DrumBeat: July 7, 2007

World 'building up risks over energy supplies'

Matt Simmons, founder of Houston-based Simmons and Company Inter-national, criticised the report's findings.

Simmons, a member of the council who provided input for the report, pointed to a graph showing oil production from existing reserves falling below 20 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2030 from current levels near 75m bpd.

In that chart, the addition of output from known reserves, enhanced oil techniques, unconventional sources like Canada's oil sands and 'exploration potential' boosts the total to near 120m bpd by 2030.

"We don't have any idea where those reserves are going to come from or how we are going to get them out of the ground," Simmons said.

"The odds of this ever happening are zero."

On the other side of the issue, prominent energy expert Daniel Yergin, chairman of oil consultancy Cambridge Energy Research Associates, who served as vice chairman of demand issues for the council, has dismissed the idea of 'peak oil'.

Transforming Civilization: Gods, God, Emergence, and Transcendence.

The course of human history from the dawning of agriculture in the Near East about ten thousand years ago, to the present, can be understood as embodying the progressive development of ever more complex political economies. Developing this complexity has required coordinating the actions of ever larger groups of humans together for collective purposes.

After 10,000 years of this process of political and economic complexification, civilization now finds itself confronting fundamental crises of survival due to peak oil, global climate change, and political and economic failures to deal with these crises. Given this reality, an understanding of the dynamics of this process, using systems theory offers considerable insight into our history. Furthermore, it offers insights into what we must do in the here and now to ensure that civilization can transform itself to survive and thrive in the face of these ever intensifying challenges.

Governor: Idle Coffeyville plant won't raise gas prices

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius discounted Friday the necessity of gasoline price hikes at Kansas retail pumps in response to the flood-induced shutdown of Coffeyville's oil refinery.

The 600-employee plant in southeast Kansas may be silenced until September, and industry analysts say production losses could prompt cost increases in Great Plains states. The refinery was responsible for no more than 1 percent of overall U.S. gasoline production.

"I hope that that shows up in the prices — not more than 1 percent of an increase," the governor said. "It should not have that significant of an impact."

Iraq to increase gas prices

Iraq is reducing its gas subsidies, in line with international agreements and to fight smuggling, as it struggles to meet demand amid poor security.

The Oil Ministry said it will hike imported gasoline prices by 15 percent, the first increase since March.

Fuel rationed in Mannaar

Ration system is to be introduced to sell fuel to all vehicles in the Sri Lanka Army controlled territory in Mannaar district with effect from Monday. Vehicles registered with the divisional secretariat offices in Musali, Mannaar and Naanaaddaan, with registered authorisation are eligible to buy fuel needed for a week.

N.L. Inuit community copes with recurring gas shortage

Local gasoline supplies have run out for residents of an Inuit community on Labrador's coast for the seventh straight summer.

The Nunatsiavut government tried to resolve the recurring problem in Rigolet by putting in a new gas station last fall, but the tanks went dry in April.

China Signs New Oil Deal

China's biggest state oil company has deepened its involvement in Sudan by signing a deal to help develop offshore oil, despite international efforts to isolate the African nation because of the humanitarian crisis in its Darfur region.

Power Shortage

The House energy package is missing some key components.

Oil Workers, Petrobras Reach Deal; Strike Averted

Unionized workers at Brazil's Petrobras will not go on strike because the federal energy company met union requests, Jose Maria Rangel, director of the oil workers' federation, told BNamericas.

Cross-country ‘Biotour’ impressed with the Harbor

“We haven’t really seen sustainability on this kind of industrial scale yet,” Alan Palm said after seeing the giant pile of woodwaste that powers the mill at Grays Harbor Paper.

Palm’s comment speaks volumes. He and three other partners from New England are on the final leg of “Biotour” — a cross-country journey to observe sustainability in action and to demonstrate the real-world application of renewable energy.

‘Lights Out: The Electricity Crisis, the Global Economy and What It Means to You’

For anybody who believes that electricity will always be easily available with the flip of a wall switch, Jason Makansi's book "Lights Out" provides an important education.

Makansi worries about the availability of electricity — not centuries from now, but next year. Still, he comes across as a realist, not an alarmist. He is confident that plenty of fuel is available. He is less confident that electricity in the future will reach every home and business reliably and affordably.

BP Reaches $18M Settlement

BP PLC has agreed to pay $18 million to settle claims that it manipulated power markets during the 2000-2001 California energy crisis, federal energy regulators said Friday.

Brazil faces near-term electricity shortage; government response to potential crisis has been slow

Rising electricity rates for the industrial consumer are depriving local companies from the competitive advantage of producing goods in Brazil, a country which derives more than 80% of its electricity from hydroelectric generation. According to FGV, a think tank, Brazil will lose 8.6% of GDP growth by 2015, the equivalent of BRL 214bn (USD 107bn) at 2005 prices, as a result of soaring electricity rates.

Managua Cuts Work Day to Save

Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega ordered a reduction of the working day in the State institutions, to reduce the negative impact of energy cuts in the country's economic and social life.

According to a decree read by the statesman Thursday, all government work places will now open from 7am to 1pm local time as of July 6.

Rationing looms in Africa energy crisis

Sub-Saharan Africa must urgently impose power rationing on companies and populations to limit the effects of a worsening energy crisis, industry and government experts said.

Argentina Offers Tariff-Free Diesel Imports Up To 300,000CM

Argentina's Energy Secretariat issued a resolution Friday reapplying a system of tariff-free import quotas for diesel up to a total of 300,000 cubic meters of the fuel.

The resolution, aimed at overcoming domestic shortages, is based on the same system introduced in March. It permits refineries and other fuel distributors to apply to the Secretariat to have an quota assigned for either diesel or diesel oil imports.

Brazil clears Bolivia to divert natgas to Argentina

Brazil's mines and energy ministry (MME) has agreed to let Bolivia divert 1Mm3/d from its natural gas import contract to supply Argentina, an MME spokesperson told BNamericas.

Idaho regulators approve Avista power measure

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission said on Friday it approved a measure for utility Avista Corp. to recover unusual power supply costs not included in base electric rates.

The annual adjustment will increase or decrease power rates for conditions outside the utility's control that can change supply costs, the commission said.

Conditions include changes in hydropower generation due to reduced river flows or unexpected changes in fuel costs or wholesale market prices for energy.

Working Toward Energy Independence

In order to gain energy independence, North Dakota farmers may need to change their crop rotation. But Conrad and scientists say that could be a challenge Scientists say they`re figuring out what doesn`t work through their research. But they`re working hard to figure out what will.

The Suburbanist Paradox

The urbanist proposal isn't "hey, jerks, why don't you all move to dense downtowns." Rather, the proposal is something like "why don't we impose carbon taxes so that things like driving long distances and heating or cooling large detached structures are priced in accordance with their social cost? Why don't we stop having the federal government heavily subsidize driving cars as the preferred mode of transportation? Why don't we have more areas that allow for high-density zoning, thus reducing the cost of urban housing?" It's not that we urbanists are unaware that many people live in low density areas because its cheaper, it's precisely that we are aware of this fact that makes us believe that the "traditional unipolar downtown" could make a comeback.

Gas Prices Fuel Purchases Of Electric Cars

A growing number of Americans have steered clear of rising gasoline prices by turning to electric cars.

Iran to stop making gasoline-only cars

Iran, the Middle East's biggest carmaker, will stop producing cars that only run on gasoline this month and will instead ensure all new vehicles run on gas too, an official said in remarks published on Saturday.

Iowa ethanol plant put on hold

Plans for an ethanol plant in this eastern Iowa town are on hold until developers can look at other ways to produce biofuel and look for financial partners.

Larry Daily said he and his partners at River/Gulf Energy decided the project was too risky when corn prices climbed to $4.50 a bushel and ethanol dropped to less than $2 a gallon during the winter months.

Experts: Withdrawal no reason to doubt Shell's oil shale technology

Oil shale experts say their confidence in Royal Dutch Shell’s in situ oil shale extraction technology was not shaken when the company announced last month it withdrew a state mining permit application for its long-awaited oil shale test.

“I don’t think it has implications,” said James T. Bartis, lead author of the 2005 RAND Corp. report on the prospects for oil shale development in the United States. “What they’re doing is they’re acknowledging things are complicated and they need to do their homework first.”

Peak Oil Passnotes: $80 Oil Beckons

The price of a barrel Brent crude is working its way back up to its records of $78.64 set last August 7. A steady and sure combination of factors has pushed it over $75 per barrel.

But when it pushes up against levels of $78 per barrel, which way is it going to go then?

Heard It in the Peak Oil News

I'm going to let you in on a little secret today.

I'm going to reveal one of my best sources for peak oil-related news.

It's Tom Whipple, a former CIA man who spent about a decade summarizing world news for the CIA's morning report to the President. In short, he's one of the best at scanning the news and picking out interesting trends and relevant bits.

Parched efforts

A London energy think tank gives the planet around four years before peak oil production declines and demand, forever, overreaches supply. Drinking water everywhere is threatened by pollution and overuse. And global warming, like a wasting disease, undermines more micro-climates every day.

A Taste Of Things To Come

What no politician or the mainstream media seems to acknowledge as yet is the fact that climate change has been primarily provoked by the global north's senseless drive for depleting the earth's natural resources, and its unhindered need for a never ending consumerism.

African farmers hit by climate change

Corn farmers in southern Zambia used to be able to predict the year's first rainfall, almost to the day. Now, October often stretches into November, and November into December, before the rain comes.

The rainy season in this largely poor southern African nation, a study shows, has been getting shorter, more intense and more erratic, especially over the last 20 years — symptoms of longer-term climatic changes occurring across Africa.

Alpine wildlife feeling the heat from global warming

Global warming is threatening to wipe out several animal and plant species in the Alps, according to a study by the World Wide Fund for Nature released on Friday.

WWF expert Stegan Ziegler said the effects of global warming manifested themselves three times more strongly in the Alps than elsewhere.

Non-OPEC peak oil threat receding

Non-OPEC peak oil, or the point of maximum production of oil, will not occur before 2014, according to analysts Wood Mackenzie.

The company has disputed views that a pinnacle may be in sight and contends strong supply growth will prevail in the short term. Barring unexpected disruptions to production, Wood Mackenzie expects total global capacity to grow steadily from 86.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2006 to 96.7 million bpd in 2010.

Gas prices rise, reversing recent trend

Retail gas prices rose overnight Friday for the first time in more than a month as the closure of a Kansas refinery sent prices in the center of the country sharply higher. Oil futures, meanwhile, surged $1 a barrel to another 10-month high.

High oil prices are here to stay, analysts warn

Crude oil is unlikely to give up its almost 20pc gains in price this year and the risks are tilted toward it moving higher, leading oil analysts have warned.

Ford, utility join to promote plug-in vehicles

Ford Motor Co and power utility Southern California Edison will announce an unusual alliance on Monday aimed at clearing the way for a new generation of rechargeable electric cars, the companies said.

NJ enacts anti-global warming law

New Jersey became the third state in the nation to enact a comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction law Friday, requiring the Garden State to significantly cut emissions of global-warming gases.

Tokyo, Sydney kick off climate change concerts

Pop stars in Tokyo and Sydney kicked off a global chain of climate change concerts on Saturday aimed at persuading the world to go green.

Global Warming and Your Wallet

For all the talk about warming, leading politicians have yet to educate their constituents (and their colleagues) about an unpleasant and inescapable truth: any serious effort to fight warming will require everyone to pay more for energy. According to most scientists, the long-term costs of doing nothing — flooding, famine, drought — would be even higher than the costs of acting now. But unless Americans understand and accept the trade-off — higher prices today to avoid calamity later — the requisite public support for real change is unlikely to build.

Ford is going to build a plug in car without an internal combustion engine? Will wonders never cease? Like a change of course for the Titanic, some time will be required.

I suppose big oil will attempt to stop this move but on what grounds?

I am a bit surprised for I thought China/India would go the electric car route before America. Maybe Ford is tired of getting their brains beat out by the Prius?

Maybe Ford has decided that they would rather remain in biz as an auto manufacturer even if it means changing their dealership biz model and displeasing big oil?

If these vehicles are reliable and reasonably priced I will buy one.

Talking is one thing...execution of an idea is another (kind of like stated petroleum reserves vs. actual production).

I will believe it when I see it.

You are probably right Dragonfly41. Sadly, by the time the vehicle is ready for market (if ever) it will probably be a lease arrangement like the EV1 and after a few years the vehicles will be recalled and crunched.

Big oil could care less what Ford, GM, or any other auto Mfg. does. They can sell every brl of oil they extract at a higher price each year for as long as it can be extracted. Also Big Oil loves corn ethanol it provides a larger market for diesel and NG, and displaces not one wit of Gas. Gas demand is increasing at twice the rate of corn ethanol production.

Been listening to the Live Earth concerts on XM radio this morning. Lots of DJ banter about GW between the sets.


Take a look at this heuristic for USA oil production


It uses the dispersive discovery model to map production. The reason it holds fairly well on a semi-log plot is because the dynamic range in the data is so large -- 4+ orders of magnitude in production values.

This is neat!

It looks to me like like this model would forecast 1 million barrels a year by 2025, or 2.7 million barrels per day. Assuming the model applies to crude and condensate, we are currently at about 5.2 million barrels per day. This would imply an annual decline rate of about 3% per year, which doesn't sound too unreasonable.

Note that In order to just maintain flat imports, our oil consumption has to decline at the same volumetric rate that our domestic production declines.

Hello Gail the Actuary,

Obviously, this is not directed at you personally, but I hope the following is illustrative:

Imagine everyone self-whittling away at their body at 3%/year Forever. Would you start off Year One by cutting off both ears + your pinky fingers + your pinky toes, or is it better to just start off by carving out your gall-bladder? What is the plan for Year Two--> one hand + one foot, or is it better to just whack off one hand + half a forearm, or lose a kidney? Year Three, Year Four, etc, as this unstoppable depletion process inexorably continues?

At what point does this whittling process make the loss of mobility and dexterity impossible for you to feed yourself? Or, would you choose to not whittle away at yourself, but instead, carve away large hunks of flesh with a machete' from your neighbor?

The numerous Societal Blowback newslinks, that we see all time here on TOD, can be expected to exponentially grow.

My hope is that Peakoil Outreach, combined with positive biosolar habitat ERoEI alternatives [PV,wind,tidal,etc], whatever they may ultimately prove to be, can be the new societal 'limbs + ribs + organs' for future generations.

A long ago posting of mine suggested: making it obviously clear to everyone the importance of the maximum #'s of other lifeforms making it through the Bottleneck Squeeze with us; a direct linkage of us to the Extinction Rate.

Briefly, for every 10% extinction rate greater than the normal and natural background extinction rate--> we All lop off a finger. As we start losing more digits: we quickly become highly incentivized to protect the remaining species. Alternatively, if we really start to fail at ecological mitigation: the final loss of our thumbs will bring us into true harmony with our severely-amputated environmental state.

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

Kind of puts those gas price signs we've all seen - Regular $x.xx, MidGrade "Arm", Premium "Leg" -- in a different light!

I've watched a little of the LiveEarth concert on TV too.

Has anyone else noticed that all the adverts that ask you to "answer the call" mention how much ENERGY can be saved by doing the recommended activity (recycling, reusing, inflating tyres, CFL bulbs, etc.) - no mention of GW, even though GW awareness and action is the stated reason for the concert.

Could GW really be the non-panic method of getting populations to power down?

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

Could GW really be the non-panic method of getting populations to power down?

If one thinks that addressing overpopulation, mis-management of energy, arguments over taxes/fiat money/blowback over the way oil has been handled in a political manner - and the endpoints on these would be 'lower energy use' which is gonna be the less messy sell: Fix any/all of the various energy related problems *OR* blame everyones use of fossil fuels and powerdown because of GW?

GW might be the 'not as panic-y' way to power down. Other alternatives like the oil nations not accepting American Dollars strikes me as the more messy options. :-(

IMHO, by addressing energy use, but hiding that behind only one facet of the issue (i.e. GW/carbon emissions), we fail to acknowledge other facets of the problem.

By concentrating on GW, awareness of economic ideals of infinite growth/debt/banking/etc., population overshoot, externalities encouraged by industrialised nations (such as child labour/environmental degredation) and so on are not being considered properly, if at all.

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

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

Here's another Einstein quote that also fits the discussion:

"The formulation of the problem is often more essential than its solution” - Albert Einstein

The problem is mobility, yet we spend a major amount of time worrying about how to fill gas tanks.

Please consider this extract from the Systems Engineering book being written by Professors at West Point:

System Engineering: Decision Making in Systems Engineering and Management
by, Gregory S. Parnell, Ph.D., Editor
by, Patrick J. Driscoll, Ph.D., Editor
by, Dale L. Henderson, Ph.D., Design Editor

In fact, one of the most significant failings of the current U.S. transportation system is that the automobile was never thought of as being part of a system until recently. It was developed and introduced during a period that saw the automobile as a standalone technology largely replacing the horse and carriage. So long as it outperformed the previous equine technology, it was considered a success. This success is not nearly so apparent if the automobile is examined from a systems thinking perspective. In that guise, it has managed to fail miserably across a host of dimensions. Many of these can be observed in any major US city today: oversized cars and trucks negotiating tight roads and streets, bridges and tunnels incapable of handling daily traffic density, insufficient parking, poor air quality induced in areas where regional air circulation geography restricts free flow of wind, a distribution of the working population to suburban locations necessitating automobile transportation, and so on. Had the automobile been developed as a multilateral system interconnected with urban (and rural) transportation networks and environmental systems, U.S. cities would be in a much different situation than they find themselves in today.

What is important here is not that the automobile could have been developed differently, but that in choosing to design, develop and deploy the automobile as a stand alone technology, a host of complementary transportation solutions to replace the horse and buggy were not considered.

We can design better and build better.

The problem is mobility


The Problem is our Urban Form

I just walked 2.5 blocks to get a special local lunch for the volunteers about to leave town.

Homemade cottage cheese with vine ripened Creole tomatoes picked yesterday.

The farmer picked them yesterday morning and then delivered them to 3 neighborhood grocery stores yesterday @ noon in the back of his pick-up truck.

Zara's, the corner grocery store, makes their own cottage cheese (milk from Brown's Dairy, 7 blocks from Zara's, Browns collects raw milk from cows within radius of about 60 or 70 miles).

I will walk to St. Vincent's Guest House (1840s Orphanage) 5 blocks away with my farewell gift.

