DrumBeat: July 8, 2007

Oil prices may soar to 100 dpb in two years - ranking Kuwaiti figure

Dr. Imad Al-Atigi, member of the Supreme Petroleum Council, told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that the oil prices have been rising since 2003, reaching USD 70 pb, before stabilizing in 2006.

But now the prices of oil, a strategic commodity of global value, appear on a rising course anew and may soar to USD 100 pb by 2009.

The Rising and Falling Power of Hydrocarbon States

The fast rising demand for oil by China and India, sharply declining fresh discoveries, and high prices are empowering the countries with large reserves of black gold as never before. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez provides a striking example of how petroleum has emboldened leaders of oil-rich states to thumb their noses at the giant neighbor in the north - the US.

Lawsuit against Honda challenges hybrid mileage claims

A lawsuit claims Honda is misleading consumers about the expected fuel efficiency of its Civic Hybrid.

The car that ran on water

Today, Stanley Meyer is featured on numerous Internet sites. A significant portion of the 1995 documentary It Runs on Water, narrated by science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke and aired on the BBC, focuses on his "water fuel cell" invention.

...As many of his more than 20 patents expire this year, and gasoline prices hover around $3 per gallon, there is growing interest in his inventions. But it remains unclear how much was true science and how much was science fiction.

Ohio: Price of electricity poised to increase

So far, the electricity companies are the ones who have to pay extra for all the power we use during summer heat waves. But when a rate freeze expires in a year and a half, we, too, could be paying premium prices to run the dishwasher when demand is at its peak.

"It can be as much as 10 times more than what you pay on average," said Dan Johnson, policy and market analysis chief for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

The agency is examining advanced meters that let people see the most-recent price of the electricity they're using. They are among the newest ideas to attack the nation's summertime energy crises

Energy savings plan could be pioneer

The Sustainable Energy Utility, the entity approved in the closing days of the General Assembly, will work to drive down the prices of energy-efficient appliances, buildings and motor vehicles for consumers and businesses.

The measure could yield big savings for residents and cut Delaware's carbon dioxide emissions by more than 30 percent by 2020.

A fair way to reduce carbon emissions

It would be grossly unfair if we were forced by the federal government to pay to clean up other regions of the country that have enjoyed the lower prices associated with cheaper traditional coal plants and inefficient generation, and consequently much higher emissions.

California's 'green' fleet runs on plain ol' gas

So far, the 1,138 "flex-fuel" vehicles have traveled a collective 10 million miles and burned more than 413,202 gallons of gas.

But not one drop has been high-grade ethanol — the fuel that promised to turn the passenger fleet into clean driving machines.

That's because the vehicles have no access to ethanol pumping stations. There were none when the Chevrolet Impala sedans and Silverado trucks were purchased and none are scheduled to open until December 2009. That's four years after the vehicles first hit the road.

Green PR suffers blowback

This is why the environmental groups and their PR representatives continue to spend millions to influence legislators to regulate, regulate, and regulate every single aspect of our lives. Based on bogus environmental claims, the intent is to deny people the right to make market-based decisions.

The result is policies that drive up the cost of basic commodities that include food, energy, and housing. Policies based on "global warming" or "climate change" have no real basis in science. They are based on the hatred of free enterprise and, indeed, the hatred of humanity that is endemic to environmentalism.

Boaters make do with high fuel costs

High fuel prices have altered some people's boating habits, but they haven't stopped them from getting out on the water.

Parts makers feel the pinch as U.S. market shrinks

As Detroit automakers lose market share to competitors like Toyota and Honda, they're making fewer vehicles, so they need fewer parts. And they're pressuring suppliers to charge less for those parts.

But at the same time, the cost of doing business keeps going up. Plastics, steel, electricity and health care are all getting more expensive. And many suppliers are burdened with lots of debt, which has become more costly to carry as interest rates rise.

Rising costs and falling demand make a brutal combination.

U.S. oil's global influence wanes

Though the United States is still the world's leading oil consumer, its might in the global petroleum business is dwindling.

Developing countries are locking up a bigger share of the world's oil and gas resources to profit from high prices and fuel industrial growth.

Some experts view the shift as an emerging threat to the U.S. economy, while others see benefits for consumers and say that an expanding list of suppliers diminishes the impact of any single disruption.

Black gold's tarnish seen in Canada

Almost half of Canada's oil production comes from the oil sands — and the energy industry estimates that enough oil can be economically extracted to fill the country's needs for three centuries.

The vast majority of Canadian oil exports goes to the United States, and the Bush administration sees the remaining resources as America's best hope for reducing dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

"No single thing can do more to help us reach that goal than realizing the potential of the oil sands," Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said during a visit last July.

The benefits may be great, but the toll on other natural resources is also enormous.

Algeria, KBR sign $2.88 billion gas deal

Algeria's state oil and gas company and KBR Inc., a former Halliburton Co. subsidiary, signed a $2.88 billion deal Saturday for a liquefied natural gas plant.

Gold Stocks vs. Oil Stocks

“I'm a believer in the Commodity Super-cycle and in Peak Oil but gosh, just tell me what (and when) I should be buying!”

For us the question really boils down to allocating between Precious Metals, Energy and Industrial Metals. In this article I want to explore the Gold Stock vs. Oil Stock relationship to see how we should position ourselves for the remainder of the year and what (if any) inferences we can make on the general market.

Rep. Dingell floats 'carbon tax' plan

A House committee chairman is trying to show his Democratic colleagues that people in the U.S. are not ready to pay the full costs of fixing global warming.

Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, says he will propose a "carbon tax" on the burning of fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But he says he only is offering the plan to show how unpopular it would be.

Will the coming oil crisis be the end of suburbia?

Every semester I’ve shown “End of Suburbia” to my classes to mixed reviews to the message. I’ve warned them that it will be too expensive for most Americans to own big trucks or SUVs, especially at the current way they are made to consume gas.

This means our lives are going to change dramatically. Predicting social change can be difficult, especially for long-term future. The worst-case scenario is the total decline in our economy with a depression, social disorder and wars between states and communities for the remaining sources, much like the CBS TV action series “Jericho” in which residents of a small Kansas town are cut off from the rest of the world after major terrorist attacks.

Perpetual commotion - Irish firm is the latest to trumpet a `perpetual-motion machine'

According to Brian Baigrie, who teaches the history and philosophy of science at the University of Toronto, perpetual motion is an idea that gives some groups a way of defining themselves against accepted norms – much, he points out, like arguments for intelligent design.

"The interest in rational design as an account of the creation of species wasn't that high prior to Darwin, although most individuals (before then) would have described themselves as theists," he says, adding that perpetual motion saw a parallel rise in popularity after the laws of thermodynamics were established in the 1860s.

"The scientific community really celebrated the rise of the science of thermodynamics as a great achievement, and this in itself has been an incentive to eccentrics and inventors to find a way to violate it."

Germany to stay nuclear in Merkel U-turn

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is preparing to perform a major U-turn by scrapping plans to abandon nuclear power.

We should explore low North Sea tax

After years of self--sufficiency, the UK is now a net oil importer. So rapid is the North Sea's depletion that, in three years' time, imports will account for 40 per cent of the oil we use, rising to 90 per cent by 2020.

Royal Dutch/Shell to start development of Arctic Ocean shelf

The European Union’s largest company Royal Dutch/Shell has embarked on the implementation of an ambitious programme aimed at the exploration of oil and gas on the Arctic Ocean shelf.

Hi Leanan,
Thanks again for the wonderful job you do editing the Drumbeat!

On the end of suburbia article:
The suburbs have been around for a long time. Sinclair Lewis was writing about the phenomenon of streetcar suburbs in Babbit, and many suburbs in fast growing areas have become inner city. The population has trippled in the US in the last century.
Suburbs were created because people wanted inexpensive new housing, and over the years have evolved a non-sustainable form based on cheap transportation. As transportation gets more expensive rapidly, suburbs are going to have to evolve, and some I'm sure will disappear. In order to survive, suburbs are going to need local sources of employment and public transportation. So whether any individual suburb survives is going to depend on building community.
Bob Ebersole

Seems that an early alteration in the existing suburbs may be that they become more village-like. Meaning that a scattering of nodes within the sprawl are "re-zoned" (officially or not) to convert a few existing buildings or lots into small groceries, general stores (with video rentals and some hardware items), cafes/bars, tele-commuting offices, transit pick-up points, and other stores or services that allow the surrounding residents to walk, bike, or take a VERY short drive to handle the errands they are now driving long distances for.

Maybe some of the greenspaces put in long ago by the developers will even become community garden or commercial garden space...

Greg in MO
Grub Hoe: The human-powered tiller.

Yadda, yadda, yadda. In reality, you either live in the city as part of the merchant class creating goods or you live in the country and bring your farm goods to market.

So ... if you don't like farming and sweating - move to the city and learn a trade. If you aren't the owner, then learn to sweat over the stitching machine, hydraulic press, mill.

For a long time I've been pessimistic about suburbia (I never liked it very much anyway), but lately as I watch the town I live in I've grown more optimistic because,

Point 1. This town is about 30 - 40 miles from Boston with regular commuter train service into downtown.
Point 2. The condominium development I live in is very compact, 300 units (about 1,000) people in an roughly oval area with axis of about 1/4 mile and 1/2 mile.
Point 3. Within 1/2 to 1 mile there are two small malls with four restaurants and other miscellaneous necessary stores, and lots of office space.
Point 4. Two more developments of town houses and apartments are going up in this area with 200 to 400 units each.
Point 5. There are four other similar areas in the town.

So there'll be enough people, shops, and working space for a small, walkable city here before long. If we can persuade the town to start a bus or light rail (trolley) line connecting the areas to each other and to the train stations, the town would be well on its way to being ready when TSHTF.

But there are negatives as well,
Negative 1. There are far more people in eastern Massachusetts than can be supported with the existing food production and that production is heavily geared toward apples and other fruit.
Negative 2. There is no energy here other than that coming from the sun, wind, or sea and the current population is far more than can be supported by this energy flow.
Negative 3. The influential people and the government powers that be can't conceive of the magnitude of the problem and are strongly addicted to growth and techno-fixes, indeed I've found it's a religion to many.

But all told I'm optimistic. The ghosts of Thoreau, Emerson, and Buckminster Fuller are around in force if people can see beyond their current romanticized images. We're in for an exciting ride which requires deep thinking about the world, society, and ourselves, and that makes it even more exciting.

My crystal ball is on the blink today about Massachusetts. Its probably because we are having the 60th anniversary of the space aliens crash landing in Roswell.
Things are different here in Galveston. We have a population of 60,000 and a port,we might survive. But at the north end of the county there are genuine exurban locales-notably League City and Friendswood. They're having a real estate meltdown, and I'm thinking a large part of these towns will end up abandoned. The inhabitants all responded to the seduction of 2nd mortgages, at least one adult in every family has to commute, and it takes two incomes to pay the mortgages, credit cards and car notes. House prices are plunging, with the builders dumping new homes on the market for less money that the folks in slightly older homes owe. The city governments are stuffed with real estate sorts, so they'll do little. The upshot is that just one personal crisis-divorce, a lay-off, sickness-and the house is foreclosed.
It's not that a lot of areas can't be made much more liveable by producing local fruit, nuts and vegetables. I've known a number of people who made a reasonable amount of food from their yards. My father kept a couple of hives of bees and had a pecan and pear tree. My next door neighbor has two 30 ft. avocados and a fig tree. A deceased father in law had vegetables instead of ornamental plants in his back yard-tomatoes, okra, lettuce instead of monkey grass, yellow squash bushes, ect. But, we have ordinances in a lot of these towns that prevent people from doing stuff like raising chickens or bees, and huge amounts of land are wasted under concrete streets and superfullous sidewalks.
In these new suburban towns there is a lack of community, they have poorly attended civic clubs, 2% perticipation local elections, not even many churches. There's not really anyone to help out as entropy takes over.
I'm thinking that the real answer is for us to participate in or found groups or clubs to address survival strategies in our own neighborhoods. Its going to take local solutions, and there is strength to be found with our neighbors, families and friends.
Bob Ebersole

"superfluous" sidewalks? Maybe superfluous now, but how about in fifteen or twenty years.

To make a suburb livable, I'd put sidwalks high on the list. Livable towns or cities have sidewalks. Sterile suburbs almost never do.

Whoa,O Pirate King of the North.
In my neighborhood we have a ten foot sidewalk on each side of the street, a fifty foot street, an alley and half the houses have driveways and sidewalks from the doors to the streets, plus some back yard sidewalks. We have about 300% more paving than we need even with one car per adult, and we're going to need even less with only bicycles and scooters plus light rail.
Less pavement will help cool off, and we could build raised beds on the superfluous paving. I'm pro sidewalks and streets, but do we have to provide enough pavement for a four lane highway in front of every house? We could all have big gardens just on the wasted space.
Bob Ebersole

Hello Oilmanbob,

Although I back Alan Drake 100%, I speculate some neighborhood areas may never have the standard size RRs & TOD [the spine & limbs], hopefully my narrow-gauge minitrains and eventual subsequent shift to the same-gauge SpiderWebRiding can be [the ribs] to help further extend postPeak transport infrastructure for optimal relocalization of people and resource flows.

It takes much less energy, powered or human, to remove asphalt compared to concrete. Quickly bolting minitrain track to your wide sidewalks sounds ideal, and it will be higher than normal asphalt street level during rainstorms. The former paved areas as gardens will also get the additional runoff from the concrete.

Old photos of a beautiful mini-train [I hope it is not now recycled into a couple of Hummers!]:



Bigger versions of these photos clickable at this link:


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

Hi Bob
We've already got some streetcars in town, and they run on a narrower guage than regular RR, but not the mini-train you've discussed. They run down streets set in asphalt, but have individual diesel motors on the cars. The tracks make streets bumpy, but I wish we had more, am currently lobbying our city council to extend them.
Our streetcars go from downtown to the Seawall, along the seawall and back downtown, then about 1 mile west to University of Texas Medical Branch, then south on 4Th st to the seawall. What I'd like to see is the streetcars up and down the Seawall, down 61st past the grocery stores, then west on S to Moody Gardens, then back downtown. This would hook up all the major tourist hotels and the two main convention centers with downtown and the Medical Center and run past virtually all the shopping. It would really help people get to work, as well as be very useful for our tourists.
Galveston is a small city where a lot of people get by without automobiles. There's busses, and lots of bicycles, and even people riding in the streets in electric wheelchairs. Its a lot more civilized than Houston, where very few people get around without cars. Its about 7 miles NE-SW and about 2 miles at the widest between the bay and the Gulf. And no damn shopping malls!
Bob Ebersole

Bob, I have 300 yards of gill net that I bought from a mullet netter when the state outlawed the practice of netting mullet. I also have a skiff outfitted with oar locks and a trolling motor that I now use for gigging flounder and plugging for reds, trout and snook. I figure on using the gill net in the future when there are no game wardens around to bother me. Even now when I come in with a good catch I can sell all the fish that I dont want right at the dock. I also have a good locally made shrimp cast net but that thing will work a man to a frazzle.
BTW, I know you are very near sea level...does it make you a tad nervous?

River, do you live in Florida? We don't eat mullet in Texas, although I've never understood why. Give me a decent recipe and I'll try 'em.
I've got a 17 ft. seawall between my house and the gulf. In 104 years its never been topped by a storm surge. My house survived the 1900 hurricane, so I feel fairly safe. As far as the ocean level rising from global warming, I'm 55 and plan on being dead, but my 1st floor is 11 ft above sea level.
I've got a kayak, but mostly wade fish for trout, reds, drum and flounder using piggie perch and small mullets. Sometimes I buy fresh dead shrimp and catch whiting and croakers, or if the water's clear enough pompano and spanish mackeral. But Ill eat any kind of fish, I really like gar.

