DrumBeat: May 13, 2007

Purdue Will Reinvestigate Its Professor Who Claimed Desktop Fusion

The new inquiry goes beyond the focus of an earlier one, which looked at whether the professor, Rusi P. Taleyarkhan, improperly omitted himself as an author on two scientific papers. For the first time, a committee is examining whether the underlying research might have been fraudulent.

Union: Overloaded grid ready to ‘pop’: Warns of blackouts, explosions

Documents obtained by the Herald show more than 12,000 transformers from Attleboro to Ayer are operating at above 200 percent capacity, with some as high as 900 percent over design standards. Union officials, who last night reached an agreement in contract talks with National Grid, say the overloads are pushing the state’s electrical system to the brink and could lead to widespread blackouts this summer.

A future with less oil and more hard choices

When you look at folks who don't believe that worldwide oil production has already peaked, do you think they're wrong or the data aren't convincing?

It's pretty convincing to me. From what I've read, they believe that there will be technology advancements that will cover the gap. I don't agree with that.

I've been in the business over 50 years now. I've drilled a lot of oil wells. It's expensive to find, and I think the big fields have been found. Today, you'd have to replace 30 billion barrels a year to keep up. And we don't even come close to that.

State Closes Coal-Fired Plant That Failed to Limit Emissions

Four years ago, a company that owns two local power plants settled a lawsuit with New York State by agreeing to install $100 million worth of pollution control technology at one of them, its coal-fired plant here, or shut it down.

At the time, the company, Mirant New York, said it would move forward with the upgrades at its Lovett plant. But on Thursday, state officials announced a different outcome. In a news conference here, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo said the state was forcing the plant to close after Mirant failed to reduce emissions with new technology.

Governments, schools face cuts as price of gas soars

Consumers aren't the only ones hit in their wallets as gas prices rise. So are governments and school districts — and higher costs for them mean less in services for taxpayers.

Raise tax to save gas

OK, here's the real way to cut back on oil use: Raise the gas tax.

Good news: Many share hope gas prices will rise

Judging from the unprecedented reader response to Thursday's column, "Record gasoline prices great news for U.S.," (www.andresoppenheimer.blogspot.com) in which I said that gasoline prices should rise above $4 a gallon to trigger a nationwide uproar that will force Washington to get serious about reducing America's dependence on foreign oil, there are many more Americans than I thought who share this view.

Gas Prices 'Tremendous' Impact on Local Truckers

The President of the Prince George Trucking Association says the recent hike at the gas pumps translates into an approximate $500 increase in monthly fuel costs for most truckers.

Stan Wheeldon says it’s difficult to plan for such dramatic upswings because it’s often a year or more between adjustments for hourly truck rates.

Canada: Politicians must reign in out of control gas prices

It is highly unlikely that the province’s energy critic has struck upon the solution to the Lower Mainland’s out-of-control gas prices, but embattled consumers can derive some optimism from the fact that the nation’s lawmakers are finally looking at how we are being hosed at the gas pumps.

Gas prices spur calls for action

Across the country, record-high fuel prices have dipped deeper into the pocketbooks of unhappy consumers, prompting some lawmakers to threaten new taxes on oil-industry profits and bringing new scrutiny on an industry practice of charging different prices to gas stations depending on their location.

Canada: Motorists fume as gas prices soar

$1.30 A LITRE: Situation's become so bad that some have resorted to siphoning fuel.

India ready to help Nepal tide over fuel crisis

While India has increased its supplies of fuel by a small percentage, Nepal has asked India for more time to pay back outstanding dues and urged it to resume normal supply till the election to the Constituent Assembly is held later this year.

The Himalayan state has been witnessing a severe fuel shortage, with long lines at petrol stations, as supplies from Indian Oil Corporation had been curtailed by about 40 per cent, after Nepal Oil Corporation defaulted on regular payments.

Barbados: No word yet on gas hike

There is no Cabinet decision yet on any increase in the price of gas.

But at a time when international oil prices have moved steadily upwards in the past four months, Government may soon have to "look at the numbers" and decide if people should pay more to drive their vehicles on the nation's highways and byways.

Jamaica: Pain at the gas pumps! Public sector spent more than $1 billion on petrol in the last two fiscal years

Petrol purchases for government-owned vehicles is a tight squeeze on the public purse as more than $1 billion has been spent at the pumps over the last two financial years to gas up the public-sector fleet.

As a result, Dr. Ruth Potopsingh, group managing director of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), is warning that the country cannot continue the current trend. "We have to do something about it. It is not sustainable," she said.

Tainted gasoline costs drivers, damages autos

While the number of gas stations that get in trouble for having bad gas varies from year to year, state regulators say, the number of complaints they get tends to spike when the price of gas goes up.

Q& A With Venezuela's Energy Minister

"The concept here is there can be no interest above our laws, our constitution, none. Those companies were at the margin of the laws in the hydrocarbon sector all these years. Last year, we offered a possibility to discuss a migration in the framework of our law. We spent a year intending to do that and, with that effort not being possible, President Hugo Chavez ordered the nationalization and a law was approved. What we say is that with that law there is no possibility, there is not much flexibility, the terms of the law have to be complied with, as in any sovereign country. And what we've said is if our legal framework and constitution are not respected, they'll have to leave the country."

Auto industry needs to be saved from itself

The court case in which the auto industry is challenging Vermont's auto emission standards has unveiled the kind of Alice in Wonderland thinking that has decimated the industry in the United States.

Basin rig count remains stong despite softer prices

"I don't know where the ceiling is on the rig count," said Ingham. "We had sharp growth in the rig count, then it was constrained by shortages of labor and equipment. As those problems were solved, the count began rising again. That shows me there was unmet potential. Prices have leveled off, but we see the rig count continue marching upward. As long as that number goes up, it's a solid indicator there's enough activity increase -- not just holding steady but an actual increase -- to offer continued economic stimulus."

Sale of Carbon Credits Helping Land-Rich, but Cash-Poor, Tribes

The market for carbon credits promises to be a boon for some land-rich but cash-poor tribes. Selling carbon sequestration credits early in the growth of a forest lets the tribe realize some money more quickly, rather than waiting for decades for the harvest.

Silicon Valley Sets Sights On "Clean Tech"

Microchips? Been there. Software? Done that. Dotcoms? Soooo 20th century. Now, Silicon Valley is looking to become clean and green – and it could turn into the region's next big high-tech push.

Its new focus: so-called "clean technology" – technology that uses natural resources more efficiently or not at all, thereby reducing the environmental impact of products and cutting costs.

Secret British Gas nuclear plans

Centrica, parent company of British Gas, has opened secret talks with French energy giants EDF and Areva about building nuclear power stations in Britain.

Infinifuel biodiesel plant in Wabuska uses geothermal energy and crops to create alternative energy

Claude Sapp, principal for Infinifuel Biodiesel...is working to turn the oldest geothermal plant in Nevada into a biodiesel processing facility, where camelina oil seed and even algae is becoming diesel fuel.

Iran nuclear diplomacy makes nations aware of energy crisis: ambassador

According to the ambassador, countries will face crisis in meeting their energy needs because fossil fuels will one day be depleted.

..."Crisis of energy shortage in years after 2015 is a serious dilemma which should urge all countries to consider nuclear energy as a major source to meet future energy demands," he said.

"Given the lack of attention to the upcoming energy crisis, developing countries will turn into 'victims' in the next era." Referring to emerging international awareness about the importance of nuclear energy, he added that world nations overwhelmingly support Iran's rights to access peaceful nuclear technology.

Banking on going green

Citigroup is investing $50 billion in green projects. But is this concern for the planet or mere opportunism? A bit of both, writes Dominic Rushe from New York.

