DrumBeat: June 24, 2007

Matt Savinar on Coast to Coast with Art Bell (MP3, courtesy of "loopy" at PeakOil.com)

Matt, AKA The Chimp Who Can Drive, was on Coast to Coast last night, talking about peak oil. He did a really great job.

Nigeria's unions end fuel strike

Nigeria's trade unions have called off their general strike over a recent rise in petrol prices, after talks with government officials.

Union leaders said they had accepted the government's proposal to freeze petrol prices for at least a year.

The government had already agreed to reduce its increase in prices as one of a series of compromises offered before the strike began on Wednesday.

An Inconvenient IT Truth

Surveys show that 48 percent of IT budgets is being spent on energy.

And 70 percent of those surveyed say power and cooling are now their biggest problem.

Oil prices: You ain't seen nuthin' yet

And people think the price of gasoline is high now.

Midland Reporter-Telegram's weekly oil and gas news

Following Cyclone Gonu, Oman has said all oil and gas operations are now back to normal.

Pakistan: Heavy imports cut LPG companies profit

A recent meeting between producers and government officials was told that since price of locally produced LPG was pegged with Saudi Aramco CP rates in January last, retail cost of the fuel has risen by $100 per ton till June over the same period in previous year.

“Due to high prices market could not absorb the fuel and importers continued to dump more and more,” said an industry official privy to ongoing discussions with petroleum ministry and Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra).

The Future of Energy in the West: Will the West go nuclear or will it turn towards biofuels?

It took too long for some western countries to realize that their dependence on oil must come to an end. Now the future of energy has turned into a heated political topic that is intrinsically related to issues like stability in the Middle East, global warming, the Iraq war, Russia and even Africa.

Corporate greed, corruption, and the coming collapse

My message to all U.S. citizens is to prepare yourself now for what's coming. Get out of debt. Get healthy. Invest in your education and learn some practical skills like gardening, bicycle repair or natural medicine. Own some productive land and learn how to use it. Be near a source of fresh water. When the oil runs out, and the fresh water tables are drained, and the financial system collapses, and the real estate bubble bursts, life is going to be a whole lot harder than it is today. Forget about shopping malls, must-see TV and the latest fashions. Most families are going to be struggling just to put food on the table.

El Al to raise prices as fuel costs increase

El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. will raise airfares on long-haul flights to North America, South Africa, and the Far East by $20, and airfares on short-range flights by $10. The rise in prices follows recent increases in fuel prices.

Too little, too late: Gore blames scientists for climate crisis

In an extraordinary outburst aimed at America's failure to tackle global warming, Al Gore says that if scientific agreement on the climate crisis had been reached sooner it would have been easier to "galvanise the public and persuade Congress to act".

Manufacturers count cost of carbon

WHILE much of the carbon kerfuffle has centred on emitters in the energy and mining sectors, it is manufacturers that may face the biggest adjustments, says Liza Maimone, head of environment and sustainability services at Ernst & Young.

Already under siege from low-cost exporters and a dollar threatening to pierce the US85¢ mark, manufacturers face being caught in a vice of higher electricity and fuel costs and the shift by consumers to less carbon-intensive products.

India: Power sector may obviate coal

The preference of the Indian power sector for coal based plants - with over half of the overall capacity of 132,000 MW is coal-based and the rest split between hydro, gas, diesel, nuclear and renewables - may change as stricter norms for carbon emissions emerge, and as alternative sources of generation like solar and nuclear power become more cost-competitve, says a report by the Tata Strategic Management Group (TSMG).

Exxon to focus on oilsands?

Exxon Mobil Corp. is likely to turn its attention to Alberta's oilsands in a big way as it scales back its presence or even pulls out of Venezuela, an analyst said yesterday.

A report in Caracas-based Diario Reporte de la Economia said the Irving, Tex.-based company is pulling out of the South American country altogether because of a disagreement with the government of Hugo Chavez over compensation for Cerro Negro, a large project it ran in the Orinoco belt, where there are heavy oil deposits similar to Alberta's oilsands.

After being forced by Mr. Chavez to give up control and reduce its stake to 40% from 60%, Exxon will sell what is left, as well as an affiliate that markets gasoline and lubricants, the newspaper said yesterday.

Dr. Albert Bartlett, In Depth

Dr. Albert Bartlett, professor emeritus of Physics from the University of Colorado at Boulder discusses population growth, peak oil and global warming, solutions and sustainability in great detail with GPM's Andi Hazelwood. The in depth interview closes with a brief discussion of Australia's coal reserves and a look at Queensland's local government reform plan.

Driving home theory of peak oil

Cheryl Nechamen knows that when a discussion turns to the theory of "peak oil," listeners' eyes tend to glaze over. So she's been pleasantly surprised at how well talking about the 100-mile diet helps to break the ice.

Oman: Tapping green alternative

If a Sohar-based Omani entrepreneur has his way, then by 2010 the sultanate could become the first Arab country to produce an economically viable alternative to petrol.

Mohammad Bin Saif Al Harthy and his family are successfully using ethanol produced from biomass for the last 18 months to run their cars in Sohar.

Arabs urged to adopt solar energy plan

OPEC member Algeria's plan to generate solar power for export and domestic use is an excellent innovation that other Arab states would do well to emulate, according to a renewable energy advocacy group.

Future of energy goes nuclear

When Whitecourt Mayor Trevor Thain looks into the future of his western Alberta city, he gazes past the three mills, beyond its agricultural heritage and over the black gold that powers the province's economy.

Thain and city council, along with a feisty Calgary entrepreneur and at least one unnamed oil company, are hoping to plant nuclear power on the fringes of the oilpatch.

The fight for the world's food

Already there are signs that the food economy is merging with the fuel economy. The ethanol boom has seen sugar prices track oil prices and now the same is set to happen with grain, Mr Brown argues. "As the price of oil climbs so will the price of food," he says. "If oil jumps from $60 a barrel to $80, you can bet that your supermarket bills will also go up."

In the developed world this could mean a change of lifestyle. Elsewhere it could cost lives. Soaring food prices have already sparked riots in poor countries that depend on grain imports. More will follow. After decades of decline in the number of starving people worldwide the numbers are starting to rise. The UN lists 34 countries as needing food aid. Since feeding programmes tend to have fixed budgets, a doubling in the price of grain halves food aid.

BP to restart 10,000 bpd Alaska oil output Monday

BP Plc expects to restart on Monday 10,000 barrels per day of Alaskan oil production at its giant Prudhoe Bay oil field, halted June 18 for a pipe leak, a BP spokesman said.

BP shut part of the 400,000 bpd field after workers discovered a small leak in a 24-inch diameter flow line, said BP Alaska spokesman Daren Beaudo.

Qatar seeks tenders to build oil refinery

Qatar is seeking tenders to build a oil refinery with a capacity of 250,000 barrels a day, Energy Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said on Saturday.

The technical and financial studies for construction of a refinery at the Shahine oilfield have been completed, he told journalists, with 2011 set as the target for the facility to become operational.

Nigeria: 4 kidnapped foreigners released

Kidnappers on Saturday released four foreign oil workers seized weeks ago in restive southern Nigeria.

As journalists looked on, mediators handed the Pakistani, British, French and Dutch citizens over to top security officials in Port Harcourt. All the foreigners, who had been seized June 3, appeared healthy. There were no details on any ransom payments for the four.

Dr Roger Bezdek in Australia: ASPO-Australia has set up a page with Dr. Bezdek's schedule, as well as multimedia links to many of his talks and interviews.

Saw SiCKO yesterday - It doesn't say anything in a broad way that one didn't already know. Gets in how the US of A has socialism, how the young are shackled by debt, how the government should fear its citizens, takes a swipe at the Micheal Moore sucks site.

The British show up and make the comment - if the US of A wants public health - they will get it.

After discussion was how, with the present money/government system change wasn't gonna happen. I brought up peak oil, and the tax rate people pay - then asked how others at the table how change was not gonna happen?

I think that what is happening in some areas of Africa is an interesting model for the US. A solution to the constant electrical blackouts in many areas is for those with the means to move to private compounds where every house has its own backup generator, so what is developing is a bifurcated electrical generating system, where the grid is becoming less and less reliable. We see the same thing happening in India and other parts of the world, especially in commercial office buildings.

Regardless of whether it's electricity, gasoline, food or health care, I expect to see an increasing division between the "haves" and "have-nots," with growing numbers of Americans falling into the FWO (Formerly Well Off) category, especially as more and more Americans--once employed in sectors dependent on discretionary spending--lose their jobs.

Hell hath no fury like a FWO who just lost his job, his SUV and his McMansion.


The problem is that forced energy conservation is moving up the food chain.

I suppose there is a third division, which is basically what I (and many others) have been recommending, a "have" more or less living like a "have-not."

My ELP Recommendations: http://graphoilogy.blogspot.com/2007/04/elp-plan-economize-localize-prod...

We could amend ELP to read ELEP: Economize & Localize and Electrify (Re: Alan Drake) & Produce.

I wonder if Alan Drake, et al's, proposals may be the only thing that might keep us from falling into the chaotic bifurcated system that we see developing in Africa.

Probably not, because the haves mainly want to spend money only on themselves. Given the choice between self-powered gated communities and public transportation, they'll go with the gated communities.

And what many of these 'rich' people don't seem to get, is the $5000 in aid to "the poor" is better than $30,000 for jail. And a gated community is 'fine' when there is rule of law. If the worst ideas happen as some here think, no gated community will be safe. If there are 'roving mobs' - what gated community will be safe? With some of the people out there being http://www.hare.org/links/saturday.html these kinds of folk...such does not end well.

In the historic gated community, there were no rifles or mortar shells. Today there are.

A gated community will simply be a big advertisement for "get your money and food here!"

If the Alps could not stop Atilla with his herd of elephants no gated 'community' is going to stop those bent on breaching the walls. History is littered with fools that thought stationary defenses would keep out the hordes.

WT hit on the correct solution for the well off that wish to retain their scalps when tshtf...stay low profile and live like the less well off. Living a 'less well off' lifestyle will also allow for the accumulation of more inflation bridges, like gold, instead of spending that discretionary income on the upkeep of a home in a gated community and keeping up appearances. Smart people have known throughout history that what is inside ones home is not obvious by the outside appearance.

Atilla the Hun didn't had any elephants, you are talking about Hannibal who lived few century earlier.

Thanks, but I believe I got my point across.

That you don't actually know history?

A note about living like the have-nots:

Generators can be heard from far away and will be a dead giveaway. Solar panels on the roof or a wind generator in the back yard can be seen from far away and will also be a dead giveaway.

On the other hand, when you get out into the small towns and countryside, poor folks are just as likely as the well-to-do to have woodstoves in their homes; maybe even more likely. There are plenty of poor salt-of-the-earth types that have always gone out into the nearby forests with a chain saw and loaded up their beat up old pickup trucks with firewood, to be piled outside their beat up old houses. Smoke coming out of the chimney of a house that is not obviously the house of a well-to-do person might be visible from far away, but does not convey the same sort of message as the above examples do.

Eric: You might be right, but the gated communities I have seen in Florida have armed guards. Currently private security is a huge and growing business in the USA and I would expect societal breakdown to help it prosper even more. You could even see large concerns like Blackwater taking over protection for larger communities. IMHO, the upper middle class and above will pay top dollar for physical protection (it is worth as least as much money per annum as healthcare).

Eric: You might be right, but the gated communities I have seen in Florida have armed guards.

And if we are at the point where there is to be 'raids' on gated communities, one has to keep in mind the difference between the old and new gated city model.

There was not .308 or .50 cal rifles. The attackers can reach out and touch someone from a long distance. Do these guards want to work when they would lack the 'protection of the state' if they start getting snipped from other urban cover?

And some of the 'members of the lower class' are being trained on how to do this under the idea that the training will result in a chance to move up the ladder.

(Again, - how does this all end well? As a species, we'd better hope that the optimists turn out right.)

Forget the great unwashed, the poor, the benighted.

Forget money sucking mercanaries from Blackwater

Think about the pissed off ex-marines and soldiers.

The legionaires who came home, avoided the mutilation of IEDs, and know how to 'clean and cock', and can lay hands on weapons.

Think Russia 1918, Germany 1921.

Think Spartans and Friekorps.

Type Friekorps into Google or Wiki

Think pissed off, let down, left in the lurch, stabbed in the back.

The USA has the largest number of ex military types in the western world. You cycle more young men and women through the armed forces than any other Western nation. Assume that they did not forget the training when de-mobbed. Assume that going through hell+ returning to a shit job+ subprime mortgage may be considered a bit of a wind-up

All can get legal access to weapons.

Disenfrachised Ex military types + over the counter weapons = civil war.

Last time these conditions occured in Britain, we chopped the head off a King.

That's exactly the sentiments expressed to me by a friend yesterday. He said, "Forget the rednecks, it's those ex marines who are going to have mutiny against their commanders, and then we'll have a bunch of pissed off guys who are practically the dregs, running around in tanks terrorising and killing as they please."

errrr, that is not sounding like 'remind me how this ends well'.

You see that now. There's often resistence to public transportation in wealthy areas because it makes it too easy for "undesirables" to get in.

Gated communities will be extremely vulnerable when TSHTF. For example, just north of the Twin Cities in Minnesota is North Oaks, the "Forbidden City," forbidden because all the roads are privately owned, and anybody except home owners and invited guests are trespassers--who will be prosecuted by the police.

Ah, the police. Where will they go to get loot and good looking women when TSHTF? Recall what many of the New Orleans police did in the aftermath of Katrina . . . . And private security? Give me a break: Those guys will be looting, raping, killing and burning if and when social order breaks down.

When TSHTF, there will be two kinds of people--those organized into armed groups (the masters) and those who are isolated or disarmed--the slaves.

if things get that bad there will be two groups, the dead (most of us) and those who might expect a few more years. No organized society, no spare parts for generators. No cancer treatment, antibiotics or vaccines. No ammunition for the masters; when they run out they will have to hold off the slaves with black powder weapons.

One of the many reasons I do not want to weather the storm of peak oil where I currently live (Alabama).

The culture here leans heavily toward security over liberty.

They would quickly embrace an authoritarian government. (IMHO)

One of the many reasons that I would never move back to northern Louisiana. They will follow the 'war on terror' wherever it leads them even though they are the victims of the terror that their own leaders are spreading. They cannot see it. A typical response is 'the government cannot touch me as long as I have my guns.' They have read no history or they would know that there logic is as a sieve. Our cops have become a paramilitary institutions. They wear all black, the swat teams travel in armored vehicles, they deploy snipers that shoot when they shouldnt, Mayberry is dead as a doornail.

Freebooters in a post peak world :-o FKA Blackwater?

Of course, we are a lot more civilised nowadays and it could never happen again...


The devastation caused by the war has long been a subject of controversy among historians. Estimates of civilian casualties of up to thirty percent of the population of Germany are now treated with caution. The mortality rate was perhaps closer to 15 to 20 percent, with deaths due to armed conflict, famine and disease.[citation needed] Much of the destruction of civilian lives and property was caused by the cruelty and greed of mercenary soldiers. It is certain that the war caused serious dislocation to both the economy and population of central Europe, but may have done no more than seriously exacerbate changes that had begun earlier.

The destruction caused by mercenary soldiers defied description (see Schwedentrunk). The war did much to end the age of mercenaries that had begun with the first landsknechts, and ushered in the age of well-disciplined national armies.

And the Swedish Drink: :-o
The Schwedentrunk (English: Swedish drink) is a particularly disgusting and humiliating method of torture and execution. The name was invented by German victims of Swedish troops during the Thirty Years' War. This method of torture was administered by other international troops, mercenaries and marauders, and especially by civilians following the Swedish baggage train, who received no pay. It was used to force peasants or town citizens to hand over hidden money, food, animals, etc., or to extort sex from women.

Even though fifteen to twenty percent (locally up to 60%) of the German population perished due to violence, famine, and disease during the war, the memory of the Schwedentrunk was preserved. The method was immortalized in one of the first widely-read German books, the satirical Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus published by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen in 1668.

Den Knecht legten sie gebunden auf die Erd, stecketen ihm ein Sperrholz ins Maul, und schütteten ihm einen Melkkübel voll garstig Mistlachenwasser in Leib, das nenneten sie ein Schwedischen Trunk.

Translated into English,
They lay the bound servant on the ground, stuck a wooden wedge into his mouth, and poured into his belly a bucket full of foul manure water, which they called a Swedish Drink.

Use of the Schwedentrunk is recorded in the histories of towns throughout Southern Germany. Though specific circumstances differed, in every case a restrained and gagged victim was forced to swallow (by means of a funnel) a large amount of unappetizing, sometimes boiling liquid. Substances such as urine, excrement, liquid manure, and sullage were used for this purpose.

And if you really want a fun read, look up the sack of Magdeburg

The Baghdad Green Zone is the ultimate gated community. How long do you think it will be before it is washed away by an avalanche of humanity?

I recently read that people inside the Green Zone are afraid of going out in the evening - in case one of their guards grabs them for hostage!

I also read that they are beginning to have power cuts and water cuts - minor compared to the rest of the country. And that is for a stupendously expensive piece of folly.

We've nearly perfected a grid-free system here on the farm. We can live comfortably WITHOUT electricity.

Those with "solar" systems and back-up generators still have to nurse complex systems along. Plus, they'll be the first swamped with "refugee" friends during outages.

Living with kero-lamps, woodstoves, handpumps is the way we're going. It helps to go to bed when it's dark, and to arise when it's light.


That's my approach as well. The only issue might be refrigeration, but where I live, ice cutting and storing in winter is an option.

From yesterday - your answer?
Up to 1000 pounds of ice per day! Low cost and reliable source of ice for situations requiring 25 to 1000 pounds of ice per day (12-450kg). 'Isaac' is the acronym for Intermittent Solar Ammonia Absorption Cycle.

