DrumBeat: June 26, 2007

Remarks Prepared for U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman

The projections are staggering. By 2030, we estimate that global energy consumption will grow by over 50 percent, with 70 percent of that growth coming from the world's emerging economies. For electricity specifically, we estimate that U.S. demand will increase by about 50 percent by 2030, with global demand nearly doubling.

To meet this demand in the U.S., we would require 285,000 megawatts of new base load capacity. By way of comparison, that represents roughly the total capacity of all the coal-burning power plants now operating in the U.S. and almost three times the capacity of the existing fleet of nuclear plants.

Peak Oil: Futility of Cellular Phone Utility

Rising demand combined with reduced energy supply around the time of Peak Oil will likely result in electrical grid failure and intervals of punctuated power. As a consequence, the love affair we all appear to have with mobile phones looks set to change; there may no longer be guaranteed access and limited use imposed.

Public utilities— such as energy (electricity, gas, nuclear), communications (telephony, mobile/cellular, internet) and services (police, fire, ambulance, coastguard)— that we all take for granted often rely upon each other. So when one utility suffers a failure, its impact may cascade to other seemingly unrelated utilities with the potential to sustain the original failure. All forms of electronic communications used to coordinate recovery are vulnerable to power failure. It seems a simple and obvious requirement that no utility upon which society is reliant should depend upon any other utility. Governments in the past understood this and required state run utilities to operate an independent communications infrastructure— typically a Private Mobile Radio (PMR) network.

Britain: Armies must ready for global warming role

Global warming is such a threat to security that military planners must build it into their calculations, the head of Britain's armed forces said on Monday.

Jock Stirrup, chief of the defense staff, said risks that climate change could cause weakened states to disintegrate and produce major humanitarian disasters or exploitation by armed groups had to become a feature of military planning.

Scotland: Firms turn up heat on SNP in bid to save trams

SOME of the Capital's leading business and education institutions today urged the Scottish Executive not to scrap the trams project.

With just two days until MSPs are due to vote on the scheme, big names including Standard Life, Harvey Nichols and Edinburgh University increased the pressure on Alex Salmond's SNP administration.

Consumers More Likely to Cut Discretionary Spending Than Use Alternative Transportation When Gas Prices Rise

Nine out of ten American adults claim they are paying close attention to the rising cost of gasoline, according to a Discover survey. In fact, two-thirds can quote the per gallon price within 30 cents. While nearly half of car owners said they are willing to buy a more fuel efficient car should gas prices increase $1, a strong majority ruled out using alternative transportation to offset rising gas prices and are more likely to cut discretionary spending.

More US commuters drive solo

Global-warming warnings have not dissuaded Americans from driving to work alone. In fact, their numbers have been rising.

Energy Bill Drives Home Efficiency Factor

The Gianninis of Warren, Mich., are great believers in three things: their Chevy Avalanche, their GMC Envoy, and what Dennis Giannini, 47, calls "the great American ingenuity."

"President Kennedy said we'd go to the moon," he said. "There's no reason we can't make an SUV energy efficient."

Study forecasts 300,000 more automotive engineering jobs worldwide by 2015

Most of the new jobs will be with automotive suppliers, to whom assemblers are conferring more and more R&D responsibility, and the jobs will be concentrated in China, India, Eastern Europe and South Korea.

North Dakota: Terminal manager says some gas types seeing shortages...

Magellan terminal manager Mark Haugen says there are some spot shortages of certain types of gasoline in the region.

Haugen says it's a matter of supply and demand. The pipeline gets gasoline from refineries in the Twin cities and as far away as Kansas and other states.

Hawai`i: Tax, gas bills avoid Lingle’s veto pen

House Bill 1757, forgiving the general excise tax on gasoline blended with ethanol, is expected to bring down the costs of fuel by 12-15 cents a gallon at current prices.

UK: Lorry operators targeting fuel savings for climate change

Almost nine out of ten lorry operators are taking action to reduce their carbon footprint. The major areas of activity have been in the ongoing monitoring of fuel efficiency and in regular reviews designed to reduce empty running.

Canada: Carbon tax creates a chill

In five short days, the first carbon tax in Canada is scheduled to kick in.

What makes this significant - and definitely concerning - is that former premier Ralph Klein told his rival Jean Chretien many times that any surcharge on Alberta's hydrocarbon resources as an offering to the Kyoto gods would be "devastating" to the provincial economy.

Now the Alberta Tories are first to inflict what they hope will be short-term pain in exchange for long-term gain on the energy patch.

Winter in June?

The 4.7-million-barrel (13 percent) drop in high-sulfur distillate fuel inventories between May 11 and June 15, could have some oil analysts wondering if the world has shifted such that we are now in the southern hemisphere, where it is winter time!

These inventories are often referred to as heating oil inventories, since heating represents a major use of high-sulfur (500 parts per million [ppm] or greater) distillate fuel. The drop comes at a time when many analysts would expect heating oil inventories to be building for the upcoming winter season.

Israelis develop innovative biodiesel product

A small Israeli alternative energy company has managed to develop a biodiesel fuel with all the benefits of current biodiesel fuels, but without the added cost and headache of having to fit older vehicles with special processing devices.

Ireland: Supply and Infrastructure Key to Gas Price Stability

As the Irish Gas sector becomes accustomed to full market opening, delegates attending this year’s Energy Ireland Conference were told that we face a period of relative price stability until about 2012, particularly given the latest infrastructural developments and the current supply availability in place. Factors outside our control however, which could cause price spikes in the short term, include geo-political issues, particularly concerning events in Russia (Europe’s main gas supplier) and the Middle East.

Fiji’s first wind farm starts July

Built at a cost of $34 million, the Butoni wind power farm in Sigatoka is another project by the Fiji Electricity Authority to generate more “green” energy to displace expensive diesel generation over the next 15 to 20 years.

Zimbabwe: Plight of the powerless

Our shortage of fuel, our shortage of foreign currency, and, of course, our chronic shortage of intelligent government administration, have all led to power cuts becoming a way of life in modern Zimbabwe. But recently they have threatened to become a way of death.

US demand for Canadian oil seen doubling in 8 yrs

U.S. demand for Canadian oil is expected to double in the next eight years, and domestic use could jump 44 percent as Alberta's oil sands output surges, the Canadian oil industry's main lobby group said on Monday.

However, that production growth could be tempered by the same problems that have plagued the oil sands industry throughout this decade -- labor shortages and inflation in the cost of materials like steel, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said.

Urumqi limits natural gas consumption to safeguard supply for the east

The government of Urumqi, the capital city of northwestern China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region, has decided to curb the city's natural gas consumption in order to guarantee sufficient gas supplies for the country's more energy-demanding eastern regions, state media reported today.

According to an emergency circular outlining how the city's natural gas use will be controlled, the Urumqi municipal government will suspend granting approvals for new car remodeling firms that involve converting fuel-powered engines to those powered by gas. Existing remodeling firms are also required to stop producing natural gas-consuming cars, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.

The construction of new gas filling stations will also be limited and industrial use of natural gas prohibited. Various other natural gas uses are also going to be heavily regulated and controlled, according to the report.

India - Tamil Nadu textile industry seeks uninterrupted power supply

Undependable power supply and non-competitive power tariff are making the textile industry helpless before the domestic and international competitors. According to the chairman of the Southern India Mills' Association, SV Arumugam, "the textile industry in Tamil Nadu is incurring huge losses due to frequent tripping of power.

Will Botswana's coal cure SADC's energy cold?

Botswana, better known for its dazzling diamonds and abundant wildlife, is looking to draw in investors by showcasing its vast reserves of coal in a region facing a growing energy crisis.

Suez in deal to build power plant through Chile's Central Termoelectrica Andino

Suez unit Suez Energy International says it will begin work on the construction of a modern coal-fired power station in the North of Chile through Chilean Central Termoeléctrica Andino.

A greener smokestack?

With the help of sophisticated computer imagery, Fuel Tech injects a chemical cocktail into boilers that helps reduce slag, curb emissions and boost efficiency.

U.S. funds nuclear fuel research

The U.S. Department of Energy will award up to $340,000 in fellowships to eight graduate students to advance research in the nuclear fuel cycle.

The program is designed to meet the growing demand for nuclear-educated scientists and engineers. The fellowships are valued at up to $42,500 per student over two academic years.

Biofuel Bonanza

Today in Brazil, another group of visionaries sees similar potential for the combination of bioethanol and biodiesel. In actuality, conversion of sugars and fats and oils to bioethanol, biodiesel, and value-added chemicals and materials already is helping to extend fossil fuel supplies and is starting to change the global economy. And next-generation technologies for converting cellulosic biomass to fuels and chemicals are expected to ramp up and add to the mix in the coming 30 years.

How to Ease New England’s Energy Crisis and Curb Global Warming Pollution, Starting Now

New England is heading for an energy crisis. Indeed, it may have already begun. Energy prices are high and increasingly volatile. The region’s energy infrastructure is strained. The long-term outlook for oil and natural gas supplies is questionable. And our use of energy contributes to a variety of environmental and public safety problems, not the least of which is global warming.

Adapting to gas prices

It's a measure of how the energy picture has shifted that we now feel thrilled about filling up our tanks with gas that's below $3 a gallon. "Hey, we're saving 25 cents a gallon," we think, remembering the prices of a few weeks ago.

But it's also a sign of the times that some of us - from individuals to corporations to government agencies - are starting to think and do things that we hadn't before...

Ecuador Rejects Arbitration in Occidental Case

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said Saturday that Ecuador has no plans to enter arbitration with Occidental Petroleum Corp. over a canceled contract, contradicting comments his foreign minister made just days ago.

Hugo Chavez Has an Oil Strategy...But Can This Lead to Liberation?

During his electoral campaign for president in 1998, Hugo Chavez took on the old elite this way: “Oil is a geopolitical weapon, and these imbeciles who govern us don’t realize the power of an oil-producing country.”

US expert calls for 'peak oil' study

The federal government must immediately and rigorously assess the looming impact of peak oil, a former White House consultant says.

Dr Roger Bezdek is in Australia for a series of lectures on the theory of peak oil - the idea that we have arrived at or are about to arrive at the high point of oil production ahead of a terminal decline.

He called for the government to create an independent body to study peak oil and create solutions ahead of a "liquid fuels crisis".

A Strategic Perspective on 21st Century Energy Challenges

Energy will be on of the two or three defining issues we’ll face over the next decade. Since post-1999, we’ve essentially been in a crisis mode. That’s the result of an accumulation of factors.

Eni Publishes its Seventh World Oil and Gas Review

● World oil demand rose + 0.7 million b/d in 2006, entirely driven by non-OECD countries

● Worldwide oil reserves grew +1.9%; worldwide gas reserves held steady (+0.6%)

● Oil consumption in industrialised countries fell by more than 400,000 b/d

● Worldwide oil production rose + 0.7 million b/d - lowest rate of growth since 2002

● US natural gas production increased +2.3%

● Qatar took over as world’s leading exporter of LNG

● Russia confirmed its leading position in natural gas with 26.3% of global reserves

Fuel replaces labour as largest cost for airlines in 2006

The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) reports that a recent International air Transport Association (IATA) sample of the financial reports of 45 major global airlines reveals that fuel replaced labour as the largest single cost item for the global airline industry in 2006. This marks the first time ever that fuel costs have outpaced that of labour.

China and the oil syndrome

How dare China buy the oil we planned on buying?!?

Kuwait Lawmakers Move to Impeach Oil Minister

Kuwaiti lawmakers Monday requested that the oil minister be impeached, claiming he helped his cousin embezzle public money from a state-owned company more than a decade ago.

The real casus belli: peak oil

The elephant in the drawing room was the fact that global oil production is likely to peak within about a decade. Aggregate oil production in the developed world has been falling since 1997, and all major forecasters expect world output excluding Opec to peak by the middle of the next decade. From then on everything depends on the cartel, but unfortunately there is growing evidence that Opec's members have been exaggerating the size of their reserves for decades.

Oil consultancy PFC Energy briefed Dick Cheney in 2005 that on a more realistic assessment of Opec's reserves, its production could peak by 2015. A report by the US Department of Energy, also in 2005, concluded that without a crash programme of mitigation 20 years before the event, the economic and social impacts of the oil peak would be "unprecedented". The evidence suggests these fears were already weighing heavily with Cheney, Bush and Blair.

Exxon, Conoco refuse to sign Venezuela deal

Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips, two of the world’s top oil companies, have refused to sign a deal to stay in multi-billion dollar Venezuelan projects that are being nationalized, officials said on Monday.

A day before a deadline to accept terms for the government to take a majority stake in four heavy-crude upgrading projects, the companies’ decision greatly increases the chances they will leave the OPEC nation.

Chavez: Foreign Oil Firms Will Work His Way or Get Out

"There are companies that don't want to accept this model, so I told the minister (Rafael Ramirez) to tell them that if they don't want to accept it they can leave. There are enough companies in the world that want to work with us in the Orinoco Belt," the president said.

Canada's oil sands going nuclear

Petroleum companies are eyeing nuclear power to feed burgeoning oil production in Canada's oil patch, pitting ecologists against ecologists unable to agree on its climate change impact.

We will never run out of oil

“Years before the last drop of oil is found and extracted, we’ll walk away from oil as an energy source.”

Japan, China to resume talks on gas dispute

Japan and China are set to resume talks here Tuesday on a longstanding dispute over drilling rights in the energy-rich East China Sea after the last round ended in deadlock.

Petrologistics: Opec oil production edges up in June

Opec, excluding Iraq and Angola, is set to pump slightly more oil in June because of higher shipments from some members including Iran and Algeria, a consultant said yesterday.

Opec’s 10 members subject to output limits are expected to pump 26.8mn bpd in June, up from a revised 26.7mn bpd in May, said Conrad Gerber, head of Geneva-based Petrologistics, which tracks tanker shipments.

Asian bank endorses clean energy

Asian governments must promote clean energy such as wind and solar power to maintain their booming economies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in coming decades, the Asian Development Bank said Tuesday.

DaimlerChrysler recalls 1,650 Smart cars

The problems stem from the mounting of a part supplied by the US group Delphi, and could cause drivers to lose control of their cars, a spokesman said.

...Smart cars have not sold well since they were introduced in 1998 and DaimlerChrysler launched a second generation late last year in an attempt to save the ultra-compact car.

Desert dust cuts mountain snow, may spur warming

Desert dust blown onto Rocky Mountain peaks has cut the duration of snow-cover by a month or more, and the same thing is probably happening in the Alps and Himalayas, researchers reported on Monday.

