DrumBeat: June 30, 2007

BP economist: World’s oil is plentiful

Drivers might wince at high gas prices, but it's a sign of a well-functioning oil market, not a crisis, Finley said.

"The world's not running out of oil," he said.

The world has enough reserves to pump oil for 40 years at the current production rates, assuming no new oil sources are found, according to the BP review.

"Reserves have risen 15 years in a row, and I think that's the picture to take out of here," Finley said.

$70 crude is one more holiday hassle

Hot dogs, hamburgers, $3 gas and now crude at $70 a barrel — the list of heartburn-inducing items on the menu this Fourth of July holiday keeps getting longer.

And keep the antacid handy, because things could get worse before they get better.

Houston Chronicle snapshots:

     ● Oil data
     ● Natural gas data
     ● Rig count

Extreme weather wakes US up to climate change

US public opinion is rapidly waking up to the threat posed by global warming, despite the best efforts of the Bush Administration and much of industry to deny the problem.

End Of Suburbia (audio)

Andy Barrie spoke with director Gregory Greene.

Iraq Kurds Unveil Oil Blocks, See Oil Law Deal

Iraq's northern autonomous Kurdish government on Friday said it's planning to offer 40 new oil blocks to foreign companies in a sign that it said, reflects its confidence Iraq is close to reaching a final deal on the country's long-delayed hydrocarbons law.

Chavez invites Russians to invest more in his country's oil

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called on Russian business leaders Friday to boost their investment in his country, criticizing U.S. companies as "vampires" and inviting Russians to help develop a massive oil deposit.

Chevron to Open Office in Turkmenistan

Chevron Corp. is opening an office in Turkmenistan, following the Turkmen government's invitation last month for the U.S. oil giant to work in the energy-rich Central Asian nation, state-run television reported Friday.

Confiscated booze becomes alternative fuel

Smugglers trying to sneak alcohol into Sweden are unwittingly helping fuel the country's public transport system and reducing its greenhouse emissions.

Almost all of the 185,000 gallons of smuggled alcohol seized by the customs service last year was turned into alternative fuel and used to power buses, trucks and a biogas train, officials said Friday.

The Hydrogen Economy - Hype or Holy Grail

In the end, the hydrogen economy will be only one of many solutions to US energy independence. It isn’t the Holy Grail, but it’s also not overblown hype.

Two potential nuclear sites chosen

Exelon Nuclear has selected two sites in southeastern Texas as possible locations for a new nuclear plant.

Gas tax money not meeting road needs

Slow growth in the fuel tax - not just in Florida but also nationally - means there will likely be less road-building money available in a fast-growing state where the population is expected to approach 45 million residents by mid-century. In the U.S., gas tax revenues grew by less than one-tenth of a percent this year through April, compared to an annual growth rate of about 4 percent just four years ago.

"Today, the revenues that are generated do not meet the demands," Clary said.

Iran regime drowning in oil

The need to ration gas in OPEC's second largest exporter of crude oil reveals a major vulnerability of Iran's theocratic regime.

Lebanon: EDL blames theft, heat wave for tight rationing

Lebanon sank deeper into darkness for the past week under rationing that Electricite du Liban (EDL) officials said they were forced to apply because of electricity theft, a heat wave and power-station repairs. Apart from Beirut, most areas experienced more than 12 hours a day of power cuts, according to Daily Star correspondents, prompting citizens, merchants and industrialists to rely

The True Cost of Oil: $65 Trillion a Year?

Quick: What's the most common criticism of renewable energy?

Right: That it's not economical. Too expensive compared to cheap oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear.

And that's true, if you have a calculator that can only add, and you don't count a bunch of stuff.

But that's not the way we do math around here. We like to figure out the real cost of things. It's the only intelligent way to invest!

The Biggest Economic Opportunity of This Century

John Doerr is one of Silicon Valley's more successful and higher-profile VCs, with big wins including early investments in Symantec, Amazon.com, and more recently, Google.

This success, I believe, gives his words some weight. So when he says, as he did in November, that global warming is real and that "cleantech" is "the biggest economic opportunity of this century," my ears -- and yours -- should perk up.

Malaysian Oil Earnings Create Economic Crutch

As Asia looks back on the decade since the financial crisis that began in 1997, it is increasingly clear that oil revenue played perhaps the most crucial role in rescuing the Malaysian economy from the financial meltdown that bankrupted companies and sent the government deep into deficit.

A new and improved public transport system vital for Cuba’s development

Making optimum use of the massive resources that the Cuban government is investing in the rehabilitation of the country’s transportation network demands a high level of organization, commitment and efficiency from workers and officials at all levels. This was expressed by Transportation Minister Jorge Luis Sierra at the Cuban parliament on Thursday.

Mexico's Pemex not seeking risk-sharing alliances

Mexico's Pemex is not seeking to pair up with foreign companies in risk-sharing alliances that would require legal changes, a senior executive at the state-owned oil monopoly said.

Pemex to Spud Sixth Deepwater Well in 2007

Mexican state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos plans to drill its sixth deepwater well before the end of this year as the company pushes its exploration efforts further into the Gulf of Mexico, an official said Friday.

Statoil Scraps CO2 Plan

Some 80 and 90 people have been working on this value chain, and around NOK 400 million have been spent on the project including external studies. The evaluation shows that though the value chain is technically feasible, it is not commercially viable.

Nuclear demand will outstrip supply: CEO

Uranium spot prices are unsustainable at current levels over the long term, the chief executive of miner Cameco Corp. CCO.TO said on Wednesday, but he also forecast global demand for the nuclear fuel outstripping production for the next eight or nine years.

President: Fuel rationing huge move

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called the fuel rationing a huge and complex decision that would make Iran invulnerable.

He was referring to the government's measure last week, taken to curb the country's growing fuel consumption based on which the fuel needed by the nation's private and public vehicles will be offered only under a quota system.

Ahmadinejad said getting cars to run on natural gas is one of the ways to reduce gas consumption. He added if cars run on gas there would be no need for fuel imports.

Pakistan: Of Power Shortage

OF-LATE, the countrywide electricity shortage has reached an alarming proportion leading to frequent cut downs in supply and breakdowns thus affecting badly the industrial production and causing immeasurable agony to the common man.

Carolyn Baker: Sexual Orientation: When It Matters and When It Doesn't

n the light of these daunting realities, I do not believe that the LGBT community can afford to focus only on the dual issues of gay marriage and HIV/AIDS. I do not oppose concern with these issues, but I cannot help but be appalled that LGBT political leaders have become fixated on them with little awareness or discourse about what I continue to name as The Terminal Triangle of climate change, Peak Oil, and global economic meltdown. While I support the right of every lesbian and gay individual to conceive and birth children, I cringe at what in some instances is an obsession with doing so in the face of earth’s carrying capacity, population overshoot, and the die-off that may occur as a result of the Terminal Triangle’s devastations. In one of the chapters of my book “Tunnel Vision In The Rainbow Nation”, I state that while the LGBT community desires a “place at the table” in the American political discourse, its overall lack of understanding about the nature of that political discourse and the realities of the Terminal Triangle guarantee that its misguided focus on gay marriage and HIV/AIDS assures that it will have a place at the table, but it’s place will be “dinner” for the ruling elite.

Taking the Pledge, One More Time

Berkeley should be embarrassed to allow itself to be fooled by faith-based greenwashed promotional schemes, particularly if they’re promulgated at government expense to promote political careers. Climate change, sometimes equated with global warming, is a serious threat which requires reality-based scientific world-wide solutions.

Got money?

"Biofuels are going to rip the ears off the food industry" as corn goes not for food but for fuel, said Jim Boyce, the president of Marin French Cheese Co. in Petaluma. He said Friday that his dairy bill increased 58.5 percent from May 2006 to May of this year -- from $1.15 per gallon of milk to $1.83 per gallon.

Venezuelan Crude

Well, this is the story of a man named Chavez, poor President barely kept his country fed. Then one day, shooting at some food, up through the ground came a bubblin' crude ... The U.S. Department of Energy estimates Venezuela's reserves at 1.3 trillion barrels, more than all other OPEC members. Yet, the country is now importing 100,000 barrels of Russian crude oil a day.

Sri Lanka hikes fuel prices after ministerial committee fails to solve energy crisis

Sri Lanka has raised fuel prices by around 5 percent almost two months after the last price increase, after allowing petroleum utilities to run huge losses and the national currency to come under pressure.

Petrotyranny on the brain

Last year, pundit Thomas "The World is Flat" Friedman wrote a piece in Foreign Policy magazine in which he posited the First Law of Petropolitics: As oil prices go up, any move toward democracy and freedom in "petro-authoritarian" states goes into reverse.

I should like to posit the First Law of Liberal Journalism: The more times any obvious idea is recycled, the more lefty crap gets stuck to it. Please wait for the Canadian "angle."

Yankee tax no threat to business

Gov. Douglas, in response to the veto, put forth his own plan, proposing using $600,000 in state funds -- our tax dollars -- and asking working and poor Vermonters to increase their debt load to make their homes more efficient against exploding heating costs. His minimal energy plan after taking office five years ago, together with tepid support for wind and hydro generation and this latest proposal, a tenth of what H.520 would accomplish, make it apparent he has no vision for dealing with the effects of "peak oil," resulting energy costs or foreign and multinational corporations holding Vermont consumers hostage.

U.S. family tries living without China

She repeatedly struck out trying to buy inexpensive shoes for her son, and even the chic local boutique that sold fancy European labels had gone out of business. So she shelled out $68 for Italian sneakers from a catalogue.

Broken appliances gathered dust because the spare parts came from China. And, with the Asian country having a near lock on the toy aisles, her 4-year-old son grew tired of taking Danish-made Legos to birthday parties as gifts.

Oil Giant Sees Some Strains in the System - an interview with ConocoPhillips CEO James J. Mulva

Q. According to the Department of Energy, the United States will consume 28 percent more oil and 19 percent more natural gas in 2030 than it did in 2005. Where will we find all that oil and gas?

A. I question whether the supply will be developed to meet those demand expectations. I believe demand is going to be constrained by supply.

Q. Drivers are concerned about rising gas prices. What can American drivers expect to pay at the pump in the short term, medium term and long term?

A. I would like to see gasoline prices decline. However, I believe that is somewhat unrealistic. Energy costs are going to continue to escalate as a result of the cost it takes to add new resources of energy.

Peak Oil Passnotes: Peak Market Economics

Everybody in the energy complex sees advantage in high oil prices, except the poor countries with no oil production and the poor people in rich countries with no means to avoid the hikes in cost. As long as you have a stake in the game, keeping the balance right works.

Feds OK Oil-Shale Mining in Utah

The federal government issued a lease to a partnership that wants to open an abandoned oil shale mine in eastern Utah.

Norway, Poland agree financing for new pipeline

Polish and Norwegian authorities have fixed the financial terms for a pipeline to channel natural gas from Norway's offshore fields to Poland, which is trying to lessen its reliance on Russian energy, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announced Friday.

India to get Iranian gas by 2011

Fuel-hungry India will receive gas from energy-rich Iran via a multi-billion-dollar pipeline through Pakistan in four years, an Iranian oil official said in New Delhi.

