DrumBeat: June 16, 2007

Shell shelves oil-shale application to refine its research

The front-runner energy company in the effort to unlock oil shale in northwest Colorado has slowed down its research by withdrawing an application for a state mining permit.

Shell spokeswoman Jill Davis said the withdrawal of a permit on one of its three oil-shale research and demonstration leases was done for economic reasons: Costs for building an underground wall of frozen water to contain melted shale have "significantly escalated."

Nuclear doesn't have power to halt global warming

Nuclear power would only curb climate change by expanding worldwide at the rate it grew from 1981 to 1990, its busiest decade, and keep up that rate for half a century, a report said this week.

That would require adding on average 14 plants each year for the next 50 years, all the while building an average of 7.4 plants to replace those that will be retired, the report by environmental leaders, industry executives and academics said.

Wildfire, Walleyes, and Wine

Considering how much trouble two people have deciding what movie to see, the most remarkable thing about a new set of global-climate predictions may be that it exists at all. More than one hundred nations belong to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and for the panel to speak, the representatives of all those nations have to agree.

Industry siphons roadwork funding

Alabama’s road projects are funded by a 5-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax, which means the total amount each year goes up only if motorists buy more fuel.

The state transportation department doesn’t receive enough gasoline tax revenue in any fiscal year to both keep up with regular highway work and fund mega-industrial projects.

And in a year of high gas prices, motorists are driving less and choosing smaller vehicles for better mileage, which shrinks the gasoline tax fund.

China wants food first, not fuel

Disturbingly, this is the second time in seven months that the Chinese leadership has had to resort to the country's strategic reserves to stave off politically dangerous increases in food prices. In December, Beijing ordered the auctioning of some of the state wheat reserves to halt the rise in crops prices and prevent panic among the public.

Energy plan's surprising impact

Dick Morse, a feed dealer in southeast Iowa, has something in common with the Coca-Cola Co. Both are concerned about a push in Congress to increase the production of fuel ethanol and what that's doing to their business.

Lawmakers "are so giddy about getting away from foreign oil that I'm not sure they're looking at the whole picture," says Morse, who worries that ethanol-fueled increases in corn prices may force many of his customers to quit raising hogs.

The Rising Tide of Corn

The nation's unquenchable thirst for gasoline -- and finding an alternative to what's been called our addiction to oil -- has produced an unintended consequence: The cost of the foods that fuel our bodies has jumped.

California Takes Action to Increase Use of Ethanol in Gasoline

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) at their June 14th meeting in Fresno voted on a new reformulation of California gasoline that will allow an increase up to 10 percent of the amount of renewable, clean-burning, low carbon ethanol into California's gasoline blend.

Illinois' great energy hunt - Corn, coal and me-first politics

It adds up to an all-too-common capital conundrum: Nearly everyone says there's agreement on the goal, but the details could derail everything.

"It's going to be very difficult to hash out a compromise," said Rep. Dan Lipinski, an Illinois Democrat who traces his energy interest to an 8th-grade science project on solar power. "I predict that it's not going to please a lot of environmentalists, a lot of people who want to impact global warming."

Hawai`i: Pump prices could plummet by July

Disputed legislation now on Hawai‘i Gov. Linda Lingle’s desk could drop soaring gasoline prices 11 to 14 cents per gallon starting July 1 and create transparency in the petroleum industry, state lawmakers said Friday.

House Bill 1757 would forgive the general excise tax on alcohol fuel and require gasoline retailers to pass any savings on to the consumer.

A Most Profitable Farce

I hope you’re watching the debate right now over the sprawling S.1419/H.R.6,12 ball of energy legislation in Congress, because if you aren’t, you’re missing some real comedy.

You can almost figure out which state a Congressman is from just by reading what he or she is saying.

The inconvenient truth about the carbon offset industry

Greenhouse gas credits do little or nothing to combat global warming

Recycling Is Not Enough; We Need To Consume Less, Experts Urge

Recycling rates have risen, and the UK is on schedule to meet EU targets, but the key to dealing with our escalating waste problem lies in changing our buying habits and our attitudes to consumption, according to the authors of a new Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) publication.

Nigeria Militant Group Coalition Says it Will End Oil Attacks

A coalition of militia groups in the Niger Delta Friday said it was ending attacks it has waged on the oil industry, following the release Thursday of its detained leader, Mujahideen Dokubo-Asari.

The Gorilla Is Unmasked

A secretive project dubbed "The Gorilla" by inhabitants of Elk Point, S.D., turns out to be a planned 400,000 barrel-a-day oil refinery. That's right. Do not adjust your computer monitor. A refinery. If actually built, it would be the first new one in this country since Marathon Oil opened its Garyville, La., plant in 1976.

Indonesia Gas Field Shut Down Due to Fire

The Pangkah gas field located offshore Indonesia in East Java has been shut down following a fire that broke out overnight on the rig. Production has been shut down and well activities have been stopped Amir Hamzah, a BP Migas spokesperson said to Reuters via text message. It is not known at this time how long the field will be shut in.

Putting Energy Hogs in the Home on a Strict Low-Power Diet

I THOUGHT I was pretty good about energy conservation, but it turns out that I’ve been a bit of a hypocrite. I drive a reasonably fuel-efficient car, I work at home so I don’t use fuel to commute and I am replacing incandescent bulbs in my home with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs.

But I am also a prodigious computer user, and it looks as if that makes me an energy hog.

Oil Market Under Pressure, Supply Not Able to Counter Demand

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Western consumers seem to be heading towards a conflict.

In recent weeks, statements made by both parties, OPEC and the International Energy Agency (IEA), the statistical arm of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), have shown increased tension based on growing concerns of consumers about the oil supply situation.

Aramco ups Yanbu output

Saudi Aramco has upped the petrol refining capacity at its Yanbu refinery, according to a statement on its website. The increase will see an additional 8,000 barrels per day of 95-octane petrol produced at the plant in the west of the kingdom. The hike is part of its plan to expand its refining activities and also meet local and international demand.

Valero seeking bonds to expand refinery

Valero Energy Corp. is taking another step toward expanding its Norco refinery by seeking approval of $1 billion in Gulf Opportunity Zone bonds from the St. Charles Parish Council.

Company officials stressed that they have not committed to the project to expand the refinery's capacity from 220,000 barrels of crude per day to 380,000 barrels, but the company is lining up permits and financing before making the decision.

Fuel costs hurt business: Small firms squeezed, especially on retail deliveries

Australia: Car lobby calls for road-use charging

ALL motorists should carry a GPS-type transponder in their vehicles and, instead of paying fuel taxes, they should pay for every kilometre they drive, in varying amounts depending on what time they use the road.

...Motorists would be rewarded for driving at off-peak times or in cars that used less petrol. Instead of the various taxes imposed on fuel, people would be charged on either their use of roads or on carbon emissions.

Strike Causes Fuel Shortage In Lagos

THE strike called by Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), which commenced on Friday took its toll on fuel supply in Lagos State as several filling stations ran out of petrol stock.

It also resulted in long queues at the filling stations. Transport fares rose by 50 per cent with commuters stranded at major bus stops.

...The strike is in protest the fuel price hike and non increase in freight levy for transporters.

A cathedral of power that has become the dirty dinosaur

Welcome to Drax Power Station: carbon dioxide central, "Draxosaurus" to the Greens, and the biggest single producer of the global-warming carbon dioxide gases in Western Europe. Drax - even its James-Bond-villain name sounds sinister - is Biblical in scale: a Brunelian, brutal, orgy of pig iron, roaring flames, clanking conveyors, steam and whirling turbines.

Like a vast ocean liner beached on the Yorkshire flatlands, this power station is the last gasp of old, steam-powered Britain - and it is still going strong. Yet most environmentalists believe that the time has come when Draxosaurus must be made extinct.

Monument Unveiled by Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez

Chavez spoke about the possibility of building a regasification plant on the island. “That wouldn’t have been possible before,” he said, “because of the neoliberal contracts that were managed by US corporations in the period when sovereignty was handed over to attract investment without thinking of the supply needs of Venezuelans.”

He said the idea of gas is cheaper and less polluting, and could be brought to Cuba in ships.

Doubt over climate change forecasts

For the past year, [Bogi Hansen]'s sonar has been pinging the Gulf Stream, the warm ocean current that has kept this subpolar archipelago unfrozen for centuries. His findings are of big interest because they contradict one of the most catastrophic predictions linked to global warming: that Arctic melting will strangle the Gulf Stream, thrusting Europe into a new Ice Age.

In fact, Hansen's research and recent climate models raise a tantalizing possibility: Can the slight weakening of the Gulf Stream expected over the next century actually help to offset the effects of global warming in northern Europe?

Museveni says climate change a modern attack on Africa

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Friday called global warming a form of external aggression against Africa as the impact of the phenomenon is felt more acutely on the continent than elsewhere.

The Hot Spot Contest

This is your chance to take make your case to the nation's next president. Send us a 30 second video with your best message to compel the next president to make global warming a priority.

The winning video will receive two tickets and airfare to the hottest show on the planet - the Live Earth concert in New York on July 7th!

Family takes climate change personally

SYDNEY, Australia - From the street, Alicia Campbell's house looks no different from the others in her suburban cul-de-sac. But it has a secret: It's green — very green.

The four-bedroom home she shares with husband Jason Young and their two sons sucks no water from Australia's drought-stricken reservoirs, recycles everything from food scraps to sewage, and even pumps electricity back into Sydney's power grid.

Green energy – Why small can be beautiful

Localised power generation, including companies’ own projects, could be the future of environmental energy production.

Russia steps up efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emission

Russia is to intensify efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in order to stay in compliance with the Kyoto treaty as its economy rebounds from the economic collapse of the early 1990s, the country's deputy economic development minister said.

Betting On Oil? Pay Close Attention To The Facts

Nothing loses you money like aphorisms. “This time it’s different” is a favorite, but another good one is “Buy the rumor, sell the news.” Well, in the case of oil, you may want to stick to it.

Oil, unlike, say, gold, is a commodity of utility; not only do we need it to keep warm at night, but it’s not hyperbole or penmanship to say that it fuels most of the world’s economies. Nobody except OPEC and Hugo Chavez really thinks this is a good long-term plan for the human race, but it’s the real world.

Peak Oil Passnotes: The Name Is Bonds, T-Bonds

One of the main factors in maintaining high energy prices is the fact that high costs are already delaying new production coming onstream. There is a choking point in the energy complex that may be further exacerbated by any fear of a recession. A combination of high current costs, delayed projects and fear of investment due to uncertainty will only bolster prices. All of this is backed up by the fact that the cheap and easy to access oil and gas has gone.

Blessedly Unrestful

Globalization has created this sense of loss that went so far and has gone so far that I think you're starting to see it come back. And it's being driven very, very much by the threats that peak oil pose. But there's not just peak oil, there's peak soil, there's peak water. There's a lot of peaks coming and they're all related. And so people are starting to you know to sniff the wind, feel it and starting to create again, alternatives to this in their communities.

Global pro-poor biofuel revolution now possible

The pioneering project to produce ethanol from sweet sorghum , being implemented jointly by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Rusni Distilleries, has achieved a significant milestone with the first batch of ethanol flowing out of the distillery at Mohammed Shapur village in Andhra Pradesh, India.

Biofuel Condemns the Poor to Starvation Says UN Rapporteur

"The development of biofuels poses a great danger for the right to food," said the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Jean Ziegler at a press conference on the sidelines of the UN Council on Human Rights.

Ziegler accused the United States, the European Union and Japan of encouraging alcohol production to reduce their dependence on imported oil, reported Granma newspaper.

Exxon Says it Never Doubted Climate Change Threat

Oil company Exxon Mobil Corp. never in the past decade doubted the risk from climate change, its global spokesman Kenneth Cohen said on Thursday, in a latest attempt to improve its green credentials.

Exxon had simply firmed up, or "evolved", its understanding of the threat, said Cohen, the company's head of public affairs.

Study: Energy Prices, Not Corn, is Raising Food Prices

Ethanol critics and many in the media charge that the rising price of corn due to growing ethanol demand is the major culprit for moderately rising consumer food prices. Conspicuously absent from the discussion is the chief reason for increasing food costs: escalating energy costs.

According to a new analysis of food, energy and corn prices conducted by John Urbanchuk of LECG, LLC, "rising energy prices had a more significant impact on food prices than did corn." Rising energy prices have twice the impact on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food than does the price of corn, according to the report.

5 foreigners kidnapped in Nigeria

Gunmen abducted five foreigners Friday in Nigeria's restive southern oil heartland, with at least three of them seized and spirited away in a speedboat, officials said.

Argentine energy crisis leaves industrial customers idle

To avoid residential blackouts the Argentine government imposed stricter electricity consumption restrictions plunging some industrial customers to an indefinite supply cut off as demand again peaked when temperatures plunged to freezing levels.


The current snapshot for the war in Iraq shows $ costs at $435,047,157,000.

lifespan (of both) 225,000 miles
Standard auto to be replaced: 25 mpg
Prius: 50 mpg

If the money was used for a $10,000 rebate for buying a Prius:

Number of rebates available - 43,504,715

Gasoline saved for one "standard auto" replaced with Prius:
S.Auto lifetime (225,000/(25mi/gal)) = 9,000 gallons
Prius lifetime (225,000/(50mi/gal)) = 4,500 gallons

A savings of 4,500 gallons per vehicle over the lifetime.

(4,500 gallons * 43,504,715 vehicles) = 195,771,217,500 gallons (or 4,661,219,464 barrels)

Hastily put together...of course feel free to check the numbers. I propose a thread: If you were to spend the money (that has been pi$$ed away in Iraq) on a good cause, what would you spend it on and how much impact would it make?

4/10 trillion dollars would allow for (and obviously it would have to be repaid by the future as well)

at 10 billion dollar a nuclear power plant we get 43 new nuclear plants operating at probably 2GW.

one can obviously reduce the demand for gasoline by simply taxing the shit out of it (look at norway, steady consumption for the past 35 years). I do not think rebates on the prius alone will work, taxation of heavy and fuel inefficient vehicles with the proceeds of the tax being applied to fuel efficient vehicles would be the best.

Good luck convincing Americans of "taxing the shit out of" gas. From reading news accounts in my Google news alerts, plus the always superb stories edited into the DrumBeats, I know that already, at these extremely low prices, the "average" American driver is not happy. From what I can gather the majority consensus seems to be "why are these prices so high?" (Of course, they're not, as the last gas-price post eloquently shows). One lacking critical intelligence but fully loaded on cornucopian idealism quickly comes to the conclusion, as I like to repeat a lot, that either:

"They're gouging us, this isn't fair!"

Or it's the tired saw "It's the government's fault!"

Both actually kind of true, if you play with the semantics a bit. Profits and "gouging" is really just a meaningless lawyer's debate, and the other defense mechanism is simply imaginative thinking, something we Americans excel at. It is as much the entire society's fault as it is the government's. It is illustrative of how bankrupt the entire political spectrum is. Given the American Idol/MTV mode of intellectual discourse we have amongst the masses in the US, taxing gas would make 'em a lot more unhappy--not to mention upsetting the oil companies, our cultural viceroys.

Don't get me wrong, I agree with you. It is just political suicide for whoever attempts it.

[edit: "If you were to spend the money (that has been pi$$ed away in Iraq) on a good cause, what would you spend it on and how much impact would it make?" Answer: 435000000000/300000000 ... I would have given every American $1450. That's how you buy votes! Seriously though, there is a lot that half a trillion could be used for, paying down the debt, Manhattan/Apollo energy program, etc etc.]

Mr f, I find it difficult to get most of my long term friends to understand PO so I dont think any politician is going to try it with the voters. A few gentle words about PO causes their eyes to glaze over. It reminds me of the looks on the faces of those in algebra 101. Tuned out!

If I could spend the money that has been spent in the Iraqi fiasco I would put it into high speed commuter rail and expanding the standard freight rail. I would also mandate that the GM electic car be brought back with the new batteries that would extend the range to 300 miles without recharge. Most of the electric cars would be recharged at night during off peak hours for the electical grid. The electric car would have met the needs of 90% of the commuters in the US. They were taken off the market because they (almost) never required maintence and would have destroyed the auto makers business model.

The federal government really has no choice but to raise gas taxes within the next year or two. If not, the highway fund will reach a $5.7 billion deficit in 2010 and will be forced to cut obligations by 42 percent ($18.2 billion) from the 2009 obligation level.

