead or barely able to walk let alone march. In the streets of Philadelphia it was so bad at is peak that they literally had people coming by with carts shouting to householders to "bring out your dead". Influenza is highly infective and the case fatality in the 1918 strain was about 5-10%, it often killed the young and most healthy as pathogenicity was related to an over exuberant immune response. I am not positive but I believe it killed one of my great grandfathers. Now zoonotic infections, those transfered from animals to humans are often more pathogenic (the infectious agent isn't acclimated to its human most). Nonetheless, the fatality rate of bird-flu is what, 80-90%. We better hope if it ever transitions to influenza it does not have a fatality rate of
20%. In that case I think PO would be the least of our worries. When people mention, well after PO people won't be talking about American Idol and Brittany Spears, I think great this is exactly what we need. We need to try to become more resilient, virtuous, self-reliant. It isn't the half tank of gas that kills you, it is if in our reaction to it we release the riders of War, Famine and Pestilence that is real concerning. I am not downplaying PO, my layman's view is that it is the most immediate, concrete, serious threat we face, but I do see rationale ways to mitigate and eventually solve it if we choose that path.

I can't reference it off the top of my head, but I believe I read that the population of Mexico decreased by some 90% in the century after contact with Europe in large part because of smallpox.

In the book 1491, the author discusses this in some detail. As I recall, hepatitis was possibly a bigger killer even than smallpox, and there were several other diseases as well that played a part in this sad chapter of history. Interesting also was the discussion of the genetics of the Native American dieoff because of introduced diseases.

What they found instead was it killed 90% of the mice who received the virus.....the Russians had a very active bioweapons program throughout at least the 1980s even to the point of putting weaponized smallpox on ICBMS.

In my swimming in the data of the internet, one person claimed a Russian source who was saying that the vaccine for smallpox was 'useless' and the death rate from the weapon version was 90%+.

I know enough to know that I I have no idea about the validity of such a claim, but would express no shock as I die or see 90% about me die.

In that case I think PO would be the least of our worries.

"Our worries" are many when one looks at 'history' and 'the truth' about what Man will do its fellow Man in the name of their own self-interest.

the riders of War, Famine and Pestilence

1) you forgot Death!
2) The memo I have says pestilence was replaced with pollution.

No matter what the path, many of us will suffer because a few others won't give up on their learned, familiar behaviors.

The Death of Real Estate

I sell investment real estate in the San Francisco Bay Area. Have been for 25 years. It's a nice business. I've enjoyed it, and I value my clients.
My pappy's a realtor. My grandpappy was a realtor. My uncle's a realtor; so is my brother. Heck, some of my best friends are realtors (and it takes a big man to admit that).

That's why it pains me to give you the bad news, to wit: Real estate in America is officially dead. But only for a generation or so.
In other words, it is time to sell all of your real estate, save for possibly your home. If you don't, you will likely regret it. You will gradually watch all of your equity disappear into thin air. And then, unless you have little debt against it, you will likely lose your property to foreclosure. It's as simple as that.

The far better strategy is to sell now, even if you are disappointed with the selling price, take your equity (less any capital gains taxes you must pay) and put it into safe, interest-bearing cash-equivalents for a while. Do not put it into the stock market. Do not fiddle with bonds. Don't buy gold (for now, anyway). Stay away from the other metals. Just sit there. Don't be cute. Stop annoying your brother. And try not to be smug. Exercise that virtue known to Job as patience.

Eventually you will be able to buy all the real estate you want, probably including the stuff I'm happy to sell for you now, for literally nickels on the dollar.

The fact is, we have officially entered the frightening, post-NASDAQ-bubble, post-subsequent-real estate-double-bubble, credit-contracting, asset-deflationary portion of the 75 year cycle. So buckle-up for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, people, because there is no looking back at this point. Mark my words, it's going to be nauseating.

2,100,000 households in America were said to be in default as of year-end, 2006. Teaser loan payments are rising, home values are falling, and "greater fools" are no longer stepping into the breech to save anyone's financial day.

Eventually, everyone will come to the realization that 1) just like when the NASDAQ bubble burst back in 2000, real estate values are going down, down, down, then 2) that this time it's not a "normal real estate cycle" but instead a relentless, post-bubble and post-bubble-bubble real estate deflation that we expect will have no historical rival.

OFF TOPIC, remove it !

very much on topic... Peak oil means Peak Wealth - it affects everything including real estate. The slide in housing so far has been nothing compared to what is coming.

I disagree that all property will fall in price. Those million dollar highrise CITY apartments will no doubt become very expensive financial coffins (or suicide suites for many former titbabies)...

BUT, but, but... wooded land, and farm land near smaller towns will likely retain value if not skyrocket in value as our Global Humpty Dumpty economy crumbles and economies based on LOCAL resources/production (wood, chickens, eggs, veggies) become absolutely essential for survival.

Good farm land is escalating in price. I brought close to 100 acres in the mid 80's for approx $450. Last appraisal was slighty over $3000 per acre. Appraised today it might be closer to $3,500 per acre. Thats mostly cleared land with some woods areas included. They would remove the wooded if they owned it.

I might also add that timber has risen in price such that all over this area I see a huge amount of timber being harvested. Far more activity than I have ever seen in the past. Lots of immature logs I see on the logging trucks as well.

Currently every where I look farmers are removing tree lines and clearing as much land as they are allowed to. They are simply following the money in order to produce as much as possible.

I believe that already some conservation measures might have been rescinded but not sure on that. I just see a huge amount of putting new land into production and cleaning up on current production land.

Your remarks about farm land reminds me of an article (I think posted here recently) that said in the past year, it appreciated at a greater rate than all other real estate in several Euro and N. American countries.

As for "conservation measures," I bet many will be long forgotten within a decade. Many parts of our world we now call "civilized" will likely re-enact the tale of Easter Island before whats left of the Herd moves on.

Very good to hear from you again airdale.

Re: "Real estate in America is officially dead."

Not quite. Here in Iowa land prices are sky rocketing due to the ethanol and bio diesel boom. The best land formerly selling for $3000.00 per acre can now fetch up to $5000.00 per acre. This is a recent phenomenon since the rise in corn prices last fall.

$5,000 acre? Wow I wish - 80 acres 1/2 flooded in winter, old(very) farm house. road flooded too. $800,000 6 years ago.

"Here in Iowa land prices are sky rocketing due to the ethanol and bio diesel boom."

Same in Nebraska:


I heard it takes:

8 pounds of corn to make one pound of beef

3 pounds of corn to make one pound of chicken

not sure how many pounds of corn per mile of travel

Castro might be sad about the poor people who cannot afford his sugar cane. It seems some people had more of a desire for population growth than for productivity increases.

Late payments rise on home-equity loans

Late payments on certain auto and home equity loans climbed in the final quarter of last year, while delinquencies on credit card bills largely held steady, suggesting some U.S. consumers are feeling more squeezed than others.


March 29, 2007
Income Gap Is Widening, Data Shows
Income inequality grew significantly in 2005, with the top 1 percent of Americans — those with incomes that year of more than $348,000 — receiving their largest share of national income since 1928, analysis of newly released tax data shows.

The top 10 percent, roughly those earning more than $100,000, also reached a level of income share not seen since before the Depression.

While total reported income in the United States increased almost 9 percent in 2005, the most recent year for which such data is available, average incomes for those in the bottom 90 percent dipped slightly compared with the year before, dropping $172, or 0.6 percent.

The gains went largely to the top 1 percent, whose incomes rose to an average of more than $1.1 million each, an increase of more than $139,000, or about 14 percent.

The new data also shows that the top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans. Per person, the top group received 440 times as much as the average person in the bottom half earned, nearly doubling the gap from 1980.

Prof. Emmanuel Saez, the University of California, Berkeley, economist who analyzed the Internal Revenue Service data with Prof. Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics, said such growing disparities were significant in terms of social and political stability.

“If the economy is growing but only a few are enjoying the benefits, it goes to our sense of fairness,” Professor Saez said. “It can have important political consequences.”

Last year, according to data from other sources, incomes for average Americans increased for the first time in several years. But because those at the top rely heavily on the stock market and business profits for their income, both of which were strong last year, it is likely that the disparities in 2005 are the same or larger now, Professor Saez said.

He noted that the analysis was based on preliminary data and that the highest-income Americans were more likely than others to file their returns late, so his data might understate the growth in inequality.

The disparities may be even greater for another reason. The Internal Revenue Service estimates that it is able to accurately tax 99 percent of wage income but that it captures only about 70 percent of business and investment income, most of which flows to upper-income individuals, because not everybody accurately reports such figures.

The Bush administration argued that its tax policies, despite cuts that benefited those at the top more than others, had not added to the widening gap but “made the tax code more progressive, not less.” Brookly McLaughlin, the chief Treasury Department spokeswoman, said that this year “the share of income taxes paid by lower-income taxpayers will be lower than it would have been without the tax relief, while the share of income taxes for higher-income taxpayers will be higher.”

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., she noted, has acknowledged that income disparities have increased, but, along with a “solid consensus” of experts, attributed that shift largely to “the rapid pace of technological change has been a major driver in the decades-long widening of the income gap in the United States."

Others argued that public policies had played a role in the shift. Robert Greenstein, executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, an advocacy group for the poor, said that the data understates the widening disparity between the top 1 percent and the rest of the country.

He said that in addition to rising incomes and reduced taxes, the equation should take into account cuts in fringe benefits to workers and in government services that middle-class and poor Americans rely on more than the affluent. These include health care, child care and education spending.

“The nation faces some very tough choices in coming years,” he said. “That such a large share of the income gains are going to the very top, at a minimum, raises serious questions about continuing to provide tax cuts averaging over $150,000 a year to people making more than a million dollars a year, while saying we do not have enough money” to provide health insurance to 47 million Americans and cutting education benefits.

A major issue likely to be debated in Congress in the year ahead is whether reversing the Bush tax cuts would slow investment and, if so, how much that would cost the economy.

Mr. Greenstein’s organization will release a report today showing that for Americans in the middle, the share of income taken by federal taxes has been essentially unchanged across four decades. By comparison, it has fallen by half for those at the very top of the income ladder.

Because the incomes of those at the top have grown so much more than those below them, their share of total income tax revenue has risen despite the reduced rates.

The analysis by the two professors showed that the top 10 percent of Americans collected 48.5 percent of all reported income in 2005.

That is an increase of more than 2 percentage points over the previous year and up from roughly 33 percent in the late 1970s. The peak for this group was 49.3 percent in 1928.

The top 1 percent received 21.8 percent of all reported income in 2005, up significantly from 19.8 percent the year before and more than double their share of income in 1980. The peak was in 1928, when the top 1 percent reported 23.9 percent of all income.

The top tenth of a percent and top one-hundredth of a percent recorded even bigger gains in 2005 over the previous year. Their incomes soared by about a fifth in one year, largely because of the rising stock market and increased business profits.

The top tenth of a percent reported an average income of $5.6 million, up $908,000, while the top one-hundredth of a percent had an average income of $25.7 million, up nearly $4.4 million in one year.

OFF TOPIC, remove it !

Who died and made you Cheney?

We'd have to know what the topic is to know if it's off?

What do you want him to say? Jawohl Herr Oberstormbahnfuhrer!?!?

Then again, TOD is "a discussion about energy and our future" so I don't see how this is OT.

So when Leanan posts a finance/econ article, it's relevant, but when someone else does, not so much? WTF Ever.

Tate, you are not paying attention. The only person saying the subject is off topic is kf5nd, whoever that is.

Leanan was questioning his/her authority to declare anything off topic. Kf5nd is not an editor and has no authority to declare anything off topic. That was the point of Leanan's remark.

That should settle it.

Ron Patterson

Ok, Can I play on the playground now?

