DrumBeat: May 29, 2007

Our blind faith in oil growth could bring the economy crashing down

Motorised transport is a form of time travel. We mine the compressed time of other eras - the infinitesimal rain of plankton on the ocean floor, the settlement of trees in anoxic swamps - and use it to accelerate through our own. Every tank of fuel contains thousands of years of accretions. Our future depends on the expectation that the past will never be exhausted.

The energy white paper the government published last week talks of new taxes, new markets, new research, new incentives. Anyone reading the chapter on transport would be forgiven for believing that the government has the problem under control: as a result of its measures, we are likely to see a great reduction in our use of geological time.

Buried in another chapter, however, and so far missed by all journalists, there is a remarkable admission: "The majority (66%) of UK oil demand is derived from demand for transport fuels which is expected to increase modestly over the medium term." To increase? If the government is implementing all the exciting measures the transport chapter contains, how on earth could our use of fuel increase?

Middle East makes inroads into Alberta oil patch

In a startling reversal of history, a Middle Eastern energy company is pushing into the Canadian oil and gas market looking for secure supplies, and, thanks to a battle with activist shareholders on this continent, it may be getting a good deal in the process.

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA) said Tuesday it has struck a deal to buy North Rock Resources Ltd., a Calgary-based oil and gas exploration firm, for $2-billion (U.S.) from Pogo Producing Co. of Houston.

Northrock president David Pearce said he thinks that, assuming Investment Canada approves the deal, it would make TAQA the first Middle Eastern company to become an owner in the Canadian oil patch. “It is my understanding through preliminary discussions that they have a desire to diversify into relatively secure geographies.”

Global warming's boom town

Ilulissat, a town of 5,000 people in the chilly north of Greenland, is hot. Majestic blue icebergs the size of small islands float outside its harbour; its ice fjord drains 7% of the area of the Greenland ice sheet. It is the place to go to see global warming in action. And getting there has just become much easier. This week Air Greenland began commercial flights between Kangerlussuaq, a former military airstrip to the south, and Baltimore in Maryland. American eco-tourists can now fly straight to the Danish territory without going via Copenhagen.

Anxiously watching a different world

Having agitated about global warming for decades, northerners now find the focus is not on them but on wildlife. So while they welcome celebrities who drop by to publicise climate change—a British businessman, Sir Richard Branson, travelled across Baffin Island by dogsled this spring, while Jake Gyllenhaal, an American actor, visited Iqaluit in 2005—they have little time for those who equate saving the environment with animal rights.

What really worries some northerners is that the concomitants of climate change—more shipping, mining, and oil and gas exploration—may threaten the environment and with it the Inuit's traditional life, based on hunting and fishing. “We're more hardcore than Greenpeace because we know what nature is,” says Nick Illauq, a youth leader from Clyde River in Nunavut.

Others want development—but on their terms. Last year Nunavut's economy grew by 5.8%, second only to that of oil-rich Alberta. Much of the boost came from the opening of the territory's first diamond mine. “There has always been a sense that the northern ice desert of Canada was a treasure trove,” says Peter Gillin of Tahera, the mining company involved. Spending on mineral exploration in the three northern territories has almost tripled in the past five years. Of the 130 companies exploring in Nunavut this year, 32 are looking for uranium. Others are seeking gold, diamonds, silver, zinc, nickel, copper, iron ore and sapphires. Guy d'Argencourt, who supervises mining claims for Nunavut's government, recalls the old joke that a typical Inuit family consisted of father, mother, two children and an anthropologist. Now it is geologists who are ubiquitous, he says.

Turkish minister vows to implement gas project bypassing Russia

The Turkish energy minister said Tuesday the ambitious gas pipeline project linking the energy-rich Caspian Sea to Europe, bypassing Russia, will definitely be implemented.

The $6 billion pipeline project, referred to as Nabucco, is expected to run through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2008, so that the pipeline could go on stream in 2011.

The European Union expects the project to diversify its supply routes away from Russia and boost European energy security.

Thirsty for oil

Re-entering Libya is critical for a company like BP, which is desperate to boost its reserves and is seeing its Russian plans turn sour. But Libya knows just how much BP needs this deal. Gone are the days when BP could walk into a foreign land and pocket most of the revenue.

One of the reasons Western majors have taken so long to return to the country is the onerous terms Colonel Gaddafi’s ministers have set.

Blair praises 'easy' relationship with Gadaffi

"The fact is we need Libya's help now in combating terrorism and there are fantastic, huge commercial opportunities, but it's also important for the development of Africa," Blair was reported to have told journalists during the flight to Tripoli.

He said relations with Libya have been "transformed" and are now "completely productive".

The cruelties of global warming

Peru's glaciers are melting. High in the Andes, freak hailstorms and cold snaps are freezing llamas to death. In the north of Kenya, unprecedented droughts have driven herdsmen into deadly battles for the few water holes. In the mountains of Tajikistan, near the border with Afghan-istan, flooding and landslides are washing away the crops.

Across the developing world, man-made climate change is an indisputable reality and it is already hitting hardest against the poorest nations.

South Korea to start state-led carbon fund

South Korea, which imports 97 percent of its energy and mineral needs, said Monday that it planned to establish the country's first government-led carbon fund in July.

The fund may be as large as 200 billion won, or $216 million, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said. It will invest in carbon-reducing businesses approved by the United Nations and profit from selling the carbon credits these businesses produce.

APEC to Study Impact of State-Owned Oil Companies

Ministers from APEC, which accounts for 60 percent of global oil and gas demand, are meeting in Darwin, Australia, to discuss energy security and minimizing harmful emissions. The group's dependency on oil imports is set to rise at a time when governments led by Russia and Venezuela are seizing oil assets from private companies.

``It's a problem that private, international oil companies find it difficult to develop reserves,'' Claude Mandil, the International Energy Agency's executive director, said in an interview today. ``Partnerships of state-controlled and private oil companies are needed, but the way to cooperate hasn't been invented.''

BP Plc's Russian venture lost a court case yesterday over its license to a Siberian gas deposit with enough fuel to supply Asia for five years, allowing Russia's government to regain control of the field as early as this week.

China opposes new Sudan sanctions, defends oil cooperation

China on Tuesday said it opposed more sanctions against Sudan and defended its cooperation in oil exploitation with the Sudanese government.

'If you only put pressure on Sudan, it is not helpful to resolving the issue [of Darfur]; it can only make the issue more complicated,' said Liu Guijin, a special envoy to Sudan for Chinese President Hu Jintao.

China to regulate natural gas imports from June 10

Competition over gas purchases has helped overseas exporters raise prices, it said.

The situation has been blamed on the lax import system for natural gas. Currently, enterprises do not have to satisfy any conditions to obtain import permits for natural gas. After June 10, each application for an import permit will be examined and approved, Xinhua said.

Apart from the three major companies, enterprises controlled by local governments have joined the competition for gas imports, which is contributing to a further hike in prices, the agency said.

Pakistan says BP to bid for state oil firm - official

A Pakistani government minister minister said that British oil firm BP has not yet won a majority stake in Pakistan State Oil (PSO), but it has been approved to make a bid for it.

Minister of Privatization and Investment Zahid Hamid said bidding for a controlling stake in the country's largest oil supplier would only begin later in June.

Iran hopes to finalise India pipeline deal in June

Iran said on Tuesday it hopes to sign a final deal next month for a $7 billion pipeline that transfers natural gas to India through Pakistan, Iranian media reported.

The three countries agreed over the price formula for the pipeline in January and a new round of negotiations started in Tehran on Sunday.

Gazprom goes after 10pc of UK gas market

Gazprom, Russia's gas monopoly, has drawn up ambitious plans to seize control of 10pc of the UK gas market by 2010.

As part of the plan Gazprom is considering building power stations in the UK in partnership with other energy firms, Vitaly Vasiliev, chief executive of Gazprom Marketing and Trading (GMT) told The Daily Telegraph.

Gasoline message heard clearly

Voters are steamed about the record prices they're seeing at the pump, just as the summer vacation season is getting under way.

And lawmakers are scrambling to do something, anything they can to help.

Brushing aside veto threats from the White House, the House last week passed bills authorizing the federal government to sue the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and to go after price gougers.

The Senate could take up similar provisions in June.

Lawmakers also are taking to the microphones to castigate the oil companies for their refinery mishaps, raise the specter of renewed government intervention into the industry and — this being Washington — take potshots at one another.

Easterners could freeze in the dark

Indeed, Canada's official goal is greater continental co-operation, at the expense of our own security of supply.

For example, in researching how Canada's energy security would be affected by exporting more energy to the United States, I learned that Canada has no plans, or enough pipelines, to get oil to Eastern Canadians in the event of an international supply crisis.

Further, I was surprised that the government was not even studying Canadian energy security.

The National Energy Board wrote me on April 12: "Unfortunately, the NEB has not undertaken any studies on security of supply." Yet the board's mandate is to "promote safety and security ... in the Canadian public interest."

I asked if Canada, as a member of the International Energy Agency, will establish a Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The IEA was created to counter OPEC's boycotting power; its 24 members are supposed to maintain 90 days of emergency oil reserves.

The NEB replied that Canada "was specifically exempted from establishing a reserve, on the grounds that Canada is a net exporting country whereas the other members are net importers."

But that doesn't make sense. Canada may be a net exporter, but it still imports 40 per cent of its oil - 850,000 barrels per day - to meet 90 per cent of Atlantic Canada's and Quebec's needs, and 40 per cent of Ontario's.

Why gas costs so much

In this first year daylight savings time was moved ahead by three weeks, vehicle use in Canada soared. Seems many folks used that extra hour of evening daylight to drive rather than park the car. Or to check tire pressure, a simple way of increasing fuel efficiency.

Sales of SUVs, pick-up trucks and other gas-guzzlers have declined, but remain more brisk than the media suggest. Small-car sales are on the rise.

But often they're a third addition to the family fleet, according to U.S. auto-trend watcher CNW Marketing Research.

That new Prius, Fit or Smart is a balm to the conscience, but seldom a replacement for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and 425-hp Chrysler 300 in the driveway, for hauling and vacations.

Report: Diesels to Outstrip Hybrids in Accelerating U.S. Growth

With U.S. regulators looking to revise fuel economy standards amid concerns for energy security and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, new research published by UBS and Ricardo points to combined annual diesel and hybrid gasoline vehicle sales in the United States of 2.7 million by 2012. The Ricardo / UBS research report "Is Diesel set to boom in the US?" sets out the legislative and consumer drivers of engine technology for the North American automotive market over the coming decade, as well as the many candidate technologies available for future vehicle products.

At present, hybrid gasoline technology appears to be the preferred route in the United States, not least due to its attraction as a visible badge of green awareness amongst higher income purchasers. Many original equipment manufacturers plan to launch hybrid products in the next few years, but the report highlights that this technology faces substantial manufacturing cost penalties, which are unlikely to be eroded even in mass production. Diesel has a clear cost advantage over hybrid, even when fitted with the type of complex exhaust after-treatment technologies necessary to meet future, more stringent emissions regulations.

CNOOC to Undertake Deepwater Exploration on its Own

China National Offshore Oil Corp., or CNOOC, Friday said it plans go into deepwater exploration to look for petroleum reserves in offshore China, using its own deepwater drilling rig.

The "experiment" will be carried out in October, Chairman Fu Chengyu told reporters after the annual general meeting of CNOOC's listed unit, CNOOC Ltd. (0883.HK)

This will be CNOOC's first independent foray into deepwater exploration. The third largest Chinese oil firm in terms of assets has so far signed 10 deepwater contracts with foreign companies, such as Canada's Husky Energy Inc., (HSE.T), to use their expertise in drilling in depths where it lacks the necessary technology.

Britain may have missed its chance for clean coal

Britain could be on the verge of missing a huge opportunity to export clean coal technology around the world, energy analysts said yesterday.

They warned that BP's decision to abandon plans for the development of a "green" power plant at Peterhead, Scotland, following this week's Government white paper on energy, could be the start of a slowdown in British efforts to tackle climate change. Stuart Haszeldine, an Edinburgh University geoscientist, said: "The Government says it wants to lead a carbon capture and storage project. Well, it had a lead. Now it has a lead in hot air."

The warning follows comments from Richard Budge, the chief executive officer of Powerfuel, which is now installing clean coal technology at the newly-reopened Hatfield colliery. Mr Budge said energy producers are not likely to follow his company without a much clearer position on financial incentives from the Government.

Australian bet on clean coal risks climate change

The Australian Labor Party (ALP) is counting on clean coal technology (CCT) to achieve long term energy security by exploiting Australia’s huge coal reserves. This is a high risk policy given the enormous challenge of CCT which captures carbon dioxide and buries it in exhausted oil or gas fields. It suggests that the ALP, like the current Howard Government, is in thrall to the fossil fuel lobby.

China Embraces Nuclear Future

As governments worldwide look at nuclear power as a possible answer to global warming, China has embarked on a nuclear-plant construction binge that eventually could exceed the one the United States undertook during the technology's heyday in the 1960s.

Under plans already announced, China intends to spend $50 billion to build 32 nuclear plants by 2020. Some analysts say the country will build 300 more by the middle of the century. That's not much less than the generating power of all the nuclear plants in the world today.

Canada sued over greenhouse gases

Environmental group Friends of the Earth Canada launched a lawsuit against the Canadian government on Tuesday for not meeting its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The lawsuit, filed in the Federal Court in Ottawa, says the government is failing to meet Canada's commitment under the Kyoto treaty to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases to 6 percent below 1990 levels.

Chevron Forms Biofuels Research Alliance

Chevron Corp. said Tuesday it formed a biofuels-research partnership with Texas A&M University.

Financial terms of the partnership with Texas A&M's Agriculture and Engineering BioEnergy Alliance were not disclosed.

Over four years, Chevron Technology Ventures will support research on developing biofuels from cellulose, such as plants' stems, stalks and leaves. Unlike current ethanol that's produced from corn, cellulosic biofuel could be made from nonfood crops.

China Crash - domino effect on US markets, and collateral effect on resource stocks...

A few days ago Alan Greenspan had a go at bursting the Chinese equity bubble by describing it as just that, but it had little effect as the forces of greed remain in control, although as we shall see, greed could turn to fear at the flick of a switch in this market. We should keep in mind, however, that calling a top even towards the end of a massive bull run is notoriously difficult, but that doesn't mean that when ridiculously overbought conditions prevail, as now, we shouldn't attempt it, because of the serious collateral damage that will ensue in other markets and sectors once the bubble bursts. Note that the bursting of the bubble does not in itself imply that there is anything "wrong" with the Chinese economy per se, rather it is the inevitable consequence of wild speculative excess.

Going Ballistic: The Hard Facts About Parabolic Spikes

In his new book, The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb expands on a concept he addressed in his first book, Fooled by Randomness. In the opening, Taleb addresses three attributes of the Black Swan:

“First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme impact. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.”

And when we understand this concept, we realize why anticipating the rare event is critical, and that any model that does not address this risk is dangerously incomplete. Parabolic rises contain within themselves the warning of a price breakdown. As such, I strongly encourage you to help your clients and friends to stop extrapolating our current conditions into the indefinite future, and to stop repeating the phrase, “Well you have been saying that the markets were going to decline for a long time, and nothing has happened yet.” The real science of price movement and the pragmatic restrictions of debt overhang reveal the fallacy of such a mindset. But, emotions can cloud our judgment and make us rationalize the most reckless of actions.

Well-known Guardian (UK newspaper) writer George Monbiot is at last having some serious thoughts on Peak Oil at:


These show that peak oil is well off the UK government radar: “The energy white paper the government published last week … mysteriously forgets to mention that the government intends to build another 2,500 miles of trunk roads and to double the capacity of our airports by 2030. If our economic lives depend on continued growth in the consumption of transport fuels, it must first have determined that such growth is possible. Mustn't it?” In fact it depends on the IEA for assessments and they say “Estimates (of peak oil) range from today to 2050 or beyond.” As Monbiot says “You might have imagined that the government would have shown just a little curiosity about whether or not its transport programme will bring the economy crashing down.” It looks they didn’t and it looks like it will.

By the way, if you think there are some barmy and brainless people writing comments on the TOD site, you should take a look at some of those that follow the story on the site above!

I agree about the "quality" of many of the comments in The Guardian relating to Monbiot's article about Peak Oil. What's both irritating and depressing about many of the reactions to the piece, is that the Guardian is a newspaper for the affluent and educated Middle Class, more or less.

The number of people who have an almost religious faith in progress, a tech-fix solution and the magical ability of market forces to conjure alternative sources of energy out of the air, is, candidly, rather frightening.

I've been debating Peak Oil with some highly educated, inteelligent, talented and influential people lately; and they just don't get it! The more I develope my arguments, the less they seem go get it! It's rather odd. It's almost as if I'm presenting an outline for a science fiction novel to a very sceptical publisher, who doesn't think the idea will fly with the public at all.

I think the consequences for our way of life are so enormous and challanging, if Peak Oil is imminent and we've done virtually nothing to mitigate it, that people simply refuse to face it, but prefer to turn away and party on!

Most Grauniad (sp intended)readers are paid out of the public purse.

Never had to meet a payroll or think about ROI's of any description. Completely paid out of taxes, they live in a nirvana of zero thought and the public purse. Good pensions too!

Good place to go if you want a job as :

Lesbian, Gay Outreach Coordinator

Five a Day Fruit Coordinator

Real Nappy Coordinator

These are actual jobs. Really.

Educated but still thick.

All well salaried, perked and index linked pensioned.

One day the ever open public purse may get tight though.

As Al Gore says "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it".

Even if he does understand it (and I think many people don't, even if you take the trouble to explain it) what can one person do to turn it round? ... so, party on and hope somebody else can fix it!

The Kyoto global warming targets, if achieved, would mean massively less FF use ... but also a massive recession ... so which democratic government is going to propose that? Who would vote for them?


Or to paraphrase "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary does not depend upon his understanding of it".



Gore was quoting the very perceptive Upton Sinclair.

The quote is from Upton Sinclair. Lots of people have used it.

"The more I develop my arguments, the less they seem to get it!"

Writerman, recognize that you are presenting information that contradicts decades of societal programming reinforced by everyday experiences. Thoughts do not float around freely in the brain. They represent specific physical pathways. While there are some opportunities for plasticity or malleability to alter the established pattern, the already conditioned responses are so interdependent and elaborately interconnected that, for most people, only a tremendous shock (analogous to ECT) or a great deal of time and effort to recondition will bring about the kind of reprioritization you intend to illicit.

The assumption is often made that we all have the same mental filtering system and all one needs to do is submit the requisite number of inputs to redirect the system. However, there are enough subtle variations in how sensory input is processed to account for differing reactions to the same information.

An extreme example of an atypical filtering process is the autistic savant who blocks the heaps of distracting sensory data the rest of us constantly wade through and intensely focuses his or her mind on one area of interest. It is thought by many that this type of focusing reflecting unusual temporal lobe physiology (part of the filter system) accounts for their heightened perceptions and memory.

I'm guessing the typical TOD reader has a filter that tends to ignore a lot of the noise that most people get caught up in. It seems like the people you are having a difficult time with are increasingly unwilling to attempt to process verbal information that conflicts with their established patterns of thought and the noise that continues to reinforce those patterns.

Don't give up. FWIW, I've had success with several seemingly hopeless cases.

It seems like the people you are having a difficult time with are increasingly unwilling to attempt to process verbal information that conflicts with their established patterns of thought and the noise that continues to reinforce those patterns.

You can see the exact same effect here too when a non-polically correct opinion is delivered.

Try suggesting that a 20% decline in petroleum production in five years -- to early 1990s levels for example -- might NOT cause collapse/depression/mass dieoff.


Admittedly, a 40%+ decline would be pretty interesting.