One other alternative for folks is the Crosley Icy Ball (google it for more information). In any case it was a sphere that was heated on the stove and then placed in the "refrigerator." Home Power Mag had plans posted on their site on how to make one with a 5 gallon propane tank. I printed our the pdf a long time ago so I don't know if it is still available. Home Power also had an article about a home-made trough collector for an ice maker. Both of these used ammonia as the refrigerant.

Here's one Icy Ball article I had printed out: http://www.ggw.org/cac/IcyBall/crosley_icyball.html

Edit to add a few more links I found in my printouts:



Finally, here's a solar refrigeration machine from Bostwana:

In any case it was a sphere that was heated on the stove

Which is fine if you have a stove that you were going to fule no matter what.

The Sun based solution doesn't need you collecting fuel, processing that fuel - the design does that for you.


Come on. You mean it didn't cross your mind that an Icy Ball could also be heated using an enlarged solar oven? It was heated on a stove when it came out because the world was still functioning.

I think it's also necessary to consider cases on an individual basis. In my case, I have acres and acres of forest and a wood cook stove. I'm in the woods anyway since I heat with wood. For me, it's no big deal to heat it on the wood cook stove since I would be using it in any case.


Come on. You mean it didn't cross your mind that an Icy Ball could also be heated using an enlarged solar oven?

No 'large' solar over will give you 1000 lbs of ice.

And you realize that the process can provide building heat at night,

... Low cost and reliable source of ice ...
I have lived with an absorption cycle refrigerator in the distant past -- it ran on electricity, probably not very efficient. It was almost silent but made a little gurgling sound when running.


A neighbor of mine at the time, a geologist from Australia, asked where I grew up. When I told him the name of the town, he recognized it from the nameplate on the old kerosene refrigerator his family had in the boonies of OZ.

That was, like, 40 years ago. Nice to see that the technology is
still around
. Though the kerosene thing is going to have to go...

Hi b3NDZ3La,

Living without electricity makes sense in many ways, but kerosene for the lamps may become a precious commodity in the post-peak world.

I wonder if biodiesel could fulfill that need? Are you prepared to make biodiesel on your farm?

but kerosene for the lamps may become a precious commodity in the post-peak world.....biodiesel

They work with biodiesel but get the EZ pump and a bicycle pump for best use.

This is indeed our weak spot. We have a kerosene fridge that we run from May-October. The rest of the year, free cooling in the pantry (this is Maine). Somehow I don't think distillates will be scarce for awhile. I rather be reliant on kerosene than on gasoline.

The really weak spot is the freezer. We know how to salt meat, though, and if worse were to come to worse, we could can and dry everything.

We've been doing this for years, before "peak oil" was part of the vocabulary. There is something fun about the challenge of learning preservation techniques that, a hundred years ago, everyone could manage.

I lost the link in a system crash, but an Aussie turned a chest freezer into an EXTREMELY efficient refrigerator.

A small solar PV setup could cool it during daylight hours and it could coast over night and through cloudy days w/o a battery IMHO.

A bit larger solar array could handle a freezer with the understanding that it is not to be opened except when the sun is shining. Or buy batteries (I would recommend several Optima deep cycle batteries).

And/or add a small wind turbine. Any microhydro possibilities on your site ?

Best Hopes for Minimal energy impact,


I was looking at some chest freezers last week to make one of these.


Please forward details for a 120V 60 Hz version.



Everyone probably already knows about these, but I will post them any way.


both available at


Sunfrost yes, but not Sundanzer.



Naw, we could live comfortably without electricity sixty years ago. We knew how to do that back then. More people lived on small farms and trucked their produce into the city to sell to the other half that lived there. People in the country lived far enough apart so they could have water wells that were unaffected by their outhouse that sat far enough away.

Now there are no wells so hand pumps would not do you a damn bit of good. Now over 90% of the people live either in suburbia or in the cities. Electricity would leave them with no running water, (the water purification plant uses electricity), no refrigeration and there are no more ice plants.

In the south where I grew up, the ice plant was also the coal plant, they supplied both. No one has a coal stove anymore and houses are not built with chimneys anymore. Of course we could build a chimney, buy a stove, get some coal but that entire infrastructure would take years and all those chimneys belching coal soot would cause a layer of soot to descend on every major city in the world.

There are no small farms anymore and even if there were neither family nor community has the skills needed to live like that anymore. No one has milk cows, there are no blacksmiths, and the horses and mules have all gone. All the skills needed to live in the world our ancestors lived in have all disappeared.

Thomas Wolf was right, you can’t go home again.

Ron Patterson

Naw, we could live comfortably without electricity sixty years ago.

Errr 60 years ago there were less people.

As there will be 60 years from now.


You reminded me of something.

I can't for the life of me remember who coined this, or in which exact words, but it's a very good way to phrase it all:

The 21st century will be just like the 20th century, but played in reverse, and at double speed.

In the end, solar electric or kero lamps, it all runs out, because where are you going to get more kero?

I'll start out with my solar, as I might as well enjoy it while I can. But for the "refugee" friends, if they can't pull their own weight, they can go. I've already told my friends as much. Fortunately I tend to associate with people who are able to conceive the idea of pulling your own weight, and a post-peak world. My family, however is another story. I guess they'll be SOL.

In the end, solar electric or kero lamps, it all runs out, because where are you going to get more kero?

Well, if the global human population crashes, then the global whale populations should recover, and then it's back to whale oil again.

(Now diving under my desk for cover. . .)

I see that WT and Alan posted at about the same time in response to the SICKO comments.

I agree with WT that we will see the rift between the haves and the have-nots grow as energy and food costs rise. Private, personal energy systems for the wealthy and a less reliable grid for most folks.

I also see that Alan Drake's electric trains could do so much in urban areas to solve multiple problems: just getting around, improving air quality, and facilitating the other TOD -- transit-oriented development, which helps develop real heighborhoods that are walk-able and bik-able.

All of the ELP or ELEP suggestions have a very positive impact on human health!

We've been spending tons of money to make ourselves sick with auto-oriented transportation and lifestyles, then spending tons of money to make ourselves well.

We've also been spending tons of money supporting an infrastructure that atomizes society into hyper-isolated individualism as well as increasingly hostile economic classes. Then we spend tons of money on anti-depressants and on security to make life endurable.

I've been reading McKibbons new book "Deep Economy" and he comments on these very topics at some length.

A key solution McKibbons offers is -- suprise -- "Localization!" Not isolationism, but the opposite: self-sufficient local communities linked by sustainable means of communication and transport.

My main point: we pay to make our bodies and communities sick, then pay more to try to make them well -- while enriching lots of middle-men in the process.

ELEP is about health!

Beggar, your example has had a significant impact on my thinking. Bicycling will have a MUCH more significant impact in the future.

"Elasticity of Supply" for transportation is an important metric that has not been discussed.

An oil well has essentially zero elasticity (one can overpump and hurt future production) so their slaves, the automobile can rely only on current and past (SPR) production.

Rail can expand significantly when TSHTF *BUT* bicycle transportation can expand even more even faster !

I am becoming more convinced that bicycles will be the last barricade against social collapse if "we" make the wrong choices. As public transportation in New Orleans has nearly collapsed, bicycles are filling a large part of the gap (cars the rest).

Best Hopes for Better Bicycling,


BTW, Stockpiling bicycles and bike parts as trade goods seems like a good deal.

Thanks for that encouragement and insight, Alan!

Stocking up on bikes and bike parts sounds like a good plan to me, too.

I've even been saving some old chainrings and tires, tubes, and the like for future repair and re-use. The bike-shop techs know to hand me back the old parts if I take anything in for repair -- and they know why, too.

A number of folks I run into in the biking community have some awareness of the need to prepare for a world where spare parts will be harder to come by.

Let's keep on advocating for ELEP, and hope for the best while preparing for the worst!

Just yesterday myseelf and a friend were walking back to his house from the city (a 30 minute walk with a couple of pubs on the way), with traffic the way it was, even the bus was a bad option. As we were walking along, saw a man on a bike, with trailer attached, cycling around, picking up old bikes that people had left on the footpath for disposal.

I commented that apparently, he is setting himself up for an ideal post-peak business, my friend, who while aware of peak oil, is somewhat of a cornucopian and believer in techno fixes (i think he has a little too much faith in humanity), did not really see it the same as i did.

The one thing i am curious about is whether he was simply a collector of junk, unwittingly setting himself up for post-peak, or whether he is truly aware of the potential future that awaits us, and is preparing for a post-peak job. One thing i am certain of, is that either by accident or design, it is good to see someone rescuing what looked to be near perfect bikes from their probable location, scrap, or even worse, landfill.

I wonder will he be someday selling those repaired bikes back to the verry people who were simply not interested in them anymore?

Said person could have been part of one of the bike collectives that exists.

I agree bicycle use has a bright future, but an awful lot of Americans "painted themselves into a corner" with commuting missions too long to accomplish on a human driven vehicle. You'll have to get a little in shape to accomplish a 10 mile ride each way! But zillions of Americans live 20, 30, even 50 miles from work - each way. It'll sure help defeat obesity!

It's the dilemma like that coworker who quit because gas got to a mere $3/gallon. Wait until it gets WAY more expensive to make that commute. Those who live close enough will start to use bicycles en masse, and those forced to drive will find streets clogged with bikes, hurting their gas mileage more and the time will rival bike use in the first place. Bike use will reach a "critical mass" (not to be confused with the monthly protest rides) making bike use the obvious choice for short range missions. The long range commuters will just have to find work closer to home - even with a pay cut. Even with a pay cut you come out ahead if gas prices are too high. That becomes true if you can use a bicycle with the new job.

Petrol prices high enough yet? Just wait!

Not to mention most Americans would snap a bike into two pieces--that is, if they were to ever even try sitting on one.

As George Carlin once said... Ah, hell, I don't need to spell it out more.


It's not just the electricity, of course, it's gasoline and most of all food as well, that will be out of reach (outpriced) for increasing numbers of Americans. See The fight for the world's food in the links upstairs.

Not to mention water; US droughts are fast becoming endemic. Or medical care. Or schooling. Where will the millions of foreclosed live? Cardboard boxes on the edge of town?

Hence, you will see rising to the surface the long premeditated ways to channel the agression of the FWO's, which will direct it against that of the NBWO's(never been well off's).

Expect religion to be the rallying cry.

the agression of the FWO's,

Do ya mean like Sam Byck?

which will direct it against that of the NBWO's(never been well off's).

I don't know how true that will be, but now we are entering the 'how many rioting mobs will having dancing pinheads' debates or something like that.

Expect religion to be the rallying cry.

The? Naw, a popular one, but not 'the'.

Sam Byck was famous for trying to pull a 9/11-ish attack. A movie with Sean Penn playing the part was filmed, the Assassination of Richard Nixon. of course, the plot failed, just like Sam Byck's life overall was a failure. Sam Byck was a total loser all the way to his end, when he got whacked.

Petrol prices high enough yet? Just wait!

?Sam Byck was famous for trying to pull a 9/11-ish attack.

I thought it was because he was planning on killing Nixon.

'memember where Sam was - He felt that he was "owed" a living - that a certain lifestyle was his because he was going to work, et la.

When his life 'fell apart' - he opted to blame Nixon.

How many other Sam's are out there - are going to feel cheated out of 'what they were owed' and will lash out?

Yep, he was trying to whack Nixon, by smashing a plane into the White House, hence "9/11-ish attack". But you raise a good question. There is a whole Oort Cloud of potential independent operatives waiting to lash out. We recently had the Asian student at the college with his Glock 9mm. There are 200 million guns floating around in America, and lots of vets can build IEDs. Consider Tim McVeigh as an example of having only 1 friend help out. He could have done it alone. An independent operative could build a car bomb even in a post-peak world. Even with shortages he could rent the car to load the bomb onboard. After the bomb, it'll only take a couple gallons of gas to accomplish the mission.

While the government is ferreting out Arabic terrorist cells, the independent homebrew operatives float around among us waiting to get angry enough. In a post-peak world, the government will have increasing trouble ferreting out the Arabic types and eventually, the EROEI of hunting them will become no longer worth it. Then, of course, TSHTF.

Petrol prices high enough yet? Just wait!

Expect religion to be the rallying cry.

I'm not sure in what context you meant this, but I think churches will help to hold communities together as PO unfolds. Churches are everywhere throughout communities. They will open soup kitchens and food pantries for the hungry and unemployed, and possibly even shelter. They do that now on a limited scale, and are unhindered by bureaucratic red tape. They are the backbone of our US refugee relocation programs now. Whether or not one has the requisite religious faith will not be an issue. This is seldom mentioned on TOD, because of the demographic of this website, but I think it's true. (And I'm not there either this morning :-)

Expect religion to be the rallying cry.

I'm not sure in what context you meant this, but I think churches will help to hold communities together as PO unfolds. Churches are everywhere throughout communities. They will open soup kitchens and food pantries for the hungry and unemployed, and possibly even shelter.

Of course that all depends on the churches having a surplus of food. That is a far reaching assumption. Some churches will be far better off than others. But it is likely that there will be little surplus food. “Charity begins at home” will be on the lips of just about everyone. When things get really rough, churches will be just as poor as everyone else.

But WT is right, religion will be the rallying cry. It always is no hope on earth everyone turns to the supernatural for help.

"Come, Zackaroff, let's drink! And close up that peephole. I don't want to have to hear that loudmouth! He sounds like a priest, and he's getting on my nerves. Now that every last padre has his pen or his mike, you can't even hear yourself drink anymore. Yes, it's padre time, Zackaroff, that's what it is. All over the world. They're oozing out of every country. Thousands of everyday priest, ready and willing to poison the minds of millions of idiots. Bleeding hearts puking out gospels galore."
- Jean Raspail, "The Camp of The Saints".

Ron Patterson

Expect religion to be the rallying cry

WT didn't make that claim, Ron, I did. He may not agree with it at all, and that should be made clear.

Sorry SoFly, please accept my apologies. I just misread things. But as things get tough people will turn more and more to religion.

But one must wonder, will there be a point when people eventually lose their faith in "the god that failed!"

Ron Patterson

The God that has failed is economic growth embodied in values of unbridled materialism.

And just which god succeeded?

No, the god that failed was not unbridled materialism. Unbridled materialism is simply our nature. And to complain that unbridled materialism has led to our destruction is to complain that our very nature is our downfall.

Well hell, come to think of it, that’s correct.

The destruction of the natural world is not the result of global capitalism, industrialization, 'Western civilization' or any flaw in human institutions. It is a consequence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate. Throughout all of history and prehistory, human advance has coincided with ecological devastation.
- John Gray, "Straw Dogs"


As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of our ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.
- Reg Morrison, The Spirit in the Gene

Ron Patterson

Most premodern cultures have effectively bridled both materialism (greed) and lust. They had to so as to survive for tens of thousands of years.

The problem of social control is fundamental to all communities (and families) and societies. Many premodern societies were better at social control than are modern societies.

BTW, stone age societies were relatively free, especially for women. Nevertheless, social control was generally effective. Indeed, social control is prerequisite to freedom. Women suffered horrible declines in freedoms from agricultural and early industrial society.

Most premodern cultures have effectively bridled both materialism (greed) and lust. They had to so as to survive for tens of thousands of years.

Actually Don, your theory is all wet. By “premodern” I assume you are talking about hunter-gatherers and horticultural tribes. Of course they left no written record so all we have to go by is the arechological record and current, or near past, hunter-gatherers.

Such tribes as the Yanomama of the Amazon, and the !Kung of Africa, and others always have a “Big Man” who is the top dog in the tribe. And he is always a man. And as far as the rest of the tribe goes, the man who is the best hunter always gets the most women and has the most prestige.

And they were just as greedy and materialistic as modern day people except that their possessions meager of course. There was always the threat of war with other tribes.

“In the 1960s, anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon studied the Yanomama, a horticultural, hunting society living in the rainforest in the upper reaches of the Orinoco River….He found intense, pervasive, and continual warfare….”
Steven LeBlanc, Constant Battles

The myth of the peaceful (non materialistic) noble savage is just that, a myth.

And they survived for tens of thousands of years because they found no detritus from past life such as coal or oil. They lived at the very limit of their existence. War, disease and famine kept their population in check.

Ron Patterson

"War, disease and famine kept their population in check."

And so it shall for all of us. The developed nations just had a short intermission as they fed off the poor and less developed nations. That option is coming to a close. Our own poor and middle class will not provide our sustinence for long. We shall next begin to feed on each other.

If you are familiar with the writings of anthropologists on the topic of nomadic hunting and gathering societies, it is obvious that they did not accumulate material goods because they could keep only what they could carry in their hands or in simple parcels made from vines, etc. See for example, Marshall Sahlins's work ("Stone Age Economics") on the affluence of stone age society based on having few possessions.

The question of whether hunters and gatherers accumulated material goods is a nonissue among anthropologists, because it is clear that the nomadic way of life means that you can own only what you can carry--which turns out to be mostly babies and water gourds, plus maybe a hand axe and a spear point or two.

By the way, the head man in these paleolithic societies had little power. Women were free to go off in the bushes with whoever appealed to them--and they did. Slavery was almost unknown among societies such as the San, because there is no way for hunters and gatherers to keep slaves enslaved.

Perhaps you are confusing hunting and gathering (nomadic) societies with horticultural or herding societies; the three kinds are very different.

Thus the idea that unbridled lust for material goods or for power existed among paleolithic socities is flat out wrong. A very good source for different kinds of societies is "Human Societies: An Introduction to Macrosociology" by Nolan and Lenski. Elementary textbooks on cultural anthropology are also good sources, especially the ones with extensive bibliographies.

Don, you are saying that hunter-gatherer societies were not greedy and materialistic because they could not carry anything with them. Therefore you are claiming that the physical limitations of what they could carry determined their innate desire. That makes no sense whatsoever.

However the did have jewelry and other possessions that they carried with them. And just like the hunter-gatherer societies of today, and in the early part of the last century when there was a lot of study on the subject, competition existed within the tribe. The best hunter received the most rewards and that included women.