The only question is how much the tax will be raised. The leading industry group AASHTO says a 3-cent increase is necessary to avoid a major cut and a 10-cent increase is required restore purchasing power to 1993 levels.

AASHTO also calls on state and local governments to increase transportation funding by $110 billion over the next eight years. They say increased tolls will be necessary on top of traditional funding sources.

$ 5.7 billion deficit ? no problem, do what el'befuddleoso has done, borrow more money.

Hi substrate – you still don’t get it ... 

Bush & Co are aiming at conquering Iraq and Afghanistan for the sole idea of having a large open air prison in the post peak-oil scenario in a remote place overseas .. The warden’s administration building is almost finished – taking the shape of an “embassy” for the time being.

Something along the lines of what Australia became for the Britons some 200 years ago. The prisoners will be forced to count the sand grains, and when finished – one more time just to be sure!

If succeeding in “stealing” Iraq and Afghanistan, it will be the place to send future criminals. This has nothing to do with oil …. That’s oil folks

-apart from this your reflections are thougthfull :)

At 15,000 miles/vehicle/year, the difference in consumption is 300 gallons/veh/yr or 12.9 billion gallons/year.  This is about 840,000 barrels/day.

Iraq produces on the order of 2 million bbl/day.  I'd hoped that a different investment would at least offset the oil production of Iraq, but it seems that it only hits about 40%.

HOWEVER:  If the money was spent on the extra cost of a hybrid system (about $2000 per Toyota) for all new vehicles, that would cover about 215 million vehicles.  It would take quite some time to get them all built, but the ultimate savings would be about 2 Iraqs.

... I squeeze this in here

There is no fuel substance or no anything in future (when PO is understood- in say 10-20 years from now) – that will allow for 1 person to hitchhike inside a chunk of steel weighting in at 1-2 tones at a 15% efficiency per fuel content – cruising in 100 mph - for the sole purpose of transporting this piece of Skin&Bones from A to B. Money will not matter – society will rule this (my guess)

The techniques of cheap&easy personal transport are here already today –
Light and fine-tuned small petrol-cars reaching 3000 kilometers IN USING 1 liter of petroleum – wow, And those cars actually maintain a nice speed as well.

The challenge is the transition between an eventual micro-car-street-environments alongside the Humvees, SUVs, Truck/Trailers and so forth ..

If the car-oil economy where to be started freshly today – including the concerns of all we know, WE WOULD HAVE GONE DOWN THE MICRO-CAR ALLEY ….

Personally I believe in mass-transports for the future and lightly motorized vehicles in rural areas …. Lets hope

Light and fine-tuned small petrol-cars reaching 3000 kilometers IN USING 1 liter of petroleum – wow, And those cars actually maintain a nice speed as well.

Sorry, paal, those numbers don't work. I'm interpreting "nice speed" as 100 KM/H.

A liter of gasoline has about 34.8 MJ. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline)

1 watt is a joule / second, so 34.8 MJ is 9667 watt*hours. If you assume your petrol engine is "only" 62% efficient, then you are really only talking about 6000 watt*hours of useful mechanical work.

If you are running that car at 100 KM/H you could run for 30 hours on a liter. That means 6000/30 = 200 watts continuous output

No thanks! I think I'll just use pedals for my 200 watts.

The operative points being:

  • 15% efficiency
  • per fuel content

Quintuple the efficiency and use electricity instead of liquid fuel, and it becomes quite affordable on all points.  Cut the weight to 3/4 ton, and you get the VentureOne.

Looks cute, sort of like a 50 year old cover of Popular Mechanics-but if you go parking in the thing, will you need back surgery?

Looks like the model I made to get me in the BIDNESS. 'Cept the two wheels were in front.

Well this reply goes to :

-as it seems we have an issue here - NEVER SHOOT THE MESSENGER .. ..and IF you have any problems with my provided link then (google : Shell Eco-marathon 2007)

...furthermore and e.g.IF the 'four of you' ever see me play around with numbers, its never my own :)))):: )

Now - reality is everything, mine is different from yours , obviously ! It is about information.

I'm aiming at something like this 3000 km to 1 liter of el' petroleeeeeeeeeeeee
(hi performance/weight/distance...utilization.. and stuff like that ..

I know my numbers are insane ..... but theY are there for your eyes only ... AND if you SunnyvaleCA struggle to grasp it ... DONT blame me - please blame Shell , Yeah Shell - the oil company - they put it all together ...

Reality of the future - IS something between options of today and what is possible in the future. I just showed U what is possible today............
Still I believe in the grim reaper ... as for how we will arrange for energy as time comes our way -

oh i think people won't like a small, vehicle where the top has to be bolted on and off by someone else just to allow the driver in. of course its also poorly ventilated to keep it's aerodynamic shape.

well TrueKaiser
- what are you doing here at The oil drum in the first way ?

This place is about future solutions ... and the flagggging of the concept of power down and mitigations regarding dwindeling oil (and other NOT renewable energies)

I prefere to be 'clamped in' if that is what it takes ...
U may have a nice walk .....

Why are you obsessing about a vehicle (not a car; it doesn't have the safety equipment, lights or bumpers to be street-legal) which is overall less useful than a bicycle, just because it can run at 1/3000 liter/km?

I calculate the LHV of diesel fuel at roughly 40 MJ/liter; the economy figure you quote equates to under 4 watt-hours per km of raw fuel (perhaps 1 watt-hour/km of engine output from such a tiny engine).  In short, a 100-watt solar panel could drive this vehicle at 100 kph all day, if the vehicle could actually achieve 100 kph on road.

On the other hand, a REAL electric car consumes in the region of 120-150 Wh/km.  Get 6 hours/day of power out of a 1 kW solar array, and you're good for between 40 and 50 km/day while having seat belts, air bags, turn signals, bumpers, and space for groceries and a couple of friends.

A 1 kW solar array should cost between USD 5000-10000 installed.  That ought to power such a vehicle for the length of the 25-year warranty.  Want more range?  Add more panels.

Now why should we even think about "powering down" to the absurd extreme that you're talking about here?

Engineer-Poet wrote: a REAL electric car consumes in the region of 120-150 Wh/km. Get 6 hours/day of power out of a 1 kW solar array, and you're good for between 40 and 50 km/day
A 1 kW solar array should cost between USD 5000-10000 installed. That ought to power such a vehicle

That would be 6kWh/day. Would that be the December output of the solar array?

What happens if your neighbor decides he wants to use the solar rights?

That would be 6kWh/day. Would that be the December output of the solar array?

During December in the cold, dark parts of the world you use the output from your cogenerator.

What happens if your neighbor decides he wants to use the solar rights?

Looking at the links returned, I found that in California, the Codes, Covenants and Restrictions cannot be used to block installation of solar power.  Ergo, if your neighbor decides to use the sun to heat her water and power her car and computer, you can't use the CCR's to stop her.  Neither can she stop you.

Equitable availability of solar power is determined by height limits and setback requirements, which wasn't important enough to you to post a search URL.

Engineer-Poet - Im not obsessing anything, I simply try to put forward that cars can be made MUCH more energy efficient - than the trend has been the last 100 years.

Thats my only point.

In scaling down consumption drastically to day - as in a magic trick - the downslope of the PO-curve could easily last mouch longer into the future ...

The point you miss is that conversion to non-petroleum energy will come about long before a 3000 km/liter vehicle becomes worthwhile.

Com'on Engineer-Poet

I'm not taking any stance to anything - I'm just putting up some info on low-efficient cars ... and conveying the idea that future personal commuting may lay between todays gas guzzlers and this 3000 km/l vehicle...

I'm not trying to tell you that this experiment-car is the future, cos' it will not be able to handle a minor uphill .... but it will be closer to the truth than todays cars in 50 years ... my guess.

Is this difficult to understand ?

( E_kinetic = 1/2 m v^2, that m has to come way down...)

If you include everything scheduled for delivery this year, today's vehicles include the Tesla Roadster.  The future is going to look much more like that.

Engineer-Poet wrote: If the money was spent on the extra cost of a hybrid system [...] for all new vehicles [...] the ultimate savings would be about 2 Iraqs.

That might be the case if America's entire fleet of privately-owned cars were exclusively operated on EPA dynometers by EPA computers.

What do you suppose might be the result if the vehicles were instead owned and operated by humans -- 3.6% of whom choose to work at home partly because of the discretionary costs of driving?

What do you suppose would be the effect of insurance carriers switching to charging in real time (via electronics in the vehicle, perhaps with a real-time dashboard-display of the insurance bill)?

There are also serious societal costs, and political costs. I think part of the cause and effect of this adventurism is closely tied into the move towards Private Military Contractors...

So, I was just browsing around yesterday, like you do, following one random thought with another, disappearing off on tangents... when I came across the Wikipedia entry on Private Military Contractors... and the Rumsfeld quote in wikipedia, on this subject, in response to a question from the audience, is an area where one can peak behind the curtain just for a moment.

Bateman: "There are currently thousands of private military contractors in Iraq and you were just speaking of rules of engagement in regards to Iraqi personnel and US personnel. Could you speak to, since the private contractors are operating outside the Uniform Code of Military Justice, could you speak to what law or rules of engagement do govern their behaviour and whether there has been any study showing that it is cost-effective to have them in Iraq rather than US military personnel. Thank you."

Rumsfeld: "Thank you. It is clearly cost-effective to have contractors for a variety of things that military people need not do and that for whatever reason other civilian government people cannot be deployed to do. There are a lot of contractors. A growing number. They come from our country - but they come from all countries; and indeed sometimes the contracts are from our country, or another country, and they employ people from totally different countries; including Iraqis and people from neighbouring nations. And there are a lot of them and it's a growing number. And of course we've got to begin with the fact that, as you point out, they're not subject to the uniform code of military justice; we understand that. There are laws that govern the behaviour of Americans in that country - the Department of Justice oversees that. The [long hesitation] there is an issue that is current as to the extent to which they can or cannot carry weapons and that's an issue. It's also an issue of course with the Iraqis but, if you think about it, Iraq is a sovereign country, they have their laws and they're going to govern. The UN resolution and the Iraqi laws, as well as US procedures and laws, govern behaviour in that country depending on who the individual is and what he's doing, but I'm personally of the view that there are a lot of things that can be done on a short time basis by contractors that advantage the United States, and advantage other countries who also hire contractors. Any idea that we shouldn't have them I think would be unwise."

This quote is amazing... it is almost the global elite pitching the world's military elite on disobeying their local elites and joining the private sector, in return they will receive lucrative control of energy supplies in a post-peak world... foreseeing a complete collapse of society he basically reveals the plans of the global elite to shift to a completely stateless future - embracing a total dislocation with the state that currently has jurisdiction over the geopgraphic regions in which they may happen to currently reside. (What I am trying to say is the elites are already abandoning traditional states as dead and gone in a post-peak future and setting up what comes next... in this regard they have more in common with Al Qaeda and organized crime than governments of old)

Rumsfeld and the elites he represents are basically telling the elites in other (minor) countries that you REALLY SHOULD hire private military contractors to protect your interests instead of relying on a public national army...

Make no mistake: These guys are HARDCORE revolutionaries!

Now, as a group "we" are being blackmailed into accepting this, what to many would be a nightmarish, future by having a gun held to our heads on global warming - (and with the recent Southern Baptist announcment is there any remaining doubt that this is using the religious extremes to help control the masses and maintain their ignorance?)... basically the WE here is the educated middle class - either accept the overseer status you have as your lot or end up in the masses, or else we'll play chicken and keep burning the environment up... actually we are made up of the elites in minor countries and the educated middle class in the major countries.

So having created a vague us and them for rhetorical purposes here, they are saying: "Only if you accept our hegemony will we allow changed to be made to fix things like global warming and address resource depletion." And they will fix it. It'll be their equivalent of "at least Hitler made the trains run on time", that it took this sort of societal structure to finally solve the global warming crisis through massive authoritarianism.

I think this is the endgame organized crime has always played out for... mafia type entiites are merely ways for the lowest classes to fight their way up towards the elites and are tolerated by the true elites as a means of effectively controlling the poor. Again, this is tremendously inefficient, and corrupt kleptocratic societal structures have been disadvantaged in the high-energy-availability-fueled growth of the last few centuries due to the exponential nature of growth exacerbating relatively small differences in efficiency.

Finally, I think that the number of cases in recent history of mercenary companies almost, actually or attempting to take over governments in minor states gives some indication of the post peak end games that some of these PMCs or at least their backers are going for.

[apologies for rambling, this was getting too long for a comment, so i decided to diary a longer version at DailyKos in case you are interested]

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Excellent post on PMC.

I especially like your brief take on your disenchantment with political debate... If you don't mind, I'd like to paste some of your Kos essay that was excluded here...

ResponsibleAccountable's text from Kos:

"Once upon a time I checked in on DailyKos not just daily but several times a day. Nowadays the only site I check throughout the day is The Oil Drum. Over the years my increasing concern about the Peak Oil situation has really reprioritized things for me, and lowered my patience for the bickering and small-scale politics side of things in the US... and from a Peak Oil perspective there just really isn't as much difference for voters between their options as many active politics followers would like. So my passion for US politics has waned... (you should check out why: www.theoildrum.com and in particular the daily drumbeat by Leanan should never be missed)

I am surprised there is not more cross-pollination of ideas between those "interested in politics" and those "peak oil doomers" given that they should be considering similar issues... perhaps the game is just being played over the heads of the politicos nowadays, and the Peak Oilers are still so shell shocked that they haven't figured out the right political tack yet."

Post away - I appreciate your taking the time to read my thoughts.

I do sometimes wonder if the victory of the shouty-shouty politics style has permeated other areas of our life and disabled our ability to debate in broader terms.

Plus I think there is a lot of lazy thinking going on in the Beat Bush circles.

When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Yup, I'm there with you. I think that is the "beauty of Bush"--to put it oddly... That he looks dumb and obviously doesn't know what the hell is going on seems to be his asset.

I sometimes tell people almost word for word what you just said about--to reverse your term, "Bush Beating"... They usually respond "Well, I mean, we have to criticize someone, and he's at the top right?"

They don't seem to understand that whining about Bush not only sidetracks the Left into unproductive territory--but also allows other more damaging (like I wrote about in the Peak Oil Update comment thread a few days ago) memes to take hold through obsessions with Bush, Cheney, et al coupled with conspiracy theories... I sometimes think the neocons like it, feed off of it. As you wrote, the behavior certainly splits up the PO aware population--not to mention distracts from the issue we're all concerned about, oil depletion and the resulting aftermath...

Plus, Cheney certainly seems to relish media hatred... It seems not only pointless, but also helps make criticism that has real merit, in the end, diminutive.

bush is a fucking idiot ,i dont see the point of pussy footing around the issue.

*Guffaw*, yes.

However, my only point in beating around the bush (heh, sorry for the bad pun) is that, yes, we all know Bush is a dumbass... Now, can we please talk about something else?

I only keep on harping about this because I agree with ResponsibleAccountable that the Left is stuck in a very unproductive mode, and if we are to even *attempt* trying to "mitigate" this situation, then this frame of mind must change, because the republicans, apart from our main man Roscoe, simply just don't give a shit about anything (except unborn fetuses and Jesus)... Capisce?

When you have a civilian political system that is working for foreign interests and opening the country up for invasion, the logical question would be "at what point does the military have not the right but the duty to overthrow the government" ???.

What we see in Iraq is a 'state' response to fourth generation warfare. It isnt working. If you would like to know why it isnt working you can check out this site.


Briefly, 4GW aims to hollow out a state and take control of its resources (but not institutions) through open source warfare. If you are an 'insurgent' fighting in 4GW mode and need some IEDs that will penetrate the armor of an Abrams tank you put out the word on the street along with the price you are willing to pay for them and presto, they are designed, manufactured and tested by another group that you have no relation to and perhaps no prior knowledge of. These very loosely interconnected groups are not hierarchical and nearly impossible to penetrate. Some of the groups are idealogically driven, some are driven by money, but they are in the end fighting a common enemy or enemies. In a failed state such as Iraq 4GW warfare is almost impossible to stop using the best countermeasures. I do not see where private armies using the same techniques as our conventional armies would have any better success against 4GW.
Among the many stupid things that we have done in Iraq the worst (imo) was to state our purposes prior to the invasion. We announced to the world loudly that we were coming after any country that didnt conform to our stadard model. After that announcement how were we to win the 'hearts and minds' of the Iraqi people and get them on our side? If anything the neo cons are even dumber than the fools that were in charge of the Viet Nam fiasco.

