DrumBeat: July 2, 2007

US consumers pay highest energy bills in decades

The summer heat is sweltering, so you turn up the air conditioning. The kids need a trip to the beach, but first you need to fill up the family car. And your freelance business requires that you spend a few hours on the computer tonight.

Kilowatts, gallons — they all add up. Energy is now sucking money out of Americans' bank accounts at a record level — hitting $612 billion at an annual rate in the month of April, the last month of data. Over the past two years, energy bills as a share of income have risen and are now at their highest point since 1987, but still below the levels of the 1970s and early 1980s. For low-income households, some economists estimate energy consumption as a percentage of income is closing in on 10 percent.

Japan: Oil imports decline for 13th month

Crude oil imports fell 11 percent in May from a year earlier, declining for a 13th month.

Crude oil imports fell to 17.5 million kiloliters last month, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a report Friday.

China to consume 350m tons of oil in 2007

China's total consumption of oil is expected to reach 350 million tons this year. Due to the soaring oil price on the international markets, the cost of the high consumption of oil is growing, said an official with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) last Saturday.

Kurdish Oil Riches Lure Wildcatters Unswayed by Deaths in Iraq

Yousef, who once fought off Saddam's Republican Guard in the mountains nearby, has given up his Kalashnikov AK-47 to work on an oil platform built by Norwegian wildcatter Det Norske Oljeselskap ASA, or DNO. Oil producers such as Canada's Western Oil Sands Inc. and Heritage Oil Corp.; Switzerland-based Addax Petroleum Corp.; Genel Enerji, a unit of Turkey's Cukurova Holding AS; and the U.K.'s Sterling Energy Plc are all exploring the region, which the Kurds have controlled since 1991.

Shell chief calls for powerful EU energy supremo

Europe needs an energy minister to co-ordinate a common policy on the supply of gas from Russia, according to Jeroen Van der Veer, the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell.

Chavez Prefers Russian Oil and Lenin

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took several parting shots at the United States as he wrapped up a visit to Moscow on Friday, suggesting that he preferred Russian oil companies to U.S. ones and that life was more than Superman.

Escaping Putin's Energy Squeeze

Increased dependence on Russian-dominated energy routes and supplies poses the risk that Russia will be able to exert significant political pressure on Europe. Indeed, it has already demonstrated its capacity to do so. In the past 18 months Russia has twice shut off gas to Europe, first during a politically driven dispute with Ukraine and then in an energy dispute with Belarus early this year.

Uganda is not ready to handle oil

By leveraging the oil revenues, we could see dramatic improvements in our roads, railways, electricity and telecommunications, easing the flow of goods and services and lowering the costs of doing business. Improvements in our education and health systems would also see dramatic improvements in our standard of living. This is the best case scenario.

In the worst case scenario, we can look forward to a collapse of all other productive sectors of the economy as a stronger shilling makes production unprofitable, making it cheaper to import rather than produce locally. We may see widening income gaps with a small percentage of the population growing exponentially richer, while the majority descends into dehumaninsing poverty.

North American Petroleum Refining Industry Turnaround Activity and Future Spending

Capital and maintenance spending for the North American Petroleum Refining Industry is reaching record levels. In a special segment of "Industry Today," Chris Paschall, VP of Refining for Industrial Info, will give an inside look at some of the drivers behind capital and maintenance spending trends in the industry. "Industry Today" is a weekly internet radio broadcast hosted by Industrial Info featuring technology, industry trends and company executives important to the industrial market.

EU consumers could save £40bn a year as energy markets open up

Industry and households throughout Europe could save £40bn a year after the EU's domestic energy supply market was yesterday opened for full-scale competition. The move promises to help put an end to distortions that cost UK consumers £10bn last year.

Unrealized benefits of transport electrification are within reach

New materials innovations that are now out of the laboratory and going into production that, when widely adopted in the US, can cap greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. High power, long life batteries that recharge in 10 minutes are now being manufactured in the US that can power both fully electric plug-in vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

McDonald's puts oil to green use

McDonald's is to convert all its UK delivery vehicles to run on biodiesel, using the firm's supply of cooking oil.

Australia: Walk-out sparks debate on electricity market

ACADEMIC Tim Brennan, in his 2001 paper analysing "rolling blackouts, bankrupted utilities, state bail-outs and allegations of anti-competitive conduct" in the wake of the Californian energy crisis, made this observation: "Deregulating an industry, like flying an airplane, makes headlines only when there has been a crash."

Deregulation and the questions surrounding the structure of the energy market have occupied an unfamiliar space in the headlines over the past week.

The crash? Energy One chief executive Vaughan Busby prefers to call it a near miss. Last Friday, the junior energy retailer, which has 10,000 customers, largely in NSW and Queensland, became the first casualty of high wholesale energy prices due to the drought.

The company announced it was walking away from its retailing business, declaring it "unprofitable", saying it could make more money selling hedging contracts and developing its billing software than it could through its retail operations.

The Gas-Guzzler Lobby Stops Time

By 2020, when the 35 miles per gallon standard kicks in, 35 miles per gallon will sound like ancient history. By then we'll be well past Peak Oil, meaning that we'll have used up most of the world's oil reserves, while an industrialized China and industrializing India will have increased their oil consumption exponentially. That scenario alone should push gas prices above seven bucks a gallon in today's dollars.

Nuclear energy hot topic once again

Thanks to global warming, nuclear energy is hot again. Its promise of abundant, carbon emissions-free power is being pushed by the president and newly considered by environmentalists. But any expansion won't come cheap or easy.

Crude Oil and Gasoline: The Illusion of Equality

The time has come to once and for all put to rest the notion that crude oil and gasoline are joined at the hip as commodities in solidarity.

Yes, there's a thin veil of truth to the myth, born of the fact that the latter is refined from the former. But for all practical purposes, it's prudent to consider each separately from the other. The reason: each is driven by a separate, and at times dissimilar, set of supply and demand factors.

Power cuts test Pakistani patience in election year

The last thing any government wants is hot, angry voters, but that is Pakistan's fate with elections just months away.

Near record summer temperatures can be blamed on global warming, but power outages aren't acts of God.

Iran, Venezuela boost ties with petrochemical plant

The presidents of Iran and Venezuela launched construction of a joint petrochemical plant on Monday, underlining closer ties between the two energy-rich nations united in opposition to the United States.

Pakistan okays power import from Iran

Pakistan has formally approved a plan to import electricity from Iran to supply areas in southwestern Baluchistan province with power.

Sri Lanka electricity plant problems hits AES Corp profits

The utility has been forced to buy power from private power producers owing to a severe shortage of generating capacity.

It is also caught in a financial crunch with an average selling price of 10.40 rupees a unit against a generation cost of 12.60, even after a recent tariff hike.

Iran's roads to go eco-friendly

Iran is set to start producing hybrid cars from late July in a bid to cut down on fuel consumption in the country, according to a report by Iran's Mehr News Agency (MNA)

Pemex Awards First Service Contract for Crude-Oil Drilling

Pemex, as the company is known, awarded a 10-year contract to a group led by Mexico's Grupo Diavaz to run the oil field with a goal of more than doubling production to 15,000 barrels per day, said Carlos Morales, chief of Pemex's exploration and production unit. Pemex plans to offer four more oilfield-service contracts this year, he said.

Pemex looks for more efficiency

Petróleos Mexicanos, the third-biggest oil supplier to the U.S., must improve its operating capabilities and expand into new production areas, such as deepwater, to curb its dependence on the Cantarell oil field, said the company's head of production and exploration.

"Cantarell has made us highly dependent," said Pemex's Carlos Morales during a conference last week in the Gulf of Mexico port city of Veracruz. "The solutions we're going to face in the future are much smaller fields that require much more work and efficiency than we have today."

South Africa's arterial routes on the road to disaster

Faced by an arterial meltdown, transport lobbyists are calling for a return to rail transportation to alleviate the "unacceptable and growing levels" of congestion.

Alarming reports show that the country's main arterial routes are being "pounded to destruction" by heavy vehicles and that some roads may only last another five years.

Organic food under threat

'I'm not normally apocalyptic,' said Patrick Holden, owner of the farm and director of the Soil Association. 'But the organic food industry is facing big problems that need to be sorted out as a matter of urgency.'

Kurt Cobb: Deceptive landscape

But my pleasant walk through these leafy streetscapes is deceptive. For all its orderliness this neighborhood generates enormous entropy that is hidden from the viewer's eyes. This has implications for our political life because these are the kinds of neighborhoods across the United States from which communities draw their leaders and in which turnout is heaviest during election time.

Test your Energy IQ

Big Oil says Americans lack basic energy knowledge. How much do you know, and what’s behind their test?

North Dakota Governor extends hours for commercial truckers hauling fuel

Governor Hoeven has issued an executive order that extends the service hours for commercial truck drivers hauling fuel.

Officials say a low supply of gasoline caused by refinery slowdowns is threatening to create regional shortages especially in the eastern part of the state.

Growth is bumping against profound physical limits

It used to be that with one stone, you could hit two birds, named More and Better, roosting on the same branch. Not so now, because “Better has flown a few trees over to make her nest.” As a result, “if you’ve got the stone of your own life, or your own society, gripped in your hand,” you have to choose between the two, advises Bill McKibben in ‘Deep Economy’.

Growth is no longer making most people wealthier, but instead generating inequality and insecurity, he observes. “And growth is bumping against physical limits so profound – like climate change and peak oil – that continuing to expand the economy may be impossible; the very attempt may be dangerous.”

Trinidad and Tobago: Energy security

"You mention in one of your articles that Peak Oil could occur as early as 2015. It may have already happened. There is increasing evidence that supply is declining off the various Peaks, depending on what liquids one is looking at. A continued rapid decline in Saudi (it has declined 11 per cent from its highs already) production, whether for geological, economic or political reasons, will not be masked for much longer.
(The article also mentions TOD and Jeffrey's "Hubbert Linearisation Model.")

Our friends in the north

Scotland still has about a third of her oil left. If she gets together with her Norwegian neighbours in a sort of mini-OPEC, keeps the price of North Sea oil up in the era of Peak Oil (and this may rise in pretty short order to more than $200 a barrel; in 1999 it was only $10 a barrel), and uses the income as collateral to obtain hi-tech equipment and training, then her government can promote the necessary industrial and infrastructural reconstruction.

Growth and degrowth - revolutionary approaches to saving the planet and making a happier future

Economic growth is central to the ideology of modern capitalism. In capitalist economies, growth is usually related to a measurement known as Gross Domestic Product, GDP, defined as the value of all goods and services purchased in a country over a specified period. Growth is said to occur if this value increases, and most nation states are obsessed that this happens, year by year. But this says nothing about whether spending was necessary, or who did the spending. Consumption of any goods or services, whether needed or not, contributes to growth.

The University of Texas Presents Two-Day Symposium to Improve Approach to Energy Technology Innovation and Policies

"Energy is in the news every single day, but often with misleading or incomplete information. This short course is a great opportunity for participants to learn the truth about energy from an objective collection of experts," said Dr. Michael Webber, Associate Director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas at Austin. "We believe Austin, which was recently listed as one of the greenest cities by Treehugger.com, is the ideal setting for delivering a 360 degree perspective of energy technologies and the policies that directly affect the industry."

Energy Map of America (Flash)

Carbon backlash: coal divides corporations

U.S. coal mining companies, which for years have been branded the bad guys of global warming, are fighting back.

They are questioning not only the science but also the motives of some of the big-name corporations who have made well-publicized commitments to cleaning up their act.

Hindu devotees disappointed as sacred icicle melts

Hundreds of thousands of devotees make a long, tiring trek to the Kashmir mountains each year to look at the natural icy formation, worshipped as a symbol of the god of destruction, Shiva.

But by Monday, just the second day of the two-month-long pilgrimage, the pilgrims only had a tiny stump of ice to look at -- compared to a 3.6-metre (12-foot) high formation that was there a few weeks ago.

"The Shivlingam (Shiv phallus) has melted down completely," Arun Kumar, a senior official of the pilgrimage board, told AFP.

Saudis To Give Extra Protection To Oil Fields

Saudi Arabia will set up special security units to protect oil and industrial facilities against militant attacks, the Interior Minister said in remarks published on Monday.

Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz also told members of the unelected Shura Council that the kingdom was holding more than 3,000 suspects, many linked to a campaign by al Qaeda launched in 2003 to overthrow the pro-Western royal family.

Saudi Arabia has said it foiled at least two major plots since 2006 to hit major oil facilities in the kingdom, the world's largest oil exporter.

Oil Boom, Politics Shape Africa's Future

Europe's great powers once scrambled for dominance across vast, underdeveloped African lands rich in raw resources, including the scarlet palm oil used to grease the first cogs of the industrial revolution.

A century later, a new group of nations are competing for a different valuable, viscous material, with Sub-Saharan Africa closing in on the Persian Gulf as the prime overseas supplier of oil to the last remaining superpower.

Plans to ramp Kuwait's oil production on track, despite minister's resignation, official says

Sheik Ali al-Jarrah al-Sabah, Kuwait's oil minister and member of the ruling family, resigned Saturday, five days after Kuwaiti lawmakers requested his impeachment over allegations that he helped his cousin embezzle public money from a state-owned company more than a decade ago.

"Kuwait's production expansion plans remain unchanged," Farouk al-Zanki, chief executive of Kuwait Oil Company told Dow Jones Newswires on Sunday.

Chinese company OKs deal on Sudan oil

China's No. 1 oil company, CNPC, and Indonesia's PT Pertamina have agreed to co-develop a Sudanese offshore oil block, ignoring international efforts to isolate Sudan over the crisis in its Darfur region, a report said Monday.

China's oil-tanker construction falls behind rising oil imports

The rate of construction of oil tankers for Chinese shipping lines is falling behind the rate of increase in oil imports, which may pose a threat to the country's energy security, a China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co (COSCO) official said.

Japan homeowners swapping oil for electricity

A rush by Japanese homeowners to convert their houses to run solely on electricity has put them in the vanguard of efforts to cut back on oil use, but also risks driving up coal and gas imports if nuclear generators falter.

Rich world's consumerism may cause African famines, experts warn

Food production in developing countries will halve in the next 20 years unless wealthy nations lower their rate of consumption, the Stockholm Environment Institute warned at a weekend conference.

The livelihoods of more than three billion people in the world are being undermined by the wealth of the privileged few, the institute's executive director, Johan Rockstroem, warned.

EU Warns Citizens: Adapt to Climate Change Now

European Union nations must adapt to climate change by using water more efficiently, adjusting crops and farming methods, and caring for elderly people vulnerable to heat, the EU executive said on Friday.

In addition to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to halt global warming, Europeans should change the way they live and work to mitigate the effects of rising temperatures, the European Commission said in a document.

The paper raised the possibility that entire cities may eventually have to be moved.

I am reading TOD from Germany for some time now, I did not write something up to now here on TOD, because of to reasons my english is not so pefekt and secondly there is so much people here know so much about the upcomming energieproblem that i think i cant help much with my small knowledge. In the moment i think a lot about the influence on the american politics in the Middle East. I get more and more convenced that all 911 happenings are a big conspiracy, a big fake what the puplic is been told on msm.

I want to give you some links to what i found on the net. I would like to read your opinion about all this. Tanks for your comments.

For all of you , go on with your great work here on TOD

20 minute flash video

reply from bbc


90 minute flash movie about religion, 911, and the fed


A german reportage about 911 conspiracy with english subtitle


Hi and welcome mate,

Just remember that we do energy here, and 911 has other places and forums, so please dont bring it up here other than as a side note.

There is also TOD:europe which you can have a look at.
All the best

ust remember that we do energy here,

But I'd love to see more money stuff - pointers to where good debates go on about the alternatives to the fiat cash/ non-oxidizing metals.

I'll second this motion.

Seems to me to be at least as big a problem as resource depletion in its own right.

Money is simply a system of operation that is designed to allow transactions of goods/services in a more sophisticated method than just barter.

Without a good system of finance we can't possibly hope to allocate resources in a sane fashion with or without ample energy sources.

I don't fully understand how the money systems work, but I am trying to learn.

I've watched a couple of good Google videos but to be honest, I'm none the wiser about any alternatives to the current system of finance.


I don't fully understand how the money systems work

Most don't. You've got Kensian, Miese, and a few other thinkers that one can debate their POV and end up arguing how many fiat dollars can buy you a kiss on the head of a pin.

In my bio page I link to a couple of money theory sites. And they should be of some help. The online book short circuit
http://www.feasta.org/documents/shortcircuit/contents.html talks about money and energy, might be a good place for you to start your journey.

And somewhere there has to be a site where money wonks go to wonk.

Well, that would be me.

Buy my book:

Gold: the Once and Future Money

available at Amazon.com

visit the website


The book is about a lot of things, but one of them, as one might surmise from the title, is how to use precious metals as a basis of monetary systems. This was common throughout the world in 1965, and worked fine at that time, so I will suggest in advance that many people's worries and criticisms of the system are not very well informed.

On the website, I have been doing a fair amount of writing on the subject of economics in the context of resource depletion/a focus on quality of life rather than "growth", which may be of interest.

Most alternatives proposed to the current system of money and financial institutions are worse than what we have now.

Precious metals make no sense as a basis for currency. Whenever you get a big discovery (New World, Calif., Alaska, So. Africa) then you get inflation as more gold (or gold and silver) is pumped into the system. Spain was plagued with hundreds of years of inflation from all the silver imported from roughly 1500 to 1800. The "free" minting of silver in the U.S. from 1896 resulted in an inflation that indirectly led to the Panic of 1907. Thus, forget about gold and silver. (According to some psychoanalysts, gold represents feces and silver urine, and this quirk accounts for the fascination that so many anal types have with precious metals. There may be something to this.)

A basket of commodities as a basis for a kind of warehouse receipts used as money might work pretty well. Never been tried, to the best of my knowledge, but it has been widely discussed for a long time.

Variations of the "social credit" proposals have been tried numerous times with limited (to put it kindly) success.

The best proposal I've seen was put forth by Milton Friedman when he was young--100% reserve banking. There is no reason why this will not work, and plenty of reasons to think it would work as well or better than what we now have.

Hayek and others have advocated competing moneys, in which the bad (inflation-plagued) moneys would fail and be replaced by sound currencies issued by banks or governments.

There is no particular logic in the system we have now; it just evolved to be the way it is today. For example, after the Second World War it was the genius of John Maynard Keynes that designed the Bretton Woods agreement that worked well for twenty years to rebuild the world after the Second World War.

A basket of commodities as a basis for a kind of warehouse receipts used as money might work pretty well. Never been tried, to the best of my knowledge, but it has been widely discussed for a long time.

And perhaps that would be worthy of discussion. With results or interesting bits placed on TOD. The Technocracy position - using kWH would fit the commodities angle and tie directly to energy.

kWH would 'be something needed', would be 'destroyable', could be expanded and contracted, Its just not long-term storable. Or even really short term storable.

The fact that kilowatt hours are not conveniently storable is a fatal flaw for a basis for money. In my own science fiction future history series, 190 proof potable ethanol becomes the new money, with the one liter "Everclear" as the unit of account.

Talk about liquid assets . . . .

Julian Darley has been talking and writing about the (untested) idea of local currencies "backed by" local renewable energy. I've asked him how can you "back" the currency with something that you cannot store, and can only be used once, but havn't gotten an answer. Perhaps facilities to generate such energy, rather than the energy itself, can be an asset worth putting faith in, but how can a currency be based on that? Or perhaps such a generating facility can forward-sell the power it plans to generate, and such receipts then swapped as money? But when they pre-sell the energy, what is used as payment? And, at some point the energy has to be actually used and paid for, there goes the "money supply"?

It is not clear to me whether "money" has to be "backed by" anything at all. You might say that our current "fiat" currency (do fiat-currency haters always say that word with a sneer? :-) is "backed by" the force of goverment (who, in the USA, gave the "federal reserve" (which is neither) the power to control the currency). But faith in the power of such government may be eroding. Is the problem the strength of such faith, or is the problem the uncontrolled printing of such money?

I agree that "100% reserve banking" may help, but perhaps even better would be to return the power of money creation to the government (via spending), as proposed, e.g., by Douthwaite. Perhaps 100% reserve banking is close to that, since the bank can then only gather interest on the money it has on deposit, not on money created out of thin air by loaning it out. But that still relies on "interest" payments, i.e., on perpetual growth (of resource use, not just money supply), and that's the real problem.

Current as 'Currency' ..

As Eric Blair says below, a ready energy supply is not dissimilar to one of the original energy sources and ongoing forms of currency, food, which has a similar problem with intermittency, storability and yet both carry a very high value to us. I would say that your generating equipment, like your farmland becomes your storage capacity, with the somewhat (but only 'somewhat') uncertainty of future yields. What's kept in a Silo or in batteries/pumped storage is more like the Refined Product, actually ready to sell, whereas the equipment and the prepared land/irrigation, etc is somewhere between your stored crude/proven reserves.

I don't expect energy to become the sole basis for a monetary system, but as ready energy becomes more scarce, the dividing line may become blurrier, or I could say academic. A windfarm will deliver fairly constant value, and will be seen to have an understood degree of reliability in doing so.. how does that not become an arm of the economic value-system?