New Orleans could use more streetcars and wants more.

But a dense, human scale neighborhood is what is needed and the St. Charles streetcar has sustained ours.

More Later,


Some things we agree on. I think it would be wise for communities to Ark-up. Self-reliance is valuable in it own right.

I am unsure about suburbia. It might be a life-saver if yards are converted to gardens. There is not as much farmable space in highly dense urban areas.

A lot will depend on luck, when the erratic spikes of peak oil manifest. Hopefully gas prices with ratchet up until the pain causes us the take long term action. So far we have been unlucky in that the pain comes and goes; and with it our attention span.

Change is coming. It will be big and a surprise.

Alan, vine ripened tomatoes and fresh cottage cheese-you must be trying to seduce the volunteers into staying in NOLA.
Bob Ebersole

Alan, vine ripened tomatoes and fresh cottage cheese-you must be trying to seduce the volunteers into staying in NOLA

Uh'mmm, Yes.

About 10% of the volunteers say that they want to move to New Orleans and some in fact do so. They are about as good new citizens as one could hope for to repopulate the city.

The people of New Orleans have VERY positive feelings towards volunteers and saying that one is an ex-volunteer that decided to move opens doors quickly.

One had a grandmother with a PhD in Educational Development that recently retired from Pennsylvania and moved to Florida (and said that she was bored). She is going to talk to her about moving to New Orleans and helping the school system rebuild into a better system.

My other treats are a Port of Call hamburger and then on to Donna's on Monday night (jazz club), muffalotes and po-boys. And a a friendly face :-)

Best Hopes for more Volunteers,


On to final edit of article for ASPO newsletter.

Alan, I think New Orleans is the best city in the USA. Great food, great people, great music. The fact that the feds abandoned you just shows the superiority of your home, its too good for that obnoxious bunch in Washington.
The island nation of Galveston is pretty fine too, but we're definitely outclassed on the food and music. Still, we have a 17ft. concrete seawall, never topped by a storm surge. Here's hoping ya'll can get some 1903 technology!
Bob Ebersole

Agree, NO = best seafood on the continent overall. Galveston does have a few gems, my favorite was Guidos. An Italian restaurant a mile or two down the road to the East had a good Parmesan. When I was still with Amoco, I was all over the continent. I was on a quest to find the best crab cakes, lol. Interestingly, Lafayette, La. had the number two ranked cakes, can't remember the name of the restaurant however. Number 1 for crab cakes was Bookbinders in Philly! My opinion scandalized a coworker that was based in Baltimore, hehe.

The 'Captains Table' in Chrisfield had the best crabcakes I have eaten...they tore down the restaurant and built a bunch of damn condos.

The restaurant east on the Seawall is Mario's, located at 6th and Seawall. Excellent crab cakes too. Guidos has unfortunately been sold to Landry's Restaurants, owned by Tillman Fertita and has gone downhill. He also owns Landry's,Willie G's, Joe's Crab Shack, The Saltgrass Steakhouse, The Rainforest Cafe and the Aquarium. Stay away, except the Saltgrass has decent steaks. He has a real touch for taking great local restaurants and turning them to theme restaurants with mediocre food.
Clary's, on Teichman Road is the best nice seafood house on this part of the coast now. There are several other pretty good ones, though-Shrimp N' Stuff at 39th and O has the best gumbo, great shrimp and fried oysters, the Cajun Greek has excellent red snapper ponchetrain, great crabs and crawfish pie, the Captains Table has great stuffed flounder.
No wonder I'm 20 lbs overweight, I love to eat!
Bob Ebersole

Ah man, that bites. Guidos used to be one the best reasons to stay on the the Seawall. Used to hit Texas City refinery 4 to 6 times a year and Galveston ended up being my favorite place to stay. Nice air museum in town. Marios, yea that's the one, don't recall thinking to try the crab cakes there though, oh well. Didn't realize those others were owned by the same guy. Yea, typical chain restaurants, although there is a Joe's within range and is acceptable for when I need a fix. My experience with Landry's has been hit-or-miss. Sadly my kids like going to the Rainforest downtown Chicago, overpriced for what you get to me. (Best crab cakes in Chicago at Shaws downtown.) Have not tried a Saltgrass. When it's time for a steak we go do one of a couple local owned things nearby.

There is actually a decent Cajun restaurant within about 6 miles or so started up by a guy that moved up here from NO, very good. His etoufee is killer, good gumbo and jambalaya also. (Spelling on those? lol) Beans with rice, wow, just a simple thing, but when spiced correctly can be great. One of those simple things in life, eh? I had never really gotten into Cajun cooking until getting that job and spending time down in Louisiana and South Texas. What an eye-opener.

Stopped for lunch one day en route to a chopper base to go offshore for a week first time, I think it was near Houma, LA. Little local owned cafe, there was a rack on the table with about 30 different bottles of hot sauce, lol. Made valiant attempt to try them all on catfish. Most were darn good!

Man, when I took the transfer to Chicago, all of a sudden I was on the road all the time eating out every night, gained 19 lbs. that first year. Like you, eating is, uhm, my 2nd love.

I am in mourning for Guidos now, sigh. If I ever make it back down there, will ask you to steer me to some good places, hehe.

I understand that the automobile was designed to make money. Not to solve a transportation problem, not to make people's lives better, not to improve community relationships or their sex-lives. All that, and more was a sort of implied promise -- but systems engineering was not, and was never supposed to be part of the marketing strategy of Ford and GM.

I suppose that it is possible for a society to change gears and actually act rationally. I'm not aware of any historical precedent, but I would love to be corrected on that. And I suppose that TOD might actually form the nucleus of a rational world, but I can't quite see how that will work. Geeks do not do well in Congress.

I think Henry Ford would say that he made affordable cars to better the lives of people. It has. Could you imagine the amount of horse crap there would be if we still used horses.

The technology of personal, on-demand mobility has paved the way for vast advances in our understand and economic development.

Unfortunately, it has been subsidized to an extent that what should have become painful about it in 1973 has remained masked to most people.

In general, I think it would be wise, but not practical, to remove all subsidies from all forms of transportation and let the market pick what is most valuable. It is cause less shock, if we wean our addictions.

I think the best way to make a radical shift, is to give people something they want more than cars. In very specific niches, we have devised JPods, that can be privately financed to automate highly repetitive travel at a profit.

If they are well enough received, and there is time for them to propagate before Peak Oil crushes the economy, we have a good chance to make the corner.

The first networks will likely be built in Sunnyvale, CA, near the Mall of America (Minneapolis, MN) and Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN).

As with Henry Ford, we believe that personal mobility equates to economic, social and educational opportunity. We believe that personal, on-demand mobility is a manifestation of liberty.

Personal cars are imagined to be a sort of "liberty" in the US, the product perhaps of watching too many car commercials. In actuality:

Cars are a major financial burden. A typical car today costs about $7000 per year of after-tax $$ to operate. That's not too bad for many people, but for some people that is insurmountable. They are effectively stranded. On top of that, there is additional cost for all sorts of car-related stuff, such as garages or paid parking in more urban areas. How many thousands of $$ does a typical two-car garage cost?

Cars are also a major pain in the butt. They break, get into accidents, are stolen, need to be maintained, washed, etc.

I lived in Tokyo for five years without a car. Japan has a fabulous transit system, both within the city and throughout the country. I went on week-long backcountry ski trips via trains and buses, all very conveniet. Having such a system is real freedom -- no major financial outlays, no maintenance, no worries about having too many drinks, no major risk of accidents, no drain of time and energy, no looking for parking. Just pay your $1.50 for the subway. Easy to reduce expenditure, if necessary -- just don't go on long trips -- while a car is almost entirely sunk costs.

I've lived both ways, and not having a car is true freedom. A car, in the US, is like a tax on being alive.

Of course, many Americans will argue until they are blue that I am wrong. They, in their limited experience and laughably narrow views, tend to assume that I am talking about something theoretical rather than real. It cannot be! I already know that it is. For me, it is as obvious as the moon. Americans are a pretty pathetic bunch.

OTOH this perhaps deceptively hints at the existence of a free lunch - which is the typical problem discussing transportation, all modes of which are massively overused because they are massively subsidized.

The typical Japanese household pays the equivalent of thousands of dollars a year in taxes just to support JR, never mind the Tokyo Metro. Despite that, a $1.50 fare generally only takes one a kilometer or two. To go much of anywhere one usually must pay a JR East (which, in Tokyo, functions as their equivalent of an S-Bahn or RER) fare ranging to somewhere north of $5 just for a mere ten or fifteen km, and/or an expensive fare on one of the fully private rail lines.

In exchange for such heavy expense, the trains are very efficient and nice - and, most of all, punctual, which is always a pleasant shock to one used to the shiftlessness, sloth, and mulish stupidity of US transit operators - but in some cases they are inhumanely overcrowded. And they are trains, so they only go where and when they go, not necessarily where and when you need to go. (That's less of a problem for tourists and visitors, who have more than they can ever see even if they limit themselves to where the trains go.) For example, after about midnight, all you get is the shaft.

Oh, and the frequent and relatively comprehensive service near Tokyo does rely on the oppressive presence of wall-to-wall people stuffing every conceivable nook and cranny, as not only is Japan the size of California but with nearly half the US population, but much of that population is crammed into Honshu's tiny eastern coastal plain. To put it mildly, not every North American is going to want to live that way in order to have the service. And away from that crushing mass, transit service even in Japan becomes the same logistical nightmare that it is in most uncrowded places throughout the world.

I agree with you PaulS. My brother-in-law lives and works in Osaka. We visited him in 2004 for 2 weeks. Public transportation in Japan is extremely punctual, clean and convenient. But it is extremely expensive (like everything else in Japan) and overcrowded. I guess it is as expensive to take public transportation in Japan as it is to maintain a car in the US. If you live 30 km away from work you could easily spend $20/day on transportation. Electricity is twice as expensive as US, food and water is very expensive and apartments are very small and expensive. And the Japanese culture makes it difficult for "gaijin" to assimilate.

Overall I would say that it is not a very pleasant place to live unless you were born and brought up there and are an ethnic Japanese.

Public transportation in Japan is extremely punctual, clean and convenient. But it is extremely expensive (like everything else in Japan) and overcrowded.

I always felt I was getting what I was paying for... a safe, on time method of transportation. Yes, Japanese fares are more than some Europeans and Americans are used to, but I always accepted that quality of service was worth it. Also, while there are very crowded trains in Japan, there are also plenty that are not so so crowded. But here we are at a cultural divide, because what American's consider "crowded" the Japanese may consider "comfortable."

I guess it is as expensive to take public transportation in Japan as it is to maintain a car in the US. If you live 30 km away from work you could easily spend $20/day on transportation.

Not at all. Having done both (car commute in the US, trains in Japan) I can assure you that the trains are much less costly. Less convenient yes, as one has to adhere to the train companies' schedules, but less expensive also. Note that regular commuters often can get passes that cost less than individual tickets. Also, students often get half price, and in some cases seniors ride at lower costs or even no cost.

Electricity is twice as expensive as US, food and water is very expensive and apartments are very small and expensive.

Apartments are small for several reasons, not the least of which is limited land available. However, my housing costs in Japan were not more than what I had experienced in coastal California! The space was smaller of course.

To reach the point where it is actually less expensive to live in Japan, yes, less expensive than California, one has to embrace the Asian lifestyle and not try to recreate your American lifestyle.

Japan is a pleasant place to live, as long as a gaijin one accepts that one is an outsider and always will be. That btw was much worse before the age of oil.

To reach the point where it is actually less expensive to live in Japan, yes, less expensive than California, one has to embrace the Asian lifestyle and not try to recreate your American lifestyle.

Truer words have rarely been written; that applies to food, housing, transportation, entertainment, everything. The living costs of expats who fail to follow that advice are truly stupendous.

Nor, up above, was I trying to say that Japan is unpleasant - among other things I have found it fascinating but also different - just that IMO one should not expect or anticipate that most North Americans would adapt readily, willingly, or well to similar conditions. A short visit is one thing, day-in-and-day-out living for an indefinite period is quite another.

For example, I recall some folks from the metro DC area who had an extra day on a business trip, who I discovered had frittered it away at the hotel because they had walked the 1/3 mile to the JR train station, found it "intimidating", and come back. I said, what a shame, didn't you see the big overhead map, where every station is named in familiar-looking romaji as well as in Japanese? You just select the one you want using the English mode of the fare machine and put in your yen; and out comes your ticket and off you go. But they were having none of it. And that was such a very small thing on a very short visit.

N.B. most Japanese will be well aware that you are a gaijin, an outsider, and well aware that it can take a lifetime to master the complexity of their culture. In the more cosmopolitan regions, at least, they seem to be reasonable about it so long as you don't lapse too often into being gaijin da, i.e. too foreign, perhaps to the point of seeming or actually being disrespectful.


"Cars are a major financial burden"

really like your post and its description of the true burden of car ownership and driving. I have many patients on public assistance or who are elderly on fixed incomes. They would never think of it this way, but they often spend as much or more on their car than they do on their house. A common scenario around here (Appalachia) is a $25,000 SUV parked outside a $20,000 trailer home. At least the trailer home is good for 40 or 50 years if maintained.

I've said before that in America you're better off in many respects if you're paraplegic than if you are epilleptic and have a seizure every 6 months. A paraplegic can at least still get just about anywhere in his car, whereas the epilleptic in most places in America has no options but to go on disability and sit at home, at the mercy of friends and family to escort them on a weekly trip to the grocery store.

"I've lived both ways, and not having a car is true freedom. A car, in the US, is like a tax on being alive."

I've always felt the same way- that cars are not "liberating" as the automobile manufacturers would have us believe. That notion of freedom is a theme in many car commercials- driving on a winding road with the convertible top down, beautiful sky, no other cars in site. Most of the time, however, much of the driving one does is hardly liberating. You're stuck behind slower traffic on the freeway, battling to change lanes. You're stopping every block at a light. You go when you're told to go, and stop when you're told to stop. You're stuck in one seat and in one position the entirety of your trip.

there is no better prison then one in which you make the prisoners believe they are already free.

I have no idea who this quote is from but this also seems to pretty much perfectly apply to U.S. politics.

Personal cars are imagined to be a sort of "liberty" in the US, the product perhaps of watching too many car commercials. In actuality... Cars are a major financial burden.

Not just a US phenomenon, but worldwide. Whenever personal income reaches a certain level, large numbers of people chose to spend on personal transportation. Consider China and India today; look at South Korea and Japan previously. For many people, personal transportation unquestionably expands their options: more employment choices, more educational opportunities for one's kids, greater freedom as to the time of day when various activities can be pursued. A large fraction -- I would estimate a majority -- of the world's population appears to believe that the benefits of personal transportation outweigh the costs, once their income is large enough.

Clearly, the world's desired level of personal transportation cannot be sustained with petroleum. I think it is nearly as clear that it cannot be sustained with liquid biofuels (eg, ethanol and biodiesel) either. Engineer-Poet makes a reasonable argument that electrification is possible (eg, his calculations on zinc-air storage with wind/solar generation). Unless it can be shown that no personal transportation solutions are possible, better not to demand that people will have to give it up, because much (most?) of the world's population believes it is highly desirable.

Wood Mackenzie predicts 96.7 mbpd just three years from now. Where is this extra 10 mbpd supposed to come from?

And how can I get a job with Wood Mackenzie, because I can daydream and guess with the best of them.

The article is also interesting when it says that some people think that oil is half depleted, while Saudi Aramco thinks there's a trillion barrels left. To the uninitiated, it makes it sound like we haven't already used a trillion barrels.


1.5MBD decline from russia to,
2MBD decline from saudi
1.5MBD from mexico
1.5MBD from the north sea (NORWAY and UK)

So by 2010 roughly 16.5MBD will have to be found.


New Technology! That's where the oil will come from.

"No-one knows what technology will be available in future to aid production," added Dourian. "In Oman, saline water injection experiments are currently being undertaken.

If those saline water injection experiments in Oman work, just imagine what that will mean for Saudi Arabia. Salt water injection for reservoirs in Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the world. Salt water injection, a new technology whose time hase come. What an idea!

Is this woman a total blooming idiot or what?

Ron Patterson

Bakken Oil Shale

In Montana there is the Bakken Oil Shale of the Williston Basin. In the Bakken formation is a thin tight siltstone unit with poor permiability. Years ago it was known that you might get some production from the formation, but the production flow dropped rapidly and the area was proven to be non-commercial. About 2000 someone tried horizontal drilling in the formation and a hydrofrac to stimulate flow. Today a small part of the Bakken produces more than 50,000 barrels per day.

what of it ?

I believe that in SA they are injecting salt water, whereas these new technologies employ saline water. No doubt there is an engineering difference which we do not yet perceive.

It seems we are trying to knit a parachute while skydiving.

Theoretically, it can be done. In skydiving there is a saying, "If you are going to be stupid, you better be tough."

Since 2004...investment in both non-OPEC and OPEC projects has opened up...spare capacity," said Kate Broughton, Wood Mackenzie's head of oils research.

I'm not sure where this extra 'spare capacity' is; the market does not appear to know either as oil price has more than doubled since 2004.

There are also enormous resources of oil sands in Canada.

Again the usual reference to 'reserves' but as has been pointed out over and over again on TOD and elsewhere it's flowrates which count and the oil sands are no match for declining light sweet crude.

Wood Mackenzie are doing their clients no favors by issuing this type of analysis; it's just unfortunate that Gov'ts and others tend to follow their analysis along with that of CERA etc.

According to the article, 28% of oil "yet to be found" will come from the Asia Pacific region by 2025. So I guess they better get looking a lot harder in order to find much of it within 4 years.
It's interesting how the article headline is backed by such flimsy and questionable evidence, and yet goes on to contradict it's own conclusions with the hard evidence of Russian, Venezuelan and SA nationalism affecting supply growth.

Best hopes for saline water injection experiments

Did you miss the "good news" that with global warming Russia plans to drill in Arctic areas that were previously unaccesable due to ice?

This is kinda like a junkie finding that his neighbor died of an overdose and left his stash out.

Green transport specialist tells its workers to ‘get off your bikes’

One of Britain’s biggest engineering companies has banned staff from travelling on bicycles or motorbikes after declaring them too dangerous.

Jacobs Babtie advises local authorities on sustainable transport projects – including how to get more people to switch from four wheels to two.