Amish In Ohio Turned On To Solar Power

Their avoidance of technology does not mean they see such things as "evil". Indeed, the Amish view modern advances such as electricity or automobiles as items that depend on the outside world, and therefore get in the way of their intended separation from that existence. For decades, they have relied on kerosene or natural gas as a source of light. The rise of solar power over the past several years, however, has created a safe alternative that keeps in tradition with their independence. In Ohio, in particular, there is a great increase in solar arrays on the roofs of the Amish -- something that's been drawing perplexed reactions from local residents not used to seeing such advanced technology.

Jordan: Price increases curb demand for kerosene, diesel but boost JPRC's sales value by 43%

Fuel price increases last year raised the sales value of the Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company (JPRC) but cut the firm's sales volume as a result of lower demand.

Bob Hertzberg: Who needs the sun?

Selling solar power in rain-drenched Wales might seem an uphill struggle. But for Bob Hertzberg, the fast-talking co-founder of venture capital outfit Renewable Capital, that's the whole point. He is bankrolling a company in Cardiff making solar cells that do not need direct sunlight to generate electricity.

Are We Rome?

The most salient comparison between modern America and classical Rome, as Murphy notes, is that both have been blessed, and afflicted, with a sense of exceptionalism. In America this begins with John Winthrop exhorting his Puritan flock, who were about to settle the Massachusetts Bay Colony, “that we shall be as a city upon a hill.” Since then various presidents have described the United States in words that echo Cicero’s description of the Romans and their shining city upon seven hills: “Spaniards had the advantage over them in point of numbers, Gauls in physical strength, Carthaginians in sharpness, Greeks in culture, native Latins and Italians in shrewd common sense; yet Rome had conquered them all and acquired her vast empire because in piety, religion and appreciation of the omnipotence of the gods she was without equal.”

I was visiting the Japanese Kei car site this morning and saw a link to this EV called the Girasole elettrica. I can't decide whether it is made in Japan or imported from Italy.

And the MB dealership down the street has a smartcar in prominent display. I was going to go in, ask questions and take a picture so I could blog about it, but they are closed on Sundays...

The URL they had on the side of the car is:


At this point I don't know much more than what they say on the website. They claim >40mpg - I was wondering if they would bring the diesel over as an engine choice.

Personally I would prefer an electric for my next vehicle, but I am inclined to say that any new offering that gets >40mpg is progress of some sort.

My Jetta TDI gets over 40 mpg...and it's fast, has four seats and an enormous trunk. I'm on the smart usa list, paid my $99 reservation fee, but from what I understand the first round is going to be gasoline rather than diesel. Hardly any improvement over the Jetta, and such a compromise of space.

Heh. I also have a Jetta TDI, so I understand your point. Maybe if you had a small parking spot, or had too much stuff in the garage you could make a stronger case for a smart...

The diesel smart is supposedly in the 70mpg range - that would raise the bar a little bit if they ever bring that over..

From a quick scan of their website it looks like its made in Italy. In fact in the FAQ section they state they only have a left hand drive model (Japanese cars are right hand models, which is why I always turn on the windshield wipers when changing lanes)

Jan. Engadget post on the Girasole electric car

Kudos for Apple Mac Mini

My main computer got sick and I decided to upgrade. After some looking I decided on the Apple MacMini. Basically a laptop adopted for the desktop. And a respectfully low price.

Low power consumption (25 to 40 watts in normal operations without excessive add-ons according to blogs), small size (6.5" rounded square, 2" high) and I can reuse old LCD screen and my corded laptop USB mouse. I did have to buy a USB keyboard ($10 Microsoft curved smaller keyboard).

No operating fan, just convection cooling.

I was quite pleasantly surprised at the packaging. A modest 7 lb box, and almost all of it required for shipping safely. Perhaps 1 or 2 wasted ounces (WHY does the box require a strap ?)

All in all, an environmentally and economically responsible computer.

Best Hopes for Energy Star computers,


I would like to measure power consumption directly,

Yes, it's a great little computer; I've had one since they came out. It does have a fan, but it is so tiny and quiet that you wouldn't know it. Apple doesn't seem to advertise the Mac Mini much, so people think you have to but the integrated type for twice as much money. Having modular parts is far more sensible than tossing a display or CRT just because the computer went obsolete. The old I Macs were based on a Sony Trinitron which would last for twenty years but the computer went obsolete long before that. I have a Mini and a 19" Sony LCD which I prefer to the new all in one Mac. Thus when I go for the new Intel chip version I can keep the display etc.

I've thought about the Mini for a while, but I'm waiting for them to upgrade it... should be when the next round of MacBooks get done.

On the handle... in Japan it was very common for all boxes to come with handles or if not one would ask the sales clerk to add a "tottemono" (= a carrying thing), which they could do surprisingly well in just a few seconds. I used to carry everything of course, using the trains 100%.

And indeed, now that my relocation to the US being is pretty much complete, I'm lamenting the lack in US society and particularly retailers in addressing how to do everyday commerce for people who don't want to use a car. Most everything has packaging that is too large, or too heavy. If I want a "tottemono" I'm at a lost for words... and English is my native language. At the supermarket I'm still in reverse-culture shock over the lackadaisical attitudes of the employees and their inabilty to pack a bag, not to mention the snails pace of service. What if someone has to catch the last train home...

Of course, Americans (>99%) do not have to catch the last train home... they have their ICE to serve them. But... but..., as I look around at the society now in which I am embedding myself I notice the haggard looks, motoring in dilapidated automobiles that have seen one too many miles and one too few oil changes. I do notice that in the supermarkets there are complete isles, both sides, dedicated to pet food and pet items, while cooking staples (for humans) take up maybe 20 feet of shelf space on one isle..., of bins ladened with monster Hershey bars, 10 for $10, but fresh seafood sections that are smaller than many peoples' kitchens, holding the most sickly of pre-frozen fish (this, in a huge supermarket less than 20 miles from the ocean...)

Well, too much ranting and not enough about oil for TOD. However, I keep thinking about PO mitigation and your visions of electrified rail becoming the backbone of cities and I can't help but think of the social re-education that must happen to have any hope to make it viable. Whenever I go for a walk I am immediately confronted, when surveying the society built around me, that it is made for an automobile and not for human.

We have a long ways to go my friend, a very long ways.

Perhaps I should do, as someone suggested, a video essay on my 2.5 block walk to Zara's, my neighborhood grocery store. And perhaps the 7 block walk to WalMart (half through a new Urbanism River Gardens) as well.

I have also been shocked at the lack of staples when grocery shopping outside New Orleans and the miles of heavily processed "foods" that I will never eat.

Here, I go shopping for seafood in the seafood markets (they display the price/lb of cooked crawfish outside). The best source IMO. Zara's OTOH, has a well done deli (excellent muffulettas#, decent po-boys and lunch specials (rabbit last week) and a surprisingly good selection of cheeses).

I also wonder how well Americans (developers, architects as well as residents) will adapt to TOD. It can be ugly (see some German cities) or it can be delightful (outside my front door, with some modest exceptions).

I am encouraged that roughly 30% of Americans WANT to live in TOD-like developments. Let us build for them and wait for the rest.

Best Hopes for Good Taste,


# http://www.gumbopages.com/food/samwiches/muff.html

99%, a little off I think. NYC alone is about 3% of the country's population, so even if nobody else in the country goes without a car, that cuts your estimate down to 97%.

Of course the NYC subways run all night, so there is no last train, but the New Yorkers generally don't have their ICEs to assist them.

I would like to measure power consumption directly,

Get a kill-o-Watt.


Thanks for reminding me !

I will buy several and donate them to the local non-profit architectural salvage company, the Green Project. And then check out the first one for extended use :-) And then talk to the few library branches that have reopened.

Found some for $20 each.


Best Hopes for Conservation,


The Kill-O-Watt is a great product. (Well, almost: you need to get a 1-foot extension cord for it so that it doesn't cover all the other outlets.) Anyway, it's one of those things that is best shared between friends. I measured just about everything I owned in the first month I had it. After that I try to get my friends and colleagues to take it home for a week or two. Right now my KoW is sitting idle--wasting the earth's resources that it was designed to save. Any takers in Sunnyvale CA?