Its an amateur radio callsign. Go here:


and you can look it up and see who it is.

Hint: Lives in Houston.

Wang....(butthead laugh)

Kf: Actually, this trend will tend to lower US demand for fossil fuels. The guy with 10 mill is not using 100X the energy of the guy with 100000. Hard as it is to imagine, USA energy use would be a lot higher if there were less poor people and less rich.

It's on topic because it's comparing the current bubble economy to the year 1928. A Great Depression is definitely an Oil Drum-worthy subject. This year we will have many discussions about the net effects on demand of a recession.

Kind of reminds me of the last time the disparity was large(although it has never been THIS large). The well to do Bumped off Huey Long and his "Share the Wealth" platform. Then spent the decades following trying to erase his name and his platform.

Time to revive it:


Good day all.

I was just reading yesterdays' db and to my surprise not a single comment referred to the piece in de Arizona Star.

"Next year we will fall off the oil-supply cliff, with an average daily production of less than 78 million barrels"


Sounds shocking. Can anyone support this number?

I sent the author (Guy McPherson, a professor at the University of Arizona) an e-mail, and this was his explanation:

Because world oil supply follows a bell-shaped curve, we can use past levels of production as an accurate guide to future production. So, since we passed the world oil peak in late 2005, 2005 and 2006 had about the same level of oil production (ca. 84 million barrels/day). Thus, 2004 and 2007 will be about the same, too (ca. 82 million barrels/day). And 2003 and 2008 will be about the same: slightly less than 78 million barrels/day, on average. By 2015, oil production will be about the same as it was in 1995: 60-65 million barrels/day. But demand is projected to exceed 120 million barrels/day.

It is a simple approach, but it is possible that it may turn out to be true if decline rates are higher than what are being modeled in some of the analyses we have seen recently.

If the big fields that were discovered 40+ years ago are declining at the same time as the more-recently discovered smaller fields, I could envision a scenario where the decline after the peak is even steeper than on the front side of the slope. If this should happen, future production may be even lower than Guy's projection would suggest.

Given the writing(ok scribblings) on the wall...it just could turn out to be true.

If you factor the export land model, I think the net effect could be the same, no matter the actual production number.

When do we run for the hills? No really.

I think the decline may be worse once we get there, but what we don't know is when we fall off the plateau. If we have a three-year plateau centered on 06, then 08 matches 04, not 03, and imo this is the worst case. Chris thinks 'not before 07' beause he sees a lot of new oil this year; so, even if he has missed some decline eg sa and mex, imo 07 will not decline significantly, if at all. And, the plateau might continue into 08, esp if sa decline holds around 8mb/d and mex at 3mb/d.

However, even if the decline starts later, it might fall faster because of the prevalence of horizontal drilling in large old fields, esp sa/mex.

For those thinking inelastic and expecting very high prices, it is interesting that 60+ has sufficiently tamped down demand that the world is 'happy' with a stagnant 84.6mb/d, or 4mb/d less than what would have happened had the 2% yoy preferred supply increase continued as usual since late 04. A bit less each year would no doubt bring back price escelation, but maybe not much more than the previous 18%/y.

There is one good reason why supplies have been adequate – and not because of demand destruction.

At the beginning of October, total US oil/product inventories were about 70 million over the prior year. But about six months later they are 30 million below – or a swing of 100 million less in six months. Pro-rated for the whole year, the US would be drawing down 200 million barrels vs. the prior year. The IEA says other countries are also drawing down inventories, although the rest of the world as a group may be drawing down a little slower than the US. Estimating that drawdown for the whole world at about 365 million barrels yearly, we've just found where the world has found 1 million bpd in supply. Pickens just today said the world will be undersupplied 1 million bpd this year.

Excellent point. And I don't believe the US has anything like another 100 million barrels of cushion outside of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

We will know by this summer whether the market has been "well supplied" or just living off stored fat by watching inventories.

We may not know for certain whether KSA is voluntarily reducing production. I hope so, but hope is not a substitute for knowledge.

One last point: If the rest of the world is drawing down inventories at a loweer rate, the premium for Brent over WTI seems to make even less sense.

Hmmm. It's certainly not bell shaped enough to support this level of precision in inference. That's basically a completely invalid line of reasoning. Does he think it's also going to spike up again in 2030 because it dropped in 1980?

Hey SS,
Up topside, FF asked which Saudi oil the Chinese don't want. What is the answer? We dumbos want to know.

>If the big fields that were discovered 40+ years ago are declining at the same time as the more-recently discovered smaller fields, I could envision a scenario where the decline after the peak is even steeper than on the front side of the slope. If this should happen, future production may be even lower than Guy's projection would suggest.

Gail, You assumption is likely to be correct. Virtually all of the large fields use water injection or advance recovery to maximize production for today at the expense of much steeper declines in the future. I believe future production will resemble a horizontally flipped chi-square curve, not a standard bell curve. When oil extraction began in the 1860's extraction technology was premative and demand was low. It wasn't until after WW2 that demand and extraction technology took off.


This falls in line with the MSNBC article on flex-fuel vehicles being used to meet federal fuel economy standards:


Ford received a 2003 fleet rating of 43 MPG for its flex-fuel vehicles, when in fact they only got 26 MPG.

This is the usual greenwashing done by the domestic motor companies to meet fuel economy standards. If fuel economy standards are raised for passenger vehicles, all the domestic 3 will do is turn them into flex-fuel vehicles in order to meet regulations. It's a scam just like hy(pe)drogen.

Limits of Technology

One theme that interests me is whether technological innovation will continue at the rate seen in the 19th and 20th centuries. Personally, I have my doubts, and this makes me more concerned that we'll have difficulty transitioning after PO.

Contrary to what one often hears in the popular press, I believe we are running up against significant technological barriers even in the field of medicine. Three significant finding have been in the popular press recently:

1) It was recently shown that the highly technical and expensive stents ($10k to $20k per procedure) placed in coronary arteries do not improve outcomes in persons with narrowed blood vessels any more than medication does. It takes years to train a cardiologist to do these, and despite the fact that they are routine today, heart stenting is one of the most advanced technologies developped recently. Yet it does not appear to be better than cheap meds that have been on the market for decades.


2) One of the most promising drugs in the pipeline, torcetrapib, will never come to market. It was a whole new class designed to raise HDL, or the good cholesterol. First, it raised blood pressure leading to an increased risk of heart attack and death, and a recent study has shown it didn't even shrink cholesterol plaques as expected. The hoopla surrounding this medication has been huge, so the degree of disappointment here is enormous.


3) MRI for detection of breast cancer was in the news as a new promising treatment. A study showed that 3% of early tumors not detected by mammography can be found with MRI in women at high risk for the disease. So we'll find one more cancer early for every 33 high risk women who have an MRI. Keep in mind a few of these women will have a very aggressive tumor and they'll die anyway, even with early detection by MRI. Many of these women will have slow growing tumors that would have been detected by mammorgraphy a year later even without the MRI, and at that point they'll still be easily curable. And many, many women will have needless biopsies due to high false positive rate of MRI's. So how many women need to have a $1000 to $2000 MRI, and how many women will be scared to death awaiting biopsy results to find one woman who actually benefits from it? this is a case of diminishing returns. Sure it adds a little bit to our success in treating breat cancer, but there's very little bang for our buck.

Shell cancels offshore Louisiana LNG port

"Market conditions" per local morning TV news.


Yeah I noted that in the Dutch press today. Reason stated: Sufficient import capacity, as 7 LNG terminals are under contruction/operational in the GOM

I posted the following comment last night but inadvertently posted it into the March 27 Drumbeat instead of the current one. I am now posting it here since the 27th went stale and it was on the bottom of the heap.

It contains three subject:
A farmers question on the future


For those who might be interested in moving to a sustainable lifestyle you will surely be most interested in securing a site that has good soil. I submit the following website as a good place to learn about soil as well as help in locating it.


From this portal you can travel on to NRCS where you can locate geophysically ,different regions of the US and the soil classifications there. Both sites are easy to use and contain a tremendous amount of useful information to those not knowledgeable about soils.

If you wish to grow food then you must have an understanding of various soils and which are good or bad or inbetween.

As for myself I live on a type known as 'loess' and within that a classification of Loring Silt Loam. A very very good soil IMO but somewhat acidic and that being the only drawback and means lime must be used to amend its ph.

Now on another topic. A question I usually pose to ones locally who I communicate about PO and when they do understand the possibilities I ask the following question to understand how committed they are.

The question posed thusly.

You are at your permanent location. Say the front porch of your farm house. The energy crises has occurred and with its full hard crashing impact. The cities are full of the dead and dying. The farmers are circling the wagons to protect the foodstores they have and own and their own assets they need in order to survive. They are armed of course.

From the vantage of your porch you see a smallish ragtag mob/group approaching up the road/lane leading to your house. One appears to be in front and maybe armed. In fact all could be armed but hiding the weapons. They are not waving a flag but are just steadily coming ahead.

Now the question is what do you do? What must you do? At what point must you take action? If you prefer your survival and life over that of others who might take it and you observe the group approaching just what actions do you take?

Considering all the while that if they reach rifle range they might shoot you dead. If you hide they might just surround and flush you out. They are drawing closer. It now appears that only one has a firearm.

What do you do?

The answer IMO shows your level of committment to others, those who may be with you , and to yourself.

Most answers I receive are "shoot them dead". This is from farmers or those who have land and live on it. They are not cornucopians necessarily but they are hopefuly optomistic somewhat about the future but understand more than their city kinfolk how serious it can be or can get. Their crops depend very much on petrochemical products and they use very large quatities of it. They know they are sitting on the top of the food control chain. Animals on the hoof and grain in the fields and bins.

Some say we are a cooperative race. Some say we are savages.
Some are not sure what we are or will become.

I read the book "The Road". My answer is close to what some of the scenarios are in the book. The book helped me make up my mind on this subject.(this book was what prompted me to ask the above questions to some landowners nearby)

Remembering that one of the prime freedoms we enjoy is the rights of property ownership. You are not required to give away your property to anyone. In fact you can use whatever force is necessary to defend it. That said I believe we will become a nation of squatters. You can have the unimproved land to squat on if the owners are dead but you have no right to what I have improved on my own and belongs to me.

There is bad news about honeybees regarding the Colony Collapse Disorder. Yesterday I surveyed my fruit trees and saw no activity as yet. I then checked the holly bush near the house and saw it was swarming with honeybees. Most were immature with a few adults thrown it. I therefore am optimistic on the wild populations out in the nearby woods.
I haven't checked with local beekeepers but the main one just passed away so I think he is out of business. He was the only local beekeeper in the county AFAIK so the wild hives are of supreme importance. If they were gone it would be disastrous.

Airdale -

P.S. I also recently viewed the movie "Shooter". Oil was spoken of repeatedly but never connected to much that I could see. Very good action movie though.

Airdale, you're back. Hope all's well.

Hello PO Tarzan,

Yes all is as well as could be expected.

Best regards,

Hi Airdale,

A few things. Bees first. I'm lucky that there is no production Ag within 120 miles of me and none of it is GM. I also have a bee tree down by our grapes so that helps. One thing people might try is something like a product called Bee Scent. This is a pheromone spray that attracts bees. I use it on our fruit trees.

Now, the future. I've beaten on this for years not only here but on other forums. People really need to consider how things might play out. When I'm talking to people I usually use the concept of risk management. Obviously I'm in favor of moving out of harm's way right now. My basic thrust is that if you make the move and nothing happens the worst is that you will have possibly destroyed your career. If you do nothing and something happens, your family might die. Which do you value the most, your career or family?

As far as the "hordes" goes, people, again, have to start thinking about their actions before it is necessary. There are not only major moral issues but also tactical issues if you (and/or your affinity group) plan to keep them at bay. I've mentioned a few things before but TOD isn't the place for an in-depth disucssion.


