DrumBeat: July 11, 2007

Kuwait says has 100 billion barrel oil reserve

OPEC-member Kuwait reiterated Wednesday that it had oil reserves of 100 billion barrels, again disputing a report that the figure was around half that amount.

"We confirm that Kuwait's oil reserves are 100 billion barrels," acting oil minister Mohammad al-Olaim told reporters after briefing parliament in a closed-door session about the levels of reserves in the Gulf emirate.

Mexican gas explosions force shutdowns

Honda, Hershey's and other multinational companies temporarily shut down their factories in western Mexico on Wednesday after rebels attacked a key natural gas pipeline.

...At least a dozen companies including Honda Motor Co., Kellogg Co.'s, The Hershey Co., Nissan Motor Co., and Grupo Modelo SA were forced to suspend or scale back operations because of the lack of natural gas, the daily newspaper Excelsior reported. They said they faced millions of dollars in losses.

Oil supplies are down and alternatives not yet available

A rule of thumb for the price of oil in the past five years has been to take the last digit of the year and add a zero: 2002 saw prices in the $20s; 2003 in the $30s; now oil is hovering around $70 a barrel. These high prices are desirable for steering the economy away from oil, but in the meantime they could also spell trouble. Oil companies need to adjust to this new reality and rethink their business model.

Russia Mulls Potentially Oil-Rich Arctic Seabed

A Russian research vessel has begun a 90-day voyage to the Arctic as Moscow continues to pursue claims to the potentially energy-rich seabed under the Arctic Ocean.

Iraqi Parliament delays meeting on oil law

Iraq's Parliament will wait a week to hold sessions that could tackle controversial issues such as the proposed oil law.

Meanwhile, Kurds say the current version must be changed and Sunnis are calling for a vote of the citizens to make the law official.

African forest under threat from sugar cane plantation

The Mabira Forest Reserve, on the north shore of Lake Victoria, is home to 300 bird species as well as rare primates, and plays a vital role in the country's eco-system, storing carbon and regulating rainfall. The Mehta sugar corporation wants the reserve carved up so they can expand sugar cane plantations for biofuel production.

Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan President, is attempting to push through legislation that would strip the forest of its protected status. This would flout a deal signed with the World Bank in 2001 under which the government received £180m to construct a hydroelectric dam on the Nile in return for guaranteeing the forest's protection.

Omani develops date palm alternative to petrol

An Omani entrepreneur is promoting a biofuel for cars using extracts from date palms to cut the use of petrol in the oil-rich Gulf region, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

The vehicles are running 85 percent on the new fuel and 15 percent on petrol without the need to convert the engine.

High palm oil prices squeeze Indonesia biodiesel mix

Indonesian state-owned oil firm Pertamina has cut the biodiesel blend in diesel fuel to 2.5 percent as rising palm oil prices and lack of incentives have reduced margins, an official at a biofuel group said on Tuesday.

New York publisher turns a green page

NEW YORK - In the concrete jungle of Manhattan stands a paragon of green: the new Hearst Tower, rising from the original Hearst building’s historic facade.

Ninety percent of its steel is recycled. It uses 26 percent less energy and 10 percent less water than a conventional office building. Sensors detect when a room is empty and automatically turn off the lights and computers.

Watch out for $80 oil: Growing demand, tight supplies, turbulent geopolitics, hurricane season - a witches brew for crude prices

So, with both the geopolitical scene and hurricane season heating up, will we see $80 oil in the next few weeks?

"I don't see anything blunting the price rise until it disrupts our way of life," said energy analyst Mike Fitzpatrick, who's firm Man Financial has an $83 target price for crude by the end of September. "With the economy the way it is, that clearly hasn't happened yet."

Saudi leader: Don't blame us for high prices

Near-record oil prices are unrelated to supply and demand and none of Saudi Arabia's customers is asking for more crude, the kingdom's Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Wednesday.

Feeling peaky

'Peak oil' doomsayers are wrong - there is plenty out there. It's just a question of whether we are willing to pay the environmental price to get it.

Troubles at BP's Whiting refinery hurts gas prices

A leak that forced BP to temporarily shut down a Lake Michigan refinery's biggest crude unit has helped fuel this week's jump in gasoline prices, industry officials said.

The fragile process of refining: Several factors determine the price of fuel

Another summer of mercurial gasoline prices is here, thanks in no small part to the Achilles heel of the petroleum market - a tight supply chain vulnerable to the slightest of oil refinery hiccups.

Cold prompts fuel crisis in Argentina (audio)

A holiday blizzard blankets Buenos Aires for the first time in decades, but there's little to celebrate. Argentina's coldest winter in 40 years has spurred a massive energy crisis. Dan Grech reports.

Total, Trafigura Ship Diesel Cargoes to Chile From South Korea

Total SA, Europe's third-largest oil company, and Trafigura AG are shipping diesel cargoes to Chile from South Korea as Argentina cuts natural gas exports because of a cold spell.

Tehran to host trilateral peace pipeline meeting

Vaziri-Hamaneh stated that needed fuel for groups of people who are providing services in the country has been discussed and their fuel quota will be announced soon. The minister said there is no concern about eliminating gasoline shortage to do away with public worries, adding, “Fuel quotas considered for service and major consumer sectors are sufficient and some sectors whose needs had not been already paid due attention have been discussed during the past few days and they will be supplied sufficient fuel in the near future.”

The minister of petroleum further noted that people should use more public transportation means.

Rebels say attack on Mexican pipeline is just the beginning

The Popular Revolutionary Army, or EPR for its initials in Spanish, said Tuesday's explosion and two similar attacks on Pemex pipelines in Guanajuato state last week marked the beginning of a "national campaign of harassment against the interests of the oligarchy and this illegitimate government."

United Kingdom: Beyond Nuclear - Scotland´s Energy Options

Hunterston B power plant was shut down earlier this month amid fears regarding temperature controls. This shut down comes within only a few weeks of the plant reopening following the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) concluding that the plant should be allowed to operate once more. Hunterston B had been shut for almost 6 months to allow repairs to be carried out for cracked heat exchangers. Ironically, in its periodic safety review, the NII provisionally stated that both Hunterston B and its sister plant Hinkley Point B power station, would be allowed to extend their lives from 2011 to 2017. This was on the proviso that the plants invested £4.5m on upgrading and repairing their premises.

The decision to provisionally extend the lives of these power stations may need to be reconsidered in light of this further shut down. Currently nuclear power accounts for about 40% of all electricity generated in Scotland. The question arises of what Scotland would do to fill the deficit in electricity should Hunterston B close in 2017, 2011 or sooner.

Lula resumes nuclear program to make Brazil 'world power'

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Tuesday relaunched the country's nuclear program, promising to complete a nuclear submarine and a third atomic power plant both mothballed 20 years ago.

India: Of fixing price for natural gas

We know air pollution is choking our cities. But they also need electricity. The option is to build coal-based power stations to supply this need. But even with the best of technology (which we don’t have) for so-called clean coal, air and solid waste emissions are high. Gas would be an ideal option for these cities. But if the price of gas is determined based on non-existent market rates, then there is no way it can compete with coal—domestic or even imported.

BBC Radio Play – Second To Midnight

Western governments, oil companies and business analysts have long predicted that the "peak", when oil reserves become finite and the markets begin to panic, is as far away as 2030. However, Rob Turner, oil company geologist, has just uncovered that the peak is not tomorrow. It was yesterday.
(They usually archive their programs later on their web site.)

U.S. airlines may face huge plane bill

US Airways (LCC) officials went to the Paris Air Show last month and did something executives at most big U.S. carriers haven't done in years. They ordered planes: 92 new Airbuses at an estimated cost of $10 billion.

After a brutal half-decade in which the USA's airlines rang up $35 billion in losses, they're again profitable. But, US Airways' order notwithstanding, the little money they're making isn't nearly enough to cover what they'll need to rejuvenate and enlarge their fleets in the next two decades.

Feds Could Proceed with Drilling in Alaskan NPR-A Area

The Bureau of Land Management could allow drilling work on a sensitive region of Alaska's North Slope after it completed additional environmental research on the area, an agency spokeswoman said.

Hot off the grid

Solar ovens utilize nature's rays for energy-efficient, everyday cooking -- even in foggy San Francisco.

Ghana: Govt distributes free energy saving bulbs

The Energy Commission officially began the distribution of over six million energy saving light bulbs as part of a national campaign to conserve energy throughout the country yesterday.

Nigerian textile factories may close down

Nigeria’s 30 textile factories may be forced to close down next week because of acute shortage of production fuel, manufacturers said here Wednesday.

Venezuela, Iran to team up on $4 billion oil project

Venezuela and Iran, oil-exporting countries that have sought to assert independence from the US, plan to spend a combined $4 billion on a joint project in Venezuela's heavy-crude-producing Faja del Orinoco.

Food Conscious: The new food crusade

Organic farms, conservation, fruits and veggies in schools - the Bay Area leads the charge to change how Congress subsidizes farming.

Where have all the bees gone? Blame people, not cellphones

But as a Salon round table discussion with bee experts revealed, the mass exodus of bees to the great hive in the sky forebodes a bigger story. The faltering dance between honeybees and trees is symptomatic of industrial disease. As the scientists outlined some of the biological agents behind "colony collapse disorder," and dismissed the ones that are not -- sorry, friends, the Rapture is out -- they sketched a picture of how we are forever altering the planet's delicate web of life.

Hybrid Cars Come of Age

With Al Gore III barrelling down a California highway in his Toyota Prius at 105 mph, hybrid gas-electric cars may be at the tipping point of becoming a mainstream item in America.

Kuwait's oil reserves debate set

The Kuwaiti government will discuss the size of the country's oil reserves in a closed-door session with members of parliament today.

The size of the reserves in the world's seventh-largest oil exporter became a sensitive issue last year when industry newsletter Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW) said it had seen internal records showing reserves were about 48 billion barrels - half the officially stated 99 billon.

The difference is equal to more than four percent of global proved oil reserves, according to data in BP's annual statistical review, the oil industry's most trusted.

Kuwait and IEA Show Declining Oil Production Future

Crude oil prices could reach levels of US$100 per barrel or more if some of the latest production factors in the news become reality.

Venezuela Denies Talk of Falling Oil Output

The government on Monday denied a press report that labor conflicts at oil fields in western Venezuela have reduced output by 200,000 barrels per day.

"There is no diminution of production. Currently, oil production is 3.07 million barrels" per day, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters, responding to a story in the Caracas daily El Mundo.

Imagining a World Without Oil

Salon.com published an article today, discussing how Alternate Reality Games can be used to change people’s real world behavior, and cited World Without Oil as a good example. In this game, participants acted out the scenario of prohibitively expensive and unavailable oil - from personal to systemic effects - via blogs, audio, art, and any other means at their disposal. Besides impacting the players’ individual behavior, this was meant to draw from the wisdom of crowds to find the best solutions before this happens in real life.

But how well did it meet either goal? The article doesn’t say. Based on a cursory survey of participants, most seemed tuned in to oil conservation to begin with, so it’s not like that aggressive SUV driver was helped to see the error of his ways. Along those same lines, where are the jerks? Where are the guys getting mad wealthy off of peak oil at the expense of others? And where are the incompetent idiots?

Why is the oil price so high?

So what’s behind the rise? Hedge funds? Jittery investors? Geopolitical tension?

Nope. Energy watchdog, the International Energy Agency, puts it down to one thing.

Mideast power demand growth provides fuel oil new lease of life

Surging economic growth and power demand in the Middle East is giving fuel oil a new lease of life and heralding big changes in international trade of the dirty left-over product of refined crude.

Far from the protests, the Corrib drilling continues

The government or the people do not own the gas. Shell do. And if there is an energy crisis, Shell can turn off the taps. They have no moral obligation to sell it to the people of Mayo or Ireland.”

Prediction #3 (of 3) from Oil Expert Matt Simmons: Biofuels Terrific but won’t Significantly add to Supply

“Biofuels are going to stay at the margin,” Simmons predicted, explaining that given the food vs. fuel debate and other issues surrounding biofuels, biofuel production will never be high enough to displace the bulk of the millions of barrels of oil per day that Americans pour into their tanks as refined gasoline.

But if, as Simmons has also predicted, the U.S. could be in for gas shortages as early as this summer, how are Americans going to continue traveling as much as they are today?

They’re not, Simmons told EnergyTechStocks.com.

Higher fuel prices blamed on flooding at S.E. Kansas refinery...

Consumers are beginning to pay more at the pump because flooding at a southeast Kansas refinery has reduced fuel supplies.

Prices spiked ten cents a gallon overnight at some stations.

Carolyn Baker: WHAT TO DO? WHAT TO DO? Taking Action In The Face Of Collapse

Every time I write an article on collapse such as my most recent one "Happy Independence Day; You Have No Government", I am bombarded with emails asking me "what should I do?" For those who have just discovered this site, that is a legitimate question because for them, the reality of collapse may be new. Those who have been following this site for some time have heard many suggestions on what to do, but this article will offer those and other suggestions again more clearly and more adamantly than they have been offered here before. The intensity you are likely to hear in this piece is driven by the urgency which I and many of my peers are feeling at this moment. Quite frankly, it's time to quit screwing around with talking about collapse and start acting. The Rubicon has been crossed, we're not living in Kansas anymore, and we are living in the closest thing we've seen to pre-World War II Germany than anything since then. Suit up and stop theorizing and speculating. It's showtime.

Nigeria's Moni Pulo Seen Shutting in Output After Attack

Nigerian oil company Moni Pulo is expected to shut-in its production following an attack by militants on an oil production barge in the Calabar River in the Niger Delta, a trader of West African crude said Tuesday.

One Militant Killed in Failed Kidnap Attempt in Nigeria

Nigerian troops have foiled an attempt by militants to kidnap workers at a Korean firm in Southern Rivers state, killing one insurgent and injuring several others, police and locals said.

Mexico confirms attacks on pipelines

Mexico's government on Tuesday called a series of gas pipeline explosions a threat to the nation's democratic institutions and vowed to step up security after a guerrilla group claimed responsibility for the blasts.

The Interior Department said it would take measures to protect "strategic installations" across Mexico after an explosion Tuesday at a pipeline run by the state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, and two other blasts that rocked gas ducts on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia to cut oil supply to Asia

Saudi Aramco, the world's largest state oil company, will cut crude oil exports to Asian refiners for a tenth month in August, refinery officials said.

The Dhahran, Saudi Arabia-based oil producer will reduce supplies of its Arab Light and Arab Heavy crude oil to refiners in Japan, China and South Korea by between 9 per cent and 10 per cent below the volumes set out in annual supply contracts, said three refinery officials, who received notices from the company and asked not to be identified because of confidentiality agreements.

OPEC can do nothing about high oil price: Qatar

OPEC can do nothing about the high price of oil because factors other than crude supply have sent the market to near record levels, Qatar's Energy Minister said on Wednesday.

..."OPEC cannot do anything about it," Attiyah said. "The world is facing a shortage of gasoline and diesel, but not crude oil. If the market needs more oil, OPEC will do its utmost but it needs to be convinced that there is a shortage."

Strong gasoline demand to push up prices: government

Strong demand for gasoline and tight motor fuel inventories will push pump prices higher in July and August, the government said on Tuesday.

..."This is due to a combination of rising crude oil prices, strong demand for gasoline and low gasoline inventories," the analytical arm of the Energy Department said.

China, Syria in talks on refinery

Syria and China are discussing jointly building a $1 billion oil refinery in eastern Syria, state media reported Wednesday.

Dolphin starts pumping Qatar's gas to UAE

Dolphin Energy Ltd announced Tuesday that it has started pumping natural gas through a submarine pipeline from Qatar to the United Arab Emirates.

"This is the culmination of a visionary nine-year project, linking the nations of Qatar, the UAE and shortly Oman in a unique regional gas grid," the company said.

Is Arab OPEC Going Green?

Now, sheiks, emirs and other leaders throughout the Arab OPEC states of the Middle East and North Africa are afraid that a return to pre-petroleum poverty will quickly arrive with the end of the Oil Age, so they are turning towards the ever-present desert sun.

London readies for 'energy revolution'

London Vice-Mayor Nicky Gavron plans to spearhead decentralised generation so that every household in the city can eventually produce its own energy and cut CO2 emissions. New fines for polluting trucks and coaches are also planned for 2008, she has told EurActiv in an interview.

Ford: Hydrogen cars close to production

The relatively quick-and-easy answer to foreign oil dependence and automotive greenhouse gas emissions is circling the grounds every day at Orlando International Airport in Florida, according to a top Ford Motor Co. official. It's a utilitarian 12-passenger parking lot shuttle bus powered by a 6.8-liter internal combustion hydrogen engine, which Ford officials said is their hydrogen technology that's closest to mass production.

Sun is not to blame for global warming: study

Scientists on Wednesday said that the rise in global temperatures that has been detected over the past two decades cannot be blamed on the Sun, a theory espoused by climate-change sceptics.

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

Wall Street's ratings agencies are starting to abandon their efforts to hide the real market value of the debts that are ironically still marked as assets in the books of countless institutional investors. To say unpleasant surprises will be revealed would be a tragic understatement. Credit markets are tightening in anticipation, and spreads are set to widen dramatically.

Hedge funds and banks are heavily exposed to the derivatives market, and losses will be colossal and widespread. Increasingly, pension funds look to be the biggest losers of all. The key-word will be 'leverage' - cheap credit borrowed to make 'easy' profits, that will now lead to hard losses.

On the energy scene, Americans are concerned about rising costs, labour constraints and environmental issues in the Alberta oil sands. Combined with increasing Canadian domestic energy demand, this could reduce energy exports to the US just as it was looking to Canada to fill its looming energy supply gap.

Resource ownership and control in Canada continue to be hot issues at the national, provincial, and territorial levels. Alberta looks to carbon trading and Ontario will have to get through a hot summer with a reduced electricity supply.

Most of you probably saw the Moscow Times article on Drumbeat yesterday about Russian oil production.


"Alfa Report Sees Trouble Looming in Oil Sector"

The dramatic worsening in its outlook was the result of the government's reluctance to consider lowering taxes on oil firms and a higher proportion of water in the declining output, the bank said in a research report.

With this article, we now have problems reported or actual production declines in all of the areas of the world producing 3 million BPD or more.

• Russia - Forecast worsening outlook (9,247,000 barrels per day in 2006)
• Saudi Arabia - Declining Production (9,152,000)
• United States - Declining Production (5,136,000)
• Iran - Declining Production (4,028,000)
• China - Largest oil field peaked in 2006 (3,686,000)
• Mexico - Largest oil field peaked in 2006 (3,256,000)

• North Sea - Declining Production (4,343,000)

This would certainly strengthen the peak oil now or very soon argument.

This would certainly strengthen the peak oil now or very soon argument.

Hilarious deadpan.

I think.

or Edvard Munch's "The Scream" in a rearview mirror.

Objects in mirror are closer than they appear..

"Do you think he's gonna have that on the ride?"
- Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

No problem. We will run our transportation networks on oil reserves.
The doomers keep focusing on production. Be happy and focus on the huge worldwide reserves of oil.
Huge pools of oil inside the earth regenerating themselves every day.

Switching to CNG cars is growing rapidly as natural gas production was not supposed to peak for sometime.

In Peru they have 11 tcf of natural gas (EIA) and have been building an LNG plant for export. There are three CNG stations with ten more planned. They have both CNG and LPG cars.

Compressed natural gas did not require expensive refineries, reformulation additives, and was cheaper than gasoline. It had less carbon per molecule and burned clean. It did not require heavy bulky fuel cells. The natural gas was ligher than air and dissipated if disrupted by collision.

CNG and LPG may work in a few places in the world (Peru, Iran), but the supply beyond the next couple of years is questionable in places like the United States and Europe.

It seems like LNG will not help the world supply situation much because the amount of LNG available is going to be much less than the world will be demanding.

Consider Russia, Qatar, Bolivia, Australia, Malaysia, PPNG, Egypt, Oman, Algeria, Libya, Angola, Nigeria, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia to name a few more.

About 115000 Btu’s per gallon of gasoline--octane varies ($2.33 Nymex wholesale).

1 mcf of natural gas = 1020000 BTU's ($6-7 Nymex wholesale).

It appears like natural gas is currently about 4-5 times cheaper than gasoline in the U.S. in terms of BTU's per dollar.

In Germany retail gasoline was 2-3 times more expensive than in the United States.

It seems fuel switching in NG producers might reduce some of the oil panic.

Correction NG might be more than twice as cheap as gasoline

Note this fits the Westexas export substitution model.
1st oil (already) 2nd gas (starting now) 3rd coal (soon).

No problem.

Oh Really?

We will run our transportation networks on oil reserves.

And when the reserves are used?

Huge pools of oil inside the earth regenerating themselves every day.

How is that possible?

You are a little light on data to back up your position. But go ahead, convince me. Convince others.

Don't worry Gunga, sarcasm is completely lost on some people.

Ron Patterson

On TOD, with our occasional cornucopian denyers, it's hard to say when when it's sarcasm and when it's delusion.

Unless of course, one knows the person throwing in the comment. That helps :)

That's why I always try to include a ;) or put [sarcasm] tags around my sarcasm. :)
~Durandal (http://www.wtdwtshtf.com/)

On TOD, with our occasional cornucopian denyers,

Tis best to ask these folks "why" when they show up.

Because if they are wrong, they might learn something while their answer is being addressed. Or all of us might learn something we didn't know.

Ummm... Eric...

I think he was peddling a bit of sarcanol there.

At least I sure hope so ;-)

A bit? How about gallons??

Or, rather, barrels...

One correction to the above listing. China's largest field peaked in 2003, and has been declining a few percent a year since.

China's total oil production for the first three months of 2007 is pretty similar to last years, but it is too soon to say that China's production has peaked.

So perhaps I should say that that six out of the seven largest production areas have production problems. We don't really know yet about China.

The bombing of the Pemex gas pipelines is a bit of a warning shot that will be a factor in the "above ground" issues sending oil and NG prices higher. It is similiar to what is occurring in Africa. Local insurgents throwing a monkey wrench into the status quo of those "stealing" the natural riches of their country.

I'm not saying I agree with what they are doing, only that I think it will become more widespread and lead to more "militarization" of the pipeline infrastructure around the world. These are the domino effects that will lead, IMO, to the total nationlization of petroleum/NG resources in the not too distant future.

These are also "wild cards" in what will happen to energy availability and prices at any point in time and any region of the world.

Yeah. This is why I think it's foolish to ignore "above ground" factors. They have always been a part of oil production. (If they weren't, peak oil would have hit a lot sooner.)

And I fully expect above-ground factors to become more important, not less. Scarcity and high prices embolden the leaders of oil-producing countries (like Putin and Chavez), attract attack by insurgents, and encourage energy workers to strike. It is also encouraging oil drilling in riskier areas, whether further out in the ocean or deeper into politically hostile territory.

This is why I think it's foolish to ignore "above ground" factors. They have always been a part of oil production. (If they weren't, peak oil would have hit a lot sooner.)

But, that's only because you probably believe oil is a finite resource...

Seriously, that is a very very good point that Colin Cambell makes often. The more efficient and successful you are at extracting the stuff, the faster you deplete the resource. Duh. Why economists can't grasp this concept is very interesting.

But, that's only because you probably believe oil is a finite resource...

No, it isn't. A lot of peak oilers fall back to the "it's only above-ground factors" argument. They believe oil will peak, but not until next year, 2010, 2015. Right now, it's only "above ground factors."

Then there's the bottom-up analyses, even by peak oilers like Skrebowski. Way too optimistic, IMO, because there's not enough of a fudge factor...for those above-ground factors.

Anytime you try to run a system of any significant complexity at or near it's maximum capacity for an extended period, you will run into limitations ("above ground factors"). The system just becomes too vulnerable to each individual failure - it's entropy I suppose. Try it on a crowded highway - you know that road can carry a higher volume of traffic if people just paid a little more attention, but it won't happen. If there was enough spare capacity then people would not target the oil infrastructure because it wouldn't be effective.

This is why I don't understand why people insist on considering a purely geologic peak, and ignore the "logistical" peak. The geologic peak is only an upper bound which at best can be achieved only for a short time. Those "above ground factors" will always limit it to less.

This is well understood in the theory of complex adaptive systems, and especially resilience theory. A complex adaptive system goes through a process of growth and increasing exploitation of its environment. As it grows it gains efficiency and interconnectedness, and loses resilience as direct consequence. Near the peak of its development the system is very brittle (has very low resilience), and "synchronous failures" or failure cascades can be triggered by various external or internal shocks. These failures ultimately push the system into a "release" phase, which may be an outright collapse depending on the system dynamics.

This is the key insight in Thomas Homer Dixon's book "The Upside of Down" and is the main area of study for The Resilience Alliance


I've been jumping up and down all over the place trying to express this. You did it with a simple example.
Another one is the cracking of steel a steal beam or breaking ice on a pond these systems collapse early because small microscopic cracks in the system widen and cause breakage.

So ELM despite its serious repercussions is a upper bound on oil supply going forward. Also you can look at the fact that prices begin to increase exponentially once supply is less than
5% of demand.

The point is we need only consider ELM as the major contributor to the worlds oil production and esp exports until it is 5% less than demand. Taking demand as remaining constant at the 2006 production levels we can see that we cross this threshold in late 2008-2009. Past this point above ground factors will ensure that production will be less than ELM predicts and depending on how things play out
probably a lot less over time.

The only way out is for some serious conservation that allows a cushion to form.

Considering all the geopolitical factors the easiest way to get this cushion if form OPEC to cut even more oil supply.

They actually should cut and additional 2mbpd and maintain a real and sustainable 2mbpd or more buffer in production.

If they do this then it will allow them to keep above ground shocks from spreading.

The approach thats needed is similar to fighting forest fires where you back burn from a fire line to put out a fire. Thus post peak the answer is to fight fire with fire and deliberately drop the normal production well below real capacity so you can cushion the certain disruptions.

I don't think we can save ourselves but I do think OPEC can if they cut production wisely and only increase again when shortages threaten collapse.

I don't think we can save ourselves but I do think OPEC can if they cut production wisely and only increase again when shortages threaten collapse.

If we could only have a leader in the Arab world to come forward and offer to save the west from itself. Our Arab brothers have to put someone out front other than bin Laden that could articulate the issues and lead the discussion. Maybe Obama could lead America toward that end if our Arab brothers do not assume the leadership mantle.

The Muslim countries are no more a monolitihic bloc than are the Western States. For the 'Arab Brothers' to put someone forward as a leader, first the Caliphate would need to be reestablished, the possibility of which we are opposing in Iraq, Iran and Syria and elsewhere. Besides, it would not be in the interests of a new Calaphate to 'save the West' since they would see the West as their tormenters since the time the first crusades were launched. Although Obama would probably form a more credible leadership than our current administration, I dont think that he would be perceived in the ME as a 'Muslim Brother.'In other words, we have sown the winds of the ME, now we will reap the whirlwind.

Well said.

One of the things I've mused about regarding PO is "discontinuity" and the effect it will have on society as a complex system. This may seem so obviously true it's trivial, but some I've talked to haven't thought about it much, seemingly.

There are more aspects of our society that you might think which are not resilient against discontinuity. One metaphor might be a leaky boat with bilge pumps running; I had occasion to operate a WWII subchaser for some projects and it was basically kept afloat by being constantly pumped. When the pumps stop, a boat sinks, and at that point it is irrelevant whether the bilge pumps can be made to work again.

Similarly, in the complex system that's the human body, a hiatus of 6 minutes of oxygen will destroy large amounts of the brain, and no amount of oxygen or anything else after that will restore the system.

This is, for instance, the case in many mines. I think a lot of 'em have to have the water constantly pumped out; at the point they ever flooded it might or might not be possible to return them to service. This may, in fact, be a huge issue, since many things could cause an industrial discontinuity.

In a more subtle way, I think our entire industrial society has aspects which will not be resilient to discontinuity, in a thousand ways. Like, if the power goes off, all of a sudden it's safe to steal the copper cable. If there's a hiatus in law enforcement, those forces held in check by it will move into a new stable state. Once there is a hiatus of retail supply and the psychology of scarcity crops up, people's shopping habits will abruptly change from "just enough" to "hoarding", turning a shortfall into an unbreachable gulf of supply.

The thing about evolved complex systems is that they suck at being resilient to hiatus in detail; like the rainforests, you can permanently lose a huge amount of complexity if there is discontinuity in any parameter. Such systems wind up holding themselves up by their own bootstraps in a very real way; the amazon forest sustains its own climate, etc. Huge complexity built on marginal soils, and it is the continued play of complexity which sustains itself.

A lot of discontinuities will be showing up in many places. Human industrial civilization and the ecosystem require continuity in myriad ways, and that will be failing.

This is why shortages are much more damaging than high prices.