I checked the power consumption of my dell desktop with my kill a watt monitor and it ranges for about 105 when idle to about 180 under full load so that mac mini is pretty good in comparison

FWIW, I no longer use a desktop machine. My new Dell laptop seems to have exceptional power performance - I get something like 5 hours on a battery. On my old laptop, I would get maybe 2 hours or so.

I have a Kill-A-Watt in the garage - I ought to dig it out and test the thing.

My KoW checked my office equipment, the Laptop hums along at around 22watts, the answering machine was 2-4 watts depending of if the handset was charging or not, the "Phantom" power draw from the printer was ~1watt, a lot better than I had guessed (catch22 keeping it off, since it does a head-cleaning with $$ink every time it boots) .. Wireless DSL router was heavy, at around 12watts..

Right now, it's mated to the freezer in the basement, which draws 80 watts when it runs, but the KoW will tally the hours, too, and can tell you how many kwh it has used, as long as you've remembered to log the start date when you plugged them in. (and you should maybe make note of the ambient room temp, a few times during the period, for the likes of a fridge/freezer)

Bob Fiske

Btw, can someone recommend a Kill-a-Watt sort of device that works on European current? (230V, 50hZ)

You get bonus points if the socket/plug is continental, though the UK version is also okay.

(Yes, I know that google is my friend, but all those I found are way more expensive than the Kill-a-Watt...)

Thanks in advance!

The cent-a-meter is a similar concept but permanently mounted rather than a test device. It tells you instantaneous total power use with all kinds over averaging functions etc. It would work just as well as a kill-a-watt if you can do subtraction :-)


You should be able to have one shipped over.

I bought a dual-core Mini a few weeks after they shipped. My complete computer setup includes: Mini, external hard disk for extra storage, 21-inch Apple LCD, B&W laser printer, high-def USB TV tuner, cell phone charger, iPod (also a Mini :-), keyword, mouse, Comcast cable modem, and wireless router/hub. According to my Kill-o-Wat, power draw ranges from 130 W with everything running; when the computer and printer are sleeping I am down to less than 20 W. Sadly, the phone charger is 5 W of that :-(.

If there are flaws with the Mac Mini Intel they are that you pay extra money for the small size, you can't get a dedicated video card (for action games), my wireless reception isn't great, and the hard disk is slow and low-capacity.

By the way, the Mini Dual Core runs Win XP very well with Apple's free Bootcamp software.


A three-year study by Professor Hans-Heinrich Kaatz at the University of Jena found that the gene used to modify oil-seed rape had transferred to bacteria living inside honey bees.

Lets have a round of clapping for GM crops!

What does this imply? So a ?single? oil seed rape gene is now present in bacteria. What happens during its expression? How does this affect bees? Are all bees affected? What is the implication for other GM crops? GM organisms?

The article only answers a few of these questions. Genes from plants have crossed the species barrier into bacteria.

"I have found the herbicide-resistant genes in the rapeseed transferred across to the bacteria and yeast inside the intestines of young bees. This happened rarely, but it did happen."

The article further states the research is unpublished, and unreviewed. More time is nessisary to allow for a true answer to come forward. If other scientists can duplicate the findings, (which should be easy) they still must demonstrate how altered gene expression of intestinal bacteria can kill off the bacteria.

/hypothesis 1, bacteria in the stomach of the bees responsible for helping digestion waste energy expressing this gene, and lack of nutrients starves the bees. check to see frequency of colony death/bee mortality near GM crops versus non GM crops. If none are available, make do with an experiment in greenhouses.

/hypothesis 2, this gene transfer has been going on all along and is unrelated to bee death. Strong support can be lended here if recently deceaced colonys of bees were not in close proximity to GM oilseed rape crops.

What does this imply?

From the same link:

The findings will undermine claims by the biotech industry and supporters of GM foods that genes cannot spread.

Please feel free to show how such statements were not made in the past.

Glad to have you here Gilgamesh. About 6 weeks ago there were a series of threads about Monsanto. And it was mentioned how, eventually, people would show up defending GMed materials. I look forward to your defense of a much maligned industy who only have the greater glory of the shareholders at heart.

Oh I am not a huge monsanto fan. I am a fan of informed science, the article cited is currently in ?pre? review, I will await for more evidence of horizontal gene transfer as well as possible bee killing mechanisms before advocating legislation or community action on any scale.

If you would like to start up legislation or action based on currently available studies, go right ahead.

IF the study can be replicated (which seems likely), then horizontal gene transfer between species (well bacteria are very good at horizontal gene transfer, so i would expect them to pick up something useful first) is strongly supported for plants->bacteria. Likely courses of action will be bannination of the food crops in 1st world countries.

I would point out that the biotech industry was blowing smoke up everyones ass, stating "cannot spread" implies a full on negative, rare in science, especially the biological world, which we know little about indeed.

Monsanto is bad in my books for promoting the idea of monocultures, which allow us to feed a great many people, at the risk of stability should pesticides/herbicides/insecticides/fungicides all fail (did i mention the 'cides are all oil based?). They are also greedy with IP (which was not theirs to begin with, they took a natural product and modded it, a clearly derivitive work, meaning that since a product was taken from people, they should return it with as little added cost as possible. No terminator genes, no hounding farmers, no buying seed every year from monsanto or else.

Summary, a couple more studies would be cool. This study indicates more should be performed to test the hypothosis and further the field.

If you would like to start up legislation or action based on currently available studies, go right ahead.

How about simple labeling of products, so people who don't want to buy the stuff can take a pass.

Let the 'sainted markets' make change happen.

I would point out that the biotech industry was blowing smoke up everyones ass,

And yet, they are not shut down.

Summary, a couple more studies would be cool.

Oh, I'm sure there will be more studies.

It was actually bacterial genes that allowed the DNA wranglers to modify crops in the first place. Can't remember the name of the bug right now, but it caused a gall of some sort on a plant, and biological researchers eventually worked out that the bacteria were actually inserting some genes into the plant cells to cause the abnormal growth of the gall, which in turn provided the bacteria a place to live.

I'm not sure if the nodule bacteria in legumes do a similar thing or if they are purely commensal. But nature has a long history of spreading DNA around in novel ways. Oh yeah, here it is. Good ole WikiPedia.

Not that it isn't possible for humans to do a bit of damage by making formerly benign crop plants toxic...

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

U.S. biodiesel is overbuilding, Bunge CEO Hausmann says

U.S. biodiesel consumption will probably peak at about 1 billion gallons a year in the next five years, leaving much of the nation's capacity idle, said Carl Hausmann, chief executive officer of Bunge North America.

Sales will be restrained by low consumer demand for diesel fuel and an insufficient vegetable oil surplus, Hausmann said last week.

U.S. biodiesel plants could produce 864 million gallons a year as of Jan. 31, according to the National Biodiesel Board in Jefferson City, Mo., and an additional 1.7 billion gallons of capacity may be added by mid-2008.

"I don't see us having significant feedstock to support biodiesel," said Hausmann, head of the North American division of Bunge Ltd., the world's biggest oilseed processor. "I don't think we will get beyond a billion gallons."

The growth in biofuels demand will probably boost food prices, Hausmann said.

"I am convinced that we will begin to see food prices begin to escalate" in the next few months, he said.

interestingly, i have noticed that most foods are being sold in smaller boxes and portion sizes for the same price as before. This is a semi-effective mask for the producer, but not if the consumer always computes the $/Kg cost of food.

Another thing which tipped me off was about 2 months ago there was a firesale of nearly everything at my local grocery store. These items were not going bad/out of date, the only reason I could think of is the fact that new stock was coming in, and it was going to be more expensive. (remove the old cheap stuff entirely and jack up prices for new more expensive produce!)