"only a tremendous shock (analogous to ECT) or a great deal of time and effort to recondition will bring about the kind of reprioritization you intend to illicit."

Apart from a very small percentage of people, I think you are right - a short, sharp shock (God, one of the Thatcher government's phrases!), will be required. Candidates:

* A GOM hurricane to put oil above $100
* Stock market collapse when KSA run out of excuses and admit they have little or no spare capacity
* Recession which sees mortgage foreclosures hit a few % of the population

The last of these may not be sudden will I think will happen anyway over a period of a few years but whether recognition of the cause will come with it, I wouldn't like to say.


Hmnn...interesting question, what are the conditions for change.

I offer space, as in "emotional space" or acceptance, as productive. (In a way that shock and/or hard times can never be.) Emotional space, or "unconditional positive regard" - (positive and yet disinterested attention) allows the brain to think. Acceptance and connection, respect for autonomy (seeming contradictions) - are what people crave. Most people have a lot of the negative, going some ways back.
www.cnvc.org, www.newconversations.net, www.gordontraining.com.

I noticed that too --- the completely uninformed comments that is.

Who is the Monbiot for the United States? The U.S. needs one, as I am sure we could come up with much more alarming figures for planned road building and airport expansion here. Add roads to the things like coal we should have a moratorium on. We talk incessantly about better gas mileage, EVs, VMT, etc., but there is little talk about the crux of the problem -- more roads everywhere. When you are in a hole, stop digging. That's what we need to do --- stop digging.

Best hopes for peak roads. Stop the roads, lay the rail.

Just a little strange fact, but every airport across the US has some sort of "Master Plan" (capital letters) usually for 5 to 20 years out, and most of them include some aspect of development and expansion.

First Law of Holes: Stop digging.

Updated World Production Forecasts including UK Oil Production Decline

The UK Govt must believe that peak oil is many decades away! The UK is building more roads while continuing to import more oil. The UK has been a net importer of oil since 2005.

The UK Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) states that UK had proven and probable (2P) reserves of 6,120 million barrels at year ending 2005 (816 million tonnes of crude, condensate & NGLs * 7.5 barrels/tonne).

Ultimate recoverable reserves for the UK is flattening as shown in the chart below. This reflects the lack of recent large UK oil discoveries. No new oil discoveries provides more support to continued decline in UK oil production rates.

Fig 1 - Ultimate recoverable reserves including possible reserves (UK DTI) - Click to enlarge

UK DTI production for 2006 was 535 million barrels. Thus, UK reserves (2P), for year ending 2006, is estimated to be 5,585 million barrels (6,120-535).

The reserves to production (R/P) ratio is only 10.4 years (5,585/535). This means that the UK would have no more oil production after ten years, assuming the UK could produce 535 million barrels per year. In reality, the oil production declines each year so that the UK would still be producing oil after ten years, but at low rates.

The 2006 annual depletion rate of the remaining reserves is a high 8.7% (535/6,120). If the depletion rate is held constant at 8.7% for 2007, then the 2007 UK production will be 486 million barrels (.087*5,585). This represents an annual production decline rate, from 2006 to 2007, of at least 9.2%, which disagrees with this optimistic DTI forecast which shows a production increase from 2006 to 2007. The trend from a peak in 1999, from the DTI forecast, shows a consistent decrease in annual oil production. If depletion rates decrease down to a more reasonable 6%, UK oil production could drop suddenly this year.

Maybe the new high sulphur oil production, starting in 2007, from the Buzzard field is causing the DTI forecast increase. However, Buzzard’s 60 million barrels/year will only be just enough to keep UK production constant from 2006 to 2007. In 2008, the irreversible steep production decline would continue.

The effects of these UK production decline rates have been included in the following updated charts which are derived from a bottom up forecast from over 300 oil regions/megaprojects.

The chart below shows the annual production rate declining at 1%/yr until mid 2009. Afterwards, the production rate declines faster at 3%/yr to the end of 2012.

Fig 2 - Forecast Crude Oil & Lease Condensate Production - Click to enlarge

World total liquids production has been on a peak plateau since the start of 2006. Increased forecast production of natural gas liquids and ethanol should extend the plateau until the end of 2009. After 2009, the world will use less oil.

Fig 3 - Forecast Total Liquids Production - Click to enlarge


Great work, and thanks for the update.

But, do you EVER post any good news?! :-P

3% decline within 5 years, and less than 80MMBPD by 2010 (eyeballing) not a pretty picture.

ace - thanks for this. You are right that Buzzard was expected to halt - for just one year - the 9-10% annual decline in production. However, I recall someone here saying a few weeks ago that they were not sure this had actually happened. Does anyone have info on this - has Buzzard come fully onstream to offset the declines elsewhere, or have declines of other fields accelerated so much that Buzzard is unable to stop an overall fall in production?

Maybe Chris Vernon, MUDLOGGER or one of the other seniors working in Scotland have some info.

ace - another late comment - I see you have moved the total liquids peak from July 2009 forward to mid-2008 compared to the last version I saw. What new data is this based on?

From your chart a DRASTIC and ever-widening gap between demand and supply will exist in little over two years from now. That will surely see the world economy in massive trouble.

Maybe this should be re-posted at the top of today's drumbeat or be an article in its own right with further explanation.

Hi doctorbob,

The forecast data have changed due mainly to applying appropriate annual depletion rates of remaining reserves to many other countries after applying it first to Saudi Arabia.

For Saudi Arabia, the annual depletion rate for remaining reserves is assumed to stay below 5.5%/yr as shown by the black line. This produced the declining production rate after mid 2009, shown by the blue line.

Saudi Arabia Forecast to Dec 2020 - Click to enlarge

The main reason for peak total liquids moving to mid 2008 is that I decided to apply the constraint of limiting the annual depletion rate of remaining reserves to other countries which have passed peak production. Essentially, this means that the production decline rates are steeper when the peak is passed as shown by the chart below. At the summit of the curve the production decline rate is zero. A year after, the decline rate is small. However, ten years later the decline rate can be steep.

US Oil Production Theoretical Curve - Click to enlarge

Another example: The North Sea peaked in 1999 followed by three years of very low production decline rates of less than 1%/yr. Seven years later, in 2006, the production decline rate is 9-10%. It could increase to 12% in 2008. Past 2008, the decline rate could drop back to 10%.

Before applying this annual depletion rate methodology, the North Sea C&C forecast for mid 2009 was 3.7 mbd; after 3.3 mbd. Russia: before 9.4; after 9.0. Mexico: before 2.8; after 2.6. USA: before 5.5 mbd; after 5.2 mbd. Other countries also changed.

Before the changes, the total liquids peak was 87 mbd on July 2009. Now, it is 86 mbd on July 2008, but it was also 86 mbd on July 2006. Maybe peak total liquids has passed. Nevertheless, I think that specifying a “peak oil plateau” is more helpful than forecasting a peak month. When world total liquids production goes off the plateau at the end of 2009, the production rate could fall quickly. As Colin Campbell says "It's not as important when you peak, it's the vision of the long decline that follows."

I will post an update of the forecasts after the next EIA data release, due next week.

It always seems to surprise me just how many comments are 'clutching at straws' in persuit of endless economic growth - those folks 'just don't get it' but, unlike me they probably don't spend much time on this site! I've just tried to redress the balance a little - comments this morning by ChrisB1.

On May 18 WTI and Brent closed at $64.93 and 69.26 respectively.

On that same day Malaysian Tapis closed at $74.94, $10.01 above WTI crude.

I must use prices of May 18 to show the spread because there seems to be no more recent prices for Tapis on the net. We all know that US crude prices are being depressed because of the bottleneck at Cushing, Oklahoma. Brent more closely reflects the price of crude in Europe while Malaysian Tapis is the benchmark for Australia and most of Asia.

Historically Brent has traded slightly below WTI because WTI light crude is a slightly better grade of oil than Brent. Yet now the market is completely out of kilter when the world price is compared with that of WTI. Looking back through the database at Tapis, it has traded anywhere from slightly below WTI to slightly above it, but this is the first time, historically, that such a wide gap has opened between the two.

The dynamics of crude oil

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is the underlying commodity of the NYMEX oil futures contracts. It is of very high quality with an API gravity of 39.6 degrees (a `light' crude oil), and containing only about 0.24 per cent of sulphur (a `sweet' crude oil). It is ideal for refining products such as low-sulphur petrol and low-sulphur diesel.

Brent is a benchmark for oil from Europe, Africa and West Asia and is traded on the ICE exchange (London). Its API gravity is 38.3 degrees (a `light' crude, but not as `light' as WTI), while it contains about 0.37 per cent of sulphur (a `sweet' crude, but again less `sweet' than WTI). Brent blend is ideal for making gasoline and middle distillates.

As you can see from the above Brent is of slightly lower quality than WTI. However as of this moment, WTI is trading at $64.31 and Brent at $70.06, a $5.75 premium to WTI. There is something seriously wrong here.

Ron Patterson

In terms of UK petrol (gas) prices which generally reflect those in W Europe, the current prices are only about 2-3% below the peak seen post-Katrina. At that time, a typical non-superstore filling station price was 99.9p (~ $1.94!) per litre, while now 96.9 to 97.9 is average. The lowest I've seen in the last few days for 95 octane, the standard Uk fuel, is 94.9p. So it's clear that the Brent prices are a better guide than WTI for Europe at present.

Maybe the graphic in the right-hand column ought to be changed to Brent, or the Brent shown in tandem with WTI. At least for the short term, the WTI price is misleading in terms of global oil prices.

hi Ron,

You can get almost live TAPIS prices here:


and some kind of daily average on a graph here (seems to consistently be a bit lower than the above link?):



Phil, thanks a million for this link. I have been searching for such a link for some time but neither Google nor News.Google seemed to bring it up.

Right now things are worse than I thought, Tapis is trading at a $12.51 premium to WTI. Why do we see no reference to this anywhere in the media????

Ron Patterson

I issued a Media Release today through ASPO Australia to all Australian print media and most of the other major media outlets discussing exactly this.

As a result I'm going to be on ABC Radio in South Australia (one of the less populous states) at 2:45pm SA time tomorrow afternoon (3:15pm AEST, 0515 GMT). Not sure if any papers are going to run with it..

In the Media Release, I refuted the claims that our high petrol prices are due to refining shortage in the US which is what our economists are blaming it on. I acknowledged that was part of the problem but said that high TAPIS oil price accounted for most of it.

If only we could prove that Asian refineries are not quite maxed out and are in fact struggling to get all the crude they need. That Saudi Arabia continues to cut their deliveries suggests that is the case.

You can make a strong case that the cost of gasoline in the US is driven by the marginal price of importing a tanker of gasoline from Asia which has to be refined from a $78 barrel of crude.


Thanks Phil for this:

Asian refineries are not quite maxed out

Makes all the above understandable. Nice to have the odd bit of the jigsaw filled in from time to time. Makes me feel just a little less brainless.

Hi Ron,

I find these differences a good indicator of where we see demand destruction (or demand reallocation, at this point).

Look at ASIA, Tapis benchmark - KSA reducing ASIAN deliveries for the last 6 months. They have to fill those gaps, so they are driving up their local price(benchmark) to reallocate demand away from those who can't afford it. And with China and India (as well as others) blockbuster economies in this region they are ABLE and WILLING to pay more USD$ for the OIL.

Look at Brent, Europe, AFRICA, etc. - Benchmark not as high as Asia, economies growing as much smaller rates, and not many with huge surpluses. I see the Brent benchmark the price level that keeps many African countries from consuming, and reallocating that demand to Europe. Clearly, a large portion of Africa is already priced out, and probably why the price is holding in a small range (so far).

In the near future, say this fall (Ace's graph), I suspect we will see the first of real demand destruction(downturn), coupled with recession in the US (others?), and a corresponding increase in all the benchmarks, with the largest being the TAPIS. (TAPIS will increase to the point to destroy demand in poorer Asian countries).

Yes, oil is fungible, but regional pricing is a reality and this difference will become more apparent as long as it is priced in USD and the US can still print money.

I could be wrong, but I have been considering this for the last while and I believe it is playing out already (as you indicate with the TAPIS spread widening already).

Don't have such high expectations for the media. You are not their audience.
Hope you continue to find info and share it here.

Thanks for the new price quotes on crude. Been looking hogh and low for this!

Apologies in advance if this is a no-brainer, but why isn't there a benchmark price for the crude produced in Saudi, or Russia for that matter, since they are the heavyweights in global production right now?

Saudi, and the rest of the Middle East, uses several benchmarks for their basket price. They use the Oman-Dubai price, the WTI price, the Brent price and in the end get the best price they possibly can for their oil.

If you check out This Week in Petroleum you will see that the "Crude Oil Estimated Contract Prices" for OPEC averages between four and five dollars a barrel more than the estimated contract price for U.S. crude oil.

All these benchmarks are only guidelines. In the end everyone gets the highest price for their oil that they possibly can. And importers try to get the oil at the very lowest price they can. But the benchmarks do give us the average disparity in oil prices in different parts of the world.

Ron Patterson

For reasons I dont't understand here in NZ the relevant govt website seems to track Dubai crude as a marker rather than Tapis:


This is bizarre, since clearly the Aussie oil price is set in relation to Tapis and indeed New Zealand oil and Gas recently agreed to sell the oil from its new field linked to Tapis as a marker. The Tapis price is around 10% of the all time high set last year (at around $82 I recall).

Petrol here in NZ is still some 15% off last years high ($1.55 as oppossed to 1.78) which is almost all down to the NZ$ being 10-15% higher against the US$ than this time last year.

I was still living in overseas this time last year - I didn't realise it got up to $1.78 here then. Thanks for the info.

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

The Consumer Confidence Index was released. Its up, and this is the comment of why from the Bloomberg piece


``Consumers are looking at the job market and potential future income growth and saying, `These gas prices don't matter,' '' Gina Martin, an economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina, said before the report.

I wonder who they interview for this info.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Obviously no one in the housing market.

Home Construction Bust May Last Until 2011, U.S. Builders Say


S&P/Case-Shiller Home Prices Fell 1.4% in March, Index Shows


"Home Construction Bust May Last Until 2011". For "Until 2011" read "forever". Though they can't exactly say that ...

The housing mkt in N.Carolina,

Raleigh and Charlotte are still being invaded by hordes of yuppie northerners...some might say Yankees or carpet baggers.

I lived in Raleigh in the latter 70's and the 80's. There were still the natives and locals to be found. Good BBQ was everywhere and fresh fish and seafood were as well.

It was a pleasure to deal with good southern hospitality.

I went back to Raleigh,High Point and Greensboro at least 3 or 4 times in the last year.

You could not find decent BBQ nor good seafood nor local folk.

The influx from the north had destroyed all that in those enclaves. There were Starbucks and bagels joints everywhere. There was no more hospitality.

What ever they were escaping up north they brought it all with them. Dog eat dog,cat eat cat, get in my way and I will run you down,shut the f**k up fool...etcetera.

Soccer moms would park their SUVs right in the front door of Food Lion and waltz in with their exercise thingies on and literally piss off any one who dared to question them or not pay them due heed.

My wife now lives in Raleigh but I won't be going back. I will retain the memories of the past and how it was. The very good countrystyle cooking, the boys spitting tobacco juice and all the old tobacco curing sheds. No more golden leaf in the fields. No more bluegrass music.

Have to go way out of these metropolis' to find the old south.

Yes there is not housing bubble bursting in those areas so the shill for the Wachovia can tout it all she wants. Just brings in more of the same.

Where my wife lives its fairly expensive housing and still going thru the roof. All everyone seems to want to do is incessantly piss around with their yards. Run the automatic sprinklers ,watch the grass grow and eat bagels.

Airdale-and they will continue doing the same til the lawnmowers finally runs out of gas and they will be found laster as skeletons still sitting on their riding ZTR mowers

Hi airdale, I know well what you are talking about but don't think it can be blamed entirely on Yankees. I live north of the M-D line now, but spent most of my years in the South. I've witnessed the transformation that you are talking about -- particularly in the high growth areas like Raleigh, Charlotte (NC) and Atlanta.

This is a transformation not merely of the "Old South" but of the entire society and owes not only to migration of Northerners to more dynamic (translation: "lower cost") economies but also to (1) pervasive marketing, (2) corporatization of every aspect of American life and (3) the "dog-eat-dog/someone's-about-to-eat-my-lunch" globalization frenzy that went into overdrive during the "dot-com" boom.

Let's face it -- and I'm not telling you anything you don't already know -- the America that we all grew up in, is coming apart at the seams. The shared social mores (some, admittedly, not so appealing) that held America together were tossed out and have been replaced "en masse" with a culture of rampant materialism. And that materialism is in the process of infecting the entire planet.

A society can assimilate only so much change before it blows apart -- spins itself to pieces. Witness the current social tensions in Europe, the United States, Africa, Asia. You don't have to be a rocket scientist (though, I know from past exchanges with you that you have been one) to feel a pit in your stomach as you ponder the 21st century. Personally, I see little room for optimism.

P O T,

Agree with all you state, well it agrees with my observation anyway so naturally I would.

Yes,coming apart, and I see it everytime I leave the country and go to the city, even the smallish one 40 miles or so from me.

One note: I was not a rocket scientist. I taught electronics theory, rocket guidance systems and ground checkout equipment. This was on the early phases of multi stage rockets and some were used for the very early beginnings of the orbital space program. They were also used in the cold war as nuclear deterrents by means of placement and so forth.

It was an interesting field, about half theory and half hands on lab work. I enjoyed it but it was government contract with the contractor lab I worked for and congress was throwning the programs a lot of grief so I sought employment elsewhere. Back then it was pretty much analog computers and well...the rest is still classified I think.

I was fortunate enough in my profession to be on mostly the cutting edge of all computer technology. For instance I did a lot of software work for railroads. The EAGLE system was one. "Easy Access to Geological Location of Equipment". My role was basically support and systems maintenacne but I was trained on the applications.

So as well wtih the early PCs which I worked on in Product Test for. Suitcase computers and so on. But I found most of my work in Networking such as SNA,X.25,Packet,TokenRing,etc.

I was a country boy who later straddled several areas of technological progress and worked in most of them.

Now back in the country I see the results of all our work in these fields being put to bad usage. The net was once a great info tool. Now its all just commercial garbage. TOD is still a shining example of how it can be used productively but the rest is just 'killing us by a thousand tiny bites'.

We are toast pretty much and I don't see a techie pullout.
We have lost so many good people due to corporate greed. We had a shot and Amurkan business people shit on us and shot it down.

I prefer to sit on my farm,pick a banjo,plant some more garlic ,go to the woods with my Jack Russels and forget about the past.

The awards and momentos are not on display in my den. Only my military stuff is displayed as well as my flight suit and survival K-Bar as well as some good flight deck boots.

My time is leaning out and as well the Class of '57. I wish I could believe that some worthy ones were coming up the backstretch but I just don't see it. It looks bleak to me.

All that work for THIS? But I still remember the WAY IT WAS.


"We have lost so many good people due to corporate greed. We had a shot and Amurkan business people shit on us and shot it down."

This is what it boils down to - please, no need to blame Yankees and neo-carpetbaggers. As a native New Englander, I can tell you that the exact same thing you lament re: NC is happening to our rural culture as well, but it's not a Yankee thing.

It is corporatization, it is unfettered predatory capitalism, it is the enshrining of Greed as the highest good, it is setting folks against folks. It has no geographical origin it's... global! It's tearing our communities apart. Civility is going down the toilet.

"I prefer to sit on my farm,pick a banjo,plant some more garlic ,go to the woods with my Jack Russels and forget about the past."

I prefer to sit on my farm, pick my guitar and mandolin, plant more garlic and everything else, and go to the woods with my border collies and labs. Maybe hitch up the mare and get some wood in - a nice breeze is keeping the flies down this afternoon. Or maybe I'll just put her to the cart and go for a nice drive.

