DrumBeat: May 27, 2007

Crude - the Incredible Journey of Oil (Broadband Edition)

This is an excellent presentation by Australian ABC television which includes a 90-minute presentation on "Crude" for general audiences, and which also has excellent side-interviews and resources. Top-notch, a good free resource you can send people to.

Oil industry wary as hurricane season nears

Already this spring, gasoline prices have climbed even higher than post-Katrina-and-Rita prices. Analysts say prices are certain to shoot higher — $4 a gallon, perhaps — if and when the season's first storm enters the Gulf of Mexico.

The average U.S. retail price of unleaded, regular gasoline hit an all-time high of $3.227 a gallon on Thursday, AAA reported. That's closing in on the inflation-adjusted peak of $3.29 a gallon in March 1981, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

As they prepared to fix the Gulf's devastated oil and gas facilities, industry representatives realized standard repairs weren't enough. So the companies that own the platforms, drill the wells and manage the pipelines have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to improve and strengthen their operations. Moorings are stronger, pipelines deeper, backup power in greater supply.

The entire text of The Upside of Down, by Thomas Homer-Dixon is now available at ASPO Canada

Climate change conflict

Stephen Harper, whose government has repeatedly failed to connect with Canadians on the environment, is likely to join U.S. President George W. Bush as the odd men out when world leaders try to tackle global warming at this year's G-8 summit.

The meeting in Germany June 6 to 8 promises to be a challenging exercise in other ways for Harper, whose two closest international allies Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair suffer from the status of lame ducks in their own countries.

Environmentalists: U.S. preparing to reject G-8 climate change deal

The United States is preparing to reject new targets on climate change at a Group of Eight summit next month, dashing German and British hopes for a new global pact on carbon emissions, according to comments on a document released by the environmental group Greenpeace.

Iran's newly explored Paranj holds 1.6b in situ barrels of oil

The newly traced Paranj oilfield's in situ reserve is estimated at 1.6 billion barrels, said the National Iranian South Oil Company's (NISOC) technical manager on Sunday.

Hassan Shokrollahzadeh-Behbahani said that the field's extractable oil amounts to 431 million barrels.

Iran to finalize oil deal with Belarus

Iran aims to finalize in two weeks’ time a deal allowing Belarus to extract oil from the Islamic Republic’s southern Jofeir deposit, the Oil Ministry’s web site Shana reported on Sunday.

The agreement was first announced on May 21 when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited his counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus, which seeks new sources of energy for its economy amid frosty relations with Russia.

Iran, which faces a possible third round of UN sanctions over its nuclear ambitions, is keen to attract foreign investment to develop its oil sector. Belarus has defended Teheran’s right to pursue its nuclear programme.

Darfur: No. “It’s the oil, stupid.”

This is defining a major new front in what, since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, is a new Cold War between Washington and Beijing over control of major oil sources. So far Beijing has played its cards a bit more cleverly than Washington. Darfur is a major battleground in this high-stakes contest for oil control.

In recent months, Beijing has embarked on a series of initiatives designed to secure long-term raw materials sources in one of the planet’s most endowed regions - Sub-Saharan Africa. No raw material has higher priority in Beijing at present than oil.

Today China draws an estimated 30% of its crude oil from Africa. That explains an extraordinary series of diplomatic initiatives which have left Washington furious. China is using no-strings-attached dollar credits to gain access to Africa’s vast raw material wealth, leaving Washington’s typical control game via the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) out in the cold. Who needs the painful medicine of the IMF when China gives easy terms and builds roads and schools to boot?

Pakistan-Ukraine sign protocol for oil and gas cooperation

The Minister held significant meetings with technical experts of oil and gas state owned related companies to explore and identify the opportunities in the field of oil and gas exploration, construction and operation of transnational oil and gas pipeline projects, storage of liquefied gas etc in Pakistan.

Higher oil prices or carbon tax: Take your pick

Tax is not a word anyone in Ottawa seems to want here and yet almost all the advice going to Parliament suggests a carbon tax is essential to meeting any of the parties' climate-change objectives.

In fact, it is so bad in Ottawa these days that government reports are filled with euphemisms for it, "carbon charge," "financial disincentives," and "price signals." My favourite is "ecological fiscal reform measures" or EFR. Call it any of these things but don't call it a carbon tax.

Iran could scrap petrol rationing plan - MP

Iran could scrap a plan to ration petrol that was expected to have a profound impact on the economy of OPEC's number two oil producer, the head of parliament's energy committee said.

The plan, which aimed to reduce the colossal subsidies paid by the state to finance Iran's frenzied petrol consumption, envisaged forcing consumers to pay a much higher sum for any purchases in excess of a rationed quota.

Iran last Tuesday implemented an initial stage of the plan by raising pump prices by 25 pct and making consumers use smart cards to keep track of their petrol purchases.

'In the past few days, the use of smart cards has yielded good results in preventing fuel smuggling and encouraging consumption control,' said Kamal Daneshyar, the head of the energy committee which drew up the rationing plan.

Iranian president:"certain big powers" misusing nuclear energy

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused "certain big powers" of misusing nuclear energy on Sunday, the official IRNA news agency reported.
"Instead of make a proper use of nuclear energy at service of humanity, certain big powers misuse it," Ahmadinejad said in his speech to local residents of Semirom city in the central province of Isfahan, adding that "They have built bombs and dropped them on nations."

"These powers threaten other nations with their bombs," said Ahmadinejad, who was visiting Semirom on the fourth day of his five-day provincial tour of Isfahan.

Nuclear's regeneration hots up

Speaking after the announcement from BE's HQ in Livingston, Coley said the White Paper demonstrated a growing acceptance that nuclear is needed to meet rising power demands.

But vitally for BE, Darling said a decision on building new nuclear must be taken this year and this was an unexpected fillip for Coley and his team.

"There was only one surprise," Coley says, "and it was a good one."

... and the debate on how best to keep the lights on in Scotland

Nowhere is the new politics more apparent than in energy policy, but it's not all sweetness and light. On Wednesday morning industry secretary Alistair Darling warned darkly on BBC radio that the lights would go out if the SNP maintained its antipathy to nuclear power. It was irresponsible, he said, to rule out a new nuclear generation when there was no evidence that renewables could fill the energy gap.

UK presses Norway to direct new gas pipeline to Scotland

The Government, backed by Britain's leading power groups, has launched a high-profile lobbying effort to persuade Norway to build a vital gas export pipeline to the UK rather than to continental Europe.

Gas from the new pipeline is considered crucial if Britain is to have access to a diverse range of energy supplies, especially from a politically stable country such as Norway. With a capacity of more than 20bn cubic metres a year, the pipeline would be capable of meeting around 18 per cent of Britain's gas demand by the time it came online in 2012. It would also help reduce Britain's reliance on gas imports from Russia which come via the Continent. President Putin's government has come under fire for cutting off supplies to several former Soviet bloc countries which disrupted exports to western Europe.

Lukoil to gain sway with Gazprom venture

The creation of a joint venture between Lukoil and Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of state gas monopoly Gazprom, is set to help privately-owned Lukoil win access to large oil projects at a time when it risked being sidelined.

Lukoil signed off on the creation of the joint venture with Gazprom Neft on Friday that will see them co-operate on new projects at home and abroad.

The deal will give Gaz-prom Neft a 51 per cent stake and Lukoil 49 per cent, while ConocoPhillips, which currently holds a 20 per cent stake in Lukoil, will be excluded from the venture.

Gusher of job openings expected in oil industry

The great crew change is coming.

And executives in the oil and natural-gas industry can only hope they're ready for the departure of thousands of aging employees who will retire over the next decade after years working onshore and aboard offshore rigs.

To prepare for this exodus, energy corporations have begun recruiting college graduates and experienced workers to replace their departing laborers.

Nigeria's Ogoni People Resist Oil Companies

Oil insiders say Shell is trying to resume production in Ogoniland. Nigerian authorities have warned the company they may revoke their prospecting license in the area due to inactivity.

Dumnu warns the government and Shell not to do anything without the permission of the Ogoni people. "If the federal government just signs a contract with Shell and they do not give us our rights, there will be trouble. Everybody, every youth, they will not be happy," he said.

Algeria, Brazil sign accord on liquified natural gas

Algeria is to deliver liquified natural gas to Brazil under an accord signed Saturday between the state-run Sonatrach and Brazil's Petrobas.

A Sonatrach statement, which did not specify the quantity or price of the gas, said the agreement would allow Algeria to diversify its liquified natural gas sales "notably in the Atlantic basin."

Maxed out, spent down and busted

Unlike my wife and I, who couldn't qualify even for department store credit when we started out, college students today are awash in credit come-ons.

One of the mothers in the film describes taking her son to freshman orientation and seeing a line of tables encouraging kids to sign up for credit. The card companies paid the university — the film didn't name names — $13 million for the privilege of tapping into the student body.

Maxed Out examines the full range of consequences for our spending habits. It shows debt collectors boasting of their techniques for harassing people who fall behind on their bills.

Their gloating is juxtaposed with the story of a woman who secretly ran up $40,000 in credit debt, and then, after getting one such threatening call, killed herself by plunging her car into the Ohio River.

Well it seems Temperatures at Deadhorse, AK (the airport at Prudhoe Bay) have climbed above Zero degrees C on May 24th for the First time since Oct 15th of 2006.
This is the latest date for an above freezing temperature in their records of all previous years.


Looks like that is true.

Of course, it also look like last year was the warmest.
Two thing to consider when looking at real world data:
1) The data is noisy.
2) Weather is not climate.

The 27th of may is kind of interesting. 2006 is listed as both the highest max and the lowest max.

I have downloaded all the daily temps for Deadhorse dating back to 1986, the extent of their records. The annual highs lows and avg’s were then determined for each month, each year, and each winter Nov 1 – Apr 30. 1998 was the highest annual and winter temps found. 1991 was the coldest annual temp and 1992 was the coldest winter temp. The deviation between these was about 15 degrees F. The avg May high temp occurred in 1998 at 35.7 Deg F, 2006 avg high May temp was 29 deg F. The coldest May avg high was in 1986 at 24.8 deg F. so far this decade all the Avg. May highs have been less than 30 Deg F.

I have plotted all this data, and for the past 20 years can see nothing to indicate a trend either positive or negative, of course this is only one data point in the artic region.

It's also only 21 years of data, and we have been burning FF in quantity for 150 years.

Go ask some climate scientists for their datasets! I bet it would be cool to look at(as well as being HUGE)!

Really only the last 50 or 60 years. Before that the consumption of fossil fuels was relatively insignificant.

Coal counts as fossil fuel and was used for the industrial revolution since the 1800's.


They have burnt "sea coal" in Great Britain since medieval times. However with a small and rural population, I doubt if we got to 10% of todays consumption before the early part of the last century.

The key is the 'tipping point'.

At what point did our CO2 emissions increase past the ability of the natural environment to sequester them out of the atmosphere?

This is complicated by the fact that the absorption of the oceans etc. increased as CO2 concentrations increased, thus partially shielding us from the consequences of our actions.

The latest data suggests the planet is no longer doing so. Co2 concentrations have abruptly shifted by 3ppm per annum, whereas previously the rise was 1.9ppm

Another really important item is the human factor and data integrity.

Was the station automated or was the data collected by a human with a clipboard?
Were the instruments properly calibrated? Were their accuracy and reproducibility sufficient to detect the changes under investigation? Were the same people an instruments used during the entire period of data collection? Is the time span of your data sufficient to show the effect you are looking for?

Metrologists often run into the problem of people believing a digital readout without bothering to check if the instrument is working properly.

As I have delved into subjects outside my own specialty, (peak oil, climate change......) I have found that you have a limited number of choices.

1) Believe the experts.
2) Get a job in that industy and learn what really is happening.
3) Examine the data and draw your own conclusions.
4) Take reasonable precautions (picking the low hanging fruit) and monitor the situation.

All options have their own short comings, especially with complex subjects. I have chosen #4.

There are innumerable reasons to stop using fossil fuel. Energy security, air quality, peak oil, climate change....
Any one of them could be wrong, but it seems unlikely that they all are.

If you are interested in climate change here is a good place to start:

It is run by real climate scientists

I think I should point out that Metrology is not Meteorology.

Metrology: the science of weights and measures.
Meteorology: the science dealing with the atmosphere and its phenomena, including weather and climate.

"There are innumerable reasons to stop using fossil fuel. Energy security, air quality, peak oil, climate change....
Any one of them could be wrong, but it seems unlikely that they all are."

I have to say that your approach to "the big issues" is one I wish we heard more of from the those who have strong feelings about such matters. I think the general public would perhaps be more open to a multi-reason approach to dealing with climate change and peak oil rather than the oft heard "the world is going to end.." As some say, you can catch more bees with honey.

Please explain how we feed 6.5 billion people without fossil fuels.

"Please explain how we feed 6.5 billion people without fossil fuels."

Please explain to me why we would have to.

Because we are running out? But I thought the peak oil informed insist that peak is NOT about running out.

Because we are so efficient in how we use fossil fuel that we have no room for efficiency gains to provide for the needs of agriculture and food transport?
(What is the percentage of food transport energy use compared to the percent of fuel used for other commercial and industrial materials transport?

Because of all the ways we use fossil fuels, if production drops, agriculture will have to the first area cut, instead of cutting the waste and ineffeciencies in other areas?

Because we use so much oil in food production, (or was it natural gas that is used in making fertilizer, and is the predominant fuel in food processing?
(and is the natural gas situation equal in all areas of the world, or are we talking about a world supply of natural gas that is still relatively large, even though North America suffers on this issue?)

time for someone to stand up and say the emperor has no clothes: Constantly trying to terrify people with immediate threat of starvation is nothing but a scare tactic, and sends anyone who can think packing away from the peaksters. It is one more way of discrediting the real and serious energy issues. And before you jump in and point to some third world country where people are starving, yes, there are starving people in the world and has always been, but if you are going to contend that lack of fossil fuel is causing starvation, there must be a causal relationship. If not, I could make the argument that:

(a) I drive a Diesel car
(b) There are starving people in the world
conclusion: Because I drive a Diesel car there are starving people in the world
Proposal: to keep people from starving, I must switch to an gasoline car.

Such is the logic in modern problem solving thought, 21st century American style.

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

Even after peak there will be plenty of increasingly expensive oil, but as you point out, sufficient for the purpose of farming. I believe we will see economic factors, climate change & ecosystem degradation, plus increasing energy costs coming together to put downward pressure on food production. The result being increasingly higher food prices, less choice and more of the economy devoted to farming at the expense of other less important areas.

I agree with you that there is a great deal of flexibility in the system regards how the available oil/energy is used.

Strange, as I was writing this post a BBC news item came on discussing and linking energy availability, food production and the need to expand agriculture onto marginal land (presumably with lower yields and at a higher cost). Essentially, suggesting we trade up on our vulnerability, let someone else deal with the even bigger problem in the future whilst we just carry on as normal. We're toast!

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Real climate is where I found TOD in May of 05.

Also I would point out that I tend to use your # 3&4 most always. as for #1 it is hard to distiguish the experts from the so called experts.

The problem with option #3 is that climate is just so complex (In fact it's chaotic)

Take hurricanes for instance:

The trend line said last year should have been another kickass year, but it was a dud. Complex behavior tends to be complicated.

1) Believe the experts.
2) Get a job in that industy and learn what really is happening.
3) Examine the data and draw your own conclusions.
4) Take reasonable precautions (picking the low hanging fruit) and monitor the situation.

Actually I think this list could be distilled down to three, since #2 & 3 are really the same thing:

  1) Believe the experts
  2) Become an expert
  3) Hedge your bet

I don't blame people for preferring approach #2 regarding global warming, but I think it's very naive to assume that a few months of reading internet articles will allow one to discuss the topic intelligently with scientists who've spent decades trying to understand it.

I'll bet these same people don't ask airlines if they can inspect the engines before they fly or research the farms that produce their food. Both of these are issues of life or death, so why are the climate scientists being held to a different standard?