Bob Fiske

I am very sorry i showed up late to this discussion.

If money is to be backed by renewable energy, then it would be a total paradigm change for everyone, and for the better.

Imagine if to expand a business the EROEI and relative amounts of value in value out were ruthlessly checked. Or to start a new one. Businesses which depend upon polluting would find they are not valued as much, especially when most renewable projects involve significant capital outlays at the start, and deliver energy at a constant rate UNTIL THEY are SCRAPPED.

Imagine that, projects which have KNOWN depreciations in energy output over time, unlike OIL/GAS/COAL which is unpredictable.

Wind is much more predictable in comparison to the PRICE of OIL/GAS/COAL. Same with the SUN.

We have an entire 1/4 to 1/3 of the economy geared towards simply ensuring that the economy is lubricated (the finance market), with a conversion to known energy outputs for a period of time this sector of the economy can shrink, and more people be liberated!!

Electricity has a per minute supply-demand balance - what "1 electrodollar" would be backed by is not a certain amount of electricity, but a certain percentage of the available electricity, so in high demand times, your dollar would naturally have less purchasing power, as less energy was available for you.

(choosing to have prices adjusted by the min. to keep up with that, or to simply buy buy the 'average production cost' that todays market sells by is a different question)

And that has been a historical way for a farmer to convert excess crop into something for trade, it stores 'for a long time' and if you have a fire, the miscibility with water means you don't have the same issues with spreading the fire when dealing with oil.

The root of the problem, apart from money is the root of all evil or evil is the root of all money, is that we are attempting to take a static thing, be it gold or paper or seashells, and make it represent a transaction which is a dynamic thing. Money, unfortunately, is subject to the Laws of Motion with all the exponential dislinearities that implies.

That a little money traveling fast can do what a lot of money moving slowly can also do is the nightmare of the central bankers. The much derided fiat money [ is there any Ferrari money?] has the advantage of NOT being based upon a static thing like gold and thus can be adjusted, within limits, to account for velocity. It is far easier and more fun to create it than destroy it, however.

Beware those limits. When too much Fiat money becomes Ferrari money, the braking system - usually high central bank rates - is used to mop up the excess liquidity, leaving those with their necks overleveraged with a case of road rash. We may be about to have a demonstration for those who have forgotten 1980.

Subprime Time? We can have all the beliefs and theories we like and people will still do stupid things with money just like they do stupid things with cars. Believe any economic theory you like, but money will be dynamic and exponential, just like any other moving object. When too much money meets not enough oil?

Don Sailorman
How do I find your books? They sound interesting, I love good sci-fi.
Bob Ebersole

You can find volume one at


That novel is entitled "The Adventures of C.C. Eggum" and describes an apocalyptic collapse (helped along but not triggered by Peak Oil) in the near future from the point of view of a young teenage boy.

I'm still waiting for vol's 2,3.....

Volume 2 is finished and clean but not posted anywhere, because I do not know how to post stuff to blogspot.com

The now banned and sometimes lamented Oilceo kindly posted volume Volume One and explained how I could do editing, but I could not figure out how to do that either.

Someday these SF novels may make me rich and famous, but I've begun writing a series of crime novels now, and it will be a couple of years before I get back to science fiction.

I took a look, thought they were quite interesting, looked to me to have commercial potential. You're a damn good storyteller, Don!
Wish I could help with the posting, but I'm a klutz with computers.
I don't lament Oilceo. The guy was clear and coherent sometimes, but apparently had a drinking or drug problem. His selfishness and arrogance was appalling, and I found his trying to sneak back into the blog contemptable and disruptive. I hope the guy gets some help for his problem.
Bob Ebersole

'Everclear' = volatile assets

I think one of the real problems with peak oil is that money, however it is defined, can no longer be nearly as storable as it is today.

Today, we have insurance companies, banks, and all kinds of other financial services set up around the idea that if you have money now, you can have the same amount, and even more, in the future.

Once we are past peak oil, the amount of resources available to society will gradually (or not so gradually) shrink. We no longer will be able to set aside savings today for the future, except on a very limited basis - perhaps food stored away that we will still have, as long as it keeps. Or clothing and some books. But if we have a fixed number of dollars (or whatever), those dollars will buy less and less as time goes on.

Perhaps society can have some sort of fiat currency with a fixed number of units that will always have a big inflation problem. People will learn to treat the new currency very differently from today's currency. No life insurance, for example.

How about "Forever" stamps as a new currency or as the backing for one? One Forever equals one first-class postage stamp. So long as the postal system remains intact there would be solid backing for the currency. I think Ben Franklin would approve.

Remind me to invest some hundreds of $ in the forever stamps.

For only forty-one cents I can buy what three cents used to buy back when a dollar was (more or less) a dollar. If you don't buy "forever" stamps now, I imagine that first-class postage will cost you about a dollar by the year 2012 and possibly two debased dollars by the year 2020, and about three dollars by 2024, thus providing an inflation factor of over one hundred in much less than one hundred years.

What do you think of Ralph Borsodi's "Constants"? Here's one link among many. http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/swann_robert_on_borsodi_and_mone...


Borsodi's ideas are sound: They have been around for more than a century and have been tried out in various times and places. One problem these schemes have, however, is that they are not "legal tender." A great advantage of dollar bills is that I can FORCE you to accept them at face value for all debts private and public. Thus, suppose I owe a hundred thousand dollars on my mortgage: I can always pay it off with exactly $100,000. As a holder of debt, this works to my advantage during times of inflation. Thus I can pay off my back taxes, my credit cards, my car and whatever debt I have in dollars, regardless of their real value.

Now, if dollars go to a hundreth of their current value, suddely I'm out of debt . . . Bring the Jubilee!

Notice that with "constants" and their lack of legal tender status there is no incentive to inflate the currency to worthlessness. Governments, on the other hand, are chronically impecunious and often try to inflate their way out of difficulties, as the U.S. govt. has been doing since about 1940.

A great advantage of dollar bills is that I can FORCE you to accept them at face value for all debts private and public.

Not so. I went to the IRS office to pay one of their demand letters (for $300) and was told that they would not take my 3 $100 bills to settle the paper they sent me.

You could have sent the three one-hundred dollars in by registered mail, return receipt requested. Refusal to accept legal tender is a federal crime, and it also opens one to civil lawsuits. Thus, you could have sued the IRS and one (plus getting individual judgments from any individual agents who refused your offer of legal tender).

BTW, I've never heard of any tax authority anywhere refusing cash, though they are legally entitled to refuse thousands of pennies (since pennies are not legal tender for large debts).

Thus, you could have sued the IRS

I'll keep that in mind the next time I say to myself "Oh, hey my life lacks problems - what can I do to create all kinds of issues for myself!"

I've never heard of any tax authority anywhere refusing cash
I suggest that anyone who does owe the IRS to try paying with cash. Just to see if you have the 'we don't take FRNs' problem.

in federal lawbooks if the fed refuses to accept legal tender your debt is null and void as you made a good faith effort to pay with legal tender.

this does NOT apply with private debts (ie person to person or person to store)

(According to some psychoanalysts, gold represents feces and silver urine, and this quirk accounts for the fascination that so many anal types have with precious metals. There may be something to this.)

Come on now!

With Peaking in mind, rising energy costs create increased mining costs. Gold mining is likely to be less economic therefore less gold will be produced. With falling gold production a gold backed currency would likely lead to continuing deflation not inflation.

Governments have gone on and off the gold standard when it suits them. They can find a way to corrupt anything.

From Alan Greenspan in 1966........


In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves.

This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists' antagonism toward the gold standard.

If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good

say, not that this is an important insight, but how about digging a hole in your yard and depositing many tons of copper? Not bloody likely that will ever be confiscated, and even if people knew it was there - which they wouldn't have to - it would not be susceptible to casual sneak-thievery. In effect, you'd have a backyard copper mine with known reserves and 100% ore purity. You could paint it with epoxy first if you didn't want your grass and trees to all die....

I'm just saying....

> In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation.

Ironic then that the long term return in T-Bills is higher than Gold (example: 1972 to 2002 T-Bills returned about 600% and Gold returned about 533% -- and if you care about the volatility of the return then T-Bills kill Gold).

600% versus 533%

About 10.5 % better over 30 years, what a kill!

1972 to 2002...

Sure, looking in the rear mirror allows excellent predictions.

> 10.5%

No not 10.5%. It would be $6.00 versus $5.33 for every dollar invested.

> rear mirror

Since no historical data support the case of the gold bugs, they'd better not look behind because something might be gaining on them. :-)

Precious metals make no sense as a basis for currency.

Please send me any you have laying about. ... :^)

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

Money is valuable because it is scarce. To keep it valuable, keep it scarce. Fail to keep it scarce and it becomes less valuable.

It amazes me how much obfuscation obscures this very simple fact.

I found this link on the history of fiat money interesting

Why does fiat money seemingly work?

You right is not about energy, sorry, but maybe there is a link among peakoil and 911 what could be discussed here.

Please don't.

We've discussed it many times before, and it always generates a lot of heat but very little light.

No real point to bringing up 9/11 - the threads become 3 pages long (300+ comments), and no one becomes convinced of anything different than they come into the talk with.

Plenty of other places to discuss it. Anyone who believes one way or another could place their POV in their bio and have the bio info link somewhere else to debate it.

At this point, even if we assume 9/11 was a complete set-up planned in Cheney's kitchen, there's nothing anyone can do about it. It's past, dead & gone.

Hi silentReader and welcome. I hope I'm not being too presumptious by speaking for others, but I think there is a consensus that speculation about connections between PO and 9/11 isn't something that people want to discuss here.

Whether one believes the Administration's conspiracy theory that it was done by Arab terrorists, or the conspiracy theory that the Administration did it themselves, or some combination of the two, there is cleary a link to energy. Were it not for oil, Americans and Arabs would care little about each other. It is "our addiction to oil" that places our "non-negotiable" way of life in their face in the form of soldiers and military hardware, both on their soil and in their seas. 911 and energy linked? You bet your life. Our "leaders" are betting all of ours.

911 and energy linked? You bet your life.

When one opts to wear the glasses of energy, all issues have a tie-in.

Precisely, I can't think of anything that isn't ultimately related to energy! But it's probably a good idea to avoid subjects that have been discussed extensively. OTOH though, one might be forgiven to conclude that we TOD'ers are always discussing the same stuff, so... Oh I don't know! :)

Nail, meet hammer. Hammer, nail.

Every speck of matter is just congealed energy :^)

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

But it's not even whether there is a link.. as Leanan said, the tires are bald on this one, and without new information or action to be taken, then it's just an opportunity to spin our wheels and get nowhere.

No disrespect to SilentReader, (und Herzlich Wilkommen) but this one, like Isreal/Iran, Religion, or How many guns is enough in PostPeak Days.. these discussions very rarely get anywhere we need to go.

If you like, it might be useful to find a place that is on the opposite side of the wheel from such a topic and put some weight there to balance out the forces that have so imbalanced our attention TOWARDS these mistakes or tragedies, and propose where we can build better systems, governments, relationships in its wake.

Viel Glueck!

I think it is inappropriate to argue 9-11 here: there are plenty of places to do that. When it's germane I do not withhold mention of it nor my belief that what happened is obvious by now. More than on any other issue, passions get inflamed. And since there is no way to reach a consensus or even an agreement to disgree civilly, the connection between 9-11 and PO cannot be explored here. It's a negative in light of all the other PO-related issues that are discussed here. BUT, this negative is more than compensated for by the quality of analysis and discusssion of PO issues. Where else can one come and see people who have so much knowledge of the field duke it out (in the best possible way) on all the big energy issues? Where does one see a current and fresh compilation of energy-related articles such as we see in Drumbeat? No site can be all things to all people.

You right TOD is not a good place to discuss it. I don´t come up with it again. And thanks to all of you for your frendly welcome.


For all that are interested in NO and the Katrina non response...especially Alan. By Bill Quigley, Professor at Law Center, Loyola U, NO, La. Link to full article below...

'How To Destroy An African-American City - Lessons From Katrina'

Step One. Delay. If there is one word that sums up the way to destroy an African-American city after a disaster, that word is DELAY. If you are in doubt about any of the following steps - just remember to delay and you will probably be doing the right thing.

Step Two. When a disaster is coming, do not arrange a public evacuation. Rely only on individual resources. People with cars and money for hotels will leave. The elderly, the disabled and the poor will not be able to leave. Most of those without cars - 25% of households of New Orleans, overwhelmingly African-Americans - will not be able to leave. Most of the working poor, overwhelmingly African-American, will not be able to leave. Many will then permanently accuse the victims who were left behind of creating their own human disaster because of their own poor planning. It is critical to start by having people blame the victims for their own problems.

Step Three. When the disaster hits, make certain the national response is overseen by someone who has no experience at all handling anything on a large scale, particularly disasters. In fact, you can even inject some humor into the response - have the disaster coordinator be someone whose last job was the head of a dancing horse association.

Step Thirty Two. Refuse to talk about or look seriously at race. Condemn anyone who dares to challenge the racism of what is going on - accuse them of 'playing the race card' or say they are paranoid. Criticize people who challenge the exclusion of African-Americans as people who 'just want to go back to the bad old days.' Repeat the message that you want something better for everyone. Use African American spokespersons where possible.

Step Thirty-Three. Repeat these steps.

Note to readers. Every fact in this list actually happened and continues to happen in New Orleans, after Katrina.


You do realize that the delay and lack of evacuation were the doings of Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco, right?

You do realize EP that there is evidence the WH knew of the breaking levee's and did nothing. since you didn't give a link to back up our charges I didn't either, but think Greg Pallast and see what he found about a helicopter report that went to the top.

You do realize EP that the evacuation after the break of the levees was hampered by Fed authorities that did not allow people with boats to rescue the citizens and instead we were treated to lots of helicopter shots of a few being picked off roof tops.

You do realize EP that the citizens of Texas just used the boat owner technique to rescue many in Texas, and the fed didn't stop them.

You of course do realize the hurricane did not do any damage and those that stayed did not face any major destruction.

As for Nagin and Blanco. When you get low paid school bus drivers and city bus drivers to stay and risk their lives and not take their own families out then you will have a first. Were Nagin and Blanco responsible for the Polic officers that deserted their stations, not bus drivers.

According to Greg Pallast the WH knew of the break and did not react.

So tell us who is to blame EP for the lack of effort to help once the break was known. Hurricane passed a Cat 2 Wind storm in NO, to the east, on the weaker side of the Storm.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

An expat and wanted criminal costs the Brits a lot of gas...

What is the cost of Boris Berezovsky?
How much does sheltering wanted criminal Boris Berezovsky cost the British Empire, or what’s left of it? Part of the cost is BP’s majority stake in the massive Kovykta gas field in eastern Siberia, which it has had to return to the Russians. You see, it’s not all about hydrocarbons. If it were, Boris would be in a Russian jail now. You really have to wonder how much longer the British oiligarchs will continue to put up with this crap.


And from the same source some good news, or encouraging opinion...although the msm continues to beat the drums...

The Acting President of the United States, Defense Secretary Robert Gates (after years of trying, the CIA finally runs the country!), takes out the trash. Perry quotes a major, commenting on a proposed slight increase in the size of the ‘surge’, and reflecting on the preparedness of the Pentagon:

“What are we going to fight them with, spitwads?”

And yet I keep hearing about the inevitability of an attack on Iran. The strategists know that any kind of attack will lead to retaliation which can only be controlled by ‘boots on the ground’, many times more than are now being deployed in Iraq. I don’t care how much the Jews pray for war: the Pentagon just doesn’t have the spitwads.

"This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq ... this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war ... our children will sing great songs about us years from now.” -- Richard Perle

Why do you have to remind me how utterly stupid Richard Perle is? Jesus, I'd never seen that quote before, but it doesn't surprise me in the least. For those interested Noam Chomsky actually debated Perle in the late 80s, and from my bias Chomsky just devastated Perle. But, don't believe me, check for yourself... You can download it from some sites on google, and someone put it on youtube (I just checked)--search for "Perle Chomsky debate".

Perhaps Mr. Perle would like to enter the fray? He could pick from a variety of wars that are already in progress, join the side that he favors, and start shooting at the guys/girls that favor the other side.
Alternatively, since our army seems a bit short handed at the moment, he could carry out a one man assult on Iran. I will be glad to buy him a one way plane ticket to a destination of his choice near Iran, from where he can begin his campaign. His children will sing great songs about him...right away.

River, the Straussians don't fight wars. That's for the lumpen proletariat. Their purpose in the world is to inspire and organize the brutish masses in support of the imperial enterprise.

(Oh, yeah -- and to inspire great songs...)

To preface this, I hate it when liberals do the whole conservatives-are-Nazis-thing. It is pretty pathetic and makes liberals look extremely silly. Hyperbole is no way to win an argument (especially with indocrinated people.) However, with that said, it struck me that Perle's type of grandiose thinking sounds very Reichish, in the way it combines nationalism, zealous religious certainty and a fantasy of world domination with optimism--a fatal mix if there ever was one. However, that is almost giving it too much credit. It is too indicipherable to even achieve those hideous ends.

To sound like a pompous bastard:

The Straussian framework consists of entropic politics. That is literally what is proposed...

Just talk nonsense, and do what you like with your big stick. There, I saved everyone from having to read the DKos page on Strauss =]

I hate it when liberals do the whole conservatives-are-Nazis-thing. It is pretty pathetic and makes liberals look extremely silly.

My grandpa was a conservative. I consider myself a conservative on many issues. But, there's nothing conservative about these guys. Listen to Neo-Con Michael Ledeen talk about "creative destruction:"

Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. Seeing America undo traditional societies, they fear us, for they do not wish to be undone. They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our very existence—our existence, not our politics—threatens their legitimacy. They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission.
-- The American Conservative, June 30, 2003

"But then why is the term being used to apply to people today like Paul Wolfowitz or Bill Kristol, or even little old me when I don’t – I’ve never been a Leninist, or a Trotskyite, or even a democrat. I’ve always been a con, and no neo about it. And yet nevertheless, I find myself, and a number of other people, being described as, as neo-cons."
--Max Boot

You see how this contradicts your statement, right? I'm not saying what you wrote doesn't have merit--I'm just saying some of the supposedly alleged "neocons" don't consider themselves "neocons"--they were, and always will be conservatives. I guess one could draw a line and say "paleo"-conservatives are simply conservatives that publicly distance their own political philosophy from that of the supposed "neocons". Then where does that leave the normal 'ole conservative if they like Bush, et al? That leaves them as essentially neo-conservatives. I think I could make a strong argument that there is no other viable conservatism left to stand, aside from neo-conservatism... That is to say, the only functioning high-level, powerful conservatism in the United States today is neo-conservatism--so, thusly, Boot and others implore us to just call them conservatives.

So for this dude Max Boot he's not a neoconservative--by his own admission, he's just a conservative...

See, the problem with "conservative" and "liberal" labels (not to mention "neocon") is akin to the confusion that arises when people talk about "God". No two people mean the same thing. I'm personally agnostic/atheist when it comes to the that particular matter, so it is easy for me to push that example of a question off the table and out of my brain. I can then venture on and consider more important, potentially answerable matters... Relative to where one is located on the mobius strip of the "political spectrum", that will dictate how one classifies others. To me, I don't see a big difference between modern "conservatives" and "neocons"--they're all conservative. The neocon epithet for me is just translation for "radical conservative". In the end though, it still comes down to semantics. What do I mean by "radical"? Well, it's not easy to pinpoint in a comment--it involves a whole slew of psychological considerations, political motivations, self-interested posturing, "moral ideals", not to mention the system of life we have established, and our greatly invested in, for highly developed, industrialized economies. In my view, "liberal" and "conservative" is totally lost in the modern sense of the 21st century--particularly with PO on the way... What's really happening here, politically, in the US at least, is that the elites are trying to figure out how to "keep things running". The "conservatives" (or neocons, if you wish) believe the best way to proceed is dumb down America as much as possible, throw as much propaganda out there as possible, go gallivanting around the earth using our half a trillion dollar military budget to ensure that no one else gets their hands on the ME honey.

As for Michael Ledeen... Fuck it--I'm too tired to go into more analysis. =] Since the relevant quote I was looking for is there, I'll just quote from the good 'ole disjointed and unreliable--yet fabulously informative time killer--Wikipedia...

"Jonah Goldberg, Ledeen's colleague at National Review magazine, coined the term "Ledeen Doctrine" in a 2002 column.[1] This tongue-in-cheek "doctrine" is usually summarized as "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business," which Goldberg remembered Ledeen saying in an early 1990s speech. The term "Ledeen Doctrine" is often mistakenly attributed to Michael Ledeen himself."

Now, off to catch some Z's...

mr f, I agree with a good bit of what you say -- labels are a tricky thing and in 2007, "liberal" and "conservative" don't have much meaning. The "neo-cons" are self-professed globalists, but so was Bill Clinton.