I agree that the discussion on chaos and what to do is not a really good fit for TOD but with all the recent Subject Posts of late tending to somewhat confirm that we are likely looking very soon at meltdown and might be perhaps a good time to 'think it though'. At least this is what I ask those who say they will be ready to become a part of a survivor group.

I have explored the subject quite a bit and thats why my reference to 'The Road'.

There are many nearby me that are somewhat prepared. When I propose this sceario of meeting ..they tend to get somewhat distant. As though they have no clue how to act.

Bees. The bees I see in my bushes do not appear to be harvesting nectar. Maybe collecting pollen but I don't see any pollen in their leg sacs.

I still have seen nary a one on my peach blossoms or apple tree blossoms.


Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this: Oprah chooses "The Road" -- the world's most depressing book -- for her book club selection!


More on the honeybee dieoff....

The mysterious deaths of the honeybees

But this is not a new problem. Over the past two decades, concern has
risen around the world about the decline of pollinators of all descriptions.
During this period in the United States, the honeybee, the world's premier
pollinator, experienced a dramatic 40 percent decline, from nearly six million
to less than two and a half million.

In 2005, for the first time in 85 years, the United States was forced to import
honeybees in order to meet its pollination demands. Berenbaum says that
"if honeybees numbers continued to decline at the rates documented from 1989 to 1996,
managed honeybees ... will cease to exist in the United States by 2035."

Airdale, tough question. I think a 25 round clip or two would be on my list of things to own. Anyone with any feelings would dread the thought, but if it comes down to you or them? There are two good reads - one on the net about the economic collapse in Argentina. Written by a guy who had a family. he said the young rifle carrying rambo wanta be's were removed in the first 6 mo's or so. They make easy targets and are visable. He recomended handguns.
The other is a book called "blood and thunder" great book of indian/mexican/american wars. Very enlightening how critical food supplies are in conflicts.
Scary stuff
best D

Ok, Offering up one of my favs.

Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse: A Novel of the Turbulent Near Future
by James Wesley Rawles


It's a great book, The first chapter is about an economic collapse. Really good on prep work. Rawles was an army guy. Plenty on "Defense" and planning planning planning.

Pick it up, it has lots of tips.

Oh, the author;
"Rawles is a former United States Army Intelligence officer and the editor of SurvivalBlog."

John Carr

Coming at the same type of dilemma from a different angle:


Do you shoot them?

Some time ago someone posted a link to an online novel, Lights Out by Half Fast. That's the basic theme. Mostly a shoot-em-up, but still optimistic. A good break from those dry DOE reports.

cfm in Gray, ME

I posted the link along with a note about Rawles' book (which I also highly recommend). The advantage of reading this kind of fiction is that it at least offers a few insights as to how things might play out if a worst-case (short of WWIII) occurs. It's an opportunity to play what-if games and consider what you would have done.

I think they also force the reader to think about the moral issues that they may face.

Lastly, they offer insights as to what things may help you survive.


Thanks for the updates and info. I have read part of Rawles online book thats in the form of a screenplay.

Based on the current conjecture at TOD and MSM events with Simmons et al. , it appears that things are starting to heat and now moving at a faster pace. Once the MSM starts to chew this like a bone and the hysteria sets in?

I can think of nothing else to add. When my dialup connection goes then it will be like ...well it will be bad. Our infrastructure out here in the boonies is not that robust and our electrical grid is prone to many outages.

I am thinking of reactivating my ham radio skills and picking up a hf transceiver rig that can run on car battery power. I am already covered on VHF but thats only good for basic line of sight and a bit beyond that. If we lose power then one needs a link to the outside world.


. I just picked up my USDA Soil Survey of Cumberland County Illinois a couple of days ago at my local USDA office. I'm amazed at the accuracy of their description of my soil (Ava silt loam) as to the texture, layering, color, and PH. It made me re-examine where I was going to plant my grapevines in a couple of weeks given the soil in the lower layers. I’ll have to move them a little higher up the hill to insure they don’t have wet feet because the lower silt/clay/loam layers tend to hold water - digging a few deep holes confirmed this.

The Saudis are hopping mad with the US over Iraq

Saudi King Abdullah said on Wednesday at the opening of the Arab League meetings, "“In beloved Iraq, blood is shed among our brothers while there is an illegitimate foreign occupation and a hateful sectarianism that is threatening to develop into a civil war . . .”

King Abdullah followed up on these harsh criticisms of the US by cancelling his planned appearance at a White House dinner in April. The Saudi royal family is fit to be tied that Bush gave Iraq away to fundamentalist Shiite parties that have close ties to Iran.

Although the Saudi statement is remarkable for its brutal frankness and coldness toward the United States, its real significance is its slam of the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Abdullah has not only said that the US presence is an illegal occupation, he has said that the al-Maliki government is nothing more than Shiite sectarian hegemony. The Saudis are known for their behind the scenes diplomacy and their public discretion. King Abdullah is hopping mad, to talk this way. It augurs ill for US-Saudi relations. Abdullah is also angry that Bush is letting the Palestine issue fester and that he pushed for open Palestinian elections but then cut off the Hamas government once it was elected. Abdullah thinks Bush is pursuing irrational policies, the effect of which is to destabilize the Middle East.

Saudi willingness to manage oil reserves in the interests of the USA is, one imagines, somewhat compromised as a result.

"Saudi willingness to manage oil reserves in the interests of the USA is, one imagines, somewhat compromised as a result." This, as is the linked article, is opinion not fact, as all acknowledge. But it's just more on the political front... why I've been suggesting (comments 3/9, 3/26, 3/28) that, in addition to geology, and KSA's ordinary swing role, the third element that shouldn't be overlooked in assessing whether KSA voluntarily or involuntarily reduced production in 2006 - vs. its excessively accommodative prod. increases months in advance of the 2004 US elections - is politics.

Rex Tillerson eats green bananas.

I was surprised to see this in CNN Money:

Nabors, the world's biggest land-based oil and gas driller, said Thursday its first-quarter earnings would miss Wall Street estimates because of weaker-than-expected rig activity in the United States and Canada.

I knew rig activity was down for Canadian gas, but I had assumed that they were all moving south to the US for gas drilling. Does anyone have insight as to what is happening? Is this a temporary phenomenon?

Maybe they're moving their rigs to Saudi Arabia or something:

Higher costs from the start-up and moving delays in the international and offshore operations also weighed on results, the company said.

Sounds like weather was an issue:

In Canada, lower activity and an early spring thaw are likely to result in an average of only 57 rigs operating in the first quarter, compared with 73 a year earlier.

U.S. land well-servicing rig hours are substantially below expectations because of ice storms in Texas, Oklahoma and California earlier in the quarter.

I have a friend who works with diamond mining equipment in N Canada. They move equipment when the ground is frozen. Less frozen ground less time to move equipment. Don't know if this is a factor or not

I think canadian interest in drilling for ng is waning because prices do not justifiy activity. 1/4 of their fleet, or 160 rigs, then went south, but this presumably reduced us rig rates... overall rig count is unchanged, but I guess rates are down in both countries. Good for little e&p's, as is the reduced supply from canada...

It's a financial blip on the radar. They were being overvalued back in Jan 06 due to anticipation of work following Katrina. It's mostly done now, but the long term point is still alive and well. Looking at anaylsts coverage (which really means squat) 12 say BUY, 7 say HOLD, and ONE says sell. I say it actually starts popping higher within a few months as this might be a short term entry point as some lose sight of the big picture. THERE ARE ALWAYS PEAKS AND VALLEYS WITHIN THE LARGER PARADIGM.

Peter Huber just came out with a rare column in Forbes.

Follow the Money (Peter Huber, Forbes 9 April 2007, free registration required)

Cutting to the chase, Huber calls for a fuel tax near the end of his column. But he makes a number of other points along the way.

  • Huber is a huge fan of electricity, which he views as key. One reason is that because it can be generated in so many different ways, it is a good arbiter between fuel sources and end uses.
  • Electrical generation plants consume 40% of all raw fuel, with another 30% going to transportation (with half of that for cars) and the remaining 30% used to create raw heat. I assume this is for the U.S., but Huber doesn't say.
  • Electricity continues to gain market share relative to fuel used for transportation and heat. Every year it gains a bit and the others lose a bit.

Huber's policy prescriptions are as follows:

  • From a general policy standpoint, don't tinker with technology (i.e. attempt to pick winners and losers). Instead, concentrate on the economics.
  • Deregulate price at the power plant, i.e. don't dictate the price utilities must pay, for say, wind power.
  • De-average the price of the grid, i.e. allow dynamic time-of-use and load-dependent pricing. He says this would be great for uranium, pretty good for coal and wind, and bad for solar.
  • Let the consumer choose the fuel. If someone wants to buy solar, let them buy it at the market price.
  • Institute a flat fuel tax on the raw fuel used to deliver energy, i.e. scrap the 10% surcharge on the retail electric bill, which taxes both fuel and capital costs. A source-fuel-only tax would a) not tax capital, and b) not tax free fuel sources such as wind and solar. He includes corn as a taxable fuel.

I admit I'm a Huber fan. I don't always agree with him, for example his silly belief that "the more oil we produce, the more we'll find," but he gets a lot right in The Bottomless Well. He totally nails Jevon's Paradox, which he calls the Paradox of Efficiency. He is a proponent of the "silicon car," which includes plug-in electric technologies as well as a lot of power semiconductors. And the charts and graphics in the book are exceptional.

huber lost all credibility when he suggested drilling wells with a laser, creating the casing from melted rock as the laser penetrated. lmao!!!! rolflmao!!!! that and the belief in abiotic oil. about as sharp as buetel.

Fed Powerless to Fix Part of Inflation Puzzle

John M. Berry

March 29 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve has an inflation problem that it is almost powerless to attack: rising rents.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke acknowledged the problem yesterday in testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress.

Core inflation, Bernanke said, "remains uncomfortably high. For example, core CPI inflation over the 12 months ended in February was 2.7 percent, up from 2.1 percent a year earlier."

"Increases in rents -- both market rent and owner's equivalent rent -- account for a substantial part of the increase in core inflation over the past year," he added.

As Bernanke said yesterday, "The acceleration in rents may have resulted in part from a shift in demand toward rental housing as families found homeownership less financially attractive."


Yeah, yeah, I know, "OT remove it!" :-) Groceries are already shooting up and now I expect to get hammered by rising rent. At least I only drive my 180,000 mile Buick on weekends so the rising gas prices don't hit me that hard.


This is right in my ballpark. We are suffering through this rent crap right now in SoCal. Our apartment complex was just bought out by a new company, and they are raising all the rents! People are moving out in droves! I've been living here since September and I have not been able to find a reasonably priced apartment in a somewhat safe neighborhood... so by years end I will probably be an Iowan again. So much for this new job I've been working so hard to get in to...

Obviously many people on TOD are too young to remember Stagflation in the 1970's and early 1980's.

This is what is being described by the Fed, but they aren't using the name yet. It took awhile in the 70's until the Stagflation name was coined.

The issue in a nut shell is that when energy gets expensive and scarce all prices rise. Essentially all businesses see an increase in their raw material costs to some extent. High energy users see huge increases in costs others see less but all prices go up to pay for the cost of goods, i.e. inflation of prices.

Simultaneously all employers want to hold wages down to control costs. They can't control energy or raw material costs so they look to the labor force to dampen price rises. So the end result is less buying power in the hands of consumers coupled with less hiring by business (remember their trying minimize labor costs) resulting in less business expansion.

Less consumer demand (loss of buying power) and less business demand stagnates the economy. But energy is causing everything to cost more so there is built in inflation without business expansion. So you get StagFlation where prices keep rising but wages can't go up to keep pace. And this trickles into every corner of the economy, rents, food, cars, clothes.