But one thing you simply do not seem to understand is we basically are hunter-gatherers. That is for 99% of our evolutionary history we were hunter-gatherers. Therefore the innate characteristics we possess today evolved as Darwinian adaptations during our hunter-gatherer history. The greed and jealously we feel today evolved during our hunter-gatherer days. So they were exactly the same as we are today.

Of course you might be among the “blank slate” crowd and believe that there are no such things as innate characteristics, that every characteristic we possess today we absorbed from our environment. If so you are among an ever shrinking minority. So if you are a “blank slate” believer then we will just have to agree to disagree for I find that position untenable due to the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Ron Patterson

Humans evolved as paleolithic hunters and gatherers; I'm a big fan of evolutionary biology. Today women shop because that is as close to gathering as they can get. Men watch sports and talk endlessly about sporting events because that is as close as most men today get to hunting and talking about hunting exploits.

It is true that head men usually had more than one wife. But a big reason for this is that the head man was usually (not always) the best hunter in the group and therefore obligated to support more people with meat than were the lesser hunters. An invariable and essential function of the head man was to determine and carry out a fair distribution of meat; this trait appears to be a cultural universal for old-stone-age communities.

BTW, in hunting and gathering societies, if anybody eats, then everybody eats. If anybody starves, then everybody is starving. Though not entirely egalitarian, they are pretty close to this position in terms of material well-being.

Is there sexual jealousy in the most primitive societies? Yes, but it is generally not nearly as big a deal as it is in horticultural, agricultural, industrial and herding societies. Divorce is no big deal in paleolithic society, because if there is disagreement either the woman or the man just goes back to live with his own clan. Traits such as spouse abuse are rarely found in paleolithic societies, because women typically have nearby male kinfolk to defend their interests, and also a woman is generally free to walk out of a marriage and back to her own people.

Many of the traits assumed to be universal in modern society are not only not universal, but indeed they are not found (or found only rarely) in the most primitive of societies. Warfare, for example, requires economic surplus: You don't get this until horticulture is invented.

The paloelithic peoples did not have a pot to pee in--because they had not invented pottery. They didn't even have beer . . . .

Don, great post. I was about to agree with everything you wrote until I read this paragraph:

Many of the traits assumed to be universal in modern society are not only not universal, but indeed they are not found (or found only rarely) in the most primitive of societies. Warfare, for example, requires economic surplus: You don't get this until horticulture is invented.

The rock art depicting fierce battles among the San or Bushmen of Southern Africa tell a different story. Fierce battles are depicted. Similar rock art can be found in Australia.

Archaeology reveals burials with evidence of violent deaths and even massacres, and specialized weapons useful only for warfare have been found. From the prehistoric art painted and chipped onto cave walls, archaeologists find imagery depicting battles. There are ethnographic accounts of indigenous people fighting other indigenous people, not just as colonizers, as in the Buckley account from Australia and others from southern Africa.
Steven LeBlanc, Constant Battles, chapter titled "Warfare Among the Forgers"

I cannot begin to quote all the overwhelming evidence for fighting among hunter-gathers, or “forgers” as they are often called today. LeBlanc devotes an entire chapter to it in his great work “Constant Battles’, and Pinker devotes almost as much space to the subject in “The Blank Slate". In short, hunter-gathers fought tooth and nail just like the horticultural societies that followed.

I realize that the myth of the noble savage dies hard, especially among true believers. But it is just a myth Don, nothing more.

Ron Patterson

I do not believe in noble savages. I do believe that war (as opposed to rather unorganized co-operative murder, such as chimpanzees practice, sometimes to the point of genocide) requires an economic surplus. War requires supplies, a logistic infrastructure--mere raiding does not. By definition, I believe, warfare is an organized activity that requires men, money (in some form), materials, and machines. Though old-stone-age peoples had men and some primitive machines, they most emphatically did not have money, nor did they have stockpiles of materials (such as weapons or food supplies required for warfare).

I do not assert that by NATURE the most primitive people did not fight wars--but rather that they lacked the opportunity. There is no word for "war" in the Inuit language, because the very concept is unthinkable within the context of their cultural and social and economic limitations. The Inuit language is by no means unique in this characteristic.

Hunters and gatherers can plan for a few men to co-operate on a hunt. That is the extent of their ability to mobilize resources. I recommend in the highest terms the classic film, "The Hunters," a documentary made more than sixty years ago on the San.

Thus the facts of the matter are simple. Pure hunting and gathering societies do not go to war because they cannot do so.

Well hell Don, you have your definition of warfare that does not include "raiding".

People get killed, a lot of people get killed, their food is stolen and they are driven from their territory but that is not war. Go figure!

Anyway you have it exactly backwards. Hunter-gathers did not go to war because they had a surplus, they went to war because of hunger, or they would perceive that unless they acquired more food or territory from which to gather food, there would be great hunger in the tribe. They would go to war...excuse me....they would go raiding to acquire more food and territory to stave off coming hunger.

"Humans starve only when there are no other choices. One of those choices is to attempt to take either food, or food-producing land, from someone else. People DO perceive resource stress BEFORE they are starving. If no state or central authority is there to stop them, they will fight before the situation gets hopeless."
- Steven LeBlanc, Constant Battles, page70

As Matt Simmons likes to say “data trumps all theories”. You have a theory that people cannot go to war unless they have surplus. The data from rock art, human bones and weapons is hard data.

Counting societies instead of bodies leads to equally grim figures. In 1978 the anthropologist Carol Ember calculated that 90 percent of hunter-gatherer societies are known to engage in warfare, and 64 percent wage war at least once every two years. Even the 90 percent may be an underestimate, because anthropologists often cannot study a tribe long enough to measure outbreaks that occur every decade or so (imagine an anthropologist studying the peaceful Europeans between 1918 and 1938). In 1972 another anthropologist, W.T. Dival, investigated 99 groups of hunter-gatherers from 37 cultures, and found that 68 were at war at the time, 20 had been at war five to twenty-five years before, and all the others reported warfare in the more distant past. Based on these and other ethnographic surveys, Donald Brown includes that conflict, rape, revenge, jealously, dominance, and male coalitional violence as human universals.
- Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate, Page 57.

Okay Don, where is your data? If you have a theory then you must have data to support it otherwise it is only a hypothesis. And if data will trump any theory, it sure as hell will trump any hypothesis.

Ron Patterson

[Y]ou have your definition of warfare that does not include "raiding"

Like many debates, you guys are just arguing over a definition. I doubt Don disputes Pinker's claims, but he probably wouldn't consider the examples given "warfare".

There is obviously a significant difference in scale between the 'wars' organised in a post-HG world and those before, but in the sense that they are both armed hostile conflicts, there's not much semantic distinction.
Don presumably sees warfare as hostile conflict involving dedicated fighters (i.e. people whose livelihood is fighting wars/manufacturing weapons and little else), in which case obviously it's not possible in a H-G society.

Wiz, let us not get ridiculous. Both Don and I are talking about hunter-gatherers. They did not have dedicated soldiers; thy only had hunters and gatherers.

Hunter gatherers raided other hunter gatherers, killed them and took their food and territory. That is war by any definition.

That is the way Homo sapiens lived for about 100,000 years, give or take or take a few thousand years. Dedicated soldiers did not appear until the evolution of much larger societies such as cities and states evolved. These did not exist for hunter-gatherers.

Ron Patterson

I don't particularly care what you call war or not.
If I get 50 of my friends together with some sharpened spears, and raid my next-door neighbours' house, few would call it an act of warfare. In the context of an H-G society, then such an act could reasonably be called an act of warfare, as it's the most violent, large-scale conflict that is even possible. Words are slippery things, and not generally worth arguing over...but we still all do it.

I hate to quibble about words, but let us take a look at Merriam Webster's dictionary definition of "war."

1. A state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations.
2. A period of such armed conflict.
(There are other usages but none relevant to our debate.)

Without exception and with 100% certainty I can be sure that no hunting and gathering society ever--anywhere--was organized into a nation or a state or even anything remotely like a nation or a state. Thus, by definition, paleolithic societies do not have the capacity to wage war. Period. Exclamation point.

Now you may not like the definitions found in dictionaries. If that is the case, then you find yourself in the character of Humpty Dumpty debating Alice in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." (Or maybe it was "Through the Looking Glass.)

Don, now you are getting ridiculous. Here is what you said pure and simple:

Thus the facts of the matter are simple. Pure hunting and gathering societies do not go to war because they cannot do so.

So I presented evidence that hunter gatherers were almost constantly at war. But you say “Oh, but that doesn’t count because that was not an armed conflict between nations.”

Good lord, I give up. Have it your way Don, the hunter-gathers did not go to war because they did not have standing armies or whatever.

Jivaro 59 percent of males died as a result of war.
Yanomamo (Shamatari)39 percent of males died as a result of war.
Mae Enga 36 percent of males died as a result of war.
Dugum Dani 30 percent of males died as a result of war.
Murngin 29 percent of males died as a result of war.
Yanomamo (Namowei) 25 percent of males died as a result of war.
Huli 20 percent of males died as a result of war.
Gebusi 9 percent of males died as a result of war.
US & Europe 20th C. less than 1 percent of males died as a result of war.
- Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate

Someone needs to write Pinker and all those anthropologists who supplied him that data and tell him all those deaths were due to raids, not war.

Ron Patterson

If you are familiar with the cultures of the societies you list, I think you will find that not a single one is a nomadic purely hunting and gathering society.

As I've stated ad nauseum, paleolithic societies (typically only a few dozen men women and children, seldom much more than a hundred) simply do not have the resources to wage either offensive or defensive war.

BTW, that is what makes old-stone-age societies so easy to destroy by horticultural or herding societies: The pure hunters and gatherers simply have no way to wage defensive warfare. Horticultural societies (e.g. ancient China before the invention of plow agriculture) can accumulate large economic surpluses and make highly effective warfare with armies of thousands or even tens of thousands of trained soldiers.

By way of contrast, the typical hunting and gathering society has no training whatsoever in skills needed for warfare and can muster perhaps thirty men and boys with spears or bows and arrows. Note that all their training has been in terms of hunting expeditions of (typically) two to six men. In paleolithic societies you will find no sergeants.

Whatever you want to call it, conflict between tiny societies (essentially extended families or clans) is far from any reasonable definition of war.

(And by the way, please feel free to cite dictionaries other than Merriam Webster's.)

The incidence of interpersonal violence is high in some primitive societies, but that fact does not bear on the issue of whether or not hunting and gathering societies can wage war.

The Australian Aboriginals did no farming. They were pure hunter-gatherers.

There is precious little for archaeologists to discover for people with such sparce took kits. Nevertheless, we find additional evidence, such as rock art depicting Aboriginal peoples fighting. Rock art is hard to date, but some styles are estimated to be many thousands of years old, and images of conflict apparently come from all periods. Enough examples show evidence that the nature of warfare changes over time, becoming complex in the last four thousand years. The fact that there is enough rock art showing warfare even to be able to try to make such inferences speaks volumes. Direct evidence for conflict has been found in human skeletons that display signs of violent deaths. Since the Aborigines did not use the bow but engaged in hand-to-hand combat the evidence consists of fractured skulls, as it does elsewhere in the world. Since only a small fraction of all warfare deaths show up on skeletons, this skeletal evidence reveals just how common prehistoric warfare was on the Australian continent.
Steven LeBlanc, Constant battles, pages 121-122

Okay Don, this wasn’t warfare because they did not have swords and shields and did not employ standing armies between states. But the rest of the entire world calls it warfare except for Don Sailorman.

Okay, hunter-gatherers engaged in almost constant battles but these battles are not to be called war, (according to the rule of Sailorman), they are to be called raids or anything except war.

Trouble is Don, the world will go on finding evidence of hunter-gather conflict where a very high percentage of the men died in battle. And they will call this conflict, these battles warfare whether you agree with them or not.

Enough of this stupid nonsense. Hunter-gatherers lived in constant fear of being raided by neighboring tribes. Warfare was simply a way of life with them. And I am sure they had a word for it, a word that today we would call war.

I am going to bed now.


Ron Patterson

Well there is evidence that some Aboriginal tribes developed certain crop cultivation practices, and although it would probably be an exaggeration to call it farming, Don did specifically say "horticulture". But it makes little difference to what you are quibbling over, which is basically what the definition of 'warfare' is.

Can you imagine what a modern C21st military power "going to war" against a H-G society would look like?
One sufficiently-equipped and trained C21st foot soldier could easily take out a tribe of 100 spear-wielding tribal warriors - you'd hardly call that a war.

It's time to go to bed.
Just in case if you smoke make sure you didn't put ashes in the wrong beer can.
Also if you ran out of cold beer make sure you didn't leave any warm beers in the freezer.
Also did you secure everything on the boat properly and have all the securing lines tied down well?
BTW: I haven't read most of this drum beat, but what I have read has put me in a state of deep depression.
I understand why Leanan thinks the staff is embarrassed. I may go down unprepared but so far I have lived the best years this world has ever provided.

I do not think that reading TOD should cause a person to become depressed. Depression is characterized by apathy, by despair, by a sense of powerlessness and meaninglessness. Simply by the acts of posting and making comments one is taking action that may be constructive--just the opposite of the inaction of depression.

When I take a vacation from TOD, it is not because reading it depresses me but rather because I've found a writing project that or a woman who occupies most of my time and energies. My own take on TOD is that it is education, stimulation and (Dare I say it?) entertainment.

''...Therefore you are claiming that the physical limitations of what they could carry determined their innate desire. That makes no sense whatsoever.''..

Err a little bit wrong actually.

How to Flee a country 101:

1. Shove diamond rings, earings, necklaces up your ass, clip gold rings and bend them round your toes.Cover the toes with plasters. Leave something in the pockets for the militia to find

2. Forget the bed-linen, the antique roll top desk, the tableware, the paintings, the family album /whatever.

3. Wrap your Doctorate and other qualifications round your thigh or chest. You may need them as bona-fides when you arrive in your (hopefully) adopting country. If nothing else they may keep you warm.

Apparently, some of our Grandmothers did more than make jam...

Women suffered horrible declines in freedoms from agricultural and early industrial society.

True, in pre agriculture groups women were basically equal members(sans the fact men could not give birth :P ), they had to help hunt and gather food. when agriculture came about they were regulated to baby making machines. the social effects of which last to this day. except that the century's of second class or third class citizen treatment have spawned such things as the so called feminazi's on the one hand and the misconception that a woman would be a better ruler/queen/president etc then a man.

''...called feminazi's on the one hand and the misconception that a woman would be a better ruler/queen/president etc then a man...''

Err we got one,... Err she is actually quite good. She is called Queeen Elizabeth II. Actually we have had a few: QE1, Boudicca, Thatcher, Queen Anne...

You got Confused Monkey Bush and Angry Hog Cheney. (and you spent all that money...why?). And then you gotta do it all again in 2009 (unless elections are waived due to an emergency...:-()

Lets face it, what the USA really needs is some European Royalty. You know you want it. You really do. You are just a bunch of peasants. Incapable of governing yourselves properly, you keep electing fuck-wits, psychos and morons.

Go on, give it a try: King Harry of USA.

Nice ring to it. He could marry Paris Hilton

We can also give you a free dog:

As of 27th June we have an ex-prime minister. He is looking for a job. Answers to the name 'poodle' or 'yo Blair'.

Slightly soiled...

i meant always better.

"Many premodern societies were better at social control than are modern societies."

Semantics. To pull a Clinton, how are you defining "control" here? Modern American society is frighteningly controlled. Controlled to such an extent that an illegal war is being fought in a desert packed with fundamentalists who hate each other--not to mention who also both hate us, who happen to live on the 2/3rds of world's remaining (but heavily disputed) oil reserves. Thousands of US troops dead, the military run overtime and being torn to shreds by an overreaching Executive Branch. 30% of the population loves the war. It couldn't be better, lets go get some more! 60% say "eh, it's going okay, maybe we're facing a little difficulty but mostly its going okay I guess?" 40% say, it was stupid--the democratic base, who don't even understand why the war is being fought... If they did, perhaps we could have some real debate in this country... [I know, I know, the numbers don't add up--do they ever?]

Hundreds of billions of deficit crunching dollars, yet a substantial portion of America.... Ah, you know the drill, the statistics are staggering, all the way from "Where does milk come from?" asked to high schoolers, to "Do you think the scientific theory of evolution is well-supported by evidence and widely accepted within the scientific community?" is queried to the average American and the results are horrendous, universally.

My point is, I'm no Marxist, but people are a product of their environments. Our bodily genetics interacts with the environment in a myriad of interesting, almost inexplicable--but in the end classifiable, phenomenon. That's why we have culture, language, abstract symbolic thinking... We invent our environments--or are simply exposed to them, and then our genetics and happenstance does its thing, makes us happy when we eat a twinkie, soothes us at night with EM radiation from the TV, makes our stomach growl when we're starving. Right now, we are very very very comfortable. Our environments are the product of 100 years of building a roaring industrialized economy on top of a cheap energy foundation which is about to go kaput. I cannot imagine a society where anyone has ever had more "freedom" than in the highly industrially developed, democratically run countries of the 20th century. I hate to sound like a patriotic American (because I'm a self-hating liberal) but it is the god's honest truth. Perhaps this is simply a result of luck, much like a game of Risk. However, it is not completely random. It is a truism that ideas affect the world in very powerful ways. Political philosophy, technological inventions, energy capture ability and the right-time/right-place dynamics of how human history unfolded has led us to this moment in time.

"Women suffered horrible declines in freedoms from agricultural and early industrial society."

Early industrial society sucked for everyone except the upper classes, just like for mostly all of time preceding cheap energy. The problem PO poses, is that it will degrade the average, status quo, petit bourgeois standard of living for Americans year by year once we can no longer make up for 2-6% (or higher) global annual declines. For a superpower, built up over a century, that is at least used to coasting since the early 70s on abundant imports with a slight hiccup again in the early 80s, this is big. Yes, we will try to adapt by all the usual 'fixes' that TOD looks into and then says "bronze bb"... My point is, that "social control" is the problem in America, a century old problem that was resolved by Freud's cousin. It is still operating, and it is very difficult to feed "truth" into it, because the truth shall not set you "free"--in the sense that Americans would like to understand it... Free to drive my big SUV, free to invade other countries with faulty intelligence, free to debase culture & science, free to drink tubs of sugar water and eat grotesque, copious amounts of food, free to make profits by exploitation and environmental degradation, free to procreate endlessly, free to worship "God" with a delusion fervor, free to enjoy infinite economic growth, and this could go on all day. Freedom is great. Too bad we squandered it.