Scientists Close In On Missing Carbon Sink

Forests in the United States and other northern mid- and upper-latitude regions are playing a smaller role in offsetting global warming than previously thought, according to a study appearing in Science. The study, which sheds light on the so-called missing carbon sink, concludes that intact tropical forests are removing an unexpectedly high proportion of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, partially offsetting carbon entering the air through industrial emissions and deforestation.

The point about the following link does not directly concern the housing bubble -


Notice the numbers of Americans which simply don't believe in any of the existing information concerning residential real estate prices or trends. Unfortunately, and not too surprisingly, this is around the same number of Americans that reject evolution in favor of religion based explanations of the biological world we exist in.

This is also something striking over the last decades - the replacing of Yankee frugality and pragmatism with whatever it is that America represents today - maybe the 'American Dream' of living without working at anything but being famous.

Belief has become more important than reality - a situation which can be considered always self-rectifying, if you are cold blooded enough not to care about what that 'rectification' means in hard numbers - luckily, most Americans are able to ignore any and all numbers which could potentially disturb their lifestyle.

And if so many Americans remain utterly oblivious in the face of such well founded data as real estate sales, imagine what will happen when the 'belief' in peak oil, easily dismissed as a minority delusion, becomes a reality, at least in terms of how much oil is produced. What are we at now, 1.5+ years of non-increasing production?

Fascinating - a culture utterly unable to look at the future in all its murkily shifting forms, much less be aware of the need to prepare for it.

My concern is how these idiots will react once reality is undeniable. My guess is they will do what the masses have always done - turn to the “man on the white horse” who promises them answers to their problems and a bright future. The decent from that point on will be precipitous.

A scenario the founders were very aware of - and that such would recur, regardless of how they attempted to avoid it.

Odd as it may sound, over the last couple of generations, we have removed many of the constitutional barricades intended to prevent a broadly popular demagogue from destroying the republic. For example, we believe in direct representation in voting for the president, the figure most capable of becoming a tyrant, not an executive, a belief which the founders strongly thought dangerous.

"For example, we believe in direct representation in voting for the president, the figure most capable of becoming a tyrant, not an executive, a belief which the founders strongly thought dangerous."

That's actually not quite true. The fiction of the electoral college was a product of slavery, allowing the 3/5's of a human standard for representation to be incorporated not only in the house of representatives, but also in the election of the president. It was a compromise, designed to insure that slave holding states had more than their fair share of representation in the election of the president. Prior to the Civil War, nearly all of the presidents came from slave holding states.

But, I agree that in the past six years we have seen the wholesale destruction of our constitutional safeguards. This destruction is not intended to allow a broadly popular demogague from becoming president, but to allow a corporately controlled government of the wealthy and by the wealthy to operate for the wealthy.

Though you are correct, you do realize that most American citizens who could vote in the first years of the Constitution were white males with property - most Americans were not allowed to vote, and this was considered proper by those creating the system, in part to hinder the rise of a tyrant. It took several amendments, stretching literally over centuries, before most Americans could vote - and even today, we see the massive effort expended to ensure that many citizens legally entitled to vote are denied that right.

I have also left out the rise of a standing military, another danger likely to lead to tyranny in the eyes of the founders.

My concern is how these idiots will react once reality is undeniable.

Idiots R US, not just Them. But, it does little good to just condemn the people for their ignorance. It has been possible to live a decent life here without paying too much attention to anything going on in the world. This has not been possible in other parts of of the world, especially the third world. The "idiocy" has been induced by the media, the gov't and our whole consumerist orientation. Suburbia, the interstate highway system, the destruction of public of transportation in the cities -- none of these were choices made by the people. These things were matters of design in some large degree.

My guess is they will do what the masses have always done - turn to the “man on the white horse” who promises them answers to their problems and a bright future. The decent from that point on will be precipitous.

I share your concern here: in particular, right now the populace is not overly thrilled with the war agenda despite having a very foggy picture of what's going on in the world. The economy is already heavily dependent on military expenditure. Once the economy tanks, the government may come much closer to openly embracing PO: if you want to continue as is, we must fight to take it.

The alternative, restructuring our whole way of life and working with the rest of the world to face up to the problems we face as a species, will not be presented.


We live in a small town
you and I.

We used to think
we lived in separate cities,
but we don't.

We used to think
we could move
if this town
burned down.

But we can't.

We make it here
or don't.

when the history is written, this will all be found to be the result of the Disney Revolution. The complete replacement of common sense with magical thinking. It could only have happened in California, and is entirely fuelled by cheap oil.
Students of Hume, beware! There really is and underlying reality, and it bites

Hey, I'm a student of Hume, and a basic prerequisite of his beliefs is that reality bites - it is just that underlying part which is so hard to actually be certain of, logically. The future is always, by definition, unknown. Welcome to reality.

Unless the core of the earth is actually made of oil, the peak will arrive with a range of predictable results -- even though the exact trajectory can not be predicted. And of course, it is really irrelevant whether there is, in fact, a reality or a future -- with our human limitations we simply have to act as though there is such a thing, and that it matters.

The Disneyfication of American thought-- which has metastasized to the entire world -- replaces a necessary belief, however illogical, in reality with a mirage which serves to augment the fortunes of those who do believe in objective reality


I think you stumbled across a philosophical discussion, involving Hume, et al.

I subscribe to the philosophy of Dezcarties, who famously said, "I'm pink, therefore I'm spam".

Or something like that.


I comment on The Oil Drum, therefore I exist.

Yes, that was it ;-)

Commento, ergo sum

I'm a radical neo-cartesian and refuse to create any conclusions: I think. Therefore, I think.

There's a shorter name for that: Zen.
Or some might say, "bleedin' obvious"... but it is a surprisingly powerful concept that many people have forgotten about ;-)

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

Actually, I was quite puzzled why someone would conclude a follower of Hume to be a PO denier. It is a cornucopian who would be more likely to be anti-Hume philosophically. For instance, one of Hume’s most significant findings is that inductive reasoning is invalid. No matter how often something occurs I cannot conclude it will always occur. I can only say something is statistically probable - more likely than not. Just because the sun comes up every day does not logically prove it will tomorrow. Sound familiar? The cornucopian believes since we have always had enough oil, and technology has always found it, it always will. The previous commenter has concluded (I’m sorry if I did not understand his argument) that someone who follows Hume cannot conclude anything about anything, when in fact it is healthy skepticism tempered with experience. I strongly suspect the writer has never read his treatises. His treatise on morals is particularly good. I may not be able to logically prove gravity exists, but I’m not about to jump out a 20 story window because gravity’s proof is invalid.

Proof of this resides in how the MSM manipulates "reality" and leads an ignorant public by the nose, an ongoing situation for decades now. Experience shows that same public is still capable of learning what "reality" consists of, but at great expense to one's psyche.

Anybody here remember what the "reality" is/was behind the rock-opera Tommy? The Who had the whole "thing" figured out 40 years ago. But how many were able to be set free?

Something can't be proven by reference to a theory or personal opinion.

Both Hume and Popper showed that nothing at all can be proved, it only be disproved.

Given that, one has to work on probabilities. The probability of Peak Oil having already occurred can be guessed or estimated (you pick) at about 50%, of it occurring before (say) 2011 must be about 80%.

I agree with all of your points. Despite common sentiment at TOD, we can only view the future in terms of probability. No one knows what WILL happen in the future.

Hoever none of that refutes my point that Karlov's theory that the media is manipulating everything doesn't go very far towards proving peak oil.

Despite common sentiment at TOD, we can only view the future in terms of probability.

Precisely! And because the probability of peak oil appears anywhere from possible to probable (rather than almost impossible), the responsible action is to perform risk management against this event.

Now, do you see our government performing risk management against this event? Do you see most corporations performing risk management against this event? That is the crux of the problem facing civilization and we are at this crux because of a false global religion (politicized economics) that promises infinite growth.

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

I almost majored in philosophy in addition to history, that is, until I was exposed to the empiricism of David Hume and realized the ideas of most other philosophers were nothing more than fancy mental masturbation totally unconnected with reality. Magical thinking? Boy have you got that wrong! Totally unconnected with empiricism. Are you sure your not thinking of someone else? Because as an empiricist if I can’t use my senses or instruments to detect something, it probably does not exist. And that includes that bearded guy up in the sky by whatever name.

Jerry Garcia??

Don't Take his name in Vain!

Pick one from column A: Blank Slate, Nobel Savage, Ghost in the Machine...

From Reuters today, Bill Gross's comments:

Bill Gross, manager of the world's largest bond fund, on Tuesday said the subprime mortgage crisis gripping U.S. financial markets was not an isolated event and will eventually take a toll on the economy.

Gross, the chief investment officer for Pacific Investment Management Co. (Pimco), also said in his July investment outlook newsletter that the crisis would prompt the Federal Reserve to lower the benchmark interest rate by year end.


If you are going to quote Bill Gross, you may want to add a disclaimer: he's been calling for interest rates to plummet for over a year (to a 3-handle on 10yr).
I don't know of any outspoken bond fund managers that have been more wrong.

Sorry, he's just entrusted with $600 billion worldwide and works with Alan Greenspan. And judging by his long-term record, there hasn't been a more "right" bond investor.

I know he manages a lot of money but he may have lost his touch. He was on the cover of USA Today in July 2002 when the dow was 7000 saying stocks were a sale (calling 5200 'fair value'. He's been calling for lower interest rates for at least 18 months, which is obviously totally wrong:


If you want to read up on economics from someone who has been right, I would suggest Michael Darda from MKM Partners who has been correctly saying for over a year that the Fed will not be able to cut rates, and may raise rates further.

You should check out a very funny movie named "Idiocracy" by the writer/director of Office Space, Mike Judge.

This is not just the result of effective disney marketing. Nor is this mind-set exclusively found among millienialist Christians and members of the Disney vacation club. Our culture is shifting from a modern world-view to a post-modern one. Although disappointing to scientists and engineers who frequent this site, post-modernity is bringing:

"...an irreverence for reason, and the rise of subjectivity... Heidegger, then Ludwig Wittgenstein, then Derrida, who examined the fundamentals of knowledge; they argued that rationality was neither as sure nor as clear as modernists or rationalists assert."

from the Wikipedia post-modernism article

Not to say much about post-modernism (which, as one art teacher suggested, is pretty hard to move beyond - and yes, she was being very sarcastic - but then, she was a very sarcastic person and a very good teacher, a rare combination), but the idea that the 'narrative' dominates reality through our perception is pretty much meaningless in the terms which allow us to have this discussion on the Internet - at least to manufacture the chips which allow a digital device to connect with other digital devices.

The world is bigger than any us, a fact that post-modernism at least generally accepts.

In third grade my son learned about the difference between facts and opinions. It turns out, this is really the key point of post-modernism: everything that isn't fact is only opinion, and philosophy constitutes a vast literature of opinion. The world divides cleanly into stuff, on the one hand, and "talking about stuff" on the other. The two don't meet up as often as we'd like to think.

Peak rationality

Good day All,

I am new here, but PO aware.

I will be giving a PO presentation in which I would like to expand on the "Cubic Mile" model. I could use some assistance on two levels. I hope someone has the expertise to help:

1 - I would like to illustrate the "Cubic Mile" metaphor for coal and natural gas as well, ie., come up with the equivalent cubic container for each. For coal, I would suspect that the calculation would be relatively easy provided someone knows the volume of a ton of coal. Natural gas is more of a problem, given it's nature - do you illustrate it as a gas or liquid? (I would find both useful). So, can anyone come up with these cubic sizes?

2 - My other intent is to show the classic view of the planet earth from space with the cubic mile sitting somewhere in the USA. Now I realize that a square mile would be too small to be seen in this photo, but that is my point, to drive home the reality of oil density. What I plan to state is that I couldn't draw the cubic mile on the screen because it is actually smaller than a single pixel - I think I can make that statement truthfully. Now I realize that screen resolution comes into play and perhaps there are other display factors, but could someone extrapolate what percentage of a single pixel a square mile would represent, perhaps for more than one screen resolution? Could this be done for coal and gas as well? Perhaps coal and gas might be at least a pixel in size!)

Wish I had the mind for this, but would greatly appreciate any effort offered.


That cubic mile becomes a lot bigger and heavier when you add a couple of miles of liquid oygen to it, gasify that and send it skyward. For every ton of carbon you get three of CO2. Carbon 13 becomes CO2 45.

Do they teach this in school? Would it matter?

That cubic mile becomes a lot bigger and heavier when you add a couple of miles of liquid oygen to it, gasify that and send it skyward

You get the world's biggest Daisy Cutter.

I read somewhere that if the surface of the earth were perfectly smooth and the entire atmosphere were liquified it would only be 29 feet deep. One cubic mile would fill only about 10 sq miles of Lake Michigan. All the oil will ever be used probably wouldn't fill Lake Erie.

Dave, great idea. What would be great would be if one could zoom in until the cubic mile becomes visible, you know, the way you can zoom in on Google Earth. But that would require some sophisticated software which you probably do not have.

Ron Patterson

Actually, that is what I intend to do. I would need to know, however, at what point the cubic mile would equal a single pixel, and then procure an aerial photo taken at the correct height which matches that ratio (probably not viable).

(BTY,I will be using PowerPoint, so I can't zoom in smoothly, but can 'flip' through a series of progressive photos.)

Err, why not just create the object and instanciate it on Google Earth, then you can zoom etc. as you see fit.

It would take, ohh, about 1 min with SketchUp and Google Earth - all free.

I like this idea. Maybe someone could set it up for him, if he doesn't use SketchUp.

I can take a crack at it (Google Earth and Sketchup), but the sizing (math) issues are still represent my real quandary.

If someone defines the dimensions, then the rest is easy

I knocked up a 1mile cube, done and zoomable, trying to place it in Washington.

Dave, an idea:
Do re-calculate the amount of NG and Coal into Oil equivalents. That makes both the graphic illustartion more understandable as well as easier to make (after all it is the energy that counts and not the volume of a specific source. Using the same "currency" would aid the understanding)

According to Dave Rutledge the coal reasources of the world correspondes to 3,5 Tboe , please see this link:

NG, I do not know, maybe some other TODer can help you out on that issue.

Good luck!

Yes, equivalents makes the most sense - my intent.

According to Dave Rutledge the coal resources of the world corresponds to 3,5 Tboe

One of the key points of that post is that Rutledge shows 1.6 Tboe for coal on a trendline basis, that is using HL. I do not think you should be using the inflated conventional numbers.

You may leave your audience with the impression that 1 cubic mile isn't very much at all, so....no problem.