Brilliant comment about the double standards when it comes to the public "judging" science. Science is science. Funny thing is, "real science" is taken as a liberal conspiracy. Whereas The Bell Curve, et al is just trashy social science posing as "real science" is for a large part taken as accurate! (Well, mostly by racist conservatives, but lets not get off on a tangent).

One thing I'm curious about. People like Steve Sailer, who try to get their name plastered everywhere to spread their anti-racial-mixing/diversity-agenda actually get interviews with (supposedly) reputable scientists like Steven Pinker. These people seethed at the teeth to talk about this stuff, and trust me it's not my problem--I can't help coming across Sailer here there and everywhere, predictably because he uses his lame little website/blog and the turd of a website "VDARE" to promote his shrouding of science in racism, or as it is otherwise known "Scientific race realism". If that's not Orwellian I don't know what is! I like Steven Pinker's work, and am willing to go out on a limb and say that I find some conservative "principles" in generally to be virtuous--although I strongly despise the present incarnation of conservatives as they are represented in Congress by the GOP, the executive branch and in many respects the Judicial branch. And it goes without saying that the present bunch of Democrats are equally so pathetic, just not as highly regressive and backwards thinking as *some* components of the right.

Pinker has actually extended an interview to Sailer! Which is just unbelievable to me... I guess the point Pinker was trying to make is that he, the intelligent conservative scientist, is capable of pissing me off by giving an interview to a gun-toting racist with a bad taste in movies. My questions are the following:

1. Is associating oneself with tacit racism in fact a form of racism?

2. When a scientist does so, is that in fact room to worry about said scientists highly political works of popular science--which almost approach the category of social science in their scope? At least from the perspective of the scientific community, Pinker does begrudgingly acknowledge that there is no merit to "race realism" in his last book "The Blank Slate". He also cites his sources. However, his field "psychology", no matter how many just-so stories he tells himself, is still not up to the tasks of the hard sciences. He doesn't seem to like this, and his broad overriding message is along the lines of "social science listen up to real science here, it is inherently conservative!" I don't know about this, it is a little sketchy--and I'd rather have Richard Dawkins be at the helm of that boat... not one who associates with crypto-racists, like Pinker consciously chooses to do. Pinker and Sailer obviously have different agendas--Pinkers is obviously more honest, and he sincerely wants science to be taken seriously by everyone. But he is tinged by that aspect that completely overrides Sailer--the obsession with "liberals", or probably more appropriately communist, marxists types---who I'm sure they both think is really at the core of every modern liberal. How does science meld with the social sciences? It is bound to sooner or later, and probably has already begun a very slow process of doing so. Pinker might see his role as throwing the first pipe bombs in the social-science/science melding wars. He clearly wants the outcome to have a conservative philosophy--being a conservative scientist. Is this okay? I think not. Pinker, ironically enough, seems to be conducting himself much like Steven Jay Gould did, from the precisely opposite camp! How do we here at TOD, and the scientific community in general, eschew this type of melding of politics and science--when both sides are clearly guilty? And on top of that, when it takes at *least* one federal party to tackle the subject of multiple scientifically diagnosed disasters most likely on our way?

And three is a charm...

3. The problem seems to be in general not scientific, but political. This is the problem, and everyone knows it--that is why Pinker feels comfortable letting his conservatism flail in TBS. If in fact science is inherently political (as seen by the public!) then there either needs to be:

A) A hardcore scientific PR-attack squad on anyone who makes grave errors addressing scientific issues to the broad, general public. I always thought that perhaps an independent organization of "science" which has federal oversight oversights over any opinions expressed by the other branches of government when it comes to bras bones issues of science. Now, don't dismiss this right away! Imagine what this entails. This would be along the lines of the present system, except entirely reversed... This committee could censure the president, or his office, or any other body of the federal or state government when it falsely *uses and abuses* humanity's knowledge of science. Sort of like an ADL for science, which I always have thought is greatly needed. This organization/committee would be highly democratic among the top scientists and scientific institutions in the world--based on the input of all and established by brutal peer-review.

B) This committee would also be established as completely non-partisan, and would specifically "go after" anyone who used science for unwarranted political purposes. The problem here is that even people are "apolitical" still have some political tendencies in the closet...

Still, I think Science Magazine and Nature telling Dubya what could and couldn't come out of his mouth is better than Dubya telling apolitical and honest scientists what they can and cannot say. Imagine!

In reality the healthy skepticism of science is inherently conservative. New claims require extrordinary amounts of evidence before being generally accepted. Arrhenius a century ago faced this wall of skepticism as human induced climate change built evidence upon evidence to become accepted. It is just that some political conservatives believe in things that have no supporting evidence like racism and creationism which leads these conservatives to believe scientists are a bunch of commies.

In judging a conservative, always ask youself what he is trying to conserve.

It is always something he believes to be in his own personal interest, and often something that is not in your interest. He tells you it is good because it is part of the way things always were. If you are black, gay, female, or poor, how advantageous is that?

There are all kinds of things from humanity's past which modern conservatives don't support because those things would undermine the inequality of power that conservatives wish to maintain and grossly expand over everyone else. Like Christianity's former ban on lending money for interest. Or the Hebrew Jubilee, where all debts were canceled. Or matriarchal societies. Or Rome's insistence that any man could become a citizen regardless of race or language as long as he added the gods of Rome (meaning its laws) to his existing obediance. Or England's common lands. Or the rightful ownership of the land of America.

If you only select out the parts of history that give you an unfair advantage and call that "traditional values", you will reduce me to slavery in short order.

Remember, folks, the Amish are the only real Christians and the Aboriginies are the only real conservatives. Everyone else is just pursuing power.

Brilliantly--and beautifully, put.

How is Steve Sailer bashing relevant? He is a journalist who stated that he avoids commenting on global warming because it is a very complex subject and he couldn't add to the public's overall understanding of the issue. The verbosity of your comment just reveals your own pseudo-liberal biases.


Awesome, you nailed me.

Perhaps, but he is openly racist on some other issues.

The only measure in which he is any better than O'Reilly and co is that (to his credit) he doesn't stoop to snide trash talking. Quietly offensive is still offensive however.

The weather channel is now showing a program on the Alaskan meltdown.

1) Believe the experts.
2) Get a job in that industy and learn what really is happening.
3) Examine the data and draw your own conclusions.
4) Take reasonable precautions (picking the low hanging fruit) and monitor the situation.

dipchip: Also I would point out that I tend to use your # 3&4 most always. as for #1 it is hard to distiguish the experts from the so called experts.

Actually, when it comes to climate change, or really any other scientific field, it isn't.

People who are experts in climate are the researchers at the major worldwide oceanographic and geophysical institutes and universities with graduate and postdoctoral training in thus, and who professionally pursue novel research and publish in the primary scientific literature.

The problem with doing #3 is that if you're not an expert, drawing your own conclusions from particular data is likely to result in erroneous conclusions in many circumstances because the complexity of the data and breadth of the data sets involved require an expert's judgment and knowledge how any one datum fits in with the other.

Of the widely available resources that a reasonably educated layman is going to find accessible, generally 'www.realclimate.org' is about as good as you're going to get, since the primary articles are written by scientists in the field. This isn't a comprehensive viewpoint of course since still 98% of such scientists are far too busy doing their own jobs and don't have time to blog and especially attempt to rebut various inanities that inevitably pop up on such blogs.

I would like to continue this conversation, however I have a garden that has been calling ever since it stoped raining.

dipchip: Also I would point out that I tend to use your # 3&4 most always. as for #1 it is hard to distiguish the experts from the so called experts.

Actually, when it comes to climate change, or really any other scientific field, it isn't.

I think some people are good at detecting who are the experts, and some people aren't. I think I am pretty good at it, but that is an unverifiable claim. There is just something about the real versus the bogus that stands out to me. Part of it is recognising who the experts really are of course, but then where the limits of experts lie, and what their biases are. Then I have to weigh it with the general consensus, and with what makes sense from what I know of physics etc.

It also helps to assign probabilities. Most people look for a straight yes or no, but I am comfortable with something being 90% true.

In the end, there is no formula for determining the truth, The closest approximation is loosely called the scientific method, but people aren't even sure what that is. Of course, science doesn't necessarily have the right answer yet, more likely the best answer so far.

To be honest, I can't see how the average person can make sense of the deluge of data out there; nor can they be expected to, we can't all be experts on every topic. Therefore I don't really blame them for switching over to the sports channel.

Being an expert and kidding yourself are too entirely different things. The real trouble is knowing which experts are after truth, and which are being overly biased in their research and kidding themselves into finding what they want to believe or what they are being paid to find.

See one of my later posts for an example of a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering here in NZ who has just admitted that when studying the hydrogen economy models in the US she and her fellow researchers essentially lied, because they could not believe what the data was telling them - that it would not work.

I doubt this is an isolated case. In fact after many years of researching medical sciences, and with several family members in various medical professions, I can tell you that biased research is incredibly dominant in med/pharmaceutical research... it may be less so in other areas, but I suspect the more industry influences a particular field, the more biased the "experts" are in general.

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

I suspect the more industry influences a particular field, the more biased the "experts" are in general.


Dirty Little Secret


Epidemiology findings had been contradicted in four-fifths of the cases he looked at, and the usually robust outcomes of clinical trials had a refutation rate of one in four.


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

Google the words Nasa, Grace and Greenland. Greenland is melting pretty quickly at around 200 cubic km per year. Glaciers have speeded up and new islands are appearing and being named.

It is getting warmer up there and melting ice sheets seem to be the biggest challenge posed by GW.

The other thing to note is that icesheet melting and break up is not linear. As new rock/ground is exposed to sunlight it absorbs heat much more quickly and the surrounding ice melts extremely rapidly. Further more, as meltwater drops to the bottom of an ice sheet, it lubricates the bottom speeding breakup even faster. Larsen B broke up in 30 days, shocking scientists who had previously thought it would take 100 years to dissappear.

In fact the physics of ice sheets is a very new science and an understanding of how they operate, particularly as they melt and break up is only being gained now. The science is so new that it still needs time for peer review and for the main, is NOT included in the latest IPCC reports.

In a triumph of irony over hope, the impact of melting ice sheets and rising sea levels could hit hardest as the impacts of PO get really bad. Our just deserts maybe. Greenland contains 3m km3 of ice so I am hoping that it will take a long time, but if the rate of melt increase continues to grow exponentially, it could all go very quickly.

On rising sea levels, there was a program on Australian TV last night where it was claimed that sea levels in some islands, which are the last refuge of the Bengal tiger, are already suffering sea levels rises of 2.5cm per year. I thought the rise was only a couple of mm per year. There are probably tidal factors impacting sea level rise - as with all things PO and GW, the impacts seem to be non-linear!


I see this listed often. If you really believe this then I would like to point out that "weather" is used everyday by the media sighting "experts" who make the claim the days 'weather" events are the result/cause of global warming.

Weather events are used every single day to make the claim for GW.

It is part of the "drumbeat".

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Weather is very definitely not climate. Single events versus statistics. Although your reading of the media is selective, your point is not without merit. Nevertheless, it is not like that in the scientific literature and not in commentary by scientists. This is why the media is a very poor source for information. At best it is useful for some pointers. For the general public, there are now many outreach sites written by scientists and there is no excuse taking one's positions on these issues solely at the word of commentators. The New Scientist site on this is excellent and addresses every issue raised by the self-styled sceptics. Many of the latter claim, dishonestly, that this or that issue is "not addressed" by climate science. But in every case that is decidedly not true.

Worse than Worst Case Climate Change Scenario

A user pointed out this popular media account of a recent Science journal article that finds "the world is now on track to experience more catastrophic damages from climate change than in the worst-case scenario forecast by international experts". The research found that between 2000 and 2004 global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels increased by three times greater than in the 1990s. The person that forwarded this to me pointed out that "we are beyond A1F1 which with carbon feedbacks means we on track for over +8 degrees C in warming... Over 5.5 degrees C, at this rate of global change, would by best guess be limit of survival for humanity... Coupled with the recent news on the Antarctic Ocean means that IPCC 4 is hopelessly out dated now." The accumulation of recent science beyond the pondering, politicalized IPCC process would seem to indicate that we have entered a period of abrupt, perhaps run-away climate change that will have severe consequences for the Earth's future habitability.

"we are beyond A1F1 which with carbon feedbacks means we on track for over +8 degrees C in warming" Anyone seen anything to support this? It would make PO look like a simple problem to solve by comparison, if it's anywhere near true.

I wonder whether the various crises (economic, PO, climate change) will hit us one by one or whether, like buses, they'll all arrive at the same time?

At this stage of the peak oil game, The whole climate change forecasting freak-out, worrying about what will happen 20 years from now, is like people getting on board the Titanic worrying that their ship will get hit by a hurricane on the return trip from Europe.

I have read this type of comment so many times here. This is a peak oil site. OK. At worst peak oil demands that we make social and technical adjustments we can't easily make. And don't make. Major problems going to die-off. A planet with a much smaller human population.
At worst climate change results in a repeat of the Permian extinction, a planet where 95% plus of all life dies. Anthropogenic climate change could be worse than what happened in the Permian. Life on Earth could end. Or revert to bacteria.
So the timeframe on PO seems worse to you. Glenn at Climateark thinks it's probably past midnight on climate change. Pick your poison. Don't tell us the one poison can't kill.

Just as a note, the editorial content at Climateark.org is a very small part of what's there. Mostly it is a very good clipping service. As robust as the scientific editorializing at realclimate may be, facts seem to be well ahead of the science.

Worse than Worst Case Climate Change Scenario

This is really very important and should give the lie to all those who (still) complain about science giving this an alarmist slant. In fact, the predictive science appears to have missed this very important issue (ice feedback) until it was observed. Hence, the IPCC is revealed as having been too conservative, something which several practitioners have been saying for many years.

Just saw a show which must be close to Jim Kunstler's heart, on the CBS Sunday morning program (waiting for their second piece, on the Cutty Sark)... it was about Extreme Commuting. A lady who (at least) rides a bus some 200 km into New York each way. A man who drives some 150 km from one suburb SE of Washington DC to another suburb far to the west. These spend up to 2 hrs each way hence well over one day per week in traffic or on the ride. They said 50 percent of Americans work in one suburb and live in another. And that this extreme commuter segment is growing 5 times faster than the ordinary suburb comuuting population. But here's the catch...

...not one word about Peak Oil, and the fact that all this is going to simply crash in a few years. This one won't be like the bell curve expected for oil production (and roughly observed in the lower 48 of the US), but more like a sawtooth curve... more or less linear rise to the peak and then a crash straight back to Zero.

They did look at the reasons: everyone wants "the American Dream" to own their house, so they just go up the road until far enough down the price gradient.

At the end they did feature a third man, who had once lost 10 hrs per week in traffic, who moved to a smaller place closer to where he works (lucky guy that!). He dumped his car commute and now has about 45 mins each way on a bicycle. I could relate. I would hate a 1/2 to 1 hr commute but it's actually quite nice if you're on a bike getting exercise. Of course, it all depends on clean enough air to make it pleasant.

But it is amazing that with all the attention on gas prices neither shows on that nor shows on extreme commuting find it in order to mention the larger picture of the loss of cheap oil and the coming collapse of suburbia. Not even shows on the collapse of the housing market, of which there are many these days.

Bruce (from Princeton NJ)

well, no. The real problem is melamine in pet food. Sixteen pets have died in the U.S.

Scare stories are important to the media if someone important makes money off of them. Scare stories where everyone loses are beyond the pale, anathema, forbidden knowledge.

As it happens, I haven't seen anything about it but now it's all this actress who had a car wreck, in and among all the button pushing on terrorism by the usual side of the media. Of course, the Indy 500 is on rain delay with Danica Patrick in 3rd (sprich: 3 top 10 finishes in 3 starts), so there's a story for them there.

Note they won't make the connection between gas prices and wasteful things like F1 or Indy racing, let along Peak Oil and those things.

Again, as with many such issues, there is plenty of good stuff in the regional US media even if the mainstream on TV is truly clueless.