I do not see where private armies using the same techniques as our conventional armies would have any better success against 4GW.

Private armies always have the option of soliciting payment from the enemy for ceasing operations.

Not if they are idealogically driven! If anyone can be 'bought' it is the mercenary armies that we employ. A corporation is bound by law to gain the most returns for its stockholders as possible. That means that a corporate mercenary is bound by US law to work for the higest bidder. Did you think of this?
*For ruling regarding corporate gains see Henry Ford vs Dodge Bros in Michigan Appelate Court. This circa 1918 ruling has yet to be successfully challenged.

We are thinking about different things.

Hi musashi,

Not sure I want to know, but I'll ask...
what things? Also, what country? (above)?

According to the Nation Corn Growers Asc. 2.15 billion bushels of corn were used to produce 4.855 (EIA) billion gallons of ethanol.
That is only 2.26 gallons / bushel.
So why do the ethanol advocates keep toting 2.8 G/B? 2.8 * 2.15 = 6.02 Billion gallons for 2006.
NCGA projects 3.4 billion bushels for ethanol production in 2007. 2.26 * 3.4 = 7.68 billion gallons, or 501,000 barrels per day.
So far 90 days of production in 2007 avg. 382,000 barrels per day. (EIA)
3.4 * 2.8 would be 9.5 billion gallons for 2007, or 621,000 barrels per day.


To put your data in contrast, EIA numbers:

U.S. Motor Gasoline Consumption
9,159,000 barrels/day (384.7 million gallons/day)

384 700 000 x 365 = 140 415 500 000

Actually for the past 4 weeks Motor Gasoline Supplied has averaged 9.475 MM Brl's/day, or more than 145 billion gallons if sustained for a year, however I assume that everyone here at TOD is well aware of those numbers.

I saw the following article in Wednesday's FT and it really made me think. Does Boeing know something that we ought to be aware of?

Boeing forecasts near tripling of air traffic

By Kevin Done in London

Published: June 13 2007 21:16 | Last updated: June 13 2007 21:16

Boeing, the world’s leading aerospace and defence group, on Wednesday forecast a near tripling of global air traffic in the next 20 years.

It said that passenger traffic was expected to grow by 5 per cent a year and air cargo by 6.1 per cent a year, despite its growing concerns about the impact of environmental pressures and inadequate airport and air traffic control infrastructure on rates of growth in the later part of the forecast period.

Aviation accounts for only 2-3 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, but it is one of the fastest-growing sources of climate change gases, and the rapid increase in demand for air travel is strengthening calls from environmental groups for growth to be constrained.

Giovanni Bisignani, director general of the International Air Transport Association (Iata), last week challenged the commercial aerospace industry to develop a zero-emissions passenger aircraft within the next 50 years.

He said that climate change was a real concern for airline customers and had become a political priority for many governments. Aviation’s carbon footprint was growing, and that was not “politically acceptable, for any industry. Climate change will limit our future,” he warned.

Aviation already had a good track record having reduced aircraft noise by 75 per cent in the last 30 years and improved fuel efficiency by 70 per cent in the last 40 years, but he said that airlines were facing “a reputation crisis. That makes us an easy target for politicians who think green and see cash.”

Randy Tinseth, marketing vice-president for Boeing’s commercial aircraft division, said that growth in air traffic volumes was closely linked to the expansion of the world economy, which was forecast to grow by 3.1 per cent a year.

Airlines have been ordering record numbers of new aircraft in the last two years, and Boeing forecast on Wednesday that the world commercial jet fleet would double in the next 20 years from 18,200 in 2006 to 36,400 in 2026.

Such growth would create a market for 28,600 new commercial passenger and freight aircraft worth $2,800bn in the 20 years.

If West Texas ELM is accurate, then the airline industry don´t have more than 5-10 years left.

Just ran some interesting math. The top five net exporters--Saudi Arabia; Russia; Norway; Iran and UAE--accounted for half of net exports in 2006 (EIA, Total Liquids).

They collectively showed a decline in production of 1.3% from 2005 to 2006 and a 5.5% increase in consumption, resulting in a 3.3% decline in net exports (annual average data, not month to month).

Let's assume flat production, essentially forever, by the top five. At a 5% annual rate of increase in consumption, they would show about a 3% annual decline rate in net exports. At a 2.5% annual rate of increase in consumption, their net exports would decline at about 1.4% per year.

Edit: If we assume a 5% annual decline rate in production and a 5% annual rate of increase in consumption, net exports by the top five net exporters would be at zero in about 14 years, a decline rate of about 22% per year, which falls within the observed 16% annual decline rate in net exports that are seeing in Mexico and the 60% annual decline rate in net exports that we saw in the UK.

WT, interesting math indeed. Seems clear to me that declining exports is what will strangle us here in the US.

Although what also seems increasingly clear to me every day is the intention to bomb Iran, and soon. The rhetoric is peaking. The consequences of this can really only be guessed at, but it ain't likely to be good for the "average American". Or anyone else in the world. Too many Americans seem to think the solution to all our problems is simply to "nuke the whole damn Middle East". If (when??) this happens I think their joy will be short-lived...

I too have noticed the rhetoric heating up. I think it is a broad-based "throw it at the wall and see what sticks" approach. Eventually, someone will come up with a propaganda approach that seems to get some popular support, and that is what they will run with.

It all really depends on how much a country cares about its own people versus money!

If consumption increases (more buyers) the demand curve shifts right. decreasing supply shifts the supply curve to the left. What is the magnitude of each shift?

We have significant accuracy on the supply curve utilizing hubbert linearization. The demand curve is less well known.

The real problem here is that some organisations would prefer to have everyone believe that the supply curve is constantly moving rightward (essentially in this situation the equilibrium price/quanitity will move on the demand curve to a low price/high quantity).

Yeah - I struggle when trying to picture all the horse- and ox-carts leaving Piccadilly Circus headed for Heathrow in 2050 – with passengers headed for Kolkata in this brand new polluting-free aircraft … What are they going to do in Kolkata anyway ?

They could get to Piccadilly Circus and take a train to Kolkata.


High Speed rail to Hungary (or perhaps into Turkey or Iran), and slower express trains from there. In 3 or so days, they can get to Kolkata (which will look like what post-Peak Oil ?)

Best Hopes for Peaceful borders Post-Peak Oil,


Good observation AlanfromBigEasy :)

And sure trains will be THE solution for the future, personally I love trains. It is a relaxing way to propel yourself and you see new and changing landscapes along the tracks –
BTW welcome to Norway for some sceneries … for your eyes only.

…finally, what will be so urgently important to reach post PO, anyway, I can’t stop wondering? I see PO already taking place in Africa and beyond today – maybe hard on their back BUT I see a lot of smiles – much more than in the so called west …… Where did we step wrong?

Will there be any borders some time down the PO alley ? .... Im not so sure of that anymore, especially having the Climate Ghost spooking around-

High speed rail to Hungary sounds like a curse.

May you go to Hungary on high speed rail.

Drole Cherenkov,

We have many Devils and more on the way, possibly on high speed rail.

High speed rail to Hungary sounds like a curse.

May you go to Hungary on high speed rail.

Hey now!! My dear old mother was born in Hungary, so be careful of your creative insults! ;-)

(actually, she "Came from Hungary on a slow freight steamboat.")

You mean that taking a train to Budapest is a curse because of ? Vampires? Garlic?

Honestly, as that high speed route goes quite literally less than 100 meters from where I live (with either the TGV or the ICE, after taking the street car to get to the Karlsruhe main train station), the idea of going to Budapest for a week or two is quite attractive - no reason to take a car at all, and a chance to see another city that has already existed several times longer than the age of fossil fuels.

You do realize that a large number of people are not planning on following your scenarios, don't you? (Though America just might - it is pretty well on its way already.)

I'll give you high speed rail, if you give me rationing.

Best wishes for that impossible deal, eh.


Pitch their yerts and enjoy their vacations riding those little horses and eating yogurt.

It has always amazed me how the airline Emirates of the UAE are on a continuous expansion programme. With the building of Dubai into a major tourist hub, how are people actually going to get there in 20 years time. Maybe a market in dung powered Dhows.

Hmmm. This seems delusional to the max. Airlines aren't all that profitable even with fuel prices where they are NOW. Could just be bluster to keep the stock prices up, I suppose. Or maybe they really do feel they're in high cotton now that AirBus is having problems.

Tempting to short the stock, but I think they also make cruise missiles.

Commercial aviation is not going to do all that well once the various terrorists decide to end their self-restraint, either. I think it's hilarious that you can't take your own bottled water onboard a plane now, but you can board with a laptop computer as long as it shows a picture on the screen.

Once 'peak oil' becomes a mainstream meme, the stock market will be a dangerous place to be...

Many of my friends work at Boeing and let me tell you, Boeing is like any other corporation in Amerika. It will screw its grandmother in a heartbeat and tell her everything is just fine if it made the corp a buck.

Does Boeing know about peak oil? Yes. I've personally spoken to a VP about this issue. Is it part of official corporate planning? Not that you will ever see.

Is that what the Dreamliner is about? YES. They could have gone big like Airbus, but they decided to go small. The reasons are not "peak oil" in any of there official explanations. That would do the bottom line no good. Instead, they simply say it saves fuel, and as a bonus, they get to reap the great feel-good publicity of seeming to do something about climate change.

I think one of the main points of the A380 is to decrease fuel burn per seat. It's not a simple equation, but I believe that bigger is actually the way to go if you care about fuel efficiency - presuming adequate demand, of course.

Airbus' claim is "The A380 burns 17 per cent less fuel per seat than today's largest aircraft." Boeing's claim regarding the 787 is "The technologically advanced airplane will use 20 percent less fuel per seat than today's airplanes of comparable size". (my italics)


Good luck pinning down any real figures prior to either aircraft actually operating, however, and even then accurate figures will likely be surprisingly hard to uncover. Efficiency also depends on routes flown to a large degree.

All of which, I suspect, will be moot. I doubt there will be enough fossil fuel around at cheap enough prices to fuel the level of traffic we see today, let alone triple the air cargo and nearly triple the airline traffic.

The airbus A380 is a set of missed opportunities for maximum fuel efficiency.

1) The wing is over sized, since Airbus wanted to use the same wing for the now flying A380-800 and the never to fly A380-900 (next size up).

2) The wing is "stubby" due to required load (for A380-900) and all wings must not be over 80 m wide (airport design). Modern wings are long and thin for maximum aerodynamic efficiency.

3) The a/c is a full length double deck. Sutter, the original designer for the 747, claims that structural weight for a full length double deck reduces fuel efficiency/seat.

4) Boeing squeezed (they claim) another 1.5% to 2% by reducing engine bleed and going to an "electric airplane" for the 787. Airbus missed this step.

5) Boeing went all composite, with full composite fuselage barrels and composite wings. Significant weight savings missed by the A380 (tech to make an a/c that big out of plastic does not yet exist).

Word is that fuel burn per seat of the 787 will be within 1% to 2% of the A380, with test results confirming which is more efficient. The new 747-8 will also be close to the A380 in fuel burn/seat.

Since the 787 is designed to fly straight to the destination instead of a transfer at a hub, it will be more efficient for most travelers.

Post-Peak Oil, selling the most fuel efficient a/c is the right decision. A 737 replacement is likely next. But post 2025 to 2030, Boeing may need to really wind down production unless it can cut another 15% off fuel burn, and even then ...

Best Hopes for fuel efficiency,


4) Boeing squeezed (they claim) another 1.5% to 2% by reducing engine bleed and going to an "electric airplane" for the 787.

The electric pressurization is certainly for real.  Each of the two A/C units is rated at 214 kVA, or so I'm told.  Getting rid of the energy losses in heat exchangers and pressure-drop turbines comes back in fuel not burned.

Boeing may need to really wind down production unless it can cut another 15% off fuel burn, and even then ...

It's a rather simple recipe:  use longer wings (perhaps with folding tip extensions) and fly higher and slower.  Blended wings and flying wings are the next step in airframes, and ultra-high bypass engines or "propfans" may return to the drawing board for propulsion.

Flying slower requires more a/c to carry the same # of pax between a given city pair. A development that Boeing would not be adverse to in a fuel constrained post-Peak Oil world.

Aviation will have a niche for a LONG time. Travel over water and long distances.

There is not enough population or demand for High Speed rail west of Kansas City or Ft. Worth to the Rockies (and this area may develop into a new Dust Bowl). So almost two days by train (NYC to LA) or fly ? Many will pay the premium and fly.


A few thoughts from the TOD upper deck. I recently bought Matt Savinar, Investing in Peak Oil CD. He spoke about how PO aware are living in 2 different worlds. Trying to prep for the economic dislocations and going to work every day, trying to live our current lives. Some days I loose patience with my customers as they come into my store and complain about how the car start, i-pod or car radio stopped working. I think to myself, this person is not going to make it at $6.00 gas. I work at my store 6 days a week, and go home tend to my chickens, garden and split wood. I live in upstate NY.

My family and neighbors watch me work outside my house and are completely puzzled why I do it. I have explained so much about PO & population issues, I’ve stopped talking about it. In my orbit of family, friends & neighbors, they will never get it. Only when a serious disconnect happens to us, will they open there eyes and get away from the TV.

It is also dry in upstate NY, I water my garden and fruit trees everyday. I stepped it up this year on my garden plantings. I thought I knew something about growing. It is much harder than I thought, tending to 800 sq ft of plants by your self after work everyday. My hope is that my daughters will take away something from this hard work and use it in the future.

Best hopes for rain

I wonder how many other there are like you. I see this as well here. The price of gas is dropping and now they look at you like you are a nut. Never mind that it is up almost triple what it was 7-8 yrs ago.
I find it pointless to talk further about the oil problem to most people. They do not want to hear it.

Off to our Boiled Frog Future.

People don't have long memories. That's how we evolved and in many ways it is exacerbated as a result of our saturated culture and lack of meaningful education. People are "busy", and it is just too painful for most to think about, let alone acknowledge. I'm in my mid-20s. Most of my friends just want to "make some money". The married ones want to "make some money and have kids"...

We are apes with an elaborated cortex that spectacularly evolved language and an ornate emotional, abstract intelligence. For most people, life is already difficult enough, the last thing they want to hear about is teotwawki (which is precisely what PO represents).

I wrote previously, a couple of days ago, that I don't know why PO doesn't seem to get any play in the media... My statement was foolish, because I know exactly why--as does every informed TODite. The simple reason was stated by fromthepriesthole:

Things will not get better until they get much worse because people refuse to pay attention, collectively make demands, and act. Also, the more practical reason (which is the foundation of my prior statement) is that prices are the signal that you've got to watch out for. A barrel of crude may have broken nominal records last year for a mere second, but not adjusted records from 80-81... Many "business/finance people" I know are totally dependent on the market holding up well, so there is a built-in expectation that as long as oil prices are "below the radar" no one needs to really worry about it all that much because CERA and others, who have bank with the corporate world, say "ah, everything is as swell can be for the foreseeable future, no worries here, keep on truckin'!"

I work with a guy who is one of the mellowest people I've ever met. He was supervisor of a weekend shift for a while, think "herding cats", and I only saw him get really mad once. If I had his job I'd have had multiple coronaries by now.
But a couple of weeks ago he said "all you need to know about gas prices is that the oil companies are making huge profits". So I tried to explain that they don't set the wholesale prices, and they control less than 25% of the world's oil reserves, yadda yadda.... Well, that was the second-maddest I have ever seen him. Didn't say anything, and I'll bet he never brings it up again.

Mostly I've given up completely too. But sometimes you've gotta give it another try, what the hell...


I also go "on" and "off" when it comes to trying to discuss with people our energy use patterns and future. I do not seek out to "convert" someone to my position (even though I obviously think I'm right!), I mostly am interested in seeing what people think as I do honestly believe this can be beneficial in understanding how our culture works--and also how it will respond to energy shortages. Once I know someone's propositional attitude I can then give them my own propositional attitude, which is when things get 'interesting'. Of course, most of the time, given the level of ignorance and misinformation out there, people will on-faith take up CERA's position and argue against me. All the finance people I talk to here in New York always tell me "Ah, there is no problem, we've got enough oil to last another three generations!" Which tells me that the financial people really have no idea what the hell is in store for us, and, I'll be the first to admit, slightly worries me... Nate Hagens has stated before that what you have to watch out for is the finance community being convinced PO is a reality--that's when 'heat' really starts to get generated. The recalcitrant energy pose that is reinforced by the media does not help. When all is said and done though, it is a lot more informative and productive to discuss these things with other like-minded people, to get a cross-section of ideas/theories/predictions about scenarios and outcomes. :-D

So far my "search" for just one person who even has a clue has been fruitless. I don't look that hard. My initial hope, long abandoned, was that by bringing up certain subjects I might encourage others to look for themselves.