It has told staff at its 36 offices across Britain that they must drive or use public transport. They can use bicycles only if they are working away from roads, such as on canal towpaths.

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

That's hilarious! (in a sad way)

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

Regards www.wtdwtshtf.com

I am taking my freebie 'getoutatown' post at this time to indicate that I will likely NOT be publicly opening my personal website. I just don't have the time to lend to trying to make it a success so best to not go there then.

I use YaBB on mine and Durandal uses phpBB. There is strengths and weaknesses in each but overall they score high on usability and functionality. They are rather completely different than what you see on TOD. However this is what most conferencing sites use so many here should be familiar with the format if they see it in use.

I might add that the postings so far on wtdwtshtf are not nearly as confrontational as they are on this site. Its IMO more laid back and friendly.

The main topic is of course Survivalism.Agriculture , Sustainability and Society are the main categories with subcategories under them.

In passing let me say that I still read some of TOD on a fairly frequent basis yet will likely not be posting here anymore.

I still think TOD is the premiere site for Peak Oil but as I stated before, when its obvious that we are heading into the gorge then the burning question still is:
"What are YOU going to do about it?"

I submit that many survivalist websites have become extreme doomer hangouts and cultish in the extreme. Life in the rural areas is not like that. In fact people in the outback are not too much into these events yet some do sense that something is in the wind and have taken actions. Since they own land and have the background from the past they are already somewhat prepared even if not aware of the impending future.

So thats where I am headed. Back to the barn,back to the past, back to my garden which has produced enough to keep me busy canning and storing foodstuffs away right now, and back to the website I spoke of above.

Airdale-The kuntry rules!

Its where we started and where it will end.
Good luck on that light rail and PHEVs.
Bikes and spiderweb railjockeys.
Its going to be a hellva run and I wouldn't miss it for a mess of fried poke sallet.

Keep up the good work here but I'm not going to wager on the politicos and the scientificos. (Hey they don't even know how to make poke sallet!)

P.S. The Poke Sallet Festival in Harlan County, Kentucky runs June 1-3, 2007....(y'all missed it!)

Hi Airdale,

Glad to see you even if you are just passing through.

I understand where you are coming from. In fact, I've pretty much even stopped looking at similar forums. I've posted dozens of "articles" about dealing with the future over the years and I've said my piece. It's time to get on with life. Lots of people aren't going to make the transition. Too bad.


"Yes Todd",

"You are right", Airdale states,noting down below the largish number of non-posts to his and Todds two comments, "at least Todd we can say that we 'Beat' the 'Drum' and raised the hue and cry" and so Airdale exits stage right and camera zooms to black and then out.

End of script.

"CUT,WRAP...Burn the DVD"...and crew leaves for doublecheeseburger and supersized fries with plastic malts all around. Life goes on...for now.....

AD..later seen leaving the building with Elvis a few steps behind

Good luck. FWIW I liked reading your posts, not so much because I have the option of following the same path, but because it was my impression that you were one of the few without an agenda.

one of the few without an agenda.


In the sense of selling something or looking for tax subsidies for something at least.

While more than a few people here work for someone and have views that tend towards their jobs, there isn't alot of 'selling' of an idea that if the idea is accepted, that puts money in their pockets.

Airdale was here to be ego stroked about how wonderful his ideas were. The most obvious incident was the 'I've been saying that for the last 3 days and now its in a drumbeat getting noticed? Where's my credit?'

When his position on Hydrinos was questioned, when his potion on using sugar for making ethyl alcohol was questioned he tucked his tail and ran away, to come back another day. When he got praise about posting gardening conditions, that's what he would post about.

And others, such as myself, work for employers who pretty much go against the whole idea of PO and sustainability. You don't hear me praising the wonders of domestic automobiles and sub-prime loans, yet I work for a company that sells those two things...

However, as a whole, I agree with you that people tend to pimp ideas that relate to what they're likely to profit on, as hopefully they're working in an industry that they enjoy, which gives them the natural disposition to talk about that topic anyhow. :)

Maybe. Maybe not.

I'm not going to spend a week Googling, copying and pasting shit either. I tend to go with the flow and make plans on the fly based on live data. If that is interpreted as whatever so be it.

There are lots of smart people with diverse areas of expertise here and there are nuggets of data almost every day. Everyone gets to pick the info or believe the data he wants, even if just as background data.

No one is going to walk in someone else's shoes anyway.

Eric Blair, you are a consistent a**hole. Go crawl back under your bridge.
Bob Ebersole

Eric is not a troll. He may be annoying at times, but he is not a troll.


Gee oily-bob....can you come on back and debate the merits?


Thanks for the plug on my website. I think that it can do well for serving as a forum for sustainability, farming, employment, and other discussions on preparing for a post-peak world. I have a couple of rabbits I might pull out of a hat in a month or so, as some suggestions were given to me by my house mate.

Hopefully it can become a valuable resource for those who are PO aware to plan for the future.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

Hi Airdale,
I miss your posts and was hoping you would return to TOD on a regular basis but I also understand that farming is a full time job and that you have already posted a wealth of information on this site.
I wish you the best in whatever you decide to do and hope you squeeze through the bottleneck when tshtf. I leave you with a thought more appropriate for those working in our government...

Reality isnt optional...

you have already posted a wealth of information on this site.

That would be:
you have already posted a wealth of MISinformation on this site.

Feel free to show how his past statements about Hydrinos, sugar based distillation, how the 'only way to survive will be living off the land' are correct.

Because, well, Airdale didn't defend his 'information' when challenged.

Eric if you want to hold a grudge against Airdale for something that I know nothing about that is fine. Leave me out of it. Thank you.


You are the one who's claimed that Airdale has been a 'wealth of information'. And it is not the case. I am ONLY asking that the claims be backed up by data, because the data I've read do not support the Airdale position.

Leave me out of it.

Good choice. Airdale couldn't defend his 'information' when challenged, I'm doubtful that you would do better. Now, how about a retraction or being more specific about how Airdale was all about 'information'? Backing up with links would be nice.

Based on your comment
You feel that somehow guns and shooting others are gonna be protection.

What makes you think that if you and Airdale meet after TSHTF in a gun-shooting way that Airdale would not just shoot you dead? Or that you would not shoot him dead?

Just because Airdale posted similar stuff in the past does not make him 'allies to the cause'.

I'm just curious Mr. Blair, if things get ugly as they often do in a crisis situation what is your recommendation as to safeguarding one’s possessions and loved ones?

if things get ugly as they often do in a crisis situation

Various degrees of ugly.

what is your recommendation as to safeguarding one’s possessions and loved ones?

4 questions. Some positions are not worth defending, some are , and some loved ones are more worth defending than others.

Are the collections of 'The simple life' with Paris Hilton worth defending? How about your portable water purifier? Your collection of silver, gold, platinum and jade? Is you grandmother, who is near death 'worth defending' VS your child VS your child with downs syndrome VS your brother who suffered a head industry in a motorcycle crash (drunk drivers fault)?

The 'rule of law' is "key" as to what one opts to do. River has pointed out when the 'rule of law' does not exist, the shooting of looters. As long as functioning courts and reasonable punishment exist, has 'the crisis situation' come that justifies the free gunplay as others are claiming is a need?

Because a free gunfire style situation strikes me as a way for a sill legitimate government to call for more power as a way of 'keeping order' (while that same group's action in the past can be blamed in part for the situation.)

Thanks for the tip about wtdwtshtf.com -- You'll probably see me chiming in over there once in a while.

I made some remarks yesterday regarding flows versus reserves. I noted that reserves must be there before any oil can be produced. That is, reserves are a necessary but not sufficient condition for producing oil. On this logical distinction — I should say, confusion about it — lies the CERA, ExxonMobil, etc. contention that there is not chance for a near term peak in the oil supply (if, indeed, we are not there already.)

I should also add that the estimated recoverable reserves in an oil field are an important factor (among many) that determines the achievable production rates.

In the general case, reserves are estimates with varying degrees of uncertainty. That's why there is a P5, a P50 and a P95. In all cases, when you see a reserves number, you must first ask how it was calculated. If you don't know, and the person telling you that number won't divulge how it was calculated, then there is no reason to trust it. This is another important factor in the peak oil debate. CERA quotes numbers and we have no way of knowing how they calculated them.

Let me give you an example, which I encountered this morning when I opened up the latest issue of Oil & Gas Journal. I might add here that I am also angry about what I am about to tell you. Look at my ASPO-USA column Iraq: Land of Opportunity and Adventure? for reference. To make a long story short, IHS (CERA's parent company) released the Iraq Atlas back in April. In their press release, they said this:

The Iraq Atlas, which will be available from IHS on May 9, is a unique overview of all known prospects and fields in Iraq, and estimates oil reserves at up to 116 billion barrels ranking the country number three in the world. The Iraq Atlas estimates that there could potentially be another 100 billion barrels of oil in the Western Desert of Iraq.
Subsequently, an Iraqi oil company official disputed this, saying that old surveys had only confirmed less than 1 billion barrels in Iraq's western desert (Al-Anbar Province), if that. In the O&GJ current issue, there is a story Magnitude of undiscovered resource in Iraq’s western desert in dispute by Sadad Al-Husseini and Moujahed Al-Husseini (GeoArabia, Manama, Bahrain). Here's one of the relevant quotes:
The USGS-GeoDesign study concluded that all the undiscovered crude oil resources of Iraq, including the western desert, may only total 13.2 billion bbl at the 95% level of probability and 45.1 billion bbl at the 50% level of probability. Even under the most optimistic circumstances at the 5% level of probability, USGS-GeoDesign did not consider the entire Iraqi undiscovered resources to exceed 84.1 billion bbl. These total estimates fall far short of the IHS conclusions for just the western desert of Iraq...

Within days, this release was quoted on the front-page of London’s Financial Times followed by many other newspapers and magazines (for example: Dubai’s Gulf News, Apr. 23; Time magazine, Apr. 24; Cyprus’ MEES, Apr. 30).

Perhaps the most important conclusion to be drawn from these profoundly contradictory studies is the need for a higher level of discipline and objectivity in the process of estimating global oil reserves and resources.

After all, the difference between the two studies in this one region represents nearly 100 billion bbl of oil resources. This in turn is the equivalent of 10% of the entire world’s reported proven oil reserves.

I'll skip the details. The point is this: IHS's conjecture was picked up in the media (see quote above) and this bullshit number — 100 billion barrels — was widely disseminated. Why didn't IHS say 200 billion barrels, or 300 billion barrels? I mean, if you're going to mislead the public, then you might as well make the sky the limit. When I say mislead, I could also say suggest, float a rumor, plant a (false) notion, etc. Unfortunately, making unjustified conjectures like IHS did is not against the law.

Well, I guess it really doesn't matter. Only the future & fate of Industrial Civilization is at stake — so, it's no big deal.

These remarks reflect my own views, not those of ASPO-USA.


It orignally thought by many that this story was a plant to appease the 'losers' in the new Iraqi oil law. Makes no difference now as that is also crumbling along with the country.


More fraud. Non-OPEC peak oil threat receding

The company [Wood Mackenzie] has disputed views that a [non-OPEC] pinnacle may be in sight and contends strong supply growth will prevail in the short term. Barring unexpected disruptions to production, Wood Mackenzie expects total global capacity to grow steadily from 86.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2006 to 96.7 million bpd in 2010.
96.7 million barrels a day! By 2010! That's 2 and 1/2 years away, a greater than 10 million b/d increase! And we're no where close to 86.3. They're playing the CERA "productive capacity" game. This is quite unbelievable. Here's the "fair and balanced" part of the article.
But, says Kate Dourian, Platts' Middle East editor, it is just a matter of time before non-OPEC oil declines because production is not being replaced fast enough to meet consumption. Dourian also stressed oil production is not as cut and dry as some analysts make out.
Not as cut and dry as some analysts make out! Give 'em hell, Kate. Every year, Wood Mackenzie overestimates non-OPEC supply additions by a very large margin. Every year, they are wrong. This never seems to deter them. Perhaps their theory of forecasting is to say the same thing over and over again on the theory that one day they will be right. If it is, then I've got some bad news for them. Their forecasts are getting worse every year, not better. They actually get paid money to promulgate this crap.

Usual disclaimer...

Maybe someone should create a graph showing the innacuracies of their last reports compared to actual figures. Its funny cos if enough people become peak oil aware and change their lifestyle accordingly it will most likely crash the economy due to reduced levels of spending, but that will happen anyway as 'disposable' income disappears. Non conventional oil is an economic and environmental disaster waiting to happen.

The peak oil crowd needs to jump on the global warming awareness bit thats going on, or is that a dangerous plan?

Energy Economy Environment on collision course

Dave, You obviously live in the reality base community. Our current fearless leaders have let it be known to all and sundry that they dont live in your community. Therefore, anyone hoping to sell someting to, or provide a service for the current administration is obliged to pretend that they too reside in never land.
Today, when we gaze out across the great expanse of America, we see several landscapes that have nothing to do with geology. We see groups of people with divergent interests and goals. We see people wishing and working for the rapture. We see people in denial of the perfect storm approaching. We see a few people that recognize the perfect storm and they are crying out for the others to wake up and make preparation. We see the great majority of people going about their daily lives in blissfull ignorance of any problems ahead. But, in DC we see something seen nowhere else...A group of people that have all the data and information at their disposal, a group of people with the power and legitamacy to lead and the only group that might take action to make a difference in our futures, but they continue to live in wonderland and will not venture out of their rabbit holes unless it is to score points against the opposing political party.


The only reason I can think of behind IHS's conjectures is that they believe their own BS. They've pandered to Big Oil so long that the intellectually honest folks left, with only the cornucopians who believe in the Crude Fairy sticking around.
The media thrives on drummihg up conterversies where none exist and can't seem to grasp that its about flow rate, not reserves, and its about the economics of crude, not some figure of original oil in place.
The fat lady ain't sung yet, but she's sure tuning up with the Russians having a 6.9% decrease in production in June. Bob Ebersole

Hello Dave Cohen,

Thxs for the info--as always, I consider your postings as required reading for us TODers.

My brief comments:

Chasing a shimmering mirage in the blazing desert is a lethal fluid-depletion mistake. The 'water' looks oh-so-close and just-so-plentiful that it is extremely difficult, for someone parched for bodily reserve replacement, to not pursue this receding horizon illusion.

The same phenomena applies to Iraqi oil and CERA,IHS. If the Iraqi oil executive is correct, then Yergin & CO. is misleading billions of people. Let's hope an accurate and open audit removes this mirage soon.

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

If one resides in the oil industry leg of the "Iron Triangle" (some major oil companies, some major oil exporters and some energy analysts that work for oil companies/oil exporters), and if one has concluded that Peak Oil is upon us, or extremely close, does one say, "We cannot increase our production," and thereby encourage massive conservation and alternative energy efforts, or does one say "We either choose not to raise production or we are temporarily unable to raise production for the following reasons (fill in the blank)?"

The latter course of action would tend to discourage emergency conservation efforts and alternative energy efforts, and it would encourage energy consumers to maintain their current lifestyles, perhaps by going further into debt to pay their energy bills, and it would in general have the net effect of maximizing the value of remaining reserves.

I always find it interesting that people like Simmons and Pickens, et al, (who are encouraging energy conservation) are widely blamed for high oil prices, while some major oil companies, some major oil exporters and some energy analysts are--in effect--encouraging increased energy consumption.

Meanwhile, over on the other two legs of the Iron Triangle, the auto, housing and finance guys are just focused on selling and financing the next auto and house, and the media guys just want to sell advertising to the auto, housing and finance guys.

Meanwhile, the suburbanites are caught in the middle of this, although they have a strong inclination to believe the prevailing message from the "Iron Triangle." As in the movie "The Sixth Sense," for most of us the suburan lifestyle is dead, but we just don't know it yet, and we see what we want to see.

Hell hath no fury like a Formerly Well Off suburbanite who just had his SUV repossessed and this McMansion foreclosed upon.

At least we can try to be ready with a credible plan to try to make things "Not as bad as they would otherwise be." How's that for a campaign slogan?

I recommend FEOT--Farming + (Alan Drake's) Electrification Of Transportation, combined with a crash wind + nuclear program. In simplest terms, we are going to need the jobs for hordes of angry unemployed males.

As in the movie "The Sixth Sense," for most of us the suburban lifestyle is dead, but we just don't know it yet, and we see what we want to see.

Jeffrey, I like the Sixth Sense analogy a lot, but I don't think you take it even far enough. It's not just about the suburban lifestyle. In reality, the age of the automobile is over, and so is the age of the centralized electricity grid. We just don't know it yet.

Which is probably largely a result of not wanting to know it (though ignorance plays a large part), for fear of the unknown. Which in turn is probably a justified fear, on account of exactly those angry young males you mention.

Our minds, like our economic system, run in one direction only. It's a big boulder running down a hill. On an individual level we can ELP, like little pieces breaking off that boulder, but the big one will keep rolling.

For a good example of why it won't stop, check out the Live Earth concerts today. Never seen such mass delusion. The demise of the planet brought to you as a feel-good experience.

Keeping with movie themes, another good line is that "Everyone has a mortgage to pay" (or bills in general to pay) from "Thank you for smoking."

To some extent, what we are seeing across the board, from large sectors of the energy industry to the financial industry, media and beyond, is the "Enron Effect," i.e., people know that we have huge problems ahead, but their paychecks are dependent on the status quo.

AKA "I got mine, fu(k everyone else", a most american state of mind. LOL.

"If you're not cheating, you're not trying" (Vince Lombardi)

Don't be ridiculous there are no problems;-) Look the economy is recovering:


We have mortally wounded the ecosystem which is our life support.

Our habitat is dying by our hand and so will we.

Perhaps some life will be salvaged -- perhaps even some human life. The chances of human life surviving the next 50 years are slim, though.

We watch the life bleed out of our habitat and we increase our own population and overconsumption. We waste resources on war and insane hyper-materialism.

Live Earth? Mass Delusion. You got that right.

Perhaps a great awareness will arise, and a great voluntary change toward sustainability. The chances of that happening are very slim, but I am ready to be suprized.

We do what we can and must do, even so, eh?

You heard it from Beggar first guys. The human race faces total extinction within the next 50 years...

Actually, I am absurdly optimistic about the possibility that some of our species will survive.

I don't predict, and especially do not expect total annihilation, even though the odds for that seem to me to be quite strong.

War may very well kill off more of our species in the next decade than we can imagine, let alone the direct consequences of resource depletion and various kinds of pollution.