Bob Ebersole

Bob, Yeah, I live in Florida. The secret of good eating mullet is fresh, fresh, fresh. Also, get them out of salty and clear water, not after they have been hanging out in brackish/half fresh water. Straight out of the water, gut em, heads off, scale em, batter of your choice...I prefer Cottin Pickin cornbread mix which has some flower in it w/a little salt and pepper. Toss them into some VERY hot oil or Crisco of your choice, eat them. I have a heavy two burner Cajun Cooker that really puts out some heat and two big cast iron dutch ovens (without lids). Mullet are very good...I think they are in the carp family. I have eaten all kinds of carp. When I was a kid we netted a carp from the Ouichita River in La that we called a Buffalo, you might be familiar with them. I spent almost four years in Japan and ate lots of carp there. Many Japanese families that live in the country have a small ponds in their yards that they raise big carp/goldfish in and they are good. In Japan I ate a lot of broiled and steamed carp that were also great.
Around here we gig flounder at night with a light strapped on the head...like a frog gigging light. We pole the skiff slowly and quietly. They are hard to see till you get used to looking for their eyes, which is usually the only part of them that are not buried by sand.
We use pig fish here to catch Gator Trout...around here they call the trout over ten pounds Gator Trout, but Reds are my favorite. I take individual Red fillets and lay them on a heavy layer of fresh spinach leaves with a sheet of heavy metal foil underneath, squeeze fresh Persian Lime Juice (tree in my back yard) on the fillet, ladel a big portion of homemade salsa over the fillet, seal the foil, and bake for a few minutes till the fish flakes but the spinach is not burned, fillet steams inside the sealed foil. Very good. Like you, I eat any kind of fish. If you can get some Persian Limes I think you will really like them. They are very fragrant and have a great taste, not at all like store bought limes.
I also like good Mexican food and since we have lots of Mexicans around here there are lots of good Mexican restaurants. I cant think of any kind of good food that I dont like.

I remember throwing away mullet when in Florida. Then years later I was in Greece and ate them at a small seaside taverna. There the fresh mullet were gutted, and then grilled over charcoal. Salt, pepper and lemon. Yum. I was amazed at how tasty they were and regretted tossing back so many of them years ago!

Hello Oilmanbob,

I don't really know anything technical about trains, I leave that to Alan Drake and expert others. But it would be interesting to know the specifics of a minitrain like in the linked photos: weight of loco and cars, pax/mileage per btu, speed & acceleration, cost & weight of track, maintenance costs, engine HP & torque [gas,diesel,steam,or electric], etc, then how it compares to a full size RR and/or mass-trans train. That way a postPeak city or suburban region would then be able to determine the economic crossover point; when sufficient 'spine and limbs' are attained, then evolve the extended 'ribs' for the rest of the area.

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

I agree with you about Friendswood and the other communities around the south eastern fringe of Houston. I once entertained moving there after I was involved in building a petrochemical complex in Bayport. Many of our people lived in Clear Lake City along with the spacemen, but I didn't like it at all, despite the good sailing. Fortunately I was able to stay in New Jersey until I could get back to New England.

Friendswood wouldn't be the only place in trouble, but the area north of the airport around The Woodlands is also very vulnerable for the reasons you cite.

My own opinion is that areas in the south like my native Kentucky or Virginia have a good chance - temperate climates, still lots of good agricultural land and somewhat livable small cities not too close to the Interstates.

And Kingwood, Cypress, Jersey Village, Katy, Sugarland, Missouri City, Pearland-Houston has at least 1/2 of the population in over-leveraged suburbs. Its not quite as bad as L.A., but close enough. Dallas is even worse than Houston. I don't know where they all came from, maybe the Republican Party has a secret cloning facility. Fetch me a tinfoil hat!
Bob Ebersole

Couldn't agree more. One of the many reasons I want to get the hell out of Spring (North Houston, by the airport) just as soon as is humanly possible. This place is Exhibit A in any case against suburbia.
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

oilmanbob (Ebersole) wrote "I'm thinking that the real answer is for us to participate in or found groups or clubs to address survival strategies in our own neighborhoods."

I agree entirely. I think we will wait forever if we expect central governments to organise things that will be genuinely helpful in a post-peak situation. There are too many vested interests, too many lobbies, too much fear amongst politicians at that level of telling (most) people what they don't want to hear.

There are plenty of examples of these things such as Transition Towns which are spreadling virally in UK (though it remains to be seen what difference they will realy make), Willits and plenty of others in USA.

Whether any individual community survives will not only depend on building local relationships with a sustainable social contract, it will also depend heavily on access to local, sustainable, and sufficient physical resources relative to the population.

People living in the middle of a desert, like Phoenix, AZ, or Las Vegas, NV, should take note.

And, yes, Leanan, you do an outstanding, exemplary job of putting together the Drumbeats, and I wonder how you manage to not be depressed with all dire news you sift through. :)

There's a book on "Suburban Renewal" (my term): Superbia: 31 Ways to Create Sustainable Neighborhoods, by Daniel D. Chiras and David Wann. Available cheap on Amazon ($16 USD). I have a copy but haven't read much of it.

Eventually these laws against bees, chickens, ungulates, and even clotheslines (yes!) will fizzle in an instant, if anyone has the energy to enforce them in the first place. Bet that comes to pass even in a mild Powerdown.

But not the colour Purple in Kanata Ontario:


A friend of mine wants to make some bumper stickers that say, simply, "legalize clotheslines". Anybody else want some such?

Yes, maybe they could be sold thru this site as a TOD fundraiser - or for ASPO- USA. I would buy one. It's a pet peeve. We hang everything, while our neighbors are running a hot dryer indoors with AC blasting!!

We are allowed to have clotheslines as long as they are not visible to our neighbors or from the street. That is not a problem in our neighborhood for almost everyone has tall shadowbox cypress fencing in their back yards.
One thing I would like to have is a goat to keep the grass down but that is not allowed here...yet.

Virtually All CCRs in California actually ban hanging clothes!!
The are prohibited from banning solar panels, but can prohibit solar clothes drying!

Crazy, I say.

Why? How can they ban it? Don't you have private property in the USA?

Many planned communities impose covenants that limit what you can do with your property. If you buy there, you agree to the covenants.

I grew up near Montgomery Village. As I recall, you had to repaint from a limited palette of colors, you couldn't put up storm doors, bird feeders, bird baths or tv antennae; you couldn't park a vehicle in your driveway if it had a business sign on it (unless it was a govt car with tiny lettering); you couldn't park your boat or RV in your yard; forget about additions; limited choices of fence designs; and no hanging laundry.

"Planned communities".

Maybe you should introduce plan economy too?

Do you live in the USA or in the USSR?


Planned communities can be dismal, but are not limited to the US and USSR. In the UK they call them "New Towns" and I'm sure they exist in Europe, too. When someone plans a few hundred houses, or a shopping center or an office park, that is ordinary development. When they plan all three, and to carefully define the infrastructure that links them, that starts to be a planned community. New Urbanism is essentially community planning that is intended to be an improvement over older, somewhat sterile planned communities.

Lets hope so. This is insane:

Woman jailed for 'neglected' lawn

A 70-year-old US woman has been left bruised and bloody after an unexpected clash with police who came to arrest her because her lawn was dry and brown.

Trouble flared when Utah pensioner Betty Perry, 70, refused to give her name to an officer trying to caution her for not watering her lawn.

Perhaps civilisation has already collapsed and we just haven't noticed it yet.

Triumvirate of collapse - Economy, Ecosystem, Energy

A likely more detailed and accurate account (than from the BBC), from the major Utah newspaper:


Sounds like a somewhat insecure or inexperienced officer didn't know how to act in this situation.

Sounds like they've got way too many cops in Utah if they have time for this B.S.
Bob Ebersole

Let's see. No money for the lawn, but plenty for the RV:

Perry, an avid cross-country RV-driver who recently got back from a trip to Florida ...

Good morning Leanan,
Why do so many tv shows, disaster movies and books revolve around Kansas? I didnt see a single episode of 'Jericho' because I dont watch serialized tv but I could have guessed that the plot would have been based in Kansas. Recently I saw an old movie on tv about a nuclear exchange between the CCCP and the US, starring Jason Robards as a doctor trying to deal with the aftermath, and it was based in Kansas. Is Kansas of such strategic importance that it would be the epicenter of any attack on the US? If Kansas is destroyed will the remainder of the US crumble? Do the Muslims single out Kansas as more dispicable than any other US state? Are Kansans secretly self depreciating because of their claimed belief in creation science? Whats the matter with Kansas?
Thanks for you hard work on Drum Beat, I am going for a walk, later.

It's not surprising that Kansas should be the focus of Armageddon - I think many folks in Kansas are all waiting for the Rapture:

Kansas Education Board First to Back 'Intelligent Design'

Gee, Toto, I don't think we are in Kansas anymore.
- Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

Kansas is in the middle of the lower 48 states; in a sense Kansas is the quintessential mid-Western American mostly rural state.

What other state could Senator Dole possibly have been from except Kansas? (Well, maybe Nebraska.)

Doesn’t seem to me that Kansas can be considered part of the Bible Belt.
Kansas and Nebraska Methodist and Lutheran the closest thing to agnostic.




“Now the only thing that remains unresolved is the resolution of the problem.”

Afghanistan has the Taleban, Saudi Arabia has the Wahabi, and Kansas has Evangelicals.

When the day comes for the Republic of Redneckistan to sever its political bounds with the United States you can be sure some place like Wichita or Emporia will be the new capital.

I think you have that wrong. The Capitol of Redneckistan will be some where between Springfield Mo and Lufkin Tx, or maybe Shenandoah Ia to Bettendorf.

From todays Lincoln (Nebraska) paper:

Charles Housman said the notice came in late spring 2005: Gov. Dave Heineman’s office was clamping down on what state Health and Human Services System programs could say in communication with the public.


If one reads the whole piece one can see similarities between Kansas and Nebraska mindsets. Or the present White House administration. Merely one example, but it is indicative of how some things are approached here.

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

The fixation on Kansas disasters goes back much further, one of the primary causes of the Civil War was the fights over extending slavery to Kansas and Nebraska. Both abolitionists and southerners recruited gangs of thugs who fought battles and conducted raids there while the Federal Government did nothing. John Brown first became famous there, and even used his militia work for fundraising to have the Harper's Ferry raid.
And how about "The Wizard of Oz" ? It was depicted as black and white, the home of Dorothy. Kansas was one of the three most affected states in the Dust Bowl, and not only that, their barbeque tastes funny and they consider Bob Dole a statesman.

All right, we've made our point, let's nuke 'em now!
Bob Ebersole

Hollywood already did.


I remember after a Reagan administration official suggested the movie showed that nuclear war was survivable, a columnist suggested it should have been named "happy days".

Sheeze why is everyone picking on poor Kansas? First Leann pops us for not being able to give away free land because we're all straight,white, protestants and that's somehow creepy?... even if its B.S. and now we are disaster prone redneck evangelicals. I've lived in 6 different states and have visited most of the rest as well as 30 different countries. Kansas isn't all that unique we may have a bit more common sense than most but we are also vulnerable to extremists getting into power and trying to have their way with policy. The intelligent design deal was totally overdone the state BOE that proposed that was defeated in the last election. My kids have graduated within the last year or will next year from public schools. Neither one ever had Intelligent Design mentioned in the classroom. Sure we have rednecks and evangelicals so what doesn't every state? I even know a few...how have I survived?
Kansas is actually a fairly progressive state. I think we were first or among the first to elect women as mayors, senators, and governors. Brown vs Board of Education broke the back of segregation. We have some of the most liberal abortion laws in the country (I'm not bragging on that)and the state has't executed a convict in like 50 years. You can gamble, go to horse racing, buy booze on Sunday. Our public schools are consistently ranked in the top 10 of states. The city I live next to was just voted a top ten city to raise a family in by Family Circle Magazine Gasp! Horror! The only train wreck I see on the horizon is that we build more airplanes than anywhere else in the world. that industry is headed for a tough time.
But please keep the story up that we are backward, incestual, disaster prone,...and now descendants of thugs. One of the best things IMO about Kansas is the low population densities. I'd just as soon keep it that way so keep up the good work! Kansas you DON'T want to live there!

Yeah, but your barbeque still tastes funny!
Bob Ebersole

Well...I certainly dont want to anger the good folks of Kansas so I promise not to move there.

Because no Hollywood writer has actually ever BEEN to Kansas. They can let their imaginations operate on a blank slate, unprejudiced by reality.

This was obviously the case with "Jericho": Rocky Mountains visible on the horizon (in reality they aren't); plenty of trees everywhere (nope); salt mines on the sides of mountains (in reality they are evaporite layers deep underground); corn as the major field crop (no way, try wheat and grain sorghum).

What I really loved the most was the "corn harvest", when all the townspeople went out to the fields of still-green corn, picked the ripe (not dry) ears, and placed them for storage in Rubbermaid containers. I just about had to pick myself off the floor I was laughing so hard.

Is Kansas of such strategic importance that it would be the epicenter of any attack on the US?

not the epicenter, but it has missile silos scattered around which I think would draw fire


Mcconnel afb is one of only 3 places where in air tankers are based, stay away from there...

Then figure the following urban areas as well: Elwood, Levenworth, Manhattan, Topeka, Kansas City, DeSoto.


You always come through for us. I believe that one of the best thing us Peakists can do is to follow the kind of stories you post.

Alan Talbert


Woman jailed for 'neglected' lawn

A 70-year-old US woman has been left bruised and bloody after an unexpected clash with police who came to arrest her because her lawn was dry and brown.

You know, a lot of police officers are really great people who are in it because they want to help people. But there's more than a few who are in it because they are control freaks who get off on telling people what to do.

I'm reminded of BTK, the Kansas serial killer who was remembered by his neighbors mostly for being this kind of control freak. He wanted to be a cop, but ended up the equivalent of the town dogcatcher, telling people to keep their dogs leashed and fining them if their grass was too tall.

And it sounds like this particular lady maybe shouldn't be living alone.

I think you've missed the point...

"...with police who came to arrest her because her lawn was dry and brown."

After all the talk of water issues and lawns being maintained in terrible places, they're actually advocating the waste of water under the penalty of the law.

Let it never be said that our species is not responding to the environmental clues that we have some real problems.

We are responding by making it illegal to conserve resources. We beat up little old ladies who know better.

My optimism for our species survival grows, but why, in the face of overwhelming evidence that we still do not get it?

police who came to arrest her

The story you link starts out by saying "arrest", but later says they were serving some kind of court order or warrant. Not quite the same thing. Then it escalated when she refused to identify herself to the policeman.

Oh come on, Plucky. This was utterly stupid. In UTAH for gosh sakes and in the midst of a massive heat wave throughout the west and in the midst of a multi-year drought (see the drought monitor run by the US government) they are going to cite her for having a brown lawn? The absurdity is incredible.

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

And besides, she was away in Florida:

Perry, an avid cross-country RV-driver who recently got back from a trip to Florida, said she has never had a run-in with the law, not even a traffic ticket.

(sorry for the redundant post. But the irony should not be lost :-)

In the summertime here, people with green lawns are viewed with suspicion, if not downright distrust. It's been illegal to water your lawn with town water for at least 12 months, however you may use tank-collected water. At any rate, green lawns certainly stood out like sore thumbs. In the last couple of months, rainfall has been gradually returning, and the lawns look almost unnaturally green - as if they've been painted overnight.

A high-speed revolution

European railways form an alliance to promote swifter international travel

AS THE fastest train in Europe reaches its top speed of 320kph (200mph) the glasses of wine on the bar barely wobble. Champagne country is a blur as the train tears along Europe's newest high-speed line—the first to link France and Germany. France's Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV) can now travel between Stuttgart and Paris in only three hours 40 minutes instead of six hours. The latest generation of Germany's Inter-City Express (ICE) trains has similarly shrunk the journey time between Frankfurt and Paris.