Bruce following yours: Good news Bad news ... I ran into a head gardener in a public garden who was right up to speed on Peak Oil even to the point of joining forces with others to buy a large farm ... the bad news was that this morning I got an e mail update from a 5th or 6th in line political party suggesting a gas boycott as a solution to gas prices. I would think that any party that far down on the political food chain should be up to speed on PO and be using it as a weapon. I guess it is easier to jump on the public opinion bandwagon that we are being robed by, rather than misled by, the oil corporations.


I posted this message below but wasn't sure you would see it so I am posting it again as a direct reply to your post.


I'm pretty much brand new to TOD and saw that you are in Princeton NJ. I live in Fanwood (up a little west of Rahway) and was curious to know if you belong to or know of any groups in NJ that meet and discuss PO? I'm looking for people who can discuss what the average NJ suburbanite (sp?) can do in order to prepare for PO. I'm fortunate that I live literally 5 minutes form the train station here in Fanwood (Raritan Valley line) that my wife takes into the NYC to work. I on the other hand have a 45 min to 1hr commute up the turnpike up to the Meadowlands. One funny (actually not quite so funny) thing that happened to me recently was that my Jeep which got about 17 MPG was rammed into while sitting in front of my house. Some 18 yr old girl plowed into it. So now I'm driving my wife's old Camry that I am just about getting 30 MPG and she bought a new Corolla which is rated at 38 MPG on the highway. In a couple of years once the Camry gives out I will in all liklyhood get a plug in hybrid if they are available (and if PO hasn't destroyed us yet). Anyway let me know if you know of anything in the area and I'll shoot you my email if you want it.


Hi Walter,

Unfortunately I am a mere visitor here and don't have any connections to local groups. What I would do if I moved here would be to find any local action group associated with the Whole Earth co-op [1], spend several weeks getting into the scene supporting local organic growers. There would be plenty of opportunity to bring up the oil situation when the context called for it, without needing to become shrill about the topic. Of course, such things are easier if you're a Green to begin with.

Bruce (usually in Freising, Germany)

[1] at Rte 27 & Harrison, in Princeton


Thanks for the info. I will look into such a group as you suggest. By the way not sure where Freising is located but I loved Germany when I visited. I'm German on both sides of my family so it was neat to visit. Was a long time ago now though so I wonder how much it's changed. Loved the small towns.

Best of luck in Germany. I hear Germany is the leader when it comes to solar energy.

I think one thing that is often overlooked about commuting is the two-income household. In almost all cases, one spouse works a different location than the other spouse. So where do you set up house to minimize the combined commuting distance? I personally know several couples who face this dilemma.

From the Sunday times.

By Brian Appleyard. May 27th.

An excellent piece. Long, but worth a full read.

The baby boomers and the coming intergenerational strife:

(I will be surprised if we get away without being killed and eaten, when they fully realise just what we have looted from future generations, nevermind expecting them to look after us in our dotage and complaining they dont work hard enough to keep us in medication and bizarrely coloured golfing trousers...)


Because we're worth it
The baby-boomers’ culture of hedonistic consumerism has left their offspring with the crumbs from their table. And 65% of them say their children’s lives will be worse than their own. But are they bothered?

One academic study called Greening the Greys observed that boomers have the biggest carbon footprint of any demographic sectors: 13.5 tonnes a year, up to 20% higher than anybody else.

I like this bit:

The boomers have poisoned the wells and ploughed salt into the fields. Their post-war idyll is over; the world is returning to its default mode of confrontation and violence, now made more ominous by looming catastrophes like global warming. In the midst of their success and greed, the boomers forgot Edmund Burke’s most imperishable insight – that society is a contract with three interested parties: the dead, the living and the unborn. Their children are paying the price of their amnesia. For the moment, they seem resigned, but, soon enough, they’ll want their world back.

Seems utterly crazy that parents fret over their children's education, are fearful of letting their children walk to school, play in the street, etc. And yet destroy their own children's future so completely.

I also read the whole thing. I think that if you give people the opportunity to whinge they will, in general, take that opportunity, but the following paragraph caught my eye:

“We have had a period of gradual incremental change following the shocks of the world wars in the first half of the century,” says Avner Offer, professor of economic history at Oxford, “but now new shocks are in sight – climate change, ageing, energy depletion, globalisation, immigration, runaway technology and maybe nuclear war. These cannot be dealt with by the means of changing prices, which is the current economic orthodoxy. I think we know what to do, but we don’t have the willpower to do it.”

When you think about it, since WW2 the State has generally been able to enforce its will by adjustments to the tax and subsidy system, with judicious squirts of inflation here and there. In other words, by sending price signals. What would it take for the State to rediscover its powers of physical coercion beyond the requirements of criminal law enforcement? The UK saw a hint of that during the Thatcher years (destruction of the coal and steel industry etc.). But it could get a lot worse, methinks.

A quick glance at Professor Offer's biography on Wikipedia suggests that he might have first-hand experience of how the State impresses its will on recalcitrant sectors of the population...

Avner Offer was born and raised in Israel. Unlike many academics, he has a broad range of experience in many walks of life. He has worked as a dairy farmer, soldier, and conservation worker before embarking on his successful academic career.

Interesting that you mention WW2, I believe with no great evidence that WW1 and 2 (which some believe is just one longer war) was an attempt to see if humans could commit genocide.

Before you flame, think carefully about history. To grow in an environment resources and space are needed. Germany wanted to grow and thus began seeking space and resources. This was accomplished in the past by slavery and genocide of the conquered allowing for the victor to expand into new territories. Using the tools of mass production, killing on scales unknown before was attempted. Examine the methods of the generals, sending waves of men to death at the hands of machineguns. This was WAR and war is a form of demand destruction.

The new mass produced machines were not enought to kill even a significant fraction of anyone. It was the Spanish Flu that killed the most. A virus killed more people than people killed people even with the most effective killing machines. (Starvation #1, Firebombing #2, Nukes? #3)

Here is the most important lesson, countries CANNOT fall if they possess substantial resources and a means to extract them. Thus a race to possess the MOST RESOURCES has occured! This is capitalism. Countries compete to be in an optimal sitution for when resources run out. The same can be said for States, Provices, Regions, Cities, Towns, Familys and individuals.

While still on the leftside of the extraction curve, it is impossible to win or lose wars because the rate of extraction outpaces the rate of destruction.

##edit##I would like to add that war is impossible for countries on the leftside of the extraction curve, not the winning or losing. (note the USA being able to leverage itself to win over the USSR, with the USA having more resources(coal, oil) )

There's the curse of resources, suffered by countries like Burma or Nigeria. Access to resources by external forces is maintained by supporting a brutal dictatorship.

I think what the USA is trapped in is a different curse, the curse of empire. Military power and access to resources feed on each other, as Gilgamesh points out:

countries CANNOT fall if they possess substantial resources and a means to extract them

It's a trap because of the "use it or lose it" nature of being top dog. Of course, limits to growth imply eventual loss. But this trap has dynamics that play out in months or a few years. As resource limits confront us on a shrinking time scale, the whole system will destabilize and flip into some other attractor basin. World-scale turbulence.

Jim K,
as Gilgamesh points out:
"Here is the most important lesson, countries CANNOT fall if they possess substantial resources and a means to extract them."

Of all the contentions I have ever heard in a TOD posting, I am convinced that is the single most bizarre and illogical remark I have ever heard either on TOD or away from it.

We down in the middle of a half dead string, so I will not waste too much time even arguing with it, but historically, assured resources have almost been a curse to a nation or an empire, with only a few exceptions. Of course, definitions mean a lot. When Gilgamesh says "cannot fall", is he including the nations, empires and regions that had a massive rescource and energy base but for some odd reason simply aborted in the crib and never took off? how is he defining success for a culture, nation or empire?

I'll define a "culture in the same way that Piterim Sorokin, the great Russian philoshper of history did: A culture recognizable by language, custom and ability to determine it's own destiny for at least some period of time. We will define "fall" when a nation loses the ability to determine it's own future destiny, and loses control of it's territory, custom and future destiny, and finally loses complete control of it's unique identity (this can be subjective to some extent)

A few examples: Did not Carthage "possess substantial resources and a means to extract them" comparative to all other nations of that era right up to the moment that Rome ground them out of existance?

Did not Ancient Egypt control "possess substantial resources and a means to extract them" right up to the time they began atrophy and be overrun by Greek tourists, then Roman interlopers and finally the Muslim wave, and finally the European colonial powrs (even though Egypt was not colonized in the truest sense, they fell under authority of others, and when Islam spread across older Egypt, it changed it's culture to an unrecognizable degree compared to pre-Islamic days?

Did not the Ancient aboriginal highly developed Central and South American American peoples "possess substantial resources and a means to extract them"?

Did not Spain "possess substantial resources and a means to extract them" right up to the moment they lost control of the Spanish Empire, lost control of the sea with the destruction of the Spanish Armada, and soon enough lost control of it's colonies, and have not recovered the authority they once held in the world since?

Are we starting to see a pattarn here? A case can be made that in very few cases in history has a nation who "possessed substantial resources and a means to extract them" been successful for any greater period than one who did not!

In fact, a case can be made that many nations. regions or cultures who possessed great, great abundence in possession of substantial resources have never managed to form as culture that achieved historical impact, or could even maintain control of it's own destiny once it came in contact with other cultures who possed far fewer or less "substantial resources" (!!!) But, it has proven true, and there is a reason, or set of reasons!

(a) A nation that contains fewer and less "substantial resources" must be greatly inventive and creative in the "means to extract them." REMEMBER, that all nations began with roughly the same knowledge of extraction: NONE.
But with each succeeding period, Stone age, bronze age, iron age, and finally, coal and petroleum, methods of extraction and separation of ores and minerals improved.

Interestingly, in some cultures, the "extraction" or seperation of minerals was essentially never born! So, no matter how great the quantity of their "substantial resources" they would never know:

(b) A nation that has no cultural competitors has no real need to create new methods or come up with "substantial resources" if it has no real population pressure. And thus, they often won't. Thus, what would seem like a very low population, lots of home resources on the surface, and no contact with other cultures would seem blessed. It is in fact cursed triple.

In conclusion, I ask that you look at the areas of the world that have been most "blessed", AND look at the small but astoundingly persistant cultures that have NOT been blessed with natural resources.

Australia: A native population so tiny that no real culture could congeal on such a giant land mass, blessed with the wealth of a giant continent, both on the surface and below the ground, with opprtunities for coastal fishing, timber, iron ore, tin, copper, (all the ingredients that drove the Asian and European continents to greatness, and what culture did they create in (astounding) 50,000 or more years? BUMPKIS!! NOTHING! Not even an iron age culure, not even a settled civilization! They remained hunter gatherers!
Was it due to lack of resources? No!

I used to think this was an unusual thing, but of course, it's not. The North American aboriginals remained for the most part hunter gatherers with some pastoral farming, but never proceeded to control of their own destiny when they had to confront any other developed group or nation. And of course, there is South America and Southern Africa. In most places, despite a few limited scale empires, they remained pastoral and tribal right up to the colonial period. And they shared a contitent with some great metal crafts cultures, but somehow, it just never seem to permeate vast regions. Only in a limited number of locales did extraction, craft, and trade and culture take full advantage of the powers of extracted resources. (The so called great original civilizations, Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, Greece, Ancient Central American.

But look at the culutures with virtually no home rescources, or at least as few or fewer than any other nation/culture that have riisen to levels of great destiny and power, and retained their won destiny, sometimes even through great conquest and persecution and managed to re-emerge, OFTEN with zero rescources, time after time throgh history. And this is not a "Euro-centric" list, and not limited only to "superpowers" but to cultures that retained as much of a voice through time, and as much self deternimination as nations with GREAT amounts of natural resources:

The Jews, the Kurds, The Tibetian Buddhist culture, the Japanese culture, the English after 1066 (Hastings), the Irish after colonialist persecution by the English. The roots of many of these cultures extend as far back as the ancient nations that are now destroyed in cultural aspect, in language, in history and in influence, many of which had greater resources by GREAT magnitude, AND greater and more developed methods of extraction, such as Ancient Carthage, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Mayan or Inca culture, and others.

What drives cultures is NOT and has never been raw materials (amazing to those who believe that raw materials are the determining factor in cultural existance, but they ARE NOT. They are important yes, but they are in no way the determining factor of cultural development.

So, if raw materials and "resources" do not drive cultural development and survival, WHAT DOES?

it has always been a mystery, and always will be, as to why one area seemingly blessed in every way with everything, with only a shortage of people to devour it, suffer cultural crib death, or lag far behind others, while other tiny cultures, with no resources, pesecuted by other cultures, driven around, invaded, and having to trade and lobby and wheel and deal and yes, sometimes steal to get the resources they need for even a tiny culture, yet, culturally, philosophically, in matters of world influence, in matters of self determination, in matters of cultural longevity, even through great persecutions, manage to have more from nothing as a culture than other cultures do who manage to extract nothing from so much wealth right under their feet, or sometimes right on top of the ground. WHY?

I have said it many times here: it has MORE BY FAR to do with the goals, the aesthetic, the philosophy of a culture, what the culture WANTS and what it VALUES, the way it wants to live, and what it is willing to learn to live and survive in the way it wants to live. Despite the slurs spread like mud by some here on TOD, HUMANS ARE NOT YEAST, and are not sheep. At least some of them are not.

But, to sum it up loudly in one sentence, the most important sentence many of you who read this post (which of course will be very few of you, because it does not not lie down and die in the gutter of mental and philosophical reteat and Nihilism, and it won't fit on a bumper sticker) will read for a while:

What is in the mind, in the soul and in the desire of human beings, what they are willing to learn and to develop, will matter much, much more than how much fossil fuel or petroleum is in the ground.
Natural resources have had little to do with "success" throughout history, for the individual, nation, or culture. Human talant and human original and artistic thought and philosophy of existance has had much to do with it.

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

Good post, agree entirely. Unfortunately, contemporary American culture does not inspire much hope for the future. There are not many examples of great cultures that were on the decline and then turned themselves back around. It is a very difficult thing to do.

Good rebuttal.

"A few examples: Did not Carthage "possess substantial resources and a means to extract them" comparative to all other nations of that era right up to the moment that Rome ground them out of existance?"

Note my point about genocide. If the Carthinians were genocided, they were indeed wiped out to make room for Rome's growth.

I should have qualified the statement with the fact that nations who seek to conquor other nations possessing substantial resources while not attempting to genocide the population will fail. (note vietnam and other insurgencies)

Ancient egypt on the left side of the resource curve will lose to a country on the right side of the curve. If both are at the left, neither can win(resource extraction outcompetes capital destruction). If both are at the peak or right side, the nation with more stored resources wins.

Same with natives of all cultures, the natives of NA typically encountered peoples who were peaking at the resource curve, which means that those people were also technologically advanced enough to move up the resource extraction curve, and would have no difficulty destroying lesser advanced peoples with the stored resource and tech base.

Again, I should have qualified my words to the left side of the resource curve.

Thinking this way, the Jewish people have survived by possessing sustantial resources at all times. Using stored resources to purchase freedom, food, travel, and land. (in the middle ages by lending with interest they became the banker and accounting class giving strong proficieny with numbers and the ability to save resources). This storage of resources also makes the jewish people a target of opportunity in many cases, a poor nation may confiscate all their belongings and holdings to finance something.

I really don't know much about the Kurds.

The tibetian buhdists are being genocided by china through a program of population overflow. By dilutign the traditional culture below a critical threshold(that of continuance) china has found a way to destroy a culture and people with little/no violence. (in this example cultural genocide is occuring where no new or very few tibetian children will know of buhdism)

"So, if raw materials and "resources" do not drive cultural development and survival, WHAT DOES?"

Scarcity of those resources drives the techological curve upwards. When a resource peaks, wars occur. Land (especially arable land) can also be thought of in this manner. Wars have been fought over land/salt/fishing grounds/shipping lanes/pipelines/oil/gold/silver/food/timber/iron/coal wars have never started over people.

Your citation of indigious peoples, who live sustainably is lacking to me. A people who lives sustainably and does not seek more will never encounter war, except when brought by an outside force.

The hunter gather does not go out killing other hunter gathers until his resources are taxed(growing population or lack of game). The farmer will not kill the hunter gather unless he runs out of his resource(farmland). Who would want to fight 'the-most-dangerous-game-of-all' man?