I'm inclined to think that, going forward, we will see an increasingly well-defined ideological stuggle between the "globalists" -- led by the foreign-resource dependent multi-nationals and their patrons in Washington, backed by the American military machine -- and the "isolationists" (for lack of a better term) who will increasingly come to understand that the deal being struck is not in the long term interest of common people (maybe I'm just fantasizing).

As for Max Boot, I can understand why he might not want to be labeled a "neo-con." Before it's over, I'd bet you won't be able to find a single one in Washington. And frankly, I don't care what he calls himself. He has stated that he thinks America should "embrace its imperial role." So, I would have to lump him in the globalist camp.

It seems embracing "the imperial role" goes hand and hand with both neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism. I have to contest, again, that I'm of the pigeonholed belief that the "neocons" are not dead, and that in fact the "neocon" moniker is simply a slang term for the Left to belittle conservatives. Neocon essentially equals a foreign policy position--and remember, up until it had become apparantly clear the war turned to total shit conservatives (and I might add Democrats also) embraced this war hook, line, & sinker. Certain personalities are certainly sinking and soon to die--metaphorically speaking, hopefully, like Wolfy and his GF... Still, I think that the Dubya hawkish foreign policy ideology will only be hardened by events triggered around the world in the face of PO. Who knows? You could be right, perhaps the isolationists in both the "conservative" and "neo-liberal democratic" camps win out in the power struggle of the elites... Perhaps a new FDR-like character will rise to power, pull us out of our imperial stance via the Monroe Doctrine and try to establish a Manhattan project for facing a future of declining per joule purchasing power. Perhaps "the nation" would focus on internal, domestic redesign and beautification (if that is at all possible in the face of things!) I hope this is how it pans, but it seems unlikely because globalization is now so tightly knit to maintaining the status quo of the modern American empire (I realize that people do in fact debate "the empire" clause.) The modern American empire is based on, well, the Democratic and Republican parties (respectively, neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism) and their constituents within the federal system. Which way the pendulum swings I guess depends on how one interprets our collective cultural response via the political system. Under increasingly mounting energy shocks and crisis of a varied other sort (go down the usual list that politicians talk about--or go down the far worse list which they don't talk about, much) I'm very uncertain as to how the "zeigeist" responds. One can conjecture, but quickly loses track because it is the three body problem multiplied by nearly infinity (although not quite--finite world, check! =]).

"And frankly, I don't care what he calls himself."

I think we agree, I'm just blathering on about semantics. In the end it clearly is a wild guess, and the guess is dependent on assumptions one makes on cultural behavior. Americans universally love corporations, sure there is some blow back--["agghh, ughhh--they're gouging us! gouging us!"] but when polled Americans love things the way they are. Evidence for this near worship status is down the highway at the nearest mall (also known as the ultimate American temple). Will people respond rationally to crises? I observe so much nonsense and irrationality in our media I'm not entirely confident the that they could reform themselves to "teaching the American people" as opposed to "entertaining the American people"--in between 30 second commercials, of course. This is even assuming Americans want to be taught, or have the time, between toiling to pay the mortgage, raising those little pissant kids (grin) and drinking some Bud before "the game" comes on...

[edit: This is also assuming the media can itself collectively understand what's going on--a tall order for talking heads and on-the-run producers who want to jack up ratings.]

My great song inspired by Richard Perle.

After the towers fell on that day
The Neocons said we'll show the way
We'll blast those fascists back to hell
And take their oil from every well

They hated us for our freedom
They hated us for our compassion
They hated us for our democracy
And our women's fashion

It took a while, this total war
Decades and decades the masses swore
But in the end the USA won out
And now this song we sing and shout

They hated us for our freedom
They hated us for our compassion
They hated us for our democracy
And our women's fashion

It mostly was unfortunate, that billions had to die
How can you make an omelette, unless some eggs fry?
But America stands today, free from sea to sea
It was Richard Pearle's wisdom, that let this come to be

They hated us for our freedom
They hated us for our compassion
They hated us for our democracy
And our women's fashion

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

That, indeed, is a great song. Perhaps we could e-mail it to Orrin Hatch and have him sing it on the Senate floor?

If you want your ears to bleed red, white, and blue, then I suggest you click the URL pasted below:

http://www.hatchmusic.com/songs.html :-D <---- *smiling for jesus*

Great refrain!!!

Thanks PO Tarzan, I am familiar with the "Leo Cons" and their Chicago connection. Too bad they didnt stay in Chicago and teach weird economics instead of trying it out on the world. Dontcha just love the way they are being stripped away from the pentagon and administration like a banana peel? An enormous power stuggle taking place and all we can see of it are the neo cons falling...one here, one there...reminiscent of Heisenberg...you can either see it or measure it.

Too bad they didn't stay in Chicago and teach weird economics instead of trying it out on the world.

Better yet, would that they had all become potato farmers and left the rest of the world to choose the same.

but just wage a total war ... our children will sing great songs about us years from now

such as:

Ring-a-round of rosies
Pocket full of posies

Here's my favorite:

He's five feet two and he's six feet four
He fights with missiles and with spears
He's all of 31 and he's only 17
He's been a soldier for a thousand years

He's a Catholic, a Hindu, an atheist, a Jain,
a Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew
and he knows he shouldn't kill
and he knows he always will
kill you for me my friend and me for you

And he's fighting for Canada,
he's fighting for France,
he's fighting for the USA,
and he's fighting for the Russians
and he's fighting for Japan,
and he thinks we'll put an end to war this way

And he's fighting for Democracy
and fighting for the Reds
He says it's for the peace of all
He's the one who must decide
who's to live and who's to die
and he never sees the writing on the walls

But without him how would Hitler have
condemned him at Dachau
Without him Caesar would have stood alone
He's the one who gives his body
as a weapon to a war
and without him all this killing can't go on

He's the universal soldier and he
really is to blame
His orders come from far away no more
They come from him, and you, and me
and brothers can't you see
this is not the way we put an end to war.

"The Universal Soldier"
by Buffy St. Marie
Made famous by Donovan Leach in the 60's

Hello TODers,

Leanan's toplink is interesting to me: "Rich world's consumerism may cause African famines, experts warn"

I wonder how many Americans have a sense of energy justice. How long can 5% of the world's pop. use 25% of the energy? This reason alone justifys widespread American mitigation jumpstarting with Peakoil Outreach.

Now this is a good postPeak biosolar habitat signal from the Europeans:

Viking ship sets off to recreate ancient voyages
Will Viking Earthmarines protect the necessary tall tree forests to later rebuild their trading and raiding fleets for the postPeak era?

Americans really should be considering building Clipper ships again as part of our climate justice and mitigation program.

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

We can do better than clipper ships now. The clippers were built when human labor and human life were cheap; later sailing vessels (especially from the late nineteenth century) were more efficient than the clippers. Using modern materials and techniques we can make sturdier and faster ships than those of the mid-nineteenth century. Most important, we don't have to send men up into the rigging to reef the sails in strong winds.

I like the idea of an electric power auxilliary motor that would push a ship at three or four knots through calms; it is amazing how little power is needed to do that. Indeed, a little trolling motor works fine on a medium-sized sailing boat, and a big 100+ lb. thrust trolling motor will push a thirty-seven footer right along.

Sail power works well for fishing boats, and when diesel becomes too expensive it will be back to oars and sail to catch fish. Moving passengers by sail may not come back, however, because sail is slow, and passengers eat all the time. However, on certain routes sailing cargoes was profitable until the Great Depression killed off all profitability (in most everything).

Job security for the future: Sailing instructor!

Five masted schooners (steel hull) may be the way to go. Six masts apparently put too much stress on the hull in a following sea (per notes I have seen). Seven mast is just "too much" unless new tech is applied.

A 5 mast schooner from the late 1930s, one of the last to operate.


Best Hopes for energy efficient non-oil transportation,


Also pax sailing service above steerage requires a large labor force to service the pax for weeks in a trans-Atlantic or Trans-Pacific voyage, vs. 1 flight attendent/50 pax for some hours flying.

Or we could use big ass nuclear boats....


And, yes, I am joking.

But the Russians already use nuclear powered ice breakers. And they're already constructing floating nuclear power stations for contractual use.


Or we could use big ass nuclear boats

Or use small pebble bed reactors.

24 MW is plenty of ship power 400MW is overkill. (24-400 is operating power range it seems)

Won't happen because Fission power is a 'military' operation.

The US built civilian nuclear passenger ships in the 1950s. They worked fine, and the only reason they were discontinued was the low price of oil.

Are you sure about that? As far as I know, there was only one US civilian ship, and it was a cargo ship (the Savannah). If you have a reference to nuclear powered passenger ships, I'd be interested to see it.

The Savannah is indeed what I am thinking about. It's called a passenger/cargo ship here.

Making the NS Savannah a hybrid passenger/cargo ship was probably its downfall. It should have been all cargo from the start. Its speed could have cut at least a week of travel time crossing the Pacific.

Savannah was a showboat. It was break bulk cargo when everyone was going to containerization, which certainly didnt help, and not nearly big enough to be a competitive cargo ship.

A nuclear powered cargo ship would have to be huge to justify the expense of a reactor, but all cargo ships today are huge so thats not a problem. It can be nearly twice as expensive, because a nuclear reactor can put out ten times as much power than what you would spend on diesel fuel, so you can go twice as fast and do twice the deliveries and deal with more time sensitive cargo.

Theres a market for it I can see, but first adopters have large risks and development costs.

Just an FYI

Drag ~ v^2

So drag increases proportional to the square of velocity.

You could triple the speed for the nuclear power output and be okay. (Assuming its 10x net power output advantage nuclear reactor to diesel)

so a given trip of length 2 is normally completed in time 2 at velocity A, A*3 yeilds a time of 2/3 (meaning 3 trips in the same time).

As the trips get fast the bottleneck will likely be loading/offloading the materials, and not the trip time!

/also dont ask me how the ships construction material would hold up with regards to cavitation I didn't run any of that stuff.

It's complex, but if we stay in the turbulent regime, then the amount of work done to overcome dynamic friction goes as v**3. Each particle of the medium bouncing off a hull or a windmill blade imparts some fraction of its kinetic energy, 1X for inelastic, or 2X for a totally elastic normal collision. But the number of particles bouncing off the object also is proportional to v, so the net effect is v cubed. I'm taking about change of kinetic energy here, which of course is a conserved quantity, not the frictional force, which isn't.

Displacement hulls have a very non-linear power curve, because most of the energy loss is through waves.  Once you get to the hull speed, drag rises very steeply.

i am aware of linear/nonlinear regimes in flows (ie laminar and turbulent flows), with reynolds numbers for most ships being very high (i seem to remember some fixed wing jet aircraft having R_n=300,000)

i typically have to deal with much lower reynolds numbers with bioreactors and stirring them up. Typically scale effects from bubble columns and maintaining full oxygenation is my most difficult time. PITA scaling up test reactors with a bunch of dimensionless numbers.

thanks for the info.

It's interesting how certain everyone was in the 1950's that nuclear energy would soon be miniaturized as a direct propulsion source - we'd all have flying cars. I remember believing this literally. It was TV science program stuff, not Star Wars. Hadn't we gone from the discovery of the neutron to Hiroshima in just 14 years? Who would have imagined that in fifty more years engineers still would not have solved a trivial after-problem like shielding, and the things would be good for nothing but aircraft carriers and stationary electrical generating plants? What happened to our promised Atomic Age?

What happened to our promised Atomic Age?

It met Tainter's "declining marginal returns." :-)

Seriously, this is what led me to peak oil. I knew oil wouldn't last forever, of course, but I was a techno-cornucopian. Then I started wondering why it seemed technological innovation was slowing down...

I doubt technological innovation as a whole is slowing down, but in the field of transport it has definitely dragged its feet - and I blame the fact that fossil fuels (oil in particular) have been so cheap. Unfortunately we've now have so much infrastructural and financial stake in the stuff that even with expensive oil it's going to take a while - and probably a global recession - for the shackles to be broken.

I doubt technological innovation as a whole is slowing down

I think it has.

The Slowing Pace of Progress

You watch those old TV shows from the '50s and '60s, where they expected us to be colonizing outer space by the '90s, or least taking space planes to bases on the Moon by 2001.

What happened? There's plenty of reason to want to explore space and set up baseas there. It wasn't cheap oil that stopped us.

On the other hand, we do have the miniature instant-communication gadgets that had been predicted. And no-one would have predicted just how much computing power that average Joe Blow would have just sitting on his desktop.

The reasons why space exploration hasn't proceded at the pace many (including me) expected are surely more complex than just the law of receding horizons. If the U.S. government had decided it was worth the taxpayer dollars to fund such a project such as a moon colony, I don't doubt it could have happened by now.

On the other hand, we do have the miniature instant-communication gadgets that had been predicted.

As the linked article notes, there's a difference between smaller, fancier, or more efficient versions of something that already exists, and entirely new, world-changing inventions.

If the U.S. government had decided it was worth the taxpayer dollars to fund such a project such as a moon colony, I don't doubt it could have happened by now.

But why did they decide it wasn't worth it? Why did no other government step in, if we weren't interested?

I think it's very interesting that the metric they use, total-factor productivity, suddenly collapsed in 1972. Right around peak oil U.S.A.

I doubt any other government was wealthy enough. Certainly none have been visionary enough. And the cold war ended, so there was little motivation to "prove" American superiority anymore (which always seemed like a pretty sad reason to motivate the Apollo project, but at least it happened).

I don't think that's it. As the article points out, it's not just space, and it's not just transportation. It's everything - technological progress of all sorts - that is slowing down.

I think Tainter is correct. The low-hanging fruit is picked first. What's left is either of marginal utility, or it's too expensive and difficult to be pursued economically.

Horgan sort of covered this, in The End of Science.

I don't doubt for a moment that major technological advances in the future will be more difficult and more expensive than they are now. But each technological advance leverages off those that have been made before, and the economical strength that has been gained from those advances. Which is one reason why, if we care about the long term future of the human race, and its ability to withstand truly major natural catastrophes, we DO need a constantly growing economy and constantly advancing technology. Otherwise we'll just be wiped out by the next passing asteroid or sudden ice age.
Unfortunately current economic growth is still largely powered by burning non-renewable resources and extracting finite resources. The sooner we can end this phase of growth and move to one that depends entirely on innovation and "doing more with less" the better. But it will be a bumpy road getting there.

But each technological advance leverages off those that have been made before, and the economical strength that has been gained from those advances.

Sort of. But it's by no means inevitable that "progress" will continue. Societies have collapsed in the past, and knowledge has been lost. The Egyptians no longer remember how to build pyramids or read hieroglyphics. The Inca do not build their amazing stonework any more, and cannot read the quipa.

Which is one reason why, if we care about the long term future of the human race, and its ability to withstand truly major natural catastrophes, we DO need a constantly growing economy and constantly advancing technology.

A constantly growing economy is impossible in a finite world. We are already feeling the constraints. Constantly advancing technology may prove equally impossible. No, we won't really reach the end of science. But we may reach the end of useful science.

Otherwise we'll just be wiped out by the next passing asteroid or sudden ice age.

The asteroid would probably wipe us out anyway. Sudden ice age...probably wouldn't wipe us out totally, but boy, would there be some dieoff.

BTW, Tainter argues that the way out of the trap is to simplify. Less knowledge, less technology. Because it requires fewer resources to maintain.

Modern civilisation may well collapse - there's no guarantee against it. Choosing to exist "sustainably" (in the way Tainter defines it) certainly isn't, and is guaranteeing that nature will get the better of us before too long.
An asteriod wouldn't wipe us out if we had either a) the technology to detect and destroy/divert it or b) a self-sufficient colonisation on another planet/moon.

Why is a constantly growing economy is impossible in a finite world? We have plenty of energy available, and if you can harness it appropriately, you can manufacture any materials you like and do any useful work that needs doing.
There's no question that the way our economies are currently structured, and the way they currently grow are completely unsustainable, but technological advances don't depend on a consumption-based inflationary economy.

To argue for "less knowledge/less technology" is absurd, in my opinion. I went through this whole debate with someone on an earlier thread a few weeks ago. You are essentially denying human nature and what makes us unique from other species. Why would I even care if we survive, if there really is nothing left to achieve?

Why would I even care if we survive, if there really is nothing left to achieve?

I don't know if you're American, but your response reminded me of something I read earlier today:

''But what we found was that Americans unconsciously didn't want to do it right the first time,'' he continued. ''Now, the question was, why?'' To find the answer, Rapaille and his team set up an experiment with a group of American executives schooled in a management style known as ''zero defects.'' Rapaille told the group to find a way to scale a wall without touching it. If members touched the wall, they would be ''dead.'' He also gave the group instructions for achieving the goal. The Americans ignored the instructions and started screwing up.

''Of course, they immediately died,'' Rapaille said. ''They were so upset. But I told them, 'Look here, in the instructions; what does it say?' And they would complain that they hadn't read the instructions. I would say, 'Too bad, there you have it, you are dead.' But they were so upset, they stayed up all night and designed a new way to solve the problem.''

So, Rapaille concluded, Americans might say they want to 'do it right the first time,' but they don't really mean it. Americans like mistakes and actually delight in making them because it means that they can keep on improving. ''Zero defects in America,'' Rapaille said. ''This is perfection, and perfection is death. There is nothing else. What Americans want is more breakthroughs. That's why computers are so powerful. Six months later, you can throw yours out because there is a newer one, a better one. Americans love that. The worst thing is when we say, 'It's perfect, the end.' Americans hate that. That's the German attitude. Germans created the standard for beer 300 years ago. It's done. Perfect. So all you do is try to get as close as possible to that perfection. Well, that's completely un-American.''

That's fascinating.

I assume WizofAus is an Aussie, though, not an American.

Still, I would say his attitude is not universal, and not an essential part of human nature. Societies have existed more or less statically for thousands of years, and people in them still felt life was worth living.

Most societies that existed "more or less statically for thousands of years" did so because it takes time to build up sufficient wealth and knowledge to be able to achieve significant technological advances. But there has ALWAYS been technological advance in human societies, right from the invention of the first stone flint through to the nanotechnology. Periods of decline or stasis occur, and probably will occur in the future, but they won't alter the long-term trend. Only extinction will do that.

And BTW I don't subscribe to the notion that doing things less than perfectly, discarding them and doing them better the next time is some sort of 'ideal' - but I do believe that without challenges, and without problems to solve (of one nature or another), life becomes very uninteresting. I don't expect others to necessarily think like this, but there's enough humans with an innate desire to innovate, improve and break through new technological barriers, that nothing is going to stop them wanting to do just that...and nor should it.

Most societies that existed "more or less statically for thousands of years" did so because it takes time to build up sufficient wealth and knowledge to be able to achieve significant technological advances.

Incorrect. In fact, most the sustainable societies Diamond studied in Collapse were not "advanced" or high-tech.

But there has ALWAYS been technological advance in human societies, right from the invention of the first stone flint through to the nanotechnology. Periods of decline or stasis occur, and probably will occur in the future, but they won't alter the long-term trend. Only extinction will do that.

Again, I disagree. This is the "myth of progress." We think that just because that's the way it's been for us, that is the "natural" way of things. It isn't. Stasis and collapse are as natural and common as progress. We have been on an unusually long arc of progress, thanks to fossil fuels, but that doesn't mean it's natural or inevitable.

You're using our currently level of technology to define "advanced". But compared to the first very tribes of Homo Sapiens, the tribes of PNG were advanced.

And how could it be otherwise that, taking the long view, technology has advanced throughout history. Even through the dark ages, Moslem and Chinese societies made considerable advances. Name one period in history longer than, say, 500 years where there were NO technological advances anywhere in the world. And the biggest boost to the ability to perform sustained technogical advance was the invention of writing (i.e. a means of retaining information permanently), not fossil fuels.

Any technology that gets invented adds to the advance - so the only thing that can stop an advance is for us to start "losing technologies" - but how could that happen?
Sure, civilisations collapse and technologies go with them, but once other ones pick up in their place, they don't forget everything that has happened before.
I would call it the "logical necessity of progress" before calling it the "myth of progress".

Yes, it's possible that our current civilisation wipes itself out almost completely, and Homo Sapiens goes extinct before it ever recovers back to the current level of technology, but even at that point, we will still have more technology than we had when the first Homo Sapiens baby came into the world.

Modern civilisation may well collapse - there's no guarantee against it. Choosing to exist "sustainably" (in the way Tainter defines it) certainly isn't, and is guaranteeing that nature will get the better of us before too long.

Actually, I think Tainter would say simplifying is voluntary collapse.

An asteriod wouldn't wipe us out if we had either a) the technology to detect and destroy/divert it or b) a self-sufficient colonisation on another planet/moon.

I'm not holding my breath for that one. (And what about when the sun goes nova? Then what?)

Why is a constantly growing economy is impossible in a finite world?

Because the economy involves turning resources and capital into waste. If you keep growing, you eventually run out of resources.

We have plenty of energy available, and if you can harness it appropriately, you can manufacture any materials you like and do any useful work that needs doing.

Sure. There will always be an economy, as long as there are humans. But it won't be constantly growing.

EB archived some great articles about the sustainable economy of Edo, in old Japan. It's really interesting. They achieved a more or less steady-state economy. Almost no growth at all, in population or in economic activity. And it wasn't a Stone Age existence. Nowhere near it.

