DrumBeat: June 27, 2007

US lawmakers warned on anti-OPEC bill

OPEC president Mohammed Al Hamli warned US lawmakers on Wednesday they were taking a "really dangerous step" in seeking legislation to sue the oil group.

The US Senate last week approved a plan that would enable the federal government to take legal action against OPEC for price manipulation, but the White House has threatened to veto the measure.

"It's a really dangerous step. We are in the process of fighting that," Hamli said at an oil conference in Turkey.

Thomas Friedman: This baby is just plain ugly, folks

The whole Senate energy effort only reinforced my feelings that we're in a green bubble - a festival of hot air by the news media, corporate America and presidential candidates about green this and green that, but, when it comes to actually doing something hard to bring about a green revolution at scale - and if you don't have scale on this you have nothing - we wimp out.

Climate change is not a hoax. The hoax is that we are really doing something about it.

The Energy Challenge

To be sure, the deaths and lingering effects at Chernobyl are tragic. But the disaster should have forced Americans to redouble their efforts to build the safest nuclear plants on the planet. Instead, we did something uncharacteristic of Americans: We stopped building, stopped inventing, stopped pushing the frontiers of technology.

What if we had reacted in the same manner in April 1947, when a port explosion in Texas City, Texas, triggered a massive fire at an oil refinery and killed 500 people? Should we have stopped drilling, pumping, exploring and transporting oil; should we have reverted to windmills; should we have turned back to firewood?

High-priced gas can lead to innovation

As I’ve said before, strangely I’m not all that sad about high fuel prices. Thanks to our wonderful free enterprise system, high prices create a very rich ocean of incentives for inventors.

Energy bill may gouge consumers

Price controls and taxing our way to energy security backfired in the 1970s, draining billions of dollars from domestic oil and natural gas development, and they won't work now.

Tapis, World's Costliest Oil, May Gain 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.

Analysis: Turkey's energy future

Turkey is a crucial transit country for the world's oil and natural gas market, and a top Foreign Ministry official says its role will increase as the industry brings more sources to market and demand continues to rise.

Australia: Energy profile

Australia is rich in energy resources and leads the world in total coal exports.

Bottoming out

After sliding for six weeks, gasoline prices may be about to hit bottom.

BP Makes Significant Investment to Boost UK Gas Supplies

BP released plans for significant investment in its southern North Sea business, which will lead to an increase in recoverable gas reserves and create opportunities for further development offshore.

Making 300% Gains Off Our Energy Crisis

Peak oil is just the beginning of our problems. The increased interest in Canadian oil is causing grave concerns over their natural gas production. And it may already be too late to act.

Energy debate must include all options

In a nutshell, oil depletion (along with climate change) is probably the most serious crisis ever to face industrialised society and yet governments around the world are still incredibly ill-prepared to meet the extraordinary challenge this will pose. Virtually every single item we possess or need is due to oil in one form or another. However, no clear consensus has emerged on what happens next. Will existing hydrocarbon technologies be adapted to new realities or will radical new technologies emerge, like hydrogen fuel cells, to complement renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy?

Geothermal: Out from under a rock

Old Faithful and expensive contraptions in the basement that never really worked - that's what many people think of when they think geothermal energy.

But thanks to advances in technology, a better political climate and rising electricity prices, geothermal is quickly losing its status as renewable energy's most unloved sector. In fact, investment in the sector jumped nearly fourfold over the last two years, to about $100 million last year.

China's first hydrogen engine successfully ignited

China's first independently developed high efficiency and low discharge hydrogen engine was successful ignited in Chongqing, by ChangAn Auto Co. Ltd on June 18th. The high efficiency and low discharge hydrogen engine is the only main hydrogen fuel project that was established by the national "863" plan. The successful ignition marks a breakthrough in the progress of China's technology research, and lays a foundation for national hydrogen engine industrialization development.

Iran oil exports at risk in UK ship sanctions plan

A British proposal to target Iran's national shipping lines under a draft U.N. sanctions resolution could temporarily curb Tehran's ability to export oil to world markets, maritime sources said on Tuesday.

The confidential draft, obtained by Reuters on Friday, suggests denying rights of passage to Iranian merchant ships in foreign waters. The withdrawal of landing rights for Iranian aircraft is also suggested.

Global efforts to substitute for oil: Learning by doing ourselves in

Contemporary discourse concerning the potentially enormous problem of dealing with peak oil overlooks the “own demand” of substitution. It takes a lot of oil to substitute for oil. A closer look reveals that the structural gyration of historical proportions associated with the process is up to its chin in the stuff.

Ships still held up at Nigerian port after general strike

More than 80 ships, many carrying fuel, were blocked and waiting to dock at Lagos port on Wednesday, port sources said, three days after a paralyzing general strike ended in Nigeria.

The oil market is basically all about psychology

“This is simply because since 2003 the price of a barrel of oil has spiralled, while China continues to experience a rapid rate of industrial growth. These are the ‘subjective’ reasons why the BP report is more likely to cause alarm in New Delhi than complacency.”

Energy Crisis Approaching Bulgaria

An energy crisis currently evident in Greece might spread to Bulgaria, Novinar daily reported.

Miners from Maritsa-Iztok mines plan to strike in case their wages remain unchanged. At the same time Sofia residents complain of power cuts.

Bolivia reclaims oil refineries

Bolivia has taken full control of two oil refineries from the Brazilian state-owned energy company, Petrobras, after a compensation deal last month.

Still Apart Over Gas Row, China and Japan Agree to Compile Plan by Fall

Japan and China remained apart Tuesday over main points of contention in the dispute over gas exploration rights in the East China Sea, but they agreed to continue to expedite efforts to compile a plan to jointly develop the disputed gas fields by the fall, a Japanese negotiator said.

Venezuela oil boom raises inflation spectre

Endemic consumption and vibrant economic growth have been triggered by public spending on a massive scale, doubling over the past two years owing to a sixfold rise in the price of oil since President Hugo Chávez came to power in 1999.

But this effervescent economy – averaging about 12 per cent growth in the past three years – has unleashed one of the highest inflation rates in the world. And as growth slows, which some fear it is doing, inflation could continue to rise.

Germany mulling programme to boost energy efficiency

The German government is considering launching a plan worth billions of euros to boost energy efficiency and cut the use of oil, electricity and gas, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Transit riders avoid high gas prices

"I can't start my car for what it costs to ride a bus," Abbot said. For $1 -- the cost of a senior day pass -- Abbott can ride the bus all day, and for $2 she could head over to Wilsonville to do some shopping rather than drive a car. With gas prices exceeding $3 per gallon and a car that gets a little more than 20 miles per gallon, public transit is definitely more economical.

ABF, BP and DuPont to Build $400M Bioethanol Plant and Biobutanol Demonstration Plant

Associated British Foods (ABF), BP and DuPont will invest around $400 million for the construction of a major bioethanol plant alongside a demonstration plant for biobutanol. Although initial production of the primary plant will be bioethanol, the partners will explore converting it to biobutanol production once the required technology is available.

The Next Generation of Biofuels

New ethanol study examines global trends, opportunities and challenges in this emerging market.

71% Think Global Warming Has Nothing to do With Man’s Actions

Pocket Issue and AOL have issued a press release that shows the results of 4000 people polled with almost 3 out of 4 believing that human actions aren’t causing global warming, with 65% going further to agree with the notion that scientific findings on this issue are “far fetched.” What strikes me as odd is how people all over the radio are claiming this as proof that global warming just isn’t our fault. “If that many people believe it isn’t true, then it must not be true,” goes the logic...

Climate Change Threatens North Africa Food Supply

Increasingly frequent droughts in North Africa will force governments to import more food, placing their economies under severe strain unless global warming is checked, a senior UN climate expert said.

Opec must lift oil supply: energy report

THE price of oil will soar in the coming months, unless the Opec crude cartel ramps up output, the Centre for Global Energy Studies said in a report published on Monday.

"The world needs more oil if another price surge is to be avoided," the London-based energy research group said in a monthly study.

OPEC Outlook: Demand For OPEC Oil By 2010 Below 2005 Level

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Tuesday said it expected demand for its members' crudes within three years will be almost 1 million barrels a day below 2005 volumes, largely because of growth in natural gas liquids production from non-OPEC producers.

OPEC president: Countries need to enhance oil, natural gas capacity

OPEC President Muhammad bin Dhain al-Hamili said on Tuesday that various countries needed to enhance oil and natural gas capacity, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

Shell Won't Re-Enter Nigeria's Western Delta This Year

Royal Dutch Shell PLC is unlikely to go back into Nigeria's troubled Western Delta this year despite the area contributing around 500,000 barrels a day to the company's crude oil production, a Shell executive said Tuesday.

Venezuela: ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips to End Presence in Orinoco Projects

ConocoPhillip's (COP) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) are negotiating exit terms from their interests in multi-billion dollar projects in Venezuela's Orinoco heavy oil belt.

Venezuela Exit Would Challenge ConocoPhillips Output Targets

The most immediate effect of ConocoPhillips' decision to exit Venezuela's oil-rich Orinoco river basin and seek redress through arbitration will be to challenge the U.S. oil company's short-term production goals.

The "New York Times" Smears Peak Oil

The Times has joined oil companies in denouncing concerns that peak oil is near. Like all good propaganda, the Times disguises it as news. Last March, it smeared those warning of peak oil with an editorial hidden within a featured news article "Oil Innovations Pump New Life into Old Wells"...

Nuclear power is what U.S. needs

As the last in the line of hopper cars approached, my car count reached 103, not quite as many as usual. Each of those cars holds 100 tons of Wyoming coal. That's 10,000 tons in that train, headed for a big coal-fired electric plant somewhere east.

A typical 1,000-megawatt plant needs to burn that whole train load every day. I think of the 1,000 tons of ash and the carbon dioxide that plant emits every day, plus all the pollution produced from mining and transporting the coal.

Free Software as Part of the Anarchist Toolkit

So the question is, should we fail the above challenges and humanity enters a long slide downwards and the decay of industrial society, will this era of rapid global communications, vast amounts of digital storage and spare time to write software - disappear, only to be a short lived and unique phenomena in the history of humankind? In other words will the problems we face overwhelm the infrastructure needed to support all these technologies? (And which is suggested in the original Club of Rome reports. These were published in the 1970s and identified not just resource limits, but the possibility of a pollution crisis too as overwhelming industrial society and causing its downfall.) Of course the answer won't be found here but I think a small part of finding the solution is in fact here in the form of free software.

Debts beyond our means

Imported oil from the Middle East and manufacturing from China are pushing our national account imbalance to more than $800 billion this year. Peak oil will explode our national debt to other nations. The correction of this imbalance will cause the dollar to drop in value, meaning our kids will work longer for less.

UN: Floods, heatwaves send signal about global warming's impact

Recent floods in Asia and Britain, and heatwaves in southern Europe, show the world must be better prepared to cope with the impact of climate change, the United Nation's top disaster prevention official said Wednesday.

Iranians attack gas stations amid rationing

Angry Iranians attacked several gas stations in protest after the government suddenly began long-threatened fuel rationing, while many others rushed to fill their tanks.

The Oil Ministry announced the start of rationing Tuesday night only three hours before it was due to begin at midnight. The sudden announcement sparked long lines at stations as Iranians tried to get one last fill-up before the limitations kicked in.

Power cuts hit Cyprus in summer scorcher

Power cuts hit Cyprus in the midst of a scorching heatwave on Wednesday as electricity workers called a strike over authorities' plans to introduce LNG to the market in the next three years.

May oil output slips at Mexico's Cantarell field

- Crude oil output at Mexico's huge but aging Cantarell offshore field declined in May, according to data published on the energy ministry's Web site on Tuesday.

Cantarell, closely watched by the oil industry after sharp dips in output, produced an average of 1.579 million barrels per day versus 1.592 million bpd in April.

The figure meant Cantarell accounted for just 51 percent of Mexico's overall crude oil output last month.

Why experts on Mideast are always wrong

The greatest error repeated by experts of all persuasions, by Arabophiles and Arabophobes alike, by Turcologists and by Iranists, is also the simplest to define. It is the very odd belief that these ancient nations are highly malleable.

Building a Bug to Harvest Oil

Microbes dwelling in oil fields and coal beds could inspire new methods of extracting fossil fuels from the depths of the earth. That's the hope of Ari Patrinos, a genomics pioneer who helped run the Human Genome Project and is now the president of Synthetic Genomics, a Maryland-based biotech startup founded by J. Craig Venter. Synthetic Genomics's goal is to use genomics to develop new energy technologies. As part of a new partnership with oil giant BP, Synthetic Genomics will study microbes that naturally feed off hydrocarbons for clues into biological means of extracting and processing oil and coal.

Biodiesel to Become Cheaper Than Light Oil in 4 Years

The price of biodiesel, an alternative energy source to light oil, will become lower than light oil as early as 2011, securing its economic feasibility, according to a recent report by the Korea Energy Economics Institute (KEEI).

The Great Corn Con

The ethanol madness continues! Last week, the Senate passed an energy bill mandating the production of 36 billion gallons of ethanol per year by 2022—a sevenfold increase over current levels. Senators congratulated themselves for their environmental foresight. The president, a biofuels advocate, has enthusiastically endorsed the ethanol surge. But it's almost certainly a fantasy, since no one in Washington seems to have thought for five minutes about where or how that much ethanol could be produced.

A new Round-Up has been posted at TOD:Canada.

(In which "star U.S. oil forecaster" Henry Groppe talks about oil sands and the importance of flow rates vs reserves, the Canadian oilpatch borrows its way into the danger zone, Bear Stearns is way past that zone, and the mother of all banks, the Bank for International Settlements, holds out the prospect of the next Great Depression)

Reading the BIS article was a real red flag for me. We all have a pretty good handle on what is up with the US economy but to read such a blunt assesment by such a powerful institution was the single story that stands above all the rest of the many that I have read in the last few months. Did anyone see mention of the BIS article on CNN?

I don't know about CNN, but BBC World TV News did mention it yesterday.

B(I)S first creates the crises, and then, at the very last moment, warns about them. That makes their warnings something to heed. They don't kid around. They want no-one to know what's being cooked up, but they also want to be on record as saying: "I told you so". Which they did this week.

Of course, in view of our finely tuned smoothly gliding free market system, all this is conspiracy ranting, we're leaving it up to the invisible hand after all to decide if our billion dollars from yesterday will still be there in the morning, and the FED is trying frantically to stop the housing bust, and Alan Greenspan has no higher priority than looking out for your very own personal happiness and satisfaction. Think Santa.

Can you explain how BIS "creates the crises"?

Bring down interest rates from 6.5% to 1% in a few months, raise M3 by 15% per year, and have Sir Alan go public telling people that homwownership is a G-d given right, that they now all can get through new loan arrangements. ARM's provide Americans with liberty!!! Power to the people.....

the right to bear ARM's?


HeIsSoFly - Is this the end of the yen carry that you promised me would trigger the end of this fricking credit bubble, huh huh is it is it?

Yen up again as carry trade unwinds


I never promised anyone any such thing, but if you go to TOD:Canada, the Bear Stearns coverage should shake something awake. We wonder whether the alarm will go off first in Asia, not that it matters much down the line, but I had a talk with a trusted friend today and we agreed it, the trigger that is, might as well be this:

Merrill Lynch taking Bear Stearns to task. These are guys who play golf together, you know, and now they are adversaries?! It wasn't me, teacher, it was the ugly kid in the corner. Private and government, everyone is pointing fingers and talking to lawyers. It wasn't me.....

In the end there's but one problem: people play with other people's money.

By the end of the year we will be swamped in bankruptcies and lawsuits. If Bear Stearns goes, others will follow. There is exactly ZERO reason to believe they won't. And your bank is invested in all of them, and so is your pension fund, and and and.....

Sell your house while you can guys......

Sorry HISF it was Hurin that talked about the Yen carry.

I really appreciate reading you. I perceive your evolution in thinking on these subjects that are discussed here at TOD and believe that most are going through similar changes but are not as able (me) or willing to express them. For that again I thank you.

I value every ones perspective (how else would I know who to hate. I can't just go by what the MSM tells me).

Airdale, if you are present, I hope you can still post on occasion. I look at TOD as just another tool in monitoring WTF is going on in this crazy world. That’s all.

One must use the right tool for the job.

Damn, the dirt keeps slipping through the tines of this stupid rake when I try and hoe a row.

Love ya all, OOPS did I type that out loud?

