DrumBeat: June 21, 2007

Pentagon Forming 'Africom' Amid Threats to Resources

The Pentagon is to reorganize its military command structure in response to growing fears that the United States is seriously ill-equipped to fight the war against terrorism in Africa.

It is a dramatic move, and an admission that the US must reshape its whole military policy if it is to maintain control of Africa for the duration of what Donald Rumsfeld has called "the long war." Suddenly the world's most neglected continent is assuming an increasing global importance as the international oil industry begins to exploit more and more of the west coast of Africa's abundant reserves.

Climate change and the fight for resources 'will set world aflame'

Climate change has become a major security issue that could lead to "a world going up in flames", the United Nations' top environment official has warned. From rising sea levels in the Indian Ocean to the increasing spread of desert in Africa's Sahel region, global warming will cause new wars across the world, said Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

"People are being pushed into other people's terrain by the changing climate and it is leading to conflict," he said. "Societies are not prepared for the scale and the speed with which they will have to decide what they will do with people."

Dave Cohen: A Paradigm Shift

There has been a paradigm shift in the energy world whereby oil producers are no longer inclined to rapidly exhaust their resource for the sake of accelerating the misuse of a precious and finite commodity. This sentiment prevails inside and outside of OPEC countries but has yet to be appreciated among the major energy consuming countries of the world.

Oil due for a slide

Experienced technicians should see a fairly obvious "head and shoulders" pattern here, with the all time high from last July acting as the "head" and the current price action rounding out the right shoulder to complement the left shoulder high as current resistance. Two consecutive weekly closes above the September 2005 high would invalidate this pattern.

Nigeria Oil Union Begins Nationwide Strike

Oil production and loading will be shut down by midnight Wednesday as part of ongoing nationwide strike, a leader of one of the oil unions said late Wednesday.

"We have instructed our people (members), especially those at the Department of Petroleum Resources, to ensure that all loadings ongoing should be facilitated to ensure that production and loading should be shut down by midnight today," Bayo Olowoshile, general secretary of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, or Pengassan, told Dow Jones Newswires.

Employees of the DPR hold the keys to the loading terminals. They're needed at the loading terminals to monitor how much crude is being loaded onto vessels for export from Nigeria.

Venezuela sees oil majors signing accord this week

A sizable group out of the six foreign oil majors negotiating with Venezuela the nationalization of multibillion dollar projects are about to sign deals, the OPEC member's energy minister said on Wednesday.

European Union energy companies court Moscow

Their ties with Kremlin-backed Gazprom are vexing EU efforts to create an energy security policy that would lessen dependence on Russia.

Iraqi politicians agree deal on sharing oil, says Kurd minister

Iraq's Kurdish leaders said last night they had struck an important deal with the central government in Baghdad over a law to divide up Iraq's oil revenues, which is seen by the Bush administration as one of the benchmarks in attempts to foster national reconciliation.

Oil likely to top China-Iraq talks

Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi president, is in Beijing for talks with his Chinese counterpart which are expected to focus on Iraq's vast oil resources.

Altinex Says Oil Find Is 'Significant;' Shares Jump

Altinex ASA, a Norwegian oil and gas company, said a test showed the Huntington field in the U.K. North Sea is a "significant" oil discovery.

Iraq: Energy profile

The northern Kirkuk field, first discovered in 1927, forms the basis for northern Iraqi oil production. Kirkuk, with an estimated 8.7 billion barrels of remaining reserves, normally produces 35º API, 1.97 percent sulfur crude, although the API gravity and sulfur content both reportedly deteriorated sharply in the months just preceding the war. Kirkuk's gravity, for instance, had declined to around 32º - 33º API, while sulfur content had risen above 2 percent.

Declining crude oil qualities and increased "water cut" (damaging intrustion of water into oil reservoirs) were likely the result of overpumping.

Crude-oil benchmarks’ ties go awry

The traditional relationship between regional crude-oil benchmarks has gone awry as changes in trade flows have created new pressures on the existing pricing system. The resultant stresses are prompting both reform and opportunity.

The Sad Truth About Hybrids

The hundreds of thousands of hybrid cars sold in the United States since their arrival on these shores in 1999 must be putting a dent in oil imports, right? Not quite. Or at least not yet. According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, fuel efficient electric-gasoline cars like the Toyota (TM) Prius and Honda (HMC) Civic have saved a grand total of 5.5 million barrels of oil over the past eight years. On the other hand, the U.S. was importing 8.5 million barrels of oil a day in 2003 to power cars and light trucks.

Vertical farming in the big Apple

Scientists at Columbia University are proposing an alternative. Their vision of the future is one in which the skyline of New York and other cities include a new kind of skyscaper: the "vertical farm".

AP Blog: Living on Cuba's Rationed Food

AP Havana Bureau Chief Anita Snow is spending the month of June living on the "libreta," a ration book for food consumption in Cuba. Here's her story.

Ontario: The new frontier for alternative energy

A raft of subsidies and other incentives is making Ontario a hot spot for solar panel manufacturers and others in alternative energy.

Renewable revolution is here, says UN report

A gold rush of new investment into renewable power over the past 18 months has led the United Nations to conclude that clean energy could provide almost a quarter of the world's electricity by 2030.

Mass dump of iron filings 'to remove CO2'

A San Francisco-based company is poised to dump iron filings in the Pacific off the Galapagos Islands in an experiment designed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Iceland Teaches the World to Dig for Energy

Icelanders more than anyone else find most of the energy they need beneath their feet.

In the world of renewable energy, this is geothermal energy, a way of tapping into the heat below the earth surface and turning it into heat and power.

The green market hustlers

On the opening panel of the Arctic Science Summit Week, Jeff Miotke announced, "Climate-change policy must be based on sound silence." It was a poignant and telling slip of the tongue.

Crude climbs again, tops $69 mark

Oil resumed its upward march Thursday, shrugging off steep falls a day earlier triggered by bearish U.S. data, as the market turned its focus back to a strike in Nigeria and OPEC doused hopes of an output increase.

London benchmark Brent crude was up 62 cents at $71.04 a barrel by 8:30 a.m. ET, recouping after a $1.42 fall on Wednesday. U.S. light, sweet crude was up 60 cents at $69.50.

Chevron's Tahiti Offers Clues to Stamina of Gulf Oil Boom

On an oil platform, machinery is typically crammed into every inch of deck space, to the point where crews live two to a closet-sized room.

But Chevron Corp. (CVX) has left precious deck space clear as it puts the finishing touches on Tahiti, a skyscraper-sized offshore production facility, illustrating the uncertainty about what will follow the current production boom in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

Western Cape hit by gas shortages

A severe shortage of liquefied petroleum gas has crippled the gas trade in the Western Cape, the Cape Argus reported on Thursday.

...At the root of the trouble was the Chevron refinery, which supplies bulk buyers BP and Afrox in the Western Cape.

Guyana: Labour shortage, fertilizer costs affecting sugar industry

Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud said a labour shortage in the sugar industry and high fertilizer prices are among the issues engaging his ministry. At a press conference hosted yesterday Persaud said as the second sugar crop is ready to be harvested the low level of worker turnout is a cause for concern. He said lifestyles have changed as a result of "socio economic development in our country," adding that there is a more educated workforce and the pool of the "uneducated" and "untrained" has dwindled. One way in which the ministry is tackling this issue is through convergence on many estates; that is the increased use of mechanical means like bell-loaders, along with manpower.

...Persaud also said that the global demand for fertilizer has caused prices to increase. Countries like China and the United States (US) were said to be using more fertilizer and, in the case of the US, an ethanol boom in that country has meant that more fertilizer is demanded for corn production. Corn is used in the ethanol industry.

Gas at $6 per gallon? Get ready

Get ready for Congress to solve the energy problem just as it has previously solved the illegal immigration problem. A bill being debated in the Senate this week is described by some of its supporters as “far from perfect” but “a good start.”

A good start, yes, to higher gas and food prices, to new taxes and to forcing consumers to pay for high-cost “renewable” energy sources — solar and wind, for example — that are to energy independence what bicycle trails are to traffic-congestion relief.

At a Platts Energy Podium Roundtable, US Official Emphasizes FERC's Solid Enforcement Role in Energy Markets

At a Platts Energy Podium roundtable with reporters, FERC Office of Enforcement Director Susan Court emphasized the commission's enforcement efforts as members of Congress and state officials increasingly call on federal regulators to explain rising oil, natural gas and electricity prices.

Cheap and green? Can the new public power deliver what it promises?

In more than two dozen California communities, city and county governments are seeking to take control of their local electricity systems under a new state public power law.

A looming food crisis

IN TRYING to solve the nation's energy crisis, lawmakers and policymakers in Washington may be unintentionally creating a food crisis.

America remains the world's breadbasket, but if Congress and the president continue their love affair with ethanol, the corn-based "alternative" fuel, the nation's farms no longer will have the capacity to feed the world. They won't be able to supply Americans with relatively cheap food, either.

US: Prairie State coal-fueled power plant advances

Prairie State will be among the cleanest U.S. coal-fueled plants, with as little as one-fifth the regulated emission rates of existing U.S. power plants.

Refineries not running at full tilt

U.S. refiners are producing far less gasoline than they are capable of making because of planned and unplanned maintenance.

That has led to a greater reliance on imports and has made U.S. gasoline supplies vulnerable to further disruptions, such as hurricanes, during the busy summer driving season.