Best hopes for sanity...

It is corporatization, it is unfettered predatory capitalism, it is the enshrining of Greed as the highest good, it is setting folks against folks. It has no geographical origin it's... global! It's tearing our communities apart. Civility is going down the toilet.

Our national nervous breakdown has begun

Do you feel this as acutely as I do? Perhaps not, but I have the benefit of my own experience, living in a country of jackals who found themselves amidst a seething nation far too long abused, frightened, and angry. When the Soviet Union finally fell, it did not fall peacefully; and worse, it fell into chaos and into the hands of criminals....

....What is next, then, in this land of mass media produced fuel for a fire that is already raging strongly in our national conscience? I am unsettled and fretting, because I have been here before and the smell of it frightens me... the smell of the desperations of those in power and the smell of "enough" from the powerless.

I'm waiting for the administration to suggest, 'Let them eat Lil' Debbie Cakes'!


Let them burn perfume.

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

But all the corporations do is satisfy your demands! They produce goods and services which you consume!! The society as it exists today is reflection of your needs and demands. So there is no need blame anyone else.

If people start living within their means, corporate profits (especially banks) will go down.

In essence, true, but in practise not really. Corporations have money to throw at "educating" the public towards the consumer ideal. They influence politicians more than individuals collectively do, they buy advertising, they hire PR firms to run grass-roots organisations, produce scientific studies that support their messages, etc... society today is a reflection of money well spent (from a corporate point of view).

Saying it is a reflection of our needs and demands is just admitting that the consumer ideal has been successfully promoted.

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

I'd venture to suggest, perhaps a little naively, most marketing seems to be about convincing customers why one product (or brand) is better than another, rather than convincing customers that they "need" things that they could do perfectly well without. Sure there will always be those who are seduced by the marketing behind this or that useless gimmick, but surely the most successful products do actually serve a useful purpose. Personally I can't think of anytime I've bought something just because I've seen it in an ad: once I've decided I want something, my decision to go with a particular brand may well be subconsciously influenced by a lifetime's exposure to advertising, but in most cases I compare the products for myself and determine my decision based on what I feel suits my particular circumstances best.
The biggest problem I have is the fact that it seems to be invariably less expensive and otherwise more attractive to buy new products than repair or upgrade existing ones. If most raw resource materials were recycled, and the energy required to recycle and manufacture new products were produced cleanly, I wouldn't have an serious issue with this, but neither is true at this point in time. I hope/expect to see that change in my lifetime.

Certainly there is brand advertising, but most large corporates belong to trade associations and/or support groups that are run by their PR companies. These are the avenues for pursuading political, professional and public opinion in a general.

Most advertising companies are also paired with PR firms. As a famous example, when the tobacco industry commissioned scientific studies to find the benefits of smoking or try to debunk health concerns, they were not pushing brand, but a general sense of product. Many competing tobacco companies supported the organisations that funded that research (like TIRC). They also instigated things like promoting cigarettes as torches of liberty during women's emancipation in the late 20s (as most women didn't smoke then). And when a pharmaceutical company pays for doctors to spend a weekend in Hawaii at a medical conference at which they promote their product, "educate" doctors about its many uses and give incentives to prescribe, you become more likely to receive (and pay for) a drug for something that the doctor may not have otherwise prescribed anything.

Examples abound with myriad methods, including organised censorship. This influences us all.

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

I don't deny that advertising pushing the desirability of consuming any sort of product in general exists, I just wonder how much impact it has overall - history shows that affluence invariably brings desire for and ownership of more material goods. It's clearly something within the human psyche. I'm willing to bet that if all advertising was stopped tomorrow, it would make little difference on how much we consumed.

Are you familiar with Adam Curtis' work about Edward Bernays, 'father of PR' ?

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

I wasn't until you just mentioned it...had a brief google.
Look there's no doubt certain forms of marketing are very good at convincing certain people that they "need" things that clearly they don't. My contention is that the overall effect is probably not all that great...maybe we consume 10% more stuff that we would otherwise if there was no marketing. In other words, I don't think it's marketing that MAKES us "consumeristic". It feeds on our existing desires, no doubt, but the main thing that has made us consumeristic is affluence, and, at least recently, to a worrying extent, perceived excess affluence that is gained through easy access to credit.
But no amount of marketing will convince someone earning $1 a day that they must have the latest Plasma TV.

Hi wiz,

Interesting comment.

re: "But no amount of marketing..."

However, wanting to "fit in", be in the culture, or fill other underlying needs (acceptance, connection) (or, even autonomy, as in fads that express "rebellion" in similar ways...) - those might. Would you say?

I'd definitely agree that all those factors have at least as much, if not more, impact on driving our desires to own material goods than marketing does.

But on $1 a day, you hardly need any of those to drive you to want a little more for yourself, even if it's just a comfortable mattress or a reliable stove.

Nothing is going to stop humans wanting a certain amount of material wealth, and a certain amount of it goes a long way towards improving one's overall well-being. But I also think it's possible to convince people that "enough is enough", and that further improvements are better gained through other measures. Sure, the constant presence of marketing and advertising makes that a tough sell, but one that's worth striving for.

A lot of those "invisible hand" concepts date from a time when corporations didn't exist. The "economy" consisted almost entirely of small family-owned enterprises. Then again, in Europe the feudal system -- landowners and landless serfs -- had been around for a long time. Serfdom was little more than slavery. You could actually buy and sell tracts of land with the people attached. Does that sound like today's corporations?

Hi econ,

I'm really interested in the intersection between resource depletion and economics, and it's especially interesting to me when people believe "the invisible hand" works and will work.

So, I had trouble interpreting your post.

For example:

"You could actually buy and sell tracts of land with the people attached. Does that sound like today's corporations?"

Well, actually, yes it does. In many cases. Corporations merge, move, are sold, bought, etc - both with and without people "attached".

In fact, when people are let go ("laid off"), for an example, see today's LA times on the closing of the Hershey plant in Oakdale, CA, http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-hersheys31may31,1,6725024.story?..., they don't like it. It seems they are often very upset when they are forcefully (against their wishes) - "un-atttached" from "their" corporation.

And location is connected to this, in the sense a change such as the one described, often (most often?) also forces a move (change of residence).

Anyhow, further explanation appreciated.

The Dogs of March, which I read ages ago, concerns New Yawkuhs and Massholes moving into rural New Hampshire and displacing the locals.


Almost reads like a John Sayles novel, with the protagonist hearing his factory machine clunking out, "Work for pay, work for pay, ..."

Gosh, I feel like part of the problem (I live in mid-state NC now). FWIW, I'll rate your list:
* Good BBQ -- lot's of other styles have invaded, agree.
* Seafood -- Squid's is still excellent, plus more sushi joints, disagree.
* Hospitality -- cannot really compare to past but seems pretty good to me, so disagree.
* Starbucks -- I like them in bookstores, they are everywhere, agree to disagree.
* Bagel joints -- hmm, don't like bagels, but don't see bagel joints everywhere, disagree.
* Notherners -- I have personally "transformed" some of them, so it's not as bad as it could be, but sort of agree.
* soccer moms, SUVs, exercise -- fully agree
* tobacco - don't miss it, agree to disagree
* bluegrass music -- cannot find it on the radio (fan of Ralph Stanley) -- agree.
* expensive housing -- agree.
* Wachovia == "walk over you" -- agree.
* sprinklers, grass grow -- agree (people can't figure out why I don't have sprinklers).

agree=7, disagree=3, agree to disagree=2

(I live in mid-state NC now). FWIW, I'll rate your list:,

OK, I guess the western part of the state needs to chime in as well, then.

* Good BBQ -- There are places to get BBQ here, I don't know if some experts would find find fault with them. I don't get the impression that it has gotten more difficult to get good BBQ in WNC, I do get the impression that we don't have anyplace in the running for "best in the state". I'll put this down as agree to disagree.
* Seafood -- We've always been too far away from the coast to get much really fresh fish & seafood; good mountain trout, though. Not worse than past, but not great, so I'll give you an agree.
* Hospitality -- My wife and I always get good marks from our guests when they visit, and we have been treated pretty well most places around here, so I guess that counts as a disagree.
* Starbucks -- I've seen just a couple, but also some local independent coffee houses that actually seem to be thriving a lot better, so that also counts as a disagree.
* Bagel joints -- Again, I've seen just a couple, but also a number of local independent bakeries that seem to be thriving, so another disagree.
* Notherners -- Well, as a transplant from Indiana, what can I say? (But DON'T call me a "Yankee"!) Actually, I see people from all over, as well as plenty of native local folk. Seems like a good mix to me, I'm not sure that all of the local folk would totally agree. Let's put that as agree to disagree.
* soccer moms, SUVs, exercise -- So many people are retirees around here that you really don't see all that many soccer moms. Lots and lots of SUVs, we are in the mountains after all. We get out and walk, and see lots of other people doing the same, but also lots of people circling the parking lot waiting for a spot to open up close to the front door, so I'll give you an agree on this one.
* tobacco - Don't use it, allergic to it. I don't mean any harm to the people whose livelihoods depend upon it (still quite a number up here in the mountains), but life for me has been more pleasant without so much 2nd hand smoke - sorry. I guess that means your asertion of tobbacco decline is correct, but that I disagree that it is a bad thing.
* bluegrass music -- We do have a local public radio station that plays bluegrass and other traditional folk idioms - disagree
* expensive housing -- Yes, it is getting that way, though maybe not quite as bad as the RTP - agree.
* Wachovia - I'll put that down as agree to disagree, not because I'm defending Wachovia, but just because they are such a minor presence here that I really don't give them much of a thought.
* sprinklers, grass grow -- Most yards around here are pretty thickly wooded and you just don't see so much of the lush green grass lawns. We get around 50" of rain a year, and maximum temps of around 80 F, most people really don't need to irrigate their lawns. I guess that counts as a disagree.

Score: 3 agree, 6 disagree, 3 agree to disagree

My post may have given the wrong impression (who cares?), so I'd like to summarize by saying that I think that the RTP area of NC is suprisingly sophisticated/global to many people that move or visit here from the Northeast or wherever. The Research Triangle Park and Duke University probably deserve a lot of credit (perhaps also UNC where they seem to have an enormous number of Chinese attending business school). Overall, the provincial "Southern" attitude has been greatly improved by the globalization that has occurred around here. Even Gourmet magazine (or some equivalent) thought that The Magnolia Grill is one of the 10 best restaurants in the nation, y'all.

Wstephens and WNC,

The rest of the state is fine. I meant specifically Raleigh and Charlotte(but haven't been to Charlotte of late) but I do include High Point and some of what I know of Greensboro.

In Raleigh in the latter 70's and 80's you had a huge selection of very good BBQ and seafood. Didn't have to drive to Calabash or Morehead City and Sanitary Fish Mkt(a restaurant). Creekside comes to mind. Very good calabash style at Creekside back then. Plates were overflowing and the prices were very reasonable.

Most anywhere on the coast back then you were assured of very good locally caught(mostly) seafood and the buffet included good BBQ,chicken and all the rest. Best was Down East clam chowder.

In this March I was back in Raleigh driving my ass off just trying to find anything worthwhile. You got Smithfields BBQ(really really shitty bbq and franchised). You got one or two more and they are the pits and I had to drive all day to find those few.

Once the Ranch Motel, where we stayed a lot, had pretty damn good breakfast and blue plate specials.

The rest of the state I loved and still do. Just don't let me get near too many of those fast talking , fast driving , get the hell out of my way, people who are not real southeners in attitude and demeanor.

Its not that I have much against northerners. Its their attitudes of hurry up and talk real fast and if you make a mistake they will take a can opener and split you open. Been in too many bars in upstate(poughkeepsie,kingston and so for th so see it much different). Once you get under the covers there are some decent people there in upstate but its the older ones who were proud to be tough yankees who would never be confused with yuppies.

Yards,,,grass,,,,best is a big natural area. Thats what my son has and what I used to have. Lots of pine trees to keep it covered in straw.

Its just that I missed the older North Carolina. No more do I hear there of 'pig pickins'...just fast takeout and not very good sauce. No brunswick stew to speak of either. No boiled potatoes and green beans. Just franchise bullshit.

The piedmont is not my favorite area. I would take the mountains or the coast. Raleigh IMO is now the pits. Not any different than SandyEggo or LA. Or Chicago or St. Louis. All places I have lived.

There used to be Bluegrass festivals all over the place. Union Grove Old Timer Fiddlers Convention was the best.


Glad to hear someone talking about my neck of the woods. In fact we're going to the Sanitary tonight to take my sister, who's in from Denver CO this week. People always cringe at the name if you're not a local. We know it as a place to get an incredible seafood dinner.

No, the rest of the state is not fine! Let me tell you about the people moving into this area (New Bern, NC). I live on land that was farmed by my Grandfather. Across the road used to be owned by Weyerhaeuser, the paper and timber company. I thought I'd always see trees over there. 3 years ago Weyerhaeuser sold 2000+ acres to a developer to build a development for over 2000 homes and condos. There are at least another, from the last count, 3000 home sites being built within 5 miles of where I am. I would venture to guess that better than 75% are yankee retirees.

A friend of mine printed up some bumper stickers that says "Retire to New Jersey" with a U-turn sign on it. He was asked by some retirees what he thought about living here, he told them he hates it: Mosquitos bigger than your fist, fishing is terrible, the weather is either freezing or hotter than h**l.

I love it here, but we were here first d*mn*t. But I guess the native americans could say something about that too. We are all part of the problem.

Anyway, the potatoes are coming in strong, as well as the cabbages, tomatos, peppers, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beans, etc... As long as we keep them watered that is. We've had less than 2 inches of rain since February.


I've never seen strip mall culture up here in the heart of Yankee territory like I've seen it all along the eastern seaboard south of Virginia. It makes me wonder about why the locals found so little worth preserving in their own culture. Maybe pining for the days of plantations and "free labor" got a little old in the 21st century. How many times can rednecks fly a confederate flag from their pickup before the shock value wears off and it just looks pathetic?

One thing I have noticed about reactionaries from the South is that they insist on blaming their faults on everyone but themselves.

I've never seen strip mall culture up here in the heart of Yankee territory like I've seen it all along the eastern seaboard south of Virginia.

Two key ingredients:

  • Lots of cheap, wide-open real estate.
  • A populace that is generally distrustful of government and resistant to regulation.
  • that sounds like a horror movie, exercise thingie wearing soccor moms invade the mall, presumably up to no good.

    "`These gas prices don't matter,' '' Gina Martin, an economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina, said before the report."

    I think this comment is right on target. Gas prices don't matter to most all. The procession coming back out of the woods yesterday had every fuel consuming device known packed in vehicles, trucks and trailers.

    Five dollar gas won't dent it. There's way too much of other consumer crap to cut before gas. It's not just that it is needed for commuting; people LOVE driving and 2 cycle engines. The only thing that will cut US consumption effectively is shortages.

    And I doubt price has that much effect on slowing suburban expansion. It isn't the price, it's the hassle. That gets quicker results than anything. Replace the 2 lane with a four lane, and zip, no problem, I don't mind squatting half my life away in car. I like it it. Till it gets crowded again, or it snows.

    Price isn't determining much and worse, in regards to suburban expansion, that variable is easily controlled by replacing the suv with a used import. Bingo, effectively halved their gas price. Woe to any scrap of farmland or woods should electric catch on. Replacing truck freight with rail will only make the hassle factor less. And I'd love to see a rail comeback.

    I can't figure why people have to bring every scrap of civilization on an outing to the national forests. Why are they going???

    It'll have an effect.. I just think we'll see a delayed reaction, because so many people's decisionmaking about money is anesthetized by easy credit. It's almost the exact parallel to EOR (Enhanced Oil Recovery), where you simply steepen the approaching down-slide by 'pre-emptive extraction', far faster than you could ever sustain it.. It's just the new 'company store'.

    Spot on!

    Credit, easy or hard, won't make much of a difference for at least the next couple dollars per gallon. My belief is that people's love and need for gas will replace many other articles of consumer purchases. Walmart sales will drop long before and harder than gas purchases.

    And as for burb expansion, I've heard the end of the burbs since the 70's and its fuel increases. Rationale, well educated folks saying this is it, the back to the land granolas are thru, those homes in the wheatfields and edges of mountains aren't worth diddly squat. And the arguement makes all the sense in the world. Just never happens. People leave not for the commuting expense, but the hassle of traffic. Meanwhile, the burbs and back in nowhere housing increases. When fuel increased in the 70's, the droves still came. As it got cheaper in 80's, the droves came in larger, more luxurious vehicles. When it picked up around 2000, I saw imports with license plates "GDGAS" and "GOODONGAS" replacing the old Chevy Suburban. And the burbs still grew. Zoning laws changed, there's no end to the money and political pressure. Burb expansion is just insatiable. With electric vehicles, it's a done deal.

    << It'll have an effect.. I just think we'll see a delayed reaction, because so many people's decisionmaking about money is anesthetized by easy credit. >>

    Recession Alert! I received my regular email on Cruise Specials (Vacationstogo.com) and decided to peruse it in greater depth than usual.

    Either I am imagining it, or there are an awful lot of amazing deals for cruises this summer and fall, especially in the lower priced (inside) cabins. Not enough money for gas and a cruise, anyone?

    Is it true that one sometimes has an orgasm just before one dies?

    Well, anyway, that's what memorial day seemed like to me, here in the mountains of Colorado. I have never seen so much traffic or, like you say, every gas consuming device imaginable --- SUVs, montster trucks, monster trucks carrying ATVs, monster trucks carrying motorcycles, motorcycles, on and on and on.

    The higher the gas prices go, the more it seems people have a need to party on.

    The the last orgasms of a dying civilization, if you want to call what we have a civilization.

    Our national holidays are just another excuse to display our superhuman need to excessively consumer. Cancel them all.

    Bank of England chews over food prices in face of rising inflation

    The humble potato and lowly carrot are the Bank of England's latest enemies in its fight against inflation.

    Food and non-alcoholic drink prices have leapt by 6 per cent over the past 12 months, the fastest annual rate of increase for six years. Indeed, food is a key factor behind the recent rise in overall inflation, which is currently running at 2.8 per cent and well above the Bank's 2 per cent target.

    It is the price of vegetables that has really soared with potatoes up by 16.5 per cent in the year to April, and fresh vegetables other than spuds rising by a massive 21.2 per cent. Other double-digit increases include fresh fish (12.8 per cent), eggs (14.4 per cent) and milk (10.4 per cent). While some increases can be dismissed as the consequence of the vagaries of the British weather, analysts say there are more deep-seated factors at work.

    It is not just a UK phenomenon. Food prices worldwide have risen sharply as the expanding biofuels industry, climate change and the growing prosperity of countries such as India and China push up the costs of farm commodities including wheat, corn, milk and oils. Some experts have predicted that retail food prices are heading for their biggest annual increase for 30 years.

    More or less as expected. It will likely put pressure on countries to eventually restrict exports of non surplus foodstuffs and remove them from the world market so as not to be out bid for their own products. At some point money will be worth less than the commodity (for reasons of national security) and controls will be enacted to curb exports for the benefit of a countries citizens. The question is when? Probably after demonstrations, riots and direct action by the populace.

    I suppose the same thing goes for oil or oil products. For example would the EU be better off if it restricted gasoline exports to the US? At some point I imagine it will look like it and the barriers will go up, or the barricades if they don't.

    Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

    I hope a factor in this is that prices for domestic crops are able to rise in tandem with increases to the cheaper imported crops, the latter driven by increased input costs. I've long thought that food is too cheap. If it was worth more to the farmer, we'd see less of our best agricultural land move into a long term rotation of houses.