It's the death of a thousand cuts. Everything, everywhere is going up just a little at first but wages don't keep up, so what gets cut out of your budget? Then prices go up even more (still no pay raise) so more things don't get bought. And all this non buying cycles around to the demand side for business and prevents them from raising wages.

It's a nasty spiral and the last time we just printed money (under Reagan) to get the economy moving again. And luckily energy prices came back down in the late 1980's and early 1990's to allow us to retire some of that debt.

Boy ugly ugly stuff. I remember 21% interest rates.

Ashamed to admit it, but I was dumb enough to have an ARM at the time. Great when I got it, but 2-3 years later my interest rate was 13%. It damn near killed me....and then I got fired by Ronnie. I worked my butt off to survive those years and managed to actually keep my house, although in hindsight I don't know how.



21 percent "remember".

that is alive an well. Its not gone. Many companies have penalty interest rates that high. Many states have never lowered the maximum that can be charged from those days. I bet some cities and states have interest that high if you owe them.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Cheap, plentiful energy raises our standard of living. Supply constrained, expensive energy does the opposite. I think Stagflation is our future. Stagflation might be the best case scenario under a true "Peak Oil" drop in supply.

The inflation rates that so often get talked about did not capture the huge runup in housing prices during the housing bubble. I think of the recent rise in the "rents" part of the inflation figures as simply the delayed reaction of the inflation stats to the rise in housing costs.

I'm sure the FED realizes this: it's not rocket science. The question is what do they do going forward? My guess is that they'll largely ignore the bump up from rents and act according to how the other components of PCE behave. Moreover, I see the FED acting so as to keep housing prices roughly flat for several years. I don't think the FED will be too hard core regarding inflation targeting until after rental rates & housing prices stabilize. Kind of sounds alot like I'm forecasting Stagflation-Lite, doesn't it?

Just my $0.02. After all, long-term macroeconomic forecasting is more art than science -- just look at how bad the government forecasters have done the last decade or two ...

Obviously many people on TOD are too young to remember Stagflation in the 1970's and early 1980's.

Hey, Hey... I remember.

I still have my WIN button.

I'll let another oldster tell you what it stood for.


Where is Nixon now that we need him?

I think Ford created the WIN button.

Wip Inflation Now

And ended up wearing it upside down so it said "NIM" which he claimed meant "No Immediate Miracles" although others saw it as short for 'Nim-wit'

Ahh, the memories...

Oh darn, and I had my "tanned, rested, and ready" button all ready for you to wear along with your WIN button. Close only counts in horseshoes....

How many remember the motto, "Inflation is our Friend?"

And what did 'Wip' stand for? ;-)

What do you expect? Property values are way up. Taxes are way up. The number of rental units have been in a squeeze for several years as more and more were converted to Condos. Maintenance costs are up. All of this makes rents go up.

I realize it's vogue to slam housing, and I sure as hell wouldn't want to be sitting on 3 or 4 speculative properties right now, but there is nothing wrong with owning your own home financed with a documented 30 year fixed mortgage. You have to live somewhere.

And for the love of God, never take an Equity loan except as a last resort! The goal of a 30 year mortgage is to pay it off! It's not a revolving line of credit!

I know mortgage brokers and bankers would never say this, but someone needs to educate the masses... You NEVER, EVER, refinance your home unless you can get a lower interest rate, AND you can afford to go to a shorter term. Let me repeat: The goal of a 30 year mortgage is to pay it off!

ggg71, people like you seem to be few and far between. The vast majority of American people are focused on their monthly cash flow rather than their balance sheets. For these people, refinancing is done to get cash out now, or to lower their monthly payment now. The thought of adding up the total interest payments over the life of the loan does not occur to them. The tax deductibility of interest is an additional rationalization. As such, variable rate mortgages, interest-only mortgages, negative amortization mortgages, teaser-rate mortgages, and so forth were highly attractive to far too many.

Just this morning in boston.com I saw yet another article about the housing slump - Mortgage crisis hits million-dollar homes. I don't think this problem is going to be contained to the subprime sector, or even the Alt-A sector.

In the 18 years I paid interest on a mortgage the interest deduction was never more than the standard deduction. It never paid for me to itemize so that so-called tax benefit never benefited me and millions of working families like me. The interest deduction is just another form of welfare for the rich.

On the topic of property values tied to tax rates -

I have tried to get some local media people to pick up on the fact that WHEN real estate implodes/deflates (subjective levels), what happens to the government tax base? Do they lay off x% of staff as well? (where x = the value of real estate reduction)

I am not sure of the real estate taxation system in the US (land tax), buy in Canada we use a Current Value Assessment(CVA) technique, which came into being relatively recently. Simply, our property tax is based on the current assessed price of our house, regardless of purchase price or lack of improvements etc.

This is one of fuels that feeds my fire that we are spending like there is no tomorrow...because the even the local governments don't want to address the house of cards their budgets are based on.

Is the situation the same in the US?

Peak: In a collapse, local guv usually increases the mill rate to protect their revenue source. If you look at NA property listings, you will notice that towns in long-term decline (like Buffalo) have very high property tax as a % of property value.

“If mortgage rates don’t come down, home prices need to decline by 20% in order to reach prior affordability levels. If rates do come down, home prices will drop less.”
Bill Gross PIMCO.COM

The above table somes from a 2005 Federal Reserve Board research paper. The interested rader can find a link to it in Bill Gross' latest piece at PIMCO.com. (FYI: It's a long, boring read that is summarized quite well in the post above).

Since the Fed is a privately owned company that loans the money it creates to the US Treasurey, and the US owes the Fed a load of interest on those loans, what is going to happen if the US sees long-term economic stagflation or decline, and can no longer service that debt (it's having trouble doing it even now...)???

"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."
Albert Einstein

Since the Fed is a privately owned company that loans the money it creates to the US Treasurey, and the US owes the Fed a load of interest on those loans, what is going to happen if the US sees long-term economic stagflation or decline, and can no longer service that debt (it's having trouble doing it even now...)???

The fed is not a privately owned company! Where in God's name did that silly urban myth get started? The Federal Reserve Board of Governors are government employees, paid by the fedreal government. Congress sets the salaries of the Board members. For 2006, the Chairman's annual salary is $186,600. The annual salary of the other Board members (including the Vice Chairman) is $168,000.

And the Fed sure as hell does not loan money to the US Government. Gad, that is a silly notion if I ever heard one. The US government borrows money by issueing Bonds, Bills and Notes. These Bonds, Bills and Notes are auctioned in a weekly auction. They are bought by banks and brokerage houses, and resold to other banks, orginazitions and private citizens.

Who owns the Federal Reserve?
The Federal Reserve System is not "owned" by anyone and is not a private, profit-making institution. Instead, it is an independent entity within the government, having both public purposes and private aspects.

As the nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve derives its authority from the U.S. Congress. It is considered an independent central bank because its decisions do not have to be ratified by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branch of government, it does not receive funding appropriated by Congress, and the terms of the members of the Board of Governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms. However, the Federal Reserve is subject to oversight by Congress, which periodically reviews its activities and can alter its responsibilities by statute. Also, the Federal Reserve must work within the framework of the overall objectives of economic and financial policy established by the government. Therefore, the Federal Reserve can be more accurately described as "independent within the government."

The twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, which were established by Congress as the operating arms of the nation's central banking system, are organized much like private corporations--possibly leading to some confusion about "ownership." For example, the Reserve Banks issue shares of stock to member banks. However, owning Reserve Bank stock is quite different from owning stock in a private company. The Reserve Banks are not operated for profit, and ownership of a certain amount of stock is, by law, a condition of membership in the System. The stock may not be sold, traded, or pledged as security for a loan; dividends are, by law, 6 percent per year.

Ron Patterson

My economics professor himself admitted the Fed is a privately owned bank that does make a substantial profit. Reading the last paragraph, Ron, it's incredibly ambiguous.

The stock of the member banks returns 6 percent dividends. SIX PERCENT OF WHAT? Who knows? You ever see a bank of america income statement (or any bank) with a line that states their income generated from owning stock in their member reserve bank? I'll admit to never looking, but I haven't seen any numbers. And if there were numbers floating, someone could easily spend some time reconstituting the 6% paid out total by adding up the pymts to each bank. We could then figure out net profit's based on this admitted six percent.


So the Treasury official goes to the Federal Reserve and says: “Ok, I need another billion dollars today. We didn’t take enough in taxes to cover this, and not enough people in the private sector loaned us the extra money, so we need more money. We need another billion dollars, please.” And the Federal Reserve says, “Ok, here it is.” And the Chairman of the Federal Reserve writes him a check – of course, that’s figuratively speaking, it’s all done by computer, but let’s just imagine the Chairman of the Fed writes a check to the Federal government for a billion dollars. The government now has that check, deposits it into its own checking account, and begins to write drafts against it. And this money that was given to the Federal Reserve did not exist before that point. It was created completely out of thin air, just the same as if the Federal government had gone to the printing presses and printed it. But in this case they didn’t, they went to the banks and got a loan of money that didn’t exist before.

Lets say I say they aren't private. Follow the money. If the Trez needs money they pay interest on it. All money is debt, period. Prior to 1913, it was not this way. Once banks became insured by the FDIC (1933), which is a fed org, the banks stabalized. The perception of a run was more important - behavorial finance 101. Who benefits from debt based money? Not you and I, and it's suppose to be backed by the power to rob, I mean tax, you and me.

Tate, G. Edward Griffin is simply full of it. The Fed does not loan money to the U.S. Government. That is totally absurd! The government does borrow money but every cent the government owes, it got by issueing Notes, Bills or Bonds. These debt certificits have a given interest rate and an expiration date.

Now I know that you believe that because someone wrote it in a book that it must be so. Okay, someone wrote in a book that oil comes up from the center of the earth but that is just not so. Likewise the Federal Government does not borrow money from the Federal Reserve System.

Go to this site Tate and find out everything you ever wanted to know about the fed.

But if you wish to purchase a few billion in government Bills, Notes or Bonds this site will tell you how.

And click on “auction data” and it will give you the dates that Bills will be auctioned and their discount rate. And it will also give you the date that Notes and Bonds will be auctioned and the interest rate they pay. Bills work slightly different from Bonds and Notes. Bills are sold at a discount then redeemed at face value. They are always short term, redeemable in 17 days to 26 weeks. Bonds and Notes are issued for much longer periods, from 2 to 30 years. The number at the right of each line is the amount, in billions, that will be auctioned on that date. 23 billion in 4 week Bills were auctioned today.

That Tate, is how the Federal Government raises money. They do not borrow it from the Fed!

Also note Tate, all these sites are government sites, not someone trying to sell a book. These sites are used by the banks, brokerage houses and other institutions that actually purchase these Bonds, Bills and Notes, for resale of course.

Ron Patterson

"The fed is not a privately owned company!"

A common misconception, but according to the Law it is (see below).

If you own shares in a company, you are one of the owners of that company. Private banks own the stocks of the 12 regional Fed Reserve Banks. Therefore they are the owners. To deny it is a private company is typical but silly. Just because it is a unique company under the law does not change this fact. Try reading between the lines of the Fed's own words. When ExxonMob states there is no imminent peak, do you take that statement at face value or do you actually look at the data?

Yes, the President appoints the Board of the Fed, but they are in no way beholden to the government: "It is considered an independent central bank because its decisions do not have to be ratified by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branch of government, it does not receive funding appropriated by Congress, and the terms of the members of the Board of Governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms."

LEWIS v. UNITED STATES, 680 F.2d 1239 (1982)
Court finding: "Examining the organization and function of the Federal Reserve Banks, and applying the relevant factors, we conclude that the Federal Reserve Banks are not federal instrumentalities for purpose of the FTCA, but are independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations.