Seems like I was correct on most counts. Smaller portions for same price = higher cost, more expensive= well... more expensive!

I bought a box of those Nutri-grain bars last week for the first time in years. I almost fell over when I opened one up, it's tiny! They used to be twice that size!! The wrapper was the size the bar used to be, but what's inside the wrapper only fills about half the space.
Just more evidence that the official inflation number are total BS.

Maybe it isn't the products that are getting smaller, just that our heads are getting BIGGER here...Oh no, my wife is back with that pin again.

Hadn't tried Wuthers candy in ages ... next time I do, if I do, I likely will be buying Wurther's Air in a Bag. Very small but still not all that great. Some sort of consistency there.

If you go for toffees that is one thing the British do well.

I've also noticed this with Zone Energy bars - they are about 2/3 the size they were 2 years ago.

Vending machine Doritos are totally awful now - they've gone from cornmeal to sawdust.

Some producers have gone the other way - a bag of Newman's Own pretzel nuggets is the same size it was 2 years ago, but now it costs $2.19 instead of $0.99.


Toronto switches to lakewater cooling.

Some highlights.

How the system works

Enwave's three intake pipes draw water (4 degrees Celsius) from 5 kilometres off the shore of Lake Ontario at a depth of 83 metres below the surface. Naturally cold water makes its way to the City's John Street Pumping Station. There, heat exchangers facilitate the energy transfer between the icy cold lake water and the Enwave closed chilled water supply loop.

The water drawn from the lake continues on its regular route through the John Street Pumping Station for normal distribution into the City water supply. Enwave uses only the coldness from the lake water, not the actual water, to provide the alternative to conventional air-conditioning.

Who else has tapped in?

There are 46 buildings signed on to the project, with 27 already connected.

Other stats.

Power demand 61 megawatts less
Capacity sold (as of July 2006) 61 per cent of 75,000 TR
Buildings signed (as of July 2006) 46
Buildings connected (as of July 24th, 2006) 27

Using a COP of 2.5 we find that 61*2.5 ~= 150KW of heating is being directed into the lakewater. (probably 215KW as the energy used to pump the liquid will carried away as heat in the working fluid.)

System boundry around the buildings, buildings produce heat/recieve heat from the sun, heat pumped out by air refrideration cycles(COP~=2.5), replacement by cold water pump(water already at lower temperature, and high heat capacity, results in lower costs)

I dislike the line that this project results in less heat being put into the lake, because as the electricity consumption is lower, it will simply get adsorbed into another user. All in all there is more heat going into the lake(cooling demand + old electricity usage), and only time will tell if it is sustainable.

Also the hotter the lake gets, the worse the heat exchange is, and the greater the water flow nessisary. Damn those diminishing returns.

It seems to be a good step, but it definently externalizes the heat cost to the lake.

/as an aside, how much algea could be grown on the surface of the Great Lakes?

/as an aside, how much algea could be grown on the surface of the Great Lakes?

As a rough guess, at least seven or eight orders of magnitude more than you'll ever grow in one of these things:

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

"Using a COP of 2.5"

I browsed the site for the COP formulation but
did not see it.

If that is your formulation, is 2.5 a standard value for this type of extraction technology ?

Where IS that 'Theory of Everything' ?
Here it is !

Coefficient of performance is was COP is, just from thermo class, 2.5 is fairly typical. Ground loop transfers (geothermal) may get more, but in any case it refers to the heat which may be transferred for every watt inputted into the system.

Therefore if I have a 10 Watts, with a 2 COP system i can move 20 units of heat + the 10 watts of energy used to move the twenty!

The larger COP means that more heat is moved per watt inputted, and simply increases the amount of heat displaced into the lake. (ie a COP of 10 would result in more than 600 MW of heat being dumped into the lake)

If you can find some other number substitute it in and use them!

"thermo class, 2.5 is fairly typical"

Thanks. My interest is related to HVAC/R
retraining I am looking to get into. I suspect performance of particular technologies is going to be important in that field.

Where IS that 'Theory of Everything' ?
Here it is !

Where IS that 'Theory of Everything' ?
Here it is !

I was eager to see your theory of everything, but the link doesn't work :-(

The link:

Where IS that 'Theory of Everything' ?
Here it is !

Doubtful that Toronto's heat output will matter much. Ontario is deep; and it's already being heated much more by the Niagara river. Lake Erie is fairly shallow and it's temp has been steadily rising the last few years.

I had though the temp of erie rose because of a couple nuclear plants discarding cooling water directly into the lake.

but since i cannot find substantiating documents, i'm probably wrong.(i found some document about a heatshock study on fish indicating water output from a nuclear plant was 11C above ambiant water temp, but nothing remotely involving an energy balance)

There are quite a few fossil fuel power plants using the lake for cooling water, not just nukes. More a local problem than lake wide.

ooo good one, I didn't think of that! add industry too now, like steelplants, smelters, and who knows what else!

add up the electricity produced by all boarder states to the great lakes, divide by 0.4 and multiply by 0.6

Now take a large fraction of this number(maybe 80%) and this represents the heat flux into the lakes from power! (most powerplants/industry will be built near the lakes to take advantage of the water source!)

the lakes can probably handle a little more, but too much and algae blooms result!

/as an aside, how much algea could be grown on the surface of the Great Lakes?

Lets make 'em GMed critters.

The lakes won't be any good, fishing wise,

The cities that get their water from the lakes might have a problem. And if the bighead carp eats the GMed algae - who knows what'll happen?


You said:

"Using a COP of 2.5 we find that 61*2.5 ~= 150KW of heating is being directed into the lakewater. (probably 215KW as the energy used to pump the liquid will carried away as heat in the working fluid.)"

You mean 150 MW not KW yes?

yes, unit mismatch. KW should be MW.

Hello Gilgamesh,

It is too bad that I could not legally do the same to help cool my house as our municipal waterpipes are underground sufficiently to have cool water:

1. build water circulation loop on city side of my house's water meter.

2. Add in-house pump for this loop to move water through loop and cool-exchanger.

3. Sit back and enjoy free coolness while saving bigtime on electricity costs.

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

some places you can do this, it is called a swamp cooler.

simply put you use water, and use the heat of vaporization to remove energy from your house. Depending on the unit you can lower the pressure inside to change the transition temperature. One only need periodically vent the water vapour or continually sweep it away from the vessel. I dont have my therom tables handy, however a useful resource is


click accept, and download the handbook. its pretty much *the* reference handbook for engineers. go to the section on thermo, and find the tables/charts on water(pressure|temp|vaporization|sublimation|freezing|entropy) there should be some cool charts with standard PV and TV charts.

swampcoolers work pretty well, you should talk to some people from ?lousiana?, they may know more than myself.

you will probably also want some psychometric charts, which deal with the enthalpy of wet/dry air at different temp/pressure ect. they are confusing, but thats only beacuse 6or7 variables are being plotted against at the same time.

swampcoolers work pretty well, you should talk to some people from ?lousiana?, they may know more than myself.

You think water evaporates in Louisiana? ;)

Swamp coolers require extremely dry air to be effective. The one to ask is Bob Shaw (Phoenix, AZ).

Roof top water chillers for large air conditioning systems have to be over sized by 20% for New Orleans (out-of-town mechanical engineers ALWAYS miss this crucial point when specifying HVAC).

OTOH, air source cooled air conditioners usually are 7% to 10% more efficient than published standards because humid air transfers heat much better than dry air :-) VERY high efficiency when it rains.

Best Hopes for efficient air conditioning,


or thinking smarter, route your water from the primary mains to a tank with attached heat exchanger. Blow the hot air across the exchanger and as more cool water is used, you win in terms of heating, (convective heat transfer is a bunchfold more effective than conductive) however you must use electricity to power the fan, and you must ensure the heat transfer is good enough to overcome the added heat to the inside of the house from the fan or whatever you use to drive the transfer.