[edit: I do realize the stark contradiction inherent in my statement that we're so "free" yet at the same time "controlled". Alas, I admit, it is distressing and nonsensical... And for the hell of me I can't explain it.]

See, I knew we agreed more than we disagreed (re the whole Islam is inherently more violent thing). Every time someone complains that materialism is somehow something imposed on us by large corporations (we're all "consumerbots") I fire back with obvious response that wealthy people have ALWAYS had more material possessions.
Unless we're able to better recognise our own self-destructive tendencies, and learn ways to help keep them in check, the human race simply isn't going to last all that long (but the economic consequences of Peak Oil will hopefully give us a sufficient kick-in-the-rear that we'll learn something from it).


No apologies needed, at least not to me. Just wanted to make sure Jeffrey doesn't get 'labeled' with, or attacked for, far-reaching statements he never made.

As for me, I have no doubt religion will play an awful role in the future, if not the present. And again, that is not to say that no good is done in the name of G-d.

Judging from what happened in previous calamities (the Black Death, etc.) - existing religions will not do well. People will turn against them when they "fail."

However, I fully expect new and more radical religions to take over. Flagellants, the Ghost Dance, and that kind of thing.

Scanning behavior...

Actually, Leanan, I think there is still a lot of growth potential in religion. The wierder, the better I say. Personally, I plan on starting my own religious cult. That model seems to have worked out well so far for Sun Yung Moon. If I could some kind of corporate sponsorship, I'd be golden! Then again, there is always the warlord route.

If you can combine being a religious cult leader with being a warlord, then you're really all set. :-)

if you can combine religious cult leader, warlord, and "get-rich quick" guru all at the same time, you're really set here in the STates.

By george, I think you've got it!

Must start recruiting minions now...

I recall Alvin Toffler in the Third Wave said that industrial society hadn't created a religon with industrial metaphors for God. Agricultural societies gave us Judiaism and its offshoots of Christianity and Islam. These people had daily contact with sheep, goats, and cattle and metaphors like the Lamb of God made sense to them. So few of of us have ever brought in a sheave. Even fewer depend on fishing as a livelihood. In 21st century America only 1% of the people have daily contact with living farm animals and the mystery of life and death. The forms of worship which evolved in pastoral societies and the moral code it gave us is found lacking the emotional satisfaction it gave the ancients. What is mysterious to modern man is how television and indoor plumbing work. Our Churches are relics of a world where half of the children died before age 5 and everybody knew women who died giving birth. A man who lived long enough to see his grandchildren was unusual. Famines were all too common and only the priviliged owned a chair.
I think a religon for the 21st century would involve sun worship of some sort. What are needed are good stories to teach to our children about the wonders of evolution and thermodynamics.

I fear we're more likely to burn the "evolutionists" in the town square.

I could see people turning against science and technology, just as people in times past turned against the established religions.

As our Druid friend has pointed out, "science and technology" is essentially a religion. Carl Sagan was one of the saints.

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

Couldn't see exactly in that article what you were referring to, but I'm quite prepared to fight the notion that science is essentially a religion. There are absolutely fundamental differences between them.
About the only shared context is the fact that most of us simply have to take scientists' word for it when they proclaim such and such to be the case, because there simply isn't the time (or even intellectual capacity) for the majority of the population to genuinely understand the reasoning and research that's behind modern scientific theories. And of course, there are examples of scientists hanging on to "scientific dogma" even when plenty of evidence existed to indicate a problem, but it never lasts - and it certainly doesn't occur to the anything like the degree that it does wrt religious belief.
The process of scientific thought is about as diametrically opposed to religious thought as is imaginable.
Technology is a slightly different story - I accept that many people have less-than-well-justified "faith" that technology will always be able to make things better for us, no matter what the situation.
My personal take on technology is that, over the long term (centuries), yes, it will inevitably continue to advance as it is has in the past, but it is no guarantee against significant setbacks, and is just as likely to exacerbate a problem than make it better. Certainly this will be case wrt Peak Oil and climate change.

The essay is here. That other was just a link to his site.

His point being that despite the empirical methods used to acquire much of science, people cling to its teachings as they would to religious dogma.

And in all likelihood will turn away from it when it no longer provides so bountifully.

Clinging to "teachings" despite evidence to the contrary is obviously just part of human nature. Religions BASE themselves around this, whereas science is an attempt to advance past that.

I'm an atheist, but i admire the togetherness and support of my brother-in-law's baptist church. They will probably be a community that sticks together and shares their skills, if not their material possessions. I suspect most of them have guns, and a lot of them work in the nondiscretionary economy.


This atheist will be born again before the shootin' starts. As Mr. Spock might say, to behave in a way which will predictably place one in danger would be illogical.


I don't in any way mean to discredit the good work done in name of churches, mosques and synagogues. Fact is, though, that religion has historically always been the main way to get people out into the battle zone. A religious leader who convinces people that it's G-d's will that they kill, is more convincing than a political leader.

Yes, and those are 2 different subjects: 1) the good that churches do--seldom mentioned on TOD and the 2) evil that some churches do --frequently mentioned here on TOD. Altruism is found throughout the populations of local churches in America. They contribute to oversees welfare programs, as well. As for the psychological impacts that churches have, I'll hope for more peaceful sangas. I have seen it said that Buddhism is the fastest growing religion in America, another fact that the MSM would not have Europeans and American haters believe. Go to Barnes and Nobel and look at the religion section of the magazines sold and you will see this.

When the church saw that sending crusaders to the holy lands was a losing proposition they decided to work closer to home with an inquisition. Busy, busy, busy...

True, but I'd submit the religious argument is usually just that - a way to "get people out into the battle zone", not the real reason for starting the war in the first place, which 9 times out of 10 would be a land/resource issue, just as it is with aggression among other species. E.g. the Spanish Christians when 'reclaiming' Moorish Spain for themselves were probably convinced by the powers that be that they were doing it in the name of God, but in reality they wanted their land back. That line of reasoning doesn't hold so well for the Crusaders that fought the Moslems in Jerusalem - most likely that was an issue of "let's not just protect our current land from invading Moslems, let's get rid of them altogether". Of course, the religion was also important in the sense that it defined to a degree what separated one tribe from another (especially in the case of Spain, where there wasn't a great deal of genetic difference).

I just received a letter from my utility supplier (SRP- Salt River Project) in the Phoenix metro area

It says "Since SRP first introduced the EarthWise Solar Energy progam in 2004
the program has continued to grow in popularity. Today we have over 180 customers taking advantage of this program".

This program includes solar hot water systems as well as PV systems.

Some basic info about SRP. They serve 15 cities in the Phoenix metro area.
They can generate up to 2949 Mwts with gas fired plants, 2566 Mwts from coal fired plants, 654 Mwts from their share of the Palo Verde Nuclear plant, and 421 Mwts from hydroelectric plants.

This info can be found at http://srpnet.com

Over 180 solar customers after a 2 1/2 year period out of several 100K
users in the middle of a desert with highest level of solar activity in the USA!!!!

When the first extended mass blackout (>12hrs) hits there will be a "stampede" for PV systems. I'm afraid that if the blackout goes beyond 24 hrs over 180 customers will become much to popular.


"Hell hath no fury like a FWO who just lost his job, his SUV and his McMansion."

You mean like this?

In her book, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century, Barbara Tuchman writes about a peasant revolt in 1358 that began in the village of St. Leu and spread throughout the Oise Valley. At one estate, the serfs sacked the manor house, killed the knight, and roasted him on a spit in front of his wife and kids. Then, after ten or twelve peasants violated the lady, with his children watching, they forced her to eat the roasted flesh of her husband and then killed her.

takes a swipe at the Micheal Moore sucks site.

No he shows he practices what he learned and that was to be nice even to his enemys otherwise he would not of sent that check without his name on it to help that person with his wife's medical problems.

as for the change not going to happen. i agree with you and i will go one step further. all the places he visted will once the full effects of peak oil will get worse. even cuba who while uses little oil, is far from using NO oil. the oil they get is from venesulia in exchange for their doctors.

all the places he visted will once the full effects of peak oil will get worse.

Remember, its not the fall that kills you, it is the sudden stop at the bottom.

Moore is pointing out the obvious, to anyone paying attention.
Moot point, argument is over and settled:
All first world democracies have universal health care, they live longer, have a lower infant mortality rate, and do it for half the cost.
Europeans are getting taller (universally a sign of better health and nutrition), while we in the USA are getting shorter (this is across class lines).
So, what shall we do, let the insurance companies keep taking their third off the top? Or suffer in the name of idology of the free market, and our god capital? (Well, it is actually monopoly capitalism, but that is another story----)

We need a Strategic Railcar Reserve !

And high volume, standardized designs.

Months-long delays in getting new rail cars and constant overhauls of older ones have left Metro without the equivalent of five to six trains during rush hours on some days, at a time when record numbers of people are riding the subway

DC Metro is running short of rolling stock. And if "someone" bombs Iran, or the Islamic Republic of Arabia replaces our Saudi "friends" or the USA just gets out bid for shrinking exports, we will need as much rolling stock as will fit on our existing Urban Rail ASAP.


Check out Step 5


Best Hopes for Reality Based Planning,


My continuing recommendation: Alan Drake for President

I am frequently torn between my hope that Alan's plans, if implemented, might save some semblance of a civilized society and my concern that Matt Savinar might be right (Matt is looking for a location that is upwind of radioactive fallout zones).

At least trying to implement Alan's plans gives one a more optimistic--Matt would say deluded--outlook. But as Alan says, if we don't even try, we are certainly doomed to fail.

The most powerful argument that Alan has is that we have done it before:

Streetcars 100 Years Ago

Cities Rediscover Streetcars

IMHO, the future is still uncertain in detail AND whether is Matt is "dead on" or over reacting. "We" can go down a variety of paths.

A 2/3rds smaller (<100 million), much more rural and MUCH poorer United States built subways in the larger cities and streetcars in 500 cities, towns and villages without advanced technology IN TWENTY YEARS !

Best Hopes for choosing the right path,


A 2/3rds smaller (<100 million), much more rural and MUCH poorer United States built subways in the larger cities and streetcars in 500 cities, towns and villages without advanced technology IN TWENTY YEARS !

That may just be a testament to how much easier it is to do something with little regulation and a blank slate to work with.

That may just be a testament to how much easier it is to do something with little regulation and a blank slate to work with

The French, with their renowned lack of bureaucracy :-P and "just get it done" attitude, build new tram lines from a rough plan to ribbon cutting in 3 to 4 years. Two new tram lines in Lyon in 3 years 5 months. And to a VERY high aesthetic standard usually (this is France after all) with added bike lanes, walkable changes to downtown, etc. as part of the package.

A motivated bureaucracy CAN get things done.

Just like in New Orleans. The French rebuilt 5 firehouses in slightly over 30 days (2 more later). FEMA took 18 months to approve rebuilding as many firehouses.

Best hopes for American bureaucracy taking lessons from the French,


Best hopes for American bureaucracy taking lessons from the French,

In France, the bureaucracy comes from the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA) It is an extremely prestigious and competitive university, I believe one of the grandes ecoles, the equivalent of the Ivies, except that students are tracked by continuous examinataions from grade school.

These enqarques (graduates of ENA) do rule the country in effect. They are insufferable, arrogant, elitist, and when things need to be done which are a national priority, they get done.

In the US, currently there is a strong Republican ideology that civil servants are morons to be thwarted and bypassed, and everything outsourced to equally incompetent and more rapacious private enterprise.

There is an active and well funded political movement to destroy the competence, influence and capability of the government bureaucracies, especially when they are incompatible with profit opportunitites.

There is no conceivable possibility that the USA will get a civil servant culture and capability like France.

Seemingly the last time the US had competent civil servants in general maybe was in WW2---up perhaps through the 1960's.

There was an institutional memory perhaps when high quality men (as they were almost all men) in government service saved the nation in the 1930's and 1940's.

It's possible that because of their nuclear reactors and public transportation, France will be the wealthiest (per capita)---or at least most pleasant to live in---signficant nation in the world in 2025.

Yes, the US had less regulation in 1900 than today. But most of the cities where electric railroads (trolleys and intercity "interurbans") were built had been developed years earlier. These electric railroads of 100 years ago were also built into areas that were not much developed and they were financed by companies seeking a profit. The lines were not built before towns/cities existed.

Most of the competition at the time were steam powered railroads which the electric railroads had to cross, just like light rail systems now have to cross highways and major streets in US and elsewhere.

The main point of Alan's reminder of how we built electric railroads is that they do not have to take 5 to 10 years from conception to operation. In the future oil imports to the US will be restricted or at such a cost that millions of workers may not be able to get to work because fuel is not avaialable or they can't afford it (or the $30,000 electric car). The US must find a way to get these electric light rail and intercity RR systems built quickly before the economy collapses.

My continuing recommendation: Alan Drake for President

I can't support such a platform - the whole past position of 'Save these cities at all cost' is wrong.

No nation can beat things like hurricanes or rising sea waters. Taking fed funds and saying 'we need to save these places as they were' is folly

Agreed. Encouraging people to live in harm's way when you know what the future holds...it's worse than folly.

But look at those pictures from Gary, Indiana. It seems as if Americans refuse to live anywhere urban (with a few exceptions), and at times, are just looking for an excuse to wash their hands of all cities. Let's be honest - you aren't seriously proposing simply abandoning NYC or Baltimore or Philadelphia today because we 'know' that as the sea rises, they will become worthless.

Especially NYC - one solid Katrina strength hurricane, and there isn't a Manhattan anymore.

Let's be honest - you aren't seriously proposing simply abandoning NYC or Baltimore or Philadelphia today because we 'know' that as the sea rises, they will become worthless.

No, I'm not. But I am against rebuilding them when they are flooded or wiped out by hurricanes.

Many geologists are calling for "managed retreat" from the coasts. I think it's going to happen, managed or not.

But I am against rebuilding them when they are flooded or wiped out by hurricane

And if they are wiped out by near criminal malfeasance by the US Army ?

If New Orleans had gotten what was promised by the US Army in 1968, Cat 3 levees, we would have had some wind damage, perhaps 6 weeks till the last power was restored to the last house and some street flooding (very few if any homes).

Our President promised 1 in 100 year levees (the Dutch have 1 in 10,000 year, multilayer dykes for Amsterdam and Rotterdam and Dutch farmland gets better protection (1 in 250 year) than New Orleans is promised (i.e. Cat 4).


And if they are wiped out by near criminal malfeasance by the US Army ?

Doesn't change my opinion a whit. Whether it was political corruption, incompetence, ignorance, or whatever...do you really think it's going to get better when TSHTF? It's only going to get worse.

And from where I sit - building where there are hurricanes is a poor plan. To complain that there is a lack of support for a poor plan - how is that one damn bit different than pointing out to the users of the cheap car infrastructure that the car infrastructure was a poor plan?

And if "We must save this location because of the CULTURE it brings" - why is the "car culture" any less worth saving?

The "Car Culture" is worth destroying, not preserving for the following reasons (not all inclusive) because:

1) It consumes vast amounts of a non renewable resource, more of that resource than the USA can afford to pay for with our exports.

2) It creates vast amounts of pollutants with a variety of negative effects.

3) It kills directly about 43,000 Americans/year (more elsewhere) and life altering injuries for hundreds of thousands. Plus many more (100,000s/year) from indirect effects, such as pollution, obesity, diabetes, etc.

4) It is the driving force to destroying tens of thousands of square miles of good farmland.

5) It required large subsidies from the rest of society to exist and grow, with lots of negatives and no apparent positives for the rest of society.

6) It promotes social isolation and thus frustrates a fundamental human need.

7) It is simply ugly.

It would be good social (and economic and environmental) policy to subsidize the destruction of the "Car Culture" and move at least 1/3rd of Americans into neighborhoods that look and operate# like mine.

Best Hopes for charming and beautiful, liveable, walkable and bikeable neighborhoods with Urban Rail,


# This would, of course, create a dire shortage of gay men and lesbians and "others".

The "Car Culture" is worth destroying, not preserving for the following reasons

And there is many good things that cars and the mobility they represent. Is not the 'culture of freedom' important?

What about the investment into the present car infrastructure - is that not also working to save?

(Now, my point of doing this is to call bullshit on the 'culture' argument. The same kind of argument you used when defending the 'saving' of New Orleans. So *IF* somehow TOD is still around the next time NEw Orleans goes underwater, we can avoid the whole arguments over 'save the culture' crap, just like we can go ahead and avoid the whole 'we should save what has already been invested in' argument which will be made. )

You seem to know the price of everything and the value of nothing.


If the "car culture" that you defend is worth saving, then you should be willing to pay for it. A link at energybulletin.net had an article by a professor at the army war college, reprinted by the Wall Street Journal, that estimated the US military expenses for protecting our oil suppliers were close to $200 billion per year. If half of this were charged to the gasoline user, the price at the pump would be over $5 per gallon (2005 prices).

Fine, lets save the "car culture", but lets tax gasoline at $3.00 per gallon to recover the military costs in making this gasoline available. Do you want to pay that?

I'm reminded of that book someone wrote about how the U.S. is so young that all our cities in the wrong places. I forget what his name was, but he argues that centuries of natural disasters have forced Europeans to build their cities in relatively safe and stable areas (because the ones built in the wrong places are now abandoned ruins). He said the U.S. is too young to have ruins...but we will.

Of course, climate change may negate his premise.

We have plenty of ruins. They are called ghost towns, and exploring these (mostly former mining towns) is a lot of fun. I used to live near Jerome, Arizona, a once-prosperous copper mining town of some tens of thousands of residents. Last time I looked it was down to a few hundred.