I think we are going to have shortages simply because to many oil users are fairly well matched in capitol. To many deep pockets is the problem. Think of it this way the US is wealthy enough to purchase all of the worlds oil supply. Same with the other major economic regions. So I think we will see demand destruction from outright shortages before we see it from price.

The US GDP is 13.3 trillion.

about 30 billion barrels a year at say 100 dollars a barrel = 3 trillion a year for all the worlds oil at a fairly high price.

The point is the world has enough wealth for most of the oil consuming nations to afford to purchase all the worlds oil many times over even if it goes to 200 a barrel.

So shortages are far more likely than demand destruction from price.

Similarly, in the complex system that's the human body, a hiatus of 6 minutes of oxygen will destroy large amounts of the brain, and no amount of oxygen or anything else after that will restore the system.

This is one of my favorite metaphors for the critical nature of oil, and why "running out" is not the point. Same with blood: someone with an arterial bleed will go into hypovolemic shock a hell of a lot sooner than when she "runs out" of blood.

Mexico nationalised its oil and gas resources in the 1930's. The petroleum sector provides about 30% of the government income. This is a direct blow at the government, and they did it without bloodshed.
By contrast in Nigeria the oil is produced in foreign concessions-and the revenues are stolen by the political elite with the help of the multinationals. They are likely to have a revolution and nationalisation.

Yes...what I am saying is that I see reserves that are currently owned by "corporations" to be nationalized in the future due to "national security issues".

"The bombing of the Pemex gas pipelines is a bit of a warning shot that will be a factor in the "above ground" issues sending oil and NG prices higher. "

Anyone want to wager we will see "Terrorists in Mexico Trained by Venezuela military" headlines in the near future??

... and funded by Iran!

Damn those pesky commies and rag-head islamists!

Stealing _our_ oil!

How dare they!

The Interior Ministry, which is responsible for national security, condemned the attacks and said political demands should be settled in the political arena. It called the sabotage "an attempt to weaken democratic institutions, the wealth of Mexicans and the security of their families."

Keep rigging and stealing elections and sooner or later people are going to resort to democratic mechanisms that do work. Just like HeIsSoFly posted yesterday. The Ballot or the Bullet. Find your tribe, as Baker writes in her article on the Drumbeat today.

I'm getting scared. About time, I guess.

cfm in Gray, ME

Keep rigging and stealing elections and sooner or later people are going to resort to democratic mechanisms that do work.

A different observation of the same idea:

If one does not have a legitimate (non violent reaction as an example of legitimate action) means of redress to being 'wronged' (incorrect perception or really being wronged) then non-legitimate means will be tried.

If there was a functioning world court where 'wrongs' could be addressed - would Osama Bin Laden's POV have gotten 'the traction of action'?

(and to head up the 'courts are corrupt' response http://www.skolnicksreport.com/ used to be the site of Citizen's Committee to Clean Up the Courts as an example of corrupt courts)

From the link above titled "WHAT TO DO? WHAT TO DO? Taking Action In The Face Of Collapse"

I was reading a back drumbeat (july 9th) a while ago and one of the posters made a remark about another posters' name "estamos jodidos." I didn't get the joke, but after reading that link - I do now!

No, what I'm going to tell you is that as a nation and as a planet, we are scr3w3d, f@#k3d, and shit out of luck, or if you prefer Spanish, estamos jodidos.

ha ha

I am very flattered by the compliments. Guess it was is my subtle sense of humor.

As a footnote, after 2 years of being peak oil aware, I am now in the process of closing a 40 acre property in a remote wilderness section of the country. Frantically looking to get out of suburbia and set up an off the grid, self sufficient farm. I feel really good to be moving from a level of intellectual awareness and discussion to the steps of taking action.


Don't forget to lie in bed tonight staring at the ceiling, counting your blessings. How lucky you are to be in a place to be able to do it!

Would you describe how you are planning for your vehicles, farm machinery, and power tools like chainsaws to be self-sufficient?

Are "vehicles, farm machinery, and power tools like chainsaws " necessary to attain self sufficiency?

Electricity generated by my wind machines and solar panels and biodiesel made from my castor beans.

Being in a similar position as EJ, though not able to move there full time, yet I've been using vehicles, farm machinery and chainsaws on my land for most of my 48 year old life, I anticipate that these tools will still be useable, though much more expensive over the next 30 to 40 years. We'll have to use them much more judiciously and store more fuel to have during shortages. Of course at anytime it could run out so back up measures need to be available. Hopefully at some point electric vehicles and maybe tractors will become available, even if with less horsepower.
My father always used electric chainsaws on our land. Of course out in the woods we had to cart along a generator with it, but it was the thought that counted :)

A friend suggested various brands of ATVs and Four Wheelers instead of a tractor. I am more seriously interested in obtaining some appropriate four leggers. I am not fully there yet but the plan is to move to self sustainance and off the grid. Suspect that a lot will be done with muscle and sweat. I just picked up a copy of John Seymor's

    The Self-Sufficient Life
    and How to Live it

So far it has been extremely interesting and relevant.

Also starting to look at PV Panels and possible micro-hydro as there is a live creek on the property. Wind not so much for power but perhaps pumping from a well. Looks like I may be able to close next month but will be later before I can make a move up there...

My two cents. Stay away from the ATV's and 4 wheelers. They
are expensive, complicated toys designed for weekenders.
Get yourself a good small tractor with a three point hitch and
PTO. Mower decks, fence auger, etc. are essentially one size fits all and can be rented or bought new or used. Tractors are
made for working and four wheelers are made for playing.

boby is quite correct.

The friend who recommended a quad instead of a tractor probably shouldn't be listened to for any other advice either.
I've enjoyed watching guys in suburbia, who convinced their wives to let them get a quad because they can use it to plow snow, repeatedly ram themselves at snowbanks in order to clear a driveway that has six inches of snow on it.


I hope you have a lot of gunss and are ready to kill people who WILL try to take your land when TSHTF.

..or maybe they'll just be after your guns.

A lot of electric tractor conversions around, if you look for them.. and the old deadweight blocks you would have to gain traction are now batteries. Your PTO or power take-off can be an independent electric motor, dc-electric hydraulic pump, or an inverter, so the tractor, with a nice shady PV rooftop can also be your portable (and House) power for other tools/needs.

Allis Chalmers 'G' Electric Conversion

Pete Seeger's electric Pickup Truck that runs chain saws, carries wood and Banjos..etc.. (PDF)

GE 1970's electric tractors, still running strong

Jean Pain's Methane-powered/heated farm..


I've been working on an essay entitled Time for another forum that is germane to this. It opens with the following: Time Is On My Side. Yes it is., The Rolling Stones, 1964...Time Won't Let Me. Oh no!, The Outsiders, 1966.

The general thrust is that people just don't understand how much time it takes to have any chance at even bottom of the barrel self-sufficiency or even providing for a major proportion of their needs. I think most of us concerned with preparedness see, at most, a 2-5 year window of opportunity. This is barely enough time to even get started.

Among the issues are skills and infrastructure. Just learning basic skills requires seveal years. For example, carpentry, plumbing, electrical (AC/DC), food preservation, food production, animal husbandry, fencing, timber felling, engine mechcanics and on and on. Successful country people really do have huge skill sets.

The same thing is true of infrastructure; doing it wrong the first time is a sure way to never-ending problems.

For those who are still on the fence as to what to do about the future, if they believe they will seek self-sufficiency, yesterday was the best day to start.

Incidentially, even people who plan on remaining in suburbia or urban areas will find tons of really useful information in The Integral Urban House - Self-Reliant Living in the City, ISBN 0-87156-213-8


Good point, Todd. People can start learning some of those skills before making any physical relocation of course, but the amount of time needed still shouldn't be underestimated...

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

Please post a link to that article when completed, it sounds very interesting.

That article really rang my bell. The reply I posted to her blog is a development of the argument I've been making here recently:

I stumbled here through a link posted on The Oil Drum. Sometimes the universe works in very mysterious ways.

I've just come out of a two-year episode of despair brought on by realizing the "sacred truths" you talk about. What brought me out was a spiritual (NOT religious, as you perceptively point out) transformation that I describe briefly in "The Spiritual Effects of Comprehending the Global Crisis". Upon more reflection it turns out that the spiritual perception that I describe as pantheist is more correctly and usefully understood as a conversion to Deep Ecology as defined by Arne Naess in 1972. I completely agree that such a spiritual realization is essential if one is to emerge from the inevitable despair and resume a functional life.

Likewise on point 2 - my family is so completely aware of the issues that I have been kindly (and sometimes pointedly) told to shut up, they get it already, please come back when I have a positive thought or two to share.

"Finding your work" is of course the next step. Even if your day job is already useful, ethical and life-affirming, what should one's "night job" be in relation to these issues? Writing, speaking and local organizing of one sort or another seem to be obvious choices.

As regards simplification, may I recommend the book "Radical Simplicity" by Jim Merkel? It's a great guide by someone who has walked this path and helped to blaze the trail.

Finally, what about hope? After all, the last thing to come out of Pandora's box was "Hope". Since we are staring deeply into that box right now, what new revelation might we take as a hopeful sign? The state of affairs right now seem utterly hopeless. Ecological devastation, oil depletion, population growth and socioeconomic instability are converging to give humanity the thrashing of its life, in the process reducing the human community to perhaps one billion members before the end of the century.

In fact there is a hopeful sign, but only if you change your perspective.

Start from these three realizations:
1. The genetic imperatives that drive our reproduction, consumption and competition guarantees that we will not change our civilization's value set voluntarily or preemptively.
2. Humanity is like yeast. We reproduce and consume until our ecological niche is stripped of resources and poisoned by waste, then we die off.
3. Humanity is like cockroaches. We are resourceful, adaptive and hardy, and you can't kill us all.

These three facts mean that some portion of humanity will survive to regroup and rebuild in a massively damaged, resource-poor world. On our way through the bottleneck we will lose much of our physical and social capital. The one good thing about this, from a species, biosphere and planetary perspective is that the existing socioeconomic structures will be forcibly and involuntarily stripped away, leaving room for new structures to take their place.

The question for me has become, "How do we ensure that the seeds are in place for a value set that will survive through and bloom after the bottleneck, a value set that will ensure that the next cycle of civilization has a chance at sustainability even in such a badly damaged, resource-poor world?"

I've become convinced over the last couple of months that the seeds have already been planted. They are even resilient enough to make it through, and carry the correct values.

Paul Hawken has just written a book called "Blessed Unrest" in which he describes a set of one to two million local, independent, citizen-run environmental and social justice groups. These groups exist world-wide, and each is acting on local problems of its own choosing. There is no overarching ideology beyond "making the world a better place", there is no unifying organization, no white male vertebrate leader setting the agenda. As a result the movement is extremely resilient - no government action anywhere can shut it down, even though individual groups may be suppressed. These groups make up the largest (though unrecognized) social movement the world has ever seen.

Hawken sees this movement as part of humanity's immune system. While I like the metaphor and think it is exactly correct, I believe the importance of these groups is much greater than just their efforts to mitigate an unavoidable collapse. These groups have been called into existence by the world's dis-ease, and do two things: they work to fix local problems now (which will mitigate some local effects of the collapse), but more importantly they act as carriers for the values of cooperation, consensus, nurturing, recognition of interdependence, acceptance of limits, universal justice and the respect for other life. Those are precisely the values that a civilization will need to achieve stability and sustainability. To top it all off, many of these groups are led by women or espouse specifically matriarchal values, one attribute I see as essential for any sustainable civilization.

At the risk of sounding sentimental, I call these groups the antibodies in Gaia's bloodstream.

I am convinced we will not save this civilization, but I'm equally convinced that thanks to the seeds that have already been planted in these groups we have a shot at a much better one in a couple of hundred years. The crucial change in perspective required to see the hope in this is to stop looking from here forward into the decline, and instead look backward from a position out two hundred years and imagine what it will take to rebuild a truly sustainable civilization from the ashes of this one. The values required are already embodied in a resilient organization, enough of whose elements will survive to transmit a sustainable value set into the ecologically damaged, resource-depleted world we will bequeath to the future.

There is no overarching ideology beyond "making the world a better place", there is no unifying organization, no white male vertebrate leader setting the agenda.

Sounds oxymoronic WRT realization 1

It only sounds oxymoronic until you realize that genetic determinants of behaviour leave room for individual variation while broadly constraining group behaviour. Individuals are not genetic automata, but the behaviour of larger and larger groups (up to the full species level) tends to converge on the genetically-selected pattern. The larger the group the stronger this convergence will be, but at the individual and small-group level obviously considerable variation is to be expected.

GG great idea formulating- stuck with me thru the night. Could you give some examples of the groups Paul Hawkens is referring to. Typical environmental groups is what I get going to amazon. I don't see these groups as 'tight ' enough to do the kind of work I thing will be necessary to stand a chance of being a powerful enough 'antibody'.

My concern & experience is the type group formulating that is needed will require the crisis itself to be upon us; then it might be too late- not that there are any assurances in this crisis. Thanks.

For a look at the kinds of organizations Hawken is talking about, visit http://www.wiserearth.org/organization - you can drill down into a database of over 100,000 such organizations. They're primarily American as far as I can tell, but it gives the flavour of Hawken's conclusions. Hawken himself is listed there at http://www.wiserearth.org/user/paul.

The groups probably are not tight enough to affect the overall outcome, particularly given what we at The Oil Drum understand about scale and time lines. I see their antibody action manifesting primarily at the local level, and they may give their local communities a better chance when the troubles hit in earnest. For me this is their greatest near-term strength. Only lifeboats will make it through, and lifeboats are exactly the sort of local feature that the antibodies have the best chance of promoting.

Valuable though it is, this quality is still outweighed IMO by the potential for them to act as value carriers through the bottleneck.

It's a tremendously powerful idea, and one that has given me more hope than anything else I've encountered on this dismal quest.

Thanks. His statements & the list clarify.

Dismal this stuff is. My wife forbids any talk re peak oil until I get permission- she already tends towards depression. She gets it & tells me it is like I have told her she has terminal cancer- I only learned about 2 yrs. ago. We have 3 kids launched now for 3-12 yrs. & one grandson so this stuff weighs even heavier re their future.

I do therapy for a living- used to do lots of groups. I also lived communally & studied that arena several yrs.So a more intense , close knit group life is something I would be seeking w/o this crisis & what I now see as a necessity.

I agree I don't expect any groups to effect major change on other than a local level. Actually I think it will be the fairly immediate [ like walking distances]local folks; by the time we get to power outages.

I keep looking to help form a group/family to best 'live' while in this crisis but no consensus for now - hell we live near several secondary nuclear targets - though good semi- rural place in other ways.

In America I don't expect the type groups Hawkins [ & you]
hope will be seed carriers being such until they reform into much tighter groups during duress. Then I see the values you espouse[ & I do too] being in keeping with some of their wiser more committed members using these values to form small groups for those lifeboats[ hope we/they have time].

I am grateful for your couple hundred yrs. looking back idea - gives sustainability -the place it has to have.

Thanks again.

Should I be more afraid of being robbed by my neighbors or by the taxman?

... an “abusive driver law” means huge fines for Virginia residents who are caught and convicted of multiple traffic offenses.

These super fines already are in place in New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Texas and are admittedly a way to raise extra revenue at a time when the money available for transportation repairs and additions is becoming scarce.

The regular fines that apply to moving violations in Virginia will still go into a fund for school improvements, as they have been for years. In a sense, then, these new fines are a way to circumvent the old system and add new revenue.

Here’s an example of how they work: If a truck driver fails to pull into a weigh station, the fine is $35 plus $61 in court processing fees. On top of that, the driver has to pay, under the new law, a civil remedial fee of $300 per year for three years. That means that what used to be a $96 fine is now $996.


In my opinion a great way to quickly cut down on gas consumption would be to implement driver's license suspensions for a wide range of driving infractions.

I have "0" sympathy for people caught making driving infractions. Poor drivers put our lives at risk every time they get behind the wheel.

It doesnt matter if you suspend their liscenses, they continue to drive. Every day I read the police docket in the newspaper and it seems as if half the arrests are for people driving with a suspended liscense...many of them drunk at the time...and some with suspended liscense, drunk, and driving a stolen vehicle! The jails are full so someone has to be released before another is incarcerated, so they go for a ride while awaiting sentencing.

Many attempt to flee when they see the blue light in the rear view mirror, anything can happen at that point.

Hello River,

Good points, therefore start loping off their fingers when they continue to drive illegally. Serious infractions or deaths of innocents: blind them--no incarceration thereafter will be required.

Consider that over $5 million bucks was spent by govt on the Scott Petersen murder trial. The future court system will be a quick 'thumbs up-thumbs down' trial, then a necktie party. The criminal amputees obviously cannot vote in this method.

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

Bob, I hope that you realize that all these 'high profile' cases tried in the public arena of MSM are only for the distraction of Joe & Jane six pack. Those 'trials' are aired so that the MSM will have garbage to fill the airwaves while real news goes unreported, which is exactly what the MSM wants. Notice that the MSM continues to do this although their ratings are falling.

No, River, I think that people actually demand their "garbage" and the MSM obliges them in delivering it to market--hence news cycles of inanity. MSM lets enough information slip through, especially in Europe, but also here in the "free West". You're right, they are scoundrels, but I honestly think a lot of them probably have good intentions. They believe they are doing a service for the world--that's why they're all so chipper (plus the beta blockers). The internet is eating away at their ratings, but who knows, when things start to get worse maybe all the unemployment and shenanigans going on around the world will help with that--as people attempt to distract themselves from their ever-devolving local environs.

If one actually pays attention, is diligent, and reads through stuff, it is quite easy to be educated about what's going on. All takes in common sense, a slight education and an inquiring, scientific mind. Certainly an ability to intelligently question authority, and find it usually to be lacking in authenticity and justification. Most people are too busy, lazy or generally stupid (or have intense emotional problems, through genetic predispositions and, of course, the environment) or they're stuck in a cognitive dissonance feedback loop of "feeling good" by whatever means possible--shopping, religion, etc. Or, one is an extremophile ideological assassin--which usually occludes true understanding because you need to be a pluralist in more ways than one to try to put together a reasonable picture of what "reality" is.

I thought Bob's comment was hysterical... "Loping off fingers"--maybe someone needs to talk to Mr. Shrum about that? Or perhaps they should lop off one of his fingers! This could be just to ticket to invigorating the Democratic party with some "tough-love" during these tumultuous times. [sarcasm alert]

Are you being sarcastic or are you really a retarded fascist?

Hello Dezakin,

Thxs for responding. I am not aware of your age, but perhaps you missed the 70s energy crunch. Perfectly good former citizens became petty criminals, or worse, in their desperation for FFs. Gasoline Queue assaults and gas thefts were widely noted by the MSM, and even tanker rigs were hijacked. Google gas-thefts and driveaways that are occuring presently.

Speculation ahead!

How much postPeak Overshoot carnage will be acceptable to you? Consider that we love tools, and powered tools above all else; even cavemen long ago recognized the tremendous extrasomatic utility of chunking rocks, thrusting firebrands, or swinging clubs.

If gas & food prices ever hit with a super-rapid increase and there exists no easy alternatives [Go Alan Drake!]: you will see remarkable #'s of citizens going extrasomatically psycho as Hans Selye's GAS genetically kicks into high gear. Tadeusz Borowski, #119198, has written much about what people will do to hope to sustain their personal MPP in dire circumstances. Even bare hands will do.

Even today we have citizens professing that they will not give up their driving privilege until we pry their cold, dead fingers off the steering wheel. Again, how many people convicted of DUI or driving on suspended licenses are habitual repeat offenders? I think you are drastically under-estimating how severely bad people will want to drive.

Heavily addicted, irresponsible detritovores gradually losing finger counts will, at some digital calculation: accept an extrasomatic Liebig Minimum. It is merely my proposed PostPeak process to keep their live, deadly fingers off the steering wheel, gun, or machete' to limit the infliction of pain and death on innocent others.

Please consider that walking, pedaling, mass-transit, taxis, or calling a buddy should be the obvious first choice; the ONLY Choice for these detritovores, but they willingly choose otherwise. The current penalties are not lizard-brain level recognized as sufficiently punitive, but worth the risk and great dopamine rewards in their warped judgement.

Consider that as gasoline prices rise: we will see lots more bicycles, scooters, motorcycles, lighweight PHEVS, buses, and car-pools in traffic, etc. More people exposed on drastically less crowded roads: a perfect recipe for a careless, speeding maniac to reach great speeds to really inflict mayhem and gore when things go wrong. Believe me when I say their first choice for motorized criminality will be a large, high-powered vehicle to match their high power weapons. It won't be a mere bicycle and a weak slingshot, but a stolen sportscar or SUV, with rifles and pistols for MPP effect.

How about criminals that run from the law vs. just pulling over safely as the higher brain function should dictate? Many are just juveniles, some are repeat offenders, but they are addicted to the mobility rush with no heed to the damage that massive tonnage can do to innocents. Losing a pinky finger for a non-injury car-chase, or bank-robbery, would be a constant lizard-brain level reminder to choose more wisely with the higher brain processing function in the postPeak future.

IF they persist in driving, or other stupid and violent criminality: the gradual loping off of their fingers will eventually preclude them from driving at all, or wielding a gun--much to the relief of the other upstanding citizens.

IMO, we won't have networked computers postPeak to easily access criminal rapsheets--asking to see a person's hands will be most instructive as to the intelligence and character of the just caught miscreant.

Imagine what a psychopathic criminal will do to keep a set of wheels postPeak. They will have no concern for blowing away an entire family to keep their food & fuel desires fulfilled, and we won't have the postPeak police force to chase them down. It will have to be a community effort. This is not fascism, but community cooperation and trial by a jury of your peers on a very tight postPeak budget.

Consider the infamous Tison family, and the panic and horror they brought to the Southwest back in the cheap oil days:

Marine Sgt. John Lyons, 24, of Yuma and his family stopped to help [the criminals]. Their bodies were found five days later.

Lyons was lying near the abandoned getaway car, close-range gunshot wounds in his head, shoulders, chest and wrists.

His 23-year-old wife, Donnelda, was in the back seat, cradling 22-month-old Christopher. She had been shot in the chest and neck; the toddler took a shotgun blast to the head.

The body of the couples niece, Teresa Tyson, 15, was found a quarter-mile away. She had crawled off, mortally wounded when a bullet shattered her thigh bone, fragments of which pierced her abdomen. She bled to death and was found with a leather dog collar buckled around her ankle, apparently in a misguided attempt to staunch the bleeding.

When the postPeak stock market collapses making 401ks, IRAs, pensions, and Social Security defunct--How much are you willing to pay in taxes, especially if there is no functioning govt to collect it, and anyone who has any job will be considered a lucky duck? Somehow, I don't think the avg. Murkin is going to volunteer to mail funds to D.C. or his State Govt, and this is assuming the US Postal Service is still functional. Money for prisoners will be way, way down the taxpayer list postPeak in five, ten, fifteen years.

IF Martial Law is imposed, most will be even more reluctant to voluntarily ante up their declining wealth. But if you think that we will continue to spend huge sums for long and involved trials when most of us are starving or forced into slavery, please feel free to put forth your explanation.

Additionally, the days of long incarceration whereby the prisoners are non-productive; an energy sink or money sink supported by taxpayers: this will be ending soon too as it is postPeak unsustainable. When a prisoner has to labor for his food: he will realize that working a garden-hoe, or plucking a chicken with ten fingers is much easier than with just two thumbs.

Finally, when the Machete' Moshpit is the Thermo/Gene norm: would you rather defend your family by having all your fingers to heft whatever weapon you can? And how many fingers would you like the bad guy to have that is initiating the extrasomatic attack?

Your success odds increase considerably if your criminal attacker can barely grip his weapon, causing him great difficulty as he tries to wield it against you.

Obviously, peaceful, well behaved biosolars will understand the necessity of finger retention as they go about their lawful business.

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

How much postPeak Overshoot carnage will be acceptable to you?

How many Santa Clause rapists can dance on the head of a pin? Its a stupid question because its paranoid fantasy.

The rest is just a paranoid screed about why you support fascist retributive justice. But dont worry, government and the police are allways your friend, so no harm can come from granting them the legal authority to chop off body parts of people that must allways be dangerous psychopaths.

Many attempt to flee when they see the blue light in the rear view mirror

They run from volunteer firemen? ;)

Firemen are scary!


Bad firemen! Should have red!

Blue is for police only.

One problem with the article though: Texas has a massive surplus! They didn't implement these laws because of a lack of funds.

Thanks for the info Donal. I have a list of states that have oppressive laws (highway robbers) that I will not drive through. Even though the fines are only for Va. residents, Virginia will be added to my list. The list is getting so long that there will soon be few states left to drive through. 'I cared so much that I dont care anymore.'

Actually, in the US the taxman is robbing your non-driving neighbors to pay for your car use. Anyone driving a car is benefiting from massive tax subsidy.

If the taxman stops robbing, auto use will cost more and property tax, sales tax, and income tax will go down.


If you google "burning saltwater" you can see a demo of hitting saltwater with radio waves, which releases oxygen and hydrogen, which then burns. Does anyone know whether this really has any potential for providing energy?

That was big news a few months ago. Most people here seemed to think it was a scam of some sort.

If you review the info you will see he has the temperature on the seawater cranked up to 3000 F degrees. You can't get anything to that temp without some significant energy. Granted he is powering the reaction with a very efficient Stirling engine that would help but don't forget the laws of Thermodynamics you can't change forms of energy and get more energy. He is transforming his electricity into heat which will be wasted for the most part and hydrogen which he is burning. It may be efficiently done but it will result in less effective energy than what he started with. Now if he could use solar or wind to generate the electricity it could still have a positive effect in creating a form of energy that could be stored i.e. the hydorgen and used later. Like maybe to heat your house in the winter but it's not a silver bullet.

Of course not, even if it "works". You make electricity somehow, you use some fraction of it to generate radio waves, apply to water. The water absorbs some fraction of the energy from the radio waves, splitting the water into H and O. You can then burn the H and get some fraction of that energy back.

I don't know if this could possibly be any more efficient than plain old electrolysis. In any case, it wouldn't provide energy - it merely converts it from electricity into H2 with some loss. At best a way to store off-peak electricity surplus? I admit, I haven't looked at the details. Don't really have to:

You should simply google "laws of thermodynamics" rather than "burning saltwater" ;-)

Relevant to discussions of thermodynamics and wishful thinking re: "free energy":

The Perpetual Myth of Free Energy (BBC Science)


hitting saltwater with radio waves, which releases oxygen and hydrogen, which then burns

It costs the same energy to break the H2O bond as you get back when it "burns". Plus, you have to make the radio waves, which represent the energy you break the bond with.

first law of thermo: you cannot win.

second law of thermo: you must lose.


actually more! :)

You cannot get even the same amount of energy out of a system that you put into it.

1: 2H2O(l)+Energy1=>H2(g)+2O2(g)+delta_Entropy(not recoverable ever)
2: H2(g)+2O2(g)=> 2H2O(g)+Energy2(harvestable)


I think the Kuwait reserve transperancy debate could be a real come to reality moment if they fess up and drastically and officially lower reserves. The inferences would be not only the pressure on KSA and others to do the same potentially shattering the hazy psuedo reality the world now exists in but also the potential to vastly accelerate the WT's declining export scenario as to me the next step at least for Kuwait is to restrict exports to a percent of real time reserves. IMO the price impact will be rapid and extreme.
As this is at least the 2nd year this has made headlines it appears that the Kuwaitie's are moving into that decision set. It may still take a year but my bet is they will come out of the closet sometime in the next 12-15 months.

Re: Ongoing Saudi & Iraqi crude oil export cuts to Asia

Reduced refining utilization in the US is a factor in higher crude oil inventories, but I have wondered if there is another factor at work. Note that Iraq is following the same pattern as Saudi Arabia--exports up to the US, down to Asia.

It seems to me that there is a positive correlation between military forces in the Persian Gulf area and crude oil inventories. The US (for now) is at the top of the military/inventory hill. Asia is at the bottom, and Europe is kind of in the middle. Whatcha think?

Oil holds near $73
Tensions between Iran and U.S., supply woes and big rise in speculative investment help push crude, Brent higher.
July 10 2007: 6:47 PM EDT

European oil stocks data showed gasoline inventories fell 2.1 percent last month as exports to the United States bolstered lower-than-usual stocks of the motor fuel there. Industry monitor Euroilstock also reported a 1.2 percent drop in Europe's crude oil stocks in June.