Each Federal Reserve Bank is a separate corporation owned by commercial banks in its region. The stockholding commercial banks elect two thirds of each Bank's nine member board of directors. The remaining three directors are appointed by the Federal Reserve Board. The Federal Reserve Board regulates the Federal Reserve Banks, but direct supervision and control of each Bank is exercised by its board of directors. 12 U.S.C. Sect. 301."

Do you still disagree thus far...?

"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."
Albert Einstein

Owners of the Fed are well-known to be partners in fraudulent business practice. One example in recent history is Enron:

Does the government really audit the Fed properly? No.

Technically, "borrowing" is not the right word. The Fed is simply owed money by the government.
The Fed buys and sells government securities. Your income tax goes to paying the interest on the money the government owes. The Fed - the private entity - is currently owed about 9% of your national debt.

The Fed is required to return all its PROFIT to the US Treasury. How much is this? About $25 billion/year officially, but that figure is far too low. The Fed is paid interest on the $700+ billion it is owed. Creative accounting practices come to mind...

General interest links

The Fed and its fiat money will be one of the main problems facing the debt ridden economy as PO hits home.

"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."
Albert Einstein

The Fed is NOT a Federal body. Yes, it was passed by congress. but I think you paint a not so perfect picture of the origin.

I would offer these as an alternative.

The Creature from Jekyll Island
A Second Look at the Federal Reserve

The Truth About Banks and Their Partnership with The Fed

If you want a quick synapses, try these.


This is a quote from the above.

Jekyll Island

Jacob Schiff and Paul Warburg were the masterminds behind the creation of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913. Both men were cultivated for the job. Schiff controlled things from behind the scenes with the help of Alfred Rothschild’s’ wealth and connections, while Warburg actually wrote the manuscript under the watchful eye of Lord Alfred.

Earlier in 1910, Warburg and a small group of elite moneymen clandestinely boarded Senator Nelson Aldrich's private railway car. Their destination was Jekyll Island, an exclusive hunting resort just off the coast of Georgia.

In addition to Warburg and Aldrich there were present: Frank Vanderlip, president of National City Bank; Harry P. Davison, a J.P. Morgan partner; Benjamin Strong, vice president of Banker's Trust Co.; and A. Piatt Andrew, former secretary of the National Monetary Commission and now assistant secretary of the Treasury. All swore oaths of secrecy.

Read the rest of the article for an alternative as to how the Fed was created.

and the definitive work I think still is.

The Creature from Jekyll Island

This first one is a big PDF. Alert. However it is a complete book on how the fed was created.

Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins -

Judge Martin Mahoney wrote the following about a case he ruled over, The First National Bank of Montgomery v. Jerome Daly, December 7, 1968: (See 17 Am. Jur. 85, 215, and 1 Mer. Jur. 2nd on Actions, Section 550)

"There is no lawful consideration for these Federal Reserve Notes to circulate as money. The banks actually obtained these notes for the cost of printing. A lawful consideration must exist for a note...
"The activity of the Federal Reserve Banks...and the First National Bank of Montgomery, is contrary to public policy and contrary to the Constitution of the United States, and constitutes an unlawful creation of money and credit for no valuable consideration. Activity of said banks in creating money and credit is not warranted by the Constitution of the United States.

"The Federal Reserve Banks and National Banks exercise an exclusive monopoly and privilege of creating credit and issuing notes at the expense of the public, which does not receive a fair equivalent. This scheme is obliquely designed for the benefit of an idle monopoly to rob, blackmail, and oppress the producers of wealth [you and me and our ability to work and be productive].

"The Federal Reserve Act and the National Bank Act are, in their operation and effect, contrary to the whole letter and spirit of the Constitution of the United States, for they confer an unlawful and unnecessary power on private parties; they hold all of our fellow citizens in dependence; they are subversive to the rights and liberation of the people.

"These Acts have defied the lawfully constituted Government of the United States. The Federal Reserve Act and National Banking Act are not necessary and proper for carrying into execution the legislative powers granted to Congress [See Article 1, Section 8, Clause 5 of the Constitution of the United States] or any other powers vested in the government of the United States, but on the contrary, are subversive to the rights of the People in their rights to life, liberty, and property...

"No rights can be acquired by fraud. The Federal Reserve Notes are acquired through the use of unconstitutional statutes and fraud. The law leaves wrongdoers where it finds them. Slavery and all its incidents, including peonage, thralldom, and the debt created by fraud is universally prohibited in the United States. This case represents but another refined form of slavery by the bankers. Their position is not supported by the Constitution of the United States."

Two weeks after Judge Mahoney ruled in favor of Daly, and wrote the above, he was assassinated.

Banks that hold the controlling stock in the Federal Reserve Corporation:

Rothschild Banks of London and Berlin, Lazard Brothers Bank of Paris, Israel Moses Sieff Banks of Italy
Warburg Bank of Hamburg and Amsterdam, Lehman Brothers Bank of New York, Kuhn Loeb Bank of New York
Chase Manhattan Bank of New York, Goldman Sachs Bank of New York.

Darwinian took the blue pill....

Hopefully NZSanctuary & Samsara have woken up a few more people regarding the FED. It is a crime foisted on citizens by still powerful banking interests. Thank you.

“The seven clauses in the US Constitution that deal with the topic of money are:

• Article I, Section 8, Clause 2. The Congress shall have Power…To borrow Money on the credit of the United States.

• Article I, Section 8, Clause 5. The Congress shall have Power…To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures.

• Article I, Section 8, Clause 6. The Congress shall have Power…To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States

• Article I, Section 9, Clause 1. The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

• Article I, Section 9, Clause 7. No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.

• Article I, Section 10, Clause 1. No State shall…coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debt.

• Amendment VII. In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved… “
The Constitution of the United States & Honest Money, Part 8 Financialsense.com

As I did on yesterday's thread, I would like to take this opportunity to again thank Fidel Castro for his opposition to ethanol. The ethanol industry could not ask for a better opponent. A man who has put Cuba in hardship for 47 years has little to recommend his expertise. So many thanks Fidel.

You could have converted some the the mountains of sugar sitting in your warehouses into ethanol and kept your '50's vintage Chevy's and Buick's running, but you didn't. You sold at the world price which is even below the US subsidized price. Now you want to put the rest of the world in the same situation? You must be getting more senile than I thought. The US ethanol industry and Iowa's corn farmers thank you again. You are just priceless.

No Practical it is me that must be getting senile to even rise trout-like to such statements. How about taking a look at the history of Cuba and its people before making your lips move in such a gesticulatory but non-substantive manner.

No offense meant to you, I merely disagree with the opinions you hold at present.

Ethanol is a non-aggressive renewable fuel that helps reduce oil imports, says Jose Rivera Ortiz, director of the Cuban business society ZERUS, in charge of the development and supervision of business and investment projects in the Cuban Sugar sector. Ethanol is at the center of efforts to secure new business deals as part of transformations underway in the sugar industry, he pointed out.

"Alcohol production could become a significant option in our sector, said the executive and recalled that the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Investment and Economic Cooperation has already approved an economic association project to produce alcohol in Cuba.

“We think that not only traditional sugar-derived productions, like syrups and other derivatives, are important sources for concerting business deals with foreign capital, since new projects in the forestry field, in the production of food may also be of interest for joint action.”, said the executive.

“With that strategy in mind, we continue to undertake new initiatives aimed at having the renewed sugar sector make the historic contribution it has always made to the development of the Cuban economy”.

Havana Journal - March 14, 2006

What a stupid comment. Castro is saying the large scale production of biofuels by the US is going to condemn at least 3 billion people to an early death from starvation. He's absolutely right about that. Thank god someone has the balls to say so.

And now to toss on the moral dilemma of the day.

Its pretty much agreed that overpopulation is the keystone problem at the root of these other issues.

Given that we have found another use for food crops, and that the result will mean the reduction of our population by 50% according to your figures, are we in fact helping or harming the situation?

Its the problem everyone likes to bring up, but the problem nobody wants to solve. What if the US(and other nations) by embracing BioFuels are in fact solving the problem by attacking it from both ends. A reduction in population would mean a reduction in demand for oil/energy while at the same provide an alternative source for oil/energy.

I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here, but if you look at the "problems" surrounding the BioFuels food for fuel issue, you might just find that its not really a problem but rather a solution. (Granted it may be a very messy solution)

Hey people, it has happened before and it will happen again, learn to live with that fact. Denial may make you a lot happier but sooner or later, when our energy slaves start to disappear, it will happen.

The world’s worst famine is not buried in archeology and the scratchings of forgotten languages. The worst we know of occurred within the memory of middle-aged people alive today, yet its details—the sweep of a period one writer has called a time of “hungry ghost”—are only beginning to trickle out in anecdote and demographers’ calculations. The details have been closed closeted by one of the world’s most organized and autocratic societies. Nevertheless, we are coming to understand that, conservatively estimated, eighty million people died of starvation during the period the Chinese call the “Great Leap Forward.”
During the periods of famine in Europe, local death rates often ran to 80 percent of the population, both from starvation and from the diseases that strike hunger weakened people. Furthermore, those death rates reflect a higher toll on both pregnant and lactating women, because of their greater nutritional needs. The menstrual cycle is suspended in hungry women, so even those who do survive don’t reproduce.
As the Han Dynasty was founded, in 200 B.C., a single famine killed about half of China’s population. The emperor Gao Zu issued an edict permitting people to eat or to sell their children as meat, thus lending legal sanction to a long-established practice. A written report from 2,600 years ago notes: “In the city, we are exchanging our children and eating them, and splitting up their bones for fuel.”
Richard Manning “Against the Grain”, pages 69-71

Ron Patterson

Puh-leez. Anecdote? Demographer's calculation? Relying on what? Government stats from China, 1959? Tales from refugees and defectors?
I had a high school friend who got busted driving 150mph on a suspended license, cocaine spilled all over the front seat, 15 year old daughter of the local chief of police fellating him. Since he was from good family he was given the option of escaping prosecution by joining the Army. By Army methodology he had an IQ of 180 so he went to military intel. The Army taught him a few hundred words of Chinese and sent him to Hong Kong to debrief border stragglers. Unfortunately the Army taught him Mandarin and everyone he interviewed spoke Cantonese. Except for those speaking the many non-Chinese languages spoken in China.
"Intel" his unit developped became a basis for the story about the millions who died in the Cultural Revolution.

Some things you don't know. Some things you are not going to know.
No one here, and certainly noy you, Ron, would be so credulous if the discussion was oil production #s.

Right! Your high school buddy was the basis for the whole damn story about millions dying during China's Great Leap Forward. Did you have another buddy who started the whole story about the Holocaust?

Gad, some people will believe anything. People believe that there was really a famine in China when actually an old high school buddy of Oldhippie, and his army unit just made the whole damn story up.

Although in theory the country was awash in grain, in reality it was not. Rural communal mess halls were encouraged to supply food for free, but by the spring of 1959, the grain reserves were exhausted and the famine had begun.

No one is sure exactly how many people perished as a result of the spreading hunger. By comparing the number of deaths that could be expected under normal conditions with the number that occurred during the period of the Great Leap famine, scholars have estimated that somewhere between 16.5 million and 40 million people died before the experiment came to an end in 1961, making the Great Leap famine the largest in world history.

People abandoned their homes in search of food. Families suffered immensely, and reports of that suffering reached the members of the army, whose homes were primarily in rural areas. As soldiers received letters describing the suffering and the deaths, it became harder for leaders to maintain ideological discipline. Chaos developed in the countryside as rural militias became predatory, seizing grain, beating people and raping women. From famine to reform.