And if they are wiped out by near criminal malfeasance by the US Army ?

In a way, that's just a symptom of a larger problem, which is that it's utterly foolish and stupid to rely on Congress - which has the ethics of Attila The Hun, the attention span of a gnat, and the remoteness of the Big Bang - for life support of any kind.

Some years ago, a Rijkswaterstaat engineer told me the Dutch were spending 3% of GDP on their water works. That's a lot of money, as it might work out to 4% or 5% of personal income. So, when residents of NOLA and surrounding counties stump up, say, a 10% sales tax (corresponding to Dutch VAT) devoted solely to water works, I might be more convinced. But we don't need a city there, as the horde of thuggish laborers historically found in port cities is now permanently redundant. (As long as there is enough energy available, say, to run rail projects of any description, there will be enough energy for a few operators transfer containers between ships and trains with electrical cranes.)

But the preference in NOLA (and elsewhere in the USA) has always been to Let Sugar Daddy Pay For It. The locals always want to spend on casinos, tourist traps, drunken orgies, sports palaces, other moronic entertainment, and/or, of course, houses well beyond their means. [Let Somebody Else Pay is why Congress, always looting the pocket of The Guy Behind The Tree (scroll down to Tax Law), is the way it is.]

The Dutch, on the other hand, had been spending money out of their own pockets and largely still do. And there's nothing like local accountability for seeing to it that vital stuff gets done right - unless, of course, too many of the locals are too venal, stupid, shiftless, and irresponsible to care.

But we don't need a city there

That is a weird claim, to put it mildly. Since I've been getting at the Dutch already today, why not add:

"We don't need a country there"

Gland someone else noticed how the pro-dutch argument was flawed. Land, they ain't making any more of it. So where would the Dutch go?

The people of New Orleans DO have other locations to go. And if the icecaps are melting-sea levels rising people are right... the people of the coasts will have to move.

Land, they ain't making any more of it.

Sure they are:

I do expect there will be millions of climate change refugees.

While concern is rising for low-lying island nations and sub-Saharan countries especially vulnerable to drought, some experts say climate-caused forced migration already has happened on a large scale in North America – in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast.

Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute points out that the 2005 hurricane "forced a million people from the [city] of New Orleans and other small towns on the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts in the United States to move inland, either within states or neighboring states, such as Texas and Arkansas," according to an article in Sri Lanka's The Sunday Times.

'Rebuilding' is a tricky concept (though there would be surprisingly little reason to rebuild Manhattan, in my eyes), but to simply let a city rot seems wasteful, even if it is essentially destroyed in a disaster - both Chicago and San Francisco come to mind. Cities are more than mere buildings. And let's be honest, in the case of San Francisco, from a rational perspective, the situation just isn't promising - but then, neither is southern Italy or much of Greece, which continues to be inhabited, even when the occasional city/civilization collapses in an earthquake or disappears under an eruption.

Cities on the sea are not important. Its the ports that are important. No city on the sea would exist without a good port facility unless it was a tourist destination. I dont know where people get the idea that Manhattan is important, it isnt, but NY harbor is important to trade, as are all ports. All of Manhattan can be moved to higher ground but the port will remain important. When sea level rises or falls new ports are built in desirable locations. Evidence of this is plentifull around the world.

You realize there are several German cities that contradict your thesis, especially Hamburg. In that case, the port became less 'desirable,' but the city wasn't moved - it was the land that did the moving, pushing the sea farther away.

The ports issue goes to hell if the sea levels rise - the ports we now know will be underwater.

Ports can exist with enough infrastructure to keep the ports functioning.

What has been advocated is taking money from other areas to rebuild non-port functions in a destroyed port city.

And we'll get to rehash all this again when the next set of ports get nailed in the next port-nailing storm. :-(

I dont know where people get the idea that Manhattan is important, it isnt,

Social infrastructure is not replaced overnight. And Manhattan has that is spades !

Global finance is still centered there (although London, another old port at risk, is gaining ground and Dubai, another port at risk, is trying to get a small slice, etc.) US finance is largely in NYC and surrounding suburbs.

Unless Matt is "dead on" (pun intended)#, there will remain a need for finance.

Likewise advertising, despite my personal dislike for it. Insurance, fashion design, retailing, etc.

And you may not value Broadway, but I do !

Manhattan is a terribly expensive place to do anything, yet millions make the decision to work there and find employment. There are advantages to being there that out weigh the costs and hassles.

Likewise the built infrastructure. The subway system of NYC, particularly Manhattan, is world class ! Not easily replaced.

And where will we find the extra oil to support displaced Manhattanites, all with their new cars ?

Replacing Phoenix or Vegas would be MUCH easier >:-)


# And if Matt is "dead on", will the living envy the dead ? What quality of life will we have if we abandon all worthwhile cultural values ? It is one thing to work all day in the fields, it is entirely another to give up all but a short, brutish existence. There is a good reason why Hollywood boomed in the 1930s and 1938 saw several great films, radio had wit and good writing and great music, etc.

Thanks Alan;
There are some fabulously ignorant statements coming out of people today. Manhattan isn't important? The city people love to bash & hate.. probably because people think 'NY thinks it's all that..' can't imagine why.

But 'port cities aren't important, only the ports' ??!! What a limited view of human life. Our port cities are the hubs where different cultures and regions make contact, blend.. it's where the rural and village people (yes, even THOSE village people) come to get a glimpse of the world beyond, and to buy and sell goods. A center for a broad range of arts, not any random coincidence to it being home to a variety of divergent viewpoints becoming new, synthesized ideas.. To set the 'city' apart from the 'port' is to try to extract the pound of flesh and not take any blood..

Fear leads to jealousy, longing, hate.. and the dark side!


The port comes first and then the city grows around it. What is so difficult to grasp about this concept? Ports have a few things in common if they are successful, like sheltered anchorages, deep water dock facilities, and deep water channels from the sea to the port.

I did not single out Manhattan. NY is like any other city, the important parts can be moved. NY is going to be underwater along with all other ports if the rise in global temperatures continues. Stick your head in the sand and wait.

"I dont know where people get the idea that Manhattan is important, it isnt, but NY harbor is important to trade, as are all ports."

That's not singling out Manhattan?

Sure, NY might get dunked.. but what moves uphill, inland, or to some new, useful position will be a Port and a City, and they will be interconnected, and an important center for human activity.. What is so difficult to grasp about this concept?

As old Rose said in Titanic,
"Thank you for that fine forensic analysis, Mr. Bodine. Of course the experience of it was somewhat less clinical."

True, up to a point, but let's not forget that NYC has to spend like drunken sailors to subsidize many of those businesses into staying in Manhattan. One thing a lot of businesses want these days is some diversity of location, so plenty more would have decamped to New Jersey and elsewhere without the massive (and often corrupt) subsidies. Even before 9/11, the outbound drift had been going on for decades - I can't remember a time when the City was not handing out billions to keep rich businesses in Manhattan.

A larger truth is that it's not 1920 any more. It's been a very long time since the telephone was invented. A lot of activities need not be quite as concentrated as in the past. For example, the trading floor of the Stock Exchange is nothing more than a superfluous anachronism on life support, and the same is true for the manner in which much financial activity is still carried out. So Manhattan is still important but I wouldn't exaggerate its importance.

In addition, physical presence is becoming ever more futile. One could as well stay home as physically attend a typical university lecture these days, since it will be given in a large hall where the lecturer is too distant to see and hear well except by watching television. The same is true for many sports games - one might as well gather at home with a few friends and watch TV there, as endure the hot, smelly torture of the subway to travel to the venue and watch it on TV there. Something similar is happening to corporate meetings as well - even small ones. Plays and operas, due to economic and artistic factors, and ADA regulations, are more and more like TV - mediated by loud boomy loudspeakers and busy, distracting subtitles and whatnot. Even some museum trips are losing value, as real exhibits disappear in favor of presumably-cheaper TV displays, or are buried to the point of invisibility under ever more "security". And the "security" only becomes ever more obnoxious (e.g. capricious and arbitrary searches, delays, and service stoppages on the subway), because the dense concentrated resources of a Manhattan make a nice juicy target for the dangerous monsters that Political Correctness keeps us from removing from society - and yet we still demand absolute 100% "safety".

There is no longer any need for physical presence just to watch TV. It's merely traditional to have it in these circumstances, and plenty of people still can't imagine anything else.

Now that doesn't mean that physical attendance isn't sometimes desirable, just that it's a whole lot less crucial than it used to be. So, if an orderly withdrawal from areas hard by the sea proves necessary, one merely removes the subsidies and nature will take its course. Some things will be missed, but culture will hardly disappear.

I might agree, if not for peak oil.

But in the light of peak oil...it's foolish to spend money rebuilding things as they were. Or expanding them. (Take the Big Dig...please.) Better to spend the money preparing for a new reality. One where there may be no satellites to warn you that a hurricane is coming, and no helicopters to pull you off the roof afterwards.

Leanan, you are absolutely correct. There is going to be a retreat from the current tide line to a new, as yet to be determined, tide line. Even the Dutch realize that they cannot depend on their dikes in the face of rising sea levels.

Those that make out best will move now or soon, before sea level rise becomes apparent to all.

I agree with River and Leanan.

I lived in NOLA for a year 1978-79. Long enough to learn the situation with the levies and get the hell out.

Moved to Miami in '79. After Katrina and Wilma I saw the handwriting on the wall and sold my house.

My next purchase will be well inland, and isolated.

As my handle says, "not into denial".


Errol in Miami

My better half just got back from Charleston, SC. She had plenty of pics of Isle of Palms, a costal resort just north of Charleston where the coast line is being slowly (or not) eaten by the sea. Tragic! Million dollar condos with their front steps being washed away at high tide and huge sand bags stacked to reduce the beach erosion. Much of the building was done post 89 Hurricane Hugo. Who says you can't teach an old dog a new trick?


The same is going on here in east central Florida. Old US A1A highway has toppeled into the sea several times in different locations. Sand is constantly being pumped in mulimillion dollar projects for 'beach renourishment.' Yet people continue to arrive in Florida on turnip trucks, fall off, and decide the simply must have a beach front property. Totally clueless.

It seems as if Americans refuse to live anywhere urban

Per the cross-section of polls posted by Laurance Aurbach, roughly 30% of Americans want to live in TOD. Not a majority, yes, but a substantial unmeet demand.

Meet that demand and let post-Peak Oil do the rest.

BTW, NYC and New Orleans provide two very different but equivalent oil savings strategies. Both cities (pre-K) were tied for the fewest miles driven per resident (ignoring suburban commuters in both cases). I would argue that NO is a much more human scale and livable model (with better food, music & architecture) than NYC. But both models "work".

Best Hopes for New Orleans Right to Live,


I would guess that the population of San Angelo, Texas (the 1908 postcard up the thread) was probably less than 25,000 or so when the picture was taken. Smaller towns will need electrified transport as much, or even more, than the large cities.

I checked and the 1910 Census for San Angelo was a bit over 18,000. The streetcar line was 3 miles long.

The French have just 5 towns over 100,000 TODAY without trams or plans for them.

Mulhouse France (pop. 112,000) opened their first tram line in 2006 and have plans for three by 2012 (one an inter-urban that goes to Strasbourg and connects with the under construction TGV of the East). By 2012, a majority of the population will have to walk 500 m or less to a tram stop, and get to Pris (or elsewhere in Europe) with a few drops fo lubricating oil.

Best Hopes for Urban and Inter-City Electrified Rail,


I bet those last five towns will "get with the program" when post-Peak Oil hits. And a few French towns below 100K have trams today. Perhaps France will get down to villages of 18,000 one day, but work down the list, and add lines in larger towns first. And roll back some of the post-1985 French sprawl.

Eric, I agree that we cannot and will not save cities as they were.

Ultimately the ELEP paradigm will transform bioregions by linking some of the places that are still viable for many people to live.

As the climate changes these places drastically, we will need to change our focus. This is a crucial point.

I wonder if we will need to become nomadic people, wandering between largely underground safe places away from the harsh weather and with some source of fresh water. (Dune?)

On the other hand, we may be able to find a way to transform many of our cities into long-term, sustainable centers for a much-changed culture in a much-changed planet.

Who really knows?

No nation can beat things like hurricanes or rising sea waters

Simply false !

The Netherlands can and do. Currently Amsterdam and Rotterdam (28' below sea level) have 1 in 10,000 year protection behind multilayer defenses. Farmland is protected by 1 in 250 year single layer protection.

The Dutch are currently doing detailed studies of what will be required as sea level rises. They have such a margin of safety today that they can stay ahead of the curve.

New Orleans has the unique advantage of millions of tons of silt every year that can build up surrounding wetlands as sea level rises. One only has to build sluices to divert spring flood water into the sides of the Mississippi River.

Best Hopes for New Orleans Right to Survive,



While the Dutch have accomplished amazing engineering facts, they are still deluding themselves. They construct their projects with too narrow margins, based on assumptions that sea levels will only reach an X level after 100 or 200 years. If that turns out to be 20 or 30 years, they're done and toast. Wet toast. Let alone that they can't feed their people. Bad place to be after peak.

There is no-one there who's taken seriously when stating that the coastal cities should be moved away further inland. Instead they keep wasting untold billions on building more highways and widening others. The Dutch, like the Canadians, live under the grandeur delusion that their economies are doing great, and will continue to do so for years to come.

While the Dutch have accomplished amazing engineering facts, they are still deluding themselves. They construct their projects with too narrow margins, based on assumptions that sea levels will only reach an X level after 100 or 200 years

Per the Louisianians that went on an engineering tour of the Netherlands (I wanted to go, but family health issues prevented it, everyone paid their own way, but the Dutch arranged free hotels & meals, VERY sympathetic), the Dutch are well into detailed risk assessment and design options for fast sea level rise.

They expect to drop below 1 in 10,000 year safety for short periods and possibly lose some farmland for a while, but even in the worst case, given their soft, multi-layer failure modes, they expect to overcome the problems.

They are also planning for an oil free society and are building the bits & pieces at a steady pace (despite their huge refining industry). (25% of Amsterdam commuters bicycle to work, world's highest now, more walk, and others take the tram).

Best Hopes for the Dutch,


They expect to drop below 1 in 10,000 year safety for short periods...

Want me to guess who defined that specific risk assessment, or will you?

That is devoid of any and all meaning, Alan, sorry. 1 in 10.000 year safety means absolutely nothing, and you should know that. It's not even an assessment, just a wild guess by incompetent overpaid nuts and bolts. And the Dutch will dearly regret basing their policies on it.

What was the geographical state of the Netherlands 10.000 years ago?

Your insults of people you do not know incompetent overpaid nuts and bolts and whose work you are not qualified to judge has little meaning.

Just for you edification; 1 in 10,000 year risk does NOT refer to the geographical state of the Netherlands 10.000 years ago but that the risk in the current year, under current conditions is estimated at 0.01% (1/10,000). That does have meaning.


.... the risk in the current year, under current conditions is estimated at 0.01% (1/10,000). That does have meaning.

That says nothing about what the assessment is based on. Nor, thus, about what that meaning would be. Let's start by defining "current conditions".

Whether or not I am qualified to judge, you don't know, and besides would be open to any kind of interpretation anyone might want to apply, and is therefore an entirely different discussion.

My guesstimate is that those who use these sorts of terminologies will claim they can only be judged by people like themselves.

Your Honor;
"Whether or not I am qualified to judge,.." .. you seem intent upon doing so nonetheless, and sound more bombastic and inexperienced with every post.

The point you make that Alan doesn't know your qualifications should ring a bell to you that these engineers who live in the Netherlands deserve at least the same presumption.. and if your terminology relies on 'guesstimate', as opposed to those whose Nations survival depends upon their competence, then they may well deserve a bit more benefit of the doubt than yourself.

Please get over yourself a little. It's embarrassing.

Bob Fiske

And yet, the Dutch that I have personally spoken to seem to have their eyes wide open. They freely admit that their country is history if sea level rises as much as some scientists predict. Engineers won't be able to do anything.

Except build floating cities.

..the Dutch that I have personally spoken to seem to have their eyes wide open..

Building new highways in the few square inches of green left to them, which are way below sea level to boot, very strongly contradicts that.

The Dutch currently have plans to collect CO2, and 'reinflate' the land sinking due to natural gas production in the past. Technically feasible, greenhouse gas reducing, and land raising in one package - they plan to make a killing in EU mandated carbon credits. The Dutch see themselves primarily as very skilled traders, not engineers, and generally are not noted for suffering from much in the way of delusions - maybe that comes from dealing with a very hard reality, that much of their land is prone to flooding. (Too much consensus, however, is a flaw the Dutch consider to have grown beyond reasonable limits.)

They also have plans (open to many questions) to create massive floating agricultural production platforms.

The Dutch are taking a multiple approach to future challenges, something which Americans seem to have a hard time grasping, as we have become very either/or.

I've lived in the Hague for the last year.
I have a pleasant daily cycle to work on the dedicated routes and work on an engineering project for Big Oil.
The tram and train system is very good. I'd estimate 40% of travel in the city is by bike/foot, 30% by tram and 30% by car.
Our appartment is on the sea front, over looking the oil tankers moored waiting to go into Rotterdam, to load and offload.
Two threats to the Dutch system which for all the planning are unlikely to be fully mitigated are the food supply, and sudden sea rise, ie the likes of Greenland's ice disappearing in a decade. Previous floods have been thru the back door, over the Belgium boarder, for which defences are relatively week.

There are floating houses, built, but food may prove the principle undoing.
Paul and Anne Ehrlich
It is especially ironic that Forbes considered the Netherlands not to be overpopulated. This is such a common error that it has been known for two decades as the "Netherlands Fallacy." *36 The Netherlands can support 1,031 people per square mile only because the rest of the world does not. In 1984-86, the Netherlands imported almost 4 million tons of cereals, 130,000 tons of oils, and 480,000 tons of pulses (peas, beans, lentils). It took some of these relatively inexpensive imports and used them to boost their production of expensive exports—330,000 tons of milk and 1.2 million tons of meat. The-Netherlands also extracted about a half-million tons of fishes from the sea during this period, and imported more in the form of fish meal. *37

I have a house in a low population density area in Brittany, France, which with a little luck and actions and plans coming to fruition will be self sufficient.