World Oil Outlook:  China & US Remain Primary Contributors To Consumption Growth
7/10/2007 11:38:00 AM

Although OECD commercial crude oil inventories are higher than the 5-year average, crude stocks in OECD-Pacific, a region where OPEC crude constitutes a higher import share than in OECD-North America or OECD-Europe, are near the low end of the 5-year range.   OECD commercial inventories declined by almost 1 million bbl/d in the first quarter compared with a 5-year average inventory draw of 280,000 bbl/d for that quarter. Preliminary data indicate that OECD commercial inventories experienced a below-normal seasonal stock build during the second quarter. EIA estimates that OECD commercial inventories rose by only 300,000 bbl/d in the second quarter, compared with a 5-year average build of 900,000 bbl/d.
Through the 2007-2008 projection period, a further reduction in OECD commercial oil inventories (on a days supply basis) is expected.  EIA projects that OECD commercial inventories will be at the bottom of the 5-year range  by the end of 2008 (Days of Supply of OECD Commercial Oil Stocks).  Assuming that EIA’s consumption and non-OPEC supply projections materialize, total OECD inventories at the end of 2007 would be in the lower part of the 5-year average range if OPEC increased production by 1 million bbl/d in the second half of the year.  If OPEC production is below EIA’s projection or the group delays a decision to raise output in the second half of this year in response to declining inventory levels, then the likelihood of additional upward price pressure could emerge.

Areas not covered by OECD statistics:

It seems to me that there is a positive correlation between military forces in the Persian Gulf area and crude oil inventories. The US (for now) is at the top of the military/inventory hill. Asia is at the bottom, and Europe is kind of in the middle. Whatcha think?

Oh, you and your conspiracy theories! Don't you know the world is run by Coincidence?

Let's see, oil prices in Asia are higher than in the US, but Saudi Arabia and Iraq are cutting crude oil exports to Asia.

Let's assume that the US was still a major oil exporter (but militarily weak), and that we had around a quarter million troops from a nuclear armed foreign power in the area, and that the foreign power had three aircraft carrier battle groups in the Gulf of Mexico. Would we show some crude oil preference to the foreign power that had massive military force on our doorstep or would we sell to the highest bidder?

Kind of makes you wonder if the crude oil inventory statistics in Asia and the Pacific are giving us a better idea of what is actually going on in world oil markets.

WT:Seems fair- the US taxpayer is paying a pretty penny to prop up those Saudi dictators.

Also, it is my understanding the Saudis have more money invested in the USA than in Asia. Win-win.

Yeah, I think that the Neocons would argue that--regarding crude oil exports--everything is going according to plan.

The problem is that it is becoming increasingly apparent to everyone in the Army/Marines below the general officer level that increasing numbers of American soldiers and Marines are being killed and maimed in order to maintain the "American Way of Life." I'm sure that it gives the mother of a killed 19 year old soldier considerable comfort to know that her son died so that her neighbor could keep his H2 Hummer filled up.

I still think that we need a special draft for "Neocon Brigades," consisting of all armchair pundits who are still in favor of staying in Iraq and everyone with a large SUV with a George Bush sticker on it.

Can we draft the neoliberals as well? The ones who "take impeachment off the table," who drive SUVs but have a vote democrat on their bumper, who were part of the 78% who approved of Bush when the war was going well...you know, the ones who tell us to change a light bulb yet consume 20xs the amount of energy as an average american. My friend, it is not just the neocons who are arguing everything is going according to plan. Your political ranting discredits your awesome scientic work.

Ludan: Nah- WT's political ranting is entertaining. It in no way discredits his oil depletion insights (not to anyone with a functioning cranium).

I don't think there any neoliberals. It's the independents who have swung from supporting Bush to not supporting him. The hardcore Republicans still support him, the hardcore Democrats never did.

In many states, there are more independents than Democrats or Republicans. This is rather disturbing, since it suggests that a lot of people don't feel there's a party that speaks for them. The rise of the independent voter is probably the most striking element of U.S. politics in the past 50 years.

"Democrats or Republicans. This is rather disturbing, since it suggests that a lot of people don't feel there's a party that speaks for them. "

I would suggest to them to read some of the articles by Ron Paul and see if he is what they were looking for.


There was an interesting article in the Houston Chronicle about a week ago about Ron Paul. As you perhaps know, his district is southwest of Houston in the metropolitan area. He's been loading up bills with earmarks put in for some of his constituents, then voting against the bills because they have too much pork.

Sorry, he's just another Washington hypocrite.
Bob Ebersole

Wait a second, he's not being hypocritical at all. He votes against the pork because he doesn't want to the government to spend the money. But he includes the earmarks so that if the bill *does* get passed, at least his constituents will get some of the money (in other words return some of their taxes to them.)

Perfectly consistent with his principles.

I'm sorry, I live in his district. The guy is nuts, he's an abortionist looking to get the Republican nomination. He puts pork in spending bills so he can get political donations then votes against the bill, so he's a hypocrite, and he's a fair weather libertarian. He voted for DeLay as speaker-so he's a political slut.

I think he's being primed as a spoiler, like H. Ross Perot or Nader. Meanwhile, he's not representing his district while he gallavants around the country with no hope of a nomination.

Bob Ebersole

Sorry, but you are obviously trolling or extremely ignorant. How can you live in his district and not know he's adamantly pro-life and always has been? As a doctor who has delivered over 4000 babies, this isn't hard to understand. (I'm pro-choice myself and I'm not an American, but I believe he is pretty much the best candidate you guys have from either party.)

Your facts are completely wrong as a quick google search will reveal to anyone. If you disagree with him fine, but don't spread FUD.

The main reason I live in Ron Pauls district is that he voted for Tom DeLay for speaker, and they had a redistricting that eliminated the district of Nick Lamson, my excellent Democratic Congressman.

If you'll actually read his literature instead of projecting your own fantasies, you'll see that he's pro-choice because he says that the government shouldn't interfere with a womans right to her own body, and that the relationship between a woman and her doctor should be private. I personally agree with that position, but its pro abortion. And yes, as a gynecologist he has performed abortions. Look at his vote on partial birth abortion.

I am occasionally ignorant, but I've laughed at this nut's antics since he was a state legislator. As far as trolling, I didn't bring him up, all I did was point to a newspaper article from the main paper serving his district and tell the truth about Ron Paul. He's an extremist libertarian, and I think he's being set up a a spoiler, just as Nader and Ross Perot were spoilers.

If you want to campaign for him, fine, just don't expect a free ride for him. He needs to answer to the people of his district first, yet he's spent more time in Iowa than in Galveston since we were gerrymandered into his district.

Here's an article from him in 1981 on why he believes libertarians should be pro-life.


News article from a week ago where he says that privacy rights and individual freedoms do *not* include abortion:


And here's an article about a major pro-lifer endorsing Ron Paul:


Your statements above about government involvement and a woman's right to choice are completely contradicted by the above. He considers abortion murder and that is one area where the government *should* get involved.

Note, again, I don't actually agree with this myself, but you have clearly misrepresented his views on abortion.

I find it very unlikely he has performed abortions, unless in life-saving situations. Please back up this statement with a reference.

He considers abortion murder and that is one area where the government *should* get involved.

Specifically the state government; Not a provence of the federal government or its much abused interstate commerce clause.

Sadly, we might find ourselves wishing abortion had been legal from the beginning...

The neocon's and the neolib's are one and the same. AIPAC's bit(hes.

the hardcore Democrats never did.

I'm a hardcore democrat (actually a hardcore republican hater), and I supported Bush for about 2 weeks after 9/11. When he didn't go to the American people after the attacks and explain that it happened because of our dependence on oil, and propose a drastic restructuring of the American way of life, I knew it was all over.

Bush (and too a lesser degree, almost every politician in Washington) ended any possibility for a better future for our county in the first month after 9/11.

With 90% support, just think of the truly great things he could have done. Instead, he told us to shop. I wish there was a god, so he look forward to an eternity with his fellow shallow, stupid, evil brothers.

I'm a hardcore independent, who has voted for both Republicans and Democrats.

But I never supported Bush. Even after 9-11, when the attack had cut off my Internet access and I had to watch TV to get news...when Bush came on, I turned the TV off. Even though I'm a news junkie. I just couldn't stand him, and a big reason was that so many other Americans seemed to be fooled by him at that time.

I used to be an Independent, then a staunch Democrat. Now, I'm a political atheist (at least at the federal level). I don't believe it really exists in two separate camps any longer.

I really have no expectations that the Democrats or Republicans will do anything to help the long term future of this country. Independents are pretty much impotent. As the Feds screw around and parade like they give a cr*p about anything, the country loses the quality it once had.

The sooner we all realize that we will soon be on our own (ie, New Orleans), the quicker we can prepare for it.

I have been proudly earing the tin foil since 1972. When Nixon (David Rockefeller employee 1962-1968) was replaced by Gerald Ford/Nelson Rockfeller and then Jimmy Carter with David Rockfeller's Trilateral Commission...the game was pretty obvious.

Note, the song remains the same. The currently notorious neocon lawyer Scooter Libby arranged for Bill Clinton to pardon international gangster Mark Rich. Come on, the Bushes and Clintons go on holiday together. How anyone with two neurons to rub together can believe in the authenticity of either US political party is beyond me.

Why disturbing? What disturbs me are those who always vote the same without genuinely questioning which party is offering the best deal.
Ideally every single one of us should be a swinging voter.
What it would mean is the end of the two-party system, and hence probably the need to reform the laws for the formations of government. AIUI, in many European countries (and elsewhere), government is often formed by free-forming coalitions at each election. Now arguably this can go too far, and end up with a government never able to agree on anything, but it strikes me as preferable to a situation where only one of two parties ever has any chance of winning government.

It's disturbing because of the way the U.S. political system is set up. The real choice is in the primaries...and in most states, you can't vote in the primaries unless you're a member of the party.

So independent voters are letting a small minority choose who they can vote for.

You can't vote unless you're a member of the party? What sort of democracy is that?

Its part of the freedom of assembly provision of the first ammendment. Every citizen gets to vote but parties are allowed to assemble as they choose.

Picking the candidate a party wants to put forward for instance, and restricting such private nominations to party members.

Well that's the same as here, and presumably most democracies...parties have their own pre-selection phase (which may or may not be democratic), then the public selects from between the candidates. It's hard to see how it could feasibly be otherwise. So why does Leanan call it the "real choice"?

So why does Leanan call it the "real choice"?

Because it is. By the general election, the choice is basically whittled down to two candidates, and the independent voter had no say in picking either of them. (You can of course write in anyone you want, but you're throwing your vote away if you do that.)

The primaries are where the real choice is, and these days, it's the extremists who tend to rule there. Hence, a moderate candidate like Guiliani might have a very good chance of winning the general election, and better reflect what the people want...but he's unlikely to survive the primaries. He's pro-choice, he's pro gay rights, he slept around on his wife and didn't care who knew it. And his last name ends in a vowel. The religious right who are the "base" of the GOP now aren't going to pull the lever for him. The moderates who do want to vote for him will likely never get a chance.

Ah well...yes, you're talking about presidential elections, with essentially only two candidates for the entire population to choose between. In that case, I tend to agree, the notion that each party only puts forward a single candidate, whom the public have no control over, is problematic - although it's true that here we get no real control over the prime minister, but he doesn't actually have all that much power per se (other than by media presence). However, surely parties do their best to put forward the candidate that that they think the majority of the population will vote for? For instance, the Republican Party would hardly want to put foward a candidate that was strongly pro-war and a known Bush supporter, even even over half the Republican Party's members felt that way.

Silly question, but why is it so hard for indepedendents to win office? (other than the obvious reason - lack of a huge party, and its funding, to support you). I gather its never happened since Washington.

I gather its never happened since Washington

Actually Lincoln was elected as the candidate of the 4th Party ! A new party with (from memory) it's 3rd time to even nominate anyone.

The Republican Party was not even on the ballot in most Southern states. When that radical crazy was elected, many Southern states exercised what they thought was their Constitutional right and left the Union.


Actually, to my everlasting regret, I voted for Bush in 2000. For the first time in my life, I voted for a Democrat for president in 2004. IMO, anyone in July, 2007 with a George Bush bumper sticker on a large SUV must think that it is a swell idea for young Americans to die to keep the oil flowing.

Rod Dreher, a conservative columnist for the Dallas Morning News and a former editor for The National Review, was on NPR yesterday. He basically called Bush a liar who led the country into war based on misrepresentations, and Rod called for a rapid withdrawal. Of course, Rod's brother-in-law is being deployed to Iraq next week.

If I could dictate policy, I would abolish the highly regressive Payroll Tax and replace it with a tax on energy consumption to fund Social Security and Medicare and an Electrification of Transportation program.

Like the dead people in the movie "The Sixth Sense," for most of us the American Suburban Way Of Life is dead, but we just don't know it yet, and we only see what we want to see.

I understand your shame, I'm in the same boat. And my "discredits your scientific work" statement is a bit of hyperbole. Actually, I scan for your comments often. I just don't see "the other side" really getting it. In fact, if you listen to some of the liberal talking shows, it seems to be the same old thing..."the evil oil companies." Yeah, I like your "sixth sense" analogy, but to me its more like "pleasantville."

Actually, to my everlasting regret, I voted for Bush in 2000.

Wow. I'm actually "blushing" for you. I can't imagine why any Texan would vote for someone who doesn't have English as a first language.

Maybe it was his creationist beliefs that swayed you? His failed business ventures? What? Not that I would have anything against you. My Virginia grandma still adores the little inflatable cowboy.

But then, I don't vote for president at all; so, according to American folklore, I don't have a right at all to speak about it...

In any case, part of my mind continually suggests that "we're" getting what "we" deserve. Part of me actually wishes Bush "stays his course." In order to dash the ship against the rocks more quickly.

'In any case, part of my mind continually suggests that "we're" getting what "we" deserve. Part of me actually wishes Bush "stays his course." In order to dash the ship against the rocks more quickly.'

Yeah, there's a real problem with Bush leaving office in 2008 and someone else having to come in and start taking all kinds of actions to try and put the brakes on the runaway train. Is that going to make things worse in the end or better? I think it's 50-50. Can what's been squandered be retrieved? Thermodynamics says no.

As for those who voted for Bush, while none is individually responsible for his actions, the American people and the press are culpable in a big way for Iraq. Whether it was their ignorant, viceral reactions to 9/11, or apathy, Hollywood war movies, ratings chasing and warlike DNA, the American people and press drank the kool-aid and asked for more. It's amazing how fast the memory of war fades in the human consiousness, er, if it ever gets there at all.

Allowing the press to be 'embedded' in the Iraq war zone was a stroke of genius worthy of Hitler. It sucked all the major news services into towing the line to get the story up close. And who wasn't riveted to their chair as the army stormed up the highways to Baghdad.


What if we anti-war folks get what we ask for and all troops leave? From an Oil standpoint, not an Islamo-facist Caliphate nonsense POV?

I think it will.

Last night on CNN, they said the White House had formulated a plan for Iraq that involved abandoning the U.S. bases there. That's the first time I've heard that. Of course, the White House denied the report, but I don't believe them. I think the Iraq War is going to end the same way the Vietnam War did, only much sooner...and they know it.

I can't believe that the oil there will ever be abandoned to the markets - not after the price "we" paid for it. In contrast, Vietnam offered no reason to stay.

There is no shortage of statements like "Islamo-facist Caliphate" on this site. Don't any of you read articles like this:

Time for the truth about the Liberty

What is the difference between Democrats and Republicans? They are two faces of the same coin.

Yikes! A few hours later, I sound MEAN!

I hope, WT, the "he said with affectionate irony" part made it through to you.

No problem. Actually, Bush as governor was fairly popular with a lot of Texas Democrats, and a lot of them voted for Bush in 2000. It would appear now that he was "playing nice," biding his time until he got to the Oval Office.

BTW, you should have seen the response I got in Texas Oil Patch circles when I started criticizing Bush before the 2004 election. Even in the Dallas area, my Kerry for president yard sign was constantly knocked down by local Neo-Nazis--sorry, local Neocons.

On the block where I live there were more than a dozen signs out in 2004 for the election: Every single one, without exception, read "Bush-Cheney."

For 2008 I am hand-lettering signs, "Alan Drake for President" and plan to post one in my front yard.

Let us now begin a write-in campaign for Alan Drake, who has more good workable ideas than all the Republicans and all the Democrats combined.

Westexas, how about you for VP? With a Louisiana-Texas base, the ticket could gain a lot of traction.

I talked to Alan this morning on the phone, and I told him he had my vote for 2008. I'll serve as an unpaid advisor.

You know, what we ought to do is start selling Alan Drake for President bumper stickers.

Three critical points:

(1) Did Switzerland get by, in the Second World War, consuming oil at about 1/400th the rate that Americans now use? Yes. How did they do it? EOT.

(2) Did the US implement EOT on a widespread basis, using rudimentary technology around the turn of the 19th to 20th century? Yes.

(3) So, if we did it in 1908, why the hell can't we do it in 2008?

If you do (print bumber-stickers for Alan) count me in for one or three.....

I guess we could do an image of a streetcar to one side of the bumper sticker, and then Alan Drake For President covering the rest of the sticker. If you do a Google Search for Alan Drake, he is listed three times in the top 10, or we could do:

Alan Drake For President
Light Rail Now

(there may be some copyright issues on Light Rail Now)

I will buy 1,000 bumper stickers and give them away.

Printed lawn signs would be nice too.

If we lose in 2008, there is always 2012 . . . .

Naw won't make it to 2012 :)

2008 or bust

The population in 1908 in the US was approximately 89 million (interpolated from 1900 and 1910 censuses). Today it is approximately 301 million.
Source: Wiki Demographic History of the US

Cheap energy gave us a phantom carrying capacity. How will we support 3x the population in the same geographical area without cheap energy?

Ay, there's the rub.

Do I remember right that Alan said he was a Canadian? If so, then time out -- no can do, doesn't meet constitutional requirements. Sorry!

Nope ! Born in Lexington, KY and have only had a US passport.

I do promise to rapidly deplete and squander our record levels of superb quality sarconol, painstakingly (one could say tortuously) stockpiled by the current administration.

I hope to turn the USA from being the world's greatest exporter of sarconol (both in distilled and raw form) into a modest importer of sarconol !

Best Hopes for Peak Sarconol !


WT, My wife has a sense of humor and is pretty handy with her computerized sewing machine. For the 4th she made us a flag to fly in front of the house...It is a large yellow banana on a light brown background. My neighbors said it was a hoot. We had a little block party in the cul de sac at the end of our short street. There are large live oaks and St Augustine grass and we built a couple of picnic tables for the area a couple of years ago. We did steaks, burgers and the usual with long necks. Good people, good time. BTW, they are well aware of what is going on in the world...well...as much as any of us can be.

There needs to be a "truth in advertising" law for political candidates as well. We certainly didn't get what we thought we were getting in GWB. I think even a lot of those hard core Rebublicans are just going through the motions of supporting him, but are secretly quite disappointed in how he has turned out. I just don't hear anyone raving about what a great president he is and how he should be added to Mt Rushmore, like we did at this point in Reagan's 2nd term. (Not that I think that George, Tom, Abe & Teddy should have moved over for Ronnie, either!)

how can you say (you) didnt get what (you) thought you were getting in gwb ? or more specifically, what did you expect ?

He specifically promised to

1) be a compassionate conservative.
2) not engage in nation building.
3) scale down the US presence of the international stage and show more respect for/not bully other nations.

Apparently all read from cue cards written by Prof Goose aka Karl Rove.


In retrospect he has kept his promise on #2.

compassionate conservative
that is one i havent heard much of lately.

It was a little hard to believe that compassionate conservative crap after seeing him on the TV news chortling about executing Carla Fay Tucker. I also remembered his slurs against Ann Richards-falsely calling her a lesbian, and hypocriticaly outing her as a recovering alcoholic and former drug user. He is a hateful person.

I didn't vote for him in 2000. I voted for Nader, mainly as a protest against the Democratic Party not even bothering to campaign in Texas. I knew Bush was going to win the Texas vote, and I wanted my vote to count. I did vote for Kerry in 2004, but it was only by holding my nose, I despised his position on the war. I like John Edwards, Bill Richardson and Joe Biden in that order for next year. Hillary Clinton is unelectable-for some reason she gets more BS talked about her than any other candidate, plus, she supports the war. Obama sounds good, but I think the US is too racist to elect him, and, he has supported the war. Bob Ebersole

Done Already:

The Warmonger’s Brigade
by Michael Gaddy

It appears the Bush administration has a real problem on its hands – the war effort is not going well at all and the military is on the verge of "breaking." I do believe I have a plan, which if implemented right away could provide the needed relief Bush is desperately searching for. Desperate times call for desperate measures. If this country is indeed in danger of having to fight the enemy on our soil, it is time to pull out all stops. If the Bush administration is serious about "protecting our freedom" and this is not a war started on lies to increase the bottom line of companies from the Military Industrial Complex, it is time to deploy the Warmonger’s Brigade.
First battalion would consist of all male and female members of the immediate families of everyone in the Bush administration. Of course W’s daughters would be the first to be placed in this battalion, followed closely by Dick "water boarding" Cheney’s daughter, Mary. I am aware that she is pregnant at this time but within a reasonable time after giving birth, she could rejoin her battalion in preparation for deployment to the Iraq Theater of Operations. After all, her significant other is also female so the infant will not lack for maternal care. This administration has found no problem with sometimes deploying both parents to Iraq, so Mary Cheney being deployed would be business as usual.

Included in this battalion would be the children of all cabinet members, led of course by any eligible children of Alberto "torture is ok" Gonzales. I’m sure Karl (the leak) Rove has some children, nieces or nephews that would make good cannon fodder. Included in this battalion would be all eligible employees and family members (18 to 38 years of age) of CIA, NSA, DIA, and BATFE. Since these agencies have declared war on American civil liberties, extending the declaration to include real enemies should present no problems.

So he would not feel left out, all of Donald Rumsfeld’s eligible kin would be immediately drafted for service, even though he is no longer with this administration. They of course would be required to ride in unarmored Humvees while wearing Vietnam Era flak jackets.

Full Polemic here:

U.S. Navy sends third carrier to 5th fleet region

Reuters - Tuesday, July 10 01:24 pm

The U.S. navy has sent a third aircraft carrier to its Fifth Fleet area of operations, which includes Gulf waters close to Iran, the navy said on Tuesday.

"Enterprise (aircraft carrier) provides navy power to counter the assertive, disruptive and coercive behaviour of some countries, as well as support our soldiers and marines in Iraq and Afghanistan," a U.S. Navy statement said.

Aircraft carriers today are as vulnerable to attack as battleships were in WW2. 2,000 mph plus missles have become too numerous and too cheap to operate carriers close to enemy shores within range of this new generation of missles.

How many aircraft carriers have been sunk by enemy action since 1945?

I have to agree with River here: The ubiquity of cheap, accurate missiles is a new phenom. For a target the size of the Enterprise, inertial guidance is all that's needed. And they don't have to be wave-hugging cruise missles, either, since the shipboard defenses can be overwhelmed quickly by ballistic missiles, too. The key to their vulnerability is the proximity of the hostiles - there's just not enough warning time to react.

How many aircraft carriers have been damaged at all by enemy action since 1945.

Also: The Japanese sent about 4,000 kamakazi aircraft to attack U.S. carriers in 1945. How many U.S. carriers did the kamikazis sink?

How many aircraft carriers have been damaged at all by enemy action since 1945.

How many naval battles since 1945?
I have an excellent ju-ju to prevent elephants trampling urban areas, it NEVER FAILED.
(Except may be in one case, but the elephant got shot by Groucho Marx...)

Aircraft carriers have been deployed on offensive missions hundreds of times since 1945.

In the Falklands War, how many exalted French Exocet missles were able to reach a British carrier?

You may not believe in the Tooth Fairy, but I wonder why you seem to believe in the vulnerability of carrier task forces--in the absence of a scintilla of evidence to support your position.

Don, your argument could have been used for battleships prior to 1940 - how many battleships got sunk between 1919 and 1940? Jeesh. It's amazing how many armchair analysts think the tactics of the last war will win the next one. The battleship was unable to counter the advance of the airplane. The aircraft carrier, a 70 year old concept and with a real big radar signature, will be countered with something else - most probably missiles with superior guidance systems that‘s just the evolution of war. The Russians realized missies were the future by the eighties when they realized they could not match the US ship for ship. Ship defenses such as the Phalanx could be overwhelmed by mass missile attacks. Unlike a plywood plane with a bomb missiles traveling at mach 2 deliver an astounding amount of kinetic energy. And missiles are cheap, unlike aircraft carriers, and are capable of being employed by smaller less powerful nations.

It's amazing how many armchair analysts think the tactics of the last war will win the next one.

Y'know, that's the peak oil problem in a nutshell.

I think most of the worries regarding the carriers stem from the "Millenium Challenge '02" war games with General Rippen commanding the forces for the unnamed Middle Eastern country.

Rippen sank the carriers and the game was started over with new rules which Iran is sure to follow. they wouldn't do the sneaky, underhanded things Rippen pulled. One link of many describing the debacle:


The War Nerd is must reading to anyone who is fascinated by military strategy. He’s the Rude Pundit of military analysis.

There is military strategy, planning on a grand scale. Military tactics, planning and attempting to acheive a tactical advantage so that the strategic goal might be accomplished. Military logistics, attempting to get all the expensive garbage to fight a war where you need it when you need it...And, my favorite, military intelligence, usually a group of notorious ass kissers that have become general officers and their aides (aspiring ass kissers) and are responsible for assesing all the information pouring in from the field and making reccomendations on what tactical measures should be taken to meet their strategic goals...after they finish the back nine and knock back a few drinks. Rumsfeld sacked all of the non ass kissers so now we should have a fully qualified group in military intelligence. War is hell...for some.

From above link

Too bad Bonaparte never thought of that after Trafalgar: "My vleete, she is now reflotte!" Too bad Phillip didn't demand a refloat after the Armada went down: "Oye, vatos, dees English sink todos mi ships, chinga sus madres, so escuche: el fleet es ahora refloated, OK?"


They got very close to sinking a carrier, they sunk a very large container ship full of military equipment and supplies ... (from the BBC)

It is thought the Atlantic Conveyor, owned by Cunard, was mistaken for the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes.

She was attacked by two Super Etendards which fired French-built Exocets like the ones that sunk the Coventry's sister ship HMS Sheffield on 4 May.

One that I know of. The Invincible had a nice little hole in one side.
The missile was launched from the same Super Etendard that sank the HMS Sheffield. :-)


It can be done if someone has the brains and the ballz.

In the Falklands War, how many exalted French Exocet missles were able to reach a British carrier?

Well, probably none, but in fairness only one was fired at a carrier, HMS Invincible, on on May 30th 1982. Seems like it missed, or at the worst did little damage, versions of the story differ

They only had 5 air launched Exocets to start with.

2 of the others were fired at the HMS Sheffield May 4th, one was diverted by chaff, the other hit and crippled the ship, which later sank while under tow.

The remaining 2 air launched ones were fired at, and hit, the cargo ship "Atlantic Conveyor" on May 25. It burned out to the waterline and later also sank while under tow.

They also had a ground based one near Stanley (had been demounted from one of their ships) which they fired at HMS Glamorgan on June 12. It hit the vessel and did serious damage.

WRT the US and Exocets on May 18, 1987 the Iraqi air force fired 2 at the USS Stark in the Persian Gulf. Both missles hit the vessel having found a blind spot in the close in defense system radar. Only one of them detonated, if they both had it could well have sunk her.

The exocet seems to have quite a high "dud" rate on its warheads, but be that as it may, I think there is plenty of evidence to suggest that fast sea skimmers pose a threat to modern navies

Yikes. I hope you are right. My son is on an aircraft carrier--fortunately, it is in dry dock right now.


P.S. Please sign the petition at www.stopiranwar.com (General Wesley Clark and VoteVets). As a Navy mom, this administration's aggressive behavior scares me to death.

***Corrected URL***

Your son is about as safe as a small-town policeman is. There is a hazard to being on a carrier: Both landings and takeoffs of aircraft are inherently dangerous, and there is no way to get around this fact.

What I find amusing is the numbers of people who buy into all the Internet gibberish which is based on no evidence at all.

If the Argentineans could have sunk a British aircraft carrier, they would have done so. Ditto for N. Koreans and N. Vietmamese with respect to American carriers.

If I knew in detail the defense systems, obviously I could not tell you how and why they work. Suffice it to say: Look at the evidence.

Thanks Don Sailorman. That's good to hear. He was previously stationed on a battleship in Pascagoula, MS (the Ticonderago). His job was to operate a gyro to help helicopters know when to land on the deck. He also had to run under the landing helicopter and chain it to the deck. And he is 6'6"!

Don, even the Navy has admitted that the Aegis system cannot possibly stop more than one 'sunburn type' missile at one time and it is doubtful if Aegis could stop enen one sunburn. There is now a new and improved sunburn type missle that travels even faster and is a terrain hugger at 50 feet. These missles are traveling at such velocity that they dont even equip them with warheads, their momentum is enough to destroy or put out of service most ships. Lets not make the same mistake that was made when Billy Mitchell was court martialed. Dont shoot the messenger.

I do not shoot messengers.

The evidence is overwhelming: Carrier task forces are not vulnerable except to people who spin fancy theories. Show me the evidence.