In terms of the next few decades GW may become far more severe than scientists have so far been allowed to talk openly about.

Only time will tell, and only when it is time to do so.


Someone invited me to two-towns-over to a "Cool Cities" event and bbq. I'm always up for free food. Maybe they are giving away free 15-watt light bulbs, eh? Then again, I could stay here and work in my garden. And it's raining off and on, so taking my bike is probably not a good option. And that free food probably represents its weight in petroleum, but it's no longer worth anything like that. The consumption doesn't happen when I eat the burger, but when the order is placed to build the factory and hire the marketing company.

ELP individually, the big boulder keeps rolling. How does an entire community do ELP? How does it do it within the context of the existing boulders rolling down hill? Because not everyone in the community will ELP. But they should not be allowed to prevent others from doing so. Except the whole system depends on preventing people from opting out and practicing ELP. If you hang up your laundry three times, do you go to prison for life?

I do observe, however, the number of people that understand our system is so broken - taking us right down the rat hole - does seem to have increased hugely over the past couple of years. One of the things responsible for that in my neck of the woods is the abject failure of the Democratic party at all levels. The promises are ringing ever more hollow and the corporate plundering the political system serves is in-your-face. The generational aspects are looking pretty clear too.

That has to be good. We have to recognize how broken this planet is before we can address it. Dead Earth must preceed Live Earth. Shiva.

How do we stop the rolling boulders? A lot of people are asking that question. I don't think we can. It's going to take another NOLA just to pose the question. What? Social control over economic limits? That's terrorism.

cfm in Gray, ME

If the public perception and demands are irreconciliable with reality, the system will be broken.

Just try selling ELP to a whole city.  I doubt that even a 30% minority would go for growing most of their produce in their yards, let alone giving up their vehicles and putting up without heat in the winter.  Even if it should become essential, people will deny and protest for years.

This is why I think it's so important to push PHEV's and superinsulated buildings and the like right now.  We have a pile of reasons to do that, a lot of which have nothing to do with oil depletion (reduced pollution, improved livability of both housing and cities and energy independence are big ones).  You can sell that as a positive view of the future.  A return to an agrarian system will not sell.

Not only will it not sell, but I doubt it's even possible. Where large agrarian populations work (i.e., in 3rd world countries) it's because of long-standing traditions, shared community knowledge, and an infrastructure designed to support it (even though that infrastructure is far less visible that the ones required to support an urban population, it's still there). You can't create that overnight. It took us at least 200 years to transition from a primarily agragrian society to a primarily urban one, and it probably would take the same to go back the other way, even if you could magically get everyone to agree voluntarily that it was what we needed to do.
We don't have 200 years to make the sorts of changes that are needed. Changes that capitalize on the existing infrastructure and can be easily sold to the bulk of the population are the only ones that can happen quickly enough.

"The consumption doesn't happen when I eat the burger, but when the order is placed to build the factory and hire the marketing company."

You don't seriously believe that I hope. The only reason the factories are built and the marketing companies hire is because people consume (or can be persuaded to consume).

If everyone consumed less, the factories would have to stop making more and the marketing companies would be fired.

The machine behind the burger consumes an order of magnitude more energy than I get from the burger. Nowadays it's almost all fossil energy fueling the factory and the marketing agency, let alone the cow.

If people consumed less, the factories would make more bombs. The machine is insatiable.

cfm in Gray, ME

Well I don't know about your part of the world, but here once factories close down they tend to get converted into apartment buildings. Don't see any reason why that trend should change in the future - in fact I very much expect it to increase as demand for higher-density living increases.

I'm 35. I see huge generational issues here. But boy will you get your ass chewed off for mentioning them.

However, to stick it out again: the Baby Boomers got us here, and they will NEVER be able to unshit the bed. The Gen Yers are just bloody useless - you tried hiring any of them yet?

So, Gen Xers - we have to ask ourselves if we are able and willing to take the mantle, but there's one problem - the bloody boomers won't let go!

Hence, my planning is increasingly about lifeboats. I think I've sorted location, I think I know what I need. I also think I know how it scales, and slowly I think I can get a few like minded souls there. (I think the chances of finding a hundreds to start a genuinely viable community is pretty remote until it is too late)

Having said that I've recently been working on a business proposition that has the advantage of paying me now, being directly peak related, and in the worst case scenario leaves me well positioned after the fall. Seriously toying with trying to get that one funded out - pretty low start-up costs, and customers will only increase as the world becomes more crappy.

Still, my day job is running a high-tech start-up, so need to focus on that... and so good intentions turn to nothing...

That and the bloody wife pissing away money on Louis Vuitton - I mean seriously... Louis F*****G Vuitton! What is the point... and then fights me over trying to build emergency supplies..!

P.S. (Tip to fellow Europeans... these American women may seem mighty attractive but they've watched far too much Paris Hilton)

P.P.S. (Tip to fellow Europeans posting on a US-centric discussion forum - don't generalize and piss off all US women based on a few data points, particularly not when you've just gone after the boomers)
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man


Be careful! Not all baby boomers lack vision. All or nothing statments are dangerous! I happen to think that this man made world needs to pass away. Look at the fruits of our actions. Would more living with the same premise bring different results? Using the premise that the world is here for mankind to do with as he or she sees fit is the point of failure.

I agree that many people think that the system is broken. Or maybe the systems are broken.

But most of the honest responses I get to all of this is:

"I sure do need my gasoline!"

"I sure do love to drive, and I am not ready to stop."

"I am not ready to deal with that yet."

So the decisions are being made by "the Decider" for those folks.

Meanwhile, the real Decider -- Mom Nature -- is pissed off and not ready to commute sentences or to hand out pardons at the end of some puny political term.

The sun shines on the just and the unjust. The just and the unjust will experience floods and intense heat and all the rest together.

We are our brother's keeper and our sister's keeper. Some of us were born into this Petrochemical Mess of Pottage made by our species, and have not figured out that it is precisely the unforeseen and often unintended consequences of this Petrochemical Mess of Pottage that has delivered the toxic blow to our planet and to us people.


Maybe we can do Planetary Emergency Care, but we seem to be playing a collective game of Planetary Kill Off Roulette instead.

Who knows the outcomes? None of us. We can only make efforts to try to live a life of love, and that quite imperfectly.

The weakest, most vulnerable and most caring approach will turn out to be the strongest approach -- that's my guess.

Those who try to barricade themselves with wealth and weapons and power will be crushed within the toxic webs they weave -- along with many other living things, sadly.

I think that life is about how we live along the way, not about knowing or controlling planetary destiny.

We help each other along and we get to play around a little along the way, too. It seems good to me to try to leave the place in better shape for the next generations than it was in when we got here.

TOD cannot help but edge into conversation about ultimate meaning and purpose and ethical foundations.

Oil is a blessing and a curse....oil's well that ends well...deep subject....and so on....

I went from using a pile of gasoline to using none.  I do not own any gasoline-burning devices at the moment.  (Diesel is another matter.)

More to the point, at my last opportunity I cut my per-mile consumption of petroleum by about 1/3 without sacrificing any real utility.  If I can do it, others can do it.  I followed this act by slashing my driving requirements (I filled up on the way back into town after my trip; I've been home for 5 weeks and still have about a third of a tank left!), but not everyone is in a position to do this.

We need a "Decider" who will use public policy and the bully pulpit to apply a firm shove in the direction things need to go.  The nation needs this as soon as possible.  This is never going to come from a President who is wholly owned by oil interests, which makes me wonder why some patriotic Republicans haven't introduced articles of impeachment yet.

which makes me wonder why some patriotic Republicans haven't introduced articles of impeachment yet

Dick Cheney is Vice President.

GWB did plan ahead.



The rain falls equally on the just and the unjust, but it affecteth more the just than the unjust, because the unjust hath the just's umbrella.


Hell hath no fury like a Formerly Well Off suburbanite who just had his SUV repossessed and this McMansion foreclosed upon.

If Peak Oil leads to extreme and enduring motor fuel shortages, is there any evidence that Currently Well Off Suburbanites will be prone to violent action? That forecast shows up a lot, especially from Kunstler, but is it based on outmoded examples from the past (in the U.S.) or inapplicable examples from the present (like Pakistan)? The well off American suburbs seem to be less politically involved & less publicly demonstrative than just about any other segment of society.

What if suburbanites respond to extreme fuel prices and/or shortages by sharing instead of rioting? If suburbanites carpool in their SUVs and rent out rooms in their McMansions, could that be a temporary stopgap way to cope during the early phase of post-Peak? No one would like making sacrifices, but would beat going on a fruitless rampage, wouldn't it?

In the long run more fundamental structural changes would be needed, but I'm just asking about the near term initial shocks when the potential for panic and mayhem is greatest.

What if suburbanites respond to extreme fuel prices and/or shortages by sharing instead of rioting?

I think there's good reason to be pessimistic about that outcome, and it's laid out in books like Bowling Alone. We no longer have the sense of community we had even 30 years ago.

Pakistan might not be applicable...because they have strong community and family bonds, compared to us. IOW, it could as easily be worse, not better.

But I think the doomeristic visions come from closer to home. The U.K., a few years ago when a truckers' strike cut off grocery supplies, and us, after Katrina.

It wasn't just New Orleans that got kind of hairy. When the fuel shortages hit, people got crazy. They were filling up their coffee cups with gasoline, once their tanks were full. Grown adults were crying, because they waited in line for hours, only to find that no phone service meant no credit cards accepted. People got into fistfights, even pulled guns and ran each other over, over disputes about who was first in line.

Is all this also "inapplicable"? I don't think so.

Yeah - it is Katrina that has got to be the Canary here. How could anyone watch it and not get a shudder of "wow, that could happen here".

I have to say I think I (dodgy English bloke who's lived all over the world) was more prepared for it and less surprised by it than my in-laws (born and bred Texans)... though I did have the callous misfortune to have said the night before the storm that it was probably another overhyped load of nonsense where we'd see reporters in slanting rain feeling special and acting like the end of the world but nothing would happen...

Anyway, point is I wasn't actually THAT surprised that people when suddenly without food or water or security acted the way they did.

In some of the communities I grew up in I could imagine everyone getting together in the local school hall and pulling together. Here in Texas where I live (and hope to be moving from real soon), given how well I know my neighbourhood... how would I act if I couldn't feed my family and felt pretty sure there was no way police or security services could do the job of protecting me..?

I dunno... did people think the LA riots were somehow a blip?
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Anyway, point is I wasn't actually THAT surprised that people when suddenly without food or water or security acted the way they did.

I wasn't necessarily talking about people who were without food or water. The craziness extended to places like Georgia and North Carolina, that were far from the hurricane zone, but downstream from the pipelines. They had food, water, and the accouterments of modern life. Except there was a gasoline shortage.

I honestly don't see how Katrina is a model for what might be expected were petrol/gasoline prices to start seriously skyrocketing or widespread shortages to occur. In fact, given what the residents of New Orleans had to bear with Katrina and the nature of the evacuation effort, they were pretty well behaved - if the official reports are to believed.
If fistfights and gun-wielding were the worst-case outcomes of past fuel shortages then I'm honestly not worried (especially here, given the lack of guns). Once it becomes apparent that the problem is not temporary people are more likely to direct their anger at those that can be reasonably held responsible - governments, big oil companies etc. That may well turn violent, but I don't see it as likely to lead to significant and prolonged disintegration of social order.
At any rate, barring a significant terrorist attack, I doubt peak oil will unfold as one obvious dramatic event.
By "skyrocketing prices" I'm imagining something like an increase of maybe $2/gallon over a year - but that's only 4c a week, which is still only frog boiling pace. Shortages are again likely to occur here and there with increasing frequencies, so by the time the problem is more or less universal, the population will have had 12 months to get used to them

But I think the doomeristic visions come from closer to home. The U.K., a few years ago when a truckers' strike cut off grocery supplies

Errr, are you talking about the same UK that I live in?

I was there for the fuel strikes and there was no violence. There was widespread support for the truck drivers and they were careful to let through enough supplies to keep the cops and ambulances running to ensure good PR support.

There were no riots. Or folk filling coffee cups with petrol or any other rubbish like that.


I think he meant the Americans.

I can remember all the essential users (nurses etc.) discovered about 2 dozen new best friends, and that was about it.

Felicity Lawrence (Not on The Label) said that the truckers got what they wanted when the supermarkets cried 'uncle' as we were within a few hours of empty shelves, due to JIT distribution methods.

I know there was support for the strikers, but the media reported there was also unrest and panic-buying. Over the empty gas stations, and the empty grocery shelves. Most of the articles are gone now, but you can still see comments at the BBC site griping about how people topping off their tanks and filling up jerry cans should have their cars confiscated. The Telegraph had an article describing how Blair was surrounded by an angry mob and prevented from going to his favorite restaurant for dinner. (He had fish and chips instead.)

I was also in the UK at the time - working at Exxon's Fawley Refinery near Southampton - and there was no panic. The people who panicked were the politicians. The truckers had the support of the masses (who would like petrol to be almost free) and that is what made the politicians panic.

In fact, until that time, IMHO, the rationalists in the Labour Party of the UK were in control - they were the ones who wanted the tax on petrol to follow inflation. After that, the emotionalists had their day. Gordon Brown, the current Prime Minister, was in a total panic as he was the one who told everyone that the tax was rising with inflation. Blair was smirking because he knew how silly the electorate was.

Gordon Brown found out that he became immensely more popular by bowing to the rabble and has deferred tax rises on petrol ever since. Obviously, he more than made up for it by taxing everything else more.

The lesson from that fiasco was not lost on politicians here and elsewhere. Hence no one is proposing to increase taxes on petrol anywhere - except for Iran (by reducing the negative tax or subsidy). Today, you cannot raise taxes on petrol except in a totalitarian society - rather sad.

is there any evidence that Currently Well Off Suburbanites will be prone to violent action?

(About what free gas does to people)

I'm just asking about the near term initial shocks

We do not know HOW things are going to go down. You have some people who think that the 'only way to make it will be to forage from the land' others think that living where hurricanes flood you out is a good idea, some think cities are doomed, others that cities will be one of the only places where law and order could be enforced, and some think that the land closest to Mexico will get overrun when Mexico goes to hell, others think this will spin into a global thermonuclear war and are trying to figure out where downwind will be best. And a few think that technology will save us, everything will be fine.

But you've been here long enough to know that....

You can never quite predict these things, and it would depend on how fast things unravel.

Generally speaking and based on observation the well off suburbanites fight in their own way. They are way out of shape and lack combat / survival skills, but they are good at exerting political pressure and perhaps can be organized into a defensive force. Their lack of military service, excepting the older generations, will come back to haunt them.

If things get past the inconvenience status this is a losing position though, obvious and static positions are indefensible in the medium or long term.

They should get organized and in shape, both physically and mentally, while they have the means.

Musahi: The definitions are inaccurate. Globally speaking, if paying $7.00 US for a gallon of gasoline is a financial problem for you, you are by no means "well off". In fact, you are struggling big time. Europeans are doing just fine with these prices and higher.

I agree to the extent that if $7.00/gal is a problem one is not well off. I consider myself poor compared to the people I'm talking about and could care less if gas is 10/gal because of choices made a long time ago.

I'm not speculating how things may play out in places other then the US because in my experience people in different places react very differently when confronted with comparable issues and my knowledge is not up to date. Hard to get a feel for things unless one is immersed in them.

What is headed towards these well off people in the US is a unprecedented and compounded tsunami triggered by financial issues.
The canary already died, all you have to do is study city and state general revenue intakes to see the trend in the economy, and this is before any popped bubbles and despite enormous increases in credit card debt.

It is only the top 1 or 2 % that are doing well.

I believe you are generalizing and underestimating suburbanites. Few in my neighborhood have a mortgage or lots of credit card debt, most in my neighborhood are in good shape because they walk, ride bikes, golf, fish, etc., most served in the military, most have weapons and know how to use them, most are used to being without electricty because of frequent hurricanes, most are used to being without safe drinking water because of hurricanes, most are well stocked with food, water, and hurricane provisions, most have generators and a good supply of fuel for them, and most are willing and able to blow anyone to hell that attempts to enter this neighborhood with the intention of taking advantage of us. In addition we have a community watch organization that is effective and coordinates with the local cops. If some wannabe looters wander into our neighborhood and get shot, nothing will be said about it. People have been shot here for attempted looting after hurricanes and nothing is said. No homeowner has been charged in such a case.
If you compare us as a group to the teens and twenties that I see daily...We are in better shape, have more street smart, are far better educated, and have lived through far tougher times, and I would put our ability with weapons as far superior to kids with a 9mms that empty an entire 15 round magazine at a target 25 yards away and doesnt even nick it. Those overweight brats dont even want to venture into this neighborhood.

Then you are one of the lucky ones. We used to have a neighborhood like that during the LA riots. Long time ago.

Sounds like a fortress encampment!

Does the Welcome Wagon plant bombs for the newcomers?

Does the Welcome Wagon plant bombs to greet the newcomers?

Thanks for the responses to my questions. Lots to ponder. No one knows exactly what scenario is going to play out. Maybe the best way to approach it is to think like a planner and model a variety of future scenarios that are tenable.

Maybe the best way to approach it is to think like a planner and model a variety of future scenarios that are tenable.

And plenty of the posters here offer up glimpses into different models.

Sharing instead of rioting? Carpool and rent out rooms? I guess that's basically my take, but... I think everyone overlooks how severe the initial stages of shortages will be in terms of 'demoralization'. Gas lines, empty shelves and roped-off sections at the supermarkets, empty parking lots. After the novelty wears off, even open thoroughfares will feel depressing. Americans are overweight. Out of shape. In debt. And extremely over-medicated as it is. How do depressed people respond to crises? They sleep, they drink, they deny and avoid dealing with their problems at all costs. Have you heard about that phenomena in Japan of young men retreating into their rooms and refusing to come out and engage with the world? Personally, I don't see Jason the Couch Potato morphing into Conan the Barbarian like a lot of people apparently do. They don't call them 'depressions' for nothing. I do agree with you that co-operative networks fueled by a certain degree of altruism will spring up immediately in the wake of the shocks, they may not be everywhere, but the scaffolding for such exist in my community already, and I'm sure they must be widespread. Food banks will be a good way to meet your neighbor, outreach to the vulnerable will be more common, one kindness will beget another. If people really doubt that, well, I just see it in my life every day so I know it works, we really are a more noble people than posters here let on. Reciprocity is universally understood, we can survive economic collapse with our humanity intact, even if a little of our dignity takes a hit

Jason the Couch Potato will be the prey, not the predator.
There are already predators in society, they are just being held in check.