It might be interesting to compare it with the Grand Canyon which is clearly visible from space. The GC has an approximate volume of 1,000 cu. mi. All the oil that has been pumped, or ever will be pumped, will hardly make a splash in the GC.

My point is precisely that a cubic mile is in fact so very small - that that little dot could power the earth for a year. It's not the volume, but the energy density.

Thanks for the Grand Canyon reference - might play with that one.

I agree that portraying the cubic mile would greatly underestimate the problem. Perhaps 5280 sq. miles @ one foot depth? I think that's something that folks could relate to a bit better.

Good luck!


I'm not sure if anybody specifically answered your question about "cubic mile" equivalents but there's lots of good stuff in


it might help you.


Actually, my inquiry remains unsatified :)

Thanks for the link - I will pursue.

The front article on the drumbeat calls Peak Oil a "theory". When do we quit calling PO a "theory"? Or when do we quit calling folks a "Peak Oil theorist". If the US peaked based upon the Hubbert peak theory then it would be a fact or proven..Right?

Gravity it still just a theory. A well tried theory but you can never rule out that it might one day be proven wrong. Calling Peak Oil a theory shouldn't demean it's validity. Also as 'peakist' we need to remain objective and open minded. Leaping to the defense of Hubbert at the slightest provocation diminishes ones creditbility.

Well I guess since we can't see Peak Oil it would fall under the same category as the latent image theory. However it would be beneficial for folks Peak Oil aware to call PO a "proven theory".

Going back to the brief (thank God) philosophy sub-thread, it was pointed out that no theory can ever be totally proved.

Peak Oil is not even close to being proved at the moment - it is quite conceivable that the melting of the Greenland Ice Cap could reveal a super Gahawar and so push Peak Oil off to 2040 - this would easily and effectively disprove the theory. While this may be unlikely, is is certainly conceivable, and has not been disproved (it even has the right type of basement rock in part of that area).

Huh? How would delaying the date of arrival "disprove" Peak Oil? Peak oil is not a date.

And "theory" does not apply to Peak Oil. It is a simple geological observation and not some complex scientific issue.

"....it was pointed out that no theory can ever be totally proved."

Which to say, if taken recursively, that this theory itself can never be totally proved. :0

The Theory of Redundancy Theory has struck again.

Finding a "super-Ghawar" would not disprove peak oil. It'll only delay it long enough so we here can enjoy happy motoring... but our kids will have to face it. If a extreme supergiant was found, does anyone think we'll take steps to mitigate consequences for future generations? With our crappy leadership, I doubt it.

Petrol prices high enough yet? Just wait!

Finding a "super-Ghawar" would not disprove peak oil. It'll only delay it long enough so we here can enjoy happy motoring... but our kids will have to face it. If a extreme supergiant was found, does anyone think we'll take steps to mitigate consequences for future generations? With our crappy leadership, I doubt it.

Petrol prices high enough yet? Just wait!

This to me illustrates the confusion that the evolution/creation debate has caused for the general public when it comes to scientific terminology. Science has fairly strict definitions for the terms theory, law, hypothesis and such, but when they are used in their non-standard form, it causes confusion (or FUD.) Unfortunately this is something that worries me with peak oil, that the science will be whitewashed by misinformation, making a bad situation worse. Scientific illiteracy along with FUD will most certainly not help the situation.


Gravity is "still just a theory"?? Ummmmm....

Carl Sagan put it best: It's important to have an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.

That masses attract is an experimentally verifiable fact.

It's the mathematical framework for exactly defining the details of the behavior that is open to change - although that framework changed over the years to expand the regime of accurate prediction to an ever-expanding range of distances and speeds. Newton's theory holds true for a certain regime, Einstein's for another, and when and if some grand unified theory is developed, it would be expected to encompass both.

Yes, gravity is very much a theory. We all seem to know and agree on what gravity is, but no one now or in the past has ever understood gravity. Einstein made some great strides over Newton, but nobody has been able to reconcile general relativity with quantum mechanics because we don't fully understand either one - yet.
Science is not so much about proving things as it is about improving our understanding of things and deriving workable ideas that have value. (And throwing away ideas that don't work). That's why it doesn't matter to a scientist whether or not evolution is provable. What matters is that evolution is useful and explains the facts. Creationism does not.
The same is true for PO. It has great explanitory power.

I must disagree.

"...deriving workable ideas that have value." That is not the role of science, that is the role of technology. Science provides the basic information and technology is charged with making these "discoveries" useful.

And as for throwing away ideas that don't work, science NEVER "throws ideas away". Horrible notion! That would be ignoring reality. Many, many scientific concepts have little practical use - as an astronomy afficianado, I realize that understanding some of the properties of a galaxy 5 billion light years away has no practical application to my life and never will. But still, it's interesting...

I must once again recommend Sagan for a proper understanding of science.

I meant value as in validity, not economic or technical value.

Science does tend to discard ideas that are not valid, (have no value). They do not simultaneously consider the earth to be both flat and round. That's my drift.

As a scientific endeavor, peak oil has validity as a theory because it is backed up by rational principles and postulates from which deductions and predictions can be made. The power of a theory is proportional to the power of its predictions. A theory that explains nothing and predicts nothing has no value.
It's possible that peak oil theory is flawed or wrong, but a theory that is even more powerful and predictive would need to be put forth in order to take its place. PO relies heavily on the predictive power of Hubbert's model because it has successfully predicted one peak in the recent past and there's no reason not to believe that it can predict the world peak in the future. The only thing left to argue about is when, and what the consequences will be.

Observations of the moons of Jupiter was instrumental in calculating the speed of light. Knowledge of the speed of light was important in determining the most efficient designs for radio antennae. Even obscure sciences like astronomy can lead to common devices.

We have to distinguish peak oil facts (statistical evidence that the peaking has happened e.g. in a province or a country) and peak oil theory which is about the different methods how to calculate a future peak in a given oil supply system. If a particular peak oil theory has come up with a wrong prediction in the past this does of course not mean that peak oil will not happen. The term "theory" is of course often misused with the intention to leave open the option to (conveniently) disagree with it and to make it a matter of personal opinion, view, belief or judgement. It also prolongs an endless debate for which we actually do not have time. But since the 2005 crude peak the theory debate is over. We just have to prove the peak has already happened, that it is a fact.

Matt: IMO, most persons viewing the data would come to the conclusion that global oil supply has recently peaked. However, knowing something and stating it publicly (especially if the statement has the potential to be detrimental to the speaker) are two different things. Again IMO, where peak oil "theorists" run aground is in extrapolating from a highly likely reality (global oil production has passed its all time peak) to various future economic and societal scenarios based on the most fragile logical foundations imaginable. All of the scrutinizing and analyzing of data (usually at a very high level of intellectual reasoning) allocated to the issue of global oil depletion is then tossed aside in favor of slogans/truisms such as : oil is growth, once Wall Street mentions peak oil the markets automatically tank, GDP only grows because oil supply grows, etc. etc. You hear statements like "never in 100 years has an economy grown while oil supply declined". When one responds with examples like Germany (oil consumption down 25% from the 70s with a much larger and booming economy), instead of acceptance of the reality of the economic data one gets excuses-"that doesn't count-they offshored mfg. or that doesn't count-they cheat by having mostly urban development. Whatever.

My base position is that the number of variables and unknowns about the post-Peak Oil future vastly exceed the known facts.

To solve for the unknowns, one must have at least as many knowns as unknowns. People therefor make assumptions to create more "knowns" so that they can solve the problem. In the post-PO case, the # of assumptions is *SO* large that a large number must be wrong. Enough wrong assumptions to invalidate any specific forecast.

OTOH, one can derive a broad range of possibilities and exclude some scenarios as highly unlikely (2010 to 2030 continuing the US Suburban & Exurban development trends experienced from 1985 to 2005, i.e. much more of same in the future is not going to happen).

In almost every reasonable scenario "we" would be better off doing what I advocate. I do not have to get the details right to know what is the right thing to do now !




Best Hopes for the Future,


In the next Presidential election I shall write in your name.

I think that the Green House Pyramid model is one that can also be applied to peak oil to help explain the issue. I encountered this model when studying Public Policy and Climate Change. In the late 1980's Climatologist Eugene Skolnikoff explained the uncertainty problem saying, "The image of an inverted pyramid comes to mind, of a steadily broadening body of implications that rests ultimately on the point of a relatively small band of dedicated scientists who recognize the uncertainty of their work."

Starting at the inverted point of the Green House Pyramid:

1. Established scientific fact (certain gases trap heat, the carbon cycle, earth's climate has changed in the past, correlation between CO2 and temperature).
2. Predictions of CO2 that will be released in the future
3. How the carbon cycle will respond
4. How the Global climate will respond
5. How regional climate will respond
6. Physical impacts (sea level, crop yields etc.)
7. Economic, social and political responses
8. Policy responses (Adaptation, mitigation, technological fix)

I have used this model to explain both climate change and peak oil in my classes. So far I haven't had to deal with abiotic oil enthusiasts who would dispute the fact of a finite resource.
1. What we know about how oil is created and what we have observed about depletion of individual fields.
2. Current supply and demand,
3. Predictions of future supply and demand,
4. Economic, social and political impacts
5. Policy responses (Adaptation, mitigation, technological fix)

In both cases the further one moves up the pyramid, the greater the uncertainty. But if the issue is presented as what do we know, what have we observed and what do we predict based on that knowledge and observation, people seem to understand.

The Mogambo Guru weighs in on inflation. He doesn't believe in the power of the fed:

Before we go on, readers should be aware that the "Austrian school" of economics is probably the best theory about the way the world works. Like The Daily Reckoning, it is suspicious of efforts to control the natural workings of an economy, in general...and suspicious of central banking, in particular. The fact that it was a one-time "Austrian," Alan Greenspan, who became the most celebrated central banker in history, only increases our suspicions. He was able to master central banking, we imagine, because he understood what it really is - a swindle.

He think we'll face inflation, but it won't last:

What is a "Crack-Up Boom?" Von Mises explains (with thanks to Ty Andros for reminding us):

"‘This first stage of the inflationary process may last for many years.

While it lasts, the prices of many goods and services are not yet adjusted to the altered money relation. There are still people in the country who have not yet become aware of the fact that they are confronted with a price revolution which will finally result in a considerable rise of all prices, although the extent of this rise will not be the same in the various commodities and services. These people still believe that prices one day will drop. Waiting for this day, they restrict their purchases and concomitantly increase their cash holdings. As long as such ideas are still held by public opinion, it is not yet too late for the government to abandon its inflationary policy.’

"But then, finally, the masses wake up. They become suddenly aware of the fact that inflation is a deliberate policy and will go on endlessly. A breakdown occurs. The crack-up boom appears. Everybody is anxious to swap his money against ‘real’ goods, no matter whether he needs them or not, no matter how much money he has to pay for them. Within a very short time, within a few weeks or even days, the things which were used as money are no longer used as media of exchange. They become scrap paper. Nobody wants to give away anything against them.

...Inflation is a policy that cannot last."

How Cheney got his way with economic policy against Greenspans better judgement: From WAPO. This article points out why and how Cheney is so effective at getting Bush to follow his lead on all important administrative decisions.

A Strong Push From Backstage
By Jo Becker and Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, June 26, 2007; Page A01


That ain't no Mogambo! While the point is the same, Mogambo usually expresses it this way:

Lest you think that all central bankers are despicable liars, from Bloomberg we learn that New Zealand Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard actually blurted out the cure for inflation in prices; raise interest rates so high that nobody can afford to borrow any money to buy anything, or invest in anything, and thus prices will fall as demand withers away, and people are laid off, and lots of businesses and people go bankrupt, and taxes payable to revenue-starved governments will collapse, and there is rioting in the streets as we fall into a dreary, post-Apocalyptic nightmare of economic misery and suffering that will not end until after you are dead, dead, dead.

This was Volker's strategy in 1979.

It certainly was. I had a home in Maryland with a small mortgage left on it and the bank was sending me letters or calling almost daily offering to jump through hoops if I would pay off my mortgage early. My mortgage interest rate was about 4 1/2% and inflation was running about 19-21% at the time. Both my wife and I had good jobs and money saved so if we needed anything we paid cash and did not try for a loan on anything. There were some bargains to be had with cash.

Mogambo...??? Mogambo, is that you???

That's just barely a little bit beyond what many self-proclaimed "Austrian economists" believe is a good idea.

Austrian economics is a fair amount of a swindle too.

There is a strong streak of Calvinist desires to impose guilt and scourging to those who had been enjoying prosperity when things get "too out of hand".

Also, people don't tend to understand the implications of "fiat currency" in full.

The Austrianoids (perhaps real economists are better but I'm talking about bloggers now) and others claim (rightly) that money is created out of nothing in a debt-fueled expansion----and then go on to wail at the huge inflation which will soon result even in the recession.

This isn't the case. At present, money is created not by the Fed directly, but by the private banks who make loans according to demand and their own predictions about the loans' profitability. The Fed changes the price of money as well as reserve ratios and thereby changes the profitability and ability of banks to create money by making loans.

That 'amount' of money will be destroyed when those banks decide to de-lever, e.g. in a recession---or when people default on debt in bankruptcy.

Easy come easy go. Some people think fiat money is created out of nothing, but subsequently has the permanence of physical objects. This is untrue, except when it comes to actually printing additional physical currency beyond its destruction rate. That's a very small component of the money supply except perhaps in Zimbabwe.

When people pay back (or default on) loans in aggregate more than banks make new loans, money will be destroyed.

(Even in a gold standard, there was fractional reserve banking so the same effect happened, up to some degree, but central banks were nearly powerless to ameliorate financial panics.)

Then there is the issue of the 'velocity' of money---it is in fact velocity times quantity which is the real parameter which matters economically. (This was 'monetarism').

Unfortunately, neither quantity nor velocity could be measured empirically with any reliability, and central banks went back to controlling what can be measured accurately---the price of money, i.e. interest rates, and watching what can be measured with difficulty---the price of stuff.

You have not got the process of money creation quite right. There are four parties involved in the creation of money:

1. The Fed, which uses Open Market Operations (OMO) to control the supply of credit;

2. The private banking system, which chooses to lend or not to lend;

3. The public (including consumers, corporations and governments) who chose to borrow or not to borrow;

4. The public who chose to keep money within the private banking system or to stash cash under the mattress or buy gold or otherwise "sterilize" money.

Each of these four parties is about equally important. To neglect any one of these four is to miss something big.