If we attack Iran I believe that they will 'show you the evidence.' Take a look at the Iranian shoreline of the Persian Gulf. Mile after mile of cliffs that have been tunneled for missle installations and then concealed by good camo. Just because you believe that carrier task groups are impervious to fast missle attacks does not make it so.

Please let me know when the first Iranian missle hits the first U.S. carrier.

Enquiring minds want to know.

Reaction time may be needed for missle to missle defenses, but there are other options as well, including a particular favorite of mine, the Phalanx.

If in defensive mode, they can have these things shoot at anything that flies their way, if they're so inclined.

Or, how many 155mm Howitzers line the Straight of Hormuz?

Don, I think you should google 'sunburn missle' and do a bit of reading.
How many front line ships had been sunk by aircraft before Taranto?

Hello River,

Don't forget Thatcher called the French President and said she was going to nuke Argentina if he did not give her the disable codes for the Exocets. He complied.

Wonder what strategy Bush would use to get the Iranian Sunburn disable codes from Putin? Or would Putin just laugh at the request?

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

How many aircraft carriers have been sunk by enemy action since 1945?

Considering the lack of sunburn style missiles the number is 0.

The type of question you have asked relies on the past being prolog. And that kind of argument (we had an oil crisis in the 1970's and it all worked out) gets shot down here often.

Rather than idle theorizing, I am looking for evidence.

Where is it?

Aircraft carriers today are as vulnerable to attack as battleships were in WW2.

Actually, they weren't that vulnerable, at least in the case of American battleships late in the war. By then a U.S. battleship was so loaded with flak guns shooting proximity fused weapons, it was tough for anything to get through, even kamikazes. (The proximity fuse never gets as much credit as it deserves) The things were floating flak traps.

Which was part of the reason no carriers were sunk by kamikazes. They had numerous escorts with heavy flak to fight them off. It wasn't just the fighter planes shooting them down, though the fighters probably did the majority of the work.

The 'flak guns' you speak of were not 40MMs but 5inch auto load fast fire and radar controlled with proximity fuses. There is a world of difference between a 5 inch twin mount and a 40MM twin mount. There is also a world of difference in the speed of a WW2 Betty and a Sunburn missle.

The same thing happened a few months back when the Nimitz steamed in to relieve the (I think) Stennis. It probably is just what they say it is, a routine rotation of carrier groups to give the poor sailors some leave.

I think there is definately some bizarre marketing action going on here. Basis a link last week on KSA pricing I put this together. This appears to be FOB pricing

Europe X-Lite +$.65..ArabLite-3.2..ArabMed.-4.7...ArabHeavy-6.6

I'm not sure what base markets they are basing their premiums off. Any ideas? If they are basing off the markets like Brent, WTI and Sure look like they are putting it to the Asians. To your point on troops in M.E. may earn a discount seems plausible but not definitive.

More pricing info


I would not begin to attempt to unravel how Aramco pricies their crude but believe me they are extremely sharp and they have market intellegence second to none... add freight to the above levels and see what the landed price was to the various locations.... then look at refinery margins in Houston, Rotterdam and Singapore....after you have looked at all the tangible economics....then find out how many bbls headed to various locations on the basis of ongoing barter deals, which other countries are exporting less that the Saudi's can take advantage of short term with larger market share...

Bottom line is you can do as much analysis as you like and not come up with the right answer.

land o' goshen, WT....you think there's some favoritism here??..bandar bush hard at work!..meanwhile screwing over our latest least good friends, the chinese, at the same time..the world is full of surprises!

Very interesting pieces of information, westexas. Looks like Asia will really have to start bidding up the price of oil at some point.

They aren't changing any story in Kuwait. 100 billion barrels of reserves, no problemo.


Lincoln, CA is a small town about 20 miles northeast of Sacramento. It has made more progress toward retrofitting for slow-speed electric vehicles (called Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, or NEVs) than any other place in the U.S. The town has installed dedicated NEV lanes and there is a network of businesses that provide electrical outlets for vehicle recharging in the parking lots.

Check out the LincolNEV website. It has a number of interesting features to explore like:

How does this strike TOD readers as an adaptation to Peak Oil? Lincoln CA is like a lot of small towns in the U.S.: an older grid of blocks around a Main Street, overmatched by sprawling suburbs that are low density, unwalkable, with no mixed use and pavement everywhere and no public civic space. A lot of Americans like living that way. With NEVs, oil shortages become less of a direct concern to residents.

Also, suburban lots have the potential to go far in the direction of sustainability, with gardening and permaculture onsite, and solar, wind and geothermal collection for home energy and HVAC.

Still, the suburban format has many structural inefficiencies and dependencies built in. For instance, just maintaining all that asphalt requires a hefty amount of oil.

What other pros and cons are there to this model?

I'm sympathetic to Kunstler's argument that we have to think beyond keeping the cars running at all costs. Although I'm also sympathetic to the idea that it may be too late and too expensive to re-develop much of suburbia. Particularly in areas where there is a walkable core surrounded by non-compact sprawl, some sort of vehicles like this might be helpful. A significant benefit is the small size which needs less space devoted to storage, which might allow more compact urban form in the core. It frustrates me that municipalities still continue to *require* developers to size their parking spaces/drive aisles etc to accomodate gigantic vehicles.

I'm reminded of Kunstler's current Eyesore of the Month, the Santa Monica parking garage, a.k.a. "a prime example of how America is blowing green smoke up its own ass."

GEMs http://www.gemcar.com work well in New Orleans due to our compact size (Environ Atty did a 10 mile radius search for McDonalds, little realizing that the majority of the area within 10 miles of the CBD is outside New Orleans). GEMs are appearing around New Orleans (I want a photo of one parked as a streetcar passes by).

Few of my trips (except the Airport) are more than 5 miles (10 miles RT) and most are 3 miles or less.

For small towns (Lincoln CA booming to 40,000+) similar distances likely prevail with much lower density.

Sadly, people will use NEVs instead of walking or bicycling, but NEVs are still better than SUVs.

The energy demands of NEVs are low enough that the grid should be able to cope (not so true of larger EVs).

IMHO, NEVs are suitable for smaller towns where side streets connect and are not just funneled into larger multi-lane streets and highways.

NEVs are also likely safer as well (although 1,200 lb at 20 mph can still do damage !)

Not so suitable for larger towns.

Best Hopes,


PS: It appears that Daimler is not including the GEMs in the Chrysler spin-off. Wonder why ?

Alan, both I personally and my employer (a small municipal govt) are seriously looking at buying GEMs. Have you taken a ride in one? How do you like it? Do you think it has enough power to handle non-flat terrain?

I have taken a short test drive.

How does it handle hills ?

Don't know. New Orleans does not have any hills (except Monkey Hill at the zoo; off limits for test drives) and freeway on-ramps (think suicide).

Speed limit on most streets is 25 mph and (pre-Katrina) New Orleans drivers are/were pretty mellow. Perfect for those streets. Less suitable for divided streets with 35 mph speed limit but "OK".

Max speed varies with load (2 people is supposedly slower than 1 by a mph or two).

Test drive one, even if you have to travel a bit would be my advice. Also, you need a city or town without road rage types in abundance IMHO.

Best I can tell you,


And buy a high visibility color(s). White body if driven after dark. White body and red or orange fenders might be best.

Thanks. I'm thinking I'd mount one of those orange slow moving vehicles on the rear, even if not legally required, and also mount a flashing light of some sort just to assure I don't get rear ended. I think I'd be pretty safe in my small town, just concerned about people coming up from behind that were not paying attention.

City of Asheville uses them for their "Meter Maids" and there's even a 4 seater that the police use. I thought you were from this area...?

Do they allow bicycles in the NEV lanes?

Yes, it looks that way if I am reading the city's Bikeway Master Plan correctly.

I believe there is some question as to the suitability of suburban plots as cropland. In a typical suburban development, the builder will come in and grade the land, in the process removing most of the nutrient rich topsoil. They'll then fill in with a mix of what they removed and all kinds of low quality earth made up of stones, clay and many time construction debris.... in general whatever they can find easily and quickly. Their goal is to make the footprint of the house (and sometimes of the whole lot) nice and flat to build upon. They also want the soil to be stable so they'll compact the soil with heavy machinery (which would be used anyways even if compaction wasn't a goal). The resulting soil can be almost as hard as a rock. They top this with sod and maybe enough good soil to keep the newly laid grass from dying before the house is sold.

Modern lawns do ok with growing grass but for true crops, it might not be very suitable. I've seen reports that trees in suburbs built in the past thirty or so years don't grow as quickly or as large as they would otherwise because of these poor soil conditions.

All of that is before we even get into the fact that most people don't have the slightest clue as to how to grow crops. There is much more to it than dropping some seeds in the ground and watering now and then. State extension services and agriculture degrees exist for a reason.


IME, you are correct. Topsoil is considered "unsuitable fill" (too much organic matter), and is removed before paving. It's often sold to farmers and such.

This is why Lester Brown likes the idea of moving to the center of old cities. They were likely built before removal of topsoil became part of the construction process. And they are often situated on the best land, being the oldest settlements.

Hello Leanan,

Recall my earlier postings on setting sewage infrastructure flowvalves to rapidly retopsoil designated urban areas. Gravity flows can be a wonderful thing if harnessed appropriately, much better that waiting for the infrastructure to crumble, then having uncontrolled overflows into the housing we wish to retain for relocalized permaculture.

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

setting sewage infrastructure flowvalves to rapidly retopsoil designated urban areas.

No frickin way.

This is a poor plan due to the toxins humans dump down their drains in addition to the pathogens.

Using the waste stream - sure. After treatment. Without treatment is just begging for an ecological disaster.

Hello Eric Blair,

Thxs for responding. I am not an engineer, but I bet some sewage experts could work out a good way to accomplish this onsite. Dirt berms around the designated area, decanting of fluids, adding tons of mulch and food-waste from the neighborhood, chemicals to minimize smell and disease, dirt coverage and methane harvest until suitable for planting, etc, etc.

It is the long-distance, highly energetic road-transporting of biomulch [sewage, plant matter, discarded biodegradable items] that will be the constraining factor. Don't forget: It is all uphill from the sewage treatment plant. As far as I know: only Zimbabwe built sewage treatment plants above their freshwater sources. =(

Currently, I can go to my local Home Depot and buy planting mix from California. That won't last postPeak.

Currently it is politically impossible. IMO, it is better for community Earthmarines to willingly go for advanced Humanure Recycling in early mitigation phase. Otherwise, Mercs, using 'volunteers' from the Halliburton camps, will assert this later mitigation phase, or just use sewage to help decimate the sheeple. It is hard to run fast and dodge sniper bullets when you are slipping and sliding away.

I hope this speculation gives you a 'strong whiff' of several potential future outcomes. I could be wrong.

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

The future is now: Humanure.

However around here at least, people expect to have blooming shrubs and flowers, so builders typically create fairly large raised beds around the house as part of the landscaping and fill these with good dirt. These could be used for growing vegtables if necessary. I noticed as I drove past a nearby subdivision, that one house this year had a row of tomato plants interspersed among the shrubs where flowers have been in previous years. One of my concerns with this is that most of these people have used treated weed-inhibiting mulch and 'Preen' to keep weed seeds from germinating which would keep most vegetables (which are really annual weeds) from germinating as well. These things are designed to be somewhat persistant in the soil.


The mistake people make regarding home food production is to view it from a "farm" perspective, that is, growing crops in soil. People can grow a shit load of food if they use hydroponic and modified hydroponic methods.

It might be argued that this requires fosil fuel produced inputs for the fertilizer - which is true. But what isn't said is that even organic growers are going to be in deep dodo because they won't be able to get the inputs they need either. Here I'm thinking of things like rock phosphate, calcium sources and trace minerals. Further, as a former certified organic grower, people have no idea of how much organic matter it takes to produce a little pile of compost.

Were I in suburbia and concerned about home food production, I'd buy a pallet of 20-20-20 plus trace mineral soluble fertilizer, a pallet or 2 of potting soil and a bunch of 5 gallon grow bags. Fill the bags, put in your seeds or starts and water/fertigate. Simple. No fuss. No tilling. Blah, blah, blah.

Two good books are More Food From Your Garden by J.K. Mittleider, ISBN 0-912800-15-1, 1975 or for the more technically oriented, Hydroponic Food Production by Howard Resh, ISBN 0-88007-222-9, 1978-2001.

I agree that people will not likely have the right varieties and cultivars much less open pollinated ones. I've been growing stuff for over 40 years and during that time I have trialed hundreds of varieties on everything from corn to tomatoes. My last trials were two years ago when I reviewed about 400 varieties of tomatoes looking for a good OP one for juice. I finally tested 25 of them and found one that was good. But, people will still be better off growing something than nothing!

I also grant that most people will not be growing grains. I know in my own case I began testing about 8 years ago. I looked at spring and winter wheat. Spring wheat did rotten but the winter wheat did OK so I spent the next 7 years developing my own strain of beardless WW. However, I did start tests on ouinoa last year that are still ongoing.

My point to all this is that (as much as I hate the phrase) people need to look outside the box.


Yes, that's exactly how most recent suburbs have been built, with so-called "builder's loam." Here's an article describing the building process and some solutions -- especially subsoilers, which are expensive and seem energy-intensive. Without rehabilitation it can take decades for suburban soils to start getting back to a fertile state.

But as an illustration of what's possible on a suburban lot, the Dervaes family Path to Freedom website is inspirational. When they bought their property in Pasadena, the yard was "a combination of broken asphalt, large concreted areas, weeds, Bermuda grass, chalky 'adobe-type' soil, and a few landscape plants."

Today they have a working produce business that grows over 350 different varieties of vegetable, herbs, fruit, and berries. 6,000 lbs of produce are harvested annually from the 1/10 acre garden.

The original soil in New Orleans is fertile and we add dirt from the Bonne Carre Spillway as needed.

About every ten years the spillway is opened and a fraction of the Mississippi River in flood goes directly into Lake Pontchartrain (messes up oysters for at least 6 months). The residual silt is free for the taking (preventing buildup over time).

Best Hopes for Good Soil,


You know, one of the great things about New Orleans is that it has its own unique vernacular urban culture, closely linked to local production, food, lifeways, music, what have you. I think it is unique among U.S. cities in that respect.

Thanks for all your stories about the hidden details that make life in New Orleans worth living.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending July 6, 2007


U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) declined by 1.4 million barrels compared to the previous week. However, at 352.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are well above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories rose by 1.2 million barrels last week, but remain below the lower end of the average range. The increase was due to an increase in gasoline blending components, as finished gasoline inventories fell. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.8 million barrels, and are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 2.4 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories climbed by 2.5 million barrels last week, and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

Gasoline inventories up?

Did you catch the net imports were up 2.3% from July 2006?

Tot. Net Imports 13,035 (7/06/2007) 12,736 (7/06/06) 2.3%

Importing more than 13 million barrels of oil + products per day.

This is an interesting monthly graph of net exports by the top 16 net exporters (one mbpd or more), which collectively accounted for about 87% of total world net exports in 2006 (I think that "Mr. 5%" did the graph):


From the article up the thread:

Crude stocks in OECD-Pacific, a region where OPEC crude constitutes a higher import share than in OECD-North America or OECD-Europe, are near the low end of the 5-year range.

As I noted, it's a little "odd" that oil prices are higher in Asia, but Saudi Arabia and Iraq are cutting crude oil exports to Asia.

WT: Mar 07 global exports are lower than June 04. Need an "economist" to explain that one.

Based on the Excel table, it looks like the monthly net export peak was September, 2005, and in March, 2007 we were down by abut 2 mbpd, a decline rate of about 3.5% per year (month to month basis), all for the top 16 net exporters. If the Russian production decline kicks into high gear, we could easily see a 5% to 7% range decline rate (perhaps even higher) in net exports by the top 16.

The whole Neocon plan is based on the continued willingness of American soldiers and Marines to continue dying to keep the oil flowing, but having said that, there is a certain simple ruthlessness to their plan. Facing the prospect of a post peak export world, what does one do? It's simple: Seize effective control of the oil fields in the Persian Gulf.

It's all about proportions. While stocks in the Asian bloc may be lower than that in the OECD, they use much less oil over all than the west does. You should also look at Japan, a country that has mastered the art of increasing efficiencies and has begun to use less and less oil each year. When you have an economic power house like that which is slowly decoupling itself from the 'oil economy' in a very peaceful and orderly transition, it should say a lot about the potential of the human race to adapt. Being at the low end of a 5 year supply range really doesn't mean anything there...

As for the OECD picture you like to display here now and again, I think you are grossly neglecting the facts that it represents. I have noticed that your past contention was that, from a geographic stand point, the OECD does not represent a large portion of the world, or even a large majority of the human population. And forgive me if I am paraphrasing you incorrectly, it seems you feel that because of this fact, the OECD stocks can not be used as an accurate measuring stick for global oil stocks.

For those of you who are curious as to just what portion of the world the OECD represents, here is the graphic that WT has been linking from time to time:

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OECD countries are highlighted in blue.

As you can see, as a portion of the entire globe, the OECD does in fact represent a fairly small fraction from a purely geographic stand point. However, one must take a look at the facts before drawing any adverse conclusions. Some tid bits on OECD oil consumption and usage taken from the EIA:

*** The OECD used on average 49,191 mbpd of oil in 2006.
*** Global oil usage averaged 84,562 mbpd in 2006.
*** This means that the OECD uses ~58% of all the oil the world uses every year.
*** From this link, OECD member states have a population of roughly 1,168,530,000 in 2005.
*** The total population of the world stands at approximately 6.5 billion people, giving the OECD percentile at ~18%. That is, roughly 1/5th of the world uses 3/5ths of the oil.

From these statistics, we can see that OECD countries use the majority of the oil in the world, an as such represent enough of a statistical sampling to give us an accurate picture of the global oil industry. However, I am fully aware that the 'burden of truth' must be met here, so I include the following section with my own opinions and some what hasty research.

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REDC countries are highlighted in red.

This is the same graphic which represents what I call the Rapidly Economically Developing Countries, or REDCs. These countries are regional power houses that are showing not only increased growth, but increased usage of Oil in a trend that is pushing up the worlds oil consumption at a faster than normal rate. Some statistics, also taken from the EIA:

*** Brazil's oil consumption has increased to 2,100 mbpdoe in 2006 and represents 40% of the oil usage for all of South America.
*** Russia was using 2,750 mbpd in 2005, or roughly 2/3rds of the Eurasian blocs oil usage.
*** India's oil consumption has increased to 2,438 mbpd.
*** China's oil consumption has increased to 6,822 mbpd.

From these known stats, we can conclude that total OECD and REDC countries combined use a total of approximately 63,300 mbpd of oil, or roughly 75% of total oil usage in the world. These four countries combined hold around 40% of the worlds population, letting us know that the 60% of the worlds population uses...75% of the oil.

It should be dully noted that oil stocks in this large sample are still above, at or near their 5 year highs. Could we begin to argue then that this statistical sample is large enough to give us an accurate representation for the state of the current global industry? Lets look a bit further, shall we?

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"Asian Phoenix" Emerging Countries are highlighted in green.

Once again, this is a modified OECD world graphic that shows not only the OECD and REDCs, but also shows the Asian Phoenix Emerging Countries, or APEC. These countries represent some of the fastest growing manufactoring economies in the world, and along with the REDCs, represent the lion's share of economic growth in the past quarter century. Taken from the EIA, we know that:

*** The APEC minus India and China, Japan and South Korea consume roughly 7000 mbpd of oil.
*** This ammount represents aproximately ~8% of total global FF usage.

These countries also represent an additional 10% of the global population, which means that 70% of the worlds population uses around 80% of the oil, or a fairly balanced share. Its only in these countries that oil stocks are near the bottom of their respected 5 year stocks. Let me be perfectly frank:


So, on the one hand, we have roughly 75% of global oil use showing higher oil stocks than normal, while only 8% show lower oil stocks than normal. The remaining lions share of oil production and usage is concentrated almost entirely inside of the OPEC countries that have not been mentioned.

Now, put your feet in OPECs shoes, and from a purely business stand point, where do you think the majority of your oil shipments should go? Where 75% of the oil is used? Or where 8% of the oil is used? The answer is self-evident of course.

Remember, the APEC countries have this one shot to build their infrastructure without repeating the mistakes that the western world has: that is without the suburban sprawl. It will be far easier for these countries to adopt a renewable + nuclear energy generation scheme then it will be for the OECD. OPEC knows this, and from an outside standpoint seems to be 'guiding' these countries on this path.

While I somewhat grudgingly state it, it seems that OPEC is correct in their statement that, from a global perspective, oil stocks are high and the market is well supplied. For the next few months it seems, this situation will no change, so their appears to be no reason yet to start increasing production.

The test for OPEC, and KSA in particular, has not come to pass. It seems only fair that all statements to the contrary be considered conjecture and speculation. When oil stocks begin to decline on a much more wide spread basis, they will have to respond. We will know soon enough!

Perhaps I missed it, but do you have hard numbers for crude oil inventories in non-OECD countries?

Lest we forget, within the overall context of my repeated warnings (starting in January, 2006) about declining net oil exports, I have been pointing out the anomaly of higher crude oil prices in Asia, versus the US, while Saudi Arabia and Iraq are cutting oil exports to Asia--and while the Pacific area of OECD is showing crude oil inventories at the bottom of their five year range.

EIA data show about a 2 mbpd--5%--decline in net exports, from the top 16 net exporters, since September, 2005.

It seems to me that something more than price is being used to allocate declining net oil exports.

So, which region more accurately reflects world oil markets--the country with hundreds of thousands of military personnel, hundreds of aircraft, and countless ships in the Persian Gulf area, or the region without any real military presence in the area?

I do not wish to get into tit-for-tat 'my opinion is better because of x quote', as your military comment seems to suggest. Suffice to say, the lions share of OECD countries, and those of the REDC do NOT have a military presence in the Persian Gulf. 3(4?) countries out of 20 doesn't matter in the slightest, especially when only one of them has 90% of the forces to begin with.

OECD stocks are well known. We can reasonably assume that Russia and Brazil, both net exporters, have high stocks, and based on the news stories about India and China creating their own SPR, we can infer that their stocks are quite high as well. The only question comes to the APEC countries. As stated above, they only represent 8% of the global oil consumption, and can not be used to accurately reflect the market as a whole. OPEC countries fall into the category of Russia and Brazil: stocks matter little to them.

As I mentioned above, Asian stocks are at the lower end of their 5 year average, as it was stated by you and several other posters, but their share of oil consumption is small. The data so far suggests that while their stocks may be lower, and hence they are bidding up the cost of oil higher, there is no systemic shortage of crude oil at the present time. This may, or may not, change this fall and winter. I suggest we wait and see, and not try to divine the future with tea leaves made of statistics.

So, we apparently don't have hard data on the non-OECD crude oil inventories.

Within the OECD, Europe is showing declining crude oil inventories.

Crude oil stocks in the Pacific/Asia area are toward the bottom of their five year range.

Crude oil prices are higher in Asia, than in the US, but--apparently because they think we are really, really swell guys--Saudi Arabia and Iraq are cutting crude oil exports to Asia, in favor of the US.

Meanwhile, world crude oil exports are declining. I'm just pointing out that it seems that something besides price is being used to allocate declining net oil export capacity.

Forgive me, but I think you are jumping to conclusions with a repeat response just for the sake of backing up your own opinion. We know that European stocks declined by ~2% for the entire year, but still remain near the very top of their 5 year stock average. We know that the rest of the OECD has stocks at or above the 5 year high as well.

In addition to all of this, we know that there is no supply crunch in the REDCs. As I have demonstrated, we now know that the APECs use only 8% of the global oil consumption. Its that number that we need to focus on.

Eight Percent.

That alone should tell most of the story, westexas. I for one can not fathom why you are harking on that 8%. Thats less than 1/3rd that which the United States uses, and only 1/12th of the entire world! While I may not be able to produce exact stocks for these countries, one could reasonably assume that they remain well above their MOL, else they would be experiencing shortages of oil.

The US has come within 10-15 million barrels of our MOL, and we are still having shortages. That 10-15 million barrels represents roughly 8% above the MOL level. One can then logically assume that stocks in APEC countries are at a minimum above 8% of their MOL, and most likely significantly higher.

Again, lets try to keep this in the proper context: thus far, there does not appear to be ANY shortfall in oil supplies to the world. The oil has to be coming from some where, and I suspect the 'blame' for the missing oil lays with the countries you are excluding from your exporter list.

Whether people can afford it or not is another topic entirely.

As you said, it looks like we don't have hard data for the non-OECD countries that consume about 42% of the world's oil production, which is precisely the reason I have been posting the graphic.

In regard to net oil exports, as the mathematical models predicted, world oil exports are declining--with the top 16 down about 5% from the 2005 peak. This has led to a significant increase in oil prices, with Brent now above its post-5/05 monthly high.

And I have simply been pointing that something besides just price is apparently being used to allocate declining world oil exports--from "less favored" importers to "more favored" importers.

Westexas, I have already explained in detail that all but ~10% of oil consumption has been covered. The 'missing' 42% that you refer too includes Brazil, Russia, OPEC, China and India. They make up roughly ~85% of the remaining tally for global oil production and usage. There is very little left to snoop around in and have any questions. As most OPEC nations, Brazil and Russia are net exporters of oil, they do not need to have much oil stocks on hand, and they can be safely discounted from this conversation, and we know the situation in India and China based purely on their SPR expansions!

Again, you are a stickler for that 8% of APEC countries. I would like to know why?

I have already explained in detail that all but ~10% of oil consumption has been covered

Maybe I missed something here Hothgor, but where did you post the inventory stats for non-OECD countries?

As most OPEC nations, Brazil and Russia are net exporters of oil, they do not need to have much oil stocks on hand, and they can be safely discounted from this conversation.

Why? Those stocks are very important. If OPEC nations are to make up for a short term production shortfall or demand increase they would draw on those stocks would they not?

Roberts around now. You should ask him if I'm 'Hothgor'.

Now, aside from the obvious trolling response, I told WT that I didn't have the exact stats on non-OECD countries. However, we can infer certain things.

1. 42% of oil production and consumption occurs outside of the OECD.
2. Of that 42%, ~80% of the production and consumption occurs in Brazil, Russia, China, India, and OPEC countries.
3. Of that group, all but 2 countries, Chin and India, are net exporters of oil.
4. We know the stock situation in China and India: its increasing! Just look at their SPR construction.
5. The net exporter countries do not need more than a few days supply of oil on hand: if they need oil for a project, they simply produce it. It would require a massive amount of destruction, on the par of a world war, to change this fact.
6. Of the remaining oil production and consumption, only 8% of the global usage occurs in the APECs.
7. We know their stocks are high enough that they do not have any reported chronic shortages of oil/gasoline/diesel.
8. We inferred this based on the USAs own MOL, and the shortages we've been experiencing when we dropped below a 10% excess cushion.
9. By that extension, APECs stocks are at least 10% higher than their MOL, which means they rest in the 'comfort' zone that the rest of the OECD countries have been in for the past 20 years.
10. OPEC stocks do not matter, as they can easily redirect oil exports for domestic consumption.

Would you like for me to discuss any of those 10 points in more detail?

1. 42% of oil production and consumption occurs outside of the OECD.

Huh? 42% of both production and consumption? You lost me there. Are they the same thing now?

2. Of that 42%, ~80% of the production and consumption occurs in Brazil, Russia, China, India, and OPEC countries.

Again, which are you talking about production or consumption?

3. Of that group, all but 2 countries, Chin and India, are net exporters of oil.


4. We know the stock situation in China and India: its increasing! Just look at their SPR construction.

But inventory levels usually exclude SPR levels, and their SPRs are still very small. This tells us *nothing* about their commercial stocks. And that's the problem, you have no data on their stocks!

5. The net exporter countries do not need more than a few days supply of oil on hand: if they need oil for a project, they simply produce it. It would require a massive amount of destruction, on the par of a world war, to change this fact.

Hogwash. SA for example has huge inventories. You are just making this crap up.

6. Of the remaining oil production and consumption, only 8% of the global usage occurs in the APECs.

Can you please sepperate consumpion and production, they are very different things you know.

7. We know their stocks are high enough that they do not have any reported chronic shortages of oil/gasoline/diesel.

Hogwash. There are constantly reports of oil/gas/diesel shortages all over the world.

8. We inferred this based on the USAs own MOL, and the shortages we've been experiencing when we dropped below a 10% excess cushion.

That's MOL of gasoline, not crude oil stocks. You are comparing appples to oranges.

9. By that extension, APECs stocks are at least 10% higher than their MOL, which means they rest in the 'comfort' zone that the rest of the OECD countries have been in for the past 20 years.

Hogwash. There are gas shortages in several countries around the world. Nepal, Senegal,Nigeria, Iran...

10. OPEC stocks do not matter, as they can easily redirect oil exports for domestic consumption.

Of course they matter! You are just making this up as you go along. Those stocks are used to buffer oil production. They make up for shortfalls in production due to maintainence, unplanned downtimes, or surges in demand from customers. You can't just turn oil fields on and off like a tap! They don't run a Just in Time inventory.