The sun isn't going nova for billions of years. Significant asteroid impacts can be expected within the next few millenia. Of course it may well be several centuries before we truly are reasonably safe from another K-T style impact, but there's no reason to believe we can't achieve that.

Yes, our current economy involves turning resources and capital into waste. Who says that's the only (or even the optimal) way to sustain a growing economy? It strikes me as an incredibly stupid way to do it really, but it just happens to fairly easy and very profitable in the short-term.

BTW, I don't believe the economy has to grow exponentially, or even particularly quickly. It should grow at a rate and in a manner we can sustain it over a decent time period (say, a millenium or two - after that long humans will probably have been mostly taken over by our own technologies, which I would see as a unique form of evolution in progress).

New research has shown that the earth and the sun will (as part of the milky way) will start to be "consumed" by another galaxy, "Andromeda". This process will render the earth scorched and barren of its seas. Expected to start in only two billion years. The extra energy from this combination will effect the sun and its output.


This data though


combine with this data


and this new star map



may or may not take into effect all the implications of this data.

either way, we know were we are "now". One thing for sure, the sky will not lie and what is correct will be "written in the stars".

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

The human genome is highly unlikely to last another million years, let alone a billion. In fact, I doubt it will last more than a few thousand - once we start engineering it ourselves, we'll inevitably tinker with it to the point that we're no longer 'human' as we would recognise one today.

You know that Red Dwarf stars do often show aluminum signatures. The Milky way shows Iron.


and here is some earlier work that found the same thing in a limited survey.


Jeffrey Brown, do you "moonlight" Westexas?

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Humanity will live on forever, at the least as ever expanding a radio signals from the human invention of radio and onwards.

Once the sun dies, it will be our only legacy in the universe.

Unless we head for the stars. We had one chance at this, at that was the fossil fuel parenthesis, and we wasted it. At least we should have gotten further by now, ie inhabited bases in the solarsystem.

But how does one proceed with project human survival, when it requires planning over centuries of solar system expansion before taking a leap into deep space?

Btw, does peak oil buffs read science ficion more often than others? I have a thery that science fiction opens up the mind to realities like peak oil, whereas "normal" people don't have the imagination to get peak oil and what could happen?

Cool down!
A Pornucopian is no match for a Singularitarian.

Any sustained rate of growth over any period of time is exponential growth. The only quibble is the doubling time.

First you say you are against exponential growth then you state that we must grow at a steady rate (regardless of the specific percentage) which is the very definition of exponential growth. Rather incredible.

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

What?? Since when is linear growth considered exponential growth? Exponential growth is y=ne^x, linear is y=nx. There's no possible value of e that would make the two equivalent.
At any rate, I never said I was "against" exponential growth - only that it wasn't essential.
The only thing that is required to increase is "ability to develop more and more advanced technologies".
The only thing that I see as essential to do this is a) incremental learning - i.e. ability to pass knowledge on through generations, adding to it as we go and b) sufficient time for dedicating to the pursuit of technological advances - i.e. time not spent persuing subsistence activies.
But although the "in principle" requirements of an economy that grows sufficiently to accommodate more and more complex technology are fairly basic and unproblematic, the real problem is how you design an economy that actually functions this way with real human beings. We know communism doesn't work. Capitalism in the form we have it now isn't likely to work for much longer, so exactly how we can structure an economy that capitalises on human innovation and provides a good standard of living for all is a unquestionably a huge challenge, one I certainly don't pretend to have the answer to. I believe that democracy and some sort of intelligently monitored free-market system combined with state-funded research will still be at the root of such an economy, but other than that it's anybody's guess.

The sun isn't going nova for billions of years. Significant asteroid impacts can be expected within the next few millenia.

I think there are a lot of other things we should worry about before we worry about asteroid impact.

For example, what about the chance that we kill ourselves off with our own technology? Nuclear war, global warming turning into the "Venus effect," genetically engineered bio-weapons?

Technology is a wash, as far as survival of the human race goes.

Yes, our current economy involves turning resources and capital into waste. Who says that's the only (or even the optimal) way to sustain a growing economy? It strikes me as an incredibly stupid way to do it really, but it just happens to fairly easy and very profitable in the short-term.

The link I posted makes it clear why we do it that way (and have always done it that way). You have to have raw materials - natural resources. You are not going to have a growing economy where everyone does each other's laundry. Somebody has to produce actual material goods.

BTW, I don't believe the economy has to grow exponentially, or even particularly quickly.

Note that that only works if the population is not growing.

That is the key, really. With a sustainable economy, the pie isn't growing. So either the population can't grow, or everyone has to accept an ever lower standard of living.

With a sustainable economy, the pie isn't growing.

Talk about complete and utter non-sequiturs!  Sustainability pertains to the ability of the system to run on "income" rather than expending "capital".  "Income" from the available 72 TW of wind power (worldwide) alone would allow a 6x growth in energy consumption and thus standard of living, even before improvements in productivity per kWh.

Sunlight deliver humanity's annual energy consumption to earth in roughly 40 minutes.  We have huge room for completely sustainable growth.

So either the population can't grow

IMHO that goes without saying (humanity has long since stopped benefitting from more humans as they squeezed other things out), but a very large population could nevertheless be supported sustainably.

We have huge room for completely sustainable growth.

For a supposed "engineer" you seem pretty much ignorant of entropy and the second law of thermodynamics.
A steady flow of energy (no matter its level, 72 TW or whatever) can only sustain a STEADY level of complexity and some kind of clockwork merry go round.
You are abusing the fact that we DON'T currently use all the potentially collectible energy flow to pretend that some "growth" is possible.
It IS indeed theoretically possible up to the point where no amount of cleverness will get us any crumb of a benefit.
Do we need to hurry to that point as we actually are?
Declining marginal return is a TERMINAL disease.
Read Tainter.

dS = dQ/Tabs, and given your vehemence in stating what is in no way a consequence of that I'll bet that you can't even translate the expression to English.

A steady flow of energy (no matter its level, 72 TW or whatever) can only sustain a STEADY level of complexity and some kind of clockwork merry go round.

You mean, like the steady flow of energy from the Sun has sustained photosynthetic life on Earth for the past billion years or so?

Invincible ignorance may be fashionable, but it sure isn't productive.

Invincible obfuscation seems to be fashionable too.

dS = dQ/Tabs, and given your vehemence in stating what is in no way a consequence of that I'll bet that you can't even translate the expression to English.

I guess this bombastic statement is meant to criticise this :
A steady flow of energy (no matter its level, 72 TW or whatever) can only sustain a STEADY level of complexity and some kind of clockwork merry go round.

It surely helps the understanding of other readers to use abstruse formulas without reference to the meaning of symbols:

dS is the entropy change.
dQ is the heat flow.
Tabs is the thermodynamic temperature of the system at the point of the heat flow.

Therefore the entropy increases as much as heat (energy) flows into the (closed) system of interest (assume earth bioshpere in this case) inversely scaled by the absolute temperature of the system (say, about 293K° = 20C°).

Even then, so what?
Does this makes your "counter argument" understandable to everybody?

I will try to make matters clearer in plain english.

Entropy is the energy "decay", energy decays in that it gets less and less reusable for an "outside user", though energy is invariant, it lasts forever.
This is where folkphysics is misleading in that it confuses energy with collectible energy from a given source.
Once you have burnt some fuel to run your car for a few miles, the fuel energy is STILL THERE yet it is scattered in various places as increased temperature of exhaust gases and engine, whirling air, chemical changes in air+fuel (CO2, H2O, misc pollutants), etc...
And you cannot "gather" this used energy anymore to put it back in your fuel tank and run the same miles again.
This is this decay, the impossibility to "recover" energy which entropy measures.
And entropy ALWAYS increase (kinda "no free lunch").

When I say "you seem pretty much ignorant of entropy and the second law of thermodynamics" I mean you pretend that given the steady flow of energy from the sun which reach the earth, which will last for a few more billions years and of which we actually, us humans, collect a tiny amount :
We have huge room for completely sustainable growth. (ditto!)

Under a steady flow of heat (in and out of a given system, earth biosphere) entropy is CONSTANT, see Entropy balance equation for open systems.

This means there is an absolute limit about what can be sustained in our closed system (earth) GIVEN THE AVAILABLE STEADY FLOW FROM THE SUN (which will end anyway in so many billions years).
No FOREVER GROWTH is possible.

My statement was sarcasm, since I believe you DO know the basics of thermodynamics and you are willfully trying to deceive the TOD readers.

You said : the steady flow of energy from the Sun has sustained photosynthetic life on Earth for the past billion years or so

Yes, only sustained, the steady flow of energy from the Sun for the past billion years or so has never been fully used by photosynthetic life.
The apparent "growth" (as a total biomass) of life forms is just because they collected more and more of the "steady flow".

Likewise I am denouncing your fallacious argument that, given there is an enormous amount of solar energy flowing toward the earth which is not currently collected BY US, we have plentifull margins for "growth".

We DO HAVE a (theoretical) large margin, not an infinite one and the more we grab from the solar flow the more the efficiency of our overall "energy engine" (human civilisation as a whole) is poor (declining marginal return, read Tainter).

guess this bombastic statement is meant to criticise this

Your expertise is obviously not in English, because it was intended to refute "For a supposed "engineer" you seem pretty much ignorant of entropy and the second law of thermodynamics."

I use the 2nd Law all the time when performing analyses.  I usually use isentropic assumptions to calculate an ideal process yield, then cut the performance to 80% or so.  When I can't get entropy data, I don't venture an opinion.

I don't see you performing analyses at all, 2nd Law or otherwise.  Strange... or perhaps not.

Entropy is the energy "decay", energy decays in that it gets less and less reusable for an "outside user", though energy is invariant, it lasts forever.

We get new energy every second from the Sun, at the rate of roughly 174,000 terawatts at the top of the atmosphere.  Your assumption is that we have nothing but "the same old energy" forever.  This assumption is completely false.  Conclusions drawn from it are utterly unsupported, and anyone using this assumption explicitly or implicitly is somewhere between ignorant to the point of laughability and a liar.

I am denouncing your fallacious argument that, given there is an enormous amount of solar energy flowing toward the earth which is not currently collected BY US, we have plentifull margins for "growth".

There are enormous zones of the oceans with little life in them.  There are enormous parts of the land area of earth covered by unproductive roofs and pavement.  Explain why these and other areas are not available for growth, even if humanity makes no move to collect energy from space.

No FOREVER GROWTH is possible.

Oh.  Well, if you say we're going to be in DEEP DOODOO a few billion years from now if we don't come up with anything new, I guess that means we ought to roll over and die now.


The guy's obviously a troll - first I've seen around here for a while. I wouldn't waste your bandwidth.

I agree - we will be subsumed by our own technology eventually - either we'll genetically engineer ourselves beyond what's recognisably "homo sapiens", or we'll be over taken by sufficiently intelligent automata, or, as you say, we'll destroy ourselves with nuclear/bio warfare. I'm hoping for the former, as it's essentially just another form of evolution.
We will always need to be vigilant about how the technology we have is used. Even if the sorts of utopian "sustainable" societies that Tainter et al envision, there will be human beings - and guess what, human beings do bad and nasty stuff. The fact that we haven't used a nuke on anyone since WWII is, frankly, pretty surprising.

As far as population goes, I agree that moving to zero or even negative population growth is an important part of the equation - at least until we're able to colonize other worlds anyway. Even if it the Earth could logically sustain far more of us, I don't think it would be a particularly pleasant place to live with 20 billion of us swarming all over it.

And lack of raw materials is never going to be a problem - there's way more than enough matter just on our planet alone to go around. Certain elements are scarce, which will present a challenge (until we can master fusion and fission sufficiently to manufacture elements at will), but not one that I see proving a show-stopper.

And lack of raw materials is never going to be a problem - there's way more than enough matter just on our planet alone to go around.

Singularitarian crap!
Arbitrarily "manufacturing elements at will", will consume energy (beside the technical difficulties involved) and it is locally usable energy which is lacking, never mind the hydrocarbon lakes in Jupiter & als.

not to mention that it is the supply of Oxygen that is the long term limiter on chemical energy supply, no hydrogen or carbon - there just isn't that much O2 floating around the solar system unbound to other elements.

Was rather surprised to find this in today's paper - Federal Police commissioner is apparently already seriously concerned about robotic criminals:


The possibility is certainly there, but I can't imagine this being a genuine threat any time soon.

It's a myth that japan was completely shut off from the row(rest of the world) during the edo period. many early multi-nationals mainly the dutch east India company traded regularly with japan. though they could not just dock anywhere only at Nagasaki.(i think that was the official port for foreigner's)

Leanan, you're brilliant as usual.

Still, I regret that there won't be the resources extant to divert asteroids from the earth in 1000 years... because in a larger sense, that's about all humans were really GOOD for.

"Sure humans wiped out almost everything worthwhile and trashed the planet, but at least they diverted that killer asteroid". We coulda been a useful part of Gaia, and blew it...

It certainly would be a tragedy if we squandered the precious remaining resources without managing to transition to a form of economy that didn't require constant extraction and destruction of non-renewable resources. I'm confident we won't do that...but it's more likely to happen via some sort of collapse first. Just seems to be human nature, unfortunately.

I'm not sure what "useful part of Gaia" is supposed to mean. What does "useful" mean, in any sort of universal sense? Human beings are just like any other species, and have to look after themselves first and foremost (who campaigns to save the smallpox virus? Save the Streptococcal bacteria!). To do that well means we also have to be careful about the way we treat the rest of life on Earth, which has so far been pretty badly. If we don't change our ways, it will be to our detriment. Life will survive fine without us.
A killer asteroid could well destroy all life on earth - so developing the ability to avoid that possibility is a worthwhile goal on many levels.

Also, doing space stuff is really, really hard. You see, it's real, not virtual.

Lots of people look at the space station and say "what a boondoggle", "we're stuck in low earth orbit", etc., etc. But we're learning how to _build_ things in space. We're learning what people can do in space. We're learning how many things can go wrong, in how many ways.

Many people are very disappointed and impatient with progress in space. Heck, I grew up with the US space program, from Mercury to the moon. It's really, really hard.

Add to that the fact that there is no P R O F I T to be made (except comm sats), and it's a wonder we've done as much as we have.

'Wondered why technological innovation was slowing down'...I think sheer inertia of larger and larger organizations in every field from science to government has much to do with slow down. For instance: When Einstein was in his prime scientists were not as reluctant to put forward a new theory or hypothesis for the field of theoretical physicists was a small group of scientists and ones entire career was not at risk for having the courage to put forward a new hypothesis. Now the world is saturated with wannabe theoretical physcists that are all looking to be recognized by their peers and perhaps become tenured at some university or gain a large research grant. One false step now can ruin a scientists career. Scientists are subject to the same 'herd mentality' as most people. They choose a leader and the leader sets the 'standard model' and if any up and comer with a bright idea challenges the leaders' 'standard model' they are ostracized by their peers. As a result ossification sets in and no new concepts in the field are proffered until the old leader dies. No one rocks the boat with a new theory and the advancement of science slows. The system works well for the guys at the top of the science ladder, just as seniority works well for long time union workers...

The huge vested interests of large corporations are a similar artifact of the same phenomenon. We have car manufacturers that object to and lobby against anything that would require a substantial break from their existing technologies, and a fossil fuel industry that seems determined to keep us hooked on oil & gas as long as possible.

While experiencing it will be no fun, a large-scale global economic collapse may go a long way to breaking through a lot of these sorts of barriers. Maybe it's just inevitable that to continue moving forward you have to be thrown backwards every now and again, hopefully discarding the cruft and keeping the fruits of the genuine progress that has been made.

While experiencing it will be no fun, a large-scale global economic collapse may go a long way to breaking through a lot of these sorts of barriers.

You can flip this around and look at from the perspective that it is the "barriers," the entrenched modes of action, that "freeze" the ability of a society to engage in gradual adaptation. This cicumscribed inabilty to respond in a gradual way results in a build of forces that at some point render the prevailing paradigm completely untenable at which point human society goes through a cycle of collapse and rebuilding.

We can see this effect in our discussions of PO. A lack of willingness to accept even the possibilty of PO and its likely effect on "non-negotiable lifestyles" means that when we do encounter the constraint the impact is much great than if we had taken prior steps to adapt to that circumstance.

I think sheer inertia of larger and larger organizations in every field from science to government has much to do with slow down.

The End of Science touches on this. However, I think it's just a different spin on Tainter's declining marginal returns.

Everyone rails against bureaucracy, but the truth is, it's needed, as society, technology, etc., become more and more complex. It's too much for one person to understand (or finance), so you start having people, then organizations, whose jobs are to communicate between different experts.

IOW, that inertia is an integral part of increasingly complex technology.

It's possible to buy large steel-hulled ships at scrap value and refit them with sails. An organization I was with did it and it worked quite well.

Perhaps TOD crowd should chip in and get some, and all head to sea like the elves out of middle earth...

You got it! How about towing a generator to charge batteries/ballast along with lotsa PV. As any sailor knows you have lots of sun and wind out there. Either one will generate motion. When we are long on manpower and short on oil [again] we will see the return of silent and stink free shipping.

The other possibility is that we are unaware of the truly life-altering changes that are happening in the world, that in spite of its unparalled wealth and communication, we exist in a backwater of true progress. Look at Great Britain in the 19th Century-richer than the rest of the world, navy power that ruled the seas-did they know of the telegraph as it was being invented and deployed? How about the inventions of Bell or Edison? Possibly there's an inventive genius in China or India that will put the whole world on its ear.
There are some areas of research that show incredible potential-the genetic modifications in biology, nanotechnology, the quantum physics of teleportation and time travel, The brain chemistry balancing that has helped immeasurably with depression and schizophrenia, yet few people know of this stuff because our society has become so compartmentalized that we don't even read about the subjects. We've become so closed-minded and numbed by our various pastimes that we fail to see whats happening in front of our faces.
Bob Ebersole

I said some time ago on TOD that when tshtf I am going down to some of the big marinas in the area that are filled with fine sailboats and pick out a solid double ender made in Norway or one of the Scandanavian countries and become a costal trader. Coasting schooners were a way of life for many years until steam came along and displaced them. There will still be a market for coastal trade. Molasses and rum from the islands to the states, sawn lumber and galvanized sheet steel to the islands, guano from the islands to all costal states. There are lots of possibilities for trade goods...even some that are now considered illegal.

Avoiding or fending off pirates is a small problem but there are many positives, like avoiding maruading bands on land. Coasting trade provided a good income for many generations of American sailors and I think it will come back if oil is depleted.

Don, you certainly know that bluenose schooners fed millions of people with cod for a very long time. They fished out the Grand Banks but the fish stocks recovered because they didnt destroy the bottom habitat like these huge seine trawlers in use today. I think bringing back square rigs is a good idea because there will be lots of manpower looking for jobs. When I lived in Maryland a friend had an 18 foot gaff rigged, center board, fg boat that was very shallow draft. We caught a lot of fish out of that boat. It had a huge open cockpit for an 18 footer. There were a lot of J24s that all wanted to race, they could outrun the little gaff rigged boat but not by much. That was an ideal fishing boat for times when fuel will be unavailable.

I wonder how many Americans have a sense of energy justice. How long can 5% of the world's pop. use 25% of the energy?

I don't think other nationalities have a sense of energy justice either. I would guess that 10% of India's population consumes 90% of the country's resources. I am sure that Brazil and China have comparable figures. It is worse in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh where a small number of families own bulk of the wealth.

Suyog, I agree with you. I think it is the normal 80/20 rule in action here. 80% of resources are used by 20% of the people, 80% of a companies sales are from 20% of customers, etc.

Now comments to the rest of the board on the bigger issue. So what?! Sorry, but I really don't understand the logic on the board here sometimes. Everyone wants to profess to be an athiest, or believe we are just evolving chemical reactions where the strongest survive. Well then stay consistent. One group of people control the resources to survive and thus do, even at the expense of others. Isn't that the premise of evolution that everyone wants to worship? Chemical reactions have no 'justice' to them. They just are.

Sorry, I'm not trying to bring up religion here, but I've been noticing these comments about justice and morality and don't see what the basis is when the person holding them is an athiest or evolutionist.

So my question I guess is this. If one believes we are just cells that crawled out of a pool of sludge, how can you say there is such a thing as 'right' or 'wrong', 'just' or 'injust'?

Ethical systems can be built without reference to the supernatural. For example, Aristotle built a robust system called "virtue ethics" some two thousand four hundred years ago with no reference to God or gods to make the system work. Virtue ethics is still alive and well and flourishing.

Utilitarianism makes no claim as to God, and though in its extreme forms utilitarianism (The end justifies the means.) collapses, in some of its patched-up forms utilitarianism has some good applications, e.g., for making laws.

Kant's system of ethics based on the categorical imperative was purposely made to work independent of religious beliefs.

Hardin worked out a system of ethics based on science, and he is not the only one to do so.

Thus, there is no need to think that religion necessarily is the foundation for morality.