U.S. refineries churned out 87.6% of the gasoline that they were capable of producing last week, down from 89.2% the week before and 5.7 percentage points below a year ago, the government said Wednesday.

The drop came at a time when gasoline production is usually rising to meet summer demand. But aging refineries, continued maintenance following hurricanes in 2005 and greater complexity in refining is forcing refineries to shut down lines.

Confronting empire

THE EMPIRE tells us we’re in a war on terrorism that’s a generational conflict. Some of that sounds a little loony. The loony part is the war on terrorism. The rational part is the generational conflict. They can’t really tell you what the war is about, but they have told you that we’re involved in a generational conflict.

What it’s really about, as we’ve said for some time, is oil. They made a rational, strategic decision some years back that we were at peak oil, or close to it, and facing the rise of what they call BRIC--Brazil, Russia, India, China, as well as others in the emerging world. That meant oil production had to double in the next 20 years, and instead of oil shocks, we would be involved in a permanent oil crisis.

An attack on civil liberties

It needs to be asked why British troops are in the Middle East in the first place. The answer is that they are in Iraq because President Bush prevailed upon Tony Blair in April 2002 to support a planned American invasion, and that invasion was focused on gaining control of the oilfields. Yet as peak oil rapidly approaches and as climate change steadily worsens, largely through the ever-increasing burning of oil as fuel, the need for a new world energy order that replaces fossil fuels by renewable sources of energy is now paramount worldwide.

Japan as a Global Contributor: Envisioning an expanded role in a world of militarism, global warming and multipolarity

This means recognizing, and acting to halt, the reckless energy policies pursued by the US, followed by addressing the challenges posed by such high growth countries as China and India. As Michael Klare pointed out, the Pentagon alone consumes, by the most minimal estimates, 1.3 billion gallons of oil annually, more than the 150 million population of Bangladesh. At a time when Japan has relinquished much of its earlier leadership in energy efficiency, and with a government that, like the US, rejects compulsory or even economic measures to halt and reverse the increase of greenhouse gases, and which has largely abandoned earlier efforts to promote energy alternatives to oil, coal and nuclear power, it is difficult to discern the basis for Japanese leadership.

PAEC to design own nuclear energy plants

The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) has decided to establish an Engineering Design Organisation (EDO) for the indigenous development of nuclear power plants (NPPs) in the country.

Dawn newspaper reported yesterday that China had offered Pakistan four to six NPPs, which would not fulfil its energy requirements. Therefore, it was decided that self-reliance in nuclear technology was the only way out of the energy crisis.

KFC Ransacked in Pakistan Riots

Hundreds of residents angered over a 16-hour power outage rioted in the southern Pakistan city of Karachi overnight, ransacking a KFC restaurant and two banks, police said Thursday.

Pakistan: Mass madness breaks out in the suffocating blackness

Vicious rioting broke out Wednesday evening in several parts of Karachi and continued into the night in protest against long spells of power outages. Bank branches and fast food franchise outlets bore the brunt of the public’s anger and Shahra-e-Faisal’s traffic also suffered.

Residents of the affected areas came out on to the streets and burnt tires and other materials. In some areas, the protesters broke traffic lights and damaged fast food restaurants by pelting them with stones. The police resorted to shelling and aerial firing to disperse the crowds.

Power riots in Pakistan keep police on toes

Police in Pakistan's commercial hub of Karachi braced Thursday for possible widespread unrest after overnight riots triggered by frequent power cuts.

Ghana’s oil won’t be a curse – Prez Kufuor

President J.A. Kufuor has given hints of immediate measures to ensure that Ghana will be the exception to the African paradox of oil, poverty and conflict.

Ghana: Massive heckling halts energy crisis debate

“The erratic rainfall pattern warned all of us in the energy industry that we needed to respect the engineers’ advice and not take more from the lake than what the engineers advised. I was saying the same thing at the time. It was because they destroyed the reservoir capability in 1997 that we had the problem in 1998 that we are having now; it was because they mismanaged it.”

4Gas, Petrogas to jointly develop LNG terminal

Rotterdam-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal developer and operator 4Gas and local energy company PT Petrogas plan to build an LNG terminal in East Java following the signing of an agreement by the two firms on a feasibility study for the project.

Department of Energy Includes Global Resource Corporation's Technology as Possible Answer to U.S. Energy Independence

Global Resource Corporation announced today that they were recognized by the United States Department of Energy as a company that may one day unlock billions of barrels of energy from domestic United States deposits. Patent pending gasification technology, developed by engineers at Global Resource, is applied to various materials to unlock energy in the form of oil and gas, and this technology, when commercialized, may succeed in satisfying domestic energy consumption.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Approaching The Cliff

Last weekend across southern South Dakota the pumps went dry. Gas terminals from Sioux Falls to Yankton to Sioux City were empty. “There is simply not enough fuel coming down the pipeline into the delivery system” said a BP station owner. Eventually the tankers were sent to Nebraska to find gas. A minor glitch in the distribution? Possibly, but more likely a harbinger of more serious problems to come.

Science Panel Finds Fault With Estimates of Coal Supply

The United States may not have nearly as much coal as is popularly believed, and mining the remaining resources may be more dangerous for workers and the environment than current operations, the National Academy of Sciences said in a report Wednesday.

al-Badri: Ecuador to join OPEC in near future

OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla al-Badri said Tuesday that he expected Ecuador to soon join the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, after Quito officially requested to become a member.

OPEC could curtail oil investment if biofuel boom materialises

OPEC has warned it could curtail investment in oil production because of a forecast long-term boom for biofuel but cautioned that an oil shortage could emerge if biofuels ran into problems.

"We are not worried about introducing another source of energy, especially if it helps fight climate change," Abdullah al-Badri, secretary general of the Orgaisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, told AFP in an interview.

But he added that "some data show a very high quantity of biofuels in the long run, by 2030," which could mean that "our demand will be lower than we are forecasting."

Main risks to crude supply lie in Iran, Nigeria, Gulf of Mexico

NAB is forecasting West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the basis for the light sweet crude futures contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), to climb from an expected average of 64.30 usd a barrel in the current quarter to 66.00 usd over the following three months.

WTI prices are then expected to ease to 63.50 usd a barrel in the December quarter and further to 59.00 usd in the first quarter of 2008.

Russia's oil output edges up

The production of oil and gas condensate edged up 3.2 percent to 202.65m tonnes in January-May 2007 compared to the same period a year earlier, the press office of the Russian Industry and Energy Ministry reported today. Daily oil production reduced from 1,313m tonnes per day in May against 1.339m tonnes per day in April 2007.

Gunmen driven from Nigerian oil facility

Troops attacked and overran a Nigerian oil-transfer facility Thursday where gunmen were holding some two dozen workers and soldiers hostage, leaving a dozen of the gunmen dead, the military said.

General Strike Over Rising Fuel Price Takes Hold in Nigerian Cities

Shop shutters stayed bolted and young men played soccer on roads that were usually choked with traffic as the first day of an indefinite general strike and fuel shortages brought cities across Nigeria to a hush on Wednesday.

Why wheat shot up 30% in 3 weeks

Climate change, ethanol, increased demand from countries like China...

There was also the late freeze that devastated wheat. Things are looking very, very, bad. Another thing occured to me. Beer prices could skyrocket. Demand destruction among the nations working class could result in large numbers of angry sober poor. Beer is the Soma of the masses. Take it away and they might wake up in a bad mood. Beer Subsidies are necessary immediately. I think 35 billion gallons by 2017 would be just about right.

Peak Beer -- now THAT would get some people's attention!

Time to dig out that homebrew book. (You can make wine out of just about any organic matter! (Almost)).

Mmmm! Cellulosic wine! ;-)

Ok but if a plague of rust wipes out wheat can't we just plant more barley? Most low priced beers have no wheat in them. Rice Barley Water Hopps. Thats all (yeast, micronutrients etc)

The ingredients in beer are an extremly small portion of the price. Transportation packaging and marketing are the bulk.

I have been making my own beer for 11 years and it comes out to cost me around 20 cents per bottle and I make 96 bottles per batch. Tastes better than the swill at the grocery store too.

Beer is the Soma of the masses.

And this from someone whose entertainment income goes in large part for brown paper bags. ;>)

ethanol boycott?

While a boycott of ethanol might not be possible, the suggestion of one would at least help focus attention on this product. A product which is not only ineffective as a gasoline fuel replacement, but results in more world hunger and so political destabilization and a less secure oil supply. Pass the word? 'Boycott Ethanol !'

China, China, China.

China is the world's largest wheat producer, often nearly twice that of the nearest country, usually India.

Newer directives have shifted Chinese goals from self sufficiency down to self reliance in the early part of this decade. Goals of 100% down to 85-90%. So they are importing more, in a land where much of the crop remains ungraded, lowering their potential milling results.

Famine and feeding its populuation has historically been the set of brakes on China. With their push for industrialization, and the greater opportunities in city vs rural areas, many are leaving the farm. Coupled with desertification, industrial water demands, climate change, and a relatively slow infusion of technology and new methodology to the farm, you have to wonder if China's old nemisis won't soon return.

Try picking up a copy of this:

The Death of Grass.

Read it 30 years ago. Still sends shivers down my spine even now.


The Death Of Grass (UK title; the US title is No Blade Of Grass) is a 1956 post-apocalyptic science fiction novel written by the British author John Christopher. It deals with the concept of a virus that kills off all forms of grass.