    Where I live (Vancouver Island) local farmers are unable to compete with cheap imports, so agriculturally zoned land is underutilized for food.

    At some point I imagine it will look like it and the barriers will go up, or the barricades if they don't.

    Sure, been talking about that too.

    You'd think that Europeans and others would eventually get enough of US guzzling in tax-lite land and begin to demand curtailment of these shipments. (Esp. as it affects food price or threatens shortages) We are probably looking at a series of feedback loops that will tend to increase US gasoline price in the next few years..

    We're one good (political) storm away from being deprived of our cheap fuel birthright.

    Let the non-negotiable lifestyle negotiations begin.

    I suppose in essence this is the same as Westexas's exportland model, where available surpluses for export reduce, for one reason or another, causing costs to increase for importing countries. Refined products being no different from raw materials or food for that matter. Food availability being reduced by growing populations and climate change also fits the model.

    Keeping free markets free will become a matter of survival for importing countries. A matter of national security even. Oh goody! More work for the military.

    Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

    Keeping free markets free will become a matter of survival for importing countries.

    You got it. Which is why the West, led by the US, is so hot on the nuclear non-proliferation thing. Once the third world has nuclear weaponry, it's game over.

    Surely the declining value of the USD has worked to suppress imports from the EU?

    Good point. Still have to consider how much the refinery spread and utilization in the US is contributing to this.

    That will serve to keep WTI crude price low while the gasoline price climbs high enough to attract the imports. But will imports always be forthcoming? The profit margin is great for refineries operating in the US but it necessarily can't be as good for importers who are buying Brent.

    As long as we ,in the US, continue to demand that extra petrol beyond refinery output I guess we'll have to be willing to compete against European consumers, their Euro, and their higher input costs. Yeah, seems pretty bullish until we hit the demand cutoff. It's the tax break that gives the edge.

    Maybe there is a little pullback at $3.50 but indications are 'we' can take more for now. My sense is that those who have the wealth to overconsume anywhere are taking us on a price ride. The rest of us can practice ELP.

    I watched the C4 documentary "Lie of the Land" last night. In it, they interviewed an agricultural accountant who was advising a farmer on the Single Farm Payment system. He said he believed the SFP was aimed at supporting landowners instead of farmers, and that DEFRA was not so much against food security, as just "hadn't considered it".

    Now I must go and get some netting before the pigeons destroy my remaining brassicas.

    It's no recent news but I don't think it was reported.

    On February 21st, the Swiss Federal Council (the highest executive authority) decided to adopt a new energy policy to avoid future energy shortage (sorry, only in french, german or italian).

    In his message, the council implicitely acknowledged Peak Oil:

    "Regarding oil and gas, the security of the supply is dubious because of dependence with foreign countries and of the limited fossil resources".

    I did a search and found that practical electrolysirs can achievew efficiencies of about 90%. If this is the case, then why are people still claiming that there is a storage problem with renewables?

    Well, please, give us references. The last I've heard, efficiencies were no where near that high for converting water to hydrogen and oxygen.

    Well, I don't claim to know much about this subject but 90% does sound fishey. Perhaps that figure is for the simple electrolysis. When you get that done you are still only half way home. The hydrogen you get is at ambient temperatures and ambient pressures. It is totally useless at that stage.

    The hard part is getting it cold enough to turn it into a liquid, or pressurizing it so the volume is small enough to make it practical to transport.

    When you get that done I would bet you have far, far less than 90% of the original energy left.

    But...but...but that is not where the major part of the energy is lost. Turning hydrogen into electricity is only at best 50% efficient. That means total plant to wheel efficiency is only about 20%.

    Fuel cell vehicles running on compressed hydrogen may have a power-plant-to-wheel efficiency of 22% if the hydrogen is stored as high-pressure gas, and 17% if it is stored as liquid hydrogen.

    Ron Patterson

    Possibly todblog meant to use it locally, as a battery, to balance peaks and valleys in demand on and output from renewables? So, without the need to transport - only to store - the hydrogen, there is less energy lost.

    Any idea of what the complete cycle efficiency is for compressed air vehicles, which Tata Motors is planning to build in India?


    Then you have to convert the energy stored in the hydrogen back to electricity somehow, e.g. burning it at about 60% efficiency or using fuel cells. The storage of electrical energy may be technically possible, it just isn't economically feasible.

    You must also build somewhere to store the hydrogen, build the electrolysis plant, build whatever method you use to convert back to electricity, and compete with the cost of say, natural gas, for electricity production. A more promising method is vanadium redux batteries, but these costs will also have to come down to be truly practical. Given that we don't even deem it cost effective to store natural gas here in the UK for emergencies, storing hydrogen produced from electrolysis is not likely in the near future.

    The form of Electrolysis that I know of also required a sacrificial anode (cathode) of Platinum, which becomes another 'finite supply' issue that drives the scalability of this method. I know other materials can be used, but haven't heard that any are much better in this regard.


    "Electrolysis of water can be observed by passing direct current from a battery or other DC power supply (e.g. computer power supply 5 volt rail) through a cup of water (in practice a saltwater solution increases the reaction intensity making it easier to observe). Using platinum electrodes, hydrogen gas will be seen to bubble up at the cathode, and oxygen will bubble at the anode. If other metals are used as the anode, there is a chance that the oxygen will react with the anode instead of being released as a gas. For example using iron electrodes in a sodium chloride solution electrolyte, iron oxide will be produced at the anode, which will react to form iron hydroxide. When producing large quantities of hydrogen, this can significantly contaminate the electrolytic cell - which is why iron is not used for commercial electrolysis.

    The energy efficiency of water electrolysis varies widely. The efficiency is a measure of what fraction of electrical energy used is actually contained within the hydrogen. Some of the electrical energy is converted to heat, a useless by-product. Some reports quote efficiencies between 50–70%[1] This efficiency is based on the Lower Heating Value of Hydrogen. The Lower Heating Value of Hydrogen is thermal energy released when Hydrogen is combusted. This does not represent the total amount of energy within the Hydrogen, hence the efficiency is lower than a more strict definition. Other reports quote the theoretical maximum efficiency of electrolysis. The theoretical maximum efficiency is between 80–94% "

    Bob Fiske


    Having done a lot of electrochemistry in graduate school, I would suggest you heed the disclaimer at the top of that Wikipedia article. I'm not quite sure what this sentence means:

    The efficiency is a measure of what fraction of electrical energy used is actually contained within the hydrogen.

    I would suggest other references for this:

    The Hydrogen Economy: Opportunities, Costs, Barriers, and R&D Needs (2004)

    The above link starts you on page 220 (go to the bottom).

    A couple of points:

    • Platinum is not a sacrificial anode (it is not consumed), but it might not be the best choice.
    • An electrolyte is needed because of the low conductivity of water
    • Efficiency increases with temperature (see this for an explanation) and decreases with current density (i.e. how fast you are driving the electrolysis)

    I'm trying to find out more about the guy that is making hydrogen using radio waves. I don't think this is the same method electrolysis overall. He received the patents for his cancer device, and its going into tests. I saw another story, but not much info on the power input, and if the power input is on all the time etc.

    Its a new method, but one thing I did find out made me go hmm. He had the assistance of a Congressman Rick Santorim (not sure). But a Republican helped him get the grant money and more for the machine.

    I saw another video where he put a paper towel in the test tube with the water, but I am not sure what he was trying to show. The paper towel did not burn. But you can boil water in a paper bag, so....

    Its an oddity for sure. Radio waves. It could turn out to have a better return for bang than other methods.

    When I found out he was funded by Rick Santorim, well..

    Quid Clarius Astris
    Ubi Bene ibi patria

    As for the financial supporter, *shrug*, it's not really politics, it's engineering.

    But the odds are excellent that it takes at least as much RF energy to split water as it does DC energy (see cited article in above post for energy analysis). The disadvantage of using RF is that you get the hydrogen and oxygen out in a mixture. Not really the form you'd want to store hydrogen in, as the oxygen can recombine with astonishing quickness. (think 'detonation')

    To determine why it should have any different effect on cancer cells than normal cells, you'd have to consult a cell biologist. But I doubt that claim as well.

    As Carl Sagan once said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Otherwise, one is inclined to dismiss the guy as a crank. It isn't politics, it's just that life is too short to wade through all that BS disproving the assorted claims one-by-one.

    (Note that you can get a patent on just about anything if you're willing to fill out the paperwork. Unless it uses the exact phrase "perpetual motion machine" the examiners aren't usually very picky.)


    The radio waves are used to "heat" small nano particles put into the body to be absorbed by cancer cells. He uses the radio waves to heat the particles to destroy the cancer cells.

    did you even read the article.

    As I said, One needs to know his power input, and if the power needs to be on all the time. Does he zapp it and the hydrogen and oxygen break apart in the tube and start to rise.

    why do you say the oxygen comes out also. Where is this info from. He shows it burning in the video from the top of the vile. As far as I know oxygen is still available in the atmosphere and that is what is combining with the hydrogen.

    As for the statement is engineering and not politics.

    who you trying to kid. Rick Santorim is a right wing neocon that would sell out anyone to make a buck from what I've seen, as he is "was" a lock stepped republican.

    really its that easy to get a patent.

    When I received my utility patent, I don't recall it being that easy. I don't recall my attorney telling me it didn't need to work. I don't recall the patent examiner telling me it didn't need to work.

    I recall that it has to be able to work from what the examiner understands about physics.

    Nice try, but I've been there, and I doubt you have.

    Quid Clarius Astris
    Ubi Bene ibi patria

    from what the examiner understands about physics

    This is extremely important. Except to those who think science is stagnant.

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

    I have noticed a disturbing theme among the educated minority of eco-advocates: they are every bit as dedicated to the status quo (in their own way) as the NASCAR morons and shopping mall developers. The eco-advocates want cars, too, and all the prerogatives (like free parking and country living) that go with them, just like the WalMart shoppers. If this were not so, then why do the eco-advocates cream in their jeans whenever somebody presents a snazzy new vehicle that runs on a fuel other than gasoline?


    That was the line that caught my eye also---
    So very true.
    A good read this edition.

    'A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he's pissed!' -Eric Idle

    What a smarmy pr!ck.. It's so easy to cut down an entire, theoretical group by making class-baiting references to nascar and walmart afficionados.. (another hypothetical group) 'Oh No! I'd better not advocate for anything green or Kunstler will call me a redneck!'

    One, His language makes it sound like the whole environmental movement is somehow monolithic in this, equally prone to these 4th grade attacks against 'the kid who actually tried to give the right answer to teacher'.

    Two, we've now moved up to adolescent putdowns, where Sexual Excitement and Incontinence is clearly still a punishable offense. Thou Shalt not have orgasms over horseless carriages! Where's Cherenkov when you need him?

    Electric Cars can be good, cool and fun! It doesn't mean I want them (or a Centerfold of them) packing the Jersey Turnpike every morning and night.

    Jim, get over yourself a little! Go for a ride!


    Did anyone catch General Peter Pace talking about how 180,000 cheering NASCAR fans saluted his troops with a big whoopteeholler on Memorial day? I thought he was gonna cry.

    Yes, it would be nice if Kunstler would not generalize so much.

    I don't like cars per se, but, when driving, would like to drive the most efficient car possible. I have a Prius. When Toyota or someone else comes out with something more efficient, I will probably trade in my Prius. In the mean time, none of this stuff makes me cream in my jeans.

    Most of us "eco advocates", whatever they are, have the good sense to recognize that we need communities where driving will be minimized or made obsolete. In the mean time, unlike, Jim, we have to live in the real world.

    And, Jim, would you please quit jetting all over the world, using up our precious oil and spewing carbon like there's no tomorrow.

    I love Jim's books, but I'm getting tired of his stick and his inability to see people as individuals.

    Putting down one's natural allies does not seem like a very smart strategy. Maybe Kunstler just likes to piss off people.

    Given the choice between adaptation and social chaos I'd preferr some form of bumpy conversion from our present standard toward the lower energy 'new order'.

    At times JHK seems to want to wipe it all away and start over as if there will be no cars, no suburbs and no organized retail markets at all soon. God help us if that all goes away at once. These will be the least consequential items occuring at the time.

    If we but look at societies that are undergoing 'the transition' we may find something of our future. Less waste, check, intensive use of any transportation availiable, check, reuse, repair, and recycling, check. A total transformation of values, desires, and characteristics, nope.

    I've heard Jim say many times that there will be cars, but that they shouldn't tyrannize us. We are still debating whether cars should tyrannize us. So, I think JHK goes over the top rhetorically sometimes, but on the other hand, the conversation on these issues in most areas of the country is otherwise still pretty pathetic. People cannot and will not imagine a world without NASCAR. And, why should they !

    A couple of years back I had a chance to ask Kunstler what he thought about the chance of getting a reasonable PO candidate was. His look told me all I needed. Seems like a pretty silly question to me now.

    As a clarion JHK is great. As far as relating to how things will play out for us humans renders 'you'll need to make other arraingements.' Those of us who already realize we will largely be on our own to adapt will have some built in expectations very different from the majority that expect the NASCAR parade to continue.

    They do so b/c ,as I believe you indicate, they haven't begun to see what's coming. Circumstance is so pervasive that the PO message isn't penetrating. But I sense a general unease. And with that next shock? I dread this coming mass realization as much as the reality. Wrenching anger, scapegoating, all the phases of grieving... everywhere.

    It is going to be real hard just to walk away from vehicles as if keeping them going will somehow reaffirm that our society is still viable. We are accustomed to their self-extending properties. OTOH using them as appropriate technology to trade and transport food and other items in some fashion will still make sense. (Diesel farm tractors pulling trailers with almost anything imaginable on board)

    Still there is gonna be a lot of ritual tire squealing on the way to powerdown I'm sure. (I confess I'll probably be nostalgic for that 'easy motoring lifestyle' a little myself) But it's as good as gone ....now we'll have to begin to deal with it.

    I dread this coming mass realization as much as the reality. Wrenching anger, scapegoating, all the phases of grieving... everywhere.

    Everywhere where there is not an understanding of the causes. Which, admittedly is most places.

    I wonder if having Kunstlers out there pounding away relentlessly might dampen the anger into humbleness as events unfold. Probably not but...if you noticed that your neighbors house was in an area likely to be flooded after a big rain and he laughed at you or ignored or even got angry at you for bringing it up all the time - when the rain came and his house flooded maybe he wouldn't be so ready to blame others.

    I confess I'll probably be nostalgic for that 'easy motoring lifestyle' a little myself) But it's as good as gone ....now we'll have to begin to deal with it.

    I think you are right, the nostalic days of easy motoring were gone a long time ago. The days of open road, cruising, freedom etc. ended a while back. Its mostly about dependency now and fuming about congestion or gas prices or both.

    Thanks, Bob,

    This helps me place my comment...The language bothers me, and it's more than a surface thing.

    I'd like it if JHK would say how *he* feels, (using a feeling word) rather than describing how generalized "others" might or might not feel. Also, there's something that bothers me a lot about the innuendo. (Or, not so subtle sexual reference, I guess.) I don't know. I think it ties in to something that's actually more serious.

    In any case...

    My take on his essay:

    Presumably, at conferences, he presents the outline of a problem, which many/most/some people in his audience have never contemplated.

    This problem, especially if it's accompanied by insight, can be (and often is) terrifying.

    It is only natural and sane to ask for solutions.

    One answer might be, for example,

    "In this case, the problem appears so intractable, in many respects - I personally talk about "ways" or "paths". I can give you my view of what we need to do on a national level immediately:

    --Enforce the speed limit, and encourage 55 mph.
    --Stop funding new highways and airport expansion
    --Impose an immediate tax on gasoline, to be raised in increments, with proceeds to go towards..."

    Or whatever one's plan and/or ideas might be.

    There are some things that anyone can do (in theory), no matter where they are - learn to listen, to mediate (conflict resolution), to build community (CERT reference to follow). These are difficult skills, in some ways, yet still, invaluable.

    Another answer might be:

    "I am presenting you with a problem I have no idea at all about how to solve. I'm open to talking to you about what you think, and I hope we can work together. Here is what I can offer you..."

    Someone (presumably) did pay for his presence, with money that could be used to purchase a vacant lot and put in some turnips.

    Well, I agree with Kunstler. A biodiesel SUV is a party joke. I think people will eventually realize that electric cars are not really feasible either. Carrying around 1000 lbs of lead, nickel and copper is not really a solution.

    The simple answer is trains. This system is already in place in the rest of the developed world, and not only is it energy and resource efficient, it also creates much more pleasant living environments which are themselves more energy and resource efficient.

    You can still have a car and buzz around the countryside on weekend. Why not. It's a nice toy.

    I think your simple answer is a fine option, but is altogether too simple. The road system is already in place here, and like it or not, our various solutions WILL include a number of cars and trucks. I will be pretty glad (but will try to control my excretions) to see really efficient vehicles, ones that can operate with little or no Fossil Fuel use. Batteries do work, for a few miles anyway.. I'm not suggesting they will populate the entire roadway, nor should they.. but they are not 'toys' for most people who will be getting them. They are tools for getting to work, school and etc.. while we still have to deal with a country designed under the premise of endless gasoline.

    My comments about Kunstler were about his childish namecalling and goads- far too reminiscent of jr. high school. As Aniya also said, this is not really productive.. I would say it is about as UNproductive as all the inappropriate technologies that he is self-righteously snarling about, as well as his barbs for the apparently misguided ranks of the environmental movement who don't sign onto his list of acceptable hardware.

    Bob Fiske


    Not OT, but in the vein of peakness.....

    The federal government recorded a $1.3 trillion loss last year — far more than the official $248 billion deficit — when corporate-style accounting standards are used, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

    Bottom line: Taxpayers are now on the hook for a record $59.1 trillion in liabilities, a 2.3% increase from 2006. That amount is equal to $516,348 for every U.S. household. By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of $112,043 for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and all other debt combined.

    USATODAY is the most read paper in the country. Let's see what doesn't happen...

    How in the hell is this supposed to work out? This country's govt is such a joke. A newborn comes into the world with more debt than it can expect to pay off in it's lifetime.

    Where's the RESET button?

    Tom A-B

    Next to the thermostat...

    Don't forget that who those liabilities are owed to count them as assets.

    I got a kick of subprime lenders counting negative amortization loans as income. They would literally book the profit right away even though the cash wasn't going to show up for the same party and thus now we get New Century restating earnings going back to 05. Gee, what do you mean they didn't pay up? It says right here on these books you were getting paid buddy!

    Booking profit before returns, classic Enron style accounting

    Quid Clarius Astris
    Ubi Bene ibi patria

    From that site, first page, left, "Now consider hydrogen: we extract it from water using the electrochemical process known as "electrolysis", which is about 66% efficient. "

    However that is a tad low. The electrolysis process alone can be 80% (source PSI.ch, Switzerland). But then you need to transport the hydrogen, noone knows how, then you need to fill your car and store it onboard (noone knows how), then you need to run a (? 50'000$ cost ?) fuel cell (80% efficient?) and then a converter (90+%) and then run your cool wheels (x % efficient). Multiply these efficiencies -> ~50 % of the electricity goes to wheels. OK. Better than ICE.

    Your car cost ~ 70'000$, and noone knows how long your fuel cell works (5 years, 10 years, 20?).

    The infrastructure to get your hydrogen at the tank place cost xxx $.

    You need to produce the electricity (x % efficient to add).
    You still want to spend time with this theme? No, that is why "the hydrogen economy" slowly is quieting down and disappearing. Nobody else wants to spend time on this neither.

    Ps start working in the wind indstry. or Supply thermostats to radiators, to cities in Russia, they often dont have and open the windows to cool the flat (it IS true - Ive spoken to two russians on this theme). Or work on reducing the need to drive in our societies (working at home, incentives to use public transport etc). You will achieve more Joules saved than with hydrogen.