If there is no God why would I concern myself with morality? Why do I care if I am a "good/moral" person if I will not be judged by God?
Will I be a "good" person because I want my neighbors, family to think well of me. because I want to think well of myself?
Please let me know, there are a couple people I want to beat the sh** out of if there is no God to judge me. (Believe me they deserve it) I know I can avoid the judgement of the law and my wife and friends and any others that don't believe violence is the answer to the problem as I see it.


Because you are a human being. Because we are wired to have the capability of empathy and a sense of fairness. "Do unto others" makes all kinds of sense, god or no god. Enlightened self interest? Whatever.

To say that there can be no morality without a belief in a god or gods is incredibly insulting to people who do not believe in a god. It borders on immoral :-)

BTW, is it OK to kill people who believe in a different god than the one you believe in?

This whole thread is silly, and I can't believe I was sucked into it.

The whole "Do unto others" thing has got me into trouble way too many times for me to have much faith in it any more. Maybe I'm just weird, but I prefer it when people are honestly critical of me when I do things wrong, I prefer when people tell me when they disagree with my ideas, and I prefer it when people give me advice when they can see that I need it.
Yet it seems that half the people I know (mainly the ones with the second X chromosone) can't stand to be treated like that.

"The whole "Do unto others" thing has got me into trouble way too many times for me to have much faith in it any more."

Yes, it can get subtle :-)

There's "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", and then there's "do unto others as you think they would like to be done unto", and there's "do unto others as you think might be best for them even though it seems weird and awkward but you love them so much". Etc., etc.

And then there's always "do unto others before they do unto you! But that shades over into the immoral. ;-)

Then there's the original saying, which goes back to Hillel (gospel writers probably stole it from him): "Don't do anything to others that you wouldn't want done to you."

That's a slightly less problematic guideline, although it can still be a problem when one party is a masochist and the other not!

Still, I wouldn't want anyone to give me perfume for my birthday, so should I feel bad about giving it to my wife?

Choose the right religion, and the solution is easy. Many of them allow you to repent and be cleansed of your sins.

If I understand well, your point is that one needs God to know what is right or wrong. Well, I plus millions of people don't believe in God - therefore we don't have morality, is this what your implying?

What is most insulting is that in certain way your own arguments are anti-moral in its essence. What you are saying is that essentialy a person has to fear some kind of punishment in order to distinguish good or bad. You seem to totally deny that people can reach certain moral values based on their own personal experience and evolution as sensitive human beings - the only real way to become a good person, or the only way to God if you wish.

Very well stated. I've often wondered if the Christian story were inverted, and Satan foretold to win the battle of heaven, how many Christians would willingly follow Jesus into hell for eternity. In other words, are they in support of the moral code or in fear of the victor?

That's actually a part of the myth of Odin,or Wotan as the English called him, where the forces of Loki are slated to win at Raagnarok, the battle at the end of the world, before a new creation.
Pretty interesting religion. Too bad the White Supremacists have contaminated it by adopting it. An eternity of drinking, fighting, composing sagas and eating barbecued pork sounds like a lot more fun that getting sore feet on the streets of gold, choked by incense and singing songs of praise till your throat gets sore.
Bob Ebersole

dont forget that the days of the week are named after some of the norse gods!

Wednesday -> wodin, odin (i only drink wine on Wednesday as a result)
friday -> fria

i cant remeber whom the other days are named for.

I think

Sun Day
Moon Day
Tiw's or Tyr's Day (Norse God of war)
Woden's (Odin's) Day
Thor's Day (Norse God of Thunder)
Frigg's Day or Freya's Day (Norse Goddess of Beauty)
Saturn's Day


Gunga: News flash. There is no God. Now you can shit your pants like you would like to. Have a good one.

Is god the one who chooses what is right and what is wrong, or is she just the one that dishes out the punishment as good and evil are independent of god? If the former, aren’t good and evil just arbitrary standards that god decides? God could just as easily make it graceful to lie, cheat, and steal, and make these behaviors necessary to gain eternal life. No? Well if good and evil are independent of god, why do we need god? God’s also not omnipotent since something exists she cannot change.

Plato pointed out and firmly established in "The Euthyphro" that our ideas of the good are logically prior to our ideas of God (or the gods). Thus "God" is what we define the good to be (quite independently of whether or not such an entity actually exists).

Plato's point was that the priests (personified by the a**hole Euthyprho) who claim special knowledge via a pipeline to the gods (or God) are bogus, and their claims to special knowledge are worthless.

To the best of my knowledge, nobody has even come close to refuting the points that Plato made in "Euthyphro."

Nobody has even come close to refuting just about every serious objection ever made about religion - hasn't stopped billions of people believing in it.

Wizard, the fact of so many believers in existence today is the one fact I find astounding. I forget who it was that said religion will always be around until humans overcome their fear of death. When I was a believer long ago thinking of death would sometimes keep me awake at night from the anxiety. It’s remarkable how unbelief has allowed me more peace with myself.

Refute what points? - making the assertion that something exists on it's own without giving details of Plato‘s argument? Oh, everyone has read "The Euthyphro" and knows it by heart. Don, you seem to do this on every post. Give a little history to show how knowledgeable you are in an effort to impress. Make an assertion which is not explicitly clarified or stated. Then say this assertion has never been refuted without ever explaining why.

Heh, you pegged Don's modus operandi to a tee!

Show me the refutation.

Many, probably most, assertions in philosophy have been refuted.

However, nobody on TOD seems to be aware of a refutation to the points Plato made in the very well known dialogue, "Euthyphro."

I wonder why.

Maybe because they have better things to do and their time is more precious than go look something up. I myself, being semi-retired, have plenty of time to waste, but I’m not going to do someone else’s work for them. You want me to go and read Euthyphro (I did) to look at the argument that I’m supposed to refute, one that you could have easily stated in your post. (is a baby bird evil for casting It’s siblings out of the nest, no it’s its’ nature, but unlike god I don’t have to then prove it’s existence). Don, most of your posts put the burden on everyone else to look up your sources, many of them unavailable at hand ( all of Plato’s dialogues are online, but refer to sentence one) and links are never posted.

Plato is hardly an obscure source.

I do not know whether or not you have noticed, but I usually refer to well-known sources such as John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman, Adam Smith, Aristotle, etc.

Where are the obscure references in my comments?

In regard to burden of proof, how hard is it to Google?

You got me there Don. But it is amazing how many people do not know of Keynes, Smith, etc., especially those who have very technical degrees and a narrowly focused education. I myself was fortunate to have been taught a traditional liberal education by professors who were near the end of their long careers and more interested in teaching than publishing. I must confess a bias here, I’ve always been resistant to the idea of absolutes, and I just feel so damn manipulated when I read Plato.

Thank your being a gentleman in argument as you always are.

Thank your being a gentleman in argument as you always are.

Yeah! But this "gentleman" sucks!
I am no gentleman and I don't like noise in the threads.

That's interesting logic... and one which will be quickly dismissed by fundamental religious types. According to them God IS good. Period. By definition whatever he decides is the Good.

This reasoning (or lack of it) personally drives me crazy as it stops people of trying to look further - to look for the fundamental reasons of why something is good or bad. Whatever God says (or moreoften his speekers on Earth say) is The Good. Why? Because He says so. It does not require a huge stretch of the imagionation how this thinking brings to existence religious fundamentalists - don't the people that blow themselves among innocent people on the streets deep inside them believe they are doing the GOOD thing?

One, not everyone here is an atheist. It may seem that way to the average American, who does not run into many out-of-the-closet atheists, but there are many religious and spiritual types here along with the atheists and agnostics.

Two, it's possible to be ethical without believing in god. Kohlberg's first five stages of moral development do not require religion, and very few people reach even stage 5. Stage 6 and 7 start edging toward the religious, but even he conceded that the evidence that those stages exist was hard to find.

Sorry, I'm not trying to bring up religion here, but I've been noticing these comments about justice and morality and don't see what the basis is when the person holding them is an athiest or evolutionist.

As opposed to statements about a "holy man" - son of God who puts a curse on a fig tree just because it lacks figs. Doesn't matter its not fig season and therefore the tree WOULD lack figs. How its OK to go into another nation to get slaves. (yup, saying slaves are cool!) How beating up others is ok, Killing childern is cool. Rape is OK. What a virgin would be worth.

So be careful about what you might claim as a 'basis' - as you might find your feet are clay.

how can you say there is such a thing as 'right' or 'wrong', 'just' or 'injust'?

How about - if you would not like it done to you, why do it to others - as a start.

Eric, I'd like to connect with you off-thread so as not to chew up more Drumbeat bandwidth on this topic. tandphome at msn dot com.

Shawnott: You're right- the only moral persons are the ones like yourself waving the bibles around. To quote Jimmy Swaggart: "If God didn't want them sheared, he wouldn't have made them sheep".

If one believes we are just cells that crawled out of a pool of sludge, how can you say there is such a thing as 'right' or 'wrong', 'just' or 'injust'?

Why WOULDN'T cells that crawled out of the sludge decide between right and wrong (assuming they've evolved brains first)?

Akin to the argument: "Well, if you don't believe in God, then why not just do what you want, rape and murder, there are no consequences."

Since when has belief in a deity prevented atrocity?

No, belief in deity is the Great Excuse for atrocity.

The true teachings of many religions, and the misuse of the leadership of religion for political purposes are 2 different discussions.

In my opinion (as a christian) a religion with a god says "do what god wants" (which for a christian is to love/care for one another, and is defined as "good"), where as without an external reference for "good", the primary guideline for actions is what is best for ones self (criteria along these lines vary, and at times overlap with religions).

The problem is a) many people seek power (religious and political) and b) are willing to do what other people could objectively consider "wrong" actions to achieve it.

Note: while i believe that christianity has possibly the best moral code, not even christians live up to it (christ died that we might be forgiven, and we are called to care for others to a similar extent)

You might find Sir Fred Hoyle's book,'Intelligent Universe.' an interesting read. Hoyle believed in transpermia, that life exists throughout the universe, and that some intelligence much greater than man designed cellular structures. Hoyle believed that cells were far too complex to have arisen by accident no matter how long the time span. If you examine a typical human cell you might come to a similar conclusion. Give it a name! If one wants to call the designer of the cell 'god' then so be it. Hoyle also believed that the earth and all bodys in the universe are constantly being bombarded by new strains of virus and he presented credible evidence to back up his claims. A very interesting book and one that doesnt take a molecular biologist to understand. Hoyle should have won the Noble Prize jointly for his work on how stars function but his coworker on the research won the prize alone...the august Nobel panel did not want to give Hoyle the prize because of his theories about transpermia. He was a maverick, had a brilliant mind, was a great scientist and is one of my heros. RIP Fred.

First, the word is atheist, not athiest. It's not like, "Hey, I'm athier than anyone else, I'm the athiest!".

Second, everyone doesn't profess to be one. Evidently, most people in this country do not.

Third, your "everyone wants to worship" crack is a ridiculously cheap comment. No one "worships" evolution.

Fourth, you absolutely intended to bring up religion, and it is absurd and disingenous of you to claim otherwise.

Fifth, morality doesn't require belief in an invisible wrathful sky gremlin(s).

Sixth, many, if not most, of the most hideously brutal and immoral acts in the history of mankind have been inspired and excused by zealous belief in invisible wrathful sky gremlins, including 9/11. And it continues to this day.

Shawnott was pretty well flamed for questioning the atheistic and/or evolutionary basis of morality, but I think most of the responses missed his point. He wasn't accusing the other board members of being immoral, he was just questioning whether the basis for morality can be entirely naturalistic. It's an important question.

If I do something "immoral", and this immoral action was ultimately caused entirely by chemical reactions in my brain and body, reactions which were determined by a natural evolutionary background over which I had no control, was it really my fault? Can I even be blamed for such an action?

The question can be extended to reason in addition to morality. If my reasoning leads me to conclude that all our reasoning about Peak Oil is based on the random movement of atoms in our brains and Daniel Yergin's reasoning is also based on the random movement of atoms in his brain, what basis is there for thinking that we are right and he is wrong? Yergin and all the rest of us are following the dictates of atomic movements and chemical interactions over which we have no control, fully determined by an evolutionary past as shaped by environmental influences.

I think Shawnott was suggesting that morality and reason originate from a source outside of nature. It's a serious argument, even if we haven't stated it as well as possible.

I don't think I missed the point at all.

Nobody's reason (not even Daniel Yergin's), is based on "random movement of atoms in his brain". To state it in those terms betrays a rather complete ignorance of biology, neurobiology and evolution.

One of the results of our evolutionary past has been to set us up with the ability to understand (in a rather limited fashion) how are brains work, and why they work that way.

Morality and reason do not originate in a "source outside of nature". Morality and reason in humans are an elaboration of social dynamics and cognitive skills that have clearly developed along a continuum throughout evolutionary history.

OTOH, maybe pink unicorns from the zeta reticuli star system came by and implanted these attributes in proto-human primates.

I guess what I'm saying is that when you talk about "sources outside of nature" (whatever that means), well, anything goes. Nature is practically by definition "that which we can vaguely understand".

And besides, who or what gave the pink unicorns the ability to achieve interstellar space travel, and tweak primates into language and reason and morality?

I guess it's pink unicorns, all the way down.

I guess what I'm REALLY trying to say is that, clearly, this is not the forum for discussions of evolutionary psychology and whatnot ;-)


I guess what I'm REALLY trying to say is that, clearly, this is not the forum for discussions of evolutionary psychology and whatnot ;-)

I can understand if the editors want to rule evolutionary psychology out of bounds. However, TOD has had several feature articles on evolutionary psychology, usually by Nate Hagens discussing how it produces a "discount rate" in our reasoning, and so on. So we're not really breaking new ground by discussing it.

Being motivated by the fear of, or currying the favor of, powerful invisible supernatural creatures deserves a name, but it wouldn't be morality.

Nothing done in such blatant self-interest has
anything to DO with morality or altruism. An atheist who takes in a stranger may be displaying more morality that a saint who bathes lepers, if the former exhibits true altruism and the latter is simply kissing up for a cushy afterlife.

77 virgins is the bid. Do I hear 78? going, going....

Hey Bob,

The key sentence in that article:

Food production in developing countries will halve in the next 20 years unless wealthy nations lower their rate of consumption.

Let that sink in for a minute. And then connect it to WT's Export Land Model.

What will life be like in Africa in 10 years?

Remember Ban Ki-Moon's statement on Darfur:

"For the first time in memory, there was no longer enough food and water for all. Fighting broke out."

africa has existed in a near current state for more than 50,000 years.

some clan in the jungle will survive and humans will continue.

really it will only affect the 500,000,000 people who depend on current innovation!

everyone else will die

Umm, no, it hasn't.

Africa was quite prosperous before European colonization. There even were high-standing civilizations in south-east Africa, not to mention the arabic North Africa, which were quite superior to Europe for several centuries, and on equal terms for quite a few more.

And the wars vs the natives in southern Africa took hundreds of years (175?) for the might of the european war machine to defeat.

Colonization and christian missonaries put an end to the taboos and thousands of year old rules that controlled African population, like retroactive abortion (ie, kill you small children if there's a famine), pro-active abortion, ritualized warfare to get rid of surplus male population and a lot of other non-christian ways to maintain a sustainable population.

Once the christian missonaries killed these practices, African population exploded, and the famines started.

OTH retroactive abortion was practiced in christian Europe too, in Sweden as late as the 19th century. It was called "the wolf too him/her", ie you "forgot" your surplus children in the forest during famines, letting them die from exposure.

Umm, no, it hasn't.

Africa was quite prosperous before European colonization. There even were high-standing civilizations in south-east Africa, trading across the Indian Ocean with China and India, not to mention the arabic North Africa, which were quite superior to Europe for several centuries, and on equal terms for quite a few more.

And the wars vs the natives in southern Africa took hundreds of years (175?) before the might of the european war machine defated them.

Colonization and christian missonaries put an end to the taboos and thousands of year old rules that controlled African population, like retroactive abortion (ie, kill you small children if there's a famine, pro-active abortion, ritualized warfare to get rid of surplus male population and a lot of other non-christian ways to maintain a sustainable population. Also practices like the woman being considered unclean for several years after birth were used as a contraceptive and preventing frequent births. You must realize that these taboos and rituals have grown out of necessity over thousands of years, and like most traditions they served a purpose. And like most traditions they can be killed over night.

Once the christian missonaries killed these practices, African population exploded, and the famines started.

OTH retroactive abortion was practiced in christian Europe too, in Sweden as late as the 19th century. It was called "the wolf took him/her", ie you "forgot" your surplus children in the forest during famines, letting them die from exposure.

I'm not familiar with African traditions, but Africa is also another tale of an ecosystem sensitive to introduced organisms.

One crucial impact European colonists had on Africa was the introduction of a cattle disease, rinderpest. This had a devestating impact on livestock dependent communities, causing widespread famine. Additionally with reduced grazing by cattle, conditions were ideal for Tsetse, which spread sleeping sickness, so Africans were hit with a double whammy of famine and disease.

Disease and famine advanced through Africa rapidly, ahead of the European colonists. Europeans came across these communities decimated by disease, and assumed that poverty and disease was the norm, when in fact it had been caused by the arrival of Europeans themselves, some years earlier.

Food production in developing countries will halve in the next 20 years unless wealthy nations lower their rate of consumption.

Let that sink in for a minute. And then connect it to WT's Export Land Model.

Maybe it has been explicity discussed; if not it deserves more than a late post downstring... but I, like many others here, see WT's Export Land model as THE big story... or what would be in a sane world.

So saying, inasmuch as I live on a heavily-populated island which is NOT in any way self-sufficient in energy OR food, I wonder about the "food" version of the ELM, as there certainly will be one. The total amount of food for export will probably decline a lot faster than the total amount of food grown. Thinking along those lines gets very scary very fast.

Given it much thought, WT?

BP finds “Hydrocarbons” in the Gulf of Mexico

BP Exploration & Production Inc. (NYSE: BP) announced today a hydrocarbon discovery in an exploration well that tested its Isabela prospect in the Gulf of Mexico. The well is located on Mississippi Canyon Block 562 in approximately 6,500 feet of water, about 150 miles southeast of New Orleans. Isabela was drilled to a total depth of approximately 19,100 feet into Miocene era sands.

Strange that the article did not say what kind of hydrocarbons or approximately how much could eventually be extracted at what flow rate.

Ron Patterson

Hello Darwinian,

Thxs for the info. IMO, the article just further shows that we need to be moving in a new direction towards mitigation.

From memory of some previous link: the avg American burns roughly 400 years of ancient sunshine at our present pace; an entire year's worth of sunshine/day equivalent [LOL--that could cause a really bad sunburn]. Obviously, this cannot continue for much longer. Leanan's toplink: "Growth is bumping against profound physical limits" suggests that, "..the very attempt may be dangerous.”

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

From memory of some previous link: the avg American burns roughly 400 years of ancient sunshine at our present pace; an entire year's worth of sunshine/day equivalent

Without an area reference this is a completely meaningless statistic.

400 years worth of ancient sunlight falling on what area? 1 sqft? 1 sq mile?????

After all if I personally owned a 600sq meter 12% efficiency solar panel in the Mojave desert with a bloody long extension cord back to my house I'd have more energy than I'd know what to do with. Christ with that much leccy I could probably afford to distil ethanol with an electric resistance heater...


400 years worth of ancient sunlight falling on what area?

The entire earth.

Burning buried sunshine

"Every day, people are using the fossil fuel equivalent of all the plant matter that grows on land and in the oceans over the course of a whole year," says Dukes. In fact, in 1997 - the year he uses in the study, chosen as all the data was available - the equivalent of over 400 years' worth of plant matter was burnt as fossil fuels.

I much appreciate the quote and link. I read something of this before. Only 1/10,750th energy stored as fossil fuels is illuminating comparison when people make quick estimates on how much potential solar power has to substitute for our current consumption.

Technology ought to do much better with solar for short term energy use (no storage), but perhaps not considering scalability. Plants work "for free", while we don't have self-reproducing technology to run on solar power.

I don't know what to think of genetic engineering and potential for "improvement" of plants to store energy for us, but I think plants must be well optimized as a good long term energy storage system than any simpler chemistry system we'll design.

Heat from a concentrator system could be stored at moderate depths underground for months if not years and withdrawn as needed.

I've read about using underground caverns for storing pressurized air from wind turbines from/to electricity (One being built in Iowa). I imagine air storage can have a higher conversion efficiency than as heat for energy storage. Although for heating/cooling systems, taking advantage of heat pumps for seasonal temperature variations is certainly underexploited.

I suppose all good energy storage systems are a matter of relatively high start up cost but low maintenance costs once they are built.

How about storing energy(Potential Energy) like a grandfather clock.

Instead of Flywheels, Compressed Air, etc

Lift a weight on a cable with extra power,
Let it "Unwind" and run a generator to get it back.

I don't know about large commercial applications but if a person has a small windturbine/solar many just heat a hot tub to use excess energy. I want to raise a couple ton using a cable on an axle, and let it unwind when I need it.

No loss in storage. A year from now that ton of weight 20 feet high didn't lose anything. Compared to Flywheels and compressed air.

Personal Use, not commercial.