EU paper shows options on warming Europe

Water shortages in the Mediterranean, flash floods along the Rhine and summers so hot that nuclear power stations can't cool down. This is what Europe can expect as its climate warms over the next decades, a European Union paper warned Friday, as it laid out options for what governments can do now to prepare for the effects of climate change.

Wireless Real Time Whole House Electric Meter

Connects onto your meter and gives a constant reading inside on a portable display.


Neat Toy, err Tool, for those interested.

Best Hopes for Energy Conservation,


Alan, all such questionable purchases should be weighed against a fine meal or a few of ones favorite beverages. How does it stack up against such competition?

Yes, because if you don't shop at McDonalds, how can the workers get paid?

We have 3 McDonald's in New Orleans. One in a WalMart.

We have 15 James Beard Award winning chefs (1 is retired)

I am CERTAIN that this is the highest James Beard to McDonald's ratio on this planet.

About 10% of the labor force works in restaurants.

In a conversation with a Kentucky Nat'l Guard soldier just after Katrina.

KY NG: I see lots of what looks like restaurants around here as we patrol. Are they restaurants ?

Me: Yes, about 400. 10% of the labor force worked in them before Katrina.

KY NG: I was wondering since I did not recognize ANY of the names.

Worst Hopes for Chain Restaurants,


Nice try Alan, but the yahoo yellow pages show at least 50 McD's within 10 miles of the center of NO. Plenty of wendys and burger kings also.

I agree about the food in NO (I used to live in Mississippi and went to NO all the time). However, there is NO city in America that isn't covered in fast food restaurants.

Ashland, Oregon! The story is that their only Mickey D's closed down for lack of business.... Apocryphal or not, a great tale.

Carmel, California has none. The chains are Piatti and Il Fornaio.

Beerwah, Queensland, Australia has no golden arches, but it has 2 asian take-away ,a subway, and 2 pizza shops. (and as far as i know there are no plans for one in the next few years)

Beerwah's population is, what, 1500? It barely counts as a town. Just with a brief Google/Whitepages search for Victoria, I found Swan Hill (pop 10000), Portland (8800) and Castlemaine (8700). In all cases the closest Macca's was at least 35km away. Indeed the closest Macca's I could find to Swan Hill was 150 km away in Echuca.

But there are some cities that only seem to have fast food restaurants. I swear Minneapolis has some of the worst food in the world and is limited mostly to franchises (excepting Kramarczuk’s Deli of course!). When I was going to the U there I could not find a decent meal, especially breakfast, for the life of me. It's impossible to find a decent pizza in that town.

Minneapolis does have overpriced food of poor quality in most of its restaurants. The neighboring city of St. Paul, however, has some first-class little-known ethnic restaurants at reasonable prices. Try for example, Cecil's Deli, same location since 1949 near St. Catherine's college on Cleveland Avenue. You won't find many slender or grumpy people there.

There are a number of good Vietmamese restaurants, both in St. Paul and at least two in Minneapolis. If you know where to get freshly caught walleye, you can dine well in Minnesota. Try Tavern on Grand (where the MN governor took Gorbachov for a Walleye sandwich, very resonably priced and utterly scrumptious) in St Paul. Grand Avenue in St. Paul also has several other excellent eateries, most of them modestly priced. For some reasons I cannot figure out, Minneapolis restaurant food tends to be both more expensive and lower quality than that found in St. Paul. The worst food is to be found in Uptown Minneapolis, followed by Downtown. Some of the suburbs have very good hole-in-the wall places that could probably hold their own in New Orleans, especially those that are not afraid to serve distinctive mid-western cuisine.

10 miles gets you into Metairie and the West Bank. Post-WW II Suburbia. NOT New Orleans ! Predominantly white, R voting, much more fried food, different culture.

New Orleans is compact. Do the same search for a 2.5 mile radius (still get some West Bank).


Donostia, Spain (Donostia is basque, in Spanish it is San Sebastián), pop. 182,930, two McDonalds, three Michelin three star restaurants (56 in the world, 5 in the whole USA), only behind Paris and New York (and I believe, the only city in the planet with an >1 McDonald's-to-Michelin-three-stars ratio). Also, the prettiest city in Spain.

If you like eating, you should go there. And I am not talking just fancy ultramodern does-not-look-like-food stuff.

Yes, well worth the trip !

Best Hopes for Fine Dining,


A few New Orleans restaurants have the formality that Michelin seems to require, but not that many.

Our local restaurant critic ate at the French Laundry (3 star in Napa Valley) and said that it was as good as the best New Orleans restaurants, and fairly experimental.

Perhaps I should review the stars & reviews of our best.

*I* will not be buying one. Too many charitable and culinary alternatives here in New Orleans.

But for those more deprived, err "isolated", I thought that I would bring it to their attention.

Best Hopes for Doing Good and Eating Well#,


#Blue Plate Cafe just reopened a few blocks away. I had a brie and fried oyster wrap for lunch yesterday with a friend. Desert was grilled cantaloupe with caramelized sugar a la mode. $20 + tip

A friend of mine from NOLA told me once "Its possible to get a bad meal in New Orleans, but you've got to work at it."
One of the most agravating things about New Orleans people is going out to eat with them in a decent restaurant out of town. They'll sit, and the whole time they're eating, reminice about a fine meal they had in New Orleans. Alan, if I were eating at my computer you'd be guilty of the same thing, darn your eyes and drat your hide. I ate lunch yesterday at Shrimp N' Stuff at 39th and O in Galveston, had the seafood platter, 4 fried shrimp, 4 fried oysters, a piece of fried fish (unidentifiable, but not catfish, maybe whiting), 2 crab balls, slaw,rice and gravy, homemade remoulade sauce and spectacular hushpuppies-$14.00. Its a walk up to the counter joint, no tip. I waddled home and took a nap.
At any rate, come to the ASPO convention in Houston this October and I'll buy you a good meal. Its actually a good eating town, Vietnamese, Mexican, soul food, redneck chicken fried steak-even a few Creole spots. But sadly, bad meals are the norm.

One of the most aggravating things about New Orleans people is going out to eat with them in a decent restaurant out of town. They'll sit, and the whole time they're eating, reminisce about a fine meal they had in New Orleans

This is a fine and long standing tradition in New Orleans !

We talk about food we have eaten and will eat while eating. Kind of a food monomania. Can't argue with the results :-)

Perfect example.

A friend and I were the only patrons in routine need of sunscreen at a local "hole in the wall". I ordered the special of the day; white beans with pig tails. Quite good despite being about the cheapest foodstuff available.

As we ate, I was explaining to him the annual October White Truffle specials at Bacco. The world's most expensive food stuff.

Eating the cheapest, discussing the most expensive. All good and all Naw'lins :-)

Best Hopes for Fine Dining,


You could be onto something. They say that if you want to buy happiness, you should buy experiences, not things. Like Spock said, having is not so pleasing as wanting. Research suggests that this is true, at least when it comes to material things.

But it doesn't necessarily apply for experiences. People tend to remember events as being better than they actually were. (Otherwise, no woman would have more than one child. ;-) So money spent on experiences tends to be a good investment, when it comes to happiness.

A saying of mine.

"A meal is not over till it is forgotten".

Best Hopes for MANY memorable meals AND life experiences,


I have never regretted money spent on travels and the great experiences that resulted. I regret the trips that I declined to make. In the end memories are what we have left, any expensive crap that we buy that restrains us from travel and experience is wasted money. My best experiences are those that resulted from spur of the moment decisions with no planned destination or timetable. Motorcycles are fine company for such trips.

Well, heck, that's a crusty old saying: "It's better to regret something you HAVE done than something you HAVEN'T done."

Yeah, that's from a Butthole Surfers song. And by the way, tell your mother, SATAN, SATAN, SATAN. Duh Duh, DUH DUH DUH, Duh Duh...

As long as it is a function of money spent, it will be a status symbol and as such not pursued for its intrinsic value, but to gain rank in the hierarchy. Hoarding experiences is still not a good way to become happy.

So next trip I will hitch-hike and eat grass along the way. Get a life pal.
I travel exactly for its intrinsic value. I seldom share my experiences with anyone. I definitely would not share them with someone that believes travel is a way to gain rank in the heirarchy. I will leave that to Mad Max.

It doesn't have to be a function of money spent. My next trip will probably be a two-hour drive to the coast, where I will stay in a budget hotel, take in a minor league baseball game. and enjoy the ocean. I grew up by the sea, and miss it now that I am inland.

Pretty cool gadget. Quantifying how much electricity one is wasting, err I mean using, is a great step towards leading people to be more conscientious of their energy usage.

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

Go one step further and program it with the electric rate per kwh, then display how much money your electricity use is costing. On a great big LED display hanging on the wall. In red.

Just what everyone needs, another always-on load!

I think this runs off of batteries (which are provided by the magical Energizer bunny rabbit, no?) but I take your point.

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

Say, by all means strike this post, Leanan, if it breaks a rule, but this prompts me to mention the most magical batteries I've found, "eneloop" brand by Sanyo. The things are insanely good compared with other rechargeables; they're NIMH AA's and AAA's which don't self-discharge. Dramatically better than anything else I've used... and made to recycle after 1000 charges or so. Which may be awhile... they work so well I only charge them a couple times a year.

Not available widely in the US, but amazon has 'em usually with free shipping......

It's unusual for me to gush over a product; I pass this on since I can recommend them...

Yup, the self-discharge rate on those is extremely slow. It does however come at a modest expense to capacity, but for some things, it's a good tradeoff. They can also be had from Thomas Distributing. (For high capacity and reasonably slow self-discharge, Maha Powerex cells of recent manufacture are also good, and there may be others.)

Of course, we don't really get to test the 1000-charge life claim if we use them infrequently, as we'll lose them to theft, or down a sewer grate, first. OTOH, at 5-10 times the cost of alkalines (in AA and AAA sizes), they're cheap enough that it may not matter (but one must also buy the right kind of charger.) Any of the good ones lasts as long as an alkaline, unlike the old nicads that used to poop out right away, so the need to recharge is no longer a major inconvenience (or excuse.)

The only catch is that unlike alkalines, you get very little warning before they go dead. Sometimes that's potentially hazardous. For example, public-utility workers who use flashlights when they enter basements may still be issued new alkalines every day, because the cost of just one twenty-million-plus dollar lawsuit will pay for a boatload of alkalines.

Not to beat this to death, but I'll note that the eneloops I've had hold as much charge as other brands with a much higher 'rated' capacity. In the real world, they beat any high-capacity name-brand NiMH I've tried. You might get more if you're a pro photographer using 2800mah cells the same day you charge them, but for about any other use, the eneloops come out shining.

They are qualitatively different from all other batteries except perhaps the ray-o-vac hybrids, which seem to be similar in concept but not as good.

My brother just got some and snagged 8 AA's for $20, plus 4 more with a sanyo charger for $25... not bad. (amazon)

In theory, you can charge them in any charger, but I've developed such a fondness for them that I only use the sanyo charger.... though I have a solar charger I plan to adapt as well.

Only reason I mention this is that I'm fond of TOD crowd and am passing on the tip...

I don't think it breaks any rules. If we didn't delete Keithster's pump and dumping, I don't see why we'd delete this.