As the story opens, the initial viral strain has already attacked rice crops in East Asia causing massive famine and a mutation has appeared which infects the staple crops of West Asia and Europe such as wheat and barley, threatening a famine engulfing the whole of the Old World, while Australasia and the Americas attempt to impose rigorous quarantine to exclude the virus.

The novel follows the trials and struggles of the narrator's family as they attempt to make their way across the United Kingdom, which is already descending into anarchy, to the safety of his brother's potato farm.

The book is unusually harsh in post-apocalyptic science fiction, with the main characters sacrificing many of their morals in order to stay alive. At one point, when their food supply runs out, they kill an innocent family - simply to take their bread. The narrator justifies this with the belief that "it was them or us." Some critics have viewed this as an attempt by the author to distance the work from the cosy catastrophe pattern in a way parallelling the relationship of William Golding's Lord of the Flies to its model Coral Island by R. M. Ballantyne.

Went to Alibris books. Hardcover starts at 144.00. Paperback at 29.00. Must be a really good book.

It's gotten good reviews at Amazon.

I was a big fan of John Christopher in my misspent youth, but I never heard of this book before.

Apparently they made it into a movie.



I never knew it had been made into a film.

Be tough to beat the book though.

The movie is rated as possibly the worst ever made. I dont buy that! I have 'Plan 9 From Outer Space' and nothing could scrunch beneath it. Nobody could make worse movies than Ed Wood! Any realistic movie about apocalypse should have a bit of cannabilisim in it. Why did the guy steal the bread when he could have had bar-b-q? Like it or not cannabalisim was common practice untill quite recently and may come back into vogue if circumstance permits.



Guess this was an off week for Cornel Wilde?

Trust them to screw up a good book :-(

Sorry, virtually no evidence for cannibalism in the ethnographic record: start with William Arens and Gananath Obeyesekere. The tales we've received are almost always of the "those other people on the other side of the mountains do the most horrible things" variety.

Because you are in denial does not mean that cannibalisim was not common. As common as the quick reversion to cannibalisim that took place at Donner Pass among a group headed to California in covered wagons that were trapped in the the Pass by heavy snows. These would be settlers ate each other with relish...lol.
There are innumerable cases of prehistoric human bones unearthed with scrape marks consistent with those left on animal bones, good evidence that stone tools, knives, had been used to remove meat from bone.
You too will be on the menu if people around you begin to starve.
It is hilarious how many are still in denial about cannibalisim after anthropoligists, palentoligist and a host of scientists have proven beyond a doubt that it did occur with frenquency and continues to occur in parts of the world today. See 'The Blank Slate' S.Pinker pg.320.
'The Wari people of the Amazon have a set of noun classifiers that distinguish edible from inedible objects, and that the edible class includes anyone who is not a member of the tribe. This prompted the psychologist Judith Richard Harris to observe;
In the Wari dictonary
Food's defined as not a Wari
Their dinners are a lot of fun
For all but the un-Wari one'
So, if you really believe what Arens and Obeyesekere profess, I suggest you hang out for a while in Wari country to prove the courage of your convictions. Take the salt and pepper.

I found these excerpts from Aren's The Man Eating Myth.

However, the evidence supporting its existence [cannibalism]is abundant and is represented in every medium imaginable, including stories, symbols, legends, writings, archeological evidence and first hand accounts. Cannibalism is a practice that reaches across centuries and cultures. In many cultures, it is considered atrocious and sacrilegious, whereas in another culture it is a sacred and revered custom. Cannibalism is an undeniable occurrence rooted in antiquity and branching forth to the present-day.

A wealth of archeological and anthropological evidence discovered in Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Far East and Middle East further suggests the far-reaching capabilities of cannibalistic practices.

Are we missing something from the "ethnographic record"?

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

Did you ever read Brunner, 'The Sheep Look Up' ? He had several very creepy environmental based SF works. They were more pollution and the ruined earth, but quite good as I recall.

According to my recollection, the book originally sold for thirty-five cents in paperback. It is more allegory than "hard" science fiction--but a good read, as are Christoper's other novels.

Its out of stock at Half.com but my local library has the book on the shelf. I will give it a read. Libraries are a great source and free. My library will even order dvd documentaries on request if they get a couple of requests. Take them home, burn a copy, watch them on a rainy day.

I've just got a login to the BBC Archive trial and have been watching "Whatever Happened to the Energy Crisis" from way back in 1982. Apart from the statement that peak oil could occur '1990s onwards' and the historical/hysterical fashions, one of the main lessons is just how similar the alternative energy ideas are to today, and what progress has and hasn't been made.

Insulation and energy efficiency have made significant progress over the 1982 position, with most houses much more efficient that they were then. In contrast wind, wave and tidal generators are significantly behind the curve compared to predictions. 20% of electricity by 2000? Fat chance.

Wind turbines were new and clunky looking compared to today, with much interest in VAWT.

There were the expectations of building 'a nuclear power station a year' - which of course didn't happen.

Solar PV was conspicuous by its total absence.

What lessons are to be learnt?

  • Well for a start if its a large scale capital investment, chances are it didn't happen, or was much delayed.
  • We have, at least in the UK, moved on in insulating our homes, and there is scope for doing more (zero carbon homes).
  • New technologies can grow in interest, but you don't want to rely on it. 25 years ago looks all too similar.

In short, domestic and business changes are more likely to have an impact than big capital intensive programmes, and really new technologies seem not to have any part - everything was known then even if relative importances have changed.

The gretest reason why the alternatives has not surfaced significally since than are probably that fossil fuels have been dirt cheep. If that changes, so will the pace of developent and investment in the alternatives.

Lesson to be learned? Why didn't cardigan sweaters and solar panels catch on?

Ever try to give up drinking Soda?

Not even Liquor, Smokes or Amphetamines.. I'm just talking SodaPop, junk food, sugary crap. There's an invisible wall, or I should say a 'Visible Non-wall' that can come in the way of trying to change insidious behavior, or 'commonly accepted practise'. You think you are in a defined room, but some of the walls are actually not there, and you could walk right through them to another place.. but everybody else sees that wall too, (except for a few self-righteous kooks) so you have to somehow declare to everyone that there is no wall there, and you're not going far, you'll be right over there, where your friends and family think there's this wall, (tho' there really is not). You get a sort of 'That's really great, good for you!' up front, but you also get all the other stuff about 'So and so's trying to be perfect, now, unlike us slobs', and 'Don't be so hard on yourself, come on, quit tomorrow, it's just Soda' etc etc..

Now if we could just get people to start asking when we'll get 'Payback' from the Ford F350 or that new Reactor, maybe the field will start to favor technologies that are reputed to be 'Too Expensive', but in the long run are in fact free, as opposed to their challengers.

Not sure you were taking the thrust of what I was saying.

The biggest changes where in those areas where householders, individuals, were taking action - primarily to increase insulation.

Massive government projects were where the least action had happened, relative to 1982 predictions.

So its almost the opposite of what you suggest.

Right. I guess I dove into one of my soapbox-speeches, though I don't think the conclusion is altogether off, just the same. Even if homeowners did apply more investment than governments, the calls for action were pretty much cut off in the 80's, and the handful who did change are clearly barely a drop in the bucket to what could have happened.

I guess it's not at all surprising that big gov't projects were largely unrepresented, as the Reagan years were rife with an attitude that was appropriately 'Kremlinlike' in its insistence not to 'show weakness', where girly little energy dribblers like wind and solar hardly had the phallic potential of a Supertanker or a 'Peacemaker' missile. 'That's no knife,... THAT'S a Knife!' As Croc Dundee told us. Also, with Thatcher and Reagan posturing to emphasize their 'bulging packages' and downplay any hint of real Long-term and Sober social investments, anything smelling of egalitarian, citizen-based initiatives would have been far too 'Kumbaya' for the red-meat appetite that was being marketed so defiantly.

Damn, now I'm hungy.


"I don’t want no chili
And I can do without beans and spice
And I don’t want no spare ribs
And no pig’s meat in disguise
But everything’s gonna be all right, oh yeah,
With an RC Cola and a Moon Pie, it's alright.."

It is clear that in retrospect, we took a wrong turn in 1980. A quarter century of opportunity wasted. Our last best chance for a soft landing squandered. We'll all pay dearly for that.

No doubt, love, but as long as people are still having promiscuous sex with many anonymous partners without protection while at the same time experimenting with mind-expanding drugs in a consequence-free environment, I'll be sound as a pound!

Oh, Austin! Stop!

or should I say
'Mama Cass, Ham Sandwich'


Hi Garyp,
How does one go about getting a 'log in to BBC Archive trial'? Thanks

One applies about two months ago and gets selected - sorry!

However they say they plan to scale the trial up to about 1000 programmes before probably launching it more widely, although even that may just be for UK residents.

Its interesting from a history perspective, they have programmes going back to the 1930s.

'Solar activity, Earth's magnetic field and Galactic Cosmic Rays'

There is a movement afoot by many scientists to lay the blame for climate change on cosmic rays. Are they right or just blowing CO2? Link below quote.

'Carbon dioxide may not be the all-important dominating factor climate alarmists make it out to be when discussing earth's climatic history. Within the context of the Holocene, for example, the only time CO2 moves in concert with air temperature is over the period of earth's recovery from the global chill of the Little Ice Age (the past century or so), and it only does so then quite imperfectly. The flux of galactic cosmic rays, on the other hand, appears to have influenced ups and downs in both temperature and precipitation over the entire 10-12 thousand years of the Holocene, making it the prime candidate for "prime determinant" of earth's climatic state.'