    Todblog you should have posted this as a "reply" rather than a new thread. But at any rate there was nothing anywhere on that site that stated that the efficiency was 90%. What it did say was:

    the overall efficiency of a "hydrogen economy" would be only 22% or so, at best.

    Ron Patterson

    Here is the quote from that site where I got the info from:

    "Electrolysis at 1.48 volts (corresponding to 3.5 kWh per normal cubic metre of hydrogen) would be 100% efficient in the conventional sense. Practical electrolysers today achieve efficiencies of over 90% on this basis, electricity to hydrogen; in an energy sense, electrolytic hydrogen can therefore be regarded as a storable form of electricity."

    If you scroll down a bit and read the comment from "neelander" you will find it. The overall efficiency at which boundaries? From renewably generated electricity to hydrogen and back to electricity on a plant scale can be significantly better than that.

    For starters Todblog, this is just some guy blowing off. What the hell is "electrolytic hydrogen" anyway?

    From renewably generated electricity to hydrogen and back to electricity on a plant scale can be significantly better than that.

    NO, not a snowballs chance in hell of that being the case. Hydrogen, fed to a fuel cell, would have to be either compressed or in liquid form. And half the energy in a fuel cell is lost as heat. (In your turbine scheme it would likely be far greater than 50%.)

    But I have a question. Why on earth would you wish to turn electricity to hydrogen, then back to electricity again, if not for transport? To do it in a stationary plant would be totally absurd. Why not just use the original electricity instead of going to all the trouble of turning it into hydrogen then back into electricity again? That just makes no sense whatsoever.

    Ron Patterson

    Actually it might make sense, Darwinian, in a design using solar or wind power, to store excess electricity which you can then provide when the primary source is below its target. Just as Alan has talked about using water as a way to store electricity (pumping it back above a dam for use in hydro power), storing electricity does have benefits in systems that are subject to wide variances. And heaven knows that solar has quite a range of productivity depending on cloud cover, etc.

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

    No GreyZone, it makes no sense whatsoever. Turning electricity into hydrogen then back into electricity again would be about 20% efficient, or 25% at the very best. And that doesn't count the cost of the equipment.

    I have never heard of hydrogen powered gas turbine, which Todblog suggested. But that thing would burn a lot of hydrogen very fast. Somehow I just don't think it would catch on.

    Something far more practical, and a lot more efficient would be to use the electricity to pump water uphill during high generating times and using the water to turn a turbine at night, or whenever. That has actually been done in places. The efficiency is still quite low, but still far more efficient than turning the electricity into hydrogen then back into electricity again.

    Ron Patterson

    Not every windmill can have a 100,000 gallon water reservoir next to it.

    Electrical energy storage is I would say the biggest hurdle to
    overcome in sustainable energy generation. Think about the excess electricity generated in 35mph winds in a windfarm between 2am and 8am. If you could store that , and use it at 3pm the next day, you would greatly reduce the number and size of generators needed.

    I have also done some work with electrolizers, and they are no where near 90% efficient.

    The attraction to hydrogen energy use is its simple and complete cycle: electrolize water to get h2+o2 (browns gas)
    then burn h2+o2 and get energy + water.

    this is not a debate over the new "hydrogen economy". Hydrogen is not a fuel source, only a energy carrier.

    Think about the excess electricity generated in 35mph winds in a windfarm between 2am and 8am. If you could store that , and use it at 3pm the next day, you would greatly reduce the number and size of generators needed.

    crazy notion alert

    This is probably a dumb idea, but that's the great thing about not having an engineering reputation at stake. In the case where wind turbines are situated on a high ridge - which could be frequently since that's where the wind blows best, how about storing the energy mechanically? The fanciful notion I was just thinking of might be called the "Sisyphus Express", consisting of heavily-loaded train cars on steep inclined tracks which could be towed up to the ridgetop via mechanically linked turbines which would then run generators on the way down. Seems like this would be more efficient than pumping water and could even out the power flow. As I say, just a notion; the amount of storage would be limited but not insignificant.

    Suppose we want to store 24 hours of 2KW of power. That is about 200 MegaJoules.

    Gravitational energy is mgh. g is 10 meters / sec**2. Suppose our hill is 100 meters high, so gh is 1000 m**2 / sec**2. That means our mass must be 200 metric tons.

    200 tons up and down a 100 meter hill for one house.

    Not impossible, but impressive. Not cheap, I don't think!

    (check my units etc., anybody!)

    A cube of water 6 meters on each side will have a mass of 200 tons, if my math is right.

    The mechanical linkage is a problem. Power is in the hub 40 or 80 m high in the air.

    Best transfer mechanical medium MIGHT be a liquid. Turbine impeller on top, another turbine on the bottom doing work.

    I wonder is electrical transfer might not be better.

    Basically, you are talking about half of a funicular railroad.


    I suspect that it would work (hauling train up 45 degree slope for example) but costs would be too high/MWh in all but the most extreme cases.

    Best Hopes,


    How about just running a drive shaft the entire length? No generator on top at all. Keeping it all mechanical and low-friction until needed to make electricity. Still the point about the amount of mass necessary raises a good point... do most houses really use enough to lift a 200-ton railcar 100 meters up a 45-degree hill? Impressive, if so.

    I just like the thought of seeing the thing work. Could be a way to get high output over short periods of time... you could unleash all the stored power very quickly. And it's low-tech.

    A 40 m to 80 m long driveshaft (the height of the WT tower) would be "problematic".

    And siting would be more complex since the power generated would need to be used quite close to the base of the tower.

    And mechical work to raise the railcars, and electrical generation when releasing them seems overly complex.

    Best Hopes,


    According to the poster I quoted the best eclectrolizers achieve this efficiency. Even at 80% efficiency the technology is viable and preferable to the alternatives.

    Lets assume its 80% (prob more like 65-70% but..); thats just the electrolizer, whats the efficiency of the browns gas to electricity? fuel cells are better than heat engines, but loads more $$$

    lets assume they are 80% as well 80% of 80% is 64%.

    >Not every windmill can have a 100,000 gallon water reservoir next to it.
    >Think about the excess electricity generated in 35mph winds in a windfarm between 2am and 8am.

    10K cu-ft of compressed Hydrogen + Leak + ignition = very big bang.

    1. Hydrogen Embrittlement: Know thy issues

    2. Cost of equipment to convert Hydrogen into electricity. Gas turbines cost loads of $$$. Then there is that nasty issue with Hydrogen Embrittlement with turbines again!

    3. Fuel Cells: Lack of Precious Metals and short run times with PEM Fuel Cells before they must be rebuilt

    >The attraction to hydrogen energy use is its simple and complete cycle: electrolize water to get h2+o2 (browns gas)

    1. Kaboom! Any significent amount of combined (h2 + o2) gas stored represents a serious safety issue. Significant quanties would be required to use a turbine or large recipicating engines.
    2. H2 + O2 will rapidily decompose back into water under pressure. It will have a short storage lifespan. It would also degrade storage containers (hydrogen embrittlement coupled with pure water which is a powerful solvent).

    Darwinian is spot on pointing out the issues with hydrogen, even if its used as a temporary storage medium.

    >Electrical energy storage is I would say the biggest hurdle to overcome in sustainable energy generation.

    No energy system is sustainable on the planet with our massive and growing population. Reduce the population to a fraction of its current size and today energy problems disappear.

    Lets suppose there is a fix and we are able to develop a sustainable system capable of support 7 Billion people. Unfortunately by 2050 the population will probably have swelled to 10 to 12 billion. The population will continue to grow as long as the machine continues to function. All all along, global living standards decrease as other social and physical issues affect the population. No matter what you do, the population demand will exceed any sustainable system causing a crash.

    I still believe that our current paradigm of thinking where electricity should be available to all 24/7 is the wrong way to go. Use it when it is available, do the work when the sun is out, etc. Obviously some smaller amount should be available for night-time entertainment or mission critical applications, but there's no reason that we have to run our dishwasher whenever we want when we can instead have it run when the electricity is there. If you want power at night, you can turn on the switch that charges you $2/kwh for "emergency" power.

    But then again, I think we're all spoiled. (Including myself.)

    Absolutely right!

    You could run a society perfectly well by only using electricity when the wind was blowing.

    Pretty much everything in nature - including us - evolved to make use of sporadically available resources.

    Despite my suggestion above for evening out wind load, the real answer is that we don't NEED to even it out. It's inherently stupid.

    I believe this is where we will be headed, once the long emergency stabilizes. I believe time dependent rates will force large consumers off peak times. More supply control of peak users has already started. The large concrete co next to my work just installed a backup generator and relay system as part of a program.

    Concrete manufacturing is very energy intensive. I never realized how much so until about half a year ago. I originally thought, "Oh, it's just minerals, how much power can that take?" A lot, it seems. Beyond the power required to make items that we use for the construction of goods and shelters, the actual NEEDED power requirements for a house are pretty low, with exception to winter. We'll simply learn to run our appliances when power is cheap (plentiful due to generation running at the time) and not use electricity when it is expensive. We'll use solar and wind as primary power generation sources whether we want to or not, whether it's reliable or not, because it's going to be the only thing left!

    As I said perform the electrolysis under pressure. As for your comment about the poster's credibility it is incumbent upon you to refute it. I gave the reference. Give a reference refuting it. Don't make a mere assertion. Pumped hydro in the desert?

    As for your comment about the poster's credibility it is incumbent upon you to refute it. I gave the reference. Give a reference refuting it. Don't make a mere assertion. Pumped hydro in the desert?

    Pure baloney! The clown gave no reference for his assertion, he pulled it right out of his posterior. And you expect me to show a URL for refuting it. It would behoove him to prove his point rather than making assertions pulled from his posterior. To say that you can convert electricity to hydrogen and then back again with 90% efficiency, or even 80% efficiency if you drop 10% each way is just totally absurd. Anyone making such a very stupid statement needs to be the one who proves his point.

    The efficiency of fuel cells is 50% at best and your gas turbine would be even less efficient. The 10% you lose on the top end still puts you at 40% or below.

    Now I think I will take the advice of others and quit feeding the monkey.

    Ron Patterson

    No one said that the complete process was 90% efficient. Only that the electrolysis was 90% efficient. He does mention elsewhere that this is for the best electrolizers. Even at 80% efficiency it is adequate. As for the reaction turbine those are already developed using water that is flashed through the nozzle. The efficiency approaches unity as the turbine speed approaches the exhaust speed.

    Okay, I lied, I am going to throw you one more banana.

    As for the reaction turbine those are already developed using water that is flashed through the nozzle. The efficiency approaches unity as the turbine speed approaches the exhaust speed.

    Anyone who would write crap like that deserves to be ignored...for the rest of their life.

    Ron Patterson

    Do you have a rational argument or is all you can do is insult? Are you familiar with rocket eficiencies? The above statement is an empirical fact.

    todblog says

    Are you familiar with rocket eficiencies? The above statement is an empirical fact.

    What about friction and turbulence?

    James Gervais
    Hope was the last ill to escape Pandora's box.

    ImSceptical, I did not reply to this guy for obvious reasons. He is blowing smoke and even a sixth grader could detect it.

    He brings up "rocket eficiencies" (sic) when he was previously talking about turbine efficiencies. Rockets do not have turbines and any fool should know that.

    I worked the last 17 years of my working life at NASA in Huntsville, Alabama, where they designed and build all the NASA rockets. I was a computer jock and not a rocket scientist but I still worked around the engines. I don't know nearly as much as a rocket scientist about rocket engines but I do know more than most folks.

    Yes, rocket thrust can approach 100% efficiency but that has to do with action-reaction of the backward thrust of the rocket engines in outer space. That is what is generally referred to as "propulsive efficiency". It is totally unrelated to anything remotely concerned with gas turbines.

    So it would be wise not to throw this monkey any more bananas.

    Ron Patterson

    Are you stupid or something? The reaction turbine uses rocket principles. You really are ignorant.

    Of course unity is impossible, we all know that. But 80-90% efficiency is still exceptional, isn't it?

    Pumped hydro in the desert ?

    Fairly simple.

    Find a water tight upper and lower basin (or make one using gunite sprayed concrete) close to each other with a tunnel in between.

    Add water from

    1) captured periodic rains that are pumped a short distance from a capture basin IF the rains do not naturally flow into either the upper or lower basin

    2) pumped a long distance from surface water

    3) pumped from an underground aquifer

    Cover both basins with something to inhibit evaporation. Ping pong balls with paint on one side (prevents rotating in the wind and extends life) are one solution. Hexagonal floating wooden platforms are another.

    One could even build either or both basins underground.


    PS: I always thought that the Grand Canyon would make an excellent pumped storage site >:-P Just ignore those people in smokey bear hats jumping up and down !

    Nothing you mention is adequate for the quantities of energy that would need to be stored.

    Two 10 Gl storage basins are entirely possible (and borderline economic), with a 100 or so m head delta (say 10 m tunnel) and a few GW of motor generators. That could take care of about all the wind generation currently installed.

    Build more as needed.


    Build more where? At what cost to the envoronment? You wnat to dam every river in the country?

    World's Best Claimed Hydrolysis Efficiency

    The precious metal platinum has shown great activity for water electrolysis, attaining over 50% efficiency. Using electrodes composed of QSI nanometals, QSI has achieved up to 80% efficiency at lower current flow rates (100 mA/cm2) and approximately 60% efficiency at higher rates (1000 mA/cm2). Over the next year, QSI believes it will achieve or exceed the DoE 2010 target of 75% efficiency at rates beyond 1000 mA/cm2 through furter optimization

    pdf warning

    I have no doubt that such claims were made with purified water (available at extra energy cost).

    They claim 80% efficiency with a very slow trickle charge and 60% with small quantities on a labtop.

    Not quite proven technology (AFAIK the claims have not had 3rd Party verification yet).

    40% was what was quoted to me in Iceland for commercial electrolysis and that seems reasonable.

    Best Hopes for Reality Based Claims,


    I am sorry that I wasted time researching this. Better uses of my limited time.

    Here is a link to an article that states the typical efficiency is 75%.

    There are more where that came from. Articles all over the web point to efficiencies about 70%.

    Thinking about the comment by WNC Observer on yesterday's DrumBeat:

    The truth is that no one can really predict the future.

    And from the Guardian article,

    Our future depends on the expectation that the past will never be exhausted.

    And the Houston Chronicle article,

    the House last week passed bills authorizing the federal government to sue the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and to go after price gougers.

    I think the truth is that nearly every sentient human on this planet is capable of predicting the future, relative to their individual environments and access to information.

    What we cannot do is predict things with arbitrary precision in arbitrary time frames.

    In the Northern Hemisphere, we predict winter is colder than the rest of the year and so we have ways to provide warmth. Predicting exactly how much colder is January 24th, 2008 than July 1, 2008 is where we have a problem. Nevertheless, we'll still have fireplaces, radiators, and heavy coats available during the winter, regardless of the specific temperature.

    Similarly, we humans know that we will get hungry, thirsty, sleepy, dirty, and we have processes for dealing with those eventual certainties. Exactly what we will eat, how long we will sleep, how much we will drink, the temperature of the shower, where we will put our dirty wastes, is of secondary importance to knowing that in the future there will be something we're eating and drinking, somewhere we'll be sleeping and disposing of our wastes (preferably in different somewheres) if we wish to remain living.

    At a minimum, humans need water, food, shelter, sanitation. Without reliable sources of these, there is no foundation for any society. Presently, 6.5 billion people get the overwhelming majority of their water, food, shelter, and sanitation through the expenditure of fossil fuels.

    Virtually our entire infrastructure to
    * pump, desalinate, and purify water
    * grow, package, preserve, and transport food
    * mine and process raw materials
    * build climate-controlled structures
    * clean ourselves and our environments to fight disease

    is dependent on fossil fuels inputs.

    Without fossil fuels, something else must provide those services within the infrastructure. Those services are a combination of the fuel input and the infrastructure that receives it. Uranium can't be used at a natural gas plant, nor will it power your ICE-based automobile.

    If there isn't something else available, then water shortages will worsen, food production will decline, shelters won't be maintained, people will get dirtier, and disease will spread.

    Among the "solutions" we have to deal with our global resource crisis range, we have:
    * business-as-usual
    * more nuclear
    * flywheels
    * hydrogen
    * ethanol
    * solar
    * algae
    * CTL

    BUT ... our ability to develop these solutions depends on a system that expects fossil fuel inputs, and it depends on having enough time.

    BUT ... in order to develop solutions at all, which requires research, materials, and teams of safe and secure scientists, there must be enough ongoing societal stability. That stability requires that most of the people in society are getting enough water, food, shelter, and aren't physically ill.

    but ... we are still ignoring that energy out is always less than energy in, and we have built a society dependent on the stored results of hundreds of millions of years of ancient sunlight and geological pressure. this was a one-time shot, and we've pissed through the first half like beer at a fraternity party. the best-case, realistic scenarios of our solutions will only postpone the inevitable and make the aftermath that much worse.

    Nevertheless we have decided to:
    * increase our resource draw to develop new solutions
    * continue our existing and increasing resource draw for a growing population

    While at the same time:
    * resources are becoming depleted
    * our ability to extract them is declining
    * expending more and more primary energy in the extraction of primary energy (declining EROEI)
    * the vastly overwhelming majority of the populace is clueless about the crisis we face

    So what does this say about the future and where we are headed?

    I think where we are headed is very clear: decline. The only question is timing, and what additional obstacles we'll face along the way (rolling blackouts, fascism, social chaos, 404s dominating the Net).

    Excellent comments!!! I was listening to the congressman that sponsered the bill to sue OPEC today on Squawk box on the way into work today. They are framing the argument for high gas prices as an OPEC problem, as they are holding product off the market and refinery capacity. The congressman did not seem to grasp the big picture. He felt that the gas prices were too high and OPEC must release more crude to the market or be sued by the US. It is no wonder that we have lost confidence in our leaders.

    They are framing the argument for high gas prices as an OPEC problem, as they are holding product off the market and refinery capacity.

    Well isn't that what CERA and OPEC are telling everyone? They have spare capacity to produce more Oil but choose not to.

    If OPEC were honest we could get on with working out solutions in a rational way.

    Kudo's, 710. So how does the human mind deal with pending decline? There seems to be only one possible answer: It doesn't.

    And that is why it'll all get a lot worse than it already is.

    Cheermongers and Hope Fiends – Part 3

    Why hope for this absurdity called Empire to continue? The costs of this lifestyle to other peoples, to other species, to the air and the water and the soil, and to ourselves, we who live in the heart of the beast, the cost of that is incalculable: the death, the destruction, the pain, the loss, the grief, the boredom, the insanity.

    The hope of keeping this lifestyle going is largely held by those relative few who manage to reap the benefits while ignoring the costs, and by those who think they have a shot at joining that select group. Those many who really feel the costs already? They are not hoping for this to keep going.

    As Derrick Jensen says so well,

    “We’re fucked… and life is really, really good.”

    That’s exactly how my life feels to me now. But don’t ask me to be balanced in that “objective journalism” sort of way one usually expects. Don’t expect that every time I point out the desperate predicament we’re in that I should also take time to point out those positive trends that also exist, the small pieces of good news buried amongst the bad.

    Environmental writers have been tagging happy chapters onto the ends of their books forever. I’m not seeing that that has helped. In my own life, I’m sure it has not. The happy chapters allowed me to hope, as a verb, to think somebody else was handling things, to believe that “they’re on it”.”

    “Don’t ask me to be balanced. I AM the balance, I and anybody who is speaking up and telling the truth about what they see in the world. There’s a whole culture out there telling people to cheer up and be hopeful. The Earth does not need me to do that. It needs me pointing out what’s happening. It needs me speaking up about hard and painful and frightening things. It needs me telling every last bit of truth that I can find. It needs my willingness to say out loud those things that others will not or cannot say.”