Thanks for the tip. I've added them to my Amazon wishlist. ;-)

Very cool. But any idea how far it transmits? My meter is about 200 feet from my house so I'm not sure this would work. Also, I couldn't find anything on the web site referring to the transmission distance. Also, is there any data showing how much consumers have cut back with this device?

For those utilities that are incentivized to have people cut back on energy, unlike mine which encourages us to use more energy, this might be a good tool for cutting peak demand and the like. Cheaper than building new power plants, I should think.

Anyway, generally speaking, feedback is a good tool whether it be automobiles or entertainment systems. My killawatt meter helped move me from a PC to a laptop.

Also, is there any data showing how much consumers have cut back with this device ?

They say 5% to 20%. Manufacturer's claims. In my case 0% (Kill-A-Watt is all I need).

You might be able to connect it at the house disconnect (where the wire enters the house). I do not know. I would suggest contacting the manufacturer.


We all talk about conservation, how about if we all turn off the main breaker at the electrical panel and see who can go the longest without grid power? We used no heat or AC in the months of May and June but still used about 13 KWH per day, all energy star appliances, cfl's, where does it all go?

Don't feel bad, I used 22 KWH/day. I am happy that I used a 1/3 fewer kwh in 2006/2007, as compared to 2005. It is amazing the savings you can get with cfl lights. Now when my wife leaves every light on in the house all day, it only uses about 1/5 of the power.

This is a great idea. One of the better things about a Prius is the real time feedback of fuel consumption. I've seen this on a few other cars. It is really dramatic when you punch the accelerator on a large sedan going uphill and you see the mileage drop to 2 or 3 mpg. I think if all cars had this kind of feedback we'd see fuel consumption go down just because people could see what they're using.

The same goes for home electric use. When you turn on several 100W bulbs in a room it is brighter and has a warm feel. It is not till you see the watt meter speed up that you get a real idea of the cost. There is also the matter of invisible usage by various electronic gadgets in standby mode.

Definitely this should have a display of historical usage to get an idea of average and peak consumption, not just current consumption.

The Galveston Daily News http://www.galvnews.com has a headline article on a test of a tide turbine electic generating system test for the Pelican Island bridge in a couple of weeks. If successful, the company Texas Business Owners for New Energy plans to build a 2 megawatt system.

A study in contrasts.

A - I finally learned why my 16 year old son has not been aggressively pursuing his drivers license, (I’m certainly not going to push it). I spotted him riding along the riverwalk on the family tandem with TWO girls on the back, one on the seat the other on the back handle bars with her legs around his waste. Now as a father, I was angry at this dangerous stunt but at the same time glad to see him being “social”.

When I was a teen, you were considered less than nothing if you had no wheels.

B – Today I saw the first of what will be many 50 foot+ mega RV complete with satellite dome and towing a huge Cadillac Escalade (for running around in once they get to their destination) headed thru on their way to the beach.

Moral of the story – get a tandem!

My friends have a tandem bike with three seats. One is a little one in the back for a kid. It has working pedals, but the kid (10 years old) doesn't pedal much.

They actually rode it after their wedding, the bride pedaling with her long, full white skirt hiked up and her veil blowing in the wind.


People went to the beach with only a 50 ft RV and a Caddy? How did they transport their jet skis? Maybe they had a 4wd pickemup following with the jet skis on a trailer? Perhaps their egos went to the beach and their brains stayed home?

Tandems are great (and fast, since only one person gets the air resistance while two are pushing), but can be hard to park downstairs in a bicycle basement.

On my way to work I often see a tandem on which a man brings his blind sister/in-law/wife into town. It's a good alternative for handicapped persons when others help.

The final destination of that RV is to be parked near a factory in the middle of nowhere to provide affordable weeknight housing for laborers that can no longer afford the daily commutes and have gone to just weekly commutes. That will be the final destination of almost all RVs, most likely.

As far as the SUV goes, I assume that the metal parts can be recycled as scrap.

The beach, of course, will be under water, with a new beach further inland.

When all this happens, teenagers will eagerly look forward to getting THEIR first bicycle!

Please. When I turned sixteen my dad bought me a Chrysler Newport. Back seat perfect for the Drive-In. I don't give a sh*t if the world is going to hell in a handbasket; give your son a car. Or a Cabana. What did you do when you were 16. A bicycle don't cut it.

Ever heard of making a son or daughter work for their possessions? I did not have a car until I was 21 years old, although I was able to use the family car or my older brother's car on occasions. Otherwise I rode a bicycle where I was going, especially aroung the college campus.

The lesson of having to earn things has been lost on the younger generation. I was born when Admiral Rickover made his famous speech about energy (May 1957).

I didn't own a car until I was out of college. And we lived in a rural area where you needed a car to get around.

I borrowed my parents' car, hitched rides with friends, and borrowed friends' cars.

And walked a lot...

Mysterious Clouds Creeping Out Of The Artic

It seems that Solomon might have been wrong afterall, it appears that there is indeed something new under the sun. There is a cool photo of these clouds at the link below - click on photo for enlargement. The remainder of the article is also at link.


A new NASA satellite has recorded the first detailed images from space of a mysterious type of cloud called “night-shining” or “noctilucent."

The clouds are on the move, brightening and creeping out of polar regions, and researchers don't know why.

"It is clear that these clouds are changing, a sign that a part of our atmosphere is changing and we do not understand how, why or what it means," said atmospheric scientists James Russell III of Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. "These observations suggest a connection with global change in the lower atmosphere and could represent an early warning that our Earth environment is being changed."

The "Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere” (AIM) satellite first imaged the noctilucent clouds May 25. People on the ground began seeing them June 6 over Northern Europe.

They look a lot like the Northern Lights.

I recently reread 'The Cloud' by Sir Fred Hoyle, a book that I read when I was a kid. Just a coincidence.
Immediately after 9-11 a scientist that was doing research on the effects of contrails in the atmosphere caused by jet aircraft gathered temperature readings from stations all over the US. If I recall correctly the temps went up on average +3 degrees for the three day period when no aircraft were flying. Point being, if these clouds spread far enough south they may reflect enough sunlight to change the current warming trend into a cooling trend. Just a wag...or maybe wishfull thinking since I dont want to see Greenland do a full meltdown until I locate those damn water wings that I misplaced.

I believe you are referring to global dimming. The BBC show below interviews the researcher following high altitude jet contrails immediately after 9-11.

See below for more




the altitude is too low for the northern lights.


last summer (i think) i saw this stuff. late one evening.

It fits the visual description for noctilucent clouds.

in fact, i pulled over to look at it.

i wrote it off as northern lights and went on my way.

northern lights are a lot higher and linked to solar activity and they change very, very rapidly. this stuff doesnt.

it hardly moves at all.

mudlogger...I saw them as well in the KC Metro area. It's almost like the clouds are lining up on some kind of electromagnetic grid pattern...very geometrically precise.

Caught my eye and I had forgotten about them until I saw the photos linked above...perhaps our magnetic poles are flipping?

Mudlogger, I lived in Newfoundland and often saw the northern lights, these are definitely not northern lights. When you think that you saw these clouds how far north were you?
If these clouds are at an altitude of about 50 miles or 260 thousand feet I dont believe they are made of water ice crystals. There can only be a trace amount of oxygen that high, maybe methane crystals?
Scientists have been looking for the trigger for global cooling, could this be it?
I think it might be a totally new phenomena.

Raymon J. Learsy is at it again in The Huffington Post.

Peak Oil Theorists Gush Obfuscation

As for what Mr. Andrew's calls my "delusional notion" that the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas/USA is "in cahoots with the oil companies", I would point out that ASPO's propaganda furthers the price gouging aims of the oil companies even if no blood brother rituals were ever performed…

A lot of good laughs, check it out.

Ron Patterson

There's some discussion of this article in yesterday's DrumBeat.

Yeah, that guy is a real numbskull... Ditto Arianna Muffington and her sad little PR tool. She should go back to joining cults, I liked her better then because I didn't know about her...

Here, now everyone gets to read an abusive mother's archived skewering of Muffington:


As Karl Rove says (I think), attack the source.

Is this the same Ariana Stassinopoulis of the uk glitterati?

Clever, and yummy mummy?

I wondered where she had got to.

Actually no, it isn't the same person. Although, once Google corrected the spelling of that name to "Agapi Stassinopoulos", guess what? They're sisters, Arriana and Agapi... From her bio, found at her sister's drudge-like website, it seems as if this woman "Agapi" you speak of is an expert in the "Greek Gods" and how they relate to our "personal relationships". Surely another useful asset on the landscape of our media culture? I meant to say defunct media...

As a Canadian I am once again embarrassed by the drivel contained in our two national pro rich white guy news organizations. The Globe and Mail is owned by the Canadian equivalent of "CNN Time-Warner Cheese-Doodle Inc" and the National/Financial Post's owner (or ex-owner, I can't remember now) has his case before a jury in Chicago for allegedly taking profits that belonged to other rich guys.
Neither of these articles had anything of substance but plenty of innuendo of evil directed at those leaders who might want to use revenue from the oil they control to benefit the locals. The good thing about these spoutings is that the readers will mostly be the converted. The real intent here is to distort the debate within Canada to one of good (oil companies and their "democratic" servants) vs. evil (in the form of the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, undemocratically elected no doubt, and other axis of evil types). Williams is attacked for doing his job in driving a hard bargain for his residents. Both he and the oil companies know that there are only ten to twenty years of meaningful production from the off shore and both want to take their profits up front.
Tar sands development's main obstacles are environmental and the lack of resources to sustain production, let alone increase it. It seems that anyone suggesting that the real long term benefit for Alberta (and Canada as a whole) be the prime focus of the government is an evil doing tree hugging Marxist friend of all the world's bad guys. Real democrats will let the oil companies do as they please and protect them from the annoying rabble.
Canada, in spite of regular well organized elections, is not a very democratic place. We fit the Posts suggestion that resource based economies are less democratic. We have been bought off with a little of the surplus from the past two centuries of resource exploitation. We will be most surprised when the rules change in the near future.

I wish we could afford the life we are living.

What happened to shrub's grand scheme to make the US, Canada and Mexico into one giant wall-mart, with freedom and justice for all, er, all that can afford them?
I lived in Newfoundland when the Cod and lobster were plentiful. I really enjoyed the summers there...the first week in August was summer.

WesTexas's Export idea and how much it costs to subsidize internal consumption is discussed in John Mauldin's article today.

Iran Out of Gas

Oil provides more than 70% of the revenues of the government of Iran. The rise in oil prices has been a bonanza for the regime, allowing them to subsidize all sorts of welfare programs at home and mischief abroad. And one of the chief subsidies is gasoline prices.

Gasoline costs about $.34 cents a gallon in Iran, or 9 cents a liter. You can fill up your Honda Civic for $4.49. In the US it costs almost $40 (The price has risen since the chart below was made). In neighboring Turkey it costs almost $95. Look at the two charts below from the recent Foreign Policy Magazine. Notice that Iran is spending 38% of its national budget (almost 15% of GDP!) on gasoline subsidies!

"A more probable scenario is that, absent some change in Irani policy ... [we will see] exports declining to zero by 2014-2015. Energy subsidies, hostility to foreign investment, and inefficiencies of its state-planned economy underlie Iran's problem, which has no relation to 'peak oil.'"