WT, I think that the current way of thinking about economics and the infrastructure of human settlement is being challenged and may be changed enough to preserve -- and even enhance civility through the long emergency.

Our current way of thinking makes our bodies and minds sick with pollution, lack of exercise, lack of positive connection within communities and with the earth itself.

The ELEP paradigm could connect people meaningfully in local, walk-able and bike-able communities which are sustainably linked by train and electronic communication.

Rich and poor using the same trains is a great thing. when I was a student near Chicago, I'd ride the train 25 miles into the city and notice the great variety of people riding together, often chatting with fellow riders who had been riding the same train for years. People in jeans with lunchboxes chatted amiably with folks in expensive business attire. Students and working people struck up real conversations.

We need to mend the economic and social rifts rather than make them worse. Our infrastucture will help us do this (ELEP)or will hurt us (Gated Community vs. Outland).

Margaret Atwood's novel "Oryx and Crake" gives a wonderful narrative of the collapse of our culture if it goes the way of Gated Communities, by the way.

Rich and poor using the same trains is a great thing

New Orleans only billionaire (he died of a heart attack in 2004) used to take the streetcar to work. He would have NEVER have taken the bus !

The social discourse and mingling onboard the streetcar (far less on the replacement buses for reasons I do not know) created a broad social good, the ability to talk to each other. Something that has been a major asset post-Katrina.

Best Hopes for Social Cohesiveness,


One of the things about the Japanese trains that I always thought had profound impact for society was the mixing of different groups. The Japanese are extremely social-pecking-order conscious, however that does not mean they can't relate to each other at least on a minimal level.

The benefit of having the majority of the "salarymen" using mass transit along with the unemployed and riffraff means that the trains and stations always are kept fully functional and equipped with basic necessities, for everyone, because the Japanese economy depends upon it.

Furthermore, that segment of society who are marginal for one reason or another.... are still expected to exhibit the basic manners of civilized people while in the stations or on the trains. There is a normalization or mainstreaming effect that happens to these people.

Oppose that to the US, wherein mass transit is a charity project run for those who cannot afford a car (save those few cities such as Manhattan).

Somewhere between nuclear war and light rail- I come back to disease. Disease has always thinned over population. Diseases like malaria(see the latest national geographic) are getting drug resistant. Some of the malaria reports are "playing soccer at noon dead by midnight".

Resistance is easiest to understand in evolutionary terms. Each drug is a new enviroment for diseases, survivors carry immunity. We now have some "superbugs" that are drug resistant.

With the decline of oil and the rise in attempts at bio-fuels change over will price food out of reach. The poor and starving people are more prone to health issues. Lack of ability to work reduces income. New medications are more expensive- overuse of common drugs reinforces resistance. Lack of income reduces the ability to buy new more expensive medications. The feedback loop self reinforces.

I have in my generation been through only one (minor) pandemic in the 60's. Initiated by events surrounding PO - this one might well do in most of the population.


Drug resistant TB comes to mind.

My daughter did an interesting Science Project in middle school. She took a sample of E Coli and grew it in a petri dish for 24 hours, then treated it with an antibiotic solution, and then took a sample of the surviving culture after 24 hours, grew it for 24 hours, and then did the antibiotic solution, then took a sample of the surviving culture, grew it, etc. If memory serves in about two weeks the antibiotic solution simply served to spread the bacteria around the petri dish and she saw a population explosion.

Funny story. I assumed that we had a non-dangerous (mail order) strain of E Coli, but she used masks and gloves when doing the experiment. I was helping her--with all her stuff set up one of the kitchen table. We were in masks and gloves. My wife was on the other end of the table. She looked up and said, "Why I am the only member of this family not wearing a mask?" (On a later project, my daughter measured the gravitational effect of the moon, using a borrowed gravimeter. Said daughter is now working on her PhD in biology, after getting a Masters in forensic genetics)

Said daughter is now working on her PhD in biology, after getting a Masters in forensic genetics

WT, Congratulations on your daughter's success! She is obviously very smart. You have every reason to feel proud of her accomplishments.

I remember that a couple of months ago you were advising us to send our kids to a community college or to work on a farm. I am curious to know why you didn't take your own advice.

I cannot answer for WT, of course, but as the father of three adult daughters, let me assure all and sundry that young women have minds of their own these days, and subject to financial limitations they attend the colleges of their own choices. For example, two of my daughters chose private colleges, while the eldest chose a state college. Ironically, it turned out for my children that attending elite private colleges was cheaper than going to public ones, because the well-endowed private schools would make better financial aid deals than the cash-strapped state colleges and universities. As a parent, my expected financial contribution was identical, regardless of where my children went to school.

I remember that a couple of months ago you were advising us to send our kids to a community college or to work on a farm. I am curious to know why you didn't take your own advice.

Actually, I advised her to take a job with a forensics lab, instead of going for the PhD, but I'm not paying any of the bills after the Master's degree.

She and her husband are, as you would expect, acutely Peak Oil aware. They plan to always live simply, and my daughter is an accomplished equestrian. Her husband is a mechanical engineer. Longer term they are thinking about a small farm, and she would be in charge of the animals.

Note that their degrees are in technical fields. What I advise parents and high school graduates to avoid like the plague are academic paths that don't result in hard technical skills. It would not be a good idea to go into debt to get a degree in philosophy or anthropology right now.

I think the knowledge gained in pursuit of degrees in cultural anthropology may have great value in times to come. Why? Because the anthropologist knows better than anybody else that various social/cultural/economic alternatives can meet human needs.

Cultural anthropologists are probably the least enthocentric people of any profession--and some of them know how to make sophisticated fish traps from simple materials--not to mention how to build a fire without matches . . . .

Furthermore, anthropologists study group dynamics--how societies and communities survive (or fail) in extreme situations. For pure practicality, I'll rely on anthropologists and engineers equally--and maybe give the nod first to anthropologists, some of whom know how to make and use an abacus. I wonder how many engineers today could make a slide rule, starting from scratch.

It would not be a good idea to go into debt to get a degree in philosophy or anthropology right now.

I agree; I think technical education will still be valuable in the post-peak world.

Intentionally creating an antibiotic resistant E Coli as a middle school project? There is something seriously wrong with this picture.(Not to mention demonstrating how easy it is to develop a resistant strain of anything.)

But it is vitally important to understand the process. Nothing beats hands on. To understand the true scope of this issue is almost as scary as any doomeristic aftermath to PO.

This is the reason so many farm chemicals do not work and why so many drugs are rapidly becoming ineffective. These kids inherit what is left. I can only hope they are smarter than we were.

Oh, please. Everybody who has ever taken an antibiotic has done this experiment on a thousands-of-times larger scale. Every farm that feeds antibiotics to animals is doing it on a vaster scale still. If we insist on worrying, let's find something worth worrying about.

You gotta love kids...
If she wants a break from forensic's, Michael Moore(not that one) has a great book on medicinal plants of the west.
Your poor wife ;)

Dengue Fever (breakbone fever) is spreading north with the trend of warming. It is especially dangerous in places where the winter temps do not drop below 69 degrees. In the last few years Tiawan has become a place that rarely drops below 69 and they have had serious Dengue outbreaks. Southern Florida might soon be at risk.


This points out something which gets little discussion: the exponentially-increasing number of people with the wherewithal to create biological pathogens; not just drug-resistant bacteria but serious recombinant stuff. It's politically incorrect to point this out, since most folks think that freedom of information can only lead to good. But each person with this capability is a roll of the dice. If there were no such thing as peak oil, this would probably be the preeminent dieoff mechanism. It may be anyhow. Having the ability to bio-isolate your home and live self-contained for a year could come in handy, and perhaps not just for bird flu.

I'm just saying...

While I'd certainly vote for Alan, I'd like to see him as CEO of LightRailRoads even more. He wouldn't have to waste his time 'politicing!' Besides, TPTB are much better at that.
I'm no fan of the corporate business model, but it does allow one to raise cash pretty quickly. TOD gets enough wackos who push their schemes here. (Thanks to the members and the moderators who squash these scammers like the vermin they are.) Is there an IPO in the future I could actually get exited about? Something that might do more than possibly make money? Is it even possible to take some basket-case of a city and make it livable by bolting ultralight rail to its decaying sidewalks?
I wish I was rich! :)

"In the past 12 months the global corn price has doubled. The constant aim of agriculture is to produce enough food to carry us over to the next harvest. In six of the past seven years, we have used more grain worldwide than we have produced. As a result world grain reserves - or carryover stocks - have dwindled to 57 days. This is the lowest level of grain reserves in 34 years.

Economist Lester Brown from the Earth Policy Institute explained in a briefing to the US Senate last week. He said: "The stage is now set for direct competition for grain between the 800 million people who own automobiles, and the world's 2 billion poorest people."

Anger boiled over this week as Jean Ziegler, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, accused the US and EU of "total hypocrisy" for promoting ethanol production in order to reduce their dependence on imported oil. He said producing ethanol instead of food would condemn hundreds of thousands of people to death from hunger."


Cid Yama, that's one powerful image.

Almost too powerful to respond to with rational thought.

For me it is an image of the relationship we all have with this universe, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. We are utterly dependent upon it. In this we are all alike.

The hostility between the indifferent rich and the poor that we choose to ignore is also manifest in the image.

The violence done by those of us who choose not to see the effects of our choices on others is made clear.

At the same time, the image makes me see the awful reality of population and consumption overshoot. We cannot repair the planet or the people who populate it.

We have mortally wounded the very eco-system which supports us, and it will be a miracle if much life -- especially much human life -- survives the next 30-to-80 years, in my opinion.

Meanwhile, we must choose how to respond to the impacts of the choices we make on the planet and on our fellow human creatures.

To ignore the poor or write them off as part of the "human scrapheap" as our culture (and especially our political culture) does is to write our species off as well, I suspect.

As E. O. Wilson says with regard to species extinction: if we want to live, then we must try to save as much life as possible. Our survival depends uponm the diversity of life upon the planet. We cannot replicate or replace the web of creatures that supports us. We cannot replace the lives of the poor who starve as we choose to forget them.

The mystery is this: choosing to save the most poor and vulnerable may be the key to any hope of survival at all.

it was said once that man was on the top of the food chain. though this was said in the air of supority. In nature though being on top is not a god position to be, it means you are supported by everything else in the ecosystem and any damage to that will effect you more then anything else.

Being top of the food chain also means all accumulated pollution will end up in your body.

sorry though for the miss spellings in my last post. i am not used to the keyboard i am using at the moment. slightly differn't layout and key position.

Survival of the fittest has been the rule throught human history and prehistory. Anything else is just a fantasy. I wonder whether photo is really a recent starvation case or a recycled holocaust photo.

just do a google picture search for: "starvation".
And you will know what is really happening on this globe..

A concrete example of a "lawns to food" program," otherwise known as the "P" in ELEP:

Berkeley: Urban farmers produce nearly all their food with a sustainable garden in their backyard

The record low levels of world food stores will be further compounded this year, as droughts afflict the major bread baskets;



Southern US


I wonder which of the gathering storm clouds hits first,
each seems to be looming larger. Heavy rains already pouring for defaulting mortgage owners hit by rate rises, food and fuel inflation, precipitating economic collapse.
Gasoline shortage breaking out in the 1st world in the NE US , seem a strong possibility for later this year. Iranian nuclear ambitions, thrustrated by Bush in the remainder of his term. Climatic and environmental traumas, from drought, to sudden sea level rise as Greenland and Antractic ice slide into the oceans, to Gulf stream switch off.
Food shortages, from drought, bees colony collapse, wheat blight etc.

The race is on to be ready for the storms ahead.


Personally, I applaud the corn into ethanol use of the crop. Better to use the high fructose corn syrup to power SUVs instead of turn people into 2-legged SUVs! Sugar kills just as effectively as ethanol. A "diabetic" is merely a person prone to chronic sugar poisoning.

Petrol prices high enough yet? Just wait!

I'm from Hawaii, but am presently visiting my son in the Dominican Republic. Quite a contrast.Energy slaves, Haitians, are still the way to go here. Ten Haitians cost less than the payments on a small tractor. It is interesting to see the third world ( although I would consider DR to be second world, whatever that is) and their approach to higher energy prices.A recent reference to a website called "Lords of the Logistic" ( google it)gives an accurate representation.
The Airdale/ Leanan discussion yesterday highlights why I, and I'm sure many others,routinely visit this site. I don't know whether the doomers or the optimists will be right about the future. I go back and forth as data becomes available. But the discussion on the site helps to sort it out. It is, for me, the largest question surrounding peak oil. What will be the future? I believe we are at peak now, and have made arrangements to help my family weather what comes, but the reaction by the rest of humanity is an open question and I still search for the answers.

I thought it was a discussion site but I found only pictures. But the pictures were great and revealing as to how people with many fewer energy slaves live.



Ron Patterson

The photos are interesting. One is a man carrying a car frame on his bicycle; another is five people riding on a motorcycle. If you haven't looked at them before, it is worth looking at.

How will Hawaii and the DR fare in the future? I've heard of many folks moving to Costa Rica in order to live sustainably, also.

With sea levels rising and the weather becoming more violent and hotter near the equator, won't that make those places nearly uninhabitable? That's the idea I've gotten from reading Lovelock.

Someplace in Canada might be the ideal spot to locate.

Again, who can say?

I am going to try to bloom where I am planted for as long as possible. Minneapolis, MN may not become a Cascadian Paradise, but it is where I am. I'll try to work for positive change here.

We've managed to pretty nearly destroy the habitat that supports us. (See Wilson, "The Creation" for a good discussion of this.) We've helped to change our habitat from one which has been a cornucopia for our species to one that is hostile to our species.

We are all pretty much absolutely vulnerable. No place to hide, no place to wait out the storm. One place will be hit by bad weather and another by a nuclear catastrophe. Water will dry up in one bioregion even as another is flooded out.

Our human strengths and weaknesses will affect us in strange ways as will the changes in our planet. Who can develop a strategy for survival other than humility combined with an honest effort to survive and leave some good stories for the next generations, if there will be any next generations?

We are all beggars and refugees in relation to this vast universe. Peak Oil, like Climate Change, reminds me of who I am in a way that our culture does not curently enjoy.

Ah, well. I'd better go tend my garden for a bit.

I think that many people here are familiar with the Volkswagen Lupo, the German diesel-powered car that gets over 60mpg. The car was never imported into the USA, so Americans had no hope of buying one. In fact, most Americans have never even heard of it.

Now here's the interesting part. I live in El Paso, Texas, and yesterday I actually saw two Lupos parked at a shopping mall. The license plates were Mexican. It's not unusual to see Mexican plates in El Paso - this is a border town, and well-to-do Mexicans to come here on weekends to go shopping. However, it is unusual to see a Lupo. I hadn't realized that they were available in Mexico.

A little bit of Googling brought up an interesting Wikipedia page:


It seems that production of the Lupo ceased in 2005, but was replaced with the Volkswagen Fox. However, the Fox is sold under the Lupo name so as to not upset Mexican President Vicente Fox (who just recently retired).

So I'm not sure if the Lupos that I saw were Foxes, but they looked very new and shiny.

I guess the only useful point I can make in this post is that if you're American and you want a Lupo, you could buy one in Mexico. Not sure if you could register it in the USA though. Maybe best to get a Mexican driver's license and keep it registered south of the border?


Due to emissions standards it was difficult to sell a diesel car in America. Mercedes had a model with extra filters to try to comply with sulfur emissions standards. In the 2008 model year coming soon there should be some diesel cars available as the new low sulphur diesel fuel is being refined in the United States. Other countries do not have high low sulphur standards. It is adding to the cost of fuel and to initial refinery problems as the new sulfur modules were implemented. The environmental regulation was causing pain at the pumps.

Believe obesity is killing more people in America than sulfur fumes.

I saw my first Smart car yesterday. Smart for two was the model it believe. It was certainly different than anything else on the road. I was surprised how small it looked in person. The mercedes emblem was prominently displayed and with
the silver paint color was very upscale looking. I was not aware they were in the states yet. (Texas)

You didn't happen to notice if it had Texas license plates, did you? I have seen a Mercedes Smart Car in Mexico, though not being driven on the streets (it was in a shopping mall car exhibition).

I'm pretty sure it had texas plates. It definitely didn't have
mexican plates.

Saw a Smart Fortwo here in a Denver suburb this past week. It was sitting in the left-turn lane between a Chevy Suburban and a Ford F-150. There are days in my Civic when I feel rather threatened by the "big boys"; I can't imagine going out in any sort of real traffic in one of the Smart vehicles.

This past winter in Denver we had several days when the drive home saw from four to twelve inches of snow on the streets. Looking at the very small wheels and considering the weight and ground clearance, I have to assume that such roads would be impassible for the Smart. The Civic with 15" wheels and I got through, with difficulty during the worst of it.

Smart looks nice until you ask yourself what happens when those hulking H2's crush you in this car(let). Also, it is quite expensive, especially compared to much more spacious cars of lesser brands (such us japanese or korean ones). I personally believe Smart is made so that well-off people can show how green they are.

That's right. Certainly in UK, you can buy a small Korean car for less money that has 4 doors, 4 seats, similar performance and does about the same mpg as a (gas) Smart. Not quite as fashionable though. A Citroen C1 is about the same price, has all the other qualities and looks like a really cute, proper car.

We have a lot of Smart cars where I live. I like them, or used to. I was coming home from work a few months ago and I saw a Smart car waiting for an F-350 to back out of a parking spot. The F-350 kept backing out and smucked the little car (despite him beeping his horn). It was just a minor fender-bender, but I fealt a little sick inside. I'll stick with my Protege for now.

Matt Savinar's interview on Coast to Coast last night was very good. It is listed above, and I would also recommend that readers listen to it.