Roberts around now. You should ask him if I'm 'Hothgor'.

How would he know you're Hothgor, Hothgor?

Huh? 42% of both production and consumption? You lost me there. Are they the same thing now?

I'm sorry. I should have used production/consumption, instead of production and consumption. And by that I mean that most countries produce and consume oil. If you would like, I could break everything down into different categories! What a strawman...

But inventory levels usually exclude SPR levels, and their SPRs are still very small. This tells us *nothing* about their commercial stocks. And that's the problem, you have no data on their stocks!

Its quite simple: If China or India were not getting the oil they needed for daily consumption, they would not have the oil needed to build a SPR. 20 million tons of oil is a LOT of oil, and Chinas first wave of SPRs include that. I don't see WT or yourself coming up with any hard data to refute me. When you can, I will be wrong. Until then, occam's razor is on my side.

Hogwash. SA for example has huge inventories. You are just making this crap up.

If by huge inventories you mean several days of supply, plus oil in a pipeline, then yes, I suppose they have 'huge inventories'. Unfortunately, you have no data to back up your claim on this aside from the constant conspiracy theory drivel that states they have a few billion barrels in storage to flood the market!

Hogwash. There are constantly reports of oil/gas/diesel shortages all over the world.

We are discussing a small group of countries here: the APEC countries. Not Africa. Not South America. Not some random island in the pacific or a backwater town in North Dakota. When you can provide specifics, I will deal with them. Remember, we had spot shortages in the US circa 1998, when oil was abundant and cheap.

That's MOL of gasoline, not crude oil stocks. You are comparing appples to oranges.

Not at all! Unless the APEC countries move all their oil by trucks/rail, or have it all stored on site at their factories, which conveniently for you happen to be located right next to their ports, they are transporting their oil via pipelines, just like gasoline. How do you think the oil gets to the Cushings in the first place, my friend...

Hogwash. There are gas shortages in several countries around the world. Nepal, Senegal,Nigeria, Iran...

Hogwash yourself! Nepal and Senegal are not a part of the APEC countries, Nigeria is corrupt and Iran suffers from a severe shortage of investment, and thus must import gasoline. Iran does NOT have a shortage...at least not yet! You can cry all you want about the countries that use less than 1% of the oil in the world: you have to treat them in the context they belong! Poor economies, corrupt regimes, and with colonial boot-prints still on their foreheads. These countries have ALWAYS been having trouble. To suggest other wise is very ignorant of you. And don't even try to confuse the issue by brining up the rationing. They are doing that so they still have products to export circa 2015. Your blowing smoke out your rear on this one.

Of course they matter! You are just making this up as you go along. Those stocks are used to buffer oil production. They make up for shortfalls in production due to maintainence, unplanned downtimes, or surges in demand from customers. You can't just turn oil fields on and off like a tap! They don't run a Just in Time inventory.

But you can prevent the oil you are producing from being exported. As long as you are producing a surplus, you technically do not need any more than a few days domestic supply in storage. How you have failed to grasp this simple concept is beyond me.

How would he know you're Hothgor, Hothgor?

I suppose in the same what that you KNOW that I am Hothgor? I believe I am the, what, 10th person in the past month that you have 'outed' as 'Hothgor'. Does he scare you that much that you must constantly jump at anyone who doesn't agree with you or any of the more 'established' posters at TOD? Robert and I are friends, btw...

Tit for Tat. Tit for Tat! Don't you ever get tired of doing this, Rethin?

The simple facts are

1. Your claim that OECD stocks are "at or near their 5 year highs" is demonstrativly false.

2. You have provided Zero evidence of non-OECD stocks. Your long string of specious logic and false conjectures prove nothing. Without inventory data this argument is pointless.


You do realize that that chart shows projected stocks based on an arbitrary scenario, and not actual numbers right? The last month we have reliable data for clearly shows OECD stocks above the median quantity for this time of year, while nations like the US are near the top or above...


I can't believe you missed that and actually posted that! Did you just look at it at a glance and decide to yourself "mmm, I think I will 'pwn' this guy with this!'?

That chart shows that as of July OECD stocks are in the middle of the normal range haven fallen off their above average highs from last year. These are actual numbers as of July.

You claimed that OECD stocks are "at or near their 5 year highs." The graph disproves this.

I'm still waiting for non-OECD inventory data.

The graph is based on conjecture because we don't have accurate date for June, much less July, which has a data point on your graph! And we ALL know how reliable the EIA and the IEA are when it comes to graphs. In fact...you are usually the first person on hand to dismiss any predictive facts that come from them! Honestly friend, are you just deliberately trolling my posts? Because you are doing a terrible job at it!

The simple facts still are

1. Your claim that OECD stocks are "at or near their 5 year highs" is demonstrativly false. No predictive data needed. No conjecture. Just reported inventory levels "as of July" (which means June is the last data point since you insist on being so obtuse).

2. You have provided Zero evidence of non-OECD stocks. Your long string of specious logic and false conjectures prove nothing. Without inventory data this argument is pointless.

So you can attack WT as much as you want. Come back with non-OECD inventory statistics and then we can talk. And if you insist that OECD stocks are "at or near all time highs" why don't you show some evidence that contradicts the IEA.

I don't think you understand the entirety of your blunder, Rethin. Your only remaining contrary argument against me is based on a projective graph that has 'projected' data that the EIA and IEA have not even reported on! They haven't reported the numbers yet! You have no proof to demonstrate that I am wrong, because there is no proof that shows that I am wrong. I have just about had enough of your trolling for the night.

Good evening to you sir.

Edit: I present to you the graph of current OECD oil stocks. This includes the latest current data we have, the month of April. You will find your graph on the bottom of the first page of the PDF. I hope that you will take note, and allow the data to sink in that OECD oil stocks have been trending upwards for the entire year, and remain well above the median 5 year average. I look forward to hearing your contraction, and apology. Have a wonderful, trolling, day.

1. Stop claiming that OECD stocks are at record levels. They are not. They in the middle of the normal range and dropping. This is not projected data, it is reported data from the IEA up to and including June. Simple inventory numbers are not in dispute.

2. Stop claiming that non-OECD stocks are high since you have absolutely no data either way as to the state of said stocks.

Did you even bother to look at the PDF? They show that OECD stocks ARE trending upwards, and ARE near their 5 year high! My god man, are you daft or something?

ugh, you are so dishonest I feel dirty just replying to your posts.

That graph at the bottom of the first page is *industrial* oil stocks for *just N America*.

You didn't even bother to scroll to page 5 where it shows All OCED oil stocks to be far from their 5 year highs.

Actually, it clearly shows that total oil stocks are within 1% of their all time high for the OECD. You are now trying to substitute days of supply at current rates with total stocks, a straw man and highly trollish response if I ever saw one. Not once have I commented on Days of Supply. Not once have I suggested that we aren't using more oil.

The fact is, days of supply has been trending downwards among almost every major industrial economy since the 1980s, after they reached their zenith during the oil crisis. Total stocks DO matter when explaining price phenomenon. For instance, in January, the price of oil plummeted $10, from $60 to $50 a barrel, because Cushings was full. There is very clearly a maximum oil storage volume, and we nearly exceeded it! Humans may be very good at manipulating our environment, but we haven't quite mastered the storage prowess of Mother Nature herself.

And you are one to talk of dishonesty, Rethin! You are calling me names in an attempt to discredit me by labeling me as 'Hothgor', which I very, VERY clearly am not. The only reason I even mentioned Robert was because he does know who Hothgor is, and by extension who I am not. Perhaps I should not have characterized him as a friend, but when hes one of the only people you know in the briefest sense at this site, you really have no choice. Imagine how YOU would feel if you were a new poster who was labeled in a negative light by someone you don't even know!

If what Robert says is true, and Hothgor is trying to get reinstated to TOD, you might end up looking very stupid, now wouldn't you?

Shame on you sir.

A couple of things. First, I am not sure who partyguy is. If we are friends, he needs to e-mail and let me know who he is.

Second, "Hothgar" has e-mailed me several times, so I do know who he is in real life. He has made some requests to get reinstated here, and I supported that request. As I said to others, if you don't confront opposing views, you can never sharpen your own views. Personally, I love to go up against critics (as long as they aren't personally insulting).

Third, I think this debate is a good one, and PG has put out a well-researched post. I have indicated as well that this hang-up with non-OECD stocks is a bit misplaced, because we do have transparency for the vast majority of the world's oil consumption. Pointing at the unknown as support for your position is not a very sound debating tactic. And it is true that inventories, where they are transparent, are in good shape. If one wishes to suggest that they are in horrible shape in non-OECD countries, the burden in on that person to demonstrate this.

The problem with Hothgor isn't that he presents an opposing view, there are plenty of opposing views presented on this board, its that he is dishonest.

I really do wish we had better data on non-OCED countries. If someone used such asinine logic as Hothgor used above to demostrate that non-OCED inventories were alarmingly low you would be up in arms. Its not the claim so much as how it's argued.

BTW me and Kehbab are bestest buddies since kindergarten. So nobody can argue with what I say.

The problem with Hothgor isn't that he presents an opposing view, there are plenty of opposing views presented on this board, its that he is dishonest.

Dishonesty should certainly be highlighted. But in this case, I don't think either of you are being dishonest. You are looking at 2 different things. PG is arguing that stocks are near the upper end of the average. This is true on an absolute basis. You are arguing that they are not, that they are in the middle of the range. That is true on a days of supply basis. So, let's not be hasty about characterizing positions as dishonest.

As far as physical inventories go, the important number for sellers is the absolute number. All that is important is how much room you have in the tank. Days of supply can diminish (for example some tanks may be decommissioned) but this is irrelevant to the seller who is looking at the physical tank levels to determine whether the market is well-supplied. Now for consumers, days of supply has a lot of meaning. Lower days of supply raises the risks of running out of product in the event of a disruption.

He claims that you and he are friends. Is that honest?

Then he links to the above pdf and claims the chart at the end of page one proves OECD stocks are at the high end of the range. But that chart is only industrial OECD stocks in just N America. Is that honest?

How about that whole chain of conveluted BS he uses to "prove" non-OECD stocks are healthy. Is that honest?

In reply to your comment about physical inventories, they too are far off their 5 year highs. There is plenty of room in them tanks. Just scroll to page 5 of Hothgor's above linked pdf.

RR, honestly, why do you suspend your critical thinking skills just cause Hothgor is saying something you want to hear? I've seen you open a can of whoopass for far smaller transgressions when they go against your way of thinking.

He claims that you and he are friends. Is that honest?

I get a lot of e-mails. Some come from people who are regular readers. If that is the case, then it would not be too much of a stretch. But I really don't know, because he hasn't e-mailed and told me who he is.

Then he links to the above pdf and claims the chart at the end of page one proves OECD stocks are at the high end of the range. But that chart is only industrial OECD stocks in just N America. Is that honest?

It was at least a mistake, but if you scroll down to the other chart you will see that the absolute inventories are still bumping up against 5 year highs. As I said, you are looking at days of supply. Look at the graph on the right.

In reply to your comment about physical inventories, they too are far off their 5 year highs.

Ah, I see what you are doing. You are looking at the absolute, regardless of the season. That's not really valid most of the time, because of seasonal maintenance. You have to look at where it is in the band. In the band, it is at a 5-year high. Again, you are looking at 2 different things and coming to 2 different conclusions. That doesn't mean someone is being dishonest.

RR, honestly, why do you suspend your critical thinking skills just cause Hothgor is saying something you want to hear?

Why would that be something I want to hear? I think his assessment is accurate: We do have data on the vast majority of world inventories, and they are in pretty good shape. That doesn't mean this is what I do or do not want to hear. It just is.

As far as right now goes explain 70.

Next I suspect I rank as the biggest doomer and oil stock shortages from peak oil should begin to occur later in the year Sept-Oct potentially worsening through the year. Understand we probably won't make enough heating oil early enough this year gambling big time on another mild winter. Its next summer that we will begin to see serious problems with oil stocks and into 2009 past 2009 is simply unkown. The 70+ oil price and tightening spreads for lower quality oils indicate tightening oil supplies now and simply watch how things unfold over the next 4-5 months. If refinery utilization was higher in the US we would have low stocks now.

This is assuming we don't get a hurricane or a cold winter. Both of those events will result in a shock that I think will surprise a lot of people. Barring above ground events the first fairly clear signals of the effects of peak oil start about Sept just wait a bit.

there's so much conflicting data out there, I don't know what the real stocks situation is. this graphic from the eia suggests that OECD stocks are not all that high:


even though it is in 'days of supply', the rapid drop compared to the five year trend suggests that the absolute stock level has also fallen recently.

Read the report again. It said that blending componeents rose 1.2 million barrels, but finished gasoline fell. So the refineries have a backlog, and the backlog is growing. since blending components are at least partially ethanol and the US has added so many ethanol producers, this may explain some of the inventory figures.

All in all, the US is still losing ground on gasoline, we're very vulnerable to a hurricane.

Yes, I did notice that it said the rise was mostly in blending components. However, based on historical trends, I was expecting quite a drop so this rise is a surprise. If you look at TWIP, the stocks graph shows it on a trajectory to the stratosphere. The last few times there were mysteriously large gains, the week afterward corrected it.

Yeah...but Finished gasoline fell 800K barrels.

Production fell 9.2 MMBPD, against demand at 9.6 MMBPD.

Utilization flat at 90.2%

Imports 1.4 MMBPD.

Crude imports down? Swap finished for crude maybe, obviously the plants in the US are having some trouble producing at higher rates....OR....it is more inexpensive to import the finished goods.

Nothing to see here...move along :-P

A critical topic related to the politics of oil: Religious Scare Tactics.

One of my brothers forwarded an essay to me which I saw somewhat debunked at a site called Breakthechain.org .

The article is located here:


A Christian Prison Ministry leader claims to have shamed an Imam into silence with the claim that all Muslims are commanded by fatwah to kill Christians as a way to get into Heaven, while all Christians are commended to love Muslims as a way to get into Heaven.

Therefore, according to this minister, Christianity is good and Islam is evil.

This is an odd argument to make in the face of the Iraq slaughter of innocent civilians, and yet some Americans believe it. Islam is a religious bogeyman in contrast to American Christianity.

As it turns out, the minister in question was not shaming an Islamic Imam into silence, but rather a Muslim inmate who agreed to represent Islam as the officials putting on an orientation for prison workers was not able to get an Imam to do so....????

I am going to google Franklin Graham's comments about the Iraq War opening up a great missionfield for christian missionaries.

I know that my nephews in the military are fed all sorts of stuff to keep them pumped up for war.

I also know that this type of hate-mongering and fear-mongering is fundamental to stirring up people for war.

Our resource war is not fought in a cultural vacuum. Any info that TODers can proovide on similar instances or on critiques of such religion-based agitation would be welcome.

I've been writing lately and have had articles published in one little local paper, and intend to begin writing with an aim for publication in various publications with articles related to resource war, peak oil, and religious and cultural conflicts.

Thanks for any ideas, info, or critiques.

Beggar: I don't really follow the subject, but in passing I heard yesterday that the guy with the conehead says you Christian Murikans are nothing but phonies (except for the ones going to Mass).

I think the demonizing of Muslims in the U.S. is a big problem and could become much bigger. If a U.S. Hitler is to rise from the ashes of economic collapse, his scapegoat most likely will not be Jews but rather "Muslim-extremists" (all one word) and possibly also illegal immigrants.

Let us hope the economy goes to stagflation rather than collapse, because bad as the Bush administration is, we're dealing now with a bunch of goody two-shoes compared to a genuine fascist regime.

Were I Emperor of North America, I would mandate classes in comparative religion in high schools, with the goal of bringing critical thinking and respect for other faiths into our culture--i.e., an anthropological approach to religion, which is the one that makes the most sense to me.

We've got a religeous crusade combined with a resource war. The competing religeons are Christian, Sunni, Wahabi Suni and Shia, the nationalities are Kurd, Arab, British and American with the Israelis pulling strings and cheerleading behind the scenes. The Turks appear to be massing infantry, and I'm sure the Iranians are mobilising. The Saudis are financing the Sunni militias and Al Quaida. The Americans are financing everybody but the Iranians.

Its too bad that God won't make His will very clear. Maybe we should finance classes in atheism instead.
Bob Ebersole

"Its too bad that God won't make His will very clear."

Godz just loves these scenarios. He just sets them up to watch them fall. It's rather boring in Eternity, you know, and although our wars are small potatoes in the cosmic scheme of things, they do provide a momentary diversion for the Big Guy.

BTW, I don't believe in godz.

We do have classes in atheism: They are called "Sunday School."

Of the ferociously committed athiests I know, every single one was subjected to mindless and forced Sunday school classes. Indeed, speaking as an historian of ideas, it is hard to get to atheism except by an irrational hatred of theism, which usually is a result of forced dogmatic education.

It was my great good fortune to go to a private school, Verde Valley School, in Sedona, Arizona, where we did have compulsory classes in comparative religion. (Well, what would you expect from a school founded by an anthropologist?)

As a philosophical position, I find atheism extremely shaky, because how can you prove (or even find any evidence) that there is no god? Agnosticism, on the other hand is intellectually respectable and goes back to before Socrates.

My own position on these issues is that of Aristotle, who thought that logic demanded a "prime mover, unmoved," because otherwise you get an infinite regress--which is not something that will hold up in logic. Of course the Aristotelian prime mover is nothing whatsoever like a Christian God. (I can disprove the existence of a Christian God, rigorously, in about sixty rather easy steps, and so can any other person educated in symbolic logic.)

it is hard to get to atheism except by an irrational hatred of theism, which usually is a result of forced dogmatic education.

Bull Sir!
Keep that kind of crap to yourself if you don't want to endure nasty counter arguments (with both sides off-topic WRT peak oil).

How can I prove there is no Tooth Fairy? Asking some one to prove an arbitrary negative is rather dubious. I can't prove or disprove the Tooth Fairy or any other construct. What is rather obvious but also maybe not provable is the tendency of humanity towards what I call the secret friend syndrome. Like the Linus blanket, we take solace in some personal relationship that we alone control. The psychology of religion is almost a taboo subject like population control. Who would be so mean as to take Linus' blanket away?

Religions will have to adapt to the PO reality. Their ability and response time to such realities as the earth circling the sun and being round doesn't fill one with hope. Poor Linus.

As to sixty easy steps, could you reduce it to a twelve step program?

The Tooth Fairy is real. So is Santa Claus. Proof: See "Miricle on 34th St." from which comes the famous line,

"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."

Check out meanings of "real" in philosophy. Also, take a look at the American pragmatist philosophers. If an entity is real in its consequences, you might want to get busy with Occam's Razor and see what you come up with.

At best, atheism is a questionable premise. At worst it is just another bigotry exactly like extreme theism in every relevant detail.

Don: Yup. Those damn aye-thee-ists need a good whupping. Call up your congressman-maybe he can get it redefined as a form of religi-terrorism.

I sort of buy the agnosticism vs. atheism argument, even though it is very hard to prove a negative, the burden of proof should be on the other side.

The radical fringe of any religion is but a tool the few use to enslave the many small minds that can not live with unanswered questions. So they write the script and the sheeple buy.

Agnostic Atheist boys!

I believe there is no god, but i have no proof!

Best of each world.

Same with Agnostic Theist, believe in god, but no proof!

You tell me you have proof for or against god and im'a'gunna punch you right in the balls.

(and no, saying gawd is inconsistent and therefore doesnt exist doen't count because he could be inconsistent. Same with 'could god make a rock so large he could not move it' concievably he could do both, and simply not follow any physical laws consistently(inconsistent)!)

The above point puts god outside of what is percieved as normal and as such he becomes impossible to reason about, because reason does not and cannot apply.

I think reason does apply to questions of theology.

For example, I can disprove Anselm's Ontological Argument for the Existence of God (but not without a lot of steps).

I can also disprove the lame Marxist argument for the nonexistence of God. With a bit more effort and evidence, I can also show that Freud's "The Future of an Illusion" is fatally flawed because it ignores relevant evidence.

Full disclosure: I am not now and never have been a Christian. In my opinion Christianity as generally practiced is unsupported by any evidence and indeed is contrary to both empirical evidence and to Scripture. Yup, I hereby accuse (almost all) Christians of heresy. There are exceptions. I met a genuine Christian once, a minister of the Zion Lutheran Church in Minnesota. He would marry Catholics and Lutherans in church, so the church kicked him out. I think churches generally expell genuine Christians, i.e. people who genuinely live up to the ideals of Jesus.

It is not a crusade in Iraq. Bush was mad and paranoid about weapons of mass destruction and weapons programs that existed during the 1980's but not the 2000's. His faulty logic trusted Chalabi to help set up a pro-American Iraq.

To blame the U.S. for the conflict between the Shiites and Sunnis is absurd. It was everyman turned against his neighbor, madness, lunacy and fanatical militancy at its worse.

A U.S. withdrawal might save lives and resources for a nation deeply in debt. The Iraqis want home rule without U.S. dictating to them. They were accused of making nukes and then killed like flies as the Republican Guard disintegrated under saturation bombing. Tens of thousands have died, hundreds of thousands were displaced. There was little food, electricity, or gas for many in a nation with vast pools of oil below their feet. They had it better under Sadaam.

Most of the U.S. were against going into Iraq without U.N. support (poll conducted before the invasion). Republicans have been losing elections and their supporters in the coalition of the decieved have lost control in Italy, Spain, and Britain.

In Vietnam it seemed like all hell was breaking lose with the U.S. withdrawal. There were stories years later of farmworkers going into the rice paddies and getting blown apart by unexploded bombs. Today they do not have bombs or napalm falling on them and were doing joint ventures with U.S. based companies. Forgiveness prospers.

Don, I have argued your point many times. If Jesus came back to earth today he would be considered an enemy of the state and sent to jail or a lunatic assylum. Christians in America would treat Jesus no differently than did the Romans.

You may already know this, but this idea was covered by Dostoevsky in his book, "The Brothers Karamazov." An entire chapter, "The Grand Inquisitor" deals with Jesus coming back to a more modern time. They arrest Him.

Great flick, but that quote is from a famous response to a child's letter:


I was born Catholic, but they have a pretty dismal track record. Now I worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster because no one can prove he doesn't exist.


This discussion reminds me of when I was working a summer job with an arch major from Notre Dame who told me I couldn't be an atheist unless I attended atheism meetings.

This discussion reminds me of when I was working a summer job with an arch major from Notre Dame who told me I couldn't be an atheist unless I attended atheism meetings.

Are you serious?! ROFL!

My parents never tried to make me believe Santa, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy were real. I did (and still do) get my stocking filled at Christmas. A basket full of candy did appear for me on Easter, and I did find a dollar under my pillow after losing a tooth. But my parents made it clear to me that they were the ones giving me the stuff. They never actually told me, it was more nudge-nudge, wink-wink. I can't even remember when I learned Santa wasn't real. I always knew it. I can remember peeking at my stocking on Christmas morning when I was three years old, and knowing that Mommy and Daddy filled it, not Santa. (The price stickers on the coloring books were a dead giveaway. ;-)

I'm glad my parents never lied to me. I can remember some of my classmates learning about Santa from their peers when they were 7 or 8. They just sobbed and sobbed. And I think it was as much the public humiliation and the feeling that their parents had betrayed them as the loss of Santa.

I'm glad my parents never lied to me. I can remember some of my classmates learning about Santa from their peers
when they were 7 or 8.

I was quite honked off to realize, at about age 9, that religion was simply another case of the Santa Claus lie. To tell you that you're going to live forever in paradise is the ultimate bait-and-switch. Then once I realized that most adults didn't REALIZE it was another case of the Santa Claus principle, I became seriously creeped out, and am to this day.

The End.

I was quite honked off to realize, at about age 9, that religion was simply another case of the Santa Claus lie.

Yeah, that thought has crossed my mind, too.

I've had some people tell me that it's cruel to "deprive" a child of the magic of Christmas. But Christmas is magic for a child anyway; they don't need to believe that Santa brought the gifts to enjoy it.

Really, the only "magic" Santa adds is the fear that if you aren't good, you won't get any presents. This is more magic for parents than for children. ;-)

There are other issues, too. My family didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up. (My dad didn't get out of grad school until I was almost ten. Think of being a poor college student...with a wife and two kids to support.) If I believed in Santa, I might have wondered why the other kids got bikes and fancy electronics, while I got pencils, oranges, and homemade toys like finger puppets. But as it was, I knew it wasn't that I was a bad kid, it was that my parents didn't have a lot of money.

That's how I know I am not an alcoholic by the way....I don't go to AA meetings. :-)

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

This is stupid: atheism is simply non-theistic, absence of the the belief in a god or gods.

I don't disagree, but you can't leave out the fact that the way people use words is ultimately what defines them.

Most dictionaries will allow for a definition of atheism that is, essentially, "Conviction that gods do not exist".

That is the form the atheism I subscribe to, but there are others that are happy just being atheists for their lack of belief in gods (although some are not always 100% comfortable with the label).

Of course, in our religion-dominated world, and I understand this is especially the case in the U.S., atheism is often seen to be equivalent to anti-theism.
I would also consider myself somewhat anti-theistic, in the sense that I believe that theism is largely self-destructive. Furthermore, if the Abrahamic God of the Judaeo-Islamic-Christian tradition were to come down to Earth tomorrow and prove his/her/its existence once and for all, I would have exactly 0 respect for him/her/it. One of my favourite quotes is

"In the unlikely event of losing Pascal's Wager, I intend to saunter in to Judgement Day with a bookshelf full of grievances, a flaming sword of my own devising, and a serious attitude problem."

'it is hard to get to atheism except by an irrational hatred of theism, which usually is a result of forced dogmatic education.'

At the risk of opening a can of snakes, I'll take exception to that statement. I consider myself to be a strong atheist and I don't have an irrational hatred of theism. In fact I understand it, I have the same urge to believe that everyone else does, but I don't give in to that desire because I realize it's a chimera.
By Christian God, I suppose you must mean a Personal God.

'As a philosophical position, I find atheism extremely shaky, because how can you prove (or even find any evidence) that there is no god? Agnosticism, on the other hand is intellectually respectable and goes back to before Socrates.'

As an atheist, I don't see why I have to prove anything. One doesn't have to prove the non-existence of anything. I don't have to prove to you that Santa Claus doesn't exist do I? No, (s)he who asserts the existence of something has the burden of proof.
The reason I'm an atheist is because there is no proof, and not even any evidence for the existence of god. There's only billions of insane people who somehow convince themselves and each other that god exists and then live as though god doesn't exist.


There's only billions of insane people who somehow convince themselves and each other that god exists and then live as though god doesn't exist.

An interesting comment. How do you suppose people would live if God did exist?

Hello NASAguy,

Your Quote: "An interesting comment. How do you suppose people would live if God did exist?"

I would hope they would follow his example by similar action: Zero children, or maybe just one, as exemplified by Jesus for the Christian god, until we were back in Gaia harmony.

More likely we will go insane like those parents who hear a voice in their head commanding them to kill their offspring. Hans Selye's GAS is a powerful, non-obvious genetic force to drive decline.

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


The way they do now? By all accounts, the vast majority of humanity believes in godz.

And so, we have crusades, jihads, fatwas, whatever you want to call it.

'How do you suppose people would live if God did exist?'

I don't have any idea how people would live if a personal God was physically perceivable and present in the daily lives of humans.
My statement was that billions of people assert the existence of a personal god and then ignore the tenants of their beliefs. I guess I'm pointing at hypocracy. How can GWB profess his Christian religious beliefs and at the same time send so many people to their deaths on both sides of war. Answer: Because religions of all types are shot through with contradictions, inconsistencies and incompatibilities that have to be constantly overlooked in order to stay aligned with them.


Amen, if you don't mind me using that word. :-)

I agree. I actually have little experience with religion, and no reason to hate it. I am an atheist for the same reason many others are Christian: I was raised that way. It was rarely an issue for me in Hawaii, where many are not very religious. (A lot of immigration, quick assimilation, loss of the old religions without acquiring any new ones.)

My parents didn't hate religion, they just didn't bother with it. If I asked to go to Sunday School, they took me. They never said anything bad about religion to me, and taught me to respect others' religious beliefs.

I still remember the time I was at my grandma's house when a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses came to the door. My uncle answered. They asked him if he was a Christian. He said no, he didn't believe in god. They said, "Oh, you're an atheist." He started yelling at them, saying, "No, an atheist isn't sure. I know there's no god! I'm an agnostic!"