Read the sunspots

The mud at the bottom of B.C. fjords reveals that solar output drives climate change - and that we should prepare now for dangerous global cooling

An article in yesterday's Financial Post, a prominent national Canadian newspaper, along the same vein with more detail. It also contains links to a great many articles by "deniers," which are probably worth a look. It is always useful to see both sides of any complex issue.

In this particular article, the professor/writer makes a key point for Canadians. Should we go into a prolonged period of warming, a Yale University study has shown that Canada will receive a 0-.5% GDP dividend each year over the next century. I would attribute this primarily to increased agricultural output. However, if we go back into a cooling period, we will lose ground on agriculture.

It is always useful to see both sides of any complex issue.

Very true. That's why peer-reviewed scientific journals exist, to present competing views that rise to a basic level of scientific rigor.

Also, the internet provides venues where scientists can directly debate their differing views and evidence for all to see and judge. One example is Real Climate's March 9, 2007 discussion of cosmic rays and climate change.

Tim Patterson is one of the "denialists" who run the so-called "Friends of Science" organization. This piece is just another of their efforts to confuse the world about the problem of climate change from our burning of fossil fuels and then dumping CO2 into the air.

Here's an interesting quote from the article:

In particular, we see marine productivity cycles that match well with the sun's 75-90-year "Gleissberg Cycle," the 200-500-year "Suess Cycle" and the 1,100-1,500-year "Bond Cycle." The strength of these cycles is seen to vary over time, fading in and out over the millennia. The variation in the sun's brightness over these longer cycles may be many times greater in magnitude than that measured over the short Schwabe cycle and so are seen to impact marine productivity even more significantly.

Notice that these fluctuations don't have fixed periods, as one would normally associate with a periodic cycle. In the climate literature, there is talk of "oscillations", which are repeating events with quasi-periodic recurrence. The point is, there is no way to say for sure that these oscillations will reappear at a date certain with the same influence on climate as seen in the paleo records.

I looked around for Tim Patterson's published works. I found only one which looks appropriate on Patterson's web page:

Patterson, R.T., Prokoph, A., Chang, A.S. 2004. Late Holocene sedimentary response to solar and cosmic ray activity influenced climate variability in the NE Pacific. Sedimentary Geology. 172, p. 67-84.


There are quite a few problems which I see, beginning with the range in the radiocarbon dating, most of which is +/- 150 years or so. The analysis tools used pick out weak cycle indications, but different periods are found in the core (Figure 11). When the time series is divided into sections, different periods are found (Figure 12). Note that there is a cycle found in all three segments at around 38 years, which would be double the 18.6 year lunar precession cycle, a connection which he apparently misses. There is a cycle near 22 years, as one would expect given the other studies of the sunspot cycle, which, BTW, is not exactly 11 years in length. There is little to support the notion of a fixed 88 year "Gleissberg cycle" which other researchers have found.

He (or his students) may have done other work which was not published, but from what I see, I wouldn't jump on his published work as proof that the present warming is the result of solar cosmic ray variations and that the future will produce colder conditions.

E. Swanson

co2science.org is the website of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.

Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has received $100,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.

$10,000 ExxonMobil Corporate Giving
Source: ExxonMobil 1998 grants list

$15,000 ExxonMobil Foundation
project support
Source: ExxonMobil Foundation 2000 IRS 990

$40,000 ExxonMobil Foundation
Climate Change Activities
Source: ExxonMobil 2003 Corporate Giving Report

$25,000 ExxonMobil Foundation
Source: ExxonMobil 2005 DIMENSIONS Report (Corporate Giving)

$10,000 ExxonMobil Corporate Giving
DISCREPANCY: 2005 Corporate Giving Report: no description. IRS 990 form 2005: Climate Change Activities.
Source: ExxonMobil Corporate Giving Report 2006

There are two major problems with the cosmic ray theory. First there is no evidence that cosmic rays increase cloud formation. There is some evidence that such an effect operates at vastly smaller scales (in lab physics experiments) but that does not mean it works on the scale of clouds. Secondly, the cosmic ray flux at the earth has not changed in the past 50 years, making it hard to explain how it could cause recent warming.

First there is no evidence that cosmic rays increase cloud formation.

But there IS evidence that airplane travel does. (the 3 days after Sept 11th 2001 showed that.)

The other major problem is that if there ever were enough cosmic rays to affect the climate, we would have all been radioactive toast from them.

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

Anybody see the google converted prius?

how much do they cost and where can you buy them?


Google gives 11 million to promote PHEVs

http://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.autobloggreen.com/media/2007/06/google... (Picture)

how much do they cost and where can you buy them?

Yeah me too. I wrote Toyota and was asking awhile back, nice response no specifcs.

There may be newer developments.

Today US automakers will complain before Congress that 35mpg CAFE (2020) will put them out of business. News flash. (PH)EVs, small diesel and PO will take care of it anyway if they do not change yesterday.

Didn’t you read "The Sad Truth About Hybrids"?

An even more fuel efficient Prius will just make the problem of their not decreasing US gas consumption enough even worse!


A crushing loss for street racers

RIALTO, Calif. – Charles Hoang winced when the whoosh went out of the tires. Daniel Maldonado took pictures with a digital camera as glass exploded and rained down to the ground.

The cars the teens had so meticulously souped up and tricked out were crushed Wednesday as part of a crackdown on illegal street racing in Southern California.

"That's my heart, my dream," said Hoang, 18, of Chino, who was surrounded by friends as his 1998 Acura Integra was put into a compactor. "That's my girlfriend, the love of my life. The cops can crush my car, but they can't crush my memories."

Authorities destroyed six vehicles Wednesday at an auto graveyard, hoping would-be racers think again after looking at the mashed machines. Illegal street racing is responsible for or suspected in 13 deaths in Southern California since March.

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

Pemex has published Mexico's May production statistics here. Production is 72,000 bpd down on April and at the lowest level since December.

The comparison I find interesting is May 07 vs May 06:

Crude oil production down 219,000 b/d
Crude oil exports only down 72,000 b/d

As WT has pointed out, their internal consumption is rising, so how sustainable is it that they retain/refine less of their production?

Monthly numbers can vary a lot, based on weather delays, shipping schedules, etc.

Relative to the monthly peak export number, in 1/06, April and May, 2007, have shown an average annual export decline rate of about 14%.

One factor that mitigates, but does not negate, the export land model, is that locals in some exporting countries cannot afford their own resource. Under NAFTA, Mexico cannot subsidize gasoline prices in the way that occurs in many OPEC nations.

Speaking of monthly variations the 1/06 export number just happens to be 10% higher than both the previous and following months.

I started focusing on US imports last year because the anomaly of declining imports and higher crude oil prices suggested to me that world exports were declining, i.e., we had to pay more to keep the oil coming.

As I warned last year, the EIA has confirmed a year over year decline in net exports, especially by the top three that I focused on.

What is keeping the US and other OECD countries reasonably well supplied--for now--with imported crude and petroleum products is high oil prices.

Currently, Brent prices are about 87% higher than the average monthly price in the 20 months preceding 5/05.

The Mexican government may need the money. More money made exporting on the international market than using for internal consumption.


I think it would mean that poorer Mexicans would be priced out of the market leaving oil for export. I think energy in short supply used locally is more valuable than money received for that exported energy .

US energy security underlays NAFTA and, in that regard, you should compliment the US government for coming to this agreement with Mexico and Canada.

Petrobas has also published its May production numbers here.

May production of crude + NGL was 1.892 mbpd, the lowest monthly number this year. The drop has been attributed to programmed maintenance stoppages at rigs in the Campos Basin. Average 2007 production so far is 1.916 mbpd vs 1.920 mbpd for the whole of 2006.

In comparison, 2000 Petrobas crude + NGL production was 1.324 mbpd.

Science Panel Finds Fault With Estimates of Coal Supply

“There is probably sufficient coal to meet the nation’s needs for more than 100 years at current rates of consumption,” the study said. “However, it is not possible to confirm the often-quoted assertion that there is a sufficient supply of coal for the next 250 years.”

I watched quite a bit of the debate in the Senate last week and this week on the proposed energy bill and its amendments. It's difficult to imagine how "current rates of consumption" can jibe with proposals to start funding CTL projects.

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

The NYT is as guilty as anyone else of tossing around the "250 years of coal" figure. You're exactly right: Those "100 years of coal" (and that's perhaps as wild a guess as the 250 years number) will be eaten up in no time by desperate peak oil mitigation efforts. It's perfectly plausible that global "peak coal" is just around the corner, upping the stakes into a quest for a viable "peak fossil fuel" mitigation strategy.

Yes, 100 years of coal. "At current levels of consumption". But we're not talking about current levels of consumption - we're talking about greatly increased levels of consumption, especially if CTL gets going. Exponentially rising levels of consumption, in fact. Paging Dr. Bartlett!

The Good:

'Car-sharing' service on road to expansion
By Laura McCandlish Sun reporter June 21, 2007

Margaret Deli strolled up to the Toyota Prius, swiped her membership card over the windshield sensor, opened the door and found the keys and a gas card in the glove compartment.

Within minutes the Johns Hopkins senior was on the road to Towson, returning three hours later to the university's Homewood campus in North Baltimore, where she parked the car in its 24-hour spot for the next driver.

The cost: $18.

"It's just so weird because I've never driven on campus before," said Deli, 21, an art history and English double-major from suburban Chicago.