Don, I enjoy reading your posts, thanks. Your the economics prof that I never had:)

so Don...on a related note...yesterday you made a prediction that interest rates would fall, and I'm still puzzling over it. You didn't specify long-term or short-term, so I was wondering first if you expect that to occur because of policy decisions by the Fed (desperate attempt to help US homeowners, perhaps a political imperative?), or structural reasons related to capital inflows, or what? I admit I'm still stuck in mindset of, well, we obviously have all these inflationary pressures, not to mention dollar weakness, so the Fed will just HAVE to raise interest rates. I'm stuck in the 20th Century. I have such a hard time trying to attach the correct importance to phenomena that didn't even exist 20 years ago- a China that grows at 11%, hedge funds that control trillions of dollars, the yen carry trade that involves vast sums of money,etc. Just wondering what you considered the salient facts that would lead you to make such a bold prediction.

Sooner or later the U.S. will experience a recession. Interest rates fall during recessions.

I expect both short and long term interest rates to fall.

The Fed does not want the housing market to collapse. Thus it is under enormous pressure to ease credit and make more money and make it easier to borrow so as to avoid a collapse in the housing market. I think this pressure will far outweigh concerns about the dollar falling against foreign currencies.

In the longer term I think the pressures for double digit or higher rates of inflation will become so strong that the Fed will have to give up on its goal of curbing inflation so as to finance huge and then huger and then humongously huge U.S. government deficits. This increase in debt will be needed to finance Medicare and Social Security for the Baby Boomers--who are just about to begin retiring in large numbers as I write.

Ancient Chinese curse: May your children live in interesting times.

(In terms of economic impact, I think the burden of financing the retirement of the boomers will about the same impact that we will see from Peak Oil over the next ten to twenty years. Politically speaking, the aging of the boomers is a fifty megaton bomb just waiting to go off.)

Don, I appreciate your counsel and ask your opinion if you see this.

I understand the "cheapest" way for Uncle Sam to pay off the Medicare and SS obligations is to pay in inflated dollars. And I also understand that Ben Bernanke is a scholar of the Great Depression and has made it very, very clear that he fears deflation and will do whatever he can to prevent it.

That said, I question whether or not the Fed has enought tools to stop a deflation once it gets started. I can see a couple of factors that would cause the "disappearance" of an enormous amount of perceived "money" in a hurry.
1) The Boomers start selling stock from their IRAs and 401Ks as well as their McMansions, causing drop in value of all stock portfolios and residential real estate. Continuing holders of these assets feel less rich, and reduce spending and borrowing.
2) A stumble causes the much dreaded "unwinding" of the derivative market. The BIS is not sure how much notational value of derivatives is out there, but they believe it is in the hundreds of trillions of dollars. If even 10% of that disappears abruptly, a lot of "asset" disappear.

It seems to me that more hallucinated wealth could evaporate than the Fed could create on short notice. Am I overlooking anything here?

Errol in Miami

'There is a strong streak of Calvinist desires to impose guilt and scourging to those who had been enjoying prosperity when things get "too out of hand".'

Why would Austrian Lutherans, or Austrian agnostics, want to impose Calvinist guilt on anyone?

I think the Austrians simply invented a better pyramid scheme.
Greenspan said prior to becoming head of the Fed and prior to beginning to speak in Greenspanese:

'The law of supply and demand is not to be conned. As the supply of money (of claims) inreases relative to the supply of tangible assets in the economy, prices must eventually rise. Thus the earnings saved by the productive members of society lose value in terms of goods. In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold....The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves.
This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the "hidden" confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights.'


Source: USDA/Agricultural Research Service

Fuel For Your Body -- And Car

Science Daily — With an increasing percentage of the nation's corn harvest going to ethanol production, some are questioning the wisdom of taking away corn as food for people. But Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist Kurt Rosentrater has a way to at least partially allay that concern: create new foods from an edible byproduct of ethanol production, distiller's dried grains (DDGs).

The new foods could include cookies, breads and pastas that are low in calories and carbohydrates, but high in protein and fiber.

Perhaps a better approach to the overall problem is to consume less processed foods and less fuel. All of these schemes, including biofuels, assume that we should continue to increase our consumption of fuels so that there are no limits to exponential increase.

We used to call this living within our means. But as long as we define means as unlimited, we will continue to come up with these schemes to make even a larger part of our diet processed.

No thanks. Let us quit subsidizing things like corn and soybeans and focus on those whole foods, like unprocessed vegetables, which are actually good for you.

Land and water constraints make our current agricultural system unsustainable as it is. Further abusing it will fuel schemes will just exacerbate the problem.


Wonderful! They realize they are going to have too much of this stuff to feed to cows so they want to feed it to our children.

How did pets get left out of this food chain? What's next, soylent green?

Just wondering about rail to Ft. McMurray ? Contacts via your wife, etc.


No passenger trains that I'm aware of. Line stops in Edmonton.

My proposal is an extension of Ed Tennyson's. Instead of true high speed rail between Edmonton and Calgary, use improved existing tracks and operate 175 kph self propelled electric rail cars (1, 2 or 3 linked together). Operate 80 to 115 kph freight as well.

I suggested a similar link between Edmonton and Ft. McMurray (extend the tracks at least as far as the airport and perhaps into town).

This would radically change the Ft. McMurray labor market as well as reduce isolation.

Best Hopes,


What kinds of people are they hiring up there? That would be a good spot for us working-class PO-ers. That is, until TSHTF and the ravagers are going after the Ft McMurrey refinery tribe! (think: Road Warrior)

Petrol prices high enough yet? Just wait!

No, food producers will grind up the corn stalks and add them to Girl Scout Cookies so we receive the 'proper' amount of fiber in our diets. Of course, the food producers will calculate the amount of fiber each individual needs. Soylent Green Lite.

I like the idea because it is very efficient but there is a tastier idea out there: aquaculture. Our oceans are pretty much fished out so many people are raising fish in giant 'farms'. Currently this method is inefficient because they feed fish to the fish. A better way would be to feed protein in the form of DDGs. Until now it was difficult to get the DDGs to the fish farms, but people are pelletizing the DDGs:

Ethanol Byproducts Pelletized

One hundred percent of distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), a byproduct of ethanol production, can be pelletized without adding a binding agent or anything else, according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and cooperators.

Fish raised for food in the growing aquaculture industry eat pelletized feed, but those pellets contain commercial fish meal as a protein source, not the less-expensive distiller's grain. Rosentrater is experimenting with adding soy and corn flour to distiller's grain to produce pelletized feeds, to see how far he can reduce the fish meal—or if he can eliminate it entirely.

This fixes several problems:
-It will save wild fish in the same way that raising cattle halted the market hunting of wildlife in the US.
-It will finally put an end to the bogus 'food for fuel' claim that seems to be follow ethanol
-It will give the biorefinery industry yet another source of income

Rosentrater is experimenting with adding soy and corn flour to distiller's grain to produce pelletized feeds

And yet, soy shuts down fish.

-It will finally put an end to the bogus 'food for fuel' claim that seems to be follow ethanol

Errrr, there is already a proposal on using DDG that would 'put and end to it'.


Another variant would be to use black soldier fly larvae to convert offal into a self-separating high fat/protein feed source for fish. If the 'waste' has too much cellulose, use oyster mushrooms to convert into protein.

So 'plenty of ways' already exist - yet not being done. So now that you have been more enlightened, feel free to explain why the various paths already drawn are not done?

Either way... there are many, many positive avenues to a global bioeconomy that we have yet to even fathom.

I'm not sure what you envision the "global bioeconomy" to be, but after the melamine debacle, I've recommitted myself to eating whole foods and eating locally.

ADM can stuff it.

I read the article you linked to and I agreed with most of it (except his conspiracy theories about George Washington and the whiskey rebellion). Are you specifically referring to this bit:

"Well, as I said just a little bit earlier, just the yeast collected alone from a national alcohol fuel program would replace all the grain, because remember, it's only protein and fat we get from grain for the animals, so we'd get all that back from the distillery instead of the dried distillers' grains. So we wouldn't really lose animal feed there at all. There's a whole argument to be made that part of the reduction that we need to make in a post-oil world is cutting way back on meat, because meat is extremely energy-intensive for a lot of reasons. It takes 10 or 11 btus of food energy, not even fossil fuel energy, to make a pound of beef. It only takes 3 btus to make a chicken, it only takes 2 btus to make a pound of fish, so you start looking at what's better to grow. So you've got Archer Daniels Midland, the definition of corporate evil, with 5 acres of tilapia ponds that they are growing tilapia using DDGS, and they're delivering this. Part of the year, that means it's organic, because they have three months of the year where they run nothing but organic through their plant for Europe, and then they go ahead and deliver live tilapia in tank trucks running on biodiesel, to restaurants all over the East. So if a big corporation do it like that, why can't you do it? Because everything they did was in multiple units of small units. Anything that was there could have been a small farm doing it. And that's what will be in our book, this kind of integrated approach."

I bet using the DDGs for food directly is the best approach but fish are tasty so giving up a bit of energy efficiency to quickly get DDGs into the economy is a good deal in my book.

Your comment is "So 'plenty of ways' already exist - yet not being done." According to the text I found in your linked document, this is being done by ADM and according to my original post, others are working on doing it too.

I don't think I understand your question.

I caught and ate some farm raised trout in NC. Tastes just like chicken.

A well known flyfisher -- I don't recall whom -- labelled rainbow trout "chicken with fins" for their ability to get along just fine in a concrete raceway. I seldom keep trout but feel no qualms about taking home a finned chicken.

If you fish NC often, be sure to check out the Nantahala River in April or May. It's a "delayed harvest" stream so the pressure is light until the meat fishing crowd gets there.

Given the fish schooling nature and earlier evoluntionary emergence, I think a chicken is a fish with feathers.

Still think the best Gary Larsen cartoon was the "Boneless Chicken Ranch"

My favorite by Larsen was 'Gak Eisenberg invents the first and last silent mammoth whistle.'

Better feeding those that think ethanol is a good idea to the fish. The first rule in getting yourself out of a hole is to stop digging.

The UN should set up a war crimes type tribunal for crimes against humanity and put everyone who think industrialised processing of food into fuel is a good idea into the dock.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

"to see how far he can reduce the fish meal"

That is the crux of fish feeds, and is highly dependent on species cultured. Especially with carnivorous fish, I doubt we will economically get away from it. With all fish, correct lysine levels are crucial and often limiting. The salmonids and eels are the most dependent on fish meal.

Feeds of plant origin are problematic in getting the correct amino acid ratios. Soybean meal for channel catfish is often used, but is still tempered with fish meal. Methionine is deficient in soy sources, and must be made up with other sources. Synthetic derivations are poorly utilized, hence fishmeal.

Corn is considered one of the worst, or most difficult, feed sources for fish. Where it works, at low percentages of the total, much better substitutes exist.

There are many promising avenues in aquaculture, but I'm afraid that DDG's will now now get many of the few research dollars available. A Pity.

I believe it was you who commented on the transmission of CWD via fish. (I've still not dug into that research yet)

Thus my question:
Are Black Soldier Fly larvae able to use soy and make Methionine?


I never commented on CWD and fish.

I do not know the composition of the black soldierfly larvae (Stratiomyidae) when cultured on soy.

I appreciate your link above.

Soldier fly larvae have long been used as a fish feed though. In the 70's, a feeder plan from southern CA was widely circulated. It used household garbage, and it "rained" the excess larvae thru a series of screens into a pipe that exited in the fish ponds. Similar experimentation was done in New England I believe. The main problem was climate, with cultivation dependent on near tropical areas.

Similar ideas have been worked with other larvae, notably chironomids. Here, the larvae are cultured on sheets of burlap in waste lagoons. The full sheets are transerred to the fish ponds, picked clean by the fish, and the sheets re-transferred back to the lagoons.

Many of these ideas, I believe, germinate in the earlier, ecologically centered aquaculture practices of Asia.

I believe in these ideas as a valueable, nutritous supplemental source of fish feed for temperate areas. Accepting much longer culture times, they would work in temperate zones, and could increase fish size or harvest over natural ponds. However, like organic gardening on a home scale, they are very labor intensive. I'm confident that they work well in tropical locations in earthen ponds.

I still hold out hope for the culture of the cladocerans and copepods. However, this goes back to Russian research in the 30's, and the progess since is limited. The copepods especially can be, specie wise, extremely high in omega 3 fatty acids.

A related quote that interested me (I have odd interests :-) about Nauru, a Pacific Island State.

Naurans subsisted on coconut and pandanus fruit, and caught juvenile ibija fish, acclimated them to fresh water conditions and raised them in Buada Lagoon, providing an additional reliable source of food

From Wikipedia for ibija

The milkfish, Chanos chanos, is an important food fish in Southeast Asia. It is the sole living species in the family Chanidae (about seven extinct species in five additional genera have been reported).

Milkfish have a generally symmetrical and streamlined appearance, with a sizable forked caudal fin. They can grow to 1.7 m, but are most often about 1 meter in length. They have no teeth, and generally feed on algae and invertebrates.

They occur in the Indian Ocean and across the Pacific Ocean, tending to school around coasts and islands with reefs. The youngest larvae live at sea for 2–3 weeks, then migrate to mangrove swamps, estuaries, and sometimes lakes, returning to sea to mature sexually and reproduce.

The larvae are collected from rivers and raised in ponds, where they can be fed almost anything and grow very quickly, then are sold either fresh, frozen, canned, or smoked.

The milkfish is also a national symbol of the Philippines, where it is called bangus. Because milkfish is notorious for being much more bony compared to other food fish in the country, deboned milkfish or "boneless bangus" has become popular and common in stores and markets.

Another food fish that will eat even distillers grains ?


Today's Bloomberg has 'stocks rise while oil falls' or some such. Now we know; just simple contrarian motion. How could I have missed this?

My favorite "fun fact" for today (thanx Jon Stewart):

They broke ground for the Pentagon on 9-11-41.

Conspiracy!! Conspiracy!! Conspiracy!! ;-)

This year is also the centenary of the Financial Panic of 1907. Google it if you need a refresher. I wonder if there will be a celebration? Maybe a rerun?

But not to worry; we have the Federal Reserve System to keep us warm, like it did in the 30's.

And TPTB (Ron Paul) wanna take that away!


Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce legislation to restore financial stability to America's economy by abolishing the Federal Reserve.

Better no Federal Reserve than the monster we have now.

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

Ron Paul is my Congressman. He's nuts-and by caucusing with the Republicans, helped make possible the Tom Delay redistricting in Texas that put me in his district. I'll never vote for him.