Ron Patterson

I don't get you Darwinian. Your sources are queasy on their face. You are not gullible about oil but when it's under the rubric of history your test seems to be that if it's printed on a page it must be true.
If you bothered to read my text, which I think you seldom do, the personal info was Cultural Revolution, not Great Leap Forward. Which doesn't change the point. All claims of knowledge on the topics in question have sources not one hell of a lot better than my high school buddy. And not much different.
So is it 16.5 million? Is it 40 million? Is it 80 million? I don't know and you don't either.

Your own damn sources, in two posts, have a range of 16.5 million to 80 million. When speaking of human life I think that's something that makes a difference and that you don't take lightly for rhetorical effect.
And it's an order of magnitude. A level of uncertainty that ought to tell you someone is shooting from the hip. 2% morbidity could happen with an ordinary bad harvest in a very poor country and it would signify very damn little. 10% morbidity and you get a political talking point, a whipping boy good for another half century.


What an idiotic assertion. 3 billion people are most certainly NOT going to starve to death because of US ethanol.

SolarDude give your head a shake.

With grain prices skyrocketing in a globalized grain market, Solardude is right. Even if many Americans (who at the moment pay the smallest portion of their incomes for food than any other society past, present or future) can't seem to grasp that there are billions of people in the world who are chronically struggling to pay for enough food. E.g., the typical poor family in Mexico paying 40% of their income just for tortillas. It wouldn't have been so terrible, and morally repugnant, if the USA and its partners in "the west" havn't systematically destroyed subsistence agriculture around the world in order to gain cheap commodity ag products, from bananas to coffee. Had we left them alone all along we could have legitimally said that we have the right to use our harvests as we like. Well, maybe not even then, because the situation within any given country is not uniform, and there are already many hungry people within the USA. And if you shop for groceries yourself, you may have noticed the major recent rise in prices.

No, as a matter of fact I haven't noticed a major recent price rise.

And no, solardude is most definitely wrong.

A doubling of yellow corn prices does not a 400% price rise in white corn tortillas make.


It's true that the corn tortilla situation in Mexico is complex, to say the least.

But ask yourself this: would this price rise (tortillas) have happened without the increase in yellow corn prices in the US? If someone is standing next to the edge of a bridge, and you push him off, are you absolved of any guilt because "he shouldn't have been standing there in the first place"?

You may or may not have seen any prices rise on things you buy. You might eventually if you eat anything that eats corn (or dairy products). In the richer countries, there is so much cost added by middlemen that it might not be obvious right away. In poorer countries, though, that is not the case.

Neither you nor I know how this will play out. But to deny that diverting grain crops to biofuel will have a large destabilizing effect on the agricultural sector suggests willful ignorance of basic economics and basic math. There's only so much land and productive capacity, and you've just created a new market for the product (fuel) that is bigger than the current one (food).

Economists get that much right: prices will rise.

I have never, not once denied the fact that biofuels derived from food-chain feedstocks are going to have an impact on agriculture or the environment.

That said, I am not about to tolerate ignorance on the subject either -of which there seems to be plenty- if not for the sole reason that some do not like ethanol becuase of personal motives.

Despite having highlighted the many articles and points of fact proving that the price of white corn tortillas are being manipulated, the alleged Mexican crisis got so many Drumbeat stories and elicited so many idjit 'DOWN WITH US ETHANOL' posts, that I basically gave up trying to inform anyone.

For instance...

Did anyone here know that 118,000 tons -yes TONS with a capital 'T'- of horded white corn was found by the PGR? (Spanish) http://tinyurl.com/2qjcds

No, probably not. Why not?

Similarily... Does anyone here realize that bashing white baby harp seals is illegal by Canadian law? That the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans are predicting that no seal pups i.e. ZERO cute and fuzzy harp seals will be born this year in the St. Lawrence due to insufficient sea ice a la Global Warming?

Sure is a good thing TODers have a massive, save the 300,000 baby white seals campaign banner to prove otherwise.

My wife and I have certainly noticed we're spending more on groceries, even while trying to eat less.

Globally, what fraction of our food supply do you think we will convert to fuel? What fraction of the global food supply do the poorest half of the world's population currently consume?

Hmmm... that's a tough question Stu.

We are heading into unchartered waters as far as Peak and globalized food production is concerned. Obviously agriculture is going to become much more localized - which may in fact turn out to be a boon for developing nations.

I'll give you a couple of examples:

Will nile perch continued to be shipped to European tables in large quantities by airplane anymore?

Will mangoes from the Philippines become too expensive to export to distant markets?

How about South African oranges in Germany or US beef in Japan?

This is definitely a subject that we could devote an entire thread to.

practical, let me get this straight: If Castro had decided to make ethanol from his sugar cane and burn it in all of those 55 Chevys, everyone in Cuba would be better off today?

Castro has undoubtedly made some bad decisions (haven't we all), but deciding to eat rather than drive isn't one of them.

Do you really want to go down that road?

Generous subsidies from the Soviet Union kept the sugar trade profitable, and when the Soviet Union collapsed, the Cuban government funneled money into the industry. Sugar production employed half a million Cuban workers and even the most ancient sugar mills were kept open -- no matter how inefficiently they were operating.

But the Cuban sugar industry was in trouble. The use of corn syrup and artificial sweeteners was cutting into world demand, and sugar prices were dropping. When sugar mills began closing in 1998, it was considered a temporary move. But this summer, the Cuban government announced that all but 71 of the 156 mills in Cuba would permanently shut down.


All would be all too happy to have Luis de Silva do a nice expose on the history of the Cuban sugar industry.

"Sin azucar, no hay pais"

Sure. And then Fidel could do an expose on the Brazilian sugar industry.

LOL - sorry I meant Luis de Sousa from TOD Europe.

He did an absolute great job here: http://europe.theoildrum.com/


Do you have anything more recent than the August 2002 link you gave? Do you want to go down that road or would you rather clarify your statement which makes old news look like new?

las viejas noticias son noticias embotadas

Does anyone know where to find that article of Fidel's? En Anglaise por favor, as I would hate to have to use Babel Fish to read the article as I used it to translate from English to Spanish above.

From the gist of things so far, I don't see why what Fidel envisions is out of line. We buy cheap fruit and vegetables at starvation wages from third world workers, why not cheap alcohol, then we could really say we are riding on the backs of the impoverished.

I think we in the 'developed world' fit the old adage of 'Give a peasant a horse and he will ride it to death'. We have had a good ride on oil's back. I think its time for a bit of a walk.

Black B. Gorilla,

The article by Fidel Castro on biofuels is available in
Spanish and in English.

For a similar point of view, see the articles by Via Campesina and organizations of smaller farmers. Links here.

Energy Bulletin

Posted up BBG.

Cuba is going ethanol big time.

Not quite clear on your pater Syntec old chap. Looked high and nothing and then low and all I could find was 'your' website
http://www.syntecbiofuel.com/ where I could find no mention of Cuba at all. BTW are you the owner of Syntec or a representative?

I had posted a reference to what is currently afoot in Cuba further up thread for what some here fail to recognize, is that Castro is talking out of both sides of his mouth.

One on the hand, he makes the absolutely ridiculous assertion that 3 billion people are going to starve to death because US ethanol production is based on food-chain feedstocks.

But on the other hand, Fidel has directed his government to go gangbusters on ethanol derived from -wait for it- food-chain feedstocks.

Is there an agenda here? Yes - of course. Castro's comments were made for his daily communist oratory on how the US is evil.

Are we doing a disservice to the TOD community by lending credence to such nonsense via lead off status in our Drumbeats? You tell me.

Better yet... Can any TOD member explain why this Canadian is the lone voice defending America in this thread?!?!

IMO, biofuels and renewable energy in general, offer perhaps the best platform from which to launch a remidiation campaign to right the historic wrongs afflicted on Latin and South America by the so-called 'imperialisitc north' if commenced in a proper, sustainable and equitable fashion.

I read the news today oh boy ...I'd love to turn you on.


Surplus sugar is that what you mean Syntec...and what is that Reds under the bed stuff, I thought that went out with this guy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_McCarthy or is that the crowd you hang out with.

These are your words Syntec: "a remidiation campaign to right the historic wrongs afflicted on Latin and South America." If I wanted to be really cutting I would ask you to kindly do a spell check as well as check your argument; you seem to argue both ends against the middle. As well you seem to have a most vested interest in promoting biofuels which is what I think really ticked you.

Just so there is no misunderstanding here, I am not anti American, some of my best relatives are Americans and I am descended from an American Grandmother and Grandfather.

If you wish to talk politics I will be glad to, but do not think this is the forum.

Nobody's going to invest in sugar distilleries for Cuban sugar. The supply is too unreliable. Castro doesn't have the option of taking part in this market. Hence his rhetoric.

My Peak Oil Dilemma

Hello fellow TODers! I have seen a lot of discussion lately based on facts and numbers relevant to PO. This type of discussion is great for learning the when, where, why, how of PO, and I am grateful for it, but I would really like to see more discussion on the human reaction to PO, i.e. how is PO affecting my fellow TODers today? What are they doing to prepare for tomorrow? It's not enough to understand the facts and numbers, we need to be able to understand each other if we want to be able to figure how to live with each other in an energy-scarce future.

I want to start with my PO dilemma...

I am an Iowa native. I am a 24 year old sys admin in SoCal. I come from a very small town(200 people) so I am still suffering from a little culture shock. I moved to SoCal last September to get this great new job paying so well. The plan was to get things together and get a lil place and move my girlfriend and my daughter out here and be a happy family. So far, I have only been able to get my girlfriend out here and we both sleep on my friends couch in his lil apartment which he also shares with a roommate. I make 40000 a year, which feels like poverty level here in SoCal. My girlfriend and I have decided we don't want our daughter to grow up here, and that we will probably never be able to afford to have our own place on my income only. My girlfriend is going back to Iowa this weekend to be with our daughter for good. They won't be coming back out here. I will probably stay til the end of the year, unless TSHTF and I am forced to flee this ticking time-bomb known as SoCal sooner.

That's just my story, not my dilemma. The dilemma is that we once decided that we would have only 2 children, but I have changed my mind. We are both PO-aware and we do what we can to spread the good word. After she came to accept PO, I mentioned that having another child would be a huge mistake and that we should be done with having children. This is not going well with her. She tells me she is going to have another child, no matter what I say or think about it. No amount of logic I throw at this woman is enough to make her change her mind! She just doesn't seem to care how much more of a strain another child would put on us. Just how strong is the female urge to reproduce???

I believe this is going to cause me a lot of headaches into the future...

Fellow TODers, please share your thoughts and/or dilemmas!

PS OFFTOPIC!!!11!one!!! ;-D

I guess she can have another child if she wants it but specify that its seed will not be springing from your loins. None of my business, I guess, but you asked. Possible compromise. Agree to have another child if she will agree to have her tubes tied in conjunction with that birth. This is what my ex wife did and I don't think she has ever regretted it. Neither have I.

One of my daughters has one child with another on the way. I must admit that I have shown no enthusiasm for her choice, but am especially unhappy with her husband who apparently wants at least five children. Many of these new children will be living in the year 2100. I think if anyone is alive then,it is going to be a very unpleasant,ugly, and grim world. But hope springs eternal, I guess.

spudw- my wife called it quits after 2- her smartest move to date (besides marrying a peakist)

We've got two young kids and I don't fear for the future they'll have or any supposed burden they'll place on me financially (I'm not saving any money for them to attend college because I doubt it (a college degree) will do them any good). Every person that has ever lived has lived in a unique time and has had unique experiences in their life. It won't be any different, strictly speaking, for your kids or my kids.

I expect there'll be heartbreak in my life. I may lose a child to the consequences of peak oil. They may face challenges I could never dream of. They may also be a part of the migration to the arctic that one day allows the human race to live on.

Who knows?!