Iran earns about $50 billion a year in oil exports. The decline is estimated at 10-12% annually. In less than five years, exports could be halved and then disappear by 2015, predicted Stern.

This is only a snippet from the article.



In less than five years, exports could be halved and then disappear by 2015, predicted Stern.

This is pretty close to my 5%/5% projection for the top five, i.e., a 5% production decline rate and a 5% consumption rate increase for the top five results in a 50% drop in net exports in five years, down to about zero in 14 years or less.

BTW, the Paris Hilton/Net Oil Exports Google ratio has dropped from fifty to one yesterday to 36 to one today.

Yes, but is that Oil going up or Paris going down?


Off Grid, Off Mainland, current profession:Beach Bum

Actually, the both went up, Paris less than net oil exports, percentage wise.

Trying ... to ... resist ... lewd ... Paris ... joke...

She has found god, so it will probably be at least 6 months before she leaks another sex tape onto the internet.

who is this Chav* called Paris Hilton?

and why is she named after a (seedy) hotel in Paris?

* for those colonial cousins confused by the term Chav, think trailor trash barbie: you will quickly get the picture.

Money doesnt buy style. It just buys gold taps.

Because some ancestor of hers founded the hotel chain. As for the name Paris, I have no idea why they'd name her for a podunk town in northeastern Texas :)

And I have a link for the other term:

WT, here is a pretty good summary of what is going on in the so called 'rentier states' that are sitting on lots of oil. They are faring worse than their non oil counterparts. SAs per capita income has dropped from $17,000 per year in 1980 to $8,200 per year in 2003. These figures are not adjusted for inflation or exchange rate so the real effect has been much worse. Many factors are in play here but dependency on foreign workers and poor government planning are are big problems. Apoligies in advance if this has already been posted.
Saudi Arabia's development strategy has changed considerably over the years. Initially, after the 1973/74 sudden increase in oil prices and vastly expanded revenues, the government pursued what is often referred to in the literature as unbalanced growth.[28] This particular strategy entails investment in social overhead (mainly infrastructure) investments. The projects were attractive to the authorities since they used imported labor, raw materials and management. In addition they were highly visible.

The theory underlying this strategy is that it would minimize the amount of decision making needed in the private sector.[29] Massive infrastructure investments, by making profitable investment opportunities readily apparent, would induce the private sector to greatly step up its investment. In short, the strategy took into account the massive financial resources of the government as well as the limited entrepreneurial skills of the private sector.

In retrospect, the strategy was well conceived and began paying fairly high dividends around 1979. This approach to the Kingdom's development allowed the non-oil economy to sustain fairly respectable growth rates, even during the period of relatively slack oil revenues in the mid-late 1980s.[30] Its main flaw, however, was its underestimation of the extent to which the kingdom would remain dependent on an expatriate workforce.

Investment on social overhead capital on the scale seen in the late 1970s/early 1980s has not been replicated. Whereas public investment accounted for around two thirds of the overall growth of fixed capital formation between 1970 and 1990, investment by the private sector constituted around 83 percent of the total investment between 1991 and 2003.[31] In recent years, the government has been unable to fund another significant round of infrastructure expenditures, given that around 85% of public expenditure in the budget is allocated to the salaries of government employees and current pensions.

SAs per capita income has dropped from $17,000 per year in 1980 to $8,200 per year in 2003.

Key reason for this is the increase in population relative to the national income. If you are a KSA citizen then you are fully subsidized by the government. The result is increased levels of family formation and a high birth rate. KSA has one of the youngest populations on the planet.

Problem is that the government needs to increase national income to maintain the lifestyle of the next generation. One means to do that is to move up the value chain in the FF business and increase the range of possible employment. Instead of exporting raw hydrocarbons KSA is investing in petrochemical production and refinery capacity. GE Plastics division was just sold to KSA.

This provides further validation of Jeffery's ELM. You can buy 10 pounds of potatoes for a dollar or you can buy 45 grams of packaged potato chips for the same dollar. There is better margin in selling the finished goods then in selling the raw commodity. KSA is going to work this magic on petrochemicals and plastics. This will fund further improvements in KSA lifestyle which will increase local demand for cars, fuel, and all the other FF inputs associated with a modern "lifestyle." The result is less export availability of raw product (the ELM thesis) coupled with higher prices for all the other downstream products. I would not be surprised if we start to see some finished goods production begin to migrate to ME. The selling point? Well you can either make your widgets at the very end of an extremely long supply chain over which we have no control. Or you can relocate to sunny KSA where we can provide low cost labour and an assured raw materials supply.

If you had read the link you would see that 85% of SA budget is already going to salaries and pensions of SA employees. I will make a wag that the remaining 15% is going to SA princes, mullahs, tribal leaders, the king, etc. In just the 'prince' catagory they number about 600.
SA is going to have borrow more if they are going to develop the industry to convert oil to lots of finished product and they already have a national debt...a bit astounding considering their oil revenues.

The issue I was trying to reinforce was the structure of KSA society and the need to ensure ever larger national income. The strategy they appear to have decided on (moving into high value added downstream sectors) validates Jeffery's ELM.

The situation in KSA has turned favorable for the kingdom regarding budget.

For fiscal year 2004, Saudi Arabia originally had been expecting a budget deficit. However, this was based on an extremely conservative price assumption of $19 per barrel for Saudi oil -- and assumed production of 7.7 million bbl/d. Both of these estimates turned out to be far below actual levels. As a result, as of mid-December 2004, the Saudi Finance Ministry was expecting a huge budget surplus of $26.1 billion, on budget revenues of $104.8 billion (nearly double the country's original estimate) and expenditures of $78.6 billion (28 percent above the approved budget levels). This surplus is being used for several purposes, including: paying down the Kingdom's public debt (to $164 billion from $176 billion at the start of 2004); extra spending on education and development projects; increased security expenditures (possibly an additional $2.5 billion dollars in 2004; see below) due to threats from terrorists; and higher payments to Saudi citizens through subsidies (for housing, education, health care, etc.). For 2005, Saudi Arabia is assuming a balanced budget, with revenues and expenditures of $74.6 billion each.

Reference: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/saudi.html

Additionally, other sources indicate that KSA is a net creditor nation, due to additional activity on financial markets in addition to basic oil sales.

The real problem in KSA is not national debt but the decline in per capita income from $15,000 annually to about $9,000 annually coupled with unemployment rates that appear to run 20-30%. This is not to say that national debt is unimportant. It is quite important but against their current income, these other matters may prove to be more volatile.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any authoritative discussion on KSA's status since about 2004. It would be interesting to see what the increased income of 2004, 2005, and 2006 have done to unemployment, per capita income, and to the national debt overall.

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

I'm sure the export substitution theory is a sleeper that will soon wake up. Case in point the new operator for a local gas peak power generator said it couldn't get a contract for
supply via pipeline. BTW I live in southeastern
Australia. Obviously the next option is LNG shipped around the coastline from NW Australia. Right now those bubble boats head off across the Indian and Pacific oceans. Soon I predict they will increasingly be doing the coastal run to the other side of the same country.

A very important point in the above article on “Iran out of Gas.”

Of course, you can go to a dozen web sites, mostly Iranian, which demonstrate that Iranian production will be double (or pick a number) by that time. The problem is, they all assume rather large sums of investment in the Iranian oil fields. Two projects which are "counted on" to be producing oil in 2008 have yet to be funded or started, as negotiations have broken down. Iran seems incapable of getting a deal actually done with a willing partner.

These two “megaprojects” which were “counted on” by Iran are also counted on by a lot of other people who say the peak will not come until around 2012 or so. A lot of megaprojects, not just in Iran but in Venezuela, Russia and a lot of other places will simply not come to fruition because of similar problems discussed in this article. Some nations want everything for themselves and are scaring off all foreign investment.

Things are getting worse all over and as chaos and anarchy descends on many nations this simply exacerbates the problems of an already peaking oil supply.

Ron Patterson

I think it is only a matter of time before all oil fields become nationalized...everywhere..."every nation for itself"...call it "The New Isolationism".

WT what I should have said in my post was this.


This is a fascinating part of a John Mauldin article at safehaven.com

The fascinating part is watching him have an Epiphany.

I want to briefly look at a development in the oil markets which I find intriguing. Dr. Woody Brock, in a recent paper on oil prices, wrote a rather interesting sentence, to wit, that Iran would not have net oil to export in 2014. I found that rather remarkable .

Intriguing? Remarkable?

John Maulding has just "Grokked" Westexas's Export Land Theory. The world's amount of oil for "SALE" decline rate will run Far ahead of it's production decline rate.

Case in Point - Mexico. Production going down, internal consumption going up.

What makes this article incredibly important IMO is that it is a perfect example of someone, in this case a financial guy John Mauldin, starting to understand that "Planning for the Future" will Never Be The Same. Something like Gail T/A has had and is informing her clients. In the coming weeks and months I would think John Mauldin will follow the logic and say, "If this is happening to them, who else is it true for... That means only xxx amount will Actually for sale on the worlds markets..." and the financial ramifications of that, and so on.

He will start to advise his clients accordingly, and if enough people in a short time Grok this, The markets may have a "State Change" or Phase Shift all at once. Like a whole school of fish suddenly all deciding to "Turn Left".

Watch for others like this.

Hey, uh, guys?

This is what colonialism is supposed to solve.
When the natives git too uppity, incite a war or two and destroy infrastructure. But make sure that they aren't able to make their own shit or have an economy of their own. Otherwise, the world would look more like the Lower Yangtze Basin, as Ken Pomeranz paints in his book The Great Divergence (which is an absolute must read by any peak oil doomers). Now, guys, do you all believe that the Sack of Baghdad was a feature, and not a bug, judging from the harsh attitudes behind the sanctions regime? Central (Congo and neighbors) and South Africa (Angola, Zimbabwe), Iraq, Colombia, et al might just be the attempt at a return to the pure thing... Botswana (Not to mention Iran, of course) better watch its ass!

On the other hand, one make sure the natives have no right to land or capital improvements, an idea approved by corrupt greedy oligarchs everywhere, native or nonative!

Without resort to total genocide neocolonialisim will not work. Total genocide is not an option for democratic nations. With a little thought the reasoning behind the two sentences above become apparent to any residing outside the DC beltway.

Its a pity that Mauldin is in such denial about the peak in production of oil, his proposed solution is to allow the multinational oil companies in to drill and produce. BP, before they were "beyond petroleum" or British Petroleum was Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Its an old province, with production since before WWI, and well explored, although still has a lot of potential is past its peak.
That isn't stopping the Neocons from making it their next target in their resource wars, though.

I wouldn't assume that potential oil production from Iran is what it's about. Control of the Strait of Hormuz, the balance of power with SA, potential Iranian opposition to Anglo/ US domination of Iraq, and probably a few other things and old grudges come ahead of squeezing the Iranian teabag. Another point is that while we are invading these places they aren't making deals with anyone else, and even if we are only threatening, it tends to delay existing deals being implemented. Much like having a police car parked in front of your house, a few aircraft carriers off your docks tends to reduce the number of friends stopping by.