They broke ground for the Pentagon on 9-11-41.

Conspiracy!! Conspiracy!! Conspiracy!! ;-)

Furthermore, 9-11-41 to 9-11-01 is 60 years

60 = 5 x 12

There are five corners on the Pentagon

There are twelve months in the year

This truly must MEAN SOMETHING!!!


It was the creepy little triangle-eye guy on the back of the dollar bill :^)

Two more economic slowdown numbers out today, with home sales down again and consumer confidence down.

I think it will be interesting to watch what happens with U.S. bond yields once/if this slowdown goes global. The main purchasers of U.S. debt, China, the Gulf, Russia, have been doing the right thing during the good times by running huge surpluses. The U.S. has been doing the wrong thing by running huge deficits. I think China, the Gulf, Russia will continue to do the right thing during a slowdown/recession by greatly reducing their surpluses or even running deficits. They will do this by launching massive spending projects to keep their economies humming. They have the money to do it, with both China and the Gulf having accumulated over a trillion in surplus cash (dollars). And it would be the right thing to do. You run surpluses during the good times and deficits during the bad times. The problem for the U.S. at this point would be, "What about us?" I assume that the U.S. would also want to continue deficit spending during a slowdown, or even run greater deficits in order to try to get the economy moving again, but would they be able to? I think this will be the story of the coming slowdown as China, the Gulf, Russia become far less eager to lend their hard earned dollars to the U.S.. It made sense during the good times because they were worried about overheating their own economies, but during a slowdown they will be far better served spending that money at home rather than buying low yielding U.S. debt instruments. The worst case scenario for the U.S. would be being forced to greatly reduce deficit spending during the bad times, or having to pay far higher rates to continue to find buyers for debt.

Edit: Lower oil prices would also due the trick for the ME and Russia as far as lowering their surpluses. So a combination of lower oil revenue with increased spending to keep their economies moving would really bring these guys from a strong surplus to little or no surplus very quickly.

Thanks for your comments, wHoOpS.

Dick Cheney reportedly scolded Paul O'Neill for his concern over federal deficits, declaring that "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." Of course, that's nonsense. A debt is a debt. And Cheney might even know better, though I'm convinced that the man is neither as aware nor as intelligent as many make him out to be.

If the next recession goes global (and there is every reason to believe it will), it will be interesting to see how things play out. Amurrica could well wind up suckling at the rearmost spigot.

Dont worry. God will help you:

Hat tip To LATOC.

...or maybe not: Whom the gods destroy they fist make mad:


Realtors attend worship service to pray for better market

KERI HOLT Florida Freedom Newspapers
Wednesday June 20th, 2007
Comment on this Story | Read Comments
DESTIN — More than 300 people with a keen interest in the Emerald Coast’s real estate market gathered Wednesday at Destiny Worship Center to ask for God’s blessing.

The Real Estate Prayer Luncheon was organized in hopes of breathing life and positive thinking into the area’s slumping housing market.

It was the first of what the organizers — co-owner of Crye Leike Coastal Realty Wanda Duke, former Destin City Councilman Mel Ponder and Destiny Worship Center Pastor Steve Vaggalis — hope will become a regular, uplifting event.

“The heartbeat of today’s economic community is on the backs of the real estate community,” Ponder told the crowd.

A Florida story from the Housing Bubble Blog:

“The slump in sales has left investors scrambling to get any kind of cash flow they can. A condo at Grand Preserve looked like a hot deal when Dave Weam picked up the contract in 2005. ‘I paid $650,000 for it and I owe less than $300,000 and it is costing me $3,000 a month, with the maintenance fee and property tax and payment (principal and interest),’ he said. ‘I would rent it for $2,200. That is where we are at.’”

I think that one metric for rental properties is that they should at least rent (annually) for 10% of the market value. If we reverse the ratio, a $2,200 rental rate for this condo indicates a market value of about $220,000.

Note that sales are still falling nationwide as inventory is still increasing.

What did that raving lunatic named Kunstler warn us about for the past several years?

12 x $2,200 = $26,200 -> market value of $262,000
So he is upside down/ under water.........

One of the many questions I'm pondering as I watch the market value of our housing unit decline in value is "how low will we go." In terms of the dollar amounts that I spend annually on vertical cement filled mistakes, our housing costs are pretty low, but still, just sitting here and watching the market value fall is disconcerting.

If I had my way, I would have long since sold and moved into a small rental unit in a New Urbanism community, but this is where that gender difference thing comes up. Females of the species like to have their nests, and they tend to turn their noses up at small rented nests.

BTW, Brown's theory of housing: the size of the house tends to be a compromise between the husband, who wants something 50% smaller, and the wife, who wants something 50% larger.

I have previously wondered if if makes sense to own any non-agricultural real estate--even in areas like Portland, Oregon. Increasingly, I think that the answer is no.

As I have also previously said, Peak Oil/Peak Debt/Peak Food was more interesting when it was more theoretical--and less real.

Where to move to localize, that is the question.

For me, the answer is easy: The Highland Park Neighborhood of St. Paul, where I have family ties going back more than sixty years and where I can walk to most everything I need.

But one small problem: My rural home and acre is not worth nearly as much as it was two years ago. Maybe I can persuade my daughter to buy it contract for deed or go joint tenancy, but for now I'm where I've been for some years and where I have neighbors who are all armed and friendly. (Friendly, that is, to locals.) My land is a nature preserve, much loved by rabbits and other small creatures, many birds, honeybees, and of course my dozens of silver maples that can be tapped for the fluid that boils down to maple syrup. Thus I'm in no hurry to move, and if real estate goes down fifty percent or more, so be it; I'll just stay where I am.

Females of the species like to have their nests, and they tend to turn their noses up at small rented nests.

Ahem. This particular female is living in a small rented nest, and I know many men who think "A man's home is his castle," and they want their castles. The bigger the better, like in the Lowe's ad where the two men are trying to one-up each other.

In general, I think that males tend to be more irrational about the size of their vehicles.

But in any case, the upcoming collision between expectations of infinite growth and the reality of a finite world will be devastating, perhaps deadly, but it will be entertaining to see the rampant delusional thinking that breaks out--or perhaps not so entertaining if the angry hordes of formerly well off types are shooting in my direction.

My wife wants a house with a big kitchen and big bathrooms while I just want a big garage with lots of air tools, an engine lathe, a milling machine, and a car hoist. I see your point. Give me that garage and I'll sleep in a hole in the ground with the hound dogs.

Your math is most likely incorrect on the amount of rent he receives. A Condo in a resort during the on-season months will rent for that price "per week" not month. In the winter the unit will rent for a discounted price to snow birds. That amount could be the monthly, but I expect it would be higher. I would think he would be quoting the weekly rate. He still might not come out to the good. Lots of expenses in that rate too. Electricity, water, and the fees for the rental from the rental companies that run those properties.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Read the quote again. The condo owner being quoted clearly states that the place costs him $3000 per month but that he would take $2,200 if he could get it. The clear implication is that he is talking about a monthly rental fee, not weekly. Because of that statement, I suspect that your interpretation is incorrect.

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

Leave the key under the doormat.

Asking God to preserve your wealth - when the people I see in that pic seem pretty well fed ....

"Do not taunt Lord G-d Almighty"...

My neighbor across the street is big into the futures markets and also a born again christian. He told me once that he spends a lot of time in prayer over his contracts. It was difficult for me to keep a straight face when I heard this bit of confession.

When they start building altars for sacrificing of blond bimbo secretaries it's time to worry. People who believe real estate speculation is the heart of any economy are out of touch with reality. OTOH I believe true prayer has more to do with changing the person who prays than it does with changing God's mind.

Too soon to look for housing market bottom

One reason consumers may not feel the need to curb spending is that most homeowners tend to wait out housing downturns until prices begin to rise again. And there are signs that many are in denial about the impact of the slump on the price of their home.

Some 55 percent of American say their home would sell for more money now that it would have a year ago, according to a survey conducted this month by Boston Consulting Group. That’s down just 4 percentage points from last summer. Neatly three-quarters say they’re confident they could sell their home within the next six months for a price they think it's worth. And 85 percent said they believe they house will be worth more in five years than it is today.

“Talk of declining average values of homes is not forcing a cutback in spending," said Boston Consulting's consumer spending analyst Michael Silverstein. “It's just not translated into the American psyche.”

Methinks a lot of people are in for a very rude awakening.

A rude awakening indeed:

Banks 'set to call in a swathe of loans'

The United States faces a severe credit crunch as mounting losses on risky forms of debt catch up with the banks and force them to curb lending and call in existing loans, according to a report by Lombard Street Research...

..."Excess liquidity in the global system will be slashed," it said. "Banks' capital is about to be decimated, which will require calling in a swathe of loans. This is going to aggravate the US hard landing."

Charles Dumas, the group's global strategist, said the failed auction of assets seized from one of the Bear Stearns funds by Merrill Lynch had revealed the dark secret of the CDO debt market. The sale had to be called off after buyers took just $200m of the $850m mix.

"The banks were not prepared to bid over 85pc of face value for CDOs rated "A" or better," he said.

"God knows how low the price would have dropped if they had kept on going. We hear buyers were lobbing bids at just 30pc.

"We don't know what the value of this debt is because the investment banks shut down the market in a cover-up so that nobody would know. There is $750bn of dubious paper out there in the form of CDOs held by banks that have a total capitalisation of $850bn."

Run on the Bank anyone?

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

The United States faces a severe credit crunch as mounting losses on risky forms of debt catch up with the banks and force them to curb lending and call in existing loans, according to a report by Lombard Street Research.

So, what happens to the $2 trillion in ARMs when those borrowers can't find a fixed rate?

"call in existing loans"

I don't fully understand this. You mean to say if a person borrows money from the bank to buy a house or start a business, the bank can force him to pay back the entire loan amount at any time? I thought if you had a 30 year mortgage, you had 30 years to pay the loan. In that case how can the bank call in the loan early?

You have a real daisy cutter known as a Weapon of Mass Foreclosure. An ARM in the hands of a borrower without a rapidly rising income (nearly all cases) is the financial equivalent of the bank hiring Al Queda to park a car bomb in the garage and set the timer. The timer is effectively set for the day the rate is adjusted. The resident must move or refinance to a fixed rate to defuse the financial bomb.

The aggregate of 2 trillion dollars in ARMs represents millions of these financial car bombs. That's an arsenal greater than Saddam's stash of conventional weapons that form a potential arsenal of 4 million car bombs. The inventor of the ARM and the dumb arse who dreamed up writing them for the masses fashioned an arsenal that even would make Osama bin Laden jealous.

As we speak these "explosions" are going off across the country. A foreclosure here, a foreclosure there, and pretty soon we are talking about some serious damage. A town with a factory closing soon looks like Sadr City with the boarded up abandoned homes. Think of Flint Michigan.

There is plenty of blame to go around, but the banks which proliferated this financial arsenal deserve to end up with the unsellable homes.

Petrol prices high enough yet? Just wait!


This story has some graphs about the home loans out. Toward the bottom are two. The second near the bottom shows the states and locality's that have a number of Loans that were ATM's about to "readjust". The first graph is worth the view too.


Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

That first chart is ominous. It looks like a Hubbert Curve wgere we are barely starting to see the tsunami of Peak Foreclosure. A lot of bankers are going to be wishing they never conjured up the ARM. It'll be like they are sitting in those "financial car bombs" as they explode! Suicide Bankers, anyone?

That map is ominous too. It looks like a map for a nuclear power to target areas of wealth. Due to exotic loans running up the price of the homes financed, those areas are going to be devastated. The terrorists could not have targeted an arsenal anywhere near as good as bankers.

Petrol prices high enough yet? Just wait!

Can anyone explain this to me? What does "months to reset" mean?
And how can an arrow pointing to 25 months in the future correspond to something that happened 3 years ago?

Some observations.

Reset is not a problem unless interest rates jump significantly on that loan (many people can absorb an extra $200/month, some cannot. Far fewer can absorb an extra $1,000/month).

Many people got ARMs because they could not qualify otherwise, and those people are heavy in the gray bar sub-primes. It appears that 3.5 years ago (3 years ago from date of chart), they stopped writing sub-prime ARMs (truly getting people into homes that they could not afford). About a half trillion dollars worth.

The stereotype ARM resets in 5 years (7 year option at extra cost so few do that, note the few between 60 & 72 months ?). That and not the stock market bubble (stupid label) is the cause of that dip.

The Option ARMs (turquoise) appear to have replaced the subprime ARMs in the portfolio. What is an "Option ARM" ?

There is a time delay between reset and foreclosure. As of 1-2007 (date of chart) some subprime ARMs had already reset, were "off the chart" and the clock is ticking on their foreclosure. Those families are struggling.

It seems clear that foreclosures will be climb from now till Election Day 2008 unless the reset mortgage rates are close to the original rates (often first years are discounted, especially for marginal borrowers).

These resets alone could trigger a recession.

Best Hopes for a Stop in Suburban Sprawl,


The mortgage discount rate for people will end at those intervals. ie next month [jan + 6] $37 billion total of mortgages will reset from scheme 'a' to scheme 'b' where 'a' might be 2% less interest, or don't repay the capital yet, or some other gimmick. We dont have ARMs in the UK but we have plenty dodgy schemes too.

I am not sure what the 3 year 5 year comments are, since the graph is newer mortgages to the right side?

"Month until reset" refers to the time until the loan's interest is reset to jack it up from the teaser rate. That is, it's the time left on the financial time bomb's timer. Move or re-fi or else you are homeless. Note the chart and where that radiation logo is. There are an awful lot of ticking bombs with 11 months left on the timer. The author realises that the enormous number of sub-prime ARMs are in fact financial time bombs that in the aggregate form a WMD. Worse, all the "detonating" ARMs also serve as a fuse to cause the financial system to collapse.

Now, how can it cause a recession? Easy. Without homeowners to re-fi you can't continue the shopping spree that is propping up the economy. Retail will have to downsize big time, leading to unemployment in a positive feedback loop like the ringing of a PA system and the microphone. Then, when the rich take a bath with a Wall Street meltdown, the results of the financial WMD is complete. The rich had their free ride with stagnant wages for the masses and now it's going to blow up in their face. Poetic justice indeed.

How it refers to 3 years ago? Again, that's easy. That was when the sub-prime ARMs of all flavours began to proliferate as bankers wanted to get their hands in the cookie jar. They thus parked the car bombs in the garages and set the timers. Anyone with half a brain knows that an ARM during low interest rates is bad news if the borrower can't greatly raise his income. THIS is why I did not become a homeowner. Since you'll foreclose, you may as well rent.