Well...it's marginally better than p*ssing that water away on the lawns and golf courses of the desert Southwest.

Not much is the short answer. My experience living near Lake Michigan for over 50 years is that the surface temp rarely reaches a good temp for algae. What little algae there may be is eaten by the fish and zebra mussles. Algae does best in warm shallow water.
As for toronto discharging more warm water than they do now with this system is unlikely. It won't be the cooling system that adds heat, it's the million showers, washing machines, and dishwashers already in use.

Kuwait has come clean on its reserves. Or has it?

Barely a couple of weeks after stating that Kuwait's oil reserves would never be disclosed on the grounds of national security, Oil Minister Sheikh Ali Jarrah al-Sabah has confirmed that the country's proven oil reserves are now 48 billion barrels.

This is being reported as an admission that Kuwait's reserves have fallen from 100 billion barrels. However, what Petroleum Intelligence Weekly claimed in Jan last year was that not all of the 48 billion barrels were proven reserves:

PIW said the official public Kuwaiti figures do not distinguish between proven, probable and possible reserves.

But it said the data it had seen show that of the current remaining 48 billion barrels of proven and non-proven reserves, only about 24 billion barrels are so far fully proven -- 15 billion in its biggest oilfield Burgan.

In today's story the oil minister conveniently ignores this and claims all is well:

However, he said Kuwait has additional probable reserves of around 150 billion barrels, especially after recent discoveries.

Last month, Kuwait announced a significant oil and gas discovery in the northern Dhabi area, without giving details of quantities.

The minister said the discoveries would speed up the emirate's plans to raise production capacity to four million barrels per day (bpd) as the target is expected to be achieved by 2012 instead of the planned 2020.

The OPEC member Arab state currently pumps around 2.4 million bpd.

So, despite apparently 'coming clean' regarding PIW's claim, Kuwait is intimating that it likely has 200 billion barrels of proven and probable.

Well, you've got to admire their chutzpah, but what will the figure be for their OPEC quota? Or doesn't that matter any more?

Wow. Is that for real? Or some kind of mistranslation or misunderstanding?

Just seems like of weird that they'd make that admission, after denying it so long.

It is being reported in the Kuwait local press too...


Yes, but they suddenly found another 150 billion barrels in tiny Kuwait. That is about one and one half Ghawars before even one barrel was pumped from that giant reservoir. Just where is this super-super giant located? Can anything these people say be taken at face value.

Here is a good link on oil reserves. The word proven is never used here however. And I think that is wise.


Read the comments in the gif. They are very interesting.

But yes, even admitting that their reserves are down to 48 billion barrels is a bombshell.

Ron Patterson

"But yes, even admitting that their reserves are down to 48 billion barrels is a bombshell".

That's the way I'd lean Ron, but we're still left guessing.

On the one hand it's possible that this latest (amazingly fortuitous) discovery is significant and has given them the confidence to admit to the erroneous 100 billion barrel reserve figure.

On the other hand it may be that something is on the horizon that would have made continued denial about the PIW claim untenable (an imminent production drop?) and they want to be able to say: Yeah, we've got one or two problems, but don't worry, our new mega-project will be on line soon...

Okay, at this presentation at Uppsala, Ghawar URR is estimated at 66 to 100 billion barrels. This means the new field in Kuwait is about as large at two Ghawars.

Kuwait, top to bottom, is about 110 miles long with an average width of less than half that. Ghawar is about 170 miles long so if you laid equal size map of Ghawar on top of a map of Kuwait, Ghawar would hang over on both ends by about 30 miles on each end.

So ask yourself this question; is it likely that Kuwait has found a new field, about twice the size of Ghawar, in the northern corner of the state? Give me a break!

Ron Patterson


interesting how they played this on this link given in the original post.

"oil shake up" but not about the reserve number. Its that the real purpose of the announcement was to proclaim the soon "retirement" of the top tier of the oil industry.

Then it goes on to talk about the downward revise of the reserves. Its secondary, to the announcement of the "forced retirements".

Well, that could be construed as a "get a way" plan,.. or is it perhaps, real interest in locking down new energy with former lower tiered execs. Who are now it seems in charge with bringing on line this historic new find of a super giant.

Announced right after the Veep left the area too.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Yes its a very interesting admission thats for sure.

It may be linked to the fact that for the first 2 months of 2007, according to the EIA numbers, there is the first real evidence of a meaningful fall in Kuwaiti production, compared to previous quarters going back a number of years. These figures should be watched carefully now. Press reports last year suggested that Burgan had peaked, but at least until the last few months there was no evidence from overall Kuwaiti production that this was having an effect. Presumably other fields took up the slack. This may not be happening any more.

A similar pattern emerged when Cantarell first went over the top - other areas obscured the decline for a few months, but its very clear now what is happening to total Mexican production.

Of course the Kuwaitis, may, as good OPEC members, deliberately have cut back these past few months.......

So ask yourself this question; is it likely that Kuwait has found a new field, about twice the size of Ghawar, in the northern corner of the state?

Maybe it's so far north it's in Iraq. ;-)

Eureka! You've cracked the code!

Kuwait is going to invade Iraq and seize its oil!

Wait...haven't I seen this movie before?

Nah. I was referring to the rumors that the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was sparked by Kuwait's horizontal drilling over the border. Er, under the border.

The new management in Iraq might be more tolerant of such things than Saddam was...

Ya...poor Iraq has become the big ole' milkshake for all the surrounding countries...all these big, long straws poked under the fence and viola...instant new discoveries!!!

Kuwait is going to invade Iraq and seize its oil!

Already outsourced to BCR BCG.

No problem Ron, the oil column of the new field is twice as thick as Gwahar, so its only half the area..........

It's simple. They have found a new kind of oil field that is only 1 mile square but 170 miles deep. They will only have to drill one big well right in the center and the massive pressures from that deep resevoir will keep the oil flowing at 4 million barrels per day for at least 100 years.
See, I told you it's simple.

Jon Kutz said,
"They have found a new kind of oil field that is only 1 mile square but 170 miles deep."

Damm, that would make our one square mile to freedom pretty easy to do!

More interesting are the claimed future production numbers:
"The minister said the discoveries would speed up Kuwait's plans to raise production capacity to four million barrels per day (bpd) as the target is expected to be achieved by 2012 instead of the planned 2020. OPEC member Kuwait currently pumps around 2.4 bpd. Kuwait controls nearly one-tenth of global oil reserves. It is the world's seventh-largest oil exporter."

And I was going to sign on for one of the new Bluetech Diesel Benz's at 40 plus mile per gallon....what was I thinkin', helll, sign me up for one of them Hummer things, we got fuel to spare! :-)

What do you folks think of the 4 million barrels per day by 2012?
Time to fire up the ole' Google Earth and see how much activity there is, shall we say "near" the Iraqi border up there in the North!

Roger Conner Jr.
Remember we are only one cubic mile from freedom
(and it all seems to be in Kuwait!)

I will probably get my first opportunity to visit USA for a week or two within a few months. I must visit since USA has a huge cultural and technological influence on my home country Sweden and I am curious from reading thousands of pages and debating for years on the internet.

Its a continent sized country and I can only see small parts of it and meet a handfull of people. I am planning to visit as the technology nerd I am with energy and environment as a speciality.

What places should I try to see to get a fair impression of the famous suburbia and other US ways of living? What universities have research that I must see and where can I find companies willing to show spectacular new technology?

Is there something old that would be intersting to see? Like a giant abandoned PWR preassure vessel production line in the rust belt or the space shuttle.

And more important, who should I try to meet? People with insights who would like to talk about important nerdy things for a few hours and exchange views and knowledge. And having a guide who built or works the intresting things to see or who is doing the research makes it more then ten times as fun and informative. If I can find such people to meet.

I think you might want to narrow it down some. The differences between different areas of the US are so large that it is more like visiting a number of different countries.