At least I have all of you here at TOD, my imaginary friends... :-)

Sunspot, I have actually contacted locally one PO-aware person thru Savinar's site and another by hosting a meet-up thru that "meet-up" site.

That said, I'm still a long way from that "community" that everyone says is essential to getting thru PO with any sort of grace.

So I'm rolling out the concept that an entrepreneur out there might be able to have a growing part-time career hosting a PO aware matchmaker service. I'm not talking romance here, but maybe facilitating a Willits-like small town in each state of the US. Maybe even branch out into buying a large piece of suitable land and subdiving it into farmlets to be bought by people with at least PO awareness in common.

Chimp, are you listening?


Errol in Miami

Down with cornucopian women!

It looks like someone has bought the domain "doomerdating.com"... Perhaps Matt is already on this, one step ahead of the crowd? =]

So I'm rolling out the concept that an entrepreneur out there might be able to have a growing part-time career hosting a PO aware matchmaker service.

I've thought about this concept. Someone will probably do it, (and hopefully the predators won't plan ahead and get the addresses! Should be no need, life for the predators will be full of opportunities.)

I've found that getting people together in such a way doesn't work all that well unless they are fairly focused on the threat and mature enough to have a sense of humor, and even then they often schism over disagreements. I think it'd be difficult to maintain cohesion before 'collapse' pressures made it necessary.

Still, if well-designed, a condensation nucleus like this in each state or geographic area would tend to get a lot of influx once things become obvious. Frankly, I think I'll wait and join one which has its own paramilitary training....

Errol - There already is an excellent organization that exists for the sole purpose of helping like-minded people organize themselves into local groups to come up with post-peak plans: the Post Carbon Institute. See www.postcarbon.org

Energy consultant, writer, blogger www.getreallist.com

Hi Sun,

I've had some luck, though w. many caveats.

Anyway, just FYI, I'm real. (More or less.) :)

Imaginary friends. I like that.

Interesting observations fromthepriesthole, and happy preparations ...

Here is the core-challenge to the PO-awareness issue, and the conveying of the message - can it be put like this (?)

The human mind works along the rigide lines of what is a reality today - will also apply tomorrow ...NEW REALITIES has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt - before realization is sinking in - EVEN THOUGH nature itself works along 'rigid and fixed procedures' - which can be revealed by science, IF science is putting a hard effort on the issues in question ....(!)...,that is

Science is arguing PO at some time ... even CERA admits that... BUT we need SIGNS, SIGNS and OMENS.

But as for religion .... the book is all proofe enough, ITs all in there ...


FTPH - I am here in upstate NY too. Yep, I agree, it's very dry. We planted a lot of Miller's fruit and berries the past two years and it is a struggle to keep 'em alive this summer. Clay soil on our mt. top isn't holding much moisture. Need more mulch...

If you are near the Cortland/Onondaga area, could you please contact me? Email is in my profile. Thx. - rev karl

"Jerry Falwell's foul rantings prove you can get away with anything if you have "Reverend" in front of your name."
- Christopher Hitchens, Slate.com May 2007

I thought I knew something about growing. It is much harder than I thought, tending to 800 sq ft of plants by your self after work everyday. My hope is that my daughters will take away something from this hard work and use it in the future.

I hear you.

The rewards I get from the hard work I put into my garden:

1) Understanding the season cycle. Getting to know each plant, and how it evolves through the year from birth to table.
2) The work itself. My office job is not work, it's politics, babysitting, appeasement, and justification. The garden is work.
3) Seeing the kids watching curiously, asking if they can help. IMO, understanding plants and producing food (at some level at least) will be a big part of their future. Understanding where food comes from is something people all too often don't even think about.
4) Taste. The new potatoes I dug and chives I picked this morning and fryed with eggs from the farmer's market were better than anything shipped in from out of state and purchased at the supermarket.

Regardless of our energy future, it's worth doing. I don't understand why anybody would think it's not.

Good to hear from a neighboring midwestern gardener. We have been lucky here with abundant rains this year, compared with the droughts elsewhere that are mentioned on TOD. Since we've gardened all of our lives, I'm doing more experimentation this year. I'm growing a N.Dak. native American corn variety, and letting heirloom dried beans climb up the stalks. The project is going well so far. The beans are just now attaching to the corn. Am also growing a native American variety of squash, and the plants are perfectly beautiful so far. I'm going to try to grind the corn after it dries on the ears at the end of the season and use it for flour, if I can find a place to grind it. It's my first time ever, to grow dried beans. I added epsom salts (for Mg) to the tomatoes this year and they're looking healthy. The three bantum chicken's are spoiled rotten, as they are in a pen in the middle of the garden and we throw them many treats throughout the day. My goal is to see how much I can grow in how small of a space with how little water--permaculture, if you will. Whoever posted the clay pot irrigation system here recently, I hope to do some of that next summer, too--thanks!! Also, I picked up some beautiful old canning jars at a neighbor's boy scout garage sale. They have thick rims and beautiful little bubbles in the primitive glass. The people who canned are passing on now, so the jars are readily available if you just look. I plan to do more food drying this year, and the jars can be used to store dried food, as well. I dry some tomatoes every summer, it's so easy. I just oil a cookie sheet, slice them into 1/4 inch slices and fill 2 or 3 racks in the oven. I turn the oven on to 200 in the late evening. When it is preheated, I turn it off without opening the door and I take them out in the morning, all dried to perfection. Note: I live in the middle of a town of 250K and our garden is about 900 sq ft, part of that, paths between the raised beds.

Hi Kalpa

We've just sent away to this company www.aaoobfoods.com for a food mill, they are a bit pricey and delivery time is slow, 6 weeks, but will post something after we try it.


Any problems from the neighbors about the chickens where you're at? I can't have them where I'm at currently (suburban O). Good luck with the native corn & squash- no room for corn for me here, but I have a couple varieties of winter squash this year too, first time. I overplanted potatoes assuming some would fail, and none did. So I've begun digging a few early to clear space, and will let the rest go to maturity.

So far, so good this year with rain. Hoping for continued great gardening weather. But you know, of course, 95 degrees and dry is just around the corner :-P

My family and neighbors watch me work outside my house and are completely puzzled why I do it. I have explained so much about PO & population issues, I’ve stopped talking about it. In my orbit of family, friends & neighbors, they will never get it. Only when a serious disconnect happens to us, will they open there eyes and get away from the TV

They WILL remember who has the garden and help you eat it.

That is a very good point. When PO hits and people are hungry, they will do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to get food. This guy's nice, colorful, and plentiful garden will be raided.

That's why I'm not doing anything about PO where I currently live. What's the point? I can't stand in my yard 24/7 with my guns and shoot everyone who tries to steal my produce.

The best thing is to S.T.F.U. and don't talk to you neighbors about non-mainstream "news." Stock up on food & water and hide them inside your house, not in your garage where the whole neighborhood can see it.

When the lights go out, don't turn on your lights even if you can. Use low-powered flashlights at night if you need to so they can't be seen from outside. If you show off to your neighbors by turning on your solar-powered, battery-stored lights at night, you'll be nothing more than a "lighthouse." And if you have energy, people will (correctly) think you also have food & water.

No, at the individual level preparing for PO doesn't work. It has to be done at the very least at the city level. I don't see one city invading another city for supplies, but I can easily see one group of people invading individuals - whether homes or stores (think of Hurricane Katrina).

It's a shame, but it's true. Since it isn't possible to convince your neighbors, there should be a 'stealth' aspect to your prep.

In addition to your house, might be a good idea to cache food in places others wouldn't expect. There are many animals which employ this strategy regularly, even social ones like dogs.

Geocaching might even be do-able; odds are that the GPS satellites will still be working long after other stuff isn't, since the US will still be wanting to bomb things and navigate. How that for a pre-peak hobby? Pick up some surplus 55-gallon plastic drums and go bury them all over the place.

Best done as a solo exercise, though; you wouldn't want people to think you had stuff cached, lest you be 'persuaded' to reveal their location through sundry means.

Actually, having a small farm would be a perfect "cover" for burying food, as long as it doesn't come in cans. Planting strawberries or something over your 55-gallon drums of rice wouldn't look suspicious; freshly-dug ground rather begs the question otherwise.

I'm just saying...

Pedlepusher, you and Greenish are really having such fun I really hate to spoil the fun but no one is going to raid your gardens if you were to grow them.

Most people don't even know what a garden looks like they will just as soon eat the morning glories which is about all most are farmiliar with other than Cotoneasters that real estate agent favorite.

Don't keep mustard and Ketchup in the house or they will figure you have hamburgers and torture you within an inch of your lives and then eat you and the ketchup too. Don't incite, but try to confuse them by repeatedly asking them if they are the Piece-a-Pitza Pizza delivery guys.

Anyway you two are more likely to be running and jumping over fences looking for where you hid your stash, after that satellite's Duracell batteries do die, to grow anything more substantial than raucous laughter about all the other loonies jumping over fences looking for their stashes.

Crystal, are you f'in joking? People steal my mangos now!

It's not just dogs and squirrels that stash food, I've watched jays and crows hide stuff also. True, they later can't find most of it, but they find enough that their kids survive and pass on the behavior! If you think you know better than a billion years of evolution, well, good luck to your kids.


Errol in Miami

Mango trees ( Mangifera indica ) are large, reaching 35-40 m in height, with a crown radius of 10 m. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple, 15-35 cm long and 6-16 cm broad; when the leaves are...etc

Holy Mackerel notindenial, 35 to 40 meters high (wiki), I would be more worried about being sued after those mango thieves fall out of them than whether or not they steal a mango or two, damn if those aren't big suckers. Wow, I say WOW!

BTW for anyone not farmiliar with metric a meter is over a yard long (one meter = 39.3700787 inches)

Oh and Dogs and Squirrels I do hope you are not referring to the previous dynamic duo there?

Most people don't pick mangoes by climbing the tree. They use a mango picker (basically, a little net on a pole). Or you pick them standing on the ground if they are in reach.

(Leanan <-- fruit thief in her misspent youth)

Goodness gracious Leanan, That would be quite the pole!

(Me <--grew up in the Okanagan, too much fruit there for one to be considered a thief.)

People can make surprisingly long "mango-knocking" sticks by tying/taping together sections of bamboo. Some guys in NY have even commericialized a product meant for plucking errant plastic bags out of tree tops:

Sounds a bit like you've been chewing morning glory seeds yourself this morning.... the poor man's LSD, right? Visions of enormous mango trees swimming in your head....

I'm fine being called a dog or a squirrel, as you did down-post. Adapting tried-and-true survival strategies is not the worst idea.

As for the mustard, I'll save that for garden raiders. Cannibalism just wouldn't be civilized without a little grey poupon.

He who raucously laughs last....

I really hate to spoil the fun but no one is going to raid your gardens if you were to grow them.

Tell that to my missing tomatoes, rasberries and asperigus in my city lot.

I disagree about personel preparation
With kin,and as secluded as I am,I am going for the well armed,low profile mouse,who lives in a orchard ,with many vineing plants...

The two worlds thing is difficult. I rationalize that I can capitalize large amounts of CO2 and fossil fuel into my sustainable infrastructure. So I drove two hours north yesterday to help some friends set up a couple of very large hoop-houses and returned with all sorts of plants - in particular a large stock of raspberry. Then today there was the bee-keeping workshop and the community organization where I'll be helping with program. On my bicycle I could have done one but not both of the latter and forget the greenhouses and plants. More likely, on my bicycle I'll be killed by some RWA in a black SUV with "Go Navy Raptors" on it. Not much survival joy in that.

cfm in Gray, ME

You're a freak.
Just like me.
Keep that pie-hole shut.

GM Shifts Engineers to Speed Creation of Electric Car
Bloomberg tiny link

By Jeff Green

June 15 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Corp. is reassigning 500 engineers to speed up the creation of the Chevrolet Volt, an electric car designed to close the automaker's technology gap with Toyota Motor Corp.

The engineers will transfer from research and development to production engineering and other areas aimed at preparing the Volt for sale, said Larry Burns, vice president of R&D at the Detroit automaker. The Volt and its fuel-cell powerplant are moving from ``theory'' to ``reality,'' he said in an interview.
The vehicle would travel 40 miles before tapping the engine, which could be powered by gasoline or diesel fuel or hydrogen fuel cells.
Signaling progress on the Volt, Wagoner said last week GM awarded battery-research contracts to Michigan-based Compact Power Inc., a subsidiary of South Korea's LG Chem Ltd. and another to Continental Automotive Systems, a Continental AG unit. Burns said 13 companies bid for the two contracts.

The Volt would be superior to GM's last electric car, the EV-1, because the onboard engine can be tapped for long trips, giving it a maximum range of about 640 miles, Lutz said earlier this year. The EV-1 traveled about 60 miles to 90 miles before it needed to be plugged in and recharged.

GM invested more than $1 billion on the EV-1 a decade ago. It abandoned the technology because of the car's expense and need for frequent recharging. GM has already invested $1 billion on fuel cells and plans to invest another $1 billion.

No clue why the fascination with fuel cells. It's interesting to note the money they spent on the EV1, actually getting a working vehicle out of the money, and the money they've spent on fuel cells for naught.

and the money they've spent on fuel cells for naught.

They already said they won't make a decision on Fuel Cell cars until 2010.

Folks, the extraction on the Volt in Drumbeat is a misprint.

The Volt was never designed, shown as or intended to be a fuel cell car.

It is a "series hybrid", that is an battery-electric with an small internal combustion engine used only to charge the batteries.

The car would be powered only by electric, with plug in capability and all accessories would be powered by the electric system, using the small internal combustion engine only to charge the batteries for range enhancement.

This is why there was a serious discussion of battery type, as batteries that can withstand deep charge, discharge cycles and absolutely imperative to the system. If the car were to be powered by fuel cell, this would NOT be an issue.

Fuel cells are still FAR too expensive to use on the highway. GM does however see this car as a very, very strong bridge to a possible fuel cell car, as the batteries would simply be replaced at some point in the future by fuel cell, the electric drive system already having been worked out.

I will do more posts on this car and the this path in the future, because as a technically and economically viable alternative, it could be a revolutionary breakthrough. It is by far the most workable path at this time.

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

Another serious problem with current battery teachnology is the fact that they loose effectiveness as the temperature drops below freezing.

Not good for a large portion of the US during the winter.


Everything old becomes new again --- other than some upgraded peripheral stuff how does the Volt differ from this? A claimed 60+ MPG over 80 years ago :-)


The PHEVs are a dagger pointed at OPEC's heart. Lovely things they are. A world of PHEVs, running on biofuels, promises radical reductions in fossil oil use. I mean radical.
Unless oil drops substantially in price from here, PHEVs and biofuels are economically feasible, or need only minor subsidies and tax breaks. (And certainly those tax breaks and subs would be far less than the cost of the war in Iraq's, or the cost of our military machine).
It is game over for the fossil boys. Peak Demand is here. OPEC has a choice: Cut prices, or be pushed aside. It is a fascinating epic in energy history. We are transitioning to a post-fossil society – unless oil crumbles, like it did last time (1980s).

BenjaminCole, every one of your posts is a dagger pointed at your own brain... Eventually, after enough posts, perhaps your brain will shut off? We can only pray...

So did he get on the short list of banned people and immediately come back so he can get banned again?

Yes he did. And he admitted it earlier though his handle is obvious enough "Bencole" spelled backwards. Then he accuses TOD of banning him for no reason in another post when the reasons were quite clear.

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

I must have missed all this. What exactly transpired to get Mr. Cole banned?

PartyGuy asked,

"I must have missed all this. What exactly transpired to get Mr. Cole banned?"

I would be curious to know that one myself. While Ben could be over exuberant even to my standard (and that takes a lot sometimes!), I have not seen any post where he was openly rude to people, accused people of false motives, or attacked by way of name calling or personal attack. I am not saying he did not do it and I missed the post, but I really would like to see the evidence against him.