I visited the Point Reyes, CA lighthouse recently, and that's indeed how the original system was driven: Twice a day, the keeper would crank the weight back up the cable, and its slow descent would then turn the light. Big apparatus for a little stored energy.

A raised weight stores energy as F dot D, i.e. proportional to the length. A flywheel stores energy as I omega squared - quadratically as the rotational speed. Whether you want lots of energy or a compact system, the flywheel's the way to go.

Compressing air heats it, and unless you need to heat your storage cavern, it's an enormous waste. But who knows, maybe you'd like A/C for the computers you're powering with your air turbine, so decompressing the air to generate power is just the ticket.

Compressible media create all kinds of problems - like explosion hazards - which incompressible media don't.

I can imagine a system which uses wind to pump groundwater to elevated storage, which is then released to irrigate the vegetables and spin the generator when the electricity is needed - say, at night, the best time to water.

Flywheels slow down.

After 5 years, a ton 20 feet up hasn't lost anything.

I think pumping water up to tank/pond is a lot more work/losses.

A static weight takes up less area for the same thing I think. No Losses from evaporation, bearings, pumps, hose resistence etc.

Just opinions.

Plus, I could build the weight thing myself in my barn out of junk material easily.

pumping water is the same as moving a mass, you use the same generator. one is simply a turbine used to push water!

again mass is mass, doesnt matter if its air, hydrogen, lead, uranium, mercury, halfnium, or stupidium.

ps generators which rotate will have bearing losses. the best generators are for hydro dams, roughly 98% of the potential energy can be captured. pumps are about the same, (just a turbine in reverse, duh) and then only evaporation is really nessisary. pipe losses are only important if the pipe is very narrow compared to its length, increase the diameter of the pipe.

you are an idiot

one must maintain said cable and the every use of the mechanism will cause degredation of it.

what kind of mass will you use? lead? mercury? uranium? (because only high density masses will work you know)

one must make the cable, i doubt the mass has zero worth, same as the structure to hold it up. then you need generators for everyone, which if not used oxidize over time. (and need oil and other maintenance.)

flywheels are probably the best(near vacuum environment, permanent magnets for levitation), followed by HTSCM (high temperature super conducting magnets) which are 100% efficient at storing energy

in short, you idea has merit, but you assume that some things have near zero cost, which in reality is untrue.

furthermore, commerical applications are always more viable than personal. If something is not commercially viable, a person stands no chance of it ever working properly. and industrial applications are always more viable than commercial applications. and military above commercial!

you are an idiot

Gilgamesh, that statement says far more about you than about the person you were calling names. Such language is no way to answer a person and adds nothing to the debate. People will say things to a person on the net that they would never dream of saying to their face.

Samsara's argument did not assume some things have zero cost. Where on earth did you get that idea. It is the same thing as pumping water uphill during off peak times to be used to generate electricity during peak times. That system is being used today.

It is a valid idea. All things wear out. Any system devised will need maintenance. Windmills will wear out. That does not mean they are usless because they eventually wear out. And the system suggested by Samsara would eventually wear out. The proposal is valid and does not assume anything out of the ordinary.

Ron Patterson

Thanks Ron.

I am not focusing on Commercial Use. This is Personal Power generation and conservation. "Every Thing Wears Out" NSDT (No Sh|t Dick Tracy)

I'm into what I can do at my farm. NOT what will solve everybody's problems, everywhere, Everytime.

Plain folks are doing GREAT things to be individually Grid Independant.


Making a Windturbine out of Super Magnets(NeBFe) using a volvo Brake rotor and spindle for example.



In this endevor, Personal Power Generation, Storage IS THE KEY.

Lifting a weight (rocks, Engine blocks, a whole junk car) is something a single person could do.


The human body is lets say 10% efficient?

A well trained person can work at 300Watts for probably 1 or two hours before fatigue sets in.

Then you have a combined generator efficiency of roughly 90%, so 9% storage overall.

so for 600Watt*hours in you get ~60 Watt*hours out!

and that leaves you with roughly nothing for energy usage. The rest has bled off as heat.

pumped storage does much better (20something % storage)

even replacing people with animals you lose. (the productive uses of animals)

if you hook up an engine to it, you are actually better off saving the fuel for the generator and running the generator as needed! (at 22% efficiency)

i repeat again, you are stupid, think through the in's and outs of the situation before getting into something.

if you wanna build for fun, go ahead, but it will likely fail at storing energy, and my opinion of this failure is 99.99% certain.

/human body is probably 10% efficient but the output of 300W would be stored at 90% percent (best case) (for 540W*hr stored) It still stands that the human body cannot produce enough power compared to engines, which run on gasoline with specific energy densities above 30MJ/kg. Storage for energy is currently best observed by diesel fuel, which you as a farmer already use.

One last time, If you misunderstood that I would lift the weights myself, you are mistaken.

I would use the extra power from my windturbine/PV after my Trojan L16H batteries are topped off. At this point most home systems dump the extra power to ground or heat a hot tube.

THAT is the time I would just run a geared up electric motor to lift the weight. AFTER my Trojan's are topped off.

Home Use. Take some of the links above and investigate.

If you misunderstood that I would lift the weights myself, you are mistaken.

That's not the point, mechanical storage of energy, lifting weights, pumping water, even flywheels, though "elegant" is a very poor storage.
Do the maths, you'll be surprised.

Why don't you do the maths yourself, and show him?  Put your figures where your mouth is.

Ok, I'll bite, What you have me do with the extra power my windturbine produces after my batteries are topped up?

In an OFF grid environment? What you do with the power? Dump it?

Since he's incompetent to do the numbers, I'll do them:

Suppose you can raise 10 metric tons to the altitude of 5 meters.  The total energy is mgh, where m = 1e4 kg, g = 9.8 m/sec², and h = 5 m.  Total energy is 4.9e5 J, or a whole 136 watt-hours.

Moral:  Forget lifting weights, get yourself another battery.

Hello Andytk,

Thxs for responding. I was low: 422 is the number. It was from a keypost by Dave Cohen, so if you have any disagreement, please take it up with him at his email addy.

The RF for oil suggests that 89 metric tons of ancient plant matter were required to create 1 U.S. Gallon [3.8 L] of gasoline.

RFs were used to estimate the amount of ancient photosynthetic product consumed annually in the form of fossil fuels. Approximately 44 Eg (44 × 10^18 grams) of photosynthetic product carbon were necessary to generate the fossil fuels burned in the reference year 1997. This is equivalent to 422 times the net amount of carbon that is fixed globally each year, or 73 times the global standing stock of carbon in vegetation.

Paleoproductivity use over time (shown in Figure 5 below) suggests that societal consumption of this resource has exceeded the current rate of global carbon fixation since 1888. Cumulative paleoproductivity consumption from 1751 to 1998 exceeds 1.4 × 103 Eg of carbon (as above), which is more than 13,300 years' worth of global NPP.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Amazing how fast Leanan and other TODers are--thxs for the help!

Edit: recall Bartlett's Exponential video. So from 1998 to now we have burned another 10,000 years [Sorry, just a SWAG--didn't do the math].

All right, fair enough.

I didn't quite realise you meant ancient stored carbon matter. From the wording it seemed to imply ancient sunlight, which I took to mean incident solar power.

There is however plenty of solar power to go around.


Hi Ron
The area is in the subsalt trend, my guess is that its Eocene, called Yegua when updip and onshore. and that depth I'd expect gas and condentate wells. They've probably only run logs and a jug test, and the well can't be really evaluated until its completed. The water depth is at the extreme end of technological feasibility. The Tiger project of Shell has been recently delayed because of metalurgic problems, also the Thunderhorse project, same reason.
Bob Ebersole

Apologies if this has already been posted. A long but worthwhile article by Noam Chomsky:

If the United States were compelled to grant some degree of sovereignty to Iraq, and any of these consequences would ensue, Washington planners would be facing the collapse of one of their highest foreign policy objectives since the Second World War, when the United States replaced Britain as the world-dominant power: the need to control “the strategically most important area of the world.” ... Such control gives the United States “veto power” over its industrial rivals, as explained in the early postwar period by influential planners, and reiterated recently with regard to Iraq: a successful conquest of Iraq would give the United States “critical leverage” over its industrial rivals, Europe and Asia...

Imminent Crises: Threats and Opportunities

If anyone has any questions about the US leaving Iraq, put then to rest:

Hello Hightrekker,

Fascinating video--thxs! But the fossil fuels will still deplete, therefore, we need to be making long-run plans for humans and other lifeforms for the coming Bottleneck Squeeze. Huge military bases like these will be pointless without cheap oil.

IMO, modernized Viking longboats [Thxs Don Sailorman!] and/or Ghengis Khan and armies on horseback will be a more accurate model of a typical future military in 100-200 years. With maybe a few helicopter gunships, briefly powered by biofuels, for quickly breaking up the morale and the ranks of the opposing forces. Who knows?!

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

Thanks, trekker, that's a well-done video. Everyone that thinks that technology -- solar, wind, biofuels, nuclear -- will soon obviate the need for petroleum, should watch this video and ask themselves whether TPTB have any faith in those things.

Bob, your observation that "the fossil fuels will still deplete" is what makes this whole thing so farcical (in a deeply dark way). What is the chance that America will ever "enjoy" burning significant quantities of Iraqi oil? Just about nil. But as has been suggested here and by others, the strategy appears to be "if we can't have it, no one else is going to have it either."

So, to answer the question posed in your tagline "Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?" NO.

"It is as if the Pharaohs have returned.."

I wonder how many flags will fly over these massive structures before they start falling into the sand. Russia? China? Iran? Israel?

Bob Fiske

I wonder how many flags will fly over these massive structures before they start falling into the sand. Russia? China? Iran? Israel?

Methinks that if the flag was to change from one 'external
' force to another , they radioactivity in the world would then leave things for the sand and wind.

I agree with the comments---
This is just members of the global elite doing their "last man standing" routine that they have been bred for (Fighting over declining resources and a collapsing world ecology)
With the move away from science and the embracement of religion, the declining educational system and lack of the ability to think critically, the lack of basic knowledge among the populace combined with a encroaching security state and technology, I personally think a "swing of the pendulum" back the other way is delusional.
The other side of the wall we are about to crash into is my major concern.

how many great pyramids is W. Buffet worth?

He should be happy enough with that crate 6' in the ground like the rest of us..

'After the game, the King and the Pawn go in the same box..'



Crop Progress
National Agricultural Statistics Service USDA Washington, D.C.

Released June 25, 2007, by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Perhaps this link will work better.

As I read this chart, both corn and soyeans are now above the historical average for development (tasseling or flowering) at this date. But for corn, the big states are still out, and that may also be true for soybeans. The exhibit looks at tasseling for corn, and blooming for soybeans. You get a lot more of those things in the southern states on July 1. In the northern states, the expected amount is close to zero and the actual amount is also.

One for Brits and policy wonks:

No more JESS.

I got a message back from the DTI, (no new departmental email address yet), which states that JESS reports will be replaced with an Energy Markets Outlook on fuels and energy supply created by DTI, OfGem, based on National Grid analysis, wider industry and other sources. The first EMO will be available "in the Autumn".

As the last JESS report was the end of last year, they are stretching the time between government reporting of the Energy market out to maybe 9, 10 months.

The Energy White Paper is here.

If there's bad news stop reporting it???

That looks like the point.

Debate rages over what level of mercury in tuna is considered harmful

Money was tight, what with a baby boy in the house and another one on the way, so Teri Curtis cut costs. The 22-year-old bartender in Bentonville, Arkansas, saved on gas by making fewer trips to see her mother, who lived about an hour away. She and her husband stopped eating dinner out. And for lunch, she almost invariably had a plain tuna sandwich. “It was a cheap meal,” she remembers. “And I thought it would be nutritious.”

...Every day in this country, coal-fired power plants in 46 states spew out particles laced with mercury. Incinerators and chlorine plants burn off still more. The emissions travel on the wind — sometimes hundreds of miles — then fall back to Earth, usually in rain or snow, and land most often in our rivers, lakes and oceans. Though there are natural sources of mercury in the air, such as forest fires, a 2002 study published in "Environmental Science & Technology" estimated that 70 percent of the mercury in our atmosphere was put there by humans.

My first post, hopes this comes out close to right.

Thirteen states have sued the EPA on the Clean Air Mercury Rules, CAMR, set out in 2005 after the current administration couldn't get a law passed and used the regulation route. It requires states to adopt standards for reducing mercury emissions at coal-fired power plants by 2008. The standard suggested to Congress in the year 2000 was a 90% reduction. This change sets the reduction at 70% with a ten year phase-in at 40% of that required reduction, which calculates out to a 28% reduction. (The EPA recognizes mercury as a dangerous hazard, while others label it as a dangerous neurotoxin.) The limits can be further blurred by the "cap and trade" system which may allow required reductions by states with stricter limits to be used in states which adopt the language set forth by the EPA.

I know, this is "The Oil Drum", but this ties in directly to the oil arena when CTL technologies are considered. While mercury emissions at power plants are subjected to the controls described above, CTL will be a whole new ball game.

Thanks for the post and link, Leanan. We are approaching this regulatory problem in our state now, and looking like a guppy fighting off a herd of sharks.


>I know, this is "The Oil Drum", but this ties in directly to the oil arena when CTL technologies are considered. While mercury emissions at power plants are subjected to the controls described above, CTL will be a whole new ball game

In CTL production, containments like mercury and sulphur must be filtered before syngas is converted into liquid fuels since they contaimnate the catalysts. Although the slag and captured containments could end up in groundwater depending on how they are disposed of.

I believe in the near future, in-situ burning (in ground) of coal will occur when North American natural gas is depleted to produce syngas. They'll need a cheap and easy alternative to keep those gas turbines cranking out megawatts. I doubt they'll bother to filter out heavy metals (maybe Sulphur since it corrodes pipelines).

We already have gas production from coal. It is only a matter of de-watering the coal, and here it comes. Works better with deeper zones, and thin beds, likely included in the coal "inventory", but not recoverable through mining. They can be produced, not cheaply, but fairly easily. I hate to describe completion techniques as technology, but tnose techniques have increased the viability of this source. It is typically high in inert gasses, N2 and CO2, primarily, but is close enough to PL quality to blend in with conventional gas in existing pipelines. The ash, called flyash after combustion, contains most of the mercury, and that should not be a problem since it stays underground.

I am glad to know that the mercury and sulphur are filtered out in the CTL process. The solids don't seem to be the problem, just the airborne contamination after combustion. I guess i can cross that off my list of things to worry about. Down to thirty-four pages now.

A few days ago, Matt Savinar on LATOC posted this link to a Baltimore Sun article talking about continued electrical supply problems at the US National Security Agency.

Power supply still a vexation for the NSA
Summertime could pose hotter trouble for agency

WASHINGTON // A year after the National Security Agency nearly maxed out its electrical capacity, some offices are experiencing significant power disruptions as the agency confronts the increasingly urgent problem of an infrastructure stretched to its limits, intelligence officials said.

The spy agency has delayed the deployment of some new data-processing equipment because it is short on power and space. Outages have shut down some offices in NSA headquarters for up to half a day. And some officials fear that major problems could occur this summer as temperatures climb.

Sounds like the problem is all the computers. Probably got a boatload, all monitoring us. :)

I do think people underestimate how much power computers use. Maybe your own desktop or laptop doesn't make a big difference in your power bill, but the server farms and office computers draw a lot. Not just the computers, but the air-conditioning computers require. We never had air conditioning in my office building before we had computers.

Like this?!

Sentient world: war games on the grandest scale

Perhaps your real life is so rich you don't have time for another.

Even so, the US Department of Defense (DOD) may already be creating a copy of you in an alternate reality to see how long you can go without food or water, or how you will respond to televised propaganda.

The DOD is developing a parallel to Planet Earth, with billions of individual "nodes" to reflect every man, woman, and child this side of the dividing line between reality and AR.

Called the Sentient World Simulation (SWS), it will be a "synthetic mirror of the real world with automated continuous calibration with respect to current real-world information", according to a concept paper for the project.

"SWS provides an environment for testing Psychological Operations (PSYOP)," the paper reads, so that military leaders can "develop and test multiple courses of action to anticipate and shape behaviors of adversaries, neutrals, and partners".

SWS also replicates financial institutions, utilities, media outlets, and street corner shops. By applying theories of economics and human psychology, its developers believe they can predict how individuals and mobs will respond to various stressors.

Anyone remember the tv show on FX called Harsh Realm? Same premise, they made a copy of the world.

I do Actually.
Personally, and this is coming form someone who loves computers and tired to get a job in the field, I think we put too much weight on them for some things like long term climate models and this.
Lack of complete understanding of the many variables and sub-variables(don't like the outcome tweak the 'variables' till you get one you like and call the rest bad due to unreliable data) and Self delusion that what we know now is all we need to know to get a accurate picture.
I bet this dod computer model is based around the dis-proven game theory idea that everything a person does is done in a rationally calculating matter of thinking about what benefit's 'me' the most from intra-family relations to how you greet a complete stranger on the street. I also now wonder if this system is what told the dod that they would be greeted with flowers and candy in iraq instead of death squads ied's and general hatred.

My favorite computer model is the one they used to estimate the amount of damage caused to Columbia's wing by that falling piece of foam. The computer model showed the damage would be minimal. The real world test punctured the wing.

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

Thats what i am thinking is happening with the computer climate models. It really doesn't take long to find all the stuff the un climate report left out. I'll bet you within 10-15 years the un report will be laughably optimistic compared to what it claims will happen by that time.

Not sure what you're saying there...the GCM's explicitly DON'T predict any smaller scale weather events - and yet it's going to be those that cause the most damage.
Indeed, it's the weakest link in our climate understanding - there's not even a strong consensus over just how much effect global warming will have on tropical cyclones, for instance.
The second weak link is the modelling of ice shelves. They are already melting considerably faster than the models predict. Getting this right is pretty important, as the consequences of the resultant rise in sea-level should be obvious enough.

As far as the models for long term climate modelling go - the IPCC report has a considerable section devoted to discussing their limitations, and any serious scientist who works with them is intimately (if not painfully) familiar with those limitations. That doesn't mean there isn't sound reason to have a particular level of confidence in them. The ones that are used today have proven to be incredibly reliable at predicting particular values (e.g. global mean temperature), and surprisingly good at other things (large scale cloud formation), and relatively poor at others (precipitation). Our confidence in them is largely based on their accuracy against real world data.
We're already very good at predicting very local, specific weather patterns over a short period using computer models - even though my own city is known for its erratic weather, I honestly don't remember the last time the weather bureau got the temperature prediction completely wrong, and on average they are well over 90% accurate.

Computer models that predict human behaviour on the other hand seem to me rather unlikely to be very useful - any individual human is probably at least as complex as the planet's climate system.

we are talking time scale here.
predicting tomorrow's high's and low's are orders of magnitude easier to do then predicting the climate for a entire region 10, 15, 20+ years from now.
what i am saying is that we should go back to putting more reliance on hard physical evidence. feet on the ground and direct measurements rather then setting up a computer simulation based on a certain level of knowledge and then saying this will happen. then after the fact ignoring everything new that comes out which doesn't fit.

your correct on the computer model on human behavior though.

Actually quite the opposite. The IPCC document also has a section devoted to explaining why predicting a value like "global mean temperature" on a decadal scale is actually simpler than predicting local temperature changes in the next few days.
Climate science is based just as much on physical evidence as it is models - the models are constantly compared against the evidence and adjusted accordingly. You can't collect the physical evidence from 50 years in the future, so a model is the best we have. Furthermore, collecting evidence isn't as straightforward as it might seem - for a while it appeared that the temperature in the upper atmosphere was dropping, contrary to the predictions of the models. It turned out it was a calibration problem with the satellites (not adjusting for their gradual fall towards earth) - but if we didn't have a model predicting rising temperatures, we may never had reason to question the 'evidence' collected.

Evidence can only take you so far. After all, there's no empirical evidence that a train speeding towards a brick wall is going to hit it.

Hello HeIsSoFly,

Reads like Asimov's Foundation of predictive collapse and directed decline to me! Recall my many posts on this topic.

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

sounds like the Mystery Babylon to me

Will the simulated sentient beings believe in God? They ones that did would be right, of course...

Sounds like a recipe for boiled frog.

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

This is why I want them to start moving the server-farms up to Maine, which lost so much of its other farming! This way, they can sell the heat to the neighbors instead of having to A/C and vent it into the environment. Of course, as with Alan's Transit-Oriented-Development, I would imagine this system would be best served by siting the Servers in places where homes could be developed more densely in some proximity to it..

Summertime? Well, I'll have to work on that one..


There are alot of lakes in Maine that would be really keen to swim in if they were only somewhat warmer than 10 deg. C.....

A look at the Import/Export Land Model with IEA data.


Import Land: OECD minus Canada, Mexico, and Norway plus Asian countries.

Export Land: Non-OECD plus Canada, Mexico, and Norway minus Asian countries.

"Asian countries" is China plus whatever countries are contained within the IEA's "Other Asia" category.