If humans are not animals what are we? Are animals then human? Humans are capable of higher order reasoning, but so too are many monkey species and birds. Same with sea mammals.

As we get into an arguement about 'what it means to be human' 'how can society survive' 'why do bad things happen'

I'm glad i got a long response. Some parts of my arguement really don't make sense, and by forcing me to encounter these parts i am capable of fixing and relooking at the problems of my statements. Thank you for your input.


Thank you for your response, it made me think about a few issues too, and see some gaps in my own thinking, knowledge and reasoning (darn the gaps, Albert Camus once said that a theory is only incorrect in so far as it is incomplete, and all human theories are so darned incomplete! :-(

It's odd that I did not really see a pattern, or at least overlooked it, that all almost all cultures that have not been strong on the resource extraction side of things are on the bad end (victim) of world genocides throughout history.
Boy, there's a bigtime incentive to get good at resources extraction!

And your observation about the Jewish culture was excellent and perceptive:
"Thinking this way, the Jewish people have survived by possessing sustantial resources at all times. Using stored resources to purchase freedom, food, travel, and land. (in the middle ages by lending with interest they became the banker and accounting class giving strong proficieny with numbers and the ability to save resources). This storage of resources also makes the jewish people a target of opportunity in many cases, a poor nation may confiscate all their belongings and holdings to finance something."

This works a line of thinking that is fascinating, about being involved in vs. attempting to divorce ones self or culture from the economic and cultural systems of your times (I know this is a comparison easily shot with gaps, but take the Jewish ownership/investment model compared to the Gypsy Bohemian model) They each have cutural identity, freedom and wealth of a sort,, but an interestingly different sort. That's interesting! :-)

Your points about cultural dilution concerning the Tibetian Buddhist culture is well taken, I was looking at the historical model over past centuries. What the future holds I do not know, and the situation there is in many ways tragic, and has been horrible for them this century. That they still have any identity at all is a tribute to their devotion and bravery.

On your question "If humans are not animals what are we? Are animals then human? Humans are capable of higher order reasoning, but so too are many monkey species and birds. Same with sea mammals."

That one strikes at the heart of an aesthetic and philosophical viewpoint and can be very controversial: First, of course humans are animals (my sentence said we were not yeast or sheep, which a bit of an ironic strike back a some terms often used here...we know that all through history, symbols have been important, that is why kings and empires put lions and eagles on their coat of arms and not yeast and sheep! :-)

And on reasoning skils, that alone is not big enough to put in the human resume' to give us a huge promotion over the animals, givent that they often reason very well!

My point was about something that transends reason, and is in a certain way a bit uncomfortable to talk about, but that matters so much, this being the distinctly human sense of aesthetic, destiny, goals and desire.

First, a disclaimer: I know very well that my thinking is biased by my youthful readings and encounters with the so called "Aesthetic" and for lack of a better word, "destiny" or "Ethics" driven philosophers of history (think Kant, Hegel, Danilevsky, Spengler, Toynbee, berdyaev, Northrop, Albert Schwietzer, Alvin Toffler, etc) and I do know that many of the premises of these philosophies are now falling very much out of fashion. But, we are somewhat the products of our early education and upbringing, and I am, admittedly, a "Romanticist' and Mystic in matters of human purpose, destiny, desire, progress of a certain cyclical type, cause and effect, etc.

My point was not that resources do not matter, because of course they do, but that the desire, the "aesthetic" sense of what a culture likes and wants to be, to look like, to enjoy, to accomplish, it's understanding of it's purpose and abilities matter much more.

I will take a bit of an odd turn for a closing example: Have you ever read columns by Erma Bombeck?

Born in 1927, graduated college in 1949, she wrote humorous books and columns about the world that James Howard Kunstler hates to the core of his being, "depicting suburban home life in the second half of the 20th century." (Wiki quote as intro)

But they are more than just humor. They are the picture of a culture at street level, touching, sincere, loving, honest about the power and the annoyances of family, community, and about the years so many people did spend on Earth between 1948 and the present, and deep in their heart loved, knew, and understood.

This is the aesthetic, the accomodaton of the day to day reality that the suburban peoples of the world, with their kids, their cars, their suburban homes, etc, is. It is not, as Kunstler and the others here, the lives of ignorant "sheep", or yeast brained people. This is the lives that their parents and their parents parents lived, worked almost as slaves, and died poor to give them.

Humans are different than animals not in that they can reason, As you point out, many animals can do that. Computers and Artificial Intelligence systems can do that.

Humans are different in that they have a sense of CHANGE, of destiny, of the ability to work and to develop ideas that they know they will die before they ever get to see completed. Humans have a sense of destiny, a desire to "perfect" to change the world, to transcend space and time that no other creature is known to have. This is not reason. Reason is a tool used to accomplish destiny, to accomplish an aesthetic change in the world and in existance.

And as the writings of Erma Bombeck and on the other end of the philosophical spectrum, James Howard Kunstler show, humans raised in the same culture can differ wildly on what aesthetic should apply, what goals should be sought, how a people should live and want to live. What is hated by one can be loved devotely by others. And it has almost nothing to do with reason, and relies far less on "resources" than it does on the ideas of destiny and aesthetic that hold sway in a population.

But, as I said, I am a romantic.....:-)

Thanks again for some fun in looking over the big picture, as you said it ",As we get into an arguement about 'what it means to be human' 'how can society survive' 'why do bad things happen" and my version of the question, "How do we WANT to live, and what do we WANT to be...."

Deep stuff.....

Roger Conner Jr.
Remember we are only one cubic mile from freedom

The Age of Aquarius hasn't exactly worked out as it was advertised.

With all due respect, I see the culture of hedonistic consumerism as intergenerational. I see little evidence that the generation after the baby boomers is any improvement. On a personal level, my children largely see me as somewhat crazy for preaching frugality, peak oil, and global warming. "Lighten up, dad", they say. "There's nothing we can do about it."

With respect to gen X,Y, etc., why are any people in this generation having children? I think ignorance and lack of awareness is pretty well spread across generations.

I think there was some hope and some good things happpening in the 70s, while the culture of serious hedonism and fuck the planet mentality got into full gear under Reagan. We were warned by Jimmy Carter and rewarded him by calling him one of the worst presidents ever. Now, people are still dumping on him while he points out the problems with the current president.

Clinton was not much of an improvement since he pretty much preached the idea that we can have it all. Well, I guess we did and now the piper has been paid.

Around here at least about the only people I see at things like StepItUp and relocalization meetings are baby boomers. Are they just trying to improve their karma? I don't know but I see relatively little interest among young people when it comes to global warming and related events. Maybe they are too busy trying to make a buck.

Let me echo that statement about our consumer society being intergenerational. It always annoys me when this list slips into being a generational hate-fest. But then I'm one of those villainous boomers, having had the poor taste to arrange to be born in 1950.

It was actually our parents' generation who laid the foundations for today's wasteful suburbial society. And they meant well. After the gloom of the Depression and the sacrifices of wartime, a binge of frenetic economic excess seemed a reasonable and constructive course to take. In 1945, no one had heard of the "environment", as the term is used today.

It was about 1970 that anyone, other than eccentric visionaries, started to raise a fuss about pollution, and talking about limits to economic growth. This is precisely when we baby-boomers were entering adulthood, but not yet shackled to careers and families. Just coincidence, no doubt.

As a cyclist, I frequently bristle at the aggressive behaviour of the sort of people who drive big pickups. If I catch a glimpse of the driver, he may be someone my age. Usually he is considerably younger. That is just simple mathematics -- nowadays I'm well above median age, even of people with driver's licences.

The younger members of my extended family still surprise me a bit when they assume that any travel of any distance must be done by air. For shorter trips, they will use a car if at all possible. I don't grudge them these indulgences, because I know that if they don't fly and drive now, they aren't going to have much chance to do so in later years. And they can't ride the trains nearly as easily as we could in my youth.

The 20-something generation certainly is an apathetic one, but I don't think it's really unique to us. It's just an apathetic time.

The reason you see no interest from 'young people' in global warming is twofold.

Firstly selection bias. Relocalization meetings? Please. I'm interested in these topics, and am under 25, but have no interest in spending evenings at talking shops instead of being out with my friends. So sue me.

Secondly, for the same reason that nobody seems to care regardless of age. It's not that they don't care. It's that they feel powerless to do anything. There are all kinds of problems with climate change that cause people to not take action.

For instance:

The timescales are very long.

The science keeps changing, and the news keeps getting worse. What seem like ambitious targets are set, and then two years later, we're told that won't be good enough. Pretty demoralizing.

Politics is pretty corrupt. Partly that's just a perception created by the media, and partly it's just the truth. The democracy we use in the developed world is not particularly democratic, so citizens feel disconnected from the decision making process. Protests are a waste of time - fun way to spend an afternoon if you're bored but they never achieved anything, not in our living memories anyway. Worse still, you risk getting involved in a riot if things get out of hand.

Also, there are no good technical solutions. We need to replace oil in our cars with something else, but what?

But the biggest problem of all is that people intuitively understand that the fault lies with "the system", and that individual action can only achieve so much. Why should I give up on that nice holiday, when the plane will fly anyway whether I'm on it or not?

The fact that global warming has been known as a problem for pretty much as long as we've been alive doesn't help. I can't remember a time when climate change wasn't going to kill us all, yet nothing ever changes. So the feeling of immovable inertia gets stronger.

Personally I ignore climate change as an issue these days. It's nothing I can affect so why worry about it. Peak oil is a more interesting problem because I can think of ways I can have a reasonably large impact. But I got lucky in that sense, just good timing really, and it doesn't apply to most people. So they look at the problem again and say "well, what can I do" - answer, nothing, so, why think about it.

To simplify all that down to "maybe they're just trying to make a buck" is kinda insulting, really. The rational thing to do with these problems is to ignore them and have a good time. Anything else is deeply irrational, no matter how immoral it might be.

I am just making observations. You have pretty much confirmed the validity of my observations. The reference to making a buck is probably true and not necessarily insulting. After all, it is not all that easy to make a buck these days for a lot of people and is very time consuming.

Given that you are claiming a rational response amongst the 20 somethings, I guess it follows that the response of the baby boomers I see at these meetings, marches, etc. is irrational. Perhaps it is, but some of us haven't given up yet.

My only real point is that it doesn't make sense to just point fingers at the baby boomers. We're all in this together.

Things are already happening vis a vis global warming. Maybe it hasn't directly affected you yet, but it will. But yeh, it is pretty daunting to think we can really do anything about it.

Oh, and another thing. I would be interested in ways you think you can have a reasonably large impact on peak oil. If true, I think it may follow that you can have a reasonably large impact on carbon emissions.

As someone in their mid-20s I do wholeheartedly agree that people my age care little about anything PO, GW, TEOTWAWKI related--and I would argue it has to do with a lot of things, but mainly the following:

People in my age bracket, like any other group fall into different "classes", as Marx would say.

There are essentially the really poor, who are just busy being struggling to stay solvent.

Then there are the lower-middleclass, sort of the lumpenproletariat of a service economy. They just want to drive their ceaselessly depreciating assets (their big trucks) while struggling to meet the payments. Beer, sports, NASCAR all around here.

Then there are the upperclasses, who are struggling to "make it" as you pointed out duly above, trying to get as much money from everyone else (the lumpernproletariat, the world's poor, etc.) while the games last.

The only place the PO research gets you, is if you have the following psychological predispositions from environmental exposure...

A) interested in improving the world
B) concerned that the scientific method is not being taken seriously
C) concerns about population growth, and the aftermath of an energy scarce world with an overshot population
D) disgust in the present "aesthetics" of modern American development (and the trends that are following it all around the world
E) Deep sadness about the willingness of our people to fight illegal wars for oil

This is a really basic list which could be expanded upon (from both the "non-carers" heh, an the "carers).

Honestly, I would say most people are NOT *seriously* interested in:

A) improving the world
B) science not being taken seriously (the republicans seem to like this, and feed off it)
C) techno-fixers think population can increase forever... Hudson Institute, AEI ad infinitum
D) Generally, my generation has little to no idea how ugly and poorly planned America is--and even if they did admit so they would still "like" it... and the "freedoms" that are afforded by the car. I remember Bill Gates' really shitty book in the 90s (fyi, I use the wonderful GNU/Linux) which was utterly un-innovative, but that is a non sequitur... The point is he stresses having your own car, and a road to do what you want and then paradoxically says this is what his shabby company offers... From my understanding what Mr. Gates is perfectly aligned with the philosophy of ithe individual Americans... this is clearly why when you poll Americans you consistently find that people like corporations, and don't want things to change--that's why congress is consistently in gridlock, imho. Nothing needs to be done, everything is great! We're all happy! Just build some more roads, because, man, is the traffic a killer."

In general I agree that it was no single generation that is responsible for the "clusterfuck" that is what we presently have--yes, it started after WWII, but as has been said over and over, who can blame people that just lived through a awful depression and then the world's worse war for what they ended up setting up? It *was* cheap energy, and we just shuffled along on that premise, all the way to today where we import around 5 million barrels of not-so-cheap oil a day to keep the economy treading water...

Robert Moses really is the Moses of the 20th century.

I'm from the boomer generation (born in 1954) and I know that a lot of people looked at Vietnam War protests as a great place to pick up hippie chicks. I think for perhaps a few years people's intentions were idealistic then it people seemed to get jaded.

By the way I saw a show about nanotechnology and it said that a scientist has developed a substance using nanotechnology whereby we wouldn't have to change our car's oil or grease the car. This substance is incrediably small and would lubricate even better than oil based products. Perhpas there is some hope yet.

Zoning rules stymie wind power in some communities

"Planning and zoning are the single biggest obstacle to wind energy in the United States," said Roy Butler, owner of Four Winds Renewable Energy in western New York, who often consults with local governments faced with turbine permit requests.

What are we going to need, a constitutional amendment?

"The right to place wind generators or solar energy panels on private property shall not be infringed."

Heh, even the most obvious, and cost effective, domestic wind/solar energy system: a piece of rope used as a clothes line, is "illegal" in many N. American subdivisions. :(

It's a tragic comedy watching our society fail the "Darwin test"

Assume: 100 million households in N. America, each with a drier

Average energy consumption of drier 900 kwh/yr (from the energy guide label on my drier, weak stat. I know but hey...)

If half of that was converted to clothes lines savings would be 45 million megawatthours / year or about 5 gigawatts continious. Say 7 nuclear plants or 12,000 Godzilla sized wind turbines.

John et al.
The clothesline issue and similar thing sis being debated here in Ontario but I fear, like all else we must wait until the crash and no one will be able to enforce stupid rules and by-laes. In the meantime I think humour and ridicule are in order.
Here is a short letter I had published in our local paper last Christmas. Keep smiling ...
It has come to my attention that various municipalities or at least sub-division developers have rules against such things as clothes-lines. Many are upset by these restrictions, however I must remind these folks that you can not fight city hall. The main reason for this is that the favorite expression with most council members is that of my younger grand children: “I didn’t do it.”, or at best “The consultant made me do it.” Do not expect support from your neighbours, most of them are concerned with the appearance of perfection in their little part of suburban nirvana. Remember that even a loose piece of plastic fake wooden façade on someone’s house leads to mass meetings and condemnations of builders, trades people and politicians. Apparently the only roll for real wood in a new suburban home is a perfectly cut piece of maple, bought from the Esso and to be burnt in the Tiffany fire place.
However, there is a perfectly legitimate way around this restriction. The casual observer will have noted mass suburban participation in Canada’s national sport, Christmas house decorating. The gaudier the better it appears. Those of us stuck with a pile of wet threads in the Kenmore can take advantage of this annual effort to burn coal in Ohio by running a few strings of lights to the corners of the back yard. Do not worry. Most suburban backyards are the size of an old fashioned welcome mat so you will have plenty left over. As a concession to your neighbours, some of whom might be named Hatfield or McCoy, be discriminating on what you hang on your strings of seasonal spectacular. For December I suggest mostly your red frilly items and the wife’s boxers with the smiling Santas on them. In my opinion they will be at least as decorative as eight pieces of birch fire wood and branches masquerading as Rudolph.
Once January or April comes around do not fret. A brief look around the neighbourhood shows there are no by-laws as of yet ordering when Christmas decorations must come down. But hurry, this might be included in pending laws controlling vehicle colour by street, forbidding walking to the mail box and loud voices such as calling your kids to dinner.
Seasons Greetings,

I wish we could afford the life we are living.