I though BP stood for 'Begin Pedaling' ?

If you just look at a globe, Iran borders both Iraq and Afganistan, and controls the Straights of Hormuz. But the only reason is control of the last half of the oil, everything else is as big a lie as WMD.

My favorite quote from the lead article, "BP economist: World’s oil is plentiful".

"Coal may be dirty and cruddy, but doggone, it's cheap," Finley said.

He used the word doggone. This one of the few times I have even seen it written.

...shakes head and sighs.

Am not sure oil is altogether plentiful. Why did they need to drill 6 miles below sea level in hurricane alley into a mediocre reservoir to get to new oil in deeper water than were ever tried before?

Why were Koreans experimenting with mining undersea methyl hydrates if energy were too plentiful?

Sometimes OPEC decided the world was oversupplied with oil and they cut production. Probably not a good time to go buy a gas guzzling vehicle when someone got you over a barrel.

Anyone heard from R^2? He wrote that he was flying to Scotland today, and it seems that some fool tried to blow up the Glasgow airport today.

tried to blow up

On what basis are you claiming 'trying to blow up'?

Somebody drove what appears to be an SUV filled with petrol and gas bottles into terminal one it caught fire as they bust through security and they tried to ram it into Terminal One Departures.

Two got out, one on fire, both were wrestled to the ground. (probably by holidaymakers who resent flashy attempts at line jumping.)

May be linked to the London Car Bombs. Looks like it.

Glasgow Airport shut Down. Edinburgh not accepting traffic beyond the perimeter.

Somebody drove what appears to be an SUV

I've seen those pictures, yes.

filled with petrol

That is the typical fuel, so I'd expect some of that.

gas bottles

Ok, now one is entering the 'where is this data comoing from' land.

I'm reminded of how "it was all the Arabs fault" back with the Murrow bombing in Oklahoma, how 9/11 was all the Iraqi's fault, and on and on.

Whole lotta speculation that will be considered 'the truth' (and many of these beliefs will turn out to be wrong)...with the results of people going off 1/2 or even fully cocked with a bunch of new rules/regs that will have questionable preventive results and plenty of documentable flaws/inconveniences.

Two got out,

So was it 'pick up a hichhiker day' when one is tying to 'suicide'? If it was an American SUV - don't they have recalls because they can catch on fire?

Perhaps it was a cannonaro?

May be linked to the London Car Bombs. Looks like it.

Based on?

With 2 live people, how bout one waits for an actual questioning and investigation before jump'n up and down calling "terror!" Besides, a bit of a waiting period should allow for cooler heads to prevail.

Oh, please. What's your point?

It certainly happened, nobody's making it up.

Now, do you wish that the sort of rubbish that would commit such acts would never be born? So do I, but wishing never made anything so. Or do you just think you can close your eyes really hard and they won't exist? Won't work. It happened.

Or is today simply Hug-A-Thug Day? If so, I never got the memo.

Oh, please. What's your point?

Perhaps you can explain how this was NOT clear:

With 2 live people, how bout one waits for an actual questioning and investigation before jump'n up and down calling "terror!" Besides, a bit of a waiting period should allow for cooler heads to prevail.

If so, I never got the memo.

If there was a memo, would you have been able to understand it?

Here's another fine example of 'rush to judgment' based on poor info:
Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists' strike against this country.

Who the FUCK knows?

its just happened.

could be AlQuada: All wide swivelling eyes screaming god is great

Or it could be a taxi rank war.

I reported what I saw on the news (read my script you dumb fuck-wit).

Later news:
The two men taken to the ground were apparently of an Asian complexion. So... no red headed scots boys involved then?
- probably not a taxi rank war or burger van war then.

This day is Glasgow Airports busiest day: School Term in Glasgow finished yesterday. The place was packed with Scots going on summer holidays.

So, what the fook were they doing?

fed up of waiting in line?.












rant over.

But you do see our point old chap :-)

Hey: Don't take it out on all of us slow wits. I am not sure Eric is Yank. I believe he is a blairing ear-ache. My blood pressure was as high as yours after reading his comment.

My blood pressure was as high as yours after reading his comment.

Would that be the part where I asked for there to not be a 'rush to judgment' and suggested awaiting an investigation pissed you off?


I don't believe Eric was "winging" or "sniveling" about terrorism, though since these words seem to mean the same thing, this is a redundant statement. As far as anyone having the "right" to snivel about it, I would say that anyone who has suffered a loss should feel free to "winge" away. They should also feel free to tell you to, how do you say "Fook off!"


And which "Americans" were this exactly? I certainly never supported the IRA but I could sympathize with them for having to live under the rule of sanctimonious pricks like you.

BTW, all those people you lost in 30 years, WE LOST IN ONE DAY!


Again, your rant seems rather misdirected since Eric in no way seemed to be going "hissy". If only the Nazis had overrun your country in WW2. Maybe they would have euthanized you for being such a retard :-)

Oh that's just a rant (and I put a smiley after it) so don't take it personally.

If you're so G'damed civilized, can't you make a point without belittling people?

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

Who the FUCK knows?
its just happened.

Exactly. The 1st post was some fool tried to blow up the Glasgow airport today.

I asked how they knew that. Because a flaming truck doesn't strike me as an 'airport blowing up' kinda thing. And EITHER points of views do fall under 'how do we know at this time'.


Oh come now, you should have picked on the common 'School of the Americas'. A common 'oooh, these people are training terrorists' target.

Elements of the American government, just like the British, have been on the inside of 'terror' organizations and could have disrupted activities - but opted to let the bombings to happen just to not break cover.


And the British had agents in the IRA. The Tzar sent money to members who eventually became the Communists. The US used to give money to Osama Bin Laden.

How about:

Michael Mello, author of the recently published book, "The United States of America vs. Theodore John Kaczynski," notes that at some point in his Harvard years--1958 to 1962--Kaczynski agreed to be the subject of "a psychological experiment." Mello identifies the chief researcher for these only as a lieutenant colonel in World War II, working for the CIA's predecessor organization, the Office of Strategic Services. In fact, the man experimenting on the young Kaczynski was Dr. Henry Murray, who died in 1988.

Plenty of reasons to dislike the actions of various others in the past it would seem. (Doesn't make it right tho...right?)


Same can be said for a whole lotta governments. Does that make it right? How much outrage happens here when some die in Chechnya or less than 5 die in Palestine?

And the US of A does get its fair share of terror - take the guy who was shooting from the trunk of a car - If you were in Virginia how would that not have been terror to you? The difference there was how it was packaged by the media. The shooting was 'just a crime', no?

How about the pipe bomber who was making a smiley face with his bomb locations? Was he a terrorist, or just disturbed?

How about the 'we'll bomb Chicago' group who wrote Al Quedia looking for boots?

But you do see our point old chap :-)

What, that before any kind of investigation that the flaming truck should be called "terror"? No, I don't see that as a valid point.

Rash terror declarations - don't they result in a Brazilian electrical worker getting shot?

Let me ask you - How much are you willing to spend to 'protect you' from the "evil doers"?



And you leftist Brits just love it when it hits Israel, eh?

Funny, I recall outpourings of American sympathy for both England and Spain when their trains were bombed by Islamists; it seems to be a peculiarly European/left thing to think that the USA and Israel are only getting what they deserve.

FYI:  The bombing coverage at Jihad Watch is pretty good.  Check the text and commentary on this thread for starters.

Note:  The British press uses "Asian" as code for Muslims from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.  This is part and parcel of their P.C. denial of the existence of jihad.  They don't care if they offend Indian Hindus or Sri Lankans or Taiwanese by lumping them in with the terrorists, because those groups won't kill anybody as a consequence; the BBC prefers to kowtow to the barbarians rather than respecting the civilized.

Virtually every country has had its citizens or its government directly sponsor terror actions in other countries or within its own country. From IRA money funneling by US citizens, to the US sponsoring Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden in Afganistan as part of the Cold War against the USSR, CIA sponsored and organized coups of governments in other countries, Israel's assassination of various people, Britain's cooperation with the US in CIA actions and their own actions without help from the US.... Many books have been written on the subject, based upon declassified evidence from the US and other nations.

Virtually every country is guilty of sponsoring acts of terrorism, either directly or indirectly. One can throw a stone in any direction and hit someone who's responsible, barring there are no children present.

George Orwell would turn in his grave to hear the excrement uttered by the usurper of his good name on this website.


Yes, I'm not as good a writer. Would the alleged spinning stop if I wrote more about " a gloomy confirmation of the fact that there will always different classes, that there is something in the human nature that seeks violence, conflict, power over others"

As you know so much about spinning corpses, please advise.

hear the excrement uttered

IS that because I'm not saying it is a government 'plot' to get the people to back the new government?

Or didn't you like the questioning of statements about 'bombs' 'terrorist(s)' or the motivation of the driver and passenger?

Or didn't you like how I question the effectiveness VS cost of "terror" spending?

I was chatting with a friend from Glasgow today, his sister's flight in was diverted to Manchester, and she'll be taking the train the rest of the way. (He also mentioned flooding that may affect the trains.)

BTW, It was travelers who used a fire extinguisher on the one terrorists who was burning, and travelers who knocked the other down and held him for the constables. One of the travelers was injured in the fight that then ensued with the terrorists. (My thoughts are with you, mate.)

Yesterday someone at work was saying that even with the hardened cockpit doors it might not be impossible to get through to the pilots on a plane. I told him they'd be dragging the next guy who tried off in a body bag with a scull fracture in the shape of a Lenovo notebook.

A couple of years ago, a solo attacker blew two barrels of a shotgun into a Southwest Airlines line in New Orleans. As he reloaded a group of citizens & one policeman (from memory) tackled him. First to hit were civilians.

Took guts to move quick against a proven murderer,


Anyone heard from R^2? He wrote that he was flying to Scotland today, and it seems that some fool tried to blow up the Glasgow airport today.

I made it just a little while ago. Security was insane. Cops with drawn guns all over the place. Airport queues like I have never seen before. It was something else. And my kids now think Scotland is a dangerous place.

We kept hearing snippets on the flight from Dallas to London, but didn't know exactly what had happened until we touched down in Aberdeen. I just knew that something besides the attempted nail-bombing in London had occurred. I guess I feel fortunate that they only lost 1 of our 7 pieces of luggage.

Peak Oil Passnotes: Peak Market Economics
"Nevertheless, what this means is that the idea of “peak oil” is not just one of geology. Rather it is symptomatic of a fiscal culture, both in business and geo-politics, that profits from low margins and tightness of supply and demand. If you flood a market with product X you will see margins fall. If you keep supply demand tight you will see margins increase, even if costs have to rise. Everybody in the energy complex sees advantage in high oil prices, except the poor countries with no oil production and the poor people in rich countries with no means to avoid the hikes in cost. As long as you have a stake in the game, keeping the balance right works."

Being rather new to the finer implications/workings of PO I wonder if anyone would care to comment on the idea that high oil prices due to low prodution are a desired outcome by oil producers and cause a peak more readily than geology. I've run into one such idea that oil companies are maximizing their profits while being under the blessing of the current politcal powers who would use rising prices as a pretext for "becoming less relient of foriegn oil".
Are profits growing due to better margins and tight suppluy or is it mainly the cost of crude? Is there anyone who benefits from higher oil prices in the end or are the "record profits" we here about all the time(oil co's or refineries) endemic of missing the big geoligical picture and only a temporary situation in a chain of events? I know to many these may seem a rather obvious questions but to a newcomer such as I there is a lot of information to put in its proper order.