I was rolling on the floor laughing. I didn't have the heart to tell him he was wrong, he was actually an atheist. ;-)

From your description of yourself you sound more like an agnostic which is very similar to weak atheism. A strong atheist asserts "I've examined the issue from all sides and I've rationally concluded that there is no god". For a strong atheist, the question of god's existence is as important as it is for one who believes god exists.
An agnostic, on the other hand, for whatever reason, does not participate in religious contemplation much at all, or is unable to truly decide one way or the other about the existence of god and so either assumes that god does not exist, (a weak atheist), or that the question is not important.
I'm not saying this is you Leanan, but it's what your description sounds like.


Nope, I'm an atheist. I know there's no god, just like there's no tooth fairy and no Santa Claus.

However, you're correct in that I don't consider the question of god's existence to be important. I don't consider the question of the tooth fairy's existence to be important, either.

If you were a parent, you would accept your responsibility to make the Tooth Fairy myth real. Losing a tooth is a big deal. The Tooth Fairy makes it all better.

When I was a kid, the Tooth Fairy brought one silver dime. I am scandalized to admit that in the prosperous burbs the Fairy now brings five dollars per tooth.

Now that is what I call inflation.

The tooth fairy brings silver dollars to my kids. Damned if I am going to let that winged freak in with fiat currency.

When I was a kid, the Tooth Fairy brought one silver dime. I am scandalized to admit that in the prosperous burbs the Fairy now brings five dollars per toot

yes, but in all fairness, for a dime you could get a hooker and two cups of coffee back then.

It seems to me that the key question is whether Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy consider the question of our existence to be important.

"Existence has no given significance. This precisely is what makes our situation so interesting." Ed Abbey

People who are unconscious can know or experience nothing. All dead people are unconscious. Therefore, heaven and hell are irrelevant because an unconscious person can't know or experience anything. If heaven and hell can not be experienced because of unconsciousness, God is irrelevant. That's why I'm an atheist.

Yep, same here. I'm a strong atheist - actually my family is a nest of them, I'm in the third of four generations of strong atheists, starting with my maternal grandparents and continuing down to my nieces. I've never hooked onto the religious meme, though I have out of curiosity deliberately exposed myself to it a number of times. It seems likely that you need to be exposed at a young age for it to take, this seems one instance in which non-exposure confers immunity. I do have an FSM plaque on my car though, just for shits and grins.

While agnosticism is a respectable epistemological position, I've never seen the need to go to all that effort. The universe runs just fine without personal gods, and I find I get the closest shave using Occam's razor.

I do understand where the belief hook comes from, though, having just had a brush with pantheism. At the last moment I made a left turn and made a narrow escape into Deep Ecology, which is at once more respectable and more useful.

I was exposed at a young age and it seemed like a rediculous concept to me. It still seems like a rediculous concept to me.

However I ran across this interesting bit of scientific research recently (no, I am not selling the Brooklyn Bridge) that some out there might find interesting. It is the 'holographic memory' theory and it seems to answer some long standing mysteries about how memory works. What the hell, we are WAAAAY off topic so I will throw this in. Link below.


One of the most remarkable things about belief in a diety is its persistence through the millenia. Granted that some Oriental religons don't specify a diety but they do offer a belief in either reincarnation or ancestor worship. Even Christianity uses the phrase "Our Father in heaven." Religon must have some evolutionary advantage to it for it to be so persisent and widespread. The experience of uncontrollable forces is very discomforting so we reach for a way of believeing in a Grand Controller as a mass anti-anxiety method.
Before the 20th century the death of children was a common experience of almost all families. The lack of this experience in 20th century America makes atheism more easily an option. As for the children of fundamentalists becoming atheists some of them do so after they actually read the Bible and are unable to reconcile all the contradictions. A consistent theology cannot exist with a literal interpretation of everything written in the Bible. If the Bible is instead interpreted as the record of the ancients' best guess of their relationship with the Universe and how life should be lived then it calls us to make our own best guess. That is what all belief is, just our best guess. No certainty just faith. It is my best guess that by offering my grace to those who offend me means Jesus will use his grace in relation to how I offend God.

Tom: One of the most remarkable things about stupidity is its persistence through the millenia.

Hi Don, thanks for letting the snakes out of the can! I love a good discussion if people don't get their feeling/pride/work view/security blankets threatened. Funny... it is so rare that one can have a civil debate on these topics.

I guess I should not be surprised to find so many atheists on this discussion board! I had thought TheOilDrum had been too civil and rational in it's discourse. ;-)

I confess to an almost irrational hatred of MSR (Main Stream Religions). Anything based upon faith, convoluted reasoning, or simply family/society/peer pressure sure smells fishy. I guess you could classify me as a "recovering Catholic". But OUTSIDE of religion and theism, is a wide area of mysticism that offers perhaps a third way. In a large part the question of theism vs. atheism is best answered by mu (or "Wú" in Chinese). It is not "a" or "b", by simply setting up this polar question you are on the wrong path.

I believe there is dimension of reality where all is connected. All human minds are connected and mutually linked to all life on earth. In a way, we are all part of this larger "organism". Like the other tragic posts in Drum Beat about mas extinctions and loss of amphibians, the larger organism is undergoing stress and will respond by shifting in response to this stress. Huge numbers of life forms as well as humans will be responding to this stress, to global warming, to energy power down. Stuff is in motion and the only constant is that our current system is NOT sustainable. I agree with JHK that suburbia and how we have spent humanity's one-time oil-dividend is a tragic mistake. Things will change, but this new state we are changing into and how we will arrive there is any one's guess. I doubt and hope it is not like the Mad Max or LATOC visions.

Getting around to my main thesis; I believe that the mystical or spiritual dimension of Peak Oil induced changes, of how people internalize this loss/change, and how we respond with new actions in our families, communities, and as nations is at the heart of the true "MEANING" of peak oil. Is this a cosmic wake up call? Does this mean MSR is about to crack and loose it's grip on humanity. I am thinking the meaning of the "second coming" could be the shattering of traditional Islam and Christianity as failed thought systems that have led to global conflict, waste and overpopulation. We need a more humanist, compassionate, philosophical understanding that humanity is one connected whole that is intertwined with the fate of our earth's ecosystem and the whole biodiversity of the planet.

I'm not the most eloquent writer on this topic. For those who think I am nuts or possibly onto something I heartily recommend reading "Last hours of ancient sunlight" by Thom Hartman.

overview from the author:
"the only lasting solution to the crises we face is to relearn the lessons of our ancient ancestors -- who lived sustainably for thousands of generations."

"When you touch this new yet ancient way of seeing the world and hearing the voice of all life, you discover that you, personally, hold the power of personal and planetary transformation. In that breathtaking moment we see both a possible future for the survival of humanity and the fulfillment of our highest dreams and aspirations."

...sounds mystical to me!

I'm not the most eloquent writer on this topic. For those who think I am nuts or possibly onto something I heartily recommend reading "Last hours of ancient sunlight" by Thom Hartman.

I really hate to say this... but it has to be said.

That book is abominable. The first half is engaging, wherein he reviews the immense problems facing us, including the oil peak.

The second half is perfectly deranged. I could scarcely believe what I was seeing. It turns into this most horrid Brunswick stew of new age claptrap. I couldn't finish the last third.

The effect was disquieting.

Imagine someone like Hubbert or Deffeyes entering the room. He begins explaining all the world's energy and environmental problems to you. Then when you ask about possible solutions:

He RIPS off his mask -- and there stands DEEPAK CHOPRA!!!


Your impression of the book is not uncommon and in fact I think most people are left wondering "what the hell?" about the end of the book. I believe though, that ending chapters which can easily be dismissed as "new age claptrap" are the most unique part of this book on peak oil and sustainability. If someone doesn't understand this part of the book, it likely is because their world view doesn't know, believe, or think this dimension of reality exists. By holding the opinion of all spiritual/new-age portion of P.O. as nonsense, I think one is dismissing our true hope for finding real solutions to living post-P.O. IMHO.

Thom Hartman is a fascinating true renaissance man. He's written much many books on diverse topics as democracy, ecology, ADHD, education, and corporate rule . I place him up there with Tom Whipple as being a super-smart visionary that sees trends and issues well ahead of most people. Check out his other works: http://www.thomhartmann.com/

He doesn't hide the fact though that he has a strong spiritual practice and orientation. He doesn't preach about it either. Looking at the whole context of his knowledge and background, I would suggest not being so dismissive of the "Deepak Chopra" type perspective. It is possible to see the world as an engineer or scientist AND as a mystic. Science has so many limitations and is only a framework that one can use to understand the world. Science and rational thought are not the end-all to understanding the world.

Later in this thread miracles come up and I would volunteer there are tons of psychic phenomena that are rigorously documented and verified yet because they fit outside scientific mainstream thought they are rejected and ignored. For example try this mind blower: http://childpastlives.org/library_articles/stevenson.htm

It is possible to see the world as an engineer or scientist AND as a mystic.

Possible, but insane or at least unsound.
The problem with "psychic phenomena" is that they allow cult leaders and snake oil salesmen to embezzle the sheeple even more.

Today's world is insane. No one wants to even think about P.O. It's a real conversation killer. To most people and in the MSM, P.O. is characterized as snake oil and a cult.

It's all about perspective. I am not a fan of "religion" because of the sheeple and mad leaders. I would include Bush, his handlers and most of the religious right in this camp.

A real mystical or spiritual perspective requires self thought, perception, and decision making. Not adherence to external authorities. Hell, we on TheOilDrum would not even be talking about this topic and about pending societal crisis if we were part of the rank and file sheeple.

I think there is more to this whole PO + GW + world economy system on the brink of catastrophe. The collective intelligence and heart of human family is being challenged. How we respond will determine whether this gets very ugly or if it propels us into a new world. We can respond as panicked individuals with our private life boats guarding our gold bullion stash with all our guns, or we can come up with ways to work together. The rational mind doesn't offer many viable solutions to the later, and I don;t believe the former path can be sustained for long either. This global dilemma we are faced with requires some real creativity and mystical insights on what is of genuine value and how we can change.

We can respond as panicked individuals with our private life boats guarding our gold bullion stash with all our guns,

Well, this is the way of the naked chimp.
Another drawback of the "spiritual" approach to mankind problems I failed to mention is that "spiritual traditions" are oblivious of recent knowledge about human nature.
Spiritual traditions have been at work for thousands of years and they obviously failed to come up with any sensible responses even under more lenient conditions than we are facing today.
Why do you expect any kind of "miracle"?

The rational mind doesn't offer many viable solutions to the later

Yes it does, this is called Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma, a policy to establish trust between competing parties about conflicting interests.
The hindrances to its effectiveness don't come from rationality but from lack of rationality (the lizard/mammalian mind in the chimp).

I don;t believe the former path can be sustained for long either.

Neither do I, aren't we on the TOD forum here?

This global dilemma we are faced with requires some real creativity and mystical insights on what is of genuine value and how we can change.

Creativity, sure, mystical insights I doubt very much.
I would rather bet on psychological insights about our chimp minds which would allow us to bypass/neutralize the greedy egotistic drives which allowed us to engulf the whole earth.

Good luck Kevimb. Many good points but I still end up in a different place. I'd much rather take you as a neighbor or as a fellow citizen trying to work out how to get through post P.O. though! Rational folks I can deal with and respect.

I am familiar with the Iterated Prisoners Dilemma, and think this is one way to work through this. But it is pretty limited and I DONT think application of it would solve the Israel/Palestine controversy. I also think it will be a rough path to work though if faced with a lot of people competing for too little food and water. But I would apply myself to work with others in such an approach. A big part of the problem is you need the other parties ot be somewhat rational and willing to realize what their best ineterests are - raving lunatic religious types often do not.

I think rationality is a tool. A very useful one much better than old systems of belief (like taking a literal view of the bible - yikes!!). But as a tool, it won't fix or solve or even be able to place in context all the issues we are facing together with the rest of humanity. Words often get in the way of real communication. Perhaps "mystical" or "spiritual" brings up too much baggage from current use synonymous with main stream religion.

To me spirituality is how we transcend the limited self-serving chimp mind and bypass/neutralize the greedy ego. You are suggesting application of paths like the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma to rationally fool or keep the chimp in check. I am suggesting a way to see the underlying ego as the problem which makes the chimp miserable (even though he THINKS he is looking out for himself) and ruins the planet at the same time.

I know spirituality/mysticism is not your cup of tea, but if you were inclined to try reading about a whole psychological thought system that is logically coherent and provided a path out of this ego madness, try reading "A Course in Miracle". Perhaps this embodies best the mystical perspective I am trying to describe. It is not the only spiritual thought system that points in this direction, there are numerous other ones, but IMHO it is a great one that could help us through this P.O.-world-transformation/crisis.

Good luck Kevimb.

Thanks, good luck to you too.

Many good points but I still end up in a different place.

Of course, you would probably call this mysticism : The Runner's Mind.
I call it neurophysiology :-)

In case you read french you may have a perspective of what I am talking about in a study by Canadian psychiatrist Jean-Pierre Valla which unfortunately didn't got translated to english "Les etats etranges de la conscience".

Here is a rough Google translation of the summary :

This book presents a scientific study of the strange states of conscience (EEC) lived by the mentally normal people. From the accounts of 50 people interviewed in Montreal, the author studied these mental phenomena formerly considered as religious experiments. The material collected was confronted with the psychological theories into force, which associate these strange states the psychosis. The study highlights their reactional, but nonpathological character. An event which places the self-awareness in the center of the field of conscience however makes the states strange of the conscience different from the usual state of consciousness. Although they are spontaneously generally short, the strange states of the conscience can give rise to the famous oceanic feeling and to curious experiments of unfolding called out of body experiments by the Anglo-Saxon authors. The strangeness of these states caused multiple interpretations which should not however be confused with the state which gives them birth and which they seek to explain.

That is, you don't even need psychotropics, don't need beliefs, don't need to be religious to get to those "spiritual states".
The religionists are just those who interpret these psychological artefacts as "meaningful" and "real" just like you may be fooled by an Escher drawing to believe that there can be an all ascending closed loop of stairs: this is an illusion!

And it is this kind of illusions which breeds the madness of "raving lunatic religious types", they have seen god or felt god, what can you argue?

I know spirituality/mysticism is not your cup of tea

Been there (somehow), have the T-shirt, not conclusive for me.

I agree with much of what you say above. However, as a longtime reader and sometime follower of Carlos Castenada and his Teachings of Don Juan and all the rest, I'm a bit jaded on the mysticism side of things at this time. While many of the ideas of these various groups undoubtedly have validity at least in a symbolic sense, so many of them come with the tell-tale extra baggage of human ego and power hungry consequences - not unlike the quest to conquer the earth with machinery.
While Costenada maintained 2 decades of secrecy and coyness as to his true background and ambitions, it became clearly evident that he was a charlotan in the end.


Hallelujah to that. Good reply.

Being uncomfortable or bemused around the dangerously insane is just good sense. No logical proofs required.


ha, this is so far down in the string now that it's impossible to see what I was agreeing with. That's what I get for commenting before refreshing the page!

I was agreeing with:

The reason I'm an atheist is because there is no proof, and not even any evidence for the existence of god. There's only billions of insane people who somehow convince themselves and each other that god exists and then live as though god doesn't exist.


I can disprove the existence of a Christian God, rigorously, in about sixty rather easy steps, and so can any other person educated in symbolic logic.

You have to address the resurrection. The Christian faith is not built on a philosophical argument, but on the resurrection of Jesus as a historical event. The earliest Christian writers acknowledge that the whole faith stands or falls on the resurrection: "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." (1 Cor 15:14)

The problem I have with traditional Christianity is not that I can prove or disprove the existence of God Christian or other but I can readily prove I cannot determine if god is real.

The approach is to consider the arrival of a technically advanced individual to a island full of primitives. To the primitives the abilities of the advanced person not only rival those of gods but are the same as those of gods.

Explorers have been treated as gods throughout history when they discover primitive cultures.

The point is I can't disprove some sort of interference from and advanced culture in the past nor can I readily disprove that I'm capable of seeing through such tampering with myself.

I know its wacko but in CS for example you can run operating systems inside virtual machines. Its impossible for the OS code to determine if its being executed on a emulator or on "real" hardware. The alien/advanced cultures concept is simply a similar problem.

The moral of the story is you can believe anything you want based on the virtual machine or environment your surrounded with but its very hard to tell if this is a "real" environment of a carefully constructed facade.

Since most of the worlds religions have a large component of
normal but respected people intrested in furthing the cause of the religion using facade methods. Its a pretty safe bet that a lot of the components of real religions are indeed simple facades or virtual worlds touted as reality extreme cases are considered brainwashing or cults. Proving that some of the parts of all the worlds religions are indeed facades is trivial. Proving that any components are not simple facades or constructs is difficult to impossible.

Scientific methods can be used for certain types of problems to eliminate facade arguments thus its power. But its restricted to a certain class of arguments which modern religions claim are not part of the religious truth.

I do find it interesting that as we become better at detecting facades former religious truths exposed as facades are conveniently dropped. The superiority of the white race for example or the witch hunts for Inquisition.

If their exists real truths behind todays religions they are well hidden by the schemes of the people that implement or support the religions. I actually hope moral truth is real but your not going to prove it via religion.

A lot of my thoughts on ELP and the post oil age point to the need for a complete and stable set of moral truths that allow people to live and know they are not destroying their planet. So the limits of growth could be equivalent to a natural moral framework. This is different from simply calculating or tabulating your impact on the land to determine if your lifestyle is sustainable. Realize that civilizations have risen and fallen many times using sustainable resources so renewable does not mean sustainable.

For example we often think of fixed villages farming a region as the right answer post peak but my thoughts lead to a different answer. It better to adopt a semi-nomadic life style moving every few years from village to village farming for a bit then moving on returning only say every hundred years to a region otherwise its devoid of human habitation.

This sort of semi-nomadic lifestyles seems to have a moral component that allows you to not worry about sustainability.
You only need one rule move every 10 years.

memmel, I am not religious but I began to believe while reading Fred Hoyle that it just might be possible that some very superior intelligence created the cell. As Hoyle pointed out so well in his '707 flying low over a junkyard and creating _ from the vortice of flying debris,' the cell is so complex that it is hard to imagine it assembling itself no matter the span of time involved. For instance, consider that there are over 200,000 differet proteins in each cell carrying out seperate functions and each protein is made up of simple amino acids but in different sequences. Since Hoyle also believed in Transpermia, that viruses are flying around throughout the universe and occasionally landing on some rock like ours, it might be possible that some intelligent being in the past created the cell as a way to bridge the vast distances of space. Imo, it is a possibility.

the cell is so complex that it is hard to imagine it assembling itself no matter the span of time involved.

It's just the other way around, hugely complex systems CANNOT be designed!
I gave an explanation about that when arguing against a creationist on ScienceBlogs.

it might be possible that some intelligent being in the past created the cell as a way to bridge the vast distances of space.

That still leaves to explain HOW the "intelligent being" came by...

River: This whole subject is baffling to me. IMHO, any objective analysis would conclude that obviously there is an advanced form of "intelligence" involved, far beyond the level that human science could ever aspire to. Even questioning this reality is absurd. If someone wants to stretch the definition of God to include this obvious "intelligence", "life force", etc. so be it. The acceptance of this reality has absolutely nothing to do with religion, IMHO. Religion is a club, a ritual, an attempt to bolster flagging self-esteem, useful in self-promotion (seldom will an American politician speak a sentence without mentioning God)etc.etc.

"You have to address the resurrection."

No, _you_ have to address the resurrection. And having done that, you need to address all the other miraculous claims by all the other religions down through the ages.

Do you believe there was a resurrection? If so, why? Some reverse-engineered biblical verses?

Yes, I do believe in the resurrection. I could give a number of reasons. For purposes of brevity, I would point to the fact that most of the earliest Christians, the disciples of Jesus and those close to him, chose to give up their life rather than give up their belief in the resurrection. These were the people closest to the event, and they were really convinced.

And having done that, you need to address all the other miraculous claims by all the other religions down through the ages.

Not really. In most other religions, you could remove the miraculous elements - I mean the miracles reported to have occurred in history - and the religion remains essentially the same. The miraculous elements are not integral to most other religions.

The Christian faith is based on an account of a miracle. Now one may believe or disbelieve that account, but it's important to realize that the resurrection account is the basis for the Christian faith, and the philosophical arguments came later.

"the disciples of Jesus and those close to him, chose to give up their life rather than give up their belief in the resurrection."

Nice evidence. Islamic fundamentalist terrorists give up their lives every single day for their beliefs. I guess Islam is the One True Religion.

People get invested in their beliefs. And die for them all the time. Does not prove a thing. T'was ever thus.

But whatever works for you.

Nice evidence. Islamic fundamentalist terrorists give up their lives every single day for their beliefs. I guess Islam is the One True Religion.

This is not the best analogy. The terrorists you mention generally are trying to kill people. The disciples of Jesus were more in a situation where they gave up their own lives, harming no one, rather than recant.

It is evidence, because they were close in time to the event. To try another analogy, Ronald Reagan is popular with some people, but if people decided to start a religion based on the resurrection of Ronald Reagan, it would be difficult to get too many people to die for that belief.

Ron Hubbard and Joseph Smith are doing great though. People are risking their lives and liberty in "Their" name.



"but on the resurrection of Jesus as a historical event. The earliest Christian writers acknowledge that the whole faith stands or falls on the resurrection: "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." (1 Cor 15:14)"

Nothing like intense, careful study of Scripture to not only make you lean toward atheism, but to have compassion for a religion which is so hopelessly , utterly, embarrassingly without merit.

Your contention about doctrine is correct. "The whole faith stands or falls on the resurrection."

Then you cite the primary proponent of this idea, Paul, WHO NEVER EVEN MET JESUS! His whole "argument" rests on his claim to have been visited by the "Risen Christ." Why are we to believe this? Because Paul said so.

Then you have the gospels, those supposedly "historical" documents of the central drama of Christianity. You learn:

1. There are NO autographs (original manuscripts) anywhere to be found. You only find fragmentary copies of copies of copies which disagree in thousands of details.

2. The writers of these gospels were anonymous. No one knows who penned "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John." One only knows that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John most assuredly did NOT write them. These "authors" were pious second-century guesses.

3. "Mark," the original and primitive gospel, came first. Read it. You find a brittle, cranky, human Jesus. No virgin birth. No resurrection appearances. Then "Matthew" came along and plagiarized "Mark," adding his own birth legends and resurrections scenes, revising and undermining Mark's purpose at every point to make the narrative more appealing to Jewish Christians. Then along came "Luke" who plagiarized "Mark" in her (!) own way, adding very female-centered birth and resurrection myths, and deleting more of Mark than Matthew did. Along comes John, who writes a story that bears little resemblance to the "Mark-Matthew-Luke" myth.

4. These gospels have been so altered and tampered with over time that no one knows what the "original" story was. (For example, the famous Woman Taken In Adultery scene kind of floated around out there before ending up in John). Not only that, there are dozens of other "lost" gospels out there -- some gone forever -- that for some reason were declared "heretical" by the church "fathers."

It is, of course, one's choice to follow the dictates of this shabby, embarrassing manuscript history. I choose emphatically not to.

Sorry to stray so far from peak oil, but this topic, to me, is fascinating, like a great detective story.

I am a Christian, and do not identify the need for a 'bodily' resurrection to be necessary for my faith to rise or fall. I am modern enough and smart enough to realize that the scriptures are not historic, that the truths they communicate are more mythological than historical.

But what is truth? Or should I say Truth. Most important truths are beyond facts. Lack of facts are really a very hollow reason to walk away from important Truths. Most of the great 'Truths' are complex and need a simple way to be communicated to the average person. Hence the myth. Fire theft to explain how humans got fire, a God molding clay and breathing life into it to explain how we got here at all. Does it make the reality any less amazing, awe inspiring.

Jesus was a figure in history who animated people around his singular vision of self, selflessness, love and sacrifice. That is enough for me. How else to explain the presence of someone so singular than to say he was born of a virgin. A mythical representation of a truth everyone could see. The same was said of the Buddha.

I was closest to my grandmother. She raised me as a child, cared for me when few others took notice. She died when I was in my 30's and I was shattered. Sitting at home in the evening, sad, alone, having returned from her funeral. She sat by me, I could see her, she told me not to worry. It would be ok. To this day I do not fully comprehend what I 'saw.' It had to be a phantasmagorical image that my mind pushed into my field of vision. I jumped, I moved, looked at her there. Corporeal. Not an unusual experience by those who lose loved ones. Is that what they saw of Jesus??

Beyond these old stories, I ask, is this all there is? My body came from my parents. But my personality, my thoughts. From where do they come. Where do I come from? Do they come from nothing? Nothing comes from nothing. It is mystery. I don't have answers. But why turn away because the answer is beyond my grasp?

Peak oil is being touted as a crackpot theory. Some see it as True. Is it facts that make it true, or is there something else that makes some of us migrate to either the apocalyptic adrenaline rush of declining oil reserves, others that see a fantastical cleansing of the planet as fossil fuels goes away. What do we see. Why do we believe what we believe. I submit facts have so very little to do with it most of time. We are creatures of myth. No matter what happens I do not see the day we walk away from our hero journeys.

Sorry, just had to respond to the previous posts. I don't begrudge anyones journey. All of it is amazing.

This is a very sweet story. I wish I had had an experience like that.

On the bodily resurrection: most of your christian compatriots --and the very founders of your religion -- are not with you on the "mythical representation" bit.

Reread the last chapter of John. The myth of Thomas touching the very wounds of Christ was added as a very pointed refutation of the "gnostic" idea you hold.

Also: "apocalyptic adrenaline rush of declining oil reserves".

I might have to write a whole essay about why peak has nothing to do with the apocalypse. The central component of jewish apocalyptic thinking is the "messiach."

In peak oil, there is no messiah.

In early christianity, the apocalypse (revelation) was that the world, history, was about it end, with the messiah establishing a new world order.

With peak oil, the world will not end. We should be so lucky. We're going to still be here, picking up the pieces.

Most of us, hopefully.

Great reply. Thanks.

You wrote, "In early christianity, the apocalypse (revelation) was that the world, history, was about it end, with the messiah establishing a new world order."

That sounds exactly like peak oil, post peak oil to me. But I submit the world post-peak will usher in a new world order every bit as unrelated to the prior world as the post-millenial kingdom seemed from the one before it in Revalation. Irrespective of Messiah or no Messiah. A new world order is on its way, if you believe the fantastical claims of declining oil reserves. I hope we find a Moses somewhere, or a Mohammad, to get us through to the other side.

That is the mythic journey. The world never ends, it is only transformed. Again and Again. That is true for the Christians, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the atheists and the Peak oil folk.

Most important truths are beyond facts.

Sounds lunatic and creepy.
How do you get to a "truth"?
With a God helmet?

But my personality, my thoughts. From where do they come.

Why do you posit any difference of origin for your thoughts and body?
The body is just as complex and "mysterious" than the mind.

Where do I come from?

What do you call "I", think about it.

Do they come from nothing? Nothing comes from nothing.

Ovulae, sperm, placenta blood, food, surrounding material and psychological events, education, etc...
Nothing indeed!

Go to this site:

And read the whole rotten story of Christendom for yourself!

b3NDZ3La wrote a few paragraphs about the origin of the gospels. I wrote an article about the origin of the gospels of Mark and Luke, which is linked here:
(I know, the gospels are New Testament and the rest of the site deals with the Old Testament)

It seems like I'm outnumbered (or at least outposted) by the atheists and agnostics by about 10-1 here.

Thanks for the link. I plan on reading it.

Wish I could claim to have written about this. I'm a dilettante, as with peak oil. I'd recommend others' work, like Bart Ehrman, a christian who went to theological school -- and lost his religion

Sorry. I can't agree with you at all. It seems to me an instance of question-begging: you ASSUME that Mark, companion of Peter, wrote "Mark," simply because the later church fathers attached his name to that gospel; likewise, you assume "Luke" was written by "Luke the Physician" simply because his name was attached to that gospel. Neither is likely.

If the authorship claims themselves cannot be established, then the rest of the argument that depends thereon must fall.

I realize that we are unlikely to come to an agreement on this. I want to say that I do appreciate the fact that the disagreements on this thread have been mostly civil. I also am very impressed with the knowledge of those in the discussion.

On the authorship of Luke/Acts: the author of Acts switches to first person midway through the book (Acts 16:10 to the end), during Paul's journeys. We know Luke was a traveling companion of Paul. He was also a doctor. The book of Luke uses medical terms, and modifies the wording of a few stories to make doctors look better (compare Mark 5:25 to Luke 8:43). Luke also uses the advanced Greek of a native Greek speaker, unlike the other three gospels, which are heavily semitic-influenced. Luke was a gentile.

It is true that the authorship of Mark is mostly based on tradition, though I think the tradition is reasonable. I suspect Mark was the individual in the bizzarre passage about the young man running away naked from the arrest scene (Mark 14:51-52) - a verse not in the other gospels. I think it was his way of saying he was there.

I want to say that I do appreciate the fact that the disagreements on this thread have been mostly civil.

An irony: the more I learn about the gospels, the less I trust them as historical documents. But an unexpected byproduct is, the further away from christianity I move, the less rancor I have towards beliefs of all sorts. I find them more fascinating than threatening now.