Matt responds to questions about many misconceptions that people have about peak oil.

Just listened to it. Matt's good. Really liked his point about the Norseman and the fish from "Collapse" (Diamond's book).

Matt if you're reading this morning... keep sticking it to them with the bicycle. You're dead on... 15 mph takes some getting used to, but it works and it's cheap.

Hello Will,

I listened to Savinar too. Good for Matt! He even briefly mentioned export theory, but I wish he would have gone into more detail on WT's Exportland Model to really shock the listeners.

Art Bell is both right and wrong about bicycles. Murkins will resist pedaling, until there is no alternative, then pedaling and pushing wheelbarrows it will be--thus, my long advocacy for Strategic Reserves of bikes & barrows to help prevent us devolving to the very rock-bottom Thermo/Gene survival level. Recall that the barrow and rickshaw were secret weapons for the Chinese for hundreds of years before the rest of the globe figured it out. We need to be rapidly moving to 60-75% of our labor force actively engaged in relocalized permaculture to minimize the future growth and giant size of the future Murkin Machete' Moshpit.

I also hope my numerous earlier postings on minitrains, SpiderWebRiding, Earthmarine vs mercenary dynamics, Foundation predictive collapse and directed decline, and sequential biosolar habitat building will now reach a wider audience thxs to Matt & Art Bell.

I continually have daydreams [nightmares?] on the coming Southwest multi-million migration into Cascadia. This was also briefly alluded to by Matt on his discussion of Mexico's coming collapse, although he thinks the Halliburton camps will be the short-term solution.

We have a choice to optimize our decline or maximize the destruction and ecologic devastation. Hopefully, it won't be the full-on nuclear gift exchange and/or weaponized Ebola-Smallpox and other virologic delights. See my many earlier postings discussing these same topics in the archives, or google Robert Preston and Bioweaponeers.

Finally, I am glad to see some ME exporters considering spending some of their wealth on biosolar power generation. I have posted many times before that any exporter adopting this strategy will enjoy long-run postPeak advantage. Let's hope the paradigm shift can be faster than detritus decline, but I am doubtful. Time will tell, but just like Matt--I remain a fast-crash realist until proven otherwise..

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

Picking up bicycles at yard sales and campus police clearance auctions will likely be a good investment.

Anyone with space should get that one "fit's" and they like for personal use.

Best Hopes,


For my personal use I have found that exactly three bicycles are my optimum:

1. 1985 Schwinn cruiser with fat tires and huge baskets--the workhorse.

2. 2001 Brompton folding bike to keep in car and also take with on other trips, e.g. by bus or train or plane.

3. 2004 Giant LaFree electric assisted bike for trips over fifteen or twenty miles.

Also, having three bikes means that if one is in the shop for repairs or rebuilds or whatever, then I always have another bike ready to go.

BTW, if you want to hoard something, hoard that slimey stuff that you squirt into punctured tires to seal them. Rubber tires and inner tubes will keep a substantial portion of their strength after several years, and so it makes sense to keep a supply of them too. Books on and tools for bike repair are good to have also.

I've just had my 1979 Fuji 12-speed restored. $200. ready to roll.

In addition to motorcycles I have a mid 70s Raleigh with 25 inch frame and mid size tires. It has been rebuilt a couple of times and even resprayed once. Hard to find a bike with 25 inch frame now but if you are tall its the way to go.

Hey Don, forget the slimy stuff! My tires have closed-cell foam inserts that replace the tubes. I laugh at Bouganvilla thorns and broken glass; I use the tires till they're down to the cord because I can bwaaaahahahaha!

Seriously, tho, they do increase the weight of the bicycle a little, but Miami has NO hills so once I'm rolling the few extra ounces just don't matter. I recommend these to anyone who hopes to ride a bicycle when tubes are hard to get.


Errol in Miami

feel free to post a link

Another one to look for is a scythe. I just sharpened up a couple for my sister in law and was amazed at how well they work. She's of Latvian derivation and these ones were pretty old and made in Austria. I refer to them as Latvian lawnmowers.

They look like they'd take a major round out of your shin in a moment's inattention but it doesn't seem to happen. She prefers them as they are silent and easy to start! It almost seems to be a better rig than those rotary push contraptions that I won't even begin to harp on. Plus the only moving part is your arms.

I have 2 scythes that I use around the place here - a long-bladed "hay mower", and a shorter bladed "brush hog". Keep them sharp, and learn the rhythm of using them, and they are incredibly effective. Not nearly as physically demanding as you might think. It's all in the sharpening and the rhythm.

The grim reaper never leaves home without one.

I continually have daydreams [nightmares?] on the coming Southwest multi-million migration into Cascadia. This was also briefly alluded to by Matt on his discussion of Mexico's coming collapse, although he thinks the Halliburton camps will be the short-term solution.

not entirely, they will be for political dissidents too. by the time the massive migration from mexico happens marshal law would of most likely been declared as well as removal of the opposition political party's by the administration(might be bush's admin might be their handler's hand chosen successor admin).

We have a choice to optimize our decline or maximize the destruction and ecologic devastation. Hopefully, it won't be the full-on nuclear gift exchange and/or weaponized Ebola-Smallpox and other virologic delights. See my many earlier postings discussing these same topics in the archives, or google Robert Preston and Bioweaponeers.

If things continue shaping up the way they are then we are set on that most feared path of yours. the point of no return is most likely any military action on iran.

The keypost at the top of the page as I logged on was "In Defense of the Hubbert Linearization Method." Given my regard for Khebab's statistical and math skills, I knew I would have to read that. But I thought I would check out the broader news first, so I went to Drumbeat, and, to quote our hard working Drumbeat editor, "Matt, AKA The Chimp Who Can Drive, was on Coast to Coast last night, talking about peak oil. He did a really great job."

Given that recommend and my regard for Leanan's judgement (even though her regard for mine as expressed in her replies to me have always been generally much less), I went over and clicked on the link. Having dialup, I couldn't get it to run the first three times I attempted. Finally, it did take, and I heard a few following highlights.

First, the host read an e-mail describing a possible 4% decline in oil production, followed by some discussion, the points that stood out to me below:

Matt Savinor:
“The decline rate will be closer to around 10%...production to drop in half in a decade! The catastrophist are not even catastrophist enough!
“Oh my God”

Matt then went on to detention centers for massive influx of immigrants being built (sure to build interest among former "X-files" and Area 51 fans)
Matt: “Mexico has declined 7%”
(6.4% since last year)
Host: “Oh my God” (the host is starting to sound pretty easily shocked for someone who knows who Matt Savinar is)

The host even goes off on a wilder tangent than Matt and brings up abiotic oil. (a blessing, as it pulled attention away from how wildly over the top the whole opening was)

Matt correctly dismisses abiotic oil as does the host, who says (loosely quoting) he just wanted to make it clear to the audience it wasn't true.

Matt says
We are not building more refineries because we are “basically running out”. (!)
(well, the "running out" line by a "Peak Oil" celebrity is always unfortunate...but it is now the common term used (sigh)

A great jump off into left field by the host,
“What percentage of electricity is generated by nuclear power in France?”
(completely out of context to this discussion, I would have been less shocked if he had asked Matt "When was the last time you beat your wife?"

Matt rightly points out that it is high, about 80% of France's electric power, but also rightly points out that we do not get our electric power from oil.

(Thank heaven for little miracles that he at least made that distinction, as so many articles and columns now open with "What are you going to do if the Arabs stop sending us oil and we are sitting in the cold and dark?" or some such similiar idiocy completely discrediting the whole effort at real awareness.)

Then it turns strange again, as Matt dismisses a switch to nuclear,
"If we made that massive of a switch to nuclear..."
“We would probably run out of uranium as fast as we run out of oil” (????)

(I am absolutlely no fan of nukes, not for the bogus safety and radiation worries but simply because I think they are an economic dry hole, but is there ANY known evidence that we would deplete uranium as fast as we deplete oil? What mathematical model is being used here?

Coal and natural gas, which is probably depleting, and uranium, which is rapidly depleting”. (????)

(well, of course, peak everything, everywhere, all at exactly the same time always causes one to start asking some serious questions, namely about a conventional commodities bubble....}

Then of course we move to the mandatory attack on the automobile, now the core part of the true peaker liturgy, but the host messes up and asks "instead go to what?"....and then we get the bicycle (of course) and mass transit (of course) to which the host strikes a small chord of sanity “Forget the bicycle, it ain't gonna happen, some will do it,, but as a real option...”, which of course anyone but a child can see is exactly correct, but Matt went petulant, "Then we're screwed". This now making the discussion something of "give me the bike or give me death!"

This followed by a strange and debatable analogy to defend the bicycle, “The Norse and the fish” (?????)

Followed by one of the most illogical, petulant and strange comments I have heard in a while, over the top even by doomer standards,
“Do you love your children or do you love your car.” (????), because if you love your car more than you love your children...", (!!!!!!!)

Matt then guides the discussion into ethanol, building on the absolutely illogical "love your children" stuff with the "because you can starve your kids to grow ethanol" line of discussion.

Matt however, was clever to take on ethanol, the one place where Matt regains some semblence of sanity, as the ethanol plan as proposed by the powers that be is more idiotic than the “collapse to half production by end of decade” discussion. The great thing about defenders of ethaonl is that they at least make doomers look half sane.

The doomers actually love to discuss ethanol, and rightly so. It is a case in which the powers that be chose the absolutely worse of all possible options and poured billions on it. Now cornered, they cannot just come out and say they f'd up, so they build rhetorical castles in the air trying to make it seem sane. They are the juiciest of targets. This however does nothing to make the doomers sound more logical or coherent, it simply makes them sound less mad by comparison.

At about this point, my dial up failed again, and Matt went silent. I will resist the temptation to say anything smart assy on that, and if anyone has the transcript of the discussion, that is the only way I am probably going to hear the second half of the interview. However, having heard the first half, I am assuming that if I miss the second half, I will probably be o.k..

(sigh) It's all very sad. The good news is that in Kentucky we had rain almost all last night and most of today, for now at least breaking one of the worst droughts since the 1970's. The bad news is it looks less and less likely the Cincinnatti Reds will win the series this year.
(not edited or proofed for spelling. I have wasted too much time on this already)

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

That 4% mentioned in the email was at the END OF THE DECADE, and that was what Matt was responding to. He brought us external factors such as war, instability, etc that will bring it closer to 10%. I think your connection must have been pretty bad.


You've got 40 minutes to answer 10 or so questions, each of which would need 2 hours to answer adequetely. There's going to be some shorthand answers involved.


Are you going to spill the beans on your mentioned mystery, all things considered, least hell prone location, post TSHTF?

I'm sticking with Finistere, NW France, low population density, hopefully far enough from nuke targets, though Brest submarine base, may take a shot. Lots of local small farms, relatively sustainable agriculture. Plenty of rain, well above sea level, and sheltered from storms. My patch has stream on grounds, fertile land, for food and wood. Potentially a more reliable electric grid, atleast in the short to medium term.


A few problems:

1. I spill the beans, then 2 weeks later the place gets hit by a massive earthquake, invaded by ass-raping Chinese pirates, taken over by an Austrian strongman dictator with a strangely familiar accent, or all of the above. Then I end up looking like an idiot for having said "yeah I was at such and such seeing if it would be a good place to go."

2. People start moving there (not many but I'd hazard to guess about 12 from the emails I've gotten) the place goes to shit for some reaons and they blame me.

It also assummes that I have some info that others do, like I'm going to be the guy to say "follow me to freedom" like the guy at the end of the ESPN Y2K commercial from 1999:


(truly hilarious commercial, btw)

Great advert, that reminds me to stock up on candles...

You must be talking about somewhere around the ring of fire, judging by the risks of ass bandatory and earthquakes.

Location is a lucky dip indeed, there's certainly risks with my choice of family retreat. We're all working hard on our French, to gain more of a foothold in the local community.
Atleast the risk of bee colony collapse is low, we can't get the buggers out the chimney and attick, despite repeatedly risking life and limb up ladders bagging off the chimney.


1. I spill the beans, then 2 weeks later the place gets hit by a massive earthquake, invaded by ass-raping Chinese pirates, taken over by an Austrian strongman dictator with a strangely familiar accent, or all of the above. Then I end up looking like an idiot for having said "yeah I was at such and such seeing if it would be a good place to go."

you forgot, the meteor impact, plague of locusts, heatwave and large scale brush fires, tsunami. Not necessarily in that order :) :P

Thanks! Reminds me I forgot to mention the possibility of Dick Cheney unleashing a bioweapon on the area's local population, Blackwater USA setting up shop, Vladimir Putin testing out his brand new giant laser on the place, or all of the above.

Anyone who is serious about a move to avoid a "worst case" might conisder buying Rawles on Retreats. James Rawles is a really straight shooter and, although I don't have the CD, I have no doubt it covers everything. His site is: http://www.survivalblog.com

But, look at the basics: Don't live east of the Mississippi; Don't live in the northern half of the US; Don't live within 250 miles of a major city; Choose a state that is weapons friendly; Choose an area with good soils, climate and adequate water; Choose an area where AE stuff has a chance of working; Choose a specific location that is defensible; Choose an area with adequate game; Chose an area with adequate wood for building and fuel. Even this short list elminates a good portion of the US.

I'd also suggest reading collpase fiction. There is a lot of it out there either for free or purchase. Granted it is only someone's guess but it/they might offer insights.

I'm curious, why not east of the Mississippi or in the northern half of the U.S.?

I assume population is too high east of the Mississippi and it's too cold in the northern part of the country.

What I'm wondering is where exactly is left. The water is all in the east and north of the country. The Great Plains and southwest are prone to drought.

Not east, not north, not in a drought-prone area...where's left?

Kunstler thinks the southern half of the country is the part that's doomed. The southeast precisely because they have too many guns, the southwest because it's too dry.

I suspect they're both right. Culture plays at least as a big a role as geology. A lot of people tell me that Mississippi or Missouri is the ideal post-peak hideout. Then I ask them, "But what if you're not Christian? Or not white? Or gay?" And they admit that in that case, it's not so great.

A lot of people tell me that Mississippi or Missouri is the ideal post-peak hideout. Then I ask them, "But what if you're not Christian? Or not white? Or gay?" And they admit that in that case, it's not so great.

Whoa...back off there...Missouri is not all white, straight, nor Christian!! Please don't stereotype a state unless you've experienced it first hand. There is a large and growing population of Mexicans and East Indians in the KC metro area. There is a gay-pride parade. There are many atheists and environmentalists I call friends. You ever been to St. Louis?

It's not all bad here. I'm raising kids in a fairly balanced world. My eight year old has a Chinese friend and a Mexican friend.

They are getting decent exposure to art/culture. It's fairly cheap here. We get good rain and snow amounts. Not a bad place to hang really. I guess I shouldn't let these secrets out or next the Chimp will decide to set up residency.

I've experienced it.

And we're not talking about metro areas. Not for a peak oil hideout.

There are several communes stashed away in the Missouri Ozarks and up north around Kirksville. You go rural anywhere in this country and you will be faced with a similar situation. I think the optimal location will be close to a large city but not inside it. Far enough out to have some land, close enough in to have some culture. It's a hedge. If the city system collapses, well you've got your spot with land. It the semi-rural goes apesh*t, then it's not a huge leap to go more rural or more urban depending on the local situation.

My thoughts also immediately went to water availability. Excluding the northern part of the U.S. and everything east of the Mississippi leaves mostly dry places. I think if I were to really try to pick a PO haven water access would be one of the highest ranking considerations.

First note I said "worst case" and that means nukes. I don't know if Shane still has this link up but it should give people pause: http://www.ki4u.com/nuclearsurvival/states/ca.htm

This link shows the fallout pattern for the US.

For a somewhat outdated list of US targets with a US blast map see: http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/printthread.php?s=threadid=&93054

Now, I am not saying nuke war is the future. But, I am saying that a nuclear war cannot be precluded at this point and it only makes sense to seriously consider it. If a person is going to make a significant change why not take all precautions to live out of harm's way?

Finally, many of the "basics" I listed above apply to pandemics.

The Chinese have stated that they have every American city with a population of over 10,000 targeted with a nuke. They have also stated that they do not buy into MAD and that they believe that they will be the winners of an all out nuke exchange with the US. Go figure.

Even this short list elminates a good portion of the US.


Try the entire US? Leanan mentions Missouri and Mississippi, but a 250 mile radius from St. Louis pretty much eliminates Missouri, and "east of the Mississippi" [river] eliminates the State of Mississippi.

Are those Rawles's criteria? If so, does he give a map of areas he thinks meets them? Is the map blank?

Oh, dear:

Maybe there's a broader lesson here about this individual-survivalist stuff. It seems like whenever you look at it carefully, and eliminate the options that are bloody unlikely to work, nothing's left but a blank.

I guess that explains why so many peak oilers are leaving for Costa Rica, Belize, and the like. ;-)

I have found that the main problem in going someplace else is that you end up taking yourself along with you. It sort of like "Wherevever you go, there you are" (Credit Buckaroo Bonzai)

Matt, fair enough, and the oher reply was right, I may have misunderstood the timeing on the "decline by half", at the end of this decade (2010?) or 2020?
Either way, I would think that IF we decline to half by either date, or even by 2030, I will concede you the argument, and try to build my shed in the woods....game over.

But I will ask only two questions, and you have unlimited time to answer:

1. Is the bicycle really the only acceptable and sustainable method of personal transportation?

2. Do you feel that it is best for people concerned about peak oil and resource depletion in general to avoid the phrase "running out" at all costs, as it is so easily shot to bits by anyone wanting to discredit real concern about energy depletion?

Lastly, allow me to make something of humble apology, not for what I said, but more the ironic tone in which I said, of my remarks.

My disappointment has nothing to do with you or your remarks per se, Matt.

I think that I am coming more to the conclusion that at a deep philosophical level, I am out of step with the "peak" movement. I agree absolutely that there is a very serious, nation threatening, world threatening issue that must be addressed, and very soon. Of that I have almost no doubt.