The article is gibberish, unfortunately it's pretty standard for economics writers. He takes a snippet of economic theory (aka dogma) then bends the facts to make them fit the theory, but is ultimately a circular argument.

Which comes first, short supply or high prices? It's a chicken and egg question, which you can't resolve simply by logic. It's true that oil producers benefit from high prices, but you can't use that to determine the cause.

To understand the situation you need to look at the underlying supply data - do oil producers have spare capacity that they are not bringing on line? With the exception of Saudi Arabia, the answer is a resounding No. The areas of potential growth are all in areas that are much less profitable. Therefore the conclusion is that the supply constraint is involuntary. Shortness of supply has lead to high prices.


When an oilfield prospect is identified, an operator always makes a projection of the potential production and drilling costs, lifting costs, royalty and tax obligations and the Return On Investment. Its like any other business.

So many fields were discovered when oil prices were low, and the projections of the profit were made at $1 or $10 or $20 a barrel. Some costs rise, but the capital basis has stayed the same. There's no need to drill a new well every couple of years, the tanks need maximum size at the beginning of production,ect.. Thats what many people call a "windfall profit", although they don't call selling their parent's GI house for $500,000 a windfall profit.

There's also better margins. A quart of motor oil sells for $3, theres 4 quarts in a gallon, 42 gallons in a barrel, so thats $384.00 a barrel. Gasoline is a low margin item, yet the refiners make about $30/bbl. Still, even with the mark-up its about 1/2 the price of the drinking water sold in the same convenience store-and Coca-Cola gets the water damn near free.

I've been in oil and gas exploration since the mid-1970's. I'm third generation, so I'm a little predjudiced, but I'd like to note that some oil company executives give us a bad name with their antedeluvian politics. Exxons global warming denial campaign being the most eggregious example lately, but we've had more than our share of right wing nuts. Most people in oil companies are hard working, honest, fun to be around folks, kind, generous. But our business is so maligned that people try to call Dick Cheney an oilman-he's a professional bureaucrat. His only job outside of the government was a 5 year stint as CEO of Haliburton. And the reason he was given that job is that the Bush family owns the largest interest in Haliburton. And calling him an oilman somehow explains how the evil SOB got his horns and sulfur smell! At any rate, rant over.

So do you consider the Shrub an oilman?

If being an oil man means going belly up in a couple of oil ventures and being bailed out by your daddy's Saudi friends, then yes, he is an oil man.

He's not even a Texan. Born in Conneticut, went to Andover and Yale, promoted a few dry holes in the Permian Basin with daddy's friend's money, got a farm-in (read bribe for daddy) from the United Arab Emirates and sold out to Harkins Drilling, who made some dry holes. Then moved from Midland to Dallas where he bought a baseball team and spent ten years as an owner. You know the rest. He's your basic spoiled rich kid who is pretty good at imitating an accent.
I'm really priviledged in contrast to people from other states-I've gotten to vote against him 4 times, while you've only had the opportunity twice.

born in conneticut,but born again in midland.

oilmanbob, I really miss Molly Ivans. She had shrubs number from jump street.

Thanks for the explanations.

The problem with keeping supply down to hold up prices is that it's always more profitable for an individual supplier to secretly defect and increase production to take advantage of the high prices caused by the greater discipline of his cartel partners. Over and over again, OPEC members have failed to maintain discipline, at much lower prices than we have now. The interesting question is--why would it be different now? Has human nature changed? Or has their ability to increase production changed?

Even the BBC is reporting nervous reports about bank instability. I know we have seen comments like these before, but this is the BANK OF ENGLAND commenting:


SOS. The BOE helped to create the problem, now they are crying 'Bad Credit! Bad Credit! Bad Credit!' A couple of centuries back when the tulip market went belly up in Holland the BOE was whining about their credit losses to the fools that were buying rare tulips and reselling them for huge profits to bigger fools. Different century, same whine. All of this whinning is meant to attract the attention of the governments and alert them that a bail out will be needed soon. Fire up any presses that might be sitting idle for a cash infusion.

From the "BP Economist oil is plentiful" story....

• World energy consumption grew 2.4 percent last year, mostly because of a good global economy.

• The demand for energy actually fell slightly in the United States and other rich countries.

BenCole, I don't know if your still allowed to even read TOD but you gotta' love it :-)

Remember we are only one cubic mile from freedom

He did predict peak demand didn't he?

On numerous occasions. No one knows the future though, not even the numerous well informed people at The Oil Drum.

Personally, I think Stuart has it right with his 'long squeeze' as a response to Peak Oil by gradually increasing the efficiency of the auto fleet while switching our energy generation schemes to renewables. But I suppose we will all find out soon enough, right?

Someone sent me a link to this presentation by Alberto Acosta, Ecuador's Minister of Energy & Mines.

The presentation gives a proposal to forgo development on Ecuador's Amazonian ITT oil fields which hold an estimated 920 million barrels of oil, for a host of reasons which are given in the presentation.

This is a link to the University of Maryland web site the presentation is from.

Hello TODers,

Recall the Drumbeat mini-thread a few days ago on recycling strategies in various countries. Also recall my post on Mexico: 2,500 cities, but only a few dozen with landfill programs--What a mess.

Evidently, Zimbabwe is now so poor that trash scavengers are having a hard time:

ZIMBABWE: Poor quality garbage tells a tale

What people discard tells you something about their level of wellbeing: for the garbage collectors who trawl through the trash at the municipal dumpsite in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, things have never been so bad.

"Good garbage is hard to come by these days, unlike in the past, when we could get quality throwaways," she says.

From our news reports we get a little feedback of what life is like in Zimbabwe but there's nothing more revealing and clear than hearing it directly from people who live or have lived in Zimbabwe and have gone through some of the trials that have taken place there over recent years.

Jonathan: Robert, I just want to ask you a little bit about your background, cause at the moment apparently more people die in Zimbabwe than in Iraq which sounds like a staggering statistic cause we get so much focus of what is happening in Iraq. Can you try to give us an overview of what life is like in Zimbabwe at the moment?

Robert: Well more people die in Zimbabwe than Iraq and the Dhafur regions put together. Life is a living hell in that country.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

And still, the situation in Zimbabwe has nothing to do with Peak Oil, you are just scare mongering. The actions of a corrupt leader do not help explain PO.

If only you quoted the context:

Jonathan: And this is all with Robert Mugabe's administration. How do you view the administration then Mr MacDonald, living under it?

Robert: People are crying, we are free at last, we are free at last; but they didn't know the hidden agenda of Robert Mugabe, and as the years went on he's tightened his grip on the political situation in Zimbabwe by eliminating vast amounts of his opposition. In one area of Matabeleland, he sent in the foot brigade that killed 20,000 people by slaughtering them.
Things are dreadful you know, words cannot explain what's going on there. You know you can paint a picture, but people can't realise the true horror story called Zimbabwe. They cannot realise really what is going on. When the graveyards are overflowing, villages are empty; just young children are there - no grown ups. Why - because of Mugabe.

Hello BobCousins,

Thxs for responding, but I respectfully disagree. All the developing problems around the world must be considered in the larger Overshoot context of Jay Hanson's Thermo/Gene Collision:


It is vital resources of any kind: MPP, Liebig's Law, and the mixed interplay of needs; the detritovore blowback response. Scaremongering? Or just pointing out the obvious?

I am sure you have read all the hundreds of postings on riots, wars, conflicts, starvation, disease,...on & on.

EDIT: Example: The world could flood the Saharan Desert with oil, but with no topsoil and water--what would be the point? I am just considering Zimbabwe and other countries in this larger context. We could do the same to Zim, but if it doesn't rain--what would be the point?

Please explain to the TOD readers how this is happening without using the inherent entropy and overpopulation dynamics of the Thermo/Gene Collision.

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

In the long run maybe this matters, but, as Keynes said, we are all dead in the long run. So in explaining the present it doesn't make much nevermind.

If Mugabe doesn't matter because he's completely overshadowed by some airy overarching social philosophy, Zimbabwe's collapse ought to have happened on a much larger scale elsewhere first, as many other countries were far poorer. After all, even quite recently, Zimbabwe was one of the most prosperous African countries and a regional breadbasket. Pictures of the Harare skyline make it clear that there were at least the beginnings of more activity than just agriculture. That was a good thing too, as Zimbabwe is just too geographically small for the 'law of averages' to 'immunize' it from overall drought, so it needs to trade. But now, with the currency thoroughly debauched and the economy wrecked, trade is nearly at a standstill. So I just can't conceive of any justification for defending Mugabe, or any possible excuse for the manner and degree to which he has ruined the place.

As to airy philosophy, never underestimate the power of sheer thuggery. And never, but never, underestimate the sheer venality and stupidity of ordinary people who will follow the most murderous thug even into their own graves, on nothing more than the mere false promise of a free ride, or paradise, or 72 virgins, or 15 minutes of fame, or, as in the case of Zimbabwe, the "pride" of one's own herd "going it alone" - or whatever other nonsense might float the mob's boats.

If you are ever in Paris, stop by the memorial hall in the catacombs of the Palais de Justice. View the awful roll of the 9,000 dead, many of them well-known luminaries of the Enlightenment, and others plain ordinary carriage-drivers. The Paris mob neither needed nor had Hanson, crude oil, Liebig, or even bog-standard politically-correct Western self-hatred. No, they needed not one jot of that to create their ghastly Zimbabwe-style "accomplishment". All they needed was for an opportunity to present itself, that plus their own venal, misborn stupidity. That sufficed for them to become full of themselves and go out with murder in their eyes.

After all, who needed those damned luminaries when the mob could go it alone for free without them? Only, there is is no free ride, and the mob, as ever, was made up of empty, vacuous, incapable vessels. So after too much time and too many deaths, the circle closed on itself - being incapable of putting things back together, they resorted to Napoleon to do so in his own shambolic way.

"No one in this world so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people."
—H.L. Mencken, Chicago Tribune, Sept. 19, 1926

Sorry, but that's just a load of gibberish.

Still, the problems in Zimbabwe are entirely due to a corrupt leader and nothing to do with Peak Oil.

BobCousins, why is linking to a couple of stories about collapse in former Rhodesia "scare mongering"? The sad state of 1/4th of the Earth's population isn't reported very well in the MSM, and I'm glad that Tortoneila does it. He did great work keeping us informed on the Oaxaca school teachers strike, too.
It would be inapropiate in a thread dedicated to a technical subject, but Leanan runs this site as a general catch-all. I see this as no more inapropriate than links to the Housing Blogs, or gold bug sites.

Leanan's running of this site as a general 'catch all' as you put it has been successful due to the fact that PO itself is inherently a catch all. The fact that it isn't the pivotal topic in general discussion YET is symptomatic of the delusional distance from the mechanics of our existence that our current system has provided for us. My grandmother used to kill and eviscerate chickens. By the way, they're easier to pluck when they're still warm.