There's a reason the gospels stories are resonant, in spite of their claims to "historical" accuracy.

That last comment is the whole point, for me, b3. Thanks for adding that thought.

'Most people don't want to know the Meaning of life, but to have had the Experience of being Alive' - Joseph Campbell

I don't care about Proofs or Disproofs, to me these are stories that relate the experience living within our civilization. Apocalypse and The Resurrection can be as much about rebirths and reawakenings in yourself, as they can be a loose history of our Agrarian past, reconciling the 'Murder' of a harvest and the Miracle of the following crops.. (John Barleycorn must die!) To me, Resonate was the right word, since these broad strokes can be reflected on many scales, to a range of very different people.

'Art is the lie that tells the truth' Picasso


You have a very real mismatch with the gospels to think about. These writers had absoltely no claim to historical accuracy. In fact the concept of 'historical' did not even exist.

these were stories, passed along. Science had not been conceived of. Copyright, patents, theories, hypotheses. Not a whisper in anyones mine.

Get the concept of myth. Greater Truths than some year that something happened.

You shortsheet yourselves.

This is the mondo mac daddy of off-topic threads.

Yeah! Fun but Don Sailorman succeeded once more in derailing Peak Oil discussion.

When it's not ethanol race cars it's aircraft carriers or "ancient" education or god or what the fuck he can fancy.
A real good troll!

Let's take a vote and see who's considered a more useful contributor, KevemB.

I don't think you'll get much traction.

Frankly, I vote for Kev.

Yes, as the leaders of most religions and churches readily acknowledge, belief is a matter of faith. No amount of logic or argument can or should convince a person one way or another all by itself.
The members of this site are largely deciples of reason and logic, or so we profess, and as such, make up a kind of religion all its own.

The members of this site are largely deciples of reason and logic, or so we profess, and as such, make up a kind of religion all its own.

I beg to differ, absence of faith is not "another faith".
This is not symmetrical.

For instance and just as so many of us Leanan doesn't care about the Tooth Fairy, this ISN'T any kind of faith.

You raise a most interesting question.

I believe in miracles where there is overwhelming testimony. For example, the miracle that establishes the B'hai faith is well documented and I think impossible to deny or to question on rational grounds.

Now as to the miracle of the Resurection, I see issues of evidence. IMO, any honest person will conclude the evidence is ambiguous. I want to emphasize that I do not deny the historical truth of miracles. The question (to which I do not have the answer) is as to the interpretation of the evidence. I am convinced that Jesus turned water into wine. I think I know how he did it. (BTW, I am an amateur student of magic.) Also, I believe Jesus cured lepers, though I do not know how.

One of the strengths of the Christian faith is that it depends on miracles. If one were to make the doctrine up out of whole cloth, it would be much easier to omit the miracles. Thus, I go along with Tertulian, "Credo quia absurdum est."

Obviously, Jesus is a historical figure. Why would anybody make up somebody like that? Were I a writer of fiction (which I am, BTW) I'd never in a hundred years make up Jesus.

So are you saying other mythical figures such as Apollo, Osiris, and Vishnu and every other god who has been written about must have had some basis in fact? I can imagine what the beings who discover Superman comic books hundreds or thousands of years from now will think. Actually the Jesus story has so many parallels from earlier myths that in today’s climate the authors would be sued for plagiarism.

"I believe in miracles where there is overwhelming testimony. For example, the miracle that establishes the B'hai faith is well documented and I think impossible to deny or to question on rational grounds."

Don, you're one of the "smart people" here that intimidate the hell(sic) out of me.

So imagine my shock that you would fall for testimonial evidence.

I've talked to a real live person who knew personally dozens of the witnesses to the B'Hai miracle. I find her credible.

Why do you chose to ignore overwhelming eyewitness testimony?

Because as any attorney or jurist knows, and will tell you upon inquiry, eyewitness testimony is the LEAST reliable evidence there is. Show me strong physical evidence.

All physical evidence is reported by witnesses.

There are no exceptions whatsoever to this generalization.

Whattt!!! I'm going to try to be civil (Grrrr!!!). A man is murdered. Evidence is collected - bullet, blood, fingerprints. DNA, fibers, etc.. Only the killer and the victim were present at the crime scene. Now tell me how the evidence is reported by the witness? Unless you’re doing some kind of metaphysical word play here (yes, almost everything you post requires googling because you never openly state the facts - ex. what was the Bahai miracle? - of your argument only conclusions) your statement is unsupported by practice.

Check how real crimes are solved. There is a chain of evidence established by witnesses every single time.

No witnesses = no evidence.

What juries do is to evaluate the credibility of witnesses.

That's bullshit Don and you know it. What you are saying that if someone is found riddled in bullets, the bullets match the gun of the defendant which is found on his person with gun powder residue on his hand, hairs of defendant are found on the body, the defendant’s car has the murder victims blood in it, the odometer in the car matches the travel distance to and from the murder site….. The only persons put on the stand are the persons who collected and analyzed the evidence. Now if you want to parse words and call these people witnesses you again are just fudging things to try to wiggle out of your assertion that eyewitness testimony is less persuasive in the court of law than physical evidence. How many people have been exonerated for crimes they did not commit because of DNA evidence despite the eyewitness testimony against them? Happens every day thankfully. I don’t even know why I’m crawling down this rabbit hole.

Miller, a Presbyterian missionary, in his book The Bahá'í Faith: Its History and Teachings (1974):

The execution was carried out by firing squads of soldiers, who fired three volleys. The first firing party was composed of Christian soldiers, and the second of Muslims.

In the presence of a great crowd Mirza Muhammad Ali was suspended by ropes from the parapet, and his body was riddled by the first volley of bullets. Then a second volley was fired by the same firing squad at the Bab, who was similarly suspended. When the smoke rolled away, “a cry of mingled exultation and terror arose from the spectators – for the Báb had disappeared from sight! It seemed, indeed, that his life had been preserved by a miracle, for, of the storm of bullets which had been aimed at him, not one had touched him; nay, instead of death they had brought him deliverance by cutting the ropes which bound him, so that he fell to the ground unhurt.”

Had the Báb been able to maintain his presence of mind and rush out alive and unhurt among the crowd, the spectators would without doubt have hailed his escape from death as a miracle of God, and would have eagerly espoused his cause. No soldier would have dared shoot at him again, and uprisings would have occurred in Tabriz which might have resulted in the overthrow of the Qajar dynasty. However, dazed by the terrible experiences he had passed through, the Báb took refuge in one of the rooms of the barracks. There he was soon found, “was seized, dragged forth, and again suspended; a new firing party was ordered to advance (for the men who had composed the first refused to act again); and before the spectators had recovered from their first astonishment, or the Babis had time to attempt a rescue, the body of the young prophet of Shiraz was riddled with bullets.

OK. Took me awhile to find it. Whether this event is "miraculous" is another story altogether.

You've been "Donned". Anything he posts requires the other person to dig everything up at much time and effort, rather than just giving the facts in the original post.

I see nothing miraculous about this story. The first firing squad was probably comprised of the best shots. The second squad was probably...second string.

As the origin of the 'tooth fairy' thing, let me say that I amazed by the amount and quality of the responses to the faith and religion question. Don Sailorman started it, and I think it is a really good point that the metamorphosis in our society's view of fossil fuels - supply and atmospheric constraint of - in future will have a religious component. To say that faith and religion have nothing to do with PO, well, wait a bit. Bravo Don for throwing his hat in the ring.

As to believing in miracles where there is overwhelming testimony, so does Yergin. He as overwhelmed, I guess.

"I'm a militant agnostic. I don't know whether or not there is a god, and you don't know whether or not there is a god, so you can S.T.F.U!" Not my quote, but I still like it.

I suffer from insomnia, dyslexia and am agnostic. I really do lay awake at night and contemplate the existence of a dog. :)

That's what wine is for. (Tomate una botella de vino).


Have you heard that the dyslexic Satan worshippers just came up with a new slogan: Give you soul to Santa.

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Don, you've trotted this out before, and it's bunkum.

Atheism is, at its core, nothing more than lack of belief in gods. Indeed, we are born as atheists.

Strong atheism, which I would confess to, is a strong conviction that no gods exist in any meaningful way (i.e., no super-intelligent beings that created the universe and take an ongoing interest in human affairs. The former part I see as unnecessary although unprovable, the latter part I see as quite strongly evidenced, especially if you assume, as virtually all religions do, that the interest is benevolent). I am also certain that every single "exclusionist" religion*, past and extant, is false, partly through evidence and partly through the simple logic that if it is necessary for all but one to be wrong then the probability that any particular one of them happens to be right is vanishingly small.

Agnosticism is a more difficult term, because most people use it to mean "I don't really know whether gods exist or not". In that sense, it's essentially a weak form of atheism. Genuine agnostics claim it is impossible to know whether gods exist. Personally, I think the line between knowledge and belief is as far from clear cut as main thinkers have claimed, but ultimately it comes down to quibbling over definitions and terminology - provoking long-winded debates capable of generally great heat but shedding little light.

* i.e., claiming to be right, and others wrong - "only-way-ism".

My own position on these issues is that of Aristotle, who thought that logic demanded a "prime mover, unmoved," because otherwise you get an infinite regress--which is not something that will hold up in logic.

Arguments for a first cause simply assert that there can be no infinite regression of causes. Circular.

Bob, you left out my favorite, the Sufis. The Sufi have many branches and they are widely dispersed from Indonesia to Morroco. They love music and have a huge music festival yearly that is attended by Christians as well as Muslims. One of their branches are the so called 'whirling dirvishes' of Turkish fame. The Sufis are very tolerant of other religions but are somewhat frowned on by the stricter Muslim sects that dont approve of music or dance.

I believe the key to your post was 'resource war.' I believe that is what this entire 'war on terrorisim' was predicated on. People are people where ever one goes in the world, regardless of religion. There are a couple of exceptions like the Ayrian Brotherhood and Al Queda but they are a tiny minority of Christians and Muslims. I do think that Muslims deserve the right to keep thier culture free from western influences, like porno, drugs, etc, and I believe that multinational corporations see the Muslims as a challange to their hegomonic spread throughout Islam. I dont blame Muslims for wanting to keep bad influences out of their culture.

Wow, this is getting to be a long string. Don Sailerman is an excellent provocateur, even if he is a little 'woowoo' about past miracles.

On this list, challenging atheism is like yelling "jesus" in a crowded theater....

My concern is precisely that we have religious/cultural/racial differences all being inflamed to cover the resource war.

Fascist propaganda -- maybe all propaganda plays upon the deepest fears of people. It whips up anger over perceived injustices into hatred which is then directed in service of those who benefit from the war.

There is a kind of fundamentalism in christianity, Judaism and Islam that is especially prone to bringing on Armageddon because fundamentalists of each kind of religion believe they have God on their side.

The more important question for one who believes in God is this: "Am I on God's side?" For the Christian, being on God's side means to be on the side of the poor and despised, and especially to love one's enemy.

The discussion below over atheism, agnosticism, theism, and all is interesting along these lines as well. It is tough for me to see all atheists as being alike, all agnostics as essentially the same, and all theists or religious people as being the same. There is a kind of belligerent fundamentalism that extends beyond religion into this discussion as well. The human experience is far too complex to roll up into three categories of belief, dust off one's hands, and say "there, those categories have it all sorted out."

At any rate, there are some fundamentalists who are Hell-bent on war, and this is a toxic spirituality which often combines with racism and a sense of cultural superiority to provide a rationale for war.

We are in the equivalent of Germany in WW II. The "lebensraum" we need happens to be more obviously focused on oil this time.

It's kind of entertaining to see that on a site where the vast majority present themselves as reason based people, once every few weeks when religion pops up, it inevitably invites dozens of comments, and fills half the thread.

Entertaining, but not for long, and never interesting. Someone like Jay Hanson has plenty to say (after pretty good research) about the evolutionary origins and benefits of belief systems, and as long as you haven't gone through that, why bother others at TOD with all this?

Religious beliefs are a private matter, that should be enough in and of itself. If your beliefs don't satisfy you, you have to look inside yourself, not at other people. But that's what everybody does. There is no, and never will be any, difference between believing in a long-dead carpenter, a fairy made of green cheese, or an ancestor reincarnated in a frog, a dandelion or a pine tree.

No-one can prove that any g-d exists, and no-one can disprove it. It's called belief for a reason. Whether the carpenter ever existed is completely beside the point, it's the miracles that attract people. That no matter how deep the misery, there will always be a possible way out. If not in this life, a seat on a cloud afterwards.

And if you still don't have enough in what you believe, and you really have to share it, go bang on doors on Sunday mornings. But do keep it away from here.

That is not to take away from anyone's beliefs, far from it. Just from the incessant blabberings about it. For if this is how we treat the subject, who is to say that peak oil is not also covered by a belief system. Once you start bringing the option of miracles to the table, all bets are off. Next thing you know, the Vatican turns abiotic.

People need to believe in something. As Dostoevsky's Inquisitor says:

"man cannot live without miracles, for if he is deprived of them, he immediately creates new ones"

And there is no more bloody and deadly source of violence among people than the attempt to make others see that your beliefs are better than theirs.

Know why that is? Because you can't prove your beliefs, not even to yourself. So you have to find other ways to convince the other. And a game of hamster racing won't quite cut it for us, in this time and place. Maybe it once has for others, though. For the outcome is the exact same.

We, though, like millions before us through time, will kill each other over green cheese fairies and dead carpenters. Killing in the name of your prophet. Who most likely had a message of peace. It's going on in our name as we speak. But we wash our hands every single day.

As for atheists: sorry, everybody believes. Some just believe that they don't believe in anything. But as long as there are things that you don't understand (why is this happening to me?), you will seek an explanation, even if it's not reason based. And then go seek confirmation in your fellow men.

It's kind of entertaining to see that on a site where the vast majority present themselves as reason based people, once every few weeks when religion pops up, it inevitably invites dozens of comments, and fills half the thread

I see you're posting too... to point out that posting is counterproductive. I know, it sucked me in too. Still, mostly harmless. And I did like what you have to say.

As for atheists: sorry, everybody believes. Some just believe that they don't believe in anything.

Except for this part. Are you trying to start another long string as some sort of performance art? I believe in a lot of stuff, just not invisible friends and magic books. As many posters have lucidly noted,
atheism isn't a belief or a belief system. (a=without, theism=theism).

I do believe you're incorrect about that. But your other posts are wonderful.


Thanks for your kind words.

And no, no art form intended, just the point that not believing, which is what many people who call themselves atheists believe they do, is not possible for a human being who possesses all or most of her faculties. And that in turn goes to serve towards an explanation of why religions exist in the first place. Hence, I don't know how you would profile yourself, but if you would say you don't believe in a g-d, I'd have to insist that you do, no matter what you say. Invisible friends? Sliding scale. It's what we don't understand, but do need explained, that is the seed of our beliefs. And that goes for what you don't understand as much as for what I don't. There's always an invisible element involved.

I've seen a couple of miracles, mostly concerned with recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction. I also know that there is a dimension to the human essence that can't be explained by rationality. But, I find the idea that God would require the death of an innocent as a blood sacrifice repugnent, and the idea of a hell repulsive. I truly don't know what to believe, and i find my best thinking flawed all too often, yet my inner peace depends on me knowing that the only thing I can conclude about God is I ain't him and am not on his Email list for important revalations.

So I go to the Episcopal Church, throw the I Ching, pray, and meditate because it works for me. I try to be honest, pray to be kind, pray for other people and try to do my duties and live honorably. I try to spend a little time each day on my spiritual life-mostly by helping others.

None of this really makes much of a rat's ass, but its what I find helps balance me. Bob Ebersole

As for atheists: sorry, everybody believes. Some just believe that they don't believe in anything.

Not true as far as theism is concerned, absence of faith is not "another faith".
As for what you seem to insinuate, that knowing that "a dropped stone will fall to the ground" is faith, you are just trying to confuse the issue.

But as long as there are things that you don't understand (why is this happening to me?), you will seek an explanation, even if it's not reason based.

No, I will not because before trying to answer any "why" question I check that the question itself makes sense.
Assuming a "why" already entails a hidden premise which is most often questionable.

And I have good reasons to reject theism, hugely complex systems CANNOT be designed!

However entertaining the energy situation and its fall-out may be, this article is many times more mind-numbing and disturbing. It's kind of like comparing a mosquito bite with advanced gangrene.

Amphibian Population Shrinks,
Taking Potential Medicines With Them

The global amphibian crisis continues to grow as conservationists estimate that up to

half of all species of amphibians will go extinct in the next five to 10 years.

Habitat loss, disease and pollution threaten the world's amphibian population. Together with chitryd fungus, the circumstances are combining to make the amphibian population disappear at what the researchers called an alarming rate. Of the 6,000 known species, experts believe up to 3,000 will disappear within the next decade.

People may be shocked by disappearing bees, but they are just one tiny piece of the puzzle. Not a bad analogy, really, to say we're doing this giant jigsaw puzzle from which ever more pieces go missing.

Bees, birds, butterflies, fish, amphibians and all other life forms are disappearing at astoundingly fast rates. ...half of all species of amphibians will go extinct in the next five to 10 years.. Still trying to wrap my mind about that. 5 to 10 years.

The whole natural world, the very fabric of life, is vanishing around us while we try to figure out how much longer we can afford to drive cars. Intelligent species, you say?

Man evolved in the world as it was up to a few hundred years ago, not in the one we will soon have. We were not made for that one. The planet is rapidly thrown back into a state last seen millions, if not billions, of years ago, fit only for primitive life forms.

Imagining a World Without Oil? That's an easy one.

HeIs: Crazy. The reality is that in 2007, unless you can slap a price tag on something it doesn't matter. If you think it is bad now, just wait until circa 2020 when China is running the show. They have got large cities already where you would be well advised to be wearing a gas mask.


By 2020, well over 50% of amphibians will be AWOL. We'll have much bigger issues than China's pollution by then. And having worried about oil supplies back in 2007 might just make you look real stupid. Or, more likely, real dead.

The biosphere, the one mankind needs to survive, will grind to a halt if we strip it of that many essential components. Resilience.

Domestic birds in North America are going fast, butterflies and bees will be zoo attractions only, Stoneleigh today posted the horror tale of The starvation of the grey whale in the Round-Up. The list doesn't end.

The shocker in this article is the timeframe: 5 years.

Half the amphibians gone will mean at least half the people gone soon after, and in all likelihood more, if you look at it from a systems approach. As is already happening in large parts of the oceans, it will inevitably regress into some sort of primordial soup of algae, bacteria and a handful of jellyfish.

(And Paris Hilton, of course)

Yeah, that's what struck me about that bee article. It's not mites, or cell phones, or pesticides, or genetically-modified crops. It's everything. Climate change, mites, disease, maybe helped along by pesticides. We're screwing up something we don't know how to fix.

"Wenn die Biene von der Erde verschwindet, dann hat der Mensch nur noch vier Jahre zu leben. Keine Bienen mehr, keine Bestäubung mehr, keine Pflanzen mehr, keine Tiere mehr, keine Menschen mehr." -Albert Einstein (supposedly)

Insofar as the laws of mathematics are certain, they do not refer to reality; and insofar as they refer to reality, they are not certain.

Albert Einstein

The man was smart, but maybe he wanted it both ways and had a lot of people bullshitted?

One of the first things you figure out if you study mathematics and physics is that the two are different.
In my opinion math offers "higher" truths but that just opinion its certainly the more seductive field I think most people who try to learn mathematics would be happy spending their days hacking at it no matter how poor they are at the subject, even being a horrible mathematician is rewarding.
You always have a shot at making a brilliant discovery its like buying a lottery ticket.

Good point many things are caused by a combination of things, there is no single cause of peak oil except possibly finite resource but a combination of growth, increased energy use increased population etc, same for global warming. This also means there is no single 'cure' for the problem but a combination of changing expectations and lifestyles, changing sources of transport and energy supply and adressing the need for growth.

What are you reading?
Great expectation
Is it good?
Its not all I hoped for

I almost don't even want to read about it...the figures on the accelerating rates of species extinction (not just fish, frogs, etc., but all species) caused by human activities (too many people, once again) and its casual dismissal or indifference by the general population is just too depressing. E.O. Wilson's The Creation is a good reference here, although his prescriptions for change at the end are simply ludicrous (advocates species-cataloging expeditions and more science education).

California grass too dry for goats to eat

A record lack of rainfall in Southern California has left brush and grasses so dry they're even unappetizing to the grazing animals.

Fire officials say it's the first time in years they can't use goats to help clear hillsides to prevent brush fires.

Does anyone know what parts of the visible and/or non visible spectrum are engaged by PV cells? I assume that most of the work in a solar thermal setup is infrared, but what part powers PV? Is there a difference in absorption of various fequencies by clouds or does it all decline at the same rate; i.e., which system incurs the graetest cloudy day loss, or is it a standoff?

I guess I could search this out somewhere but ....

I've got no references at hand, but the sun's radiation is close to that of a theoretical "black body" with a specific surface temperature (of roughly 5000K). This means the wavelengths emitted are sort of a bell curve around some mean. The main part of that curve is where most of the radiation energy is. Thus, it is no surprise that plants (Nature's PV panels) evolved to make use of that main part. (Actually, the two ends of the main part, discarding the middle part - that's why plants look "green".) And it's no accident that animals with vision are adapted to use the stronger parts of the sun's spectrum, that's why it ended up being called the "visible light" portion. Thermal solar panels absorb the visible part. Most have a "transparent" (to the visible light) cover (e.g., glass) to keep the insides hot by preventing both heat loss due to convection and also much of the possible re-radiation of the heat as infra-red (since the insides of a solar panel are a lot cooler than the sun's surface, the main part of its re-radiation is in longer wavelengths). This is called the "greenhouse effect". If PV panels are designed for any sort of efficiency, they too are designed to absorb the "visible" light.

There are more photons to catch if you set your bandgap at the low end, but they give you lower voltage out. Aiming for the blue end gives higher volts but fewer photons can activate it, giving less current. So solar PV compromises at yellow or thereabouts, which is one of the reasons that 12% is about all you can get out.

There are lots of plans and little progress on multilayered systems that will harvest each color according to its voltage, yielding high efficiency but a rather complicated system. How do you capture the 5, 10, 15, & 20V outputs from a single panel?

I think that 5000K solar blackbody spectrum refers to the light reaching the surface, which is attenuated at the high end compared to what the Sun emits.

"How do you capture the 5, 10, 15, & 20V outputs from a single panel?"

Hmm...I wonder if anyone has tried concentrated solar with a prism?

Greetings all - saw this report, thought I would post for comments:


Organic farming can feed the world, UM study shows

Organic farming can yield up to three times as much food as conventional farming on the same amount of land—according to new findings which refute the long-standing assumption that organic farming methods cannot produce enough food to feed the global population.

Researchers from the University of Michigan found that in developed countries, yields were almost equal on organic and conventional farms. In developing countries, food production could double or triple using organic methods, said Ivette Perfecto, professor at U-M's School of Natural Resources and Environment, and one the study's principal investigators. Catherine Badgley, research scientist in the Museum of Paleontology, is a co-author of the paper along with several current and former graduate and undergraduate students from U-M.

I believe this is true, it does take time to bring chemicalized land to an organic/biodynamic state, I would say about 10 years. Much is yet to be learned about micro-nutrients, paramagnetism and the like. I read an interesting story a while back about a woman who was drawn to an organic orchard, she would just leave the house and find herself in the orchard, the positive energy there was that great, a climax state.

I know people who are organic farmers and have never doubted this.

Anyone who is serious about becoming self-sufficient on their own land would do well to consider a dry toilet system, composted by worms, too. No smell, produces top grade fertiliser (the vermicast), and excess worms go into the garden. The mucus excreted from some common worms can be mixed with water and used as a natural pesticide too.

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

From Leanan's link above.

Qatar's Energy Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah in a file photo. OPEC can do nothing about the high price of oil because factors other than crude supply have sent the market to near record levels

Here's the real news. One sentence at the end.

Attiyah said OPEC's supply cushion may drop in the future but that the group was investing billions to increase capacity, despite rising costs to hire rigs and build new facilities.

Dave, why does it look like he's smiling?

It's gas

Or this, the end sentence again:

"OPEC, which pumps more than a third of the world's oil, next meets in September to chart output policy. Some officials have suggested the exporters may have no reason to change tack then."

Read "oil" for "reason"?

MSNBC main article saying that small (hence efficient) cars are much less safe then SUVs:

Still, in an accident, "the laws of physics can't be repealed," said Russ Rader of the Arlington, Va.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Even with modern safety features like multiple air bags, people in small, light cars are always at a disadvantage in crashes."

And the sad part is that MSNBC is absolutely right. Small cars would actually be very safer if we could ban all SUVs in a day. But when there is a collision between SUV and a tiny car there will simply be nothing left of a small car. Banning SUVs is very hard to image (and it definitely not going to happen unless government gets involved).

Yes, this is the expected pushback to the effort to increase CAFE standards. The automakers have been claiming for a long time that that higher fuel efficiency necessarily causes higher death rates.

It's pretty easy to refute. Just look at the fleet efficiency of Europe or the developed Asian nations -- much higher than the U.S. Then look at the per mile traffic fatality rates in those countries -- far lower than the U.S.

Turns out that driver education, enforcement, and advanced roadway engineering standards are much more effective at saving lives than relying on the armor of big, hulking trucks.

The irony of people buying SUVs for safety is that, as a group, they are less safe than minivans. SUVs as a group have about the same injury claims rate as large luxury sedans, although the latter have more collision repair claims.

Going beyond broad generalities, there are some interesting exceptions to the "rule of greater mass." Believe it or not, the Hummer has more injury claims than the Audi Cabriolet, and an identical number of collision claims as the Volkswagen Beetle. The Toyota Prius has slightly fewer injury claims than the Ford Excursion. The Honda Civic Hybrid has 60% as many injury claims as the regular Honda.

(All references are to relative rates. Source: IIHS)

I wonder if that means hybrid drivers are safer drivers?

It's pretty easy to refute. ...

Sorry but you not refuting, but you are proving what this article said and I restated. If we could ban SUVs (or decrease to a very small number), the we would have an auto fleet similar to the one in Europe: small and safe (unless you are hitting a wall in which case bigger car would still be safer). This is what article said this is what I said and this is what you have said.

This is not a conspiracy by people who oppose CAFE. It's a reality. Sure SUV are fairly unsafe but because of the high mass of gravity (hence they tend to tip and fall). Big cars with low center of gravity are much safer then small cars.

It's just physics. If two cars are made with similar technology but one has wide crumple zones and thick metal it will be much safer then the alternative. Larger car can provide more gradual deceleration and less likely to crush you body.

MSNBC main article saying that small (hence efficient) cars are much less safe then SUVs

He did refute this claim, and in two different ways. First he showed that comparing two fleets (US and Europe) the big US fleet has more injuries (should be the other way around by your argument, right?). Second, he showed that SUVs have less accidents than luxury cars, but more injuries than luxury cars. So much for the "armor" protecting the occupants argument.

Basically, mass and size are not the controlling factors in the chance of injury. Something else is the controlling factor (lack or roll over perhaps, or braking distance). Size however is intuitively appealing (not uncommon for "common sense" to be wrong in understanding complex systems. I find it happens all the time when designing and running experiments).

Jon Freise

Analyze Not Fantasize -D. Meadows

I see your point.

Basically, mass and size are not the controlling factors in the chance of injury.

That would be defying the laws of physics. It's definitely not the only factor, but it very important. But if two cars are equally advanced (that is important when you compare two cars or fleet of cars), then heavier and larger car can be made much safer. Having lower center of gravity is definitely safer as well.

I've seen a Civic that was in a collision with an SUV. SUV seemed ok, first half of a Civic was compressed to a tiny size. I am sure that if it was an armored car instead of SUV it would just rolled though a civic without much damage at all while Civic would be gone completely. When semi hits a car it always safer to be in the semi then in the small car that will be fattened by the semi (when size is so different the engineering does not matter that much). This is the same reason why police cars will always be big.

You can easily check my claim. Get a metal toy car (this would represent a car with a thick metal) and get (or make) a car of the same size (or smaller) but made out of paper. Then smash paper car with a metal car (which roughly represent a coalition). Paper car will be completely destroyed, but metal car will not be ever scratched by paper. In real word the difference is not quite as dramatic, but it would make it easier to see that larger car should always be safer (if safety engineering is the same)

It also depends whether you evaluate it from an individual viewpoint (how can I be safer?) as opposed to a society viewpoint (how can increase safety for everyone?).

But as the real-world injury claims show, there's more to it than just size and center of gravity.

No such thing as thick metal and crumple zones.

Even the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (an apologist for SUVs provides the data that cars are safer than SUVs. The occupant fatality rate for cars is 15.7 per million vehicles vs. SUVs at 16.25 per million vehicles.