I fear that open debate on the Peak Oil issue is rapidly being "closed" More the pity, because a forum is needed where discussion of the all possibilities is allowed.

I was taught by an excellent teacher when I was young, "be very careful of those who endorse "single sourcing" you on information. Single sourcing leaves a person blind and essentially defenseless.

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

Cole had a habit of playing fast and loose with his claims of fact (a highly trollish behavior).  He's still doing the same elsewhere.

Disclaimer:  I had no prior knowledge of his banning.

I think the final straw may have come when he claimed that Robert Rapier said that a new ethanol process would provide 50% of all liquid fuels ever needed by the US. Of course Robert said the exact opposite, claiming that this process would never achieve anything like that. But those are the kinds of statements BenCole repeatedly made, distorting or even outright lying about various things. When he was challenged to present facts, he would whine that he was being ostracized and now he claims he was banned because this community is one sided against any positive vision of the future.

This is despite many people with positive visions of the future here, from Alan, to Dezakin, to yourself as well. What he apparently fails to understand or deliberately ignores is that each of you has presented facts to support your positions. Now there are still arguable points in your vision, Alan's vision, Dezakin's vision and that of many others. But the usual situation here, especially with new or alternative tech is "show me" and there are a number of posters just like yourself who have taken the time to show us.

I didn't make any formal complaints to the TOD staff about him but his banning does not surprise me in the least. And further, it does not surprise me that he would make an outrageous claim about Robert precisely when Robert had to be away for several days. That's the clear mark of a troll.

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

At least he's right about PHEV's.  The actions of the Republicans in early 2001 to kill the PNGV and all technology which aims at PHEV capability makes me suspect that Bush is doing the bidding of Saudi Arabia and selling out his own country.

Yes, I think that's treason.  Especially the failure to reverse course after it became war on 9/11/2001.

Yes, I think that's treason.

As stated elsewhere on TOD, and I'll paraphrase:

The purpose of government is the pay some private gain with broad public monies.

The 'war' is a fine way to take public money and transfer it to private hands in a way "the public" will 'support'.

The model of US conduct offered by Carter/Mondale of sacrifice and balancing a budget were 'rejected' by the mass of Americans.

Have to disagree. PHEV's are mitigation not cure. Too little and too late. Looking at Westexas's export land model (250 to 500 Billion barrels likely coming as imports ever) and I've concluded it's all already spoken for with just the vehicles we have today. (The old fuel inefficient crude oil burning ones) Certainly with the conventional ones we'll build in the next few years before the process slows down. The thing we have to settle on is how much we are willing to sacrifice to do it.

The estimates and assumptions are pretty dynamic, but even 700 million vehicles (including busses and long haul trucks) getting an average of 20 mpg (probably high) and each having 200,000 good miles left in them. (many road haulers go to the 1 million mark+) would burn 167 Billion barrels.

The expected miles are high cause we won't quit adding trucks, and cars tomorrow and we may be forced to drive these out further. Then we haven't counted any of the ships, planes, diesel rail, ag/construction equiptment yet, let alone recreational vehicles, motorsports, and the myriad of industrial and household power modules found everywhere in the world. The military use is huge for heavens sake.

Point is there may be enough diesel fuel and gas tanks on the 'road' right now in the net import 'consumer' nations ,were most of the vehicles are, to account for all the (sub $10/gal) fuel likely ever coming their way. We are literally driving the last of the dinosaurs. A 5% annual fleet turnover (14 years)won't be fast enough and that isn't happening today.

Go with Alan's Urban Rail (it's going to look good when the gasoline gets real tight this summer and next) Bring on a good electric car, change the neighborhood organization, develop a good neighborhood sized vehicle, or ride a bike ,but I highly doubt we will be able to drive large ICE vehicles in anything close to the manner we do now very much longer. And it won't be cheap oil preventing that.

Carpooling and PHEV's may stretch it out some. Currently nobody wants to suffer the "indignity" of riding public transport or huddling together in a compact car. It's got to become chic to conserve. But eventually we'll be doing all that 70's fuel crisis stuff and more, for the same reasons, but with no new OPECs out there, w/o the same reprieve.

There are more big SUV's around than owners who can 'feed' them. It's another 'sub-prime' level problem. You see there are too many $$ invested in all these 700 million rigs to turn over the fleet to PHEV's tomorrow. If US planners we're looking at net exports they'd be hitting the 'reverse engines lever' on freeways, runways and sprawl now. They'd incentivize electrified rail projects so fast it'd make our heads spin.

No all the oil that OPEC, FSU and anybody else will produce will be in high demand regardless of how many PHEV's are built and the prices will be high enough to destroy demand all over the world in the process. But still the demand will be there. (see post on ww gasoline prices) That demand isn't peaking it's simply being priced out as in 'quantity demanded at a specific price'. That price trend is all up, and nothing on the horizon is likely to prevent it equaling the 'ultimate quantity availiable'.

We will never have a society that continues the individual automobile fiesta with any other form of energy than oil. Ethanol and bio-diesel are net energy losers.

This kind of magical thinking is what will ensure the doom comes on like a duck in the face at two hundred miles per hour.

C'mon out, Benjamin, we know that's you.

Hi Roger!

Get the DVD 'Who Killed The Electric Car'...GM killed the EV1 because it would have killed GMs business model. The EV1 did get 90 miles on a charge and that met the needs of 90% of the people in the US. The EV1 great fault? It did not go into the dealership for repairs. These so called hybrid cars are very complex and are going to need lots of repairs, hence, they are the automakers choice to maintain their business model of lots of mechanics and dealerships.

The Prius, at least, needs much less maintenance than a normal vehicle.  The electronics take a lot of the load off both the engine and brakes, and the engine is much more lightly loaded than a conventional car's (the Atkinson cycle cuts forces as part of its increased expansion ratio).

The psychology of previous investment.

Gasoline here today is $7.40 per US gallon. This is Wales, UK at 98.9p / litre. No societal collapse yet.

VERY important observation.

I know this is out of the blue, but am I the only one who considers the current style of windmills to be of dubious efficiency? As a recovering sailor I have lots of time working with wind power and studying the principles and numbers, and what I refer to as pinwheels look pretty anaemic in terms of utilization of potential power.

The Gougeon Bros. of West System Epoxy fame did a lot of work on the subject for NASA as I recall back in the 80s. What I see going up looks more like the tax dodge doodahs from 1979 than an actual attempt at efficient generation.

I may be wrong, and we are only bottom feeding just above the laminar layer at the moment, and we have no viable storage systems as yet to temper the variability, but it just seems to an old sailor to be a greenwash or tax dodge or territory holding minimal working of the claim.

I guess it only has to look like it works for the moment, but what a waste to put up these crappy towers only to have to replace them with the real thing sooner than the subsidizers expected.

Anybody know of a good wind power site that isn't just kneejerk cheerleading?

I'd hate to think of what wind power engineers think of sailboats.

The Danes have been pretty good at it. Read through everything on this site, and if you think you can still build a better windmill, go for it.


Let them have at sailboats. If you look at what they sail in the around the world races or a good racing 40ft catamaran or the Little America's Cup boats you'll see some pretty close to the ragged edge of possibility design. Any windmill engineer who thinks he can do better could make a large pile of dough in a hurry making rich yachties go faster. There's a lineup of paid geniuses already working on it with decades of experience and lots or ready money.

The fact that most sailboats are slow has more to do with the load than the motor. The fact that a piece of cloth can propel a multi ton barge at hull speed in a modest wind - and upwind at that - says a lot for the available power.

I'm out the door and busy today, but thanks for the site. Muchas Gracias. They'll no doubt straighten me out.

Any windmill engineer who thinks he can do better could make a large pile of dough in a hurry making rich yachties go faster.

It's called a wingsail.  (It's no good to the yacht nuts because you can't furl it.)

The windmill engineers are some of the same people who've gone from aluminum sailplanes achieving a 22:1 L/D ratio to ultra-smooth "glass slippers" exceeding 60:1.  All the computational fluid dynamics and many of the construction methods have gone into the modern wind turbine rotor.  If you think that a bozo who still works with fabric membranes has anything to teach those guys about aerodynamics, you need to knock off the sauce.

GE pitched their hat into the wind power ring some time ago and they have some competent engineers working for them. GE also cut loose their sub prime lending sector. They seem to have a handle on what is going on.

See notes about GE and its various business efforts here.

Thanks for the site. Much of our (wife and I) retirement comes from GE stock so we are always interested in what they are doing. Of course we expect a crash of the market in the near future but we are not in debt and have other assets. One can only prepare so much even if the wall ahead is clearly in view. Hope you have a great Sunday.

'At the age of 25 most people were finised. A whole goddamned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate who reminded them most of themselves.' Charles Bukowski

The reason that most ocean-going sailboats are slow is because they have to be seaworthy, and of course there is a big tradeoff between seaworthiness and speed.

For really fast sailboats, look at some of the dinghies (e.g. International 14) or catamarans not designed to survive 100 knot winds.

I may be wrong

Put bluntly... you probably are. If you are referring to the modern windmill, with the very narrow members, usually in an array of 3, please remember that when they are moving they are indeed removing energy from the passing air optimally. When they are sitting still they do look rather anemic to our eyes. If you were a molecule of air, though, and were part of a breeze headed into the cross section of the windmill you'd discover they are indeed effective at slowing you down.

Hi Petro,

I love to hear this sort of question, but I am trying to decide how rhetorical it is, do you know of any uncrappy towers?

About wind storage systems maybe instead we could become the 'People of the Winds' and work and play depending on when the winds blow. This may sound facetious but working in the old dutch wind mill was not a 9 to 5 grind.:>)

I have a small river or large creek that I would like to put to simple work at merely generating heated water to use in my green house for bottom heat (the root area).

I also heard of an interesting idea that the most efficient way of transporting water to countries in drought was by sending grain instead.

Or how about If I have lost my screwdriver and all my life I have been screwing about for a living and somebody hands me a hammer, what do I do?

Oops mis-metaphor, I really was driving at:.

How about if I have been driving nails with a hammer and run out and somebody hands me screws, what to do?


Viable electrical storage system.


22 hours at 1.6 GW, 35+ GWh stored (more power if depleted slower, less frictional loss).

HV DC lines to carry power to and from the site.

Best Hopes.


The TVA site is very interesting. Those interested in pumped storage might want to take note of the long list of pumped storage facilities at:


Efficient Generation

Efficient as in capturing a high % of available power ?

Quite frankly no need now or for the foreseeable future.

Efficient as in capturing 1% of available power for a low enough capital investment and operating expense to make it cost competitive with natural gas ?

Pretty much a done deal.

BTW, theoretical max for capturing unconstrained flow is about 10%,


Hi Alan,

Your answer is one of the reasons I like those kind of questions.

How about talking to this too?

Using wind generated power one can transfer that in heat to a body of water at nearly 100% efficiency. One can use that heat directly as heating. This would not be a production of electricity but a saving in energy produced by other means which would be available to run, for instance, this computer . In stored heat wind power would not be as dependent on a steady wind as would using that electric energy directly.

I'm thinking of those small units that could be ganged on buildings.

Interesting idea.

Generation would not be a good match with demand, but that is true of solar water heaters as well.

Also, current ETs often use only half the shaft power (sometimes 1/8th just before shut down in high winds) because of economics.

WT generators are undersized due to weight issues (high up on tower) and typically max out at half shut-down wind speed. Power is cube of wind speed.

I have thought of an impeller on shaft to capture lost power. Compress freon (in Al tubes to save weight) in tower and run it down ?

Can be heat pump. heat in winter, cool in summer. Store in water for use as needed. (water is heavy store @ ground level).

Wind speed increases with altitude, and power is cube of wind speed. Small WTs near ground level have a disadvantage.

Best Hopes for Useful Speculation,


Basically, it seems as though the current designs are optimized in a fairly narrow range of both wind speed and economics. What I am saying is not that the deasigns are poor given the constraints, but that the constraints aren't a fixed point.

If I said, 'I need to produce X megawatts from Y surface area regardless of whether it takes Z slave days to make, because that's the amount of energy we need and that's the surface area available, the vertical component would be the major variable. Using low aspect ratio high area 'sails' - they could be solid like those on the Little America's Cup catamarans which pioneered them - would extend the generating airspeed downwards but as has been pointed out a high aspect ratio works well at higher rotational speeds.

Regardless of basic design, the problem becomes one of G forces on large diameter props. Vertical stacks would be an obvious avenue once the basic dimensions are worked out.

Want ten times the output? Stack them ten high. Actually, there's still going to be another mile to go vertically and then some more. I still say we're just bottom feeding with pathetic pinwheels designed with an accountant looking over the engineers shoulder. T'was ever thus. Newton and wind and Bernoulli seem not to have changed at all.

G forces get smaller with size.  The blade tip speed is limited (well under sonic, and usually a high single-digit multiple of the wind speed), and the acceleration is given by v2/r.

Vertical stacks would just have higher tower costs than a horizontal array.

Hello Alan,

I am not an engineer, but it seems to me that inventors need to improve the design so that a windmill can harvest any wind at any speed.

TODer Sailorman can probably add more to this than me, but a sailboat can always add sail for low winds, and reduce or reef sails in high winds. The fact that many current turbines have to shutdown in stronger winds to keep from being destroyed makes no sense to me; they should designed to be able to take the most advantage of the highest winds.

Mount Washington in New Hampshire has very high windspeeds, but as far as I know: no windturbines to harvest the energy.

Mount Washington is the highest peak in the American Northeast at 6,288 ft (1,917 m). It is famous for its dangerously erratic weather, holding the record for the highest wind gust directly measured at the Earth's surface, at 231 mi/h (372 km/h) on the afternoon of April 12, 1934.
A turbine that can work at over 200mph can generate a tremendous amount of energy [Power is cube of wind speed].

Perhaps a Bernoulli Tube with magnets on the outside and a spinning wireset inside that has the ability to vary its 'sail footage' by the use of mechanical variation of the camera shutter tool might address this need. The very high shaft-rotational speed would switch to axial mag-lev bearings at some predetermined safety point [above 40 mph windspeed?]that would then allow safe operation up to 300 mph windspeeds.

Antarctica also has very high & very consistent windspeeds due to its katabatic winds coming out of the high interior rushing to sealevel [up to 200 mph]. This would also be an excellent place to harvest the cube-root power of wind.


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

A good article on 2 blade designs. Supposedly better for higher winds.


The world still have plenty of sites for conventional WTs, but specialty WTs should begin to appear about now.

Also, some WTs are taking larger blades and putting them on smaller turbines for better low speed capture of wind (one of the Danes put 1 MW blades on their 660 kW generator to create a lower wind speed machine for Germany).

Best Hopes for better Wind Turbine technology,


Sorry Al, Jensen Wind Turbine Co.(damned if I can find a link) in the 1930's discounted 2-blade designs as having too much vibration.
"What was old is new" is only for those who forget history.

"Teetering" (freedom of movement along the axis of the shaft) is seen as a way to reduce (or rather absorb) the 2 blade vibration.


Looks complicated. And scary.
Complex systems are the last thing you want in wind turbine design.
Even this vertical design uses 3 blades.

A 2-blade design can use a one-piece rotor, which is even simpler.

The problem with 2-blade rotors is that they have radically different moments of inertia around the two rotational axes along the blades and perpendicular to the blades.  This means that turning the spinning rotor creates a 2/rotation torque vibration.  A simple way to fix that is to put a short cross bar on the rotor with something heavy on the ends, to equalize the angular inertia.  Another is to put a diagonal teetering pivot, so that the blade "flies" itself into the shaft's plane of rotation without needing any external torque.  The pivot just needs a bushing, less complex than the rotor shaft bearings.

Or add a third blade. Or a forth just as long as it is'nt two. Catch more wind too. Jensen explained it all in a Mother Earth News interview back in the 70's(last time I read it) and I have a copy of it at my lifeboat. Next time I'm there I'll dig it up and quote him.
Jensen Wind Turbine Co. was the largest producer of wind powered electric generators during the 1930's.
Done in by the Rural Electrification Program.
You can still see them sometimes at centennial farms.

Here is a problem we run into with a sail or a wing or a turbine blade in very strong winds:

The kinetic energy (and hence destructive power) of wind goes up as the square of velocity. Thus if a ten mile per hour wind is one unit, a twenty m.p.h. wind will deliver FOUR times as much energy as a ten m.p.h. wind. Now do the math for forty m.p.h. wind, sixty m.p.h. wind and you can see the good old rule:
Take your first reef when the wind is twenty knots, and take the second reef at thirty. By the time you get up to sixty knots you'd better be under bare poles, because otherwise something is going to break.

The economics and efficiency numbers are such that current best designs for wind turbines (such as those from Finland) are probably pretty close to the best that will ever be designed, unless there is some kind of breakthrough in regard to superstrong and reasonably priced materials.

Hello Don,

Thxs for responding with the info! That is why my earlier post suggested radical windmill designs with variable sail area by using mechanical camera shutter designs--it still would take advantage of the highest winds.

Another alternative: Birds can vary their 'propshaft length' by bending their wings and/or periodic total closure, then reopening. Peregrine falcons, for example:


A windturbine blade that mechanically emulates this natural ability would be a tremendous advance, IMO. Alas, I am not a skilled inventor, but hopefully some TOD genius will engineer a breakthrough turbine blade!

EDIT: I imagine a carbon-fiber wing skeleton covered with carbon-fiber feathers that could be furled or unfurled by pumping air into the actuators near the rotating axle. But skilled experts may have better ideas.

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

see any birds about in hurricanes?

or storms for that matter?

I try not to be a downer, but if you are trying to boost power output (lets say 10x) for the duration of a storm with the *risk* (even a small 1/100 chance) of wreaking the turbine, is that 10x power boost worth it for the chance at loss of the turbines output for the time it takes you to repair it?

Everything is a tradeoff.

Pick any 2.

Make it bigger, more materials cost
Make is work in higher windspeeds, it becomes more complicated and less reliable, price also goes up with complexity.
More reliable? More money!
Change the material? More money!

I feel that current designs are getting close to max ROI, balancing technology, size, reliability, and cost.

I was having fun until you started making sense.
Thanks alot!
(sarconol off)

see any birds about in hurricanes?

Yes 1995 Erin on Abaco Bahamas sorry to burst your bubble.

it seems to me that inventors need to improve the design so that a windmill can harvest any wind at any speed.

The power in a stream of air is proportional to the speed cubed.  There is also a distribution of wind speeds, with the high ones being very rare.  This implies three important things:

  1. Below a certain speed, there is not enough wind energy to be worth the cost of capturing it.  An hour of 20 MPH wind will give you as much energy as 6 weeks of 2 MPH wind.
  2. Above a certain speed, the expense of the hardware for capturing the extra energy will be used so seldom it isn't worth doing.  It makes more sense to put money into another turbine even if it maxes out lower.
  3. The profile of wind power production is rather "peaky", and many expenses are proportional to peak power.  Trying to optimize high-end capture makes it peakier.  This also exacerbates the mismatch of production vs. demand.

If you want to spend your own money on extracting every last erg at both the low and high ends, go ahead.  Folks going back a century have found that it's not worth it.

Some sites (New Zealand, Iceland, Antarctica) have wind profiles considerably above the optimum for the Danish designs (to date the paradigm that all major makers build to) and this makes space for other designs.

Conversely, high energy cost but moderate wind regimes (many islands) have a need for designs optimized for lower wind speeds.

Sea breezes do not increase dramatically with altitude (local surface effect caused by daily differential of ground temperatures between land & sea) so 70 m tall towers may not be the best economic solution to capture sea breezes.

Best Hopes for better Wind Turbines,


"Erg" - I haven't heard of that unit in 25 years.

At 10^(-7) Joules it is not a lot of energy.

I'm tri-lingual.  I speak MKS, CGS and Imperial.

I am not an engineer, but it seems to me that inventors need to improve the design so that a windmill can harvest any wind at any speed.

I've been watching this design for some time:

GTA, Hamilton transit systems get $17.5B in Ont. funding

A $17.5-billion plan for public transit in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton was announced Friday by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

The plan includes funding for the extension of Toronto's subway, expansion of GO Transit and the construction of rapid transit lines in Hamilton.

Alan, it looks like you might be right after all. :) All that's needed is the last 1/3 of the funding from Harper. And for Dalton to make good on the promise after the election, too. Here's hoping!

Dream It, Plan It, Propose It and they will come !

when oil prices and availability become a big enough concern.

It seems an easy way for Harper to do something positive about GW, and please a number of voters.

Very GOOD news indeed,

Alan :-)

Where does Ottawa fit into this proposal ?

They have some nice plans as well.


If you find a table for those 900 km please let me know.

Best Hopes for Canada not pulling an Export Land Model on the USA (we NEED your tar sands, so PLEASE conserve oil and leave it for US because we just don't want to build Urban Rail),


This is what a Peak Oil Mitigation Project could look like (if the starter infrastructure was in place)


GO Transit Commuter Rail

1. GO Lakeshore West rail line capacity expansion by adding a third track from Port Credit to Oakville
2. GO Lakeshore West rail line capacity expansion by adding a third track from Burlington to Hamilton
3. GO Lakeshore East rail line capacity expansion by adding a third track from Union Station to Scarborough
4. GO Lakeshore East rail line extension from Oshawa to Bowmanville
5. GO Lakeshore rail line electrification (SuperGO)
6. GO Milton rail line capacity expansion from Union Station to Milton
7. GO Georgetown rail line capacity expansion from Union Station to Georgetown
8. GO Bradford rail line capacity expansion from Union Station to Bradford
9. GO Bradford rail line extension and capacity expansion from Bradford to Barrie
10. GO Richmond Hill rail line capacity expansion from Union Station to Richmond Hill
11. GO Richmond Hill rail line extension to Aurora Road
12. GO Stouffville rail line capacity expansion from Union Station to Stouffville and extension of the line to Uxbridge
13. New GO Crosstown rail line between Weston Road and the Don Valley
14. New GO Crosstown rail line between the Don Valley and Agincourt
15. New GO rail line from Union Station to Bolton
16. New GO rail line on the Havelock line from Agincourt to Pickering
17. New GO rail line on the Seaton line from Agincourt to Brock Road in Pickering

GO Bus Rapid Transit(BRT)

18. GO Bus Rapid Transit along Highway 403 from Oakville GO rail station to Mississauga
19. Mississauga Transitway west of Mississauga City Centre to Winston Churchill Boulevard
20. Mississauga Transitway east of Mississauga City Centre to Renforth Drive
21. GO Bus Rapid Transit northwest Toronto link from Renforth Drive to York University
22. GO Bus Rapid Transit on Markham Road from Highway 407 in Markham to Highway 401
23. GO Bus Rapid Transit on Highway 401 from Markham Road in Scarborough to Pickering GO rail station
24. GO Bus Rapid Transit connector on Highway 427 from Renforth Drive to Highway 407
25. GO Bus Rapid Transit along Highway 407 from York University to Langstaff (Yonge Street) and on to Markham Road
26. GO Bus Rapid Transit along Highway 407 from Burlington to Highway 401
27. GO Bus Rapid Transit along Highway 407 from Highway 401 to Highway 427
28. GO Bus Rapid Transit along Highway 407 from Highway 427 to York University

Subway and Other Rapid Transit

29. Yonge subway line extension north from Finch station to Highway 7 (Langstaff)
30. VIVA Markham North-South Link from Markham Centre to Don Mills station
31. Pearson Air-Rail link to Union Station
32. Hamilton east-west rapid transit on King/Main Streets from Eastgate Mall to McMaster University
33. Hamilton north-south rapid transit on James/Upper James Streets from Rymal Road to King Street
34. Brampton Acceleride on Queen Street from Main Street to Highway 50
35. Hurontario Light Rail Transit from Queen Street in Brampton to Lakeshore Road in Mississauga
36. Eglinton Avenue Light Rail Transit from Renforth Drive to Kennedy Road in Scarborough
37. Yonge Bus Rapid Transit busway from Finch station to Steeles Avenue
38. Dundas Street West Light Rail Transit from Kipling station to Hurontario Street
39. Scarborough RT extension from McCowan station to Sheppard Avenue
40. Sheppard Avenue Light Rail Transit from Don Mills Road to Morningside Avenue
41. Finch Avenue West Light Rail Transit from Highway 27 to Yonge Street
42. Don Mills Road Light Rail Transit from Steeles Avenue to the Bloor-Danforth subway
43. Jane Street Light Rail Transit from Steeles Avenue to Jane station on the Bloor-Danforth subway
44. Malvern Light Rail Transit from Kennedy station to Malvern
45. Waterfront West Light Rail Transit from Union Station to Long Branch
46. VIVA Yonge Street from Steeles Avenue to Highway 7 (Langstaff)
47. VIVA Yonge Street from Highway 7 (Langstaff) to 19th Avenue in Richmond Hill
48. VIVA Yonge Street from 19th Avenue to Newmarket
49. VIVA Highway 7 from Highway 50 to Yonge Street (Langstaff)
50. VIVA Highway 7 from Yonge Street (Langstaff) to Cornell
51. Durham rapid transit line on Highway 2 from Oshawa to Pickering
52. Spadina subway line extension north from Downsview station to Highway 7 (Vaughan Corporate Centre)

*Projects subject to the review of the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority.

The Government of Ontario also announced today it will fund up to two-thirds of the project costs for Kitchener-Waterloo's rapid transit plan. The government will work with the region to request the balance of funding from the federal government.

The press release and documents I've seen don't mention Ottawa's plans at all. Ottawa had some infighting recently where one or both of the lines was in jeopardy (I never heard how it all ended).

I see you found the list of projects. It's fairly impressive. I'm not convinced in all of them. Nevertheless, I would be very pleased if this list became reality.

We covered this at work last week.

All available existing rail will be upgraded to light rail (NSEW) within 3 years. New stations and more trains will be done up to accomodate the growth.

Projected cost 900 Million $CD.

Despite Ottawa being located in Ontario, there is no known connection between the plans for the GTA and the plans for Ottawa.

Ottawa had a signed light rail contract in 2006. There was a change in civic administration and interference from a Federal minister who was a political ally of the new mayor. This resulted in the unilateral termination of the signed contract. See this URL for details --->

The outcome is the loss to the city of some 10 years of work and 60 million in costs plus a lawsuit for 120 million from the contractors whose contract was abrogated. This in a city that has used all of its reserve funds to fund this years operating costs.

The political drive to kill the original light rail plan came from suburbs that wanted more roads, wider roads, bigger roads, faster roads and, given this unmet demand for roads, they saw no reason to pay for light rail.

One of the key ironies of all this is that the city cannot afford the cost of building more roads, nor can it afford the proper upkeep of the roads it currently has.

What Ottawa now has are some PDF maps and a PDF proposal that is likely to stay in PDF form. Nothing better than a politician who can claim "We have a plan!! It's on the web!!"

I guess Kunstler didn't sell too many copies of his books in Ottawa. I'm waiting for the screams that will ensure when the roadway maniacs in the suburbs suddenly encounter the true costs of their transportation habit.

new account - send me an email if you're in Ottawa. OC.

The provincial transportation announcement offers nothing outside of the GTA. Brockville, Ontario is a town of 22,000 souls, located in here in eastern Ontario. It has good rail links, hosting the Ottawa connection of the Toronto-Montreal line, and water route of the St Lawrence Seaway (how will those locks be operated?). In fact, Brockville is the site of the first railway tunnel in Canada, no longer in use, but connecting the waterfront to the rail lines. Do we need any personal, motorized transport at all in this community? Maybe not.

The provincial transportation announcement offers nothing outside of the GTA

Quote from PR:

The Government of Ontario also announced today it will fund up to two-thirds of the project costs for Kitchener-Waterloo's rapid transit plan.

Electrifying the GO Lakeshore Line to Hamilton (cutting 15 minutes off travel time) is also part of the plan.

I am not sure how many of the other projects extend beyond the Greater Toronto Area. I suspect that several of the GO projects do.

Best Hopes for other Ontario residents,


Right you are! I tend to think of GTA as the entire conurbation extending from Niagara to Newcastle.

I have a suggestion for the editors of the oil drum. Add links to various data sources to the blogroll. For example the EIA, IEA, BP's recent statistical review etc. Preferably to the pages where the data can be downloaded rather than the front page as some of them can be difficult to find for someone not familiar with the sites. I'm sure the other members can come up with other suggestions of useful sites.

Not exactly PO related, but perhaps an effective way to ration in the near future:

Credit cards cut off gas purchases


This won't work.

People will simply steal the gas and sell at market prices.

i have hit that in my area but on as little as 30 bucks. mainly because if i don't have cash on hand i use my debit card.

Some interesting stats from Jim Puplava, on his Financial Sense saturday webcast.

One out of every 88 homes in Stockton, California is in foreclosure.

Foreclosures are up 350% in California overall (year over year).

Foreclosures in Nevada are up five fold (year over year).

5% of all US mortgages are now delinquent.

A buyers paradise indeed!

Not yet, maybe never.

Prices in many parts of the US are still way over the long term trend. You'll do better if you wait till 2008 and, even then, you'll be better off only if prices recover after that. With Peak Oil so close, you might ask yourself if they will ever recover back to the early 2006 prices when adjusted for inflation.

I can only imagine how it is going to be in Dec and Jan after the crest of the most recent ARM reset wave. Talk about buyers' paradise then!

Interesting court case posted on Drudge:

U.S. Internet defamation suit tests online anonymity

Finding and identifying the posters -- including one called "The Ayatollah of Rock-n-Rollah" -- could be tough but is not impossible. The process involves subpoenas issued to Internet Service Providers for records, and then more subpoenas to companies, institutions or people identified on those records.

"I've said in my blog the most vile posters on that board are two subpoenas away from being outed," said Leiter. "This led to much amusement by the anonymous posters on the board.

"But they are about to find out that this is how it works."

I've tried to warn people about this: don't think you can just start defaming people or (especially) corporations on the net because you're behind an anon screen name and it's just the net. There are some very scary cases where a person says "I bought X from such and such Big Company and it sucked!!!" and then they get sued by the company for a shit load of money.

It can happen if you defame individuals as well but most people aren't going to sue because they got called a dipshit on the net.

Volokh is a weenie. There. Let him subpoena me...

It's just conservative/corporate/fascist FUD.

Screw 'em all.

you (or a corporation) can sue anyone you like at any time for anything. winning the case and collecting any money is another matter. and dont forget the 1st line of defense against a defamation claim is the truth. so if exxon really is a butthead, no problemo.

....the 1st line of defense against a defamation claim is the truth....

On my planet, we have no such mind-bending drugs, just cold truth:

Blackwater Sues Families of Slain Employees to Shut Them Up

The families of four American security contractors who were burned, beaten, dragged through the streets of Fallujah and their decapitated bodies hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River on March 31, 2004, are reaching out to the American public to help protect themselves against the very company their loved ones were serving when killed, Blackwater Security Consulting. After Blackwater lost a series of appeals all the away to the U.S. Supreme Court, Blackwater has now changed its tactics and is suing the dead men’s estates for $10 million to silence the families and keep them out of court.

Talking about Blackwater, The Washington Post runs this long, and excellent, article today, which seems to suggest that even the most compliant MSM has had enough of all the secret deals and deaths.

This is worrying stuff, and we have to realize we don't know the half of it. Private contractors are above and beyond the law in Iraq, and that doesn't fit in with what we see as democratic law. No Geneva Convention for them. These guys are lawless, for all intents and purposes.

The presence of Blackwater in New Orleans post-Katrina indicates that it's not just abroad either where the danger lies.

Iraq Contractors Face Growing Parallel War

As Security Work Increases, So Do Casualties

BAGHDAD -- Private security companies, funded by billions of dollars in U.S. military and State Department contracts, are fighting insurgents on a widening scale in Iraq, enduring daily attacks, returning fire and taking hundreds of casualties that have been underreported and sometimes concealed, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials and company representatives.

While the military has built up troops in an ongoing campaign to secure Baghdad, the security companies, out of public view, have been engaged in a parallel surge, boosting manpower, adding expensive armor and stepping up evasive action as attacks increase, the officials and company representatives said. One in seven supply convoys protected by private forces has come under attack this year, according to previously unreleased statistics; one security company reported nearly 300 "hostile actions" in the first four months.

The majority of the more than 100 security companies operate outside of Iraqi law, in part because of bureaucratic delays and corruption in the Iraqi government licensing process, according to U.S. officials. Blackwater USA, a prominent North Carolina firm that protects U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, and several other companies have not applied, U.S. and Iraqi officials said. Blackwater said that it obtained a one-year license in 2005 but that shifting Iraqi government policy has impeded its attempts to renew.

The security industry's enormous growth has been facilitated by the U.S. military, which uses the 20,000 to 30,000 contractors to offset chronic troop shortages. Armed contractors protect all convoys transporting reconstruction materiel, including vehicles, weapons and ammunition for the Iraqi army and police. They guard key U.S. military installations and provide personal security for at least three commanding generals, including Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryl A. Scott, who oversees U.S. military contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The military plans to outsource at least $1.5 billion in security operations this year, including the three largest security contracts in Iraq: a "theaterwide" contract to protect U.S. bases that is worth up to $480 million, according to Scott; a contract for up to $475 million to provide intelligence for the Army and personal security for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and a contract for up to $450 million to protect reconstruction convoys. The Army has also tested a plan to use private security on military convoys for the first time, a shift that would significantly increase the presence of armed contractors on Iraq's dangerous roads.

"The whole face of private security changed with Iraq, and it will never go back to how it was," said Leon Sharon, a retired Special Operations officer who commands 500 private Kurdish guards at an immense warehouse transit point for weapons, ammunition and other materiel on the outskirts of Baghdad.

What do you expect?

The military guys that know what they are doing saw that the wars are being fought to benefit a very small elite, and figured that things being what they are they might as well get paid for it.

It's that whole supply and demand thing. Tough for people to get straight.

Offer more pay, get more troops. Pretty simple.

Aweful hard to keep people when then can jump to Blackwater for 5x pay increase.

US corporations are bound by law to work for the most gains possible for their shareholders. If we have 'corporation x' fighting for us and 'country y' offers corporation x more money to fight for country y, then corporation x is bound by law to switch sides. Unless mercenary armies are privately held and not corporations they cannot be trusted and could become deadly if they changed sides because of their knowledge. Carried to the bizzaro extreme corporation x could be providing soldiers for two countries in a bidding war and corporation x soldiers could be fighting other corporation x soldiers. Somehow, this would not come as a surprise to me. Sad.

The rise of a permanent and large military establishment is one of the greatest threats to democracy. Check out Chalmers Johnson's book "Nemesis."

Another threat to democracy is the decline of resources upon which the society depends. We are seeing the decline of US democracy before our very eyes in the face of peak oil and the shortsighted military response to the problem.

If you want to learn about Blackwater, and Eric Prince etc.

Read this one.

Interview with Author


Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army


It's EriK Prince (Because he's defending Amurika?)

Whenever someone is closely connected to Amway, the military and hardcore christianity--you know the situtation is FUBAR...

But what if the stuff bought by the man was really sucking ? Doesn't he have the right to express himself ??

He does, but most people can't or won't fight it in court.

I've had some experience with people/companies like that. There was this pet store that sold online from NY that was awful, and would sue anyone who said so. The owner filed suit in the courthouse five miles from his doorstep, and people would be forced to fly in from all over the country if they wanted to defend themselves. Plus the cost of lawyers, fees, etc. He bragged that suing people was his hobby.

He shut people up, forced them to pay thousands of dollars in settlements, took their domain names, and made them display advertising banners for his store on their web sites. Not because he was right, but because they couldn't afford to fight the lawsuits.

Finally, he went after the owner of a popular mailing list (for not deleting reviews of his service). They fought back, started a defense fund, and found a lawyer who was willing to work pro bono. Of course, the jerk had hidden all his assets in the names of his wife and kid. He lost the case, but told the judge he was bankrupt. They did take his domain name away from him, though.

Those are the same tactics cults use. The problem is, civil law in the US is totally broken, with only the amount of money (and time!) you have determining whether you can get close enough to the "real system" to get a hint of justice. The only way to have tranquility is simply to drop out of the public discourse, or work for a corporation who will back you (Time spent 7 billion USD to defend Richard Behar against Scientology, for example).

The purpose of a lawsuit is not to win, but to ruin the other side to the extent you can, if possible to destroy him utterly. You can google a bit to find out who said that.


Yeah. My sister is a lawyer. She's told me not to bother to patent anything. Patents are for corporations. The vast majority of individuals will simply be steamrolled by large corporations, because they won't have the financial resources to fight years of court battles. The cost of filing a patent is not worth it, because it offers little protection for an individual.

This is nothing new. The Wright Brothers spent an inordinate amount of their time and resources attempting to protect their various patented inventions related to their airplanes.

spent 7 billion

That's 7 Million, not 7 Billion, sorry.

True, no one is going to beat the big guys that have unlimited resources.

On the other hand there are places where subpoenas go straight to the round file


Please note that 99% of the forums ban on upon sight of such a site.

If I am from a country where your corporations have no business presence they can go fuck themselves. Getting IP addresses of posters will do nothing to help the corporation (other than costing big bucks for the lawyers).

Sovereignty trumps mostly everything else. It's nice and all to pretend the world is connected, however laws are very fragmented between countries.

RE: Doubt over climate change forecasts

This story about the possible shutdown of the Gulf Stream perpetuates the popular but false notion that climate change could cause such an event. The fact is that the Gulf Stream is a wind driven current as it leaves the East Coast of the U.S. and thus will not be impacted directly by changes in the Thermohaline Circulation (THC), which some models have suggested. A portion of the warm flow from the Gulf Stream does turns toward the Nordic Seas and some even enters the Arctic. It's this branching flow which may be changed. There is evidence that the sinking in the Greenland Sea did stop in the late 1970's and early 1980's, but that process resumed again. There may be a non-periodic cycle seen in this process, some what like the El Nino/La Nina cycle found in the Equatorial Pacific.

There are other changes in this process which are possible. The location of the sinking may shift from the Greenland and Labrador Seas into the Arctic Ocean if the annual cycle of sea-ice continues to exhibit further shrinkage. That's the result of the sinking of brine which is rejected when the new sea-ice forms during the melt season. That sinking would bring more warm water into the Arctic, increasing the melting of sea-ice during the next year's melt season. Both the sinking in the Greenland Sea and the sinking in the Arctic Ocean would result in bottom flows across the Greenland-Iceland-Scotland ridge, thus the measurements being taken might not detect a shift in sinking location.

The story quotes Richard Seager, who called the Gulf Stream "effect" a myth. Seager's study used a model which did not allow for any changes in the sea-ice cover as the result of warming. I think this produces bogus results, as the changes in sea-ice would certainly be expected to result from global warming. A quick comparison between the North Pacific (which also has a wind driven Western Boundary Current) and North Atlantic by looking at ocean temperatures shows clear evidence of warmer North Atlantic temperatures.


Notice how the colder water flows in the North Pacific toward the West Coast of North America, while the warm Gulf Stream Current leaves the U.S. coast off North Carolina and flows toward the northeast. Most of the warm Gulf Stream water turns back toward the south.


E. Swanson

Here is a link to a 2003 article on research by Seager, et. al.

I've often wondered about the conventional wisdom assumption that the Gulf Stream causes the British Isles and Western Europe to be warmer than would be the case without this current. After moving to Oregon, I wonder this even more. We have the cold Humboldt current coming from the north across the coast and the question arises as to why this doesn't cause the Pacific Northwest to be colder than the balmy maritime climate that we have? There aren't too many places on the globe where the West-to-East prevailing winds cross an ocean and moderate the temperature of a far-northerly coastal area. The British Isles and the Pacific Northwest are the only places in the Northern Hemisphere I can think of. Perhaps South Island New Zealand, Tasmania and far Southern coastal Chile would be analogues for the Southern Hemisphere and I believe these places have mild climates considering their fairly extreme latitudes.

Anyway, I believe we still have a lot to learn about how this particular effect works or doesn't work.

Take a look at Seager et al. 2002, section 3, "Model Results". They note that in their CCM3 experiments wheer they stop Ocean Heat Transport (OHT):

"In both experiments the sea-ice cover was held Žfixed at its annual-mean value in order to eliminate feedbacks between OHT and sea ice and allow comparison with the results obtained from a different model that includes this feedback."


"Clement and Seager (1999) performed the same experiments with the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) GCM..."


"The more fundamental difference is that, in the GISS model, expansion of sea ice when the OHT is removed causes the surface air north-west and north of Scandinavia to cool by many degC more than in the CCM3 experiment. Clearly OHT restricts the sea-ice cover in the Norwegian and Barents Seas keeping winters in northern Scandinavia much warmer than they otherwise would be. However, this impact is localized and has little impact on the remainder of Europe to the south..."

There's some further discussion about Seager et al. 2002 at:


E. Swanson

That's the result of the sinking of brine which is rejected when the new sea-ice forms during the melt season.

It's my understanding that the brine forms as seawater freezes. Or any time and place there's floating sea ice, really. It doesn't have to be melting, just somewhere close to the freezing/melting point.

Sea ice doesn't form until it gets down around -2 .. -3°C or so, and the freezing process tends to cause lower-freezing brine to separate from plain-water ice. The brine rejected by the freezing process, and any salt from salt-spray at the top of the ice, works its way down through the ice — it's heavier and melts the ice beneath it by making it saltier. The latent heat absorbed by the melting causes fresh-water ice to form above the brine as it passes.

The overall effect is that little pockets of brine work their way down though the ice, staying just a little cooler than the freezing point. They fall out of the bottom and cause a cold briny current from the ice down to the ocean bottom.

The scary part of the story is that these cold seabed currents have been keeping a poorly known (believed quite large) amount of clathrate on the seabed for a very long time, and the loss of this cold branch of the THC could allow it to warm up. (methane has ~20 times the GHG effect of CO2) o_O

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

Yes, I should have written "freeze season".

Around Antarctica, there is a large yearly cycle in sea-ice area. As a result, part of the THC occurs there and the brine rejected as a result sinks to the lowest levels in the oceans. The waters which sink in the North Atlantic are not as salty, thus they sink to a level just above the Antarctic Bottom Water.

As the Arctic sea-ice begins to melt even more, it's likely that there will be a similar brine rejection process develop there as well. However, when the Arctic sea-ice melts, the surface layer becomes relatively fresh, which tends to inhibit sinking. One problem which could happen is that the relatively fresh surface water from the Arctic Ocean could migrate into the North Atlantic and prevent the THC sinking there. It's known that there is also a large sea-ice export in winter thru the Fram Strait, which would also tend to freshen he surface waters when it melts.

E. Swanson

Hi Greg/Tavor,

(This is in reply to his post on the Roscoe thread.)

1. What are the best books to buy to learn about Peak Oil? TOD provides an adequate understanding of peak oil. I'm not sure books are now worth it.

2. What are the best cities to survive in a post oil world? In the U.S. and outside. Chances are slim I'll ever leave the U.S. It depends how you see the future. IF you see nukes then be sure to be west of the Missippi River to avoid fallout. If you see chaotic collapse as I do, you don't want to be in any city. For more detailed information check out http://www.survivalblog.com The guy who runs it also sells a DVD or CD regarding this question.

3. What are the best skills to possess for a post peak world? Again, it depends how you see the future. If you plan on moving to the boondocks then you need to be a generalist who can doctor animals, rewire a house, build a barn, fell trees, etc. I've lived in the boondocks for over 30 years and city people move up with no skills and go broke hring people to do things they should be able to do themselves. To get a feel for what skills might be useful, checkout: http://www.f4.ca/text/possumliving.htm

4. where do you invest money today to prepare for this? I don't want to have cash, I'm not wild about gold or real estate. What is the safest and smartest investment vehicle starting now and as we get closer to P.O.? Got me. I'm retired. Check out CanRoy trusts.

5. Do any of you have solar panels on your homes? Does this investment make sense right now? How about a small wind turbine? I have a 3.6kW system and had a 1.5kW wind turbine (I sold the trubine because it didn't do what I wanted.). The investment only makes sense within a context. In my case I installed it to assure that I'd always have power. It has been in almost 9 years. We are the last people on the grid in a spasrly populated area and power often goes out in storms. I also have 8kW gas and a 23kW diesel generators as back-ups to the PV. I try to avoid using them since they suck fuel. My system cost around $40k but this includes $6k woth of batteries. It pays me back by having peace of mind.

6. Any other tips would be greatly appreciated so that I can join into these amazing discussions that you all are having. Keep gathering all kinds of information. I printout anything I think might be of future value since computers can die and all information lost. I have a series of 3" binders where everything is categorized. They have a atable of contents. The topics range from how to build a treadle lath to free range chickens to commentary.

Hope this helps.


Regarding the book, I liked Jeremy Leggett's book "The Empty Tank". He talks about both climate change and peak oil. Jeremy Leggett also has a more recent book "Half Gone".


I notice that you had time to ask more questions down this thread but you haven't had time to even display common courtesy by saying thanks to those of us who responded to your questions both on this thread and the Roscoe thread.

I wish you and your kids luck because you are a punk looser who turned away from those who took your questions to heart and wanted to help.

May you starve in the dark.


Well said Todd.

I too despair at the lack of civility on the web and in emails.

I get many enquiries via my business email and I make a great effort to provide a detailed response. I get maybe a 1-in-20 hit rate for a "Thank You".

Blogs are worse - there seems to be an endless supply of arrogant impolite know-it-all punks pumping out meaningless posts. They also appear to have a lot of free time, so their trite posts usually overwhelm the more reasoned & valuable posts from working people who can only go on-line for a few minutes a day.

I hope that over the years more women start using the web, and also that the average age of posters climbs a bit. It would also help if the racial & social class mix widened.

So ExxonMobil have always realised the actual situation concerning global warming? But of course, all that FUD in the media was just delaying tactics so they could make a few more bucks in the meantime.


Exxon Says it Never Doubted Climate Change Threat

A sure sign of near-term TEOTWAWKI.

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

So, they admit they were intentionally deceptive, not just deluded ideologues. Screw them---no, tax them.

"shell shelves oil shale application" ..........say it isnt so. do you suppose they ran into technological problems creating a freeze wall surrounding a 700 'F underground retort ??
no problem though the blm is going ahead with their leasing in '08.

Link ?

I would like the details,


BTW, Hirsch et al counted on oil shale as a major part of Peak Oil mitigation. OOPS !

Alan, Elwood et al.,

Shell shelves oil-shale application to refine its research

Shell's slowdown does not mean the Bureau of Land Management will delay plans to issue commercial leases as soon as 2008.
"There is no slowdown from our perspective," said Celia Boddington, national spokesperson for the BLM.
"The BLM should realize there is no rush for commercial leasing," said Bob Randall, an attorney with Western Resource Advocates. "There is a message for the BLM here."

Obviously, the BLM only hires our finest, each with their own unique reality...

The article is disappointing in that there are no details as to what exactly sre the cost overruns.

What is does do, is make clear that Receding Horizons apply to oil shale in absolute clarity. While I (we) still have to define the Law more precisely, I hope the example makes it clearer where Receding Horizons differ, in very essential terms, from Diminishing Returns. (and also where money sinks differ from energy sinks)

As per Shell, we should realize they are a desperate company, with lots of cash and fast dwindling reserves. They throw that cash at anything that moves, it's the only way to keep stock value up short term. They will lose it all, just not tomorrow. That defines the limits of corporate responsibility.

It would be beneficial to take a good look at where why and how the tar sands will follow the energy/money cost-abyss of oil shale. There are nothing but gradient differences between the two, and I'll bet all I have the tar sands are headed for the same collapse.


On the corporate responsibility issue, when criticizing Exxon for its climate change contortionism, don't forget how the economic system works.

Corporations have no long term obligations to "strangers"; only short term ones to shareholders. If directors do not reprresent those obligations as best they can, they can be taken to court. It's not as simple as saying that Exxon should recognize the damage it does, and pay up. That's not in the shareholders' financial interest, and therefore potentially criminal behavior.

Ahh, I remember. It was the fall of 1963. I was in 4th grade. Miss Hall told us about oil shale, and how the oil companies were on the verge of making it economical. For all I know, that story was already old.

I'm not saying there can't ever be a technological breakthrough that makes oil shale useful. But I'm firmly in the "show me" camp.

Two things to speak of.

At 10:00AM this morning I took a fairly precise thermometer out to the garden and held it next to the corn tassels. It was shaded by the leaves from the direct sun. It read 88 degrees.

In the barn it read 86 degrees. In the shade trees more like 81.
Tennessee is still stressing out on drought. Hay is at a premium and what was cut this spring was very very light due to the extreme April weather. All over there is going to be some real problems feeding cattle this winter based on the hay crops of this spring.

The real item that caught my attention was that someone posted a link to motorbikes. This was it: www.motoredbikes.com
....I went there and decided right then that I will build me one or two of these motorbikes. Around the country side is a lot of bikes left to rust away and since I was trained on small engine repair when I owned my business in outdoor power equipment then its something I think would not be too hard to fabricate.

100 to 150 mpg is very worthwhile. I have some spare enginers around I could use. Either chain saw or brush cutters engines. Will start with 2 stroke and move on up to 4 stroke.

I am excited about the advantages. Back in my youth there were a few real motorbikes around. Had pedals to start it and for brakes. Would chug up and down hills with no problems.

Today I will check out some used bikes I have seen recently. Many are at yard sales.


It might be more efficient to buy (or have given to you) a non-working moped or motorized bicycle; there are a lot of these around, and they are not hard to fix.

I lived in Taiwan and while there drove a 125cc Sanyang (a Taiwanese clone of Honda) which delivered 130mpg. Can't find bikes like that in the USA, but I have seen them in Mexico. I live near the Mexican border (in El Paso, Texas) and have considered buying one of these and bringing it back. Probably would have trouble registering in the USA, so might have to keep Mexican plates on it.

Buying such a motorbike in the USA is difficult to impossible. I've looked in the motorcycle dealerships - mostly they stock Harley or Honda hogs, 1500cc, delivering about 30 mpg, worse than a small car. They can special order smaller bikes, but it's hard to get anything smaller than 250cc. Most small motorbikes sold in the USA are dirt bikes, which aren't street legal and are built for performance, not high gas mileage.

In case anyone wants to buy one (in Mexico), the bike I'm talking about is the Honda Cargo. Here's a link:


Wow, perfect bike... d'you know how much these sell for in Mexico? This is exactly what I've looked for, but as you say, you can't find 'em.

If you like that you might want to take a look at the Yamaha 225 Serrow. It's a dual sport, should excellent decent fuel mileage and available in the US for a song. You could also look at the Suzuki GP125, and GPZ250. Yamaha also makes a quarter liter v-twin cruiser originally called the Route66, now called Virago 250 which probably gets around 75mpg and has enough power to keep you from getting run over. Honda makes the Rebel 250.

What you can get in that class today is a scooter.  Bicycles won't have engines that powerful, because of statutory limits on the max speed of mopeds.

Kawasaki Eliminator 125cc is available in the US.

actually, most of the reviews i read says to avoid that bike. they put too small of a engine for the frame of the bike resulting in it being underpowered and one reviewer even said it struggled to go up moderate hills. so if your going to get one i suggest you start chopping it up to cut the weight down to help the engine but if you want to keep a bike under the seller's warentiey(spelling?) then you might want to look for another bike.

I have been riding motorcycles over 50 years and you are dead wrong about them. I have owned over 40 cycles and currently have a 2000 cop Harley Road King, a 2002 Harley Fat Boy and a Kawasaki W 650 that looks like an old Triumph Bonneville. I was riding a Triumph flat tracker as a novice when I was 16. The Harleys both get over 40 MPG and if ridden with care will get close to 50 MPG. The Kawi will get 60 MPG at 70 MPH on the road and close to 70 MPG at 60 MPH. Anything smaller than the Kawi will beat hell out of you on a hundred mile ride and that is nothing. I ride to Alaska and back, Laconia and back and you name a destination, 'Ive been everywhere man.' Small bikes are ok for around town commuting IF they will keep up with the flow of traffic. If they will not then your hospital bills will amount to far more than any gas savings you might reap. On a long trip nothing beats a big bike for comfort, durability and safety. The big Dunlop tires will let you cruise at 75 or more on the road and will stick to the road like glue in the heaviest downpours. You are knocking Harleys but believe me they have learned a lot about building motorcycles in over 100 years of experience. You must remember that when Harley started building bikes there were no paved roads so they were built tough to stand up to the pot holes, mud and gravel and speeds of 45 MPH or much less. The new Harleys are engineered for the Interstates but will handle mountain roads with ease if one knows how to ride. I dont like the current motorcycle craze and will be glad when the majority moves on to something else. I liked being in the minority! So, WT, how much have I saved in fuel in over 50 years of vacations and commuting on MCs? I was saving gas when it wasnt cool.

I used to ride motorcycles. Still have the scars to prove it. Now, as an old codger, I'd rather drive in relative comfort along with my mate in my li'l hybrid getting better mileage than any of those motorcycles you mention.

I can't see that riding a cycle with a 1000+ cc engine is economical when the same size engine will power a small well-engineered car. It is fun to ride cycles but it is much more of a fun thing and a style thing than an economy thing.

The Honda Insight got mileage in the high 60's, better than most of the claims above.  It also had doors and air conditioning.  Humans are draggy; real economy requires a streamlined shell.

I passed a Honda Insight on the interstate a few days ago with an
Harley Davidson logo bumpersticker that said,

"Yes, I know but I am getting 70Mph"

I laughed.

I realize that there are lots of autos that get better gas mileage than my motorcycles but they do not give the fun per mile (FPM) that I get. I dont want to ride around in an econobox. I have been in lots of wrecks, all in my younger years. When I was riding Triumphs in flat track I either won or crashed, there was no other option as far as I was concerned. If you didnt have that attitude, you didnt belong on the track. I am not going to stop riding, its in my blood, just like flying. I did stop flying a few years back when my night vision began to go bad. During my lifetime of riding I have saved far more gas than most people have or ever will. I look at the long term savings. I still attend flat track motorcycle races as a spectator. I dont attend or watch car races for they just dont interest me. I started riding bikes because it was what I could afford and I grew to love them. Many, many years passed before a car was available that gave the MPG that one could get on a bike.

Keep in mind my motorized bicycle on motorbikes.com is the mikes hard lemonade one. I do max of 25mph much less damage than a crotch rocket or harley.

Not to mention that the engine kit is 200$ and whatever bike you want yeah...

honda rebel, 66mpg.
at most honda dealerships.

i am in fact trying to get my hands on one.
it's no 100mpg scooter. in fact most of if not all of those that get that range can't even keep up with normal street speeds of 45mph here. This makes them unsafe to drive and most likely illegal to drive on the roads.

Honda Rebels are a dime a dozen. Check Ebay Motors under the motorcycle catagory and you should be able to find one in your area.

i know i can get my hands on one. it's just that i am saving up for a new one from a motorcycle place near where i live.
also i was posting some proof that not all motorcycles are the ridicules goldwing types with gps, 7 speaker sound system and computer navigation.

i could be mistaken but i think airdale is onto re-inventing the wheel.

He's not reinventing it; he knows it has been done. He is teaching himself the skilset for a local, essential, product.

cfm in Gray, ME

Hi Airdale,

Thanks for that link. I took a picture out of their gallery, looks like lots of information there. I have a dream cycle machine that is a bicycle for two plus a trailer for a small light boat but getting to an age where a little help on the hills would be appreciated especially if as likely I will be cycling for two:)

Airdale, Whizzer was a popular motorized bike up until about 1950. Now they are back in business. Here is a link to their site. The 138cc 4 stroke looks pretty spiffy...dont think I would try it on I 95...


Indeed the whizzers are cool. Actually the image posted above is the "Down Under Grunter" I am a member of Motorbikes.com so I am quite familiar with the bike :) nobody can miss the Chinese 70cc on a dunlop

I am going to be building a 135cc Tecumseh custom bike that will operate at speeds of up to 35mph maybe 40mph max. I do not really want to push it further than that due to tire seperation...

They are incredible all around with small engines like that totally legal on roads without licence/insurance and get stupidly good gas mileage.


When I first started riding I was on a Cushman Highlander but quickly progressed to a pair of Cushman Eagles with 8 hp engines and then to a 250cc Moto Parilla road racer(went out of business in the early 60s). The Cushman Highlander is a rugged steel framed machine with a 5hp 4 cycle horizontal shaft Briggs & Stratton engine and a cintrifical clutch. Top speed is about 35 mph and I never checked the gas milage but it is outstanding. Back then in La. gas was selling for less than 18 cents per gallon and the tank only holds about 2 gallons. This machine has no battery, alternator or generator. Electrics are provided by a magneto with 3 coils - one for front light, one for back light, one for ignition, - and a set of points/condenser. Start is by kick and generally the machine starts on the first or second kick. The mag is 6 volts and lights are very dim, on the other hand there is very little to go wrong with this machine. Oil the chain, grease the wheel and head bearings, put air in tires and gas in tank. How simple can it get. When I was a kid a use Cushman Highlander could be had for $100 and it gave one the freedom to see the world. I went places on that scooter that most would not believe. Back then I worked all summer on a farm to put by $100 to buy such a machine. One can still buy all the parts for a Cushman Highlander and the Eagle. Here is a link to a The Cushman Club Of America site but there are others.

Best Possible World - First Oil Shale by 2015

We do NOT live in the best possible world despite Benjamin Cole's assurance's. But in this ideal world, Shell would conclude R&D in 2010 and start preparing a commercial oil shale plant immediately and have it start heating in 2011.

Four years later, the first oil-like kerogen would start to trickle out.

Reality is that no significant# oil shale production can be expected before 2025 (if ever).

Best Hopes for Reality based Planning,


#Significant could be defined as 3% of US oil consumption today, over 600,000 b/day. A smallish silver BB.

Of course, at a high enough price this is possible. At a high enough price, anything is possible -- even extracting those hydrocarbons on Titan.

Whether anyone could afford those prices is the real problem.

Don't worry. We'll just inflate our way there!

The piles of money can be used as a primative space elevator!!

Perhaps we'll make it out of some new 'Dubya' Dollar!!

Perhaps I missed it, but I didn't see a link to Tom Whipple's latest column either here or at Energy Bulletin.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Is Anyone Listening?

The bottom line is that according to the IEA world production slipped by over 565,000 barrels a day last month, while demand for 2007 is now projected to increase by 1.7 million barrels a day over 2006. Even without a major weather or geopolitical disruption, it is becoming obvious that something has to give before the year is out. All that demand, at current prices, is simply not going to be satisfied.

--Sarcasm On--

Rumour has it that demand at $10 per barrel is even further from being satisfied. Oh dear - those prices were only a few years ago.

--Sarcasm off--

Plenty of them Gas guzzlers on the road. Given that a car (Honda Insight) was available with AC and gave 60 mpg, anything under that, in my book, is a gas guzzler.

Hello TODers,

Lights Out!-- a new book:


I wonder if the author has read Dr. Richard Duncan's Olduvai Theory?

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

looks like coal usage is just going to keep going up up up to compensate

Coal production capacity to exceed 3.1b tons
Updated: 2007-06-16 14:29

China's annual coal production capacity is expected to top 3.1 billion tons by 2010, 600 million tons more than demand requires, according to latest statistics from the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety.

The country will need about 2.5 billion tons of coal in 2010, according to a previous prediction by the China National Coal Association.


If there are any Irish TODers out there, there is a program on RTE1 about peak oil on Monday night next at 9.30pm.
Check out the link for a synopsis


Hello TODers,

If your carpool partners are trying to lose weight, you may want to carry extra toilet paper and/or newspapers so that they won't soil your car's seat fabric/leather:

The Word Is 'Leakage'
Accidents may happen with a new OTC diet drug.

June 25, 2007 issue - GlaxoSmithKline has a tip for people who decide to try Alli, the over-the-counter weight-loss drug it is launching with a multimillion-dollar advertising blitz—keep an extra pair of pants handy. That's because Alli, a lower-dose version of the prescription drug Xenical, could (cue the late-night talk-show hosts) make you soil your pants. But while Alli's most troublesome side effect, anal leakage, is sure to be good for a few laughs, millions of people who are desperate to take off weight may still decide the threat of an accident is worth it.
If millions of obese Americans start taking this medicine-- will toilet paper prices rapidly rise too?

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

Hello TODers,

If this drug really takes off-- will we be able to expand toilet paper production fast enough, or will we see a TP cartel arise to restrict production and jack prices even higher? Could they be more powerful than OPEC--LOL!

Not too long ago a woman was arrested for stealing toilet paper from a restroom--> her last name was Butts:


Sorry if this is a stupid questions, but if we had taken the 1 trillion dollars we spent or will spend on the Iraq war and we instead invested that money into 1 million wind turbines which I'm estimating is 1 million per turbine for one of those big suckers, how much electricity would these 1 million turbines make and what percentage is that of our national electric needs? Is this possible? I'm also sure we could bring the cost down from the present 1 million if we made that many, so we could actually make more than 1 million turbines for the cost of this silly war.

Because it isn't about solving the problem.

If you are one of the chosen few, the one thing that takes precedence over controlling the resource is denying it to everyone else.

Not so stupid.

In round #s, you could buy 1,000 GW of wind turbines with an average output of 300 GW (economies of scale could increase that). Times the hours of the year and one gets 2628 TWh (2,628,000 GWh).

The USA used 4,055 TWh in 2005. Add some transmission lines and pumped storage (fewer wind turbines for the $1 trillion) and the US could have gotten over 40% of their electricity from wind for $1 trillion IMO. Perhaps close to half.

Best Hopes,


This includes transportation costs? Or only electricity demands?

I cut down the % to account for transmission costs (capital & losses) and pumped storage (same). Some $ would be diveretd from building WTs to building support structure.

Thus, the drop from 60+% in raw TWh to 40+%. A rough estimate, but it illustrates the point.

Best Hopes,


BTW: does Premier McGuinty just not like Ottawa, or is there another reason for Ottawa not to be included in the list of 52 projects (53 with Kitchener) ?

Hi Leanan,
No doubt you've heard this before but since the number of stories you link to just keeps going up, is there a plan underway to just reply to them individually? As Don Sailorman said you can't read all this and stay employed too.

My days and my nights are totally messed up. I feel like I am living on russian time or something.

I just noticed while typing an e.mail to a Russian friend that Yahoo Ads had a Chevy Ad talking about the fact that they have over 8 cars that get over 30 MPG and they are proud of this fact and you should buy one of them post haste.

I get MAD magazine and they had several jokes and drawings keyed into the price of Gas and the Need for free Energy and the War in Iraq being for the killing of US citizens and the need for OIL.

THE MSM, is getting the picture but they only get it when the rough around the edges folks talk about it, or do adverts about it. They won't stir the pot till the pot of food is a black goo in the bottom and smells like burnt things not edible and not even pretty.

I have been doing my Authoring and My chef work a lot today.
I feel like I have been hitting speed all day long, and I have barely eaten and just been drinking hydration drinks, mostly water.

Arkansas is in a rainless period with showers that just don't cut the need for far more rain than we are getting.

Fun times living on the edge of the edge of the bell curve.

Charles E. Owens Jr.

Hello CEOjr1963,

A newslink on the growing water problems in the US:

‘Water cops’ enforcing drought bans in Southeast

With much of the Southeast in the grip of a drought unlike any seen for generations, police are enforcing mandatory watering bans in many areas where water supplies have fallen to critical levels.

Officers on the “water detail” work day and night because some people in this town of 11,000 are going to the extreme of night watering.

Police write about a dozen tickets a week and have even caught homeowners sneaking outdoors to water their brown, crunchy lawns at 1 a.m.

“It’s almost like people are thinking like drug dealers trying to come up with ways to water,” said Velarde. Violators can be fined as much as $500 in city court.
This is amazing to me: is a green lawn really that important? Is a shiny, clean car that vital? What chance do we have to succeed at Peakoil Outreach, if people will piss away water [the very definition of an essential resource] at the slightest opportunity?

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

Hello Bob,

That is a bit frigthening indeed. Is the water ban applied in Phoenix too?

A water ban? In Phoenix? Nah, that would discourage growth.


The energy hog article contains this list of energy wasters, all except the computer in "low power" mode:

  • computer 134 W
  • TiVo 34 W
  • DVD player 26 W
  • audio system 47 W

Total 241 W. Or, in one day, 5.8 kWh. That's 20.8 MJ. That's the energy content of about 2/3 L, or 0.17 US gallons, of gasoline.

I think it's important to put these things in context. Decreasing electricity consumption is good, but I suspect that for most people in Canada and the U.S. their energy use for transportation far exceeds their energy use for electronic gadgets. I would be willing to bet that most people's energy use for transportation exceeds all their in-home energy use, including heating and cooling.