There exists an entire population of pedophile, rapists, drug dealers, gang members and vicious redneck who already victimize people, no morphing will need to occur.

I've had the unpleasant experience of knowing some of them, and their victims.

For an interesting take on this form of depression, "hikikomori", there is a 24 episode Japanese TV series, "NHK ni Youkoso". The main character has not left his apartment in months.

The problem is solved by hunger. Once the slacker loses support, and hasn't eaten for several days, he gets a menial job. This increase in social interaction significantly improves his life.

As starvation kicks in, even jobs in bicycle delivery will be tolerable.

As a side note, I suspect that as Canadians transition to denser city life and start walking more (and thus interacting with others more), we will be forced to solve problems that cars have let us ignore. It is much easier to ignore the homeless if you drive by them than if you need to walk past them every day on the way to work.

Dishonesty about the oil supply is directly proportional to it's importance.

Dave, you've just demonstrated the mathematics of George W. Bush's motivations! Its the calculus of deceit! Lets get Khebab working on refining the model, or Stuart.
Bob Ebersole

Yeah, the whole honesty discussion is nice and all, but we need some perspective here. Corporations have no obligation to be truthful to you, they owe you nothing at all. They do if you're a shareholder, but even then it's limited to providing the highest yield. If that need be achieved by "interpreting" the truth, it's considered good business.

Oil companies today are caught in a trap that was set when laws for incorporation were changed. Most of us know about "corporate personhood", but something else changed too. We used to have strict limitations on corporations: they would be set up for larger scale projects, such as building a bridge. One important limitation was time. The end date would be set in advance.

Now corporations are timeless. And that is what's hurting them, and will kill them too. If their time had that built-in limit, they'd have no need to lie. As it is, though, in order to hold and increase share value, they need to project rosy pictures as far into the future as possible.

Oil companies thus require two things: production (flow) and reserves. They need to produce for today's financial numbers, and they need reseves in the books for tomorrow's numbers. It's that second feature that makes them lie. But do they have a choice?

Admitting to peak oil is equal to destroying share value. That is illegal, they are required by law to maintain that value to their best ability. And so you see individual companies, as well as their spokes puppets Wood Mackenzie and IHS, do what they can to preserve the illusion.

And yes, it gets ridiculous. Earlier this week there was the example of Petro Canada "sinking" [sic] $33.4 billion into Alberta tar sands, for a project with a hoped-for production of 280k bpd. At $10 profit per barrel, they'd make $1 billion a year, and it would 33.4 years just to get back the investment. Now I'm real simple, but that is insane.

As you well know Dave, you wrote great pieces on the tarsands' upcoming problems, there is no guarantee whatsoever they'll ever make that investment back, or will make that $10 per barrel.

So why do they do it? Simple: get reserves in the books. Without those, shares would drop like so many sinking stones. Even if oil prices rise ten-fold, that would make no difference. The corporation needs to project a "timeless future", not high profits for a few years and nothing after.

It's no use expecting them to come out of the closet, they are the proverbial deer caught in the headlight, completely paralyzed and with nowhere to go.

They'll use any little uncertainty (thus avoiding the outright lie), and those will be there even after it's clear the peak has long come and gone. This is an industry in utter despair, caught between reality and economic laws. They stare into the light, and they can't move.

Fly, when I make observations here, I usually do not provide my private interpretation of what they signify. It is enough to expose the deceitfulness without exploring motives. One could speculate endlessly about what is (and is not) going on in the minds of those corporations who publish this Cornucopian nonsense.

The green future of the automobile:


Only joking i'ts actually used to power the lights:-)

Change happens

It’s the economy!

I understand the intricacies of the mortgage, lending, leveraging aspects of this issue as well as most anyone, (I probably read way too much).

Ultimately it comes down to the ability to pay the payments (and the insurance, maintenance, utilities, etc.). Nobody, no matter how irresponsible you believe they are, wants to loose their property.

I have a large circle of friends and family spread out around the country, (and the world for that matter) and except for a very few “lucky” ones nobody is doing gang busters financially. No one is increasing their income above inflation, most have taken a hit in income for a variety of reasons all of which boil down to the slowing (tanking) ECONOMY.

I have been reading for over a year now how the gov generated statistics are massaged, recalibrated, adjusted, estimated up/down, then a sound bite is circulated through the MSM stating “Strong, stronger, soaring, solid, robust, better than expected”, etc.

Later, in the dark of night, on a Friday or on a pre-holiday afternoon a small blurb comes out buried under the fold stating figures are adjusted down, occasionally by as much as 95%.

Now I understand the psychology of this. It’s easy to see the rational for this strategy. No one wants to create panic. It also has the benefit of reducing demand without creating the public outcry.

However if you don’t provide the public with real and accurate info how can you expect them to make proper decisions. Economic as well as Energy.

There is nothing positive within the “fundamentals” of the US economy. We are being lead to the edge of the cliff. This is not simply a “business cycle down turn” as there is little or nothing in the pipeline to fuel the upside. If any want to lay out a realistic scenario that refutes this I would love to hear it.

Sorry if this is sounding doomerish but I have been obsessively researching the issues for long enough now that I can pull back and see the forest, actually it’s more like a satellite view as a good part of the world is in the same or worse shape.

I also do not believe that there is a best plan for after TSHTF, although I understand the need to do SOMETHING. I think the best thing we can do is be mentally, spiritually (whatever that may mean), and physically prepared for CHANGE. You may spend a huge amount of time and effort with specific preparations then be devastated if things don’t unwind as planned.

Change Happens. Get used to it.

This insistence on keeping things business as usual in the face of pending downturn makes me think of an airplane analogy where a pilot who is cruising a few hundred feet from the ground when the engine dies attempts to hold the altitude by pulling further and further back on the stick, eventually slowing to the point the wings stall and the plane plummets to the ground. The opposite of that would be upon having the engine die, to enter "best glide" (lowest sustainable sink rate) and find a place to land.

Substrate: In terms of the US economy, a better analogy would be a large jetliner. The engine has died, the jetliner is gliding, the pilots have told the passengers to enjoy the movie, refreshments are flowing, there is absolutely no plan in place to land the plane (the landing gear was actually sold to raise a few bucks prior to liftoff), the pilots have advanced parachute safety mechanisms in place which they have been quietly and efficiently working on for quite some time. Once in a while a passenger that is not yet intoxicated points out the obvious signs of the pilots working on plans to abandon the aircraft (he is quickly shouted down by the other passengers who label him a conspiracy nut).

But a passenger able to think outside of the box isn't going to waste his time arguing, he is going to do the one thing they don't expect. Go for a pilot, take his chute and bail before the sheep wake up. What's the other pilot going to do? Argue about it? LOL.

he won't get that far. the designated air marshal or the other passengers will shoot him thinking he is a terrorist.

Yes, that one has killed many pilots - especially glider pilots. It is a case of fear taking over and short circuiting higher thought processes. Fear and panic kills by leading to illogical, stupid decisions and actions - something you never want to happen when you are in the air and the ground is getting closer.

When I was undergoing flight training, I was taught to always anticipate possible scenarios and likely outcomes in the near future, i.e. to think ahead as a habit of thought. This way, one can preempt fear and panic by having a suitable response ready if "it" actually happens.

Given the implications of peak oil, we (society) should be making plans NOW for various possible power-down scenarios so wise choices will be made if TSHTF. I truly fear for the future of my kids if we let fear and its dangerous knee-jerk reactions rule our response because this could likely lead to more war and degeneration into an authoritarian police-state as unrest grows due to energy shortages and economic hardship. Lets not forget that general levels of fear, panic and hardship offers a perfect environment for unscrupulous political con men to usurp power for their own malevolent ends. The Constitution of the United States should be protected at all costs in the troubled times ahead as it will be our best defense against the siren songs of such cons and the descent toward tyranny their success would represent.

It's more like the economy already went over the cliff and is now spinning and trying to gain traction in thin air like the road runner.

We have to wait and see, maybe they can crash it sector by sector and prevent an outright revolution, or manufacture another event blame can be laid upon.

Correction. The Road Runner doesn't go off the cliff. It's the coyote. Beep. Beep.

No, our US economy is like Acme Mfg -- lots of rediculous stuff, all of it counterproductive, ultimately blowing up in our face

Hello TODers,

Business vs labor negotiations in the free market:

US coal firm linked to Colombia militias
Won't it be fun when things Really Get Desperate? I wonder when our coal-powered computers/laptops will start auto-generating puddles of fresh red blood across our desks? =(

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

Bakken Oil Shale

In Montana there is the Bakken Oil Shale of the Williston Basin. In the Bakken formation is a thin tight siltstone unit with poor permiability. Years ago it was known that you might get some production from the formation, but the production flow dropped rapidly and the area was proven to be non-commercial. About 2000 someone tried horizontal drilling in the formation and a hydrofrac to stimulate flow. Today a small part of the Bakken produces more than 50,000 barrels per day.

Funny, I was just now rereading Deffeye's Hubbert's Peak and began to wonder if horizontal drilling + hydrofarc in mountainous parts of the world would work. Might keep all those F150s going for a while, doing 90 on the Interstate. How complex are those techs, though? Could they be built locally?

To put that 50,000 bbls a day in perspective, thats about 5/2000ths of the US consumption. Devonian shales are a great potential resource, but we're not gonna drill our way out of this.
Bob Ebersole

To put that 50,000 bbls a day in perspective, thats about 5/2000ths of the US consumption. Devonian shales are a great potential resource, but we're not gonna drill our way out of this.
Bob Ebersole

Wasn't suggesting it would, merely that it might be handy for Montana down the road.

First I have seen mention of that play on this site. I happen to have a few shares of a small co. (symbol NVMG) that has leases up there. They are friendly with the native-americans. Very speculative play, very nice potential % gain. Sitting on the bottom of the chart, basing. Should make next move soon.
% moves much better than the majors, but however, can't throw as much money at it, details, details...

The Devonian-Mississippian shales are pretty hot right now. Exxon-Mobil, Shell, BP all have big plays in them . Woodford-Barnett is what its called in West Texas, Woodford in Oklahoma, Barnett in the Newark Field, thats the one under Ft. Worth., Fayetteville shale in Arkansas, and I'm not sure under the Appalachian Mountains but I've heard its being played. In Texas they're producing mostly gas, but there's some oil NW of Ft. Worth. Devon, XTO and Anadarko all have great positions in these plays.
I think some of the royalty trusts make sense as an investment. They have excellent rates of return-mostly around 7 or 8%, known reserves, and since they are a natural resource ownership, they're inflation protected. Check out Louisiana Land and Exploration Royalty Trust, Hugoton Royalty Trust, Permian Basin Royalty Trust. They're commodity plays, but don't have commodity futures risks.
Bob Ebersole

i had a few shares of phx, panhandle royalty. they have acerage over a lot of the areas you mention. and as the name suggests, they were primarily collecting royalties. i sold my shares when they changed their name to panhandle oil and gas and started investing in the wells being drilled on their acerage. i made a few $$$ on it but the "investment" community didnt agree with me, the stock has taken off since.

Oops, sorry, should have been specific. Was talking about the Bakken up in Montana. Was originally bypassed by the majors due to low production per well using virtical drilling. One of the few decent sized conventional oil basins left in U.S. where all the oil was left in place by the majors.

Now being developed with horizontal drilling and providing nice crude to the Mandan refinery (ex-Amoco refinery, lol). Marathon maybe the biggest player there now.

NVMG is just a very speculative little pink sheet co. that is still awaiting delivery of their first owned rig. They should get the first of 2 rigs this summer. Chart does look ready again now also.

Only major I am in right now is Chevron. I think they may be being more honest with themselves than most others. To wit, they sold 400,000 bpd refinery in Europe a few weeks ago. I think they foresee crude supply problems for that one in near future, hehe. Man, who would buy a refinery in Europe right now? Better make your return fast... Russian supply line is tenuous at best looking down the road.

Still holding RIG. Should be good for a while yet. In from low 20s so have a very good cushion at this point, hehe.

I do prefer individual equities at this point. One reason mainly- they are trade-able on an instant basis. I can get in and out in seconds when need be.

I had tried oil futures in a small way back in the 80s and got my butt handed to me. Different situation now in a big way, easier to play with the right mind-set, but still leery, sigh.

This whole thing is unfolding in slow motion, very hard for me to estimate time-lines.

I do think that this April and May was a huge indicator.

The Bush double speech thing where his time-line gets moved up 2 years in just 2 weeks, lol. He even looked and sounded desperate. Then the 'refinery problems' gasoline price surge.

And a thousand other 'soft' data points. I think it may add up to the beginning of the dip off the plateau.

Re: The NPC story at the head of this Drumbeat:

First, I need to make a correction of a post I did a couple of days ago regarding the upcoming NPC Report and the Panel that created it.

At that time I said that Matthew Simmons was not on the panel and expressed being somewhat surprised at his being absent. That was apparently an error. I had used a list of panel contributors from the NPC website. Either the list was not all inclusive, or I just somehow missed his name. My apology for the error.

In bits and pieces the reports conclusions are starting to leak out, and it looks as though it is going to be yet one more massive disappointment to the "doomers" and view the energy problem in terms of access, geo-politics, and logistics, not as a geological lack of resource, what I call the Christophe de Margerie model (after the Total Oil Chief who pronounced "120 million barrels a day...never."

Of course, from the perspective of the consuming nations, it matters little...6 of one or a half dozen of another. We still have to massively reduce fossil fuel consumption. But if the "logistical peak", or as many here now say, the flow and not the reserves are what matters, then of course the HL method is completely irrelevent to the discussion, based as it is on total quantity and the halfway point from total quantity. We are talking about "above ground issues, not below ground, so that 8/10ths of the oil could still be out there, it wouldn't matter, we simply have lost the ability to "flow it" (much different that the Texas model, where all the technology and money and labor was available but the oil just was not there in enough volume.

I will withhold judgement on the NPC Report until it is published. But, to the policy making folks, this is pretty much the last shoe to fall. The NPC, the GAO, the USGS, the EIA and IEA, ExxonMobil, Shell, the API, and OPEC and of course the handpicked "experts" at CERA seem to be presenting a solid wall (with some tiny gaps, but mostly detail stuff). They may all be wrong, but my bet is, the public will not think so.


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

In bits and pieces the reports conclusions are starting to leak out, and it looks as though it is going to be yet one more massive disappointment to the "doomers"

Nah. The doomers were no doubt expecting it. Everyone probably was. This is the NPC, not the GAO.

If anyone's disappointed, it's the moderates, who think we can find solutions if we start immediately and put a lot of money and effort in.

This report pretty much says we're not going to do that.

There are a couple of quotes from that story, which, taken together, show that the report will be worthless (if they accurately represent what will be in the report).

The world is not running out of crude oil and natural gas

The group calls for "a new assessment of the global oil and natural gas endowment and resources to provide more current data for the continuing debate."

So, on the one hand, the NPC is saying that the data are poor and, on the other hand, they are saying they know enough to concluded absolutely that the world is not running out of oil.

This is garbage.

Matthew Simmons's observation demands an answer; that current fields will be producing not much more than a quarter of current production, within 25 years, so where will the extra production come from to boost production to the projected 120 mbpd?

There will be pontification by "experts",soothing words for the masses, Matt Simmons work carefully trashed,as well as anyone who is not of the cornicopia crowd treated like trailer trash at a wine tasteing{carefully humiliated and dismissed}.

I am now at the point of discussing peak with good freinds,and on the net,But so much flat-out propaganda is starting to show up that I refuse to lisen to mis-informed,soon to be former middle-class fans of rush and hannity,and all the others squawk about gas prices.From their hummer.

You are going to see CERA,and every other mouth at full volumn,until the administration plays the"peak"card.Thats when all the new powers the pres has, gets tried out

Peak Oil.

Thats what the folks in power will use to ,as a excuse to remain in power.

Thats the emergency they could use.Fuel shortages that are hushed up now will be front page news...and all the fuel shortages we have been doumenting,the road kill that is starting as demand-destruction in small,poor countries,this will be the new, 24-7 faux news special....must secure"our" oil...Terrorist Have Our Fuel!!!

There I go again,scareing myself...

"Doomers" disappointed? Where do you come off with these conclusions?

They may all be wrong, but my bet is, the public will not think so.

But there is this little quote of your own, Roger. Come on, go the next step or is that not possible for you? What if they are wrong but the public believes them? The public largely believed George Bush before the invasion of Iraq. The public bought the story behind the Gulf of Tonkin until classified government documents shredded that about 10 years ago. The public accepts lots of things but that does not make them true. So what if the public is wrong this time too? Just what if, Roger?

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

GreyZone, asked, "Just what if, Roger?" O.k., remember, you asked...

""Doomers" disappointed? Where do you come off with these conclusions?"

In one way, your correct. There are some who do not mind the idea of the collapse of modern technical culture (what I have called the "deep greens", and others call the Green Anarchists. These folks will enjoy the NPC Report if it soft peddles the crisis to the point that it helps delay any attempt at mitigation. The more misled the modern technical culture is, the more likely it is to crash like a sack of shiit, which is the deep greens ultimate goal.

I was referring to those who see the "peak" and post peak oil situation as a bad thing. Surely, they must have hoped (if we assume they are sane) for an honest appraisal that would have supported their position, not only from the NPC, but from any official and well regarded source. Then they would be able to at least find a source..."per the NPC Report", etc. It is looking like no true doomer or convinced peaker is going to be able to source the NPC Report for much if the leaks we are hearing are true.

I do not want to prejudge the NPC Report. It may offer up some astounding and useful information. But, the "pre-release" buzz is interesting to say the least. Besides the remarks of Simmons, the other major commentary on the world oil situation by a key contributor to the NPC was quoted at TOD Europe the other day, under the heading,"Without Iraqi Oil, we'll be in deep trouble by 2015"

This view came from Fatih Birol, International Energy Agency (IEA) chief economist. Birol has the advantage (in this case) of not being an American, so he brings a worldview to the situation. He is also fresh off his duties as a major contributor to the NPC Report. It will be interesting to see if the NPC Report reflects Mr. Birol's views in any real sense, or whether the reason that Birol made his remarks in the French daily Le Monde is exactly because he knew that his views would NOT be published in the NPC Report, but he felt them to be important enough to deserve an audience and further discussion.