That's just a rule - a relic from the days of cheap electricity. As electricity prices go up, those rules can be easily rescinded.

The thought process behind the rule was that a clothesline looks kind of trashy. Reframe it as something green, and people will forget why they had the rule in the first place..

Portland Transit Agency sells land for TOD at a discount/loss

The TriMet board of directors approved the sale Thursday of the Crown Motel property along the Interstate MAX line to Reach Community Development for an affordable housing project.

The sale of the motel at 5226 N. Interstate Ave. falls under a federal rule that allows transit agencies to sell property for significantly less than it's worth if it will generate riders.

The agency bought the 24,000 square-foot property in 2005 with $907,000 in light-rail money. TriMet planned to use the land for redevelopment around the MAX line.

Reach will pay TriMet $300,000 for the site. The nonprofit developer agrees to build an $11 million project featuring at least 50 units of affordable housing, including 12 to 13 hard-to-find three-bedroom units, and 3,000 square feet of retail.

TriMet estimates 30 years of transit fares generated by the project to be worth $602,000.

"This is really a positive," said Fred Hansen, TriMet general manager.

Federal Transit Administration rules, Hansen explained, allow transit agencies to discount the sales price of property in order to encourage transit-oriented development that might not otherwise be supported by rents.

Last year, Reach announced that SERA Architects and Walsh Construction Co. would work on the project.

The Portland Development Commission is planning a residential/retail development that would include owner-occupied houses at North Killingsworth Street and Interstate Avenue. Late in 2005, a more ambitious version of Killingsworth Station fell apart when developer Tom Kemper backed out.

Other projects in the area include the city's redesign of Patton Square Park, next to the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center. There's also a condo project in the works at the site of Christ Memorial Church, 1552 N. Killingsworth St.

Stephen Beaven of The Oregonian contributed to this report. James Mayer: 503-294-4109; jimmayer@...
URL is:


The Interstate (also Yellow) Line is the newest and goes through the poorest neighborhoods of any of Portland's light rail lines. Several cheap motels on the route.

It is designed for later extension across the Columbia River to Vancouver, Washington. It is an invitation in steel and concrete to those across the river.

I was told (did not confirm) that the Interstate Highway is 8 lanes in WA, 6 lanes across the bridge, and after passing the exit for the first Yellow Line station, it narrows to 4 lanes. And there is no support in Oregon for widening it.

Best Hopes for TOD,


My question, is this a better use of tax $$ than buying 1/4th of a new LRV, or more parking for Park & Ride ? I think yes.

I was told (did not confirm) that the Interstate Highway is 8 lanes in WA, 6 lanes across the bridge, and after passing the exit for the first Yellow Line station, it narrows to 4 lanes.

I have only driven that maybe half a dozen times or so, but it doesn't sound quite right. Both in Portland and in Vancouver, WA, I-5 changes lane counts rather frequently. I am pretty sure there is a carpool lane on I-5 in OR on the way up to the bridge across the Columbia, so that would be 6 lanes. Plus of course I-5 gradually narrows as you go north in WA - it can't stay more than 4 lanes very far north of the 205 interchange.

Also one thing to be aware of as you follow the details here, there is the interstate I-5, and there is also a big city street that parallels it, Interstate Blvd. They might be half a dozen blocks apart, just guessing. The MAX yellow line runs right in the middle of Interstate Blvd, at least for most of its length.

On the other hand, the blue line runs right in the middle of I-84 from Lloyd Center out to Gateway at the I-205 interchange, and then the airport red line runs in the middle of I-205 from Gateway up to Airport Blvd.

All these Interstates!

It's quite something to see the new streetcar line going in downtown. Portland seems to be doing remarkably well at preparing for peak oil! Bike friendly and light rail friendly! We're still working on getting the two to mesh, though. There are often a lot of bikes on MAX and there can be friction.

An exhaustive Big Energy Picture presentation by David Hughes of the Canadian Geologic Survey:


Thanks to DMDelaney

I ran across this link in the washington post and it got me thinking.


Talk of resource wars have occurred on the oildrum on many occasions. But for any government to just come out and say “we are going to war over oil” just wouldn't wash with their citizens.

For starters it would be admitting to a shortage, and that would cause a panic in the marketplace. Also you will need to whip the public into a frenzy over something more traditionally used to justify war. Like the WMD or the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. They need to brought to the point of mindless patriotic anger.

I can't help notice that tension and rhetoric seem to be increasing between the USA and our old cold war adversaries. This would be the first step. You have to distance yourself from the enemy and paint them as and bad unreasonable people..


Hermann Goering certainly seemed to know what he was talking about:

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."


But how do you fight over oil without wasting more than you are stealing?
Will peak oil mean the return of the horse mounted calvary as we fight over the last drops?

But how do you fight over oil without wasting more than you are stealing?

Exactly. Given the vulnerability of both the oil infrastructure and social institutions ,as in Iraq, how do you actually take 'possession' after you 'win' any conflict?

And this is someplace where the oil is still relatively easy to get at. Do we think of it as oil, sweat, rigs, and war from now on? A large scale military buildup will be expensive. The cheapest tactic may be increased attacks on the opponent's oil supply. Who will want to labor under these conditions?

Let the non-negotiable lifestyle negotiations begin.

from what i understand the people in russia elected putin for stability not freedom(in the united states sense). by the the time he was elected people had enough of the 'freedom' the united states gave them after the ussr collapsed.

this is the same freedom that came in privatized all the national assets, literally overnight. putting millions on the streets. forced to sell the same stuff they made during for the money needed to eat. others had to sell everything they owned. also these same people gave out vouchers for stocks in these new private company's knowing full well these same people would just sell them for money so they can eat.
by the way the same people who gave out the vouchers bought them all back up at the cost of penny's on the dollar.

basically the people of russia were sick of being looted by the united states corporations and yearning for the power they had during the old soviet days elected putin who from what i have been seeing made good on his promises. he has wrestled power out of the hands of the oligarchs, much to the displeasure of certain people here. he is also showing that Russia is no longer going to be a faithful pet of the united states as it has been post soviet days in the political arena.

Putin will one day be seen as a Hero. He is well on his way of saving Russia from the forces that own both parties in the US and are driving it over a cliff.

In order to prove that, we will need good data on the demographic catastrope that appeared to have overtaken Russia under Yeltsin. The life expectancy fell under 60 years, and I wouldn't be surprised if the application of the Lancet study methodology of excess deaths used on Iraq yielded a figure of over a million, mostly due to health issues.

A few years ago, I read a brief outline of this crisis in, of all places, Parade Magazine, the safest of corporate mouthpieces. It said that if the trend lines continued another decade (I think) the dieoff would be the greatest experienced in Europe since the Black Death. Obviously, the mainstream media felt it was safe to report this at the time because (a) no good American would know that it was due to vulture capitalists linked to the US and Israel and (b) since we were innocent of this crime, we'd have to increase our takeover of their economy to save the Russians from their Slavic imbecility.

Then the price of oil went up and our corporate media did a 180.

Given our concerns about Peak Oil, we really need to know more about this dieoff. A website called exile.ru, run by American expats who went over to Moscow as young corporate carpetbaggers and then went native in disgust over the corruption of the Yelstin era, has a lot of articles in its archive about American involvement and the continuing hardships. It looks to me that Putin is going to be just as hard-hearted as Beijing in the suffering of his people under his brand of nationalist state capitalism.

Where's Peter Kropotkin when they need him?

A show called "Oil, Sweat and Rigs" can be seen on the Discovery network, haven't seen this mentioned here before.

It's got jump cuts and it's a bit hyped up (it's teevee for
crying out loud!) but seeing the people and rigs is
fun and educational for those of us with no oilfield experience.

Oscillating reliably between doomer and optimist

Watched it on several occasions. It brings home the extreme limits currently required to keep the oil flowing. I think it started as a documentary about the recovery efforts from Rita and Katrina.

China: U.S. Exaggerating Military Threat

The Associated Press
Sunday, May 27, 2007; 3:30 AM

BEIJING -- China lashed out at the United States on Sunday, rejecting a Pentagon report about Beijing's defense buildup as exaggerated and misleading, and saying that such rhetoric threatened attempts to improve military and trade links.

"Once again this (annual) report one-sidedly plays up the 'China threat,'" said an editorial in the People's Daily newspaper. "The report, which attempts to mislead international opinions with falsehoods, obviously runs counter to developing bilateral ties and military relations between the two countries."


So soon we forget:

At this moment, for example, in 1984 (if it was 1984), Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.


Yeah, but where does Oceania go to get hundreds of billions of dollars a year in loans and T-bill sales when we declare Eastasia the enemy?

Maybe that's why Oceania stopped reporting its M3 money supply figure this year.

Bumpy noisy 0-62 in 8.3 ,90 mpg and $13,000, YES From VW Diesel conversation brought up by SailDog, ericy, et all

Here's the thing I think will eventually bring America around to the small diesel concept. And, hey its lime green

Economically inefficient trucking will have to take a pretty big hit based on escalating fuel price and slowing retail demand. A diesel fuel use contraction and continued high (relatively innelastic) gasoline demand may continue to make diesel fuel relatively attractive from a price/availability/refinery angle. Hence passenger diesel/biodiesel niche grows.

Hopefully suburbia, commuting, and employment won't collapse overnight creating that gloomy economic/social meltdown senario. People start rethinking options. Like the Prius the small diesel commuter can overcome distance challenges and produce high carpooling passenger miles per $ where public transportation just isn't availiable yet.

It will provide a way to adapt by quadrupling or more commute efficiency cheaply and quickly w/o any new infrastructure being built. It won't need a government program or massive capital so that individuals who can afford to park or dump their guzzler can carry on with a reltively small disruption to present patterns. Relatively small disruptions may be the best kind with all the larger ones going on.

I know that some will see this as a 'blind alley' solution to a more profound change needed, but I am reminded that the crisis will arrive wherever and whenever it will and not catch folks at a convienient time. As they hunt about for unplanned alternatives the closest and simplest will probably be the most likely. And so the non negotiable lifestyle negotiations will begin!

From what I recall reading about it, the transmission was some special manumatic that sucked supremely and ruined the rest of the car. Just reading about it made me cringe. My other complaint would be that it's an aerodynamic brick like the Geo metro. I swear the design department makes them as boxy and cheap looking as possible so that people don't buy them and they can claim there's no demand.

The aerodynamic issues are easily fixable by altering the body style. The aeronautical engineer that I heard speak talked about how of the various body styles, the Jetta is probably closest to optimal, and the Beetle is the worst. What you really want is a skinny back end to minimize turbulence, and reduce drag.

The gearbox ought to be fixable too - a simple 5-speed manual ought to be just fine.

There was interesting news recently (April 2007), about VW's renewed interest in the Lupo and the 1-liter car:


Along with production of Volkswagen's Lupo 3L (a weight-optimized version of the German carmaker's former entry-level model, capable of 78 miles per U.S. gallon), development of the super-frugal research vehicle was halted by Pischetsreider in 2005.

In a controversial swipe at his successor, Piëch told the Braunschweiger Zeitung, "As I relinquished the chairmanship of Volkswagen I gave my successor the job of further developing the 1-Liter Car [Piëch's name for the research vehicle] and the Lupo 3L. Both were stopped. But we will resurrect them."

It's a bit refreshing to see Edmunds featuring this concept after their Prius/small car bashing of the past.

The sea change in the automotive world is headed right for the largest car market in the world. (and it may head to the US too,... China quip :) I wonder if the US car makers will just keep 'badge-marketing' their way through it?

Small Diesel 4X4s may be next.

heh, it is pretty amusing that the beetle is also an aerodynamic brick considering its shapely appearance but alas, it is so. I'd love to get a hold of a computational fluid dynamics software and play around with various shapes. The ideal shape is basically that of an airplane's wing, but that also must conform to certain tolerances.

I found this a while back about someone that designed an aero wing for the beetle...lowered the Cd from 0.38 to 0.28, which is huge: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2004/12/on_the_wings_of.html

A different gearbox and improved looks would certainly make the Lupo a more viable vehicle (in my eyes anyway, since I can drive stick). This (http://www.egmcartech.com/2007/05/07/photo-rendering-2010-volkswagen-lupo/) in fact looks pretty pimp and better aerodynamically (though probably still not that great). The real hurdle is to get the companies to put design effort into them like they'd actually want to drive them themselves. You can practically smell the designers and engineers contempt at having to design an economy car.

There are only two cars which appeal to me right now and neither of them exist yet. The Loremo and the Aptera. Of those two, I'd much prefer the Loremo because it seems to be more practical (has 2+2 seats, or 2 seats and some cargo space). But if VW would make that "1 liter" car for under $10,000US I'd be all over it in a second.

Ahh, yes - that's Ernie - the same retired aeronautical engineer that I mentioned before. The same one that drove from Salt Lake City to Philadelpha and got > 70mpg.

I believe that the drag coefficients were measured by getting the thing up to speed on a long straight section of highway on a day with little or no wind, and then taking it out of gear and measuring how long it takes for the car to slow down. You need to factor out rolling resistance, which predominates at low speeds. And then repeat a number of times to reduce the noise in it all...

He wrote a paper about it all, that you could can find from here:


I looked up the results from the mileage competition - Ernie got 75.59MPG with an average speed of about 50MPH.


That stretch is very ideal for mileage. Ive gotten 31 in an impala going 85 there. Just for the record.


heh, it is pretty amusing that the beetle is also an aerodynamic brick considering its shapely appearance but alas, it is so. I'd love to get a hold of a computational fluid dynamics software and play around with various shapes. The ideal shape is basically that of an airplane's wing, but that also must conform to certain tolerances.

The aerodynamic problem I had with the beetle was that it was too much of an airplane wing. The early 60s models were so lightweight that with the curve of that roof, they'd start to lift off past about 70 mph and become hard to steer.

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

I am a big fan of the Loremo and Aptera because of their aggressive combination of weight and drag control.

The VW 1-Liter might have been very expensive to produce back then, with its use of exotic materials. I used its figures as a baseline for evaluating various electric car concepts, because this is one of the few diesels for which I know a power consumption figure expressed in watts: a 6300 watt motor for a top speed of 77 mph = 81.8 watts/mile. If the very exotic engine were replaced with electric drive, and the intakes closed off, you might end up with a vehicle that could run at highway speeds on, say, 60 watts/mile, which works out to about 1 mile per lb of lithium batteries, or about 30 dollars.

The Aptera has, on paper, much better aerodynamics but a larger frontal area. The Loremo has more drag and frontal area, but 4 seats. It claims 20000 watts for a top speed of 100 mph, about 200 watts/mile, but that would be vastly less at 65 mph. The Loremo is made of crude materials, a steel frame and plastic body, and probably could be produced as an electric in China or India. That is of great importance. It means that if they had to, governments could take very extreme measures to restrict fuel consumption. That would guarantee large production runs and economies of scale for both the car and its batteries.

I was confused for a moment about your energy consumption figures until I realized it was Watt-Hours/Mile that your figures were in. 81.8 Watt-hours/mile is quite low!

I'm still confused, however at this: "60 watts/mile, which works out to about 1 mile per lb of lithium batteries, or about 30 dollars." Are you saying that a pound of lithium batteries is $30? Thereby making a 60 mile range 60 pounds of batteries for 60lbs * $30 = $1800...?

For comparison reasons it looks like there are roughly 36 kiloWatt-hours in a gallon of gasoline. Which puts a theoretically normal SUV of 18mpg unfrugality on the order of 2,000 Watt-hours/mile

Here's an excellent piece "Relocalization: A Strategic Response to Peak Oil and Climate Change" by Jason Bradford:


Brief conclusion "... most of our economic and social norms do not recognize these limits (to growth), and therefore find it difficult to respond to current threats. The laws of physics and ecology will drive economic incentives that begin to unwind some forms of global trade. However, as the (UK) “Stern Review Report” on climate change and the “Hirsch Report” on peak oil make clear, the market alone will not make this happen quickly enough or smoothly. ... An easy or painless transition is highly unlikely."