Flexcar, a "car-sharing" service, entered the Baltimore market in March with four vehicles parked around the grounds of the Hopkins campus, available for short-term, low-cost rentals.

It has been so successful, the Seattle-based company plans to double its fleet there by mid-July. One of two national car-sharing companies, Flexcar has also signed a contract with the Parking Authority of Baltimore City to place about 30 rental cars at various spots downtown in the coming months.


The Bad:

Kim Martin ... and her 13-year-old daughter are headed out of Baltimore, after less than a year in Charles Village, in the first block north of 25th Street.

"Three weeks after moving in," she wrote Dixon, "I woke up on Sunday morning at 6 a.m. to discover a man in my back bedroom stealing my computer and camera. That shook us up pretty good, but we decided to batten down the hatches (bar the windows, install the alarm system) and try to make a go of it. The winter passed fairly uneventfully, except for the rats, and used condoms and needles I constantly find outside my back gate.

"About a month ago, I heard screaming at the back window and opened it up to witness a man stabbing a woman in broad daylight. I screamed at him to stop, called 911 and ran down to help her. I have never seen anything like this in my life and have lived in a variety of urban settings, including Miami, D.C., and New York City. This tragic event means I have been called as a material witness in the preliminary hearing and coming trial.

"Two weeks later, we came home from Target across 28th Street to find it blocked by fire engines, ambulances and police cars. That was the scene of the fatal shooting of a cab driver."

In addition, Martin says, the city has issued her a series of parking and other citations - one of them for putting her trash out too early - that she considers nuisances and resents at a time when the city has far greater problems.

"Between the overzealous regulation of minor offenses by citizens you should be happy to have in your city and the criminal activity that is completely out of control, we have no choice," Martin wrote (Mayor Sheila) Dixon. "I am not naive, nor paranoid. Just a single working mom hoping my daughter is not touched by the violence that is overwhelming this town. We close on our new home July 12. Please try to understand what life is like here for the average citizen in your pursuit of the mayoral office this fall. If nothing changes, I can't see why anyone would want to stick around to see what happens next."


Years ago, about 1990, I read a similar letter in the Washington Post. The police had promised to step up their efforts to combat drug dealers, but this fellow wrote in and said that he had been pulled over for a string of trivial offenses (like putting his seat belt on after he pulled out of his parking space) while the druggies were doing business as usual right around the corner. He also decided to move to the suburbs.

I'm wrestling with where to live next, too. My apartment is close to work, and to a lot of services, but Fed Hill is home to a lot of watering holes. On weekend nights the street noise never stops. One morning around 2 or 3 AM, I woke to some guy outside yelling, "I'm gonna shoot y'all, motherfuckers!" over and over. Even regular nights bring occasional loud arguments between the street people. I like to use natural ventilation, so I hear everything.

Yesterday, I left for work and found some guy asleep in front of another apartment door. Another time I left and some guy was asleep in front of the exit door. I had to wake him up just to get out.

With all these people talking about buying land and setting up to survive PO/GW, I found it interesting that some places in the US are giving away land.

AMY GOODMAN: Josh Rushing in the film Control Room, former Marine spokesperson, now actually works at Al Jazeera English (International) Talk about that first story you went out on. Talk about going to North Dakota and what happened.

JOSH RUSHING: Yeah, you know, it seemed like a simple story. We were going to do a story about Small Town America, and there’s actually a part -- and, you know, the country is obsessed with immigration, how many people are coming over the border. Well, there’s part of North Dakota, this kind of western, northwestern North Dakota, where the towns are actually emptying out. All the kids are graduating, going away and not coming back, to the point there’s actually small towns that will give you money to put your children in the school system there and land. They’ll give you free land to build your house on, just trying to attract somebody to keep these communities alive. So I wanted to see what’s the value in these communities. So it’s a real nice, charming story, extolling the values of Small Town America.


Local news on Roscoe:

Bartlett first representative in state to publicly announce pork projects

“In previous years, I followed the established procedure and waited until appropriations bills were finalized [in Congress] to distribute news releases with my list of requests that received funding,” the Republican said in a statement.

“With greater public interest and the support of Republicans to reform the congressional budget process, I am releasing the requests.”

Bartlett released his list of $334.5 million in budget requests for next year’s federal budget, breaking from a decades-old practice of keeping mum on these occasionally controversial pet projects and backing more transparency in earmarking federal aid.


» Fewer than 10 percent of the 435 members of the U.S. Congress released their “pork” projects, Bartlett spokeswoman Lisa Wright said.


China says exports fuel greenhouse gas emissions

BEIJING, June 21 (Reuters) - China said on Thursday it was unfair for rich countries to buy its cheap goods and then condemn its greenhouse gas pollution, a day after one study suggested the nation was already the world's biggest carbon dioxide emitter.

China's growing greenhouse gas emissions are under a glare of international attention as nations prepare to seek a climate change treaty after the Kyoto Protocol targets expire in 2012


"China is now the factory of the world. Developed countries have transferred a lot of manufacturing to China. What many Western consumers wear, live in, even eat is made in China," spokesman Qin Gang told a regular news briefing.

"On the one hand, you want to increase this production in China. On the other hand, you want to condemn China over the issue of emissions reductions. This is unfair."

China could overtake Germany as the world's biggest exporter of goods this year or soon after. Exports from China jumped 27 percent in 2006, outpacing all other major trading nations, the World Trade Organisation has estimated.

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

I mentioned a couple of months ago that we should consider China's oil consumption as our oil consumption. Now, ditto with green house gas.

We need to seriously rethink the idea that global warming is a danger. It turns out we are going to need more carbon dioxide in the air:

Read the sunspots
The mud at the bottom of B.C. fjords reveals that solar output drives climate change - and that we should prepare now for dangerous global cooling

Al Gore call your office!

Sounds like it 'Turns out' this is what this guy thinks..

..but I know how important it is for you to be devil's advocate, which IS, of course an important role to play. Just hold on before you buy any bridges from the guy.


'I think, therefore I am.'

'Descartes thinks he thinks, therefore he thinks he is.'
-Someone else

In that article we read:

It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada.

There is no such thing like global warming in Canada. Global warming is global, and Canada is Canada.

Does this site have an ignore feature? Because you and your half-baked postings would enjoy the place of honor. Your postings are generally fact free but opinion rich. If there is one thing about TOD is that it is based on hard science and the best available data. And for the climate, the best available data & science is not polemic and idiotic railings against Al Gore.

Do a search for the 'todban' utility (written by greenman, I think) using the Greasemonkey add-in to Firefox. Todban allows one to ban certain user's comments.

OIL FUTURES: Nymex WTI Hits 9.5 Month High On Nigeria Strike

Nymex crude oil futures climbed to a nine-and-a-half month high in London Thursday morning, extending a recovery from the previous session's selloff as concerns of an interruption to oil flow from Nigeria grew.

A union leader told Dow Jones Newswires both production and loading of crude oil for export from the region has been disrupted by a national strike and, although the companies involved have yet to comment, it is only expected to heighten if the strike continues.

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

According to the BBC, oil exports are not affected yet, because it takes three days to shut down an export terminal.

So the questions to ask are: "Are they actually in the process of shutting it down?" and after that "If things are resolved, how long does it take to get running again?"

Try this:

For a good website on Nigeria, go to


The photogallery is excellent. Some tragic. Some funny. They are not very good at crane health and safety

The riverboat full of petrol from a pipeline is very scary.

Hope they dont light up...

Absolutely unknown to the 'western mind'. Worked in Ghana in 1974-75. Some of this stuff very reminiscent. Fellow Peace Corps worker and I have bored our families with the likes of our 'Gods Must Be Crazy' stories but some of these pics were just amazing.

Talking about Lorry rides. This one takes the cake.

Public Transportation


U.S. refiners are producing far less gasoline than they are capable of making because of planned and unplanned maintenance.

The sentence above shows the tenuous grasp on reality these reporters have. If only these large complicated machines didn't need to be maintained, they could produce more gas? True, but nonsensical. If the refinery needs fixing, then it's no longer capable of "100%" output. It's like criticizing a marathon runner for not trying to sprint full speed from the starting gate to the finish line.

Worse, it shows that the reporters/editors have no respect for either the English language or their readers.

I imagine that they would criticize someone for not driving their car... while it was in the shop being fixed!

From my Mac Oxford dictionary:

capable |ˈkāpəbəl|
having the ability, fitness, or quality necessary to do or achieve a specified thing

(emailed at 12:05am 6/21/07 through MySpace.com/Roscoe_Bartlett)

Congressman Bartlett,

I urge you and your staff to make one minute video clips addressed to each of the 2008 candidates and post them on YouTube to solicit their responses.

The foundation of our world economy, global oil production, is peaking. Ask each of the candidates if they are aware of Peak Oil and what they think the economic impact it will have on the U.S. economy.

Ask them to respond to you via video on YouTube. Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O68MX-86hOk and the first three minutes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HRZPpbpSjg) of a new multi film festival award winning documentary, A Crude Awakening. For precise resources on Peak Oil, check out TheOilDrum.com.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this urgent and deadly serious problem.

One of your Constituents,

Christian™ ____________________

OK, econ-folks (Sailerman?), can you tell me what will come of this fallout?

Bear Stearns Fund Collapse Sends Shock Through CDOs


``We're not surprised to find the principal circle of players is pretty interconnected,'' said Roy Smith, professor of finance at New York University Stern School of Business and former head of Goldman's London office. ``What we're looking for is whether the interconnection creates a negative domino effect: Whether Hedge Fund A creates a problem for other hedge funds, which in turn creates a problem for the prime brokers that are lending to them.''