This week high-speed railways in France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland joined with existing international services, such as the cross-channel Eurostar and the Paris-Brussels Thalys, to form Railteam, a new marketing alliance. The aim by the end of next year is to have one website that will allow travellers to view timetables and prices and, with one or two clicks, book tickets from one end of Europe to another. At the European Commission's insistence, Railteam members will compete on prices, though there could be some tricky moments as some of them team up to take on airlines.

Europe is in the grip of a high-speed rail revolution. Four new lines are opening this year and next, with trains running up to 320kph (see map). The eastern France TGV line is the first, to be followed in November by a new link from the Channel Tunnel to a new rail hub at London St Pancras, connecting Britain's first really fast line to the rest of the network. Paris will be only two hours 20 minutes away, and Brussels less than two hours. By 2008 Brussels will have new high-speed links to Amsterdam and Cologne. Railteam's aim is to increase high-speed passengers from 15m a year today to 25m by 2010.

I still think it's a pity that the Aérotrain got killed before it had a chance to develop:


It seemed like an idea worth pursuing, but got supplanted by the TGV. I never got to see the Aérotrain, let alone take a ride on one. Anybody here, by chance, had that experience?

More info and photos here:

Aérotrain more

I still think it's a pity that the Aérotrain got killed before it had a chance to develop

But it left us this immortal cultural landmark


In Sweden, the Railroad Authority "Banverket", is considering scrapping 2350 km of railroads. After all, there are highways...

Rail has the possibility of being a good interim solution. But isn't high-speed also high-consumption? Isn't "bigger, better, faster, more" a function of the cheap energy we've been using?

So we can trim inefficiencies from the system by moving from higher-cost air travel to lower-cost rail. And what will we do in a few years when rail costs are as high as air travel costs are now? What will we trim from the system then?

Like I said, rail has the possibility of being a good solution. But high-speed rail, or high-speed anything for that matter, doesn't seem sustainable.

All the high speed trains in Europe run on electricity. When the trains break, they give energy back to the grid.

Faster trains use more energy, but electrical energy can come 50% from wind, solar, hydro in Germany in 2030, so the plans. The other 50% will be coal or nuclear. In France, 80% are already from nukes! The rest could be covered by renewables soon.

A big mistake is that for train tickets, you must pay taxes, especially the VAT, while air travel is tax free.


In a crisis (temporary or permanent), one can simply slow down the trains. Reducing top speed for an express train (few stops) from 300 to 215 kph would cut energy use almost in half.

Calculation is difficult because both trains accelerate and decelerate alike up to 215 kph plus wheel/rail friction loss is independent of aero loss. Rolling resistance friction is proportional to speed, aero is proportional to speed squared.

In an electrical shortage (last summer ?) Washington Metro slowed down to 40 mph top speed. Only a few minutes lost in schedule, because stops, acceleration & deceleration were as before, the trains just stopped accelerating sooner.

More rolling stock will be required to move the same # of people if they go slower.

But as long as high speed rail is losing market share to budget airlines, it would be foolish (from economic & energy POVs) to "go slow".

Some few lines (Koln-Frankfurt for example) have such steep grades that ICE trains cannot go too slow, but they can still slow down to 160 kph or so.

In the USA, I propose "semi-high speed rail" that mixes 80 to 100 mph freight with 110 mph pax service. Lower energy use is one reason.

Best Hopes for energy efficient rail,


It is sustainable. After all, it uses only electricity, a commodity available in practically limitless amounts.

And it's not like the trains use much power anyway. A TGV at full blast is about 10 MW. That is, you can run 100 TGV's out of a single average sized nuclear reactor.

gawd. if the commodity supplying electricity is FF, you still lose.

the poster above you is correct, a switch to nuke+wind+pv+tidal should be alright if done quickly. Nukes for baseload, wind to help out, pv for daily peaking demands, and tidal for whatever.

Ah yes, but it's not fossil around here. We are half hydro and half nuclear. And we can build as many more wind mills or reactors as we feel like.

hopefully none of the parts are imported from china/usa

othewise i tip my hat to you good sir.

Well, if we build new ones I am sure there will be lots of American components. If they are for some reason not available that will not present too big a problem, as the current reactor fleet was domestically* developed.

Or well, the 3 PWR's were American Westinghouse designs, but that was just to compare them with our own BWR's.

* Developed by Asea Atom, which became ABB Atom after Asea merged with Brown Boweri. But then ABB sold ABB Atom to Westinghouse, which was owned by the British state via BNFL, which recently sold Westinghouse to Toshiba.

So uh... Anyway, the engineers are still around here in Sweden, even though most of them are probably retired.


Then why are we debating the end of fossil fuels, if everything can be run on limitless electricity ...

Oh that's right, it can't. Because electricity isn't an energy source, like proposed hydrogen schemes, it is an energy carrier. There are no natural sources of electricity in the environment. Our material energy sources, which we use to create electricity, are natural gas, coal, oil, and uranium, all of which are finite.

Solar is our only "pure" energy source, but still requires materials to harness and convert it, and solar is too widely dispersed (not concentrated).

And if you're going to claim we can mine uranium from seawater, I'm going to claim Receding Horizons.

And if you're going to predict that your country (Sweden? Norway?) can maintain its sustainable energy practices while the world around it falls apart due to unsustainable practices, I'm going to predict the rest of the world will invade it for its precious resources.

So, no, high speed anything is not sustainable. Not even in the land of milk and honey and limitless electricity.

There is so much nuclear fuel lying around there is not the slightest reason to worry.

For example, the prospecting done in 2003-2005 increased uranium reserved by 50 %. If we could do that with oil none of us would spend any time at this site.

The problem here is of course, like Bob Hirsch always says, that peak oil is not an energy crisis but a liquid fuel crisis. You can't run cars on electricity. At least not yet.

The problem here is of course

The issues with fission power are about the failure modes.

Man has had YEARS to demonstrate responsible handling of fission power - and yet has not.

If fission had years of responsibility - knowing the dangers of the waste - opposition would be foolish.

Yet humans make mistakes - and somehow the man-made machines and processes 'are gonna be better next time' with fission?

The issues with fission power are about the failure modes.

You got the same problem with hydropower in spades. Its just nuclear exceptionalism.

You got the same problem with hydropower in spades.

In spades? The traditional meaning would be "To a considerable degree".


Your argument is: "Oh yea? Well this other thing is not as bad"

If your idea of 'convincing debate' is to use idioms, you might want to spend some time learning how to actually produce compelling content. Thanks.

There are no natural sources of electricity in the environment.

That is not exactly true.


Oh, but then you've got the same problem of storing that lightning in the same way that the constant complaining about storing wind and PV energy. ;)
We can just build arrays of lightning rods all over the country with large capacitors to even out the flow. Ok, I'm J/k... I love the photo, however. Makes me wonder how the photographer caught this photo.
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

Ok, you got me. :-)

There are no natural sources of electricity which are reliable and which can be harnessed to do useful work. I think that might cover it.


Not an energy crisis, but a liquid fuel crisis? Hmm. Nope, it's really neither. The peaking of oil production is but a single symptom out of many of a system (civilization) that is breaking under the strain of overwhelming complexity.

So suppose we can wave a magic wand and overnight convert everything to run on electricity from nuclear, hydro, and wind. How does having more energy or a growing energy supply help with global warming, mass extinction, and other natural resource depletion?

With continued growth, in a few years there will be conversations on thedryaquifer.com, nomorespace.com, and toomanypeople.com about resource depletion and overpopulation.

Our resources our finite, but our appetites are not, and Nature will win out in the end.

High-speed anything is not sustainable, nor is any paradigm where continued growth is involved.

We might solve this problem by looking at the root causes: why is it necessary for people to travel so much, and why is it necessary to do so at high speed?

The peaking of oil production is but a single symptom out of many of a system (civilization) that is breaking under the strain of overwhelming complexity.

Bullshit. The peaking of oil production is a symptom of geologic reserves being depleted and nothing more.

The 'civilization is complex, therefore unsustainable' meme is a fun, unsupportable bit of nonsense though.

So suppose we can wave a magic wand and overnight convert everything to run on electricity from nuclear, hydro, and wind. How does having more energy or a growing energy supply help with global warming, mass extinction, and other natural resource depletion?

Most of these problems are trivially solvable as functions of energy and capital.

Our resources our finite, but our appetites are not, and Nature will win out in the end.

True; We're disagreeing when the end is. Its significantly further out than several hundred years simply because at our present growth rate we wont even be eating our energy budget from the solar flux.

And rubbing my cat.

I disagree with your assessment, as does the National Academy of Sciences. Wind has been proven to generate lots more energy than is necessaray to replace itself. So does solar. And nuclear as well. Fears about fossil fuels in many mining operations are not valid as most underground mining gear is electrically driven now so above ground could be if it needed to be.

The problem is not energy, but reorganizing our lives around radically different energy usage systems. The technical solutions exist. The problem is and remains us, we human beings, who must decide to reorganize our lives and build these energy sources while we can.

I am pretty "doomerish" about all this but it is not for technical reasons. My reasons revolve around human psychology and politics.

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

Surely mining operations are significantly dependent on fossil fuels (oil in particular) - all wheeled mining equipment runs on diesel and requires oil for lubrication etc. If all fossil fuels were to literally run out tomorrow, a crash program to build a replacement energy infrastrucutre would be essentially impossible, and there's no doubt humanity would be quickly reduced to subsistence level at a tiny fraction of the current population.
We've left it too late for it to be a smooth transition, but we're never going to leave it that late.

Not all of it, some is electrically powered.

requires oil for lubrication etc

This is something I have been wondering about as well.
What are the ramifications of PO on lubricants?
All the "bio" stuff you encounter is aimed at fuel.
Or are lubricants easily obtained from "heavy' oils?

Sperm Whale Oil is a superb lubricant, better than mineral oil in many applications.

A small problem with the supply though.

Synthetic oil can be created from a variety of feedstocks.

Not cheap,


Peak Sperm. Whale or not I won't go there. Maybe we can get a rise out of The Chimp Who Can Drive on THAT subject.

A lot of lubricants must withstand a great deal of heat and that is what makes me question how bio-oils can perform in those conditions.
The Air Car claims to be able to use vegetable oil as a lubricant, but their problem is how to deal with cold not heat.

Sorry for the double post. Fat fingers.

but we're never going to leave it that late.

I do wish I were as optimistic.
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Then spend more time reading...here and any other peak oil sites that aren't excessively doomerish. Accepting that TEOTWAWKI is a possibility that we should strive to avoid is one thing - believing that it's inevitable is just self-defeating.

Believing there is a solution when there isn't one is just as self-defeating.
Optimism has created far more problems than it has ever solved.
It is inevitable is a valid answer. Don't ignore it because you don't like it.

When I first read LATOC I was quite convinced there really were no solutions and no way to avoid total and unrecoverable collapse. Reading TOD went a long way towards me realising that there not only was such a collapse avoidable, it wasn't even particularly likely.
In fact I now see it as about as likely as a CERA-style uninterrupted continuation of business of usual.
Not only that, but I've come to accept that some of sort of extended global recession/depression, while it will be painful, might just be what we need in order to force us to collectively rethink what sort of future we want for ourselves as a species and how to achieve it. Of course, I'd much prefer it if we could manage that "rethink" without the accompanying recession, but I might as well wish that we'd never got ourselves into this position in the first place.

Not only that, but I've come to accept that some of sort of extended global recession/depression, while it will be painful, might just be what we need in order to force us to collectively rethink what sort of future we want for ourselves as a species and how to achieve it.

What makes you think people collectively decide what kind of future we want? I look around and I see people acting selfishly for their immediate gain with no thought what so ever for the future.

This isn't wrong, its just the way our brains are designed. We discount the future for immediate material gains. The cultures/tribes/countries that don't are wiped out by the ones that do.

I just read an article talking about 2,500$ cars in India and China. Do you think those billions of people are collectively rethinking what kind of future they want? No they are thinking they can afford a car at last. Do you think that asshat with his SUV and McMansion cares about our collective future? No he'll continue to consume to his maximum.

While PO is a hugely difficult engineering challenge, the societal challenges are IMO insurmountable. Expecting people to "collectively rethink what sort of future we want for ourselves as a species and how to achieve it" is just self defeating.

And there is no combination of wind/nuke/solar/zero point energy that will allow humankind to continue to consume at its utmost. The last 100 years were an aberration in the history of humankind. Just because its all you've ever know that its all there will ever be.

I said "might just be what we need"...not that I expect it.
The reason that no-one is doing that sort of rethinking at the moment is because there simply is no real pressure to do so.
The biggest problem I see as preventing us from undertaking the necessity technical challenges to get through PO is the inertia of governments and large corporations. A significant recession should do a lot to shake off some of that inertia, seeing as the vested interests that are being desperately hung on to will no longer have a future. The average consumer on the street will at least be forced to accept that everything they had taken for granted in life so far never did have a guaranteed future, and that they may never see the likes of it again within their lifetime. In that sense, attitudes will collectively change. Initially that change is likely to be negative and counterproductive, but given enough time, those with the optimism and belief in there is a better future ahead will be the ones that lead us out of that state of affairs. At any rate, I'd much prefer to die knowing that I tried to make a difference, even if I never saw my efforts come to fruition, than waste my life away believing that there was no hope.

You need to read Diamond's Collapse.

I'd much rather spend my life enjoying myself rather than waste my life away believe that was hope.

Besides, there is still time for personal preperation. That is not hopeless.

One of the most overrated concepts is that being perpetuated by Diamond and other like minded sycophants that think that pre-industrial agrarian societal failure modes are in any way isomorphic to the industrial world.

Why? Have people changed since then?

What is so fundamentally different that failure modes from agrarian societies don't hold true in industrial societies?

Its human nature that causes the failures, not technology.

Why? Have people changed since then?

No, but we aren't talking about people. Society has changed drastically since then.

What is so fundamentally different that failure modes from agrarian societies don't hold true in industrial societies?

Are you kidding?

Widespread dissemenation of knowledge at all levels of society is a start. People aren't required to work fifteen hour days to survive. And an incredibly large population means you can absorb huge shocks without any plausible collapse; You just reshuffle human resources around. You can, if you like, attempt to paint a picture for end of civilization but it will in no way be isomorphic to such a collapse in the past; In all likelyhood it wont even be remotely plausible.

There's widespread dissemination - but it isn't always knowledge.

Start with over 90% literacy compared to any agrarian society; Go from there. Many elitist misanthropes like to think that they know society is filled with ignorant rubes without taking a good look in the mirror. It doesn't change the fact the average person in the modern world is far more educated and equipped for dealing with crisis than those from agrarian societies centuries ago.

Not least of which, they can look up solutions to problems in a book.

More educated, sure...but more equipped for dealing with crisis? Far from convinced on that one.
Hell, I know I'm personally less equipped for dealing with crisis than my parents, and certainly my grandparents (having lived through the Great Depression, doing every job under the sun). And I'm pretty damned sure I'm less equipped than my great-great-great-great-grandfather who did back-breaking physical labour 15 hours a day, 6 days a week.
I've never have tough day in my life - never had to worry about where my next meal's coming from, never had to worry about where I was going to sleep, never had to worry about a thing of any genuine consequence. And almost everyone of my generation is in exactly the same boat. The skills we do have, while great for the current economy, are pretty useless in the case of a collapse.
So, no, I don't believe the average person is better equipped. As a society, we are better equipped - we have advanced emergency services, and the infrastructure and funds to support them. But if those fail, we truly are in for a very rough ride.