Probably the best example of a progressive city is Portland, Oregon. You want to see KunstlerTown, go to southern CA and AZ.

I have seen almost all the states and have my favorites, but your criteria sounds different from mine.

I need some random criteria to narrow it down and asking some friends and TOD seems like a good idea. Thankyou for your suggestions.

I am looking for things relevant to GW and PO, nerdy technology since it is fun and some old stuff since it inspires other thoughts then new stuff.

There are a number of TODers in the Portland (Oregon) area, as well as an active peak oil awareness group. Give us a heads up if you get out here to the NW corner of the USofA.

A few years ago I rode the bike from Chicago to Arizona following old Route 66. As you go west the abandoned small towns, businesses, gas stations, etc give you an idea as far as what many cities could look like in the future.

I would suggest taking the train from Chicago to Los Angeles, and then possibly continuing up the coast to Portland or Seattle. Make stops along the way. Chicago has much to see, and do note the sprawl eating away at farmland as you leave. See the farmbelt by traveling across it, then enter the vastness of the American west. Visit the ruins of the Anasazi, and then stop at the Grand Canyon. Then, experience LA in all its majesty. Drive the freeways and go from one end of the San Fernando Valley to the other. The ultimate suburb. If you make it up to Seattle, visit the Ballard neighborhood and you'll find enough Swedes to make you feel you're back at home.

People might comment that Amtrak can't compare to European trains. Well, that's part of the idea. Plus, you really should leave knowing how vast the country is, and how this has contributed to our present condition.

If you really want to see America take the bus cross country.

Since I recall urging you to visit the US awhile back, I feel compelled to offer my hometown of San Antonio as one of the least PO-aware locations in the entire country. We have fine examples of suburban sprawl, mindless development and pursuit of exponential growth for its own sake, biohabitat destruction, and of course, an excessive number of monster trucks and SUVs clogging our pitifully inadequate roads. Up the road about 75 miles is Austin, which, although not as progressive as Portland, is at least attempting to get there, with pedicabs and a car share organization in the inner core.

I'd recommend flying to LA and renting a car and just drive. Anywhere and lots. Then return the car and take the train to Portland and just ride the public transit, anywhere and lots. Then take the train to Vancouver and get a bus to Fort Mc Murray, Alberta and watch the multistory trucks mine 'oilsand'. Pretty much sums it up, especially if you finish by flying to Mexico City and take a bus to somewhere remote in Oaxaca. North America in four easy pieces.

It would be interesting to go to the solar thermal plant out in the Mojave desert, but it's probably off limits. Los Alamos, New Mexico is pretty creepy and interesting in a way.

I once met some Germans who left LA in a rental car and were driving to New York. When I told them it was another day and a half from Iowa, their eyes just rolled. I think their butts were just about pooched. They had to drive back, ho ho ho. If you've always lived in Europe, the size of the thing is just outside your frame of reference.

I've never been a fan of high speed rail, but Nebraska and Kansas make a pretty good argument for speed. Either ride a bike and smell the clover or get it over with.

I would suggest the Orlando, Florida area.


Walt Disney's utopian dream forever changed Orlando, Florida, and laid the blueprint for the new American metropolis.

Everything happening to America today is happening here, and it's far removed from the cookie-cutter suburbanization of life a generation ago. The Orlando region has become Exhibit A for the ascendant power of our cities' exurbs: blobby coalescences of look-alike, overnight, amoeba-like concentrations of population far from city centers. These huge, sprawling communities are where more and more Americans choose to be, the place where job growth is fastest, home building is briskest, and malls and megachurches are multiplying as newcomers keep on coming. Who are all these people? They're you, they're me, and increasingly, they are nothing like the blue-eyed "Dick and Jane" of mythical suburban America.

Orlando's explosion is visible in every shopping mall and traffic jam. You can also see it from outer space. When Earth satellites were first launched, Florida photographed at night looked like two l's standing side by side: One long string of lights ran down the Atlantic side of the peninsula; another ran along the Gulf of Mexico side. In between was darkness. Today the two parallel l's have become a lopsided H. Central Florida glows as though a phosphorescent creature from outer space has landed there and started reproducing. It gobbles up existing communities even as it transforms scrub and swamp into a characterless conurbation of congested freeways and parking lots. All of this is "Orlando," the brand name for this region of two million residents...

You could check out the Kennedy Space Center while you were in that area, and hit the beaches at Daytona if you were so inclined. Even though there are many hideous things in the culture there, it's still a great place to go swimming, etc. There are also a lot of resources for travelers (read: it's a tourist trap, but it just so happens to be the type you are looking for, for other reasons.)

Other places I have been that creeped me out... the Twin Cities area, around Minneapolis, where you can visit the enormous Mall of America and drive past endless miles of housing developments all built on a vast flat plane stretching out in a perpendicular grid...

L.A. seems like an obvious destination although I myself have never been...

If you want to schedule time to catch your breath and enjoy some beautiful, non-overpopulated terrain I would suggest northern New England- ie Vermont, New Hampshire, and the Maine coast. There are vast parts of the United States that are still beautiful and have not succumbed to "Disneyfication."

Number 1 question would be - what is your budget. Number 2 would be how long do you have, #3 would be how comfortable you would be driving in the US.

Few places encapsulate better the Kunstler rant than the Phoenix, AZ area. It is likely also the least like Northern Europe place you will find outside of Hawaii (also worthy of a visit but another long plane trip farther west.) After spending a few days there getting your bearings, drive NW to the Grand Canyon. From there drive to Las Vegas, visit the casinos, etc. This will get you a good idea about that which Kunstler rants.

In Vegas visit Nellis AFB where they are building the largest US PV installation. Next goal is to drive down interstate 15 on your way to Los Angeles (you'll switch highways in Riveside county.) In LA you can visit the iconic Hollywood, remaining oil wells and the tar pits, etc. Note that the utility company ConEdison has, I believe, a large solar installation in the desert (in Riverside county?)

The above itinerary will get you a non-Europe experience and a visit to the 3 of the most car influenced designed locations on earth (Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles.)

If I was in Phoenix I would want to go to the organ stop pizza:

Organ Stop Pizza, 1149 E Southern Ave

Good one! If I travel thru Phoenix I know where to have a lunch or dinner.

The US is huge. In one or two weeks it is impossible to get a feel for the country as a whole unless you travel by train or in car off the interstate, taking the smaller highways through the various cities and towns. I live in LA and I am a California native. However, I have driven from San Francisco to Nebraska (to go to Law School) and from El Paso, Texas to Boston and back again while in the military. On the way, I drove the Southern route through New Orleans and Washington DC. On the way back, I took a Northern route through the Pennsylvania, Ohio and Tennessee.

If you have two weeks, I would recommend flying into New York. Spend one day or so checking our Manhattan. I would then take a drive to Amherst, Mass and to Boston. It's beautiful country through there. From Boston, you can either take a train or fly to Washington DC and spend a day there.

By now you have probably used up 3 or 4 days.

From DC, I would recommend a flight to New Orleans. Despite the devastation of Katrina, the central part of the City is nice (not like it used to be). I would drive the area a bit to see the devasted parts of the City and also take the Steamboat ride down the river which passes by several oil related facilities. I was there for a wedding in September 2006. I would then take a drive Southwest through Houma and into Texas to Houston and then San Antonio and Austin.

By now you have used up 6 or 7 days.

I would fly from Austin to LA and check out LA and Southern California. (You could also take a train from San Antonio to LA) The freeways are massive. There is also a budding train and subway system as well to check out. Take in some of the beaches as well. I would avoid the standard tourist attractions as they are quite "plastic" unless you're into that.

The drive from LA along the coast to San Francsico is also a must. In the Bay Area, you can visit the Silicon Valley etc.

From San Francisco, fly back to NY and on to Sweden.

Also, once you have established an intinerary, please let us know so we can give you some specific pointers and places to visit or eat etc.