Corporate Debt Risk Jumps on Concern Over Bear Stearns Funds

Corporate Debt Risk Jumps on Concern Over Bear Stearns Funds


The perceived risk of owning corporate debt soared worldwide on concern that the collapse of two hedge funds run by Bear Stearns Cos. may cause a chain reaction that sparks losses for other hedge funds and the banks that finance them.

....And, what does this have to do with Peak Oil? Is it another little "intangible"?

More of Khebab's work:
Normalized plot of Brent crude oil prices and US Personal Saving Rate (2000 = 100): http://www.theoildrum.com/files/PSR_Brent.png

It appears that Warren Buffet didnt take his own advice...

'Warren Buffet critizes hedge funds even as he invests $620 million in one'


'The fund that Warren took a flyer on invests in bonds issued by 19 different countries.'

620 million? He probably tips his shoe shine guy more than that. Just a small favor for an old friend. Odd, I heard about Warren saying that hedge funds had the potential to collapse the world economy but I didnt hear that he had put any money into one. Perhaps I heard it on CNN?

The current issue with the Bear Sterns fund are related to CDOs, which is only one type of investment.

Hedge funds, like mutual funds, have different investment ojectives and products that they invest in. CDOs are pooled mortgages, most subprime. If the hedge fund that Warren invested in does not buy CDOs or other derivative products, then he is fine.

The hedge fund mentions that it is invested in the bonds of 19 different countries. Sounds to me like Warren is making a bet on both a declining dollar and maybe a declining US economy. Smart bet if you ask me.

Well what really concerns me on those two reports is the almost complete lack of transparency to the inner workings of the hedge fund world, the interconnectivity of hedge funds between themselves and other corporations, and the amazingly complex way in which bonds are wrapped up and sold based on shakey financial foundations (subprime loans?)

By their highly leveraged nature, hedge funds collapse all the time. Bear Stearns is a big and well-known company, but it isn't a huge surprise that a couple of their riskiest funds would fail. When you go for high returns (as hedge funds invariably do) then you have to accept a very high risk that goes along with high expected rewards.

IMHO this is much ado about business as usual. Capitalism, when it works right, has more failures than successes, just as more species fail than succeed in the struggle for biological survival.

Well...and besides...it's really only electronic money anyhoot...right?

Lose a few billion here, gain a few billion there...all that matters is the balance at the end of the day.

Sorry, I just don't like the idea of hedge funds...they seem to me to be the playground for the rich and famous, with no rules and regulations, a private club, enter by invitation only.

Let me know if I'm wrong here.

Dragon: No one denies what you are stating. The average return for a "hedge" fund is pathetic. In fact, the hedge fund industry is the antithesis of "capitalism". The whole industry rests upon OPM, whether pension funds or preferred financing from banks and other financial institutions. Connections are everything. Nick Leeson, of Barings fame, is back running money. That pretty well sums it up.

Only the rich can afford to lose money as fast as you can in a hedge fund. The original idea of hedge funds was that they could sell short--and hence were a "hedge" against falling stock prices. There is nothing wrong with this fundamental idea, but when they got ridiculously leveraged the risks went way way up.

Right, so instead of Joe Blow trying to predict which way the "Free Market" will turn, Joe Blow needs to try to predict which way the hedge funds will go. They are the only ones out there with enough bulk and leverage to affect the market. They can influence the entire DOW by dumping or buying at any given moment. How can this be construed as a free market? Especially when we have no real idea who is involved with the hedge funds and how much money is being dropped here and there.

The line between these things and Las Vegas or Monte Carlo gets finer and finer all the time.

If you are going to gamble, try horses. A lot classier, and at least you get a decent afternoon's entertainment out of the deal.

At least in Monte Carlo, the odds are known. The global market has been (generally) an excellent money maker, but every so often a completely "left field" event occurs (the over used term: black swan event) can reek some serious havoc. There is no such event in the Casino.

Since no one has given a complete answer, I will give this a shot.

First you have to understand what a CDO is. CDO (Collateralized Debt Obligations) is a pool of mortgages combined into one bond that investors can buy. The mortgages can be across different credit quality (subprime, Alt-A, prime, etc). The concept is that by combining a pool of mortgages together, the risk of total default it reduced, thus the bond can have a higher credit rating than the individual mortgages that make up the pool of the bond. For example, you could pool a bunch of subprime mortgages together into one bond and bond may be priced and sold as an investment grade AAA bonds.

CDOs are the chief instrument that allowed subprime mortgages to be bundled and sold to investors as high quality, investment grade bonds.

The other key part of this story that many do not understand is the accounting rule of “mark-to-market”. Mark-to-market is basically taking the value of the investment on your books and adjusting it for its current market value.

CDOs are not widely traded on an open market. They are generally sold and bought between institutions and professional investors as a private transaction, not through a broker and open market. Because they are not traded on the open market, there is no “current market value” to assign CDOs in order to perform the mark-to-market adjustment in one’s accounting records.

The Bear Stearns fund had investments in CDOs. Bear Sterns was considering liquidating their portfolio of CDOs in an auction format. As I mentioned above, because CDOs are not widely traded in the open market, and because subprime mortgages are defaulting like crazy, no one truly knows the market value their CDOs. Investors may only buy a CDO for pennies on the dollar because they now recognize the risk associated with the subprime mortgages pooled in the CDO. If Bear Sterns had sold their CDOs, a current market value for the CDOs would be established, and consequently, everyone who had invested in CDOs would have to adjust the CDOs in their accounting records down significantly to account for the defaulting subprimes. Just about everyone and their brother invested in CDOs at some point (all the major banks, hedge funds, pension funds, etc) and all these investors would then be required to show real and huge losses related to CDOs in their accounting records.

Recognizing the downstream impact to everyone in the market, other investment banks got together and did a private deal with Bear Stearns to buy the CDOs for an undisclosed amount, thus preventing the true market value of CDOs from being established and preventing everyone from performing a true mark-to-market adjustment (well at least for today).

How does this relate to Peak Oil? Little, if anything at all. I guess Westexas would argue the higher gas prices are the primary driver in defaults in subprimes, which he has in the past. I argue that there may be a correlation, but it is not a driver. I believe that the macro-economics is much more complicated than to simply say it is caused by gas prices. It is an issue related to excess dollar printing by the Fed which drives easy credit. We’ve had dollar printing since Nixon closed the gold window in 1974. So to say this is driven by peak oil, is stretching it quite a bit.

How does this relate to Peak Oil? Little, if anything at all. I guess Westexas would argue the higher gas prices are the primary driver in defaults in subprimes, which he has in the past. I argue that there may be a correlation, but it is not a driver.

To be precise, I have argued that the significant increase in world oil prices after 5/05, was "The trigger, but not the underlying cause of the mortgage meltdown."

The underlying cause was of course the gargantuan debt buildup, but I think that higher oil prices did push large number of Americans into negative cash flow territory, triggering lots of unpleasant and ongoing problems.

Ahh.... but I would argue that the trigger is ARM resets that is causing the mortgage meltdown and not higher oil prices. As a percentage of personal budget, an ARM reset of a couple of percentage points would have a larger impact to affordability of a mortgage than a doubling of gas prices from $1.50 to $3.00/gal.

Here is a chart scheduled ARM resets:

In 5/05, subprime ARM resets start rising astronomically as you can see in the chart. While higher gas prices are certainly not helping much, a jump in your mortgage payment overnight of $500+ a month is going to do you in much faster than higher crude prices.

But higher energy prices affect everyone, not just those with ARM loans, and there is a multiplier effect, most notably on food prices.

The arguement is surely more subtle than that. The Fed has had to steadily increase interest rates in the period 2003-2005, very largely due to the increase in oil prices which have fed through into a general inflationary surge (there are other drivers of course, but to my mind the oil surge is the most important). It is these increases in interest rates which have killed the US housing market - quite simply if oil had stayed at $30 in the period 2003- present then I submit that the Fed would have raised rates only to perhaps 3.5-4% and as such the US housing market would still be in good shape. Certainly by now if energy prices were NOT so high I believe the Fed would have already CUT rates (which would have taken pressure off the housing market - the fact that they cannot cut is largely due to oil).
I believe the 'petrol price rises taking cash directly out of the consumers pocket' arguement is of secondary importance in relation to the present state of the US housing market.
So yes, I do see a direct linkage between the CDO and subprime crisis and the oil surge of the past 3 years. Just envisage what would have happened if oil had stayed at $30....

Keep in mind that just about all foreign central banks are in a rate raising cycle and the dollar has been dropping. If the Fed did not raise rates, the dollar would not have been slowed in its decent and foreign purchases of T-Bills would have decreased.

While I'm sure that oil has an influencing factor on the mortgage meltdown, inflation, and Fed rate decisions; it seems like individuals in general, who have a peak oil mindset, like to mentally attempt to tie everything to oil/gasoline as key driver.

Just as you can not say a correlation proves causation, it is a very strong statement, if not down right dangerous, to say that one event or action is driver of another without some mathematical or scientific proof.

The world is a complex place with many players, many motivations, and many moving parts. An incessant view that every news story and economic event can be explained away with oil as the driver; is naïve.

No doubt that the causal chain you are describing is correct but the larger issue is that the economy, with all this market & credit risk, is not going to swallow the virus of Peak Oil and not get sick. The nice thing about Economics is that for every fact that shows that things are in the crapper there is another that says that things are swell.