I know some useful information, but my memory is also crammed with a lot of useless commercial jingles and entertainment trivia. "What do you want, good grammar or good taste?" "Catch me Lucky Charms, they're magically delicious" "800-325-3535" "Every day is discount day - you can't beat the prices at Drug Fair" "Daytime, nighttime, Saturdays too, we open our doors, Citizens Bank of Maryland conveniently yours." "Bekins men are careful, quick and kind. Bekins takes a load off of your mind. Whether heavy stuff or a fragile pitcher, a Bekins man is a moving picture. We're the best-trained moving men around! In the moving business Bekins men are pros - and prose means poetry - in moving!"

Doubtless all this information will help me survive a crisis.

More educated is more equipped. Experienced at enduring misery is not better equipped. There are little things like knowing to wash your hands when dealing with dirt that eluded agrarian societies for millenia; Then there is the huge experience with being adept at finding information important to dealing with crisis.

Finally, the population is much bigger, meaning there is a much broader diversity of skills, any one of which can be useful in any number of crisises; Especially for repairing broken infrastructure for the continued survival of industrial civilization.

It wasn't the experience with enduring misery I was concerned about, merely the fact that my parents and grandparents had to work much harder to achieve what they hard, and gained considerable skills (and presumably mental toughness) doing just that. Being able to find information is one thing, having the physical capacity and learning the techniques necessary to put that information to use is quite another.

Anyway, I agree that, as a whole, we're probably better equipped, but I'd suggest that's in spite of the fact that most individuals have less useful skills for dealing with crisis than they had in centuries past.

It was a truism of the past that "educated men" would go on and preserve when others would collapse and die.

However, this education was of the more classical mold, where thinking and critical thought is required.

I got a bit of this as it was evaporating from public education (my younger siblings did not) and self educated myself as well. (Self education is always available(.

If a higher percentage of the population was educated to think I would worry less.

Best Hopes for Education, not Trade School Training,


I got a bit of this as it was evaporating from public education (my younger siblings did not) and self educated myself as well. (Self education is always available(.

If a higher percentage of the population was educated to think I would worry less.

You're kidding right? Compared to any agrarian society the average person is superbly educated. This smug elitism with the veiled condemnation of modern culture is an annoying dodge; Even the dullard who pumps gas or flips burgers who doesnt know queen victoria from queen latifa can read. Coupled with a very large population and a much higher average base education, you're casting a very big net for 'learned men' to preserve civilization from the collapse.

Best Hopes for Education, not Trade School Training,

More smug elitism. Wonderful; You can get useful education from trade schools, and many do. But I suppose they're useless robots to you.

Literacy has been nearly universal (85+%) in the US since at least 1800 (read de Tocquevilles' observations), so that hardly qualifies as "educated" in an American context.

The type of education that earlier observers noted promoted survival in extreme conditions is an "elitist" type education (your term, not mine). I got mine in that "elite" school, Tuscaloosa High School (because I paid attention and studied). My best teachers retired before my brothers went through and their education suffered.

Neither got the education I did, unfortunately. One consequence is that I do better in adversary (see New Orleans) than they do.

My father got his "elite" education at Garth High School (public high school in Georgetown KY). Of the 14 boys that graduated, 12 got college degrees and 6 got advanced degrees. I think 3 girls also got college degrees.

My paternal grandfather started life on his own at age 14 as a sharecropper in the hills of Kentucky. He self educated himself and did "right well". He was an educated man who never got past 8th grade.

My father, son of a sharecropper, got a PhD and all but a dissertation on a second PhD.

Trade schools rarely teach students to think (some few do I am sure). Most universities today do not teach critical thinking today and have become trade schools.



It doesn't change the fact the average person in the modern world is far more educated and equipped for dealing with crisis than those from agrarian societies centuries ago.

In what?
Accounting, Marketing, Finance, Software engineering, Harvard MBA, Lawyers, or else burger flippers, street cleaners, nannies, gangstas?

Yeah! "equipped for dealing with crisis"

In what?
Accounting, Marketing, Finance, Software engineering, Harvard MBA, Lawyers, or else burger flippers, street cleaners, nannies, gangstas?

Accounting, certainly. You need to keep the ledger of stocks and flows of resources whatever crisis you're in. Marketing notsomuch.
Finance, absolutely. Crisis management needs to be paid for, and infrastructure for prevention needs to be financed as well.
Software engineering, certainly. Much of the modern infrastructure depends on software and will need to be managed in any crisis.
MBA? Yes, you'll need to have firms managing the resources of crisis response and so you'll need management in those firms.
Lawyers? I imagine you'll need some unless civilization falls; It can be credibly argued we have too many allready.
And for all the general laborers you mentioned, its not as if they're any less equipped to deal with crisis than the average person in an agrarian society which is: farm laborer, farm laborer, farm laborer...

That's not really a fair assessment of Diamond's position. He considers himself a "cautious optimist" wrt the fate of modern industrial civilisation, and simply warns against assuming that we are immune to the processes that triggered the collapses of previous civilisations. Seems like perfectly sound advice to me.
I think he is unnecessarily disdainful of technological solutions - his argument is essentially that technology has as much power to make things worse as it does make things better, which is undoubtably true, but providing that there is wide-scale recognition of the need for a solution, then realistically, technology is going to be required to provide it, otherwise modern civilisation will, essentially, collapse: we are, if nothing else, a technological civilisation. Of course, he's not writing about peak oil, but rather our general tendency to take too little care of the environment that provides our sustenance.

Indeed, it was while reading a discussion about Collapse that I initially came across LATOC, from whence here.

To be honest, after reading it, I wasn't sure what to think...it seemed there were as many reasons to hope as their were not to. I was struggling to see how Diamond himself could claim to be so optimistic, which is why I wanted to find more information. I don't think I ever really found out an answer to that question, but I do wonder how he would feel if he were aware of the seriousness of peak oil.

Anyway, personal preparation for what? I'm mentally prepared for what I see is likely (fairly severe recession), but specific physical preparations seem rather pointless, given there's no real way we can know what's going to be needed, and I'm not going to waste time, energy and money on things that are most likely going to be a useless. The "preparations" I am making are things that are worthwhile doing anyway - paying off debts, growing my own vegies, getting back into cycling etc. etc.

My reasons revolve around human psychology and politics.

*clap* *clap*

Mega dittos

Hello 710,

Good points. Thoughtful postPeak mitigation will require constant reductions so that a small detritus energy surplus is always available to leverage the biosolar transition and optimally desired social interaction for conflict minimization.

In prior postings: I detailed the no-platform requirement of low narrow-gauge 15-20 mph minitrains, bicycle peleton free-ride hitch-hiking alongside nonstop Express Cargo minitrains, human scale container systems suitable for wheelbarrows/minitrains/small barges.

Other postings include: above ground dual-purpose pipeline SpiderWebRiding for max. infrastructure and energy efficiency, PHEWs or Personal High-efficiency Electric Workers for assist of heavy barrowloads on upslopes, and the criticality of Strategic Reserves of bicycles & wheelbarrows to keep relocalized permaculture society above the rock-bottom Thermo/Gene survival level of the anarchist machete' moshpit. All info available in TOD archives.

IMO, we can do much better than this Chinese photo if we can get mitigation started for the coming Bottleneck Squeeze:


Please search and read my other postings: detailing Tiger Woods leading the charge to plow golf courses so that our labor force can transform to 60-75% agricultural labor, and optimizing our decline by Biosolar Secession and the Blackwater vs Earthmarine dynamic to reduce extinction rates.

Failing this speculative Asimov's Foundation plan of predictive collapse and directed decline to sequentially and proactively powerdown and expand biosolar habitats: I remain a fast-crash realist. Cheers!

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

Bakhtiari wrote of a Euro-rail "mega-project" that he expected would never be completed - his reasoning: superprojects are over. It went at least to the Urals if my memory is right. Freight from Lisbon to Moscow or some such. Is this part of it or a different project?

cfm in Gray, ME

Freight (and passengers) can make Lisbon / Moscow trip using existing rail infrastructure. Passenger journey time is 66 hours but the route (via Paris and Cologne) is in order of 4000km. This link provides timetable info re train services between any 2 stations in Europe: D Bahn Timetable (English)

The Honda civic lawsuit is baloney.

As far as I know, manufacturers are both required to advertise EPA figures, and prohibited from advertising any other fuel effficiency claims.

The original source is the Detroit News - which, if you follow hybrids, is about all you need to know.

At www.greenhybrid.com, you can see that Mr. True's mpg ranks in the bottom 1 percent of Civic hybrid owners.

Maybe I should sue because my 2000 Honda Civic has a rating of 43mpg hwy but I got 50mpg hwy the time before last that I filled up. That's 7 more than it said on the sticker! They lied!

I expect the lawsuit to fail miserably... Hopefully the judge will make the effort to laugh and point at the plantiff.

~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

If that freak can't do better than 32 mpg in a current Civic Hybrid he needs to look in the mirror and blame what he sees. My '06 Civic Hybrid lifetime mileage in 50/50 city/hiway traffic is 46.3. I got 56.6 mpg on a 64 mile hiway drive yesterday (with a slight tailwind) with the air conditioner on. The car is a marvel, and engineered to provide continual feedback so the driver can play along. If you choose to ignore the feedback and do the leadfoot thing, maybe you will get only 32 mpg.

Wow. Germany doing a u-turn on nukes! Another sign of the times, IMHO.

From the drumbeat-linked news item:

Mrs Merkel's dramatic change of heart surfaced at an energy summit attended by government and industry heads in Berlin last week, when it became clear that her ruling grand coalition's aim of closing Germany's 17 nuclear power plants by the early 2020s were at odds with targets for the reduction of CO2 emissions.

It is my understanding that Europe is fearing an all-powerful Russian energy bear holding them by the short & curlies. The only ways out of an all-encompassing bear-hug, practically speaking, involve either/or more coal or nuclear with renewables and conservation on the margins. To say this openly would invite the wrath of the Greens, who would likely claim that renewables and conservation can do it all alone - NO MORE NUKES, etc!. However, such backlash is preempted by claims that this policy u-turn is to address GW concerns.

My hunch is that this news from Germany is further evidence of peak oil and gas, with GW used to sugar-coat the pill of nuclear power.

Or the nuclear lobby in Germany finally found the price she was willing to sell out for.

more likely she realizes the untenable position her uneducated ramblings have taken.

if one removes nuke plants, and wants to decrease co2, one must increase plants which produce power without co2 by the sum of the removed nuke plants, and removed coal plants.

(there is no such thing as a free lunch)

The actual acronym is (and has been for decades) TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. ;)

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

Merkel has always been in favor of nukes, no U-turn at all!
The phase-out was decided by the red-green (SPD, Green party) Schröder government. The current government is formed by the CDU and the SPD. The SPD is in favor of the phase-out.

If the phase-out is canceled, depends on the 2009 elections. Only if the CDU and FDP can form a coalition, the phase-out can be canceled.
Germany does not have a "the winner takes it all" voting system as the UK and France, but proportional representation.

We have to wait and see...

This is about right - this will be decided through a general election in Germany, in an open vote where it will be a very major issue. As Merkel is in a coalition government, the SPD will join the opposition before agreeing to cancel the 'contract' it sponsored with the nuclear indusry.

Since the 'contract' to shut German nukes down still has more than a decade and half to run, the power companies will keep pushing - though there is still likely a political majority opposed to nuclear power today, it may be that the power companies see the next two years as their best bet for a make or break decision - hard to know if they would win, but popular disgust against them is only likely to increase with a background of rising energy costs combined with major profits difficult to unravel from artfully obscured revenues and costs.

However, Merkel is merely being open, to see what happens as much as anything else. And even for this trivial opening of discussion, she can count on a board seat of some major power conglomerate. Nothing as exalted as Schröder, but then, Schröder was always a fairly direct sort - at least in ensuring his own advantages.

And at the same time the nukes are in the media because of accidents:

warning: german language




seems to me that the german government don´t care anymore what people think about it.

All these nukes belong to the Swedish company Vattenfall. There were similar incidents in Swedish nukes, too.

Germany's CO2 reduction plans, -40% in 2030, are ambitious. How to achieve that without nukes? Only if CCS works, they can do it with coal and renewables. It's easier with nukes.

The German population is devided, about 50-50.

Exactly what went wrong at ther German facilities?

And while we have had a number of minor incidents here in Sweden, none of those were similar to each other, so I am not really sure what you are hinting at.

Reads like a transformer fire. Nothing to do with the nuclear side, no threat of a nuclear accident (unpleasant if you're anywhere near the transformer, but that's another matter). I was surprised about the reference to dioxins - that would presumably be due to the use of chlorinated coolants in the transformer. I thought they'd phased that very nasty stuff out years ago.

We had a transformer fire at Ringhals too. Bad luck but nothing serious. Trust the German media to make it sound like Chernobyl.

One incident in Sweden was close to a meltdown, so not "minor" at all, because too many emergency generators did not start.

In Germany, on June, 28th at 13:00h CEST, the nuke in Brunsbüttel was shut down automatically after a short-cut. At 15:00 a fire was noted in the transformer of the nuke "Krümmel", which is close to the other nuke. Krümmel was shut down, too. In Krümmel, smoke from the fire came into the control room, which should not have happened at all.

The supervisors of the government think the the two incidents might be linked. After Brunsbüttel was down, there was not enough power in the local grid, which might have caused the fire in Krümmel.

The nuke in Brunsbüttel could be restarted on the following day, but there were two more problems. These incidents have to be reported to the governmemt immediately. According to the government, Vattenfall only informed them after 5 days. Vattenfall is now critized for their obscure information policy.

IMO, such incidents can happen. But by not informing the public openly, timely and acuratly, Vattenfall have given another blow to the image of nukes in Germany. That said, the German utilities are not any better in this matter.

On 04.11.2006, the German utility E.ON almost caused a Europe-wide blackout by violating the N-1 rule when opening a 380kV line. 15 million household in the west of Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Austria, Croatia and Serbia were without power for up to one hour. If the other utilities had not acted promptly and by the rules, a Europe-wide blackout would have occured. The European UCTE-grid was seperated into 3 unsynchronised regions, the resync was not trivial.

The N-1 rule, in simple words says, that the power network always has to be in a state that the shutdown of any system does not cause a blackout. When E.ON shut down the one 380kV line, another 380kV line became overloaded and shut down. That caused the tripping of a number of other lines.


The event in Sweden, at Forsmark, was not close to a meltdown, far from it. That's just media spin. Or as people usually call it, a lie.

What happened is that when idiots reparing the switchyard caused a plant-wide shortcut, only 2 of 4 reserve diesel generators started. But this was enough as each generator could supply 50 % of the needed power, due to the over-engineering of the reserve systems.

Now, the automatic starting processes of all 4 generators could have failed. That might just as well have happened, but it didn't due to good luck.

But what would have happened then? The same thing that happened with the 2 generators that didn't start automatically: an operator pushed the button "manual start".

Boo hoo.

Over-engineering is normal in nukes. Only one diesel would not have been sufficient. For me, that is close - too close.

In some reports I read, it was 20min to the meltdown when the operator started the diesel manually - something not even on the book. That was probably not true. But the delayed and soothing information from Vattenfall, E.ON and RWE in most of the incidents in nukes has led to mistrust, and the latest incidents confirm that.

Who trusts the utilities? No-one. Who trusts the government? The answers to these two questions are the reasons why we have the stupid phase-out in Germany.

No, one diesel would only have managed to run 50 % of the pumps and stuff.

But! If only one pump had started automatically, the remaining three would have been started manually, just like the two off-line diesels where in this event.

You have mixed up the 20 minutes. What happened is that the two off-line diesels were started after about 20 minutes (23 i believe), after the operators had gone through all their check-lists and discussed what action should be taken. They did exactly what was in their instructions, in the book.

If all cooling goes away, you get fuel damage in about two hours as the water in the reactor tank turns to steam and the fuel is uncovered. After a while it starts to melt. After eight hours the molten fuel mass penetrates the bottom of the reactor tank and contaminates the inside of the containment.

This will not create and damages or risk for human health or the environment. The worst case scenario is that some gas inside the containment must be vented to the atmosphere, which happened at Three Mile Island. Off course, the amount of radiation that escaped was so tiny that it could hurt no one.

But there is a difference between the TMI plant and the Swedish plant. All Swedish plant has a filter that captures 99,9 % of all emitted radiation. That means that the worst case scenario here is 1/1000 of what happened at TMI, an accident that didn't hurt anyone.

Who trust the nuclear utilities? In Sweden we actually have polls on that. The trust is massive, even if it has been chipped after this incident, or rather after this incident when it was found out that there had been problems with the safety culture.

But trust fell a lot less than the media people wanted. They even had that as their main piece of news at the state radio one day!

Thanks for all these data. It is sure that media overreact all the time.

But the nukes in Sweden are also run by Vattenfall, and is it really only back luck that there are problems in four of them in a short period? Or safety culture?

Why is the trust so high in Sweden? Are they more open about the incidents and don't withold data from the public there? If not, then why do they do that in Germany, when they know that the public is so critical here?

I think that we need the nukes, but in order to win the support of the people, the utilities must change their information policies. It takes a lot of efforts to win back the trust lost.

All the Swedish nukes are not run by Vattenfall, E.On is big here too. Forsmark is Vattenfall though.

The safety culture things seemed to be a Forsmark only issue, and even though the media reported about things at other plants, those weren't really safety culture things but only stuff that happens. Like the transformer fire at Ringhals.

I don't know why trust is high in Sweden, probably has something to do with the culture of openess and the strict safety culture, ironically the things that weren't good enough at Forsmark. Even more ironically, about 10 years ago Forsmark was considered one of the safest plants in the world. Maybe that's why they slacked off...

But I really don't worry, and I live 70 km from Forsmark.

Well, we will have interesting debates then before the 2009 general elections. Sadly, the opponents of nuclear play the emotional card, and it is quite hard to argue against that.

OT, the German minister of home security, Wolfgang Schäuble, is talking about detention centers aka Guantanamo for suspects of terrorism, targeted killing of such subjects, declaring the war on terror, so that he can withdraw fundamental rights from suspects, and more.

All of that is against the law and the constitution, but the constitution can be changed.

I am not sure how long I feel home if such plans are executed. Sweden might be a good country to go...

four of them in a short period

That's NOT bad luck. It is the way a highly interdependent system fails.

One nuke down
Two nuke down
One pump starts
Two pumps don't
No juice.
Three pump, four pump, more pump.... No pump.
Why ask silly little man?
Better to believe.

cfm in Gray, ME

SilentReader, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but the US government could care less what Americans think about what our government is doing. Many here are not in favor of what our government is doing...Many.

Uranium Ux U3O8 price chart here.
So the price of uranium has gone 14 fold in 4,5 years (1/2003 to 7/2007). Peak uranium?


To quote mkwin at peakoil.com

Reasonably assured reserves (or proven reserves) refers to known commercial quantities of Uranium recoverable with current technology and for a specified price. The terms additional and speculative reserves refer to extensions to well explored deposits or in new deposits that are thought to exist based on well defined geological data.

As of the beginning of 2003 World Uranium reserves were:

Reasonable Assured Reserves recoverable at less than $US130/kgU (or $US50/lb U3O8) = 3.10 - 3.28 million tonnes.
Additional reserves recoverable at less than $US130/kgU (or $US50/lb U3O8) = 10.690 million tonnes.

As of the beginning of 2005 World Uranium reserves were:

Reasonable Assured Reserves recoverable at less than $US130/kgU (or $US50/lb U3O8) = 4.7 million tonnes.
Additional recoverable Uranium is estimated to be 35 million tonnes

The substantial increase (almost 50%) from 2003 shows the results of the world-wide renewed exploration effort spurred by the increase in Uranium prices which commenced in 2004. This increase in activity has continued through to 2006. Thus, the provable uranium resources amount to approximately 85 years supply at the current level of consumption with current technology, with another 500 years of additional reserves. It is worth noting that the numbers above do not reflect the considerable increase in Uranium exploration that has taken place in 2005 and 2006."

To put this in perspective, it's like if we found 1-1,5 trillion barrels of oil after two years of prospecting.

My understanding is that the price was artificially depressed for years by the supply of fissile material from decommissioned weapons material under a US/Russian agreement "Megatons to Megawatts". From here:

Mines in 2005 supplied some 49,000 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate (U3O8) containing 41,600 tU, about 64% of utilities' annual requirements. (See also paper World Uranium Mining). The balance is made up from secondary sources or stockpiled uranium held by utilities, but those stockpiles are now largely depleted.

The bulk of "secondary sources" comes from military stockpiles. As a result, U mining activity remained severely depressed. Now, demand is outstripping supply and mining activity now has to start catching up. This is not a case of Peak Uranium but product of a one-time situation due to disposal of military stockpiles!

I would be careful about predictions of U prices going to the moon and staying there because there are ways to extend supply of fissile material... a great deal of new supply could appear if the USA starts reprocessing spent fuel or if Thorium is employed (Thorium fuel cycles can be employed in existing LWR reactors with little modification, either to extend U or Pu fuel, or to breed new fuel in form of U-233). It all is a matter of price. I don't know, however, at what price it would become cheaper to use alternate fuel cycles rather than to mine, enrich, run through reactor once then dump, leaving almost all original energy content in place.

Not peak uranium at all. This is more like how we found the first very pure above ground iron ores near Lake Superior literally sitting there for the picking. That's the equivalent of our early uranium gathering. Now it's getting a bit harder, like getting iron ore out of mines instead of freely available on the surface. We have a number of iterations to go through before uranium gets scarce and that should take a really long time.

The problem is not uranium availability but ensuring safe storage of wastes. This can be done but so far we seem to have our heads in the sand, firmly pursuing avoidance of nuclear proliferation rather than properly reprocessing spent fuel.

For a discussion of waste handling, see: http://www.energypulse.net/centers/article/article_display.cfm?a_id=1108

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

The latest big deal in the MSM is the story about how we pay more for gasoline when it's hot outside. Now I understand that we pay by volume, and it expands when it's warmer. But here's the thing - it's in underground storage tanks. And therefore insulated from the above ground temps. And it's not going to heat up when it's pumped out, not that quickly anyway.

It would be simple to find out - pump some gas into a container when it's 100 degrees outside and quickly measure the temperature of the liquid. Do the same thing when it's zero degrees outside. My bet is that there would be very little difference, certainly not enough to change the volume and therefore the price substantially.

(and I didn't even sleep at a Holiday Inn last night)

quickly measure the temperature of the liquid

Or weigh it. But your kitchen scales probably wouldn't detect any difference.

I agree with you that the matter is probably trivial - certainly less than the difference in fuel consumption due to higher engine efficiency in cold weather, once the engine itslef has warmed up. Of course a trivial difference multiplied by a few hundred million gallons per day will still be enough to get the mouth-breathers and arts graduates all self-righteous and excited.

This should be fixable by the market anyway. If a dealer found that he was making higher unit profits in the summer, he could forego a fraction of those excess profits and gain market share - and still make more money.

Standard MSM operation here. Blame me fuel industry on elevated running costs. It's not the consumer's responsibility to consume less--the gas station should just give us more!

In warm weather, you get less gasoline, but you also have to push the car through less-dense summer air and your under-inflated tires are at least a little pumped up from the extra heat. I wonder which is more significant.

RE: The Honda Civic Hybrid Mileage Lawsuit article in today's Drumbeat.

My wife bought an HCH after we'd been car free for about 18 months or so. We've had it a couple of years now.

I note that when I do drive, I drive the hybrid much less aggressively than most drivers, and so I do get good mileage.

In the warm weather I do not use the AC. I roll the windows down. I accelerate slowly and generally drive slowly. The MPG meter is more important to me than the speedometer.

I easily get in the 40 - 45 MPG range in town, and we get close to 50 MPG -- sometimes more -- on the highway to visit my wife's family.

Of course terrain, traffic, and weather really affect mileage.

Some note in the article that hybrids are super sensitive to "driving style."

I think that if one buys a hybrid and drives the same old way, that the benefits of driving a hybrid are much reduced.

Also, driving style affects the mileage of other cars, though maybe not as much. (Why that is, I'm not sure, but can guess about the way hybrids are designed for electric motors to kick in in certain ways, etc.)

Any thoughts?

The EPA mileage numbers are the result of emissions tests using simulated driving with the car on a dyno. That way, the effects of different driving styles and weather, etc, can be removed from the results as all cars are put thru the same driving cycles.

The previous driving cycles were set up in the 1970's and the highway cycle had a short segment of simulated freeway driving with an average speed of 49 MPH. Aerodynamic drag begins to pick up rapidly at speeds above about 45 MPH. More recent driving experience after the 55 MPH speed limit was abolished imply that the real world gas mileage will be less than that in the old tests. The newer tests up the speed during the freeway segment but the speeds used are still lower than the 70-80 MPH one often sees on the road. As a result, even though the new EPA results show lower mpg numbers than the previous test results would indicate, folks that put the peddle to the metal will still suck gas.

Honda probably designed their cars to do well on the simulated tests. That's likely true for the other manufacturers as well (there was a fudge factor for aerodynamics too). The old mpg data for SUV's and PU trucks was also far off the mark compared to real world results. Unless, of course, one actually drives at 55 MPH (or less) on the freeway...

E. Swanson

In a given dynamo test, if one car rates 5mpg higher than another, it can be said with a very accurate degree of certainty that it will use less fuel than the other car, with an average driver.

What I was trying to point out was the comparison between low speed dyno tests with real world aerodynamic forces at higher speeds. Since aerodynamic drag increases with the square of the speed and the horsepower required increases with the cube of speed, the gas mileage fraction going to overcome air drag increases with the square of speed. A vehicle with poor aerodynamics may give slight difference in test results at low speed compared with a vehicle with good aerodynamics, however, the gap between the two increases as speed increases. All this has been known since before WW II. The car companies are still not interested, unless they are building sports cars.

The effect of increasing aerodynamic drag is somewhat mitigated with gasoline engines, as they become most efficient at full throttle, which is the reason the car companies have begun to use more gears in the transmissions. To me, the Prius hybrid system acts much like a continuously variable transmission, as the small engine can be operated at it's most efficient rpm and throttle setting, with the "transmission" making the connection to the wheels.

E. Swanson

The car companies are still not interested, unless they are building sports cars.

All the leading car manufacturers constantly test ALL their models in windtunnels, whether real or digital.
What counts is whether or not the numbers reached fall into a "bucket" that is acceptable for the type of vehicle(SUV, PU or car) being produced. And it all revolves around what the consumer is willing to pay for, e.g., "wind noise" is a more desirable target for auto companies to pursue for certain types of vehicles than pure coefficient of drag.
The customer is always right.

The effect of increasing aerodynamic drag is somewhat mitigated with gasoline engines, as they become most efficient at full throttle, which is the reason the car companies have begun to use more gears in the transmissions.

Gasoline engines perform most efficiently in a narrow or constant range, not at "full throttle". The higher gear ratios offered in some vehicles today obtain better fuel economy through lower RPM's.

I think 'full throttle' means just that:

an more open air throttle to maintain a certain speed, i.e. a taller gear, and hence lower RPM, is more efficient than doing the same thing higher RPM and more closed throttle.

One reason Diesel engines have higher efficiency is that they have no throttle--their air is unrestricted, and the pedal on the right really does command the car to put in more fuel, not air as in a gasoline engine.

I'm getting very similar number on my (not a hybrid) corolla and it costs a lot less.

Where a hybrid really shines is in city driving. They are best suited for places like D.C., where the interstate periodically turns into a parking lot. If you spend time siting in traffic every day, the hybrid might be worth it. If not, a standard civic/corolla would be a better choice.

I do suspect that hybrid technology is too energy-intensive and complex.

Small cars with small engines designed to travel at top speed of 50 MPH might be much more effective at saving gasoline plus at saving materials and energy needed to make, operate, and recycle them.

Of course, riding a bike or trike is even better. If we can design our lives and cities to do the "walk/bike/transit/plus a few cars" thing, we will be in great shape.

I like the way my wife's hybrid shuts off the ICE when stopped or moving very slowly. This does save on gas. That and the MPG indicator are my favorite features about the car.

I do still prefer to use my trike, but still use the car occassionally.

I see electric scooters (think traditional Vespa type design) as a nice bridge between walk/bike and expensive and complex hybrid vehicles. One model I have seen does up to 60 km/h and can run approx. 40km on a charge for about $3K. That would be perfect for personal mobility in an urban context. Even an electric bike (typical max speed 30km/h) would be an excellent option between these extremes - costing around $1K or so.

I have an electric scooter, yay!

Lead-acid batteries get you a long way, but it'll be absolutely great with Li-ion's go down enough in price.

Mine gets 45 km/h, 55 km/h when the battery feels happy (and 35 km/h a few times when the battery has become mad at me). Range is 55-60 km.

Electric scooter + solar panels = Its no longer a liquid fuels problem

I'd like to get an electric scooter, does anyone know which companies make the best ones? Thanks in advance.

I do suspect that hybrid technology is too energy-intensive and complex.

Very unlikely. This fall will be the 10th anniversary of the release of the original Prius in Japan. So far there's no evidence that the car is less reliable than traditional cars.

As to energy intensiveness, this is one of the single greatest misconceptions people have about the Prius. The original goal of the project, back in 1995, was to create a car that would consume significantly less energy cradle to grave: The hybrid drive was an outgrowth of this, not a preconception. So while the Prius does indeed require more energy to create and dispose of, this additional energy is amortized at about 20,000 miles.

As to energy intensiveness, this is one of the single greatest misconceptions people have about the Prius.

Actually the greatest misconceptions about the "Prius" is how its pronounced. The word "prius" phonetically should be "pry-us" like in "How dare you try to pry us(Prius) from our death grip on our individual steering wheels and free us (Preeus as most uneducated folk pronounce it) to the world envisioned by Alan from Big Easy?"

I think both pronunciations are perfectly acceptable, Latin words often have more than one "correct" English pronunciation. What is interesting is that the plural, strictly speaking, should be "Priora", but I think only facetious classicists would use that...

pianoguy1, I see your point! The energy-intensiveness of building hybrids relative to non-hybrids may not be as big a deal as I guess that it is. We may also get better at making hybrids so that the materials and energy costs of manufacture are reduced.

The hybrid technology is a good thing in terms of saving liquid fuels, but I think that my point is a bit different than that.

I believe that a return to simpler transportation technologies is needed at the very least to complement the higher tech solutions.

I also believe that we can rapidly alter our patterns of living in urban areas to accommodate more walking and biking, which will require less intensive investment of materials and energy. Of course, this involves culture change, which pushed us over into a different topic.

Again, my wife drives an HCH, so I do not speak from a high horse. I rely on my Organicengines SUV's (Sensible Utility Vehicles) but as horses they are not very high. :)

Somehow the elegance of using as much simple technology as we possibly can attracts me. I also think we need a continuously productive urban landscape as one simple aspect to solving our food production problems. Lots of farm space right here in Minneapolis and the metro area!

As usual for a MSM news item, the article doesn't give much information. I'm guessing the lawsuit is about a specific Honda advertisement that was "misleading" and didn't have a disclaimer. If the lawsuit were based only on EPA mileage claims, than the suit should be aimed at the government, not Honda. I doubt Honda cheated on the government-required mileage tests; the problem is that drivers don't drive the way prescribed by the tests.

Perpetual commotion - Irish firm is the latest to trumpet a `perpetual-motion machine'

Maybe they can build a stirling engine and run it off the hot air from the founders :)

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

Nice video clip here of Pink singing "Dear Mr. President" ("How do you sleep at night?"). Powerful performance.


Thanks for sharing...says much in 3:51 minutes.

my 10 year old belted this song out on the steps of the court house at a town rally.

I was so proud I cried.

She got a standing O, (well everyone was already standing but they really went nuts).

Nice. Especially her bemoaning that "how can he take his daughters rights away?".
Assuming this means abortion "rights", when did the killing of an unborn human become a "right"?
Roe vs Wade?
Pick that date and notice how our esteem, value, whatever made us special as a nation, internally and ex, has fallen.
Of course we had a chance to VOTE on that decision.
The legalization of abortion has cheapened the regard we, as a nation, hold HUMAN LIFE.
And opened the door.
Pinks acceptance of abortion undercuts any moral statements she may feel privileged to make.
Therein lies the paradox of the modern American liberal, Not "Life at any costs" but "Life at our choosing".

The Republican Party: Defending life until birth.

.. and after death.

Elderly in trouble making ends meet
Older Americans filing for bankruptcy in increasing numbers

Older Americans like the Talabas increasingly are being overwhelmed by debt and driven into bankruptcy. By one expert estimate, people 55 and older now account for more than 22 percent of those filing for bankruptcy, up from less than 10 percent in 1994.

Many are like the Talabas, who until recently had steadfastly paid bills on time during their 61-year marriage and took pride in an exemplary credit rating.

In April, they filed for bankruptcy. Their home is now up for sale.

How did they reach this point? a bankruptcy trustee asked during his first meeting with them.

"Because we don't have the money to pay the bills," Jane said.

Seniors are in financial distress for many reasons: the exploding cost of health care - including prescription drugs - that either drains savings or is diverted to credit cards; necessities like food bought on credit; unrealistic expectations about how much retirement income Social Security would provide; attempts to help adult children struggling financially themselves; and the death of a spouse.

The elderly often become dependent on credit cards by accepting offers that arrive in the mail and then charging the limit. They are helpless as interest rates rise and balances balloon, officials said.

honestly, if the older people (65+) are in trouble, screw then! bad planning makes for a bad future. They already wasted a shitload of money as the boomer generation. (they are the boomer generation, right?)

Nope, they are not boomers.

The baby boomers should be something like 45 to 60 years old or thereabouts.

so these are the parents of the boomers, the 'forgotten generation'?

85 today made you 21 in 1941 the greatest generation.

Many senior citizens were foolish enough to trust their government; they invested in U.S. Savings bonds, then had most of their savings stolent by inflation.

Yeah, those old geezers and grandmas really ought to be punished for being so foolish and patriotic . . . .;=)

There's a lot of hot air being expended at the moment about the imminent retirement of the first boomers and the resulting stresses on Social Security. So I guess that would put the oldest boomers in their early 60s, born in the late 40s. Wikipedia defines the generations here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_generations

Seems I'm "Generation Jones", meaning bland and nondescript. Why do I find this strangely pleasing?

The oil business has its own demographic crisis at the moment http://www.spe.org/spe-app/spe/jpt/2006/06/sprunt_next_generation.htm

It has always pissed me off, that I didn't have a generation. Now I find out I have one.

How do you know that this is a result of bad planning mistakes??? I don't doubt that bad planning will cause financial problems in retirement, but it is equally possible that many of these cases stem from health-care related problems. Health insurance and drugs can cost an absolute FORTUNE, hard to handle on fixed income... one bad incident with the healthcare system and even someone being responsible all their lives could get ruined.

I think you would need some solid statistics to back up your assertion that the victims are responsible, in the majority, for their financial plight. I can simply see too many other possible causes to simply blame it on personal irresponsibility.

Judge not, lest ye be judged and all that...

it is their problem because they have been living with it for 85 years. they built and administered the construction of the current system.

it is their fault. just like how in 40 years from today CC, PO, FF depletion will all be MY fault for not making appropriate changes in my lifetime.

furthermore those 80 year olds will mostly be dead, so noone to judge me.

the cost of healthcare is probably due to an overall lack of willpower to support universal healthcare. in some respects the us has been seduced by "freemarket everything"

in this case it is the victims responsibility. they are not victims for not taking care of themselves, eating poorly, and not exercising. many other nations manage, but the usa cannot.


to Gilgamesh

Universal healthcare will not solve the problem, depending upon what you mean. I believe that it has been documented that over 50% of an average persons's healthcare expenditures occur in the last 6 months of their lives. If "Universal Care" provided for all costs, then that figure would quickly go to over 90%. When dear old 3rd cousin Bob, aged 90, requires multiple operations, and exotic treatments that will have a 5% chance of extending his life by 1 month (as a vegatable), there will be no "control" over the system to say that it does not make sense.

The figures for Canada, where I live, with univ. health care, are that 1/2 of the avg. persons costs are in the last 2 years of life, and 1/2 of those (i.e. 1/4 of the lifetimes worth) are in the last 6 weeks.

In dollar terms the per person totals are about 1/2 of what folks in the US are paying due mostly to the insurance co. overheads that you have to carry, also higher doctors fees and higher drug prices

The elderly folks in question here lived through WW II and the Great Depression, did they not?

As for planning many people make plans based on false assumptions. Our entire economy is planned on false assumptions. For example, the notion of a free market which never has and never will exist. Or the assumption that we can continue to overpopulate the planet and to consume ever more stuff when our habitat is quite finite and overstressed.

Maybe some of these people made mistakes, but maybe many of them have already contributed greatly to the wealth you and I enjoy.

Who are you -- or I -- to judge them in such a broad way?

"Screw them!" you say. Why?

We've all backed our species into a bad corner no matter our generation.

No one with a computer can pretend to be innocent of the mass hallucination we've all shared to some degree or another brought about by being intoxicated on cheap and abundant and relatively uninterrupted supplies of petroleum.

I know and am care deeply for a number of elderly people. Some of them are wealthy within the system, and some of them are not wealthy relative to costs of living.

They are all wonderful people with stories that can make me laugh, cry, and understand new things as well as how much we have in common.

Ease up. where's your anger coming from? Why do you direct it at some demographic group?

I will relate the law of the jungle to everyone, the young, sick, dying, and elderly are always the first to die.

They are the least prepared to survive any changes.

that is simply how life is.

i care too for my older relatives, however when push comes to shove, i cannot maintain my 10 much older relative by myself, even if their families helped it would make no real difference.

wonderful people is quite the cop-out, it distances you from the reality.

a large section of the demographic can quite 'easily' be removed from the population, by lowering health care coverage, stopping emergency treatments to the elderly, and/or closing hospitals.

i have some anger, becuase people have chosen to take the easy route rather than the harder route. (with the easy route being doable until oil runs out) (the hard route could have put us in a much better position today)

Sounds like you are a vitrolic little twit who knows nothing about his parent's generation but hates them anyway. Baby Boomers promoted Eco-consciousness. We were the ones who first widely began to recognize the problems this world faces and 'put it out there'. Many of us opted for a sustainable life closer to the earth. The ones you call the forgotten or greatest generation fought us tooth and nail to shut us down and did. They tried to kill as many of us as they could in Viet-nam. They sent the police and National Guard against us to beat us with nightsticks, throw us in jail and shoot us on our college campuses. (Kent State is only the most publicized incident.) We were the flower children, the peace and love generation, The SAVE THE EARTH generation. The money grabbers among our generation were looked on as degenerate and loathsome.(Why they hate us to this day.) Just because your parents were bankers who knew ARM's were a scam when they sold them to the younger generation that didn't have a clue, don't blame the generation as a whole. The more aware of your generation should recognize this legacy and that their own roots are found there. Your argument appears to be "kill everyone over 60" so there will be MORE for YOU. Sounds real enlightened.


Substrate and all, Following the Retirement thread, I would encourge you all to take a look at the state of Pensions. This is a great site for all things Pension.



re: "U.S. oil's global influence wanes" - a copy of the same AP article was on the local paper with a different kind of comment. I wonder how many people read such comments though.

Re the "Green PR blowback" article, one need only consider the source. It appears that Caruba has a history of attacking anything pro-environment. He apparently even defended DDT. It is reported that his clients have included chemical and pharmaceutical companies. You would think that the papers that carry this trash would include a disclaimer and a brief background sketch of the author.


BTW, I caught some of the Live Earth concerts yesterday. First saw it on an Argentinian station online and later on CNBC and the Bravo channel. It seemed like they were a big success with a great worldwide turnout - contrary to the MSM misinformation and the attempts to discredit the entire event.

If the goal of the events was to raise consciousness and to educate, I think it accomplished those goals on a worldwide scale-especially in those countries that provided broad coverage of the event.

Yeah, I thought the Live Earth concerts was a great step in the right direction. I'm suprised not to see more comments about it on TOD. I wonder why.

Hello Igdonp,

I was too busy to watch, but was Peakoil part of the discussion? Just curious.

In much earlier postings: I suggested concertgoers should be required to hand-push their cars in & out of the parking lots, pluck & gut a chicken before being allowed to buy concert food, use old National Geographic magazines or corn-cobs in the Porti-Johns, and all these youngsters having to severely exert themselves pedaling generators to power the bands' guitars, lights, and audio-systems.

"No Heavy Pedal--No Heavy Metal" as the basic concert theme.

I think the kids would quickly realize that even holding aloft the burning FF-energy in a BIC-lighter would be seen as incredibly wasteful and stupid.

I think this would quickly accelerate Peakoil Outreach among those that will inherit the future. I long ago emailed Bono & U2, Alice Cooper, and other bands' websites and rock promoters--> no reply, as usual. Such is life.

EDIT: My guess is the rock stars are like Tiger Woods: They would rather line their pockets than help redirect society for the benefit of all. Oh well.

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

No, I'm sure peak oil was not mentioned at all.
It seems like TODers and Peak Oilists in general don't consider global warming awareness to be on the same intellectual level as peak oil awareness. I think that's a mistake. Here you have the MSM paying some serious attention to a concept that is closely related to energy policy and conservation and there is no discussion of it here. I note that not a single Live Earth article was posted on the Drum Beat today. I still wonder why that was. It should at least be put up for discussion. If it's one thing I can't stand it's intellectual snobbery.
I guess most TODers have only negative comments about the event and therefore don't want to spoil whatever positives come out of it.

Hello Igdonp,

Thxs for responding, but it was up for discussion as soon as gtl149 mentioned it, and you are always free to post you own thoughts/links. You are free to disagree, of course, but I think most TODers see PO + GW as inextricably intertwined; that we are not practising intellectual snobbery, it is just that there exists a broad spectrum of debate on the relative impact strength of PO + GW over various geographies over time.

I also think most TODers would love to see positive changes arise from these concerts [I do!]; the 'negative' comments [as you possibly see mine] are merely actionable concert changes that were never implemented to leverage Peakoil Outreach to those that most need to be informed. But, you are free to disagree and/or elaborate further, if you so desire.

EDIT: for spelling and further clarification--oops!

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

well, write something! Most of us are fairly open-minded, and I'd love to see something beyond the MSM babel.

Pop culture is a real influence. The current propoganda is that Reagan caused the fall of the Soviet Union. My personal take is that it was MTV. When the people behind the iron curtain started receiving pictures of pretty women in tight blue jeans and saw the opulence in rock videos, it was all over. The satelite dish is mightier than the sword!
Bob Ebersole

I assure you there was no shortage of pretty women in the Soviet Union, so that just can't be it. :)

You know, i blogged that same issue last year before Christmas... one of the greatest propaganda coups of the cold war was the idea that all Eastern European women were Helga the hairy shot-putter

I was in a club in Estonia when I had a revelation... I was surrounded by beautiful women, and I realised my entire stay there had been the same...

How did we fall for that one?
When no-one around you understands
start your own revolution
and cut out the middle man

Bob, Rock and Roll did have an impact on the CCCP but the bigger and bankrupting impact was the crash of oil prices plus a stupid war in Afganistan...similar to the one we are involved in now.
I believe that every political science classroom and military academy classroom should have a large sign over the door stating...'THE PASHTUN OF AFGANISTAN HAVE NEVER LOST A WAR'...but that would probably just encourage some moron to have another go at them.lol

I don't remember how exactly they formulated it, but some months back NATO leaders said something like "NATO simply cannot lose in Afghanistan, it is absolutely vital that NATO win in Afghanistan". Obviously they hadn't been told that no foreign invader has ever won in Afghanistan. Perhaps this means that NATO is as good as dead...

What about Alexander the Great? Or the Monguls?
Bob Ebersole

Alexander was there before the toxic meme of Islam colonized the minds of the poor hosts---
The Mongols flattened everything, and did win--
The above quote lacks historical evidence.

The Pashtun are still in Afganistan, the Mongols are not...sort of like the Viet Namese are still in Viet Nam, the Americans are not. When Alexander tried to fight the Pashtun they went to their mountains and carried out some surprise harrasing attacks on his encampments but mostly they just wait in their mountains till the invaders starve or freeze to death. Check out the history of the Brits in Afganistan if you want to see how modern armies fare against the Pashtun.

Hi igdonp. Thank you for your comments. Actually, global warming issues pop up fairly regularly on TOD. I'd say that the majority of the time, the comments acknowledge the human (carbon) contribution to the global warming problem and support changes to help address it. I would hazard to say that most here also would agree that there is a relation between the issues of peak oil and global warming - the production of oil and gas and related products.

I realize my work choices above were a little provocative. I have my share of negative impressions of the event too. I didn't find some of the music to be of my taste, that's for sure.
I guess the positives for me were that a single, world wide event was focused on an issue that transcends individuals and countries. Even the commercialism was refreshing to see where all kinds of companies were tripping over themselves to get on the band wagon.
Also the conservation tips etc... between the songs were a good thing as well.


If you haven't read Nate Hagen's essay/key post on climate change and the human discount rate of future events, do it!Its the best thing I've seen on the perception of the masses about these issues.
I suspect why we don't comment on climate change around TOD is that we have a concensus that its real and tied to our energy useage-particularly coal and oil. Its very interesting to me that there were a lot of corporations trying to get on the climate change bandwagon. It indicates to me that the climate change deniers have lost, and in a quick sea change.Two years ago this couldn't have happened.
there's a man named Marshall McLuhan wrote a book about 30-35 years ago "The Medium is the Message". His main point is That in mainstream media, the real content is the advertising, the rest is filler and bait. Its true, so watch the advertising if you really want to know what's going on.
Bob Ebersole

If you haven't read Nate Hagen's essay/key post on climate change and the human discount rate of future events, do it!Its the best thing I've seen on the perception of the masses about these issues.
I suspect why we don't comment on climate change around TOD is that we have a concensus that its real and tied to our energy useage-particularly coal and oil. Its very interesting to me that there were a lot of corporations trying to get on the climate change bandwagon. It indicates to me that the climate change deniers have lost, and in a quick sea change.Two years ago this couldn't have happened.
there's a man named Marshall McLuhan wrote a book about 30-35 years ago "The Medium is the Message". His main point is That in mainstream media, the real content is the advertising, the rest is filler and bait. Its true, so watch the advertising if you really want to know what's going on.
Bob Ebersole

Bob, that is not even close to a paraphrase of "Medium is the Message". Your conclusion, however, is accurate - watch the advertisting - McLuhan would agree with that.

cfm in Gray, ME

McLuhan's point was that the medium is more important than the content, and in fact forms the content.
I wrote syllabi for a brain reasearch company, and found out that just observing television put's one into high alpha, no matter what the content. This is a pleasurable and open state, making the mind very sustiable and mallable--
Anyway, this is just part of Mcluhan's work, a man of importance to current times, who is ignored.