    “Cheer isn’t the problem. False cheer is the problem, cheer that springs from fear so familiar we no longer notice it, from a resulting refusal to look, from a lack of information, from a deep wounding that keeps us alone and in pain and disempowered. The same goes for hope. And for fear.

    It’s the false hope that gets us in trouble, the hope that derives from a lack of information and understanding, the hope that gets sold to us by a culture that does not want us to look behind the curtain, the hope for a possibility that is so far down the ladder that it can’t be seen from here. And false fear? Anybody now living in the US knows all about that. All you need do is open a newspaper.”

    PS the Jensen quote would be good for KingPing?!, who asked for peak quotes yesterday, to display in public

    Good. The critical task and the one that is so difficult is to describe the truth as clearly as possible. On the other hand, a little bit of optimism and a little bit of help along the way, even if not completely rational, is necessary to keep going.

    I like it, but maybe w/ "f***ked" to keep our pg-13 rating...

    It's hell when the blinders come off, isn't it?

    Hi 710,

    I like the way you lay this out, especially the part about stability.

    I'd like to make some distinctions.

    re: "Nevertheless we have decided to:
    * increase our resource draw to develop new solutions
    * continue our existing and increasing resource draw for a growing population"

    1) It seems, on the face of it, that extracting energy resources to develop renewable energy extraction technology, and *if* that's, say, solar-based, then...this might be an exception to this point. Changing the allocation of energy resources on a large scale, in other words. ?

    2) re: "decided to...continue our existing and increasing resources draw for a growing population."

    Not so much a decision, really, is it? Not a decision made at the same level (scale) at which the question is posed. Which doesn't contradict what you're saying...just that it might help to look at the levels, in the sense of...which ones might be subject to change, and, if so, where?

    3) re: "clueless populace". Which portion of the populace, if educated, might have the most positive effect?

    Not a rhetorical question.

    Virtually our entire infrastructure to
    * pump, desalinate, and purify water
    * grow, package, preserve, and transport food
    * mine and process raw materials
    * build climate-controlled structures
    * clean ourselves and our environments to fight disease

    OK, let's think about this:
    * pump, desalinate, and purify water
    The average American uses about 70 gallons of tap water per day in the house. Of this, perhaps five gallons is used for drinking, preparing food, and washing dishes. The rest is used for flushing toilets, washing cars, washing laundry, watering lawns, and so forth. 1) The old flush toilets used five gallons per flush. Today they are down to more like two gallons typically. You can buy an off-the-rack high pressure flush toilet that uses one pint (1/8 gallon) per flush. Or, if you want to go all the way to zero, you can use a composting toilet. 2) washing cars -- not necessary if you don't have a car ie live in a train/bus/bicycle based environment. 3) low-water laundry washers like the Staber units use perhaps 1/3 the water of typical units 4) lawns are an East Coast thing -- where you don't have to water them. Having a lawn in Las Vegas, Phoenix or San Diego is delusional.

    That doesn't even address water wastage in agriculture and industry.

    Sailors know that they can budget as little as one gallon of fresh water per person per day. Five gallons per day, or one-fourteenth of present usage, is not particularly burdensome. Much of this could be provided by rainwater harvesting and cisterns.

    * grow, package, preserve, and transport food

    Most "food" is wasted in the conversion of grains to meat. This while we destroy plentiful sources of natural meat such as wild fisheries. Humans could eat well on half of today's total caloric food production, via a lower meat/higher grains and vegetables diet. There is a lot of fertile farmland on the East Coast which has gone out of production, due to low food prices.

    * mine and process raw materials

    The only reason consumption of raw materials is so high is because they are so cheap.

    * build climate-controlled structures

    Humans lived for 200,000 years up to thirty years ago without air conditioning. Proper insulation and a return to area heat instead of central heat would greatly diminish the need for heating fuels. It is not hard to reduce heating energy consumption by 80%+ via good design.

    * clean ourselves and our environments to fight disease

    Good plumbing, regular trash collection, and the general falling-out-of-use of livestock for transportation etc. has lead to much cleaner environments. Plumbing doesn't consume energy, however. We are far from a return to ox-drawn carts.

    These "problems" are laughably easy to solve. Note that not one of these solutions require anything more than existing off-the-rack technology.

    "Colorado, Utah Rival OPEC Reserves, Lure Chevron, Exxon, Shell"


    Refineries not worth it, but messing with shale oil is.

    "Shale is also a more attractive investment than new U.S. refineries, which Shell and Chevron say may lose money as rising use of crop-based fuels such as ethanol lowers domestic gasoline demand. Exxon says it isn't interested in building new fuel plants in the U.S. because the company expects North American fuel consumption to peak by 2025.

    ``You're going to build refineries where demand is increasing, and that's the developing world,'' "

    Yeah, someone posted that yesterday. It's not funny anymore, having to regurgitate the same fodder time and again. Tastes blander every time.

    Most likely, the confused minds who take this seriously will dream of using the energy to mine gold from seawater.

    So why, do you ask, are oil companies investing billions in these "techniques"? Easy, it's the same reason they invest in the tarsands. This, my friends, is what despair smells like.

    As for ethanol lowering gasoline demand, Robert Rapier deals with that quite effectively in his post this morning, The Mythical Ethanol Threat.

    Sorry, didn't realize it had been posted. Bloomberg must be holding on to it.

    It does have so many quotable lines. To me, for XOM/Chevron to choose such a money loser as shale for investment over US refineries says volumes about US reserves or future crude import volumes.

    That's what I mean, Doug, they are desperate. And being busy doing things that most people don't know enough about to see they're fake, keeps them alive a bit longer, gets them subsidies up the wazoo, and most of all props of their share values for now. That said, I still found it weird to see Bloomberg presenting it as some kind of matter-of-fact news article.

    If they could get oil out of shale for $30 a barrel, they would be doing it, if it did not have some huge hidden costs they do not want to show you except in fine print.

    In Estonia they burned oil shale in a power plant. It might be a great thing for a post coal world if the Eta Carinae superstar 7,000 light years away does not strip our atmosphere in a supernova sooner.

    Eta Carinae Supernova Probable Near Earth:

    Actually in Estonia they produce most of their electricity from two shale power plants with a bit of hydro added. Now this is in a country of only 1.5 million. Their shale happens to be the richest, having more than twice the oil content, of any other field in the world (22% oil). It also happens to be exceptionally easy to mine. Per capita their lode is possibly the largest in the world. Even with those advantages they are moving away for environmental concerns. The waste after use becomes some 20-30% greater than the original mined ore and is carcinogenic. One condition for EU membership was a phasing out of shale... an article about shale in Estonia including the various processes and the chemistry. No doubt they could be energy self sufficient for a very long time but they aren't willing to make the necessary environmental sacrifices at this point in time.

    Fine, but it is perfectly fine if they do not build any more refineries or expand existing ones. I don't care what the reason is; nor does it really matter. Perhaps they are waiting for a bribe, another billion dollar subisidy or two.

    Let us implement the necessary policies to make demand be equal to or less refinery capacity.

    "The hard part is getting it cold enough to turn it into a liquid, or pressurizing it so the volume is small enough to make it practical to transport."

    Can't the electrolysis be performed under pressure and then the oxygen and hydrogen recombined in a rocket type reaction turbine that can approach unitary efficiency as turbine speed approaches exhaust speed? Using the hydrogen for transportation is another matter altogether.

    See my answer above.

    Wouldnt you mind answering in the same thread as your original question up above, please? A lot easier to follow than starting a new question all the time?

    You are asking awfully large questions, why dont you simply read a bit more and you will a lot answers already written...

    Why not start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_vehicle

    Good luck!

    Todblog, again please learn what the "Reply" button is for! Starting a new thread everytime you post a reply is totally confusing.

    But you are talking about using the hydrogen and oxygen in a turbine rather than a fuel cell. Never heard of that one before but somehow I don't think it would work. To my knowledge no one has ever even suggested such a scheme.

    Using air instead of pure oxygen would be more practical, but then it just seems silly to use compressed hydrogen to power a gas turbine. But if you can research it and find someone who has tested such a scheme we will be all ears I am sure.

    Ron Patterson

    Here is the quote from that site where I got the info from:

    "Electrolysis at 1.48 volts (corresponding to 3.5 kWh per normal cubic metre of hydrogen) would be 100% efficient in the conventional sense. Practical electrolysers today achieve efficiencies of over 90% on this basis, electricity to hydrogen; in an energy sense, electrolytic hydrogen can therefore be regarded as a storable form of electricity."

    If you scroll down a bit and read the comment from "neelander" you will find it. The overall efficiency at which boundaries? From renewably generated electricity to hydrogen and back to electricity on a plant scale can be significantly better than that.

    Ron, can you stop feeding the monkeys please.

    I say thanks for the reminder, too.

    "Can't the electrolysis be performed under pressure and then the oxygen and hydrogen recombined in a rocket type reaction turbine that can approach unitary efficiency as turbine speed approaches exhaust speed?"


    What are you suggesting? Making hydrogen and then burning it to run a turbine to make electricity? How about taking the energy that you expended to do the electrolysis and simply sending it straight out into the grid. (See "Laws of Thermodynamics")

    Am I missing something?

    The point is that with renewables you need to compensate for the variability. I thought this was well understood. This is especially true for solar which is not available at night. So you need a storage method. Which is best? My opinion is electrolysis. There is simply not enough material to store the prodigious amounts of energy using chemical batteries.

    I am after you again ;)

    how about this:

    until now the best solution.

    next best (cheapest) solution, [I believe, from some course at some university a while ago], is pressurized air.

    Your fuel cell to reconvert is simply to expensive.

    Pressurized air is good for short term storage but not long term due to adiabatic heating loss. Pumped-hydro is maxed out and environmentally damaging.

    Pumped-hydro is maxed out and environmentally damaging

    Pardon me !?

    I have been inside the Raccoon Mountain pumped storage facility as they were rebuilding the motor/generators for larger capacity.

    The site chosen was the best of 4 considered on that same ridge. That is, 3 more could have been built right next to that one. MANY more potential sites abound IMO.

    Environmental damage ? VERY minimal. Netting around intake from reservoir on bottom to prevent all but the smallest fish from getting in. A dimple of the top of a mountain ridge was taken. A narrow road to the top, the cuttings from the TBM drive went towards road gravel I understood.

    Best Hopes for Pumped Storage,


    You can't have pumped-hydro in many locations that are favorable to renewables, especially solar. Dams are indeed environmentally damaging. If there is a viable alternative why would you choose it?

    I would chose pumped storage because of the 80-81% real world cycle efficiency that can be achieved and the low unit cost for storage.

    And for "black start" operations after a blackout, nothing is better than a hydropower plant.

    Pumped storage will almost surely remain the premier means of storing electricity. Another economic, practical and efficient means would be welcome. I do not think electrolysis is that "other means".

    BTW, pumped storage does not require new dams and can work quite well off of the Great Lakes or existing reservoirs.

    I have not spent the time on hydrolysis efficiency to dispute your 90% claim via links, but I know that it is wrong. In my discussions in his office at the University of Iceland with "Dr. Hydrogen" Bragi Arnasson, he was proud of his discovery that using hot water (90 C from memory) cut the electrical requirements to generate hydrogen by 15%. I think the energy content of the freed hydrogen is about 40% of the electrical energy input.


    Well, I think we can agree that 40% is definitely wrong . As I mentioned 80% is probably about right for a practical electrolysis device and 90% maximum for an extremely expensive device. You can't use the Great Lakes for all regions. It is too great a distance. Transmission losses come into play. Say you needed 200 GW storage capacity. What's that, about 4 Three Gorges dams? That is not practical either.

    No. I think 40% is realistic and 80% to 90% is wildly off.

    Not enough time to more fully research today or tonight. More important things to do.

    200 GW pumped storage in the US is quite doable. Cost/unit will climb after first 80 to 120 MW (SWAG) as best sites are taken, but certainly doable.


    Four three Gorges dam are doable? That is widly optimistic. Let's get this straight at least.They already have electrolysisrs working at about 70%. So can we put this to rest?

    70% on a labtop with VERY small volumes.

    40%-45% for any practical industrial scale production with widely available technology. (Sacrificial Pt is not economic).

    The world can easily produce the turbines and generators for four 3 Gorges (see Grand Inga, 44 GW hydropower). I have seen 500 MW hydrogenerators as they were being rebuilt. A few tonnes of copper, high spec speciality steel and some skilled labor. 7 m diameter from memory. Innovative use of water cooled windings.

    I have scanned potential sites for years and believe that there are quite a few.

    Best Hoeps,


    >Can't the electrolysis be performed under pressure and then the oxygen and hydrogen recombined in a rocket type reaction turbine that can approach unitary efficiency as turbine speed approaches exhaust speed


    For starters. Much of the energy contained in the stored fuel is release as waste heat. Every Calorie of heat loss represents about 1 Joule of energy loss. Turbines convert a small amount of the heat into mechanical energy. The rest is lost. Turbine speed vs exhaust speed has nothing to do with efficiently

    Modern Gas turbines recycle waste heat to boil water to drive a second turbine. Newer designs use a third stage to use the exhaust steam to boil propane to drive another turbine (in a sealed rankin cycle). Each stage converts a little more of the heat into mechanic energy, but during each stage there are significant heat losses. For any heat engine to be 100% efficient (impossible!) it would have to convert all of the heated medium (gas, water, etc) back to the ambient temperature into mechanical (or electric) energy. The more stages the more complex the system becomes which makes it more expensive to build and maintain.

    Rockets are probably worst efficient engines, since about 99% of the energy is converted into waste heat which is lost. Rockets are used simply because they apply a practical solution to a very difficult problem of launching mass into space. In this matter, efficiency is the low man on the totalum pole, especially when energy is cheap. In fact, efficiency is completely ignored.

    I suggest the you study how turbines work before making any suggestions on how hydrogen can be efficiently converted into electricity.

    Then there are other issues with hydrogen storage, such as hydrogen embrittlement which is another whole book.

    This is simply wrong. Rockets are among the most efficient engines. The reaction turbine uses rocket principles. According to the company that flashes water to steam in a reaction type turbine 80% of the heat is converted to useful work.

    Rockets are not even remotely related to turbines. You are blowing smoke Todblog and everyone here knows it. Learn what rockets are before you go spouting off about something you quite obviously know nothing about.

    Rocket engines built by NASA do use turbo pumps but these are pumps to pump LOX and Hydrogen into the thrust chamber, they are not reactive turbines. What you are trying to do is compare the efficiency of a rocket engine with that of a turbine. They are not even remotely related!

    Turbines generate torque or rotational energy! Rocket engines generate thrust! Steam turbines, as in coal fired power plants, lose much of their efficiency in heat loss. Gas turbines do the same. Hydro plants that use pressurized or falling water to turn a turbine is a different matter. However they are not nearly 100% efficient and they cannot be compared with a gas turbine which your hydrogen turbine would be.

    Look Todblog, you just made this crap up about a hydrogen powered turbine. How about one, just one URL that explains how this hydrogen powered turbine is supposed to work. If you cannot do that then please just shut up!

    In the meantime you can learn how a rocket engine works.


    An electric motor produces rotational energy to drive a fan or spin a disk. A steam engine is used to do the same thing, as is a steam turbine and most gas turbines. Rocket engines are fundamentally different.

    Ron Patterson

    Somehow I think I'm glad you found some additional bananas as the day went on, Ron. I do hope you realize that 16-year olds, whether human or chimp, at times have fragile -budding- personalities.

    I also think, however, that there should be a better purpose to TOD than endlessly rehashing hydrogen, cellulosic ethanol and oilshale.

    That's what the archives are for, I'd say. Maybe we need a Debunked partition there. With a Big Banner Headline:

    Energy Can Not Be Created.

    And a second one:

    That's Not a Hole In The Second Law, That's a Hole in Your Head.

    However they are not nearly 100% efficient and they cannot be compared with a gas turbine which your hydrogen turbine would be

    Hydroturbine efficiency of 98.6% is indeed possible. 98.9% and 99.0% have been claimed, but their are more doubting Thomases than believers of those #s in real world applications.

    Add multipole turbine efficiency (these tend to be more efficient than 2 pole generators) of 98+% and teflon bearings (a Russian innovation) and the water to wire efficiency can get close to 95% !

    Best Hopes for mechanical & electrical effiency,


    Are you seriously contending that the reaction stage of any kind of turbine, gas, steam whatever does not operate on rocket principles? What kind of of ignoramus are you? If you are an example of what our educational system is putting out then we are indeed in trouble.

    >Are you seriously contending that the reaction stage of any kind of turbine, gas, steam whatever does not operate on rocket principles? What kind of of ignoramus are you? If you are an example of what our educational system is putting out then we are indeed in trouble.

    This is a perfect example of the reason why modern civilization is going to fail. You absolutely believe you understand how heat engines operate, but you have got the foggest clue. But please don't let Darwinian and I, from distorting your fanasty world.

    "I reject your reality and substitute my own!"
    --Paul Bradford

    >This is simply wrong. Rockets are among the most efficient engines

    Pure BS. Rockets simply have the lowest Engine weight to thrust. They have the worst efficiency of all engines. If your crazy logic was true, we would all be driving rocket powered cars and flying in rockets instead of jet turbine planes.

    Go get a Post Graduate degree in Combustion science and then we'll discuss it further

    >According to the company that flashes water to steam in a reaction type turbine 80% of the heat is converted to useful work.

    I doubt that very much, since considerable energy is lost converting water to steam. The process of converting water into a gas (steam) is endothermic. If a turbine was to convert the steam back into water, the water would condense on the turbine blades resulting in drag.

    The lastest Ultra Critical Stream Turbines are near 50% efficient (See below). Thats well below your 80% estimate.


    The article Why gas costs so much is riddled with errors of fact and logic.

    1. He mistakes the lack of new refineries for lack of refining capacity. As we all know, capacity has increased but just not at the exponential rate of demand increases.

    2. He blames big oil for buying back stock. Oil companies are beholden to their stockholders, not the general public. Buying back stock was a better use of their cash than investing in new refineries by their analysis. If the public wants that to change, then adjust tax laws so that refineries are more attractive than buybacks.

    3. He makes the mistake of assuming that a truck or SUV owned as a "vacation" vehicle is part of the cause of gas demand. If everyone drove a Prius to/from work and still owned an SUV to drive on vacations, we'd be way better off. The problem is not SUVs as vacation vehicles. The problem is SUVs as primary modes of transportation.

    In short, the article is shallow and factually in error but probably does reflect some of the public sentiments about gas prices, even if incorrect.

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

    Don't worry, I didn't post it because I agreed with it - I posted it to point out the muddled way the 'man on the street' (or 'reporter on the street' in this case) perceives the issue.

    ASPO Irelands June newsltter is available. No May newsletter though. Are they going bimonthly?

    This is not oil related, but more like wishful thinking for dealing with some of our politicans :)

    China Sentences Former Drug Regulator to Death

    SHANGHAI, May 29 — The former head of China’s top food and drug safety agency was sentenced to death today after pleading guilty to corruption and accepting bribes, according to the state-controlled news media.

    Zheng Xiaoyu, who served as director of China’s Food & Drug Administration from its founding in 1998 until mid 2005, was detained in February as part of a government investigation into the agency that is supposed to be the nation’s food and drug watchdog.

    Two other top agency officials were also detained in February.

    The unusually harsh sentence for the former director comes at a time of heightened concerns about the quality and safety of China’s food and drug system after a series of scandals involving tainted food and phony drugs.

    ... for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    The death sentence for stupid and corrupt beaurocrats? I knew there was something to be said for a civilsation lasting 4,000 years!