To your other point,
"The public accepts lots of things but that does not make them true. So what if the public is wrong this time too? Just what if, Roger?"

Exactly. But of course, my point was that if they do accept the combined force of all the major "authoritative" reports and sources, then the goals of the "peak" community become almost impossible without a major effort. Where do I get my ideas of the goals of the Peak Community. Again, I will turn to TOD sourcing:


This was The TOD post heralding the "Sixth Annual ASPO Conference – Cork, Ireland". In a clever green, yellow, red banner is the title of the conference,
"Time to React?", explained in the text of the post thusly:

"The title, “Time to React”, was chosen because it resonates on two levels, the most obvious is designed to target the mainstream public for whom the concept is still quite new and generally poorly understood. The second is for the more seasoned student of Peak Oil where the focus of attention is moving from trying to predict when peak might occur to the realization that the range of possible dates is finite and even the most optimistic forecasts suggest that our modern society faces a truly significant challenge in dealing with the phenomenon of Peak Oil."

The title of the ASPO-USA 2007 Houston World Oil Conference
is also interesting:
“Houston ... we have an Opportunity: Smart Steps for Another Giant Leap.”
Whoa! That sounds almost like optimism! The explanation of the theme is given as "We adapt our Conference theme from the historic words transmitted by U.S. astronauts from space to Mission Control in Houston."
Now the words of the astronaut in question were the well known, "Houston, we have a problem." Obviously, these words would be, to a devoted "doomer" much more fitting the current situation regarding peak oil than "Houston, we have an opportunity." helll, that sounds like something I would say! :-O
It seems like the ASPO-USA has softened the doom stance considerably, and is certainly showing none of the "well, the die off will actually be a good thing..." sort of weirdness. Try to picture the words, "We have an opportunity for a giant leap through smart steps" coming out of the mouth of James Howard Kunstler! One rolls on the floor thinking about it! :-)

By the way, the ASPO-USA has a far stronger speaker list than the above mentioned ASPO Conference international in Cork, which even fans and insiders have to admit is very weak on speakers this year.

My point: if we ask the question the international ASPO asks, "Time to React" of:

CERA...."react to what?, the market's working fine.
IEA..."well, not really, except these geo-political issues."
EIA..."well, change is o.k., but oil, gas, electricity and coal are going to cost about what they do now in 25 years per us..."
USGS...."we will react when we are about half through the oil, right now, we figure we are barely a fourth way through it."
Hoffmiester, roady for Shell oil..."I would make the case that we will never run out of oil...it's all about access."
ExxonMobil: "No peak in sight from here."
API (American Petroleum Institute) in blog conference call: The Peak, if there is to be a peak, would come after 2040...
OPEC: We can supply the world at current rates, (or up to 20 mbd, depending on who's talking) for 40 years.
The much awaited GAO Report: "There could be a peak, maybe soon, maybe not...there are many views...if there is, we are not ready...we need a plan."
NPC: ?????

Now if one sees that the Peak aware movement hopes, to quote the ASPO, Cork message " to target the mainstream public for whom the concept is still quite new and generally poorly understood.", then EVEN IF ALL THE ABOVE SOURCES ARE WRONG, the Peak Aware Movement has a very, very hard road ahead. And the ASPO is the one saying "target the mainstream public."

My quote, which seemed to rub you, GreyZone, so very badly was "They may all be wrong, but my bet is, the public will not think so.", referring to the wall of "time to react? Naw, not really, and not yet..." sources I have quoted above remains the same, and my concern remains the same:

I have said from day one that my first goal, for a huge variety of reasons, is the reduction of fossil fuel consumption in a humane way. I have a small web group of my own that has this as mission statement. If, and we don't know yet, but IF the NPC contributes to the "react, naw, not yet" movement, then it has done grave damage to the cause that is at the core of what I hope, work and write for...reduction of fossil fuel use, humanely. Frankly, GreyZone, and I do not say this unkindly, what you hope for I have NO earthly idea.

But, if the NPC Report does what the GAO Report, the EIA outlook to 2030 report, the API "FuelingTomorrow" campaign has done, it will be worse than useless in that it will contribute to the "problem, what problem" attitude of the American people. This is why the public being wrong in believing these types of soft sells could reduce our chance of making changes in time. The changes can be made. The technology is there. The money is there. The so called "peak oil" problem is NOT a problem of technology, physics or science.

If we cause the nation and the world pain because we misinformed the public, willfully, and gave them what looked like the easy way out (which is really the path to continued slavery) because the cornucopians sold "oil for eternity" and the doomers sold them "there is no way out", then we have ourselves to blame.

If, as their own banners claim, the ASPO and ASPO-USA are hoping for an effort "designed to target the mainstream public" to use their own words, compared to the wall I shown above, THEY ARE FAILING MISERABLY. Now if they don't care what the public thinks, then fine, admit it. If they do care what the public thinks, admit that CERA, EIA, IEA, USGS, Shell, Exxon, OPEC, API and now possibly the NPC are beating the shiit out of them right now.

I hope for the kind of straight up honesty the NPC provided in 2003 concerning natural gas. That report is still being used as a warning to persuade people that the natural gas crisis is real and must be faced. Alternative energy industries have used the NPC natural gas report to sway bankers and investors. It was that strong. The NPC has had, despite it's industry connections, a long history of being frank and independent. Let us hope it is this time.

I for one will face a bit of a crisis if the NPC does not see clearly some serious problems in the supply/demand balance regarding oil in the coming years. I do like their phrase "accumulating risk", it is an apt one to me. But if the NPC can mount good evidence, and makes the argument that we are not in danger of supply crisis in the near future, I will have to take it seriously. I will not be able to simply dismiss it.

I am sure that many energy aware people will fell the same way.

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

Where do I get my ideas of the goals of the Peak Community.

But they aren't doomers. If they were, they wouldn't waste their time doing what they're doing.

Roger, you seem to misunderstand many "doomers" then.

1. I do not wish to see society collapse.
2. I do not see sufficient action taking place now.
3. Major institutions within our society have convinced themselves that this is either not a crisis or not yet a crisis.

The net result of the above is that society may not react in time.

As for taking the NPC seriously, did you always take every Exxon climate change study seriously when they tried to debunk climate change? And yet Exxon left their debunkers high and dry recently when they claimed they have never doubted climate change despite spending millions in an effort to debunk it.

Not all studies are worthy of consideration. Just because a major institution does a study or comes to a conclusion, does not mean they are correct. The church declared Galileo wrong but that did not make the church right. Our modern "church" of infinite growth economics wants to declare all resource constraints as false. They are clearly just as wrong.

There are many paths into the future. Even major greens like Dr. James Lovelock recognize that 6.5 billion people are not going to get through what is coming without a large share of nuclear power. We're also not going to get through the resource problems looming without seriously reorganizing our lifestyles. These are huge changes that the existing institutions in our society will likely fight, if history is any guide.

I am a doomer not because I want collapse but because our society seems hellbent on pursuing what seems to me to be a path towards collapse. In my opinion, we need a crash program, worldwide, to migrate off fossil fuels as fast as possible. We need far more solar power plants, wind power plants, nuclear power plants, electrified transportation (at all stages possible), etc., and this is just to address one single resource problem - fossil fuels. This does not even begin to address soil erosion, aquifer depletion, and a host of other issues that also need attention.

Peak oil is not occurring in a vacuum. It is happening at the same time as we are badly depleting good farmland, depleting water tables, causing large decreases in biodiversity, badly polluting the environment, etc. And this is not just the US but globally, especially right now in Asia but really all over the world. Every single one of these issues appears to me to have a technical solution but we are not collectively adopting those solutions. On the issue of water, for instance, we can vastly increase our capture of surface rain water and our recycling of existing water. We can reduce the volume of water we use for sewage. (In fact, we are one of the few species that actively craps in its water supply. Go figure.)

The conclusion, to me, seems inescapable. Others will disagree but this is my opinion. In short, you misread many doomers, who do not want collapse but who see collapse as nearly inevitable due to cultural factors. We are not disappointed by the NPC report because we knew what to expect given who chaired it. There was zero chance that Lee Raymond would ever allow a report to go forward that said anything that implied there are limits to fossil fuels.

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

GreyZone, you said,
1. I do not wish to see society collapse.
2. I do not see sufficient action taking place now.
3. Major institutions within our society have convinced themselves that this is either not a crisis or not yet a crisis.

The net result of the above is that society may not react in time.

EXACTLY CORRECT. I am in full agreement with you, you just said it with more brevity than I ever manage! :-)

You said, "There are many paths into the future."
Exactly correct.

You said,
"I am a doomer not because I want collapse but because our society seems hellbent on pursuing what seems to me to be a path towards collapse. In my opinion, we need a crash program, worldwide, to migrate off fossil fuels as fast as possible. We need far more solar power plants, wind power plants, nuclear power plants, electrified transportation (at all stages possible), etc., and this is just to address one single resource problem - fossil fuels."

EXACTLY CORRECT. I do not know as much about population control, depleting good farmland, depleting water tables, and several of the other issues you mention as I think I know about fossil fuel consumption and energy issues (note the caveat, "think I know" :-) I agree that all of these are critical issues, but I was raised in a mechanics home, and began experimenting and studying energy and alternative energy as a school kid in the mid 1970's. So I feel I have the best chance of contributing (and frankly, making some money) there. Everyone has their specialty, their chosen love.

"...to migrate off fossil fuels as fast as possible." is to me EXACTLY the correct goal. I have said before "demand destruction will HAVE to occur. The goal is to make it humane. Energy supply growth will HAVE to occur, but it does not have to be fossil fuel consumption growth. In fact, it cannot be.

In the case of the NPC Report, I feel somewhat like Robert Rapier did after the API chief said loosely quoting, "peak, if ever, sometime after 2040"

Robert was amazed that experts in the energy business and in the acadamic community can come to such wildly different conclusions, and seem to be absolutely sincere in their views. You can tell that he was almost baffled by this, that he had a certain amount of regard and respect for the API and what they said, but was left completely put off by their view of the situation.

This is how I feel about the NPC. It is my view (and I think it can be supported) that the Council has been more often right than wrong and has been honest in it's appraisals over time. It also has a strong history, going back to the days of WWII. My view was that if the NPC says something, in writing, after careful study, they are either (a) usually right or (b) they must have something big to be afraid of in telling the truth. That they are ignorant does not occur to me as a viable option. If the NPC is hiding a truth they know, or "soft peddling" what they know on such a crucial issue, I would take that as a very worrisome sign. In fact, outright scary.

you said,
"There was zero chance that Lee Raymond would ever allow a report to go forward that said anything that implied there are limits to fossil fuels."

If this is true, it makes Lee Raymond much more powerful than I had assumed him to be. Frankly, that would also be very worrisome.

I am still taking my former position, that fossil fuel reduction of 10% plus per year is the safe bet. I have not used air conditioning yet this year. About three years ago, I went from a vehicle that got about 18 miles per gallon to one that gets over 30 miles per gallon on Diesel.
Financially, I have reduced debt and costs to see to it that I could afford approximately $8.00 per gallon Diesel fuel and still maintain my employment. As my Diesel Benz ages out, I am researching Diesel cars that will get near or over 50 miles per gallon.

Of course, my old loves of wind and solar, combined with propane and methane recapture as storable backup and "peak" shaver are still my chosen options into the future for both home and business, followed closely by plug hybrid and electric cars. The choices listed are to me are the "confluence" points that show us the way to a future energy industry.

We'll see. And again, we have not seen the NPC Report yet. Let us hope for a better report than we seem to expect!

Thanks for an interesting and challenging discussion, and now, to our goal, four words, agreed?
Fossil fuel reduction, humanely.

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

The public largely believed George Bush before the invasion of Iraq.

Oh, I think there was a not of not believing - but "the public" did not feel they had a skin in the game.

They were not gonna see higher taxes (borrow and spend) and no draft.

Over on Metafilter - they covered the forgery of the yellowcake documents within 10 days of the public release - long before the military action took place. Plenty of people 'knew' - if they cared to become involved.

The majority didn't care. (Introduces the numbers who actually vote)

Eric, it is worse than that. Joe Sixpack typically believes what he sees on the teevee. If we had real journalists all over this at the time, I doubt the war would have been able to proceed. Most of the things that have gone wrong are a result of the mass media setting the narrative, or in this case, NOT doing so, i.e. being mere stenographers for the neocons and Bush Administration.

For a specific example, you just have to look at the collusion between Tim Russert (Meet the Press), Judith Miller (NY Times) offering cover for official lies and propaganda. The Administration (Cheney's office, IIRC) plants propaganda about WMD, Judith Miller prints it in the times (Saddams "aluminum tubes" and nuclear amibitions), then Cheney goes on MTP the same day citing the NY Times as proof of the veracity of their convictions about Saddam and WMD! Then we have Condi and other admin officials all repeating, repeating, repeating the same line (remember the "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud"). Like magic, it then becomes "truth". All lies... courtesy of a co-opted media complex working hand in glove with corrupt officials.

Concentration of media ownership, media that can knowingly spread lies without consequence, false "balance" that gives equal weight to a lie as it does the truth. In short, a corporate media that functions more as a propaganda machine in service of powerful interests rather than a vehicle for Truth, the lifeblood of Democracy.

The media and their power to shape what is assumed to be truth by the masses is the true enemy in these political battles. This includes the battle to have honest discussions about our future and to make the right choices in an increasingly energy-scarce world that is warming up.

Hubbert wasn't wrong, the NPC is including hard rock resources-kerogen and bitumen as oil reserves, when they can only be turned into synthetic crude with huge amounts of capital. Next, they'll include coal because it can be used as a syncrude source too. Its a form of intellectual dishonesty, because they are not telling people that they need to conserve, all these additional tar sands and oil shales are going to cost a huge amount more to produce and consume.
The Texas model is exactly the same. Around 80% of the original oil in place is still there, but we wasted the reservoir pressures through overproduction so it can't be extracted at a fast pace. The Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas, published a report about 1978 or 1979 "Potential for Additional Oil Recovery in Texas", its still available from their website that details the situation in Texas.
I think we are going to have to redevelop the old fields. Most of the wells were plugged, and the casing removed, but they could be redrilled and produced with modern techniques and make at least another 10% on the abandoned field's overall production. It will be more profitable than oil shale or tar sands, but nothing like the old days of 100 to 1 ROI.

Bob Ebersole

When will the hydrocarbon seas of Titan count as somebody's "resource base'?

double post removed

Anyone catch GM's launch of their fabulous new hybrid car?

It's a 2008 Chevy Malibu. Has a 2.4 liter engine. Gets 24mpg city, 32mpg highway.

The current year 2007 non-hybrid Malibu equipped with a 2.2 liter engine gets 24mpg city and 34mpg highway.

In fairness, epa mileage calculation methods have changed for 2008, but the GM car is a total sucker anyway with that new ever-fatter engine.

US think = it gets to wear alternative fuel plates, use the HOV lanes and qualifies for tax subsidies = what a deal.

You forgot the other likelihood:  low sales will be used to "prove" that American drivers don't want hybrid cars.

Except they cannot deny the success of the Prius and heck, even of the Ford Escape. Lots of people at work are not peak oil aware but talk about the GM situation and their conclusion is almost universally that they are not making what people want. GM can say whatever they want but it won't change the consumer's mind as long as fuel prices continue to climb.

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

They can say "Yeah, but those are foreign car buyers.  People who buy American cars don't want that."  That would be consistent with past behavior.

This will convince some die-hard GM fans, but it will also accelerate the flow of market share to Toyota and Honda.  I am waiting for GM (or Ford, or Chrysler) to find the courage to say, "We need to develop cars and trucks which get a minimum of X improvement on today's fuel economy while delivering what Americans want.  This is going to cost $Y, which we do not have and cannot get if our UAW contracts do not cut our costs to the same level as our competition.  If we do not get relief from these costs, there will be no contract because there will be no company."

The problem isn't with the car makers but with the consumers.

Toyota makes a heck of a lot of money off of land cruisers and other SUV's. But you never ever see them on the road here in Japan.

Also GM makes smaller fuel effecient vehicles for sale in foreign markets but don't even bother to market these vehicles in the US.

"Also GM makes smaller fuel efficient vehicles for sale in foreign markets but don't even bother to market these vehicles in the US."

Which is incredibly stupid. Case in point, the Ford Focus was in Europe long before it made it to the US and when someone finally decided to bring it to the US it took off like gangbusters. There's some other Ford model that's not sold in the US (Mondeo?) that I see mentioned constantly in auto magazines where they all wonder why it's not being sold in the US.

I am told that the Ford Focus in the US is not even the same vehicle as the Focus in Europe which is supposedly a far superior vehicle too. It's insane, which is why my next vehicle will be foreign built.

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

Twenty or thirty years ago my Dad would come back from business trips in Germany raving about how snazzy the Ford Escorts were over there.

Interesting strategy:

My light bulb moment arrived via an email from an editor/writer with an enormous and well-deserved reputation in the automotive press. After praising the site, he drilled down to what made it unique: you. TTAC’s commentators’ literacy, insight and expertise blew him away.

After nursing my bruised ego, I gave his analysis some serious thought. And of course he’s right. We’re not TTAC. You are. Sure our writers’ in-yer-face prose is stimulating stuff. And yes our Draconian posting policy creates a safe haven for vigorous yet respectful debate. But your comments are what set TTAC apart from all the other automotive websites. We would be an empty shell without you.

And that means YOU are our future. So here’s what we’re going to do…

My team and I are going to turn TTAC into a social networking site.


I can't quite understand why God would only put a hundred and fifty years worth of oil in the ground, unless He knew that any more would seriously impact the planet's HVAC system. Besides which, what with the End Times and all, there wasn't really any need for all that much anyway, I suppose.

Geologians, theologians and geotheologians.

As Woody Allen said about god: "...he is an underachiever"

"If there is a god, I think most reasonable people would agree that he's at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn't give a sh!t." -- George Carlin

Hmmm...Why did God only put in 150 year of oil in the ground? Perhaps it was a test of humanity's capacity for Greed vs. Altruism.

Sir Fred Hoyle...This is a one shot deal...if humans cant get it done in 200 years, its all over...