And think of this 2.5% of all accidents are rollovers. But 1/3 of all occupant fatalities in a vehicle are from rollovers. And this is when SUVs are being driven by those who can afford them, usually the safest drivers. What happens when these used SUVs start falling into the hands of teenagers?

I shudder to think.

Of course, once gasoline is up to $20/gallon, I doubt that there will be so many SUVs zipping along at 75mph, so the small cars will be a lot safer then.

MSNBC is not absolutely right. The issue of vehicle safety is far more complex.

1) 75% of accidents on the road are single vehicle accidents. In other words one car has an accident all by itself - imagine said driver falling asleep at the wheel on empty highway. In such a situation SUVs propensity to roll over makes them far more dangerous than cars. Further, if you aren't killed in said rollover, the spinal injuries and paralysis from SUV rollovers is shattering.

2) Safety inside an SUV is terrible. American car makers have made these things extremely unsafe. The airbags are crap, no side airbags, the seatbelt placement is dangerous. The steering columns don't collapse like they should, the dashboards are too hard. Cars, and in particular foreign cars, are amazingly safe inside. Side curtain airbags, variable airbag deployment, crumple zones in the cars, making them all far safer than SUVs. In any accident there are three collisions: The cars, the driver into their own car, and the drivers organs colliding with their rib cage and skull. Cars make the second two collissions far less dangerous.

3) The mass of an SUV if it hits head on with a car is more dangerous (I guess that's the physics part). But from any other angle, the cars are safer. Think of the light little cars you see out on the NASCAR race track. Those are vehicles designed to be safe, made to withstand impacts, crumple zones, all of it. Watch those accidents and watch the drivers walk away. Can you imagine NASCAR races with SUVs and their high center of gravity? They are obviously unsafe. That racecar safety has migrated into cars, but not SUVs.

Enough said. It isn't rocket science.

It was just reported on CNBC that Venezulean oil output is down 64,000 barrels per day since May.

Ron Patterson

none of Saudi Arabia's customers is asking for more crude

Saudi Aramco will reduce supplies ... by between 9 per cent and 10 per cent below the volumes set out in annual supply contracts

? ? ? ?

Asian refiners contracted to buy more oil, but the Saudis are telling them they can't have it.

And despite higher crude oil prices in Asia, Saudi Arabia and Iraq are cutting crude oil exports to Asia.

In any case, as I said yesterday, if you generally assume the opposite of what most public officials say regarding Peak Oil, you generally get closer to the truth.

The Bush plan is finally working as we US/Saudi can reduce Chinese growth by turning down the tap. It was the reason we wen to Iraq in the first place and from a Geo Political point of view, it makes a great deal of sense. Look at the winners - New York, Texas and DC. In the end China is winning too as they are still expanding and their leadership is being bolstered while the middle class rises. The only losers are those that have their sons sent to die for the rich, from small towns across America. They have to go, because the jobs have been sent oversees to ensure that someone in NY can afford an apartment on Fifth Avenue.

I have wondered when this war was going to spawn more Tim McVeigh's and I suspect the ingredients are in the mix as we speak.

Wow. Now this POV is not one I've seen before from the 'all the world's a conspiracy' crowd. (Throw in some PNAC references to the threat of China and this might just stick to some walls)

Props to you if you figured this one out on your own. If you are parroting someone else, can you provide a pointer to 'em?

Eric, which is the more terrifying prospect: The destruction and occupation of Iraq as a vast conspiracy, or as merely the Brownian stumblings of a dry-drunk CIC who's convinced he hears God?

Why do Saudis keep talking about the balance between supply and demand? :

There is a good balance between supply and demand. Inventories are in a comfortable position, therefore fundamentals do not support high prices today


Shortage in the planned economy would signal higher demand, but in a market economy there should never be a shortage. Market economy always uses prices to discourage (kill) some of the demand thus balancing supply and demand.

Last time when oil was in 10$ per barrel it was indeed the huge supply that caused it. Saudis were able to sell all that there were pumping but they had to sell it at lower fire-sale prices. If they were to pump more today I am sure they would find buyers, but at a lower price. It's not like as if they currently they pump a magical amount of crude that is exactly matches the demand (thus they can sell all that they pump and we have no gas shortage). It's the price that moderates the demand and insures that it is not any higher then the supply is.

Isn't that 101 of market economy? Why does money.cnn posts quotes which require only very basic understanding of economy to see that they are incorrect?

I am wrong?

I don't know if this is of interest (no oil content). It's a tool for relating statistics on things like population and GDP.

Gapminder World (from http://www.gapminder.org/)

I originally saw this in a TED talk from Hans Rosling

Edit: added link to Rosling's TED talk

Hello TODers,

For today's humor post: I guess this absolutely confirms that us Americans are truly big A$$holes:

Automatic toilet tissue dispenser ready

Americans typically use twice as much toilet paper as Europeans — as much as an arm's length each pull, Thorne says.

"And that," he says, "is going to be interesting."

He slides his hand under the toilet paper one more time for emphasis, and another string of toilet paper shoots out.

"The final frontier," he says with a smile.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

I believe the technical term for this idiocy is "decadence".

Hello Sgage,

Thxs for responding. Just as the Rupee coin is worth much more converted into razor blades, we should postPeak expect old phonebooks to bring a premium price on the toilet paper market.

It is only a matter of time before restrooms everywhere institute a 'bring your own' policy. Expect restaurants to sell dining napkins, toilet paper, and the ever-useful, much desired, paper ass-gasket onsite. Just as we see widespread copper thefts now, the universal theft of toilet paper is not far off. Recall my earlier post on a Ms. Butts arrested for stealing 3 rolls from a courthouse restroom.

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

"...Ms. Butts arrested for stealing 3 rolls from a courthouse restroom..."

Get out! That's just too good to be true!

- sgage (remembering when there used to be gigantic Sears catalogs :-)


Other versions on google: Butts + toilet paper

You're really expecting a toilet paper shortage?

I suspect there are bigger things to worry about.

I don't care what you say... being forced to squat and shit into a pit at a French highway rest stop is not a sign of some superior civilization. I will take American-style bathroom hygiene right up till the edge of collapse.

On my regular trips across France, the most endearing facilities, are the squatters with the automatic flush. Which piss on your boots as bending to squat. No matter how good a shot you are, you come out embarassed. Vive la France.


Hello WideBlackSky,

Thxs for responding. Suggest you google Humanure Recycling.

American-style bathroom hygiene right up till the edge of collapse will help insure further blowbacks [Hope you are not sitting on the toilet when the physical blowback occurs]. Water and Sewage infrastructure is four to five times more capital intensive than any other industry, and requires mind-boggling levels of resources of all kinds to maintain at a high degree of healthful safety.

Also suggest you understand the inherent ecological wisdom in the simple evolutionary example: pooping on the grass versus pooping on the rocks:


I would suggest that our high devotion to the porcelain throne is pooping on a glorified rock holding precious drinking water. Not good as we go PO + GW. Humanure Recycling is industrial and societal desire to poop on the grass.

Purposely redirecting sewage can be an awesome force for positive change, or a very-debilitating negative change. See my prior postings on elite or military uses of sewage flows to stampede the herd in desired directions. Also recall the earlier posting whereby Mexico City might suddenly find itself drowning in sewage.

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

I was horrified when I first saw the squat toilets in China. But once I got used to them, I liked them better than the regular toilets. Who wants to actually sit on a public toilet seat if they don't have to?

Public toilet seats are far more comfortable than squatting. Good enough for me.

In case any of you are interested in Australia, I've put up my latest column at ASPO-USA — Peak Oil Down Under.

My peak oil index inched up in July from 76.0 to 78.2. A falling index points to a growing peak oil concern, while a rising index points to less peak oil concern. Although oil prices are one component of the index, it is only coincidental that the index value at this time is close to the dollar cost of a barrel of oil. The reason for this month’s increase is that WTI spot oil prices on July 2 of this year were down slightly from last year, a drop from $74.41 to $71.11. The index value of 78.2 is also up from the all-time low of 71.2 reached in February of this year.

This is the chart from 1970 to the present. You can clearly see the oil crisis in the 70’s, followed by something of a recovery, then new lows in 2005.

Zooming in, this is the chart from 2000 to the present.

I posted this last month for the first time. As background, I decided to try to create an index that combines the information we have about oil inventories with oil prices. It seemed useful to me to combine both these factors together rather than focus on just one. The reason is that if we have rapidly increasing prices, we might attract a lot of oil, causing inventories to hold up quite well. On the other hand, if we ever get to a rationing type situation, prices would be depressed, but inventories would likely drop.

This is the way the index is calculated: U.S. total petroleum product inventories in terms of days of supply are multiplied by an inverse of price. That way, if supplies drop or prices increase, the index drops. If supplies increase or prices drop, the index increases. When the line goes down, it points to a more severe peak oil problem. A high value shows a relaxed supply situation.

(1) Prices are 12 month moving average of WTI spot prices adjusted for inflation (CPI) from 1986-2007, taken from the first trading day of the month. From 1974-1986 I used refiner acquisition cost rather than WTI spot.
(2) Days of Supply uses Total Products inventory minus the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Consumption is the EIA “Total Crude and Products from 1981-2007.” Prior to 1981, I took data eyeballed from a chart.
(3) The U.S. oil consumption used to calculate days of supply is also based on EIA data, and again uses a 12 month moving average.
(4) This is all built automatically from an Excel spreadsheet, with the EIA as the source of all of the oil data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provided the CPI calculator.
(5) The calculation of the most recent three months is provisional and subject to change, because the consumption data lags a few months behind price and storage data.

This index is U.S. – centric, but since I adjusted for inflation it is a little less so (a falling dollar has an inflationary effect).

If anyone knows a good source of more accurate monthly data for U.S. inventories and consumption in the 1970s, let me know and I can improve the accuracy of the earlier part of the index.

I plan to update this index monthly.



Have you been keeping up with our lovely Gov. Perry and his 49 vetoes?

It would appear that, JP Morgan Chase, some Spanish investors, Zachary construction and our lovely Gov. Rick Perry are pulling some Andy Fastow magic trick.
This thing has been kicked into high gear as of late. The actual construction phase is to begin soon.

Executive Summary


Four corridors have been identified as priority segments of the Trans Texas Corridor. These corridors parallel I-35, I-37 and I-69 (proposed) from Denison to the Rio Grande Valley, I-69 (proposed) from Texarkana to Houston to Laredo, I-45 from Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston and I-10 from El Paso to Orange.

The Trans Texas Corridor will allow for much faster and safer transportation of people and goods. It will relieve congested roadways. It will keep hazardous materials out of populated areas. It will help improve air quality by reducing emissions and provide a safer, more reliable utility transmission system. It will keep Texas’ economy vibrant by creating new markets and jobs.

Based on an estimated cost of $31.4 million per centerline mile, the 4,000-mile corridor would cost $125.5 billion, not including right of way and miscellaneous costs. Factoring in right of way at $11.7 billion to $38 billion and miscellaneous costs at $8 billion to $20 billion, the estimated total cost for the Trans Texas Corridor would range from $145.2 billion to $183.5 billion.

In 2001, the 77th Legislature provided several new financial tools to help Texas meet its transportation demands. Legislation enabling toll equity, regional mobility authorities and the Texas Mobility Fund will help TxDOT continue its efforts to enhance the existing transportation system. These tools also will help pay for the Trans Texas Corridor.


The Trans Texas Corridor plan gives shape to a vision coming into sharper focus every day. The corridor is a way for Texas to expand opportunities, enhance freedom of movement, and provide the good things of life to the ever-growing number of people making Texas their home.

The Trans Texas Corridor is the largest engineering project ever proposed for Texas. The corridor paves the way—literally—to the future of Texas.

Partners in the public and private sectors, by working together early in the process, can develop a 21st Century transportation corridor that will be a model for the nation.


The Trans Texas Corridor will allow for much faster and safer transportation of people and goods. It will relieve congestion on existing roadways. It will keep hazardous materials out of populated areas. It will improve air quality by reducing emissions and providing a safer, more reliable utility transmission system. It will keep Texas’ economy vibrant by creating new markets and jobs. It will bring economic development to all parts of the state, but especially in economically depressed rural areas. Industrial parks served by multimodal transportation and economic development zones built around connectivity points will foster economic growth. The corridor will lead to the development of new cities while increasing the importance of existing cities.


Safety, improved travel time, and greater reliability will characterize the Trans Texas Corridor. Planned for phased construction, the system will connect cities across the state with a series of multimodal corridors. These will feature a high-speed, controlled-access tollway with separate lanes for passenger vehicles (three lanes in each direction) and trucks (two lanes in each direction). Additional features include two-way rail (six tracks, three in each direction) with separate commuter/freight and high-speed passenger facilities and a dedicated utility zone for transmission of oil, natural gas, energy, water and data.

Based on an estimated cost of $31.4 million per centerline mile, the 4,000-mile corridor would cost $125.5 billion, not including right of way and miscellaneous costs. Factoring in right of way at $11.7 billion to $38 billion and miscellaneous costs at $8 billion to $20 billion, the estimated total cost for the Trans Texas Corridor would range from $145.2 billion to $183.5 billion.

And if they want to plow down your house and take your land, well you can argue, but when it's al said and done, you will have 90 days to get out of their way.

According to the plan the Trans-Texas Corridor will consume 584,000 acres of land. 146 acres will be required per corridor mile. That equates to one acre every 36-feet.

"The number of courts authorized to hear eminent domain cases
should be expanded"
– Coby Chase, TxDOT Legislative Affairs Director (November 18, 2004) [more]

Hello The Reverend,

This is only in keeping with the larger overall theme of the Hirsch Report, with the fifteen favored Detritovore States, plus SPP [SuperNAFTA]. The economic hitmen are very busy in North America.

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

Additional features include two-way rail (six tracks, three in each direction)

An afterthought (note "Additional features,,,"). This was *NOT* designed by a railroad engineer !!

Six tracks is incredible capacity !! Powder River Basin is 3 and 4 tracks, and Texas will NEVER move that much !

First rate controls (Amtrak's NorthEast Corridor for example) allow bi-directional movement on each track, use of short passing segments (3rd track for a couple of miles) would get enough capacity at lower cost.

I bet they leave room for the rail (this will consume 912 sq miles !) but no access under the 5 lanes of traffic on either side for the rail tracks.

Who will operate on the track ? Who will connect to it ?

Will Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Mexico get 2 lanes of trucks and 3 lanes of cars dumped on them at the border ? Chronic miles long back-ups ? (I-10 is just 4 lanes in Louisiana and NM, existing Texas I-10 is 6 lanes. Add ten more and 16 lanes will feed into 4 lanes).

Of course, these will have to be hydrogen fuel cell and E85 semi-trucks and SUVs traveling on these massive toll roads.

I almost hope that a few miles do get built, as a monument to utter stupidity for future generations to ponder.

Best Hopes for Rational Planning [sigh],


As a Texan, all I have to say is our Governor and Legislature are just incredible. They can't see past the great money buying tracts of land next to the right of way to see just how preposterous this is.
Oh well, I guess I just lack vision.
Bob Ebersole

A post that may say more about my prejudices than any real news - but there was one line in this story that made me gag. OK, so some crazywoman wants to give a visa to another Bin-Laden..but the line at the end:

Ms Felix-Browne said: "There's no problem of him coming to England. Most of his aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters live in London anyway."



Hello Pondlife,

Thxs for the info--LOL! Like they say: Reality is better, because nobody would believe this if we just made-it-up.

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

So the deputy director of national intelligence stated today that the “surge” in Iraq has not been effective and the future is grim for the country in any event.


I view our occupation in Iraq as a Catch-22:
1. Stay in Iraq, trading US lives and a debt financed war for regional stability and control/influence over the oil there. I didn’t include Iraqi lives as part of the equation, they will be lost regardless of what happens.
2. Leave Iraq and the region destabilizes and access to the oil dries up.

The end of the article begins to talk about countries that would be affected by the US pulling out:

Neighboring Iran is playing a nefarious role by providing "lethal support" to Shiite militants in Iraq, while Syria gives refuge to deposed Iraqi leaders and is unwilling "to stop the flow of foreign jihadists into Iraq," he added.

US allies such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia are meanwhile "increasingly apprehensive about Iraqi ethno-sectarian strife agitating their populations," and of the spread of radical Islamists, Iranian influence and refugees.

And they fail to mention that Turkey has 130,000 troops on the northern Iraqi border (a large omission).

Unless we are in an infinite war (ala the Korean War, except we don’t have a friendly country to occupy), it has to stop at some point. Stories like this embolden the anti-war legislators, I could see this type of news event lead to an unwinding of the war.

I’d like to see a discussion of the possible events that might unfold from the US pulling out of Iraq within a two year window.

How will the region play out, and more importantly on a global scale, how will oil be impacted.

My thoughts on geopolitics in the event the US pulls out:
1. Turkey goes to war against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. Kurds in both Turkey and Iraq push for a Kurdish state. Turkey might go for a land grab, targeting oil rich parts of northern Iraq.
2. Iran becomes far more powerful in Iraq, allying with the majority Shiite population.
3. Increasing violence and isolation of Israel.

As for oil, Peak Oil is confirmed the year we pull out, but not for geological reasons. I would expect to see violence such as in Nigeria against middle-east oil targets, crippling production for extended periods (until relative calm returns).

Frankly, and obviously, I consider the US pulling out of Iraq as a worst case scenario with regards to oil and regional stability. I’m 100% for it though, I don’t enjoy the imperial side of my country.

"access to oil dries up"

I think it is important to separate US access to oil and world access to oil. If we leave Iraq and the south breaks free (or takes control of the country), most of the oil producing regions will be intact and because the Iraqi people need money, they will export. Probably not export to the US. This would be the same situation as Iran after the revolution against our puppet government.

Iran could make a useful model. Fundamentalist regime takes control, many are miserable, but law and order is established and life moves forward. While the Iraqi military is fighting for the US it will be half hearted (they know we are leaving, even if Bush can't see it). Once it is fighting for Iraq, it will once again be an effective military force.

Jon Freise

Analyze Not Fantasize -D. Meadows

Frankly, and obviously, I consider the US pulling out of Iraq as a worst case scenario with regards to oil and regional stability. I’m 100% for it though, I don’t enjoy the imperial side of my country.

It (the US in Iraq) is called nation-building, and has often proven to be a losing proposition in history, and in this case (Iraq) likely a failure. When different groups of people just do not want to get along (and live with each other) there is little that can be done constructively.

Serious involvement of the US in the region started with FDR meeting Saud, and has increased ever since. It is a part of American foreign policy with which many are uncomfortable, but the reality of the strategic importance of the Gulf remains. My entire life it (the Gulf and its oil) has been an issue, and I expect it to be for the rest of my life.

It is disingenuous for anyone to suggest an easy "fix" for the problems of the region, or for reducing US involvement in the region.

The story to which you linked points out the worst fear (wrt oil) - that the KSA becomes destabilized.

Frankly, and obviously, I consider the US pulling out of Iraq as a worst case scenario with regards to oil and regional stability. I’m 100% for it though, I don’t enjoy the imperial side of my country.

It (the US in Iraq) is called nation-building, and has often proven to be a losing proposition in history, and in this case (Iraq) likely a failure. When different groups of people just do not want to get along (and live with each other) there is little that can be done constructively.

Serious involvement of the US in the region started with FDR meeting Saud, and has increased ever since. It is a part of American foreign policy with which many are uncomfortable, but the reality of the strategic importance of the Gulf remains. My entire life it (the Gulf and its oil) has been an issue, and I expect it to be for the rest of my life.

It is disingenuous for anyone to suggest an easy "fix" for the problems of the region, or for reducing US involvement in the region.

The story to which you linked points out the worst fear (wrt oil) - that the KSA becomes destabilized.

An EIA forecast for Ecuador production.

Reality: NOC Petroecuador posts 14% YOY decline

How much drilling is needed to reverse declines?

Hi Leanan
dont know whether you picked this one up, but the oil companies have been given the green light to start prospecting the Great Southern Basin in New Zealand:


There were 'significant' oil and gas shows reported from wildcat drilling there in the 70s, at that time deemed uneconomic. To place this in contaxt the sea conditions in the GSB have often been described as making the North Sea seem tame by comparison (it is after all the roaring 40s).

Still gas and oil strikes would make NZ a more cosy place........

Why are pronouncements such as those made today by Al-Attiyah of Qatar or Al-Naimi of SA treated as something new? At almost every Meeting of the OPEC Conference from the 124th in March of 2003 to the 144th in March of 2007 (and presumably at all future ones), OPEC has consistently stated that oil prices do not reflect market fundamentals (supply and demand) because the market is "well-supplied with crude oil." OPEC has, of course, then developed a rather substantial list of "other" causes over which it has no control: geopolitical tensions, the falling value of the dollar against the euro, downstream bottlenecks and lack of refining capacity, speculation on futures markets, higher than expected demand growth, and more stringent product specification (interestingly, according to OPEC, when prices go down, the downward pressure is a direct result of increased production rates or other actions by OPEC). But basically, for over 4 years, OPEC has said what the two ministers said today. Why is this news?

(well, since there is no danger now of a few extra words making this string much longer on a relative basis, {you could add the text of War and Peace to this Drumbeat and folks would read the whole thing by accident before they realized it wasn't the reply to some prior post! :-)
so, how about some late night stats and conjecture for the insomniacs out there....including some numbers you may have not seen before....:-)

Can Solar Really Scale? A bit of detective work based on a real world project

CNN has a very fascinating story (7/9/07) by way of Reuters:

"California to build 'world's largest' solar farm"

The story itself is interesting enough, but we have learned to take these types
proposals with a grain of salt, have we not? It may or may not actually happen,
and the time horizon of completion by 2011 is very ambitious.

Of more interest (and fun!) is the bit of detective work one can do on the
to get some hints of the "scalability" of PV solar.

The output of the solar farm is projected at 80 megawatt from 640 acres. That
would be 8
megawatts per acre. Let us now pause for effect.

If you are not already familiar, a kilowatt is about 1.34 horsepower, making a
(1000 kilowatt) conservatively over 1300 horsepower. The scale of what a
megawatt of
output can do is available at:
"Modern high-powered diesel-electric railroad locomotives typically have a peak
output of (3 to 5) MW, whereas a typical modern nuclear power plant produces a
output on the order of 500 to 2000 MW."

Our 640 acre (by the way, that's about a square mile) solar farm says it can do
Megawatts, so let's scale up....6400 acres (about 10 square miles) can do 800
or at the range of a small nuclear plant, 12,000 acres (approx. 18 square miles)
would be
able to do as much as a large nuclear plant.

O.K., what do we know so far?

-First: 8 Megawatts per acre? That is one serious figure! Over 10.000
But, as we have seen, big power stations (nuclear ones in particular) belt out
big power as
well. To match a nuclear power plant requires some serious area, 10 to 20
square miles.
Do we have that kind of space?

Yes. The "million solar roof" initiative in California leads the way in using
roof space, but
that is household roof space. Even more fascinating is the millions of acres in
every city
to be used on the roof top of business, mall, superstore, furniture store, auto
school buildings, colleges, government buildings, etc.

An interesting visualization: The total land area of the Pentagon is 583 acres,
enough for
some 8000 horsepower output approx.

Every major city is surrounded by miles of "brownbelt" space, area that was once
used for
warehousing, railyard and industrial property that is now vacant buildings, good
nothing except a deadly hangout for crack dealers and criminals. These areas
are close to
major city consumers of electricity.

There are millions of acres in the desert. White Sands Missile Range covers an
area of 3,200 square miles, approximately three times the size of Rhode Island.

The Bonneville Salt Flats are approx. 159 square miles.
The Great Salt Lake covers an area of some 1,700 square miles.

I give these areas not as prospective sites (although some could be) but as a
way of
visualizing the vast area available for solar energy collection.

The other issue is storage and excess power. The storage issue is certainly of
importance, and if solved efficiently, would propel the solar industry even
Right now the options are not many and expensive. Pumped Hydraulic storage will
(in which water is pumped into an artificial lake and then released) there are
Compressed Energy Storage Systems (the largest and best in McNintosh Alabama)
these are relatively small scale compared to the energy levels we are
discussing. The only
battery that shows signs of being affordable and able to scale into the multi
range is Sodium Sulfur batteries, and while already in use by some utilities are
being developed for full commercial use.

But this in no way should dissuade us from the massive amount of power that can
collected at peak hours, in the most available periods of solar supply, that
also match the
hottest part of the day and the most electrical power demand (the air
conditioning load)

We have to recall that the United States has a massive amount of excess
generation capacity during off peak time, that is nights and during spring,
autumn, and
especially winter. It is the heart of summer that "peaking" issues become
critical. All of
America's power industry has to build for that hottest hour of the hottest day
that the
utility will face.
"The guys that design our power plants and everything else in the whole system
delivers power to customers -- they design it for the hottest day of the year,
knowing that
you're not going to use it every day, but it's got to be able to do that."

So why do we need all of this electricity that solar can provide? Simple: For
growth, for
peaking, and to reduce natural gas and coal consumption. These are the critical
The North American market is no longer able to produce the natural gas we
There are massive plans to soon begin importing natural gas by way of LNG
Natural Gas, mainly from OPEC and
African suppliers. These areas are unstable, and the balance of trade and
national security
issues enormous.

The question left untouched in the article about the square mile solar farm is
It is generally given that a large wind farm will cost something around 1
million dollars per
Megawatt rated power. However, the plant will not produce that much, due to
varaibility and downtime (which can be surprisingly high). This is also true of
solar, due to
weather, but the downtime due to mechanical issues has proven to be very small.

If the square mile solar farm matches wind in cost per megawatt, we are talking
80 million dollars for 80 megawatt, and for a solar farm that matches a small
power plant, using our above numbers, approx. 800 million dollars.
That sounds steep, but comparison is in order.

A very involved dissussion of Nuclear power economics is given here below, but I
vouch for the correctness of all numbers, and it opens with the caveat,

"The Economics of new nuclear power plants is a controversial subject, since
dollar investments ride on the choice of an energy source. Nuclear power plants
have relatively high capital costs for building the plant, but very low fuel
costs. Therefore,
comparison with other power generation methods is strongly dependent on
about construction timescales and capital financing for nuclear plants. Costings
also need
to take into account decommissioning and waste storage costs, as these can
increase the whole-of-life cost of a plant, into the tens of thousands of

This article gives the cost of a nuclear plant in the example given at 1.2
billion dollars.
This would make sense for a 1100 Megawatt plant, about midrange between our
used at the opening (500-2000 Megawatt)

I point up these statistics to show that while solar energy is not cheap, it is
getting well
within the range of being able to provide affordable electric power.
And while the costs of nuclear power are controversial (I am leaving aside the
emotional issues of safety and NIMBY {Not In My Backyard} issues, because they
almost impossible to measure), nuclear does have costs related to procurement
of fuel,
disposal of waste fuel and massive upfront capital and financial costs. The
fuel costs are
non-existent with solar, and the upfront costs can be "modularized" or divided
investment units of much smaller scale, essentially leading to great flexibility
in financial

The economics of solar can also be complex, however. The costs of placing the
solar farm
on the ground on valuable real estate as proposed in the California example we
have used
leads to an expensive purchase of land that could be used for farming or other
development. Some would argue that this is exactly NOT the way to do it.

Rooftop and abandoned area (brownbelt) development of solar has a huge advantage
wind power and nuclear power has trouble matching: If well designed, it can be
invisible. No noise, no giant whirling blades against the sky, no menacing
looking cooling
towers standing over the neighborhood pouring out steam.

So is solar "scale-able", that is, can it be scaled up to the degree to make a
real difference
in America's energy situation? The evidence seems to be saying yes. And
developments are coming. Use of concentrating lens to reduce the square foot
needed per
kilowatt production are already proving to deliver improvements on an order of
magnitude. Likewise, the solar chips are gaining efficiency and declining in

If solar improves much, no one will be arguing against nuclear power or wind
power on
issues of safety and NIMBY. They will simply be pushed out of the competition
on the
basis of cost.

The solar energy received each year by Earth is roughly equal to 10,000 times
the total
energy consumed by humanity, so if we can find a way to harness 0.01 percent of
solar available, we have enough to replace all fossil fuel usage. Right now,
the main
emerging competition to PV solar seems to be concentrating thermal collector

This method has the advantage that the system can make enough heat to transfer
to an
oil compound to literally "coast" overnight on contained heat, and can also
provide heat at
a level high enough to be used industrially to melt metals and propel advanced
processes if the system is so designed.

Developments are now moving very fast. The hard part to know is what technical
alternative, or combination of solar alternatives will take the lead.

Dismissing solar energy as an alternative, and believing in the concept of a
"new dark age"
created by an energy crisis, as some folks do, is becoming harder to do every
We may indeed see a new dark age. There have been many civilizational collapses
before the days of fossil fuel. But one now must question very hard the theory
that lack of
energy can cause it.

Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom