DrumBeat: May 30, 2007

Argentina Rations Gas to Companies, Chile Amid Cold

Argentina rationed electricity to companies and severed natural gas supplies to Chile as a cold wave prompted record demand for electricity in South America's second-largest economy.

...Rolling blackouts and gas shortages in Argentina threaten more than four years of economic growth of over 8.5 percent per year. The ban on gas deliveries to Chile jeopardizes supply for an estimated 1.2 million residential users in eastern Santiago and may lead to increased energy costs for mining companies as power generators switch to more expensive diesel fuel.

Is the story of ‘massive untapped oil reserves’ fact or fictions?

Who are we to believe? Is it logical and sane to doubt the surveys by IPC, the National Oil Company, giant foreign oil firms and recent surveys by U.S. groups and believe the I.H.S?

Saudi Electricity seeks Aramco help

Saudi Electricity Co. needs state oil firm Aramco to invest in more gas exploration and fuel pipelines to avoid the power outages that hit the world's top oil exporter last year, a document obtained by Reuters showed.

The Petrochemical Plant Strategy

We all know how it's bringing misery to many at gas pumps and making us cry when we open our heating bills. But did you realize that the rising cost of oil is also affecting an industry you might not think about too frequently? I'll let The Graduate whisper it into your ear: "Plastics."

Exxon Mobil could get an earful

Shareholder proposals up for votes include investment in renewables and adopting goals on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Management opposes both as unprofitable or redundant, recommending shareholders reject them as they have similar proposals in past years.

"The corporation's traditional business areas remain critical and promise far greater value than renewables, which currently lack the scale and economic competitiveness of our core business opportunities," the company said in its annual proxy statement.

Lawmakers Push for Big Subsidies for Coal Process

Even as Congressional leaders draft legislation to reduce greenhouse gases linked to global warming, a powerful roster of Democrats and Republicans is pushing to subsidize coal as the king of alternative fuels.

Prodded by intense lobbying from the coal industry, lawmakers from coal states are proposing that taxpayers guarantee billions of dollars in construction loans for coal-to-liquid production plants, guarantee minimum prices for the new fuel, and guarantee big government purchases for the next 25 years.

G8 must focus on energy, not just economy: Russia

The world should rethink its emphasis on unfettered economic growth and boost efforts to create environmentally-friendly sources of fuel, a draft statement by oil and gas giant Russia ahead of a G8 summit says.

Peak Oil Test Looming

World oil production may have already peaked at about 85 million barrels daily (mmbd) where it has been stuck for the past year (see chart Global Oil Production, below). With current demand near 86 mmbd, the difference has been made up by declining inventory.

The new Salem witch trials

Gasoline prices hit an all time high of $3.227 a gallon just before the Memorial Day holiday, and once again, Congress has taken the easy way out. Instead of doing anything substantive about the United States' unquenchable thirst for gasoline, it has gone searching for phony villains - and found them in the personage of mysterious "price gougers."

Fifteen killed in gang clash in Nigeria oil delta

Gun battles between rival gangs in Nigeria's southern oil-producing state of Rivers erupted on Tuesday in violence linked to a change of governor, killing 15 people, local rights activists said.

Ethanol boom may fuel shortage of tequila

Mexican farmers are setting ablaze fields of blue agave, the cactus-like plant used to make the fiery spirit tequila, and resowing the land with corn as soaring U.S. ethanol demand pushes up prices.

South Africa: Biofuel making staple food more expensive

The rush to produce biofuels, driven by the threat of global warming and higher oil prices, is exerting price pressure on staple foods in South Africa, according to a report by the Regional Hunger and Vulnerability Programme (RHVP), a nongovernmental organisation that highlights food security concerns.

Ethanol plan meets resistance

Mexico´s plans for a big push to encourage the use of bioethanol in fuel are caught in a wrangle with the state oil monopoly Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), according to Osiel Castro de la Rosa, a National Action Party (PAN) deputy from the state of Veracruz.

‘Hypermilers’ wring out every last bit of mpg

“When I see someone roar past me, I think, ‘They just used enough gas to last me a week.”

Climate change seen as greatest threat to Pacific islands

Climate change is the biggest threat facing low-lying islands in the Pacific Ocean, a conference of regional agriculture ministers in the Marshall Islands was told.

States vie with US on emissions rules

Four months after making headlines with its new program to fight global warming by reducing carbon-dioxide emissions from vehicles, California finds its new plan is stalled – as do 11 other states waiting to do the same.

U.S. rejects EU emission reductions

The United States rejects the European Union's all-encompassing target on reduction of carbon emissions, President Bush's environmental adviser said Tuesday.

Life in the Sprawling Suburbs, if You Can Really Call It Living (a review of Radiant City)

James Howard Kunstler, a critic of suburbanization, appears throughout “Radiant City” and helps define its tone, which could be described as one of incredulous lament. The cinematographer Patrick McLaughlin’s eerie, sometimes monumental images italicize the experts’ statements, making the suburbs seem like an asphalt-and-Sheetrock dreamscape where democracy goes to die.

Laser fusion - the safe, clean way to produce nuclear energy

A multinational project led by British researchers aims to use a high-power laser to reproduce the physical reaction that occurs at the heart of the sun and every other star in the universe - nuclear fusion. If the project succeeds it has the potential to solve the world energy crisis without destroying the environment.

And They All Lived Technologically Ever After

And there are even darker, more negative scenarios. For example, what if a future energy crisis pushes humanity to the brink of destruction, where the struggle for basic survival tips us into a new Dark Age in which our fragile web of technology disintegrates? Or as one science writer put it, what if there’s “a smash-up on the road to singularity”? Where will that leave the human race?

Eating Radiation: A New Form of Energy?

Here's a possible solution to both the energy crisis and what to do with highly radioactive waste from nuclear reactors: use the radiation as food.

Fla. Man Invents Machine To Turn Water Into Fire

Kanzius said he showed the experiment to a handful of scientists across the country who claim they are baffled at watching salt water ignite.

Kanzius said the flame created from his machine reaches a temperature of around 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. He said a chemist told him that the immense heat created from the machine breaks down the hydrogen-oxygen bond in the water, igniting the hydrogen.

Preparing for Powerdown

The short-sightedness of both public and debate and official policy is most clearly seen in the concern for “keeping things going the way we are used to” for as long as possible: any suggestion that we are facing collapse or a serious unraveling of the economy is attacked as being “gloomer-doomer”. I guess if people had a little more time to stop and smell the roses, and were not so caught up in the rat-race and trying to pay the mortgage etc… they might be able to stop long enough to realize that growth cannot continue indefinitely and that it is not in anyone’s interest for it to do so.

VW 1 Liter Vs. The TV

In the May 27th Drumbeat there was a thread discussing the Loremo, Aptera, and VW 1 Liter. In the discussion, some wattage figures were thrown about, and that of the VW 1 liter shocked me as to how low it was.

Super390 said: …this is one of the few diesels for which I know a power consumption figure expressed in watts: a 6300 watt motor for a top speed of 77 mph = 81.8 watts-hours/mile.

The Aptera has, on paper, much better aerodynamics but a larger frontal area. The Loremo has more drag and frontal area, but 4 seats. It claims 20000 watts for a top speed of 100 mph, about 200 watts/mile, but that would be vastly less at 65 mph.

For whatever reason, I hear “Watts” and think “TV”…Therefore: VW 1 Liter Vs. The TV

As surprised as I was at the low number from the VW 1 Liter, I was equally surprised (in the ungood way) at the power consumption of some of these TV’s.


The BeastMaster: Sharp LC-65D90U 65 Inch LCD weighing in at 584 Watts

The majority are in the 150 – 300 Watt range, so I think 200 Watts might be a reasonable figure to use as an average TV.
So where does an average 25 mile daily commute put you in a VW 1 Liter in terms of TV hours?

We'll say: (25 miles) * (82 Watt-hours/mile) = 2,050 Watt-hours

So: (2,050 Watt-hours)/(200 Watts) = 10.25 hours of TV time

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

(25 miles) * (2,000 Watt-hours/mile) = 50,000Watt-hours

(50,000Watt-hours)/(200 Watts) = 250 hours of TV time

LCD's and wattage, HA, go check the wattage of PLASMA TV. You need an AC unit to keep the room cool from their heat ouput. Though Plasmas are not selling well now because LCD's are getting bigger.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Check out that CNET link..it has Rear Projection, LCD's and Plasma as well as two token CRTs. The BeastMaster has nearly all of them by a healthy margin. I also noticed after I posted that, that it has a STANDBY of 76 Watts! 76 watts to do NOTHING! But yes, the plasmas are higher on average.

Wow, I got quoted.

A watt-hour isn't very much. So it's not so surprising that a big TV uses a lot. By a strange circumstance, electric cars and video projectors are two of my biggest interests.

Most video projection technologies are "light valves". That means that a bulb provides a constant light source, and some arrays of shutters act to block part of that light to form an image. Even film projectors are light valves. So the standard output of the bulb is the baseline for the projector's power consumption.

Fortunately great strides have been made. My old JVC G10 front projector used a 400 watt xenon arc bulb for outstanding color accuracy, but it only lasts 1000 hours, and I simply couldn't afford to replace it. My new projector, an Optoma HD70 DLP, cost me $850, is brighter, has a much better contrast ratio, and uses a 200 watt bulb. Furthermore, I run it in the low output setting to increase bulb life to 3000 hours and reduce heat rejection.

The problem is, I keep forgetting that when I stop the player, the screen goes dark but the bulb is still cranking away in there. I try to limit use to 2 hours a night, but I keep pausing the movie for things.

The next goals for power reduction are the use of LEDs as bulbs, and the replacement of plasmas and flat LCD panels with OLED panels. So far, the former are limited to conference-table screens.

As for cars, I know of some watt-hour figures for some other vehicles. The Prius is commonly said to consume 250 watt-hours/mile. However, a dozen years ago AC Propulsion converted a Civic to run on lead-acid batteries:

"In June of 1996, at 77,000 km, the AC Propulsion electric vehicle traveled 233 km (145 mi) on one charge over Southern California Edison’s Pomona Loop, a 31.2 km (19.4 mi) circuit of city streets in and around Pomona, California. The Optima spiral-wound lead-acid EV batteries had been installed at 65,000 km, and the new range mark represents a 23% improvement over the best range achieved with the previous generation Optimas. The AC Propulsion EV completed the range test with an average energy consumption of 78 Wh/km (126 Wh/mi)."

I have to wonder what they knew that GM did not. Top speed was about 80 mph, 0-60 in 6.2 seconds, and a weight of about 3500 lbs.

Solectria also did some great work in those days, building a handful of Sunrise composite sedans in lead-acid, NiMH and lithium ion versions:

"Solectria Corporation announced today that unofficial
results indicate the Solectria Sunrise electric sedan powered by Ovonic
Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries set a new electric vehicle range record by
completing 375 miles on a single charge in the third day of racing in the
1996 NESEA American Tour de Sol, the national solar and electric vehicle (EV)

Here's pictures:


The secret is the weight.

I keep seeing the citation that the Prius uses about 250 Watt-hours per mile. I think it is not right. I suspect the true number is closer to 100 to 150 Watt-hours per mile based on my experience.

I keep seeing the citation that the Prius uses about 250 Watt-hours per mile. I think it is not right. I suspect the true number is closer to 100 to 150 Watt-hours per mile based on my experience.

Whoa, I've gotta call bu!!sh!t on this one. The energy equivalent of a gallon of gas is about 36kW-hours...are you saying the Prius gets 360 to 240 miles per gallon? Even 250 Watt-hours per mile would be 144mpg evquivalent - BS on that too. Now 600 Watt-hours per mile I can believe.

Didn't someone in here say that electric power to the wheels is about 90% efficient and gasoline is 10% to 15% efficient -- so (taking the best ratio of 9x) your Prius numbers go to 40 to 26 mpg. No?

You have to be careful about comparing the same quantities. In an electrical appliance we generally compare the power delivered to the device by the electrical service.

In an automobile we measure the fuel consumed, not the power generated by the engine. A gallon of gas does have roughly 36 kWH of energy. However, only about 25% of that is converted to useful energy. Thus, if we measure cars the way we measure TVs then you'd have to consider that a gallon of gasoline produces roughly 9 kWH of useful energy.

Check out novalux.com for information about laser projectors. They claim that a 65" display will consume under 200W. They are also looking to produce smaller projectors that will fit in your cell phone or iPod. Obviously these will use less than 200W.

Weather related post.

I spoke previously of 'spiky' weather and my views were that GW or CC(climate change) were not about averages but about abnormal changes or extreme changes. The averages may still compute the same but the 'variations' are what is important.

Given that we may only go up a slight percentage of a degree in say 5 years but what is really happening is very big changes that still average out with just a slight uptrend.

For instance this last spring. A very very warm March then followed by the extremely hard killing frosts of April. This
had huge effects on my part of the country and we are still dealing with that. Right now soybeans are the focus where corn and wheat was before.

By my observations in my region we have not really had any rainfall in over 1 and 1/2 months. About the middle of Apr was our best rainfall. However over the whole year we might
obtain the same 'average annual rainfall' .....but there is the kicker. Just how and when that rain occurs.

What has happened recently? Wheat had to be chopped down due to dead growing points. Then had to be mowed and then baled up,another large cost. It had abnormal amounts of nitrate and thus not really suited to being fed to animals and much of it caught on fire,...burned barns in the midwest.

Then after dealing with insurance farmers had to go prep the fields again and now sow soybeans on what was previously wheat. The beans are in the ground. The ground is extremely dry and dusty so no germination. Its just lying there.

Previous , I forgot, a rouge shower crusted over the corn fields preventing much corn from breaking thru so special measures had to be taken(rotary hoes) to break the crust in many areas.

Now the lack of moisture hits.

Spiky weather. If weather is NOT climate change then something is sure as hell playing havoc with weather. El Nino, La Nina, whatever. I think its climate change yet the averages might say no but I believe different.

Sitting in an ivory academia tower dealing with slowly maturing data and writing lengthy reports might be well and good yet is NOT REALITY short term and not where the seed hits the ground.

People are also starting to really bitch here (farmers) about the cost of fuel. The cost of 'inputs' is skyrocketing.

The eventual price of foodstuffs is going to on a huge increase IMO due to much of this. The droughts still continue elsewhere.

We are looking at some bad bad moons on the rise. Sooner or later the cat will escape the bag(or Schrodingers box) and we will then see whether its dead or alive(QM non-locality).

I believe it will be sick and dying. This country has a very , very few, good times(hedonists times that is) ahead of it before the fat lady sings. She is waiting in the wings right now. Then we will see the centre start to fly apart as that rough rude beast slogs(slouches) onward towards Bethlehem.

Airdale-not a cloud in sight,its a doomish sorta day

Yeah it is one of those days when we can look out into the yard and know that there will be no Pecans, No pears, Not many other fruits, cause the hard freeze took them at the prime. I have a dozen species of trees in my yard that have suffered from that spring weather then sudden hard freeze, Next year I'll be triming the dead wood at around 25 to 50 precent off some trees.

Spikes is all that you need to harm you. Look at the Gasoline spikes that way too. But farming and Gardening rely on things that keep steady and Global Climate Change is not one of those things. I don't think we will see a normal year ever again. We really might not have seen one for 20 years either, but my records only go back for 25 years on this land.

Happy food storage.

My old next door neighbor was a retired cotton farmer and I always liked his old saying about rain.

"It only rains twice in West Texas, when it can do the most damage or the least good."

On the flip side we went up to Wyoming this weekend to look at a seismic shoot and it appears Wyoming and West Texas are on the verge of breaking a near 20 year drought. This is the coolest and wettest spring in recent memory. Best hopes for those in need.

Mose in Midland

Or as Elmer Kelton put it, "West Texas is a stage of permanent drought, broken occasionally by rain." I would apply that observation to the entire US Southwest.

I've been following the Gulf Stream Current flow since the theory first appeared 20 or so odd years ago. Something doesn't seem right with it right now, I mean much worse than before. They point out when looking at maps of the current now, that they have changed the way they "compute" it. Off the top of my head its called from "relative" to "absolute" or perhaps the other way around.

The way they used to compute it (don't have the exact date of the change over at hand, but it is fairly recent) showed the GS broken and very sluggish. Then they changed the way they compute it and it looks nothing like the old version. The current seems OK compared to the old views, but a current map shows it begins its turn a tad bit farther south before its northern turn.

A group of amateurs has been following it for the last couple of years and right now they are concerned. They seem to think it has stopped or is very close to it. The change over in computation of the current makes them wonder about what is going on. The water temps along the coasts (they claim) are below normal in the Gulf and along the Atlantic coast.

They do use charts etc. They noted since the time they thought it had shut down the weather in England turned very cold, as well as in Ireland etc. They also say its too early to make the claim as fact, but if things don't change they are wondering why the media is ignoring this. (welcome to the club guys).

Because of this they are thinking a big Hurricane is going to hit the Atlantic seaboard this summer. If it has shut down, NG is going to be a big topic in the British Isles and in the NE.

I can't say they are correct, I'm giving it a bit more time, but I can say that cold water pools have been making appearances for the last few years. If they are correct, the effects will be felt rather quickly, even the Pentagon report on Climate Change and the GS made this claim.

Looking at the current and temp charts and the buoy readings they have access to, it really seems to fly in the face of the recent claim that the current is stronger than ever I read the other day from a scientific group.

Anyone here follow this and notice this also.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Gulf Stream, PrisonerX could you post a link to the views of the flow and such you follow?


Here is a link to the fourth page of the current thread on the site.


someone for illustration purposes posted an old map and the way the current view looks. Dramatic difference. The first page on this thread goes back to into March April and the last couple of pages are current. The page I am giving you is just a couple of days old.

One of the site admins says he is trying to build a database of the buoys. That will be terrific if he can pull it off.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

About the possible shutdown of the Gulf Stream.

There's been lots of talk about that happening, but recall that the Gulf Stream is a wind driven current, the result of wind patterns which force water toward the west in mid-ocean of the Northern Hemisphere. The water piles up against the continents and then flows northwards. As it does so, the Coriolis Effect causes the flow to turn toward the east. The same sort of wind driven current is evident in the Western Pacific, the Kuroshio Current.

That said, the other part of the problem often mentioned is that of the Thermohaline Circulation (THC). The Gulf Stream branches as it crosses the mid-Atlantic, most of it flowing back toward the South. The North Atlantic Drift Current brings some of the Gulf Stream waters toward the north of Europe, thence continues as the Norwegian Current flowing westward toward the Greenland and Labrador Seas, cooling enough along the way to sink to the bottom of the Atlantic.


Were the THC to stop, Europe would be much colder. This is thought to have happened during the Younger Dryas and also during an event about 8200 years ago. Some models used to study climate change have suggested that the THC might slow or shutdown due to increased greenhouse gases. Others model experiments have suggested that warming from increasing greenhouse gases will counteract the cooling which might otherwise result from a shutdown of the THC.

The THC has been seen to vary over time, perhaps as part of a natural internal oscillation of the Earth's oceans. There was a partial shutdown noted in the Greenland Sea during the early 1980's, which MAY have been associated with the colder winters seen in North America and Europe of that period. It's reasonable to expect a return of such conditions, but, whether the result will be a permanent cooling, ie., another Ice Age is subject of considerable question.

E. Swanson, MsME Ret?, AAAS, AGU

You are correct the Gulf Stream and THC are not the same. Nice data site though. Went back to 2003. Most noticable were warm water surface flows that developed throughout the Atlantic Basin in 2006 that had not been there before. Most notable, a sigificant one that developed north south at 51-52 w long. in December 2006:


compare with 2005:


Most Recent


A year ago


All Data:


THC vs The Gulf Stream


Is it possible that the unusually warm winter and hot spring have accelerated ice melt in the Arctic thus causing the cooling in the Atlantic?

The spring weather pattern seems to be the same as last year; hot April followed by a cooler wetter May. If the pattern holds then we will see a change to drier hotter (20c+) weather during June, very hot (30c+) in July followed by a wetter cooler August and an Indian summer in the Autumn.

This hotter then cooler pattern would seem like a natural reaction to a hotter climate; heat melts ice, ice melt cools Atlantic, Europe receives cooler weather, cycle repeats.

A layman's view.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Damn it! That is the major flaw in my plan to relocate to mainland Europe from the UK, if the Gulf Stream slows or stops. Not a total NAFU, but a serious one non-the-less.

My rationalisation at the time was that warming would make southern Europe too hot and cooling would make northern Europe too cold, the mixture of the two would make somewhere in the middle more or less unchanged. It seemed sensible to hedge my bets and go for the area in the middle with the possibility of ending up with either a Mediterranean, Nordic or Russian type climate. All obviously survivable, even if some more preferable than others.

It will be both interesting and scary to see where this goes.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Five months ago I was towing a vessel from Jacksonville, Florida down to the Caribbean. I crossed the gulf stream at Miami. In forty years of crossing the GS I never saw the current that weak. Three to four knots is normal, and the stream was flowing at approximately one and a half to two knots. Very weird. Also passing through the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti the current was reversed flowing at two knots to the north. I've never seen that before. Something is definitely happening....Bob

Thanks for the link about the difference between THC and GS. I need to reread it and figure out exactly what the difference is, only had time for a quick read. Did this confusion start with the early theory, because from what I recall they were really referring to the THC but also included the GS in the same vein. Confusing terms.

Anyone with any comments on the new maps that show the GS as a stronger unit and the recent change in modeling.

Thanks for the eyewitness account Boatbob. I check back on that site every month or two to see what going on.

Notice the story about the seal hunters. They were complaining that the ice was so thin and vacant that seal hunting was worth squat. Then a month later they get caught in ice because of the ice formation and had to be rescued. Several boats, even a Coast Guard rescue vessel became stuck in what appears by the story's on the news to be some very quick forming ice.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Kata Maran

Over many (hundreds) of gulf stream crossings using 10 to 15 degrees of compensation southwards into the stream it has been evident lately that even 5 degrees is too much.

To quote: "There's something happening here... What it is ain't exactly clear..."

Airdale, the climate change scenarios actually do predict wider variations, more extremes if you will. So your observation is exactly what is predicted - a generally rising temperature system that is wrapped in ever more volatile weather patterns and temperature extremes. A key thing to remember in a global warming situation, whether natural or not, is that total energy available in the storm systems is growing. Stuart demonstrated this when he analyzed the hurricanes a few years ago, showing no change in number but a drastic change in power of each hurricane. See Hurricanes: Trend or Oscillation? in which Stuart assesses that information very clearly.

You are also correct in that this is one of the dangers of climate change - not the temperature rise itself but the volatility of the weather because of the temperature change.

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

Here's the local drought report:


Nearing a record for the driest spring.

One thing that it is good to keep in mind is that the Earth
is NOT a static thing. It's a dynamic system. We might
from our short historical perspective be accustomed to thinking of things as being fixed and unchanging. When over time they do change, especially if we have adjusted our own
lives to the way they were, the change is anything from
a worry to a total disaster. However, the natural state of
the world _is_ change. There is no _single_ state which is
the 'natural' state of the world. Most of these things
change over decades, centuries, millenia, and millions of
years- too long for us to notice the process going on.
Even if we academically know that the earth's climate
fluctuates between cold and warm periods and has done so
at least for the past several million years (the longest
ice and sea-floor core samples that I've heard of go back
about 4.5 milion years and show consistent cycles of hot
and cold periods), being in the middle of just a few bumps
along that cycle is quite a major change for us. The
small components of those big slow cycles can be violent
and arbitrary to an observer in the middle with a few
decades or generations of historical data.

In addition, the majority of the human population has
chosen or been forced to choose a lifestyle that is extremely
fragile - founded on agriculture - where a half dozen crops
are the basis of the food and livelihood of virtually the
entire population. In the natural environment, there a millions of species each filling every imaginable niche and
constantly evolving to any new developments. To reject a
million species and keep five to grow in vast monocultures
under conditions of neverending ecological disaster (plowing
a field literally turns it into an expanse of empty dirt)
is to reduce the hardiness of the entire food supply from
a situation where almost any conditions short of the sun
going nova or an enormous meteor smashing into the planet
are survivable to a situation where a few degrees difference
or the rains two weeks earlier or later mean huge food
shortages or enormous expense to scramble to mitigate.

Agriculture depends on certain very particular climatic
conditions, and very gentle ones at that. It has never
been very intelligent over the long term to place all your
eggs in such a small and shaky basket. The short-term
competetive advantages have so far outweighed the long term

Yes, the climate is changing. It has always been in flux.
Knowing it for a hundred years will not prepare you for
what it does over 500 years. Knowing it for 1000 years won't
prepare you for what it does over ten thousand. Stopping in
at ten in the morning at high tide will not prepare you for
another visit at midnight and low tide. Knowing it for a
single day, though, should teach you that it is always
changing, and thus not to expect it to stay the same.

Nice post, Natural climate variability is the missing link IMHO in the Global Warming debate. I can't deny that we are in a warming cycle on balance across the globe. I just am still not totally convinced that we aren't one large volcanic eruption, or one low sunspot cycle away from global cooling and more climate change. Our particular region appears to have hit peak temps in 2003 as successive years has been cooler. This year is very cool and extremely wet much different from the southeast that appears to be in drought. My own experience lends more credence to El Nino and La Nina for weather impact in our region.
Does the climate change debate mean that we shouldn't try and limit our GHG emissions and other man made pollutants... No. It just means I consider Peak Oil a much greater issue for mankind.


just data, but have you noticed that the sunspot cycle was supposed to start and it hasn't. I haven't noticed a report of a sunspot in quite a few weeks. And what do we have. Lots of cold weather around the globe, huge snowstorms in late May. Record cold at the start of the Southern hemisphere winter. Britain is very cold.

coincidence or not. Sunspot activity seems to effect the weather. The Nile evidence recently compiled from the river heights coincided with Sun activity.

Yet, that and volcanic activity are ignored, because "they" say that there aren't enough volcano's to warm the water.

This comes from people that have NO CLUE as to the activity under the water.

the Sea around Japan has warmed faster than other places. Very warm water. Its blamed on CO2 and volcanic activity is ruled out for the above reasons. Yes, they ignore that volcano's are all around Japan under the sea. That japan is an island formed by a eruptions. That they have discovered new activity and magma activity.

You're called names and more when you try and interject it into the discussion, and the people doing this "yelling at dissenters" claim they are using the scientific method.


Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Britain is very cold.

LOL, do you have any clue what you are talking about???

It's 25 degrees Celsius here (outer London), that ain't cold!

If you thought our weekend was bad look at the weather across the water...

Freak snow, freezing temperatures and tropical storms across Europe are making the Bank Holiday washout here look almost pleasant.

In Spitzing in Germany, locals have been forced to wrap up after ten centimetres of snow brought out the snowploughs for the first time this year...

...In one Swiss valley, 3,000 were trapped in hotels and guest houses because trains could not reach them in the snow.

Ironically, the weather follows one of the worst winters ever for snow at Alpine ski resorts.

On the Mediterranean island of Corsica, two hikers died in freezing fog and on its beaches a 19-year-old man was killed by a wave.

Further north in cities like Berlin, tropical storms have brought four days of chaos, dumping hailstones as big as golf balls, uprooting trees and causing widespread flooding.

Moscow breaks another heat record

Another heat record has fallen as Russia's capital city continues to bake in unseasonable May weather, with a temperature of 32.1 degrees Celsius (89.7 degrees Fahrenheit) beating a 116-year-old maximum, the Moscow meteorological service said Tuesday.

Seems to me like we're in some kind of transition stage with the climate oscillating between possible new climate states. A period of chaotic weather as the climate struggles to equalise the opposing forces which are moving it from its current equilibrium. Various extremes being tested until the climate zooms in on the most stable state.

A layman's view :)

i>Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Consider two extreme conditions, a block of ice and a pot of boiling water. Bubbles in ice don't move and bubbles in boiling water move very fast. A warming climate means more volatility which will not find a stable state.

I don't follow that logic Thomas.

What I do notice is that with all the stories of major snowstorms in China, Argentina, and all over the world that show massive inflows of cold air during late May is also a part of the "warming" scenario.

turn turn turn, twist twist twist, this is not science.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria


Not exactly a snowstorm but yesterday was the coldest day in twenty years, here in Argentina. Despite that, we had warmer than usual temperatures until the beginning of May.


The volatility causes air masses including cold air masses to be pushed north and south more than the average of previous decades and centuries. It is why Iowa had both below 0F and 70F days last January. The added energy in the atmosphere means winters in particular will no longer have months on end of freezing temps. Not all the extra energy causes temps to rise. Some of it is converted into more kinetic energy and highly convoluted jet streams.

I follow the logic.
It is not easy for many to accept that no new stable point is on the horizon. Ongoing and amplifying chaos is not easy to swallow.

The World Wildlife Fund on conservation

From Dilbert:

• Solar Closet: It's a small, well-insulated room with lots of thermal mass (water is best), and a large triple glazed south facing window of about 30sq ft. Hook it into your heating system, and you can do away with the furnace (There's a guy up in Calgary with one, and so long as he gets 15 hours of sunshine every 2 weeks over winter; he can keep his house at 70F all the time, with no furnace or other heating.)

• Stirling engine to produce power:

Now that Gas is about $3.50 the car ads are all about 'we have fuel economic models' locally. So $3.50 is a discomfort point - or enough of one the marketing ppl are taking note

And finally:
One potential avenue of innovation we can expect to occur is a focus Saudi Arabia's electricity system. In contrast to the oil network, the electricity network is sparse, lightly defended, and operates near self-organizing criticality during the summer months -- the pattern of under-investment and rapidly growing domestic demand that created this situation has not been corrected since the outages of last year. Since a major percentage of Saudi Arabia's electricity is for industrial uses (mostly for oil production, processing and transport), even minor intentional disruptions in the electricity system can easily cascade into tightly coupled oil production systems.

It's only a matter of time before the success of guerrillas in disrupting Iraqi electricity is exported Saudi Arabia. In an interconnected world, their failure of imagination becomes our vulnerability.

As one of the commentators noted, how vulnerable is the American power grid? I live in the Southwest and there are miles and miles of high voltage power lines which travel through very sparsely populated areas. It would not take much to cause major disruptions during summertime peak usage.

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

Traveling up or down the 395 in Eastern California there are many power lines that have no protection whatsoever. The problem with discussing the vulnerabilities of our power grid or energy supplies is that such discussion can be misconstrued as intent to exploit those vulnerabilities...

I like my air conditioning and computer too much attack the power grid :) Now someone from Al Qaeda might not care so much. The discussion should be had because the vulnerablity is a fact. Ignoring it (like PO) will not make it go away. Just because we have our heads in the sand, it won't prevent us from getting a swift kick in the butt.

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

About ten or 15 years ago there was a major ice storm in North MS. It coated all the towers and lines. Brought down a large amount of the towers and the lines. Where I live I was without power for 2 weeks. I felt lucky. Many many folks in N MS had to wait MONTHS before they received juice again.

With costs going up and more storms etc, rebuilding above ground power lines is going to become a major issue if the weather keeps this up.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Slightly offtopic, but I found it interesting. A near death experience 22 years ago...

If the United States continues to exploit the rest of the world by greedily consuming the world's resources, the United States will have God's blessing withdrawn. Your country will collapse economically which will result in civil chaos. Because of the greedy nature of the people, you will have people killing people for a cup of gasoline. The world will watch in horror as your country is obliterated by strife. The rest of the world will not intervene because they have been victims of your exploitation.

I noticed a quote of Dannion Brinkley at the bottom of the page. If visions of the future interest you, in general, Dannion's work can be found online.

If this specific vision is all that interests you, then great !

I saw Dannion speak at 2 small venues in 1995. I have read several of pieces of his work since.

I have an optimism for the future, which I can only categorize as irrational, given likely circumstances going forward.

The source of my optimism is unknown to me, but I suspect it sources from places Dannion and other NDE experiences have been to.

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

Yeah, let's bring some superstition into this discussion as if we didn't already have enough irrational thinking going on the mainstream media.

Superstition, not sure that is what it is.

There is a very very strange dude that had a dream of an airplane crash in Chicago I think. So vivid he called the FAA and told them about it. Of course they ignored him.

But, the crash happened, EXACTLY as he "predicted". His name was David Booth. Its documented and is proclaimed as the only documented case.

David Booth now makes some other very very disturbing claims and now has basically disappeared from view. He claims that they come from the last surviving sister from Fatima. Plenty on the net if you wish to see some very very wacked out stuff.

I've followed his saga for the last few years and its disturbing in many ways. If you know his history and the "stories" he has been telling you will understand why. Especially his past and his "connections".

There is a documentary about the crash and David B from several years ago.

Now his former site is run by a supposed group from Russia and the "current" "sorcha faal" posts "stories" and weaves some fanciful tales based on facts though with lots of links.

Its a movie waiting to be made really. Very very bizarre story and events that lead up to his removing himself from society.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

I think it's superstition. Still interesting, though, in a pop culture kind of way.

Twenty-two years ago was after the '70s oil crisis. It was after The Road Warrior, which was inspired by said crisis, so the idea of killing for gasoline was already part of our culture. So even if the "prediction" proves to be correct, it doesn't really mean anything. Except that people are aware of peak oil, on some level.

In that case David Booth is a millionaire even if he doesn't know about it. He can contact the James Randi educational foundation and collect the million dollar prize for the first documented case of a supernatural occurrence. Let me hazard a guess as to why he hasn't bothered to collect the money yet...

Its on record is all I can say. He called and even though they thought he might be right they couldn't do anything because he didn't have a flight number.

It was though flt 191 out of Chicago, I think its the largest death toll on any crash.

James Randi now there's a guy with real credentials. A con artist turned physicist.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Yeah and he also predicted in 2003 that an asteroid/comet was going to collide with the Earth causing the yellowstone caldera to blow up and 97% of humanity was going to die by Sep 2004.

Well, there is always Edgar Cayce who´s work is very documented and very psychic. He also had lot of predictions that did not happen. "Looking class" is not so exact science. But he had lot of "unnatural" and very accurate work.

The big one was that he had a private meeting with the surviving sister of Fatima and she told him that his vision he had about a celestial body passing the earth and the earth has eruptions etc. was correct. He went on radio programs and said that this was the prophecy from Revelations and the end days. That is probably what you are referring to. It gets more bizarre from there.

Then someone pointed out that they couldn't find a record of him visiting the convent where she resided. Freaked out a ton of people he did. Still claims its true.

Leanan, I think superstition is not the correct word. Prediction is perhaps a better choice, or prophecy, depending on the claim.

You know the Catholic Church has built a huge telescope in Arizona (I think),. I've seen interviews with a Senior Catholic Priest and astronomer that says that the church does not have a problem with ET's and their existence. Strange interview, I think he is Italian. I haven't seen a ET yet, so their existence for me is still up in the air so to speak. I've heard an astronaut claim some very interesting things about images from the moon that showed a pipe with some sort of "smoke" or something coming out of it. This is NASA guy, and he was in the program for a long time. One has to wonder when people like this provide such stories. When I hear things like this I always think about a couple of things. ONE is the story that the personal secretary of Werner Von Braun tells about what he told here. If you don't know that you should read her "warning" about what she claims Warner told her. She has made it for a long time, and even testified before committee's about it. Off the top of my head it something like.

first card is the threat of communism
Second card it the threat of terrorism
Last card, the alien card to build space based weapon systems,

and Werner said it was all lies, lies to complete an "agenda".

She was speaking about this before the second card was "played" so to speak.

She is no slouch, and has been around and part of some big companies. Fairchild Industries for one, and she claims that Iraq and oil was discussed etc many years ago in a meeting. Long before what is happening now.

People in high places with personal knowledge have made lots of statements, and many have come to pass, the Iraq story she claims is very troubling. This was in the 90's or late 80's I believe in the meeting she sat in on. It was this meeting that made her start to "talk" she claims.

Carol Brown I think is her name from memory. Not it, I googled and its Carol Rosin, not Carol Brown.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

I think "superstition" is the right word. Or at least, not inaccurate. It was in reference to near-death experiences. While there are such things as near-death experiences, there is no evidence that they caused by anything except the malfunctioning of an oxygen-deprived brain.

One thing that strikes me is that they are very culture-dependent. An American Christian will report meeting Jesus. A Muslim will say he met Mohammed. A Buddhist will say he met Buddha. And not all NDEs are visions of the cultural heaven. Some are "bad trips," visions of hell, if you will. Some are just mundane and boring. That being the case, a vision of Americans killing people over gasoline is not exactly a stretch, since it's part of Western culture.

Power Shortages > Political Instability ?

The Saudis have grown accustomed to air conditioning during the summer months. Prolonged electricity outages are not only disruptive, but "mood altering" as well.

Sparing certain parts of cities and thus lengthening outages elsewhere helps build resentment and disrupts social cohesion. See Iraq.

Not a major political issue for a government with widespread acceptance and legitimacy (Heh just fix it !) but I worry about the long term effects of the power shortages in KSA.

Best Hopes for cool Saudis,



This is my first posting on TOD. I want to start with a question or two concerning "energy shortages/rationing" occuring in various countries.

Is there an ongoing attempt to list all the different countries currently
suffering power shortages and/or rationing energy supplies?

I would find this information very useful in explaining the growing energy crisis.

Can this list be continuosly updated and include locations, populations,
GDP, and power consumption per capita.


Hi D,

Since no one's answered, I suggest asking this question again, at the start of a new, current "Drumbeat".

I think it depends on what you mean by "shortages" and "rationing", whether you mean as done by means of price, by governments, by war, etc.

I believe posters have said that the oil shipments to some/many "third world" countries are not all that accurate, and the same goes for energy consumption, though I'm guessing here.

You can search www.energybulletin.net, for articles on specific countries.

In terms of electrical shortages, from an Olduvai theory point of view, the number and frequency of these would be good to track, but don't know if anyone does.

Otherwise, there are some standard sources, of course...for world energy data, you can check those (IEA, wiki,etc.)

There's information if you google "The Book" on this site. And you can find country/regional information in the archived newsletters of ASPO, as well as on this site.

Hope this helps somewhat.

RE: "Peak Oil Test Looming", above:

The graph on this link shows projections of about 2.5Mb/d growth in supply between now and year end and implies that whether or not this will happen, will be a test of peak oil. Most writers here see little chance of that sort of rise, if any material rise at all. It will be interesting to see IEA, etc., scratch their heads in 6 months, and see what excuses they can put forward for their projections being so wrong.

Why is there a difference of 1Mb/d for 07Q1E between the numbers from IEA and EIA.

CNN is running a promo for a program "We were warned:Out of oil". At first when I saw this, I thought it a rerun of "We were warned: Tomorrow's oil crisis", but the little snippets I have seen so far would lead me to believe that it is different program entirely. The promo I saw had Richard Branson talking about how this crisis is going to dwarf global warming, and I don't recall seeing Branson in the previous program..

The showtimes that they give are Saturday and Sunday at 8PM Eastern. Typically other showtimes are given through the day as well.

They haven't updated the CNN Presents website yet, but it is here:


and will eventually (probably today sometime) be updated.

Don't know anything about the program other than this. It might be great, it might be a flop. Based upon how the media has treated peak oil in the past, a flop would be more likely, but you never know. Or they could have altered the title of last year's program - should know more in a day or so. If this starts to look promising, I can look up the full list of showtimes.

sorry silly post on my part..... (skip)

While trying to analyse the discrepancy between IEA and EIA production statistics over the last two years, I realised the signifcance of OPEC adding Angola to their membership. This move is the perfect fig leaf for their current problems (if indeed they are 'problems').

Angola is the single country with the most rapidly rising oil production over the next few years. By adding them as an OPEC member, Angola will help significantly to offset declines in other OPEC countries.

It also removes one of the high performers from the non-OPEC category, so OPEC can and have already started to say "non-OPEC is not performing as well as they promised, that will put pressure on oil prices".

Saudi Aramco can also now say that they are cutting supply to make room for Angola's expanding production. Any guesses how long before we hear that justification for declining Saudi production?


They will have another reason to cut production for "export": the refining/petrochemical industry they are building and buying. They have recently announced intentions to build more refining capacity, plus build plants that make chemical feedstocks for the petrochmical industry (plastics, solvents, resins, ag products, etc.) They just bought GE plastics division which is a huge supplier of raw plastics pellets and finished stock.

So in the long run KSA will be needing more of its oil to supply its growing economy/population with refined oil products along with needing more oil for its own oil based industry. With likely declines in its overall oil production I can see significant reduction in its oil exports within two to four years. KSA will be following Mexico down the path of fewer exported barrels. Iran and Venezuela will have declining exports due to lack of foreign investment to exploit difficult to reach or difficult to extract oil.

Peak oil may be now with an undulating plateau of production for a few years. But as Westexas has pointed out many times the real issue is "how much is avaialble on the export market"? In four years we may see 10 or 20% less than now. Either prices will go very high or the world will be in a deep recession where demand is destroyed to keep prices in a reasonable range.

Heh. Sorry to harp on about the med industry, but this reminds me of cases in medical science where diseases have been classified out of existence by changing the definition, criteria, etc. for them, and then claiming medical victory.

I think someone also posted recently about GDP calculations being expanded to include things that hadn't previously been included to make the latest GDP figures look rosier...

In how many other areas does this go on?

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

Heh. Sorry to harp on about the med industry, but this reminds me of cases in medical science where diseases have been classified out of existence by changing the definition, criteria, etc. for them, and then claiming medical victory.

I think the medical profession is doing the opposite. Only 12 or 13 years ago no one in the US had heard of "Acid Reflux Disease", "Irritable Bowel Syndrome", "Erectile Dysfunction" and (I kid you not) the "Restless Leg Syndrome". Now Americans spend billions every year to treat these "diseases".

Oh yeah, that happens too. It is a particularly good way to sell new drugs - especially since it is almost invariably symptoms, not causes, that are treated.

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

BTU’s and Bonds

Decades ago, M. King Hubbert talked about the fact that what he called the matter/energy world is finite, while the money supply can be inflated to infinity and beyond.

Today, a BTU is the same amount of energy that it was in 1913. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the dollar, which now worth less than 5% of what it was worth in 1913.

Recently, Financialsense.com had some scary money supply growth numbers. Many countries, including the US (using a reconstructed M3 measurement) have 10% or higher money supply growth rates. Russia is over 40% per year.

Swiss investment adviser Marc Faber has called the 30 year US Treasury bond, held to maturity, “The world’s worst investment.” Faber, hopefully with some degree of hyperbole, said that he expects--within his lifetime--to pay a million dollars for a cup of coffee.

The worst case of hyperinflation in the 20th Century was of course in Germany in the Twenties. I read a case history of a man who cashed in his life savings during the German hyperinflation, which would buy a loaf of bread.

In my opinion, two of the most sensible investments right now are food production and energy production (and conservation). Marc Faber's #1 recommendation for 2007 was to buy farmland.

Westexas, the NYTimes article on CTL made me think of your Export Land Model. Where the Air Force wants a 25year contract for a billion gallons of fuel from the process, what will be left for anyone else? They will be commanding huge amounts of financial resources to generate a disproportionate share of the natural resources (sans environmental concerns) to themselves. The whole internal system of prioritization seems like a local expression of the model. Does that make sense and lead you to any other ideas?

And then there is the line about the Democrats wanting to have an energy policy in place by Mid-July. "Pay for your own bullet" might suffice, I guess.

cfm in Gray, ME

Since the US administration never mentions the role of oil in our 'democracy-spreading' missions in the middle east, Americans are left to assume that eventually they personally will benefit, at their respective gas stations. That's the unspoken bargain that we've made, right...?

Westexas, I've got a hundred million mark note from that period. They only printed one side, probably to keep up with demand and save on the ink and printing presses.

Trouble is we've been painted into a corner by our system of money which requires constant growth to survive. When growth stops the entire system starts to fail, hence why recession is so feared. We are now at the stage where the money supply has to double every 6 years to keep the terminally ill system alive. Soon it will be every 3 years, then 1.5 years, then 9 months, etc (ie. we already have hyper inflation). At some point failure ensues, money supply contracts and we get deflation.

Like Climate Change and Peak Oil, we're entering uncharted waters economically too. History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme as Mark Twain said. I doubt whether things will play out quite as expected, but play out it will.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Westexas the worst hipper inflation was in Serbia in early 1990s (perhaps the US would takeover the record in near future but until then i must defend my nations pride ;)

From the thread above Saudi Electricity seeks Aramco help:

The committee said some of the company's departments were being pressed to lay off skilled foreign workers to meet a quota for the number of Saudi employees.

"Yet it cannot dismiss the unproductive Saudi employee. This becomes manifestly counter-productive on the level of work and productivity," the committee said.

Most Westerners haven’t a clue as to the magnitude of this problem. Companies are being forced to hire Saudis instead of foreign nationals. This is wrecking havoc everywhere it is rigidly enforced. Yet as the Saudi unemployment rate skyrockets, the people demand that the foreign nationals be fired and replaced with Saudi nationals.

Saudi Arabia is basically still a Bedouin culture. They are, or rather were, proud people of the desert who were nomadic herders. They simply do not do manual labour and every man is ruler of his own domain. To ask a Saudi to do manual labour and to take orders from some infidel is simply out of the question for most Saudis.

And here is the scary part. What would happen if there is a revolution in Saudi Arabia and all the foreign nationals are expelled, or just the infidel foreign nations? Saudi Arabia would sink into chaos, not a lot different from the condition Zimbabwe is in today.


Interesting. But surely someone must have done manual labor, sometime. Who built all that fantastic architecture over there, centuries ago?


When examing the history of the planet in large contexts it's easy to see some consistencies. Energy in whatever form underlies everything. Slaves were used for millenia until the modern era when collectively the leaders of the planet openly said no more. However the bankers had already moved on and established debt slavery which is much more efficient. Slaves are allowed to be free so long as they service their contract with their master. Race no longer matters and even more insinous is the fact that most all of the information that points this out is openly available.

Yesterday I came across a quote by Mayer Rothschild, the banking elite from Old Europe. I was stunned by its simplicity. Most here have probably come across it.

"Give me control of a nation's money supply and I care not who makes the laws."

Another quote from Rand along the lines...

Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you face a contradiction, check your premise. You will find one of them wrong.

I hardly think it's coincidence that a private bank is in charge of the nation's money supply. Wake the f#ck up people.

There are still millions of 'slaves' in KSA today ... it's the most unpleasant country I've ever had the misfortune to have visited.


Wages have risen a cumulative total of just 0.9% over the seven years ending in the first quarter of 2007."

Inflation over the same time period is 6 -10% take your pick.

So our buying power as been reduced by 42% - 70%.

And Interest rates are still at 20 year lows.

Recipe for indentured servatude.

"Stop wispering, START SHOUTING"

Sorry but these statistics need a little adjustment. They just aren't right. Your points are good, but not based on economic fact.

Wage growth has been flat. In November 2001 real wages were at $16.79 per hour. In the first quarter 2007 it reached $16.84, this is a number that has been adjusted for inflation.

Inflation over the period has averaged 2.7% annually. So wages unadjusted for inflation have basically grown at that same rate.

Interest rates over the period have trended down and then recovered to what they were in 2001. 10 year treasure at 5% in 2001 and at 4.7%. Twenty year low interest rates were hit in 2003, when 10 years T-Bills were at an amazing 1.0%.

Flat wages, low interest, low inflation (the way it is measured by cpi).

Try another board. We don't use crap Keynesian econ principles. I think most here would consider themselves more rooted in proper, Austrian principles which do far more diligince to provide an accurate description of what's going on. If you truly believe 2.7%, then I suppose you don't eat or drive a vehicle of some sort.

Then while you're reading some Austrian theory and realizing the error of this country, move on to understanding how the CPI has been remastered and massaged into the ridiculous number you profess as fact. Even the methodoogy used is illogical yet many more baseless people spout this crap as cannon law.

While we're at it your own logic is jacked up. You're saying this

In the first quarter 2007 it reached $16.84, this is a number that has been adjusted for inflation.

followed by this

So wages unadjusted for inflation have basically grown at that same rate.

Pick the apple or the orange, but 'round here we don't throw shit against the wall in hopes of it sticking.

How do "proper, Austrian principles" calculate inflation? (I guess money supply - true growth) Which countries have used this superior theory to prosper?
(The US is at the bottom end of developed countries for gov't spending as a fraction of GNP)
And where are the board rules on proper economics?

I believe the basic principle of Austrian economics is:

F**k poor people.

Leo Strauss was the Austrian who figured out that von Hayek was full of crap because the poor can f**k back, so they'll have to be tricked by religion and patriotism into obediance. Leo Strauss gave us neoconservatism.

The US had in fact used those latter principles to maximize wealth extraction from its workers long before Strauss emigrated here. So the neocons had fertile ground for his ruthless ideas.

If American elites can pocket a larger % in net profits by more successfully keeping their workers a bunch of compliant reactionaries, then America has an economic advantage over other societies. However, if American businessmen are such monsters, inevitably they will exploit the polarization of wealth to corrupt every aspect of society. This in turn leads to mass irrationality, the breakdown of thrift, the worship of violence, the bias in government statistics, until all the supposed boons of capitalism are wiped out by the breakdown of civilization itself.

But until that happens, the numbers look great.

"Flat wages, low interest, low inflation (the way it is measured by cpi)."

Yes and a thousand years of oil at current prod.

The gov would never lie to us.

You guys are kind of spooky. Guess you don't need facts when you already 'know'

sort of Faith Based around here when it comes to economics

The problem is that the US govermrnt statistics are being used for political purposes and do not reflect reality. You should go to http://www.shadowstats.com/cgi-bin/sgs? and read the series: "Government Economic Reports: What You've Suspected but Were Afraid to Ask." (They are about 2/3 down the page. Also check the alternate data series at the top of the page (the Third graph down is inflation - CPI-U vs SGS Alternate calculation of inflation.

Interesting article. To the extent cpi is understated, that is possible. But, that inflation today is 10.8% (per the article) is utterly counterintuitive. I lived through the late 70s and early 80s when inflation WAS 10%. That is not happening today. Energy is obviously higher for obvious reasons, and food will be going higher as well and that is getting picked up in inflation numbers. I agree with most of the article, but the way it is elevated is too black boxish to me.

M2 has been running from 5% to 6%, money supply growth is frequently a proxy for inflation in some circles, and I say ok 5% or 6%, and not 2.7%. But that is complicated by interest rates. Money growth at 5% interest is different than money growth at 1% interest. M2 was over 9% in 2001, but they were pumping it out at lowering rates after 9/11 to keep things going. Is that inflation??

Nothing is perfect, but I am not a conspiracy theorist. If you go back when inflation WAS 10% in the early 1980s, interest was over 12% and M2 was near 20%, so the behavior of this market is nothing like then. The problem of being alarmist over everything is that when something really does happen then no one listens.

Inflation does not feel high right now, though there are some components that are. Healthcare is high, energy is high, some food products are high. Stuff is not, car prices are not, home prices are declining and trading at historic low interest rates, bicycles and motorcycles are not. computer prices are still falling.

Wages feel flat, but they don't feel like they are declining.

Interest rates seem low. So if a statistic tells me they are high, I don't believe them.

I'd buy 4% or 5%, on a 5-6% M2. I'd buy that CPI is probably skewed low to save money on government payments. But if M2 started going off the charts and CPI stayed the same I would wonder. But political purposes? Government secrets, etc. Markets pick up on that, especially public markets.

There's a reason that inflation over at least the past 20 years has been kept in check, and that's now that all of the items that we purchase, being durable goods and less durable goods such as our TVs, VCRs, parts for our cars, etc, are now made in CHINA instead of the U.S. As a result, the cost for items has actually decreased, even if you take into account the hidden inflation via our fiat currency.

However, it's just running on borrowed inflation. Instead of eating our inflation now like good children, we've delayed it by pushing it overseas, having the temporary increased buying power of decreased costs of items produced overseas while not having the consequential damage to the economy of reduced income locally as a result. Why? We're a service based economy, running around, patting each other on the back, and doing nothing productive in the end. It's a great ponzie scheme.

Who do you know PERSONALLY that actually MAKES something? Actually PRODUCES a PRODUCT? I don't know ANYBODY that does! The last time I did was an ex-girlfriend who's father made baseball bats on a wood lathe. He was laid off a year later, his job shipped to China.

Let me count through everyone I can think of off the top of my head, and I'll list their trade:
Computer services: 8
Accounting: (I work in an accounting department, so lots)
Aviation, pilot: 1
Doctor: 1
Management: 3
Advertising: 1
Video production: 1
Food Service: 2
Retail: 2
Construction-Management: 1
Vetrinary: 1

I'm thinking pretty hard, but I don't know anybody that works in manufacturing, and the only person on the list that comes close is the guy who's a foreman at construction sites, but he merely oversees the construction.

Now, all those points being said, I wouldn't go as far as the article previously stated, where the dollar is only worth 5% of what it used to, but I would easily say that the inflation would easily be double what it's publicly stated if we didn't have so many things masking what it really is. If all of our products were made here in the US, it would be quite nasty.

We've got an economy of shoe-shiners, each shining each other's shoes, the money going round and round, except for what gets siphoned out of the country for our products and our oil, but luckily the Chinese are buying T-bills in spades, allowing the Reserve to fly overhead in helicopters dumping $100 bills on us so we can continue shining each other's shoes and buying plasma TVs. It's a great scheme, but I'll just have to remember to pull all of my money out of the stock market and buy lots of tangible items right before the crash.

So the question is, do I pull my money out 6 months from now, 1 yr, 2 yrs, or 3 yrs?

I know people who make scientific instruments. We used to employ something like 400 people in this business. Now I'd guess that about twenty five people do the same work. It used to be that our device required something like five boards each about 16 x 12 inches. There was lots of hand work stuffing parts onto these boards and running wire harnesses. The whole unit was the size of a small refrigerator. Now we use maybe two boards with just a few high density chips on them. These are machine assembled elsewhere. The whole box is the size of a bookshelf stereo speaker. So in our case at least, we have continued our business while using far fewer people. The jobs haven't gone overseas. They are just gone. On the other hand the price is far smaller than it used to be, inflation adjusted.

You should have pulled out the money from the stockmarket a couple of years ago. If you haven´t i recommend immidiate pull out. What we are witnessing is an unprecedented speculation and creditexpansion. It can only end badly(but when, no one can tell). You are involved in the greatest Ponzi scheme ever.

If you had pulled out a couple of years ago and bought gold instead you had been richer now. But its not to late if you act now.

When I run into someone such as yourself I have tried to adjust facts to fit inside your world to make you go aha! It's hard stuff since for me most of this just clicks because I'm pragmatic to a fault. I do what makes sense and I base decisions almost soley on this criteria. It works 98% of the time and that last 2% is better served by concentrating energies into making a good decision, not the best, but good.

The only thing I seem to be able to come up with is to appeal to your vanity. If we discuss some basic stats courses we arrive at the good ol guassian distribution. Would you agree that average intelligence not measured by IQ, but just that, average intelligence is distributed in such a way that most people are average and below, while fewer are truly above average in their intelligence?

If yes, continue, if no your below average, stop now you don't and won't get it. It's truly that simple. Since you've made it here, I assume you are above average in intelligence. As an intelligent person do you believe everything you hear or do you want to know why? Why is it that the same people get to run for office? Why is it that free market capitalism that this country was founded on is not currently being practiced? Why is it that select groups get to enjoy monopolistic power over markets at the expense of all of us? Why do politicians all lie, 'cept maybe R Paul, but I'm just stirring the pot now. THe point is that all these questions can be answered with sound economoci principles, namely who has the incentive?

Government does organize society to a marginal point. However what gov't is needed for is minimal. Government is legitimate power. When you entrust a person to speak for you, how do you get heard over the person who drops by from K street to pay their bills? The incentive for this person to pass a bill that sounds and looks good but in reality helps a buddy's company is far too common to ignore. When people are given power they make decisions that mostly affect those around them. They have an incentive to since they need to pay their bills to tell you and I how great they've done. We don't vote and the ones who do are old and have little else to do. What's best is never considered as personal pissing matches ensue and we get stuck with something in the middle which turns out worse. Gov't IS the problem. None of this reached my point but after banging this out, I've got a meeting to dip into and can't reword/edit any of this. So instead you get something akin to my stream of consciousness.

Did you even read the article, Scotjen61? Better yet have you read the annual reports by BLS on how the CPI is calculated year to year? This is NOT a conspiracy but every single alteration in methodology is rigorously documented but never given wide exposure so the working man thinks he can compare a CPI from 1985 with a CPI from 2006. They are apples and oranges, for very good reason. Every administration, regardless of party, has massaged the data to give a better impression of its economic "progress" than prior statistics would have told.

It's not a lie nor a conspiracy, just constant massaging of data year after year after year. When you "unwind" all these alterations you get numbers you can compare. That is what John Williams does professionally, for fortune 500 companies. This allows those companies to have a clearer picture of trends since the data year to year is not really comparable. When you unwind those changes, current inflation IS over 10%. And you know what? I just did a check of my personal budget against last year and I can see the 10% increase right there. Some parts of my budget are fixed due to fixed rate loans but the parts that are not are exhibiting that 10% rise roughly.

And while your wages may not feel like they are declining, I can assure you that the BLS own data suggests they have declined seriously over the last 30 years. In a recent Drumbeat, it was acknowledged that wages for non-managerial workers from about 30 years ago turned into an inflation adjusted value near $40K but that the wages today for that sector are down nearer to $34K.

Finally, the CPI from 30 years ago included food and energy. The CPI today does not. That is both unrealistic and heavily massively skewed.

In short your "gut" feel is denied by the raw data itself, printed by the BLS and documented by those same people.

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

I think we're risking some confusion here. The CPI is not the one that lacks the food and energy sectors, it's the newly invented "Core CPI" that does. And that's the one that's reported these days. It uses a basket of goods that can be arbitrarily altered (but only by the BLS). If steak goes up too much, they just throw it out and replace it with minced meat.

Another big magic trick at the BLS is their hedonistic accounting method. It's all pretty brilliant, if you're into magic shows.

Wow, what a hornets nest. I really don't disagree with most of what everyone here says, not at all. The only thing is that everything gets taken to an extreme.

Manufacturing is one example. We are still the number one manufacturer in the world. As far as knowing someone who is manufacturing, wow, where do you live? I can name manufacturers of laminated wood products, manufacturers of metal stamping devices, manufacturers of heart occluder devices. Most of the medical devices are still in the US, parts anyway. Assembly of autos is still here, if not the parts. We do actually have refineries here, even though they are not adequate.

It is all relative, just not what it was.

The real reason we are in China is because the US literally does not have the physical capacity to produce what we consume. That bids up costs, but it was I know a Faustian bargain. And it did not entirely work because what it has done is bid up commodities, which is rising right now.

Inflation is likely building, I agree with that. It is higher than they state, I agree with that. But it is the hitting of limits. Classic economics argues that all commodities tend to fall in price over time, and that is born out over the last 100 years but I doubt that will be true of the next 100 years.

You guys all miss the big piece of inflation, and that is in the manufacture process itself. That is where substitution is amazing.

I bought a bike the other day and it was $159. The same bike would have been over $200 in 1972! The parts indeed came from China, but the assembly was here. And the bikes that cost $4,900 are generally manufactured here, and would have cost millions in 1970 (a little deflation). The computer I am typing on would have cost $30 million in the 1960s and does more than the NASA program. Oil imaging was something that took months and armies of people, and now it is a laptop and a couple of hours. Progress.

Substitution for oil. It is already happening. The Prius is one, manufactured by Japan, but the guts of the thing came out of ECD Ovonics, the former CEO of GM Eisenstein (who spearheaded GMs electric car) took the tech and licensed it to Toyota. Pretty good, they make boatloads now. The batteries all US licensed goods. Hybrid rail is on the way via GE. Manufactured overseas, but all the design tech is hear so the guts of profits stay in the US. Get the picture. How about multi spectrum solar now closing in on 50% efficiency which would more than halve the costs. Plug in hybrids (though I think ethanol is a dead end). More likely will be electricity as the ultimate flex fuel, and decentralized power manufacture. China could use some expert advice about environmental issues, and probably democracy, and culturally they have never developed a human rights sensibility, but I am optimistic. But they understand that democracy only works with a strong middle class and one is being built.

The one issue that undoes progress is population, and that issue lags continually, and as is excellently outlined on TOD the solutions are unbelievably complex and elusive, because they deal with the darkest and poorest areas of the world. But peak oil, that has solutions today.

But . . .the solutions are all around us, without hiding in our basements with a flashlight and a shotgun.

I drive a Prius, and have a geothermal home heating system, with an electric hot water heater. The house is all flourescent and LED, the appliances all energy star. Monthly energy consumption is 20kWh per day, and that covers heating, cooling, appliances, hot water, etc. Everything, energy from the earth and the ultimate flex fuel electricity.

I am buying my electricity from a Wind Sourced energy program out of Xcel. I am very nearly carbon neutral, in 2006!! Not by 2020. I will buy my plug in hybrid when it is available, and complete the process. Is that doable enough for everyone? No sacrifice yet either. I live 4 miles from work and bike almost every day, ride electric train on the days I do not (alas via coal power plant).

So let the naysaying begin.

We are still the number one manufacturer in the world

Germany, with less than 1/3rd our population, exports more goods than the US does.

The trend in US manufacturing is definitely down, and the definition of what is manufacturing has had some creep.

The US is no longer a manufacturing powerhouse.

One small example, eyeglass frames are an essential industry (IMHO) that needs to be preserved in the US if, for example, the US $ craters. I found only one small US eyeglass frame maker left and had to special order frames from them.

Best Hopes for Essential US Manufacturing,


New Orleans still has quite a bit of food manufacturing; coffee roasting (several), sugar refining, mayonnaise, hot sauces, candy, etc. and I heard that our beer brewery and rum distillery are back in operation :-)


off the above topic, but have you heard about the guy that invented eyeglasses that don't have to be made.

He did it for the poor people around the world.

Clunky frames "so far" but the principle is this.

The frames where the lens go has a plastic bladder.

in the frames is a outlet for each side to put in clear water.

put on the glasses and slowly start putting in the water. He used an eye chart and the person told him when the fluid input needed to be stopped.

Saw it on a tv special some time back. What a wonderful idea. He was making them very cheaply and people (the crew) tried them and said they worked great.

Haven't heard a word about them since though.

Hey, something to remember in the future if need be.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

and dont forget.....we are the number one "manufacturer" of greezy burgers. cheebuger cheebuger cheebuger coke no pepsi

Scotjen61, we vigorously debate all kinds of statistics at TOD. The problem with the low goverment statistics that you quote is that they exclude fuel, food and electricity-the stuff we all use every day. I went to get a pound of hamburger two days ago and the cows must have gotten a pay-raise! Tomatoes are $3/lb at Kroger! Gasoline is $3 plus a gallon! The price of a cheap shirt at a discount store is around $15, when it was $12 last summer. A fastfood meal costs $6-$8, up from $4-$6 a year ago.
I'm a petroleum landman, I make money pretty easily compared to most working people in this country. But its very clear to me that the price of most imported goods is up at least 25% over a year ago.
Sure, real estate is deflating, automobiles and light trucks are being discounted by the American auto companies. But how many new cars or houses am I or most people going to buy on a daily basis? So, I conclude your faith in the CPI is touching, but not based in the same universe in which I live. I suggest you turn off the television and make a trip to the grocery and fill up your car.

A local dealership was selling Expeditions for $26,xxx WITH 0% financing !

Who says that there is inflation ?

Best Hopes for Rational behavior,


Sure, but miss a payment and it goes to 33 percent, better check the fine print.

I received an offer for a credit card the other day. In the fine print that was what they could bump it to if you had a late payment. Not sure that is law in all states, but I have heard horror stories about people that were caught in that trap.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Using data from 2000(a huge peak in the world economy) to 2005 we see stagnate wages.

from 2000 to 2005 we can see:

US dollar index falls from 109->90
EURO index rises 83->112
USD as foreign currency falls 70.5%->66.4%
CPI-C(new) 102->113
CPI-U 503->568
another CPI 172->195
energy costs rising from 46->53

There are all indices except for USD as a forieng currency.

Now seeing as energy costs rose ~15% in 5 years, it would appear as this should set a near minimum on the core rate of inflation of other non primary economic activities.

The various CPI's show 11%, 13%, and 14% inflation. These CPI's are biased, using trimmed means(basicallly outiler removal), however outliers shouldn't be removed in many cases, because you reduce the ability of the model when you take away data.

Now noting that the USD lost ~4% of its world holdings, and the currency index dropped ~20%, it can be reasoned that USD buying power dropped to 80%, and therefore the individual consumer(who is within the US, using it's money) will see list((c(1,1,1,1,1)-c(.11,.13,.14,.15)))*.8 reduction in buying power cumulative. This assumes no real wage growth.

Thus you probably already have 3/4 reduction in your buying power, should you reside in the US.

The good thing is that cheaper american goods help exports! (manufacturing comes back to the states!)

Let's see.. The Fed no longer posts the print/destroy rates for money, so we have no idea just HOW much money Helicopter Bernackie (spelling?) is throwing out at the economy, since we can't be sure JUST what that fiat dollar is really worth. Essentially ever since the dollar was pulled off of the gold/silver standard, there's been no way to know the TRUE value of the dollar.

If you want to see where we are, compare the dollar against current rate for gold, or other precious/necessary metals. The dollar has been propped up beyond it's true worth by China purchasing T-bills out the wazoo in order to help prevent the crash of the US economy, which would then crash China's economy in turn.

Not even considering any "conspiracy" theories regarding any reasons beyond all of this, the mere fact that the Fed no longer publishes the printing rates for U.S. currency is horrifying in itself. Before, you could know how much was going in and out of the Federal Reserve, allowing you to have a sense of whether the Reserve was attempting to flood or restrain the dollar.

However, the Mainstream Media seems to ignore this fact, although lately CNBC and other financial media outlets are expressing concern about this. What happened is too many people have noticed this fact, and start writing, calling, appearing on these shows, and they are forced to cover the idea, even if they are attempting to discredit that it's a problem.

Inflation by our current standards of looking at it is OK, because the banking powers are keeping it in check. But it's like living off of a credit card in order to maintain a standard of living larger than you can afford. It's all good as gravy until it comes crashing down, and when it does, it's going to suck.

"Interesting. But surely someone must have done manual labor, sometime. Who built all that fantastic architecture over there, centuries ago?"

Oh, come on, Leanan, you know as well as I do that what these people are saying has no basis in reality. I remember back in the 90's, a friend of mine went to Japan with the expectation of finding a bunch of robotic, emotionless automatons. Well, that's exactly what he found. When he came back, he was full of stereotypical anecdotes. "They're great at imitating, but they can't innovate." "They're completely incapable of creativity." etc., etc. Every stereotype he had brought over there had been reinforced a thousand times over. And as I'm sure you remember, he wasn't alone, this is what most Americans thought and said about the Japanese back in the 80's and 90's. This same guy would drone on and on about how he couldn't understand how the Japanese could be so stupid as to invest in hybrid technology. "They lose money on every vehicle they sell!" (He was in the auto industry.) Well, who's so stupid now? And who can't innovate? And who has no creativity? There isn't any more truth to these ridiculous stereotypes about Saudis and Arabs as there was to the ridiculous stereotypes about the Japanese back then.

Saudi Arabia has imported people to do most of the work ever since they started producing lost of oil. No Saudi is reputed to lift anything but heavier than money and there are up to 5 million guest workers in the country.

The Universities mainly produce Islamic scholars who have no useful skills (unless you want suicide bombers and pilots).

When I worked there in 1979, most of the workers came from Yemen, now I believe most are from Pakistan.

I never actually noticed any fantastic architecture - just lots of desert. And lots of desert is what they have when the oil is gone. The main difference will be that the aquifers will all be dry.

I heard on the Local NPR station that 5(FIVE) shut down Oil rinfineries got back online yesterday, they said that the price of oil had dropped ( which it did ) and that generally the Gasoline woes would be over or so they said.

Even NPR is Main stream Media. It saddens me that they don't fully understand the mess we are in and even though they have touched on the truth they tend to smooth over the edges and ignore the outcomes.

For all our woes the Gasoline spikes are over, Life is back to normal and prices though high are survivable and we will just learn to live with them near 3 bucks a gallon. After all, Coke is still more expensive, and we still drink Coke (no ice) in a big Route 44 cup.

Laser fusion! Sounds awesome! We're all saved, the energy crisis is solved!

Oh, wait:

The EU is considering a proposal to fund the set-up costs for a seven-year research project called HiPER - high powered laser energy research - that would build a working demonstration reactor.

So maybe in seven years, if the project even gets funding, they find out if the process is feasible. Or maybe the French super-magnets will work better. I know lots of incredibly smart people are working on these things, but I can't help but be a little skeptical of promises of fusion power.

Laser beams.

Yep, I have several lasers now. How long ago was it that a laser was very expensive. Now they are on key chains. Laser technology has made leaps and bounds. Back in the 60's Doctor Evil had a point, lasers have made the line "careful or you will put your eye out kid" take on a whole new meaning.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Europe already has ITER, (scheduled for 2040 operational time).

Japan states 2030-2050 for operational reactors.


who knows if these will be pushed back or what.

This is a complicated subject. Due to the time frames it makes sense for them to plan ahead and start building reactors which may become operational far in the future. However, you shouldn't confuse that with a plan for producing energy on a commercial basis.

Fusion is very attractive because if it can be made to work the energy yield would be fantastic. The snag is in the "if".

Personally, I'm skeptical. Unless scientists make some fantastic and totally unexpected breakthrough then you can expect that fusion reactors will produce only slightly more energy than they consume. This means generating vast amounts of waste heat and it means building large numbers of large reactors to produce sufficient net energy.

The gut problem I have is that they are trying to generate concentrated energy to keep the system going rather than promote conservation and restructuring the economy to get along on renewable amounts of energy from the sun.

Argentina buys (toghether with Brazil) natural gas from Bilivia, and Bolivia has just nationalized its NG production. It's not a surprize that energy prices are high.

But there is also a long term concern, since Bolivia isn't delivering the NG Brazil and Argentina contracted from it. Some analists (at the press, but I don't have any sources in english) think that it doesn't have the claimed reserves, and can't deliver the contracted amount of NG (but still didn't peak).

I'm back. I had fun, but am glad to be back.

I visited a friend in northeastern Ohio. She lives in a suburb of Youngstown that is a Kunstlerian nightmare. When she first moved out there, it was all farmland. Now it's strip malls and subdivisions as far as the eye can see. (Which is a lot farther than you can see in the northeast, since it's awfully flat in Ohio.)

And yet...hidden behind the malls and condos is a rather large park. You'd never know it was there. Many of the roads into it now have poles in them, so bicyclists and pedestrians can use the roads, but cars cannot. There's an old mill there, among many other things:

Hydro power!

Also curious is an old railroad that winds through the subdivisions, strip malls, and office parks. It runs along the streets in many places, and crosses some major arterials. It was overgrown with grass and abandoned in the previous years I've seen it, but apparently, it's back in use. A company bought it and are using it for freight. It goes from Youngstown to a small community not that far away. And they are not allowed to run trains except early in the morning, before rush hour. But apparently, the economics work. I could hear the train go by, around 7am.

This was the strangest year for gas prices. As I mentioned previously, gas usually gets cheaper as you leave the northeast (except Jersey, of course). But this year, it got more and more expensive, from $3.07 in NY to $3.73 in Michigan.

Weirdly, though, gas prices actually went down over Memorial Day weekend. We got burned on that one. We always buy gas as soon as we arrive at our destination in Michigan, because the price spikes later for Memorial Day weekend. We've been making this trip for 15 years now, and it's always worked that way.

Not this time. Gas was $3.73 when we arrived. We filled up, wondering if we'd see $4 by Memorial Day. Nope. The next day, gas had dropped to $3.58. And it kept dropping. I think it was down to $3.48 when left on Memorial Day. Bizarre.


I drove from Boston to just ouside of Trenton, NJ for a wedding over the Memorial day weekend. Gas was $3.05 in Boston, and I filled up for $2.87 in New Jersey.

Traffic seemed light to me. I think the high prices caused quite a bit of demand destruction. I know if it wasn't for the wedding, I wouldn't have gone anywhere.


Agreed about the amazingly light traffic in the North East travel corridor - my anecdotal two-cents-worth based on a trip from Baltimore to Rhode Island and back. This was especially true from late morning to early evening of Memorial Day itself.

Traffic was also light in Galveston, and my waitress at the IHOP said that business wasn't nearly as good as last year on Memorial day.

I noticed the same thing about restaurants. They were far less crowded than usual. The wait staff were even talking about it. They thought the nice weather was keeping people outside...

I wonder if this is the much-talked-about cutting back on things like eating out to pay for gas taking effect.

Cost is a factor, but I have a hard time getting the wife to eat out because of high fructose corn syrup, msg, and other additives that lead to irritable bowel syndrome if not outright food poisoning. She's always suggesting that we buy something special at the market so she can cook it herself.

We bought a breadmaker last month and found a used a rice steamer, too. Now she uses the steamer instead of the oven.

Its dropping, so there ya go, all is well, consume on.

I wonder about spot shortages now. The travel miles this year was supposed to be high. I noticed two pumps at a local exxon were out on Saturday evening. Though they had several pumps left. With prices dropping and inventory low, or is it building again. Could spot shortages individual pumps start to appear this week as delivery's don't come before the pumps run dry.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Hi Leanan,

I like your picture... we have one like that near where I work... a 250 yr old mill which went out of service a long time ago. The water wheel is still there though. It is in Garching, Germany, and is locally known as one of the best Biergarten in the area :-)

Und Prost!

ps maybe mills like that will go back into service!

There are several old Mills in Virginia that I am aware of and over the years they almost all have been restored and are now functioning grist mills for the tourist trade. I wonder how long it will be before they are actually run as a full out production mill. My friend who is into old mills really wanted to be involved in restoring one of tghem. He might get his wish if we have to go back to water power for such things.

They had some old millstones on display:

There's also one in the stream. It was washed there in a flood during the 1800s. The millstone weighs over a thousand pounds, so it must have been some flood.

They weren't grinding anything when I was there. Apparently, they only do it once a year, as a demonstration. They were selling various flours. (The mill is now a gift shop...of course!) I thought about buying some, but it was kept in the freezer, and I wasn't sure how well it would keep.

If they do ever do put this mill back into actual service, there's going to have to be a lot of parking lots and houses torn down. The farms it once served have long since been paved over.

Can leave the actual old mills as "Biergarten", but use the existing small dams for generating electrical power. In the non-arid parts of the USA there is enormous potential there. Alas the regulatory hurdles in the way of setting up small (<5MW) hydropower on existing small dams is terrible. Here in Vermont it's been estimated that much of our current electrical power usage (i.e., all of the truly essential power) could be generated this way, but one needs to invest $600,000 in the process of an attempt to get one permit - with no guarantee of getting it. Some of the regulations are local and some are federal. Attempts to alleviate this issue in the state legislature this year didn't get far. Of course, the centralized utilities aren't exactly lobbying for such bills.

Water mills were used for more than just grinding grain. Many also functioned as saw mills and woodworking mills - ever wonder why they call it "millwork"? Before industry was powered by coal-fired steam, it was largely powered by water.

I should also point out that all those pretty windmills in the Netherlands were not there just to be pretty -- they were all working pumps, draining their below-sea-level land.

I drove from Chattanooga to Panama City, Fla for a funeral over the weekend. Gas was $2.99 at my local gas station when I left on Saturday. I filled up just past Atlanta ($2.89) because I felt it was probably cheaper there than it would be in Panama City. Sure enough it was $3.15 in Panama City!
I thought that the traffic was light for a holiday weekend, but getting a motel reservation in Panama City on Friday was interesting. I believe I may have gotten the last 2 rooms in the area at the downtown convention center. This was convenient for me as it was 3 miles from the church where the funeral was. Same motel room cost $20 more on Saturday night than Sunday night.

Going down to the Gulf Coast now from Pensacola to Panama City is so friggin disgusting. I recall what it was like before the huge high rises, and the disappearance of the dunes. Traffic is miserable during the summer, and its getting worse.

Prices vary due to the tourist trade. After Memorial day all prices jump like a rocket until the end of summer, then a weekly price for rental becomes a monthly rate.

I don't even care to go anymore, its so consumer driven.

I used to stay at one of the very first condo's built in Destin. Now its surrounded by High rises, the beaches are full, you get on a waiting list for FIRST row of umbrella's to see the friggin Gulf.

and people still pay top dollar to go there.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

thanks for the nice pic. Makes me think maybe living in Ohio isn't so bad after all. It also got me thinking about all the missed opportunities here. Most Ohio rivers of any size are dammed for flood control and (formerly) for barges. Yet none as far as I know produce any hydro power. Here's another Ohio Mill on the Muskingum River that did have two turbines until not too long ago which supplied all the elctricity for the small city of Stockport, OH. When the turbines were damaged a few years back, they were not replaced.

Although it is not obvious from this pic (below), this AEP power plant sits on an island in the Ohio river. But despite the fact that the plant is located in the river and at the site of a dam it it produces elctricity from coal!


Wow...I never thought I'd see a picture from my hometown on TOD. Lanterman's Mill is located in Mill Creek Park, which was established in Youngstown in 1891, back when the city was still a major center of industry that could afford funding such things. I remember learning that Y-town at some point in it's past (early 1900's) was second only to Pittsburgh in steel production in the U.S.

There's not much there anymore since the steel mills closed. The park may be it's best remaining asset: 2,600 wooded acres with several lakes/ponds and 15 miles of foot trails...really outstanding as far as city operated parks go. I found more pictures of the park on this web page:

I don't live there anymore, but most of my family still does. Leanan, I wonder which "Kunstlerian nightmare" suburb you visited? Boardman or Austintown? Of course, Poland and Canfield (which used to be nice little farming communities) are speeding in that direction too. Ironic that the rusted out downtown area probably has fewer people and more wildlife than the suburbs these days, since most people have no reason to go downtown anymore (and/or are afraid to).

My friend lives in Poland, but I think the Kunstlerian vista that so impressed (and depressed) me was either Boardman or Canfield.

They all run together now, which I gather was not the case in the past.

Weekly survey versus monthly EIA data

I have been looking at the "US Gasoline Product Supplied" and "US Petroleum Products Supplied" both from the monthly report and the weekly survey.

Does anyone have any insight as to why there is consistently a disparity between the two? The weekly information seems to be several percent higher than the monthly data, if a person computes the annual average.

I have assumed that the monthly version is more likely correct, but less up to date. As I understand it, the weekly survey is partial.

Don't have time to research this right now, but it may be that blending components are being lumped into the gasoline number (I know ethanol is) but not in the petroleum number. But if you want the definitive answer, drop by my blog and pose the question to Doug MacIntyre in the comments following:


He usually makes an appearance following the release of the weekly report (and sometimes before).


Obviously this question has a great deal of relevance considering the current gasoline inventory situation, but I'm not sure you're going to get a definitive answer.

I noticed something similar with the weekly vs monthly gasoline stocks, and I asked Doug MacIntyre whether he was aware of any directional bias in the reported EIA weekly petroleum stats. He said that to the best of his knowledge there wasn't any. Even so, over the past year gasoline product supplied (=demand) seems to have been consistently overestimated. Then again, in 2005 it was consistently underestimated.

I think the basic position of the EIA is that the weekly numbers are estimates only and are really more indicative of the general trend rather than any absolute position. In addition, the EIA says that petroleum product imports are particularly difficult to estimate and as a consequence are subject to much greater error than other weekly numbers.

Last year on revision it turned out we had 4 million barrels more of gasoline in inventory at the end of May than the weekly numbers suggested. It's quite possible therefore that a similar situation exists this year and things aren't quite as tight as they appear. On the other hand, in theory if there is no directional bias things could just as well be worse and U.S. gasoline stocks might currently be hovering around the 190 million barrel mark.

The NYTimes article on CTL (in Drumbeat) includes this snippet:

The M.I.T. team expressed even more skepticism about the economic risks. It estimated that it would cost $70 billion to build enough plants to replace 10 percent of American gasoline consumption.

As would be expected, the Rethuglicrats are making a bee-line to the trough. By the time the first one is mostly built and not hardly working, it will probably cost another order of magnitude.

It seems to me The Law of Receeding Horizons is a corollary of Tainter's diminishing return. Expectations are built on costs and production at a previous, "productive" point on the curve, but because we are systematically in a declining ROI portion of the curve, expenses keep rising ever faster. The next stage of that - and we might be there already - is where absolute return starts to fall, not just marginal. Where every effort to increase makes things worse. Are we there yet?

cfm in Gray, ME

Re: It seems to me The Law of Receeding Horizons is a corollary of Tainter's diminishing return

Try this Chris Nelder comment on Robert's thermal depolymerization (TDP) travesty.

In fact, what is happening is that "aboveground" investment in oil E&P is getting eaten up by inflation. Real investment increases are small. The explosion of new oil production due to higher prices has failed to arrive, so far.

It is clear enough that the CTL stuff -- no one has any good idea of the costs -- is being oversold. When SASOL is your biggest success story, and they're producing 150 thousand b/d, it should make everyone pause and take a deep breadth.

Looks like it's going to be hype, hype, hype, crash.

It seems to me The Law of Receding Horizons is a corollary of Tainter's diminishing return

Dryki, I did think of the Law of Diminishing Returns, but concluded that it's neither the same nor a true corollary. Diminishing returns are an economical concept that goes back to the likes of Malthus. One thing inherent in it is that there are initial returns.

What I try to say with Receding Horizons is -fundamentally- different in that there are no returns to speak of. While you can argue that, for instance in the case of ethanol, there are some returns, albeit on a small scale and only initially, it should be clear that the entire industry depends on subsidies. And given enough subsidies, anything can be made to look good.

The regurgitated tale of oil shale, as posted in yesterday's Drumbeat, is a prime example. This would be the 5th or 6th time in a century that the same assumptions are made, and every time it fails. Sure, they'll suck out some goo, but that's not Diminishing Returns.

In the Nuclear Power in the Oilsands thread, Bob Cousins gave a first mathematical expression of Receding Horizons. I'm working on a further -non-math- definition, and think it's necessary to separate the energy and economic aspects of it. They'll converge somewhere, for sure, but they should be recognizable as independent entities coming in. Some things will fail purely on energy aspects, others on cost (though at low EROEI, they may look identical). I feel it's good to make sure Receding Horizons is understood not just as a economical law. The email Robert just posted below is a brilliant example: that ain't about economics, that's just destruction.

By the way, I sent Bob's formula to Chris Nelder, we've been writing since the piece Dave refers to, and Chris is a "fan". Dave's quote on CTL, as well as Robert's Mythical Ethanol Threat key-post yesterday, they all touch on the same underlying principle.

Now it's a matter of trying to define what exactly that principle is, if such a definition is possible at all. Bob made an excellent first attempt. To be continued.

Finally, an old priceless Hubbert quote on oil shale:

Quoting M King Hubbert:

You read about "oil from shale", right? You heard about 1,000 billion barrels of oil out west? Don't get excited, it's going to stay there. Dr. Hubbert told the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs it wouldn't work, three years ago this month.

It really sounds simple. You "simply" dig up such enormous quantities of shale (1.88 million tons a day,) that it's equal to digging a Panama Canal every week. You crush it fine and heat to 1,100 degrees in a retort to boil off the oil locked in the rock. Then you get rid of the rock. Only now it's turned caustic and has increased in bulk by 20% to 33%. So you back-fill the leftovers, called tailings, into the hole you dug it out of. Since you still have a lot left over, you dump it into the empty scenic canyons of the west.

To do this you need to grab off 89% of the undeveloped water of Colorado and Utah and half of Wyoming's. Oh yes, and you turn the Colorado River system into alkaline salts which means you wreck the agriculture in Colorado, Arizona and southern California. What will this get you? 1-1/2 million barrels of oil a day out of the 17 million per day that the U.S. is using!

A news item in the Milwaukee Journal of August 29, 1976,25 says that the last of the oil shale development companies, Standard Oil, Gulf, Shell and Ashland, have walked away from the projects in Colorado and Utah, asking the Department of the Interior to release them from paying any more on their leases. Standard and Gulf have already paid $126 million of the $210 million they bid, and Shell and Ashland have paid about $70 million of the $117.8 million they bid. You have to admit they tried, really tried and they spent a big buck to make it work, but it won't.

What I try to say with Receding Horizons is -fundamentally- different in that there are no returns to speak of. While you can argue that, for instance in the case of ethanol, there are some returns, albeit on a small scale and only initially, it should be clear that the entire industry depends on subsidies. And given enough subsidies, anything can be made to look good.

This may or may not be relevant, but have you looked at the theory of catabolic collapse, by John Greer? This may not be the way Greer defines it, but the way I interpret it, it is caused by the desire to perpetuate an unsustainable infrastructure. When the maintenance cost of the system exceeds its resource input, the balance is made up by converting some capital back into resources. In a sense, the system starts to "eat itself". This tipping point occurs when the growth exceeds supply - or even if the system is stable, but the supply declines. (I haven't explained this very well, but I would recommend looking it up). The catabolic theory follows on well from Tainter's theory of diminishing returns.

In this case, declining FF resources are leading us to convert productive capacity into producing fuel from alternative, less dense sources. If this capacity is truly spare capacity, that is not a problem, but if it isn't then what we really need to do is downsize. The total resources available must be greater than the cost of running the system - a simple statement of sustainability.

Another interpretation is that we are using a resource with a positive EROEI to acess resource with negative EROEI - without fully realising that, because it appears to be maintaining the system, but is not unsustainable. A kind of technological overshoot. Subsidies are a literal way of allocating capital to resource production.

Personally, I saw the Law of Receding Horizons as an extension of Diminishing Returns, at least in the way I formulated it. Perhaps your concept is somewhere between Greers catabolic collapse and diminishing returns.

I would say that oil shale was a classic case of diminishing returns - both in the application of capital and energy. You get less "bangs per buck".

On reflection, what I like about my formulation is that it bridges the gap beteeen energy and economics. One problem with EROEI is that it can be hard to see the relevance to economics - "if I make money selling ethanol, why should I care about the energy use?" is a common question.

I've been fiddling a bit with differential equations to see if I can't extend the logistic equation just a touch. Here's what I am currently exploring:

Here R is the planetary store of resource, let's say fuel. "c" would be the solar input.

P is something like population. Basically, it's how effectively the resource gets exploited.

Here's a solution, a crude simulation out of excel:

That first spike looks a lot like a Hubbert peak, but then the system will oscillate too.

I'm thinking this simple system might give some insight into a kind of receding horizon. It's like, P keeps trying to balance itself with R. But R keeps dropping, so every time P decreases, the balance point gets lower again.

Anyway, it's a fun kind of spikey oscillation!

Oops, that R equation needs a minus sign in front of the PR!

What I'm plotting is PR as a function of time. That's intended to be consumption = production.

Jim, your pics look as if they're going off the screen to the right. Can you post them with width="99%" inserted between img and src?

Sorry for the glitches. Here is the corrected differential equation

and a simulation:

I received the following via e-mail today:

I am a farmer in Nebraska, where I farm 160 acres of corn (a "small" farmer by any standard). I have lived on my farm for 50 years. I wish people could see up close the devastation to the local countryside that this ethanol frenzy has brought---and is going on as we speak. Landowners are ripping-out beautiful windbreaks and tree stands of cottonwoods and elms, these were windbreaks that were planted by the CCC back in the New Deal days, and getting the land ready to grow corn. This past winter, a factory hog farm came in and purchased a neighbor's farm. This farm was a beautiful piece of property with a grand 100 year old home and excellent buildings. They outbid all of the local farmers who wanted to buy it. Within 2 months they had completely stripped everything away--it's all gone. It just broke my 88 year-old dad's heart to see it. Other farmers around me are busy plowing-up grass pastures for corn production, land so hilly and highly erodable I never would have thought it could be used for growing row crops.

This corn-for-fuel thing has everyone in my area plowing-up their alfalfa fields. Alfalfa is an excellent low-input crop. Once it is established it pretty much takes care of itself, doesn't need any fertilizer or herbicides. It produces alot of protein and naturally enriches the soil. It takes a good two years after planting to get a crop from alfalfa, so with the dissappearance of these fields I don't care to think about the long term effect it is going to have on dairy farmers in my area, who need lots of locally grown hay.

I'm just a farmer and not good at writing, but I hope I have given Alternet's readers some idea about what is happening "out here". I wish I could post some pictures I have taken of the devastation.

New-built and proposed ethanol plants are going-up in the cities around me. No matter that they require enormous amounts of water in an area that is experiencing growing water shortages. The Platte River, which is about 10 miles from where I live, is a major gathering place for birds migrating to Canada. It has completely dried up in the summer months the past several years.

Our senators Nelson (D) and Hagel (R) beat the drum for ethanol production with every speech they make. But that is probably because Monsanto and ADM were big contributors to their campaigns.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The use of agricultural land exclusively for human food production (whether directly, or indirectly as feed for animals used in agriculture and/or consumed by humans) and not at all for transportation fuels ought to be considered an absolutely sacrosanct ethical obligation henceforth, over the entire planet.

Sounds like the run-up to the "dirty thirties" all over again.

There is such a thing as wind erosion. There is , or was, a program by the Soil Conservation service(part of the FSA in each county) or WAS once called SCS but now is something different.

In their office 4 or 5 years back I picked up a brochure on this program. It was titled Tree Conservation.

What it was about was tree lines and the benefits of their saving soil due to wind erosion.

I used to have a smallish farm near Lexington,Ky. Most of that area is not as wooded as it is back here at home in Western Ky. But on that farm without much in the way of trees to stop the wind , the wind was hell. One day it blew my big border collie right off the porch/breezeway. The wind would come rolling across those many bare acres and tear hell out of everything.

So now what do I see. Whole treelines in fence rows and the fence rows themselves being dozed down. Has been happening for 2 years now and is accelerating. I have mentioned it briefly in the past. Dozer pushup piles in many fields.

Now I see fields that have no BASIS(part of the ag gov program where you get loans,etc). What they are doing is called 'wildcatting'. In other words don't care about the government subsidies and so forth. They don't need a price support. They are wildcatting and putting into production land I have never seen in production. First they go and strip out all the old big trees as well as all the brush. This they say keeps the tree roots from stealing water from the crop and removes the shade from the growing crops.

All true I suppose but this is on a pretty big scale. Pretty invasive. Then the logging companies are coming along and logging areas that are just not wise to log. Extreme hillsides where erosion can and will and already is occurring as a result.

They are in fact and reality raping the land. I don't know what if any controlling authority is there but if there is one it has its eyes shut completely.

In fact some of this extreme logging in on land adjoining wildlife refuge lands and fresh water natural lakes.

Its like the gloves are off and the race is on.

We have quite a bit of unspoiled areas still but I am afraid for the future. Both for wild game and the resulting loss of forest cover.

No matter what it seems money is the root. The desire for naught but to make as much as possible. This runup in corn prices and ethanol does not bode well for the environment. Not well at all.

I suggest that those interested instead of going to Disneyworld or Vegas or anywhere instead go into the back country and check out what is occurring. If you want toursit make-believe then don't go. If you want reality then open your eyes and get off the interstates.

Visit the strip coal mines of Kentucky. Muhlenberg Country where Paradise once did lay. Last time though on the West Kentucky Parkway I could still get a glimpse of those enormous strip mining shovels. Stories high. All slighty out of sight. Same was once in Southern Illinois. Strip mined to hell and back. Probably will be again.

Now we are strip mining the land. Plunder I believe might be a proper term.


Hi Airdale, I read an interesting history a couple of months ago named "Hard Times", about the Dust Bowl of the southern plains. Forget the author's name and have loaned the book to a friend.
You can still see the results of the Dust Bowl in the Panhandle of Texas. there are miles of straight sand dunes in the area, and if you look closely where a road cuts one its obvious that they formed on old barbed wire fences, you can see the process at work when a bunch of tumbleweed blows against a fence and the wind blows sand on them.
Most of that particular obsenity was caused by farming winter wheat, but the same process is still at work. Now the farmers are mining water from the Ogalala, irrigating mostly for cotton and wheat. There is still huge areas of grassland up there that the SCS have in soil banks because the top soil blew away.
At any rate "Hard Times" is a great book. And it clearly explains a lot of the social history of that area, and what we can look forward to from the desertification by corn. My problem with Diamond's history "Collapse" is that the societies he described were all pretty small and isolated. This has more impact for me because my grandparents moved to Texas from Nebraska in the late 1920's, similar country, and definitely part of the Dust Bowl.

The author was Studs Terkel. Unless you mean "The Worst Hard Time," which is by Timothy Egan. Both deal with the Great Depression, although Terkel takes a broader view, and both are recommended.

You're right, it was "The Worst Hard Time", by Timothy Egan. Since it specificially dealt with the wheat boom of 1914-1920, it seemed more relevant to the current corn boom and the degredation of the Great Plains by farming. Terkel's book is also wonderful.

We're toast.

We may be toast, but some of us have a little butter and jam!

yep. bye.

The increased activity is due to the corn price increase, ethanol is a side issue. Does this old coot think corn was going to stay at $2/bu forever? If he was farming for 50 years he would know corn was $3/bu in 1973.

I don't see him complaining about $3.50/bu corn and what he is making on his farm, just about the neighbors. Complaining about the neighbors is probably not a new activity for this guy.

The low commodity prices over the last 30 years have been due to a surplus caused by continual increased production with cheap fossil fuels and subsidies. There is a hard limit to both and regardless of ethanol, with 6.5 billion hungry people and limit being reached on increasing production, expect corn and other grains to adjust for inflation.

The increased activity is due to the corn price increase, ethanol is a side issue.

The huge ramp up in ethanol production is directly responsible for the rapid rise in corn prices. So, it isn't a side issue at all. It is the core issue.

Does this old coot think corn was going to stay at $2/bu forever? If he was farming for 50 years he would know corn was $3/bu in 1973.

This is very different. If the price of corn increases over time to keep up with inflation, then that does not prompt a get rich quick gold rush mentality. This huge run up has gotten people acting in just the way he is talking about - they are trying to cash in quickly. I don't believe we would have seen this at all if corn had gradually risen to $4, or if it wasn't essentially assured of staying there because of the mandated ethanol demand.

Double Post deleted.

This is how basic S&D work as described in economics. There are going to be overinvestment followed by underinvestment, until the equilibrium price is reached. The externalized costs of depleting the water source is a larger problem that free markets do not answer.

Someone posted a link to a MBA PHD and I haven't had a chance to dig into the site exponentialimprovement.com. Fascinating stuff! Brings systems theory into economics.

There is definately a lot of excitement in eastern Nebraska about the ethanol boom.

Nebraska production expected to approximatly double between 2006 and 2008. Note the number of new companies getting into the action over the last few years:


But there is also plenty of concern:


“Farmers are good stewards of the land,” he said, “but money talks.”

ethanol... It is the core issue.

You are right, what was I thinking?

Corn should be $2/bu and farmers should be losing money on every acre. This way if they put up a shelterbelt it actually increases the bottom line by taking acres out of production.

Makes for a nice drive in the SUV through Nebraska.


Corn should be $2/bu and farmers should be losing money on every acre.

Straw man alert! As I said, $4 a bushel wouldn't be causing the problems that it is if this hadn't happened so quickly as a result of ethanol demand. It's the same with just about anything. Mandate that everyone has to eat ham, pork price double, and now you have hog crap from coast to coast.

But that $2/bu is a hollow argument anyway. First, yields per acre have steadily increased over the years. So even at constant corn prices, farmers are making more money per acre. Second, my family never lost money at $2/bu. But of course we didn't run out and buy land at $5,000 an acre, which means we must have a higher price for our corn, else we lose money. There are good and bad businessmen in every business. Even farming. And some farmers will lose money at $4/bu.

First off.. You know that I think that the ethanol from corn scheme of converting NG and diesel into a low grade transport fuel is stupid in a large scale. There may be some value in ethanol from waste material as recycling, but fuel-from-food on a large scale is dumb. Although I don't think ethanol from corn is a good idea, I think an increased corn price is painful for everyone but required in the bigger agricultural picture.

In Saskatchewan and Canada in general there are laws in place to block corporate farming from taking over the family farm. The world needs the family farm to be profitable and protected from corporate takeover. Locations that don't have this type of protection for the family farm have a real problem that is much more severe than ethanol.

if this hadn't happened so quickly

Isn't 34 years a slow enough increase from $3 to $3.50? Gas increased more than that in the last couple of weeks.

my family never lost money at $2/bu.

If farming was profitable with $2/bu corn, why did almost everyone in our generation move to the city? Got sick of eating frogs? :) The rural economy and family farm weren't exactly roaring along and small town America booming with $2/bu corn, regardless of subsidies.

In Canada the small town is all but dead and the median age for a farmer is 50. We need something right now to make agriculture feasible or we're screwed. What are we going to do when the older farmers retire and the kids are all working in the city?

I own land and have it rented out because I have no debt and I can actually make a living in IT and support a family. If I was actively farming I would have a massive debt load and have to work a second job to make ends meet like everyone else farming in Saskatchewan.

yields per acre have steadily increased... farmers are making more money per acre
Farmers are grossing more per acre. Look at input, land and machinery costs since 1973. Diesel is 8x the price, NH3 is 4x, a tractor is 4x.

If something else came along that wasn't a ridiculous fuel-from-food scheme that increased corn prices (i.e. population growth causing demand), what would the dude in Nebraska complain about? Hungry people? More money in corn than alfalfa? If someone is ripping up marginal land thinking they are going to grow 200 bu/acre corn on it and rake in the bucks, they are going to find out on their own how well that works.

If farming was profitable with $2/bu corn, why did almost everyone in our generation move to the city?

For the same reason I did. It wasn't enough. Personally, there were lots of jobs that I didn't consider enough. However, somebody is doing them.

The answer to $2 corn is simple. Grow something else. Be a businessman and grow whatever looks to be profitable. Enough people do that, and corn prices go up. It's like the oil business - cyclical. Yet what we see is people saying "I am growing corn no matter what, and since I am only getting $2/bu I need government assistance." That's crap.

Farmers are grossing more per acre. Look at input, land and machinery costs since 1973. Diesel is 8x the price, NH3 is 4x, a tractor is 4x.

If farmers weren't making money at $2, then eventually they would stop growing corn and the price would go up. I suspect more than you think were making money at $2 corn. Now, if you are looking to become a millionaire in short order, $2 corn is probably not the way to go. If your alternatives are various minimum wage jobs because you live in a depressed area (like SE Oklahoma, for instance), $2 corn doesn't look that bad. But your other option is to get out and do something else.

The answer to $2 corn is simple. Grow something else.

Like what?

It's the same with $4 wheat in Saskatchewan. My dad generally grew wheat through the 1970's. We also grew flax, Canola, barley, oats. The operators have had peas, lentils, canary seed, leafcutter beas and alfalfa seed as well has hay. They have grown yellow and brown mustard, corriander, carroway, dill and other spices in the area. If something comes along that looks profitable, there is a pretty good chance it will be in over-supply in a year or two.

Look at Saskatchewan agriculture net income in 2003. 45 million acres of farmland, 6 billion of cash receipts and a loss of 150 million for the industry. This was shored up with almost a billion of off-farm income to keep the bank from taking the farm. There were 100,000 farms in 1916 and 50,000 now. There is no feed corn grown in Saskatchewan.

There is no swing producer in agriculture. In North America the price of everything gets set by US corn. There is also a learning curve and re-tooling in changing crops. If you are setup to handle a high volume crop like corn, there is a substantial investment in equipment. It's not that straighforward to change to something else.

Since last year with corn surplus being used up and corn futures climbing, the soybean acres dropped and the price of other feed grains rose. The lowering of soybeans increases the demand for Canola. Oats went to $3/bu and feed wheat is in demand. As the relatively easy to grow feed grains have a better price, more acres are pulled from the PITA and riskier specialty crops and they rise.

It will be the same with soybeans and Canola for biodiesel. It doesn't matter whether they make sense for fuel or not, they will use up over-supply until the price rises and they are no longer feasible for fuel.

I don't believe that there is a long term risk of food-for-fuel really causing a problem with the food supply. There is a hard limit on food-for-fuel competing with petroleum products. Biofuels can be subsidized to a point but in the end Conservation of Energy kicks in and the EROEI of fossil fuels will win over the perpetual motion ethanol scheme. The downstream feedlots and consumers are in for a rough ride, but assuming corn was going to stay at $2 is dumb as a livestock, dairy, egg, poulty businessman and totally stupid as an ethanol plant. People will pay more for food if they have to. They won't pay $10/gal for ethanol if they can buy cheap gas.

In the meantime, farming is looking better in Canada.


Thanks for your contributions. I find your POV helpful with your farm/IT background.

I've been in Nebraska almost 30 years in almost entirely non-ag jobs, but have always listened to a farmer if he was talking to me. I've heard farmers talk about the years on the land and the changes they've made, to it regarding tree rows, and ponds.

So, would you see enough benefit in $$
to justify tearing out shelterbelts ?

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

would you see enough benefit in $$
to justify tearing out shelterbelts ?

I think that's a complicated question and I wouldn't be able to answer it. On our farm in Canada, on the edge of the parkland/tree line the land was mostly poplar bush and was cleared and broken. There is a high organic content and wind erosion isn't a problem. We never planted shelterbelts even though there were several government programs to put them in. The land is also lower and has distributed wetlands with bush that aren't possible to cultivate so there are natural windbreaks spread through the agricultural land. We sold one quarter section to Ducks Unlimited that we were farming and they put it into grass for bird sactuary. We could only crop 75% of it on a dry year and it was prone to flooding. The ducks are probably happy that I spent my teenage years picking the rocks off of it. :)

Continuous cropping and direct seeding (low and zero-till methods) do a lot more to prevent soil erosion than a shelterbelt at the edge of a field. The issue is more that continuous cropping requires a lot of fossil fuel inputs. On our farm, with poplar trees that have shallow long ranging root systems, they suck all the nutrients for a large distance and nothing really grows for 50' from the bush. It would depend on the soil, what crops are being grown and the farming practices as to whether the shelterbelt is actually preventing wind erosion or not.

We broke a lot of land and I picked a lot of roots as a kid. It was part of farming where I grew up. It might be the case that the shelterbelt causes a substantial drop in yield in the field and just looks nice from the road and doesn't have a practical value at a given location. We don't need them at all for wind erosion where our land is. Rotating a legume like alfalfa over fallow is a better wind erosion solution than a shelterbelt at the edge of the field.

Corn in the gas tank and bridges to nowhere

In Ohio farmers may plant corn or soybeans in a year, they were entrepreneurs.

This OSU document showed that corn is forecast to be more profitable than soybeans for '07 delivery with NH3 costs calculated also.


Corn will crowd out other grains, hay, and miscellaneous field crops until those crops rise in price to corn's level or are eliminated.

55 million tons of corn were used in ethanol production last year. EPI projected that 139 million tons of corn (almost half of the corn harvested) will eventually be needed per year; based on 2006 forecasts of ethanol distillery contruction and demand curves. China was reported to consume 500 million tons of grain per year. The US with the largest percent of the world's corn supply might become a net importer of corn. In 2006 16% of the total US grain harvest was diverted to supply 3% of the US transport fuels consumed.


The grain to fuel project seems bad like a $453 million dollar bridge across an Alaskan River to "nowhere" , or Pre-emptive war to bust a nuclear weapons program that did not exist. Clean air has its price.

I thought there was a reason for conservation, windbreaks, etc. Guess not. After all, the dust bowl in the 30s was a grand old time. We are going the wrong way as we should be removing corn fields and converting them back to grass and not the other way around. If you treat the land as just another input, this tragedy is what you get.

Hello Tstreet,

Check out the pictures:


This is our future once the Ogalla and other aquifers become postPeak unsuckable and the Megadrought kicks into high gear:

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]."
When the 50 million Southwesterners try to invade Cascadia, it may well be already empty from the Columbia watershed only providing a trickle. Cheers!

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

Hi Robert,

Thanks for sharing this. Heartbreaking.

(I wonder, when he talks about wishing people could see it. Is there a way to post his photos - somewhere? I'd like to see them. If you could encourage him. Perhaps even a guest post?)

Fortune Magazine has a new article out:

The new Salem witch trials

Congress should blame itself, not imaginary 'price gougers,' for the run-up in gasoline prices, says Fortune's Alex Taylor.

There are lots of reasons why gasoline costs so much these days, but price gouging isn't one of them.

They make a number of comments. One that struck me is

Ethanol itself is one source of the current gas price spike. Refiners have been shifting capacity out of gasoline to deal with increased demand driven by government subsidies.

I have been coming to the same conclusion myself, about ethanol being part of the problem, although not necessarily for the reason they say.

In the quantities that we are using ethanol, it is really a substitute for MTBE. EIA analyses predicted prior to the substitution of ethanol for MTBE that the change would reduce gasoline supply and increase gasoline prices.

Furthermore, most of the ethanol that is added to the gasoline supply is added in the months of May to September - a period that corresponds to the time of our annual price run-up.

I have written some more about the corn ethanol issue here. This is a link to one of the many EIA documents discussing the issue.

Ethanol itself is one source of the current gas price spike.

I would say that it was a contributor last year during the MTBE transition, but not this year. But I do grant you the point that substituting ethanol for MTBE does lower the overall BTU value of the gasoline pool, thus requiring a larger pool. How significant is that? I guess in a tight market, it might be significant, but I think there are more direct reasons.

I have written some more about the corn ethanol issue here.

Hey, that's good stuff. Ought to be a guest post here and get more eyes on it.

While focussing on oil and energy generally on TOD the New Scientist has asked about other supplies critical to modern life. Behind a paywall at the moment so with hat tip to the Daily Reckoning for this summary:

"But what of the resources themselves? How much supply
is there in a world where the rich nations now
compete with an emerging 2.7bn people in the fast
growing BRIC economies. Now they want what the rich countries have too.

New Scientist raises this crucial question. How much have we got left? How long can we continue plundering the world’s crust to satisfy our desires for the latest must- have gizmos of 21st century life? Using data from the US Geological Survey and population data from the UN it
attempts an estimate on the world’s remaining supply
of minerals based on current technology and
consumption rates.

This is where it gets interesting... and potentially alarming. Platinum is a vital component in catalytic converters for cars and fuel cells. ‘There is no synthetic alternative’ to it and no demand is satisfied from recycling. If the world’s 500m cars were fitted with fuel cells supply would be exhausted within 15 years with no way of getting further supply.

Indium is a rare metal used in the manufacture of flat- screen TVs. Extractable reserves are kept a closely guarded secret by mining companies but it could be exhausted in 10 years says German materials scientist Armin Geller. Little wonder the price went from $60 per kilogram in 2003 to over $1,000 in 2006.

Ever heard of Hafnium? Me neither but this is an increasingly important component in computer technology and could be gone by 2017. Terbium, used in flourescent lightbulbs, could be gone by 2012 or before. Antimony, used in making flame retardent materials, could be gone in 15 years and silver in 10 years. Zinc could be finished by 2037 even though around a quarter of supply is provided by recycling.

Another history lesson is that when vital resources get scarce people have a tendency to fight over them. Iraq’s oil might be a case in point in mind for many but a lesser known stat is that the US depends on China for 90% of its “rare earth” metals.

The calculations in the New Scientist’s survey are by its own admission ‘crude’ giving no consideration to improvements in technology and the economics of supply and demand. But the point made by academics is that there’s no reliable ‘earth audit’ of global resource reserves and government is starting to cotton on. Expect an initiative at next month’s OECD meeting."

That´s why i bought some silver. I will become RICH RICH RICH.

Do you have an online link for the article or were you reading from hard copy?


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

When does the EIA weekly petroleum status report come out this week?

Normally it would be out already, so I am guessing there is something about the long weekend?

Checked FTX's schedule, but it starts June 1st!

Thursday this week.


From New Zealand: Woman 'begged' Mercury not to cut power before dying

A seriously ill woman who died after Mercury Energy cut power to her south Auckland home is said to have begged a contractor not to turn it off. The company says it was never told her life would be in danger without the use of an electrically- powered oxygen machine.

...Folole Muliaga, a mother of four, was dependent on the electricity-powered oxygen machine, but the supply was disconnected on Tuesday afternoon because of an unpaid bill of about $200. She died that day.

Just imagine the number of dead people we're going to have when the grids start failing for real.

One thing I really have to wonder about in cases like this. She apparently died fairly quickly. Now, in my area, at least, the power is pretty reliable but it can go out for an hour or three any time a squirrel runs in the wrong place, or a drunk takes out a utility pole.

What, then, do these medical folks use for brains? Don't they have sense enough to put in some kind of a backup supply (UPS) when they put life-support gear into a home?

Running fire and rescue calls in my little town, I have been appalled by some things I see, through my new "peak oil" goggles.

Blackouts are "common" here: meaning, a couple of times a year, you can be assured storms will take things down for a day or two. That's when we get called: for flooded basements (the sump pump no longer works!), and crisis calls...

...like the old man and woman who called to have me start their generator for them, because the two lived alone, the man had COPD, their cellar was rapidly flooding, and the man had to issue instructions to me while gasping through his non-rebreather mask.

It was a rather Byzantine process getting one of his two generators started to get the pump running ( I won't bore you with details), but I left there with an acute sense of HORROR at what we're in for.

Radiant City.

There's a trailer on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFNdQDBy2rY

Looks pretty good. But I recognized my parents' neighbourhood (Chapparal) which is in the south of Calgary and a loooong way to downtown in distance and time especially when the Deerfoot is clogged which is usually, they say. So I might have to send Mom a link...

The trailer shows a real estate agent whose website I checked out http://www.peggyscott.com/

Her flash intro says it all:
"The Extra Mile is Not Far Enough"
"Taking it Further"

I saw Radiant City at a documentary film festival (True/False in Columbia MO) and it was very good.

It's very watch-able as it also contains a story line about a suburban family, as well as the usual talking heads. The story is a very unique part of the film. You'll understand when you watch it.

Greg in MO

Ethanol boom may fuel shortage of tequila ...........


Why would ethanol affect tequila which is made from blue agave cacti? Perhaps bourbon prices may rise since it is made from corn, but even this would probably be modest since the cost of storing bourbon in oak caskets for 6 to 12 years would probably still dwarf any possible rise in corn prices.


Because the Mexican farmers are ripping up agave fields to plant corn.

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

Peak tequila. And just when we should be stocking up on anesthetics.

Just make sure you invest in agave futures :)

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

Of course, there's always beer.


While I disagree with a forty cent move labeled as rocking the market...


Web site error rocks global oil markets

Listening to Air America the site owner of

www.solartopia.org was just on.

Guess what he's doing. Making the claim solar and other alternatives can replace oil and make the current society run.

The host didn't question him, but basically tried to emphasize that the solution was out there and it was green.

No way that I can see that anyone can break thru the drumbeat of those controlling the media. Disgusting really, they listen to this guy and don't question anything because it sounds good. At the same time they just got thru wailing about why (with good reason) that the media hasn't jumped on the stuff about Attorney Gen Gonzo and his behavior in trying to get the ill Atty G at the hospital sign the bugging order. Also the stuff Monica said at the hearings.

But talk about Green and solar etc, and they all gobble it up as if its just an easy switch if we would just do it and life will go as usual.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

I wish i could get a radio show. No one wants to hear the truth though, so I doubt the producer would approve. I'd have to sneak in under some "platform."

No way that I can see that anyone can break thru the drumbeat of those controlling the media.

Didn't realize that Air America was 'controlling media'.


What wrong, because they rallied the troops and got the Congress and Senate changed because of their voice got your panties all in a wad.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Hi all. this is a wonderful if terrifying web site. Declining traditional energy, decreasing food production, no bees, and no water.

So my simple question is this: Where are the safest places in North and South America in terms of clean water, access to food, and some degree of available energy (traditional or otherwise)? I haven't planted a garden in years and have never felt the need for a gun, but now, I don't know.

I am truly interested in protecting my family's future and would greatly appreciate any realistic advice on finding that relatively safe place. is it western canada, northwestern US, somewhere in Central America (Belize for example), an island?

Thanks in advance for the help.

Rule of thumb - go very big (a large city with centralized transportation al la Portland OR) or very small with lots of land.

You did not put your eMail on your profile. Mine is on mine.

You are (apparently) in the first stage of what many people that become Peak Oil Aware go through at first.

Community ties will be important in the unknown (and I believe unknowable except for the broadest brushes) future.

eMail if you like.

One problem with Portland OR is that everybody knows about it.

I am reminded of California during the Dust Bowl & Depression (see Grapes of Wrath).

Best Hopes,


Send him to the Chimps site, get some full blown doom, not that he's completely wrong. Also Peakoil.org (or is it com) has a full section devoted to this info. Monte's site.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

peakoil.com, and though Monte has several thousand posts, technically Aaron runs and owns it.

There is no "safe place' for the worst case scenarios. You might just as well be asking where the safest place is to be when an asteroid strikes.

Best advice: Focus on the bad-but-not-worst-case scenarios. Those, if we are fortunate enough to escape some of the inevitable consequences of our own folly, might just possibly give you some room to maneuver and influence your own fate.

In the bad case scenarios, energy and food become inexorably more inexpensive. The next decade looks and feels a lot like a replay of the 1970s, the 2020s looks a lot worse, maybe more like the 1930s. Who can tell what things look like after that. Many on this board would say that this is actually more like a best case scenario.

You'll have to do some research and careful thought to identify the best place to be under such circumstances. You are going to need some way to bring in some income, and as WT has said, "Get thee to the non-discretionary side of the economy!" You are going to need to live cheap, and if you can produce at least some of your own food and energy you'll definitely be in a better position. I'd suggest avoiding areas that are vulnerable to natural disasters, and that includes climate-change driven disasters like intensified droughts or huricanes. Finally there is that intangible human/social/political factor. In some locales people will pull together and adapt well to the changing circumstances; others will fall apart and make a bad situation much worse. Obviously, you want to be in the first category and not the second, but it is not always obvious right now which locations will be which. Good luck!

Thanks to you folks that replied- really appreciate it. the peakoil site was pretty dense, so I'll need to take some time to look at it. I think I found the chimp site at smirkingchimp.com.

On the Portland area: its interesting that 'everyone knows about it"; its about the only area, along with Seattle area with YOY gains in housing prices this year. Kinda makes sense that if people are flocking to that area of the country.

While I hate the cold, family is on the East coast, so Maine, Vermont or NH, or Southern Canada may be the place. Less harsh winters due to climate change may make them more bearable.

Again, thanks a lot for the direction!

Actually, I think that the chimp site he was referring to is http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/ , which is run by Matt Savinar (wasn't Matt posting as "thechimpwhocandrive" for a while)? In any case, the forum on that site is ideal for posting a question such as you have posted here.

rototillerman in sunny (today) Portland, OR

Props to Jerome for pointing out this little diddy in the WSJ.

The Case for Bombing Iran: I hope and pray that President Bush will do it.

Although many persist in denying it, I continue to believe that what Sept 11, 2001, did was to plunge us headlong into nothing less than another world war. I call this new war World War IV, because I also believe that what is generally known as the Cold War was actually World War III, and that this one bears a closer resemblance to that great conflict than it does to World War II. Like the Cold War, as the military historian Eliot Cohen was the first to recognize, the one we are now in has ideological roots, pitting us against Islamofascism, yet another mutation of the totalitarian disease we defeated first in the shape of Nazism and fascism and then in the shape of communism; it is global in scope; it is being fought with a variety of weapons, not all of them military; and it is likely to go on for decades.

they are certain that all Iranians, even the democratic dissidents, would be impelled to rally around the flag. And this is only one of the worst-case scenarios they envisage. To wit: Iran would retaliate by increasing the trouble it is already making for us in Iraq. It would attack Israel with missiles armed with nonnuclear warheads but possibly containing biological or chemical weapons. There would be a vast increase in the price of oil, with catastrophic consequences for every economy in the world, very much including our own. The worldwide outcry against the inevitable civilian casualties would make the anti-Americanism of today look like a lovefest.

I readily admit that it would be foolish to discount any or all of these scenarios. Each of them is, alas, only too plausible.

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

Like the Cold War...the one we are now in has ideological roots, pitting us against Islamofascism, yet another mutation of the totalitarian disease we defeated first in the shape of Nazism and fascism and then in the shape of communism; it is global in scope; it is being fought with a variety of weapons, not all of them military; and it is likely to go on for decades.

Podhoretz's description could just as well be applied to the global corporate state as envisioned by the Wall Street bankers and globalist politicians like the Bushes and the Clintons (and, of course, Neocons like Podhoretz).

So, we've got the Globofascists vs the Islamofascists. Well, count me out, you @ssholes. The sooner you kill one another off, the better off the rest of us will be.

Hello Phreephallin,

Tragic is all I can say: the WSJ publishing this, and we can't get equal printspace for presenting Peakoil & its ramifications.

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

Ohhhhh, NOOOOOOOO!! It's so much worse than we thought!

Reuters News Service
Updated: 7:16 p.m. ET May 29, 2007

MEXICO CITY - Mexican farmers are setting ablaze fields of blue agave, the cactus-like plant used to make the fiery spirit tequila, and resowing the land with corn as soaring U.S. ethanol demand pushes up prices.

The switch to corn will contribute to an expected scarcity of agave in coming years, with officials predicting that farmers will plant between 25 percent and 35 percent less agave this year to turn the land over to corn.

Hey, come on....I mean WHAT THE F@%K, over? Why can't you guys just quit drivin' around so much up there and buy a bicycle or something? Seriously.

Sobering. :-)

William F. Buckley on energy depletion...

Fill 'er up

The planet is ours, but the planet, for all that it gives us so much abundance, is closing in on the question of energy, so that before long we will need the sun and the wind to keep us mobile.

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

"we will need the sun and the wind to keep us mobile"

Sorry, why do we need to "keep us mobile"? I seem to have forgotten why this is important.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

I never claimed it was important. It's just a quote.

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

So we can get TFOOT when TSHTF.

why do we need to "keep us mobile"?

Because we're never happy where we are.

Remember, wherever you go, there you are...

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

"I seem to have forgotten why"

The planet is ours

I supposed so we can "steward" more efficiently. (I'm imagining a big bad wolf voice)

I highly recommend watching whatawaytogomovie.com to understand the logic. I'm sure that more than a few will be baffled as the tank runs dry during their epic struggle to find more fuel. I dare say they will feel angry, yet eerily unaware of the food and shelter implications. Will they flag another car down? At what moment will the myth be shattered and reality become clear?

Best hopes for lack of mobility. This last three day weekend was a perfect example of mobility gone amuck in my neck of the woods. So many people poisoning the planet who could have just stayed home. Was it really worth the trip? I seriously doubt it.

Fantasy. Next year folks, we are cutting your fuel allocation in half. Deal with it!!!

But here there is a concrete political problem, because some Americans would forgo their children before their car.

No doubt.

Clueless Pundit Roundup

Here are three columns published on townhall.com today.
Ben Shapiro : What I'm Doing To Stop Global Warming

According to the global left, the evidence is in: The earth is warming, and it's all your fault. Don't blame the sun. The giant ball of fiery gas responsible for all climate change over the past few million years isn't the problem. It's you. In particular, it's you Americans, you big-spending, high-on-the-hog, corporation-supporting, First World gluttons with your shiny gas-guzzling sports cars and central heating.

David Limbaugh : Keep a Sharp Eye on Warming Zealots

Whether or not blind faith in man-made, catastrophic global warming has become a new religion, many of its adherents, ironically, embrace it with the same type of unquestioning zeal they sloppily attribute to and summarily condemn in Christians.

Rich Lowry : The Inevitability of the Car

Americans have arrived at an answer to high gas prices and concerns about global warming -- buy more cars. According to a report in The New York Times, households with a small, gas-efficient car own, on average, almost three cars.

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

Ben Shapiro: "Third, the global left insists we're running out of oil."

There we go with the "Peak Oil is a leftist thing" again. What Ben doesn't know is that PO is going to affect "the global right" too. But ---SSSSSHHHH --- don't tell him. He's having too much fun.

I'm having a hard time understanding what makes the acceptance of energy depletion "leftist"? Anyone elaborate for me? Thanks

There is a strong theme amongst conservative wingnuts that GW and PO are liberal plots to deprieve honest hardworking folks and businesses out of their hard earned dollars for higher taxes. I think it's easier to blame liberals than to face the reality that we over consume and that we've created an economy and lifestyle which is unsustainable.

I think a lot of this is just based on sheer ignorance. Most Americans don't understand how much energy is contained in a gallon of gas or a barrel of oil.

Someone said the other day, "Gas comes from Texaco, Food comes from Safeway, and electricity comes from the Power Company. What else do I need to know?" I think that sums up the attitude of a lot of folks out there.

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

... and I'm still a d00m3r (although i dont believe the collapse should be considered a doom scenario, there are far worse things that could happen)

Someone said the other day, "Gas comes from Texaco, Food comes from Safeway, and electricity comes from the Power Company. What else do I need to know?"

I believe that was this wingnut.

Nice. I'm using that line all of the time now, it so well encapsulates our current dilemna. People look at me funny when I say it, but after I explain it to them, they start to catch on. Most of my friends (including my wife) just think that I'm alarmist, but I consider myself to be a realist.

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

Why do people these days insist on adding an "ist" to the end of every word, and then labeling others "alarmists", "realists", "propagandists", "peak-oil-denyists", etc. It seems to give people this tool: "No worries, that guys just an alarmist!"

I highly doubt you are a classically-trained and skilled alarmist, as if it were your occupation and you made good money alarming people of random things throughout your workday.

I consider myself an Earth-Needs-An-Enemaist

-ist is an English suffix denoting a person - it describes that person's chief duty, or belief.

I would consider believing in reality to be my chief duty. Alarming people is something I do in my spare time ;-)

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

Naples trash is a challenge politicians are flunking.

This is the ultimate outcome of a consumption driven society.

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

Hi Greyzone,

When my wife started re-cycing in earnest years ago I would tell, her tongue in cheek, that she would do better to throw everything out into the street because it would give visual evidence to what was happening to our planet. I realized that that would have done no good after reading a study on how we get used to a degraded environment and convert it in our minds towards beauty. Sort of a defense mechanism I guess, when you can't buck it join it. I've seen lots of corroboration to that study since then.

I also remember when we talked, here in British Columbia, of being able to drink from any river or stream in the province...wouldn't try that now. Also when we moved to Salmon Arm, a mountain town, for a year about 10 years ago the lake was filled with a cloud of algae that no one not even the Indians, who have been there forever, seemed the slightest bothered by. I had seen it nearly 40 years before that time when it was crystal clear. The place was on the Shuswap lake where my grandfather had a summer cabin on land leased from the Indians. The cabin and area had been turned into a rather grimy tourist/trailer /whatever kind of a place. Even the Indians are used to a degraded environment, maybe something to do with residential schools, a kids style concentration camp. (lots of neat history up here too that noone talks about much)

Heh, Had to stop for a moment as we just had 3 cords of wood (full ones +) delivered. Boy was my sons face looking degraded, but I think I'll get used to that.

It is interesting to see oil production issues slowly seeping into the wider news and wonk-sphere.

Today on bloggingheads.tv has two well known libertarian bloggers discussing Venezuela and oil production in general:

For not being specialists in energy (Drezner is a poly-sci type of guy, while McArdle is an economics journalist) I think they worked out fairly well... however neither of them touched on the inevitability of world wide oil depletion. Some of the knowledgable here may want to go over there and leave an enlightening comment.

They did jump on Chevez's bod guite a bunch though, if you want to see an interesting vid on what the world without oil might look like up here in a bit, take a boo at 'The Charcoal People' directed by Nigel Noble if you can. No latte eaters these. Coming soon to a forest near you.

BTW what was in the glass that guy was sucking on?

I just found a trailer:

The Charcoal People

Hello TODers,

I am a rank amateur at the GoM Loop Current. I am hoping others can add to my knowledge. From the image linked below: is a giant eddy going to form and spin off just in time for the 'hurricane spike period' of the upcoming hurricane season?


From this older WeatherUnderground link [please see images]:

Figure 1. The Loop Current flow northwards into the Gulf of Mexico. Every 6 - 11 months, a bulge in the current cuts off into a clockwise-rotating eddy that then drifts slowly west-southwestward towards Texas. Image credit: NOAA.

The Loop Current commonly bulges out in the northern Gulf of Mexico and sometimes will shed a clockwise rotating ring of warm water that separates from the main current (Figure 1). This ring of warm water slowly drifts west-southwestward towards Texas or Mexico at about 3-5 km per day. This feature is called a "Loop Current Ring", "Loop Current Eddy", or "Warm Core Ring", and can provide a key source of energy to fuel rapid intensification of hurricanes that cross the Gulf, in addition to the Loop Current itself. The Loop Current pulsates in a quasi-regular fashion and sheds rings every 6 to 11 months. When a Loop Current Eddy breaks off in the Gulf of Mexico at the height of hurricane season, it can lead to a dangerous situation where a vast reservoir of energy is available to any hurricane that might cross over. This occurred in 2005, when a Loop Current Eddy separated in July, just before Hurricane Katrina passed over and "bombed" into a Category 5 hurricane. The eddy remained in the Gulf and slowly drifted westward during September. Hurricane Rita passed over the same Loop Current Eddy three weeks after Katrina, and also explosively deepened to a Category 5 storm.
Thxs for any informed reply.

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

Hi T

On a tangent to your question, I understand that the warming of waters will create more localized winds and have the effect of reducing the formation of hurricanes. Not the information you were looking for but I guess, even so, all new winds don't necessarily bode ill.