I used to feel like you do after learning about peak oil. But my family is the most important element of my life, and I have no regrets. Seeing my boys grow and play together is the most fulfilling thing I'll ever know.

Tom A-B

You (meaning: your generation) is going to have a rough life no matter which way you turn. One, two, doesn't matter all that much. Yes, it'll be a little rougher. But if it's going to lead to resentment, then cave. The relationship is more important than the extra hardship.

OFF TOPI-- My god, man, it must be catching!

Wow, spudw, that's a tough one your in. Personally, I do agree with your position. But that kind of fundamental relationship conflict--over how many children to have, or who's job is more important, or who gets to go to college and when, etc. is a challenge to get through. I wish I could help more in this area.

I, BTW, have a 5-y-o daughter, and I have to say, I've found nothing in life more heart-wrenching than reading about what looks like a real grim future and considering my daughter's wellfare. Ouch. I worry about her every day. But, on the positive side, it makes me strive to have as much meaningful time with her as I can. We do have lots of fun together.

One of my recent reactions to PO is that I pulled out of grad school. AFAIC, advanced degrees aren't going to mean much relatively soon. I have a difficult time seeing humanity getting through this without WW III. And I expect WW III to be at least an order-of-magnitude more devastating than WW II, maybe two orders (think in terms of deaths). I look at such a war as sort of a phase transition as we accelerate along the downslope. It'll be the event that likely precipitates the "Cliff". Fossil fuel depletion being a key trigger in a metastable system.

Anyway, I digress. My debt-load was going up while I was in grad school. So, even taking a possibly more optimistic "Greater Depression" scenario, it seemed that the advanced degree probably wouldn't be worth the additional financial burden of debt. And I do still carry within me the slightest ray of hope that a major collapse can be avoided—that old technological and human-spirit optimist in me still sings on occasion, though it’s voice is much weakened. So I left school. It was a tough decision. I have wanted to be in grad school for a long time. PO-awareness changed that in a big way. At least I got a taste of it.

I also used to love to drive. On a typical year, I'd cover 35k to 45k miles, much of it for recreation. These days, I stress every time I get in the car. I'm simply too aware of the destructive nature of the technology, as well as its seemingly limited future. I'd say I'm below 10k miles a year now, and this figure is still reducing at a steady clip. I now live in an apartment that is only two blocks from a light-rail and bus station. And I tend to walk for much of my shopping. Yep, I carry the groceries home. I found some big positives with this: It makes me very conscious about just what to buy. The weight of each item counts! Another plus is having my daughter accompany me. We have a nice little walk, pick up some essentials, and have a fun time on the route back.

Incidentally, what all this is saying is that I'm responding to Peak Oil now. For me, it is now. I wonder how many more are, and when this will be a real factor in slowing down the US economy?



PS. Hmmm... Looks like oil is creeping up on $66/bl now...

Your relationship with your spouse is far more important that peripheral issues like Peak Oil, etc. The predictions made on this board are all highly speculative, and I can assure you very few of them will prove to be correct. We can't know exactly how the post-peak future is going to play out - most likely it will be far better than the worst predictions, and far worse than the cornucopian predictions.

Having a happy, healthy family is the _best_ investment you can make in your life, independent of all economic decisions or futures. 2 children can be a great blessing - they entertain each other, and later will care for each other, allowing the parents to be more productive, if you want an economic reason to have another child.

Please don't allow the entertaining speculation on this site to engender so much fear that you lose the most reliable source of happiness known to mankind - companionship & family.

I am making purely economic decisions (investments, e.g.) with an eye on Peak Oil dynamics on society, but I would never make _personal_ decisions on that basis.

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

Hindmost's bottomline advice is correct -- his reasoning and facts are totally flawed (meaning: at variance with mine). How can that be? In mathematics there's been many a true proposition presented with a erroneous proof. :)


I really liked the "averaging of forecasts provides significant improvement in accuracy" reference over on the GAO report.

Average out WT, Todd, et al, with Euan Mearns and SS et al, to get a reasonable picture of the likely future :-)

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery

Just how strong is the female urge to reproduce???

No stronger than the male urge to "practice."


Hey Spud -

Is adoption out of the question ? It might be a form of compromise that can do some good in this crazy world of ours...

just a thought...

Only commenting on a minor point:
Yes, 40k per annum is near poverty for a family in SoCal. Calm decision making is always much harder when under financial stress.
Good luck.

My advice (which of course is probably adherent to the old adage of getting what you pay for it), is to make your wife a deal. I'm guessing you're both around the same age.

The deal is: Tell her you're willing to have another, but that she has to wait 5 years.

By then you'll both be around 30, which is still plenty young enough for another kid. But the reason to do it is that it'll be 2012 by then. This will put your decision well within the range that many of us think the peak will be re-friken-diculously obvious, and "things" will probably probably turning towards crapola by then. If she gets to that point and still wants another - go for it. My WAG is that she won't.


,No amount of logic I throw at this woman is enough to make her change her mind!

What do her close friends (or even her parents) think? Could they help. Do you have someone both of you respect that could mediate?

I don't know about the ethics or suitability of vasectomy here especially at your age, I had one when I was 45 and have never looked back so to speak.

Good wishes, you sound like a decent person.

The most interesting chart in the GAO report is on page 13. It shows estimates of the timing of peak oil, according to 21 studies reviewed by GAO.

Ten of the 21 studies say that peak oil will be reached before 2020, and no later. Four additional studies say that peak oil may be reached before 2020, or sometime later. Seven of the 21 studies say peak oil will be reached after 2020.

So researchers agree 2:1 that it will be before 2020? Yeah right, we're in it, we just can't confirm it yet!!!

So researchers agree 2:1 that it will be before 2020? Yeah right, we're in it, we just can't confirm it yet!!!

How come Castro is smarter at 80 than any of our guys are at 50?

Guess who met Robert Hirsch and Colin Campbell today? :)

Cool. What were the circumstances and what'd they have to say?

The Colonel in the library with the candlestick?

Did you have a PhD defense by any chance?

Grattis i sa fall!


Nope, it wasn't my defense, but I was there.

I also chatted with Colin Campbell's charming wife. :)

I followed up on the Antarctica news byte listed today.

Here is the official (i.e., not news-agency digested) statement:
which includes this:

Current understanding is too limited to know whether, when, or how rapidly this might happen, but discussions at the meeting included the possibility of several feet of sea-level rise over a few centuries from changes in this region.

[emphasis mine.]

It is because of caveats such as the one above that I put GW farther down the list on my personal list of things to worry about, than I do peak fossile fuel. In my lifetime GW is unlikely to make serious changes (though probably measurable ones.) However, my life today is affected by high energy prices, and that will only get worse, even if PO is 10 years away.

Not to say the Antarctic is not worth studying - very interesting subject. The background to the story and its participants can be found here:
along with interesting maps from earlier data sets:

My only caveat to what you are saying is that the modelers have consistently been far too conservative in what they thought would happen. Their 1999 predictions for ice melt rates for Greenland for the year 2050 were met in 2004. The unknown danger with global warming is where is the knee in the curve? Scientists now believe that we won't go from a few millimeters of sea rise to a few inches. They now believe that there is some turning point where we jump from millimeter rises to meter rises. And the real danger is that we do not know where that point lies. It could be just around the corner or two centuries from now.

However, given the evidence so far, the scientific community has been consistently too conservative in their estimation of effects from global warming. Thus, my inclination would be to assume that they are still too conservative, until events prove otherwise.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

Not only is oil @ $66 but gold is at $666. Ten to one it's just a coincidence.

Uranium is up to $95 per pound, ($209 per kilogram). It still has a way to go to the historically highest price from the 70's.

Bring on the Mayan priests.

You watched.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Like DUH! If Bush comes to my island it's imperative that I know what to do.

i thank wha wah hav har is a case a evildoers doin evil.

UK oil and gas production for January was published today here and here.

The fall of natural gas production continues to accelerate. In the 3 months to January, production was down an amazing 17.5% on the same period a year earlier.

On the oil side, production is also well down on the previous year. The Buzzard oil field began producing in January, but doesn't seem to have made much difference yet, although it may do so in the next few months when production increases.

From Whipple's article:

... this week, we look at wind-generated electricity.
... The US currently has about 11,600 megawatts installed. As each megawatt can supply 300-350 homes, the US has the capacity to supply over 3 million homes. The problem, of course, is that the wind does not blow all the time, so the actual power generated will be much lower than theoretical production.

- hmmm, I thought that the "350 homes" was computed after adjusting the 11,600 MW for a capacity factor of about 1/3, i.e. accounting for the fact that the wind does not blow all the time. Moreover, the standard of 1 KW per home will have to change as we adopt the "serious conservation" that he says will be necessary. (FWIW, my household use is about 1/4 of that, but I heat space and water and food on something other then electricity.) (And before I get yelled at again by those who cannot stand anybody talking about watts instead of watt-hours, yes I meant that I use about 250 watts average instantaneous power, which is about the same as 200 KWH per month.)

Researchers at the Sandia National Laboratories recently announced they and an industrial partner have developed a significantly-improved wind turbine blade. This blade is designed to generate electricity in low-wind-speed regions such as the Midwestern US. If the tests of this new design prove successful, it will increase by 20-fold the land in the US on which it would be economically feasible to install wind generators.

- a much easier way to make 20x more land (the land with less than the strongest winds) "economically feasible" for wind power is to raise the price of electricity from other sources. I think that will happen on its own.

vtpeaknik, re a significantly-improved wind turbine blade: this seems rather like a scam as the amount of power produced is a function of the speed of the wind. It may be an improvement over current bladed designs but I doubt that it can be enough better to harvest light winds that are now virtually useless. It seems like another something for nothing scenario, dedicated to a fleecing operation.

IMO there is growing evidence that iranian leaders, concerned by their lack of popularity, really want to be attacked.

Carter lost popularity and his re-election over the Iranian hostage crisis. It is less likely that Bush will lose popularity because he does too little re: the brit hostages, for whom he may actually feel some level of responsibility. One possible response would be to take out their defenses, do the best possible re: the nuke sites, and 'de-militarize' the iranian side of hormuz, all from the air and avoiding the use of ground troops, followed by an embargo of iranian 2mb/d gasoline imports until iran agrees to give up reprocessing and accepts permanent inspections. True, Iran might refuse to export crude, but the overall loss to markets is 'only' 2mb/d.

Thinking of who might then benefit; all exporting countries save iran, including russia, iraq and sa, along with the us oil patch, all solid bush backers. Also benefiting would be toders, who would soon get to see just how much reserve capacity sa has.

Many iranians would rally to the leadership, but many might conclude that their leaders had done little over the past 1/4 century to improve their lives.

I'm having a very very bad feeling about this hostage situation. It's one thing when anonymous terrorists with no return address take your citizens hostage, it's another altogether when a foreign government does it. I think the Iranians are seriously miscalculating the likely effect on British public opinion of this kind of humiliation. If they think they can blackmail the British out of Iraq - it's likely to have exactly the opposite effect. Tony Blair is a very hawkish leader, and a military operation to rescue the hostages will let him go out on a high note. In turn, it gives the US and Israeli neocons the excuse they've been looking for.

Sigh. I keep thinking of this poem:

September 1, 1939
by W.H. Auden

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
'I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,'
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the dead,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

I am not getting a "warm fuzzy feeling" about this recent
event either.

If the current President of Iran was one of the leaders of the "students", and the religous leaders have the same philosphy as those in charge in the late 70s ... should a potentially protracted hostage circus unfolding in 2007 be a surprise?

I agree the perspective of current iranian leaders is the same as before... The difference is that we will not see a 'protracted' crisis in which little happens while brit/us wring their hands and plead with various real and would be iranian leaders for help, nor will we see helicopters land in the iranian desert full of commandos directed to somehow free the hostages from some hidden location in teheran.