Data Source Files:

IEA 12 June 2007 Report (PDF)
IEA 13 Dec 2005 Report (PDF)
IEA 10 Dec 2004 Report (PDF)
IEA 10 Dec 2003 Report (PDF)
EIA page on Norway to estimate Norway's consumption. Only piece of data not in the IEA PDFs.
Data was taken from the most recent PDF (of the four) it was present in.
The charts below are displaying all liquids data.

Import/Export Land Oil Balance 2002-2007:


Export Land and Import Land exhibit a substantial trade imbalance with regards to oil: Export Land produces nearly 3x the amount of oil it consumes, while Import Land consumes nearly 4x the amount it produces. Furthermore, it appears Import Land has peaked and is exhibiting a gradual decline in production. Export Land shows a production plateau over the last few years, but it is far from certain it's peaking. Both lands show increasing consumption.

So, what then of WT's Export Land model? The Export Land graph shows that although production has stagnated, internal consumption increased just as it has been. The result is a decline in exports. This is consistent with WT's ELM. However, Import Land does not yet show signs of the decreased imports from Export Land. I think the problem could be that the IEA 2007 data is not all that reliable yet and probably subject to revision.

Speculative Extrapolation:

The following does not represent an attempt to accurately predict oil production. Rather, I'm trying to explore WT's ELM by extrapolating real data. In all of the following plots it is assumed Export Land peaks in 2007 and then sees an exponential decline in its production. The three cases assume a 2%, 5%, and 10% decline rate for Export Land respectively. In all cases, it is assumed Import Land sees a 2% decline rate in production. Given the real data showing a gradual decline, a rate more than 2% seems unwarranted.

The extrapolated curves were calculated in the following way. The internal consumption of Export Land was estimated with a linear fit to the data. Export Land exports were calculated as production minus consumption and were taken to be equal to the imports of Import Land. Import land's consumption was then calculated as production plus imports. The results are below in six plots.

Case 1: Import Land: 2% decline, Export Land: 2% decline.
Free Image Hosting

I think most people would agree the decline rates in Case 1 are the most realistic of the three. However, even with such decline rates Import Land's consumption sees quite a hit. With an overall decline rate of 2% in production, Import Land's consumption declines at 5% and by 2020 is half its 2007 value. In addition, it seems plausible that the main assumption of the ELM, namely that Export Land's consumption increases even as its production decreases, will hold until 2020. In case 1, Export Land's exports fall to a bit less than half the 2007 value, but the loss in revenue seems like it could be easily made up for by the inevitable increase in oil price. So what if peak happens in 2010,2011, or 2015 instead? I think you'd see basically the same thing: Import Land's consumption cut in half in a little more than a decade after peak.

Case 2: Import Land: 2% decline, Export Land: 5% decline.

A 5% decline rate seen in Export Land production translates into a 11% decline rate in Import Land's consumption. Probably ELM breaks down before 2020. If not, Import Land's 2020 consumption is at 25% its 2007 value.

Case 3: Import Land: 2% decline, Export Land: 10% decline.

A 10% decline rate seen in Export Land production translates into a 17% decline rate in Import Land's consumption. Doubtfult ELM holds up very long. TSHTF.

Hello Mark B,

Very well done! I wonder what Yergin and CERA would say to try and refute this?

I suppose other resources and commodities - food among them - will follow the ELM too. Just read "No Blade of Grass" that someone here at TOD had suggested. Those nations with food stopped shipping it when it became scare. No surprise there.

cfm in Gray, ME

Although I admire your effort here, I am wondering where the downstream refining bottleneck that many exporting countries have fits into the picture.

Take Iran. They refine about 1.6 million barrels a day at their maximum capacity. But they consume 40% more gasoline than this refining supports, which they import. Because of UN and US sanctions, Iran can not finance expansion of their downstream capacity. In fact, it is in Iran's best interest to curb heavily-subsidized internal consumption and expand their oil exports so they can get back on a sound financial footing.

Take Venezuela.

Venezuela has total refining capacity of about 1.28 million barrels of crude oil per day. The country's total conversion capacity is less than 40 percent of that amount... Venezuela is woefully incapable of refining even a small part of its crude domestically, so it must export that oil to countries where it can be refined.
Look at this.

Exports are falling in Venezuela because production is falling. Consumption is not much of a factor. Production is falling because of lack of investment, the PDVSA strike, Chavez's current policies and other "aboveground" factors that are NOT RELATED to Venezuela lacking oil reserves. There's lots of oil in Venezuela.

Each producing country must be analyzed in a similar way. What are their policies? What are their revenue needs? Etc. Also, all the data I see lately shows that Russian exports are increasing.

Models that say that Production - Internal Consumption = Exports are far too simple to reflect what happens in the real world.

Appreciate your insight. I agree completely that the issue is far more complex than I've made out above and as illustrated by your examples. What I sought out to do was most definitely not an exhaustive ground up model of import/export flows which I think would be necessary to do this with the greatest accuracy. My intention was to see what could be done easily with readily available data. I see the above as something of a first order approximation to the real situation.

That said, I'm sort of hoping that the issues you've raised about refinery bottlenecks would average out over the many countries included in each "Land". Furthermore, the production and consumption data for both Import Land and Export Land are real data. The data shows stagnating production in Export Land (For whatever reason. Not claiming anything as to why.) and increasing consumption. Also, based on real data, Export Land produces 3x more than it consumes and Import Land consumes 4x more than it produces. Its quite an imbalance.

I can't imagine the US cutting our oil consumption by 50% in 10 years. Which perhaps is a flaw of the model, as others have noted the demand destruction is going to take place in poorer countries first...

I can't either, but there are plenty of other countries in Import Land including China and other Asian countries...

This deserves a post on its own.

Great work Mark B.

Report: UK Oil Production Down 12% on the Year

That kind of decline will seriously crimp the UK economy in a few years.

Wouldn't have thought so, oil is only 2% of our GDP.

You mean oil export, I guess.

But that of course is but a small slice of the whole picture.

Apply the Export Land Model, for starters.

I though the UK didn't export crude anymore?

only refined products right?

The UK also will import other things besides oil and I'm sure the 'Export Land' theory applies to them as well. I think you will find that in a world where the population is growing exponentially food available for import will be a considerable problem - to add to various others!


Missing link!

No, it was a missing quotation mark. ;-)

According to the department of trade and industry british oil production in the three months to April 2007 was 1.5 per cent lower than a year ago.


You can find the RBS report mentioned in that link here.

Since the UK peaked in 1999, production has dropped by more than half. Scary.

Actually that figure for April production is very, very bad. UK productin in 2006 fell from around 1.65mbd in the first 3 months of the year down to around 1.45mbd on average in the last quarter. In 2006 the UK was a net importer of oil for the first time in many years. However the new Buzzard field, producing up to 200,000 bpd was meant to turn the tide (according to the DTI until 2010!!!). It came on stream in Jan 2007, and indeed EIA figures show production ramping up to 1.51 and 1.65mbd in Jan/Feb. However by March it looked as though this effect would be incredibly short lived, and April (another fall, to 1.38) confirms it. This April figure only exceeds 2 months in 2006 (Aug, and Sept, 1.2, and 1.35mbd, both of which generally represent the annual low points due to summer platform outage). The April 07 figure compares with a figure of 1.6mbd from last year.

One may therefor make these preliminary observations:

a) The Buzzard uplift has already been and gone (astonishingly!!).
b) The UK will again be a net importer (indeed they will never be an exporter again, despite Buzzard)
c) At present rates, production will, despite Buzzard, almost certainly be in the range 1.2-1.3mbd by the end of the year ie a further drop of 100-200mbd, with an average of 1.3mbd (cp to av of 1.49 for 2007).

Despite the comment that oil is only 2% of UK GDP, this will have PROFOUND effects on UK balance of payments - see Euans previous comments/graph on this.

Price of machetes drops after elections

The price of machetes has halved in parts of Nigeria since the end of general elections in April because demand from thugs sponsored by politicians has subsided, the state-owned News Agency of Nigeria reported.

Hello Leanan,

How do you find this stuff?--that's terrific. So with the UK declining rapidly--is this to be the next booming machete market as the pols jockey for position?

Just kidding, you UKers! =)

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

Playing electrical Russian roulette

Not everybody in military-ruled Myanmar is cursing the blackouts.

Thieves in the former Burma's main city, Yangon, are taking advantage of outages often lasting for more than 20 hours a day to steal the copper power cables, police said on Friday.

Stolen kegs have beer makers feeling tapped out - Rising cost of scrap metal helps lead to $50 million missing annually

With metal prices rising, beer makers say they expect to lose hundreds of thousands of kegs and millions of dollars this year as those stainless steel holders of brew are stolen and sold for scrap.

The beer industry is coupling with the scrap metal recycling industry to let metal buyers know they can’t accept kegs unless they’re sold by the breweries that own them. They’re also pushing for legislation that would require scrap metal recyclers to ask for identification and proof of ownership from would-be sellers.


this is how the internet and power grids will die. (well if the internet goes all fiber its better...but it hasn't happened yet.)

when the grids are not up (because of lack of generating capacity to fullfill them) they will get torn down so that people can survive temporarily(because the grid is percieved as worthless to the opportunists!) by converting public goods into harder currency.


and society crumbles on!

That thought had crossed my mind.

I once was stranded at Grand Central Terminal on a Friday afternoon. Think 300,000 irate passengers jammed into that train station, with no way home. Buses all full, no cabs available, no rental cars left. The transit personnel were telling people anything to get them out of the train station, because it simply couldn't hold that many people. (I had learned by then to ignore the promises of trains in the Bronx and buses to get there. It's a lie, to get you to leave.)

What was the problem? Some crackhead had stolen 200 feet of copper signaling cable to sell as scrap. One guy who wanted a couple of bucks for a hit of crack brought several train lines to a screeching halt, and stranded hundreds of thousands of people.

>this is how the internet and power grids will die. (well if the internet goes all fiber its better...but it hasn't happened yet.)

One flaw in this theory is: Who is the buyer of scrap metals? Us. When rolling blackouts hits the industrialize world, demand for metals will decline dramatically and buyers for scrap will virtually vanish. At the same time, its unlikely that the average Joe will be able to afford Internet or perhaps even cable tv. Without at least some electricity, its likely that scores of people living in northern suburban and urban regions would probably be done in by cold (pneumonia, frostbite, or other illnesses). You need electricity to run modern heating equipement, I suppose wood or coal can be used, but I don't see that being a long term option especially in cities, unless some distribution system is in place (probably un-realistic, in a situation where the lights are permanently out).

Think "cage full of hungry baboons". I have a feeling the scrap trade will continue long enough to completely disrupt any infrastructure.

Note Leanan's story above -- do you believe the crackhead was thinking so far ahead? Would he have left the cable in place knowing the scrap buyer had just gone out of business?

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

Yeah. One of my coworkers had the microprocessor ripped out of her vehicle. It had zero re-sale value. He obviously didn't know what it was. There was no stereo in the car, so he took something else he thought would be valuable. He couldn't get a cent for it. But he did $2,000 worth of damage to her car.

by converting public goods into harder currency.

Don't forget the conversion of private goods for the same.

It used to be if someone was stealing your means of production in the form of a horse or a slave, you could shoot said thief. Right now, shooting someone stealing your PV panels would be seen as an overreaction.

Wonder when (or if) that'll change?

Shooting someone for stealing your goods isn't a crime here in Texas-just make sure they die on your property.
Bob Ebersole

Kurt Cobb -- deceptive landscapes

I'm off to do some income-generating work, but want to say that Kurt cobb's article linked to in TOD above is superb.

I work for plenty of well-heeled folks in neighborhoods that are affluent, orderly, and to all appearances invulnerable to change. Simply walking through the neighborhoods can give one a sense that all is well with the world.

Oddly, it is this concrete sense of well-being which displaces the abstract thinking needed to evaluate who we are in relationship to our habitat -- especially resource depletion and global climate change.

I'm off to work in such a neighborhood now.

Anyone else read Kurt cobb's article?

Watched Escape From Suburbia last night - a great follow-up to End of Suburbia, but one scene haunted my wife and I. Does anyone have more information on the LA community gardens which were savaged by the City Council. Is there any way to hold those responsible accountable? That was tough to watch, after those poor people had spent years preparing those plots, generously given years earlier. Just what LA needs, another warehouse...


There was a lot of discussion about that awhile back. FromTheWilderness and other peak oil sites were trying to save the community gardens, and so were some celebrities.

Here is the Wikipedia link. IMO, there's nothing to hold anyone accountable for. The law is on the side of the developer. It was his land. They took it by eminent domain, and when they didn't use it, he had a right to buy it back.

And I do think he would have been willing to sell the land to the people who wanted to keep it a garden, except that the conflict got so vitriolic.

From my memory, he was willing alright, but at something like "market price", several million. Fundraising efforts by some celebrities failed to reach that amount. When the mainstream economy sees a profitable use for some resource, they can always outbid those who want to use it outside the monetary system, since the latter cannot pay in the system's currency. This is true for farms in Africa (converted from local food crops to export cash crops) as well.

Thanks for the link Leanan - I didn't connect the events as being the same...

I do think that a closed door session with the City of LA and the developer, Horowitz, at the very least did violate the principle of open government and did not serve the LA community as a whole. This should have been a paragon for future urban living arrangements, but instead devolved into a microcosm of dysfunctional urban planning today in the US.

No one is accountable. It's the way the wretched system works. It's the way it's _supposed_ to work.

One thing still bothers me. We are now on the 85MMBD plateau for 3 yrs but no real problems yet. Yes gas is $3/gal but we've never used more. China/India are importing record amounts. If in 2004 I had projected demand by now would have been ~4MMBD over today's consumption, maybe around 90MMBD. But its not there and there are no real problems either. Sure, some countries are getting priced out but they are the marginal countries anyway and don't use a lot to begin with. China/Inda gains would overwhelm their loss anyway.

I don't get it. Is PO real or not?

Yes gas is $3/gal but we've never used more.

Korg, it's $7.55 where I live in the UK. Not sure if we're using less or not, but life goes on as normal.

I noticed elsewhere that Japan's oil consumption has dropped every month for the last 13 months. Don't think they're collapsing either.

Guys: Oil consumption equals wealth equals happiness. Your sips from the koolaid haven't been big enough.

Somebody's feeling the pain. That's for certain.

About the decline in Japan's oil consumption - it's important to realize that Japan now has a declining population, going against the trend of the rest of the world. The CIA Factbook puts the Japanese population growth rate at -0.088%. Global population growth rate is 1.167%.

They are also switching over to electricity in a big way. Some nuclear, but a lot is coal and natural gas.

Japanese energy consumption is still growing, despite the dropping population.

"Japanese energy consumption is still growing, despite the dropping population." I didn't want to leave TOD to go over to the EIA or some other source, but I have not heard that before.

From the second and third page of the article about Japan switching to electricity, there are some inteesting bits:

"Over the next 10 years, Japanese oil demand will lose 1 million barrels per day," Fereidun Fesharaki, Chairman and CEO of consultants FACTS Global Energy, said recently. "The losses in Japan are probably bigger than the gains in India."
Kerosene sales in Japan, which peaked in 1996, have fallen about 7 percent on average over the past five years, government data showed."

"The increased burden on utilities also carries oil risks that could partly offset the declining direct use by homeowners.

If generators fail to keep pace with demand during peak periods, or safety concerns force more nuclear plants to shut, the increased reliance on electricity could force utilities to burn more fuel oil, trading one type of oil demand for another.

Coal consumption at Japan's 10 utilities including TEPCO has more than doubled to 47 million tons on average in the five business years ended in March versus the mid-1990s.

The coal issue is surely a bit of a problem, with the Kyoto treaty being finalized in a Japanese city, how do the Japanese plan to handle the greenhouse gas issue on that one?

One forward looking conjecture can be made: Japan is starting to turn into a DREAM MARKET for PV solar. If the cost of solar cells come down at all, they will have an "electrified" market that is desperate for electric power, desperate to make the Kyoto obligations, and needing badly to reduce the strain on thier centralized electric grid and nuclear generation plants.

Oh, one more little thing....they will a hop and skip across the channel fromt he worlds biggest manufacturer of solar cells in China.

Damm, this is gonna' be interesting! :-)

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

Regarding PV in Japan - Sanyo has for years been working on this, and anyone who has rode past their solar 'arc' can attest to their publicity. However, Japan is not the ideal place for PV, compared say to Arizona. It was very rare indeed for me to see a building (commercial or residential) with PV on the roof.

Perhaps the solar thermal ideas will work better. However, the Japanese have pretty well figured out that their best bet for the intermediate term is nuclear, along with continued LNG and coal imports. Wave/tide/current also is a long range possibility given they are an island nation. Wind is reasonable in the northwest portion of the country.

Still, long term oil consumption has been seen as declining for some time - Japan's population growth halted about a decade ago, stabilized for a while, and now is decreasing. Child births were up trivially in 2006 compared to 2005, but still way below replacement.

Regarding the starting topic of this thread... no doubt efficiency gains in parts of the OECD, declining import needs in some countries (e.g., Japan), and physical demand destruction (as highlighted by various links to small/African nations' ills) have let the stable 85mb/d of liquids keep the world rolling along...

maybe it will be japan that save us all.

a childless country!

Funny, I'm at a workshop today with a wide range of Nat Gas folks, including one from Osaka Gas. He talked in detail about this trend towards electrification of homes and the threat that poses to LNG imports. But he also had a table of what LNG imports would do depending on the load factor of Japan's nuclear stations. Although they have averaged 75% load factor since 2000 (including a near shut-down in 2004-5), the government expects the load factor to get up to 90%. If it doesn't, it means 15 million tonnes additional LNG imports just to supply the power sector to generate the electricity. The problem? China wants about 30 MT of LNG over the next decade, Korea has about 30 MT up for negotiation and new supply contracts, as does Japan. The supply simply isn't there. It's interesting working with a bunch of tremendously experienced natural gas experts who to a person give no consideration to geological resource constraints. When I asked, well, what happens then, the answer was basically, something will work out. Not a good sign.

Now you may have a better feel for the China/Japan p*ssing contest over drilling for natural gas in the sea between the two. The east asian competition for LNG supplies from Indonesia et. al. will be interesting. Japan's official energy strategy calls for increasing nuclear, but as you noted it will mean more utilization and really calls for a new generation of nuke plants.

Osaka Gas supplies many homes, but as I mentioned a while back the LPG industry is strong in supplying many "mansions" (= apartment buildings). Everyplace I lived in Japan I used LPG. The Kansai area as a whole is not well situated for local alternate energy production, and KEPCO will undoubtedly have to build another nuke plant someday in the not too distant future. Northern Japan is better situated for wind/wave power.

Japan has a difficult future. Though recently surpassed by China in oil use, Japan imports all (or almost all) petroleum products. All uranium and almost all coal is imported. Something like 60% of all the world's sea food (caught in the ocean) goes to Japan. Etc., etc.

So many people on this forum lament the future of the US, but to me North America is sitting pretty. I fear for my friends in Japan, China, and parts of SE Asia.

This article is behind a paywall at International Oil Daily but the summary does not indicate consumption is declining it sez their stocks are. More the case of they can't get it rather they are using less

Japan Stocks Fall 1.2%
(Copyright © 2007 Energy Intelligence Group, Inc.)
Thursday, June 28, 2007


It's what I have been calling "the case of the disappearing oil". That is, statistics indicate that production has either went flat or declined in most of the major producing nations (U.K., Norway, Mexico, Saudi Arabia), but we still seem to see no real outages or shortages in the developed countries.

But before we get too happy, we have to think in terms of the things that don't easily show up on the books. First, let's admit that many of the consuming nations have gotten very lucky on weather for the last several years. Yes, there have been some rough spots in certain areas, but overall, the winters have been mild and the summers have been relatively cool compared to what they can be and have been in years gone by. I am in central Kentucky, U.S., and this will be the third year straight that I have not yet turned on the air conditioner at July 4th. I am proud of my restraint, I have wanted to power it up a couple of times, but I have to admit the weather overall has been very cooperative, and madeit easier for me!.:-)

The issue of demand destruction is an interesing one. I have friends who have found interesting ways to cut costs. One, who used to take about 5 or 6 trips in an RV through the summer, this summer is only doing about 3, and then parking the RV at a relatively local resort and driving by smaller car back and forth to for his other "outings". Another friend has a brother who normally drives across the country from the West coast, crossing the Great Divide in a motorhome. Consumptive to say the least. For the last couple of summers, he and his sister agreed to reduce the number of trips, and he will come every other year.

Today, there was a link in Drumbeat mentioning that Japanese homeowners were changing away from oil and over to electricity for heating. This will put a strain on the electric grid and Japan's nuclear power industry, but it does reduce oil consumption.

Logistical planning-Trucking and delivery companies are re-evaluating the route planning of delivery vehicles to look for the most efficient routes to cut fuel costs. If this is done in the whole of the developed nations, it could have some sizable effect on fuel demand.

Where I work, we hung a set of very nice insulating/reflective shades on the glass plate curtain wall windows. At the same settings we formerly used, the air conditioning will now freeze the stuffing out of you! The hardest thing to do is get the management to understand what a difference they have made and to adjust the thermostats! They could save a fortune, it is embarressing to hear people claiming to be freezing on a 91 degree southern day...what a waste! The controls alone could save a fortune if they were modernized.