There was some mention of it in yesterday's (7th) Drumbeat...

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

The other guy mention in the Green PR article was Richard Lindzen, an anti-global warming advocate. Didn't take long to find out who he was connected with...


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

Here are some interesting graphs i punched out from www.solarbuzz.com and the API gravity and price from EIA

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Very noisy, so i used local polynomial smoothing to clear out the problem areas.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I suggest that this shows a strong lag in the hypothetical price of a 0 degree api gravity for a barrel of oil, match up the local max and mins and it works out pretty well. Prices are normalized to year 2000 dollars using the gdp deflator. The red line is the r^2 correlation between api gravity and price, the blue line is the slope of said line, the higher the blue line is, the greater the demand for light sweet crude, note how r^2 does not move in tandem to the demand for sweet crude until the end of the 1980's. This to me suggests that at this point the world only wanted light sweet crude and that it was running out, causing great and strongly correlated swings when prices jump.

i tried to find out why 1993-1994 was so bad on oil prices, but no real news stood out for me. any suggestions?

Here is the solar buzz plot, normalized to year 2003 bucks one accounts for only normalization, and the other accounts for both year 2003 bucks and the USD index changing over time. (so for imported modules, or modules with a majority of their costs from overseas)

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Comments, suggestions, flames?
(yes i know the legend on the solar graph is stupid, don't worry it just conceals a peak at 4.98 in 1st Q 2005 which promply falls down again. I only had data on USDX for so many years which is why the blue line does not cover as much ground.)

The second graph is also good at showing commodity swings.
Holding oil in 1993 would have been a good idea, same as with 1998. When r^2 is low, profit taking can be much higher (as variance in the price of goods is greater)

It does demonstrate we have nearly reached an equivalent price compared with the 1980's. The data is current up to june i think.

also for the first time in june, the r^2 value reached 0.99 which shows almost no variation in price as "quality" of oil rises, as defined by API gravity. (ie the relationship is strictly linear)

Reminds me of trying to fly the passes of the Alps in a C47.

From We should explore low North Sea tax above:

... while spending on the exploration and development of North Sea oil and gas rose 20 per cent last year, production "struggled to respond".

The producers blame tax. "The North Sea is a fast-maturing basin," says Oil & Gas UK. "So we need investment, but the fiscal regime is stopping that from happening".

So exploration increased, production fell and tax is to blame? I guess I don't understand economics.

taxes lower demand by raising price.

however NSea has been peaking for quite some time.

this is likely taxes going up to maintain the revenue stream from falling production.

An interesting comment from The Housing Bubble Blog:

“Anyone buying right now is completely clueless on how bad this is going to get and how far prices are going to fall.”

I suppose that one could rephrase this to read:

“Anyone not selling right now is completely clueless on how bad this is going to get and how far prices are going to fall.”

It's a Buyers AND Sellers Market!

Sorry, I had to re-use this joke from the real estate brochure.

Stoneleigh's last round-up on TOD Canada had a bunch of great links about the finacial meltdown.
The figures look just terrible to me, with all the adjustable rate resets and the credit crunch, I can't see this thing hitting bottom in less than 3 years. So anyone who has a personal crisis like a divorce, sickness or being laid off is going to go bankrupt in the next few years, they won't be able to sell their home and move. So they're gonig to be walking off and rooming with friends or family just as they did in Texas during the eighties and early 90's.
Bob Ebersole

This week's Barron's has an interesting article on how the ratings companies turned lead into gold, by slapping investment grade ratings on pools of subprime mortgages. After a while, you kind of get numb from all the bad numbers. If you read the Barron's article, remember that their underlying assumption is that we can have an infinite rate of increase in the consumption of a finite energy resource base. Consider what happens with a severe contraction in exported crude and petroleum products.

I put together an essay titled Net Oil Exports and The "Iron Triangle" for Graphoilogy, based partly on some stuff I posted yesterday. My concluding paragraphs from the essay:

At least those of us trying to warn of what is coming can try to be ready with a credible plan to try to make things "Not as bad as they would otherwise be,” when it becomes apparent to a majority of Americans that we cannot have an infinite rate of increase in the consumption of a finite energy resource base. How's that for a campaign slogan?

I recommend FEOT--Farming + Electrification Of Transportation (EOT), combined with a crash wind + nuclear power program.

Alan Drake has written extensively on EOT issues, for example in “Electrification of transportation as a response to peaking of world oil production.” http://www.energybulletin.net/14492.html

In simplest terms, we are soon going to need jobs for hordes of angry unemployed males, and in my opinion “FEOT” is a way to put them into productive jobs.

On an individual basis, I would also recommend “ELP,” which is summarized in the following article: “The ELP Plan: Economize; Localize and Produce.” http://graphoilogy.blogspot.com/2007/04/elp-plan-economize-localize-prod...

Good luck to all of us. We are going to need it.

I'm giving you a standing ovation, plus three cheers!

I couldn't agree any more with you, except to add solar to your list of "crash programs." Even passive solar in building design, hot water supply, etc. could have a significant impact, not to mention the very interesting cost of solar thermal for electricity generation (e.g. solar trough).

Electrification of transportation should be the mantra on the lips of everyone concerned with G.W. and P.O. It combines the intrinsic high-efficiency of electric motors with that of battery / capacitors for energy storage plus benefits of regen braking and no idling losses. Then we have the diversity of supply that can change with time and technology (hydro, nuclear, biomass, wind, solar with fossil carbon to be phased out) on a pre-existing grid, i.e. no new basic infrastructure required. It is the way to go, hopefully to get us out of the coming mess, especially when combined with ELP lifestyle changes.

Matt Savinar would say--perhaps accurately--that I am delusional, but at least we can present a credible plan, based on how things used to be, for making our future "Not as bad as it would otherwise be."

The FEOT system needs to be combined with rain water collection and filtration to provide drinking water and help deal with run off from extremes of weather and storage for extended periods of drought. Using composting toilets and treebogs is a smart idea to prevent contamination of large water supplies from flooding of current sewage system. Water is likely to be just as big a problem as energy with human and environmental problems. Insulation! the best way to reduce heating and cooling requirements is insulation. The main components of peoples energy use in the UK are space heating and transport, better housing will improve quality of life and reduce costs for millions of people, problem is its not sexy.

What can I buy to stop global warming ~ SLAP

Wait for what is going in in Spain. 96% of the mortgages are adjustable rate mortgages, and the building sector there is 10% of the GDP. In 2006, they built more houses than in the UK, France and Germany combined. The ECB will raise the rates again in September and probably in December to cool down inflationary pressure from the rising wages in Germany.

Spain's account deficit is at 9%. They can no longer debase their currency...


One of the reasons of the building boom in 2006, is that all new building permits in 2007 must follow a new technical building code that includes a lot of bioclimatic measures and the obligation of installing solar thermal water heaters. So everyone hurried up in 2006 to start their construction works, as we say here: "pan para hoy, hambre para mañana" ("bread for today, tomorrow, hunger")

How skilled are the component factory workers and craftsmen putting togeather mcmansions? After a long housing boom there ought to be lots of carpenters who can hammer a nail with a singel blow and concrete workers who see that a pour is level before they check with their laser equipment.

Magnus... I think these McHouses are built differently than you might expect. They are actually derived from "manufactured" housing technology. They are like trailers without wheels.

First... everything comes to the building site pre-assembled on flatbed trucks: the interior and exterior walls, closets, rafter triangles, etc.

The truck has a small crane to position these sub-assemblies while workers with air powered nail guns do their thing.

The "customization" occurs by tacking 3/8" composite brick or composite stone to the front of the structure (the back is always vinyl). The high end builders will not repeat the model sequence (A next to B next to C) on the same street. There are also clever variations in garage doors. Sometimes the lonesome "landscape" tree is moved about.

The newer construction will usually sport a "deck" which is a porch without the bothersome amenities like a roof or screens.

We have built thousands of these structures recently. Fortunately, most of them did not use much wood.

Will Hi,

I live in the UK in a stone cottage and I have no idea about Mc Mansions and their prefab construction, for example what are the walls made OF? How do they stay up in severe weather? How long will they last?


The interior walls are made of plasterboard, exterior walls are made of plywood, often stapled rather than nailed. Over the plywood goes vinyl, shingles, or plaster. They are designed neither to handle severe weather nor to last. Instead they are meant to stand up and look pretty for a year or so... precisely long enough to sell them, but no longer.

Around Texas, McMansions have wood framing, sheetrock interior walls, styrofoam insulation and a 1 brick thick shell, asphalt shingle roofs. Some have stucco as an exterior wall, or vinyl. The plumbing is PVC.
They hold up OK to winds less than 70 MPH, but I'm sure you've seen pictures of the hurricane and tornado devastation.
As far as life of the construction, I'm guessing in 20 years they will be slums as the rich and middle class displace the poor in our cities, and total junk in 50 years. Bob Ebersole


Sounds pretty bad, we still seem to have a lot of brick built estate housing here, and some tight building regs but the rooms are sometimes minute.

My cottage was built 1740 but it has its drawbacks. I've just had to drive 120 miles (in my ancient Corolla) to get scarce lime mortar to re point the joints. cement is too hard and the stone will crack with freezing or expansion.

On the scaffolding all last week repointing in pouring rain!
(sound of violins)

Question for insulation experts here (seem to be a few of them!): are there any forms of external render that can be applied directly to brick shells that provide substantial insulation?
The reason I ask is because there are a lot of brick veneer houses in Australian cities built in the 60's and 70's that not only are relatively poorly insulated but typically use a style of brick that looks rather dated today (our own house is a colour commonly referred to as "missionary brown" - not an attractive colour at all. We painted the front white, but the rest of the house is still waiting...partly because much of it is difficult to reach. Other popular colours include "vanilla brick" and a ghastly orange that could only have come from the 70's).
The ideal render would be a) easy to apply b) reasonably eco-friendly (i.e. not requiring huge energy inputs to manufacture) and c) capable of providing sufficient insulation to pay for itself in 10 years max (allowing for higher gas/electricity prices that we have now, which I see as inevitable anyway. Government subsidies may also be a possibility).

Actually the truly ideal "render" would be something biological, that just grew (and maintained) itself, but unfortunately our ability to engineer bio-materials is some way off that point!

Can a light weight effective insulation material be made using relective material with lots of small air pockets? Bubble wrap on windows provides insulation while still letting in light, but you cant see a damn thing out of them

They misunderestimated me

My favorite example was in one of my brother's home. Granite countertops (impressive !) over particle board. Some water leaked from the sink and over a few years wicked a couple of feet. Mildew and soggy mess.

Total redo.

Quality one can see; cheapest materials possible where one cannot.

And these increased in value dramatically for several years.

Best Hopes for no more McMansions,



What market are you building in - geographical and price range ?

I'm in Lincoln NE and all I see being done at any price range is being stick built just like when I was framing in Omaha in the middle '70's.

I'm sure there's modular around that I don't see, but it's a drop in the bucket.

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

The 2 X 4s now days are so soft that they will hardly hold a nail. When I was a kid they were a lot harder and held nails much better.

The 1930 rent house that I own a part of was built out of heart pine. When I helped rewire the house and replaced the attic staircase, I found that is was best to predrill a hole.

Given that, I started to use screws instead of nails.

One can get different qualities of 2x4s. Since I need dimensional lumber ($$) the quality seems to be better.

Best Hopes for Better Quality Construction in the Future,


None of this makes any sense -- what is 'heart pine'? I'll guess that you are talking about yellow pine rather than 'heart wood'. All wood becomes far harder to nail as it dries and ages.

Heart pine is the darker, more resinous wood from the center of an older large pine tree. It starts to develop about the time that modern forestry practices cut down the tree. I have seen 1 cm diameter sections of heart wood in modern lumber, but rarely more.

I have heard that it is formed to store metabolic byproducts of the tree over time. It prevents internal decay of the tree. Relatively little sap flows through heartwood (if any).

Some lumber in the house has edges of whiter sapwood, but most is completely heart pine.

Heart pine is considered second only to cypress for durability and resistance to termites.

Best Hopes for Old Construction,


WT, I am laughing as I type this...I have owned this house since 1987 and have another that I used to live in on beachside rented out. I do not feel compelled to sell either. They are free and clear so why should I sell them? I think some people get a panicky feeling when they think there house will not sell and perhaps they get a feeling that they are trapped in their current home. So two years ago some realtor told me my homes were worth X and now a realtor tells me they are worth X...so what? I gotta live somewhere and dont want to live under a bridge. I think it is foolish to sell unless it is forced by a job change or other major unavoidable reason. If everyone that can do so will just sit this thing out by remaining in place maybe a lot of the panic might turn to serenity. In other words maybe they should smoke a big fat hooter, have another long neck, and chill.

That works for you and for me, River but what about those with large ARMs that are resetting even as their income remains static or decreases? If everyone was still on a flat rate mortgage that alone would help tons as it would at least give them some measure of control but they are not. They are in these ridiculous ARMs and that is what is causing the foreclosures. I think many of these people would just ride it out but they cannot because they cannot afford the ever increasing mortgage payments.

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

Grey Zone, maybe people that went for the ARMs or used their paid off homes for ATMs just plain made some bad choices. What can you and I do to help them? Our government helped create this mess with their insistance that 'the market will take care of all the problems.' Why isnt the market taking care of this problem? You and I could have cashed out our homes and bought new SUVs and a multitude of other crap, but we didnt. Maybe we made other choices like buying used vehicles instead of new ones and fixing them ourselves, maybe we got some of the penny pinching mindset from our parents who suffered through the depression. I have watched with astonishment over the last years as people lived on credit cards and spent money like there would never be a day when the books would be reconciled, but that day has now come and I hear a lot of people wailing about their disposition. I say, you made a mistake, put the key under the doormat, walk away, and start all over again...and dont make the same mistakes again. I have been there and done that and I didnt make the same mistake again...I made some more mistakes but not about houses and money. We didnt create this problem and no one is paying us to fix it...and as for those that jumped into extremely leveraged hedge fund investments and are now losing their collective shirts, too bad.
I have also suffered some really smart mouthed younger posters on this board that think they know everything and that our generation knows nothing. I know that I worked very hard for very many years and during my experiences I did learn a few things. I scrimped and saved, diversified investments, put some money in metals when they were depressed, and did my utmost to prepare for a collapse of this fiat money system. Now the tide is going out and as Warren Buffet said 'we will find who has been swimming naked.'

The European Union’s largest company Royal Dutch/Shell has embarked on the implementation of an ambitious programme aimed at the exploration of oil and gas on the Arctic Ocean shelf.

Less exciting than it sounds. They're going to be drilling appraisal wells on the Kuvlum field, discovered by Arco (I think) in the 1980s and then relinquished when the oil price collapsed.

There's a lot of hydrocarbon in the North American High Arctic. Problem is that it's (a) remote (b) under seasonal ice and (c) generally in highly faulted accumulations that make large-scale development difficult.

An impressive picture gallery here of the men and machines that Dome Petroleum used in their Arctic offshore exploration program in the 1980s.


Thanks for the information. Do you have any links with respect to
"(c) generally in highly faulted accumulations that make large-scale development difficult."

Also, to what extent do we know about other potential off-shore sources (besides arctic) being highly faulted? The American Petroleum Institute is saying that 85% of offshore sites are restricted from drilling, based on this report, which lists lots of undiscovered resources. What kind of information is known about these sites? Can some of the sites be eliminated as not very good?

Sorry, I usually try to link to support for my wilder assertions. Kuvlum geology discussed here http://www.petroleumnews.com/pntruncate/197268618.shtml near the bottom of the page

This Wikipedia entry says that the Mackenzie delta is gas-prone


- didn't linkify, you'll have to cut and paste. 200bcm is about 7tcf, about half the gas resource of the Alaskan North Slope. I've seen references elsewhere to "20 discoveries" in the area, which makes the average field size equivalent to a moderate-sized North Sea field (so it's very fragmentary) - separated from the market by several thousand kilometres of mountains, lakes and tundra.