The difference seems to be that while some see the only possible way to address it is to go backward, I see the only real way to address it is to go forward.

This may be due to my personal situation. For example, I, along with most of the paternal members of my family suffer from hereditary extreme hypertension, with at least 6 family members on medication. This exceeds anything that can be fixed through lifestyle change, (my doctor even said "helll, I can barely keep it down even with medication!"
The idea of going back to a yeoman farming life and merrily ridig a bike around the county is charming to me, but of course, without the breakthroughs of the modern age, many in my family would already be dead.

There are millions, tens of millions who would be resigned to the same fate if we attempt to, or are forced to, return to a "pre-modern" mode of existance.

The other day a keypost was asking "how much energy to make you happy." I stayed away from it, because I thought it was the wrong question: The right question is "how much energy to keep you alive?"

I assume many in the peak community must be very fortunate indeed, with no ailments, and no family members requiring the use of modern medicine.
If so, I am happy for them. I am very disappointed however with the way in which they so gladly would consign millions to early death, rather than consider real technical alternatives that makes this whole crisis so absolutely needless. This is NOT a crisis of "physics" or "geology", it is a crisis of will and education. I know no one here wants to hear that. But I believe it absolutely. If you look at the energy bath this planet exists in, "oil" is a piss in the sea. We refuse to change, maybe because oil gives TPTB the power they need to be. We sure don't stay imprisoned by oil because we have to.

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

It's honestly not going to matter whether you say "peak" or "running out."

Folks, beyond a niche community of freaked out white doomers (like me), survivalists, and some lefty-type political activists, this issue is never going to be anything other than "the oil companies are jacking up the prices to screw us over" mixed in with a bit of "those damn enviromentalists don't want me to have my SUV so they're not letting us drill our own reserves."

The economy will collapse due to the multitude of issues we discuss here such as oil prices, housing bubble, etc, and then there will be a batle between the neo-fascists (Giulani, Arnold) and the neo-communists (Hilary Clinton maybe?) much like there was in Germany in 1929. The major difference between now and then is then whoever won the battle didn't have access to a giant nuclear arsenal.

I used to get hung up on the terminology and I still try to make the distincition as clear as possible but, REALLY, it ain't going to matter in the aggregate.

Remember, Jay Hanson ran for office in Hawaii on these issues and lost to a convicted child molester who promised happy times are a comin'. When you're up against this degree of denial, it's really no difference if you say "running out" or "peaking." The average person hears either term and then thinks "oil companies creating shortages to jack up the price."

At the risk of sounding like a blowhard if you think it makes a difference it means you don't understand human nature. The first thing the brain does when evaluating a speaker/writer is it asks itself, "is this guy on my side?" If you start talking about how prices are going higher and we need to make lifestyle changes, then BAM it doesn't matter what else you say. Jay had a GREAT post about this on his dieoff Q and A a couple years back where he explained more succintly than I can. I'll try to dig it up.

The (very) small percentage of people who really want to get to the bottom of this will keep reading and understand the difference. The activists who want to use the issue to scare people into accepting their personal advancement agenda will do likewise. Everybody else will just delete or deny out of existence what you're saying as it doesn't serve their (percieved) interests. So the distinciton is largely meaningless in *pragmatic* terms.

@ Roger: most of us are in roughly similar situations. The fact that I see there is no way to go "forward" isn't because because everybody I know is in perfect health. Quite the opposite. Most of my family is screwed w/o modern medicine.

Running out, slow decline? Seems from the thread that there is a hint that the back side of Hubert's peak will be a long slow descent. Hmmm...

I remember reading Alive a few years back about the Rugby team that crashed in the Andes. After a period of time they sent 3 members to try to find help. The 3 guys climb toward the top of a peak and took them 3 or 4 days. At the top they realized that only 2 could go on from there. The 3rd guy returned to the crash site. It only took him 3 hours to get back down. Sometimes it is a lot easier and quicker going down than going up. I guess gravity works.


PS, Matt you are one of my heros

Roger wants a happy ending no matter what. Well guess what, Roger? So do most of us. And praising the powers that be on their utter stupidity on ethanol, and lack of action everywhere else is NOT going to make them change.

But go right ahead and continue your 200 line incoherent text bombs against anything other than a happy ending, Roger. Try learning to not say something once in a while or maybe learn to say it in 200 words or less.

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

Try right-clicking on the link, and saving the MP3. You can then play it off your own hard drive. That should eliminate the bandwidth problem.

That interview was rather painful to listen to. Art Bell kept interrupting (plus his voice is -- ugh) and Matt, intelligent as he is, has a tendency to hyperventilate his answers, and to stumble.

It's like listening to Thurston Howell The Third talking to Gilligan.

Matt does sound like he knows what he's talking about, though.

It's like listening to Thurston Howell The Third talking to Gilligan.

Dude, wtf? Are you trying to pick a fight or something? Whatever. . . "talk to the hand"

This little story was just posted at http://peakoil.com

Oil Price Surge a Risk as Non-OPEC Production Peaks, BIS Says
By Tom Cahill

June 24 (Bloomberg) -- Oil prices have a ``substantial'' risk of surging higher and boosting inflation because non-OPEC production may soon peak, the Bank for International Settlements said in its annual report.

``The short-run risks of sharp increases in oil prices remain substantial,'' the Basel, Switzerland-based BIS said in its 77th annual report today. ``The impact of oil price increases could be significant; a recent analysis estimates that a supply- induced doubling of prices would boost inflation in emerging Asia by as much as 1.4 percent points above baseline.''

The BIS, established in 1930 to manage Germany's World War I reparation payments, said the effect of energy prices on inflation has become exaggerated by the demands of biofuels on food prices.

The group blamed energy costs for boosting inflation in the nation's sharing the euro to 2.5 percent in 2006. It credited a drop in energy costs for slowing European inflation to less than 2 percent by the end of the year.

Biofuel demand for commodities such as corn has raised inflation risks in nations such as Mexico, where corn is used in food-staple tortillas, the BIS said.

The 244-page report said investment hasn't increased oil supplies, raising concerns that production could peak from nations outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Production Estimates

The International Energy Agency, an adviser to energy- importing nations, this month cut its 2007 estimate for non-OPEC production by 110,000 barrels a day to 50.2 million barrels a day, citing project delays.

OPEC, which supplies about two-fifths of the world's oil, has resisted calls for restoring production cuts that the BIS said has helped push crude oil prices higher. Crude oil contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange have risen 13 percent this year, to $69.14 a barrel, by the close of trading last week.

The oldest international financial institution, the BIS provides research and serves as a venue for meetings with central bankers. European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet and U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke attended a gathering at the BIS in June.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Cahill in London at tcahill@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: June 24, 2007 11:03 EDT


Gary and I listened too. Great job Matt!

Interesting anecdote: My mother-in-law listens to Art Bell all of the time. About a year ago, she was trying to convince me that peak oil is a scam and our energy problems are just a conspiracy by big oil to rip us off. She suggested I listen to Art Bell's program so that I could learn the truth. I sure hope she was listening today....

My congrats too, Matt, nice job. Although I'd rather see you sitting across from Tim Russert some Sunday morning. Not gonna hold my breath for that one...
I have a guy at work who listens to Art Bell frequently. (We don't discuss the world much...) I'll have to see if he heard it. Interesting crowd you're talking to on that show, lotsa UFO types, but I guess it gets a lot of listeners so what the hey, anyone who will listen is better than being ignored.

BTW, I've always agreed with you. And I'm never wrong. Well, once: one time I thought I had made a mistake... :-)

The melting ice man cometh

He believes his support for Kyoto lost him the coal states of Kentucky and West Virginia - and the 2000 race for the presidency. But Hurricane Katrina and his Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, changed all that. Now, on the eve of his Live Earth global concerts, climate change could put Al Gore back in the White House.

More comment on the general instability of the financial system (and peakoil is'nt even added to the devil's brew:


Disconcerting that the Bank is even using such language (we are used to it here, unnerving to hear it from a main pillar of the banking community). Ironically if the problems they discuss did happen the recessionary forces might give us a brief breather at the top of the peakoil curve.

Wow, pretty shocking and in the Torygraph, too. "By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard" - it could as well have been written by Kunstler.

Meanwhile, a Sunday Times article here:


reports that Ford are about to sell Jaguar and Land Rover. It seems this is not so much because they are making a loss (though of the two at least Jaguar did last year), as to raise money to keep the core Ford business afloat. There has been much talk here about GM going down the tubes, but my reading is that Ford are actually in much worse shape.

Report to Irish EPA recommends westexas-style ELP, plus fuel rationing when prices rise!

(From Energy Bulletin): The team working on the Envisioning Ireland's Energy Futures project for the Irish Environmental Protection Agency has submitted its report:



1) Move to a low-carbon economy to reduce energy use as rapidly as possible, even if this slows down economic growth;
2) Local energy production: develop rural biorefineries and re-locate to the countryside energy-intensive manufacturing so as to be close to renewable energy sources;
3) Localise production of manufactured goods, with small factories producing a diversity of products;
4) In the face of rising food prices (I can tell you food in Ireland is already darned expensive); employ more people in rural agriculture at the expense of unaffordable machinery and fertilisers, reduce dependence on imported food and grow close to point of use;
5) When needed, enforce actual rationing of fuel/energy so that all get a fair share, rather than have de facto rationing by price.

Well-timed after the RTE documentary of a few days ago. In an economy that has seen dramatic growth in the last 15 years fueled by international travel and globalisation, I wonder how much notice will be taken?

Remember: Decentralized living takes more energy per person than centralized living until you beat down the living standards to rural peasantry.

That's a pretty horrible endpoint.

Decentralized living takes more energy per person than centralized

1st off - how did you come to this conclusion?

Can you show your data?

2ndly - Concentrated energy sources/wealth is more 'worth' the effort to take/harvest than non-concentrated sources.

3rdly - Centerlized living still used decentralized food gathered and processed on the back of old, ancient sunlight.

4th - if the only input of energy to the planet is the photon - urban living is not photon-harvesting conductive.

In an extraordinary outburst aimed at America's failure to tackle global warming, Al Gore says that if scientific agreement on the climate crisis had been reached sooner it would have been easier to "galvanise the public and persuade Congress to act".

Al Gore is wrong. In practice, most climate scientists belived already in the early 1990's that significant global warming was going to be inevitable because of the physics of the atmosphere, the greenhouse forcing would not be stoppable and would dominate other factors. Some questions remained (as they still do) on the specific regional effects.

The problem is that if the evidence were not essentially overwhelming (as it is today) there would be even more organized resistance and denialism if scientists took it public and pushed it. In the mid 1990's there was a pause in the observed warming due to volcanic aerosols. Scientists knew that this would be but temporary by naysayers could easily take isolated data points without deep understanding and bash them (as they did, in fact, but with less attention). In practice the volcanoes provided excellent calibration experiments for the climate models, validating and improving them.

All the way the vast majority of scientists did the most responsible thing in giving the most accurate assessment that they could which was backed up by reliable and vetted data, experiments and theory.

In any case, a JASON panel (high level scientists giving national security related advice) correctly predicted global warming and even estimated the range of probable temperature increase from basic physics. That was 1979.


Yeah, official advice actually goes back even further (also see an essay by one David Lyle in Esquire magazine for September 1967), text fairly far down in the linked item:

In 1965, the President's Scientific Advisory Committee issued the first U.S. government report that summarized recent climate research and outlined potential future changes resulting from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, including the melting of the Antarctic ice cap, the rise of sea level, and the warming of oceans.

It's awfully simplistic to blame the scientists one way or the other, given the state of affairs in science and computing in the 1960s and 1970s.

A problem, I think, is that people imagine a perfect world, and then hunt down a scapegoat when the world inevitably fails to measure up to their imaginings. Given Al Gore's famously energy-guzzling lifestyle - both public and private - he ought to be the last one to be judgmental in that manner, and one of the first ones to see the whole affair as something like a Greek tragedy, the sort of thing where even if you had a better inkling going in, the problems of avoiding it are huge enough that it's really going to happen anyway.

The simple truth is that if the scientists are right, we will be adapting, and 'nature' will not be asking if we like it, nor if Al likes it.

Galvanize the public to what, a CO2 cap & trade market already proved to be folly in the EU?
Has Mssr. Gore ever come clean on his McMansion Kwh?

history shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men

Unfortunately it is neither scientific consensus nor the efforts of jet-setting Al Gore that is galvanising the public, but random weather events like Katrina. Of course, specific weather events are not caused directly by GW, although their frequency is expected to increase. But the point is that Nature exhibits a show of force and we are reminded just how vulnerable society is, something people ignore. Similar thing has happened in Australia, while long droughts have always happened there, the current one has caused a definite change in opinion by the leadership.

Hello TODers,

From South of the Border comes this tidbit of news for your consideration [excerpts below, but I would prefer you read the much longer link]:

Blackwater Mercenaries on the USA-Mexico Border

From an international perspective, there are a number of geopolitical reasons that could explain why this border location was selected. This is probably not merely an issue for the local planning commission, given that the idea of mercenaries along the border has broader international implications.

The presence of Blackwater in Iraq has generated controversy over the concept of an “outsourced” war, using mercenaries instead of regular US troops. The mercenaries do not answer to US military commanders, their conduct is not governed by the Geneva Convention, and they answer only to the people who are signing their paychecks.

Critics often compare them to the Nazi brownshirts.

A Blackwater camp on the border may be a covert attempt to militarize the border without going through congressional oversight or public debate. A so-called “training camp” could probably also function as an operational base. Perhaps Blackwater will obtain government contracts to patrol the border, gradually edging out US agents and putting border security into the hands of a private army away from public scrutiny.
I wonder when Halliburton & Blackwater do a corporate merger?

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

Hello TODers,

Scarce water and population boom leads California to 'perfect drought'

· No rain forecast in south of state until September
· Sprinklers and car washing could be stopped

"I call it the dry incendiary summer of 2007," says Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. "Mother nature is converging with human nature. With population growth and the decline in the water there are the elements in the equation which you could call the perfect drought."

Just what those drastic measures may entail will be familiar to those in more temperate climates, such as the UK: mandatory hosepipe bans, restrictions on car washing - a twice-weekly activity for many Angelenos - and planning measures to force developers to consider water use. "It's disgusting that Los Angeles parks and golf courses are being irrigated with potable water," says Nahai. "We have to re-educate people about living here."
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello TODers,

When conserving water in a drought results in a financial loss: now that's self-reinforcing blowback!

Water officials experiencing financial drought

By turning off their spigots, South Florida residents are drying up water company revenues.

On the one hand, it's fantastic that people are heeding the city's call to reduce water use, he said. But he added: "Financially the timing isn't the greatest.

"If it continued for a long time, it could force us to raise rates," Delray Beach City Manager David Harden said Thursday.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello TODers,

Please see the photo in the capital city's upscale neighborhood of Condesa.

Litter choking streets throughout Mexico

Activists say public isn't only culprit — leaders and companies are also culpable

MEXICO CITY — Mexicans have become world-class litterbugs.

Soft drink bottles, snack wrappers, used diapers and cigarette butts clog city streets, rural highways and scenic beaches. Mountains of garbage stand sentry-like in empty lots and at the edges of bucolic rural villages. Discarded plastic bags hang in trees and dangle from cactus like bitter industrial fruit.

Not every Mexican litters, of course. And perhaps no one does so all the time. But enough of them do, enough of the time, that this nation of 105 million people is choking on its refuse.

Yet, there has been no concerted long-term anti-litter campaign. Only a smattering of Mexican towns and cities have municipal garbage dumps.

For many environmentalists, litter takes a backseat to fouled water, dirty air, coastline overbuilding, widespread deforestation and severe soil erosion. To many citizens, litter is all but invisible. And in the view of some observers, there is a lack of public responsibility.

Mexican environmental officials say that only several dozen of Mexico's more than 2,500 cities, towns and villages have a landfill or other kind of municipal garbage dump.
Isn't Mexico going to be our postPeak Zimbabwe?

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

After reading today's string of posts, I see that folks here need only one reference site beside TOD:


Remember we are only one cubic mile from freedom,
(but really, we don't want to go there do we?) :-)

Hello TODers,

Suburban renewal the hard way:

At least 165 homes and other structures were destroyed and as many as 500 more were threatened after a wind-whipped wildfire broke out Sunday afternoon just outside of South Lake Tahoe, authorities said.

By late Sunday evening the fast-moving fire was threatening the western boundary of the city and had burned 2,000 acres of heavily wooded, parched terrain just west and south of it. The unincorporated area is between U.S. Highway 50 and the popular Fallen Leaf Lake below the slopes of Mount Tallac.
The article mentions that even the forest fire dispatcher lost her home!

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

Middle East nations consider unpegging their currency from the US Dollar in unison.


US House votes to ban all aid to Saudi Arabia


Why would we be giving aid to Saudi Arabia in the first place? Oh, Yeah, that's right, all those starving Saudi Arabian children. Really, what the hell were we doing giving money to Saudi Arabia? Sounds like some sort of corruption to me. I guess we need to cut off aid to Switzerland next. How much aid are we providing to China? Can I get in line? I could use some aid.

Power Lunch with Warren Buffett

Available on E-Bay


For winner and 7 guests - Perhaps a group might want to get together and discuss Peak Oil with Warren Buffett? How cool would that be?

I was a little taken aback when Art Bell kept saying of bicycles; "That's not going to happen."

I am reminded of a conversation I overhead in an airport waiting lounge. (Re-created here to the best of my recollection)

So the Doctor tells him that he had diabetes, and that the nurse would be in to show him how to administer the insulin, then he leaves. The nurse comes in and begins opening a syringe and explaining how he could give himself the shots. He exclaims, "But I can't do that!"

The nurse put down the needle, and headed for the door. On her way out she said, "Then you die."

From later in the conversation, it was clear that he got the message and learned how to do his own shots.

I'm not sure if I could have pulled that anecdote out in the middle of an interview, but it sure was the first thing that came to mind listening to Art Bell.