One aspect of peak oil that I find the most interesting is considering how the general public will cope with it. The ones that won't even see it coming....

Last night I was reading something that my Dad wrote about what it was like living through the Great Depression on a farm in Minnesota....

Farmers would let the crops rot in the fields rather than deliver them to market. Transportation costs for the crop were more than what they would get paid were they to sell the crop in St. Paul. A sort of barter economy started to develop - a farmer would trade chickens, cream and eggs for other goods. Not getting rich by any means, but they could get by.

Families would double up - two or three to a house. Kids would re-sole their shoes with pieces of cardboard...

Farms would go to foreclosure, but the neighbors would band together and buy them at auction for a penny, and then give it back to the person who had been living there.

Politically what was interesting was that people rapidly lost faith in the existing political parties and were searching for different ideas - at the time various leftist political parties gained large followings. The Depression was a worldwide phenomenon however, and different countries coped with it in different ways. Germany stands out as a stark example of how badly things can go wrong.

There are other nuggets of information buried in there that I am finding as I read through it all. I honestly don't know how much of this is really relevant to the case of peak oil, but it is interesting to see how people have coped with severe economic problems in the past. As I read through online message boards where people complain about gas prices, I start to see some of the same desperation and calls for irrational actions of one sort or another.

There was also a significant amount of fascist activity. We could have easily ended up as a dictatorship.


Hi BOC, From your link:

Long created the Share Our Wealth program in 1934, with the motto "Every Man a King," proposing new wealth redistribution measures in the form of a net asset tax on large corporations and individuals of great wealth to curb the poverty and crime resulting from the Great Depression. Charismatic and immensely popular for his social reform programs and willingness to take forceful action, Long was accused by his opponents of dictatorial tendencies for his near-total control of the state government.

They way I see it we now have a dictatorship by an oligarchy which doesn't have the benefit of the dictatorial general benevolence of Long.

Hugo Chavez always reminds me of Huey Long. Venezuela is a lot like Louisiana, a hot-blooded people screwed over by a plantation elite that sold out to alien oil corporations.

The problem was, Long crossed over the vague line between "reformed capitalism" and "state socialism", and that made him, like Upton Sinclair, a problem for FDR and the New Dealers. If he'd lived and won the presidency, a civil war might have occurred.

Until recently, I had always felt that it was a good thing that such a civil war was averted by the New Deal's renegotiation of class power. When I look around me now, I think that FDR just postponed the inevitable: too much consumption, too much speculation, too much corporate power for democracy to withstand.

But Chavez still ought to tack closer to FDR than Long if he wants to survive in the long run.

We did.

Indeed this is true. In good times, social order is highly valued, which leads people to be politically risk adverse - conservative, if you will.

But when things stop working for people, they will listen for various types of demagogues of one sort or another, and here is where the danger lies. One the one hand, we might get lucky, and someone comes along with some sensible ideas, and the personality to sell it to the masses. On the other, you might get someone who wishes to use military force to forcibly take resources from other parts of the world. Oh, wait - we already have that....

Any suggestions that would help to restore the status quo would be quite seductive to the general populace. To an extent, ethanol fits into this category - if prices go even higher, I expect that there will be other such non-solutions that are pushed.

Too many people are competing for too few resources.

Add to this the reality that our "non-negotiable lifestyle" is one of gross and increasing overconsumption.

War is required to maintain our lifestyle in the USA, and to some extent in other "developed" nations.

We in the USA have become a fascist nation: thoroughly militarized culture, a permanent war economy, a sense of entitlement and victimization when that entitlement is in any way threatened.

Those corporatists who game the system have never been committed to demicracy -- check out the writings of "the father of public relations" Edward Bernays and others associated with advertising and public relations. The assumption was that a small elite was needed to manipulate the masses.

The US population is easily manipulated through presntation of various threatening bogey-men and especially when these are linked to exaggerated religious, cultural, ethnic, or race differences. We are taught to desire, fear, and become enraged on cue.

Fascism has gotten better than Goebbels by building on the research of psychologists and advertisers.

A way out? We need to change the way we live. Political activism may have some effect, but very, very little. Political engagement is essentially a way to engage and deflect the energies of people who want change.

We must tend our gardens and do grassroots organising in neighborhoods. Get the word out locally through small papers and educational events and the like.

I will present a seminar to some 3rd and 4th grade students -- about 120 of them in all -- on "Tricycles, Transportation, and Global Warming." This will engage young students, parents and teachers in conversations about how to change the world by changing the way we live. We will all get a chance to ride on the pedicab!

The Establishment will not change unless we walk away from the enticements of the non-negotiable lifestyle anmd begin to create sustainable ways of living.

We will all get a chance to ride on the pedicab!

Actually, when the children are grown, most of them will be pedaling pedicabs or similar, only a few will get to ride.


Forget cars upon cars fueled by hydrogen, ethanol, biodiesel, clean coal or nuclear or solar or wind generated electricity. We may have some of those. But for far less true cost and for far greater true benefit, walking and biking will be the way we get around more than half the time in future.

If all goes well and we have a future, that is.

walking and biking will be the way we get around more than half the time in future

I am beginning to believe this more and more.

BTW, very much enjoyed your article and put it on a bike list with good response :-)

Best Hopes for low energy non-oil transportation,


The poetic justice will be, white people pedaling, visiting Chinese businessmen riding.

Something tells me your speech no matter how true or well done will not be well meet by the local pta.
$deity forbid you try to dispel the illusion cast about the kids so they can see the truth.

Hitler once said that he would win the war either way -- if he lost, it would be because the allies built an even bigger war machine.

I want to apologize to He Is So Fly for citing his Law of Receding Horizons in yesterday's "tar sands nukes" thread without attribution. I think it is a very important insight that will impact on just about everything that happens from now on.

Hummingbird, not to worry, it's not about me. What I find much more important is a definition.

And you know what? Bob Cousins just gave it the first real serious swing over at the other thread. Check this out!!! Bob's my uncle!!


BobCousins on May 27, 2007 - 11:51am | Permalink |Subthread ^

the horribly abused "receding horizons" {almost impossible to define that one mathematically}

Actually it is very easy to define mathematically. Lets say the cost of producing a barrel of oil equivalent is C, then
C = n x P + F
where n is the number of BOE used, P is the price per BOE, and F is non-energy cost.
then the required price for break-even is
P = F / (1-n)

An example. With an oil price of $40/bbl, I estimate that my tar-sand syncrude costs $80/bbl to produce. At what oil price do I break-even? The answer is not $80/bbl. Of my costs, let's say $20 is direct energy cost, and $60 are fixed costs (plant etc). Therefore
P = $60 / (1-0.5) = $120
Here I have assumed that the non-energy costs are fixed, which may not be the case. In practice, there are indirect energy costs, e.g. in producing steel.
Note this equation incorporates EROEI. In the example the EROEI was 2:1. As EROEI decreases, the break even price increases.
e.g if breakdown was $27 energy, $53 fixed costs (EROEI = 1.5 : 1)
P = 53 / (1-0.66) = $159
For EROEI = 1.1 : 1 (corn ethanol?)
P = 44 / (1-0.91) = $484

Perhaps someone could plug in some realistic figures and see what we get?


I'm pretty much brand new to TOD and saw that you are in Princeton NJ. I live in Fanwood (up a little west of Rahway) and was curious to know if you belong to or know of any groups in NJ that meet and discuss PO? I'm looking for people who can discuss what the average NJ suburbanite (sp?) can do in order to prepare for PO. I'm fortunate that I live literally 5 minutes form the train station here in Fanwood (Raritan Valley line) that my wife takes into the NYC to work. I on the other hand have a 45 min to 1hr commute up the turnpike up to the Meadowlands. One funny (actually not quite so funny) thing that happened to me recently was that my Jeep which got about 17 MPG was rammed into while sitting in front of my house. Some 18 yr old girl plowed into it. So now I'm driving my wife's old Camry that I am just about getting 30 MPG and she bought a new Corolla which is rated at 38 MPG on the highway. In a couple of years once the Camry gives out I will in all liklyhood get a plug in hybrid if they are available (and if PO hasn't destroyed us yet). Anyway let me know if you know of anything in the area and I'll shoot you my email if you want it.

I wrote this down recently at the request of a friend. Good time to inject it.
I was asked to give a talk on War to students at a local private School,
and it gave me the opportunity to review my thoughts on the whole
I had to first define the purpose of war, and I found that it really
is simple. It is to destroy your enemies will to resist, until they
give you whatever it is that you want. The method is to kill people
and break things, until that objective is reached. Historically there
has been no room for political correctness in war. No rules, no
limits, no mercy. If a village shoots at you, you destroy it, period.
Compassion, from a national perspective, is a relatively recent
phenomenon, a direct result of the riches that society has enjoyed
with the availability of cheap energy. Prior to oil a stronger
country took whatever they wanted from the weaker one. Same thing
happened all the way back to cave man. But the largess of oil fueled
society has allowed us to view our world in a different way with much
greater levels of compassion and generosity. A direct result is the
Geneva convention and "proper rules of war". Sophisticated weapons,
allow precision that allows more PC approaches to war that are
individually successful at being more compassionate, but woefully
inadequate at overall success. We did not learn the lesson of Vietnam
that allowing sanctuary to your enemy is a recipe for defeat, yet we
continue it today. We will not attack the mosque that is shooting at
us. We worry about the indigenous population and allow them to avoid
the results of the conflict as much as possible, when in reality that
approach ensures failure.
Please note that I am not defining what should occur, but rather
what allowed for victory in the past as opposed to what we do today.
Go back to how you wage war, killing people and breaking things until
there is no resistance. Eventually you kill the resisters or you
ensure that the remaining population prevents that resistance in one
way or another.( Ironic isn't it, "It takes a village") Compassionate
approaches reduce the desire for that population to eliminate
resistance and allows areas of sanctuary. It is working against the
overall mission. Our present approach, ensures defeat.
In the middle east, we are there because of oil. If there was no oil
there, we would not be there. All the rest is convenient excuses,
after all we are not in Zimbabwe, or numerous other countries where
atrocities are more widespread. We are not attacking North Korea. And
we will not leave until there is no oil to savor, democrat or
republican. The general population, today wants us out of Iraq, and
is generally supportive of these compassionate approaches to war.
When peak oil hits general consciousness, the same people will demand
we be there and care not a twit how we accomplish getting the oil,
just that we get it. Same issue with ANWR, nuclear power, coal etc.
The 80% of the population that have some level of compassion as long
as they are relatively rich and comfortable, will be ruthless when
there is no cheap energy.
So back to Iraq. If we are not there to win and by the time tested
methods that ensure victory, then we should not be there at all. But
like I said before, we will not leave on anyones watch. There will
always be excuses to stay there, no matter who is president. Only when the
oil is gone will we be too.

Thanks for that post. That is just what I believe also.
If one goes back in history there were plenty of instances where the winner of a conflict went in and simply eliminated the "enemy" 100%. Every man, woman and child. (It goes back at least as far as the battle of Jerico - where else but the MiddleEast).
Sadly, I think you are right that when the crunch comes people won't hesitate to "eliminate the enemy" by what ever means necessary and to what ever degree necessary to get back their "non-negotiable lifestyle".
Kind of hope it holds off for at least another 20 years so I can grow old and die of old age before it hits the fan - but with the way things are looking on the energy front, I kind of doubt that it will hold off that long.

If one goes back in history there were plenty of instances where the winner of a conflict went in and simply eliminated the "enemy" 100%. Every man, woman and child. (It goes back at least as far as the battle of Jerico - where else but the MiddleEast).

And there were also many cases when rules of war were accepted and roughly followed---and for those who didn't follow them the retribution was as above.

Another way to phrase this is: A well feed population is compassionate, a starving one is ruthless.


Hi Bitter,

As you say you like Data integrity, http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2587#comment-194680

In that case would you mind giving something that reflects your statement:

Another way to phrase this is: A well feed population is compassionate, a starving one is ruthless.

I could not find any connection in your link to wikipaedia.

The experiment was a miserable affair run by, I assume, well fed people who used WW II conscientious objectors as subjects.

Starvation makes otherwise rational people do stupid, destructive things. The subjects were pacifists. Willing to do this rather than hurt anyone else, but starvation pretty much blew past all that. How do you think the “regular joe” would react to the same situation? Killing for food is not a historically unusual situation.

From the link:
“most of the subjects experienced periods of severe emotional distress and depression. There were extreme reactions to the psychological effects during the experiment including self-mutilation (one subject amputated three fingers of his hand with an axe). Participants exhibited a preoccupation with food, both during the starvation period and the rehabilitation phase. “

Starvation makes otherwise rational people do stupid, destructive things.

I guess you've got me there pal .... the jokers who have led us down the garden path to Iraq and Afghanistan, while superbly and exorbitantly fed, are not really rational are they?

But then,

most of the subjects experienced periods of severe emotional distress and depression, etc..

is not exactly the same as you say, ruthless is it? I don't like using the Holocaust as an example but I think that is the way people reacted in concentration camps with distress and depression and not with ruthlessness. Ruthlessness is usually a result of people being manipulated, as was seen in Rwanda.

A well-fed population is likely to spend it's time self-absorbed. A starving population is a small step from dead. No population

I think you are absolutely right. Whether a Dem or Repub wins we sill still be there in Iraq. Just look at the map abd see where we have established bases. All around the Caspian Sea countries, Iraq, Kuwait, SA. We've pretty much put our claim on the area. I guess China is trying to do the same with several African countries. Also, when cheap energy is no more there goes ANWR, you'll have oil rigs all along every coast line. We'll be pumping like never before until we do use it all. Future generations, actuallly probably the very young alive today will have nothing left. I'm 53, perhaps things will not get bad until I am a bit polder. I think for the young under 40 it's going to really be a horrible transition from abundance of energy to a shortage of it.

I want to post this again today - I stuck it on the end of yesterday's Drumbeats but most probably missed it.


This is an excellent presentation by Australian ABC television which includes a 90-minute presentation on "Crude" for general audiences, and which also has excellent side-interviews and resources. Top-notch, a good free resource you can send people to.

I headlined it, along with your comment.

"Crude: The Incredible Journey" goes on my MUST SEE list for students.

Can't plug this one enough.

Being in Australia I saw it, as did a number of my friends (at least one of whom went to sleep - even my wife's eyes were closed but she SAYS that she was listening).

It was too long and complex for a newbie. Half of the 90 minutes was devoted to global warming and this made it confusing as it wasn't clear what they were trying to say. The claim was made that Peak Oil will not save us from Global Warming - I thought that current thinking was the other way. The documentary also referred to massive CO2 releases from volcanism during the Jurrasic - something I can not confirm.

Nevertheless, the part on the Sea of Tethys and the origins of Gawhar were very good. Well worth seeing.

Yeah, I had a hard time following the point as well.

At first it seemed to be about the formation of oil with a bunch of nifty cgi dinosaurs.

Then they started talking about PO and Hubbert.

But then it suddenly switched to a GW movie.

In the end I had no idea what point they were trying to make.

The claim was made that Peak Oil will not save us from Global Warming - I thought that current thinking was the other way.

Yes, it was not presented as clearly as one would had hoped. Regarding whether PO will "save" us from AGW.... the question is raised as to whether coal will be used to mitigate against loss in oil, or not. Personally suspect that once it is seen that ethanol is not very viable then CTL will boom.

I think that you are right - CTL will boom.

That will bring Peak Coal very quickly.

PO is in the news (print) in NZ too...

A New Zealand national magazine, The Listner, features an article that talks about Peak Oil this week.

Interesting note:

The Ministry of the Environment's response to PO concerns is along the "technology will save us" line

Response: by a senior lecturer of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Canterbury, who also worked on solar, wind and hydrogen technologies in the US - "I've gone through the circuit of all those technologies - they were my career path. When I wrote a paper that said we can have a hydrogen economy, I was lying, and I knew it. We went through production, storage, energy density, the end users, and it was hard to convince ourselves that what we were seeing on paper was true- that it just wasn't going to work."