EDIT - Oh man I just read this and it sounds like I have been tipping the cup too much

Big fat TOD troll found half full bottle of sarconol someone threw out window of car on overpass.

How's this for a strange connection between energy and finance...

MISC Postpones Bond Sale on `Market Volatility'

MISC Bhd., the world's biggest owner of liquefied natural gas tankers, postponed a planned dollar- denominated bond sale because of fluctuations in debt yields sparked by losses linked to U.S. subprime mortgages.

Kuala Lumpur-based MISC, a unit of Malaysian state-owned oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd., hired Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG to sell $750 million of 10-year bonds, an e-mail sent to investors earlier this week showed.

``Given the current market volatility, MISC has decided to put their transaction on hold pending more stable market conditions,'' according to an e-mail sent to investors today by one of the sale's arrangers.

Investors have increased their aversion to riskier investments on concern that losses at two hedge funds run by Bear Stearns Cos. could become more widespread. Credit-default swaps based on $10 million of debt included in the iTraxx Asia ex-Japan Index of 50 companies jumped to $15,750 yesterday, from $10,750 a week ago, according to Morgan Stanley.

Hello Leanan,

I am no finance wizard, but it seems that if, in some locations, are peaking in natgas relatively soon: this company should have no problem selling stock shares to raise funds for building more LNG tankers. My feeble two cents.


That is completely nuts. The biggest LNG tanker firm globally not issuing bonds because of US subprime mortgeges?!

No, it is not nuts.

Financial types HATE volatility. The uncertainty and risk here is that one would have to sell bonds below par because of FUD related to the Bear Stearns hedge funds fiasco.

If I wanted to sell bonds I would wait for a strong and stable market environment.

Also, I think bonds to finance investments in LNG are inherently risky, because the stuff blows up so easily. Those tankers are floating bombs. And remember the very last scene in the fine film "Syriana"? Now that was a scary one.

I like the last line for the article.

"That may not last much longer."

River et al,

Seeing that you appreciate Stoneleigh's efforts in compiling the Round-up, I'm thinking you might want to leave a comment (at least one) showing that on the TOD:Canada site. Just to let her know......

She makes Canada distinct from the US , or let's say Leanan's Drumbets, in two ways

1/ obviously, the Canada energy content, which seems to be increasingly important stateside


2/ Stoneleigh is on the know about the financial quagmire, which is in a head-to-head race with peak oil for no.1 bringing down this society factor, as in who's first??

I, for one, find that interesting, and an added value. Nothing taken away from Leanan. Moreover, as I pointed out in a another comment today, it's the women that lead us..

Men smart, the women are smarter

(old reggae tune, google it)

"Woman is smarter than 'de man in every way!"

Old Harry Belafonte calypso tune. (Not reggae.)

Thanks for the kind words HISF :)

It is fascinating to read the Canadian Round-Ups -- we get virtually no news of Canada in the USA media, even though Canada is the #1 source of imported hydrocarbon, and our closest neighbor in countless ways. Thanks be to OilDrum for helping bridge the gap.

Yesterday I unwittingly started a rather silly pseudo-philosophical thread -- my fault for not being clear. The point was that the Disney Machine, powered by cheap oil and set in the fabulous Shangri-La of California had converted Yankee pragmatism into magical thinking -- which could be sustained only so long as the oil lasted. The point about David Hume was that people who were forced to abandon belief in deductive reasoning would likely naturally gravitate to magical thinking -- especially if it were so attractively packaged as the Disney package. Most people, in my experience, are extremely uncomfortable with skepticism and either collapse into rigid orthodoxy or New-Age wu wu. Students of Hume (I count myself a reader, not a serious student, and I'm sure I miss a lot of his message) must recognize what their position sometimes creates-- if unintentionally.

Enter Canada -- the new Source. The magical thinking can continue for a while, bolstered by the promise of Endless Tar Sands. It looks, from the Round-Up that the magical infection is spreading to our pragmatic cousins up north -- I sincerely hope their immunity to claptrap is stronger than ours down south.

I am a student of Hume and taught philosophy for about thirty years. Personally, I prefer the empiricism of Locke and Aristotle to that of Hume, but as the fattest philosopher in history, Hume deserves a special place in our affections.

Note that his famous skepticism may be related to his denial of paternity in a case where he fled Scotland to avoid having charges placed against him in the Church. He did lead a most interesting life, and he was prudent enough to leave his most controversial work to be published after his death.

In his own life (as opposed to his philosophy) Hume was not at all an extreme skeptic. When he lost his faith in Christianity it was a crisis, and allegedly he gained sixty pounds in about ten weeks. Quite a character he was . . . .

Thanks, Don Sailorman. I learn so much from this site! A great corrective to the mind-numbing general media.

Pardon my ignorance, but it doesn't seem to me that adding inductive reasoning to deductive reasoning resolves the crisis of the general failure of pure reason. It also seems obvious that most people instinctively avoid rational thought of any variety (using the power of reason only to justify a previously made emotional decision.) And so Hume was mostly giving academic heft to the common understanding. Then, what happens when you can't count on reason and you lose your faith? -- "When Prophesy Fails"?

People don't embrace "Peak Oil" because it is a rational, intellectual position, arrived at through inductive and deductive reasoning, and most people just take the world on faith. For now, the oil just keeps coming, and it is in the interest of the MSM to tell them it always will.

As philosophers have understood ever since Aristotle stated the point: Inductive reasoning can NEVER yield certainty. That is why any claim to knowledge in science (which is based mostly on varieties of inductive logic) is always open to revision.

Hume's skepticism applies only to questions of absolute certainty--not to statements of probability. In many of his writings (especially the historical ones) Hume uses inductive reasoning and feels no need to justify this use.

With deductive reasoning, if all the premises are true, and if the argument is logically valid, then the conclusion is 100% certain.

(using the power of reason only to justify a previously made emotional decision.)

Not to beat a dead horse, but is it possible to have a purely rational decision purely independent of some kind of sentiment? This is another one of Hume’s findings, that reason is a slave of the passions. In order for me to use reason I must make a value judgment first. I’m sure I’m going to get some real disagreement on this one, but twist and turn as you might reason is only a tool for what you first feel is valuable.

Hume lifted a lot of his ideas from the best-seller by Adam Smith, "Theory of Moral Sentiment," which is well worth reading today. It was a "prequel" to "Wealth of Nations," and it makes the latter book much more understandable and readable.

Continuing to beat dead horses-- I'm going to quit after this one! I read TMS a few years ago. It is interesting, and certainly make the Wealth of Nations more clear. But it seems to me that it is grounded in cultural bias -- how could it be otherwise? One's own experience is the only possible guide to understanding human nature. Every understanding is ultimately private.

I use deductive reasoning every day in my business (medicine)-- but the premises are often uncertain, and so the entire edifice is shaky -- even if the logic is sound, which it sometimes isn't. Still, with a good dose of faith, we get by....

Aristotle was the first of the great empiricists. His father was physician to King Philip of Macedon (Alexander the Great's father), and Aristotle was well acquainted with medical reasoning and its limitations. In the olden days, if you were doctor to the king and the king died prematurely or not from obvious battle wounds, then often the physician was killed (to encourage the other doctors, no doubt). IMO, medical reasoning is a good example of a blend of inductive and deductive logic. Consider for example the perplexing connection between mental and physical disorders:

We know that the mind can make you physically ill (psychosomatic disease), but we also know that chemical imbalance in the body can cause disorders such as bipolar or depression, and probably schizophrenia as well. Thus with cause and effect so intertwined (and positive and negative feedbacks both at work) it is no wonder that physicians have to pay so much for malpractice insurance (which is still pretty soft compared with being killed just because your prominent patient gets appendicitis or something).

Don, we have had our differences but I just loved your comments on this thread. We are very lucky to have a philosophy professor on this list.

Thanks again,

Ron Patterson

Don, it is amazing the great minds that period of history produced.

It also seems obvious that most people instinctively avoid rational thought of any variety (using the power of reason only to justify a previously made emotional decision.)

I dissent: ordinary people are very rational in many areas, including (often) their own areas of expertise and their immediate self-interest. I'm not into it, but I hear people analyze baseball games -- very rational arguments.

I am unable to classify all the reasons for departures from reason. But one biggie is denial. If reason leads to a conclusion one finds immensely threatening, then it is denied. Moreover, it is denied very rationally. The person in denial is very sensitive to where logic is leading, and takes evasive action, sometimes extremely skilful action.

Without emotion we cannot reason at all -- because we don't care about anything. It takes caring to put in the effort. But Freud is right on one major point -- there are mental icebergs that we avoid. All of us have these icebergs, just not the same ones.

I have experienced these things with PO to some extent, but much more so with 9-11. If I were energetic and younger, I would write a book just on the psychology of this one event.

Afterthought. I started out in mathematics, long ago. I still return to it when I get depressed or stressed out. Reasoning in this case is a form of escape. Somehow it is easier to carry out chains of reasoning if one does not have an overwhelming stake in the outcome. It's too embarrassing to point out instances of my failures to reason -- and in some cases I am no doubt in denial.

davebygolly - Regarding 9/11. I was happier before I knew and envy those who can still deny. As for escape, astronomy does it for me. The 2003 Hubble ultra deep field is the most significant photo ever taken. One can look at those 10,000 galaxies in a tiny patch of black sky and realize that the failures of H. sapiens don't mean much in the big scheme of things.

I'm not into it, but I hear people analyze baseball games -- very rational arguments.

Some do, but I would say the vast majority of baseball fans do not. There's considerable friction between the "stat-heads" and the fans who just want to watch the game. And even the stat-heads tend to have their blind spots.

Even when there's money on the line - fantasy baseball - people can be less than rational. Some use astrology and that sort of thing, as well as OPS, VORP, etc.

And of course, baseball fans (and players) are among the most superstitious people in the world. IMO, a natural result of an activity that is highly dependent on luck. See fishermen and gamblers for other examples.

No doubt many people are in denial about something, maybe all of us, but it seems from non scientific observation that Americans are more in denial than Europeans...maybe because of our shorter history and having never been over run by an invading army or our tv culture or our MSM. I think as a nation we are less informed and more niaeve than Europeans. In Europe politics, wars, religion are all fair game for conversation in pubs, while riding trains, or on street corners. In America the refrain is 'never discuss politics or religion.' Isnt that foolish? Since when did an exchange of ideas become taboo? Certainly our founding fathers discussed all these topics and great many more and common people discussed them in toll houses and even in church gatherings. Labor movements, womens sufferage, abolition, all came out of people talking to other people. When did this fear of discussing important topics come into vogue? More important, when will it go away so we can carry on an exchange of ideas again? Maybe the greatest damage that tv has done to America is to limit discourse and channel discussion to the mundane. We are here carrying on discussion on TOD because we want to discuss issues that are important yet if we go anywhere else and attempt to start a conversation about CC, PO, or the economy we will most likely not feel welcome.

Ahaa! There lies the problem, the confusion between deductive reasoning, and inductive reasoning. A very common misperception, unless one studied logic in college. This article explains it all:


Most scientific evidence is inductive, built up by observation and experimentation.

While having no experience with Hume, I do respond to your call about 'Magical Thinking'.. it brings to mind the adage,

'Any sufficiently advanced technology should be indistinguishable from Magic' (Vonnegut?) .. to which I might amend some versions that would describe the Magical possibilities derived from sufficient amounts of cheap energy (which beyond Coal, Gas and Oil could include Slavery, to look back into the American Cultural Assumptions about where our bounty came from), and sufficient access to and exploitation of Land and Natural Resources. ie, even if the upper classes were simply born on third base, instead of getting to conclude that they'd Magically hit a Triple, that the Base itself was predominantly Stolen to begin with. But if you happily ignore this inconvenient history, you can create any number of Magical Economic and Social theories based on how easy it is to get to and remain at Third Base.. and these won't be truly challenged until the energy and natural resources that are burning to keep you there start to thin.

Of course people in many ranges of Western class structure have their versions of these fantastic constructs that justify our recent wealth.. it's just easiest to pick on the Rich.

'Blessed are the Cheesemakers..' -Life of Brian

Bob Fiske

'Any sufficiently advanced technology should be indistinguishable from Magic' (Vonnegut?)

I think it's Arthur C. Clarke.

I could be mistaken here, but my recollection is that Clarke lifted (or modified) the quote from the famous book by Bronislaw Malinowski, "Magic, Science, and Religion."

It's known as Clarke's Third Law

I am absolutely 100% dead certain without a doubt that King Solomon said it first. Reason would tell us that it must be so because ol Sol said 'there is nothing new under the sun.'

Nope, it was the preacher in Ecclesiastes. Chapter 1 verse 9. I may be an atheist but I know my Bible.

Ron Patterson

Probably Solomon did write parts of Ecclesiastes; he had to take a break from all those wives and concubines once in a while. In particular, he probably did write "The Song of Solomon," though of course nobody can be sure.

Naw, Moses did not write the first 4 books of the Bible, David did not write Psalms. Moses could not have not written the details of his death and David could not have written about being carried away to Babylon, 200 years after his death. And Solomon did not write The Song of Solomon and he certainly did not write Ecclesiastes.

Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
Solomon 1:6

It is extremely unlikely that the son of David and Bathsheba wrote those words. In reality we have no idea who wrote most of the books of the Bible. They were give authorship of noted holy men just to make them more authentic.

Note: Solomon was not the eldest son of David, that honor belonged to Amnon then Daniel then Absalom. Solomon was actually David's tenth son and the fourth son by Bathsheba. David had twenty sons by his wives. There is no count of sons by concubines and of course no one ever counted daughters in the Bible. But Solomon was Bathsheba's favorite son and she made David promis to make him King. I would consider it unlikely that Solomon would have been made, by his older brothers, to keep their vinyards.

Ron Patterson

A guy with more than a thousand wives and concubines could very well be the author of:

"Vanity of vanities, . . . ."

But of course we can never know for sure who wrote what in the Bible, who did the editing, and who did the revisions.

One thing we do know about the Old Testament is that a lot of it is fairly accurate history. Much is poetry. Some of it is pure spite put in by the priests.

"A lot of it is fairly accurate history" - true perhaps for sufficiently small values of "lot" and "accurate".

Not so: archaeology finds have given substantial support to many of stories in the Bible.

Some stories are almost certainly true, for example the story of Ruth and Boaz. It is a story about intermarriage between a Jew and a non-Jew--and it has a happy ending. The editors of the Old Testament were rabidly opposed to intermarriage (fanatic on the topic), but they could not edit this story out because it is part of the geneology of King David--who most certainly existed, probably killed Goliath with one lucky shot, and who lusted after Bathsheba and killed her husband Uriah to get her. He also probably did kill tens of thousands of Philistines--very much into genocide. See what the Old Testament said about the Amelakites--talk about a vengeful God . . . .

The Old Testament is all about sex and violence--not edited for sweetness and light. As stated elsewhere, some of it is poetry and not intended to be taken literally. The idea of taking every word in the Bible as the literal truth is a fairly recent aberration and not subscribed to by any notable theologian that I am aware of.

Well...you've now downgraded from a "lot" to "some". I have no issue with "some".
And that "archaeological finds have given substantial support" simply means that many of the stories had some true basis, but given the time involved and the medium of communication, it's hard to believe much accuracy has been maintained, assuming that was even the intent.

I forgot where I read it (probably Dawkins) who stated if you want someone to become an atheist make them read the Bible.

I became an atheist at about the age of 23 though I had strong doubts as a teenager. But reading Thomas Paine's "The Age of Reason" did it for me. It was all about the Bible and the horrible things in it. Yes, reading the Bible with an open mind will definitely make you an atheist.

Ron Patterson

How can you prove the nonexistence of a God? Now don't give me any lame Marxism or Freudianism.

Aristotle thought he proved the existence of a Prime Mover God, and it is just about impossible to refute his proof. Indeed I've never seen a convincing refutation.

Most of the arguments for God's existence do not hold water, and I can rigorously prove the nonexistence of a Christian God that is all powerful, all knowing, and all benevolent.

The burden of proof is on the God. No need to prove God's non-existence. No non-God could do that.

cfm in Gray, ME

Don, now your knowingly engaging in logical fallacy. You cannot prove the no existence of god no more than you can disprove the existence of a giant teapot orbiting the sun. I am really suspect of someone who has knowledge of philosophy and logic and then trots out this canard knowing that it is wrong. As far as Aristotle, who says there is a beginning? And what or who made god?