I often refer to my car as a 'solvent burner' and get rather strange looks, but it sinks in over time. The reality is that the whole affair is a noisy and smelly and toxic business which we have taken great pains to sanitize and get the nastier parts all tucked away and sealed so we don't have to know what is really going on. A '26 Model T was much more forthcoming about how it did its business. Now they just put a big plastic cover over the works and all you see is a few lawyer stickers and a dipstick.

See no oil, smell no oil , hear no oil. Oh, That of Which We Must Not Speak.

Gasoline was a waste product from cooking kerosine and fuel oil in the old refineries, and cheap. That's why it was used in the internal combustion engine.
I certainly agree about the distance people have from reality. Thats one of the reasons I fish and hunt, and I clean my own game. Its important to know where your food comes from, to experience it as a living creature and not just a plastic wrapped something in a plastic tray. I like to garden too for the same reason, and of course all wild or fresh food tastes much better. I like to cook, it gives me a real sense of the alchemy, the magic of providing your own sustanance. Its a spiritual thing.
We're living shrink-wrapped lives. I drive in an air conditioned and heated box with the radio blasting. I sleep with the air conditioner on and my windows closed, so I don't hear the normal sounds of my neighborhood or the mocking bird singing all night in the avacado tree next door. I work with my brain in front of a computer, or on a telephone and I turn on the TV for noise in my house. I have to conciously resist this isolation, and I'm not alone in this life, just in its results.

I certainly agree about the distance people have from reality. Thats one of the reasons I fish and hunt, and I clean my own game....I like to garden too for the same reason, and of course all wild or fresh food tastes much better.

An excellant comment. More people, omnivores, vegans and vegitarians alike need to realize how much real effort it takes to provide ones own sustinance. Not counting the toil it takes to raise ones own produce to put food on the table try to go out and pick green beans, peas and potatoes out of the garden for ones next meal. It takes time and effort, maybe and hour or two if one needs to feed a family of four or more. My point is that big agribusiness and cheap fossil fuels have lulled us to sleep. By purchasing things in a store we no longer have a sense of how much effort it takes to feed ourselves.
And while I applaud our vegan/vegerian friends for their lifestyle choice (I agree, we Americans eat too much meat) it will soon become evident that is easier to kill a chicken (or clean a fish) as repugnant as that may be and eat it for protein than to spend hours hulling grain and beans to get ones nurishment.


Thank you for good insights, well written.

Errol in Miami

He did great work keeping us informed on the Oaxaca school teachers strike, too.

I could not agree more.

Bob Shaw,
Keep up the good work!

I for one, sincerely appreciate it!


Actually Rhodesia (forget that Politically correct shit Rumbabwe) was once the garden of Eden of Africa.

It has been completely rogered by an ignorant tribal dick-head, this is true.

What Rhodesia now represents is they way Africa is going.

Of course when the Brits ran it, it hummed along perfectly...

Yeah, Yeah, I know that is 'racist', but ask any Zimbabwian who he would rather live under: The Brits or Mugabe?

Of course when the Brits ran it, it hummed along perfectly...

I always see you bad mouthing the US and it's foreign interventions, but all we have done is follow in the footsteps of the British Empire. Anywhere there is a backwards, f&$@'ed up country in the world, the Brits surely left their mark there. Find a line on a map that creates a "country" out of several different indigenous inhabitants and you'll find that British empire has left it's mark. Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Rhodesia, and too many others left for me to list.

Rhodes said,

"I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race."

If this were the case, we'd live in a utopia right now. It's more likely that the "finest race" has spent an awful lot of time and resources enslaving and exploiting people around the world,

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

It seems somewhat unlikely (not to mention simplistic) that every single 'dysfunctional' country today can really blame its current condition entirely on past colonialism by Europeans. For a start, why have certain countries remained under essentially European rule, and others not?
For many countries (U.S. & Australia included) the indigineous population was just too small and dispersed to be able to deal with any sort of invasion of Jared Diamond's trilogy of 'Guns, germs & Steel'.
But New Zealand for a time (in the 19th century) seemed like a country that could have gone either way.
And look at the huge difference between countries where the Brits were the ones doing the colonising, as opposed to the Spaniards or Portuguese. No former Spanish or Portuguese colony is today a truly wealthy nation. Of course, in reality there really are only 4 or 5 countries (Canada, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand - Singapore could arguably be included, except that the bulk of its population today, including those in power, is non-European) that would qualify as "stable/ wealthy ex-colony countries". Whether the fact that they were all colonised by the Brits actually means anything or is just a statistical anomaly I have no idea.

It seems somewhat unlikely (not to mention simplistic) that every single 'dysfunctional' country today can really blame its current condition entirely on past colonialism by Europeans. For a start, why have certain countries remained under essentially European rule, and others not?

I never tried to infer that underdeveloped nations can blame their current condition entirely on past colonialism by Europeans. What I meant about lines on maps by Brits is, many of the conflicts in the world today (Iraq, Afghanistan, India/Pakistan, Palestine/Israel) occur where Brits drew some lines on map to make "countries" out of disparate populations.

Past colonialism by Europeans is only part of the picture when analyzing "dysfunctional" nations. Modern day empire building is much more subtle. US intervention in many of these nations continues to this day. Whether it be through loans which enrich one segment of the population to the detriment of others, undermining legitimate political leaders (Allende, Mossadegh, Arbenz, Lumumba, Goulart, Arosemana, Velasco, Sukarno, Bosch, Papandreous, only a partial list) or supporting dictators (Duvalier, Nol, Pinochet, the Shah, Branco, Trujillo, Samoza, Savimbi, Saddam Huessein again only a partial list), the US has many tools in arsenal to keep underdeveloped nations in line.

So in viewing the state of post-colonial, nations it is also important to view what has happened in these nations since they have become independent.

For many countries (U.S. & Australia included) the indigineous population was just too small and dispersed to be able to deal with any sort of invasion of Jared Diamond's trilogy of 'Guns, germs & Steel'.

One should not forget about the Incans or the Mayans in speaking about the destruction of indigenous populations.
I'm not sure what this has to as far as refuting my premise that much of the "dysfunction" which occurs in the third world as a result of colonialism and its aftermath.

And look at the huge difference between countries where the Brits were the ones doing the colonising, as opposed to the Spaniards or Portuguese. No former Spanish or Portuguese colony is today a truly wealthy nation.

Yes the Spanish and Portugese had the misfortune to colonize countries in the "New World", US turf. You'll notice that the list of overthrown political leaders and installed dictators above, is predominantly from central and south american countries.

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

I'm not sure what this has to as far as refuting my premise that much of the "dysfunction" which occurs in the third world as a result of colonialism and its aftermath.

Well if your premise is just that ('much' being a conveniently vague term of course), I wouldn't dispute it. But it is curious why not a single country in Africa has managed to maintain genuine European dominance. Even South Africa at the peak of white rule probably only had 15% European-descendent population. It's now down to about 9%.

The same (or similar) has been said about South Africa: for all the atrocities of apartheid, it did appear to be generally a better functioning country when run by "whites".
I don't see why it has to be racist to postulate a link between genetic background and ability to govern a style of existence that was essentially invented by others, any more than a link between genetic background and ability to complete a marathon. But to draw any such conclusion on the basis of a few African states that have followed an apparently similar pattern is hardly rational or justified.

it did appear to be generally a better functioning country when run by "whites".

And your proof of this assertion is supported by?!?!? I might as well assert, that Australia was better run when it was a British penal colony than it is now. I might also assert, that America was a better functioning country when women or blacks weren't allowed to vote since providing any type of evidence seems to be too much trouble.

I don't see why it has to be racist to postulate a link between genetic background and ability to govern a style of existence that was essentially invented by others, any more than a link between genetic background and ability to complete a marathon.

In that case, I guess you won't take it personally for me to posit that "white" people are greedy, exploitative, environment wrecking, wasters of natural resources who have spent the better part of history creating institutions meant to rape and pillage the resources of others.

Africa is fouled up. But it did not become fouled up on it's own. Two hundred years of colonialism, exploitation, and intervention have helped it along. To posit that this is somehow more affected by genetics than by imperialism is extremely offensive to me.

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

I wasn't giving my own opinion regarding the state of S. Africa - I've never been there. The reports I read were written by folks that live there now, both white and black.
And note I only said "appear to be generally...better". Appearance and reality only occasionally co-incidide.

As for.."white" people begin greedy, exploitative, environment wrecking, wasters of natural resources who have spent the better part of history creating institutions meant to rape and pillage the resources of others...well duh. There could even be a genetic reason for it, though it would seem unlikely on the face of it.

There's no question Africa's current situation is largely a result of past imperialism. But it's not inconceivable that part of the reason that Africa seems to have suffered worse than other countries is a genetic difference. At any rate, the validity of any hypothesis has nothing to do with whether you find it offensive or not. If it really were true that some genetic marker in black Africans made them significantly less capable of leading modern nation-states, then that knowledge would be useful in determining how best to deal with Africa's woes (and one possible solution would be not to bother with modern nation-states). To be honest though, it's hard to see how such a possibility could ever be empirically determined.

". . . hard to see how such a possibility could ever be empirically determined."

Well, maybe not so hard. Suppose you have a clear real-world case of a government by Black people which is successful and democratic: Would not that finding refute the hypothesis of racial biological differences as an explanatory factor in quality of government?

Herewith are my two counterexamples.
1. Barbados--a poor overpopulated island with a rather good and fully democratic government.
2. Jamaica--a poor overpopulated country with a functioning (but less than perfect) democratic government--a country severely damaged by increasing oil prices but one which shows no tendency whatsoever to go the Zimbabwe route.

Thus, with two clear counterexamples, I think the hypothesis that there is something about "African" people that interferes with their ability to sustain good democratic government collapses completely.

Neither Barbados nor Jamaica since independence have ever been governed by a non democratic government. Also, the people in these countries seem to be generally optimistic and both peoples are known for their keen and sophisticated senses of humor.

As a sailor, there are some places I like to visit, and others that I avoid. The two islands I mentioned are some of the best for yachties that I know of. Remarkably, neither of these countries seem to be racist at all; if you show respect, this attitude will be reciprocated, ninety-nine times out of a hundred.

And of course with examples like that you start to get to the heart of the problem - there is no single, clearly-defined "black African race". It's potentially the case that the aforementioned alleged genetic marker somehow didn't make it across to the Caribbean states in significant quantities, or has since been bred out somehow.
There really just seem to be too many "what ifs" for it to be possible to do much useful analysis on it, regardless of the fact that no-one ever wants to hear the results of any science that seems to demonstrate that there really are genetic differences between us other than skin colour (oh, and apparently it's ok to have different shaped blood cells too).

FWIW, this was one of the articles I had read:


I've been looking for a good counter to it for a while - but the only ones I seem to find are of the unapologetically white-supremacist kind, criticising it for not explicitly coming to the "logical" conclusion that indeed whites were inherently "better" at running countries (and almost everything else).

EDIT: From findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BUE/is_1_137/ai_n17207387

A poll this year by the Washington Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University found that 70 percent are optimistic about the future and believe race relations have improved since 1994.

That, and indeed the entire article above would seem to counter the original article's implication that blacks were worse off than they had been under apartheid.