IMO, and for better or worse, ongoing events could not be more in accordance with bush desires if he had planned every move.

That's my worry too. Every politician knows what happened to Jimmy Carter, and Blair knows he's going to get absolutely crucified in the UK press if this goes on very long. Go check out the coverage at the Sun if you want to get a feel for how this would be playing to the average "man in the pub" so far. The Sun is a crappy tabloid, but it's the best selling paper in the country. The pressure to do something will become very powerful quite quickly, especially if the Iranians parade the hostages on TV regularly. It certainly will not be pressure to give in to Iranian demands. And Blair's own instincts are pretty hawkish anyway.

The public pressure on the US administration to do something about British hostages will be fairly slight, but I think the Bush administration was already looking for an excuse. This will effectively remove any European restraint on action, and thus he's never going to get a better moment - let the British go in first to rescue their hostages, and then discover a very compelling need to go help our ally by bombing the extensive list of Iranian targets that Seymour Hersh keeps talking about.

Of course, then the Middle East will probably go to hell in a variety of not-altogether-forseeable ways, but I doubt the average Sun reader is thinking about that much at present.

In his piece today, Jeff Vail, expressed the opinion that it made no sense for long-dated futures to respond to this incident the way they did (except via the effects of an "arbitrage cap")

But you've just made a plausible connection -- the incident as a trigger for a tale of woe that could be felt years hence.

Of course, then the Middle East will probably go to hell in a variety of not-altogether-forseeable ways..

I appreciate the poem, and a lot.

But the view of the situation in Iran, not deserving of the word analysis, is shocking to behold. Aren't you supposed to look at data in a critical way?

Certainly displaying prisoners on television is indefensible. Yes the Iranians are behaving badly.
But there is no mystery what they want. They want a hostage exchange. They want to negotiate as a sovereign state negotiates, they resent being treated as mentally defective children. Sure, it would be nice if the Iranians were trying harder to get a good read on Tony Blair. It would be nicer still if US or UK had ever shown a scrap of the same consideration for Iran.
Anyone from ME sparring with US-UK must feel like Cuchulain with the sea.
And we face those who find honor in the fight with the indomitable tide.

I'm not defending past conduct. I'm just pointing out that if what the Iranians want is their people back, the way they are going about this is very unlikely to achieve that end. They are far more likely to get a war (and I'm not sure that isn't what they want).

I didn't think you were defending past conduct. I was just pointing it out.
Until recently I didn't think Iran was dumb enough to want war. Now not so sure.
The contending parties look more and more like a room full of drunks itching for a fight.
US negotiating (or non-negotiating) position for too long has been surrender or die. Be threatened daily with nukes or actually get nuked. That has been reiterated endlessly without achieving the desired result so we call the Iranians crazy, fanatic, bloodthirsty. The pundits and intellectuals have been too happy to define any that do not kneel down to Emperor Bush as mentally unfit.
In some ways this is a mismatch. US still has much more power than Iran. The onus is on US to behave well, come up with solutions, act like a leader. Do not hold your breath.

Almost all anticipation of this conflict underestimates how large and damaging it will be. I for one am scared.

There are undoubtedly some factions in Iran that do want war. And it is likely that those are the ones who are behind the hostage taking. Of course, the "government" cannot admit to an uncoordinated taking of the hostages now that it has been accomplished. (Speculation alert.)

GL: I guess the assumption is Iranian sailors entering British (or USA) waters would not be hassled. Treated to tea and biscuits or Bud and chicken wings, depending on the locale.


Thanks for the Auden. I'm intrigued by his take on Thucydides, one of my favourite authors. I'm not sure I sense much despair in him but maybe Auden is talking more about his reaction to Thucydides.

He actually can be rather bracing.

I'm by no means endorsing Nietzsche, but he may have been right about Thucydides:

In the end, it is courage in the face of reality that distinguishes a man like Thucydides from Plato: Plato is a coward before reality — consequently he flees into the ideal; Thucydides has control of himself, consequently he also maintains control of things ... (from Twilight of the Gods)


Thanks, Stuart,

It's good to hear poetry.

If I can contribute some...(different, still...)

Men of stamina, knowing the way of life
Steadily keep to it;
Unstable men, knowing the way of life,
Keep to it or not according to occcasion;
Stupid men, knowing the way of life
And having once laughed at it, laugh again the louder.
If you need to be sure which way is right, you can tell by their laughing at it.

They fling the old charges:
"A wick without oil,"
"For every step forward a step or two back."
To such laughers a level road looks steep,
Top seems bottom,
"White appears black,"
"Enough is a lack,"
Endurance is a weakness,
Simplicity a faded flower

But eternity is his who goes straight round the circle,
Foundation is his who can feel beyond touch,
Harmony is his who can hear beyond sound,
Pattern is his who can see beyond shape:

Life is his who can tell beyond words
Fulfillment of the unfulfilled.


A man of sure fitness, without making a point of his fitness,
Stays fit;
A man of unsure fitness,assuming an appearance of
Becomes unfit.
The man of sure fitness never makes an act of it
Nor considers what it may profit him;
However a man with a kind heart proceed,
He forgets what it may profit him;
However a man with a just mind proceed,
He remembers what it may profit him;
However a man of conventional conduct proceed, if he
be not complied with
Out goes his fist to enforce compliance.

Here is what happens:
Losing the way of life,
men first rely on their fitness.
Losing fitness, they turn to kindness;
Losing kindness,
they turn to justness.
Losing justness, they turn to convention.
Conventions are fealty and honor gone to waste...

The man of stamina stays with the root
Below the tapering,
Stays with the fruit
Beyond the flowering:
He has his no
and he has his yes.

- Lao Tsu

I've been assuming that this is a either
a) tit-for-tat, in response to the recent kidnappings of Iranian agents in Iraq and elsewhere. Presumably for a hostage exchange, or
b) human shileds against what they are convinced is an imminent attack by Israel and/or the US.

I don't know of any regime that would desire an invasion or attack by the US/Israel, given recent history...

Global peak: 2007 - 2010
Global decline rate, Post peak: 2%
Economic response: Severe global recession, ~5 years, then slow recovery


this is an "interview" with seaman Turney just HOURS before she became a hostage.

There are no coincidence in politics is an old saying.

She has now become the major focal point in the news too.

'get out of Iraq" Britain is her message from captivity.

The King just told Bush to Get out of Iraq, and cancel my dinner invitation to the party in my honor.

hmmm is there a message forming here, and signs of "coincidence".

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

I have entertained those two same assumptions. The first (tit for tat) is fairly plausable. As for the second (human shields) I ask - Are the Iranians putting pressure on the British to pressure the US to hold off an attack or the hostages will be killed?

And then there is the possibility that this is about establishing claims over disputed waters, which these have been for several decades. If the Iranians had not acted, then the Iraquis on whose behalf the British claim to act could at some future date claim de facto jurisdiction.

Note that the UN resolution on the detained UK personnel removed any reference to the place where the arrests occurred.

The reaction in the markets to this event strengthens Iran's position and weakens that of the Bushies. Did the Iranians anticipate this result? Did they perhaps want to remind U.S. motorists that attacking their country will be a taxing affair?

The logical response is a blockade of Iran--we and NATO have a navy and we can sit outside the Persian Gulf and deny entry to any ship heading for Iran/and sink any that cheats. Then, what does Iran do? They import a lot of food--which should be denied, together with the gasoline and other refined product they need. What then do the mullahs do. If they attack any ships in the straights of Hormuz, they play into Bush and Blair's hand. Then they are fair game for a bombing campaign to eliminate all nuclear and military assets they have, and force regime change. Bush and Blair get to go out of office on top. Thank you Iran!

This sounds like the kind of scenario which will tempt the Chinese to give Iran a few nuke tipped missiles. The Japanese would probably volunteer to deliver them and have the aid of the Indians and the Russians.

There are interests in this world besides those of the Empire out there, and they're starting to get pissed off. None of them want any kind of additional disruption of oil and gas supplies and the price volatility and economic instability that go with it.

Shock and Awe has become one of the greatest Persian strategic victories of all time. Any further US/UK/Israeli missteps, including a bombing campaign, will only enhance the Persian triumph.

Don't be so sure. Iran won't be the pushover Iraq was.

There are a couple of very expensive carriers in the Gulf whose whole defensive plan revolves around a 200 mile air perimeter and lots of open ocean to maneuver in.

They are sitting ducks in the Persian Gulf. Its not an ocean so much as a lake.

Iran has lots of anti ship missiles. Ask the British about them. The US Navy's response to the British losses in the Fauklands was to prevent a launch of air launched anti ship missiles (exercet et al). This might be impossible in the confined gulf. And close in defenses (Phallanx and RAM) are spotty at best in dealing with the threat.

This has the chance to be the biggest military disaster since Vietnam. And it could finish what the Iraq occupation has started. The end of US military domination.

A blockade is an OPEN act of war, so the Iranaians would have under International law the right to remove the blockaders!

Sorry, point already covered above - hostage exchange.

What if this is not about knocking off the mullahs? What if this is about the oil?

Consider another scenario. The vast bulk of Iranian oil production is in the southwestern part of the country. The vast bulk of Iranian oil production is done by NON-PERSIAN ARABS. The vast bulk of oil production does NOTHING to help those producing the oil. This is exactly why there are so many movements outside Iran to oust the mullahs. What they want is not an end to Shiite power but an end to Persian power in the oil producing southwestern provinces.

So what if this entire scenario is being played out to create and trigger an apparently populist movement to free the southwestern (Arabic) provinces from Iranian (Persian) control? Suddenly you create a new state, you recognize that state diplomatically. You create alliances with that state. And you help them fight off their Persian aggressors.

You have:
1. Opened up more oil to the west.
2. Broken the financial backs of the mullahs.
3. Damaged Iranian reputation within the Middle East irreparably.
4. Cut off Iraq from direct Iranian intervention.
5. Created a cassus belli from which to launch further attacks against Iran if they attack the new Arab state that pulled away from Iran.

I don't think an invasion is in the cards, at least as a hostile invading force. I think the invasion is going to be done to prop up a revolutionary government in the southwestern provinces. And if Iran gets ugly, then the US has an excuse to hit them really hard... and still gets to keep the oil.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

Cellulosic ethanol is a hot topic right now, with switchgrass being a
crop of interest. Today I ran across this article:

which provides a brief analysis of the results of a large scale
switchgrass evaluation project. The short of it is that switchgrass is
not producing anywhere near as much biomass per acre as has been

Most of the analysis is about what it would take to make ethanol at a
competitive price. Personally, I think that replacing all our gasoline
with alcohol is like installing an extra-large home photovoltaic
system to run a house full of incandescent lightbulbs.

Below are some excerpts from the article:

Farmers in four southern Iowa counties have been growing switchgrass
as part of the Chariton Valley Biomass Project,

cellulose ethanol and synthetic biofuel producers would face feedstock
costs of between US$115 and US$120, more than three times those of corn.

Low yields are to blame for the unfavorable economics. Switchgrass
yields in the Iowa project have averaged about 3 tons per acre (7.4
tons per hectare)

In Brazil, in 2005, the average sugarcane yield was 80 tons/ha; many
plantations easily yield 120 tons/ha. [over ten times the yeild in the
switchgrass trial]

from a purely economic point of view, producing biomass and biofuels
in the (sub)tropics makes much more sense than attempting it in the North.

The biomass feedstock cost is the single most important factor
determining the viability of biofuels projects.

Unfortunately, the first large-scale [switchgrass] trials now prove
that indeed, much of the enthusiasm was not based on realistic
assessments [of switchgrass biomass yield].

The article .....


if congress cuts off funding for the search for wmd, i wonder if bush will seek the source of funding his daddy did, sell some missles to iran ?