All these suggestions - LA, LV and Phoenix as the three most sprawly, car-dependent conurbations on earth, Petrosaurus's comment about NA in four easy pieces (great), etc., make me once again urge that TOD or someone work up a photo archive, perhaps even with oral histories, documenting what life was like at the peak of the oil age. I have a student, photographer for the campus newspaper, who's warm to the idea but still not running with it. I think we owe it to future historians and our children and grandchildren.

I'll get up on the web this summer oral histories of 80ish year-olds my students have collected over the past two semesters, focusing on how people survived the 1930s depression and WWII era privations.

Any Sprawltastic! adventure would surely not be complete without a visit to Atlanta, GA. It even looks ominous on a map. Like a giant cancer with tendrils infesting the host.

Do we really want to send Magnus to the worst places in America?

Hi Sub,


re: "Do we really want to send Magnus to the worst places in America?"

Well, this (plus Oilman's invite) does it - if you'd like to email me, Magnus, I'll add my invitation to the rest. (A nice little place, near some of the big, worst places.) Also I'll add to the suggestion that you let us know your itinerary, and we may be able to suggest sights (and persons) to visit along the way.

Since the visit time is limited I would prefer to visit the worst and the best places with the knowledge that they are the worst and best and not a representative sample.

I will save this thread and contact you in the near future. I also have New Orelans on my list of intresting places and some old technology nerds I have read a lot from during the years that I hope would enjoy a visit from a random Swedish nerd.

You are MORE than welcome to our disaster zone :-)

The Norwegian Seaman's Church is just around the corner if you want the experience of visiting a nearby foreign country >:-)

They do fly the Swedish flag outside, but not the Icelandic flag (BAD Norwegians).



Magnus Redin, If possible visit the Space Museum at NASA in the Clear Lake area of Houston. Its got wonderful geek-built antiques, a Space Shuttle mock up, antique space suits, a flight simulator where I've crashed the space shuttle twice, a bunch of old boosters and capsules.
The area itself is a prime example of Suburban sprawl. Most of the residents commute to jobs on the Houston Ship Channel or in downtown Houston, some commutes are 20 0r 30 miles each way. Tom DeLay expanded his Congressional District to include this area,and the Reublicans were in such disarray that they DeLays fall from grace so the district is now represented by a democrat.
Along the freeway from the airport is the Webster field, also called the Friendswood field, one of the largest oilfields in Texas and is operated by Exxon. Its produced over 400 million barrels , and still has flowing wells. It is located between the Dixie Farm road exit and Baybrook Mall.
About 20 miles south in Galveston is an offshore drilling rig museum, using an old retired bay Jack-up rig. Across the Harbor is a ship-yard rebuilding production platforms and old jack-ups. I live in Galveston, and I'll happily take you to eat seafood if you get here. My email (all run together and lower case) Bob Ebersole 2004 at Yahoo.com

no visit to the us of a is complete without a visit to two dot, montana. (immortalized in song by hank jr.)


I visited the US as a tourist last year : may I suggest the following techno nerdy

Washington DC
Smithsonian (there are over a dozen museums galleries) but the must see is
National Air and Space Museum
National Air and Space Museum

MIT Museum
MIT Museum

New York
USS Intrepid Museum
USS Intrepid Museum

Seeing this is an oil site - if you go to LA and you want to see what a squillion dollars in oil profits
can do - visit the Getty Center or the Getty Villa (or both). It will also answer that question - where has all the
European art gone? Gone to galleries in NY, Boston, Washington , LA........
TOD is a little doomy at times and it is easy to forget that the US is a very rich country.

Getty Center Getty Villa
Getty Center Getty Villa

On trains - I think Boston to NY - or NY to Washington DC is far enough
Across the country, in the time you have, take a plane.

And someone suggested spending a day in NY - we spent 10 days in NY and still
had plenty of things to do and see next time we get back

All the best

Sure, lots to see and do in NYC, but NYC is no more representative of the rest of the US than Paris is of France, London of England, or Stockholm of Sweden.

I suggest Denver, Colo. with a side trip to the Center of the Universe, Boulder, home of the University of Colorado. You could also visit the Colo. School of Mines in Golden and the Lockheed-Martin plant for nerdy stuff. Also the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden. We have ASPO-USA here--I'm sure they'd be delighted to talk to you. There's a lot going on here in solar, wind, and bioenergy technologies as well as oil shale and natural gas--you can see both sides of the situation. There's also plenty of Suburbia USA, along with a few examples of alternatives, and some surviving small rural towns.

The Denver metro area is LA in miniature--less difficult and intimidating for the visitor (IMHO). If you are limited in time and $$, it might be your best bet. We've got it all! ;-)

I recommend the Henry Ford Museum/Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan then the desolation of neighboring Detroit. In less than 10 miles along US Hwy 12 you go from the early 20th century American Dream to Kuntzler's 21st century nightmare.

If you happen to be in UK later this month there are some interesting talks at the Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales, UK:

Sunday 27 May 07
Event 86 at 10:00
Scaleable Hope
Featuring: Jeremy Leggett
Global warming and peak oil can seem like crushing problems, but there are silver linings in the clouds, and the Solar Century ecologist is out to find them. He reports on progress.

Monday 28 May 07
Event 135 at 10:00
Greening Britain
Featuring: Jeremy Leggett, Mark Lynas and David Miliband
The author of Half Gone: Oil, Gas, Hot Air and The Global Energy Crisis is joined by Lynas (Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet) and the Secretary of State for the Environment.
Chaired by Guto Harri.

The mass transit swindle

One more illustration of why so many proposed rail projects in the U.S. go nowhere politically. Unstated is that the wife's job in this story must go from nine to five weekdays with little overtime, as in the U.S., suburban rail, and even much city rail, does not run at a useful level (or at all) evenings, nights, or weekends. People holding poorly paying jobs - who really need the subsidy - should be so lucky about their hours. They may find that even stinky, tardy, slow, unreliable, circuitously routed diesel busses are unavailable when they must go to and from work. Which I suppose is one reason why the Bus Riders' Union in L.A. has a long record of opposing rail projects. (N.B. - SEPTA = Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.)

I know a professional couple who live in suburban Philadelphia. Their home, in an exclusive community, is assessed at $500,000. They commute to Philadelphia for high-paying jobs. Their combined annual income is $200,000.

They own one car. The husband drives into Center City Philadelphia while the wife takes the SEPTA train into the city. They can afford two cars, but don't need a second car. No car payment, no insurance, no maintenance costs.

I don't know how much the train ride into Center City costs, but let's say it's $10 a day. Can a family making $200,000 a year afford to pay $20 a day to get to work? I think they can, but why should they when Pennsylvania taxpayers pick up the tab?

I help subsidize this well-off couple to get to work every day with my tax dollars. This is why I can't get excited about all the doom-and-gloom predictions by transit agencies like SEPTA that it will have to reduce service and raise fares...

IMO the #1 issue with rail in America is that it is run as a charity project rather than a valid transportation system. Rail in America will never rise above tokenism until it is seen as a way of life. Till then it is charity project for the few.

The scale and scope of bus service improves with the approval and arrival of rail transit.

Why? Because middle and upper class voters who wouldn't consider stepping foot on a bus, will ride a train. And in many cases will vote to tax themselves for it to be built and operated. This almost always includes an upgrade in the depth and breadth of the bus network.

Most rail initiatives of the past ten years have passed in USA.

I expect more cities to "get aboard" the train/streetcar/LRV as fuel becomes more and more costly.

There's a good reason why people don't want to set foot on a bus. Busses are SLOW, really, really slow. The last time I took the 2nd ave bus in NYC it took about 45 minutes to go two miles, I kid you not. I can easily walk faster than that, much faster than that. A pleasant Sunday stroll can cover 2 miles in less than 30 minutes. Anyone who is younger than about 60 and in reasonably good health would never need to take any bus that doesn't use a bridge or tunnel.