And it is just beginning. Toyota is at or has now crossed over 1 million hybrids sold (!), and more models covering a broader range are on the way from all manufacturers. The Toyota Camry Hybrid is considered a sensation by all who have seen and driven it. They are starting to become part of the mix of autos.

The revolution in delivery vehicles and trucks coming will be an increasing revolution in the demand for Diesel fuel for a decade. UPS, FedEX, and the postal service are all beginning the process of integrating hybrids into their vehicle fleets. The ones already in use at FedEx are showing 30% plus increases in fuel efficiency.

Walmart has set as a goal cutting it's Diesel consumption in half, and has funded the development of new highway tractor trailers to do it. Other competitors will have to follow.

So, fuel consumption demand is flattening. It will soon begin dropping.
The question is, can it drop fast enough? We have to face the fact that after the easy waste is removed from the system, we will then face the harder choices. Given the "export land" models by West Texas here on TOD, and given (at least in my own mind) the acceptance that for whatever reason, OPEC export may decline substantially in the coming few years (Khebab and Stuart Staniford and others having persuaded me with thier models) we need to assume we will need to reduce consumption of crude oil by some 10% year average over the next 5 to 8 years.

This will in no way be easy. It is however possible. If we avoid waste in natural gas consumption in a similiar way, we can also create some flexibility, using natural gas and propane in certain very efficient transportation systems (inner city bus, cabs, emergency and infracture maintainence vehicles should be first priority.

As we have said before, the race is now against the clock. The technology is available and becoming more so. Now, are we as a nation ready to make the effort?

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

Hello Korg,

You have got to give more time for the infinite growth phase to sputter out, and more time for the blowback forces to evolve. It is the existing enertia in a huge system.

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

I would think that either the oil prod stats are wrong or there is a flaw in the PO theory. Perhaps the exporting countries are not using more but Less? As they get richer they do buy new cars, more efficient ones. I don't know but i would have thought there would have been Obvious Major Problems by now.

But no.

>I would think that either the oil prod stats are wrong or there is a flaw in the PO theory

The amount of production hasn't fallen to the point where it begins to affect consumption. Some areas of the world have experienced the effects of PO, such as African and regions in Asia that are poor (aka, Nepal, Bangeldesh, etc). They've been effectively priced out of the market.

PO isn't like the Y2K crash where everything alledgely crashes at the stroke of midnight. Its more like a hydro dam with a structural flaw. We can see some small cracks but no water yet. Sooner or later will start to see some water, although neither I or anyone else can tell you when. My best guess is that its probably at least a couple of years before declining production begins to affect the industrialized world.

Issac Newton and the South Sea Bubble

Sir Isaac Newton, the scientist, had foreseen a coming stock market crash and sold his shares early with a profit of 7,000 pounds. Aftwerwards, however, Newton saw the bubble keep inflating and bought more shares.

The stock market crash had started and all other stocks prices were obliterated, as well. Isaac Newton lost over 20,000 pounds of his fortune. As a result of this crisis, he stated “I can calculate the motions of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people”.

In 2001 as the NASDAQ was going through the worse stock market crash since 1929, the US homebuilders were ripe for the picking. In 2006 the home building boom disappeared and homebuilders were left holding overpriced land, unsold homes, and lots of debt. Inventory of unsold homes continued to rise through the first half of 2007. In some areas it was much more expensive to buy a home compared to the cost of renting after adjustments for income tax interest deductions.

US homeowners are facing the highest utility bills in history.

With the export land model, it seems unlikely the oil situation will improve overnight, it will probably worsen by morning.

Agreed. You have to allow for, ah, greed to sputter out.

Pardon my fusstidiousness, but I love Enertia. Energy and inertia.

And while I'm here, does anyone have any thoughts on the rather sudden drop in natural gas prices in the last few weeks? It seems like they dropped a buck overnight, but I was in the midst of a bout of actual work and may have missed it. It was $7.93 or so and then $8 and change and now it's $6.93 or so. Whoosh. I guess storage must be full. I notice a 5 to 10% drop in gassy stocks as well.


"No real problems yet"

Don't know where you're looking at it from, but the 'problems', which we in the well-enough-insulated US are both Geographically and Informationally isolated from, these problems will look a LOT like the problems we've grown up seeing. Warfare in Nigeria, Darkened Hospitals in Haiti, famine, unmaintained pipelines, wars in the MiddleEast, Americans buying more cheap Junkfood and not getting prescriptions filled, Gas Shutoffs in the Ukraine.. They don't get reported as "PeakOil Events", and I don't know which ones are or are not 'direct results' if such can even be accurately shown.. but it is how I expect peak oil to play out. Ultimately, it'll be 'bad times', and people will credit it to Gay Marriages as much as to resource depletion.

Were WWI and WWII oil wars? Was the establishment of Israel a bit of convenient US/UK deviousness to keep the region unstable and embattled, to provide a 'Humanitarian' smokescreen for what would have otherwise been a 'Great Sucking Sound' of bringing all that oil overseas?

The message we are told to accept unless we want to be seen as paranoid kooks is just what you said.. "No problems yet.. (so stop worrying, you worry too much! Have a beer!)"

Even if it isn't Peak Oil.. what's happening today has so many problems (Elections, Pollution, Economic Injustice, Education, Healthcare/Pharma/Insurance)... that we should be on the streets and in our Rep's faces/feces making changes happen. But cheap power keeps the A/C & TV going and the beers cold, so how bad could it be?

"The government that increases the price of beer cannot last longer than the next plum harvest." -Czechoslovakian Homily.

Bob Fiske

What did you expect? Fireworks?

People are simply adjusting little by little. There is enough room for conservation in the current system, so that we don't feel a real pain (shortages) for quite a few years. Alternatives such as biodiesel, ethanol, propane, NG as transportation fuel etc. also add their bits of help.

The question is when it will start to bite - but my bet is that this event will be masked by a financal sector induced world-wide depression long before we experience any real shortages. $20/barrel may indeed be around the corner, though for the wrong reasons...

My point is not conservation, its consumption.
The US is using MORE oil, not less. China is using MORE, India is using MORE, Most all countries except insignificant ones are using more, Japan excepted. Whre is this MORE coming from?? Since oil production has not gone up in almost 3 yrs then where is it coming from???

Best way to figure this out is to add the numbers and see where the "hidden oil" comes from.

It is a truth that US, West Europe, China etc. are growing consumption, but thanks to higher prices the growth rates are not the same they used to be - a part of the percent in the case of EU and USA. At the same time production from previously less important sources is growing - biofuels, NGL etc. Add some drawdown of inventories, and DD in the third world and probably the numbers will add up.

There was an interesting article on the NHK news last night. Car sales in Japan are falling. Apparently young people don't see the need to buy a car, the trains are good enough to get around, and anything can be delivered (i think most of the people in my complex get their groceries delivered).

I don't think this is an economic pressure - the kids have the money, but not the demand to own a car.

In generally, i agree with InJapan that resource poor Japan is going to have a hard time maintaining imports. However, i'm not planning to leave the country, although i might leave the city at some point in the future.

A large part of that has to do with demographics.

Japan's population is aging. Old people don't drive much if at all.
Japan's population is shrinking. Less people, less cars.
Tokyo's population is growing. People are moving from the rural areas to the city area. You need a car in the boonies but in the city its a huge pain.

I have a friend from the countryside. She says a car is a *must have*. When you turn 18 you have to get a car. Much the same as young men/women in the US.
Course now that the country side is emptying out of young people that need isn't there.

This is just my understanding. I didn't see the NHK news report.

BTW, where are you in Japan?

The article wasn't about demographics, although i admit that could be an issue, it was about the young generation not making purchases of cars. I have a relatively large pool of japanese friends, working professionals, in their late twenties / early thirties, and can only think of a couple that have cars. Certainly the exception not the rule. The countryside is indeed different... but given the current movements of population, the trends are going to be set by the conurbations.

My take on the demographics is that change happen slowly enough that it's not (yet) seen as a year over year slowdown in domestic car sales.

I'm in kanagawa, about 20 mins west of hell, er, i mean shibuya.

>I'm in kanagawa, about 20 mins west of hell, er, i mean shibuya.

Heh, me too. Till the end of the month anyway. Then I get to move to Nerima ku. Can't wait for that commute...

Should be a good opportunity to get close to the people ;-) The lines coming in from there are all really busy, but it's hard to compete with denentoshi / toyoko in the misery stakes these days.

>but it's hard to compete with denentoshi / toyoko in the misery stakes these days.

Funny that. Everyone I talk to swears his/her line is the worst in Tokyo :-)

luckily I'll be close enough to the city I can take the local with only a small time penalty. I'll take that anyday over the cattle cars they call the express trains. Heck, if they packed cattle that closely PETA would throw a fit :-)

Russia increases oil exports by 3.2%:

Some other site indicated that increase is due to the favorable weather and fewer equipment malfunctions.

Yes, this is some data I've seen also. See my remarks on the "Export land" model above.

Dave, I wonder if perhaps you are taking too strict an interpretation of the Export Land Model. Russia does show an increasing consumption over the past 5 years and, presumably, they could export more if it wasn't increasing.

The EIA reported slightly lower net oil exports for Russia, from 2005 to 2006, even with a year over year increase in production--that's why flat (EIA) crude oil production since October, combined with exploding demand, should be having quite a detrimental effect on net exports.

And then when Russia starts showing lower crude oil production. . .

But it is and wishes don't turn shit to gold.

From the article:

RBC, 02.07.2007, Moscow 18:10:44.Russia boosted its oil exports to non-CIS countries by 3.2 percent to 107.588m tonnes in January-June 2007, the Russian pipeline giant Transneft reported today citing the Russian Economy Ministry's department.

Some 99.455m tonnes of Russian oil were transported to non-CIS countries through Transneft's pipeline system. Another 8.133m tonnes were carried by other companies. Transneft transported 15.54m tonnes of oil to non-CIS countries in June 2007.

Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan transported 10.217m and 1.338m tonnes of oil through the territory of Russia in January-June 2007.

Russia's output of oil and gas condensate edged up 3 percent to 243.125m tonnes in the first six months of 2007.

Two points:

(1) The exports were to non-CIS countries. What about CIS countries?

(2) The production and export numbers appear to be relative to the first six months of 2006. The EIA shows that Russian crude oil production has basically been flat since October, 2006, while domestic consumption is exploding, e.g. foreign car sales are increasing at a rate of 50% per year, leading Pravda to call for measures to reduce domestic oil consumption.

BTW, the Energy Bulletin has an article about several Persian Gulf countries--including Saudi Arabia--looking into importing coal, in order to meet domestic energy demand:

Coal for power generation
Gulf Times/Reuters
They hold over 30 per cent of global oil and nearly eight per cent of gas reserves, but at least four GCC states are considering importing coal for power generation as they struggle to meet domestic demand.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman and Bahrain are all looking at the possibility of building coal-fired power plants, analysts and industry sources said. The region's electricity needs are soaring as petrodollars feed rapid economic expansion.

'It's absurd in a way but there is not enough gas,' said Mark Lewis, managing director of Energy Market Consultants.

'They have a serious problem in power generation and are having difficulties balancing their systems. Coal is a well known technology and could be built fairly quickly. It's probably quicker than the lead times for importing gas.' ..
(28 Jun 2007)

And people use to use the phrase "Coals to Newcastle" to describe the ultimate absurdity. I guess we have a new one, "Coal to Saudi Arabia".

Stupider than trying to sell ice to Eskimos!

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Are you suggesting they burn their oil or NG for electricity? Both fuels are about ten times more expensive on BTU per BTU basis than coal. Even if they need to import it from Australia, from pure economics perspective it would be the right way to go (well... at least for them).

The key factor is a lack of sufficient natural gas to meet demand.

From the article: 'It's absurd in a way but there is not enough gas,' said Mark Lewis, managing director of Energy Market Consultants.

In my humble opinion, times they are changin, when Saudi Arabia is planning to import coal to meet their domestic energy demand.

Puchase the fuel with lowest $/watt, externalities be damned!

Well once we've used up all our wheat & barley crops trying to make ethanol, we'll need something to export to S.A.

Bush commuted the sentence of Scooter Libby. He doesn't have to do any jail time.

I guess Dubya figured that at 26% approval, he had nothing to lose. :-P

And Scooter may have threatened to talk if he was sent to the pokey.

So know you know, its OK to lie to the FBI while covering up for a traitor.
Bob Ebersole

What Does This Teach Our Children?

Isn't that what the right wing wackos ranted and raved about when Clinton lied

Well, I'll take a stab:

"If you've got power, use it. No matter what. The whole point of having power is the ability to show others that you have the power and they don't."

Not that that is a good lesson, mind you...

you pulling our legs?

ima go check somewhere else.

this presidency is pretty much a goner now. How many times have pardons been handed out before end of term?

What would be gained by posting an untruth like that?

this presidency is pretty much a goner now.

This item would push him over?

How many times have pardons been handed out before end of term?

I think this is his 1st - but I'm sure there is alot of butt-covering that'll need to happen before this is all over.

Well he never thought someone on death row, including the first woman in TX etc. should be given not just a pardon, but clemency was denied from death with a life sentence. Bush's record on pardons and clemency will be passed around now. I don't think he is going to have much to stand on.

Also, Bush always claimed that he couldn't speak and comment because its before the courts. He can no longer claim that.

A President can grant a pardon.

A President cannot grant a pardon as to cover up illegalities. This becomes obstruction of justice etc. perhaps and other. Those subjects and the committees requests can now not go unanswered.

Drudge has up the info in little red type as of a few minutes ago.

His headline was along the lines of.


If one was an employee of a US service that was clandestine and operated under the actions that what they were doing was to the benefit of the country (not the citizens necessarily), this has got to give them pause. Recruiters for the CIA had a virtual shiv put in their back. Who is going to trust a recruiter/agent when a trust that so deep is broken. This decision and what it meant to that agency is truly amazing to the outside observer. Bush's daddy said what Scooter and the others did was of the worst type of crime.

Yet, he granted Scooter not a full pardon, but commuted his sentence so as to not have to serve prison.

This is the correct sentence for a crime to cover up who knows what, and who knows what the cost was to persons that were working?

The early reports said Pardon. It is a commutation. And you think that makes a difference.

Did you think it was friggin funny that she was getting what she deserved when the Judge hauled off Paris Hilton, or did you think she had done enough good to skip on hers. Honesty never goes out of style to the rational man. So where's your honesty meter.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

Did you think it was friggin funny that she was getting what she deserved when the Judge hauled off Paris Hilton, or did you think she had done enough good to skip on hers.

No humor, just noted that the Sherriff got some money for his election campaign from Granddad Hilton.

Thanks for asking what I think tho.....it shows how much you care.

Please Leanan, resist the temptation. Already, with the Truthers hammering, TOD is bad enough, but as we see below people don't even know the difference between commuting a sentence and pardoning a person.

Again, please stick to oil and energy use.

No. Peak oil is more a political problem than anything. "Oil and energy use" is way too restrictive.

Agreed. But "Everything" is way too broad.

You are quite right that Peak Oil is multidimensional, and that the political dimension is one of the most important ones. IMO, however, social/cultural factors trump political ones, which tend to be ephemeral.

Also the pure economics of P.O. is scary: But most economists cannot see this because of the deplorable educations they got as undergraduates. In a sense, I'll argue that education--or to be precise, miseducation--is at the bedrock level of our inability to deal effectively with P.O. You will correctly answer that politics creates the educational system we have--right--but what creates our political framework with its terrifying limits of incrementalism. My response is social institutions (family, religion, science, education, economy, health) and cultural values impose the fundamental limits on our abilities to do constructive things in a timely fashion.


Good to see you back & posting on TOD.
Perhaps the overarching reason is the Unintelligent Design of the human brain.

We humans think/believe we are something special. We believe we are something other than "animal". We find some sort of "better than thou" glee in watching our pets (dogs, cats, parrots) go about their daily attempts at survival without growing intellectually from talking, reading, blogging and doing the hard hard math.

But just as "they" are of limited cognitive abilities, so are "we".

The human brain did not evolve to deal with long term challenges to survival. PO is a long term challenge.

While we are busy like myopic bees buzzing around our hives and seeing to it that our children become better "educated" at being worker bees, the PO bear approaches, lifting his claw to wipe out our whole way of sur-hiving.

But not to worry. Some other "specialist" worker bee is taking care of the problem. The Hive always provides.

(a.k.a. The Market always provides.)


The Swiss (who voted to spend 31 billion Swiss francs# over twenty years in 1998 to take freight off trucks and onto (hydro) electric rail along with other benefits (semi-HSR pax service, quieter rail cars) and the French (who have built a comphrensive non-oil transportation system from TGV to rental bikes over the last 35 years) must not be human.

Some form of mutant.

Hint: Not all humans are Americans.

Best Hopes for Long Range Planning,


# Adjust for population and currency, and the Swiss vote is comparable to the USA voting to spend $1 trillion over 20 years to improve their rail systems. In 1998 (oil about $14/barrel)

TPM has posted DOJ manual on Commutations:

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

"Requests for commutation generally are not accepted unless and until a person has begun serving that sentence. Nor are commutation requests generally accepted from persons who are presently challenging their convictions or sentences through appeal or other court proceeding."


How can one commute something that has not happened. Another instance of making up the rules as you go.

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

InJapan: I just assumed the pardon for Scooter will be announced about 3 days before GWB leaves the White House.

Interesting article about energy shortage in Argentina:

Argentina's energy rationing may chill South America's second-largest economy -- along with President Nestor Kirchner's political popularity.

Barrick Gold Corp., the world's largest gold producer, is studying the feasibility of wind power to help run its $2.4 billion Pascua Lama gold and silver project in the Andes mountains. Rio Tinto Plc, the world's second-largest mining company, said the go-ahead for its roughly $700 million potash project in Mendoza province was ``critically dependent'' on getting gas.

- while it possible to build new plants, "getting gas" might be more challenging.

Oil was about $14 per barrel a few years ago and now is approaching $74 per barrel. I do not think it takes a genius nor expert to figure out that people are paying more for energy than they were.

looks like we closed above $71 today. Any of the market guys wanna take a stab at this? I thought Cushing crude inventories were up above the average range...gas inventories are still low, and refinery % still troublesome, but why should that be pushing crude higher? Imports are still ok, what's pushing prices? I haven't heard of any strikes, no hostage crises, no storms, so what is this market saying?

The market is like the tea leaves in the bottom of an old medium's cup. It says whatever you want to hear, and then takes your money!
Bob Ebersole

and the sub prime tea leaves swirl again into the shape of bad subprime funds halting distributions to holders.


Devaney's United Capital Markets Holdings Inc. stopped honoring refunds to investors in some of the firm's Horizon Strategy group hedge funds, including the money-losing Horizon ABS Fund LP, spokesman Michael Gregory said in a telephone interview yesterday. The funds hold most of the Key Biscayne, Florida-based firm's assets under management, which stood at about $619 million as of March....

As well as the Bear Stearns funds, the declines this year have claimed UBS AG's New York-based Dillon Read Capital Management LLC hedge fund and Caliber Global Investment Ltd., a $908 million London-listed fund managed by Cambridge Place Investment Management LLP. Both have been shut down.

``People are very nervous about how deep the revaluations of these securities will have to go,'' said Virginia Parker, who helps advise about $1.8 billion in client money at Parker Global Strategies LLC in Stamford, Connecticut.

United Capital started as a broker-dealer specializing in low-rated and distressed asset-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations and collateralized mortgage obligations. It expanded that strategy into real estate investments and money management

Quid Clarius Astris
Ubi Bene ibi patria

The inventories at Cushing have reduced. One of the investment banks raised its forecast for 4th quarter WTI from $61 to $65, which caused the spike Monday. It may seem counter-intuitive, but I think the poor gasoline situation (still at historic low) is pushing crude higher. The market is saying gas prices need to go higher. I suspect this weeks report will be disappointing, causing another move upwards.

Oil now tends to run up during the Summer anyway, but I think the markets are looking at long-term supply and demand situation and concluding that the price can only go higher. There is no new supply coming on, and no sign of demand receding.

well, being as how this thread is pretty well exhausted, I think I'll thank you for the response. I think that's probably a pretty good explanation, has the ring of truth anyway.

When the Scandinavian electricity market Nordpool opened up in the 1990:s, the price of a kWh rose by 200-300% over a couple of years. That's what a free market and competition in partial or local monopolies like electricity does.

The power producers simply mothballed or outright scrapped all expensive peak power-plants, which increased the price of electricity on the margin.

And now the EU does the same mistake, thinking that an "opened up market" will reduce prices, as referenced in the Drumbeat above.

Before de-regulation, a non-taxed kWh cost 0.19 SEK in Sweden. It has topped out somewhere around 0.80 wintertime after de-regulation, although it just costs somethin like 0.25 right now, since the hydro reservoirs for once are full.

Although surely most here would agree that it's a good thing that electricity prices should go up - the issue is how the profits are spent. If invested into alternative energy or efficiency improvements, then you could say the deregulation is successful. But I doubt it...