Other problems emerge in the North sea:
The pilot project for flushing of some north sea fields by CO2 has been scrapped by Statoil and Shell last week ! So increased recovery in old fields " not comercial".


kind regards/And1

Entropy: irreversible dispersion of energy. Like, today I responded with the rescue squad to a motor vehicle accident, car through a fence, down an embankment, into a tree, with entrapment. 19-year-old chick, with multiple tattoos and piercings, was flying to her methadone treatment, unbelted, when her Ford Focus slipped & slid & ruined her day. Took us an hour to cut the car from around her dislocated hip. She howled like an animal when we moved her to the backboard. I thought of the plucky woodchuck yesterday that tried to attack me even though its leg was held firm by the trap. I quickly shot it and nearly sobbed. This girl, she yelled, "Please, put me to sleep!" What's of interest to us is the energy dispersal accomplished in great waves of waste as we "saved" her: idling diesel-powered apparatuses, three fire trucks, an ambulance. Dozens of firefighters speeding there in personal vehicles, and sheriff's cars, and traffic backed up a mile in either direction, and small engines chugging away to pressurize hydraulic extrication tools . . . all removing permanently from use the liquified energy we crave so much, all for the dislocated hip of the druggie girl we were getting naked in the back of the unit.

"Please, put me to sleep!"

Afterward, while the emergency room doctors were peeling the naked girl, howling, off the backboard, I went out to the ambulance -- still idling -- and swept up armfuls of waste from the floor: inside-out plastic gloves, plastic IV bag wrappers, plastic O2 masks and their wrappers, plastic caps and wrappers and tubing to IV needles and catheters, gauze and tape and plastic saline solution bottles used once, packaging, packaging, sterile packaging. I wadded it all up into its own plastic bag and stuffed it in the plastic-lined trash bin in the hospital.

This is a town of fewer than ten thousand souls. Repeat above scene hundreds, thousands of times, every day, EVERY day, all year long.

One could look at it from another perspective: for once all that liquid energy and petrochemicals come to a really good use.

I'm confused...

Are you ambivalent about whether or not she should have been saved? Should we just shoot (or "put to sleep") people who are recovering addicts who cause accidents? Should we do away with emergency response to save fuel. Should we have a moral-integrity test for accident victims to reduce energy expended in unworthy emergency response cases? Are you suggesting that people who have the appearances of being less responsible than the norm are to blame in part for the approaching energy crisis?

I am confused about the message you intend your readers to take away from this.

I think that his point is that it takes significant quantities of fossil fuels to mount rescue operation like this. What happens as fossil fuel supplies are severely constrained and as costs skyrocket? What happens as government funded helicopter operations can't afford to fly out to go pick up badly injured motorists?

It's just Sunday on the Drumbeat


Edit: Sundays are differant here then the rest of the week

Off Grid, Off Mainland, current profession:Beach Bum

WWDCD - What Would Dick Cheney Do?

Well I think the rescue description was just sharing a stereoscopic view of an event in a day's work. I found it an interesting one. It's always impressive when passing such scenes on the highway, how an entire armada swoops down on an accident like that even when a person has done something really stupid.
Unfortunately, it's the rescuers who have to look and learn from the incidents over and over again. The public doesn't get properly informed about the causes of most car accidents. In aviation, a complete and public report is eventually made of every accident including a probable cause. This helps pilots think clearly about what the risks are of flying in various situations. It would be helpful if there were better descriptions of car accidents instead of just 'the driver lost control' What does that mean? Did the car buck him or something?

I think the point is that if someone in her condition had caught a ride on a tram or a shuttle bus, none of this would have happened. She would not have been a danger to herself or others, and the social costs of her ride would be hugely lower.

Driving a private passenger vehicle is an inherently hazardous activity. We think nothing of piloting a ton or two of metal at speeds of 50 - 60 - 70 mph, zipping just feet past stationary objects like trees, bridges, etc., and just inches past similarly sized or larger vehicles moving at similar speeds in the opposite direction. Accidents do happen -- lots of accidents. Tens of thousands of people are killed in this activity annually, and many tens of thousands further are injured - often disabled for life.

I would argue that the fact that accidents do happen is no accident; they are an inherent consequence of the technology.

Automobiles are actually a very unforgiving technology. A small airplane will pretty much fly itself for at least a few moments once airborne, as long as all systems are working within normal parameters; unless one is flying close to the ground or in mountainous areas or in areas with substaintial air traffic, it is quite possible for a small airplane pilot to take his hands off the controls and look away for a few moments without risk of a crash. Try that with an automobile and you will almost certainly end up like the unfortunate person in the story. Automobiles require drivers that are constantly alert, focused on the task of driving, and reasonably competent in performing tasks that require some skill and quick judgment. We have built a transport system on the assumption that ALL vehicles are under the control of such drivers; this is a flawed assumption, for in reality, all too frequently they are not. The social costs of the emergency responses to the inevitable accidents that result from this flawed assumption are just one more form of hidden subsidy for automotive transport.

Finally, note that it is quite possible that the person in this story DID NOT HAVE the option of catching a ride on a tram or shuttle bus instead. By not providing alternatives, we leave people like this with NO alternative but to become a hazard to themselves and others.

So,......... are you saying public transportation encourages drug abuse? Just kidding!
As much a hazard as impaired drivers are what really scares me are the doing business on the cell phone, gotta get to my next meeting, people in a hurry types. Virtually all the red light runners I see nowadays are talking on a cell.

No offense buddy but if I ever get in an accident I hope it's not you doing the rescuing. :P

If you're in an accident you want to be rescued by someone who knows what he's doing. You don't care about beautiful thoughts.

If you had given her the methadone she would have shut up.


Well, that story about wasting all that energy rescuing the young and troubled 19 year driver from her crash was so depressing, that I had to get it out of mind. So, I did what I sometimes do, and just surfed around doing a little internet window shopping.

Remembering my trips of some years gone by, seeing all the boats in the marina at the Chicago lakeshore, the Tennessee river in Alabama, and Jacksonville, maybe a little boat of some kind would cheer me up.

O.K., help me out, what do you guys think:

“Although 54 feet is barely midsize in today's convertible market, it is near perfect in terms of serious fishing.”

"I found plenty of room to move about even with the twin12-cylinder MANs and support systems for just about every option available."
(1,550 HP each as tested)
Price $2,357,794
And if expansion work is any indicator, they must be selling at least a few of them:

So what do you folks think? Should I settle for the chintzy midsize, or go ahead and get the big one?
(Twin MTU / Series 2000 V16 engines 2030 HP each)

Yeah, this wasteful rescue work has to stop...(I mean, she had tattoos!, what was the point?

There is a way in which the so called "Peak Oil Awareness" can trigger psychosis.

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

Roger, I think you should go for the big one. When the oil is gone and you are in your wanning years you dont want to look back and say 'I coulda been a contenda.' If you go for the big one you will attract the best captain and crew and they might get you that championship Marlin or Sailfish that will win you the big money in the tournament. Of course even the big money prize will not let you break even and pay off your boat but look at the bragging rights you will have among your peers at the yacht club. Then, when the oil runs out you can block your big boat up and live on it in luxury. Yeah, go for the big un.

River, your points are well taken.

On the other side of the coin, the midsize job would impress the younger mistress, which is what most of these things are sold for anyway...;-)

I much like the 'I coulda been a contenda.' philosophy though....I have a friend who is somewaht interested but still agnostic about the whole oil emergency...I asked him once what he would do if he was convinced of the truth of it, of the big collapse?

...."buy a Ferrari, a twin engined Beech Baron airplane, boat, travel, do some car racing...run the debt through the roof, a big fast bike, maybe Ducati or Bimota...", that sort of thing. I was surprised and said what about prep, what about reducing energy consumption? He said that if the collapse is true and he knew it for sure, this is the ultimate "Cinderilla Liberty" as the Navy guys call it, and what the helll would you be saving for? As an old man in a decaying world, what, he asked did he think his chances of survival were?

His logic was that the motor vehicle based stuff were things that, if the collapse is true, you would never, ever get a chance to do again, kind of like riding a steam train in regular service or a paddle wheel boat back when they were common on the Mississippi. And what difference would it make to the situation if the collapse is really here?

I have heard this logic in more places than one. I sometimes wonder if by some mracle we convinced the public at large of the absolute certainty of peak oil and a post peak collapse, oil consumption would not shoot through the roof in that last ever chance at the great carbon luxury bath. Would I be willing to keep puddling and clacking about in my old tapped out Diesel 240D if I knew for certain I could never drive at least one fast hot car again, even if I had to rent it just for fun?

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

The pleasures and benefits of owning toys powered by the suck, sqeeze, bang, blow engine have always been highly seductive. That's the only reason that generations have been exploiting them to the max.
Personally, I love my internal combustion powered gadgets. We are truly special in our ability to utilize such machines, even if it's only for a short time in history. Yes, it would have been a lot smarter to utilize oil differently and some may blame one generation or another, but I don't see any generation, country or people that I honestly think would have done otherwise under the same circumstances.

Roger, have you seen the old movie 'On The Beach' with Gregory Peck, Lana Turner, et al? They know that their days are numbered by atomic fall out from a nuclear war. It is interesting to watch how the various characters react to their predicament. Fred Astaire buys a fast sports car and with his counterparts races all out every Sunday. They drive like maniacs because they know that they are soon going to be dead from radiation poisioning anyway. Some go on a long binge party and sleep with anyone and everyone. Some with young children go into deep depression. Interesting film.
I have had a love affair with motorcycles my entire life. I am now in my 60s and still have 3 bikes that I ride daily. I have had over 40 bikes in my time and have never met one I didnt like. I got into bikes because when I was in hs the only thing that I could afford was a beat up old 1952 Cushman Eagle that cost me $100...I worked all summer to make that hundred bucks, the Eagle was held together with bailing wire and hope, but it gave me the freedom to come and go as I wanted and that was all that counted. Of all the bikes I have owned only two were new and that was because bike sales were in the pits and they were steeply discounted by the factories/dealerships. Along the way I had two 57 chevys, a 56 Chevy short bed step side pick up, and a 66 GTO, but no cage ever did it for me like a bike. The adrenalin rush just wasnt there.
My point is that it is possible to have a great ride for a little money. Now I have a couple of Harleys that are not new but either will take me anywhere I want to go and bring me back. I have enough spares for them to keep them going for much longer than I will live...and I find it amusing that the same people that looked down on me for being a biker when I was young now brag that they know the old man that has been riding since the stone age. I havent changed, they have. If the gas goes away I have a 1943 WLA Harley frame with original springer front end that I will figure a way to put an electric motor and battery in. Maybe I will hook up an tape player and speakers to get the right sound.lol

My point is that it is possible to have a great ride for a little money

A good time to tell the story of my grandfather.

He knew how to "make a deal". A motorcyclist had an accident (broken leg) a block from the County Courthouse when my grandfather was in town. As the motorcylist lay waiting in pain for the ambulance, my grandfather made a cash offer for the slightly banged up Harley motorcycle. $15 for a 1930s Harley.

Best Hopes for Good Deals post-Peak Oil,


Single popper, simple to maintain, India uses them for parcel delivery and police work, a brand new vintage bike! Some have even been converted to Diesel engines! Little dolls they are....:-)




Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

It is one of the disadvantages of living in large systems that personal responsability becomes very abstract. Many people have heard all their lives that their wellbeing depends on appeasing The Economy, The Government, Progress or what other kind of invisible authority have you. Those are gods: we must sacrifice for them so that they might bring us prosperity, safety or whatever it is that we want.

When the bargain with the devil is coming to an end, people will not repent, or renounce the pact or prepare for doing without; no, like Faust, they will indulge until the very end until the morning comes, and Mephistopheles comes to take them away.

"While man's desires and aspirations stir,
He can not choose but err."

A corollary to the Shell article posted by Leanan re development in the Arctic is this news that Gazprom is close to a deal with several other energy companies to develop the Shtokman gas field also in the Artic.


So after the Arctic, where do we go? A modern day spice planet ala "Dune?"

And here I was, thinking that Shtokman would probably never be developed, it's just such a huge project. I must agree with Jonathan Stern though; for Shtokman to come online in 2013 doesn't sound very likely at all.

And now it turns out the Russians will build an LNG plant as well, although just recently they said they wouldn't. I can't help but think that plant will be built near the Finnish border and NIMBY will become a common complaint among politicians around here... Then again we ourselves are pretty dependent on Russian natural gas, so it may not be a good idea to protest too much.

And now it just occurred to me that, if the doomers are right, by 2013 TSWHHTF anyway, and this speculation was purely academic. :0

If we have to go to a spice planet I hope they pick one without those big worms.

Hello TODers,

Well, we Southwesterners can be expecting to be doing our best 'Dune' imitation soon:

So You Think It's Hot? Southwest to Sizzle for 90 Years
A Megadrought Could Cause Social Conflicts Over Water, Energy, Immigration

As the country sizzles from Phoenix to Las Vegas, scientists and environmentalists are saying, "I told you so."

Then, when those people finally realize the Asphalt Wonderland is actually an Asphalt Wasteland: hordes of desperados streaming into Cascadia. Doesn't that sound like fun?

Recall my recent San Pedro posting with two quarts/second of riverine flow. Hell, there are golf courses around here with sprinkler heads that output more flow than that entire river.

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

Then, when those people finally realize the Asphalt Wonderland is actually an Asphalt Wasteland

No, not a wasteland. Once those places have been depopulated and oil prices climb high enough, that Asphalt will become an energy source. Good work opportunities for guys with pick axes, shovels & wheelbarrows.

Asphalt Paving: America's Oil Sands.

Hello TODers,

We have all seen the photos of the outrageous pace and scale of contruction in Dubai and other ME cities, with giant palm islands, towering skyscrapers, and indoor ski-slopes in the blazing sand dunes. Thus it only makes further delusional insanity for Boeing's latest to be called the 'Dreamliner':

Boeing Wins 787 Order From Qatar Air; Size of Order Undisclosed

"Hello, and welcome aboard this inaugural journey of Dreamliner Flight 781. This is your Captain speaking, and along with Co-Captain Jimminy Cricket, we want you to just sit back, relax, and wish upon the stars. Our goal is fly high and close to the desert sun on airborne approach to Dubai in maximum A/C comfort. It will seem as if we will soar ever upward, as if to reach Heaven itself. So please recline your seat and have a complimentary cocktail on behalf of Emirates Airlines. Thank you, and this is Captain Icarus signing off as we just completed our taxi from the terminal, and are now starting our final roll for takeoff."


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

Hello TODers,

Zimbabwe’s silent genocide
Please make sure you see the included 12 photo gallery: from the farm fields that more resemble brown sand dunes than crops, to the highly blinged-out late model pickup guarded by a bat-wielding bodyguard, to people foraging through the city dump.

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

Latest murmurings from the IEA.

But with forecasts predicting world economic growth to increase by 4.5% a year, the report argued that oil demand was likely to soar to 95.8m barrels a day in 2012 from 81.6m bpd this year.

At the same time it predicted production from oil cartel Opec would fall, slipping by 2m bpd in 2009, while it also cut supply forecasts for non-Opec countries by 800,000 bpd.

It added that other factors including rising refinery costs, engineer shortages and strong demand in other energy markets would also put pressure on oil supplies.

"Despite four years of high oil prices, this report sees increasing market tightness beyond 2010," the IEA said.

"It is possible that the supply crunch could be deferred - but not by much."

The IEA's prnouncements are reading more like a Matthew Simmons energy crisis post mortem slide by the day:
There maybe trouble ahead...