I found that concept intriguing when I first came across it, but even if we hadn't already invented technologies that don't require fossil fuels, I still wouldn't buy it.
If there never had been any fossil fuels, we would probably still be largely reliant on wind/tidal power, burning wood/peat to run steam-powered machinery, passive (and maybe concentrated) solar power, and perhaps alcohol-fuelled combustion engines. It might be another 1000 years before we invented nuclear power (after all, think what it took for that to become a reality).
So at best, fossil fuels have boosted the pace of technological development by an order of magnitude. But I don't see that they gave us the ability to do anything we couldn't have figured out eventually anyway.
As it is, we now have nuclear power, PV, and other advanced renewable forms of energy, and understand sufficient physics and chemistry to enable production of most modern materials without FF (at significantly higher expense of course). So even if all the FF disappeared tomorrow, after several decades of (unthinkable) mayhem, providing every last engineering manual and scientific textbook/journal hadn't been burned, we'd have enough renmants of knowledge and expertise to be better placed technology-wise that we were before FF began to be widely exploited. The human brain would still work the same way, and so progress would continue.

Wiz, a look at early development of the lands around the Med is a pretty good guide to development with little FF available. Personally, I see nothing wrong with the way people got on in those regions. Trade flourished with sail, wars went on as usual, empires rose and fell, gods came and went with whims, but the best result is that populations were limited by disease, wars, and lack of FF and the machinery to produce cereal grains on a large scale. The limitation of population insured that food from the land and sea stayed in balance...or, vice versa if you wish. The real problem that was created by explotitation of FF was the explosion of world population.
http://volcano.und.edu/vwdocs/volc_images/southeast_asia/indonesia/toba.... About 75-80 thousand years ago there was a large die off of humans, probably caused by the super volcanic eruption of Toba. This eruption is believed to be the largest in the last two million years. Estimated population of the earth at the time was about three million people and after the die off less than ten thousand were left. Since that time the population has balooned to 6 1/2 billion people, most of the increase due to FF. I have no problem with the concept of a population of three million humans living in harmony with the earth. Only the fit survived and that was a good thing. The population of three million had plenty to eat and lots of spare time to produce jewelry, art, flint tools and weapons, and probably didnt sit in traffic waiting to get to a job that they hated. Instead they could spend their time swapping lies and talking with their kids around the campfire. They didnt have a long life expectancy but so what? Who wants to end up in a nursing home? If the end of FF means returning to a population of three million then that no longer have the means to destroy the earth then so be it.

I've no doubt that FF have contributed significantly to the growth of the world's population - without the green revolution, it probably would have stabilised at about half what it is now. But that's 3 *billion* - not million. Not sure what makes you think FF had much to do with the growth from 3 million to 3 billion (hint: global pop was ~500 million in 1500). And of course, much of the growth in population in the C20th was due to improvements in medicine, esp. antibiotics, and the effect they had on death rates. Those improvements are only very indirectly dependent on FF, in the sense that without the economic wealth they gave us, being able to fund the research necessary to make those breakthroughs would have been significantly more difficult.

As far as "only the fit surviving" being a "good thing", that's nothing more than an ideology that has no basis in any logic, reasoning or evolutionary science. Human beings HAVE dominated the planet to the extent they have exactly because they have proven extremely "fit" at surviving. All the artificial means of support we've invented for ourselves are ultimately an expression of our genetic makeup, in the same way a spider web is a expression of the genetic makeup of a spider. It's only because we're blessed with a certain amount of foresight and capability for abstract thought that we (well, some of us anyway) can see that significant aspects of the support system we've built have a limited future. If we use that foresight and ability for abstract thought well, we'll be able to adapt our support systems in a way that gives us a decent longer term future. If we don't, we'll undoubtably suffer for it. At worst, the 4-billion-year-old evolutionary experiment will go on without us.

Without FF the earth will support about 2 billion humans IF climate conditions remain benign as they have for the last 12,000 years and if food distribution is fair and efficient. With a fluctuating climate the number will be less, no one knows how much less.
All of the medical 'breakthroughs' that you pointed out are definitely true, but who made these breakthroughs? A few brilliant men, and for every one of those brilliant men there are thousands of brain dead couch potatoes that have not nor ever will contribute anything to the advancement of science the arts or any other field. They are useless except as consumers to contribute to the ever expanding explotation of the earths resources. The 'artificial means of support' that you speak of is about to be stripped away and the fitest will survive. Politicians want larger populations so that they have a larger tax base and expanding economy in a world of finite resources, realtors want larger populations so that they can sell more houses, merchants want larger populations so that they can sell more junk. Churches want larger populations so that they can have more parishioners, but when push comes to shove there is no reason for brain dead people to be around using up resources. They are not contributing anything but they are using up resources and therefore, damaging the earth. When people struggled to survive the useless were weeded out quickly by fierce competition, wars, genetic defeciency, birth defects, saber tooth tigers, or just plain bad luck, but now they live on even if in vegetative states and reproduce adding to the rolls of useless individuals. Can you see one of the fat, lazy, insolent and ignorant teens of today lasting for two weeks in the Roman Empire? Intelligent people are 'blessed with a certain amount of foresight and capability for abstract thought' but the couch potatoes are not, otherwise they would be aware of PO, GW, and the wreck of our economy. If you bother to read 'Gaia' you will see that Lovelock has some pretty well reasoned ideas about the earth as a living organisim. Right now the earth is infected with a virus of worthless humans that have unbalanced the system but the earth will cure itself given time. I believe the human experiment will continue but without all the useless, mentally numb people that are now destroying the ecosystem that supports them.

I think your comments concerning the survival aspect are dead on as I have taken a position that I really should not be alive yet or if I was born, already dead. However, that is not to say that when man is under pressure from earthly forces that the best and brightest survive. When man makes the decision on how to apply the pressure the outcomes are dicey. Even though it is unpopular to do the study of genetic outcomes based on man made pressures, it is one that can be discussed at the dinner table with people of world experience. It would be interesting to look at populations and their world view to determine if there is a genetic component too it that can be teased out of the data. These types of discussions invariably lead to people feeling inferior as if the generalization is applied directly to them. I am of two minds on this as I understand both sides (remember I think I should be dead or not born)

For instance

We often discuss the population pressures associated with the following applications to various groups -

Nazi programs
Napoleon and what impact his wars had on the the genetic stock and psyche of the French.
What is the outcome of Pol Pot's (River's Solution?) programs on genetics and attitude of the remaining population.
Ukraine - What effects did Russian dominance combined with the Stalin purges produce as a group study.
How does the western diet weed out recent immigrants that are not genetically capable of handling the content.

I am content to be weeded out if that is the outcome, but I am fascinated by the genetic component to all of the issues associated with survival, addiction and expression of traits.

When you say that 'only the fit survived and that was a good thing' I have to disagree. Surviving the after effects of a volcano would be at least as dependant on chance as anything else. Good old fashioned luck if you will. Chance will undoubtedly play a major role in any future population shrinkage as well. Yes, of course some people will be able to make their own luck, at least for a while, while others will not. But, many people who have done nothing to prepare will also survive.

You assume that knowledge is never lost. You have made this claim before. It does not match the historical record. I suggest you actually learn what has happened in prior civilizations when they have collapsed. Even primitive civilizations can become more primitive due to loss of key knowledge. I am neither arguing for or against such a probability but only reminding you that knowledge has been lost repeatedly throughout history often taking thousands of years to rediscover and that this was fairly basic knowledge compared to quantum physics or the human genome.

Your initial assumption, that knowledge has always grown throughout human history, is false. Thus your entire conclusion is called into question.

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

I'm sorry, I don't believe I have *ever* claimed knowledge is never lost. It only needs to be accumulated at a rate faster than it is lost. This clearly has been the case, on average, throughout the entire history of the human race (or else we would have nothing more than instinctual knowledge now).

As far as learning what happened during prior collapses - I don't doubt there is much I don't know. But I do know that much information that was thought lost has often been remarkably preserved. Yes it's true that we don't know exactly how the Egyptians built the pyramids, but we could still build one if we wanted to.

The most tragic loss of knowledge that has ever occurred was probably the burning of the libraries of Alexandria. Without that incident (and the circumstances surrounding it), we could well have colonies on Mars by now (a fairly modest ambition, I would have thought). There will be always be setbacks in any journey, and the worst case scenario is that the end of fossil fuels somehow sends us back to another long "dark ages" period lasting over 1000 years. It's possible (if unlikely), but still won't be the end of us. After all, the reason we have the technology we do is primarily because of millions years of evolution of the hominid brain, which isn't about to undo itself.

Are you an engineer? Could you explain to me exactly how you would go about leveling an area of many acres of solid stone to within 1/8 inch over the entire acreage upon which the pyramid of Cheops is built. How you would go about cutting over 2 million stone blocks all to within less than 1/8 inch of deviation from each other and place them in rows over 1/4 mile in length and in perfect position? How would you orient the pyramid to true north? 'We could still build one if we wanted to'...right. Have you stood at the base of the great pyramid and marveled at it? Hell, we cant even build a levy around NO that will stand up to a cat 3 hurricane. We attempted to move the gigantic pillars at one of the temples that was to be inundated by water as the Aswan Damn was built but we found that the largest cranes on earth could not lift those pillars...so we cut them into sections to move them.
The loss of the knowledge of Alexandria was indeed tragic but so was the burning of the books of the indigenous South Americans by the Spaniards. Why is it that there always seem to be more book burners than books?
Only the culture that built the great pyramids could duplicate the accomplishment. What you fail to take into account is that it is not only the knowledge of how to build the pyramids that is lost, but it is the will to accomplish the feat and that will is intrinsic in the culture that did the building. When all that has been built in America is gone the pyramid of Cheops will still be standing.

The pyramids are certainly an astonishing achievement given the technology of the day. With today's technology I can't see that there would be any real showstoppers, but no, I'm not an engineer.
As far as wanting to...the reason the pyramids were built was because Egyptian society was ruled by a totalitarian megalomaniac, who either forced or otherwise brainwashed his people into building something that benefitted them not at all. I'm immensely glad that we no longer have societies of that size under such delusion of the greatness of their leaders that are they are willing to submit themselves to such an endeavour. Actually, we do still have one...North Korea. Is that the sort of society you would choose to live in?

For all the ills that beset modern western civilisation, they are piddling compared to the those of civilisations of the past...life for 90% of the population could hardly have been very pleasant. The trap of a utopian and idyllic view of the past is easy to fall into, but it is just that...a trap. If you had the choice of travelling back in time to live as an Ancient Egyptian, would you really want to?

egyptian keyensian economics ?

basket lion arm wicker stool
basket lion arm wicker stool

If you had the choice of travelling back in time to live as an Ancient Egyptian, would you really want to?

Yes, absolutely. They had developed a society which was extraordinarily stable. They did not do much grabbing of resources off their neighbours.

In fact, my male line is Egyptian Coptic - the direct descendants of the Ancient Egyptians so I would feel quite welcome :=)

It's true that for much their history they were a remarkably war-free society, which may have been due to a combination of strong natural defences, the easy local availability of needed resources (especially fertile soils), and the rigid structure of their social order. But later (the "New Kingdom") on they were very much a major military power with an imperial expansionist program, pushing in Palestine, Syria, Libya etc.


With today's technology I can't see that there would be any real showstoppers, but no, I'm not an engineer.

Then do you know of this common advice?
"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and leave no doubt."

When all that has been built in America is gone the pyramid of Cheops will still be standing

Hoover Dam, a monolith of concrete, will still be there as long as Cheops pyramid.

Silted up, and perhaps water flowing over top, but there.


Could you explain to me exactly how you would go about leveling an area of many acres of solid stone to within 1/8 inch over the entire acreage upon which the pyramid of Cheops is built.

Piece of cake.  You use stone blocks and a mortar made out of sand and pitch.  You lay a square grid of channels out of these blocks, all interconnected.  When complete, you fill the channels with water.  The water flows to a uniform level throughout.  Using the water as a reference, chisel the rock surface to a uniform height.

How you would go about cutting over 2 million stone blocks all to within less than 1/8 inch of deviation from each other and place them in rows over 1/4 mile in length and in perfect position?

Chisels again, and a set of accurate measures to show how big to make them.  Copper chisels are adequate to shape the limestone.  Traces of copper have been found among the detritus of construction (IIRC), and marks on the stones are consistent with chisels.

How would you orient the pyramid to true north?

It is very easy to do astronomical observations from a desert.

FWIW, Giza is proof that the nuclear-waste problem is overblown.  If we reprocessed spent fuel to eliminate the transuranics, the rest would have a relatively short half-life (Sr-90 is only 29.1 years).  Cast it inside glass bricks and pile them into a pyramid, and it would only need to last 1000 years compared to Giza's 5000.

If you have a fast connection and computer you might find this CATIA simulation interesting.


Yes it's true that we don't know exactly how the Egyptians built the pyramids, but we could still build one if we wanted to.

You mean just like we could mimic the Roman mortar (waterproof and lasting over 2000 years) or the Roman Purple dye (made from Murex sea shells but, "The ancient method for mass-producing the two murex dyes has not yet been successfully reconstructed.")?

Or just as it has been ascertained that we could not ever rebuild today the Concorde or the Apollo capsules in spite of having all the blueprints and "superior" technology.

Not all knowledge is "in the books" a lot of it is in "trade practices" and this is quickly lost if not practised.
This is why such seemingly familiar things like the Concorde and Apollo are not "recoverable", the technoloy moved fast enough as to wipe out practices of 40 years ago, they are forever LOST.

My favorite example of lost knowledge is paved roads. The utility of paved roads vs. unpaved tracks is without question.

Yet it was over a thousand years between the last Roman paved road in Western Europe and the next one.

The recipe for concrete was lost locally, among other issues.

Our modern complex technology (the one I am typing on ATM) will not survive intact or even in large fragments through a social or even economic collapse.

Best Hopes for Avoiding Collapse,


BTW, structural steel rivets are a nearly lost art. In thirty years, it may be impossible to make anything with them anywhere in the world without substantial re-invention.

It would have be a truly global and extraordinary level of collapse for all knowledge of how to build computers to be lost. I could certainly envision that WW III, or a massive asteriod strike might cause sufficient collapse for that to be possible, but not the gradual depletion of fossil fuel availability.
I wonder if there is actually an active "knowledge preservation" program in place - secretly burying the collected wisdom of mankind in some underground bunker. Seems like a good idea.
There apparently are a few underground libraries but I suspect they're not nearly as comprehensive (or disaster-proof) as they should ideally be.

Not really.

It would only take a single generation without the means to build a semiconductor for the knowledge to be pretty much lost. Sure you could still have textbooks and what not but you'd loose all the experience and knowledge that only working engineers posses.

And it won't take much of a collapse to put semi conductor fabs out of operation. Just a simple brownout can cause millions of dollars of damage to a modern fab plant. A bit of dust will destroy an entire production run. These plants are incredibly complicated and incredibly fragile. If the power goes out for an extended period of time, or the engineers flee their cubes for more productive work you might as well condemn the entire plant. And its no trivial task to rebuild them either.

No dispute, but I was talking about "all knowledge" being lost - i.e., putting us back to where we were before computers were invented. My take on it is that even a complete collapse of the current energy infrastructure (and the mayhem that would ensue) would still not be enough to wipe out all knowledge gained.
Yes, it might take several decades (even a century) before we were able to make use of it again, but I highly doubt it would lost forever.

Yes, it might take several decades (even a century) before we were able to make use of it again, but I highly doubt it would lost forever.

You can't just store pile knowledge. It has to be used constantly or else its lost. I could give you everything ever written on microprocessor design and it wouldn't do you a bit of good if you attempted to recreate even a simple cpu.

If I went into Intel today and selectively culled 100 people that company would collapse. Without their experience the knowledge is useless. If you can't use the knowledge it will be lost within a single generation (or less).

History doesn't back you up there. The Enlightment was largely triggered by access to ancient texts. It's true that those entrusted with protecting those texts (largely Moslems) hadn't let the knowledge turned completely stale, but much of what went on was reconstruction. Even if some of the knowledge had to be reinvented from scratch, just a glimpse at the clues of how men had mastered such achievements in the past is a remarkable catalyst.
And even today the lifework of archaeologists and anthropologists is figuring out what they can from the information left behind by past civilisations.

While it's true that I personally would struggle to make much of "everything ever written on microprocessor design" on my own, I'm willing to bet that at some hypothetical point in a post-apocalyptic future, given enough talented people enough time, they'd figure out how to make microprocessors again from recovered texts.

I think you mean the Renaissance was triggered by access to ancient texts not the Enlightenment. That may or may not be entirely true and is hotly debated by historians.

I am from the school that believes the Renaissance was merely a continuation of the middle ages and triggered by purely contemporaneous factors. Of course ancient texts were referenced but were hardly the cause.

The Enlightenment is a whole nother subject and has little to do with "ancient knowledge" as you stated.

A good place to start would be with wikipedia. I then suggest you might read a high school history textbook.

While it's true that I personally would struggle to make much of "everything ever written on microprocessor design" on my own, I'm willing to bet that at some hypothetical point in a post-apocalyptic future, given enough talented people enough time, they'd figure out how to make microprocessors again from recovered texts.

There is nothing fundamentally difficult about a "computer" or in this case a microprocessor design. Turing machines of all sorts have existed (at least in design) as far back as the ancient greeks. Some future geek hardly needs "recovered texts" to create one. That is not the knowledge I am referring to.

I could hand you a farm tool from 100 years ago and you couldn't use it. Because you have no experience with it and nobody to teach you how to use it. Its not the technology that is lost or even the knowhow to create that technology but the experience to use that technology. That is what is lost.

Another example. Making a flint arrow head. The tech is pretty simple, but the technique is almost impossibly complicated. Can't you imagine how difficult it would be to reconstruct stone tool working? A few people have done it after years of self study using recovered arrow heads as examples. But the technique was lost (and is impossible to record).

Do you think anybody could do the same with a Pentium microprocessor? I'm very doubtful. The technique is orders of magnitudes more difficult than arrow head making.

Perhaps you and I are just talking about different things here. Sure the knowledge might be preserved in one form or another. But it would be almost useless without the techniques or experience to use that knowledge.

Sure the knowledge of the ancient greeks was preserved in one form or another. But it was useless until the techniques for using it were re-invented (or borrowed from the muslims) in 14th century Italy. You have to be careful as to which was the cause and which was the effect.

If you loose the knowledge embodied by the experience of all the engineers today, all that will have to be re-invented in the future. That experience can't be recorded. That's what will be lost. And until its re-discovered all those texts will be worthless (except perhaps as toilet paper).