Nothing is going to come of it. The news is blacked out by all the business sources for the usual reasons I suspect.

Article two was too early in the day. The default swaps closed largely unchanged today. Up .4%

These companies can't or won't set a price for CDOs for this 4 billion, because if they did, the other trillion would have a market price. Even marked-to-market down 1% would be a 10 billion industry wide hit on earnings this quarter. Of course, 1% is an imaginary number I created. Foreclosures up 90% in May. (RealtyTracs) Of course, the banks should have no problem selling those foreclosures with sales being as brisk as they are and interest rates up 50 basis points in 5 weeks.

Did you know that most subprime CDOs have AAA and AA credit ratings even though 13% of subprimes are in some form of default? (Moody's)

Look for them to drag it out until at least July 1 so they can perpetual the liquidity myth for another quarter.

I had thought Sarbox didn't allow people to record 10 dollar bills as 20s? What a scam. Enron had nothing on these guys.

It's the economy stupid.

No economy, no oil needed and the price will go down.

I guess I'm not the only one thats hording.

Japan goes prospecting for rare metals
By Hisane Masaki


Global rush amid rising prices
Global competition is intensifying for non-ferrous metals, including copper and lead, as well as for such energy resources as oil, natural gas and uranium. Prices have risen sharply in recent years on increased global demand, led by red-hot consumption in China. The surge in prices in international markets has been fueled by the inflow of speculative funds

Japan exported 11.5 billion yen's worth of products to Brunei in 2005, with automobiles and auto parts accounting for 71% of the total. Meanwhile, Japan imported 252.5 billion yen's worth from Brunei, more than 99% of which were liquefied natural gas and crude oil.

The Marketwatch article, 'Oil Due for a Slide' reminds me of all those articles that would have had us awash in $35 oil by now. Same guys, no apology. What could drive the price down a lot is a good recession which drops consumption faster than the drops in production. Having $35 oil in a deep recession is cold, or rather warm comfort - assuming that you have an income.

Whenever I see 'head and shoulders' Fibonacci hocus pocus I get sceptical. Sure, human market psychology may follow some predictable patterns but this isn't Nasdaq and pie in the sky but dirty old oil in the ground. As long as these geologically challenged market gurus keep applying their formulas, I'll keep taking their money. Quite why XOM would be such a good pick if the oil price goes down is beyond me.

If oil hits $35 it won't be beer and skittles. Low oil prices and a vibrant global economy would have to have been the result of alternative energy and consumption mitigation actions which didn't happen. Besides, the current price reflects about as much paper dollar printing as an actual price rise, so $35 is more like $20 in 2000. Lots of production can be shut in in an eyeblink.

I see trouble either way, up or down. Not a comfortable situation.

Actually $35 oil would be great for Exxon and other Big Oil companies. Resource Nationalist countries would no long be awash in petro-dollars and would therefore need Big Oil to come in in to develop fields under Production Sharing Agreements.

John Browne (ex-CEO BP) used to say oil was not worth more than $40. What I think he meant was he could get involved in M&A of other oil companies at that price, becasue that is all that Wall Street and the City of London valued his company at based on reserves. In other words, he couldn't buy other companies and their reserves at a value higher than that, because it would be viewed as negative value to the balance sheet.

Chinese companies (majority state-owned) do not have this problem and are therefore at a competitive advantage in today's oil price scenario.

I do not think we will ever see $35 oil again, but do not assume Big Oil would not welcome it.

But what is $40? A barrel is a barrel but a dollar is 'will pay to the bearer' but what will be payed is left unstated. In constant dollars over the last decade a barrel of oil is $35 but $35 isn't what it was. As long as the US is the center of the universe and a dollar is a sacred thing....

"will pay the bearer" was meant originally as paying a dollar. A dollar was ~ 24 grams of silver (371.25 grains) or 1/15th that amount of gold.

Would be interestng to see historical oil $ prices vs PM comparisons based on this...

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

Bit of trivia coming up.

My commute (by cycle sometimes) is a 13 mile round trip. On the days I cycle I eat more. As a pure guesstimate I reckon I need a banana each way (6.5miles).

SO if it cost me 2 bananas to cycle instead of take the car then logically I need to figure out what the energy cost of those 2 bananas is?? Growing/transport from foregn country/packaging etc... I live in the UK so presume they come some way across the world!

It may be that those 2 bananas actually use an appreciable amount of fossil fuel as my car doing 13 miles @ 35MPG.

So I may be able to argue that I am conserving by taking the bicycle but.......the bananas man.

OTOH there is locally grown produce.


We could grow bananas in the UK in huge greenhouses fed with excess heat and CO2 thrown off by thermal power stations.

Think of mega-scale Eden projects sat next to big coal fired power stations

At least it would be easier to calculate how much energy goes into the production and transportation then. This issue got me thinking. It's an worrying oversight that even low tech mitigation - like for example cycling - is definitely not free. Not by a long shot.

Knowing how we operate here, they'd probably ship the bananas to Thailand to be packaged for sale!

It does seem silly sometimes, but this is how to think about these matters. Real costs, embodied energy, cradle-to-grave costs, etc.

The more ridiculous it seems to have to calculate this stuff out, the more our way of life is revealed to be ridiculous.

If my wife even knew I am thinking about this stuff she would try to commit me to an asylum!

Mine is divorcing me because she knows I do.... sad, but true.

Bunyonhead take heart. I too had one of those and was sad at the time that we broke up. Now I wouldnt take her back if she came with a billion dollars. Voltaire was making light with his 'all things happen for the best' ironically, many times a happanstance can lead down a path to improvement. At least, that has been my experience. Good luck and 'dont let the sobs get you down.'

See... and I thought I was the only one that this was happening to

Dude - have you SEEN the cost of a good old fashioned custody fight with decent lawyers... damn!
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Fortunately, we did not have kids. I could not have gained custody had we had kids. Prevailing laws at that time almost always awarded custody to the mother. I believe it was, generally, a sound law, unless the mother is a total incompetent, a druggy, a drunk, in jail, or doesnt properly care for the child.
In my experience, and in my second marriage I have three married daughters with two children each, custody battles are usually ego trips for parents and can do a great deal of harm to children. Taking vengance out of anger on an exspouse is not a rational action because of the negative reprecussions to the child. Rational parents will settle their differences out of ear shot of a child and out of a court room. If the parents are not rational I would reccommend using the money that would have been spent in a custody battle to retain professional help for the parents.
In other words, put the childrens mental well being ahead of ego and vengance.

Perhaps you could increase your MPB by bike-pooling on a tandem!

the BBC are carrying a story about fuel from fruit

The sugar found in fruit such as apples and oranges can be converted into a new type of low carbon fuel for cars, US scientists have said.

The fuel, made from fructose, contains far more energy than ethanol, the scientists write in the journal Nature.


The drawback is that set up costs are 10 time that for current biofuels

Hot dang, Johnny Appleseed will ride again.

First for an alcohol beverage, now for fuel. Ironic. Wonder if he'll make another killing in real estate.


Dimethylfuran, is what they're referring to.

As I understand it all you need is any glucose/fructose, feedstock, so any of the existing ethanol feedstocks will work with this process.

The big advantage is the ability to blended with normal petrol in pipelines etc...

I wonder if this this is the process that RR was proof checking before he went on break.


Here's another article about the same work:


It looks like they are reducing the sugar to its underlying hydrocarbon backbone. A better solution than letting yeast chomp on it...

Oh, BTW, here's a WikiPedia article on the HMF process, apparently it is fairly straightforward:

June 2007 - Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) claim to have discovered an easy, inexpensive process (using chromium chloride as catalyst) to directly convert both fructose (yielding 90%+) and glucose (yielding 70%+) into a HMF, leaving very little residual impurities.[4] This discovery has great relevance for the manufacturing of plastics and synthetic fuels directly from biomass, since glucose can be derived directly from starch and cellulose, both widely available in nature. [5]

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

I see here not one comment about:
"Mass dump of iron filings 'to remove CO2',"
which to me is the most outlandish example of techno-hubris that I've witnessed in a year. How can people be so willfully blind to the Law of Unintended Consequences? What will we do when we find that a huge impulse in one part of the marine ecosystem causes negative effects that spread across years and miles? No matter how sorry we are then, there'll be no getting that iron back.
But Planktos will have sold its carbon credits by then, and the investors may have moved on, leaving the public to clean up their mess. And as far as responsible stewardship goes, Planktos' approach is to us a non-US flagged ship. Thanks, that helps a lot, guys.

I see here not one comment about:
"Mass dump of iron filings 'to remove CO2',"

Outrage Fatigue? My 1st thought was about the micro-nutrients in the bloom that would be 'lost' at the bottom of the sea.

And the bloom will do a fixing of CO2 - but what happens with the rose is off the bloom of algae? Will that CO2 just be released as methane from the ocean bottom?

If the chain ends up making methane, that is a WORSE situation VS just leaving CO2.

Yeah, let alone the emergy of the iron *filings*. Another sub-sub-sub-section in the hierarchy of the litany of abuses.

Humans are genetically directed to get fat. If we must eat our seed corn and children to do it, we will.

That suggests to me that we are genetically directed to self destruct, leaving morals and ethics in a funny spot.

My investment advice: buy guns.

cfm in Gray, ME

I would think that it would just soak O2 rather than CO2 out of the atmosphere. Great help, that.