    Tom Toles tells us about the boiling frog

    This is good folks. I read his cartoon every day, and the others as well. But this is the first time I ever found one that is worth telling others about.

    Ron Patterson

    Of course, according to Snopes, this is an urban legend. Then again, since everybody believes what they read on the "internets", the cartoon serves its purpose anyway:

    ...Like a fable, the "boiled frog" anecdote serves its purpose whether or not it's based upon something that is literally true.

    ...The 'critical thermal maxima' of many species of frogs have been determined by several investigators. As the temperature of the water is gradually increased, the frog will eventually become more and more active in attempts to escape the heated water. If the container size and opening allow the frog to jump out, it will do so...

    VW 1-Litre-Car

    The aforementioned was possible already shown here, but I linked it anyway because today in the newspaper was a short article about a 84-year-old who reportedly also was working on a motor that required only 1l per 100km, functioning with gasoline, diesel or vegetal oil.

    Neither are in the stores yet.

    I found myself watching a film on Reagan and the Cold War called "In the Face of Evil" on the Trinity Broadcasing Network. While the film was overtly propagandistic and had an obvious Christian bent, it was enlightening for a 30 year-old who was a youngster during this period of history.

    Much of the film talked about Reagan defusing the threat of Nuclear Holocaust. Those were certainly frightening times in many ways, but I don't believe they can be compared to the current state of affairs. The biggest difference that I perceive in the "fear factor" of today is that the risk of nuclear holocaust still exists, except we are unsure about who might deliver a nuclear bomb.

    On top of that we are staring an economic depression in the face, we are experiencing climatic changes that have begun to disrupt the relative stability we've experienced for a few generations, and we're seeing energy resource constraints all around us while being told everything is hunky-dory.

    Oh, and Russia seems to be coming back around as an influential state with many of the advantages we once had over them (energy, money, increasing prosperity, etc).

    Am I better off now that we've defeated the Soviet Union? I'm not so sure.

    Tom A-B

    Years from now, Reagan will be remembered for raising the dead and walking across the Potomac River to heal groups of leprosy-afflicted widows.

    When did you think you actually beat the USSR?

    They play chess you know.

    And are experts at luring an enemy in by feigned retreat.

    From IMF Loan defaulters to 3rd biggest surplus of dollars in 10 years.

    I will be absolutely amazed if they let Putin Stand down at the end of his term. I think he will go down in Russian history as Putin the Great.

    As far as I can see, the USA elect leaders if they have 'executive hair'.

    You may find that the USA will have to go cap-in-hand to Russia for dollar hand-outs within the next 5 years.
    Maybe they will be kinder to you regarding economic belt tightening than you were to them.

    But at least they will not flood your companies with 'management consultants' with their little Harvard MBA's...

    You saw the propaganda. Now here is the truth.
    Reagan brought us closer to nuclear holocaust than any leader since the Cuban Missile Crisis. He downplayed the threat by suggesting that a limited nuclear war was not only possble but could be won.
    What ended the Cold War was a combination of factors starting with the invasion of Afghanistan followed by the Chernobyl disaster. Gorbachev discovered that the truth of what happened in the Soviet Union could no longer be hidden from the world. Satelite technology became too good and the Red Army became too thinly spread out. Extreme economic ideologies will eventually fail as well as extreme militarism. Essentially one cannot exist without the other which puts the United States in an unstable situation. If we don't return to a mixed economy where the things the private sector are best at doing, like manufacturing and the things the public sector is best at like health care and education then we will follow the Soviet Union into total collapse.

    Russia went broke because their oil cost more to produce than they could get on the market. SA pumped like mad and destroyed their oil industry. They couldn't afford to maintain their infrastructure and global aims, "for a time".

    Putin is a former spy and is very very good chess player. He knows about oil as a weapon, Raygun taught him the basics. Now Putin is putting that knowledge to work.

    Quid Clarius Astris
    Ubi Bene ibi patria

    "You saw the propaganda. Now here is the truth. Reagan brought us closer to nuclear holocaust than any leader since the Cuban Missile Crisis."

    Consider the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War and tell me that we weren't closer to the edge on those occasions. Reagan's assessment that an arms race wouldn't end with nuclear war was premised on a belief that the Russians were not crazy, but could be over stressed. The belief that the Russians would not push the launch button is not that much of a leap of faith in that the strategy of mutually assured destruction was always based on the premise that neither side would do something so crazy as launching a first strike.

    Now for one of my favorite parts of the story. Consider the role of Lech Walesa, Pope John Paul II and what happened in Poland. "Yes" the time was right, but Poland was a sure sign that the times were changing for the Soviet Empire. For the record I am not Polish or Catholic.

    It was the convergence of a great number of factors that forced the Russians to reorganize the empire. Afganistan - certainly. Oil prices - maybe. Rust catching up with WWII industrial infrastructure - probably. Ethanol - definitely.

    >What ended the Cold War was a combination of factors starting with the invasion of Afghanistan followed by the Chernobyl disaster. Gorbachev discovered that the truth of what happened in the Soviet Union could no longer be hidden from the world

    Nope! Try below:

    Type in Document ID: ER 77-10147
    (Surprise, Surprise! Peak oil claimed the Soviet Empire).

    Reagan's efforts were to contain the Soviet Union from further expansion. Part of the way the Soviet system survived was to expand into new terriories and capture technology, resources and fresh skilled labor. The problems in the Soviet Union began after Stalin's death and the decline of worker camps (Slave labor) that was used to build and maintain the empire's infrastrusture. As much as 50 Million people were forced to work in slavery to build and sustain the Empire.

    Much of the innovation originated under disress as some very smart people were force to work hard under the threat that they and their families would thrown into siberian work camps. Virtually everyon worked under state pay with low fixed salaries, and had little to drive them to excel at work. The lack of personal economic growth caused people to work as little as possible. It didn't matter if they put in 110% or 25% into thier jobs, they got the same pay. Productivity declined and eventually deterated to the point where the empire could no longer support itself. Declining Oil resources was icing on the cake that toppled it over. The Soviets sold food, energy or whatever commodity it could abroad, despite shortages at home in order to finance its economy because of declining productivity.

    >Satelite technology became too good and the Red Army became too thinly spread out.

    Satelite technology is a poor method for collecting intellegence and had zero impact on the fall of the Soviet Union. The US never had planned to invade or use direct miltary force to engage the SU, unless it was absolutely forced to. US military forces were developed as a defensive measure to prevent the Soviets from speading into Europe and the Middle East using thier miltary power. It was the Soviet Union (under Stalin) that started the Arms race. The US was concerned that Stalin was going to be another Hitler and start a war to dominate Europe and other regions. According to secrete memos discoverd in Soviet Archives (Opened in the 1990s), Stalin was trying to force the US into War (aka the Blockade of Berlin, the Korean War, and Hungaran Invasion). Stalin also provided Miltary aid and used espionage to destablize gov'ts, in an attempt to expand its borders and influence. As soon as the Empire stopped expanding it was doomed.

    Funny that Reagan would show up in this thread, He came to mind when I saw this pull quote further up the page:

    The truth is that no one can really predict the future.

    Feh. I find where it comes to Reagan, it's even harder to predict the past.

    Rayguns almost started a nuclear holocaust when he said into an open mike "The bombing starts in five minutes." At that point, the Russians panicked and started a countdown to launch. We should all be thankful that someone over there had the sense to realize that Rayguns was just the average American political dimwit.

    James Gervais
    Hope was the last ill to escape Pandora's box.

    American Experience on NOVA just had a program on the Berlin blockade.

    Had shot of a German girl riding a bike with a pulley to a printing press because of the lack of electricity. I thought, yea, how many manaul presses around these days.

    Shots of people pulling down the trees in the city to get wood for heat. Picking up pieces of anything that would burn on the street for heat.

    15 months.

    Quid Clarius Astris
    Ubi Bene ibi patria

    And world population was less than 3 billion people during the second world war. World population has more than doubled since 1960, Today, all things being equal, the time lapse of 15 months would drop to about 4 months. 5 tops.

    yeah, it's gonna get real ugly when TSHTF.
    I smell a train headed for a brick wall soon!

    "Much of the film talked about Reagan defusing the threat of Nuclear Holocaust."

    Excuse me, I was there. He pushed medium range missiles into Europe, forcing the Soviets into a use'em or lose'em situation. The Soviets chose to not push the button, but it was a close thing with everyone(who had 2 brain cells to rub together) holding their breath. We all had bags packed and were ready to bug out at a moments notice. Reagan took a gamble, RISKING Nuclear Holocaust to get a leg up on the Soviets. Yea, most of the Sheep had'nt a clue, but it was comparable to the Cuban Missile Crisis with us placing the missiles in the Soviet's back yard.

    Cid, I was there too. There were some similarities with what happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but many more differences.

    Reagan proclaimed as loudly as he could that he was going to deploy those intermediate range ballistic missiles in Europe. The missiles deployed by the Russians to Cuba in the 60s were concealed to the best of their abilities and IIRC their existence was denied after they were discovered. Announcing your intention to deploy is hardly the first step in a sneak attack.

    Beyond that the In 1962 a large percentage of the ground based ICBMs on both sides were liquid fueled [and the bombers were becoming less and less likely to be able to penetrate to their targets.] That was a true use it or lose it situation for both sides as getting ready to launch took hours, not seconds. Solid fueled rockets changed that situation.

    By the 1980s both sides had deployed ballistic missile subs. Because of its inland location there might have been some warning for Moscow of a sneak attack from an SLBM. Not so for NY or DC. The hair trigger was already there.

    It was true that Reagan was throwing money at strategic systems in such a way as to defy conventional logic. Why build the MX ICBM, the Midgetman ICBM, refurb all the Minuteman ICBMs, build the Pershing IRBMs and work on Star wars all at the same time. The answer was to convince the Russians that playing that game was futile.

    Was Reagan's approach extremely dangerous? IMO only if you believed that the Russians were crazy and as I noted up the thread, the doctrine of mutually agreed distruction [U.S. policy prior to Reagan] was premised on the sanity of both sides.

    That was Mutually ASSURED Destruction, I'm sure no one agreed. There was no sanity in any of this. Reagan was an ass to play poker with our lives. It was more like in the old war movies where they are sliding the rock over the land mine that someone had stepped on and hoping it did'nt go off when he removed his foot.

    You are correct. "Agreed" was a typo on my part. I got it right ["assured"] up the thread in my earlier comment.

    The point of this comment and the one above is that what Reagan did was not particularly dangerous. It was originally offered in the context of an allegation that Reagan moved us closer to nuclear war than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. That assertion just does not ring true. I offered the Yom Kippur and Six Day Wars as examples of times which were truly scary to anyone who was paying attention. Korea, Taiwan and India / Pakistan are some other very scary potential flash points for nuclear war that can't be blamed on Reagan.

    To use your analogy, I think that the U.S. stepped on the landmine at the end of WWII. From that point on at least until the down sizing of the Russian Empire, war with the Russians was a very real possibility. To belabor your analogy I endorse the use of rocks to compress the mine and prevent an explosion. At this point, vis a vis the Americans and the Russians the landmine has not been permanently defused, but the rocks are dong their job and are likely to continue to do so for the near future.

    Finally, [and with no intention of slandering asses], all politicians are asses. Get over it. They all play with our lives. That is what power is all about. Take your pick [examples follow in parentheses]. Crooked asses [Nixon}. Dangerously incompetent and gulible assess [Carter]. Asses with core beliefs whether you agree with them or not [Reagan]. Asses with no coherent agenda [Bush I]. Asses without morals or core beliefs [Clinton]. Arrogant dangerously misguided Asses [Bush II].

    Quoting Mao "all power flows from the barrel of a gun." IMO the best we can hope for is a Government with very small gun and a critical shortage of ammunition.

    In May 1982, the New York Times revealed that President Reagan had committed the United States to fighting a protracted nuclear war--lasting up to six months. "A war in which the U.S. could prevail and force the Soviet Union to seek earliest termination of hostilities on terms favorable to the United States."
    _New York Times, May 1982

    "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."
    __President Reagan on live radio, August 1984

    When asked during the Presidential debates if he believed in Armageddon, President Reagan said: "Yes, Armageddon could come the day after tomorrow." During his 1980s Presidential campaign, Reagan told Fundamentalist Christian groups that he believed in the Biblical prophecy of Armageddon and that this could be the generation that sees Armageddon.
    _President Reagan, Oct. 1984

    General Grant, who served during Reagan's term, said "that we are still alive only due to "Divine Intervention."

    "All of these American threats and preparations for nuclear war greatly disturbed and worried the Soviets. They thought Reagan was unstable and unbalanced and capable of actually trying to fight and win a nuclear war. This Soviet fear could have been very dangerous. If they actually thought the United States was preparing to launch a sneak attack to destroy them, they might have launched a nuclear attack of their own before we could destroy them. By increasing Soviet concern and anxiety, President Reagan made nuclear war much more likely."


    Reagan brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. What he did was extremely dangerous as detailed in the link above. He actually had the Soviets believing we were about to launch an attack. He had the American people believing the world was about to end. I find it difficult to believe you were old enough to know what was going on then, based on your comments. Two movies that came out at that time reflected the anxiety that the American People were feeling at the time. "The Day After" and "War Games". I made the decision not to have children as I did not want to bring them into the world just to die in such a horrific manner.

    Carter was neither incompetent nor gullible and was probably the most intelligent and aware president we have had in my lifetime.(Eisenhower is a close 2nd). The Israeli-Egyptian Peace Accord is a testament to his abilities. Obviously you are a Neo-Conservative since you are spouting baseless politically biased obsurdities.(And don't start calling me Liberal-biased, I would like to see Fred Thompson run for President. I would like to see an Intellectual 'reality based' Republican agenda for a change. It's time to take the party back. I'm tired of people seeing the Republican Party as a bunch of mindless idiots, religious fanatics or just plain corrupt.)

    Putin just warned the US that it was going to far in its defense shield for Europe. That the US withdrawal in 2001 from the treaty with ABM's was wrong and that they would not sit idly by. So that is the reason they just tested a new system.

    The cold war is not gone. GW is bringing it back.

    Russia holds the energy keys it seems. Hmm squeeze play on Europe, energy or missiles.

    Quid Clarius Astris
    Ubi Bene ibi patria

    I am definitely not a Neo-Con. A Neo-Con is in my estimation a liberal that believes in militarism in defense of Isreal.

    I am small L libertarian who believes that the U.S. Constitution if followed would serve "we the people" very well. For example, there is nothing in the Constitution that would authorize the war on drugs or involve the Federal Government one way or the other in abortion controversies. If they want to ammend the Constituion [a la the incredible failure that was prohibition] then there would be a basis in the highest law. Until then -- a state or local matter.

    I am opposed to military adventures in most cases. Lebanon - No. Bosnia -- No. Kosovo --No. Iraq -- No. Granada -- worked out OK but philosphically "No". Gulf War I -- Yes but with our eyes open as to motives. Afganistan -- perhaps a quick strike and out. Declare war in a Constitutional manner or don't go there.

    Agreed on Eisenhower.

    Totally disagree on Carter. At one point I considered him to be a great ex president... but he is much too fond of dictators and would be dictators. His quickie certification of the goodness of the election of Hugo Chavez [the first time] was laughable when you consider the countinuing controversy about Ohio and Florida in recent U.S. elections. Not a rhetorical question: Does Carter even speak Spanish? In terms of the peace accord between Egypt and Isreal. Isreal took a risk. Egypt has been a reasonably good neighbor so far, but judging from his recent statements on Isreal I am not certain that President Carter would have cared if Isreal was committing suicide.

    President Carter is also given a lot of credit for alerting America about energy issues particularly oil and gas. IMO Carter was the boy who called wolf [although in fairness to Carter, he believed he saw the wolf and it was on his doorstep.] Carter could have done a lot of good by educating about peak oil and natural gas and providing a timeline -- something like "in as soon as 15 years but within many people's lifespans." Instead we reinforced a lot of opinions that energy was cheap, abundant and always would be.

    I read most of the link. I agree that Reagan probably scared the Russians. This by itself was not a bad thing. The hightened state of alery by Russian intelligence cited is not even a little bit surprising to me. Nothing wrong with every one being cautious. Beyond that historians filter, and attach their views. This may be the most objective analysis ever done, but I doubt it. I doubt the author would portray it as such.

    For example: The joke over an open microphone should have recognized as such immediately and probably was. If missiles were going to fly over that sort of things picture the sorts of colorful things that LBJ was noted for saying in private and in public ... and then tell me how we made it through the sixties.

    BTW, I think this quote from one of your sources casts some doubt on the level of significance of Reagan's nuclear war planning, St. Jimmie of Plains or both: "In 1979, President Carter committed the United States to fighting and winning limited and protracted nuclear wars when he signed Presidential Directive 59, known as PD 59. So it was, in fact, President Carter who began the massive arms build-up we associate with President Reagan and the 1980s."

    I am not trying to insult you. You have thought about these matters. I have also, but have reached different conclusions.

    Hi R and Cid,

    Interesting exchange.

    I just wanted to add a couple of points, (and I'm frustrated with the fact I lose my page to find links, so I'll only post one, namely)


    1) Accidental nuclear war. Still a problem. Was then, as well. (Or, do you see it differently?) The link I was looking for (and have seen) is from the "National Security Archives" about an incident involving the commander of a Soviet submarine who almost launched a nuclear weapon, and was prevented from doing so by someone else. Sorry I don't have the details at hand.

    2) The idea of "...premised on the sanity of both sides."

    It seems to me a limited notion, when "sides" are made up of many individuals, each of whom has greater and lesser degrees of sanity.

    Also, a problem with the existence of a highly organized physical system designed for the purpose...well, let me put it differently...functionally and materially designed for the purpose of mass killing.

    3) Someone(s) is/are proposing and actively promoting a new generation of nuclear weapons in the US.

    Edit: I went looking for links to the new nukes and found this http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,821306,00.html

    To your points:
    1.) Accidental nuclear war is still a problem. Probably less so now than in the 1980s and definitely less so than in the 1960s.

    The hair trigger / use it or lose it thing was greatly diminished by submarine launched ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and solid versus liquid fueled land based missiles.

    Battlefield nukes are a lot less likely to be a problem becasue they are much less likely to be deployed. I have no idea how a nuclear tipped 8 inch artillery shell can have enough safeguards built into it. I'm certain the triggers were under intense physical security ... but still.

    But back to your point, nothing is foolproof as the fools are far to creative.

    2.) Sanity is in the eyes of the beholder, but mutually assured destruction [premised on rational behavior by the other side -- rightly or not the home team's sanity is assumed] must have been in the U.S. military's plans from the time it was clear that the Russians were capable of building enough nuclear weapons to deliver a devastating blow to the West. Until that time, nuclear war could have had a winner, although at enormous costs if turned into all out war.

    Put the immediate post World War II situation in context. WWI had been a nightmare of mud, poison gas, artillery, machineguns, barbed wire and last but not least contagious disease. The 20s and 30s were not a good time to an average subject of the Russian empire. Things got worse during WWII. Industrial war on a scale never seen before. The world was used to killing, but the world was very tired of killing. The answer: Make it unthinkable for the other side to attack you. The U.S. had the lead in nuclear weapons. The Russians did not want to remain inferior in that respect. Time passes. Voila, Mutually assured destruction. No bloodshed at all if both sides remained rational.

    The Korean War presents another dimension, but IMO was an indication in how profoundly inhibitted the U.S. was in terms of ever using nuclear weapons for tactical puposes. Would nuclear was have used if the Russians had invaded Western Europe on a massive scale? I think so ... but that was part of the reason that version of WWIII never happened.