Interesting to hear it from the horse's mouth, so to speak...

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

Peak Oil

Max Mosley, the president of FIA, the governing body for motor racing events for its 125 member countries around the world, in an interview today with the German sunday paper "Welt am Soontag" stated that Formula One racing "is not living on another planet and we have to face reality."
"We have to lead Formula 1 to a new era. It is all or nothing."

The FIA wants to establish a plan which requires by 2011
the development of energy saving motors through the use of biofuels and the energy recreation from the braking and heat development during the race. They have given the race car producers a deadline of the end of 2007 to come up with proposals and ideas. "In any case the new rules will start be applicable from Jan 1, 2008, with full application in 2011." "We cannot happily and unconcerned run our F 1 races, while the people can't get the fuel to drive to work." (my translation of quotes).

With F1 racing being the second biggest sporting event in the world after soccer, people reading this interview might now, for the first time, pay some attention to PO.

Also, if Mosley, the proverbial insider in the car world, is coming up with such a revolutionary change in car racing, there has to be significant research behind it. Toyata alone spends each year $500 million for their losing F1 team.

They would make even more of an impression on people if they switched to vehicles powered entirely by battery packs! Unfortunately, the car companies believe its in the best interest 'at the present time' to continue to FF kool-aid party a little longer.

What a shame.

Watching Indy today on the tube I look at all the people in the stands and just shake my head. How much fossil fuel was expended to fill those stands? Cars, trucks, SUVs, and lots of motorhomes. Not to mention everyone who hopped on a plane to be there. Which fuel they use to race with is immaterial. Without fuel there'll be nobody in the stands to watch the race!

Hello Sunspot,

Well said. Imagine if Indy Car racing was instead: PV-powered cars and/or tagteam bicycle racing. Additionally, imagine if the spectators were required to take RRs and/or mass-transit, or more optimally: pedal a bicycle to the event. IMO, that is the direction the race promoters need to go. PostPeakoil Racing = Tour de France, and other pedal events.

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

Without fuel there'll be nobody in the stands to watch the race!

It's not so much the people who show up to the track to watch that matter, it's the millions of suckers with nothing better to do on a beautiful Sunday than watch car racing on television. That's where the advertisers, networks, and sponsors make their big bucks.

I posted this the other day but will repeat it now:

I remember in the 1960s (67?), Mario Andretti drove the first turbine, and almost won. It was unnerving to watch - all the others would roar past, and he would just "wooosh" by. The car broke down on the last lap, and AJ Foyt passed him by to win. Everyone was cheering -- they HATED the turbine. Next year there were 3 turbines in the race -- AND THEN THEY BANNED THEM!

I never forgave the racing officials for doing that. Turbines were an interesting technology, and deserved a fair trial. It was really ironic given how they are always justifying the Indy 500 as the proving ground for new and improved automotive technology; well, maybe not. The real reason was simple pig-headed resistance to change, plus the crowd wanted to go on hearing the engines roar.

What might things have looked like if the turbines had been given a fair trial. Might we all be driving cars with turbine engines today? What type of fuel efficiency might they get? The early experimental turbine engines developed by Rover and Chrysler had interesting characteristics, but fuel economy was not one of them. With further R&D, might this have changed? Unfortunately, we will never know.

It was in 1967 but it wasn't Mario Andretti, it was Parnelli Jones.

I sort of lost interest in auto racing after that.

Turbines do have advantages but based on what I have seen from acquaintances that use turbines in offshore boats and motorcycles efficiency isn't part of the equation.

Speaking of racing, the Indy 500 (ADM has to love this) is in rain delay right now, thought I would check in.

There has been a relatively high incidence of cars into the wall today causing a lot of yellows. The Citgo (now a Venezuelan co. btw) car with the hot new chick from Venezuela (what a coincidence, lol) was one of the cars into the wall.

Tony Kanaan leads while waiting for the rain to disipate after passing Marco Andretti on the last restart.

Ironically, the race had just gone yellow again before the rain started due to the Ethanol car (read ADM, lol) hitting the wall.

Kind of spoils it for them, huh?

Quite interesting how it changed after the rain. The worst mistakes were made by Kanaan and Andretti, which sort of puts Duno's crash into perspective. Patrick's pit crew had some sort of mixup as well which put her lower down but still top ten. The eventual winner was just lucky. Lucky that the rain delay played into his having pitted just before, and that the rainout prevented his having to pit again. Just shows how stable driving helped him out... apropos Peak Oil and fuel consumption, he said explicitly that fuel conservation was the most important reason he had won!

Oil -- Past the Peak, by Orson Scott Card

"If you're spending all your time on the road, my friends, then you have definitely not arrived."

Hello Six,

Thxs for the link. Consider that super-rich Richard Rainwater has moved to a large Eco-Tech farm, and Bush & Cheney have similar Luxo-Bunkers. Very few of us will be given the chance to arrive at that point. Relocalized Permaculture Lifestyles, ala Kunstler and other experts, offers the best hope, plus whatever other Biosolar solutions that offer a positive ERoEI.

Thxs to all TODers that have replied to my earlier postings--I don't have time to respond to all-- just wanted to let you know that I do go back to the older threads to read them.

The yesterday link on Zimbabwe going back to oxencarts & oxen-plows is a logical result of FF-deprivation. The CIA Factbook says that 66% of the ZIM labor force is agriculturally employed. Now compare with the very low % of Americans that are similarly employed:[farming, forestry, and fishing 0.7%--CIA Factbook].

I hope that this present and very dangerous labor makeup can rapidly shift to help mitigate much future North American violence and optimize our FF-decline. If Zim avg. life expectancy is approx 35-40 even with a large farming labor force: does that mean the USA's avg. life expectancy might plummet to 20-25 postPeak? I have no idea, but it does not seem that far-fetched. Feel free to disagree TODers.

I hate being a fast-crash realist; I would much prefer to see Peakoil Outreach everywhere and everyone somewhat united to soften the coming blowbacks for the future young. Time will tell.

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

The week before he wrote this:

Meanwhile, the interesting science -- i.e., the science that actually works as an explanation -- is overwhelmingly heliogenic: The sun is directly and solely responsible for the overall patterns of warming and cooling that have dominated Earth, during and between ice ages, for millions of years.

No wonder Brod doesn't want us "requiring proof." He wants you barefoot and ignorant, folks. So does the rest of his team.

Me, I prefer to listen to people who insist on proof, who are eager to show me their proof, and eager to have me examine and question their proofs. That's how the global warming skeptics act. That's also how real scientists act.

Brod is crying wolf. He knows it, he admits it, yet he still expects us to believe him and run off in pursuit of the imaginary danger.

Meanwhile, there really are human-caused problems that must be dealt with, and very soon, too. Global warming isn't one of them, but our oil supply definitely is. I'll be back to that topic next week.

A peak oil believer and anthropogenic global warming skeptic, don't hear about many of those.

A peak oil believer and anthropogenic global warming skeptic, don't hear about many of those.

That's because the hysterical voices drown us out.

For what it's worth, I agree with the basic principle that adding a greenhouse gas to the atmosphere will warm the planet. I just find warnings of a 6 degree rise in temperature over the top.

During the Jurassic period C02 levels were 1500ppm and the world was 6 degrees warmer. But there was a period during the Miocene when CO2 levels were 180ppm and the temperature was also 6 degrees warmer than the present.
So there are obviously a few complicating factors at work.

But it's got to the stage where even saying that the science is not settled makes you a monster.

If it's settled, it isn't science. And if it's science, it is never settled.

If we are to believe in things we cannot see or touch, how do we tell the true belief from the false belief?

do you have a reference for these claims ? i wonder how the co2 and temperature levels were determined. istm that defining/determining the current average temperature is difficult enough.

and i suppose you can label me a global warming sceptic. my opinion being that fossil fuels may or may not be causing global warming ......... and why is it a good idea to deplete the earths resources?

There's another one who doesn't know the difference between forcing and feedback (and btw you can give us a cite for each of those numbers)...

Enders Game author believes in PO??? My brother is gonna flip!!

Gas Flaring? Anyone know how much of that is going on? There was a news bit just now on CBC that gave the impression it was a bootful and in fact it was stated that if all flaring were to stop we would meet the terms of Kyoto ... Hmmm?

Gas flaring is about 1% of total emissions, I believe.

Isn't most of what is flared methane and similar? If so, if it was released without burning, it would give a temporary boost to GW before it eventuallly broke down to CO2.

If you mean recovering and using it, wouldn't it still wind up burned?

I was a bit involved in shutting down the burning oilwells after the Kuwait war. Yet looking at what oil is actually used for... SUV's and plastic crap from China... it's hard not to feel that MOST fossil fuels are effectively being flared for useless reasons. I'm typing this on a fossil-fuel powered computer, and I can hear the neighbors next door watching the Indy 500 race on their giant plasma TV. If this isn't flaring, what is it?

You would think that some high-energy-intensity, low-labor-intensity industries would locate near oil fields just to take advantage of the gas that would otherwise just be flared off. Seems like such a waste.

GE Plastics?

The best of the Indy-500 was the winners wet wife. of course that was all I had time for.

If I can pick fault with the Australian ABC documentary it's that it spent too much time arguing about a return to Jurassic-Cretaceous conditions of high CO2, stagnant oceans and rapid organic sedimentation. That's great if it means oil for humanoids 100 million years from now, but some tips on how to get through the next 20 years would be more helpful.

Case in point; while sorting the garbage it occurred to me just how many energy intensive tin cans of rich protein we feed to cats and dogs. I'd like to see a documentary that predicts where we are heading in such mundane issues.

Case in point; while sorting the garbage it occurred to me just how many energy intensive tin cans of rich protein we feed to cats and dogs. I'd like to see a documentary that predicts where we are heading in such mundane issues.

What happens to protein-filled cats and dogs in North Korea?

There you go.

I'll admit it's totally impractical -- who cares if we create conditions for oil to be extracted 100 million years from now? -- but the "full circle" irony of the carbon cycle they depict is beautifully coherent -- and terrifying.

Agree with you.... that while it is a well done program, it did perhaps spend too much convincing us that many millions of years in the future some sentient species will be able to have oil because we've poured so much fertilizer into the shallow seas. Would have rather seen more exploration of what will have to happen over the next 40 years as we transition off of oil/gas/coal.

The relevance is not the availability of oil 100 million years hence, it's the end of the world over the scale of hundreds of years. If the oceans revert to their anoxic phase, they will be mostly dead. And humans are not the only beings who be utterly screwed.

I give them kudos for pointing this out clearly.

"China is using no-strings-attached dollar credits to gain access to Africa’s vast raw material wealth, leaving Washington’s typical control game via the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) out in the cold. Who needs the painful medicine of the IMF when China gives easy terms and builds roads and schools to boot?"

China's 'Dollar Credits' to purchase oil and mineral rights and to purchase goodwill abroad are an excellent strategy for reducing their US dollar currency reserves. For China. For the US, those dollars will come home to roost, weakening the currency further while at the same time, China is becoming the Big Man on Campus, the Good Guy, Voted Most Popular. Spending it as 'US Dollar Credits' also allows them to go on a spending spree for hard assets and diplomatic clout without immediately sending the US dollar into a tail spin. But, the surplus in US dollars is building, like credit card charges that don't have to be paid right now, but the bill will come; and it will come to the US, not to China.

Hyperinflation, anyone? We are also still monetizing the debt for the war. Just because we still have checks left in the checkbook, doesn't mean we aren't already massively overdrawn.





Stalin once said:

“When we hang the capitalists they will sell us the rope we use”

Funny how things work out.

I'm moving to another country, quick. I knew I should have moved to Canada when I was young. I need to get there before they close the borders.

What makes you think you'll be "safe" (whatever that means) in another country? What makes you think that a rampaging mob is going to be able to understand the difference between "bad Americans", "good Americans", or "former Americans"? What makes you think that the welcome mat that exists today will continue to exist if and when things really get bad? And if things do get that bad, what makes you think that returning refugees that had tried to bail out are going to receive a warm welcome back?

Have you compared the armed forces of the USA and Canada lately? Do you really think that a country that has invaded Iraq on the flimsiest of pretenses is going to refrain from doing an anschluss on Canada if things get bad enough?

IMHO, I think it is best to assume that we're all stuck here, we cannot totally escape accepting the consequences for what we as a nation have collectively done, and so we'd better try to make the best of a bad situation and at least try to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Maybe that will lead to some sort of "survival" or maybe not; maybe there is no pathway to "survival" under some scenarios. Maybe we'll each just have to live the best we can, while we can.

"Fight or flight" is a powerful basic instinct, and it is understandable that the flight impulse might seem the most compelling right now. But when there really isn't anyplace that is really "safe" to flee to, then the flight impulse does not serve us well, and it is best to tune it out. Whether we like it or not, we are in a fight, and have no real choice but to fight the good fight, for better or for worse.

"Do you really think that a country that has invaded Iraq on the flimsiest of pretenses is going to refrain from doing an anschluss on Canada if things get bad enough?"

"Maybe we'll each just have to live the best we can, while we can."

Actually, I'm already in my lifeboat in Texas. I'm not going anywhere. It was worth my tongue-in-cheek post, just to elicit the above statements. We in North America are beyond redemption. TS is about to HTF, and yes, we will have to fight it out wherever we are.

One thing,

"...we cannot totally escape accepting the consequences for what we as a nation have collectively done..."

Do you believe the working class individual had anything to do with the financial situation in this country? Maybe only because they lacked the education(because of the Education Policy in the US) to see what those in power were up to, so did not recognize the need to stop them. The nation as a whole didn't do it.

Oh, blame is certainly not to be ascribed equally. But there are very few among us that can stand truly blameless.

There I disagree. The masses in the US haven't a clue. That was well cultivated by those in power since the early 1980's. Unless, of course, you are saying ignorance is no excuse. Then, again, the sheep were more than willing to be lead for a few trinkets. I'm very torn on this issue. They didn't know what was happening, but prevented those that did from taking any effective action.

More news and opinion for those hungry for it on a slow Sunday:

Oil industry wary as hurricane season nears:
Katrina-like pummeling has devasted petroleum industry on alert


Insurers warned of severe storm season


Chuck Watson, a storm watcher for Kinetic Analysis in Maryland, told the Reuters news agency: "It is almost certain there is going to be significant production disruption in the Gulf of Mexico this year."

He said the oil industry should ensure that stockpiles away from America's vulnerable south-eastern coast are high enough to prevent shortages in the event of storm damage.

According to the Energy Information Administration, both crude oil and gasoline stocks, at 4.7 million barrels and 11.2 million barrels respectively, are below levels seen at the same time last year.

Iraq war funding bill fiasco masks collusion between Bush and Democrats:
Expansion of Middle East oil war is a bipartisan imperative


" Darfur: No. “It’s the oil, stupid.” : ...
Who needs the painful medicine of the IMF when China gives easy terms and builds roads and schools to boot?"
does anyone think that the US has the money to spend its way out of this bidding war?

"Iran's newly explored Paranj holds 1.6b in situ barrels of oil"
While it is good to see that significant discoveries are still occuring, does anyone have stats on how often oil fields > 1b barrels have been found over the last year (this field, 430 mill recoverable ~5 days world oil usage)

One of these days i'd like to see some positive news on the oil supply front one of these days, they seem to be few and far between.

I have been thinking about this all day. I have checked TOD on ocassion but mostly have been outside working in the heat , and it has been rather hot of late with no rain for 2 weeks or more. Laying stone, cutting wood, framing windows,and of course gardening.

What I was thinking about was what does one do when we no longer have a grid and therefore no electricity to run our air conditioners? For most people in the city dwellings and burbs they are stuck with very little relief. The heat builds in a city and suburbs due to large structures and road surfaces and perhaps other reasons,like smog and pollution.

Ok so what would one do after the breakdown of our utilities due to whatever,economics,no fuel ...whatever? How will someone stuck in a large building cope? No air circulation at all. Most suburban homes are not made to cope without electricity on demand.

So I pondered this most of the day. My loghouse has a lot of thermal/bio mass. The AC runs only in the afternoon when the sun has pretty much scorched everything and is in the west. Now really bearing down.