Petrol prices high enough yet? Just wait!

Looks like GW is killing people in Europe again via heat wave:


One town in Italy hit 113 degrees.

and so it goes...

The Italians should go to Sweden where it is snowing!

Snow falling in central Sweden

I think I just heard Al Gore's head explode.

Global warming involves greater meteorological volatility, not just higher temperatures. Of course you'd know that if you ever read the followup comments to your inane and tiresome trollbait since I recall this having been mentioned to you more than once in the past. But instead of educating yourself, you appear to thrive on endless BS posts. Or worse, you have educated yourself and ignore the reality to post stupid one liners. Which is it, Keithster?

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

You missed the memo GZ;
Global Climate Chaos is going to be good for the economy, with all the umbrella and air/conditioner sales.

Gore is quietly buying up all the Raincoat companies as we type! (I wrote, 'as we typo'.. how appropriate)


The Navy thought it a good idea for me to spend a summer in Sigonella, Sicily, at the base of Mt. Etna and near the costal town of Catania. It got so hot there that the ground in the orange groves cracked and curled up. That was one of the hottest places I have lived, even worse than Phoenix or Vegas. Then there was Etna that would rumble and spew lava all the time. It was especially strange at night when the lava put on a colorful display shooting up out of the mountain with lava creeping down the slopes. We would watch it cause it was too hot to sleep anyway. Gas was over $3 per gallon so we didnt do a lot of driving around but filled cabs and split the fares. If one wanted to travel into Catania for a bit of r&r, $40 worth of Lira would about fill a suitcase. Catania has been buried by lava many times but the population keeps rebuilding on top of the lava. In some places the city streets would have huge cracks in them where the bottoms were not visible. The locals would throw a 2X12 planks over the cracks in places for pedestrian bridges. In its favor the place did have good locally made Lambrusco and it was cheap.

Prince Charles' household is carbon neutral

Prince Charles cut his carbon emissions by 9 percent last year and now runs a carbon-neutral household, a review of the heir to the throne's accounts said Tuesday.

...It said the prince had reduced the number of plane and helicopter journeys he takes, introduced green electricity at his Highgrove country estate in western England and converted his fleet of official Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles to biodiesel fuel.

The prince is a real sport...especially with his subject's money.

Is his household really carbon neutral or or is this another case of I'm rich so I can buy carbon offsets so I can pretend to be greener than you.

My two biggest "fears" over the next year-or-so:

1. Wider war in the ME cuts off a substantial portion of the world's oil supply for a significant period of time.

2. A long, cold winter. Hell, probably just a "normal" winter would kick our butts, but I'm sensing a presumption out there that GW guarantees shorter, warmer winters. I doubt that any climate scientist would agree with that assessment. If substantial portions of the northern hemisphere are covered in snow by late Nov this year we'll be in for big trouble. So far this summer the airflow, particularly here in the Northeast, has been dominated by north-south flows. Nice in the summer...

RE: Remarks Prepared for U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman

Reading this pro nuclear blast, I noticed the following:

"Working with our international partners, we will develop cutting-edge technologies and new mechanisms for the distribution of fuel. On the technology side, we will demonstrate an advanced recycling technology that does not separate pure plutonium like current reprocessing technologies.

By separating the spent fuel into its constituent elements, we can recycle most of the long-lived transuranic elements as fuel back into nuclear reactors to produce additional electricity and optimize disposal of the remaining waste products..."

It's been rather obvious for years that the U.S. has been dragging it's feet (so to speak) regarding storage of spent reactor fuel. It looks like the reason is that they really want to reprocess the fuel before putting the left overs underground in permanent storage. Naa, our government wouldn't do that, would they?

E. Swanson

Yeah, that fits in with my theory of why we are in Iraq...to get rid of depleted uranium by shooting it at those people that are squatting on our oil.

It looks like the reason is that they really want to reprocess the fuel before putting the left overs underground in permanent storage

Why is that a problem? Why is limiting the amount of stuff to be buried for a long time---and reducing its dangerous lifetime by orders of magnitude---a bad idea?

(and I believe in 'all-retreivable' storage, not dumping in a hole and hoping.)

Usually people think recycling is a good idea. It's a good idea with nuclear fuel too.

This also saves the amount of primary uranium which needs to be mined as well.

'Usually' is the right word, too.

While I'm all for reusing and recycling, I am also concerned that concentrated poisons and potential terror targets are minimized. Even the wonderful pieces of 150yr old pine that come off my home's woodwork have to be safely disposed of, since they're coated with Lead-bearing paints. My daughter is not totally past the age of concern, but beyond that, I'm not going to pass this house on to other families knowing that I have put reworked wood back into the place which might be a hazard to their kids.

At this point, the number of vulnerable generating and storage locations, the steady decay of containment systems, and the appeal of these materials to make weaponry is enough to write off this source. I'd love to hear about the growth of a nuclear industry that would change their tune, but as I see it now, the Nuke industry is based upon the continuation of A)Energy Monopolization and B)a support system for the Nuclear Defense Industry.



In general, concentrating your toxins is the way to go, rather than having toxins diffused throughout your environment. We can draw little circles on a map to indicate where practically all of our nuclear waste is, while the waste from our fossil fuel industry is everywhere in the air, water, and sprinkled across the landscape. A gram of nuclear waste in a cooling pond is not harming anyone, but the gram of mercury deposited in your yard by the coal power plant across the valley is probably not doing you or your children any good.

There are many advantages to a centralized electrical infrastructure. Nuclear power really has very little to do with nuclear weapons. You don't need a nuclear plant to make bomb materials, and the nuclear fuel in a plant is ill suited to making an effective bomb.

"We can draw little circles on a map to indicate where practically all of our nuclear waste is.."

.. and make sure everybody has their map, for a very long time.. well maybe not EVERYbody.

And even if spent fuel isn't 'ideal' for weaponizing, it does have terrorism potential, both in direct harm and psychologically, it is being stored in water, usually near water supplies like the rivers that provide cooling, and they do deteriorate their containment canisters. Will we have the resources to maintain the containment schemes, protect the waterways, etc, while other concerns have drawn our priorities away?

Bob Fiske

it is being stored in water, usually near water supplies like the rivers that provide cooling, and they do deteriorate their containment canisters.

Not even wrong.

Spent fuel is stored in 'cooling ponds' immediately after being removed from a reactor, where it is held untill the short half life fission products decay to a point such that the fuel is cold enough for dry cask storage. The zirconium rods certainly do not deteriorate over the years in a cooling pond, and the cocrete casks are durable enough to last centuries.

And really, lasting centuries is good enough for above ground dry storage. We check on them every hundred years or so and reseal, or more likely, reprocess.

And really, lasting centuries is good enough for above ground dry storage. We check on them every hundred years or so and reseal, or more likely, reprocess.

Well, I'll be dead then. But do you really think that 100 hears hence there will be the materials and tech to reseal or reprocess zirconium fuel rods full of fuel? 200 years hence? riiiight.....

So you're expecting a declining knowledge base with collapsing civilization? Not bloodly likely.

But supposing we do have crash of civilization scenario: We'll have much more existential concerns than the disintigrating rock piles that contain some tons of spent fuel.

"Salvers" will be a major part of climbing back up from a collapse, extracting resources from what we left behind (much of Roman marble from the Coliseum was fired as a source of lime for cement, other marble was used "as is" for other projects).

Mining our buildings and bridges and all else for metal.

I suppose that they will be thrilled with the site of an old nuke. The containment vessel will likely be too thick and large to recycle, but those smaller buildings with those strange and unique metals will be worth fighting over !

And some will still be warm to the touch ! MAGIC !!!


After a couple of centuries there wont be any significant fraction in spent fuel of anything with a high enough decay energy and short enough half life to keep these magic metals warm to the touch, unless you have a full actinide separation regime in which case you probably havent forgotten your atomic physics to begin with.

Its all nonsense mad max fantasy land. Not gonna happen. This sort of speculation is foolish and counterproductive.

There are also many disadvantages to centralized infrastructure. Primarily, decreased resilience to damage. By the way, nuclear toxins are every bit as distributed as fossil toxins. We just like to conveniently forget the toxins created in the mining, reprocessing, transportation and routine operation of the plants. We like to ignore the plutonium dust and micro particles that can already be found in every living being thanks to 1st the defence industry and now the civil nuclear industry.

Nuclear power has everything to do with nuclear weapons. Without the desire for nuclear weapons, the civilian nuclear industry would not exist period. We would not have sunk well over US $500,000,000,000, probably cloer to $1,000,000,000,000 in research and subsidies to the industry worldwide if a defence component could not be justified.

"In general, concentrating your toxins is the way to go, rather than having toxins diffused throughout your environment. We can draw little circles on a map to indicate where practically all of our nuclear waste is..."

Er, not quite. Concentrating on the end waste is fine as far as it goes, but don't forget about the rest. Mining tailings, refinery waste, controlled emissions from nuclear plants, etc. are all "sprinkled across the landscape" too. Nuclear waste is dispersed widely throughout the environment.

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

You face much larger risks just from the radon in your basement from natural background radiation...

Or even eating too many bananas.

Pakistan really got walloped:

/sarconal alert!

No it didn't, Leanan! If it was not in the American media, it didn't happen!

/end sarconal alert!

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

more here:


Deadly Cyclone Hits Southern Pakistan
By Benjamin Sand Islamabad26 June 2007

A second deadly storm swept through Southern Pakistan Tuesday just days after heavy rains and floods killed more than 200 people in the region. From Islamabad, VOA Correspondent Benjamin Sand reports tens of thousands of people are being evacuated throughout southern Pakistan.

Cyclone Yemyin made landfall Tuesday afternoon, lashing Pakistan's southern coast with heavy rain and gale force winds.
Officials say several boats have already been sunk with up to 20 others feared missing.
Pakistan's military helped evacuate thousands of families in the southern province o f Baluchistan.
The cyclone comes just three days after a powerful storm devastated coastal towns and cities in neighboring Sindh province.
Officials in the port city of Karachi say flooding there destroyed hundreds of homes and killed at least 200 people.


' Pakistan Miltary helped evacuate thousands of families..'

So THATS what a military is for.

Maybe The Gulf coast states should hire them :-)

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the photo. Good example of Nature providing a convenient cliff for the unconcerned motorist. This destruction should help set off another series of stupid riots against the existing infrastructure to further accelerate blowback decline.

Angrily torching the utility companys' repair trucks is the worst way to help restore the potable water, sewage treatment, and electricity. Looting and damaging your local shopkeepers is the best way to insure that you now need to go a much further distance to get your family's essential supplies. So it goes with the mass delusion of crowds....

EDIT: I wonder what the guy in the photo is thinking...

1. A 'thinking' biosolar ecologist mindset: "Gee, I guess we better limit family size, and get bicycles and wheelbarrows so we can constructively replant the landscape. That way the rainfall will be retained instead of causing massive flash flooding. Since we cannot afford replacement asphalt, we had better expand RRs & TOD as Alan Drake suggests to help support the transition to relocalized permaculture. The advice on TheOilDrum makes sense to me."

2. Normal Mindset, but expressed by subconcious lizard brain: "Allah Akbar! God is great. This justifys scapegoating whomever is preventing me from attaining detritovore MPP and having as many children as possible. I can now kill my different ethnic or economic class neighbors, right on up the scale to nuking India or some other country that stands in my way. I can really feel the adrenaline and dopamine reinforcing this desire."

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

Bob asked a question in yesterday's drumbeat about why we don't have hurricanes in the South Atlantic. I just now read it and answered, but yesterday's thread may be dead, so I copied the answer here below as well:
The reason they don't have hurricanes in the South Atlantic is that the water is too cold, even in the southern hemisphere's summer. Water needs to get to about 26.5 centigrade or 80 Fahrenheit to have a hurricane. That rarely happens south of 10 degrees south latitude in the Atlantic.

Now why the water gets warmer in the North Atlantic than the South Atlantic is whole different subject, but water temperature is the answer to the hurricane question.

Thxs for the reply, NASAguy!

NASAGuy, I posted this yesterday to your post but obviously you didnt see it so here goes again. This was reported in March, 04. Of course, this has no connection to climate change...Peak gusts were at least 94 mph. Brazil wanted to deny it was a hurricane because of the possible impact on their tourisim.

'First Ever South Atlantic Hurricane Hits Brazil
The first hurricane ever known to have occured in the South Atlantic struck Brazil on Sunday. The Brazilian Center for Weather Prediction and Climatic Studies denies that the storm was a hurricane while the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Florida estimated the storm was a full-fledged, Category One hurricane with central winds of between 75 mph and 80 mph. More news from CNN.com.'


I remember reading about that. Apparently it really was a hurricane. Since it was described as the "first ever" we are obviously dealing with a rare event, and this is because the water temperature stays too low, at least usually. A similar situation applies to the Mediterranean. If they could get the water a little warmer there, they might occasionally have a rare hurricane there too.

Bob, interesting question you pose.

"Angrily torching the utility companys' repair trucks is the worst way to help restore the potable water, sewage treatment, and electricity. Looting and damaging your local shopkeepers is the best way to insure that you now need to go a much further distance to get your family's essential supplies. So it goes with the mass delusion of crowds...."

The people doing such things are obviously aware of this, yet they still do it, why? The answer may well be important in how we ourselves react to collapse.

My own guess is that without the restoration of normality their lives are toast and it doesn't matter if they damage their infrastructure. Their only way of getting attention and therefore the possibility of service restoration is to destroy things that matter to those in authority. If authority doesn't get the message then full scale insurrection comes next.

Presumably that's why in the West we take so much care and expense to keep the population totally brainwashed and engaged in the illusion of wealth. Once people realise they have no future they are liable to trash everything and give the elite blood pressure. Think Luddites.

Once the idea that lives will be improved by change, then change becomes the imperative. The race will commence to capture the hearts and minds of those that look for change... whether it be revolutionaries or conservative governments.

Regardless of who gains the hearts and minds, change will ensue. And if authority cannot deliver on the promises it makes, then it is toast. The destruction of civilisation will become rational for the individual, only by destruction will their immediate needs be met.

Economic chaos, climate change and energy depletion will conspire to ensure authority fails to deliver and the response of individuals will be?

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

"Think Luddites."

I don't think you understand what the Luddites were all about. It was not about indiscriminate destruction of the elite's property, nor indiscriminate anti-technology. Look it up...

Luddites wanted insert caution in the possess of advancement.

Leanan, can you fix your center tags(2)?

Apparently, us lowly users cannot. I tried. It's all up to you the superuser.