    3.) I believe the U.S., the Russians, the Chinese, Isreal, Pakistan, India and probably France and the UK are all going to upgrade and modernize. The U.S. will probably come up with the most expensive and elaborate scheme, but the entire "club" will participate. U.S. defense contractors are indeed always promoting new weapons system and upgrades to existing systems. It is what they do.

    "He[Blair] said relations with Libya have been "transformed" and are now 'completely productive'."

    Yea, OIL productive.

    It's Blair's valedectory World Tour.

    He was thinking of doing one in the UK, but stopped when a spinmiester noticed sales of eggs and tomatoes were going up.

    When are you guys going to give him a green card?

    Cant you speed it up?

    Mind you, he may have a problem with the form and that question about commissioning or participating in war crimes or acts of genocide.

    Mind you, he may have a problem with the form and that question about commissioning or participating in war crimes or acts of genocide.

    No problemo, MUDLOGGER. It was never so much as a misdemeanor here. Ask the aboriginals.

    More on his world tour:

    Win some. Lose Some.


    BP to go into Libya with a $900 million deal (Announced same day that Blair flies in to Libya)



    BP looks like loosing control of the East Siberian Kovytka Gas Field.

    WTI crude is down over $2.00 so far. Traders are expecting another nice build in gasoline stocks. Will we see gas prices start to come down? Is the summer driving season going to be saved after all? Are the doomers wrong or at least premature once again?

    Yep...go buy two more Yukons...they are on sale you know...0% interest for 18 months.

    We are all saved...until the next price spike. It's not called "Undulating Plateau" for nothing.

    The article I read on the $2 drop in WTI price attributed it in part to easing of tensions in Nigeria, which makes sense. And in part to more U.S, refinery capacity coming back online, which didn't.

    Wouldn't more refinery capacity equate to increase crude oil demand and hence higher crude oil prices, not lower?

    Short term fluctuations are really meaningless. Unfortunately doomers are equally guilty of crowing everytime the price goes up a few dollars. The fact is there is a long-term up trend, with define seasonal cycles, on top of which there are speculative spikes. You really need to look at the last 5 years prices to get a good picture.

    As for the current price, it's a case of "buy the rumor, sell the news". Last week the rumors of Summer gas shortages and trouble in Nigeria pushed the price up, now these fears have receded (for the moment), the price is dropping back. As soon as fresh rumors start circulating, expect the price to nudge up again. The gasoline report is out on Thursday this week...

    two words - demand destruction. The demand numbers for Memorial Day coming in. The prices are beginning to bite. I wager we will actually see demand this year coming in around where it was last year in the summer period, or only a little bit higher. Supply is inelastic, demand is the only thing that moves now. Demand swings change the price too you know.

    Haa...I guess you weren't driving around in the USA this last weekend. This was the weekend to get out all the fancy-schmancy vehicles, clean'em up, wax'em, and go drive around just to be seen.

    If not doing that, it was a baseball game, park, camping, run out for ice cream, etc...this is the weekend that kicks off summer and absolutely NO price increase was going to get in the way of all that.

    We will see a big draw on supply in next week's numbers for sure.

    Perhaps I'm missing something here, but is there some reason why we can have diesel or hybrid but there aren't any diesel hybrids? I guess the proposed railway locos would be diesel hybrid, so what other than the usual greater weight of a diesel engine is against it? Too stinky for the Hollywood celebs?

    I know, we'll all be just fine when the PHEWs come; plug hybrid electric walkers. Phew, I'm glad that's over.

    I know people talk about it. Manufacturers say that hybrid technology bumps the cost a bit, as does diesel, and initially they wanted to avoid a double jump.

    But from an engineering perspective, my understanding is that the problem with a diesel hybrid is that diesels apparently don't do well if they are only run for short intervals - the thing never warms up. A different concept would probably be needed - esp with a pluggable hybrid where the thing would run off of battery until the battery reached a certain level of exhaustion, and then the engine would come on and run continuously.

    The other thing is that the mechanical bits for hybrid technology are coming down in price..

    I think an electric car with a built-in fixed RPM diesel generator completely decoupled from the drivetrain could be very efficient.

    It would be hybrid in that it extended the range of the batteries instead of the current hybrid thinking where the batteries extend the range of the internal combustion engine.

    Decades ago (1974 ?) my concept was a 2 seat EV for short range driving that had a trailer for longer distances.

    The trailer had a small diesel engine & generator and a narrow range of output (it would need to vary some "depending").

    The diesel generated power to keep EV going. I figured (33 years ago ?) about 110 to 120 mpg for my mental prototype :-)

    Best Hopes for Young Dreams,


    Something like this? (Found with Google) http://www.mrsharkey.com/pusher.htm

    Probably more like this: http://www.evnut.com/rav_longranger.htm

    AC Propulsion rocks

    Cool idea!

    Y E S !!

    Other than the fuel type THAT IS IT !!

    I thought of an extra cost variant, with luggage space in the trailer as well (remember I was thinking 2 person EV (much like GMs EV-1), I was also thinking smaller (`200 lb trailer instead of 350 lb, with attention to weight).

    But a RAV EV takes more juice than an EV-1. I thought that on the highway, I could get better than 100 mpg (remember that these were 55 mph days).

    Could an EV-1 with a 200 lb trailer and a diesel generator get 110 mpg ?

    Still, nice to see my idea as a young man come to pass, even if aborted.

    Best Hopes for Dreams :-)



    Don't see any follow up stories, but I work for the biggest RR and they're on their way here.

    General Electronic will be unveiling its prototype hybrid electric diesel locomotive in Los Angeles Union Square tomorrow. The train’s engine will produce 4400 horse-power and will have batteries to capture energy during dynamic braking. GE says the engine will reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 10 percent.

    The company claims the 207-ton locomotive will work more efficiently at higher altitudes and steep inclines as the battery power assists the engine. GE says enough energy is captured by the brakes over the course of a year to power 160 households.

    The locomotive has been traveling on Union Pacific tracks for the past week on the way to Los Angeles. It will still be some time until the locomotive reaches commercial production. There is no word on which freight hauling company will be the first customer.

    Or this diesel-battery hybrid:


    ON MAY 3 Hitachi Europe unveiled 'Hayabusa', which it says is Europe's first battery-assisted diesel-electric power car. The hybrid drive has been installed in a British HST power car to allow realistic trials of the prototype technology, which Hitachi and its development partners Brush Traction, Network Rail and Porterbrook Leasing anticipate could reduce fuel consumption by 20%.

    Of course, they've been testing one in Japan since 2003, according to the article.

    I 'm under the impression that many 'diesel' locomotives are already hybrids; diesel generates electricity to run electric motors attached to the wheels - there's no energy recapture during braking though.

    James Gervais
    Hope was the last ill to escape Pandora's box.


    Every US mainline locomotive is diesel-electric. Some locos used for yard work (putting trains together, etc.) are diesel hydraulic.

    Best Hopes for simple electric only locos,


    For a freight train, you would need to employ regenerative braking on the freight cars as well. Trying to slow down a big line of cars with the locomotive wheels alone seems rather ambitious.

    For emergency braking, yes, certainly !

    OTOH, for controlled braking (downslope in mountains, sharp curve, trackwork "slow order" section, scheduled stop @ freightyard, etc.) regenerative braking can absorb a majority of the energy till ~5 mph/8 kph.

    The rate of deceleration can = the rate of acceleration + 2x frictional losses since motors are simply turned into generators. Wheel friction is basically constant for any given speed.

    Best Hopes for Energy efficiency,


    Here comes the end of the world:

    Republicans AND Democrats are pushing for this:


    Billions of $$$, from us of course, to subsidize coal.

    Really, if this passes, is there any doubt in regards to how we'll be dealing with energy issues going forward?


    "if this passes"

    Barring the melt of Greenland this summer, it'll pass in some form.

    Seriously, I am almost to tears over this. It will be hell on Earth. Every last mountain will be overturned. This is my idea of doom. WE NEVER HIT PEAK OIL, and we continue to multiply and consume. Will my grandkids see the sky as blue as I see it now?

    Heck, we don't see it as blue as it was. When I was a child the world was a healthy thriving biosphere. I am 50. Even by the 1970's the environment was looking a little brown and threadbare. Those born in the last 40 years have never seen the Earth healthy. I think it was John Glenn who remarked how brown the atmosphere was compared with the blue the first time he saw it from space.

    It hasn't been blue around here for a while, what with the chemtrail spraying every clear day.

    People are too dumb to look at the sky without the New York Times telling them what they see.

    Oil companies salivating over U.S. reserves

    See, nothing to worry about, everything will be fine.

    Drooling is common in the late stages of Alzheimer's.

    I understand that Alzheimer sufferers can also smell government subsidies from miles away.

    This is the same story, edited, as the Bloomberg I posted above, which hesofly says was covered yesterday. Media really trying to push this shale oil cover.

    The question the reporters should be playing real hardball with is the end of US refineries they imply, not shale. They are saying we have no US crude, we project no imports.

    And shouldn't all this crude so certain to come from shale need refining?

    Wasn't the scheme already debunked here on TOD by one of the editors or contributors? The major point was that there is no oil. It's not even bitumen, but kerrigen which requires massive hydrogenation.

    James Gervais
    Hope was the last ill to escape Pandora's box.

    Just returning to the demand scenario, and more specifically clues as to what is happening in Africa. The UN has produced its latest report:


    Perhaps unsurprisingly the countries with the strongest growth tend to be oil based economies.

    However, as I have pointed out previously, growth in the other African countries is perhaps not as damaged (as yet) by PO as some here seem to be assuming. Indeed the UN identify only 5 African countries with effectively no growth, or growth retraction, and one of those, Zimbabwe, is being ground into the dust by political, rather than purely economical, forces. Having a madman in charge generally results in disaster.

    So how much real demand destruction has taken place in Africa? Not as much as people are guessing I'm thinking - or if it is happening its not as yet destroying economies (the occasional headline about 'fuel shortages in city X or country Y notwithstanding).

    Hello TODers,

    Recall my earlier newslinks: where some people in Zimbabwe earn a living catching moles and rats for meat to sell to neighbors, that then proceed to cook them over trash petroplastic gleaned from refuse piles that the city cannot afford to pickup anymore.

    How many think this is the future world model for most of us, or do most TODers believe Peakoil Outreach will be successful enough to better optimize our decline so that our children will not have to live at this level?

    Of course, Jay Hanson's Thermo/Gene Collision magnum opus at Dieoff.org paints a slighty grimmer possibilty:

    From the very bottom of 'Requiem': http://dieoff.com/page181.htm
    It really will be back to the good old days! Shouts of "BRING ME HIS HEAD" will ring through the land, slaves, scalps, souvenirs and trophies of all sorts, ... exciting possibilities limited only by our ingenuity.

    The good news is that recycling will finally become fashionable! We will see feral children mining the dumps for plastic to burn (Pampers) so they can heat the hovels they are forced to live in. The strongest kids will set traps for fresh meat -- rats -- while the weaker kids will eat anything they can cram into their mouths (old shoes, styrofoam peanuts, newspaper soup). Pandemics will sweep the world, punctuated every so often by explosions as abandoned and rotting nuclear facilities blow up. Leaking dumps and tanks will spew PCBs and radioactive hazwaste into the feral food chain spawning surprising new shapes for young mothers to enjoy nursing.[55] Toxic chemical fires, blowing garbage and trash, genetic mutations, filthy water, cannibalism ...

    As the Easter Islanders say: "The flesh of your mother sticks between my teeth".[56]

    The situation will be especially serious for a short time because the population will keep rising due to the lags inherent in the age structure and social adjustment. Then mercifully, the population will drop sharply as the death rate is driven upward by lack of food and health services.[57] Trapped in obsolete belief systems, Americans won't even know why their society disintegrated.

    A hundred thousand years from now -- once the background radiation levels drop below lethality -- a new Homo mutilus will crawl out of the caves to elect a leader. Although we have no idea what mutilus might look like, evolutionary theory can still tell us who will win the election. He will be the best liar running on a platform to end hunger by controlling nature.

    How could it be otherwise?

    Recall my newlink yesterday with the orangutans bound hand and foot. From a brief google: Orangutan translates as 'man of nature' or 'man of the forest'. Are we truly going to roast the 'better version of us' over a burning pile of discarded Pampers[Tm]? Or will we strive to disprove by concerted action the eerily accurate predictions of Jay? I fear time is running short, but feel free to disagree.

    A long time ago: I tried to make Google post a "I feel Unlucky" button on their homepage that would have made Dieoff.org the #1 global webhit--I failed.

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

    A crisis forms a lethal positive-feedback loop: the worse our problems become, the more likely we are to act instead of think. The less we think, the worse our problems become.

    Hmm kinda sounds like the kind of loop Congress is getting into with all these SueOPECJailPriceGougersSubsidizeEthanol bills.


    The orangutan saga gets too sad to post, I find. Yeah, I know, sentimental heart and all. Everything's dying, so what's one more species. But that's not the whole story.

    In the Malay language, orang is man, and utan is the forest, the woods. Imagine the setting: A clearance where the people live, and beyond that nothing but tropical wilderness. In that sense, utan simply means: anything that hasn't been cleared, where no people live, nature if you will.

    The demise of the orangutan is especially sad for me because of the fact that, though chimps DNA may be a bit closer to ours, though I'm not sure, the population of Borneo truly saw the orangutans as people, as creatures much like them, but living in the forest, people who for some reason did not need a clearance to survive, but instead lived high up in the trees. People nonetheless. They only had to observe a "mother-of-the-woods" take care of her child.

    And now we are on the brink of finishing off the man of the woods (and the woman, and the child). Which comes awfully close to killing off our own species. How many steps do we have to go?

    For what? For fuel, for profit For fu**ing body lotion and margarine. It's like killing your brothers and sisters for their stereo. The man of the woods is us. Yeah, we are capable of this.

    Until someone puts a gun to our heads, Then we cry: Foul. Murder. Help. There'll be no answer. Guaranteed.

    Hello Spudw, and HeIsSoFly,

    Thxs for responding. What I fear is that all the present children currently under five years old will say 'Screw This' when they become young adults. Then they will hurl themselves off ledges by the uncounted millions instead of riding the bicycles and pushing the wheelbarrows that WE ARE NOT building for them.

    It would be so cheap to build this Strategic Reserve, and it seems so obvious that I cannot understand why the world is not making this very minimal effort. Sometimes I feel sick thinking about this.

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

    How ironic... I have a 3 year old and another one on the way! The way I see it, my kids will probably toss the entitled boomers off the cliff before they take the plunge themselves. =D

    I am working on a reserve of bicycles. I do alot of riding and my girlfriend rides when she's not feeling like crap from pregnancy. Of course my daughter loves her bike and hopefully I can teach her how important it is to only depend on those things that are directly attached to her body (arms, legs, brain!).

    For further proof...

    We need a billion more people.

    'Noah's Ark' of 5,000 rare animals found floating off the coast of China

    According to wildlife groups, China is the main market for illegally traded exotic species, which are eaten or used in traditional medicine.

    Endangered, hunted, smuggled and now abandoned, 5,000 of the world's rarest animals have been found drifting in a deserted boat near the coast of China.

    According to the local media, the cargo included 31 pangolins, 44 leatherback turtles, 2,720 monitor lizards, 1,130 Brazilian turtles as well as the bear paws. Photographs showed other animals, including an Asian giant turtle.

    At Galactic Pizza we have a positive vision of the future on our planet. We see a world that lacks the greed and self-centeredness that has led use into the chaotic state that we see today. We see a world full of cooperation, sustainability, and harmony with our surroundings.

    In order to help achieve this positive vision, we strive to be the perfect example of what is called a values-led company. This means that we realize that we have a responsibility to the people and community that make our existence possible. In order to fulfill this responsibility, we seek to maximize our impact by integrating as many socially beneficial actions into our day to day operations as possible. By incorporating a concern for the community--local, national, and global--our restaurant can make positive impact on the world in which it operates.

    Here are a few of the values led activities we are currently engaging in:

    * Weather permitting, our food is delivered to your door by 100% electric vehicles.
    * All of the power purchased to run our restaurant is renewable wind energy.
    * All of our mozzarella cheese comes from cows not treated with rBGH growth hormones.
    * We have incorporated a number of organic items into the menu.
    * We have the Second Harvest Heartland pizza, where $1 is donated to this hunger relief organization every time the pizza is ordered.
    * We strive to use packaging that is either made from recycled materials, or is 100% biodegradable.
    * We incorporate hemp products into each menu category, and print our menu on hemp paper. Hemp is not only good for you, it is also very good for the Earth.
    * In season, we try to purchase all of our produce from farms here in Minnesota or in nearby Wisconsin.
    * We have an in depth waste reduction program utilizing pig farms for food waste and recycling whenever possible.
    * 5% of our after tax profits are donated to charity.


    The EV is a Gizmo, by Nevco, apparently out of production:

    Thanks, Donal.

    Can't quite figure out why people think that EV's are dorky, slow, overglorified golf carts...hmm..so perplexing...

    My girlfriend would never let me out of the house dressed like that :-).

    I just realized that I am currently about 5 miles from this place. They close in 30 minutes, but I am not that hungry right now. And I am headed back to Virginia tomorrow...

    Hello TODers,

    Savinar's LATOC has some interesting newslinks to read, but the two that caught my eye are:

    Water Woes
    It's a special commodity everyone takes for granted. But supply is shrinking, pipes are aging, and few are willing to pay the price
    What I found intresting was the comment on page 3: "Jack Hoffbuhr, executive director of the American Water Works Association, ... "Water utilities are three to four times more capital intensive than any other utility," he says. "Once private-equity firms look at when they'd begin to see a return on their funds, they might not be quite as interested in investment."

    I never realized that water utilities were that much higher than electric or FF- infrastructure networks. Hopefully, that capital requirement can be dramatically reduced if policymakers and engineers take a serious look at my SpiderWebRiding concept. In the comments section to Jim Kunstler's last essay: I asked him to please spread the word among his contact group [which is much larger and more influential than mine].

    The next LATOC newslink was from National Geographic:

    Ancient "Megadroughts" Struck U.S. West, Could Happen Again, Study Suggests

    Much of the western U.S. may be headed into a prolonged dry spell—a "perfect drought," scientists say, that could persist for generations.

    The West already has been dry for six years and is looking to be dry again in 2007, said Glen Macdonald, an ecology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

    But that's nothing compared to what has happened in the region in the past, according to Macdonald and other scientists.

    In a study published today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, a team from Arizona and Colorado found that the Southwest suffered a six-decade megadrought from 1118 to 1179.

    And if this is the first stage of a superdrought, it isn't likely to be limited to California and the Southwest.

    The tree ring data suggest that the ancient droughts extended all the way from Canada's Yukon Territory to southern Mexico, said Edward Cook of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York.

    In addition, studies of fossil diatoms, a common type of algae, at Moon Lake, North Dakota, have revealed traces of long droughts in the Great Plains about a thousand years ago.

    "The northern Great Plains is not immune to these multidecadal changes in moisture," Cook said. "That dry period shows up all the way into Alberta [Canada]."
    Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

    Those ancient megadrought were being caused by Bison fart induced global warming! It seems everytime we think we are in the shit with the weather and blame it on MMGW, another piece of past-historic/paleoclimatological evidence pops into the lime-light and tells us yet again that the planet earth has seen it all before; our current whinging about anthropogenic climate change is very likely foundeed, but as far as the planet/life sustaining ecosystem is concerned it is just another episode in the existance of homo erectus that gained a bit of cognitive self awareness.

    Once we are long gone and our carbon lying in a very thick layer at the bottom of the ocean it will not matter.


    Oh Hi all.


    Hi Bob,

    Thanks and

    re: "...his contact group [which is much larger and more influential than mine]."

    Hmnnn...not so sure about that.

    I can say (for sure), we're devoted.:)

    (BTW, did Chimp get back from his travels and what did he have to report?)