By Aristotle's reasoning, the Prime Mover (God) is eternal. Why? Because infinite regress is "unsatisfactory" (and probably self-contradictory).

IMO a strong case can be made for agnosticism--but not for atheism.

BTW, Aristotle's idea of a "Prime mover, unmoved," is very far distant from the Christian idea of God. The early Christians lifted a lot of their doctrine from the neo-Platonists, whose ideas were in strong contrast to those of Aristotle--e.g. in regard to immortality of the soul.

(Aristotle said the soul died with the body.)

Do you think there is a strong case to be made for lack of belief in unicorns, leprechauns, Santa Claus etc.?

If so, then why not a strong case to be made for lack of belief in gods? (Other than allowing one to define "god" as being so vague and nebulous that there's no purpose in calling it as such).

Or do you explicitly mean "strong atheism", as in, a high level of confidence that gods do not exist?

Naw, Moses did not write the first 4 books of the Bible, David did not write Psalms. Moses could not have not written the details of his death and David could not have written about being carried away to Babylon, 200 years after his death.

I actually wrote a book about this and self-published it recently: www.datingtheoldtestament.com.

I suggested that David did write some of the Psalms, though not the ones dealing with the Babylonian captivity. I did date the first five books of the Bible to the time of Moses.

Any sufficiently advanced technology IS indistinguishable from magic. The distinction is important - he wasn't positing a REQUIREMENT on forms of technology, he was describing the appearance of sufficiently advanced technology (a gun to C.14 Europeans, an Ipod to C. 20th Europeans, godknowswhat to early C.21 people everywhere).

"The cheesemakers?" Biggus Dickus runs the world, and he doesn't like cheese.

Is air conditioning a right or a privilege?

The resort may feel it has to offer AC to attract tourists. Ditto the office after your one hour commute in the SUV with air on high. Here's an excerpt from some advice on dressing for success.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you must wear extremely summery attire to work in the warmer months. Your office does have air conditioning, doesn’t it?

Tourists and corporate go-getters won't be cutting back on AC any time soon.

AC tax won't be long in coming.

Shhhhh - don't give New Jersey lawmakers any ideas.

It is a real comment on the absurdity of our age that in coastal Northwest Oregon, where the temperature hardly goes below 45 in the winter or above 65 in the summer, new buildings are routinely built without windows that open. There is no need for air conditioning here, and really very little need for heat, if the structures are designed correctly. Excess energy consumption is created by design.

Where are you, NeverLNG? I'm in Yachats.


J'aime Yachats and Astoria!!!

Are you a member of the Lifeboat group, http://lifeboat.postcarbon.org/

I think it best to communicate via email instead of thread. My addy is in my profile.

Something even sexier and smarter than air-conditioning… to be sure that mere people didn’t muck up the sophisticated calculations which the system was making on their behalf, all the windows in the buildings were built sealed shut.
“But what if we want to have the windows open?”
“You won’t want to have the windows open with new Breathe-O-Smart.”
“Yes, but supposing we just wanted to have them open for a little bit?”
“You won’t want to have them open even for a little bit. The new Breathe-O-Smart system will see to that.”
“Okay, so what if the Breathe-O-Smart breaks down or goes wrong or something?”
“Ah! One of the smartest features of the Breathe-O-Smart is that it cannot possible go wrong. So. No worries on that score. Enjoy your breathing now, and have a nice day.”

Written by just zis guy, you know.

flying bricks will open such a window with high efficiency.

As the population continues to grow (and grow more affluent on borrowed money), whole cities are popping up in places too hot to be comfortable without air conditioning. Los Vegas and the huge building projects in California's central valley come to mind. Those cities could become expensive places to live if electricity prices go up 10x; I suppose that the people in those places will prefer a policy of burning more coal so that the entire world can suffer instead of just them.

Hello SunnyvaleCA,

In cold climates: packing more people into a single house to stay warm is thermodynamic common sense.

In a hot climate: packing more people into a single house to stay cool is thermodynamically ass-backwards. The more people and activity: higher the A/C costs ratchet upwards.

Combine with water and food shortages, and that is why I think most of the SW will eventually head north, unless ecotech housing and PV becomes the norm. A/C in my Asphalt Wonderland is a huge expense for most--will take alot of PVs to adequately power.

I have often thought that if my state govt employees were always required to work in uncooled buildings--they would have long ago passed laws and regs against the infinite growth mindset. A/C comfort is like a mirage in the blazing desert heat; an enticing illusion that leads to disaster.

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

I grew up in Las Vegas and still live there today. Some of the Ranch style houses built in the 60's and 70's were split level, that is they were partially underground. This is about all that is needed to live comfortably with minimal AC. I also remember how almost every house had a roof covered with white rocks. You don't see that much anymore.

The other day I took my niece and nephew to the "Springs Preserve" which is museum/attraction built on the site of the original springs which gave the city its name "The Meadows". They had examples of Paiute mud houses which were built partially underground. It was comfortable inside even though it was 110 outside. Add a fan and it would be quite liveable.

Of course the 2005 McMansion that I currently occupy is a two-story built on a concrete slab with a single AC system. I keep the thermostat at 85 during the day (my wife works from home) and we usually turn it down a little at night. Between the AC and fans, we stay quite comfortable. It's funny because when we go to a restaurant/bar/movie theater etc. we usually complain that it is too cold.

Last April we had the AC set at like 79 and we used it as soon as it started reaching high 80's and low 90's. This year I opened the windows every night after the temperature dropped and closed everything up tight during the day. We held off on actually using the AC until well into May when we had friends come to visit. Our electirc usage for Apr/May bill last year was 969 Kwh. This year, it was 404.

Water of course, is another matter entirely. Lake Mead, our primary source of drinking water is down 100 feet. Some estimates predict that if the drought continues, it could be dry in 10 years. Kind of difficult to produce hydroelectric power if there's no water in the resevoir!

None of these constraints prevent developers and the city from expanding away. Like the US in general, Lost Wages is addicted to growth. I've seen this city change so much in the last 35 years.

My father used to lecture us about being good stewarts of the desert. He taught us to respect the land and leave it "in better shape than we found it." He always railed against the damage caused by off-road vehicles. Cryptobiotic soil takes thousands of years to develop can be stripped away by one careless rider.

Well now, that soil is paved over and covered with homes, strip malls, parking lots like Bob's "asphalt wonderland". It used to piss me off when people would dump their garbage and construction debris outside of the city in the desert. Now when I see mattresses of TV's or whatever littering the landscape at the edge of town, I think, "At least the squirrels rabbits and coyotes can still make a home here."

Another 20, 30 or 50 years of BAU is a very depressing thought.

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


You comment about the white rocks for a roof is a point that makes a huge difference in energy needs. A white roof with good attic ventilation made of proper materials would make that bill lower most likely.

I don't have the link at hand but a google of white roofs florida tests etc would lead you to the test houses and their results using white roofs and AC usage.

I changed over and I opened up the ventilation on my roof and the change is dramatic. I use many of the same techniques you do. If I didn't have the extra humidity it would be fine.

White roofs are the way to go. In any climate it seems. Yet, property values and not being in the norm makes that a hard sell.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

OK, not exactly peak-related (although there is an opinion piece on nuclear energy), but I thought some may be interested in the free online edition (July) of SciAm.
Apologies if this has been posted or is too off-topic.

Edited to fix your link.

(Just post the link, don't try to use HTML if you're not used to it. The blog software will automatically make it clickable.)

Thanks, Leanan. What would we do without you?

Stumble about in ignorance no doubt.

PEMEX - Mexico reported total liquids production down by 80,000 barrels per day in May. While Mexico is in a declining production phase, project completions will cause occasional bounces in production. The KMZ production will only replace some of the projected lost production of Cantrell over the next five years.

PEmex exports of crude and refined products rose.

Imports of refined products + natural gas BOE rose less than exports of refined products + crude.

Petroleum products sold domestically rose significantly.

There was a net drop in production and rise in products supplied + exported.

The only way to balance it is to figure there was a drop in inventory in storage or something with the accounting of oil is skewed, perhaps oil sold in April was paid in May and credited to the May figures, things like that were persitent problems for auditors. When to account for oil purchased, at purchase time or after the account is paid.

If the price of gasoline rose, some filling station owners might have reduced inventory in the storage tank to avoid carrying costs of not having the money in the storage tank earning interest in the bank or used to pay bank high interest loans.

Month to month export numbers can vary, depending on weather, shipping schedules, etc.

But the key point is the Cantarell decline/crash.

As I have frequently said, IMO the principal difference between Saudi Aramco and Pemex is that Pemex has (grudgingly) admitted to the decline/crash of its largest oil field.

A response to that letter yesterday, that blamed peak oilers for teen suicide:

When hope is not enough

Joe Heavy says we should tell young people "the truth".

He's right. Peak oil and climate change do, in fact, mean that "our lifestyle is in grave danger". Joe says we should "give our young hope and inspiration".

Our duty is first and foremost to inspire our young people to find practical solutions to the serious challenges their future holds. Hope isn't enough.

The Iranian Gas rationing - riots story should shed further validity is some of our concerns about a gentle decline.

Pakistan, Banglesh, and India have been having similar trouble in Natural gas and Electricity.

I find it troubling personally to feel this will end badly, but the facts suggest it won't be pleasant.

Every day it seems that the news is reinforcing the fact that civilization is indeed a thin veneer. The way people tend to behave when rationing is imposed is not an encouraging sign in my opinion.


They just don't respect our veneerated institutions.

A pun like that deserves a patina on the back.

I guess rationing is irrational... ?

"Man is not a rational animal. He is a rationalizing animal." -- Robert A. Heinlein.

I happen to agree with old Robert on this point (may he RIP).

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

This is wearing thin!!

Re: Iran

Just keep Iran and Nigeria in mind when people object to the Export Land Model premise that, in most cases, domestic demand will be met before petroleum is exported.

One of the ironies of the situation is that we are rapidly approaching the point where generally less well off consumers in oil exporting countries will be criticized for consuming too much--the implication being that they should reduce their consumption so that we can keep SUV's in the US fully supplied.

I think we should be careful in accepting what we are being told about riots in Iran or anywhere else -- the media lies uncontrollably. It is at least as likely that the "riots" are being staged by agitators in the manner that brought Mohahmmed Mossadegh to his knees in Iran's only popularly elected democracy -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_Mossadegh.

If your assumption is correct, the media is just incompetent (not that they don't lie).

I found a good site with a roundup of the problems in Iran. This site is basically a collection of bloggers, so when you want to know what is happening in Iran, you get people that live there and understand the nuances.


I thought the pajamas site was generally considered neoconservative and pro-war propaganda. Have they changed their focus?

Yikes! Look at those featured writers and blog links. Next Keithster is going to link to Freerepublic.

any other freepers in da houz?! word up to my main man Keithster100... war4ever, dawg. america the victorious! praise b jesus. the liberal tyranny of the left will go down once we get rid all these here morally degrading liberalist values, fighting for our immortal rights (sic) and the freedom to persue pickup trucks...

Blah, blah.... little green footballs liberals love terrorists, etc, etc...

They went from "Open Source Media", trying to hijack the community driven term "open source" and rebrand their version of fascism as the new hip, grass roots blogging effort, woo-hah! They were so incompetent they couldn't even pull off that co-opting enterprise.

Hysterically, over legal problems, they then changed their name to "PajamasMedia". What balls they have. Yes, you are right if you detected a pathetic attempt to criticize themselves in their choice. And, entirely more likely their focus of this criticism is their own medium, blogging... You know, because we all know bloggers blog--get this--in their pajamas! These neo-libertarian/neo-conservatives are some sharp fucking cookies.

In conclusion, I concur with the above comments, save Keithster100's pajama spam.

I might add that the only website more pathetic than pah-jam-ah-jam-media is the steaming pile some call the HuffingtonDump.

Iran fuel rations spark violence

BBC also has a nice map about Iran, including oil and gas infrastructure.

If you think they are raising cain in Pakistan, Bangledesh and India just wait till bubba wheels his jacked up, oversize tired, 4 wd, V10 hemi into his local pit stop on the way to work and sees the 'no gas' signs on the pumps. Hell will be coming to breakfast.

Time to buy more ammo

Hi PeakTO and others in this subthread.

This news (Iranian gas rationing riots) is hard for me to understand. If we examine history, there are recent cases where severe rationing is very well tolerated. For example, in the US in WWII, there was severe rationaling of fuel and many vital commodities for about 3 years. Yet it was an era marked by solidarity, purpose and social order with an equitable, tolerable distribution of hardship.

It appears to me that the public really needs to percieve an overarching, valid purpose behind the rationing. So that is where the vast corporate propoganda apparatus could be constructively used (for a change).

As of about 12 years ago, national advertizing campaigns in all media spent $130 billion, more than all higher education at that time. And for that money, we now have a US population actively hostile to its own self-interest (opposition to single payer health care, labor unions, mass transit, progressive taxation, support for subsidies for professional sports stadiums...).

In principle, this amazing propoganda machine could and should be able to mobilize public opinion and morale to support conservation/rationing measures adequate to cope with peak oil ("...the moral equivalent of war...").

But the gap between what could/should happen and what really is happening makes me agree with PeakTO: Things will not be pleasant.

When govt acts prior to a crisis, people are led to believe that the govt created the problem. That's why I'm not ready to tax gas more to promote conservation. It will be exploited by neo cons and oil cos and whoever else is unhappy, the govt will be blamed, and the progressive individuals who put in the tax will get the boot. Only make things worse. No, we have to wait as a society till TSHTF, I'm afraid, and denial becomes nearly impossible before real action takes place.

Err, not to rain on your parade but during WW2 there was a thriving black market in America in every product or commodity that you can name. Our government tried to hide black market activity just as they tried to hide the concentration camps for Americans that happened to be of Japanese decent. The propaganda machine that you mentioned was used to make several corny anti-black market short films to frighten people away from black market activity. The films had little or no effect. There was no 'eqitable, tolerable distribution of hardship.' There was hardship for those that could not afford to purchase at black market prices.

Logical fallacy.

A rationing program can work. The existence of black markets does not disprove this.

Some careful historical research would be required to say anything definitive. Anecdotal evidence from family and friends, however, convinces me that rationing was successful and widely accepted in the U.S.

Grumbling, yes, and black market activity, of course. If you are expecting clear-cut answers, you had better look elsewhere than human history.

I'm not sure why defeatism and cynicism are so widespread now. I spend much of my time reading history and literature from the 30s and 40s. They had it much tougher than we are likely to have it, yet they seemed to complain less and have more faith.


Found some youtube videos of the rationing....short but chaotic.

BBC -Protests at Iran fuel rations

3 ltrs a day. Try that USA.

Fuel demand video

Protests at Iran fuel rations

Two personal notes.

Just got my five Kill-A-Watts in yesterday (for donation). My first focus was my computer.

Apple Mac Mini (corded keyboard & mouse) Airport off

Off - 3 watts
Sleep - 5 watts
On - 33 or 35 watts (never 34)
Airport (wireless) On - 35 to 37 watts

Screen (MAG LCD)

Off -3 watts
On - 53 to 57 watts

Desk Light - 14 watts (CFL)

Also I walked into Zara's as one of the farmers was making a delivery (3 times/week for this one). Filled up the back of his pickup (one layer deep + 2 boxes in second layer) with creole tomatoes, okra and mustard greens.

The Creole Tomatoes sell for 20 cents/lb more ($1.35/lb) than supply chain tomatoes but WELL worth it :-) The tomatoes were red on the vine this morning according to the farmer. I bought three smaller ones (2.12 lbs) and will need more tomorrow.

I think this is more energy efficient. 3/week deliveries to grocers and consumers walk to grocery than Farmer's Markets.


Best Hopes for Energy Conservation and Fine dining,


My kill-a-watt crucified our Kenmore dehumidifier- it's over 500 watts, maybe compensate with a pile of silica gel packets in each corner of the basement. Alan, you donating addtl. kill-a-watts to TODers? First 4 callers?

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

No, to the local non-profit Green Project (they take donated scrap & waste and resell it at a discount. Originally started with left over paint, now acres of "stuff". Often only source for many architectural salvage items).

Later perhaps Public Library or neighborhood groups. Perhaps other concerned folks can do likewise.

I am thinking of the switch that goes into an outlet that allows one to toggle off power.