Ok I could go to the basement. Always a lot cooler there. I could live with that. But what if no basement?

I then remembered the past and how we lived without AC. In fact until 1950 even in the city there was no AC to speak of in dwellings.

On the farm we had huge shade trees. This gave us a way to evade the sun's heat by sitting on the porch. Or we sat under the maple tree in the yard. We all waited for good breeze. We just endured it is how we managed and ignored it for the most part as well.

Yet I remember one solution. If your terrain is rolling and has creeks,fed by springs usually, then if you slip off down into the holler the air is way much cooler down in the woods and as a result of that running water. Ride a motorcycle at night up and down hills. At the bottom of the hill its always chilly even in the middle of summer due to the moisture in the creeks at the bottom of the hill, down in the valley or holler. You can see the mist rising up from the ground. As you go up the hill then it gets warmer.

So my solution is to hang me a hammock or build a little leanto hut down in the holler by my house. Sleep there at night with the dogs and my gun handy. Put my beer bottles in the creek water to stay chilled.

I had a step-relative in Missouri who had a house right beside a cave entrance and most caves have running water. His house straddled that running water. He never had to use air conditioning. In the Missouri ozark hills almost every holler has a creek and usually fed by an underground spring or springs. Springs are very numerous there.

One other item I thought of. Those people who live in desert like areas, like Tontoniela(B.Shaw) .they do not have ponds I am sure. Maybe not in Texas or Oklahoma either. Maybe no ponds in many southwestern states.

Here in Ky all farms have ponds usually. On my farm there were 4 ponds. One I stocked with fish. You always had a source then of water. Granted it was pond water but at least it was water.

Out in those plains farming areas they use enourmous amounts of water on 'center pivot' rigs to spray good well water on the ground. Just google 'pivot agriculure irrigation' or whatever. Even Georgia uses some. They are all over the Mo. bootheel as well. I am always amazed to see these huge crane like structures spewing precious water in massive spurts all over ground just for the sole purpose of ensuring a big crop.

If I lived near one and they caused my well to run dry then someone would be in a lot of trouble AFAIAC. But I don't live in those areas and we don't normally use this method as we have pretty decent rainfall here. 49-55 inches is normal annual average here in Western Ky. Thank God for that.

So this fall I intend to down me some good size popular trees and erect a small hut,Thoreau style, down by the creek bottoms and spend my time there when the weather is too hot or I need a break. If I could just drill and artestian well that would certainly be handy.

In Mo. my neighbor showed me how he dowsed water. He traced a underground stream right down the hill to a wet spot in the creek bed right below my house on the hill. I tried it on his underground water lines and it worked by golly. Two coat hangers bent just so and so and held just so and so. His cousin from the way back ozarks was visiting and both of them were doing it. In fact in the Ozarks my buddies farm had a shallow well only. It was very rocky and they usually just dug shallow wells after dowsing for water.

I also believe in having shade trees in the west side of your house. This is when the sun is the most brutal.

Just getting out of the sun and under a nice big oak tree is far far cooler than squatting in the burbs with the blacktop and concrete and all those ACs running and putting out hot air.

So I'll take the holler and a hut. Maybe make some ethanol to power my soon to be gotten 4 stroke moped if I can talk my buddy out of it for a decent price. Alcohol for lamps and maybe cooking when the propane runs out and too lazy to start a wood fire.

Today I got down in the white clover to check for bees. Today I saw quite a few. Not a lot but at least they seem to be increasing slowly. Maybe they will come back. The birds are still very sparse though. We need rain bad. No sign of it. Crops are ok around here. Some still planting corn. All the wheat was pretty much a total loss. Soybeans going in the ground right now. Gas is $3.19 and stable for now.

Airdale-FTBG(from the blue grass)

I used to live in Virginia and toughed it as out as long as I could in the summer before I turned on the A/C. Weird, in retrospect, because it wasn't like global warming or peak oil was a big issue in 1983.

I grew up in Oklahoma before air conditioning and it used to get as high as 113 degrees with high humidity. As a kid, I could go swimming during the day but the nights were just holy hell. Used to put a lot of wet towels on my head and body to help with the heat. We got ac later but my dad was very frugal with the AC and sometimes I wondered if we really had the AC.

I also lived in Sacramento which gets very hot in the summer. This was in the mid 1970s so almost everyone had AC. But I didn't and it wasn't a problem at all. I had giant shade tress that covered my house and the entire lot. I also had a squirrel cage fan in the basement to bring cool air to the main floor. But it was a dry area, so don't know whether that would work in a humid area. Despite temps of 105 degress outside, my house never got above 80.

But it just gets hotter and hotter, so it could become increasingly difficult to survive these hot summers. I live in the mountains of Colorado now and we still don't need air conditioning. There is, however, one guy in town who has AC for those few times of the summer when it is relatively hot. Thirty or forty years ago, no one had ac in the mountains and very few people had it even in Denver or Colorado Springs. Now, even in Estes Park, which is 7500 feet above sea level, almost all the stores have AC and a lot of the residences.

I guess this is all part of the "new normal" but I have trouble dealing with it.

I've never had ac, even though most around do. It is so simple to just open the windows at night and store the differential for the day. Most nights will drop into the 60's, there may be 2 or 3 weeks when it doesn't, but not worth the cost of an ac unit for those afternoons/evenings of discomfort. I realize we're somewhat north, and it won't work for most.

The best part of a house is often the basement, I can't see why people build/buy without one. Keep it closed, it's always cool. And just the right temp for storage all winter long.

Airdale mentions Ozark springs above. The springhouse was central to each farm not long ago. Went back to see my father's Ozark childhood place in the early 60's, but it was pretty much abandoned even back then. Springhouse still functional. Concrete/rock box and roof, with a wooden door hanging precariously on the hinges. Inside, the water bubbled up, flooding over 2 ledges, one about 10 inches deep, the other 2 or 3. Milk went in deeper, fruits and vegetables higher. The kids back then used to see how long they could last sitting on the milk level.

You said the bees seem to be coming back. Do you use pesticides?


No I don't use pesticides. I do powder Sevin on my cabbages sometimes. Thats about all. Sevin is fairly mild and I could get by without it if I had netting.

To check on bee activity in the white clover I get down on my stomach and scan the clover tops horizontally and listen for the buzzing as we;;. This way I can get a good idea of bee activity. I suspect that foragers have spotted my yard and sent the msg on to others for each day I see a slight increase.

I had a pickup load of ag lime last year and spread it all over. This caused a huge increase in the clover. My whole yard is now mostly full of white clover amonst the grass and bermuda. Bees are supposed to be drawn to clover and thats why I am able to gauge their numbers in this way.

However it is still a very small number compared to previous years.

Farmers spray a lot of pesticides but that is very precise and not usually on flowering crops nor those not being infested.

After helping another guy capture a hive in a oak tree(blown over by wind) and filling a super with comb and then the queen,took an hour with us both squatting beside the hollow tree he had chainsawed open. I was never stung but the guy we were getting the hive for drove up and the bees gave him hell. He couldn't come near the tree.


No I don't use pesticides. I do powder Sevin on my cabbages sometimes. Thats about all. Sevin is fairly mild and I could get by without it if I had netting.

I use a mix of BT (Dipel), rotenone/pyrethrin, and insecticidal soap on my garden. That's all organic, and does a good enough job against just about anything.

If an extended period without electricity happens in most cities not having A/C will be the least of their worries. Most municipal water systems are dependent on electricity for pumping. Without clean water thirst will drive people to use unsafe surface water if they can find it and will start drinking sewage. A few weeks like this and those die-off predictions come true.

I went to graduate school in physics at U. Penn. in Philadelphia. My first year I lived in this miserable little apartment, a roach-infested affair on the ground floor, at the bottom of a five-story airshaft. I took the preliminary exams in June. It was stinking hot. I had a decent fan and wanted to keep my window open so I could keep air circulating. But somebody in that airshaft had an air-conditioner whose fan was out of line and kept going clank clank clank, plenty loud for those of us on the outboard side of that infernal device. So I was putting a bed spread on the inside of my fan to try to muffle that clank clank clank. The exam starts the next morning, and all night I am in this battle in the humid heat between noise and ventilation.

I never did get that PhD but I did at least pass the exam.

It ain't so much fun, 98 degrees and 98% humidity, but really, folks. we're headed for bigger problems than that!

Oh, this is revolting.


Beginning this Memorial Day weekend, members of the auto industry are rolling out a comprehensive campaign to convince Americans to oppose proposed increases in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) fuel economy standards, and to pressure their elected officials to vote such proposals down.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) has launched a website (www.drivecongress.com) that encourages citizens to compose messages of protest against “unrealistic fuel economy increases” to be hand-delivered to elected officials. AAM represents BMW, DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen.

The website allows users to insert statements provided by the AAM, such as “I value fuel economy, but I also want many other attributes in my automobile like safety, passenger and cargo room, performance, towing, hauling capacity and more” or “Rather than setting a harmful mandates [sic] like the one being proposed, the government should encourage the use of alternative fuels like ethanol, and provide incentives for consumers, like me, to purchase alternative fuel autos.”

Interestingly enough, the website really allows you to compose any message you like - you don't have to use the canned messages that they suggest. I am tempted to use the website to suggest the opposite of what AAM is advocating, in fact....

Whether or not CAFE is a useful tool is another matter. But this ham-handed attempt to influence the Congress is really hilarious. And with gas prices where they are right now, I cannot imagine that very many people will be in the mood for the status quo.

Any industry that would do something this slimy when gas is over $3.00, and this close to peak oil, probably has staff in place to filter the content you create, and ensure only the "right" messages get sent to congress.

Although I am tempted to send one in favor of raising the CAFE.

Maybe oil drum users should pound the site with pro-cafe messages?

Just for grins, I tried to look up the bill number that they are on about. A search on "CAFE" for Senate bills got 5 hits.


And then 3 more in the House.


Most have to do with increasing CAFE standards, but some have other purposes. It is apparently related to this announcemtnt that got the AAM all upset:


oddly enough, I cannot find a Senate bill number in the system that would correspond to what is described. The thing that I find funny about this is that I am finding scores of drafts of bills, all sponsored by different Senators, that have the same basic aim. I suppose they are going to coalesce around one plan, but I cannot find the actual wording of the bill yet.

According to the truthout article, the main stumbling block is getting it past Dingell. As it turns out, I run into him from time to time in a diner in McLean VA - I suppose I could lobby him on this, but then I suppose I would need to register as a lobbyist. Or perhaps let him eat his dinner in peace and just write a letter instead.

Et tu, Toyota?


I have bouncing between TOD and other projects most of the day. Decided not to fix supper but to go out.

Beautiful 78 degrees, mild breeze and flowering trees in bloom as dusk. Talked to a couple of neighbors on their porch as night fell. Took the long way down to Sophie's (desert FIRST !).

She is the new ice cream place in town and just 4 blocks away. (Both Brocattos and Creole Creamery have been open for generations). Once a week she makes whatever gelato and sorbets she feels like making (18 different flavors at any one time). Although she makes whatever Commanders Palace asks for (she makes bulk for them). Dolce el Leche and Creole Cream Cheese are the only two that are not gelatos or sorbets.

I chose papaya sorbet (superb !) and blueberry sorbet (quite good). We talked (it was slow) and I mentioned tankless hot water heaters when she said hers was going out. She asked for a model and where to get one. Bosch 1600 was what I have installed several times with good results in people I have helped. She said that she was going to make papaya and peach next week. I need to get back and try the banana & kiwi sorbet before it disappears (although if she likes you, you can talk her back into an old favorite :-)

Besides the homemade cookies (another local woman) and Italian candies was a selection of books for sale. "Why New Orleans Matters" and "Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the failure of Homeland Security" and similar topics.

Juan's Flying Burritos closed early (lack of help) so I went to my corner restaurant and had a "throw everything in it" salad that they make for me. Always different and best if ordered when it is slow. No artichoke hearts this time but a mixture of pecans and walnuts with feta cheese and ...

Talked a bit with the waiter (one other couple in there), tipped well, and walked out into the beauty of my neighborhood. A different aspect at night. Stopped and patted a dog through the wrought iron fence and just absorbed the night and the view. More flowering trees :-)

A bit of magic


Alan...you're great...you have exactly the mentality required to survive a post-peak world...a capacity to enjoy the simple pleasures of your community and life of the moment.

I've been wanting to do this for awhile and finally found the time to go for it...and it was inspired by your love of
"all things rail". Next weekend, I'm taking the family on a short vacation via rail from Lee's Summit, MO to St. Louis, MO. The only car involved will be the one that drives us 3 miles to the Amtrak station in town. From there on out, we will take the leisurely 5 hour Amtrak trip to St. Louis and light rail in town to local sights (City Museum, Forest Park, river boats). It will be a great education for my little kids and incredibly cheap.

Thanks for all the stories and expertise you bring to TOD.

Thanks :-))

Make sure you take Light Rail over the Mississippi River and let the kids get a feeling of just how BIG it is and see the barges below. A 100+ year old railroad bridge.

Yes, it is truly a good education for the children, showing them a different way of life that few Americans are aware of.

Best Hopes :-)


So if water vapor accounts for 95% of greenhouse gasses, what are we doing to control it?

I'm holding my breath longer.

95% by mole fraction, perhaps; not by greenhouse impact. Water vapor controls itself through a complex mechanism known as rain, which you may have heard of. CO2, on the other hand, is increasing exponentially, and nobody knows when that increase is going to saturate, or what effects it will trigger along the way.



That is actually part of my question, there is much more water vapor, but does it have the same amout of effect that CO2 has per weight? Also what is being said is that the small amout of increase that man made CO2 is of overall greenhouse gas is causing the present increase in world wide temperature. Would the same amout of chage in water vapor have the same effect?

Hello TODers,


Wow!!! From the brink of Ukrainian Civil War to 'hugs and kisses' all around in minimal negotiating time.

I am certainly no expert political analyst, but I wonder if Putin & Gazprom told the two opposing factions in Ukraine to quickly settle their differences or Putin would, in true Godfather fashion, make both of them an 'offer that they could not refuse'.

Litvenenko and polonium-210 redux, or worse? We will probably never know the threatened Russian pressures brought to bear.

Since Putin and friends want political control of the huge *stans-Russo-Euro FF-infrastructure on both sides of Ukraine.... somehow I doubt he would want those big $$$ investments jeopardized by small-scale politicians engaging in a purely local military catfight.

Additionally, for obvious FF-supply reasons: Europe didn't want the Ukraine to break out into internal war, either. I wonder if they applied a little of their own 'Godfather pressure' too. Who knows?

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

Some days back, I've read on this very site that a guy from CERA admitted that there was no super giant field yet to discover.. Ain't that a turning point?

The first gas turbine powered car was JET 1 which was
built by the Rover car company in 1950, and I can well
remember my excitement as a child on seeing this car being
driven on a public road in north London.

I also had the pleasure of seeing the Rover-BRM running in
the 1963 Le Mans 24 hour race. It was driven by Graham Hill
and Richie Ginther, and although not 'officially competing'
it averaged 108mph (with a fuel consumption of 7mpg {Imp.}),
which would have placed it 8th. position.

The Rover Car Company was in fact responsible for developing
the first British jet engine in 1942, but for various reasons handed their development knowledge over to Rolls
Royce, who then proceeded to gain all the kudos.

Which shows that we'll always go back to the piston engine for cheapness, compactness, flexibility and reliability despite poor thermal efficiency. Whatever the transport of the future most of the cars still left on the interstate highways will have a piston engine at least for backup power. The fuel will be room temperature carbon based liquid or low pressure gas.

Steam is the technology we have missed.

The Stanley and Doble steamers were actually better cars, with much simpler and more reliable running gear, than their petrol powered ICE competitors. The difference being the speed of reciprocation is much lower, so you don't need the complex gearing.


A Doble steam car actually ran for 250k miles without significant maintenance.

(Jay Leno drives a Stanley Steamer)

It is an accident of history that we have ICE cars rather than steam powered ones.

The link to The Upside of Down at ASPO Canada is broken....

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