Will those texts facilitate the reconstruction of the techniques? Possibly, it depends on if the existance of knowledge leads to the rediscovery of technique or if the rediscovery of technique leads to the exploitation of recorded knowldge. If its the latter, than no.
Does it really matter? In my mind no. The shitstorm between the techniques being lost and rediscovered is what is important in my mind.

That brings up a good example.

Clovis spearheads. Flint technology, often considered the finest ever made. Evolved into Folsom points, with some improved features and some loss. Peak Stone Age tech !

And then downhill to Plano points.

They lasted a couple of thousand years and then disappeared and inferior points after that.

Best Hopes for retaining technology,


Yes, it would be more technically accurate to state that it was the Renaissance that was triggered by access to ancient knowledge, however the Enlightenment was very much a continuation of that process. From the same wikipedia you seem to think I spend too little time reading:

The Enlightenment is often closely linked with the Scientific Revolution, for both movements emphasized reason, science, and rationality, while the former also sought their application in comprehension of divine or natural law. Inspired by the revolution of knowledge commenced by Galileo and Newton, and in a climate of increasing disaffection with repressive rule, Enlightenment thinkers believed that systematic thinking might be applied to all areas of human activity, carried into the governmental sphere in their explorations of the individual, society and the state

From the article on the "Scientific Revolution":

The Scientific revolution built upon the foundation of ancient Greek learning, as it had been elaborated in medieval Islam and the schools and universities of medieval Europe.[19] Though it had evolved considerably over the centuries, this "Aristotelian tradition" was still the dominant intellectual framework in 16th and 17th century Europe.

To suggest I spend too little time reading smacks of an ad hominem attack more than anything - indeed I spend more time reading that most full-time working parents could justify, having a job that is prone to periods of lack of available work. Further, much greater scholars and studiers of human history than I have reached similar conclusions: after all, my general position on the gradual accumulation of knowledge and technology is essentially mainstream. Yours is the "naysayer" view, and as such, whether fairly or not, there is a somewhat greater burden of proof for you.

I think you place too little value on static, recorded knowledge. As a computer programmer I'm painfully aware that even though I may understand the basic concepts behind how a particular piece of software works, and feel perfectly capable of recreating it from scratch, a) 99 times out of 100 it's simpler to work with existing code, because that code has been tested widely against a whole host of scenarios that most likely would not have otherwise occurred to me, and b) even in the 1 time in 100 that rewriting software from scratch is the sensible choice, it's vastly easier to do with access to the original code.
The same would be the case with microprocessor design.
To design a chip capable of doing what a modern microprocessor does today without any specific engineering or reference texts describing an existing design would be orders of magnitude more difficult than doing it without such documentation available. Which is not to deny that doing it with the help of people who are highly experienced at designing and building microprocessors makes it simpler again, because of course even the most detailed instructions tend to miss certain details, and humans are generally better at learning from others than from static text.

As for flint arrow heads - we have no detailed texts describing how to make those, so that's why that knowledge has been lost (not that it's terribly useful anymore anyway except as a historical curiosity). If someone was to carefully record the way in which such an arrow is made, then it would most likely be fairly straightforward for someone else to master the technique from the written instructions. Yes, we learn better with the help of others with direct experience, but plenty of people have taught themselves all manner of things with nothing but a textbook.

I think the scientific revolution could only progress when peolple started to question the authority of their recorded knowledge. The presence of that knowledge did actually have a braking effect on people who would have conducted their own research, were it not that an respected source was readily available and any conflict between them would probably be decided in favor of the authority of the ancients. (not taking any ad hominem position)

Well the recorded "knowledge" that definitely did have a braking effect was that of Judaeo-Christianity.

But I might add that a braking effect is not necessarily a bad thing. Things can progress too fast, where people get carried away with ideas, and insufficient time is allowed to determine whether the ideas make sense etc. etc. This extends to many areas of human development..even highly conservative social views that may seem illogical, unjustifiable or even repulsive to the more progressive of us serve a purpose in ensuring that we don't rush headlong into changes without thinking about the ramifications, or allowing people time to adapt.

If I went into Intel today and selectively culled 100 people that company would collapse. Without their experience the knowledge is useless. If you can't use the knowledge it will be lost within a single generation (or less).

I happen to know that to be bullshit. Almost everything that is done in semiconductor design today is straitforward. The most that would happen is design would stagnate while the next generation came up to speed, which would take at most five years, and in the meantime coast on fab updates in the pipeline.

I happen to know that to be bullshit.

Source and evidence please!
Not just your word.

Almost everything ...

Yeah! "almost", so this almost makes an argument...

Semiconductor manufacture requires some exotic chemicals, especially the modern ones. A substantial knowledge base there.

Chip design is it's own art form, now largely, but not completely automated.

Software from operating systems to applications is another bit of cumulative and complex knowledge.

I could see a "rebuild" of computers in a resource depleted future with minimal manpower to Z80 chips and VisiCalc after decades of effort. But would society support such an effort ?

It is FAR easier to avoid the slide down than try to climb back up.

Best Hopes for Islands of technology surviving no matter what,


Well as a computer programmer, I'm certainly determined to make sure the silicon revolution doesn't unwind itself - for remarkably little energy, computers are able to perform tasks that can optimize and save on enormous amounts of what would otherwise be physical work. I'm guessing most people here, if the only power source they had was a solar panel capable of supporting a few basic household devices, would probably still choose to keep a computer - although without the internet still functioning it would definitely lose much of its attraction.

The main thing the computer industry needs now is a commitment to recycleable/replaceable components. That buying a whole new machine is not significantly more expensive than just upgrading the CPU, memory and software is absurd. Of course, the fact that software keeps requiring vastly more CPU and memory just to do functionally little more than it did previously is pretty ridiculous too, but I'm not sure there's ever going to be much pressure to change that.

The Apple MacMini is pretty close.

Recycle screen, keyboard and mouse.

The life expectancy of the power supply and fan (and their relatively low cost) make replacing them "not a major sin".

One can extract the hard disk and use it as a secondary disk (or just hold down the "t" key and connect the old computer via Firewire).

Bus speed tend to increase, so replacing that makes sense as well.

A step in the Right Direction,


That buying a whole new machine is not significantly more expensive than just upgrading the CPU, memory and software is absurd.

Wow, people will even complain when things are obviously going well. Computers are cheap and getting cheaper, oh thats bad?

Of course, the fact that software keeps requiring vastly more CPU and memory just to do functionally little more than it did previously is pretty ridiculous too, but I'm not sure there's ever going to be much pressure to change that.

Software will take what hardware gives. Now I dont have to worry about have 20 internet windows open at once while switching between them and can watch beautiful 3d graphics rendered at higher resolutions that I was previously used to. I can search through months worth of email in seconds. Granted, my word processor looks the same as it did five or ten years ago, but there are additional features I couldnt have used that plug into it now.

Technology will continue to march relentlessly on, and we'll still complain about not having flying cars while bitching about our robot maid putting the underwear in the socks drawer.

"Computers are cheap and getting cheaper, oh thats bad?"

Not what I said at all.
Why can't I simply order a new CPU/memory slot for my notebook online and switch it over myself, sending back the old one to be recycled/reused, at significantly less cost than ordering a whole new machine? Likewise, I should be able to send my credit card # over the internet and have my OS automatically upgrade itself.
Would save me having to deal with transferring all the data for a start.
It'll happen eventually, but at the moment it's still cheaper and simpler to keep adding dead machines to ever-growing landfill and waste excessive amounts of energy creating new ones.

How would you guarantee compatibility and correct installation, for both hardware and software?

Laptops are touchy things.  OS installs are equally touchy.  Until we get to a situation where e.g. interface specs for all hardware are openly published and there's a choice of drivers for every video output and WiFi system, it's going to take a lot of effort to guarantee that your OS is configured to run on your hardware.  If you think that a manufacturer is going to do this for several generations of legacy hardware (when that hardware is too small or slow to run the software reasonably), you're dreaming.

If it becomes the only way to remain profitable, due to rising material and energy costs, it will certainly happen.
My first desktop computer lasted me well over 6 years, with me gradually upgrading the internal hardware and likewise upgrading software, because back then it was significantly cheaper.
OS's that can upgrade themselves automatically already exist - but MS has no interest in developing them at this point because of their sales model, which is largely to ship their O/S's pre-installed on new machines.

Semiconductor manufacture requires some exotic chemicals, especially the modern ones. A substantial knowledge base there.

Theres nothing special about it. You could fit everything you need to know into a couple of books and consult a chemist. In order to lose all this knowledge you need to wipe out every major discipline on the planet. There are simply far too many scientists and engineers for humanity to forget any significant chunk of anything important. Sure, we might lose the knowlege of how to make the as400 forever, but not how to make the important parts to make a similar machine.

I could see a "rebuild" of computers in a resource depleted future with minimal manpower to Z80 chips and VisiCalc after decades of effort. But would society support such an effort ?

Of course they would, for the same reason they were built in the first place. They vastly improve productivity.

Of course they would...

I am VERY far from sure.

Look at our society of wealth and abundance. How much sacrifice (outside Switzerland) are we willing to make for benefits 20 years distant ? I see no evidence of it in most modern societies.

In order to lose all this knowledge you need to wipe out every major discipline on the planet

It is NOT the loss of ALL critical skills but of ANY critical skills and knowledge (and starting raw materials).

A set of volumes comparable to a large encyclopedia (more knowledge than a single person could be expected to be able to read and comprehend) would be needed to be given to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1900 in order for them to create a Pentium computer.

And no one is writing that encyclopedia today.

Best Hopes for not sliding down the path of ignorance.


Well I'd like to think that one positive aftermath of a PO-triggered depression was the emergence of societies that are a little more forward-thinking. But in this case it's not even necessary - you can very quickly gain benefits from rudimentary computing technology that would take a good deal less than 20 years to recreate, providing sufficient knowledge and infrastructure had been preserved.

Losing one or two critical skills/knowledge isn't necessarily a showstopper - after all, we worked it out the first time, so we can do it again. It's certainly hugely simpler than trying to reinvent ALL the knowledge necessary to build computers.

While mildly entertaining, I suspect this whole discussion is rather pointless - it's purely conjecture just how well we'd recover from some sort of global catastrophic collapse. I don't personally see such a collapse as being particularly likely at this point, but even if it happens I can't see that it's going to set us back more than 100 years technology wise. In terms of purely scientific knowledge and understanding I doubt it will set us back very much at all, which will make catching up on those lost 100 years of technological progress significantly simpler: except of course, it will take some time to build up the necessary economic wealth and body of expertise to get to a point we can even start.

The only point I'm 100% certain on is that nothing is going to take us back to the level of knowledge and technological capability we had when Homo Sapiens first became extant. We will go extinct before that happens.

The only point I'm 100% certain on is that nothing is going to take us back to the level of knowledge and technological capability we had when Homo Sapiens first became extant

One of the technologies that existed in North America 11,500 to 10,000 years ago and then disappeared, Folsom points. Superior Stone Age technology that disappeared.

from Wikipedia:

The points are bifacially worked and have a symmetrical, leaf-like shape with a concave base and wide, shallow grooves running up the front and back. The edges are finely worked. The characteristic groove, known as fluting, may have served to aid hafting to a wooden spear shaft or dart or perhaps to improve penetration of the target. The fluting may also have been simply a stylistic element done for its beauty or for some symbolic purpose which will never be known. The fluting required great technical ability to effect, and it took archaeologists many years of experimentation to replicate it

Post Collapse I suspect that this technology will again be lost, as it was 10,000 years ago. And 9,500 years ago there was a need for superior spear points, but the knowledge had been lost despite the occasional old spear point discovered. And there may be a need for superior spear points in 500 years :-(

Best Hopes for Retaining Technology,


Post Collapse I suspect that this technology will again be lost, as it was 10,000 years ago. And 9,500 years ago there was a need for superior spear points, but the knowledge had been lost despite the occasional old spear point discovered. And there may be a need for superior spear points in 500 years :-(

This is ludicrously stupid.

"...it took archaeologists many years of experimentation to replicate it."

Exactly - I'll betcha it took way longer than that to get it right the first time. So knowledge wasn't completely lost.

It is hopeless to argue with a Singularitarian and wizofaus appears to be one.
They are extreme pornucopians up to the point of blatant schizophrenia.
They have entrenched biases toward ever going technological progress.
At least on TOD they cannot censor critiscisms (notice that this answers to a deleted comment of mine) or ban you for not singing to their tune.
I have been banned also from another singularitarian blog.
Attacking their position with their very own arguments about rationality was not too well received

It is hopeless to argue with a Singularitarian and wizofaus appears to be one.

An apparent generalization fallacy. X disagrees with my view and group Y disagrees with my view. Group Y is very wrong about Z so X must also hold the same ludicrous opinion about Z.

They are extreme pornucopians up to the point of blatant schizophrenia.

A new definition of schizophrenia as well aparently.

They have entrenched biases toward ever going technological progress.

And now further generalization about group Y.

I do have an entrenched bias against the ridiculously stupid, such as the notion of all knowledge in industrial civilization decaying in 500 years to the point where making stone spears is again high art. You dont need to believe in Ray Kurzweil shooting up all his vitamins to live to 150 so he can download his brain into an AI god to find the notion of total civilization collapse plain dumb.

Get lost Dezakin, it's also useless to argue with you though not for the same reasons, paid trolls are in another league...

Wow. I'm still waiting for my paycheck. Where do I go to collect it?

You dont like what this person has to say, and cant form a coherent argument so its useless to argue against them. Its because they're ideologically wed to their cause and wont accept any of your arguments, or they're a paid troll. You convinced me!

You are such a twit.

I had never even heard of the term until you used it a few days ago. From what I understand, I don't see how I would qualify. It's true that I believe that the single most likely future for Homo Sapiens is that we will ultimately be taken over by AI, genetic manipulation or some combination, but a) I certainly am not working to promote that future, b) I see it as potentially 1000s of years away, even without any sort of intervening collapse of our current technological civilisation, which is very possible and c) I don't see it as necessary or inevitable: there are many other alternative futures, some better, some worse.

I'm fully aware that technological growth is not without significant risks, not least the possibility that we trash our environment beyond repair trying to achieve it.
If it we get past that point, then future technologies almost certainly will present new dangers, more destructive capabilities, more chances for them to run away out of our control, more chances for them to be abused by those with a lack of concern for the rest of humanity.

But I'm prepared to balance those risks against the possibility of a future that makes a deliberate choice not to persue futher technological advances (for that it what the alternative is - as I see no evidence that we are close to our maximum potential to imagine and develop further technologies). That alternative appeals to many here, and as I've said before, they're welcome to it. But to imagine that it would be possible (or even desirable) for Homo Sapiens as a whole to adopt such a stance seems folly.

This is a one shot deal

It doesn't have to be. But it would take application of what man has learned and overcoming many nasty and brutish human behaviors.

An old man of my acquaintance always called God "the big chickenshit in the sky". Bob McWhorter has since gone on to his rewards.
Bob Ebersole

Hello TODers,

After reading the entire article: I am not clear at all what John Dingell (D-Mich.) is trying to accomplish:

Dingell to propose 50 cent gasoline tax increase

In the interview, Dingell acknowledged that voters may not be willing to bear the cost of limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and that he would propose the new tax “just to sort of see how people really feel about this.”

“I sincerely doubt that the American people are willing to pay what this is really going to cost them,” Dingell said in the interview.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

I'm going to have to write to the Detroit News in support of it.

I think it needs to be at least 4x as much ($2.00/gallon) and phased in over time, but you have to start somewhere.

Cheer up TODers! We have nothing to worry about! ;-)

Why Americans Should Feel Happy

I read the first couple paragraphs and then scanned the rest the whole time thinking this was fluff through and through.

Then I scrolled back up to check
authorship - Bill Kristol !! eeeewwwwwww!!!!

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

It is happening, the movement is gaining huge support more and more people are realising that the administration is handling it all wrong. We can't consume our way out of a problem, we need to address a fundemental human desire for 'more' and realise this drives us but doesn't make us any happier. The combination of high tech and low tech is really exciting imagine teleworking from your house which is also an ecosystem that regulates your environment, deals with your waste and provides your food.

Hello TODers,

Please compare the tragic water flooding in the US Heartland versus the last free-running river in the Southwest, the San Pedro River at a breath-taking 2 quarts per second:

The last free-flowing waterway in the Southwest is under constant watch by scientists, environmentalists, the Army, elected officials and the public.

On Tuesday, Emmet McGuire, a USGS hydrological technician, measured the flow at 0.057 cubic feet per second [cfs], going through a portable flume he brought from Tucson.

A cfs equals about 7.5 gallons of water per second passing a specific point and McGuire’s measurement meant the flow was a little less than two quarts through the flume in a second.

After a quick storm Thursday night, the flow at the Charleston gauge — according to automatic computer readings — was nearly 1 cfs, or about seven gallons per second.

Woo-Hooo! A veritable flash flood! =(

EDIT: more links for your perusal:


Humans have populated the San Pedro River valley since the earliest times. Several very significant Paleo Indian sites have been discovered along the San Pedro, in which spear points have been found in the remains of mammoths and other large mammals of the Ice age era, dating back 12,000 years.

The San Pedro supports riparian forests larger than the forests of the Colorado, Rio Grande, Gila and Pecos rivers combined. The diversity of life, which is dependent on this free flowing river and its forests, is astounding:

• Over 400 bird species, 100 butterfly species, 83 mammal species and 47 amphibian and reptile species are dependent on the San Pedro river. Nearly one half of all North American bird species frequent the San Pedro River at some point in their lives.
• The San Pedro River supports the second highest number of mammal species in the world. This is second only to the montane forests of Costa Rica.
• It is the principal recovery area for the endangered jaguar, Southwestern willow flycatcher, yellow-billed cuckoo, loach minnow, spikedace, Gila chub, Gila topminnow, desert pupfish, razorback sucker, Huachuca spring snail, Huachuca water umbel, Huachuca tiger salamander, and Canelo Hills ladies' tresses.
• Birding magazine calls the San Pedro the world's best birding area. The Nature Conservancy calls it one of the worlds's eight "Last Great Places."
• Recently the San Pedro River was designated as the first Globally Important Bird Area in North America by the American Bird Conservancy.

In recognition of its unparalleled value, Congress created the San Pedro National Riparian Conservation Area in 1988, prohibiting livestock grazing, mining, water diversions, and off-road vehicles. The San Pedro was to be protected for posterity.

The San Pedro is dying.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?