Best Hopes for Energy Conservation,


Library donation a great idea. I replaced our local's task lamps with CFLs earlier this year; although, every time I visit, even in the daylight hours, they have them all on, ugh. Head librarian (believes she) pays nothing for electric service. Coincidentally, did see a kill-a-watt up north on the counter at the W.Duluth,MN library last week.

Sacrifice is good,

For those in Ottawa: the Ottawa Public Library loans out Kill-a-Watts like any other material. They have a gazillion of them so the wait for one is minimal.


Private dollars leading recovery of New Orleans

Billions of federal dollars have been allotted or spent in New Orleans since hurricane Katrina, so it may come as a surprise that the first public works project in the city's long-term recovery – the Rosa Keller Library in the middle-class Broadmoor neighborhood – was not paid for by American taxpayers but by the Carnegie Foundation in New York.

Government money is still trickling through the pipeline: On Monday, Louisiana recovery officials approved $117 million for the first post-Katrina community development grants. But with the long wait for cash, private foundations, wealthy individuals, and philanthropies have stepped in, playing a bigger role in the city's rebuilding than ever expected.

"The monies for rebuilding are coming first from private sources ... and that is definitely what is leading the recovery effort," says Doug Ahlers, a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. "Government funding is slow to arrive and is ... not playing a leadership role."

The Republic of France as well.

The French came in and asked "What are your most critical needs" ?

Minimal Fire Protection in the flooded areas. The NOFD selected five fire stations and the French rebuilt them in slightly over 30 days. And did two more later.

FEMA has been VERY slow in funding even necessary repairs. About half of the remaining firehouses have still not been rebuilt.

So we locals have tried to help


I heard that they had $40,000 by late afternoon when I was there.

Much of the "private money" has been very private. People's IRAs, savings, loans from friends and family (I have lent quite a bit myself, in the range of six figures (some recycled)).

Best Hopes for an overlooked flaw in the Louisiana Purchase,


He he, Louisiana joining Vermont in the seccession movement?

"if at first you don't secede, try try again"

Alan has commented on that before. The federal government has done as close to nothing as it can get away with doing so it is no wonder that people turn elsewhere. And if that is happening you have to wonder where the tax dollars allocated to New Orleans are going?

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

Supplemental pumps (to help out flooded ones, still not rebuilt, and to go around new block USACE has put around outfall of canals) were bid. Specifications came straight from an R connected company catalog (Company President was in "Patriots" club or something for raising a half million for GWB) INCLUDING THE MISSPELLINGS !

Said pumps vibrate terribly and are expected to fail within a few hours use. USACE, after being exposed (visiting Dutch engineer found them "unacceptable" and said so), has rebuilt them at Gov't expense. still vibrate, but not as bad.

And Blackwater security guards to protect FEMA from us. Nothing can make you feel *SO* patriotic as to be shoved around by a gov't mercenary.

and more.


GWB turned down about (from memory) $2 billion in foreign aid offered. Some badly needed.

A month or so ago, New Orleans decided to directly ask for foreign aid, bypassing the feds.

Until, the D Congress waived the 10% local match for funding repairs, the cycle was:

New Orleans got FEMA OK to fix traffic signals (boxes that control red lights, old ones in salt water, they don't work anymore, and a FEMA priority since it annoys them too when they drive around).

New Orleans borrows money, orders new traffic signals, installs them. Submits invoice to FEMA.

FEMA says, we meant to pay for internals and you got complete assembly, guts + external boxes. Old external boxes could have been reused. NO shows that new internals would not fit inside old box (they do not make old style anymore). FEMA argues that new ones are smaller and could have been made to fit inside larger older boxes. NO argues that this creates long term maintenance problems and it takes more labor (we are short of) and selects particularly corroded box to meeting to show FEMA that old external boxes are not as reuseable as FEMA thinks.

FEMA OKs payment. 5 weeks after OK and 5 months after work is done, payment arrives (90% of costs). New Orleans uses this money (minus interest paid) on next project. Coming up with the liquidity and the 10% has REALLY slowed things down. Plus FEMA bureaucracy.


My heart goes out to you and all of New Orleans, Alan. And once again I recommend you rebuild as if there were no USA and New Orleans needs to stand on its own.

To everyone else, let me ask you, if this is the best that the United States can do for one single city while the United States is at the supposed height of its power, glory, and wealth, then what do you expect to happen to you and your neighbors when every city, town, and village is undergoing extreme stress as we travel down the backside of Hubbert's Peak?

If any of you can sit there and tell me everything will be alright in the context of a national emergency when right now the federal government cannot even get off its backside to assist one single US city when things are supposed to be "good", then you are nothing short of an utter and complete fool.

Anyone who believes the decline is going to go smoothly deserves their Darwin Award.

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

GZ, I think we all drew some powerful lessons from the NOLA/Katrina disaster. Whether TPTB intended to communicate to the population that "when the chips are down, you will be on your own," or not, I don't know. But that is the message that came through -- virtually screamed at us.

During the coming meltdown, I expect the Feds to respond in one of two ways:

  • Ignore us.
  • Descend on us to commandeer resources and lock up the "trouble makers."
  • Ultimately, we will be better off if we can "cut the cord," but no one should underestimate the difficulty of doing this.

    I agree - the New Orleans message is that you are on your own.

    As for cutting the cord, I don't think it is feasible yet. The federal government is still well organized, well funded, and basically healthy as an organization. But Alan (and others) can try to help their communities arrange their internal affairs such that when the time comes that they are left to their own devices that they then can do so. Call it risk mitigation and file the cost away under that and enjoy the life you can construct for yourself.

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

    Our local library board has just nixed the idea to lend Kill-A-Watt meters here. Apparently it will cost too much to handle them, and there may be liability issues. Meanwhile, every other library in the region is lending them. (I made the suggestion, and have just heard the answer, so am taking this opportunity to vent a little here.)

    Liability issues?
    "So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House, the Supreme Court, the Senate, the House of Representatives, of the media. The America I loved still exists at the front desks of our public libraries."
    --Kurt Vonnegut

    KV must be biting his tongue now, too.

    I speak of the quiet little town of Brockville (pop. 22,000) in eastern Ontario, Canada. Industry managed to hold out here far longer than most small towns, and it's got a wonderful, intact downtown; rail links to Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto; waterfront on the St. Lawrence Seaway ... and a city council trying to stay afloat by developing big boxes along Hwy 401.

    Liability issues?

    Yeah, getting sued under NAFTA/CAFTA/whatever for lost profit by the energy trust.

    cfm in Gray, ME

    Alan -

    My wife and I have a grid-tied PV system and one of the things this caused was an attempt to try to reduce all the phantom loads to a mininal level.

    One thing we found helpful was to get a bunch of power strips with switches for each outlet. This way, I can only turn on the things I want on. For example we have one strip for the home entertainment center but we only turn on the television OR the receiver, they are not all on.

    I also have on on my Mac Mini so I only turn on speakers, scanner, external hard drive, etc. when I need to. This keeps those little bugger walwarts from wasting (and heating our house) our hard fought-for electrons.

    It was kind of hard to find power strips with this feature, but we found 'em at Tiger Direct.

    Here's a link:


    Best wishes and I keep hoping to hear about reestablishing passenger service here in Central NY between Watertown and Binghamton (and maybe even Scranton, PA).

    So far, I am disappointed.

    Rev. Karl

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

    Hi Alan
    Did the Acme Oyster House survive the debacle without major interuption? This is the wrong time of year for oysters, at least for me, but when I visit NO in the R months I always make a couple of visits to the Acme.

    I have found that recent rains vs. a dry spell affect oyster quality as much as water temperatures. I have had some good ones after after a 2 week "drought" in July :-) With a cold Abita Amber.


    The Acme was still there as of last Christmas.
    Amazing grilled oysters...

    Thanks for more inspiring notions! I'll check with our library and our community center to do the same!

    I just plugged my Kill a Watt in to see how this Laptop fares. Our littler 'Home Office' Laptop upstairs draws in the mid 20's from the wall transformer.. this one, my Video Editing and production Laptop is pulling 38watts right now, and the external USB Harddrive that carries video footage adds another 10w-11w. I still have a couple desktop units as backup eq., but the power I've saved just in switching my oft-used machines to Laptops has been probably 30-50%.

    Bob Fiske

    The thing I liked about the Mac Mini is that it is the guts of a laptop without the "extras" not needed at home.

    I use old UPS, old LCD screen from old desktop unit. Old mouse from laptop and and new USB keyboard.

    Consumption for a 1 GB RAM dual core, 1.67 GHz computer is "reasonable" IMHO.

    Perhaps LCD screen will last another generation. No need to discard with CPU like with laptop. And I can but what I want.

    Best Hopes for Rational Consumption,


    Alan: can you tell us where to buy several of these meters at a good price? I thought you mentioned a 10-for-$100 deal at supermediastore but I only see it at around $20 each there.

    Re: computers' power, my Dell desktop (model 5150, <2 years old, pentium 4) along with a 19 inch LCD uses about 100 watts - not much different from your setup. On "standby" it drops to less than a watt, which is great!

    Re: tomatos, here in Vermont the cheapest supermarket ones are around $2 a pound, and local ones double that!

    The best deal that I found (none in Orleans Parish that I could find) was super media store for $19.99 with free shipping. Now $18.99


    Expensive tomatoes in VT !

    Creoles die out from disease in about a month. Farmers plant a second crop for fall. They are VERY quick maturing (89 days from planting to harvest I have heard). Bred for our swamp land :-)

    Best Hopes for Energy Conservation and Good tomatoes,


    Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending June 22, 2007

    U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) rose 1.6 million barrels compared to the previous week. At 350.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are well above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories dropped by 0.7 million barrels last week, and remain well below the lower end of the average range. A decline in gasoline blending components more than compensated for an increase in finished gasoline inventories. Distillate fuel inventories fell by 2.3 million barrels per day, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 2.3 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories inched higher by 0.5 million barrels last week, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year.

    Wow, you are quick Leanan. They just updated the page.

    Gasoline inventories down 0.7 Million barrels.

    Utilization 89.4%

    Production - 9.3 MMbpd

    Gasoline imports - 1.1 MMbpd

    Distillates fell 2.3 Million barrels.

    Pretty much unchanged in production and imports. So with demand you would have to imagine eventually stocks will fall.

    Demand at around 9.5 MMbpd. - unchanged.

    Doug MacIntyre has thrown another ingredient into the pot in his This Week In Petroleum report - Unfinished Oils. I suspect the EIA analysts were a little piqued by the adverse criticism directed at them last week and are now seeking to explain the recent anomalous numbers.

    Apparently even during refinery downtime when raw crude cannot be processed, various unfinished oils can be used as feedstock further down the production line. According to DM this may be why gasoline production has held up despite the low refinery utilization and subsequent build in crude stocks. The corollary of this is that we may not necessarily see gasoline production rise as much as might be expected even if utilization rates recover.

    Looking at the stocks of unfinished oils, it may well be more than coincidence therefore that they've fallen by 6.4 million barrels in the past 4 weeks, from 94.6 to 88.2 mb. If this is due to the need to keep gasoline production up then it demonstrates how important it is for refineries to get utilization higher so that they can start drawing more from the crude stockpile rather than from unfinished oils.

    Also in today's WPSR report it's noticeable that the other refined product categories (distillates etc.) are now showing signs of weakening from trendline. It's too early to say for sure, but the implication is that the need for refineries to concentrate all their efforts on gasoline production could have repercussions at a later date on other product stock levels.

    All in all, still pretty tight with the summer peak in demand approaching.

    The headline on the CNN/Money page:

    Oil recoups losses, trades higher, after inventory report shows big drop in gasoline stockpiles.

    OPEC continues to claim that the world is sufficiently supplied in oil. Increasing US oil inventories certainly would support that claim, no?

    IMO...no. Not with the drop in gasoline. It's a local refinery bottleneck.

    Not sure I agree. They could(and probably will) justify their statement with the crude numbers increasing.

    OTOH, It's hard to say if it is just a LOCAL refinery bottleneck, other countries must be tight as well otherwise we would have all the imports we could eat.

    Global refinery bottleneck(shortage) might be a better way to put it. (Iran/Qatar as examples)

    They could(and probably will) justify their statement with the crude numbers increasing.

    They already have.

    Global refinery bottleneck(shortage) might be a better way to put it.

    I don't think so. Asia and Europe are paying much more for crude than we are, at least relatively speaking. Hence all the "broken benchmark" talk.

    otherwise we would have all the imports we could eat.

    The fact that we don't is an indication that the problem is not a refinery bottleneck, it's not enough crude.

    Just want to make sure I understand you.

    You are stating that it is a crude shortage?

    The fact that we don't is an indication that the problem is not a refinery bottleneck, it's not enough crude.

    Are you speaking in a global sense? Then I will agree, many global refineries are being shorted (KSA contract reductions, OECD stock draws).

    Refineries are still a bottleneck - globally - as well.

    You are stating that it is a crude shortage?

    Yes, it is. Hence Saudi Arabia telling Asian refiners they aren't getting their full orders. Hence the prices of crude in Asia and Europe spiking more than WTI has.

    The only question is whether it's voluntary or not. Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations say it's due to "production quotas." Maybe it is, maybe not.

    I won't disagree, the confluence of circumstantial evidence supports this. I personally subscribe to Ace's bottom up forecasts.

    Your reponse to needed to be put in this context.

    KSA/OPEC could still use our crude builds to say we are all FINE and dandy. And, the link between gasoline stocks and global crude is not obvious/or a fact as yet.

    That said, we are on the same team. I believe KSA is declining involuntarily, global crude is already pricing out 1 MMBPD from places like Africa. And the next, uglier round of bidding is coming this fall.

    Did I say we all should review Ace's bottom up?

    Ace - how about an update?

    Yes it does. Oil stocks are high, a fact which unfortunately does not indicate a recent or imminent peak, so this fact is Denied by certain people. The current high prices are partly refinery bottleneck and also supply worries - Iran, Nigeria etc.

    If there had been a draw on crude as well as gasoline, then price would be much higher. The high oil stocks are helping keep prices down.

    Alternatively, Brent crude oil prices that are about 90% higher than the average monthly price in the 20 months preceding 5/05, are--for now--keeping OECD countries reasonably well supplied with crude and petroleum products--keeping US crude oil inventories, on a Days of Supply basis, only about 25% below what we had in the early Eighties.

    What is interesting is that since 5/05, based on EIA data, the cumulative shortfall between what the world would have produced at the 5/05 rate and what we actually produced is on the order of 500 mb (crude + condensate).

    This pattern of higher crude oil prices & lower crude oil production is what we also saw in the Lower 48, when the Lower 48--like the world--crossed the 50% of Qt mark on their respective HL plots.

    There's no mystery here. It's called Peak Oil. And our models suggest that the initial decline will be quite gradual. It averaged less than 1% per year the first two years after the Lower 48 peaked, without the benefit of nonconventioal crude oil supplies in the Lower 48. However, as I have previously noted, the decline in net exports will, IMO, be very sharp.

    WT: That 13% week over week drop in imported gasoline looks pretty ominous. For all the talk of US refinery capacity, it certainly looks like global gasoline supply aint there.

    And once again, it looks like the East Coast, which is very dependent on imports, is the problem area, with gasoline imports trending down.

    When you have strong contango it's more profitable to keep your oil storage high rather than low.

    Contango = more expensive oil further out in time. Oil has been in contango since, hmm, 2005, unlike the previous history for decades.

    I don't think that short term storage levels (as storage capacity is less than yearly production capacity) has any bearing on true oil availability and productions or price gyrations other than the shortest term noise.

    However, of course there is an economic division between the producer's storage and the refiner's storage----obviously primary producers would like to keep their oil stored (in ground or in tanks) for longer if there's contango and have the refiners make do with barely enough at any time. They both want the benefit of an expected rise in oil price and thus compete.

    The high oil storage however can be a misleading signal.

    I bet if oil storage facilities doubled in capacity, the oil stored would nearly double too. Does that mean there's tons more oil now?

    This is a very good point.

    EIA doesn't break down whether the crude stock are available to the refineries or just traders storing oil for a better price.

    The oil producer should be as incentivized to pump oil later as the refiner is to buy and store oil now if both predict higher prices down the road. I don't know how this balances out in practice, but in any case an upswing in U.S. crude stores in the short term most likely points to nothing but the refining bottleneck in domestic production. It certainly doesn't tell us anything about the Saudis or whether oil markets are well-supplied in general. Oil stores build up in the U.S. while other nations are scrambling for oil to refine to export to the U.S.