One could argue that Iraq was better functioning when it was run by Saddam Husein, said attrocites not withstanding.

Don't think there's very much argument required there at all. But it's hardly a parallel that seems worth making, for any number of reasons. For a start it's been nearly 15 years since white rule ended in S.A.

BobCousins still persists in the childish fantasy that peak oil has NO, NADA, ZERO, NONE impact on Zimbabwe. When challenged on this very point before he ran and never replied. This is something that he simply cannot prove. Yes we all know Mugabe is an idiot. Yes we all know Mugabe is responsible for most of the suffering in Zimbabwe.

But you cannot sit there and tell me that the current 3 years of extremely high oil prices and restrained supply have not also impacted Zimbabwe. Or if you do say such an absurd thing, we'll all be able to judge you by it.

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

Peak oil is a global, not local, phenomenon.  If peak oil was a major cause of the troubles in Zimbabwe, we would have been seeing similar things in many other places, starting at about the same time.

We don't.

You're comparing the geological phenonemon of "peak oil" (i.e. maximum obtainable oil production rate) with the socio-economic consequence of "peak oil", which are two very different things. Assuming that the current high prices are mostly due to the close promixity of geological "peak oil", then we can very much already see that it is having a serious impact in certain countries (Ghana, Senegal etc.) and relatively little in most others.
And of course major oil exporters mainly stand to benefit from peak oil (for a while at least).

I don't believe anyone's really studied the situation in Zimbabwe sufficiently to make any meaningful claim about how badly it has been impacted by high oil prices. But certainly things started getting pretty bad there before oil prices went skyward. No doubt the high prices since have exacerbated the problems, but to what extent is anybody's guess.

Zimbabwe began to have economic problems during the later part of the 1990s, when oil was ridiculously cheap. So no, PO really has nothing to do with Zimbabwe outside of an academic argument on how much better off they would be if oil was still $10 a barrel. Unfortunately, we now know based on the actions of Mr. Mugabe that they would most likely be in just as bad a pickle in this dream world as they are now.

Take this article for example. In it, they clearly explain that the problems started in early 2000 when, for some unknown reason, Zimbabwe decided to print an insane amount of cash. Note that oil was almost 1/4th the cost that it currently is now at this time period. Prices didn't start spiraling out of the OPEC basket control until much later.

Yet what the IMF’s analysis never sufficiently addressed was how and why the rapid collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy occurred in the first place. The sharp upward pressures on prices and exchange and interest rates were the result of a swift increase in the money supply, to be sure. Yet since 2000, where had the pressure to print money--on a scale never before seen--come from? Why were previously sound banks failing by the dozens? And given the enormous foreign direct investment (FDI) in Zimbabwe in the late 1990s, why were investors suddenly jumping ship?

I'm sure you will attempt to construct a straw-bridge link to why the banks suddenly started failing with Peak Oil, but even if this had occurred in 2004, prices were not yet high enough to cause this kind of economic stress around the world, let alone cause one single country to collapse. A better explanation might be that there was outside political and economic influences.

This was not the only problem, however. Perhapse what happened is simply related to the fact that Mr. Mugabe decided it would be in his countries best interest to reclaim all the white owned farm land and distribute it to poor blacks, many of whom had little to no experience in the ways of farming.

But while many problems cited by the IMF and others are important, they do not provide a full explanation for how a country can lose fifty years of economic progress in only five years.[2] In fact, Zimbabwe’s collapse can be traced to a single policy: its fast track land reform program, under which the Mugabe government, beginning in 2000, seized thousands of white-owned commercial farms, leading to a sharp drop in agricultural output. The other “inappropriate” policies adopted by the Mugabe government exacerbated the damage, but they were not the underlying cause.

And that is the crux of the matter. When he started confiscated the breadbasket of the country, the investors got spooked and bailed in mass. Zimbabwe's response? Mass produce money to pay for what the investors formerly were, causing inflation to spiral out of control. Also, notice how the collapse began in earnest back in 2002, well before the PO effects were felt, as oil production increased from 2002-2005 by nearly 6 million bpd.

But I would like to go out on a limb and suggest a plausible link to this situation and what is happening in another country: Venezuela. We all know that their oil production has been declining, and not for a lack of resources and flow rate constraints: it's simply due to the fact that most investors are spooked by a hauntingly similar "Zimbabwean" situation. The key difference however is that Venezuela is receiving an enormous influx of cash from their oil exports. But eventually, their production must decline to a point where these revenues alone are not enough to stem the tide. Indeed, inflation seems to griping Venezuela in many ways. 20% and rising...how remarkably similar...

I think we should be looking at Venezuela as the next 'flash point' for economic collapse.

Hello TODers,

The Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, was warned this month that Islamic militants and Taliban fighters rapidly were spreading beyond the country's lawless tribal areas and that without "swift and decisive action," the growing militancy could engulf the rest of the country.
With all the storm damage & rioting + PO: my SWAG is Pakistan will be in a full-fledged civil war inside a couple of years---I wonder who gets control of the 50 nuke warheads?

Recall that the Sri Lankan war started over control of a mere water sluicegate.

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

One million homeless in Pakistan

Pakistan struggled to provide disaster relief to one million people left homeless by Cyclone Yemyin yesterday, as bad weather continued to ground many military rescue helicopters and aid planes.

Pakistan's normally arid Baluchistan province was the worst affected by the tropical storm, which has killed 500 people across south Asia this week, with some districts receiving four times their annual rainfall in 24 hours.

"It is almost impossible to move around by road and many of our choppers and aircraft can't fly because of the wind and rain," said Major General Waheed Arshad, spokesman for the Pakistani military

Hello HeIsSoFly,

Thxs for responding. From the CIA Factbook: Pakistan is about twice the size of California. But consider:

CA pop. = approx. 36.5 million [2006 estimate]

164,741,924 (July 2007 est.)

Imagine packing that many people into two CA land masses: a greater number than a doubling of current CA pop. Another example: take half the US pop., then pack them all into CA, NV, and AZ. Wouldn't that be gobs of postPeak fun? =(

More from the CIA Factbook:
Natural hazards:
frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe especially in north and west; flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August)

Environment - current issues:
water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural fresh water resources; a majority of the population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hey Bob,

It's not so much the present population, I think, bad as it is, it's the fact that it's expected to double in the next 25 years, to some 340 million (a 2.8% growth rate), and take off from there. If memory serves, Pakistan will pass the US about 2035, and be way over 400 million by 2050.

Looking at current problems, that makes you want to run away real fast, doesn't it?

If something cannot go on indefinitely, then it won't. No country can long sustain a population growth rate of 2.8% per year--especially starting from a severely overpopulated base. The government of Pakistan is extremely fragile, and it would not take much to turn it into another Zimbabwe via another revolution and takeover by another thug.

The rural poverty in Pakistan is beyond description, and the hopelessness among the poor in urban areas is as bad as anywhere in the world and thus fuels the Taliban and related movements. When economic prospects decline, religious extremism makes a weird kind of sense--no hope in this world, so let's be a martyr and get those seventy plus virgins in the next one.

When economic prospects decline, religious extremism makes a weird kind of sense

That describes today's US as much as any other country in the world.

No. That is not the case.

The hopelessness found in poor countries of the Third World is quantitatively and qualitatively ten to a hundred times worse than the distress found in the prosperous countries of the world.

For a specific example, look at Haiti. In that country it is completely rational to rope together some inner tubes and try to float to another country, even if chances of surviving the sharks is only fifty percent. There is absolutely no hope in Haiti--whereas in Jamaica (not to mention Florida) you're much better off in jail than living free in Haiti. Hatians love love love American jails and aspire to live there as an alternative to the Hell that is their own country.

Pakistan is on a par with Haiti when it comes to despair.


I quoted you on the relation between economic decline and the rise of (extreme) religion, and said that relation is true for the US as much as for any other country.

You say: "that is not the case". I'm not sure, for one, what is not. The statement itself seems pretty much impossible to refute.

And then you give examples of Pakistan and Haiti, which, I think, focus on economic despair. I see no connection between Haiti and extreme religion, at least on a grand scale, and for Pakistan I doubt it is as large as suggested. We just hear more from the extreme side.

I know few extreme Pakistani's. Over 60% of Americans and Canadians who think the bible is more correct than Darwin, now that's what I call religious extremism. Dinosaurs on the Ark, they're not joking.

But that takes little away from your suggestion of the link between economic decline and religion (which I think is more right than you apparently do).

Decline is not a situation, but a process. And that for me clearly implies that if the US starts seriously declining, and of course it is doing so already, that way before it reaches the economic levels of Haiti, despair and anger will have taken over, and that's where the carefully built religious born again cult system will come in, like so much Big Brother television.

Saying that this is "not the case", for me means either denial of the US' economic reality, or its religious development, or, more likely, both, with all respect.

I had read recently that fundamentalism in the U.S. was actually slightly on the decline...that for all the millions of new members it recruits every year, it actually loses more (and typically very quickly).
Does anyone have any figures to back that up/refute it?

HeIs : You are dramatically overstating the influence of Christian extremism in Canada. The devout Christians in Canada (unlike in the USA) exhibit a high degree of morality (IMHO). The main focus of their activities appear to be centred around helping poor (mainly homeless) people. The strong link between Christianity and warmongering evident in the USA shows no signs of creeping over the border (so far). Years ago, we had abortion clinics protested but that seems to have dissipated totally over the last 20 years.

Don, believe or not it gets WAY worse than another thug or religious extemism:

In 2003 a retired Pakistani Brigadier General publicly suggested that their nukes should be used on their own people to reduce the population:

"My children have no future. None of the children of Pakistan have a future..."


( unfortunately behind a paywall : (

The downslope is gonna be VERY interesting. As someone else said, makes me feel like running away very fast...

Errol in Miami

Where will you run to?

The Pakistani ISI (similar to our CIA) invented, helped train (with CIA funds), and deployed the Taliban. Why would you find it odd that the Taliban are once again deploying to Afganistan, a country that they recently ruled and will soon rule again? BTW, you did not mention who 'warned' Musharaff about the resurgance of the Taliban, would you care to share with us? There are no 'lawless tribal areas' in Pakistan. Very strict Shiria law is enforced by the Pashtun living in these areas.
If you can for a moment put yourself in Musharaff's shoes...He has a lot of Taliban residing in Pakistan that were in Afganistan before we invaded the country and kicked them out. Musharaff can remove a lot of heat internally from Pakistan if he can export all the Taliban back to Afganistan. What would you do? Pakistan has a very strong military, if Musharaff falls the nukes will fall into the hands of the military. Musharaff was a general in the Pakistani army before he managed a coup to take control of Pakistan. Of course, most senior officers in the Pakistani army and the ISI are in sympathy with the Taliban. When Karzai packs his bag and NATO leaves the Taliban will be back in Afganistan.

Sigh, Pakistan, one of our better allies in the war on terror. Along with SA, with friends like these....

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

Musharrif is STILL an officer in the Army.

Musharrif is a pretty good ally in the "Global War on Terror". The problem is that Musharrif is not ALL of Pakistan.

Sri Lanka?? You mean Ceylon i presume.

Excellent mega-diary on Eurotrib called Local Rail - An Overview.