If you're actually going somewhere, and you want to get there in some small number of minutes/hours you either take the subway if the subway goes there, or you take a cab. Either option is about 5x faster than a bus.

Of course the reason for this is simple, on street parking. Each street in Manhattan (take a typical cross street) is about 3-4 lanes wide. When you have the two outermost lanes filled by parked cars, and one more lane lost to cars trying to make right turns, and a whole bunch of double parked cars loading/unloading people and good, there is maybe one lane left, maybe. How much gas all that idling wastes I can't say, but it's probably a lot. The avenues are slightly better (start at 6 lanes, so reduced to about 2 lanes assuming no construction), but they are full of huge articulated buses that seem designed to jackknife across 6 lanes of traffic as a matter of general navigation.

Bloomberg wants congestion pricing, which seems to me like a plan to spy on everyone, tally up where they go, send them a bill, and then sell off the database to the highest bidder. Yeah, I love that idea. I'm 99.999% sure they'll try to toss facial recognition software in that thing soon enough, and I can't tell you how happy it makes me that some beurocrat will be sitting on a complete database of everywhere I go in public. Even if nobody steals it, and it's not widely circulated within city hall (Ha!), I'd bet dollars to donuts it gets sold off to the highest bidder within a decade to try to raise some extra funds.

Get rid of on the street parking and the traffic problems would be almost completely eliminated.

In short:

1) Build the 2nd ave subway already.
2) Get rid of on the street parking.
3) Get rid of those articulated buses.

Would be much better for everyone.

I rode the streetcar with New Orleans only billionaire several times as he rode to work. An 80 year old unair-conditioned streetcar !

Unfortunately, Pat Taylor died of a heart attack a year before Katrina. He3 donated surplus oil drilling pipe which are most of the poles for the Canal and Riverfront Streetcar lines.

Best Hopes,


The subsidy for the husband's driving is probably greater, when all costs are considered.

You will note the editorial disagreement my latest article:


[NOTE: In the following listing, Alan Drake has preferred to identify regional passenger rail (RPR) systems (which use "heavy" railroad infrastructure and rolling stock for urban-focused suburban and regional services) with the commonly used designation "commuter rail". The Light Rail Now Project follows a growing trend in using the "regional rail" or RPR designation of this mode, since this term more accurately emphasizes the versatility of RPR in providing all-day services for a variety of trip purposes, and not just peak work commuter trips. However, Light Rail Now has deferred to Alan Drake's preference for using the "commuter rail" term in his commentary. Alan felt that "commuter rail" is a "known, positive description" while the RPR term might lead to confusion with intercity rail service such as Amtrak

There is strong movement to turn commuter rail into regional rail with much more comprehensive schedules. I agree with this trend, but chose not to confuse the casual reader with the newer term.

Best Hopes,


Hello TODers,

Recall my earlier posting on Hell's Angels gas-stations linked again here:


I printed this out, added my home phone # and email acct, then took it to several motorcycle dealerships near my home back in Sept., along with some other pertinent Peakoil info, such as TODer SelfAggrandizedTrader's famous prediction that oil prices would bottom for the election in Nov.

SAG was exactly right for the Phx, Az area. I bought gasoline for $2.05 on election day, and just yesterday for $2.99/gallon.

If the motorcycle dealerships had taken my advice and opened some kind of personal storage system--they would now have a rabid following of loyal customers. Yet not one of these dealership owners have phoned or email me to ask for further info.

If they had Hell's Angels gas-stations opened on Election Day in Nov.: I would have filled my old pickup 4 or 5 times till I had transferred 100 gallons for future use in my scooter.

I have no idea what it would cost to operate this kind of gas-station, but I think that I would be burning gasoline at $2.25/gal today vs having to buy it at $3/gal--a remarkable savings of $0.75/gal.

It is too bad my idea of letting people personally and safely arbitrage fuel prices has gone nowhere because gasoline thefts and house fires caused by stored gasoline will now drastically rise as fuel price increase. Such is life.

EDIT: I don't know why my TOD link doesn't go right to my posting [it opens the entire thread instead], but scroll down about 7/8ths to find it.

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

TOD link doesn't go right to my posting

It looks like the comment tags are missing from archived threads that far back. It either has to do with the archiving process, or the fact that we moved servers somewhere back there...

Meantime, the subthread tag seems to work:

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

Bob, great idea but when the city cars run out of fuel they would call it a criminal enterprise, send in the national guard and confiscate the fuel. LOL.

Has Bob Woodward's assertion in State of Denial: Bush at War III that SA bumped up global supply in the months leading up to U.S. elections been discussed on TOD?

State of Denial: Bush at War III, page 287
(Friday, February 20, 2004)
Maybe the speed of this process could be sort of expedited," Bush said, agreeing that the reforms had to be home grown. He thanked Bandar for what the Saudis were doing on oil --- essentially flooding the market and trying to keep the price as low as possible. He expressed appreciation for the policy and the impact it could have during the election year.


Hello TODers,

This '70s picture from China is quite remarkable in terms of personal and social psychology. Once TSHTF I have no doubt that China can go back to manual cooperation at this level. I certainly hope the citizens in the US can do the same. I wish we could get an enlarged photo for every school in North America to prominently display in every classroom alongside a Peakoil poster.


Since moving goods by barge is the most energy-efficient method, I think a lot of Americans will have to accept the fact that many of us will be replicating the exertion levels expressed in the Chinese photo. Same for the building of RR & mass-transit railbeds. I sure hope we have the wisdom to build a Strategic Wheelbarrow Reserve ahead of time.

Never forget: 1 barrel of crude = 25,000 physical man-hours.

EDIT: one more photo of our future:


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

I cant seem to paraphrase this blog, which i found at LATOC, no matter, it touches many topics. reminds me of the old show called "connection" hosted by a Brit, it shows how many things that seem totally unrelated, are actually very related. A good read!
According to him, a recession is coming very hard, globally!

If anyone thinks we will elect a democrat and yank all US troops out, you are sadly mistaken. I have said this before the Republicans and Democrats are the same type people, they have different names. Time to think independent!

And it touches China, which is the 800 pound gorilla, thanks to all those Walmart shoppers.

and we are barely smarter than yeast! but just barely!



The Brit you refer to is called James Burke. I remember watching his "Connections" series when I was at school.


It would be fascinating to know his thoughts about the current state of affairs...

Interesting new theory on honeybee CCD:

Beetle and Yeast Responsible for Colony Collapse Disorder?

New research suggests that Colony Collapse Disorder may be triggered by an infestation of an African beetle, introduced to the US in 1998, which is sensitive to the bees' alarm pheromone. The beetle is attracted to the hives and then litters the hive with a type of yeast which produces the bee alarm pheromone in great quantities, attracting more beetles and confusing the bees to the point they abandon the colony. Scientists are working on developing a trap for the beetles.
From the research summary:
Recently, an invasive pest of honeybees, the Small Hive Beetle was introduced into North America. Beetles invade hives and feed on pollen, bee brood, and ruin honey with their feces. ... Scientists at the Center for Medical Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA, ARS, in Gainesville Florida in collaboration with scientists at the University of Florida and Pennsylvania State University have discovered that the beetles are attracted to honeybee alarm pheromones. They also isolated a yeast vectored by the beetles which, when grown on bee collected pollen produces the bee alarm pheromones. European bees are less responsive to alarm pheromones and less aggressive in repelling intruders than the original host of the beetle, African honeybees, and, fail to recognize the beetle invasion until it is too late to avoid colony collapse. The scientists are currently using this knowledge to develop effective control programs for the beetle using in hive traps baited with these alarm pheromones.
Correlation of the beetles' presence with CCD has also been independently observed by beekeepers.


Mutli-Trophic Interaction Facilitates Parasite-Host Relationship Between An Invasive Beetle and the Honeybee