Tried to fix your unclosed <center> tag but seems to be ignored.


You forgot to put a / in your closing center tag. That is why the centering ran away.

Today's NYT has an (another) ExxonMobil ad. It says that that EM has spent "about $280 billion worldwide over the last 20 years" on "future energy development". And "In the last five years alone, we have invested $80 billion, including about one third in North America".

Well, 4 times 80 gives 320, not a lot more than 280. So if one linearizes this, (that's what we do here, isn't it?) over five year intervals we get 60, 66.2, 74.4, and 80. Is 80 really an increase over the 60 of 15 years ago if one takes into account inflation? It certainly is not a meaningful increase if one takes into account the lead sentence sentence which asserts, "By 2030, experts predict that the world require 40 percent more energy than it did last year."

If nothing else convinced me PO was here or near, the EM ads would. EM would and could invest heavily if they thought they needed to.

We're saved! (Not)

Giant microwave turns plastic back to oil

A US company is taking plastics recycling to another level – turning them back into the oil they were made from, and gas.

All that is needed, claims Global Resource Corporation (GRC), is a finely tuned microwave and – hey presto! – a mix of materials that were made from oil can be reduced back to oil and combustible gas (and a few leftovers).

Imagine the EROEI on this one!

Yes, I can see it being useful in some very narrow situations. And it *does* allow some localised production of liquid fuels. if you need the liquid fuel and are willing to throw enough other energy inputs (Solar PV or Wind, perhaps) at it.

But why do I keep getting troubled with visions of magical thinking? We can keep recycling plastic into oil into plastic into oil forever!

This struck me as a better technology for disposing of waste plastic than creating a limitless form of energy. Plastic does not biodegrade.

Polymers Are Forever:Alarming tales of a most prevalent and problematic substance

Don't become a Buddhist. The world doesn't need more Buddhists. Do practice compassion. The world does need more compassion. -- Dalai Lama

When Katrina hit, New Orleans was about to start replacing the wooden ties on the 7 mile St. Charles Streetcar Line with composite ties.

Composite is a nice name for recycled plastic.

TieTek composite ties are 85% recycled material. Rather than consuming over 800 trees, each mile of TieTek track uses 2 million plastic bottles, 8 million plastic bags, and 10,000 scrapped automobile tires

Other brands are higher % recycled.


Best Hopes for no shortage of railroad ties,


I would rather see our children and grandchildren pull plastics out of landfills and the oceans to make railroad ties, rather than burning them for fuel. Judging by the number of my neighbors (1 out of 10 if I'm generous) who recycle anything , our descendents will have plenty of material to work with in the future.

Best hopes for landfill miners.

Don't become a Buddhist. The world doesn't need more Buddhists. Do practice compassion. The world does need more compassion. -- Dalai Lama

"Plastic" isn't one thing, and some, like the polyolefins, degrade pretty quick in sunlight. Others, like polyesters, hydrolyze in water. It depends. So they'll remain an unsightly blot on our landscapes for awhile, but not "forever."

I believe that the "Polymers are Forever" title is a play on statement "Diamonds are Forever". I don't think the author meant to imply that these particles would outlive the Earth or the Sun. We really don't know how long these materials as they have only been in use since the 20th century.

Seabirds have been found that have ingested garbage that was discarded during WWII!

With deft fingers, Curt Ebbesmeyer sorted the 59 pieces: a broken toy hockey stick, turquoise chips, a red screw-on cap crammed with granules - nurdles - raw industrial pellets the size of an "o" from which all other plastic things are made. One piece of birch bark.

"What's this bird been doing? Where's it been?" Ebbesmeyer frowned. "Out of 59 pieces: one natural, the rest plastic." He pointed to a curved red disc encrusted with white bryozoa, a slow-growing moss-animal. "That's been around a long time," he said, guessing the worn plastic had drifted in the ocean for decades before the fulmar snatched it up. "Some of what we're looking at here could be up to a half-century old."

Ebbesmeyer, a retired oceanographer, is considered a world expert on flotsam, the miscellaneous stuff that floats the seas and circulates the globe on strong currents - sometimes for decades. What's trash to other people is evidence to Ebbesmeyer, who, like a forensic beachcomber, uses telltale clues, the Internet, the phone and mapping software of ocean currents to trace what it is, where it came from and what story it's telling.

"Everything has a meaning," he says. "Everything has a deeper significance."

Take a piece of plastic marked "VP-101" found in the stomach of a dead Laysan albatross chick along with cigarette lighters, bottle caps and hundreds of other pieces of plastic (all pictured in National Geographic, October 2005). Ebbesmeyer helped confirm that "VP-101" was likely a Bakelite tag for a U.S. Navy patrol squadron during World War II, and could, indeed, have floated in the ocean for 60 years before the albatross swallowed it.

It is my understanding that these polymers don't degrade completely like biological material, they simply break down into smaller and smaller pieces.

From the article listed above:

By the 1960s, however, they were seeing increasing numbers of increasing kinds of plastic particles. By the 1990s, the samples were flecked with triple the amount of acrylic, polyester, and crumbs of other synthetic polymers than had been present three decades earlier. Especially troubling was that Hardy’s plankton recorder had trapped all this plastic ten meters below the surface, suspended in the water. Since plastic mostly floats, that meant they were seeing just a fraction of what was actually there. Not only was the amount of plastic in the ocean increasing, but ever smaller bits of it were appearing—small enough to ride global sea currents.

Thompson’s team realized that slow mechanical action—waves and tides that grind against shorelines, turning rocks into beaches—were now doing the same to plastics. The largest, most conspicuous items bobbing in the surf were slowly getting smaller. At the same time, there was no sign that any of the plastic was biodegrading, even when reduced to tiny fragments.

“We imagined it was being ground down smaller and smaller, into a kind of powder. And we realized that smaller and smaller could lead to bigger and bigger problems.”


Thompson reasoned that if larger plastic pieces were breaking down into smaller particles, smaller organisms would likely be consuming them. He devised an aquarium experiment, using bottom-feeding lugworms that live on organic sediments, barnacles that filter organic matter suspended in water, and sand fleas that eat beach detritus. In the experiment, plastic particles and fibers were provided in proportionately bite-sized quantities. Each creature promptly ingested them.

When the particles lodged in their intestines, the resulting constipation was terminal. But if the pieces were small enough, they passed through the invertebrates’ digestive tracts and emerged, seemingly harmlessly, out the other end. Did that mean that plastics were so stable that they weren’t toxic? At what point would they start to naturally break down—and when they did, would they release some fearful chemicals that would endanger organisms some time far in the future?

Richard Thompson didn’t know. Nobody did, because plastics haven’t been around long enough for us to know how long they’ll last or what will happen to them. His team had identified nine different kinds in the sea so far, varieties of acrylic, nylon, polyester, polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride. All he knew was that soon everything alive would be eating them.

“When they get as small as powder, even zooplankton will swallow them.”

Don't become a Buddhist. The world doesn't need more Buddhists. Do practice compassion. The world does need more compassion. -- Dalai Lama

From the wikipedia article on the North_Pacific_Gyre

The centre of the North Pacific Gyre is relatively stationary (the area it occupies is often referred to as the horse latitudes) and the circular rotation around it draws waste material in. This has led to the accumulation of flotsam and other debris in huge floating 'clouds' of waste, leading to the informal name The Great Pacific Garbage Patch or Eastern Garbage Patch. While historically this debris has biodegraded, the gyre is now accumulating vast quantities of plastic. Rather than biodegrading, plastic photodegrades, disintegrating in the ocean into smaller and smaller pieces. These pieces, still polymers, eventually become individual molecules, which are still not easily digested.[1] The photodegraded plastic can attract pollutants such as PCBs. The floating particles also resemble zooplankton, which can lead to them being consumed by jellyfish, thus entering the ocean food chain. In samples taken from the gyre in 2001, the mass of plastic exceeded that of zooplankton (the dominant animalian life in the area) by a factor of six.

Don't become a Buddhist. The world doesn't need more Buddhists. Do practice compassion. The world does need more compassion. -- Dalai Lama

Look, plenty of plastic is introduced into the gyre every day - that doesn't imply it has a long residence time! There's a reason why the Navy used Bakelite in its ships - durn stuff lasts forever. Not so your plastic grocery bag - like all polyolefins, it breaks down (on a molecular scale) in sunlight. Not lil' pieces, diff'rnt molecules, hokay? Same with polyesters: They all hydrolyze eventually, dissolving in water. Some highly crosslinked or halogenated aromatics like PCB's last for centuries, but they're a small subset of the plastic garbage out there.

IMO, the real permanent problems arise when we dredge up and disperse toxic heavy elements, which by definition can't be chemically decomposed. We've already talked about mercury upthread, but we could include cadmium, beryllium, or plutonium on the list, too. Those elemental contaminants are problems that our progeny are absolutely guaranteed to face, for many, many generations.

Look, plenty of plastic is introduced into the gyre every day - that doesn't imply it has a long residence time!

What constitutes a "long residence time"? Five, ten, fifty, or a hundred years or more?

like all polyolefins, it breaks down (on a molecular scale) in sunlight. Not lil' pieces, diff'rnt molecules, hokay?

Photo degradation is slowed when the material is in water (and doesn't take place if the material is on the bottom of the ocean or buried in a landfill). Forgive my ignorance of chemistry. I have to rely on statements like this from the American Chemistry Council.

In addressing all the superior attributes of polymers, it is important to consider that plastics – like other materials, such as glass, paper and aluminum – deteriorate but never decompose completely.

You said:

Same with polyesters: They all hydrolyze eventually, dissolving in water.

Could you provide some time frame for "eventually"? I have to rely on sites like the Chem Guide for an explaination of "hydrolyzing polyesters".

Polyesters are attacked readily by alkalis, but much more slowly by dilute acids. Hydrolysis by water alone is so slow as to be completely unimportant. (You wouldn't expect your polyester fleece to fall to pieces if you went out in the rain!)

From the article The Problem with Plastic: Waves of Junk Are Flowing Into Food Chain

In August 1998, Moore and his crew extensively sampled the surface waters of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre with a fine-mesh net resembling a manta ray. "What we saw amazed us," Moore said in an analysis for the 2001 Marine Pollution Bulletin. "We were looking at a rich broth of minute sea creatures mixed with hundreds of colored plastic fragments - a plastic-plankton soup." The team collected six times more plastic particles (by weight) than zooplankton.

Moore calls the plastic particles "poison pills" because they absorb and concentrate toxic chemicals, acting like sponges for DDT, PCBs and other oily pollutants. "It's a serious situation," he says, "when you've got a material that comes in all shapes and sizes, can mimic every type of food in the sea, and is capable of absorbing persistent pollutants that are endocrine disruptors. ... One hundred thousand marine mammals a year are killed by entanglement (with plastic six-pack rings, fishing lines and nets); I'm not minimizing that. But the actual ability to wipe out the entire vertebrate kingdom in the ocean is with the plastic particles."

So is it your contention that I shouldn't worry about the billions of tons of plastic being introduced into the oceans and by proxy the food chain?

Don't become a Buddhist. The world doesn't need more Buddhists. Do practice compassion. The world does need more compassion. -- Dalai Lama

Thank you, phreephallin, for debunking the prior poster's ridiculous statements. You beat me to it and covered a few items I'd have likely overlooked!

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

Nice references too. Cheers!

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

from today's Financial Times

But rather than plunging head first and buying shares of [Blackstone] now that it is public, let's take the back door route into Blackstone. Most people think of Blackstone as a private equity fund but it also recently opened up a hedge fund: Blackstone Kailix Advisors.

Blackstone regularly files with the Securities and Exchange Commission, detailing the holdings of this fund. Interestingly, the fund has a lot of overlap with T. Boone Pickens' hedge fund, which suggests that the folks at Blackstone are believers in peak oil theory, the idea that the world is running out of its supply of cheap crude oil and will have to find more innovative (and expensive) ways to drill for, produce and transport energy.

That has been noted before.

Did not think they would ever fish out the ocean but:

(linear curve for sustainable fish harvest)

The more they fish, the less sustainable is the fish population.

One of the largest remaining conventional oil fields is Kashagan at 13 billion barrels. It is expected to plateau at less than a million and a half barrels a day production, and they have not found one like Kashagan in years.

One day events like this might be rare:

The oceans are being overfished but much damage to fish habitat is occuring by huge ships using bottom dragging nets. These ships scour the bottom and bring up everything including those things that are inedible to humans but are essential for the food chain of the oceans. They are living in the moment as are most Americans.

Totally Boom/Doom Solartopian Green By 2030

A new report from the United Nations points to huge increases in renewable investing in the past 18 months -- in excess of $100 billion. It predicts almost a quarter of the world's electricity could be green by 2030.

But Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has pointed out that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, has published on the internet (and then withdrawn) findings that say ALL electricity consumed in the United States, the world's largest consumer, could be produced by renewable means by the year 2020.

Don't become a Buddhist. The world doesn't need more Buddhists. Do practice compassion. The world does need more compassion. -- Dalai Lama

Warning: Strawman alert!

Climate Change Expands Government

In order to make a real change, a revolutionary change, in our "carbon footprint" or whatever idiotic standard Al Gore is using to scold the American people this week, we would have to shut down every combustion engine in the country. No cars. No trucks. No planes.

We'd also have to shut down every factory, though liberal regulations are doing a good job of that as it is, I suppose. We'd have no earth-moving vehicles and no excavation equipment, so that would mean no construction projects. But that's OK, because we wouldn't have any building materials, because we'd have to shut down the timber industry, too.

So to recap: no new resources, no manufacturing industry, rationed goods and service, rationed electricity availability, no supermarkets (no trucks, remember). Basically, we'd hop into our time machines and land back in the, say, 1920s.

Don't become a Buddhist. The world doesn't need more Buddhists. Do practice compassion. The world does need more compassion. -- Dalai Lama


Tapis, World's Most Expensive Benchmark Oil, May Keep Gains Against Brent

Malaysia's Tapis, the most expensive oil benchmark in the world, may appreciate further relative to Brent and West Texas Intermediate crudes because of demand for low-sulfur grades to produce diesel and gasoline in Asia.

Pelosi’s Green House Costs Cash, Carries Risk

Included in the Greening of the Capitol Initiative report was a lengthy list of proposals to reduce energy consumption inside House office buildings, like increasing transit benefits for House employees, specifying low-volatile organic compound paint, furniture and carpets for office use and replacing desk lamps with energy efficient light bulbs.