    Total imports UP 0.5% YTD to 12.3 Mbpd. No import crisis yet.

    It's always useful to remember the areas of the world not covered by US and OECD petroleum statistics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:OECD-memberstates.png

    IMO, the best indication of where world oil markets are is the price of Brent crude. Currently, Brent is 10% above is 2006 average price; it is 15% above the post-5/05 monthly average price and it is 88% above the average monthly price in the 20 months preceding 5/05.

    This increase in oil prices has corresponded to lower world oil exports (EIA, Total Liquids), especially by the larger exporters.

    So, if you have the money to buy imported crude and petroleum products there is no crisis for you--yet. It's just some of the poorer people around the world going hungry and dying. You don't have to worry about going hungry and dying--yet.

    So, if you have the money to buy imported crude and petroleum products there is no crisis for you--yet. It's just some of the poorer people around the world going hungry and dying. You don't have to worry about going hungry and dying--yet.

    So...is this your "Trickle Up" theory (as opposed to Reagon's "Trickle Down" economy?)

    You might call this the "Creeping Up" theory... as in something wicked this way comes. ;)

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

    "Ask not for whom forced energy conservation comes, it comes for thee."

    So, if you have the money to buy imported crude and petroleum products there is no crisis for you--yet. It's just some of the poorer people around the world going hungry and dying. You don't have to worry about going hungry and dying--yet.

    As you have access to the data, could you let us know how many millions have died of starvation due to high oil prices so far?

    This figure might surprise a lot of folks.

    The WSJ had a good story last year about the effect of forced energy conservation on poorer regions in Africa.

    However, what we are seeing in a lot of regions, not just Africa, is a shift to localized commercial and residential power generation, sometimes in private compounds, where each home has its own diesel/gasoline generator, so that the residents have power when the grid goes down, which frequently happens.

    So, the pattern is the same, whether it's the US or Africa--if you have the money and/or the military forces, energy supply, for now, is no problem:

    Recent Petroleum Intelligence Weekly Headline:
    Iraqi Crude Exports Rise to US, Drop Sharply to Asia in June

    Note that US crude oil inventories, on a Days of Supply basis, are about 25% below what we had in the early Eighties.

    What I find most interesting is this one:

    This is what is going to the refineries and it is falling off.

    That is because refinery utilization has been dropping, which is also why stocks are rising:

    Here is the table FTX used to publish. Gasoline stocks were down 0.7 mb this week. Utilization rose to 89.4%, and imports were lower at 1.11 mb.

    U.S. Gasoline Data 2006 vs 2007
      Capacity Prodn Imports Stocks Stock Chnge Demand
    W/E 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007
    4/6 85.6 88.4 7.87 8.53 1.10 0.95 207.9 199.7 -3.9 -5.5 9.30 9.47
    4/13 86.2 90.4 8.10 8.66 0.91 1.04 202.5 197.0 -5.4 -2.7 9.10 9.25
    4/20 88.2 87.8 8.47 8.54 1.34 1.16 200.6 194.2 -1.9 -2.8 9.01 9.16
    4/27 88.8 88.3 8.60 8.78 1.02 1.15 202.7 193.1 +2.1 -1.1 9.10 9.26
    5/4 90.2 89.0 8.92 8.93 1.65 1.22 205.1 193.5 +2.4 +0.4 9.35 9.34
    5/11 89.8 89.5 9.18 9.05 1.45 1.53 206.4 195.2 +1.3 +1.7 9.33 9.40
    5/18 89.7 91.1 9.20 9.20 1.63 1.30 208.5 196.7 +2.1 +1.5 9.19 9.43
    5/25 91.4 91.1 9.21 9.26 1.55 1.61 209.3 198.0 +0.8 +1.3 9.43 9.48
    6/1 91.0 89.6 9.14 9.22 1.40 1.51 210.3 201.5 +1.0 +3.5 9.37 9.49
    6/8 92.7 89.2 9.21 9.33 1.41 1.16 213.1 201.5 +2.8 +0.0 9.41 9.49
    6/15 93.3 87.6 9.35 9.33 1.08 1.28  213.4 203.3 +0.3 +1.8  9.43 9.59
    6/22 93.8 89.4 9.33 9.34  0.96 1.11  212.4 202.6  -1.0 -0.7  9.54 9.58
    6/29 93.8   9.21   1.27   213.1   +0.7   9.65  
    7/6 90.5   9.18   1.10   212.7   -0.4   9.62  
    7/13 92.9   9.23   1.05   214.2   +1.5   9.57  
    7/20 92.5   9.09   1.01   211.0   -3.2   9.57  
    7/27 90.8   9.04   1.33   210.1   -0.9   9.64  

    [These are weekly estimates, subject to revision. Data source - EIA. Week ending dates are for 2007 (2006 is a day more). Capacity is utilization% of fully operable. Imports, production and demand are million barrels per day. Stocks are millions of barrels]

    U.S. Gasoline Stocks 2007 by PADD District
      East Coast Midwest Gulf Coast Rocky Mtn West Coast
    W/E Stock Chnge Stock Chnge Stock Chnge Stock Chnge Stock Chnge
    4/13 52.8 -1.5 47.6 -0.4 63.1 -2.4 5.7 -0.1 27.7 +1.7
    4/20 52.7 -0.1 46.7 -0.9 62.4 -0.7 5.4 -0.3 27.0 -0.7
    4/27 53.2 +0.5 46.4 -0.3 61.8 -0.4 5.4 0.0 26.3 -0.7
    5/4 52.6 -0.6 46.7 +0.3 61.4 -0.4 5.4 0.0 27.4 +1.1
    5/11 51.9 -0.7 46.4 -0.3 62.8 +1.4 5.5 +0.1 28.6 +1.2
    5/18 52.5 +0.6 46.1 -0.3 63.7 +0.9 5.6 +0.1 28.8 +0.2
    5/25 52.3 -0.2 46.9 +0.8 63.8 +0.1 5.5 -0.1 29.6 +0.8
    6/1 51.5 -0.8 48.1 +1.2 65.4 +1.6 5.6 +0.1 30.9 +1.3
    6/8 49.8 -1.7 49.0 +0.9 67.2 +1.8 5.8 +0.2 29.7 -1.2
    6/15 50.6 +0.8 49.4 +0.4 66.4 -0.8 5.8 0.0 31.0 +1.3
    6/22 50.7 +0.1 49.6 +0.2 65.0 -1.4 6.0 +0.2 31.2 +0.2

    [Source: EIA]

    The most discouraging item was clipped off one edge (I cut and pasted to see current gasoline consumption).

    Every week but one (and then only a 0.01 delta) 2007 gasoline consumption is higher than 2006 consumption.

    Best Hopes for MUCH higher gasoline prices,


    Calorie: Nice charts. Interesting to see that 3 week ave of gasoline imports (6/8-6/22) of 1.183 is down 23% from the previous 3 week ave (1.473 for 5/18-6/1). Spooky.

    Yesterday Don Sailorman wrote:

    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 agree that the Fed is under pressure to lower rates, but I think that it is intent on resisting the pressure for as long as possible. There is an interesting article in today's Washington Post supporting this thesis:

    Inflation Target May Be Shifting: Fed Signals Concern Over Stubborn Food, Gas Prices

    The gist of the article is that the Fed may shift its attention from core inflation to overall inflation, because overall inflation has been persistently outstripping core inflation over the last few years.

    "The core was created because food and energy prices were volatile. But when they are up and they remain up, the Fed must be very concerned," said Eugenio J. Alemán, senior economist at Wells Fargo Bank. "If gasoline and food prices cause a change in expectations, we are doomed because the Fed will have no choice but to raise interest rates."

    Re: Implementing your own ELP plan

    Last year would have been better, but this year will be better than doing in next year: "Cut thy spending and get thee to the non-discretionary side of the economy."

    Every morning, I take our small dog on our morning patrol of the neighborhood. I seem to be seeing for sale signs going up, but not coming down.

    I wonder at what point that conspicuous consumption will become a negative, for several reasons--a tough economy; people beginning to go hungry, and basically as a sign of poor judgment.

    What is going on with TOD this morning? Every time I leave to follow one of Leanan's links, I can't get back in.

    I can recall being ridiculed by my students for conspicuous non-consumption during the high gasoline prices of the late seventies. One time in an econ class I mentioned that my spending on gasoline was about seven dollars per month. This fact was greeted with:

    1. Incredulity, until I explained that I walked or biked to and from work.

    2. Politely disguised ridicule from students who were burning gallons per day, and in one case two hundred gallons in a weekend of boating.

    BTW, if you are a nonmaterialist, it is hard to stay married to one who sees happiness in ever more consumption. I recommend extensive premarital counselling on this issue, because where people lack agreement on such fundamental values as the desirability of more and more consumption, I think any marriage is doomed. (Mine certainly was.)

    Both my wife and I have been there; seen that.
    Ie during university we easily lived on less than $3/day in food and used foot/car/public transit.
    We'd see other students (both then and now as teachers) spending more on a single snack than we spend on a whole day. Se see them in designer clothes, fancy toys and complaining about the cost of tutition.
    If I could ram Your Life Or Your Money into their heads I would; but they're deaf. It's easy to consume. It's work to not consume.
    For us Your Money Or Your Life summarized the life we had been living.
    Oddly enough we've seen family members who in the 1970's and 80's put out lights and conserved, no longer do. Is this an age effect?
    I also see those who lived thru the depression; stuck in their mindset. They'll scrimp on water while washing dishes and yet the toilet is leaking constantly, lights are left on all over the place.

    People have lessons drilled into them by their lifetime but as Deepak Chopra and other luminaries have pointed out - it's hard to question all of your actions and assumptions and rethink everything you take for granted. It's bloody hard to live mindfully.

    On the other hand I remember reading about how during times of recession people readily adapt; but after that they spring back and consume as if it's been denied to them.

    Peak Oil aware friends basically say; why torture yourself now when you don't have to?

    Similarily I've come to the same conclusion. We can't survive individually and so don't go overboard. Ditch your debt, grow food, reduce and simplify your lifestyle but don't look at it from the point of denying yourself. I like to see how much I can reduce our energy use and conserve.

    But neighbours don't do that. At least one recently ditched the Jeep-guzzler for something slightly greener. Another got rid of his high-octane guzzling SHO Taurus and replaced it with a fullsized guzzler that just takes regular gas; but he's waffling on getting a van because once a year he might need to move something - but he's can't do anything about his bay window where the seal has failed and the wood is rotting out...

    Ohhh the things that people spend their energy and money on!

    How many times have you read an article in the business section of your local paper that started with the phrase 'Pent up consumption led to...'

    Mine is going through its death throes - one of the main reasons is the one you just described

    WT, the same is happening here in EC Fl. I have been doing the same 3 1/2 mile walk since we moved back into this house from beachside in 1993. Nice homes, nice big oaks, mostly empty nests. Because I noticed a large increase in the number of for sale signs I started a count about eighteen months ago. Largest number of for sales was 24 then the signs started to come down but almost all the homes were still empty. I chalked that up to expired contracts with realty companies but it could be that they are in default. Now more homes are empty but no or few for sale signs ever went up. Total empty homes now is 28 but only 21 have for sale signs on them. I know the owner of one home that was up for sale for 1.2 million (castle on river front) but it did not sell in a year and is now rented. I didnt ask but could tell the owner was unhappy, I doubt he is getting enough rent to cover taxes and insurance. I am still receiving teaser loan applications in the mail almost daily. I would hazard a guess that the only Americans that know whats up with the real estate market are those that have actually attempted to sell their homes and those in the realty biz.

    "If gasoline and food prices cause a change in expectations, we are doomed because the Fed will have no choice but to raise interest rates."

    How will raising rates have any positive effect? How can the Fed exert any effective control of the economy if the inflationary push is coming from sources exogenous to the domestic economy?

    This strikes me as similar to the conditions circa 1929 when initial government policy served to worsen rather than ameliorate the basic problem.

    Canada is also proposing to raise rates and I expect we will see a global tightening. But will this do anything to address the source of the problem, the increase in FF prices and the impact they have on the economy?

    Raising rates has the effect of raising the cost of capital, which will slow down the pace of economic growth. Reduced economic growth will lower the demand for input resources, including fossil fuels, thus lowering the prices for those resources.

    Raising rates will not have any positive effect, but what the FED was commissioned to due was to maintain monetary and credit aggregates in order to "increase production, so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates."


    The FED has 3 primary objectives:
    (achieve/maintain) maximum employment, stable prices, moderate long-term rates... ie food/fuel inflation trumps housing price softness Unless housing price softness leads to a large jump in unemployment
    The national unemployment rate was unchanged in May at 4.5 percent.
    source: ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/news.release/History/laus.06192007.news

    So, expectations of the FED cutting rates because some people are trapped in upside-down mortgages has no basis, at least until the unemployment numbers bounce off the historical bottom (or consumer prices fall).

    IMO, top on the Fed's list of concerns is to be NOT blamed for triggering a recession. Bernanke is no Paul Volker.

    For now the Fed is likely to stand pat, because inertia is the greatest driving force in human affairs.

    I stand by my prediction that the next change in monetary policy will be in the direction of easing rather than tightening up. It would not surprise cynical me to see this easing come just in time to pep up the economy a bit before the 2008 elections. Given the time lags involved, this gives the Fed a few months of breathing space.

    Two days ago you said:

    Another fearless forecast: Inflation is the big problem. Deflation we do not have to worry about. We are not going to have a rerun of the Great Depression, in large part because of the invention of macroeconomics that was stimulated both by the Depression and also by the mobilization needs of the Second World War.

    Have you changed your mind? Inflation fighter=tightening

    I posted Bill Gross's prediction of lower interest rates yesterday, and the BIS news item mentioned on TOD Canada complemented his thinking. It seems more "big guys" are worrying about another Great Depression. Because if we lower interest rates, Asia may stop funding our debt. If we don't raise interest rates our housing bubble could precipitate a collapse. Add to this job losses related to PO...and many other complexities, of course.

    I do not think inflation will run away this year or next year or the year after next.

    Runaway inflation, IMO, will occur when and only when there is a recognition of Peak Oil in the mainstream media and also by the Fed. Then the Fed will have a choice:

    1. Fight inflation and trigger a depression possibly as bad or worse as the Great Depression or

    2. Throw in the towel on inflation and inflate away our debts in an effort to mitigate the real effects of Peak Oil.

    John Maynard Keynes pointed out the superior political influence of the debtor class. As surely as water tends to run down hill, when the economy goes south the Fed will tend to pump up the supply of money and credit--indeed, I expect to see monetization of the national debt within the next ten years. After ten years (roughly the year 2020) I think TS will HTF. Then things will get really nasty, though I'm not a doomer. Leanan's "slow squeeze" leading to catabolic collapse is a plausible scenario. My own guess is that there will be political fireworks . . . . Where is Julius Caesar, now that we need him?

    Note also that Social Security (and to some extent Medicare also) is indexed for inflation: Thus AARP and the boomers will have relatively little to lose from worsening inflation. As usual, the working and lower middle classes will be hit hardest, and I think savers will be ruined, much as they were in 1923 Germany. Bond holders will not do as well as those who hoarded pennies and "forever" postage stamps; indeed I expect bonds to become worth just as much as the paper they are printed on, though this result may be twenty years off.

    The Fed will continue its policy of "#1, tough-guy, inflation fighter", until something big in the economy breaks. Every rate raising cycle by the Fed has ended in some economic event occuring that cuases the Fed to panic and lower rates to save the day.

    A key part of preventing run-away inflation, is controlling the psychology of general public. If the public comes to conclude that signficicant inflation is occuring, then the logical step is to spend your cash as quickly as possible, because it will continually be worth less and less in the immediate future. This causes the velocity of money to increase, and hyperinflation is born.

    The Fed has to talk-the-talk that they have inflation under control and they will raise rates if necessary. Meanwhile, they are pumping M3 at 13% (shadowstats.com).

    I'm with Don on this one. I don't think the political will is there to promote a strong dollar using high rates at the expense of the US economy. The dollar will be sacrificed if it means keeping the economy moving; especially as we move into an election year. I'm not sure what the economic trigger event will be (CDOs???), but when it happens, old Ben will be more than happy to drop the rates and reflate again.

    I disagree with Don that Social Security and Medicare receipiants will survive worsening inflation OK. The key is the index used to adjust the benefit payments. Do you really believe that your personal CPI has only gone up 3%? Shadowstats.com calculates CPI using the old methodology (pre clinton and other current adjustements they do) and they are indicating a current CPI of 10%. If your on a fixed income and your benfits go up by only 3% annually, but your true cost of living is rising by 10% annually, your standard of living is declining each year.

    My personal CPI has been going up at less than 3% per year in recent years:

    1. I have cut my gasoline consumption to one third of what it was a few years ago.

    2. My diet is mostly vegetarian (not entirely), and I do almost all my own cooking . . . The price of oatmeal has not gone up much over the past five years.

    3. The biggest item in my budget is my fixed monthly mortgage payment, and of course that does not go up at all.

    4. The tax man is about to re-assess my home value; I expect the market value to go down, and hence my property taxes may fall slightly. They have hardly increased at all over the past four years.

    5. Medicare and Blue Cross take care of most of my medical expenses. Part D of Medicare (in effect only about two years now) reduced my annual expenses on prescriptions very significantly--so I'm way ahead there.

    6. I have reduced the heating costs of my house over the past three years, using techniques widely discussed on TOD.

    7. My electricity expenses have gone down over the past three years due to conservation.

    How am I able to do all this? Well, I read TOD, and I used to teach personal finance.

    P.S. I gave up flying a few years ago; today my annual travel expenses are about ten percent of what they were in 2001-2002. I save big bucks by sailing instead of going for long rides in big aluminum jet planes. And sailing is more fun . . . .

    Well, as you live in Minnesota and love sailing, I assume that you went down to the WindSurfing Regatta on Lake Okabena at Worthington MN on June 8-10? http://www.worthingtonwindsurfing.com/windsurfing_home.php
    I did! And got my first free lesson - And got thoroughly soaked with my lack of use reduced sense of balance. Looking forward to taking a 2 day full beginners course next month. Probably never need my outboard motors again?
    I'm 67, so who says you can't teach old dogs new tricks!
    Sorry TODers, but I ain't gona give up my full size pickup truck(s) - just put my boating fuel into them (BG).

    I'm also sixty-seven, which I consider middle-aged. Mostly I sail on Lake Harriet in Minneapolis with SCUM, Sailing Club at the University of Minnesota. Believe it or not, there are a couple of old geezers in the club several years older than I am.

    So long as there is breath in my body I hope to keep sailing--and teaching others how to sail, which is my main avocation now (except for writing mystery novels).

    I agree sailing is fun!

    We used 1 gallon of gasoline in our sailboat between March 1st and June 1st this year. It's a 2 HP Honda 4 stroke and will push the boat at almost hull speed. However, my sailboat is small (it's a Cal 20).

    During that time we day sailed 15 times (altogether a little over 125 nautical miles). I was surprised when I read yesterday on the Drumbeat about boaters burning 200 gallons of gasoline during a weekend, but not very surprised. Last week one of those smartypants power boaters zoomed by me when I was lowering the sails in a good breeze. Had to cling to the mast for dear life!

    I used to sail on a Cal 20 some forty years ago, when I was a student at U.C. Berkeley and an active member of the Cal Sailing Club. Fun boat!

    Consider a trolling motor with 55 pounds (or more) of thrust. I used a trolling motor on my O'Day 23 and delighted in its silent running. One battery would push that boat at three knots for about eight hours before it needed to be recharged.

    My favorite sail boat was a old Cheoy Lee 36 with a glass hull and all teak superstructure and cabin. I also used to teach sailing in exchange for the use of the boats when I lived in CA.
    It had a small 4 cylinder diesel auxiliary engine but it was a point of prideto sail it in and out of the slip.

    PS, it is pretty easy to burn 200 gal in a day with not that much of a boat if they have twin engines, worked for guys with these also.

    Sounds like you are retired or very nearly so. You and I are thinking somewhat along the same lines. Here's my plan for someone about 10-15 years away from normal retirement age:

    1) Live in the least bad location that you think will work for you; if you aren't there, relocation is your first priority. For me, what works is is a small town in the mountains of WNC, in a smallish house with a south facing roof and a somewhat adequate yard, and within short driving & feasible walking distance of my workplace and downtown. It may not work for other people, YMMV. (My assumption is that we'll be spared the Mad Max machete moshpit, at least through my normal life expectancy. If we are not, then there really is no "safe" place to be, so there is no point in my worrying about that scenario or going the extreme survivalist route. If I'm wrong, I'm shortly dead anyway.)

    2) Assume that the longer you can continue to earn income, the more secure you will be financially. Try to defer retirement for as long as you possibly can. Implement the "P" in WT's ELP plan: "Get thyself to the non-discretionary sector of the economy." Develop a fallback skill for self-employment pre- or post-retirement.

    3) Assume that times will be getting hard, one way or another. Begin now living as frugally as possible. Learn to live more with less, cut out the frills, economize, do it yourself, etc.

    4) Don't gamble that debts will just inflate away; maybe they will, but maybe they won't, so neither a borrower nor a lender be. Work on getting all debts paid off ASAP, starting with the variable, non-tax-deductible ones, and finishing off with the mortgage before retirement. If a mortgage balance still remains upon retirement, use accumulated retirement savings to pay it off, but try to keep this to a minimum.

    5) It is a given that energy prices will increase greatly and inexorably, so minimize your costs & vulnerability. Keep working on getting energy consumption as low as possible. Start with the cheap and easy things, then gradually invest in more expensive energy conservation measures. As for renewable energy, start with a wood stove for supplemental heat; gradually make other investments in household renewable energy as the payback periods become reasonable as prices rise. These investments may take a few years, given the need to work on priority #4 first. Be prepared to dip into retirement funds a bit after age 59.5 if necessary to finance this.

    6) We can pretty much assume that food prices will continually increase as well; minimize your vulnerability. Raise a garden, plant fruit trees, maybe eventually add beehives and some small livestock if possible. Expand your capacity to produce as much of your own food as possible. Maybe even invest in the heavy-duty equipment (rotary cultivators, garden carts, etc.) so that you could garden on a larger scale in your retirement/unemployment years by "sharecropping" your non-gardening neighbors lawns. Invest in canning equipment and get practice using it. Build a root cellar and use it. Strive to minimize your dependence upon store-bought food. Learn to cook with whole foods from scratch.

    7) Assume that actual social security benefits received, net of taxes, will eventually be considerably less than the "official" projections, and will be inflated away with time; therefore, do not plan on living on them. My plan is to use our social security benefits only to cover our medicare deductibles and co-pays, medicare supplements, and other health care out of pocket expenses; anything left over (and there will be a lot in the first few years) goes into inflation-proofed savings (a basket of US & foreign money market funds + precious metals). These will be tapped to make up the difference if and when the value of social security received is no longer enough to cover our health care expenses. (Note: If needed health care is unavailable even with this plan, then it will probably be simply non-existent, because nobody will be able to afford it.)

    8) Assume that the economy is going to have a rough ride ahead. The best bet is to not put all one's eggs in one basket; diversify your investments. Operate with higher risk premiums than the market in general is presently employing; the market is apparently not properly taking the reality and implications of Peak Oil into account. Pay particular attention to diversification globally. Most professional financial advisors routinely recommend only investing 10-20% internationally, and they are almost all certainly wrong. The US economy is only a small piece of the global economy, and is not positioned to do well in the future; Americans with a substantial portion of their portfolio invested internationally will likely weather the storm much better than most other Americans. Don't worry about realizing top performance year after year, and don't even worry about losing some money; first and foremost you need to make sure that at least you don't lose ALL of your money (as will happen to many people).

    "I don't think the political will is there to promote a strong dollar using high rates at the expense of the US economy. The dollar will be sacrificed"

    But is the dollar value is plummeting, or for all the other good reasons foreigners will become less willing to lend the US more money (in dollar-denominated terms), then the interest rate will HAVE to rise in order to keep those deficits running, no? Even if just the local lenders will realize that the dollar is declining they will want higher interest rates regardless of what the fed says or does. I.e., you can't monetize the debt without raising interest rates for new loans.

    We don't have to worry about a decline in the dollar. Why? Because ultimately a large decline in the dollar will get rid of our international trade deficits--thus, decline in the value of the dollar vs. other currencies is a Good Thing.

    We don't have to worry about the Chinese or others dumping Treasury securities. Why? Because . . . who would they sell them to?

    John Maynard Keynes once wrote words to this effect: "If you owe the bank a thousand pounds, then the bank owns you. But if you owe the bank a million pounds, then you own the bank."

    The U.S. owes so much that "we own the bank." The foreigners who hold so many dollars will be screwed, blued, and tatooed when the dollar finally heads south in a big way. And there is not one thing the foreigners can do to stop that. (Even selling oil in Euros won't make much difference.) If you are an American, be proud: Our debts make us overwhelmingly powerful in the game of international finance.

    The chumps are those who hold dollars. Too bad for them . . . .

    Unfortunately, almost everything that Americans own in their investment portfolios and bank accounts is US dollar denominated, which means they will then become US penny denominated. As I mentioned in another post, investors that allocate a significant percentage to non-US investments would make out very well in that scenario.

    I wonder if Americans will still feel so proud when their made-in-China blue jeans at Wal-Mart cost several hundred dollars a pair?

    If the dollar is worth a tenth of a Mexican peso, we won't mind. And when my mortgage is less than the price of a postage stamp, I'll rejoice.

    Recall that the dollar is worth only 4% or 5% as much as it was in 1900. So why should we not expect it to shrink to a twentieth of its current value in decades to come? In fact, all the long-term inflation in the U.S. came since about 1940: Prior to that year prices rose during wars, then fell during post-war recessions and depressions and panics. The world has changed . . . .

    I see no possible way that social security benefits can be maintained at real, truly inflation-adjusted levels given what we know is coming down the pike, even if we manage to avoid the worst case die-off doomer scenarios.

    On the other hand, it would be extremely difficult for whoever is in office then to go back on their promises.

    Therefore, they will obfuscate and fudge.

    A couple of possible tricks that they will have up their sleves:

    1) Fiddle with the indexing formulas and inflation formulas so that that the calculation of benefits technically complies with current law, but in fact causes benefits to inexorably fall farther and farther behind in real terms.

    2) Change the tax law to tax all "unearned" (i.e., non-wage) income in excess of a certain minimum (poverty-level) allowance at the top marginal rate -- maybe raised to as high as 50%. Change the law so that ALL social security income is taxable as unearned income, not just part of it. (Note that this is also a way to cheat those of us that have put money into Roth IRAs. Our Roth withdrawals would still be non-taxable, all right; but they would count against that minimum allowance. That would effective mean that most or all of our social security benefits would become taxable.)

    Bottom line: It might be wise to plan in terms of receiving social security benefits that only equal 50% of what the "official" projections assume. It might also be wise to assume that the benefits you do get will lag by at least several percentage points behind whatever the inflation rate will be, and thus will decline in value by that differential.

    Of course, things could get much worse, and social security could become a mere memory. The above should be viewed as a relatively best case scenario.

    WNC: Social security is a red herring. Every year you raise the minimum age does a lot to balance the books. Some countries (I think Germany is one) have already started on this path. The USA would probably be fine once the minimum age to collect is raised to 73 years. The program was never intended to support citizens (who would prefer not to work) for extended periods e.g. 30 years.

    2. Throw in the towel on inflation and inflate away our debts in an effort to mitigate the real effects of Peak Oil.

    Thats very unlike to happen since it wouldn't work in a economic of declining energy resources. Since the US imports about 2/3 of its oil, it would cause exporters to simply stop selling to the US on the grounds that US currency is worthless. Without oil the economy with quickly collapse into a deep depression (assuming anarchy doesn't happen). As the price of Oil starts climb its likely that the Fed would take action to prevent the value of the dollar from decline avoid exporters from cutting us off.

    However, I believe there is a strong chance that in the future that many exporters will significantly reduce or end exports in order to retain reserves for domestic needs and strategic interests, regardless of the dollars strength. If this occurs, than the US economy becomes toast and anarchy takes over. If the US is lucky it will be able to aquire oil by trading food (at the expense of food rationing in the US). I think there is a good chance that this will occur before the a serious dollar crisis begins.

    Note also that Social Security (and to some extent Medicare also) is indexed for inflation: Thus AARP and the boomers will have relatively little to lose from worsening inflation

    I would disagree with this assesment since Social Security has not paced the rate of inflation for food, healthcare and energy with are the primary expenses for retirees. Inflation will absolutely crush those living on fixed income since they have least power to adjust to rising costs.

    SS and Medicare are also dependant on demographics, which begin to change in 2008 as the first wave of boomers are eligible for SS benefits. By 2012 to support SS and Medicare outlays, the tax burden on workers will approximately double. Remember that the SS surplus is used to finance gov't expenses. When as outlays rise, it takes away money from other gov't expenses. By 2012 the outlays will exceed SS revenues, which means the gov't has to increase taxes to pay for SS outlays and its general expenses. A severe recession (caused by housing bubble, PO, high taxes, etc) will only exerbate the tax burden. Assuming by some incredible miracle an energy crisis/disaster is avoided before 2012, actions will be taken to reduce entitlement outlays. Probably through a reduction of benefits and forcing workers soon eligible to continue work pass retirement age. Unlike in the 80's they can't fix SS and Medicare, by simply raising taxes again because the demographics will no longer support that option.

    You might very well be right about the election thing. But watch the US$ head south big time against other currencies if that happens.

    This complete paranoia over the potential for increasing interest rates – I’m no economist but all it says to me is that we are increasingly working with a smaller and smaller margin for error. This seems to indicate that TPTB recognize our economy isn’t robust enough to deal with an increase in interest rates and we are completely absolutely utterly dependent on the infinite growth paradigm – if this is so then it would follow that we are truly screwed…

    IMHO – it does and we are…

    As much as we on TOD would like to prepare for the future by predicting it (that's the purpose of this site), IMO predicting our economic future (even to the extent of high inflation vs deflation) is not possible.

    Sure, there are some good arguments that the Fed will try to inflate to reduce the cost of deficits and social spending obligations. Bernanke is a scholar of the Great Depression and has made it very, very clear that he will chose inflation over deflation. If he can.

    I'll argue that deflation is about equally plausible, because our "wealth" is conjured into existence when people borrow money. Suppose an expectation of substantial house price declines joins a desire by retiring Boomers to sell their stock holdings and McMansions: with an expectation of declining prices, will anyone want to borrow money to buy these things? When PO becomes generally accepted and people realize the era of growth is over, will they want to borrow money to expand their enterprise? The BIS isn't sure how much nominal value of derivatives is out there; their WAG is hundreds of trillions of dollars. If something triggers a quick 10% loss in that notional value, trillions in hallucinated wealth disappears just that fast.

    My point is: we're conducting a novel experiment and the finest mind in the world can't predict how it will work out with any certainty. I've invested in both inflation and deflation hedges; I obviously won't get as high return as I would if I correctly guessed inflation or deflation. But whichever way it goes I will hopefully preserve some of my wealth.


    Errol in Miami

    I'll argue that deflation is about equally plausible, because our "wealth" is conjured into existence when people borrow money.

    (emphasis mine)

    This is exactly the point, and why deflation is inevitable. A credit expansion proceeds until the debt that creates it can no longer be supported. A wave of debt defaults eventually occurs, leading to a vicious circle of deflation and depression (fueled by the unwinding of leverage), which crashes the money supply.

    You might be interesed in watching this video on money and debt.

    Stoneleigh and notindenial:
    Thankyou both, for your valued comments. Notindenial, you also made an excellent post late yesterday which I enjoyed reading. For all of the talk that goes on here about Heli Ben, my gut tells me he will be powerless when hit by this freight train.

    DOE/API numbers bullish:

    Wall st analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting:
    Crude oil: Up 1.5 million barrels

    Motor gas: Up 1.0 million barrels

    Distillates: Up 0.5 million barrels

    Complex: Up 3.0 million barrels

    The report came out with the complex DOWN 1.5 million barrels, with a big drop in distillate. Ill have a post up late afternoon on details.

    link to report here
    (The summary point is that these are very bullish numbers but traders are concerned about the economy heading south so the oil complex is only up fractionally in futures)

    Half of humanity to be in cities soon, U.N. says - State of the World Population' report urges seeing migrants as assets

    Some 3.3 billion people — more than half of humanity — will be living in cities by next year, according to a U.N. report released Wednesday. By 2030, cities will be home to close to 5 billion.

    Without proper planning, cities across the globe face the threat of overwhelming poverty, limited opportunities for youth, and religious extremism, U.N. Population Fund Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid told The Associated Press in London, where the report was released.

    ...Birth rates are driving urban population growth — instead of migration from rural areas, the report said. Family planning policies will be most effective in slowing urban growth — including comprehensive reproductive health services and sex education, it said.

    Regarding "Free Software" these computer nerds don't get it. Datacenters, ISP's, the entire IT infrastructure requires HUGE amounts of energy. I was in a couple corporate datacenters and the amount of energy used for air-conditioning and rack-mounted servers (i.e. cram more PCs into a small space) was astounding. They had 6 diesel locomotive engines and a city-sized transformer in the back lot in case the power went out.

    Further, where will the energy come from to power all of their PCs? Laptops have improved in energy usage, but how large of a solar panel(s) would I need to charge my battery?

    Check out google's recent install which went live on June 18. 9,212 175-watt panels supply only 30% of the electricity used in their glass-walled, hermetically-sealed, climate-controlled headquarters. I assume they have a data center in their headquarters?

    No it's just a normal office building.

    As with the Grid's 'Baseload' requirement (read, Assumption), we may soon have to learn how to work with an 'intermitternet', where 24/7 connectivity is not guaranteed.

    Just the same, the advantages and functionality of transmitting computer data will surely convince us to use other methods of linking up when or if the broader net is darkened. Don't forget that a few short years ago, your computer could use the phone lines (also admittedly vulnerable) to talk to other, individual computers. Guess what? They still can... and programmers are still devising terminal software for such transactions. That would be the 'Free Software', until I can get my brother to be a little more mercenary in his endeavors..

    When the phones are dead, the night is a great time to establish long-distance comm's over Shortwave, and if you Wiki-search "Packet Radio", you'll see that there are fairly simple ways to set it up with a PC and join groups who are already there. Don't know what bands they X-mit over..

    A 40 watt panel ( $310, Altenergystore.. http://store.altenergystore.com/Solar-Electric-Panels/1-to-50-Watt-Solar... ) could run many Laptops directly, but of course you'd want to be charging an intermediary battery-bank, if you hoped to weather cloud-passes and nighttime work.

    Bob Fiske

    Don't forget that a few short years ago, your computer could use the phone lines (also admittedly vulnerable) to talk to other, individual computers. Guess what? They still can

    I'm sure there must still be plenty of 300 bps modems gathering dust in closets & attics, free for the taking. What great fun!

    Google truncated the Wall Street Journal headline of a similar article to:

    Half of World Population to Live

    Some of us might find that fairly optimistic. ;-)

    If its New York city, I don't think you should count on subways to be available as needed. Interesting article


    "Howard H. Roberts Jr., the president of New York City Transit, told members of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board that the assessment's findings are "scary."

    "This is scary in the sense that right now, on a lot of these lines, we're several years and a big capital construction project away from being able to provide what I would consider adequate service," Roberts said. "We're constrained."

    The heavily traversed numbered lines _ the 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 _ have little or no room to accommodate more riders, Roberts said. Additional trains cannot be added to the tracks during rush hours _ and subway cars are often overcrowded during those times, he said. Those lines cannot accommodate anymore riders."

    Quid Clarius Astris
    Ubi Bene ibi patria

    Of course, that's during Peak, and traveling in the Peak directions. As a Freelancer in NY, my hours had me 'reverse commuting' on comfortably peopled trains, and so just as people in Suburbia may discover that they can ease some of the strain and expense of their daily travails by creatively altering or eliminating their commute, so will New Yorkers probably start creating more staggered start-times to their shifts, using the trains outside the peak windows. The trains can hold a LOT more people, if we just break out of a couple boxes that our expectations have us locked into..


    There is hope. also from the article

    The problem of overcrowding on trains could be alleviated by the new Second Avenue subway and expansion of computerized signal systems, or even the extension of platforms at some stations to accommodate longer trains. But many of those solutions are years away from completion

    The short term solution is more buses.

    In order to expand capacity during rush hour, I would improve controls as the lowest cost solution. From memory, Moscow runs their trains on closer headways than NYC.

    The Second Avenue subway and the Los Angeles Red Line extension at least to UCLA should be the two highest priorities for new lines.

    IMO all 4 solutions will be needed post-Peak Oil. Better controls, longer trains/platforms, 2nd Avenue subway and staggered working hours.

    Best Hopes for NYC transit,


    Re: Building a bug to harvest oil

    Companies have been experimenting on microbiological enhancement of crude production for about 35 years now, with some pretty good successes. The bugs work by one of two approaches-generating more methane to drive the oil into the wellbore, and/or decrease viscosity so that flow rates and recovery rates increase.
    In my opinion, its the approach to tertiary recovery that shows the most promise for actually increasing ultimate recovery.

    Record travel expected for July 4 holiday

    A record number of Americans will hit the road for the July 4 holiday despite high gasoline prices and the fact it lands in the middle of the week, automobile and travel group AAA said.

    Woo hoo! I'm a statistic!

    We'll be on the road RIGHT ON 7/4, from Maine to NYC, where we'll then be on foot and mass transit for 4-5 days.

    'Take a picture with us and the car, honey! Might be the last time we ever do this!'


    We should rename it "Dependence Day" since we celebrate our dependence upon imported oil by burning up huges amounts of it.

    Americans "In Dependence of Oil Day"...haaa

    Hello WNC,

    LOL! That's pretty clever.

    After seeing Leanan's traffic jam picture above, maybe July 4th will be In-DEPENDS{tm}-Day in widespread imitation of the recent female asstronaut. Lots of people will strap-on adult diapers so they don't have to worry about soiling their Lexus leather.

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

    Asstronaut?!?! Too funny!

    Spotted circling Uranus, no doubt.

    Looking at the picture above, I can now understand why many are averse to driving small cars.

    Second car back, middle row,slightly ahead and to the right (looking out) of the orange and white behomoth. looks like looks a german sports car.


    I had a 1968 Triumph Spitfire 35 years ago. Now talk about scary when driving down the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago.

    35 years ago I had a 1965 Spitfire. It was scary heading down Hwy 101 in CA with all of the semis.... But it was fun. I remember having so few belongings that 3 trips in the Spitfire took care of my books, clothing, sewing stuff, and lack of furniture--and they were very small cars.

    Good to see so many here that previously owned Triumph
    In 1965 I traded-in my rusting Austin-Healey "frog (bug) eyed" Sprite for a new Mk.2 Spitfire which cost £665 including wing mirrors, sun visors, and tonneau cover.
    The swing axle rear suspension needed to be treated with
    caution when rounding bends on wet roads, and the white
    paintwork soon became two-tone white and rust.
    However the separate chassis held the rusting bodywork
    together, and I ran this car for 10 years.
    Driving was fun in those days before the roads became so
    congested. I had married my pretty 21 year old wife in 1964,
    and life seemed full of promise.
    Happy days!.

    You had a spit?


    my first car was a spit. Third paycheck paid for it.

    1st paycheck: pay back mum
    2nd paycheck: pay back bank
    3rd paycheck: car, and date

    That was the cost of an education once...

    1500cc with twin overhead cams.

    Richthoven Red with alloy wheels and mahogany finish interior.

    Like shit off a stick. (when it started at all)

    You lucky SOB: $10 Million training as a fighter pilot or one weekend in a Triumph Spit.

    They rust badley though, dont they?

    But that was in the days before some wanka invented speed cameras.

    Err... just to get politically correct again: It did do 33 mpg urban cycle...ahem...

    ... and it was a long time ago...

    And I would never advocate such truly irresponsible behaviour to young people now...(honest)

    Mine was bright red with a lacock overdrive. It was from Salinas California so it was totally rust free. I put it in storage for a few years and later sold it to a good friend who restored it from the ground up. He offered it back to me five years ago but I was satisfied of the memories of the car I already had so he sold it to one of the other members in his Triumph club.

    looks like looks a german sports car.

    Yes, it looks like a BMW Z3

    This is pretty funny, currently #1 at reddit:


    It's even on topic! enjoy...

    This site is evil! Shame on you linking to it. As though I didn't waste enough time on the intertubes already. Damn you Sunspot ;-)

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

    Couple of candidates for Darwin Awards...

    Explosion kills 2 teens

    They were partying in the woods...by an oil well and storage tanks. They built a bonfire there. o_O

    They were jumping up and down on top of the tank when it exploded. They don't know if it was the bonfire, static electricity, or smoking marijuana that caused the spark, but the bodies were found 400 ft. away.

    They're really lucky it wasn't worse. Apparently, a lot more people were on top of the tank earlier, but most had climbed down shortly before it exploded.

    This story reminds me of when I was a kid in the country. There were only two other boys my age (about 10 at the time of this story) in the area and they decided to build a "flame thrower." To this end they got an old inner tube and put gasoline in it. Then one guy held a match near the valve stem. Finally, the other guy jumped on the inner tube to spray gasoline on the match. Bad idea!

    The kid who jumped on the tube was blown about 20' in the air and suffered pretty significant burning. The other kid just got singed.

    As the old saying goes: 1 teenage boy = 1 brain, 2 teenage boys = 1/2 brain, 3 teenage boys = no brain.

    I calculated the average IQ of a group of teenagers the following way:

    Take the IQ of the first teenager on the scene and then divide by the total number of teenagers that ultimately show up, to get the average IQ of the group. So, as the size of the group increase, the average IQ approaches zero.

    Of course, females would say that this rule applies to males of all ages.

    * throwing together a group of men, any age, equals stupidity
    * throwing together a group of women, any age, equals meanness

    nothing malintentioned there, just a plea to keep the two mixed at all time

    That hasn't been my experience.

    Kinda like in "Houston, Houston, Do You Read," where it turns out women need men to protect them...but only from other men. Women can be catty...but it's usually in competition for men. In situations where there are no men, or where there a lot more men than women, women tend to band together.

    We're moving into fun territory now, but hey, I'm game.
    Can we agree that groups of -only- men inevitably lead to stupidity?
    Mostly when girls get together, they will be mean to each other, Darwin like, seen it a million times.

    But let me be on the record as saying that all governments should have 50% women at all times. And I've said that for years, and I'm very male.

    The disconnect in House/Senate numbers is way more important than anyone seems to realize. I always get the same asnwer: "you need the best people". Eh... no, you need the best women for half of the seats, AND the best men for the other half..

    The secret is the mix. But I have no hopes anyone will ever understand this, including women. Well. other than the Iroquois tribes who lived it for 700 years before we came.

    Can we agree that groups of -only- men inevitably lead to stupidity?

    I wouldn't know. I've never been part of a group of only men, for obvious reasons. :)

    I've got a bunch of roosters just about big enough for the freezer and they are sooooo dumb. But they are happy....

    Good eating. This guy is happy too.

    cfm in Gray, ME

    Can we agree that groups of -only- men inevitably lead to stupidity?

    Yeah, special forces? Retards.




    Clearly she is a WITCH!

    'Possibly a Nun in the guise of the Devil!

    Or the Devil in the guise of a Nun!

    Get Him!

    Get Her!

    Get them Both!'

    Apologies to Jabberwocky - the movie

    And of course to Leannon.

    Men 'are such children at this time...'

    Apologies to Blazing Saddles...

    better stop now.

    Add alcohol for maximum effect.

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

    That's cute, up here in WA St we have almost the same joke-slightly different take- "If you got one boy (presumably for help with chores), you got a boy, you got two boys you got a half a boy, three boys, no boy." I like yours better.

    A fine example of natural selection at work.

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

    They were really lucky?...No, they were really stupid and we are better off that they are out of the gene pool!

    OK so let me get this straight. The leaders of the "FREE" world got together and decided that they were going to take away the rights of FREE sovereign countries and put them under OUR legal system so we can sue them for jacking up the prices of oil?

    Anybody explain to these geniuses that stuff like payments on lawsuits come out of business profits which are then passed on to the consumer with higher prices? (All the other reasons this is stupid not withstanding.)

    Our leaders have lost their collective minds. They see the storm coming and are running around in circles trying to figure out what to do about it. In the meantime their house is washing away in the surge.

    The funniest part is that OPEC was based on a U.S. cartel, the Texas Railroad Commission.

    Even funnier is the fact that the USA habitually rejects all global legislation and conventions that may apply to it (laws of war, Geneva conventions, NAFTA, the list can go on, and on) while at the same time seeking to sue a third party for damages arising from the USA's "non-negotiable" lifestyle. Heck, the US does not even adhere to its own Constitution.

    I'm looking forward to the day the Iraqi's sue the US for damages consequent on loss of life, property, negligence, general mayhem and illegal occupation. Perhaps OPEC can fund the suit?

    It's just another signal of a dysfunctional congress.

    If this was ever suppose to be real:

    1) How would you enforce it?

    2) If you could enforce it, would that increase the price of oil as they pass it down?

    3) see 1.

    Absurd...once again. Hey, you elected them.

    A lawsuit against a foreign government can be enforced through seizure of assets they have in the US. Arab royalty has invested billions in US businesses and their shares of stocks could be seized and bank accounts frozen.

    I didn't say how could you...there are ways...buy how WOULD you.

    Siezing the assets of KSA and others will help the US situation on Foriegn oil...by SHUTTING it off.

    I have to admit...it has merit :-P

    Thomas: The USA economy in 2007 is totally supported by inflows of foreign capital. Taking the Chavez route would be extremely risky at this point.

    Right. And exactly how many microliters or oil do we expect them to export to us after that?

    Not only are our fearless leaders discussing bringing suit against OPEC but they also slapped SA in the face by cutting off the $2 Mil per year sent as foreign aid. Two questions: Why would we be sending SA $2 Mil per in foreign aid? Why would we insult them by cutting it off? The Chinese must be laughing so hard that they are choking on their rice!

    Why would we be sending SA $2 Mil per in foreign aid?
    I thought we sent everybody foreign aid.

    I ELPed 5 years ago by moving out of Monterey Bay Cal (silicon valley west)
    to small town Oregon. Population 50k, state university town so less of the negatives of small town USA.

    Went from well paid, (at least when things went right), Industrial design/Product development to Soup Shop owner. Think starbucks only walking out with a cup of delicious nutrition instead of sugar/caffeine dose. (Please no soup nazi cracks)

    Reciently several Ag students have taken over unused greenhouses of which there are hundreds within a 50 mile radius. They come to me with whatever they produce knowing I will buy.

    Tomatoes, arugula, salad mix exotics, potatoes (not greenhouse), squash, etc.

    It costs more than the commercial suppliers but like I’ve said before it takes a conscious effort to NOT base all your decisions on optimizing for the highest capitalistic gains. I reap huge gains in the form of community acceptance and piece of mind.

    We (OSU) hosted FFA – future farmers of America this year. 2500 fresh faced 17 & 18 year olds. Didn’t see a fat kid in the bunch. Some responded to my PO related propaganda on display. A few even understood what it could mean but still just thought “Organic” was the solution. My local Ag students understand that Organic farming can be just as harmful to the land.

    P.S. I make the best GUMBO west of the rockies. A guy I used to cook with who did time at Lou Zee Anna State (no dis just trying to get it the way he said it) pointed to his arm as I was making the roux and said “don’t stop until it gets this color”.

    I make the best GUMBO west of the rockies

    Competition is a little lighter there than in my neighborhood# :-)

    The old joke is that EVERY Cajun (not to be confused with Creole) recipe starts with "first you make a roux" :-)

    EVERY gumbo is different. What do you put into yours ? Okra ? Seafood or chicken ? Or sausage ? File ?

    Any turtle soup (my favorite) ?

    Best Hopes for Good Eating,

    # I think five James Beard winning award chefs within 1 mile. Add 4 or 5 more if you expand to 1.5 miles. 15 in the Parish.

    But the local chefs do superb gumbos. Zara's (deli in local grocery), Halperin's (2nd floor cafe in furniture store open to the public), St. Charles Tavern, Reconcile Cafe, and more :-)

    I reap huge gains in the form of community acceptance and piece of mind

    The first step to great food is good ingredients. Good chefs will take stuff off the menu if they cannot get the right quality and have to "make do".

    An accepted practice here, but I have heard, second hand, of some friction elsewhere when our chefs relocated after Katrina.

    I strongly suspect that those studenta had good fresh produce.

    Best Hopes for Quality Food,


    By 'did time at Lou Zee Anna State' do you mean he attended LSU at Baton Rouge or did he 'do time' at Angola, probably the worst prison facility in the US and perhaps the free world.

    Alan & River thanks for responding.

    I cooked my way through school and met some of the most interesting folks in those kitchens. Been cooking ever since.
    I almost never make the same soup twice but my gumbo always starts with "the trinity" finish with shrimp, clam, crab, andoulle sausage, and on occasion okra. People either like okra or really hate it, I love it!

    and no way I'd leave out the sassafras.

    Denton got a degree but not one that would open doors to corp. America if you get my drift.

    What ever else happens I will pull together some ingredients and some good company to share a meal and a drink. (crush some fresh mint with a pinch of sugar and shake with ice and sarconal. Ahhhhhhh)

    I never had gumbo with clams.


    Could be interesting & good :-)


    I use what I can get.

    steamed clams - the left coast's arsters. they don't bother with a bowl they just fill up the servers 18" tray with 'em and include a small bowl of broth with it.

    We do have oysters here too but they don't hold a candle to the gulf.

    Best ever by far are Kumamoto oyster but I would never even consider cooking them.

    Raw oysters only IMHO.

    Yesterday, while traveling I-80, I found myself behind an 18-wheeler with this bumper sticker:


    I thought that was extremely succinct and summed things up pretty well.

    And, this was my fortune in my fortune cookie a couple of days ago:

    Enjoy yourself while you can.

    And my fortune cookie from last week: "Your energy is at a peak."

    In that case, we must have eaten at the same restaurant! (CM and I live near each other)

    You must finish reading all fortune cookies
    by adding the words "in bed" to the end of the fortune.

    example: your energy is at a peak in bed.

    Yes, of course, duh! My female brain wasn't thinking of that!

    We always used between the sheets.

    Luck is coming your way (between the sheets!)

    Your talents will be recognized and rewarded (between the sheets!)

    You are knowledgeable and charming (between the sheets!)

    Perhaps we could try this with your headlines, for example...

    "High priced gas can lead to innovation in bed", or, "71% think global warming has nothing to do with man's actions in bed".

    I got a fortune cookie about two months ago which said, "An unexpected event will bring you great wealth." And I had been thinking about peak oil during lunch.

    Billboard on the side of I5 in Oregon.

    "If you bought it, Truckers brought it"

    Leaving No Tracks

    Sue Ellen Wooldridge, the 19th-ranking Interior Department official, arrived at her desk in Room 6140 a few months after Inauguration Day 2001. A phone message awaited her.

    "This is Dick Cheney," said the man on her voice mail, Wooldridge recalled in an interview. "I understand you are the person handling this Klamath situation. Please call me at -- hmm, I guess I don't know my own number. I'm over at the White House."

    Wooldridge wrote off the message as a prank. It was not. Cheney had reached far down the chain of command, on so unexpected a point of vice presidential concern, because he had spotted a political threat arriving on Wooldridge's desk.

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

    I can't see or hear Dick Cheney's name without hearing The Stones doing "Sympathy for the Devil."

    I rode a tank
    with General Franks
    While Shock and Awe raged
    And the bodies stank
    Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guess my name...

    He, along with Karl Rove and Donald Rumsfeld (and a few others) are in no small way, responsible for the deteriorating state of politics in the US of A. This guy should have been run out of Washington decades ago.

    Peak Sushi?

    Waiter, There’s Deer in My Sushi

    TOKYO, June 24 — Sushi made with deer meat, anyone? How about a slice of raw horse on that rice?

    These are some of the most extreme alternatives being considered by Japanese chefs as shortages of tuna threaten to remove it from Japan’s sushi menus — something as unthinkable here as baseball without hot dogs or Texas without barbecue.

    In this seafood-crazed country, tuna is king. From maguro to otoro, the Japanese seem to have almost as many words for tuna and its edible parts as the French have names for cheese. So when global fishing bodies recently began lowering the limits on catches in the world’s rapidly depleting tuna fisheries, Japan fell into a national panic.

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

    CNN breaking news: a power outage has taken out the NYC subway system.

    Oy. This is going to be a disaster. It's rush hour. And it's about 100F right now. The trains are going to be unbearable without power. People will probably get out and start wandering the tracks, further delaying things.

    Underground temperatures do not get that hot. All that granite (low R-value BTW) makes a great heat sink. Only heat source is body temp and a bit of battery power.

    Although 100 years of use have heated the London Underground (think, add heat for 100 years and the heat sink gets slightly saturated). Not such a big deal in NYC yet.

    Appears that 20 blocks along Lexington Avenue are out. Busiest subway line in USA. This could affect some East bound trains to Queens as well.


    Underground temperatures do not get that hot.

    As someone who has been stranded on the NYC subway in milder temps than these, I can say from personal experience that you are so wrong that you've used up all your mistakes for the rest of your life. It's brutal down there in the summer. A freakin' oven.

    That said, it sounds like it wasn't that bad this time. The trains didn't lose power, just the signals did. So I presume the air conditioning on the cars worked.

    I am about to walk out the door into the New Orleans heat and humidity @ 4:40 PM for a 14 block round trip. And it is not that hot :-)

    The heat in the air in the NYC subways comes from human and mainly electrical sources. Lighting and electric motors are the two biggest sources of heat. Remove those and leave only human (about 600 BTU per) and air temperatures should trend towards ambient, i.e rock temperatures.

    Best Hopes for a Pleasantly Warm Summer,


    I don't care where it comes from. It's still stifling.

    I rode the subway every day for about a year, and got stranded by power outages fairly regularly. It was hot in summer and freezing in winter, perhaps because the subway is open to the street in many places. (Those famous grates.)

    And it could take several days for it to cool down after a hot spell like this. So even after it was comfortable above ground, it could be wicked hot below.

    I think one reason that most people tolerate extreme traffic jams fairly well is that most cars nowadays have air conditioning. With the AC working, some cool CDs pounding music out of the stereo system and the ubiquitious cell phone, being stranded in the privacy of your own car isn't so bad. Being stranded on public transportation is hell, especially if you are crammed in with a bunch of people who forgot to use deoderant or who are prone to pass large quantities of gas.

    One of the hotttest places I've been is the underground or underroof Chicago terminal for Amtrack on a summer day 10 yrs ago. They park the trains in here, keep them idling, and have the passengers walk with luggage through an absolute inferno of blowing hot air and fumes for hundreds of yards, or so it seemed. Then wait in the terminal to walk back out to find the continuing train.

    Absolutely idiotic, I wonder if it still done this way.

    "air temperatures should trend towards ambient, i.e rock temperatures."

    Sorry Alan, but 'should' don't cut it on this one. For one thing, these tunnels, even with vents above to the streets end up with a lot of static air. It gets very humid and stale, and then any trains blowing through are venting out the heat from their A/C units (plus motors,brakes, etc) in a wash of 'yuck' that clings to you and the hundreds of others who are hovering around you. I only wish there was enough surface area on the rock and concrete to transfer the ground coolth into those tunnels, but alas!

    "In theory, theory should work like real life.. but in real life, it doesn't seem to..."

    Still in love with those Stinky Subways,

    The NYT blog says the trains are powered by direct current and had no trouble getting to the stations during the blackout to discharge the passengers.


    ¿¿¿¿¿¿Underground temperatures don't get that hot??????

    Sheesh, Alan, have you lost your mind? Have you ever been on the NY subway, especially the former IRT (numbered lines), in summertime? It's worse than wicked.

    It doesn't settle to cave temperature because (1) rocks are actually fairly good insulation, and the tunnels are confined and have a lot of heat dissipated into them by crowds and trains; (2) all that heat has been dissipated into the system for almost a century now, so even the deep parts are no longer at cave temperature; (3) much of the underground part of the system is shallow early 20th century cut-and-cover, so sun beating on pavement has more to do with the reality as any theoretical cave temperature; and (4) almost all of the system is quite confined (though London is worse), as it is so old - it's nothing whatever like the Washington DC Metro, which has those fabulously expensive open, vaulted stations.

    In addition, there is no ventilation system except for a little air pushed in and out by trains or seeping into station entrances and sidewalk grates; it's nothing like a road tunnel.

    The London Underground has the same problem, only worse, because many of the London tunnels are so confined that the trains are specially shaped to fit, and they fit with just centimeters to spare. The system tends to be deeper than in NY, and heat has been dissipated into it for even longer. The problem has been getting worse over the years, and all sorts of desperate measures are now being proposed to cope with it.

    And last evening (almost as hot) I heard from somebody in Salem, MA that power in their area was out for hours.

    Shroom to Grow: Home-Grown Insulation Gets Fungi

    "I think it has a lot of potential, and it could make a big difference in people's lives," says RPI Professor Burt Swersy, whose Inventor's Studio course inspired the product's creation. "It's sustainable, and enviro-friendly, it's not based on petrochemicals and doesn't require much energy or cost to make it."

    The product will be able to hold its own alongside most insulation brands on the market, according to Bayer and McIntyre. A 1-inch-thick sample of the perlite-mushroom composite has an R-value (a measure of a substance's ability to resist heat flow) of 2.9. Commercially produced fiber glass insulation typically have R-values between 2.7 and 3.7 per inch of thickness, according to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

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

    Giant microwave turns plastic back into oil

    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).

    Lester Brown Speaks to Senate on Biofuels Blunder

    This was posted on the Canadian “Round Up” list. I thought it was fantastic. The two videos are very revealing.

    Ron Patterson


    Did you make sure to post an appreciative comment for Stoneleigh at the TOD Canada site?

    Do make sure to read the finance articles over there too, I would recommend, it complements the Drumbeat in significant ways.

    The BIS statement is not just a whiff of air, and moreover, Bear Stearns is a serious upheaval on Wall Street, this is a major bank being sucked into the drain.

    The impact on oil and economy could be huge.

    -Increasing income causes increase in demand for normal goods, and decreasing demand for inferior goods. (This is actually a good argument for decreasing real income of Americans, why buy CHEAP CHINA CRAP? WHY? Economics says otherwise, AND IS CORRECT, ergo real wages are falling.)

    i posted this about 10 seconds ago in the haystack thread, but i wanted it here.

    Seriously? This is correct reasoning, and in a falling real wage scenario the correct measure is to produce inferior goods (as demand for inferior goods rises as income falls!!!)

    comments plz.

    Even more interesting is the case of the Giffen good. A Giffen good is one where when the price goes up, you consume more of it (i.e. quantity demanded increases). For example, when the price of potatoes went up during the Great Potato Famine in Ireland, people may have bought more potatoes than before--because even though the price of potatoes went up (due to a drastic reduction in supply), the rising price of potatoes made people so much poorer that still less variety could be afforded in the diet--so they ate more potatoes (those who did not emigrate or starve to death) than before the Famine.

    Ireland went from a population of 8 million to a population of 4 million--such were the results of the first green revolution that brought the potato to Europe. The Irish learned--and Ireland has one of the lowest rates of population growth in the world.

    BTW, in the later editions of "Essay on Population" the gloomy Malthus became somewhat less gloomy and thought that population might be stabilized through postponing marriage (and having a large percentage of the population never marry). Recall that Malthus considered birth control to be "vice," and he was against it. He did favor population control measures that did not increase death rates and called these "preventive checks" on population growth.

    yes i am aware of the giffen through my various perusings, but have never seriously studied it.

    a sad sorid state of human affairs

    its also interesting and in many cases pricing goods higher leads to vastly increased profit margins. (stores which offer crappy clothing at a very fat price get increased sales from people wanting to buy the expensive good) This is more of a mental breakdown in my mind, whoopsy Veblen good. my bad. if the price of a good goes up and demand increases as a function of PRICE increase it is a Veblen good.

    The potato came to Ireland because of the little ice age. Heads of state all over Europe tried to introduce the potato as a replacement for wheat in the suddenly colder climate. The potato was adopted in most areas with the notable exception of France (gotta love those French folks) where the people demanded bread made from wheat. Sacre Bleu! Give us our bread or else! We dont want no stinkin' potatoes. Take your freedom fries and put them where the sun dont shine!

    Such a mighty tuber.

    The great potato famine had its start in 1845, with the arrival of Phytophthora infestans in Europe. By the following year, the stench of rotting potatos was throughout Ireland. The spores of the blight infected both growing and stored tubers, turning the tops of the green plant black in a matter of days. Within 3 years, a million Irish were dead of starvation, one in every eight, within a decade, the population was halved due to death and migration.

    It is a lesson in monoculture, in ecological collapse(I'm surprized Diamond didn't dwell on it) and politics. The population of Ireland had ballooned in the previous century, from 3 to 8 million, largely on the potato. For the peasantry, it was often the only food, and most got by solely on potatoes and milk. A magic crop, it enabled small plots of marginal land throughout a country that itself was unsuited to grain to feed both a large family and its livestock. Although hard to take hold in the breadbasket of Europe, (Louis XVI is said to have planted it throughout the Royal Garden, then purposely leave it unguarded at night to encourage thievery), the Irish were tied like no other to the crop. It was a single variety, termed the Lumper, and quite susceptible Phytophthora infestans. In its native land, the Incas would cultivate over 300 varieties of potato to take advantage of an assortment of microclimates, but not in the Emerald Isles. It's importance to the population was cemented in 1794, when the wheat harvest throughout England failed. Food riots broke out, but the ultimate result was more reliance on the potato. Wages, which had tracked grain prices, now tracked potatoes. The new food helped fuel the industrialization of Europe, allowed the population of Ireland to skyrocket, and doomed its biggest supporter.

    The lowly underground tuber was looked upon with disdain by the upper classes, especially in England. It spurred great debates on food, on the mighty wheat and its rising bread vs the cold, ill- formed tuber. By its unsuitablity as a commodity-it wouldn't store like grain, but had to be eaten relatively soon-it was felt it would disrupt the economy of the land. It happened, but it wasn't the plant, but rather the practices.

    Seems so much like oil today.

    I don't intend any of this to be down on the Irish. For starters, I'm married into a very proud Irish family.
    And it's still a magic plant. I can't emphasize enough my support for it in your home garden. Plant 3 varieties, minimizing the russet burbank. The caloric yield/unit of space is unsurpassed. And compared to commercial production, few items yield a better natural harvest.

    "don't intend any of this to be down on the Irish"
    No need to even mention that - you're talking about HISTORY - this stuff HAPPENED. Your summary is very good. The monoculture of potatoes was a huge mistake, and Ireland paid dearly for it.

    Cuchulainn (who is Irish, hence the name).

    During the Irish potato famine, merchants still exported crops and meat and potatoes to England. Irish peasantry continued to starve. Throughout this time, the Irish, dependant on potatoes were discounted as a redundant population.

    Bear in mind that this potato blight in Ireland occured at a time the apex of the highland clearances and the great Celtic migration occured. Roughly a 50 year span of hardship and migration.

    'Our loss is your gain'.

    The Celtic fringe left these shores for a life uncertain. But certainly a life.

    I understand that America and Canada has now more Scottish and Irish decendants than the current populations of Scotland and Ireland.

    Perhaps that was the destiny of this remarkable race. It would appear they punch above their weight.

    i think that is called globilization, falling wages and cheap junk imports

    Well, the Cincinnati Reds are truly awful this season. I mean really, really awful. They've resorted to desperate measures to get buns in the seats: they're giving away free gasoline if you buy four tickets.

    It's really a very appropriate promotion if you think about it. Other teams' relief pitchers put out fires. Ours pour gasoline on them.

    That article on the rigzone website is a classic example of oil industry propaganda (for lack of a better word):

    OPEC Outlook: Demand For OPEC Oil By 2010 Below 2005 Level


    Ha! Who are they trying to kid? The OPEC countries are, by and large, THE last countries with any serious prospects for increasing oil production. If the world is going to be supplied with more oil in the coming years, it's going to have to come from OPEC. This talk that OPEC may not have to produce as much because of increased production elsewhere or because of alternative energies is just a lame way for them to excuse their geologically-driven declining production in the face of robust demand and exceptionally high oil prices. Even when oil is $200 a barrel and there are gasoline shortages at gas stations all around the world, they'll be saying, "We are thinking that we need to (voluntarily) cut our production (mind you, we still have PLENTY of spare capacity), because, you know, we just can't find any people out there who want to buy oil these days...

    "There were many more risks associated with weaker demand for conventional crude than with a rising need for oil, the report said, putting a question mark over long-term investment plans...[...]...The total stock of cars globally is expected to rise from 700 million in 2005 to 1.2 billion by 2030, OPEC said, with a considerable amount of this forecast rise seen coming from developing countries."

    Ummm...cognitive dissonance, anyone?!