Listen to the brief interview with Dr. Lee Kump at the link, regarding anoxic ocean events.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/crude near the bottom of the page. He speaks, if I recall right, of how dumping iron into the oceans would exacerbate the problem of oceans becoming overwhelmed by H2S events.

If you haven't listened to it, I recommend it... and maybe if someone does you can take notes and post what he says. I think it screws up the sequestration of phosphate or something. I was doing about three things while I listened to it, so remember he spoke about it but not the exact details. Seemed to make sense in context though.

And it sure FEELS like a screwy idea that could backfire.

I just became aware of this algae and carbon about a month ago so I am not an expert but I can comment that if we put 20% of atmospheric carbon in the bottom of the ocean (whether algae would do that effectively is debatable) this raises oceanic carbon by 0.4%. http://science.hq.nasa.gov/oceans/system/carbon.html
In other words, the oceans contain 50 times the amount of carbon than does the atmosphere.

At first glance, 0.4% doesn't sound like a huge number.

Second, the National Science Foundation reported in 1996 that preliminary data shows that algae does act as a carbon sink: (doesn't let carbon escape) http://nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=101792

Today's NY Times most emailed article is titled Not Buying it.
Good read on dumpster diving, freecycling,
Unfortunately they throw in snide comments like, lives with his mom etc - to invoke negative associations.
but a lot of people are going to read this.

...'If its free, its for me.' I have noticed on the board that when a book or dvd is mentioned many posters rush to Amazon or some other site to see if it is available and at what price. Why not use your local library if you have one? My local library can be accessed by computer, a book or dvd reserved, and the library will let me know when it is available either by phone or email. Motorcycle to library and back = 8 miles = < 1/5 gal gas. If its a dvd burn a copy for watching again in the future or loaning to your friends, kids, etc. Compare that action to purchasing the book/dvd on Amazon or even Half.com. The library wins every time.

Basically, the answer is time. I want to know when I'm getting something, and I want to keep it as long as I need it.

And if you're going to ignore copyright by burning a copy of a DVD, why not just download it off the net? It's instant, and you can do it in your underwear. ;-)

I once investigated whether I could live off the land for a month here where I live in the middle of Toronto: wild foods only, essentially hunter-gathering on the green spaces not occupied by buildings or private lawns.

I chose late September and October because that's when many of the wild foods (that I'm aware of) are in season.

Didn't actually hunt for legal reasons. Just noted the location and abundance of various species. Squirrels, racoons, skunks, rabbits, ducks, pigeons and ...to our mutual astonishment... a beautiful buck with a great set of antlers in a nearby ravine. Later that fall, I ran across a beaver and a musk rat, creatures I've often seen in wild settings but never dreamed would live in this metropolis.

Though I didn't hunt to kill, I very much did gather (and eat). Mostly acorns and many varieties of apples by the bucketful. In addition beech nuts and walnuts (very messy). I found but did not gather cattails and other water plants because of pollution issues in low-lying areas. The odd fish, frog, turtle was in evidence, but I left them alone for the same reason even apart from the legalities.

So it turned out that if there were no competition from other primates, even a doofus ape like myself with slendour knowledge of local fauna and flora could support himself on wild foods in a very dense urban setting during that particularly bountiful time of year.

We Canadians don't celebrate Thanksgiving in October for nothing.

re coal items

I'd tag these as 'my disease worsened more slowly this week'.

That's arguably good news about the supercritical steam plant IF they dynamited an older style plant to make way for it. As far as I can tell newer style plants are being built and the older style plants still keep chugging away. Result; emissions increase.

The review of US coal reserves said electricity price increases could lead to a lowering of coal demand. Maybe not. Despite politicians saying the energy penalty for clean coal is 15% let's assume it is more like 40%. If coal input is proportional to electrical output then electrical demand has to reduce 30% (since 140% × 70% ~100%) to hold the line on coal use. An immediate 30% cut in mainstream electricity use would need a recession.

Better news on the coal front was Google's support for vehicle-to-grid the same time Congress wants more coal-to-liquids.

Folks... Dave Cohen's recent piece, "A Paradigm Shift" is a very worthwhile read. (see above in the Drumbeat and also available here )

His focus is actually on two paradigm shifts, both of which are fascinating.

(1) There is evidence that several major petro exporters will not drill and pump themselves into oblivion at top speed, and that their methods of applying the brakes a little will vary. (compare Venezuela with KSA)

This is just simple economics. If no good substitutes to oil are on hand, producers taking a slightly longer view will find ways of keeping more of it in the ground -- no matter how many hissy fits the IEA throws.

(2)We are unlikely to use the 2nd half of the world's oil endowment in the same way we used the 1st. For instance: Saudi Arabia is getting into plastics big time according to Cohen. Again, simple economics means big changes on the horizon. That $100 to $200 barrel in 2010 will be used for a different mix of stuff than that $40 barrel was a few years back.

In addition, the smart producers will use their endowments to get into high margin businesses.

Even if, as I believe, a plateau at current levels is more likely than a sharp peak, that doesn't mean the North American car culture won't feel severe stress going forward. It will likely turn out there are much more rewarding things to do with your liquid or gassified fossils than to send a spark through them.

Chevez is definitely going the value added route in Venesula. A short time back his government announced ground breaking on a huge aluminum plant. He will employ a lot of his own people, use massive amounts of energy to make the aluminum, and make a profit on the finised product. If SA hasnt already gone this route they probably will in the future...if the religious police ok it.

Venezuela has massive hydropower in the southeast. Guri, 5 MW was the world's second largest dam at one time (Itapu, 3 Gorges, Soviet surpassed it). Chavez inherited a 2.2 GW dam under construction, finished it and stated the last "big dam", a 2.1 GW dam.

Lots of hydro = aluminum.

They still burn NG fro electricity in distant parts of the country.


I'll second that Dave's piece is excellent.

The UK Meteorological Office is issuing an Atlantic Hurricane season forecast that is lighter than the other ones out there. They are calling for 10 more storms from July - November.

Hello TODers,

Referring to Leanan's toplinks on Pakistani rioting:

Just like my speculation in yesterday's Drumbeat: rocks being hurled by angry, rioting youths thru the windshields of passing vehicles. Yikes!

I suggest that Pakistan goes to full-on Peakoil Outreach and mitigation so that the blowbacks can be minimized. Imagine if the crowd had just spent this time collecting beer bottles and other containers, then made a community hot-water heating system instead. The energy saved would help shorten the blackouts.

Most likely, any bottles found were used to make molotov cocktails or were filled with gravel to be thrown at the police and/or storefronts--busted glass everywhere. In short: a potential positive biosolar gain was instead inverted to accelerate decline. If some of these people cannot afford shoes--lots of slashed footsoles--more blowback.

Same with trashing the KFC. This store was probably the most energy-efficient per cooked chicken in the neighborhood, and might have been able to afford PVs or a diesel-gen to keep operations going during the blackouts. Wrecking this infrastructure has now reduced the neighborhood resiliency, and the rioting idiots will now have to pay more for food and go longer distances to eat. DUH!!!

The cops having to respond to the riots further increases blowbacks because they are not out catching the worst criminals: more murders, child abuse, etc. I am sure that other TODers can come up with other pakistani examples of their reaction to the blackouts as exactly ass-backwards to what they really needed to do. Ignorance is not postPeak bliss.

How can anyone be optimistic and cornucopian for our future unless Peakoil Outreach is globally achieved? The detritovores need instruction to become biosolar to optimize our decline. Otherwise, Jay Hanson's Thermo/Gene Collision is 100% correct.

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

Hi Bob, There is a lot more to the rioting in Pakistan than power blackouts. The blackouts were an excuse to riot. The fundamentalist Muslims are angry about Musharraf's cooperation with the US in the 'war on terror.' The fundamentalists want Musharraf gone and many in the ISI and Pakistani military are in sympathy with them.
KFC? They dont want no stinking KFC man! It is a symbol of the US. They were cooking and eating just fine before KFC came to Pakistan and will do just fine without it. Its a laugher. Putting a KFC in a Muslim country is like putting a canary in a coal mine.

It is funny, the BBC America news seems to be attributing all rioting in Pakistan to Salman Rushdie getting a knighthood...

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

I'm sure it was popular and profitable. When it is rebuilt it will again. I have a lot more sympathy for people who want the right to make their own choices than religious zealots who will burn and kill to stop them from having that right.

If Pakistanis don't want KFC, they won't buy it, just like me.


VIDEO: The Empire of Oil: The Hidden History of 9/11

About 36 minutes long

re : "head and shoulders pattern" (in oil price)

you know if you stare at the clouds long enough you may see little bo peep being chased by sheep with alligator snouts.

I get your point but if you get enough technical analysts saying the same thing, that could move the market.

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

right, self-fulfilling reading of tea leaves. there may be some validity to "pattern recognition" science. however, it seems that all these chart readers are prone to drawing conclusions based on random occurances.

in the olden days, that was the mid 70's, one study found a good correlation with the dow and rainfall in tibet.

There seems to be no sign that this


is going to be resolved anytime soon. I can't imagine anyone

wanting to be short oil going into the weekend with the

strike continuing.


Some astounding figures here - if one is to believe any figures reported:


78% of income is running to stand still..only 22% to do what you want.

I suppose it depends on what is a bill of course. DIY is a hobby, fancy food, so is moving house to some people..

The bit I find astounding is that interest rates have barely risen, and fuel hasn't even started climbing yet.