During the markup, Rep. Michael Burgess (R.-Tex.) raised the point that fluorescent light bulbs contain about 5 milligrams of mercury per bulb, a substance proven harmful to pregnant women and children. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 15 states have taken legal steps to remove mercury in schools or through voluntary programs. The EPA also has posted guidelines for disposal of fluorescent light bulbs and advises that if a fluorescent light bulb is broken, persons should open a window and restrict access to the room for 15 minutes.

Don't become a Buddhist. The world doesn't need more Buddhists. Do practice compassion. The world does need more compassion. -- Dalai Lama

They have newer flourescent light bulbs that were painted green on the ends and contained low amounts of mercury. Flourescent bulbs saved energy, but might have ruined landfill areas.

Am not sure about all the mercury amalgam fillings in peoples teeth, 50% mercury.


Coal power plants in the US release about 40 metric tons of mercury every year. That is 4 x 10^10 milligrams of mercury, equivalent to breaking 8 x 10^9 CF bulbs every year. That's 8 billion bulbs. If using CF instead of incandescent bulbs saves 1% of our annual electrical use, then we will have displaced the release of 4 x 10^8 milligrams of mercury. If we can manage not to break more than 80 million CF bulbs a year, we come out ahead with regards to mercury release. I think this criticism of Pelosi is unenlightened.

It is best to use a drop cloth under your light bulbs when you change them, it makes the issue of mercury cleanup moot.

Thanks for the reply, I forwarded your criticism to Amanda Carpenter, the author of the column.

Don't become a Buddhist. The world doesn't need more Buddhists. Do practice compassion. The world does need more compassion. -- Dalai Lama

Ahhh, Amanda Carpenter, so conservative, such a tragedy! I hope she understands I meant unenlightened in the nicest possibile sense.

LOL! Well, if she emails back, I'll be sure to take the heat for the unenlightened comment (though I'll be sure to blame you if there are errors in the math :-).

Don't become a Buddhist. The world doesn't need more Buddhists. Do practice compassion. The world does need more compassion. -- Dalai Lama

While this is true, the issue is really that CFL bulbs pose a greater risk of direct contact with mercury than coal fired power plants. But nothing in life is without its pros and cons. In this case, the pros clearly outweight the cons...although I do have an issue with Australia making incandescents illegal. We typically use almost all our incandescent lighting on low dimmer settings, and even though CFL dimmers are available, replacing them is not cheap or straightforward, and wouldn't obviously significantly reduce energy usage.

Another big reversal on Wall Street today.

If enough people start seeing this as topping action, it becomes topping action.

Yea...saw that...I just call it a pattern. Why the pattern? Who knows...who cares.

Here is an interesting program on Jatropha in India.


Hello TODers,

Zimbabwe: Water Authority Begins 'Load Shedding' in Harare

The collapse of essential services came to the fore once again with reports from the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) that residents in Glen View and Glen Norah have been without water for 3 days. There are now widespread fears of a disease outbreak if both the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) and the illegal commission running Harare, continue to ignore pleas from residents. CHRA Information Officer Precious Shumba told Newsreel it was possible the water authority had now introduced a 'load shedding' exercise to compensate for the dwindling water pumping capacity of the city. He said ZINWA officials are claiming they have no resources to solve the problem.

But golfing in Zimbabwe is going gangbusters [Please google Zimbabwe + golf courses]:

Zimbabwe, graced with a pleasant climate and some of the most competitive men and women in the world, has a great golfing tradition that goes back to before the turn of the last century when the first official golf club was founded in Bulawayo. In virtually every center around Zimbabwe, visitors will find challenging courses and willing opponents.

The Elephant Hills course at Victoria Falls has been reconstructed on the site of the original Gary Player designed course, which became derelict after the hotel was rocketed in the seventies, during the liberation war. The new course layout was re-designed to make it shorter and more playable than the original, and now provides a major attraction to residents of the imposing new Elephant Hills Hotel, as well as to local players. Wildlife can often be seen sharing the fairways with the golfers, especially the warthog, which enjoys rooting in the soggy areas of the water hazards. This 18 hole course over 6204 meters is regarded as one of the most challenging in Africa. Not to be missed is a tour of Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Highlights of the area would include a Zambezi River cruise, visit to a craft village, and native African dancing.

The Leopard Rock development in the Vumba Mountains on Zimbabwe's eastern border near Mutare has a similar history. It was also subject to attack and fell into disrepair during the liberation war years. The hotel has recently been rebuilt, renovated and refurbished, and the golf course totally redesigned and constructed by Peter Matkovich and Dale Hayes. Imagine an 18 hole golf course that winds its way throughout the undulating hills, lush sub-tropical foliage, sparkling dams and lakes and this is Leopard Rock's Championship Golf Course. Breathtaking views of the plains below the mountains and into Mozambique enhance the enjoyment of playing on this superb course. The course has been built to USGA standards and specifications - Par 71, 6164 meters.

Royal Harare Golf Club, situated only minutes from the city center, is Zimbabwe's premier course. Founded at the turn of the century, this 18 hole Championship course covers 6467 meters, and is set in wooded parkland that is rich in birdlife and grazing deer. Recognized as one of the best 50 courses outside the United States.

Bulawayo Golf Club was established in 1895, and is the oldest golf club in Zimbabwe. After playing the 6431 meter course, a sunset tour of the Motobo National Park or visit to Chipangali Animal Park would complete your African experience in Bulawayo. A golfing experience with fantastic scenery and unique wildlife awaiting you on every course is part of the adventure awaiting you in Southern Africa.

Zimbabwe's official inflation is 4,500% but independent economists and retailers say it is actually above 11,000% and picking up speed.

At golf courses, golfers pay for their drinks before they set off on their round, because the price will have gone up by the time they have finished the 18th hole. One individual was recently told by a pension company that it would no longer send him statements as his fund was worth less than the price of a stamp.

Book your premier golfing trip now, plus an exciting town tour to see the effects of Project Murambatsvina and the coming total infrastructure decline and dieoff. Hi-Res Night vision goggles recommended for viewing in the incredible darkness, and Blackwater Merc snipers are available for hire on the grand tour of Olduvai Gorge [the mercs put on a nightly tracer, napalm, and burning phosphorus spectacular not to be missed by anyone!], and the truly desperate teenage prostitutes will do anything for a mere crust of bread.

EDIT: for slightly more dramatic and imaginative effects!

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

Hello TODers,

Although playing golf must be extremely difficult for this woman, I kinda doubt that she will easily volunteer for the required bent-over stoop labor of postPeak community gardening:


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

Zimbabwe, graced with a pleasant climate and some of the most competitive men and women in the world,

That is as hilarious as it is tragic, and, most of all, true. Certain conditions make people REAL competitive.

A streetcar named acquire

With an American flag as his backdrop, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio in August 2005 announced a victory for his home state: A little-known Clackamas company would pioneer the first contemporary streetcar to be made on U.S. soil.

Grinning, the congressman joined arms with Portland city Commissioner Sam Adams and the company's lobbyist, Chandra Brown, for a celebratory snapshot at the company's headquarters. The government would pay $4 million to Oregon Iron Works Inc. to build a prototype that would be used in Portland and become a national model for streetcar projects nationwide, the congressman's office touted in an accompanying release.

The potential payoff was a toehold in an industry forecast to turn $1 billion in sales over 20 years.

Interesting news item:

Kazakh and Russian oil exports via the CPC pipeline are down 9.2% since February

Caspian CPC oil exports fall 4 pct in May
Mon Jun 4, 2007 4:50AM EDT

MOSCOW, June 4 (Reuters) - Kazakh and Russian oil exports via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium to the Black Sea fell by four percent in May to 730,000 barrels per day from 759,000 bpd in April, the consortium said on Monday.

The figure came in well below the record of 804,000 bpd reached in February.

Found this:


June 27 (Bloomberg) -- South Korea's fuel-oil exports may fall 36 percent in July from the previous month as demand from domestic utilities increases and refiners lose orders to Venezuelan and Iranian rivals, refinery officials said.

Do finished products play into the Export Land model?

Putin signs Balkan oil pipeline deal into law

The Russians have enacted a law to build a Balkans pipeline to bypass the crowded Turkish straights at the Bosphorus. They have also indicated they need to increase the capacity of the CPC pipeline. Energy developments in the Caspian demand new pipeline capacity with in the next five years.


Hello TODers,

California Tahoe blaze jumps defensive line

The first thing that popped into my mind was:
General Motors' Tahoe & Blazer SUV lines jumps defensive CAFE 35mpg line
These SUVs have gotten loose again despite all governmental attempts to contain the fiercesome outbreak; now running totally unimpeded through the natural habitat spreading tremendous devastation. Everything in the advancing path is consumed, leaving only an enormous asphalt and concrete wasteland in its wake.

/rant off/

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


I wonder if the fire was set by someone whose ARM was about to reset?

Hello Oilmambob,

LOL! I don't know what was the true fire cause, but if the reason you give is true: his neighbors will forcibly reset his arms & legs in painful new directions unless the cops can incarcerate him first.

From the densities discussed at housingbubbleblog.com, if it was ARM-related, it may have been a neighborhood effort !

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

A financial bomb becoming a real bomb. One soon-to-be FWO with a molotov.

Petrol prices high enough yet? Just wait!

The armed forces of the UK are going public on PO:


The role of the military can only grow, unless we can reorganize ourselves in a peaceable and sustainable way. Comity, Simplicity, Permaculture.

[Jock Stirrup? A man named Jock Stirrup is the Brit equivalent of our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?

With a fella like that in the saddle, Murka would never have to worry, eh? ...GWBs name must've was stolen at birth]

"All the Truth asks, and all it Needs, is the Liberty of Appearing." --Thos. Jefferson

No woman would name their child Jock Stirrup. Poor child would be called Jock Strap all his life. Although I once had a client named Shi'Thead. On a computer printout the apostrophe is not included.

Iran calls halt to Petrol imports.


Iran begins Petrol Rationing


Hello Cid Yama,

Thxs for the links. From your second link:
"It is a dangerous move for any elected government, especially in an oil-rich country like Iran where people think cheap fuel is their birthright and public transport is very limited, she says."

It also says one gas-station has been torched already, 3 people died, and others are scuffling to refill their tanks. Thus:

It is a dangerous move for any elected government, especially in an [supposedly oil-rich country like the USA]where people think cheap fuel is their birthright and public transport is very limited, she says.

I wonder how badly we Murkins will act when fuel and food prices go skyhigh, and/or rationing is installed? I sure hope Peakoil Outreach and mitigation is successful to blunt the violence and optimize the decline. Otherwise, I remain a fast-crash realist.

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

Kinda follows on from what I said above:

And if authority cannot deliver on the promises it makes, then it is toast. The destruction of civilisation will become rational for the individual, only by destruction will their immediate needs be met.

Economic chaos, climate change and energy depletion will conspire to ensure authority fails to deliver

Civilisations fail when their own denizens turn upon them and pull them down. One of the reasons why I consider the Nation State as the biggest security threat to face during a collapse. When the authorities fail to deliver on their promises, they will use force to try and maintain their authority. Insurrection will become the chosen path for survival by many unless governments can placate and contain them.

As a result, I suspect one of the first things to go will be free-markets as the State takes control of "vital" resources and services (to placate the masses). Possibly also the free-movement of individuals, produce and goods will be curtailed (to contain the masses).

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

Now I know we are doomed. Behold the Rolls Royce SUV!

“Rare One of a Kind Rolls Royce Truck. Over $150,000.00 Invested in this exclusive 2007 Limo Truck. Phantom Front Body with Rolls Royce Original Emblem ($2000). Rolls Royce Phantom Seats Fine Hand Stiched Leather Wrap Around Back customized to fit perfect in the Limo Truck.


This is a Rolls like Patrick Swayze is a woman!

Carscoop convicts the current owner of the transvestite Rolls Royce truck to 150.000 hours of serving elderly obese women with excessive sweating problems… Jeez, $150.000 spent and they didn’t even bother removing the Ford logo in the rear end –they just painted it! We’re really, really curious to see if anyone actually bids on the SUV’s $75.000 starting price on ebay.

BTW, the price is down to $69,999 "Buy It Now".

Don't become a Buddhist. The world doesn't need more Buddhists. Do practice compassion. The world does need more compassion. -- Dalai Lama

Russia eyes vast Arctic territory.


Amadingdong rations gasoline in Iran and the people ration civility. Maybe you doomers aren't wrong when it comes to the societal reactions to peak oil. Or maybe this is just the Middle East on a Wednesday....

Tehran burning?

Younger Iranians are tired of the theocracy, and rationing may be the tipping point. Here's an idea. Just cut off the refined product supply to Iran, and let Amadingdong's not so loyal subjects do the rest. Torch the gas stations today, and let them go on the Internet to get the car bomb plans so his subjects become a fleet of cruise missiles for us to watch from a "safe" distance!

Petrol prices high enough yet? Just wait!

Above ground factors:

And this is why post peak decline won't be a nice gentle slope.

I don't see how refering to the president of Iran as "Amadingdong" adds constructively to the discussion.

Maybe you doomers aren't wrong when it comes to the societal reactions to peak oil. Or maybe this is just the Middle East on a Wednesday....

Yes, this type of behavior is only seen in Middle Eastern countries. Westerners would never riot, except if their college basketball team got eliminated in the final four . Or if their NFL football team won a superbowl. Or in the case of soccer, the riot might occur before, during or after the match. But other than those times, it's safe to say that rioting is limited to Middle Easterners.

Don't become a Buddhist. The world doesn't need more Buddhists. Do practice compassion. The world does need more compassion. -- Dalai Lama

Hello TODers,

Thxs for the info on Iran burning--sad to see, but I expected it. I also anticipate Venezuela's citizens under Chavez to do the same thing when he is eventually forced by economics to raise their petrol prices to world price levels. It is impossible to governmentally subsidize this huge energy wastefulness forever.

Nations such as Kuwait, Nigeria, and Egypt all have price per gallon prices set in at below dollar ranges. Venezuela comes in at the lowest, with a meager $0.12 per gallon. On the flipside, many European countries experience as much as $6.50 per gallon.

The sooner and more gradually Venezuela's petrol prices start to rise to meet the world price: the more time for the citizens to peacefully adjust and adapt. Peakoil Outreach to all Venezuelans, so they understand the change process, would be a big help too, IMO.

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

This is a great initiative to develop sustainable energy. Technology buffs will be interested in how these turbines look like regular wind turbines.
With Peak Oil nearly upon us its time we all start working to develop this technology.
1.2 megawatt tidal turbine being built in Ireland’s Strangford Lough: